Las Vegas, NV - Less than two months remain before the top 20 points earners on the Road to the Kentucky Derby line up and contest the biggest race on North American soil. Things got a little clearer this past weekend when three qualifying races were contested. The Gotham Stakes from Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby from Tampa Bay Downs and the San Felipe Stakes from Santa Anita all awarded 50-20-10-5 points for first to fourth place and produced at least three sure-fire starters for the Run for the Roses in May.
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Three races remain before the points values double- the Rebel Stakes from Oaklawn Park this upcoming weekend and the Spiral Stakes and the Sunland Derby will be contested the next two weeks before seven races award 100-40-20-10 points for first to fourth.
So what do the standings look like after three races awarded at total of 255 points this weekend? Let's take a look.
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John Terranova trained El Kabeir now leads the way with 75 points after a win in the Gotham Stakes this past weekend - he was second in the Withers Stakes and posted wins in the Jerome Stakes, the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and Champaign Stakes. Mike Maker's International Star is second with 71 points after wins in the Risen Star, the Lecomte Stakes, a fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club and a win in the Grey Stakes while Bob Baffert trained Dortmund is next with 70 points. He won the San Felipe Stakes this past weekend and also posted wins in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and the Los Alamitos Futurity. All three of the aforementioned are virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky Derby.
Todd Pletcher trained Carpe Diem sits in fourth with 64 points after a win this past weekend in the Tampa Bay Derby, a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a win in the Breeders' Futurity in October with another Todd Pletcher pupil Itsaknockout in fifth with 50 points thanks to a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes February 21.
Rick Violette trained Upstart is sixth with 36 points after a second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, a win in the Holy Bull Stakes, a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a second in the Champagne Stakes while Tom Amoss trainee War Story is seventh with 24. Rounding out the top 10 is Far Right with 22 points, Ami's Flatter with 20 points and Prospect Park who also has 20 points. All horse outside the top 5 will have some work to do in order to qualify for the Run for the Roses.
D. Wayne Lukas trained Mr. Z has 14 points, Kiaran McLaughlin pupil Frosted and stablemate Classy Class each have 13 points, highly regarded Texas Red after a win in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile has 12 points and Dale Romans trained Keen Ice rounds out the top 15 with 12 points as well.
Eight colts are tied with 10 points and will need some good results going forward in order to crack the top 20. They include Jim Cassidy trained Ocho Ocho Ocho who won the Delta Downs Jackpot November 22, highly regarded Bob Baffert trained FrontRunner Stakes winner American Pharaoh, Champagne Stakes winner Daredevil, winner of the Withers Stakes Far From Over, El Camino Real Stakes victor Metaboss, Lucky Prayer who won the Iroquois Stakes, Bolo and Nick Zito trained Frammento.
The 24th-30th place colts are as follows:
- Firing Line - 8 points
- Bold Conquest - 7 points
- Conquest Typhoon - 6 points
- Lord Nelson - 6 points
- The Truth Or Else - 6 points
- Rock Shandy - 6 points
- St. Joe Bay - 6 points
There are 16 other hopefuls with at least one point on the Road to the Kentucky Derby - they are on the far outside looking in and will need a win the next couple of months just to crack the top 20.