Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby continued this past weekend with the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park - one week after the Withers Stakes came our way from Aqueduct. Although things haven't changed a lot atop the Road to the Kentucky Derby standings, a couple of new names have served notice that they will challenge for a top 20 spot before the Run for the Roses in May - Richard Violette trained Samraat earned the 10 qualification points in the Withers and John Sadler pupil Candy Boy secured the 10 points in the Robert. B Lewis.
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Just two races remain before the points values for the qualification races increase significantly - the El Camino Real Derby comes our way from Golden Gate this weekend and the Southwest Stakes takes place at Oaklawn Park February 17 awarding 10-4-2-1 points for first to fourth. The Kentucky Derby Championship series begins February 22 with the Risen Star Stakes from Fair Grounds and the Fountain of Youth Stakes from Gulfstream . Each of those races allows 50 points for first, 20 points for second, 10 points for third and 5 points for fourth place.
So where do we stand right now in the overall standings? Let's take a look.
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The top 3 in the standings remain the same - all tied with 14 points apiece. Kiaran McLaughlin trainee Cairo Prince, after a very impressive win in the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream and a good second in the Remsen to Honor Code sits tied with Shug McGaughey pupil Honor Code who won the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct and finished second in the Champagne 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 has 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 has been joined by Bob Baffert trained Midnight Hawk with 12 points after Midnight Hawk's third place finish this past weekend in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes to follow his nice win in the Sham Stakes January 11. Doug O'Neill's Bond Holder is alone in sixth with 11 points after a win in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita September 28 and a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.
There is a log-jam of nine horses with 10 points in the standings. The new additions to this group are the aforementioned Candy Boy and Samraat who each have won the last couple of weeks to plant their names in the thick of the points race. Others in 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 and Tanzanite Cat, the recent winner of the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Park
Casiguapo is sixteenth 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 while Giant Giacnroll, after a fourth in the Withers Stakes February 1 has joined him. There is a group of ten colts with four points including Mark Casse's Conquest Titan, and Big Bazinga. A group of 11 colts is next with four points including Mark Casse's Conquest Titan, Bob Baffert's Chitu, off a second place finish this past weekend in the Robert B. Lewis 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 seven 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.
Stay tuned to offtrabetting.com for frequent updates as we creep closer to the Run for the Roses in May. Points values start cranking up in the next few weeks and stakes will become increasingly higher as we near the biggest race on North American soil.