Stay up to speed on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with a weekly roundup of all the latest news and developments:
Changes on the Leaderboard
There was good news and bad news on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard last Saturday. On the positive front, Honor A. P. climbed to second place with 120 points following his resounding victory in the Santa Anita Derby (G1), while runner-up Authentic ascended to fourth place with 100 points. Both runners have essentially wrapped up starting berths in the Kentucky Derby.
But these developments were preceded by the disappointing news that Charlatan—a runaway winner in the first division of the Arkansas Derby (G1)—has been sidelined with a filling in his ankle that will require time off. Previously ranked third on the leaderboard with 100 points, Charlatan will miss the Belmont Stakes (G1) and Kentucky Derby, but may return in time to challenge for the Preakness (G1).
Further down the leaderboard, Santa Anita Derby fourth-place finisher Anneau d’Or climbed to 20th place with 22 points. Third-place runner Rushie picked up 20 points and would rank 25th if not for the technicality that he’s not currently nominated to the Triple Crown.
News and Notes
The undefeated Maxfield, winner of the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) and Matt Winn (G3), will skip a start in the Belmont Stakes to target the July 11 Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland instead, with the Kentucky Derby as his long-term target.
Royal Dornoch and New World Tapestry, who rank first and fourth on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, returned to action in England’s historic 2000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket on Saturday. The Aidan O’Brien-trained youngsters finished 10TH and eighth, respectively. It remains to be seen whether these two Triple Crown nominees target a surface switch for the Kentucky Derby.
A total of 22 horses have been made late nominees to the Triple Crown series, including the filly Swiss Skydiver and the promising Cezanne, a $3.65 million auction purchase who decisively won his debut on Saturday at Santa Anita.
On the Work Tab
Basin: Cruised 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 on Wednesday at Churchill Downs.
Candy Tycoon: Breezed a casual half-mile in :49.99 on Wednesday at Palm Beach Downs.
Dr. Post: Took another step toward the Belmont S. when clocking 5 furlongs in 1:01.27 on Friday at Palm Beach Downs.
Eight Rings: Worked an easy 3 furlongs in :38.00 on Thursday at Los Alamitos, his first move since finishing fifth in the Apr. 25 Bachelor S.
Enforceable: After taking off the month of May, the Lecomte (G3) winner returned to the work tab on Saturday at the Casse Training Center, breezing 3 furlongs in :36.40.
Ete Indien: Entered in a Wednesday allowance race at Gulfstream, Ete Indien breezed a half-mile in :48.00 on Saturday at Palm Meadows.
Gouverneur Morris: Blazed 5 furlongs in a bullet :59.95 on Friday at Palm Beach Downs.
Farmington Road: Joined his stablemate Dr. Post on the Friday work tab at Palm Beach Downs, breezing 5 furlongs in 1:01.27.
Finnick the Fierce: Clocked 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 on Saturday at The Thoroughbred Center.
Max Player: Fired off 5 furlongs in a bullet 1:00.60 on Wednesday at Belmont Park.
Modernist: Cranked out 5 furlongs in 1:01.60 over the slow track at Payson Park on Tuesday.
Shivaree: Tuned up for a Wednesday allowance race at Gulfstream by breezing 3 furlongs in :36.23 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Shoplifted: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.60 over the Belmont Park training track on Sunday.
Sole Volante: In preparation for a showdown with Shivaree in Wednesday’s allowance race at Gulfstream, Sole Volante clocked a half-mile in :49.00 on Saturday at Palm Meadows.
Storm the Court: Sprinted 5 furlongs in a snappy 1:00.40 on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Structor: Returned to the work tab on Wednesday following a 2 1/2-week absence, breezing 3 furlongs in an easy :38.40 over the Stonestreet Training track.
Thousand Words: Burned up the Santa Anita main track on Saturday, roaring through 5 furlongs in a bullet :58.60. It was the fastest move of the morning by 0.60, with the second-fastest clockings coming courtesy of Grade 1 winners Combatant and Ollie’s Candy.
Tiz the Law: Gearing up for a start in the Belmont, the early Kentucky Derby favorite sped 5 furlongs in 1:00.53 on Monday at Belmont Park, his first breeze since shipping north from Florida.
Untitled: Worked 4 furlongs in a bullet :47.20 on Tuesday at the Casse Training Center.
Though there aren’t any Road to the Kentucky Derby prep races on the agenda this week, Wednesday’s 9TH race at Gulfstream Park—a one-mile allowance optional claiming event—has drawn a stakes-caliber field as good or better than some of the Derby preps we’ve seen this season.
Among the entries are Fountain of Youth (G2) winner Ete Indien, Sam F. Davis (G3) victor Sole Volante, and Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Shivaree. Assuming all three compete, it’s a race you definitely won’t want to miss.
News and Notes on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks has been extensively modified to compensate for revised racing schedules across the country, and Swiss Skydiver is certainly making the most of the new opportunities. Previously victorious in the Gulfstream Park Oaks (G2) and Fantasy (G3), Swiss Skydiver added the Santa Anita Oaks (G2) to her glowing resume on Saturday, giving the daughter of Daredevil a massive 310 qualification points on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks.
Suffice to say, Swiss Skydiver sits atop the leaderboard and has assured herself a spot in the Kentucky Oaks starting gate. Santa Anita Oaks runner-up Speech has also made solid progress, advancing to seventh place with 60 points, while distant third-place finisher Merneith debuted in 18th place with 20 points to her credit.
Also picking up 20 points on Saturday was Four Graces, who prevailed in the Dogwood (G3) at Churchill Downs to emerge in 16th place on the leaderboard. Though Four Graces has the speed of a sprinter and faded in her lone start beyond 7 furlongs, she’s a daughter of Majesticperfection, who previously sired 2015 Kentucky Oaks champion Lovely Maria. Perhaps Four Graces will mature into a capable two-turn runner as the summer rolls on, but if not, she’ll certainly have a bright future sprinting.