For Immediate Release March 14, 2016
Danzing Candy powered into a No. 3 ranking behind season-long leaders Mohaymen and Nyquist in the Ultimate Kentucky Derby Poll presented by with a front-running victory in Saturday’s San Felipe Stakes over Mor Spirit, who dipped to No. 4. The Clifford Sise trained son of Twirling Candy, now 3 for 3 under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, had been No. 11 the prior week as part of “others receiving votes.”
Also moving up was Destin after he beat stablemate Outwork to capture Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby in track-record time, checking in at No. 6 after being No. 13 last week. Outwork joins the poll at No. 11.
The Ultimate Kentucky Derby poll appears every Monday morning at, the website of Eclipse Award-winning Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN), which is partnering with, the official data source of the Kentucky Derby, to produce the rankings. This week the panel of 13 noted handicappers and turf journalists and analysts expanded their ballots to a top 20.
In the biggest shake-up since the poll started, Keeneland’s Grade I Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity winner Brody’s Cause plunged from No. 5 to 14 after finishing seventh in the Tampa Bay Derby in his first start since finishing third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile won by unbeaten champion Nyquist. Exaggerator, the Delta Downs Jackpot winner who was fourth in the Juvenile, finished third in the San Felipe to drop from No. 7 to 13.
“This is by far my biggest change from week to week, as pretty much the fourth through 10th rankings are different,” said voter Ed DeRosa,’s director of marketing and’s publicity director. “Hit It A Bomb
is out, as there’s no indication they’ll point him toward a Derby prep race, and Exaggerator and Brody’s Cause both bite the dust off terrible efforts. The San Felipe and Tampa Bay Derby exactas are represented, however, with San Felipe winner Danzing Candy moving ahead of Mor Spirit and the Tampa Bay Derby exacta of Destin and Outwork making their poll debuts, though I like Outwork better as a Derby prospect and placed him higher on my list.”
DeRosa is one of two voters ranking Nyquist on top, the other pollsters going with Mohaymen. Saturday’s results made him wonder what Nyquist has been beating.
“There was no change to the top three, though I did think long and hard about it,” DeRosa said. “Because one thing Exaggerator and Brody’s Cause have in common besides bad losses this week is that Nyquist beat both of them. I hope their subpar efforts aren’t an indictment on the undefeated champion’s talent.”
Said voter Mike Penna, HRRN’s co-founder and president: “While Mohaymen and Nyquist continue to look like the clear-cut leaders of this year’s crop, fans should continue to keep an eye on a few other talented prospects.
“Danzing Candy found his way into my top 10 for the first time this week following his game win in the San Felipe, while Destin and Outwork continued to impress in the fastest running of the Tampa Bay Derby. I still haven’t lost faith in horses like Brody’s Cause and Mor Spirit but will need to see more from them in the next start. Remember, the ultimate goal is not the second Saturday in March, it’s the first Saturday in May.”
The Ultimate Kentucky Derby Poll presented by is overseen by five-time Eclipse Award-winning turf writer Jennie Rees, who provides comments on the consensus top 20 at
While she also dropped Exaggerator (to 19th) and Brody’s Cause (to 14th), Rees agreed both deserve another chance.
“It’s cause for pause when a trainer says, ‘He might be maxing out at a mile, too,’ as Keith Desormeaux did of Exaggerator with unusual candor for a trainer. But I also think he’s a colt who would appreciate getting away from Santa Anita, though he’s targeting the Santa Anita Derby,” she said.
“And never count Dale Romans out with a horse he thinks is the goods, as he does Brody’s Cause. Remember that Shackleford lost the Florida Derby by a head after losing the Fountain of Youth by 23 lengths and went on to win the Preakness. Look for a much better Brody’s Cause in Keeneland’s Blue Grass.”
Other Ultimate pollsters are Michael Beychok, 2012 National Handicapping Champion and Eclipse Award Handicapper of the Year; reigning NHC Tour winner Jonathon Kinchen; James Scully, head of the Editorial Department at and a lead-contributor and content manager for’s blog and the Kentucky Derby website; Jude Feld, HRRN analyst and former trainer; HRRN analyst and former Miss Connecticut Acacia Courtney; racing journalist and analyst Caton Bredar; Steve Byk, host of the popular weekday racing show At the Races with Steve Byk; Jim Mulvihill, director of media and industry relations for the National Thoroughbred Racing Association; and Jeff Siegel, the prominent California analyst, handicapper and longtime horse owner.
About HRRN
The Horse Racing Radio Network is your home for Eclipse Award winning coverage of the biggest events in racing throughout the year. HRRN broadcasts more than 100 stakes races and is the official radio network of the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup World Championships. HRRN also produces a series of popular talk shows aired throughout the week on SiriusXM satellite radio: Xpressbet Radio on HRRN (Wednesday – Friday, 3-6 p.m. ET), Jock Talk presented by Tito’s Handmade Vodka (Tuesday, 6-7 p.m. ET), Trainer Talk presented by Fasig-Tipton (Wednesday, 6-7 p.m. ET), Brisnet Call In Show (Thursday, 6-7 p.m. ET), Xpressbet Weekend Stakes Preview (Friday, 6-7 p.m. ET) and the Equine Forum (Saturday, 8-10 a.m. ET).
For more information visit, follow us on Twitter @HRRN and like “Horse Racing Radio Network” on Facebook.
About is the official data source of the Kentucky Derby,, and Churchill Downs Inc.’s family of racetracks. Founded in 1971 by Richard “Dick” Broadbent III as Bloodstock Research Information Services, was the first large-scale website to offer past performances online when it launched in 1996. Acquired by CDI in 1996, is a leading provider of horse racing information. Follow on Twitter @Brisnet.
About Jennie Rees
Jennie Rees, a five-time Eclipse Award winner and 2014 inductee into the National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame’s Joe Hirsch Media Roll of Honor, covered racing for The (Louisville) Courier-Journal for 32 years before leaving newspaper journalism to specialize in horse-racing communications, advocacy and fan education. Follow her on Twitter @TracksideJennie and at “Trackside Jennie” on Facebook.