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
Tiz the Law extended his lead in the Road to the Kentucky Derby qualification rankings with a decisive triumph in the Belmont Stakes (G1), setting up the son of Constitution for a chance to sweep the restructured Triple Crown. With 272 points to his credit, the three-time Grade 1 winner has locked up a spot in the Derby starting gate while emerging as a clear early favorite to win the roses.
Belmont Stakes runner-up Dr Post ran admirably in his Road to the Kentucky Derby debut, earning 60 points to join the leaderboard in eighth place. Withers (G3) winner Max Playerlikewise turned in a game effort to rally and finish third, jumping to 12th place with 40 points. Even fourth-place finisher Pneumatic managed to squeeze into the Road to the Kentucky Derby Top 20, advancing into the final slot with 25 points.
Meanwhile, halfway around the world, Cafe Pharoah seized an overwhelming lead on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with a runaway victory in the Unicorn (G3) at Tokyo Racecourse. Previously victorious in the Hyacinth, Cafe Pharoah has secured 70 points, which will almost certainly be enough to earn a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
Cattleya Sho winner Dieu du Vin rallied strongly to finish second in the Unicorn and currently ranks second on the local leaderboard with 26 points, though even a victory in the July 8 Japan Dirt Derby—the final leg of the series—would be insufficient to leapfrog Dieu du Vin past Cafe Pharoah in the rankings. Fukuryu winner Herrschaft technically sits between them with 40 points, but the son of Will Take Charge has not been nominated to the Triple Crown.
News and Notes
The summer stakes schedule for Saratoga was announced last week, prompting the addition of two new races to the Road to the Kentucky Derby lineup. The July 16 Peter Pan (G3) will start the ball rolling with 50-20-10-5 points at stake for the top four finishers, while the Aug. 8 Travers (G1) will double the prize and award 100-40-20-10 points to the main players.
The Travers is the stated goal for Tiz the Law, who will use the historic 1 1/4-mile “Midsummer Derby” as his final prep for the Kentucky Derby.
On the Work Tab
Anneau d’Or: Clocked 3 furlongs in :36.80 over the Golden Gate Fields Tapeta track on Sunday.
Authentic: Aiming for a start in the July 18 Haskell Invitational (G1), the Santa Anita Derby (G1) runner-up returned to the work tab with a half-mile in :49.00 over the Santa Anita training track on Monday.
Basin: Took to a muddy track on Monday at Churchill Downs and breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.80.
Cezanne: Worked 5 furlongs in 1:01.80 on Monday at Santa Anita.
Eight Rings: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01.20 on Friday at Los Alamitos.
Enforceable: Cranked out 5 furlongs in a bullet :59.00 on Friday at the Casse Training Center, another sharp workout leading up to the July 11 Blue Grass (G2).
Honor A. P.: Eleven days after winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1), Honor A. P. returned to the work tab with an easy half-mile in :53.40 on Wednesday at Santa Anita.
Mystic Guide: Clocked 6 furlongs in 1:13.60 on Sunday at Fair Hill.
Rushie: Cruised an easy half-mile in :52.00 on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Shivaree: Worked 4 furlongs in :50.12 on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.
Storm the Court: Worked 6 furlongs in a bullet 1:12.00 on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Structor: Recently transitioned from the Stonestreet Training track to the Saratoga training track, where he breezed a modest 3 furlongs in :39.67 on Saturday.
Thousand Words: Continues to train forwardly at Santa Anita, clocking 6 furlongs in 1:13.20 on Saturday at Santa Anita.
Uncle Chuck: Exciting debut winner worked a half-mile in :48.60 on Monday at Santa Anita.
News and Notes on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks took a major turn on Saturday when Gamine obliterated her rivals in the one-mile Acorn (G1), dominating by 18 3/4 lengths in the blazing stakes-record time of 1:32.55. This resounding victory earned the undefeated Bob Baffert trainee 50 qualification points, placing her 12th on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks leaderboard. Just as importantly, it demonstrated Gamine’s ability to compete with aplomb against Grade 1 company, stamping the daughter of Into Mischief as a major threat to win the Oaks.
Distant Acorn runner-up Pleasant Orb debuted in 17th place on the leaderboard with 20 points, while third-place finisher Water White (fifth place, 64 points) and fourth-place runner Lucrezia (ninth place, 55 points) added mildly to their totals.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues on Saturday with the $500,000 Ohio Derby (G3) presented by TwinSpires at Thistledown. The 1 1/8-mile race will award qualification points to the top four finishers on a 20-8-4-2 basis, and while the field is still in flux, reigning champion 2-year-old Storm the Court is among the expected starters. Louisiana Derby (G2) runner-up Ny Traffic could also join the fray.