The Road to the Kentucky Derby Update February 24, 2014

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: February 26, 2014 -- 11:15 AM ET

Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby Points Race got a little more interesting this past weekend as we graduated from a 10-4-2-1 points breakdown to awarding 50-20-10-5 points for the first to fourth place finishers. Two races were contested this past weekend in which 50 points were handed out to the winner - obviously there has been a huge shake-up atop the overall standings. Let's take a look at what the "Road" looks like after two exciting races this past weekend.

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Todd Pletcher trained Intense Holiday, after a win in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Saturday, a third in the Holy Bull January 25 and a fourth in the Grade 2 Remsen in November now leads by quite a margin with 53 points while Wildcat Red, a Jose Garoffalo pupil, who earned the 50 points with his win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes also on Saturday close behind. Next is Larry Jones trained Albano with 24 points - he finished second this past weekend in the Risen Star to go along with a second place finish in the Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds January 18. Steve Asmussen trained Tapiture sits fourth despite not racing in a 50-20-10-5 point race yet. He won the Southwest Stakes February 17, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes November 30 and he was third in the Grade 3 Iroquois way back on September 7. Tapiture, on paper, looks like the most impressive colt as we near the Run for the Roses in May.

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The next two colts in the standings each sit with 20 points after racing this past weekend - Mike Maker's Vicar's in Trouble finished third in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds after a win January 18 in the LeComte Stakes while General a Rod after a terrific second in the Fountain of Youth this past weekend also has 20 points. Todd Pletcher's Havana is next with 14 after a win in the Champagne Stakes and a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile along with Kiaran McLaughlin pupil Cairo Prince thanks to a win in the Holy Bull Stakes and a second in the Remsen, and Shug McGaughey's Honor Code who won the Remsen and was second in the Champagne.

Jerry Hollendorfer trained Tamarando, off a win February 15 in the El Camino Real Derby sits tenth with 12 points - tied with Midnight Hawk who won the Sham Stakes January 11 and was third in the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita February 18. Doug O'Neill trained Bond Holder has 11 points thanks to a win in September in the FrontRunner Stakes and a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Nine colts round out the top 20 - all tied with 10 points. Included in this group are Rise Up who won the Delta Downs Jackpot in November, Todd Pletcher trained We Miss Artie who won the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October, John Sadler trained Candy Boy who won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes February 8, the Withers Stakes winner Samraat, Noble Moon who earned 10 points from his win at the Jerome Stakes January 4 ,the winner of the Grey Stakes Ami's Holiday, Cleburne, who won the Iroquois Stakes September 7, Smarty Jones Stakes victor Tanzanite Cat and Top Billing who got on the board with a third place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes this past weekend.

On the outside looking in at the top 20 is Strong Mandate with six points and a host of colts with five points including Casiguapo who was entered but scratched from the Fountain of Youth this past weekend, Ride On Curlin, Classic Giacnroll, East Hall who surprised the field with a fourth place finish in the Fountain of Youth that 72-1 odds and Hoppertunity.

The Gotham Stakes comes our way from Aqueduct this coming Saturday and there are two more races in the Championship Series the week after - things will change and change rapidly as we get closer to the Run for the Roses in May. There is at least one race every weekend between now and then - stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for frequent updates in the standings as well as previews for all of the graded stakes action leading up to the Derby.

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