J Boys Echo significantly raised his Kentucky Derby profile in the March 4 Gotham (G3) at Aqueduct, registering a 104 BRIS Speed rating the 3 ½-length victory. That’s the top number from a 2017 qualifying race, two points better than the previous best.

By Mineshaft, the bay colt virtually guaranteed himself a starting spot in a 20-horse Kentucky Derby field with the 50-point prize, bumping his total to 53. J Boys Echo picked up a point finishing a well-beaten fourth in the Delta Jackpot (G3) in his juvenile finale and two points opening his sophomore season with a non-threatening third in the February 4 Withers (G3) on the Aqueduct inner track.

Trained by Dale Romans and ridden by Robby Albarado, J Boys Echo appears to be improving rapidly. The late runner earned only a 79 BRIS Speed rating when breaking his maiden at Keeneland last October and 84-93 figures in the Delta Jackpot and Withers, respectively.

He established himself as serious contender with a huge Gotham number and the $485,000 yearling has also posted century-topping BRIS Late Pace ratings in the last two outings. However, J Boys Echo did receive a perfect trip behind a hot pace so it’s probably best not to get too carried away. Let’s see him back it up in the final prep race.

Romans is expected to point J Boys Echo to the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland on April 8.

Cloud Computing received a 100 BRIS Speed rating finishing a clear second in the 1 1/16-mile Gotham, an excellent number in only his second career start. Unraced at 2, the Chad Brown trainee made a belated debut on February 11,  winning at 6-furlongs, and it will be interesting to see how he fares stretching out to 1 1/8 miles next time.

A convincing winner of the Jerome (G3) and Withers, El Areeb took a major step backward weakening to third as the 2-5 favorite, generating a dismal 91 BRIS Speed rating. He will try to rebound in the Wood Memorial (G2) on April 8.

(Robert Mauhar/Adam Coglianese Photography)