Who's in, out and on the 2019 Kentucky Derby points bubble?

March 17, 2019 04:04pm
Who's in, out and on the 2019 Kentucky Derby points bubble?
Photo: Coady Photography

Due to the cancellation of the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Oaklawn Park opened its doors Saturday for a double edition of the Rebel Stakes (G2). After the running was done, the score stood at Locals 1, Shippers 1.

And somehow, Bob Baffert's big guns were both defeated.

With 131.5 points paid out, the field for the 2019 Kentucky Derby continues to take shape as at least two new horses punched their tickets to Churchill Downs for the first Saturday in May -- and some others moved a step closer.

Using recent history as a benchmark, the cutoff to get in the Top 20 should range from between 21 and 30 points. Contenders will potentially need a few more, too, if spots 19 and 20 are filled by a horse qualifying in Europe or Japan.

Before running down changes prompted by Rebel Stakes day, let's start by looking at contenders already projected to qualify for the Derby, along with which final prep they're targeting. 

Already in

War of Will, 60 points, Louisana Derby

Code of Honor, 54 points, Florida Derby

Haikal, 50 points, Wood Memorial

Tacitus, 50 points, Wood Memorial

Newly in

Long Range Toddy
, 54 points

Long Range Toddy made it to the winner's circle for the first time as a 3-year-old by running down Improbable in the first flight of the Rebel Stakes. Given that the Rebel was fourth consecutive race that the Steve Asmussen trainee has scored points, he's not only in the field, but his effort Saturday could make us reassess his chances of winning the Kentucky Derby.

Omaha Beach
, 37.5 points

The Kentucky Derby prep debut for the son of War Front was everything connections could have hoped it would be. In his first race since breaking his maiden last month at Santa Anita Park, Omaha Beach held off the other Bob Baffert favorite, Game Winner, to score by the slimmest of margins in the second division of the Rebel Stakes.

Game Winner, 45 points

With points victories in the American Pharoah Stakes (G1) and Breeders' Cup Juvenile at 2, the son of Candy Ride didn't need to win Saturday to be in. A runner-up added 15 more to Game Winner's total, with his first career loss actually his step forward to the Kentucky Derby. Per Bob Baffert, Game Winner’s final prep will come in the Santa Anita Derby (G1).

On the bubble

, 25 points

Leading into the Rebel Stakes, Baffert's pair of top contenders had quite a bit in common. Leaving the races, they gained another likeness in that they both lost their first career races. The most significant difference, however, is that Game Winner has started in one more Derby prep than his stablemate. Thus, Game Winner is in, and Improbable will need a few more points in the Arkansas Derby (G1) to make his connections comfortable about qualifying.

Gunmetal Gray
, 21.5 points

The son of Exchange Rate has consistently shown up on the Derby trail, but he's still waiting to get over the hump and in the field on points. After beginning his 3-year-old campaign with a rallying win in the Sham Stakes (G3), he kept the momentum rolling with a second-place finish in the Robert B. Lewis (G3). Another finish in the exacta would've sent him forward, but there could be more to do after a fourth-place effort Saturday that awarded 3.5 points.

Others on the bubble

Mind Control, 30 points, Wood Memorial

Bourbon War, 21 points, Florida Derby

Somelikeitbrown, 20 points, Blue Grass Stakes

Country House, 20 points, Louisiana Derby

Outshine, 20 points, Wood Memorial


, 7.5 points

This California-based contender was a step slow from the gate and didn't have enough kick left in the stretch to deliver in his Kentucky Derby prep debut. By finishing third in the first flight, the son of Uncle Mo earned 7.5 points. To have a chance at qualifying, Galilean will need to finish in the Top 3 of a major prep next time out, too. That would at least advance him to 27.5 points and a bubble position that could still require defections to qualify.

Market King
, 7.5 points

The D. Wayne Lukas trainee Market King is on the leader board after his stakes debut, with a third after factoring in the Rebel Stakes pace a nice start for the son of Into Mischief. Knowing his trainer, he'll get another shot before the first Saturday in May.

Extra Hope
, 5.75 points

Trained by Richard Mandella and owned by Fox Hill Farms, Extra Hope cracked the Top 4 again in his second Derby prep start. Between his third-place finish in the Los Alamitos Futurity and fourth in the Rebel, however, his Derby hopes haven't improved. Should he return in a final prep, Extra Hope needs a Top 2 finish.

Others with work left to do

Signalman, 18 points, Blue Grass Stakes

Mucho Gusto, 14 points, Sunland Derby

Tax, 12 points, Wood Memorial

Harvey Wallbanger, 10 points, Florida Derby

Instagrand, 10 points, Blue Grass Stakes

Hidden Scroll, 5 points, Florida Derby



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About Me

Meet Bryan Brinkmeyer  


Growing up across the river from the Bluegrass State, I was able to spend a lot of summer days at Ellis Park in Henderson, Ky. It was there that my attraction to the Sport of Kings began. In the spring of 2000, I made my inaugural Kentucky Derby appearance, and the tradition continues annually because there is no other city in the racing world like Louisville, Ky., on Derby Day.

Although the story of a Kentucky Derby winner is legendary, a champion's trail is what The Kentucky Derby Post is all about. It begins when 2-year-olds hit the track & continues until the field is set, the picks are in, and the roses are awarded. 

Twitter: @thederbypost

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