The Road to the Kentucky Derby Points Update - January 28
Las Vegas, NV - The Holy Bull Stakes was run this past weekend at Gulfstream Park - a race that featured one of the early favorites for the Kentucky Derby in May - Shanghai Bobby. The action ramps up as we get into February - the next few weeks will truly be frantic on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. This coming weekend alone will feature three races in which entries will generate qualifying points for the Run for the Roses. The Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, the Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs and the Withers Stakes from Aqueduct are all on tap for Saturday, February 2. The points standings will be fluid and the acquired points in the next little while will be critical before the next phase of races begins in the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series" with the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds February 23. Keep in mind that only the top 20 points earners will qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
There have now been 14 qualifying stakes in the 19-race "Kentucky Derby Prep Season" portion of the Derby Trail for which points are awarded on a 10-4-2-1 basis for the first- through fourth-place finishers, respectively. The final race in the prep season will be the Feb. 18 Southwest Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park - after that the points values significantly increase to 50 points for the winner, 20 for the runner-up, 10 for the third place finisher and 5 points for the fourth place finisher. After that is the second part of the "Championship Series" starting with the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby March 30. It is a seven race series that allots a 100-40-20-10 split for the first through fourth place finishers.
So with the Holy Bull Stakes out of the way and the Prep Season almost done, let's look at where all the contenders stand.
Todd Pletcher's Shanghai Bobby, by virtue of a second place finish in last weekend's Holy Bull has risen to the top spot once again and has 24 points, tied with Doug O'Neill's Goldencents, winner of the Sham Stakes on January 5. Next is Oxbow - a fair distance behind the two leaders with 11 points after a win in the Lecomte Stakes at Fairgrounds January 19.
There are eight colts tied for third place with 10 points apiece - the newest member of this club being Itsmyluckyday who upset Shanghai Bobby on Saturday to win the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream. Others tied with 10 points include Violence with his win in the CashCall, Mike Maker's Joha, Todd Pletcher's Overanalyze, Mark Casse's Uncaptured, Bob Baffert's Power Broker, Irish bred Steeler and Nick Gonzalez trained River Seven.
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Bob Baffert's Den's Legacy, based on three straight money finishes in "The Road to the Kentucky Derby" races is next in twelfth place with six points. Tesseron, a Josie Carroll trained colt is alone in thirteenth with five points while there is another log jam from fourteenth to twenty-fourth place. Included in this cluster is Kelly Breen's Bern Identity, Doug O'Neill's He's Had Enough and Know More, John Sadler's Capo Bastone, Mark Casse's Dynamic Sky, Artigiano, Chad Brown colt Normandy Invasion, Fury Kapcori, Texas Bling, Golden Soul and Ken McPeek trained Frac Daddy - they all have four points early in the qualification process.
Fortify currently sits alone in twenty-fifth place with three points while Holy Bull third place finisher Clearly Now joins Mylute, Ken McPeek trained Java's War, Mark Casse's Indiano Jones, Irish colt Al Waab, Todd Pletcher pupil Delhomme, Always in a Tiz, Fear the Kitten and Dale Romans trained Dewey Square who all have two points and are tied for twenty-sixth. This group of colts would be on the outside looking in if the Derby were run today. Another 10 colts have registered one point in the process and will need some results going forward in order to qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
As mentioned, February is an enormous month on the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" - seven points races will be contested on seven tracks. Stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for frequent updates on what is sure to be a fluid qualifying process for the most prestigious thoroughbred race on the planet.