The Road to the Kentucky Derby Points Update - April 8
Las Vegas, NV - The Road to the Kentucky Derby is drawing to a close - the Run for the Roses is less than a month away and there are just two Kentucky Derby Championship Series races left in which 100-40-20-10 points are awarded for the first through the fourth place finishers. The Grade 1 Arkansas Derby comes our way from Oaklawn Park and the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes is on tap for Keeneland this Saturday, April 13. After that, there is just two more weekends of qualifying races - two Wild Card races in which 20-8-4-2 points will be awarded represent the last chance for Derby hopefuls. The Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes from Keeneland April 20 and the Grade 3 Cliff's Edge Derby Trial Stakes from Churchill Downs April 27 are the end of the line for those contenders on the qualifying bubble.
This past weekend there were two races that changed the landscape and the standings on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. The Grade 1 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby awarded 100 points to the winner, 40 points for their runner-up, 20 points for the third place finishers and 10 points for the fourth place finishers.
Todd Pletcher trained Verrazano grabbed a share of first place in the standings and earned an automatic berth into the Run for the Roses with his win in the Wood Memorial while Doug O'Neill's Goldencents also qualified by gaining 100 points with his win in the Santa Anita Derby. Chad Brown trained Normandy Invasion also earned an automatic berth into the Kentucky Derby on the heels of his second place finish in the Wood Memorial as did Bob Baffert pupil Flashback who finished second at Santa Anita on Saturday.
Here is a look at the standings after this past weekend's races. Keep in mind that only the top 20 in the standings after the two Wild Card races will qualify for the biggest race on North American soil.
Shug McGaughey's Orb continues to lead the standing after his 100 point win March 30 but he now has company at 150 points - Verrazano off his win in the Wood Memorial has joined Orb at the top. Next, in third place is Goldencents with 129 points after his win in the Santa Anita Derby, Todd Pletcher trained Revolutionary sits in fourth with 100 points and Lines of Battle who earned 100 with his win overseas March 30.
Just out of the top 5, Rudy Rodriguez's Vyjack, off a third place finish in the Wood Memorial this past weekend is tied with Santa Anita Derby second place finisher Flashback - they each have 70 points and are headed for Churchill Downs. D. Wayne Lukas's Will Take Charge is alone in eighth place with 60 points while the top 10 is rounded out with Eddie Plesa trained Itsmyluckyday and Bob Baffert pupil Govenor Charlie who both have 50 points apiece.
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In eleventh is Kelly Breen trained Black Onyx. Wood Memorial runner-up Normandy Invasion is next in twelfth with 44 points, Mylute occupies thirteenth with 42 points and D. Wayne Lukas trainee Oxbow has 36 valuable points.
Mark Casse trained Uncaptured sits tied with Santa Anita Derby third place finisher Super Ninety Nine with 30 points and Ken McPeek's Java's War is next in seventeenth place with 22 points. A log jam at 20 points follows and spans from eighteenth to twenty-fourth place in the standings. Included in this cluster is Bob Hess Jr.'s Merit Man, Bob Baffert pupils Den's Legacy and Code West, John Terranova trainees Falling Sky and West Hills Giant, Albert Stall Jr. trained Departing and Paul Aguirre's Tiz a Minister. Many of the colts with 20 points in the standings are entered in races this weekend - each has some work to do but each has a chance to advance in the standings with good results.
On the outside looking in are Golden Soul with 14 points, Mark Casse trained Dynamic Sky with 13 points and a host of eight with 10 points apiece. They include Todd Pletcher trainees Overanalyze, Abraham and Palace Malice, Bob Baffert pupil Power Broker, Bill Mott's Mr. Palmer, Kiaran McLaughlin trained Elnaawi and Tony Dutrow's Giant Finish and Narvaez. These horses are in serious trouble if they don't win or finish second this weekend.
The evolving Road to the Kentucky Derby takes another turn this weekend - the starters for the Run for the Roses will start to come into focus after the Arkansas Derby and the Blue Grass Stakes April 13. Stay tuned to OffTrackBetting.com for previews for the huge qualifying races this weekend and updates on these fluid Derby qualification standings.