There are a total of 2,261
points available in all of the qualifying races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
With just three months until the first Saturday in May, only 238 of those
points have been won.
This Saturday, the $200,000
Withers will be run as the second leg of the New York Derby Trail. The mile and
a sixteenth, grade three stakes, carries a 10-4-2-1 point scale to the top four
finishers as did the first 19 races in the Kentucky Derby Prep Season.
Revolutionary, trained by Todd Pletcher, heads a field of eight horses as the 3-5
morning line favorite. The War Pass colt finished in the money in his first
three starts even though he had difficult trips. He rallied from a distant last place in his first start
after being “clobbered at the break and checked” according to the Daily Racing Form running line.
All the pieces came
together for the $210,000 two year-old purchase in his fourth start on the Aqueduct inner track when he ran off to an eight-length maiden victory while
earning a 102 Beyer Speed Figure for the mile. Pletcher had been expecting big
things from Revolutionary, “We weren’t
surprised he did something impressive, and it was the first time everything had
Kiaran McLaughlin has an entry for
Darley that represents the 7-2 morning line second choice. Long River is bred for the classic distances with AP Indy as the
father and 2006 Breeders’ Cup Distaff winner, Round Pond, as the mother. Long
River finished fourth in the Jerome (G2) last time out. The other half of the
entry is Valid, a $500,000 yearling,
who comes to the Withers after a maiden win at Laurel on the last day of 2012.
Also in the race are the place and show
horses from the Jerome. Siete de Oros fought head and head down the stretch only to lose at the wire to the
impressive Vyjack. Trainer Ramon Preciado brings his rider, Maria Remedio, and
horse up from Parx. Amerigo Vespucci finished two lengths behind in the Jerome and a half-length ahead of Long
River. He ships up from Laurel with in the money finishes in all five of his
The Withers is a part of the new puzzle
that the Road to the Derby points system presents to the trainers of the Derby
hopefuls. There has been much debate about how many points it will take to make
the field of the first leg of the Triple Crown. Ninety percent of the
qualifying points are still up for grabs.
If you take a look back at the field
for the 2012 Kentucky Derby and figure out how many points each horse would
have had based on this year’s new system, you get a very interesting picture.
The field of 20 would have held 1,347 of the total 2,291 possible points or
At the end of the Derby Trail there are
seven races that offer a 100-40-20-10 point scale and last year six of those
winners were in the Derby including the top three finishers in the Run for
In the chart you can see each starter’s
point totals and the points that each horse earned in their final Derby prep.
Clearly four of the horses, that ran based on graded stakes earnings only in
2012, would not qualify in 2013.
The Withers is one of 22 races left to
be run on the Road to the Derby. Those 22 races still carry close to 2,000 points.
Each of those races will put another piece in the Kentucky Derby points puzzle.
Revolutionary photo courtesy of NYRA / Adam Coglianese