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
The exciting Uncle Chuck brought his career record to a perfect 2-for-2 with a resounding four-length victory in Saturday’s Los Alamitos Derby (G3) at Los Alamitos, earning 20 qualification points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. Conditioned by five-time Kentucky Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, Uncle Chuck has debuted in 21st place on the leaderboard, but will need one more strong run in a Derby prep race to lock up a slot in the Churchill Downs starting gate.
Uncle Chuck’s stablemate Thousand Words, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) and Robert B. Lewis (G3), rallied to finish a distant second in the Los Alamitos Derby. With a total of 33 points to his credit, the son of Pioneerof the Nile sits in 15th place. Cosmo finished third in the Los Alamitos Derby to secure four points but is not currently nominated to the Triple Crown, while Great Power trailed the field and picked up two points to rank 32nd.
On the Work Tab
Art Collector: Blue Grass (G2) candidate took to the Churchill Downs main track on Saturday and cranked out a half-mile in :48.80.
Attachment Rate: Breezed 5 furlongs in 1:00.80 on Saturday at Churchill Downs.
Authentic: In preparation for the Haskell (G1), the San Felipe (G2) winner turned in a stamina-building workout on Saturday at Santa Anita, traversing a full mile in 1:39.
Basin: A contender for the Blue Grass, the 2019 Hopeful (G1) winner clocked a half-mile in :50.20 on Monday at Keeneland.
Candy Tycoon: Traveled 5 furlongs in 1:02.12 over the Saratoga training track on Wednesday.
Dr Post: Belmont Stakes (G1) runner-up returned to the Belmont Park training track on Sunday with a half-mile in :49.00.
Eight Rings: On Friday at Santa Anita, last year’s American Pharoah (G1) winner blazed a bullet 5 furlongs in :58.60.
Enforceable: Wrapped up his preparations for the Blue Grass by cruising a half-mile in :49.60 at the Casse Training Center on Friday.
Finnick the Fierce: Completed his serious pre-race training for the Blue Grass by rocketing a bullet half-mile in :46.20 on Saturday at Keeneland.
Honor A. P.: Santa Anita Derby (G1) winner took a step toward the Shared Belief S. when casually working 5 furlongs in 1:02 on Saturday, his first breeze since shipping to Del Mar.
King Guillermo: Runaway Tampa Bay Derby (G2) winner burned up the Gulfstream Park main track with 4 furlongs in :47.11 on Saturday, the fastest of 118 morning workouts at that distance by 0.45 seconds.
Max Player: In his first work since finishing third in the Belmont Stakes, the Withers (G3) winner clocked a half-mile in :49.00 on Sunday at Belmont.
Mischevious Alex: Bounced back from a disappointing effort in the Woody Stephens (G1) to work a half-mile in :50.01 on Friday at Parx Racing.
Modernist: Worked 4 furlongs in :49.34 on Sunday at Belmont Park.
Mr. Big News: Preparing for a start in the Blue Grass, the Oaklawn S. winner breezed 5 furlongs in 1:01.40 on Thursday at Churchill Downs.
Mystic Guide: Cruised a half-mile in :48.60 on Sunday at Fair Hill.
Ny Traffic: Flew through 5 furlongs in:58.64 on Sunday at Gulfstream, easily the quickest time of the morning.
Rushie: Santa Anita Derby third-place finisher will contest the Blue Grass and wrapped up his preparations for Keeneland’s signature race by breezing 5 furlongs in 1:00.40 at Del Mar on Sunday.
Shivaree: Florida Derby (G1) runner-up will target the Blue Grass, and to that end, he clocked 5 furlongs in 1:01.65 on Saturday at Gulfstream.
Tiz the Law: Belmont Stakes winner returned to the Belmont Park work tab with a half-mile in :50.06 on Wednesday.
News and Notes on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks took a major twist on Saturday with the running of the Delaware Oaks (G3), which saw 38-1 longshot Project Whiskey battle to a tenacious victory over Dream Marie. Trained by Robert Reid for the partnership of Cash is King and LC Racing, Project Whiskey picked up 50 qualification points, but isn’t nominated to the Kentucky Oaks and will have to be supplemented to claim her spot on the leaderboard.
Dream Marie had every chance to win, but settled for the runner-up spot following a long stretch drive. Third in the Davona Dale (G2) during the winter at Gulfstream, Dream Marie has accumulated 30 points, placing her 14th on the leaderboard. Princess Cadey (10 points) and Piece of My Heart (5 points) rounded out the Delaware Oaks superfecta, though like the winner, neither filly is nominated to the Kentucky Oaks.
The Road to the Kentucky Oaks continues throughout the coming week with the Indiana Oaks (G3) at Indiana Grand on Wednesday, the Beaumont (G3) at Keeneland on Friday, and the Ashland (G1) at Keeneland on Saturday. The first two will award points on a 20-8-4-2 basis to the top four finishers, while the Ashland will quintuple the stakes to 100-40-20-10.
A bevy of Kentucky Derby prep races will be contested around the globe this week, beginning with the 2,000-meter Japan Dirt Derby (G1) on Wednesday at Oi Racecourse. The final stop on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, the race has attracted 13 starters led by Cafe Pharoah, who has already stamped his Derby credentials with impressive victories in the Hyacinth and Unicorn (G3). The Japan Dirt Derby will award qualification points on a 40-16-8-4 basis, though none of Cafe Pharoah’s dozen challengers are mathematically capable of surpassing him on the local leaderboard.
Also on Wednesday is the 1 1/8-mile Indiana Derby (G3) at Indiana Grand, worth 20-8-4-2 points to the top four finishers. The field is competitive with 10 runners in the mix, including Road to the Kentucky Derby veterans Major Fed (30 points, 17th place) and Winning Impression (10 points, 26th place).
The highlight of the week is Saturday’s Blue Grass at Keeneland, a lucrative prize awarding points on a 100-40-20-10 basis. At least a dozen horses are under consideration for the 1 1/8-mile race, including Basin, Shivaree, Enforceable, and Finnick the Fierce, all of them ranked in the Top 20 on the latest leaderboard.
The action-packed week will conclude with the Ballysax (G3), a 1 5/16-mile fixture held over the all-weather track at Dundalk in Ireland. The final leg of the European Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Ballysax will split 51 points on a 30-12-6-3 basis among the top four finishers. Should a Triple Crown nominee finish first or second, they’ll likely vault to the top of the leaderboard.