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Ky. Derby contenders: 21-100

Horse racing, of course, is essentially a pastoral game, a sport with a verdant provenance -- a beautiful, graceful, elegant and traditional competition that can veer into excitement and turbulence. And in sports, the Kentucky Derby is the quintessential American pastoral. But for years now, a manic desire to participate in the race has had a capacity for transporting the American pastoral into the American berserk.

Crowd control has become the scary issue at the Kentucky Derby – and I don't mean the crowd in the Churchill Downs grandstand or infield. I mean the crowd in the starting gate. If it were logistically possible and there were no limit on entries, how many horses do you think would run in the Kentucky Derby? A hundred maybe?

It's amazing, isn't it, this annual hysteria? The Kentucky Derby can transport stoic, calculating, analytical empiricists into frantically blubbering dreamers. A cold-hearted corporate capo who wouldn't waste a dollar on an office coffee machine will spend $25,000 to enter his horse in the Kentucky Derby and another $25,000 to run, even if the animal is ill-suited for the distance and has no more chance than a Popsicle in the Sahara.

And so this year Churchill Downs has introduced a Derby points system to determine the 20 horses that will get into the race. As you know, in the past the field was limited to 20 based on earnings in graded stakes, which meant a horse could insinuate himself into the Derby without ever having finished better than 10th in a race beyond seven-eighths of a mile. He could have won the Hopeful and the Hutcheson, for example, and that would suffice. The old system also meant that some horses had a Derby reservation based on what they had done as juveniles, which is sort of like starting in center field for the Yankees based on a home run you hit at the Little League World Series.

Anyway, if this new system protects owners from themselves -- or, to be more precise, if it protects horses from their crazy-with-the-fever owners, it's better than the system it replaces. The points system will keep the pure sprinters out of the Derby, and no horse will begin the year with a trust fund that makes his life easier. Most of all, the new system, even though it could be improved, emphasizes the traditional preparatory races, and in that regard it's not really much of a departure, and it guarantees a momentum of interest leading up that first Saturday in May.

"My thought is if you don't run well in the two races before the Kentucky Derby, you don't deserve to be in it anyway," said trainer Mark Casse, who explained he has two solid Triple Crown prospects and some others in his barn who could become possibilities. "I'm not really worried about it. If Dynamic Sky, for example, deserves to be in the Derby, then he'll step up and show us."

And so the field is limited to 20, but hundreds more aspire to run in the Derby and participate in the Triple Crown, which is why I list the top 100 candidates, including 80 "also-eligibles."

It's a personal list, based more on potential than accomplishment, more on what these horses might do rather than on what they have done. My priorities are my own, and they have changed over the years. I include more turf horses here than I would have done 10 years ago, for example, largely because I see more and more horses of quality beginning their careers there, on the grass. That wouldn't have happened 10 years ago. And I include more maidens and lightly raced horses than I would have simply because there's less emphasis these days on juvenile campaigns, which aren't as revealing perhaps as they once were.

And I embrace my own prejudices. I'm prejudiced against horses that look like they were built by a committee of disputatious academics, and horses that are slow and horses that, even though they may be fast, move as if their parts aren't connected securely. Having spent literally thousands of mornings at various racetracks around the country, I've concluded that some trainers know how to win the Derby, that many are smart enough to figure it out but that some couldn't find Louisville, Ky., with a GPS and a roadmap.

These 100 horses are gleaned from a master list of about 1,500 that I begin putting together, with copious notes, in August. If you ask why I didn't include Brave Dave or Smooth Bert or Tate's Landing in the "also eligibles," I can best answer by saying, well, I couldn't include everybody. Except for Uncaptured and Power Broker, I don't think I include any horses that have neither raced nor worked since December, which means I left out Titletown Five even though I consider him to be one of the most talented 3-year-olds out there. Injured in late October, he probably won't resume serious training until March. And I don't include any fillies for a variety of reasons, the main one being that the best ones, as far as I know, are aimed at the Oaks.

