Every week we'll go through the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, examining different horses for insight and new information. The #1 spot on the list currently belongs to GREATEST HONOUR, who racked up 60 pts for his Road to the Kentucky Derby. All 60 came from winning two major Triple Crown prep races: The Holy Bull Stakes (10 pts.) and, most recently, the Fountain of Youth Stakes (50 pts.)
On paper, the Fountain of Youth Stakes was rated amongst the toughest Derby prep races so far this year. GREATEST HONOUR once more flashed his brilliant late speed. DRAIN THE CLOCK, the second favorite, had set fractions all his own way. He shook loose at the turn for home, but was ultimately reeled in by our #1 ranked horse. More impressively, GREATEST HONOUR had to maneuver his way around traffic; had to swing 5-wide and make up plenty of ground in the last furlong.
To date, no Derby prospect has recorded faster late speed than GREATEST HONOUR.
Let's consider the talent GREATEST HONOUR faced during his maiden, developing stages. He ran against CADDO RIVER twice, finishing behind him both times. We saw how good CADDO RIVER was while winning the Smarty Jones Stakes last month. GREATEST HONOUR also faced a promising colt named KNOWN AGENDA for trainer Todd Pletcher, who just won at Gulfstream last week. Yes, he lost to KNOWN AGENDA, but a rematch in the Florida Derby at the end of this month seems likely if all goes well. With six races already under his belt, GREATEST HONOUR has tremendous foundation going forward.
It is refreshing to see a battle-tested horse going for the Run for the Roses, in sharp contrast with the growing trend of: lightly raced and bubble wrapped for the Derby. Nope, not GREATEST HONOUR. He's routed four times already, winning three and placing in the other.
In preparation for his next start, GREATEST HONOUR worked on February 21st, going 4F in 51.20. He hasn't breezed since, but wide spaces between his works aren't abnormal to him.
There is an up and coming speedster who may appear in the Florida Derby (G1) and give GREATEST HONOUR a run for his money: PREVALENCE for Godolphin. This is a horse who made noise winning his maiden debut at Gulfstream Park. He was cruising from the opening bell all the way to the half mile marker, then pulled away effortlessly from the field to win by more than ten lengths — under a hold.
Unfortunately, PREVALENCE suffered a minor illness and missed his scheduled prep race. He's recovered now, but faces a major test of mettle. Look, if PREVALENCE makes it to the Florida Derby (G1) he will be trampolining up in class, going two turns for the first time, and doing it against our current ranked #1 horse. If PREVALENCE can manage to challenge GREATEST HONOUR and finish second or third, it'll be a positive statement to his ability, and he'll earn 40 or 20 qualifying Derby points. But if PREVALENCE actually wins and receives his 100 Derby qualifying points, then we might be looking at the future "superhorse" fans billed him to be.
If we're worried that PREVALENCE might be pushed too hard into the Triple Crown picture, fret not. His trainer Brendan Walsh has demonstrated superior, patient wisdom for his horses. Count on him to know best if they could handle an assignment or not. Look no further than MAXFIELD, injury-prone yet 5-for-5, who he also trains.
Here's PREVALENCE's debut score:
When GREATEST HONOUR runs in the Florida Derby (G1), he'll find that extra half-furlong to his liking as he goes for his fourth win in a row. Stay tuned because we'll bring news as the Florida Derby (G1) probables continue to identify themselves.
Photo Credit: Coglianese Photos/Lauren King