Following the most jam-packed Saturday of the 2019 Kentucky Derby prep season, four horses can be considered newly in the May 4 field.
Using recent history as a benchmark, the cutoff to get in the Top 20 should range from between 21 and 30 points. But in 2019, the threshold continues to increase with only the Arkansas Derby (G1) and Lexington Stakes (G3) left next weekend.
Spot 20 was officially filled when Japan's Master Fencer was confirmed. Contenders will potentially need a few more, too, if a horse from Europe fills another slot.
Before running down changes prompted by the Saturday’s races, let's start by looking at contenders already projected to qualify for the Derby, along with the next race they're targeting. Note that the following horses were already in before Saturday but increased their total points by earning additional points in their respective race: Tactitus, Game Winner, Haikal.
Tacitus, 150 points
Plus Que Parfait, 104 points
By My Standards, 100 points
Maximum Security, 100 points
Game Winner, 85 points
Code of Honor, 74 points
Haikal, 70 points
War of Will, 60 points
Long Range Toddy, 53.5 points, Arkansas Derby
Cutting Humor, 50 points
Gray Magician, 41 points
Spinoff, 40 points
Bodexpress, 40 points
*Master Fencer, 19 points
*Qualified via the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Series
Vekoma, 110 points
Vekoma’s Kentucky Derby hopes were dependent on a first or second-place finish in the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) after a third in the Fountain of Youth (G2), his only other Kentucky Derby prep. A victory at Keeneland will bring the Kentucky native George Weaver back to Churchill Downs.
Roadster, 100 points
Bob Baffert has been touting Roadster since before his career debut, and yet the colt's Derby chances were up in the air until only weeks before the first Saturday in May. That changed when Roadster stormed home to win the Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Tax, 52 points
Entering the Wood Memorial (G2), Tax had 12 points to his name, which he earned with a win in the Withers (G3) and a third-place finish in the Remsen (G2). The son of Arch still needed to finish first or second to guarantee a ticket to the Kentucky Derby, and he did so with a runner-up to Tacitus.
Win Win Win, 50 points
Luckily for the grandson of Smarty Jones and his connections, he finished second by a nose in a photo finish over Signalman in the Blue Grass. Win Win Win answered the distance question -- and now he's on to Churchill, too.
On the bubble
Signalman, 38 points
Most years, he'd have more than enough points to qualify. But there's no guarantee after ending up on the wrong side of that Blue Grass photo. He's in the current Top 20 on points, but there's some scoreboard watching to do on the final weekend of the Derby trail.
Instagrand, 30 points
It’s been a topsy turvy season for the son of Into Mischief, who waited until March to make his 3-year-old debut. Third-place finishes in the Gotham (G3) and Santa Anita Derby got him on the leaderboard, but not into the Top 20.
Somelikeithotbrown, 30 points
Taking a shot at qualifying for the Kentucky Derby by racing on dirt for the first time was worth going for, but it just didn’t come together for the winner of the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), who ran fourth in the Blue Grass after setting the pace from the rail.
Others on the bubble
Omaha Beach, 37.5 points, Arkansas Derby
Bourbon War, 31 points
Country House, 30 points, Arkansas Derby
Anothertwistafate, 30 points, Lexington
Outshine, 20 points
While Tacitus and Win Win Win returned from the Tampa Bay Derby to make a bigger impression in the Wood Memorial, Outshine wasn't a factor in his second Kentucky Derby prep race.
Math Wizard, 10 points
Qualifying for the Kentucky Derby in your first and only Kentucky Derby prep race is a tall order. A rallying fourth in the Wood marked a respectable to start to his graded stakes racing career, but it wasn’t enough to make the Kentucky Derby next.
Nolo Contesto, 10 points
The same is true for the son of Pioneerof the Nile, who failed to make a big splash in the Santa Anita Derby.
Others with work left to do
Sueno, 28 points, Lexington
Improbable, 25 points, Arkansas Derby
Mucho Gusto, 24 points, Lexington
Gray Attempt, 10 points, Arkansas Derby
Galilean, 7.5 points, Arkansas Derby