The Road to the Kentucky Derby Points Update - March 28, 2016

Dave Bond | OTB Writer
Updated: December 08, 2016 -- 1:15 PM ET

Kentucky Derby Points Update

Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby is quickly coming to an intriguing conclusion as three year olds from around the world try to qualify for arguably the biggest race on the planet - the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

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All six of the first leg of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series have been run - the 50-20-10-5 points scale races are over and the second leg that awards a 100-40-20-10 points scale have already begun - the Louisiana Derby and the UAE Derby this past weekend signaled the beginning of the most important stage of the Kentucky Derby qualifying season. The Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita, the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, and the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland will be contested the next three weeks with the winners of those races almost automatically qualifying for the Run for the Roses in about a month's time.

There are two races in the weeks preceding the Kentucky Derby in which contenders can earn points on a 20-8-4-2 scale - this is the "Wild Card Round".

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After the first leg of the Championship Series and with five more races to go in the second leg, some true contenders have started to emerge. Gun Runner won the Louisiana Derby and Lani won the UAE Derby on Saturday - what does the present leaderboard look like? Let's take a look.

Gun Runner, Steve Asmussen, 151 points - has four wins in five career starts and took over the points lead thanks to a win and a 100 point haul this past weekend in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds. He also won the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds February 20 and had a fourth in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November.

Lani, Mikio Matsunaga, 100 points - spent most of his career in Japan with OK results but burst on the scene this past weekend with a terrific win in the UAE Derby in which he gained 100 huge qualifying points.

Mohaymen, Kiaran McLaughlin, 70 points - has won all five career starts (four graded stakes) including the Fountain of Youth Stakes February 27, the Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park January 30, the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct November 28 and the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes on that same track November 4. He has been one of the favorites to win the Derby during this whole process and has done nothing to say otherwise.

Destin, Todd Pletcher, 51 points - has three wins and a second place finish in five career starts but made a serious statement with a 50 point haul in the Tampa Bay Derby. He also won the Sam F. Davis Stakes on that track February 13.

Cupid, Bob Baffert, 50 points - has two wins and a second place finish in four career starts and recorded a good second March 19 in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park - his first stakes action.

Danzing Candy, Cliff Sise Jr., 50 points - wasn't really on anyone's radar before a win March 12 in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes - his stakes debut.

Shagaf, Chad Brown, 50 points - has won all three career starts and got his 50 points from a win March 5 in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.

Mor Spirit, Bob Baffert, 44 points - won the Robert B Lewis Stakes February 6 at Santa Anita and also posted victory in the Los Alamitos Futurity December 19. He also had a seconds in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes March 12 (a slight disappointment) and in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes November 28.

Tom's Ready, Dallas Stewart 44 points - has an astounding nine career starts already with just one win and four runner-up finishes. His 44 points came thanks to a second place finish this past weekend in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby and another runner-up finish in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes on that same track in January.

Polar River, Doug Watson 40 points - has been impressive in his career - four wins and a second place finish in five career starts - all at Meydan. He won a couple of stakes there earlier this year and got his 40 points thanks to a runner-up finish this past weekend in the UAE Derby.

Mo Tom, Tom Amoss, 32 points - has three wins and three third place finishes in seven career starts. His points came from a fourth place finish this past weekend in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds, a third place finish in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes February 20, a win in the Grade 3 LeComte Stakes January 16 and a third in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November.

Nyquist, Doug O'Neill, 30 points - has won all six career starts and is an early favorite for the Run for the Roses. Wins include the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes February 15 at Santa Anita in record time (that race didn't offer up any qualifying points toward the Derby), the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes September 26 and the Del Mar Futurity September 7. He hasn't been touched so far.

Exaggerator, Keith Desormeaux, 26 points - won the Grade 3 $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot November 21 and had a fourth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, a second in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity October 3 and a win in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special in August. He has been OK in his last two starts - a third in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes March 12 followed a second in the Grade 2 San Vicente Stakes February 15. He's been busy indeed.

Whitmore, Ron Moquett, 24 points - has two wins and two second place finishes in five career starts. He got his points thanks to consecutive runner-up finishes - the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes March 19 and the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes February 15

Sunny Ridge, Jason Servis, 23 points - had been sitting outside the top 20 before a nice win in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct January 30. He also has a fourth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes March 5 and a second in the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot in November.

Laoban, Eric Guillot, 22 points - has yet to post a win in his four race career - two seconds and a third place finish so far. Last time out was a third in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes March 5 after a third in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes January 9.

