Following a weekend off, the 2021 Kentucky Derby Points Series resumed with a trio of races worth a total of 119 points to the top four finishers. Two of the three races paid out enough points for the winner to stamp an entry ticket to the Kentucky Derby, but the winner of the other one will have to keep pushing forward to earn his.
Let's jump in and start analyzing the leaderboard by looking at who's in, out and who's on the 2021 Kentucky Derby points bubble after Saturday's Southwest Stakes and Fountain of Youth, along with the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes from Friday.
Greatest Honour, 60 points
Kentucky Derby contenders who follow up a win with another monster score make the Kentucky Derby road even more exciting. From well off the Kentucky Derby radar in his juvenile season, the son of Tapit is now front and center after back-to-back wins in the Holy Bull and Fountain of Youth. Trained by Claude McGaughey, Greatest Honour has now earned enough points to make the Kentucky Derby field, and he is currently holding the No. 1 spot on the leaderboard.
Essential Quality, 40 points
The Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner remained perfect by adding another impressive win in the Southwest Stakes. With this opening act to the 3-year-old season, it shouldn't be too surprising that the son of Tapit, trained by Brad Cox, kept his No. 1 ranking on HRN's Kentucky Derby 2021 Contenders list. Despite holding fewer points than Greatest Honour, Essential Quality has more graded stakes wins.
On the Bubble
Spielberg, 17 points
Although he has started in four Kentucky Derby points races, the son of Union Rags doesn't have enough points to be considered safe for qualification. But the Bob Baffert trainee still has a solid resume after his runner-up performance in the Southwest Stakes. To date, Spielberg has never finished worse than fourth in eight career starts, so at this pace, his quest for an adequate point total could be settled next time out.
Jackie's Warrior, 14 points
His juvenile season started with a bang with three consecutive graded stakes wins, but Jackie's Warrior hasn't recorded a win in his last two starts. Because his previous wins didn't pay out enough points, his third-place finish in the Southwest Stakes keeps him on the bubble and learning more toward falling off for now. His early success came at a distance of less than one mile, so the son of Maclean's Music still must prove he's capable of scoring over a longer distance.
Papetu, 11 points
He is making progress, but can he continue to score enough points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby? After completing his juvenile season without finishing inside the top four in a grades stakes race, Papetu started his sophomore campaign with three consecutive top-four performances. Two of those came in Kentucky Derby points races, including Saturday's third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth, but he's got work left to do since he's well below the number of points it's going to take.
Hush Of A Storm, 10 points
The pursuit to qualify for the Kentucky Derby took a big step forward for the son of Creative Cause in his first points race. Following a mediocre performance in his first career race on the dirt at Churchill Downs, Hush Of A Storm has reached the winners' circle every time since switching to a different surface. The win in the John Battaglia marks his third consecutive win on Turfway's All-Weather Track, so look for him to stay put and possibly return for the Jeff Ruby Stakes next time out.
Tarantino, 9 points
Though he finished second in the Holy Bull, the son of Pioneerof The Nile didn't take a step forward in the Fountain of Youth. His fourth-place effort on Saturday leaves him with enough points to stay in the conversation, but Tarantino will need to improve next time out should his connections still like to see him qualify for the Kentucky Derby.
Like The King, 4 points
Gretzky the Great, 2 points
Both horses jumped onto the Kentucky Derby point's leaderboard by finishing third and fourth in the John Battaglia, but they will need a few more performances like this, or even better if they're going to make it to the Kentucky Derby.
Not Triple Crown Nominated
Drain the Clock, 20 points
The son of Maclean's Music is guaranteed the 20 points he earned with a runner-up finish in the Fountain of Youth, but we can't consider him a potential qualifier until his connections decide to fork over the late nomination fee if they want to pursue a chance at claiming the roses.
Hard Rye Guy, 1 point
Woodhouse, 1 point
They've made the leaderboard by finishing fourth in their respective races, but starting in a Triple Crown race is not very likely.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby resumes this weekend with another trio of races: the Gotham at Aqueduct, the Tampa Bay Derby and the San Felipe at Santa Anita Park. Click here to look at the remaining races on the points series schedule and the points awarded for each contest.
And finally, below is the complete updated leaderboard following the results from this past weekend.
|1||Greatest Honour||60||Shug McGaughey III||$295,740|
|3||Essential Quality||40||Brad Cox||$1,730,000|
|4||Midnight Bourbon||26||Steve Asmussen||$230,000|
|—||+Drain the Clock||20||Saffie Joseph Jr.||$163,950|
|8||Jackie's Warrior||14||Steve Asmussen||$532,500|
|10||Medina Spirit||14||Bob Baffert||$80,000|
|11||Capo Kane||12||Harold Wyner||$112,500|
|13||Hot Rod Charlie||10||Doug O'Neill||$352,000|
|14||Get Her Number||10||Peter Miller||$186,000|
|15||Sittin On Go||10||Dale Romans||$141,800|
|16||Risk Taking||10||Chad Brown||$137,500|
|17||Candy Man Rocket||10||Bill Mott||$120,000|
|18||Caddo River||10||Brad Cox||$90,000|
|19||Brooklyn Strong||10||Daniel Velazquez||$82,500|
|20||Life Is Good||10||Bob Baffert||$60,000|
|21||Hush of a Storm||10||Bill Morey||$43,710|
|24||O Besos||5||Greg Foley||$16,000|
|—||+Reinvestment Risk||4||Chad Brown||$120,000|
|25||Nova Rags||4||Bill Mott||$76,000|
|26||Super Stock||4||Steve Asmussen||$59,000|
|—||+Ten for Ten||4||Shug McGaughey III||$50,000|
|28||The Great One||4||Doug O'Neill||$40,500|
|—||+Eagle Orb||4||Rudy Rodriguez||$40,000|
|29||Smiley Sobotka||4||Dale Romans||$38,400|
|30||Roman Centurian||4||Simon Callaghan||$20,000|
|31||Like the King||4||Wesley Ward||$18,800|
|32||Gretzky the Great||2||Mark Casse||$218,021|
|33||Arabian Prince||2||Dallas Stewart||$28,063|
|36||Known Agenda||2||Todd Pletcher||$24,000|
|37||Prime Factor||2||Todd Pletcher||$22,200|
|38||Hidden Stash||2||Vicki Oliver||$20,000|
|39||Hold the Salsa||2||Richard Lugovich||$19,125|
|40||Big Thorn||2||Steve Asmussen||$16,000|
|—||+Govenor's Party||2||Daniel Franko||$12,000|
|42||Pickin' Time||1||Kelly Breen||$157,925|
|43||Red Flag||1||John Shirreffs||$72,000|
|—||+Therideofalifetime||1||Ignacio Correas IV||$39,500|
|—||+Boca Boy||1||Cheryl Winebaugh||$24,400|
|44||Santa Cruiser||1||Keith Desormeaux||$19,500|
|—||+Civil War||1||Tom Albertrani||$16,875|
|—||+Royal Number||1||Mike Trombetta||$15,000|
|45||Moonlite Strike||1||Saffie Joseph Jr.||$7,500|
|—||+It's My House||1||James Thomas||$6,000|
|—||+Hard Rye Guy||1||Ian Wilkes||$4,700|
Bold = Update from previously published Leaderboard.
+ = Not Triple Crown Nominated
$ = Late Triple Crown Nominee
Italics = no recent published workout
Strikethrough = Sidelined, inactive or appears to be no longer under serious Kentucky Derby consideration.