The Road to Kentucky Derby 2021 — after 9 prep races

The Road to Kentucky Derby 2021 — after 9 prep races
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

The Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby began, oddly, with Sittin on Go winning the Iroquois Stakes on the Sept 5 undercard of the rescheduled 2020 Kentucky Derby.

With two points races this weekend, we now are nine races into the U.S. preps — 25 percent of the 36 races on the calendar. So far, each of the races has awarded points to the top four finishers on a 10-4-2-1 basis, except the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, at 20-8-4-2. And the biggest races, with the winners getting 50 or 100 points, are yet to come.

This year's path to the first Saturday in May has another quirk: With the U.S. classics phasing out Lasix in 2021, points will not be awarded to horses who run prep races on the medication. That came into play in Friday's Springboard Mile, where three of the top four finishers — including winner Senor Buscador — earned no Derby points.

In Saturday's Derby prep, Bob Baffert's Spielberg surged in the final 100 yards to win by a nose over The Great One in the Los Alamitos Futurity. (Watch and read more here.)

Here's a look at the races so far and the next several on the calendar, with this past weekend's races in bold type. 

Road to the Kentucky Derby - After 9 races

DateRaceTrackDistance1st-4th (points)
9/5IroquoisCD 1 mileSittin On Go (10), Midnight Bourbon (4), Super Stock (2), Therideofalifetime (1)
9/26American PharoahSA 1 1/16 milesGet Her Number (10), Rombauer (4), Spielberg (2), Waspirant (1)
10/3Breeders' FuturityKee 1 1/16 milesEssential Quality (10), Keepmeinmind (4), Super Stock (2), Upstriker (1)
10/10ChampagneBel1 mileJackie's Warrior (10), Reinvestment Risk (4), Midnight Bourbon (2), Civil War (1)
11/6Breeders' Cup JuvenileKee 1 1/16 milesEssential Quality (20), Hot Rod Charlie (8), Keepmeinmind (4), Jackie's Warrior (2)
11/28Kentucky Jockey ClubCD 1 1/16 milesKeepmeinmind (10), Smiley Sobotka (4), Arabian Prince (2), Swill (1)
12/5RemsenAQU1 1/8 milesBrooklyn Strong (10), Ten for Ten (4), Known Agenda (2), Pickin' Time (1)
12/18Springboard MileRP 1 mileSenor Buscador (0), Cowan (4), Red N Wild (0), Saffa's Day (0)
12/19Los Alamitos FuturityLRC1 1/16 milesSpielberg (10), The Great One (4), Petruchio (2), Red Flag (1)
1/1JeromeAQU1 mile 
1/2ShamSA1 mile 
1/16LecomteFG1 1/16 miles 
1/22Smarty JonesOP1 mile 
1/30Holy BullGP1 1/16 miles 
1/30Robert B. LewisSA1 1/16 miles 
1/30WithersAQU1 1/16 miles 
2/6Sam F. DavisTam1 1/16 miles

Note: Senor Buscador (1st), Red N Wild (3rd) and Saffa’s Day (4th) did not accrue points in the Dec. 18 Springboard Mile because they competed with Lasix on race day. 

With two wins on the Derby trail, the Breeders' Futurity and the Breeders' Cup Juvenile, Essential Quality is at the top of the points list with 30 points. He also is the early favorite, at 8-1, in Las Vegas Derby futures. Here are the points totals, with horses who earned points this past weekend in bold.

Road to the Kentucky Derby - Points leaders

RankHorsePtsTrainerStakes earnings*
1Essential Quality30Brad Cox$1,280,000
2Keepmeinmind18Robertino Diodoro$379,040
3Jackie's Warrior12Steve Asmussen$457,500
4Spielberg12Bob Baffert$206,000
5Get Her Number10Peter Miller$186,000
6Sittin On Go10Dale Romans$139,800
7Brooklyn Strong10Daniel Velazquez$82,500
8Hot Rod Charlie8Doug O'Neill$340,000
9Midnight Bourbon6Steve Asmussen$68,000
10Cowan4Steve Asmussen$290,477
11Rombauer4Michael McCarthy$120,500
12Reinvestment Risk4Chad Brown$120,000
13Super Stock4Steve Asmussen$59,000
14Ten for Ten4Shug McGaughey III$50,000
15The Great One4Doug O'Neill$40,500
16Smiley Sobotka4Dale Romans$38,400
17Arabian Prince2Dallas Stewart$24,063
18Petruchio2Richard Mandella$24,000
19Known Agenda2Todd Pletcher$18,000
20Pickin' Time1Kelly Breen$153,125
21Red Flag1John Shirreffs$72,000
22Therideofalifetime1Ignacio Correas IV$39,500
23Upstriker1Ron Moquett$20,000
24Waspirant1John Shirreffs$18,000
25Civil War1Tom Albertrani$15,000
26Swill1Brad Cox$9,600

*Non-restricted stakes earnings

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