The Road to the Kentucky Derby Update March 10, 2014

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby kept winding along this past weekend with two more races awarding 50-20-10-5 points for the first to fourth place finishers. The Tampa Bay Derby went down at Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe Stakes was contested at Santa Anita. Graham Motion trained Ring Weekend joined the top five in the standings with a 50 point haul in the Tampa Bay Derby along with Art Sherman trained California Chrome who gained 50 with his win in the San Felipe. With just three races in which 50 points will be handed out to the winners (the next seven award 100-40-20-10 points for first to fourth), a win in every remaining race along the Road virtually guarantees a starting spot in the Kentucky Derby in May. Let's take an updated look at the standings after two huge races this past weekend.

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Samraat still leads the standings with 60 points - two starts and two wins including the Withers Stakes, the Gotham Stakes while Todd Pletcher trained Intense Holiday is close behind with 53 points. He most recently won the Risen Star Stakes after a third in the Holy Bull and a fourth in the Remsen. Wild Cat Red who won the Fountain of Youth Stakes last weekend is next with 50 - he is joined by Ring Weekend and California Chrome.

The next group is headed by Bob Baffert trained Midnight Hawk who is coming off a second this past weekend in the San Felipe Stakes. He has 32 points with a third in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and a win in the Sham Stakes to go along with the San Felipe result. Albano, after a pair of seconds - in the Risen Star February 22 and in the Lecomte Stakes in January is tied with Uncle Sigh who has a pair of seconds himself - in the Gotham and Withers Stakes. They each have 24 points and will need another result to ensure their spot in the Derby.

Rounding out the top 10 are Steve Asmussen trained Tapiture - 22 points and off two straight wins - in the Southwest Stakes February 17 and the Kentucky Jockey Club November 20. Todd Pletcher trained Vinceremos, off a second in the Tampa Bay Derby this past weekend, Vicar's In Trouble, trained by Mike Maker after a third in the Risen Star and a win in the Lecomte Stakes and General A Rod thanks to a second in the Fountain of Youth February 22 are tenth with 20 points apiece while Todd Pletcher pupil Havana, Kiaran McLaughlin's Cairo Prince, after a win in the Holy Bull and a second in the Remsen, Shug McGaughey trained Honor Code and John Sadler pupil Kristo thanks to a third this past weekend in the San Felipe and a second in the Sham Stakes January 11 each have 14 points.

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Tamarando check in at 17th at 12 points followed by Bond Holder with 11. Rise Up, We Miss Artie, Candy Boy, In Trouble, Noble Moon, Ami's Holiday, Cleburne, Tanzanite Cat and Surfing USA - all have 10 points apiece, and need a good result or two the next seven weeks in order to qualify for the Run For the Roses. A host of colts lag behind with single-digit point totals looking like a long shot to qualify.

The standings are typically fluid - there will be at least one race every weekend between now and April 19 starting with the Rebel Stakes March 15. Points values increase March 29 with the running of the UAE Derby, the Florida Derby and the Louisiana Derby - the stakes (excuse the pun) keep getting higher and higher. Keep in locked right here to for standings updates and previews to all the pertinent "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points races.

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