Updates to the Road to the Kentucky Derby

Posted By Kimberly French on July 9, 2020

Following the Grade 3 Indiana Derby win by Shared Sense and ahead of Saturday’s Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, the Road to the Kentucky Derby points race is coming into clearer focus.

Where it Stands

After this weekend, there will be a total of six official Kentucky Derby prep races before the first Saturday in September — the new date of the postponed Derby.

The Blue Grass, Haskell Stakes and Travers Stakes will all sport 100-40-20-10 sliding point scales for the winner through fourth place. The Peter Pan (to be contested at Saratoga Race Course instead of Belmont Park this year), the Shared Belief at Del Mar Racetrack and the Ellis Park Derby will have a point structure of 50-20-10-5. The final prep race in the series will be the Pegasus at Monmouth Park on Aug. 15, with a point structure of 20-8-4-2.

Who is on top?

A quick look at the horses near the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system shows Belmont Stakes winner Tiz the Law with the most points, at 272. Honor A.P. is in second place with 120 points. Authentic (100 points), King Guillermo (90) and Ete Indien (74) round out the Top 5.

Horses from the No. 6 spot (Modernist with 70 points) through No. 12 (Max Player with 40) should, for all intents and purposes, expect to get a Derby gate come Sept. 5.

From No. 13 down to No. 18, the horses currently in the Derby field, which could be joined by the European and Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby series, are: Major Fed (38), Storm the Court (36), Enforceable (33), Thousand Words (33), Sole Volante (30), and a tie between Finnick the Fierce (currently holds the tie-breaker of non-restricted stakes earnings) and Pneumatic with 25 points.

Can the Filly Make the Field?

Horses currently on the outside looking in include: Los Alamitos Derby winner Uncle Chuck, Indiana Derby winner Shared Sense and Ohio Derby winner Dean Martini.

Contenders in Saturday’s Blue Grass that have points in the prep race series are: Basin (50), Shivaree (40), Enforceable (33), Finnick the Fierce (25),  and Attachment Rate (15).

Trainer Kenny McPeek’s filly, Swiss Skydiver, is taking on the boys in the Blue Grass. If she were to win or finish second on Saturday, she could earn enough points to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate without another prep race against the boys.


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Kimberly French

Kimberly French is an award winning freelance journalist specializing in horse racing and horse health living in Louisville, KY. Her work has appeared in more than 25 national and international publications. She is currently the editor of Hoof Beats magazine, the official publication of the U.S. Trotting Association and the special assistant to the president for the Association of Racing Commissioners International.

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