The Road to the Kentucky Derby Update January 29, 2014

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby is in full swing - 14 races have already taken place awarding 10-4-2-1 points for first to fourth place. There is another race this weekend at Aqueduct - the Grade 2 Withers Stakes will be run giving New York breds an opportunity to amass points toward qualification for the Run for the Roses in May. Four more races will be contested with the 10-4-2-1 points structure before things start ramping up February 22 with the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds. The Risen Star marks the point where the points values increase to 50 points for first, 20 to the runner-up, 10 to third and 5 to fourth. The seven lucrative races staged three-to-five weeks ahead of the Derby offer lofty points worth twice as much as the first leg: 100 to first, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to fourth. The top 20 points earners receive berths into the May 3 Derby.

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Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Cairo Prince, off a very impressive win in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream and a good second in the Remsen to Honor Code leads the way with 14 points along with the aforementioned Shug McGaughey pupil Honor Code who won the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and finished second in the Champaign Stakes behind Havana. Todd Pletcher trained Havana who won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 5 and followed that with a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile also sits in top spot in the standings with 14 points.

Steve Asmussen trained Tapiture, thanks to a win in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs November 30 and a third in the Iroquois Stakes on that same track in September is next with 12 points followed by Doug O'Neill's Bond Holder who has 11 points after a win in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita September 28 and a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

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There is a log-jam of eight horses with 10 points in the standings. This group includes Tom Amoss trained Rise Up who won the Delta Downs Jackpot November 23, Todd Pletcher's We Miss Artie, thanks to a win in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland October 5, Noble Moon after a win in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct January 4, Grey Stakes winner at Woodbine Ami's Holiday, Mike Maker's Vicar's In Trouble who won the Lecomte Stakes January 18 at Fair Grounds, Dale Romans pupil Cleburne who won the Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs September 7, Tanzanite Cat, the recent winner of the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park and Bob Baffert trainee Midnight Hawk, winner of the Sham Stakes at Santa Anita January 11.

Casiguapo is fourteenth in the standings with five points thanks to a second in the Delta Downs Jackpot November 23 and a fourth in the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park in October There is a group of ten colts with four points including Mark Casse's Conquest Titan, Classic Giacnroll who races this weekend and Big Bazinga.

Todd Pletcher's Intense Holiday and William Gowan's Ride On Curlin are next with three points - they will need to pick it up as they are currently on the outside looking in at a spot in the Derby. Another 12 horses sit with two points and seven colts have a single point on their quest toward qualification for the Run for the Roses in May.

The standings remain fluid - there is at least one race every weekend until the Big Show May 3. Keep it tuned to for frequent points updates as we get closer to the most prestigious race on North American soil.

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