The journey to Kentucky, of course, took on a serious tone with Saturday's Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park, where Itsmyluckyday turned in a spectacular performance, beating Shanghai Bobby by two lengths and completing the 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.81, a track record. For context, earlier in the day, Golden Ticket, who finished in a dead heat to win last year's Travers, returned to competition with a five-length victory. And he ran the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.61, or about four lengths slower than the Holy Bull. Ironically, Shanghai Bobby, the champion juvenile of 2012, ran one of the best races of his career while losing for the first time.

And so Itsmyluckyday assumes a place in the vanguard. The question is whether he can maintain this level of performance. Or has he peaked too early?

When I started making this list of Triple Crown candidates back in 1987, I did so for my own edification and entertainment. And since I knew of no other such lists, I thought racing fans might find mine somewhat informative or perhaps amusing. Now, of course, everybody who's nobody, which includes me, has a list of Derby hopefuls or prospects or preferences; there are so many lists that, it seems, they take on an importance of their own, as if they're connected, except only tenuously to the genuine hierarchy that's ultimately revealed on the racetrack. And so I think this list will be my last; I hope it's a good one.

The Also-eligibles

21. Power Broker
Sire: Pulpit
Trainer: Bob Baffert

After winning the FrontRunner Stakes, he had the worst of trips in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, where he finished fifth, five lengths behind Shanghai Bobby. Given some time off so that he might put on a few pounds, Power Broker has resumed training, but he's still about three weeks away from his first workout of 2013, according to his Hall of Fame trainer. One of the most talented juveniles of 2012, Power Broker is capable of competing at the highest level.

22. Shakin It Up
Sire: Midnight Lute
Trainer: Bob Baffert

He could be one of the most talented 3-year-olds in California, but after finishing third in the Hollywood Prevue, he had a minor foot problem, according to his trainer, Bob Baffert. But Shakin It Up returned to the worktab Wednesday with a half-mile move and could soon return to competition.

23. Demonic
Sire: Bernardini
Trainer: John Sadler

A $400,000 yearling, he recently rallied to win his debut at Santa Anita in stylish fashion as the even-money favorite. He's obviously talented, but is he talented enough to become the first Kentucky Derby winner since Apollo in 1882 not to race as a 2-year-old? Somebody will overcome the Apollo jinx, for lack of a better term, soon, and this year there are at least two appealing and talented possibilities, Demonic and Verrazano.

24. Capo Bastone
Sire: Street Boss
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he made a powerful move to reach contention but then flattened out in the final sixteenth of a mile, and his pedigree doesn't instill any confidence in his prospects at longer distances. Since then he has moved to the Pletcher barn. His running style would seem better suited to eastern racetracks.

25. War Academy
Sire: Giant's Causeway
Trainer: Bob Baffert

A highly regarded colt who sold for $450,000 as a yearling, he won his debut impressively back in November and was probably expected, certainly by some, to be a stakes winner by now. But illness momentarily sidetracked him. He's working regularly again and, in fact, had a solid workout Sunday at Santa Anita, suggesting he could soon return to competition.

26. My Name Is Michael
Sire: Macho Uno
Trainer: Bill Mott

When second in the Display Stakes at Woodbine while making his first start around two turns, he suggested his talents were going to mature with more distance. Since then he has joined Bill Mott's stable and has had three works at Payson Park in preparation for his return. It's all about development at this point, and with reasonable development he could soon be within reach of the sort of the performance that could take him to Kentucky.

27. Clawback
Sire: Put It Back
Trainer: Richard Violette

After running second to Always In A Tiz and then to Vyjack, Clawback left the maiden ranks with a fast victory (1:10.21) at Aqueduct that included an incredible final quarter-mile (22.98). He took another step forward Monday, winning the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes by five lengths while putting up another fast clocking (1:09.75). Potentially a top sprinter, he'll get the opportunity, his trainer said, to stretch out, possibly in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park or the Risen Star at Fair Grounds.

