104.5 the team horse racing analyst Brian "The Closer" Mariano will have weekly rankings for the 145th running of the Kentucky Derby every week until the run for the roses on May 4th. These rankings are always subject to change and will be updated every week after the prep races are run. Here is Closer's top 5 for this week!

1) Game Winner (Trainer: Bob Baffert, Owner: Gary and Mary West)

This 3-year old by Candy Ride had an undefeated 2-year old season capped off with the Breeders Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs. Bob Baffert has yet another 3-year old that has a chance to make a run to the Churchill Downs winner circle and will look to start his 2019 season in the San Felipe at Santa Anita on March 9th.

2) Improbable (Trainer: Bob Baffert, Owner: Winstar Farm, China Horse Club)

Another Baffert horse coming off a win in the Los Alamitos Futurity on December 8th. Already has a win over the Churchill Downs main track after winning the Street Sense on Breeders Cup weekend and could look to take a step forward in the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park on March 16th.

3) Instagrand (Trainer: Jerry Hollendorfer, Owner: OXO Equine)

Jerry Hollendorfer has this lightly raced colt who will be coming off a 6-month layoff before his next start. Won the Grade II Best Pal at Del Mar last out but I expect Hollendorfer to have him ready for the San Felipe for a head-to-head matchup against Game Winner.

4) Hidden Scroll (Trainer: William Mott, Juddmonte Farms)

An impressive victory in a maiden special weight on January 26th put this 3-year old by Hard Spun on the Derby trail. Questions still remain with extra ground and if the track that day helped his performance but is worthy of being on the list until his next race which will be the Grade II Fountain of Youth on March 2nd.

5) Mucho Gusto (Trainer: Bob Baffert, Michael Lund Petersen) 

Our third Baffert trained colt on the list comes off a nice win in the Robert B, Lewis on February 2nd. The only blemish on his resume is a 2nd to Improbable but a couple Grade 3 victories will keep him on the list for now.

Honorable Mention

Mind Control (Trainer: Gregory D. Sacco, Owner: Red Oak Stable)

Tax (Trainer: Danny Gargan, Owner: Hugh Lynch, Corms Racing Stable, R.A. Hill Stable)

Network Effect (Trainer: Chad Brown, Owner: Klaravich Stables Inc)




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