Post time at Aqueduct: 4:50 p.m.; Distance: 1 1/16 miles (inner track); Purse: $400,000; Forecast: mid-40s, mostly cloudy; Kentucky Derby points to winner: 50.
ADVENTIST (No. 3, 4-1) finished well in the Grade 3 Withers on this surface Jan. 30 in only his second career start and first around two turns. The son of Any Given Saturday raced greenly after an awkward break and still wound up third in a race won by Sunny Ridge, one of the Gotham favorites. This colt showed that he could be special when he jogged to an 11 1/4-length victory in his debut on the inner track Dec. 19. Recent workouts have been encouraging, particularly a 5-furlong breeze Sunday. Look for him to sit third or fourth through the early stages before making his move on the far turn. Jockey Kendrick Carmouche and trainer Leah Gyarmati fly under the radar on the New York circuit; both are capable.
SHAGAF (No. 2, 3-1) steps into stakes company for the first time. Son of Bernardini is unbeaten in two starts, both at a one-turn mile. He had a very strong debut on Aqueduct's main track in November and beat a modest field at Gulfstream after a two-month layoff. Colt is trained by Chad Brown and ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., two names rapidly rising to the top of their professions. This is a tough assignment, but he should get a good trip from the No. 2 post and might be the most talented horse in this field of eight. Second string for Shadwell Stable, which also owns Fountain of Youth winner Mohaymen.
MO POWER (No. 5, 6-1) is also up from Florida, where 3-year-olds sometimes have an edge on those that spent the winter in New York. Sired by 2010 Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Uncle Mo, he is bound to make some noise this year. Looked good beating maidens in second career start Jan. 30, pressing the pace and edging clear in the final furlong. John Velazquez rides for Todd Pletcher, who also entered Rally Cry (No. 8).
SUNNY RIDGE (No. 7, 7-2) has won more money than the rest of the field combined. New Jersey-bred gelding, trained by Jason Servis, has to be considered based on experience. Might regress a bit in his seventh start. Manuel Franco gets the mount.
REMAINING DERBY PREPS
Tampa Bay Derby: Tampa Bay Downs, March 12
San Felipe: Santa Anita Park, March 12
Rebel: Oaklawn Park, March 19
Sunland Derby: Sunland Park,
UAE Derby: Meydan Racecourse, March 26
Louisiana Derby: Fair Grounds, March 26
Spiral: Turfway Park, April 2
Florida Derby: Gulfstream Park, April 2
Wood Memorial: Aqueduct, April 9
Blue Grass: Keeneland, April 9
Santa Anita Derby: Santa Anita Park, April 9
Arkansas Derby: Oaklawn Park, April 16
Lexington: Keeneland, April 16
Contact Bob Clancy at email@example.com.