28. Mylute
Sire: Midnight Lute
Trainer: Tom Amoss

Third behind Goldencents in the Delta Jackpot, Mylute was a galloping winner last month in New Orleans. Consistent and reliable, he never has missed a paycheck in his seven races, and Tom Amoss will have him ready for his big test in the Risen Star Stakes.

29. Winning Cause
Sire: Giant's Causewey
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

After two turf outings and a victory on Keeneland's synthetic surface, he nearly tumbled onto his head in his first start on dirt. But then he rallied from last to finish second in the Jimmy Winkfield, running a final quarter-mile in 24.43 seconds. And then he galloped out strongly, even beyond the impressive winner. If Winning Cause continues to improve, he could make some noise in New York.

30. Distinctiv Passion
Sire: With Distinction
Trainer: Jeff Bonde

The swift colt won the San Pedro in 1:08.50 to remain unbeaten on dirt. He obviously has the potential to become a top sprinter, but his pedigree suggests he could be more (Dosage index: 2.11). He'll probably return in the San Vicente.

31. Code West
Sire: Lemon Drop Kid
Trainer: Bob Baffert

In four starts as a juvenile, he never finished worse than third, and he reached a relatively high level of performance. He appears to be training well at Santa Anita for his return, having fired a bullet five-furlong (59 seconds) move Sunday. "He's definitely Derby material," Baffert said about the colt. "He just needs distance."

32. Omega Star
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: John Shirreffs

Second to Clawback in his debut, Omega Star then moved west to join the stable of John Shirreffs. On New Year's Eve, the Cal-bred scored in a fast maiden race and with auspicious style. Jockey Julien Leparoux had a firm hold of the colt early, when they were blocked behind horses in traffic and on the rail, and then sent him through a crease of an opening as they approached the stretch. Finally clear, Omega Star ran the third quarter-mile in 24.08 seconds to grab the lead and then was taken in hand. Saturday he made his stakes debut at Santa Anita, finishing second on what appeared to be tiring, wet surface.

33. Proud Strike
Sire: Smart Strike
Trainer: Steve Asmussen

He raced five-wide in the first turn and three-wide in the second before drawing clear to win by more than seven lengths in a strong outing at Fair Grounds. With another step forward, he'll be on Triple Crown road.

34. Tesseron
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Josie Carroll

In only the second start of his career, the big gray colt finished second in the prestigious Grey Stakes at Woodbine, and then he ran fourth behind Uncaptured in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes despite racing wide. He's had a few workouts at Palm Meadows to prepare for his return, and his trainer, Josie Carroll, said she's very pleased with how he has progressed.

35. Bradester
Sire: Lion Heart
Trainer: Eddie Kenneally

A winner of two of his three races, Bradester appears to be improving. In his recent victory at Gulfstream, he pressed a solid pace and then drew clear. Like most of these youngsters, of course, he has much to prove, starting with his ability to compete in stakes company.

36. Vyjack
Sire: Into Mischief
Trainer: Rudy Rodriguez

Very eager in the early stages of the Jerome, the unbeaten gelding looked as if he could improve if he learns to control his natural speed. Still, in that Jerome he was fully extended to defeat a 41-1 long shot, and he doesn't appear to want much more distance.

37. Orb
Sire: Malibu Moon
Trainer: Claude "Shug" McGaughey

He has the talent to be a major player, but, well, talent isn't everything. In his debut, despite getting left at the gate and racing six wide, he finished a length behind Violence after running the final three-eighths of a mile in 36 seconds. In his second start, he had a nervous meltdown. He finally got things together enough to win at Aqueduct on Nov. 24, defeating Revolutionary. And he returned Saturday at Gulfstream with another victory. The clocking was ordinary (1:51.05 for the 1 1/8 miles), but he rallied into a slow pace and is obviously moving forward.

