Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby starts to really ramp up after this weekend - the last of the races in which 50-20-10-5 points for first to fourth were contested with the winners of the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and the Sunland Derby at Sunland Park virtually guaranteeing themselves a starting spot in the Run for the Roses in May. The next three weeks will feature seven races that award 100-40-20-10 points for first to fourth starting with three huge races this upcoming weekend - the Florida Derby at Gulfstream, the UAE Derby at Meydan and the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. So what do the standings look like after two points gathering races this past weekend? Let's take a look.
We Miss Artie, trained by Todd Pletcher has jumped into a tie for top spot in the standings with 60 points thanks to his win Saturday in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park to go along with a win in October in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland. Rick Violette trained Samraat also has 60 points after a 50 point haul in the Gotham Stakes three weeks ago and a win in the Withers Stakes February 1. Four more colts have eclipsed the 50 point barrier and have all but assured themselves a starting spot in the Derby. That list includes Bob Baffert's Hopporunity (55 points) who won last week's Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park to go along with a fourth in the Risen Star Stakes February 2, Bob Baffert's Chitu (54 points) who won the Sunland Derby on Sunday to go along with a second place finish in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes February 8, Todd Pletcher's Intense Holiday (53 points) thanks to a win in the Risen Star, a third in the Holy Bull and a fourth in the Remsen and Midnight Hawk (52 points) after a second in the Sunland Derby Sunday, a second in the San Felipe March 8, a third in the Robert B. Lewis and a win in the Sham Stakes in January.
Three colts sit in a tie for seventh place with 50 points - Wild Cat Red who won the Fountain of Youth Stakes, H. Graham Motion trained Ring Weekend after a win in the Tampa Bay Derby March 8 and California Chrome, trained by Art Sherman, thanks to his win in the San Felipe Stakes March 8. Tapiture is next in tenth place with 42 points. There is a huge drop-off after that - no certainties to start the Run for the Roses after tenth spot.
Albano, after a pair of seconds - in the Risen Star February 22 and in the Lecomte Stakes in January is next, tied in the standings with Uncle Sigh who has a pair of seconds himself - in the Gotham and Withers Stakes. They both have 24 points. Todd Pletcher trained Vinceremos, off a second in the Tampa Bay Derby, 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 thirteenth to fifteenth in the standings with 20 points while William Gowan trained Ride On Curlin sits sixteenth with 15 points thanks to trio of third place finishes - the Rebel March 15, the Southwest February 17, the Champaign and a fourth in the Iroquois September 7.
John Sadler pupil Kristo after a third in the San Felipe and a second in the Sham Stakes January 11 has been joined by Todd Pletcher`s Havana and Cairo Prince from the barn of Kiaran McLaughlin - each have 14 points. Mark Casse trained Coastline closed out the top 20 thanks to a third this past weekend in the Spiral Stakes to go along with a fourth in the Southwest Stakes and a third in the Smarty Jones in January.
There are nine colts that sit next in the standings with 10 points - they will need another stellar result in order to get their names in the Derby fold. This list includes Rise Up, Candy Boy, In Trouble, Noble Moon, Ami's Holiday, Cleburne, Tanzanite Cat and Surfing USA and Commissioner who entered the fray with his third place finish this past weekend. Conquest Titan is thirty-second with 9 points while Casiguapo, Financial Mogul, Classic Giacnroll, East Hall, Asserting Bear and Schoolofhardrocks all have five points - on the far outside looking in at the true contenders for the Kentucky Derby. Each has some time to make up some ground.
The points standing continue to be fluid - the next seven races will allow 100-40-20-10 points for first to fourth - there is definitely going to be some change at the top the next few weeks. Stay tuned to offtrackbetting.com for bi-weekly points updates and for previews of all the pertinent races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby