The Kentucky Derby Prep season is starting to heat up. Now
that the first leg of the Championship Series is live, it's pretty clear that a win and 50 points will make the field. Based on those estimates, two horses have successfully secured their spots in the 139th Running of the Kentucky Derby.
Orb – Although he sits right behind I’ve Struck a Nerve in the points standings he still earned the Beyer Speed advantage in the Fountain of Youth: 97. Very nice number and performance, this horse is definitely on the right path.
Trainer Shug McGaughey wouldn’t say for sure what the next Kentucky Derby prep will be for his colt but he did narrow it down to either the Florida Derby or Wood Memorial. I can’t say it with 100% certainty but I expect to see Orb return to Gulfstream Park.
On another interesting note, it was his opening graded stakes race. Therefore, his total graded earnings has now gone from $0 to $240,000. Even though this no longer counts towards qualification it would be enough to make the field in either of the last two years. Last year, Optimizer rounded out the field at just over $184k in graded stakes earnings while Derby Kitten concluded the 20 horse field with $120k in 2011.
Ive Struck a Nerve – Trainer Keith Desormeaux has confirmed that his Kentucky Derby
Points leader will enter the G2 Louisiana Derby next. This year the $1 Million dollar Louisiana Derby on March 30th celebrates its 100th anniversary. So, because Desormeaux is a native of Lafayette, LA and is considered a long time Fair Grounds Race Course conditioner, it is highly unlikely that he will opt for other major prep.
official Beyer Speed rating in the Risen Star Stakes was 95. The thrilling come
from behind victory brings his graded stakes earnings total now to $248,000.
Although that amount would not vault him into first place under the old qualification
format it would likely guarantee him a spot in the Kentucky Derby.
highly regarded Normandy Invasion suffered a huge set back in the G2 Risen Star
Stakes. The slow start left him with too much ground to make up and resulted in a 5th place finish. More importantly, it also resulted in 0 additional points. Now Normandy Invasion will have to continue to travel down the trail with only 4 points until he goes for more. Currently he is being pointed toward the Wood Memorial.
One thing we can expect from his connections before his next time out is a jockey change. Jose Lezcano was the rider in Normandy Invasion’s previous 3 starts but his effort in the Risen Star seems to have made his connections want to go in a different direction before the Wood.
is certain as their still much more time to decide but Majestic Hussar’s
remaining moments on the Kentucky Derby trail appear to be limited. Trainer
Eddie Kenneally said he is leaning toward switching Majestic Hussar back to
one-turn races. The main reason is because he appears to be a sprinter. A
perfect example of this was in the FOY when he led the field through lightning
fast fractions. He clipped the opening half in 45.45 and 1:08.85 at the
three-quarter pole. But that was all that he had left. He faded from there and finished 9 1/4
lengths behind Orb. Kenneally didn’t rule out a final effort in attempt to make
the Kentucky Derby field but I don’t foresee that happening.
other news Dewey Square is headed away from the dirt. According to Dale Romans he has
been breezing very well over the turf course at Gulfstream Park and the upcoming G3
Palm Beach is an excellent fit. An alternate decision may be
made after the Palm Beach but it is likely that the only way Dewey Square makes
the Kentucky Derby field is through the G1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on
if you’re interested in how some of our Kentucky Derby contenders are training
then you won’t want to miss the latest report.
Up next: The G3 Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct this Saturday (3/2). Here are your Probable Starters