38. Super Ninety Nine
Sire: Pulpit
Trainer: Bob Baffert

He has run into some bad luck in his brief career, having to be scratched, for example, from the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint. But Super Ninety Nine has sufficient speed and talent to impact the run-up to the Triple Crown. He finished second in the Hollywood Prevue, and he has put together some eye-catching workouts of late, including a bullet five-furlong move a week ago.

39. Purple Egg
Sire: Lion Heart
Trainer: Jane Cibelli

Since winning the Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay, he has been entered twice and scratched twice. The unbeaten gelding has shown considerable ability in his three victories, but illness apparently has set him back and compromised his recent activities.

40. Appealing Tale
Sire: Tale Of The Cat
Trainer: Peter Miller

Third behind Flashback at Hollywood Park, Appealing Tale won his dirt debut by more than six lengths at Santa Anita despite some trouble.

41. He's Had Enough
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Doug O'Neill

He finished fifth without threatening in the CashCall Futurity on Hollywood's synthetic surface, but he ran the best race of his career in his only outing on dirt, finishing second, of course, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. And he appears to have trained well at Santa Anita since then.

42. Hear The Ghost
Sire: Ghostzapper
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

After defeating a solid maiden field at Hollywood Park, he rallied strongly to finish second at Santa Anita in the San Pedro. He could take another step forward when he stretches out.

43. Honorable Dillon
Sire: Tapit
Trainer: Eddie Kenneally

He defeated Delhomme in his maiden victory back in August. And so in his return, on Jan. 4, much was expected. The results were mixed. He rallied strongly at Gulfstream and nearly caught a speedster who had been allowed to cruise. Still, Honorable Dillon didn't switch leads down the lane, where he seemed to lug in, and disappointed as the 6-5 favorite. The gray colt obviously has potential and should stretch out successfully; with some development he could put himself on the road.

44. Always In A Tiz
Sire: Tiznow
Trainer: Dominick Schettino

A debut winner at Saratoga, he recently picked up a couple of Derby points by finishing third in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park, where he had to wait in traffic but then finished strongly when clear. He looks like a colt who'll continue to improve with more distance.

45. Will Take Charge
Sire: Unbridled's Song
Trainer: D. Wayne Lukas

A half-brother to Florida Derby winner Take Charge Indy, Will Take Charge raced wide around both turns but fought gamely down the stretch to win the Smarty Jones. He'll probably remain at Oaklawn Park for the Rebel Stakes.

46. Up With The Birds
Sire: Stormy Atlantic
Trainer: Malcolm Pierce

Another Canadian, he rallied four-wide from last and won the Coronation Futurity at Woodbine by more than three lengths while in hand. Unbeaten around two turns, he recently returned to the worktab at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

47. Den's Legacy
Sire: Medaglia d'Oro
Trainer: Bob Baffert

The hard-trying, reliable colt completed his juvenile campaign by finishing third in the CashCall Futurity, and he started his 2013 campaign by finishing second in the Sham Stakes. He also, by the way, won the Generous Stakes on the turf. In other words, after nine races, he has proven himself to be an admirable racehorse, capable of making some noise on just about any stage.

48. Cerro
Sire: Mr. Greeley
Trainer: Graham Motion

Owned by Team Valor, Cerro began his career in Italy, and although he showed little in his American debut in October he has developed steadily since then. Saturday, he led throughout to win at Gulfstream in a solid clocking, 1:50.29, for the 1 1/8 miles.

49. Sky Captain
Sire: Sky Mesa
Trainer: Mark Casse

The good-looking chestnut has been an enigma. Last summer, he won by more than 10 lengths at Churchill to announce his potential and suggest he could be a future star. But last month he disappointed as the even-money favorite at Gulfstream. One of the more talented young horses in a barn that overflows with potential stars, he returned Saturday with a strong runner-up finish at Gulfstream.

