The Road to the Kentucky Derby Points Update - March 11
Las Vegas, NV - With less than two months until the biggest race on North American soil, the Kentucky Derby contenders are busy gaining points toward qualification into the Run for the Roses. Two races this past weekend gave out a total of 170 points - the Tampa Bay Derby was contested at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe went down at Santa Anita. There are just three races left in the first leg of the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series" in which 50-20-20-5 points are handed out to first through fourth place finishers. On March 30, the real pressure starts to ramp up when 100-40-40-10 points for first through fourth will be given out in the second part of the "Kentucky Derby Championship Series".
Let's take a bit of time to get caught up on the points standings after the last couple of weeks. As mentioned the Tampa Bay Derby and San Felipe Stakes were featured along the "Road to the Kentucky Derby" this past weekend that the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct was contested on March 2. There are some new names at the top of the leaderboard and some conspicuously absent - Todd Pletcher's Violence for instance was removed from the chase this week and retired from racing.
There is now a 4-way log jam at the top of the standings with 50 points. Fountain of Youth Stakes winner Orb was joined by Vyjack who won the Gotham Stakes at Gulfstream February 23 and this past weekend's winners - Tamp Bay Derby champ Todd Pletcher's Verrazano and San Felipe victor Hear the Ghost. Next, in fifth place in the overall standings is Bob Baffert's Flashback who earned 20 points in last weekend's San Felipe with 30 points and the third place finisher from the San Felipe, Doug O'Neill's Goldencents who sits in sixth with 29.
Todd Pletcher's Shanghai Bobby is alone in seventh place with 24 points while Ken McPeek's Java's War, fresh off a second place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby has moved up to eighth place with 22 points. West Hills Giant made his first points haul a big one - a second place finish in the Gotham gave him his only 20 points thus far to sit tied in tenth with third place finisher in last week's Tampa Bay Derby Falling Sky and Bob Baffert's Code West.
Follow the Road to the Kentucky Derby races at OffTrackBetting.com
D Wayne Lukas's Oxbow is alone in twelfth with 16 points, Tampa Bay Derby fourth place finisher Dynamic Sky now has 13 points while Eddie Plesa's Speak Logistics is alone in thirteenth with 11 points
A log-jam follows with 10 points - 11 colts are on the cusp of qualifying at the moment. Kiaran McLaughlin trained Elnaawi, fresh off a third in the Gotham Stakes is there along with Eddie Plesa's Itsmyluckyday, three Todd Pletcher trainees - Overanalyze, Revolutionary and Palace Malice, Mark Casse's Uncaptured and a trio of Bob Baffert colts - Den's Legacy, Power Broker and Super Ninety Nine. Others in that group include D. Wayne Lukas's Will Take Charge and Paul Aguirre's Tiz a Minister.
Other notables that occupy twenty-fifth place and on include Doug O'Neill's He's Had Enough who sits in twenty-seventh with six points one back of Siete De Oros who finished fourth in the recent Gotham Stakes and Mike Maker's Fear the Kitten. Tesseron and Majestic Hussar each have five points and sit in twenty-ninth and thirtieth place respectively while others such as Capo Bastone, Normandy Invasion and Fortify are on the outside looking in - with a ton of work to do between now and May 4 in order to qualify for the Derby.
The "Road to the Kentucky Derby" is as fluid as can be - change is the only thing that is certain. There are 12 more races in the qualification process the next couple of months - stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for previews for all of those races and frequent updates on this most unpredictable path to the Big Race in May.