Top 10 Kentucky Derby & Kentucky Oaks Contenders

Posted by Matt Cullen on Sat, Apr 6, 2013 @ 15:46 PM

Derby Experiences' Top 10 Contenders

Derby Experiences
 will be posting our Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Insider's Top 10 Contenders leading up to the races in May. In Kentucky, Thoroughbred racing is a way of life and Loren Hebel-Osborne has made her life-long passion a career. Loren has updated her Top 10 Contenders following this weekend's Kentucky Derby Championship Series Races and explains why she thinks these horses will be in the running at Churchill Downs®.

Kentucky Derby Top 10


I’m not getting off him yet – I think he needed the race in the Florida Derby.


Jaw dropping, gutty performance in the Florida Derby.  This is a race horse and veteran trainer Shug McCaughey looks to finally have his shot at the roses!  


I always have a special spot for a gelding.  This guy has done nothing but win – tough spot next in Wood Memorial.


This is one gutty race horse.  Didn’t like the way he jogged back with the pony after the race (might be a problem there)  but if he makes it to the Derby – he will be tough!


Despite his defeat in the San Felipe, I will keep this horse in a top spot – he finished gamely. If Baffert can get him to relax and conserve energy he might be able to stay the distance.


I absolutely LOVE this horse.  I don’t know if he is a top, top horse yet but his heart is bigger than his body – he is a warrior and loves it!


Very impressive performance in the Louisiana Derby. Broke badly at the start but recovered gamely to almost win.  He might be blossoming at the right time and his sire is hot, hot, hot!

Frac Daddy

Has the pedigree and I’m sticking with a local angle here -  loves Churchill, has a win at Churchill.  Kenny McPeek is a horseman with a great eye for talent.


While he didn’t win, his return to run in the Spiral was impressive.  Probably needed that race to get fit perfection.


Not ready to toss him out of my top ten but he was soundly beaten in San Felipe -   I’m hoping it was a bad day. Looked a little too hot in the post parade and too fresh.

Verrazano I just don’t think he’s tough enough – he has to convince me this weekend in the Wood. Super Ninety Nine off my top 10 – off track carried him for the distance and I don’t think he wants to go any further than 1 mile.  Shanghai Bobby is off the Derby Trail.


Kentucky Oaks Top 10

Unlimited Budget

She’s like auto pilot set at a very high cruising speed.  A very efficient mover who just clicks off the fractions.  Blew away the field in the Rachel Alexandra Stake. Was awesome again in the Fairgrounds Oaks.

Midnight Lucky

She is a freak!  Two jaw dropping performances – most recently in the Sunland Oaks where she set a track record in a hand gallop- stay healthy – very special filly. Second in ranking only due to her lack of experience.

Kauai Katie

A beautiful filly with a lot of expression.  Not sure she wants to go two turns but I want to see more.

Dreaming of Julia

She’s moves out of my number one spot but not too far.  She probably needed the race and I’m giving her another chance – so much class and she shows up every time.

Rose to Gold

She’s little and tough.  Ears pinned for the whole trip. NO one was going by her in the Honeybee.  A red head on a rampage – love it! But if she’s not in the mood on Oaks Day … red heads can refuse to run too!

Blonde Fog

This is another filly who needs to learn to relax up front if she is to be able to carry that speed all the way to the wire.  She doesn’t have a lot of experience.  Blinkers are not very severe, he may even cut back to smaller cups to get her to relax.


This filly’s has a high head carriage and a real presence – looks like a colt.  She was able to relax on the lead but he ears we frantic.  I wouldn’t be surprise if Bob adds blinkers or a shadow roll.


Ultra impressive in Las Virgenes. Mandella has gotten her to relax at home but I’m still concerned about her shipping and being able to relax.  Ulcers due to nervousness and fretting is a chronic management issue for the trainer. 

Pure Fun

Drops a bit on my top ten but I still love this filly and think her preferred surface is dirt.  Kenny McPeek will have her ready

Broken Spell

She stays but just barely.  I didn’t like her effort in the Spiral Stakes but will give her a pass because of the polytrack.  Lukas is especially good with the fillies – I’m holding out hope he gets her back to her better form.

Executivepriviledge moves off the list as Baffert reports she will not run in Oaks.  Has had quarter cracks and won’t be ready.

Derby Experiences

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Kristen Doolan

Kristen Doolan was born and raised a Florida State Seminole. Making her way from Florida to North Carolina, Kristen achieved her B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is an avid traveler, college football addict, beach bum and loves spending time with her family and friends. 


Jazzy Morgan

Jazzy Morgan is originally from London, England and a die-hard Manchester United Fan. She grew up in Connecticut and made the move down south in 2011 where she attended Winthrop University and received her B.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences and a minor in Marketing. Jazzy enjoys traveling, working out, reading her monthly Vogue & Cosmo and keeping up with fashion trends.


Evan Chronis

Evan Chronis was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has made his home in south Charlotte for almost two decades. A Tar Heel born and bred, Evan received his B.A in Media and Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is an avid Boston sports fan thanks to his family’s New England roots, and a fanboy of Wes Anderson films.