50. Avie's Quality
Sire: Elusive Quality
Trainer: Josie Carroll

Stylishly winning the Display Stakes at Woodbine, where he defeated a strong field, Avie's Quality didn't run a step in his first start on dirt, disappointing in the recent Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds. He's much better than he showed that day, and a change of venue or surface could herald a return to form.

51. Clearly Now
Sire: Horse Greeley
Trainer: Brian Lynch

One of the many Canadian possibilities for the Triple Crown, he won his first two outings impressively before finishing third behind Avie's Quality in the Display Stakes. Clearly Now faded to third after stalking a lively pace in the Holy Bull.

52. Siete de Oros
Sire: A. P. Warrior
Trainer: Ramon Preciado

The seven of pentacles tarot card is associated with perseverance, good investments and long-term rewards, all of which might be a little overreaching for the Jerome runner-up, but he seems to be improving and should make some noise along the road to Kentucky.

53. Fortify
Sire: Distorted Humor
Trainer: Mahmood Al Zarooni

Second in the Hopeful, third in the Champagne and fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, he's obviously a horse of considerable talent. But he'll take the road out of Dubai, which to this point hasn't been very productive in the Triple Crown.

54. Curly Top
Sire: Curlin
Trainer: Bob Baffert

A winner last week at Santa Anita in his first start on dirt, the good-looking chestnut is a graceful mover. He finished second in his first two outings, having trouble in each, but he could develop into a noisemaker and should, his trainer said, continue to improve as the distances stretch out.

55. Forty Tales
Sire: Tale of the Cat
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

He recently rallied to win at Parx in what was for the day a fast clocking, 1:10.93. (The only other six-furlong race that day at Parx was run in 1:13.58.) Unbeaten in two races, he obviously has some talent; it's unclear how far and where that will take him, but he's nominated to the Hutcheson.

56. Long River
Sire: A. P. Indy
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

The big chestnut who's out of Breeders' Cup Distaff winner Round Pond first flashed potential when he finished second in a fast maiden race, behind Delhomme. But Long River didn't show much turn of foot when fourth in the Jerome.

57. Apex
Sire: Dynaformer
Trainer: Bill Mott

Although still a maiden, he has been second in each of his outings behind highly regarded youngsters while defeating such horses as Gulfport and Hightail. And the son of Dynaformer will almost certainly improve significantly with more distance. He's training in Florida for his return.

58. Carson's Crown
Sire: Harlan's Holiday
Trainer: John Sadler

In the second start of his career, he overcame some early trouble to finish second in the Hollywood Juvenile, and his breeding – he's out of a Dare And Go mare who won at 1 ½ miles -- suggests he'll probably reach his highest level of performance in much longer races (Dosage Index: 1.55). A very intriguing colt, he recently returned to the worktab at Fair Grounds in New Orleans.

59. Noble Tune
Sire: Unbridled's Song
Trainer: Chad Brown

Yes, he's a turf horse, but the same could have been said of Big Brown and Animal Kingdom early in their careers. Noble Tune won the Pilgrim and then ran second in the Juvenile Turf. He has had two works in Florida as he prepares for his return.

60. Integrity
Sire: Hard Spun
Trainer: Chad Brown

A $320,000 yearling purchase, the handsome colt flashed speed, controlled the pace, ran the final quarter-mile in 24.61 seconds and easily won his debut by more than three lengths in 1:10.50 two weeks ago at Gulfstream. And then he galloped out as if he were just getting warmed up, probably finishing 15 lengths in front by the time he was pulled up. He's obviously far behind in terms of experience and accomplishment, but he can run.

61. Manando
Sire: Bluegrass Cat
Trainer: Bob Baffert

After setting the pace, he held on to finish third in the Sham Stakes. In fact, he never has been worse than third in his career, but he doesn't seem to have the talent of some of his stablemates.

62. Footbridge
Sire: Street Cry
Trainer: Eoin Harty

Third behind Belvin in his debut and then second behind Curly Top, Footbridge might be able to avoid the Baffert brigade in his next outing. In any case, the handsome colt looks as if he'll continue to improve.

63. Star Contender
Sire: Henny Hughes
Trainer: Mark Casse

He disappointed as the favorite in the Gulfstream Park Derby, fading to sixth, and so he could return to the turf, or perhaps to the synthetics. He was a winner on both surfaces last year in Canada.

64. Gunderman
Sire: Birdstone
Trainer: Mark Casse

Another Canadian, he ran second behind Bradester in a fast race at Gulfstream. His trainer, Mark Casse, said Gunderman could develop into noisemaker on the road to the Triple Crown.

65. Merit Man
Sire: With Distinction
Trainer: Bob Hess Jr.

He has lost but once in his career, in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint, and although his Spectacular Bid victory was considerably less than spectacular, the colt knows how to win. He probably won't carry his speed very far, but he's nominated to the Hutcheson Stakes on Feb. 2.

66. Majestic Hussar
Sire: Majestic Warrior
Trainer: Eddie Kenneally

He has won two races in his career, both on a sloppy racetrack, the latest last week at Gulfstream Park, where he controlled the pace and completed the seven furlongs in 1:22.53. He's possible for the Fountain of Youth on Feb. 23, and so his connections have time to rehearse their rain dance.

67. Little Distorted
Sire: Distorted Humor
Trainer: Darrin Miller

He sparkled in his debut, defeating Revolutionary at Belmont Park. And then, in his first start for his new connections, Little Distorted was a non-threatening third in a slow unSpectacular Bid Stakes. Was he as good as his debut would suggest, or as bad as the unSpectacular Bid implies? Hard to say, but opinions should be deferred until he tries two turns.

68. Whiskey Romeo
Sire: Forestry
Trainer: Anthony Dutrow

The unbeaten speedster hasn't had a published workout since overcoming a stumbling start and winning the Marylander Stakes last month at Laurel. But Whiskey Romeo looks like a talented sprinter, and, in fact, could be more.

69. Zeewat
Sire: Harlan's Holiday
Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer

A winner of four of six, including three stakes in Northern California, he most recently took the California Derby at Golden Gate Fields. He obviously doesn't have the talent to take on the best horses to his south, but he knows how to win and could continue to find the winner's circle.

70. Brown Almighty
Sire: Big Brown
Trainer: Tim Ice

A stakes winner on turf, Brown Almighty disappointed in his dirt debut, finishing fifth in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park. But he came out of the race with a lung infection and probably deserves another chance to prove himself; that could come in either the Southwest or Risen Star Stakes.

71. Divine Ambition
Sire: Divine Park
Trainer: Darrin Miller

Winning his debut by eight in September at Turfway, he returned to competition recently, finishing third in the Pasco Stakes in what was an encouraging effort. He's nominated to the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 2, but he could also turn up at Tampa Bay or perhaps Turfway.

72. Tiz The Truth
Sire: Tiznow
Trainer: Bob Baffert

Second to Demonic, he looks like a horse who can only improve with more distance. His rider in that race, Gary Stevens, said the long-striding son of Tiznow has Derby potential.

73. Declan's Warrior
Sire: Majestic Warrior
Trainer: Nick Zito

He won his debut in October with a powerful last-to-first move up the rail at Belmont. He's a big colt, and Zito's obviously bringing him along patiently. Declan's Warrior worked five-eighths of a mile Thursday at Palm Meadows in preparation for his return.

74. Indy's Illusion
Sire: A.P. Indy
Trainer: Barclay Tagg

In his maiden victory, he defeated Frac Daddy, but he then showed very little in the Remsen, finishing a distant fifth. He has the pedigree and the connections to be a player, and he stepped forward Saturday, finishing third behind Orb.

