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Among the highest compliments a hard-boot can offer up about someone who trains horses is, “He’s a horseman.” That expression may not mean much to the casual racing fan. However, it means the world to those who structure their lives around horses. 

Charlie Whittingham was a horseman. Jack Van Berg was a horseman. Bill Mott and Graham Motion are horsemen. 
This Saturday’s Florida Derby features another trainer who fits this description and deserves the accolades that come with it. He not only knows how to win, but also has each horse’s best interest at heart. 
Claude R. “Shug” McGaughey III sends out Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth winner, Greatest Honour, in search of his fourth consecutive victory. If he wins,  the well-bred son of Tapit out of a Street Cry mare will likely share favorite honors with Essential Quality when the fifth and final Kentucky Derby Future Pool closes Sunday evening.
Greatest Honour (6-5) has some mild competition in the Florida Derby, but it is certainly his race to lose.  His main competitors are Known Agenda (5-1), Collaborate (6-1), and Spielberg (4-1), all of whom are hoping to earn the points they need for the first Saturday in May. Greatest Honour has already secured his spot and is simply prepping for the trip to Louisville. 
Spielberg is trained by Bob Baffert, who had multiple potential Kentucky Derby contenders, including the favorite, until last weekend. Life is Good, who showed flashes of brilliance in his brief three-year old campaign, is off the Derby trail and has been sent to Winstar Farms to convalesce. We should see him again by Breeders’ Cup if all goes well. Unfortunately for both the horses and the sport, this is a pattern we see all too often in the Baffert stable. 
Here are my top Kentucky Derby contenders as we head into some of the most important prep races of the season:
1. Essential Quality
2. Greatest Honour
3. Concert Tour
4. Hot Rod Charlie
5. Prevalence
What say you, my friends? 


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