The road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby has yet to be paved now with the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing, but qualifying races and their points tallied already will stand for the Sept. 5 running.
That includes Saturday's Florida Derby (G1), which saw at least one new name -- the possible favorite -- earn the points necessary for a trip to Churchill Downs.
Meanwhile, looking ahead to next weekend, the Santa Anita Derby (G1) is in limbo if the track cannot get back to racing after being shut down by the local health department. That leaves the May 2 Arkansas Derby (G1) as the only prep left on the schedule -- for now -- as Churchill devises an updated listing of points preps.
Given all of that, here’s an updated look at the points picture.
Tiz the Law, 122 points
The hype around the son of Constitution on the heels of an impressive win in the Holy Bull (G3) held firm in the Florida Derby. After stalking closely behind the two-front runners, jockey Manny Franco waited patiently for the right moment to move, and when he did, Tiz the Law proved to be much the best at Gulfstream Park. Tiz the Law already looked like the type of talent that could win the Derby. Now he has the points, though he'll have to wait much longer than the traditional five weeks after the Florida Derby for his shot.
Ete Indien, 74 points
The son of Summer Front, under the original structure, would have been solidly in off a victory in the Fountain of Youth (G2). With more preps, it now may take more points, which he tallied by finishing a non-threatening third in the Florida Derby. Whether he really wants all of 1 1/4 miles on the dirt is a question connections will have to answer later. In the meantime, he looks safely qualified.
Wells Bayou, 104 points
The wire-to-wire Louisiana Derby (G2) winner won the first major prep race of the season on March 22 and has since relocated to Oaklawn Park. He may seek a double in the Arkansas Derby.
On the Bubble
Shivaree, 40 points
The son of Awesome of Course proved to be more than cheap speed in the Florida Derby, hanging around for second to land on the Kentucky Derby radar. The finish marked his third consecutive graded stakes placing, but it was the first at longer than seven furlongs. He'll have to pick up more points elsewhere to assure a spot.
Other top points earners thus far who would normally be on their way to Churchill but now may have more to do:
• Modernist (70)
• Authentic (60)
• Nadal (50)
• Mischevious Alex (50)
• Ny Traffic (50)
• King Guillermo (50)
Independence Hall, 14 points
Even in a normal year, it is common for a horse that won a qualifier to not make into the Kentucky Derby field. In most cases that's because the win came early on the trail and didn't register enough points. The Jerome Stakes hero, once considered the Derby favorite, has time to take other shots after missing the top four in the Florida Derby. Or connections could take him back to one turn.
Gouverneur Morris, 14 points
A prep season gamble didn't quite pay off in this colt's case. He ran on for fourth in the Florida Derby in what was his second start off the layoff. Connections will have other shots this summer, however, to see if he can prove worthy of a spot in the gate. Pletcher stablemate Candy Tycoon, second in the Fountain of Youth, also failed to register more points in the Florida Derby, leaving his total at 20.
Also Worth Mentioning...
Mr. Monomoy, 52 points
As a result of COVID-19 and the Kentucky Derby being moved back to September, this winner of a division of the Risen Star Stakes (G2) is back on the leaderboard after being considered out of contention due to a minor ankle injury.
Via Churchill Downs, here's a full look at the standings: