News and STORIES

Kentucky Derby Prep Schedule

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Tuesday March 16, 2021
The run for the roses may be six weeks away and but Derby picture will be complete in the next four. Over the next few weeks, Derby points will be available across the country. This week, 100 points will be on the line in the Grade 2 Twinspires Louisiana Derby. The following is a breakdown of the next 4 weekends: 

Upcoming Prep RaceTrackDatePoints (1st-2nd-3rd-4th)
Louisiana DerbyFair Grounds3/27100-40-20-10
Jeff Ruby StakesTurfway Park3/27

100-40-20-10

Florida DerbyGulfstream Park3/27100-40-20-10
UAE DerbyMeydan Racehouse3/27100-40-20-10
Fukurya (Japan)Nakayama3/2740-16-8-8
Cardinal Condition (England)Chelmsford City4/130-12-6-3
Blue Grass StakesKeeneland4/3100-40-20-10
Santa Anita DerbySanta Anita4/3100-40-20-10
Wood MemorialAqueduct4/3100-40-20-10
Arkansas DerbyOaklawn4/10100-40-20-10

Contenders

This year, as it stands today, four horses stand out from the crowd. With ten preps remaining, the list is subject to change with each race. 

  1. Concert Tour: Bob Baffert’s Robin may in fact be his Batman after last weekend’s Rebel performance. The Street Sense colt outbroke race favorite Caddo River and never looked back winning under wraps with jockey Joel Rosario. He has natural speed and he can rate. Couple his ability with Baffert comparing his Rebel performance with the likes of American Pharoah, Concert Tour has the tools to be my Derby favorite. Gary and Mary West look to win their 2nd Derby (I still acknowledge Maximum Security’s victory).  The three year old passed his two-turn test with flying colors and will look towards the Arkansas Derby (4/3). 
  2. Life is Good: Baffert’s other horse closed Kentucky Derby pool 4 as the overwhelming 2-1 favorite. And from what we have seen on the track, its hard to argue. The Into Mischief colt broke his maiden at Del Mar in the fall and then proceeded dominate the G3 Sham and G2 San Felipe at Santa Anita. The only knock on him is who has he faced and defeated. He was tiring down the lane in the Sham under no pressure and faced no pressure in the San Felipe. He may be the fastest 3-year-old in training, but I want to see him tested before I anoint him Derby king. He is pointed towards the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby (4/3). 
  3. Essential Quality: Brad Cox trained, undefeated two-year-old champion, Essential Quality is a two-time Grade 1 winner has done nothing wrong in his four-race career. Most people fall victim to recency bias and with only one start this year, people are overlooking the champ. He has won going short and long and over fast and wet tracks.  He looks to give Godolphin its first Derby winner. His next start will come in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland (4/3). 
  4. Greatest Honour: He spent his 2-year-old campaign in New York running behind the likes of Caddo River (favorite in last weekend’s Rebel) at both Saratoga and Belmont. Tried two turns at Aqueduct before taking his talents to South Florida. The Tapit colt by Tiffany’s Honour has flourished in the sunshine state. Since breaking his maiden in December, Greatest Honour has gone on to destroy the competition in both the G3 Holy Bull and G2 Fountain of Youth. This horse has a big chance in May, especially if the pace unfolds in front of him. 

Needs Improvement 

  1. Mandoulin: Brad Cox trained the winner of the G2 Risen star last out at Fair Grounds, will need to show dominant effort in Louisiana Derby to catch the contenders. 
  2. Dream Shake: Not ready to give up on this lightly raced Twirling Candy colt. Impressive maiden victory but was up the track last out against Life Is Good. Will need to show much more in Santa Anita Derby. 
  3. Prevalence: Big maiden effort at Gulfstream, curious why he ran back on a Thursday Allowance at Gulfstream Park. Appears to be looking for a softer spot than Florida Derby. Is rumored to be looking at Wood Memorial or Blue Grass Stakes (4/3). 

Pretenders 

  1. Caddo river: I hate counting out Brad Cox but this colt underperformed against better last out at Oaklawn. 
  2. Helium: Tampa Bay winner, nuff said
  3. Weyburn: 46-1 winner of the Gotham appears to need a miracle to catch the group in front of him. New York racing in the winter/spring has fallen from grace in recent memory. Hard to see this one changing the trend. 
  4. All others: Someone will need to make a loud statement to catch the four at the top. This year’s Derby is not very deep but loaded with superstars at the top. Stay tuned in recent weeks for updates to the list. 

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