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Las Vegas, NV - Just under a month remains until the most prestigious race on North American soil is run - the Kentucky Derby takes place May 2. After a season of prep races just two qualifying chances remain for Derby hopefuls - the Arkansas Derby which offers 100-40-20-10 points for the first to fourth place finishers and the Lexington Stakes which awards just 10-4-2-1 points for first to fourth. The field is taking shape for the Derby and some definite favorites have emerged already. With four races this past weekend (the Louisiana Derby, the Wood Memorial, the Kentucky Blue Grass Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby) we have a decent idea of which 20 horses will line up in the gates for the Run for the Roses. Let's break it down.
Mike Maker trained International Star has been on the Derby radar for five months - he cemented his status as one of the legitimate favorites this past weekend with a win in the Louisiana Derby. International Star also had wins in the Risen Star Stakes, the Lecomte Stakes and Grey Stakes. He leads the points race with 171 and should be a factor May 2. Currently second in the standings is undefeated Bob Baffert trained Dortmund who currently has 170 points. He won the Santa Anita Derby this past weekend to go along with victories in the San Felipe, the Robert B. Lewis Stakes and Los Alamitos Futurity. Todd Pletcher trained Carpe Diem is third with 164 points after a win this past weekend in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, a victory in the Tampa Bay Derby, a second in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a win in the Breeders' Futurity.
Kiaran McLaughlin trained Frosted will be in the starting gate May 2 after a terrific win this past weekend in the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct. Prior to that results was a fourth in the Fountain of Youth and consecutive runner-up finishes in the Holy Bull and Remsen Stakes. Some international flavor comes in the form of Irish bred Mubtaahij who may or may not ship from overseas. He sits tied with Todd Pletcher trained Materiality who has just one start in Derby qualifying races and one win - in the 100-point Florida Derby March 28.
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Another one of the early favorites El Kabeir sits in seventh place with 95 points after a slightly disappointing third this past weekend in the Wood Memorial. El Kabeir holds wins in the Gotham, the Jerome Stakes and the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes to go along with a second in the Withers Stakes. Upstart is next with 76 points - he has consecutive seconds (the Florida Derby and the Fountain of Youth), a win in the Holy Bull Stakes and a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile among his qualifying results. Two colts are next with 60 points - they round out the top 10. Bob Baffert trained American Pharoah after just two qualifying-race appearances has been tabbed as one of the three early favorites - he had wins in the Rebel Stakes March 14 and the FrontRunner Stakes back in September. Itsaknockout out of the Todd Pletcher barn had a win in the Fountain of Youth Stakes in February to go along with a fourth in the Florida Derby March 28.
Firing Line sits in eleventh place with 58 points - he won the Sunland Derby March 22 and has two runner-up finishes in a pair of prep races. Mark Casse trained Danzig Moon has 45 points after a second in the Blue Grass Stakes this past weekend, Tom Amoss War Story has 44 points but has yet to win a race on the Road to the Kentucky Derby and Tencendur makes an appearance in the top 15 after a second place finish in the Wood Memorial on Saturday
Four colts have 40 points and look as though they will have enough points to be in the starting gates May 2. Maftool, Bob Baffert trained One Lucky Dane after his second this past weekend in the Santa Anita Derby, Josie Carroll trained Ami's Flatter and Todd Pletcher pupil Stanford should be good to go May 2.
On the bubble - tied for nineteenth with 30 points are Ocho Ocho Ocho thanks to a third place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes and a win in the Delta Downs Jackpot, Carla Gaines pupil Bolo and Prospect Park.
There are a host of horse on the outside looking in - they could make their way into the top 20 with a good performance in one of the last two prep races. These are the horses that still have a chance:
It has been a long and intriguing Road to this year's Run For the Roses but that Road is coming to its finish line. Stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for everything that is Kentucky Derby and information on all graded stakes action as we head into what in certain to be a sensational summer of racing.
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