With all the first round of the 2012 three-year-old prep races done across the country it's time to take a first look at the BetAmerica Kentucky Derby Top 15. ; A lot can change between now and May, but for now here's the list.1. Union Rags2. Mr. Bowling3. Liaison4. Gemologist5. Algorithms6. Out of Bounds7. Junebugred8. Alpha9. Hansen10.Creative Cause So Lucky12.O'Prado Again Padrino14. Discreet Dancer15. SabercatUnion Rags tops the list based on his 2011 campaign, which finished with a second place finish to Hansen in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. ; After winning the Grade 1 Champagne at Belmont, Union Rags was sent off as the even-money favorite in the Juvenile. ; Drawing post ten was probably the reason for the defeat as the Dixie Union-colt was wide the entire trip. ; Off since then Union Rags is eyeing a return in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on February 26.Hansen won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, but plummets down the list based on his performance in the Holy Bull last weekend. ;After stumbling at the start the nearly white colt made the lead on his own, but was run down late by the impressive Algorithms.Algorithms is trained by Todd Pletcher, who also has Gemologist, El Padrino and Discreet Dancer on the list. ; Gemologist is number four after his win over the highly touted Ever So Lucky, who will be starting in the Hutcheson at Gulfstream Park on February 4, in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs in November. ; El Padrino won an allowance race over Take Charge Indy, who was fifth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, on the same day as the Holy Bull and looks like a horse who will love ten-furlongs. ;
Discreet Dancer has been uber impressive in his two races, a maiden and an allowance at Gulfstream Park, and gives Pletcher a hot hand in the upcoming months. ;Pletcher has the Fountain of Youth and Florida Derby, March 31, at Gulfstream Park as well the Risen Star, February 25 at Fair Grounds, and the Southwest, February 20 at Oaklawn Park as possible races for his foursome.Should Pletcher ship one or more of his horses out-of-town then he is going to have to face the winner's from the local prep races Mr. Bowling at Fair Grounds and Junebugred at Oaklawn Park. ; Mr. Bowling won the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes by a head and is expected to move on to the Risen Star while Junebugred took the Smarty Jones by a neck with a rail-skimming ride by Jersey Joe Bravo.
The Southern California contingent is led by Liaison, who won the Grade 1 CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in his last start in mid-December. ; The Bob Baffert-trainee is expected to show up next in the Grade 2 Robert B. Lewis on February 4 at Santa Anita. ;Out of Bounds and Creative Cause are the other Southern California-based runners with Out of Bounds the slight edge based on his recent start in the Sham. ; Out of Bounds was 10-1 in the Grade 3 Sham earlier this month, but did not run like it. ; He stalked the early pace then ran right by the 1-2 favorite Secret Circle, who won the inaugural Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint last year. ; Out of Bounds is expected to start in the San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 10.Creative Cause was arguably the top two-year-old in California last year with wins in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar and Grade 1 Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita. ; In the Breeders' Cup Juvenile the Giant's Causeway-colt was third, beaten just over a length. ; Trainer Mike Harrington could kick off his campaign with a run in the seven furlong San Vicente at Santa Anita on February 19.With most of the New York runners wintering in Florida, including Remsen winner O'Prado Again, Alpha leads those in the Empire State. ; Alpha was second to Union Rags in the Grade 1 Champagne then was eleventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile before scoring an easy win in the Count Fleet at Aqueduct in early January. ; His next start is to come in the Grade 3 Withers over the track on February 4.Sabercat deserves a spot on this list after winning the $1,000,000 Jackpot at Delta Downs last year. ; That win guaranteed him a spot in the field of 20 on the first Saturday in May as the winner's purse was $600,000.
Sabercat's last published work came in early December at Fair Grounds and his trainer Steve Asmussen has yet to set the next live horse race.In addition to the Withers at Aqueduct and Robert Lewis at Santa Anita the other three-year-old prep races taking place this weekend are the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and the WEBN at Turfway Park.Who makes your Top 15 list?