It took nine races to eliminate 98% of those who started, but just one race to eliminate 98% of the remaining 2%, and only one man left standing on the TwinSpires.com Road to the Kentucky Derby SHOWdown competition.

Steve Metzler of Louisville is the only remaining player from the 2,297 who started down the road to $1-million 7 weeks and 11 races ago. Fifty were alive going into the Spiral Stakes on Saturday but only Steve survived that widowmaker thanks to We Miss Artie.

“I’m really surprised to be the last man standing because there were 50 people going into [the Spiral], and I figured more than me would have had the winner,” Metzler said. “I was shocked, but I hope it keeps working out.”

Metzler said he landed on We Miss Artie because of his Polytrack success winning the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity last year at Keeneland and Racing Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez coming in for the mount.

“I figured Johnny V. wouldn’t waste a Saturday if he weren’t on a live mount,” Metzler said.

He then picked the winner of the Sunland Derby to remain alone atop the leaderboard. Fifty-nine other players are tied for second with 10 correct, and it’s a 160-way tie for 61st with nine correct. I would be one of 193 in 221st place with 8 correct.

The good news for Steve is that he’s closer to the $1-million now than he was when this journey began, and if you can pick 11 show horses in seven weeks, then you can do nine in six weeks.

The bad news is that the fields figure to get deeper as horses attempt to score in the 185-point races that make up the next seven tests starting early Saturday with the U.A.E. Derby.

“This weekend is going to be tough because I don’t know a lot about Dubai, so that will be a tough race to determine,” Metzler said. “Guess I’ll have to wake up pretty early.”

The game concludes with the Lexington Stakes to settle the final leaderboard and potential shares and the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands to vest those shares and possibly earn Steve $1-million.

Seeing as Steve has outperformed more than 2,000 players to date, even I don’t have the ego to offer him any advice, so I’ll just say good luck from all of us here at TwinSpires. The only thing bigger than that check we want to give away would be our pride in Steve’s accomplishment.

“It’ll be interesting especially with the pressure building since I’m the only one but looking forward to seeing how it plays out,” Metzler said.