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OffTrackBetting.com - The 2017 Road to the Kentucky Derby is in full swing as the best three year olds from around the world vie for a spot in North America's most prestigious race - the 143rd Kentucky Derby in May. The top 20 point getters from 35 designated races from around the world will get a chance to Run For the Roses in May.
Points are awarded for the first to fourth place finishers in these designated races - starting with the 19 races for the Kentucky Derby Prep Season which we are smack-dab in the middle of right now. These races offer a 10-4-2-1 point scale except for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile that offered 20-8-4-1 points to the first through fourth place finishers. The G3 LeComte Stakes was run this past weekend at Fair Grounds - Guest Suite won that race and now sits in a tie for fifth in the Standings with 10 points.
Things start to get a little more interesting toward the end of February when the point allotments increase dramatically in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. The 15 races during this phase offer a 50-20-10-5 point scale for the nine of the races and 100-40-20-10 points for the biggest races including the UAE Derby, the Florida Derby, the Wood Memorial, the Blue Grass Stakes, the Santa Anita Derby and the Arkansas Derby. This year introduced us to the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, which will consist of two races - the Cattleya Sho for 2-year-olds and the Hyacinth which is coming up on the schedule. The winner of this series will claim one of the 20 starting spots in May
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So, with 14 races already in the books, who has an early line on one of the top 20 spots? Let's take a look.
Classic Empire, Mark Casse, 30 points - leads the way so far thanks to wins in the Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland in October and in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile - the 20 points he gained in that race are the biggest prize so far.
Gormley, John Shirreffs, 20 points - also has two wins on the Road to the Derby so far - the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita and the Sham Stakes also on that track January 7.
Practical Joke, Chad Brown, 14 points - won the Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park October 8 and finished third in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to gain his points
Uncontested, Wayne Catalano, 11 points - put his name on the radar with a win in the one mile Smarty Jones Stakes at Oaklawn Park January 16.
Gunnevera, Antonio Sano, 10 points - gained 10 points with a win in the $1,000,000 Delta Downs Jackpot November 19
Lookin at Lee, Steve Asmussen, 10 points
Mastery, Bob Baffert, 10 - has 10 points thanks to a win in the CashCall Futurity at Los Alamitos December 10
Mo Town, Tony Dutrow, 10 - won the Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct November 26
McCraken, Ian Wilkes, 10 - had a nice win in the Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs November 26
El Areeb, Cathal Lynch, 10 - prevailed in the 1 mile 70 yards Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct January 2
Guest Suite, Neil Howard, 10 - prevailed this past weekend in the LeComte Stakes at Fair Grounds.
Wild Shot, Rusty Arnold II, 6
No Dozing, Arnaud Delicious, 5
Klimt, Art Sherman, 4
Hot Sean, Bob Baffert, 4
Dangerfield, Doug O'Neill, 4
Syndergaard, Todd Pletcher, 4
Irap, Doug O'Neill, 4
Petrov, Ron Moquette, 4
Bonus Points, Todd Pletcher, 4
Untrapped, Steve Asmussen, 4
American Anthem, Bob Baffert, 4
There are 17 other horses that have at least one point so far on the Road to the Kentucky Derby - some will be heard from as this process plays out and some will fade into the sunset. Stay tuned right here for previews for all of the pertinent Road to the Derby race previews and updates on the Standings that will determine which 20 will have a shot at one of the most prestigious races in the world.