Here is the first Kentucky Derby Super Six of 2024 – Orange County Register

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For some, it’s tough enough to pick the Kentucky Derby winner the day of the race. Try picking the winner more than 100 days ahead of time. It’s like predicting today what the weather will be like on Derby day.

Three-year-olds are a tricky bunch. They might look like a million bucks as juveniles, but some don’t carry that 2-year-old brilliance into their sophomore year. While some mature and get better, others regress and don’t take that next step.

Need further proof? Try this: Since the Breeders’ Cup debuted at Hollywood Park in 1984, only two winners of the Juvenile have parlayed that success into glory at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May.

The most recent to turn the trick was Nyquist, who won the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland and went on to win the Derby for owner Paul Reddam and trainer Doug O’Neill the following spring. Before that? You have to go all the way back to 2006 and 2007 when Street Sense scored the rare Juvenile-Derby double.

Can Fierceness become the third colt to win the Juvenile and Derby? He certainly looked the part of a Derby winner during last fall’s Breeders’ Cup, winning the race by 6¼ lengths at the juicy odds of 16-1 in an impressive 1:41.90 for the mile and one sixteenth.

But the City of Light colt’s owner, Mike Repole, is not about to get caught up in Kentucky Derby fever. Not yet, anyway. He’s been down this path before. His Forte won the 2022 Juvenile and was the Derby favorite the morning of the race, only to be scratched a few hours later because of a bruised right front foot.

That wasn’t the only time Repole had his heart ripped out. Uncle Mo, who won the 2010 Juvenile and was the Derby favorite six months later, was declared out of the Derby the day before the race because of a gastrointestinal infection.

So don’t tell Repole he’s looking good heading into the 150th renewal of the Derby on May 4. Or be prepared to duck.

“They will all tell you to start thinking about the Derby,” Repole told reporters shortly after Fierceness’ dominating victory at the Breeders’ Cup. “I’m not going to think about the Derby with this race.”

Wise man.

Here’s a look at our first Kentucky Derby Super Six of the year 113 days before the Run for the Roses:

1. Fierceness

After what this guy did on Future Stars Friday during the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita, it’s tough to go against him when forecasting the Derby winner. He’s got that all-too-valuable tactical speed, as he showed in the Juvenile while tracking pacesetter General Partner up the backstretch, and the added distance doesn’t figure to be a problem.

Possible 2024 debut: Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Feb. 3.

2. Nysos

The son of Nyquist oozes talent, winning his debut at Santa Anita by 10½ lengths while running the 6 furlongs in an eye-opening 1:08.97. He came back to win the Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar by 8¾ lengths on Nov. 19. He’s still got to pass the test of two turns, but his breeding suggests it will be no problem. Trainer Bob Baffert after his debut: “Wow.”

2024 debut: Undecided.

3. Muth

Runner-up to Fierceness in the Juvenile, the Good Magic colt made his first start of 2024 on Saturday, winning the $200,000 Grade II San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita by 2¾ lengths in 1:23.01 for the 7 furlongs. Baffert also trains Muth, giving him another full arsenal for Derby day. He’s also got Prince of Monaco and Pilot Commander.

Next start: Undecided.

4. Locked

The Gun Runner colt finished third in the Juvenile as the 2-1 favorite after winning the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland on Oct. 7. The only question about Locked is his running style. He was eighth in a nine-horse Juvenile up the backside and coming from way back in a crowded Derby field is always a risky proposition.

Possible 2024 debut: Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 10.

5. Dornoch

Winner of the Grade II Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on Dec. 2, the son of Good Magic and full brother to 2023 Derby winner Mage gives trainer Danny Gargan a realistic shot at his first Derby victory. No work since his last race is a concern, but he showed his grittiness when passed late in the Remsen only to battle back and beat Sierra Leone by a nose.

Possible 2024 debut: Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park on March 2.

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