Yu Change, Hideyuki Mori 20 points - had six races in Japan with limited success but finished a good third this past weekend in the UAE Derby.

Dazzling Gem, Brad Cox 20 points - has two wins and a third place finish in three career starts. He got his points thanks to a third place finish this past weekend in the Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds - his stakes debut.

Forevamo, Al Stall Jr., 20 points - has a win and three runner-up finishes in six career starts. He has yet to post a graded stakes score but had a second in the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds February 20.

Zulu, Todd Pletcher, 20 points - has two wins and a second place finish in his three career starts. His points came from a second place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 27 - his stakes debut.

Outwork, Todd Pletcher, 20 points - got his 20 points thanks to a second place finish in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Stakes - his only stakes start to date.

Flexibility, Chad Brown, 15 points - started 2016 with a good win in the Grade 3 Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct January 2 and also had second place finishes in the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes November 28 and the Grade 2 Nashua Stakes November 4 - also at Aqueduct. Last time out was a disappointing fourth in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes at Aqueduct January 30.

Brody's Cause, Dale Romans, 14 points - earned his points with a third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and a win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland October 3. He was an ugly seventh however in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby.

Greenpointcrusader, Dominick Schettino, 14 points - got his 14 points thanks to a second place finish last time out in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes January 30 and a win in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 3 but was a somewhat disappointing seventh in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile against many of his future competitors.

Swipe, Keith Desormeaux, 14 points - got his points with a couple of respectable runner-up finishes - in the Breeders' Cup and the Grade 1 FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita September 26. He has yet to post a graded stakes score but has finished second in four straight.

Fellowship, Stanley Gold, 12 points - has 10 career starts with two wins, three seconds and two thirds. His points came from third place finishes in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream February 27 and the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes on that track January 30.

Adventist, Leah Gyarmati, 12 points - has a win and two third place finishes in three career starts. His points came from third place finishes - the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes last time out March 5 and the Grade 3 Withers Stakes January 30 - all results at Aqueduct.

Collected, Bob Baffert, 11 points - has two wins and a second place finish in four career starts including a victory in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes in his dirt debut as overwhelming favorite. Last time out was a fourth in the Grade 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park February 15.

  • Creator, Steve Asmussen, 10
  • Suddenbreakingnews, Donnie Von Hemel, 10
  • Cocked and Loaded, Larry Rivelli, 10
  • Discreetness, Williams Fires, 10
  • Frank Conversation, Doug O'Neill, 10
  • Airoforce, Mark Casse, 10
  • Riker, Nick Gonzalez, 10
  • Star Hill, Rusty Arnold II, 10
  • Uncle Lino, Gary Sherlock, 9
  • Vorticity, James Lawrence II, 8
  • Rated R Superstar, Kenny McPeek, 6
  • Kasseopia-GB, Charles Fellowes, 6

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Race Tracks Time (EST)
Aqueduct 12:19 PM
Australia A 9:00 PM
Australia B 10:30 PM
Australia C 10:57 PM
Charles Town 7:00 PM
Curraheen (IG) 2:50 PM
Daytona Beach Mat 1:04 PM
Dayton Raceway 6:15 PM
Delta Downs 6:40 PM
Dover Downs 4:30 PM
Enniscorthy (IG) 3:00 PM
Evangeline Downs 6:35 PM
Flamboro Downs 6:00 PM
Freehold Raceway 12:29 PM
Galway (IG) 3:07 PM
Golden Gate Fields 3:45 PM
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Hawthorne 1:55 PM
Laurel Park 12:29 PM
Los Alamitos (TB) 4:00 PM
Mardi Gras Eve 7:30 PM
Mardi Gras Mat 5:00 PM
Monticello Raceway 12:25 PM
Naples-Ft Myers Mat
Naples-Ft Myers Twi
New Zealand 6:45 PM
Palm Beach Mat 1:00 PM
Penn National 6:00 PM
Rideau Carleton 6:30 PM
Rosecroft Raceway 6:40 PM
Sanford Mat 1:30 PM
Sarasota Mat 12:30 PM
Saratoga Harness 4:00 PM
Shelbourne Park (IG) 2:58 PM
Southland Mat 5:00 PM
St Johns Eve 7:45 PM
Tri-State Eve 7:00 PM
Turfway Park 6:15 PM
Vaal (SAF) 5:41 AM
Woodbine (H) 7:30 PM

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