Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby became more like a freeway this past weekend when we saw the points values for the qualification races jump from 50-20-10-5 for the first through fourth place finishers to 100-50-20-10. Three huge races on Saturday have led to a complete reshuffling at the top of the standings - the UAE Derby was contested at Meydan, the Louisiana Derby was run at Fair Grounds and the Florida Derby took place at Gulfstream Park.
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Michael Maker trained Vicar's In Trouble has leapt into top into top spot in the standings virtually guaranteeing himself a spot in the starter's gate at Churchill Downs after his win this past weekend in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. He has 120 points while Toast of New York, thanks to a win in the UAE Derby on Saturday sits tied with Todd Pletcher pupil and Florida Derby winner Constitution at 100 points. Each of those two has assured themselves a spot in the Derby.
Another Todd Pletcher trainee, Intense Holiday is next in the standings with 93 points after a second this past weekend in the Louisiana Derby, a win in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds February 22, a third in the Holy Bull and a fourth in the Remsen. Wildcat Red after a second this past weekend in the Florida Derby and a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes February 22 sits fifth with 90 points. There is a huge drop-off from there.
We Miss Atrie is in sixth place with 60 points after two wins in "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points races. He won the Spiral Stakes March 22 and the Breeders' Futurity back on October 5. Richard Violette pupil Samraat also has 60 points thanks to two wins along the "Road" - the Gotham Stakes March 1, and the Withers Stakes February 1. In eighth is Bob Baffert trained Hoppertunity with 55 points after a win in the Rebel Stakes March 15 and a fourth in the Risen Star. The top 10 in the standings is rounded out by another Bob Baffert trained colt Chitu with 54 points and stable mate Midnight Hawk with 52 points.
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There are two colts next in the standings with 50 points - Art Sherman trained California Chrome, thanks to a win in the San Felipe Stakes and H. Graham Motion pupil Ring Weekend after his win in the Tampa Bay Derby March 8. Steve Asmussen trained Tapiture is next in the standings with 42 points - four starts already on the "Road" and four on the board finishes including a second in the Rebel, wins in the Southwest Stakes and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and a third in the Iroquois in September. General A Rod after a third this past weekend in the Florida Derby and a second in the Fountain of Youth February 22 is fourteenth with 40 points while Albano is next with 34 points after his fourth on the weekend in the Louisiana Derby and a pair of seconds - the Risen Star February 22 and the Lecomte January 18.
Cario Prince and Uncle Sigh both sit with 24 points - for Cairo Prince he gained some points with a fourth in the Florida Derby over the weekend and for Uncle Sigh he is at 24 points thanks to seconds in the Gotham and the Withers Stakes. Three colts round out the top 20 with 20 points apiece - Todd Pletcher's Vincermos, Mike Maker's Harry's Holiday and Commanding Curve who finished third this past weekend in the Louisiana Derby currently occupy the last qualifying spots for the Run for the Roses in May.
On the outside looking in are Ride On Curlin with 15 points, Kristo who sits with 14 points, Mark Casse trained Coastline with 13 points, Tamarando who has 12 points and Strong Mandate with 11. Nine Colts occupy the twenty-fifth to thirty-fourth spot at 10 points apiece. They include Rise Up, Giovanni Boldini, Candy Boy, In Trouble, Noble Moon, Ami's Holiday, Tanzanite Cat, Commissioner and Cleburne. They will need a good result or face the prospect of watching the Kentucky Derby from the sidelines.
The "Road to the Kentucky Derby" points standings is fluid as can be - there are two more races this upcoming weekend that will award 100-40-40-10 points for first through fourth place - the Wood Memorial from Aqueduct and the Santa Anita Derby represent two of the final four chances to gain major points toward a starting position in the Run for the Roses. Stay tuned to offtrackbetting.com for all of the happenings as we near the biggest race on North American soil May 3.