75. Mountain Eagle
Sire: Birdstone
Trainer: Nick Zito

As a long shot, he won in December at Gulfstream, stalking and drawing clear without switching to his right lead down the lane, and then he galloped out very strongly, emphasizing that there remains plenty of room for improvement. Without much pace to run at, he finished fourth Saturday at Gulfstream but could yet improve.

76. Carving
Sire: Any Given Saturday
Trainer: Bob Baffert

The winner of the Real Quiet Stakes, he probably doesn't have the talent to compete with the best of his generation, but he could make some noise in minor stakes along the way.

77. Del Mar Sunset
Sire: Candy Ride
Trainer: Bob Baffert

A close third behind Demonic despite a wide trip, he's another lightly raced colt with potential from the Bob Baffert stable. Baffert said he likes the colt's talent.

78. Northern Lion
Sire: Lion Heart
Trainer: Mark Casse

He drew off to win by more than five lengths in his first effort around two turns last month at Gulfstream Park. If the big-dollar purchase ($625,000) continues to improve and develop, he could become a prominent member of the Casse caravan traveling the Triple Crown road.

79. Draw Two
Sire: Macho Uno
Trainer: Michelle Nihei

He'll probably remain on the turf, but he flashed considerable ability last year when he won by nearly eight lengths at Belmont Park, appearing to have plenty left. In the hands of a very sharp trainer, he seems to be training well for his return.

80. Falling Sky
Sire: Lion Heart
Trainer: John Terranova

Early in the season at Gulfstream, he defeated Majestic Hussar, who returned to win impressively. Falling Sky's only defeat in three outings was a fourth in a minor stakes at Tampa behind Purple Egg. And so just based on the company he has kept, he would appear to have some noisemaking potential; he's nominated to the Hutcheson.

81. Get Happy Mister
Sire: First Samurai
Trainer: Kelly Von Hemel

Here's the Arapahoe flash. The unbeaten colt has won his four races by an average of almost eight lengths, all at Arapahoe Park in Colorado. He hasn't raced, though, since August, when he took the Gold Rush Futurity (1:08.63) by more than nine lengths over Manewal, a recent Oaklawn winner. Since then Get Happy Mister has joined the stable of Donnie Von Hemel in Hot Springs, Ark., where he worked five-eighths of a mile (1:01.40) Thursday.

82. Tour Guide
Sire: Broken Vow
Trainer: Bret Calhoun

He has won won his last four sprints impressively, including the Super Bowl Stakes and a minor Stakes on Saturday night at Sam Houston, where he controlled his natural speed. But he faltered badly in his only attempt to carry his speed around two turns. He has had two one-mile workouts, suggesting an attempt to stretch out could be in the offing.

83. Pataky Kid
Sire: Rockport Harbor
Trainer: Tom Proctor

The winner of the Arlington-Washington Futurity, he gave the two weakest performances of his career at Churchill Downs, which suggests that his future could be on synthetic surfaces on turf. Still, he appears to be training well at Gulfstream, where he recently shot a bullet five-furlong move in preparation for his return; he came back with solid move from the gate Thursday.

84. Texas Bling
Sire: Too Much Bling
Trainer: Danele Durham

The handsome Texas-bred colt proved his victory in the Springboard Mile at Remington wasn't a fluke by finishing second in the Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn. He doesn't look like he wants to run much farther than a mile however.

85. Joshua's Comprise
Sire: Comprise
Trainer: Barry Rose

He raced 14 times as a juvenile, and Saturday he made his second start of 2013 by rallying from last at 132-1 to finish fourth in the Holy Bull.

86. Duke Of The City
Sire: Bernardini
Trainer: Kelly Breen

In September at Laurel, he scored his maiden victory at a mile as the 1-2 favorite. Returning to competition Saturday at Gulfstream, he finished second to Orb.

87. The Truth and K G
Sire: Successful Appeal
Trainer: Rudy Rodriguez

Since being claimed for $40,000, he has won two races by a total of 15 lengths. He probably won't go far, but he goes quickly.

88. Carried Interest
Sire: Henny Hughes
Trainer: Richard Violette

After a snappy debut victory, he ran second in the Futurity at Belmont behind Overanalyze. Recently returning to the worktab at Palm Meadows in Florida, Carried Interest looks like he could develop into an outstanding sprinter.

89. Sky Commander
Sire: Sky Mesa
Trainer: Mark Casse

Second to stablemate Dynamic Sky in the Pasco Stakes, Sky Commander has shown admirable versatility, running well at both long and short distances, on both dirt and turf surfaces. In other words, Casse has many options with him.

90. Park City
Sire: Harlan's Holiday
Trainer: Todd Pletcher

After he won his debut in July at Saratoga, he wasn't heard from again. But he has turned in three works this year at Palm Meadows preparing for his return.

91. Mentor Cane
Sire: Mizzen Mast
Trainer: John Shirreffs

Second to Flashback in his debut, Mentor Cane obviously has talent. But in his second outing, trying two turns for the first time, he failed to control his speed and faltered badly to finish third. The talent's there, and Shirreffs will teach him how to use it effectively. But that'll probably take a while.

92. Ore Pass
Sire: War Pass
Trainer: Michael Trombetta

He won his debut by nearly 11 lengths and looked sharp taking the Frank Whitely, where he stalked the pace and controlled his speed; those efforts, however, sandwiched a dismal effort at Parx. He could be more than a sprinter -- he was scratched out of a one-mile race Thursday at Laurel -- and could make some noise in Maryland.

93. Eton Blue
Sire: Giant's Causeway
Trainer: Nick Zito

Third in his debut, he recently won at a mile at Gulfstream Park in a rather modest clocking. He's out of Kentucky Oaks winner Bird Town and in the hands of a patient horseman.

94. Amerigo Vespucci
Sire: Henrythenavigator
Trainer: Timothy Tullock Jr.

He rallied inside to finish third in the Jerome, and although late to switch to his right lead in the stretch he never suggested he was going to threaten. He's definitely at a talent-disadvantage with most of these, but as a late foal he could improve. The reliable colt could make some noise in Maryland, or on the turf, where his future could await him.

95. Golden Soul
Sire: Perfect Soul
Trainer: Dallas Stewart

After a romping victory in New Orleans, he finished second to Oxbow in the Fair Grounds' Lecomte Stakes. And although Golden Soul was a distant second, more than 11 lengths back, he's lightly raced and capable of improvement.

96. Now And Then
Sire: Tiznow
Trainer: Kiaran McLaughlin

The big colt won his debut last week in New York. He paddles, and he showed his inexperience, but he has talent and looks as if he could improve stretching out.

97. Misdeed
Sire: Rock Hard Ten
Trainer: Richard Mandella

In three races, all on turf, he has shown little. But Wednesday at Santa Anita, he worked a bullet five furlongs in 58 seconds, three lengths faster than Flashback's move that same morning. Misdeed could be intriguing in his next outing, which, just a guess, will be on dirt.

98. Weekend Hideaway
Sire: Speightstown
Trainer: Philip Serpe

A winner of three of his five races, he finished third behind Overanalyze in the Futurity at Belmont. Training in Florida, he's nominated to the Hutcheson.

99. Sr. Quisqueyano
Sire: Exclusive Quality
Trainer: Luis Olivares

He never had finished worse than second until Saturday, when after a troubled start he checked in eighth in the Holy Bull. Although not capable of competing with the big guys, he's better than Saturday's race suggested.

100. Bridge Jumper
Sire: Storm Victory
Trainer: Troy Taylor

The undefeated Hastings flash -- he won two races at Hastings Park last year, including a minor stakes -- worked a bullet five-eighths of a mile (59.60 seconds) last week at Santa Anita. More than anything, he's intriguing.