TRIPLE CROWN UPDATE: UPSETS ROIL THE WATERS
Four horses that had not earned a single Kentucky Derby point entering this past weekend did so on Saturday, and three of them are in position to run on the first Saturday in May.
That number includes Bourbonic, the 72-1 upset winner of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and that race’s runner-up Dynamic One, both trained by Todd Pletcher, It also includes Santa Anita Derby winner Rock Your World.
Bourbonic, who had to drop down into the maiden claiming ranks to earn his diploma, had been a well-beaten second in his prior start in an allowance at Parx Racing, finishing four lengths in arrears of Market Maven. But he turned the tables on that rival Saturday, closing stoutly to nail stablemate Dynamic One at the wire while Market Maven, who led early, faded to eighth.
Bourbonic, a Bernardini colt, now has 100 points, which will easily land him in Louisville assuming his owner, Calumet Farm, wants to do so.
Dynamic One now has 40 points, which ties him with several others with the lowest score that would qualify for a spot if all runners go forward.
There are two races left on the Derby trail, both next weekend. The Arkansas Derby offers 100 points to the winner, with 40 to second, 20 for third, and 10 for fourth. The Lexington, at Keeneland, offers 20 points to the winner and correspondingly reduced amounts to the rest of the horses who hit the board.
The Santa Anita Derby, which also took place Saturday, also saw an upset winner, though nothing of the magnitude of Bourbonic’s stunner. There, the John Sadler-trained Rock Your World took control early and drew away to a four-length win over 4-5 favorite Medina Spirit.
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Rock Your World, a son of Candy Ride who had no prior Derby points, earned 100 points and maintained his spotless, three-for-three record. Next stop for him will be the Kentucky Derby, his trainer said.
Likewise for runner-up Medina Spirit. The Bob Baffert trainee earned 40 points and now has 74 total, easily enough to make the field. Baffert also has the undefeated Concert Tour in position to make the field; he has 50 points.
Baffert will need a big effort from Hozier in the Arkansas Derby to send a trio to Kentucky. He was second – behind Concert Tour – in the Grade 2 Rebel and has 20 points. A one-two finish there would secure him a spot in Louisville, as well.
The weekend’s real throwdown, though, came in Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes. There, two-year-old champ Essential Quality ran down Highly Motivated late to win by a neck. Both runners look like the real deal; after a modest opening half-mile, they put down back-to-back sub-24 second quarters in the 1 1/8-mile test and finished more than five ahead of the rest.
Essential Quality, a son of Tapit trained by Brad Cox for Godolphin, has won all five of his career starts and has 140 points.
It was the best performance of Highly Motivated’s career to date. The Chad Brown trainee has two wins from five career starts with 50 points in the bank – enough to get him to Louisville.
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PREP RACE REPLAYS AND STANDINGS
|1||Essential Quality (KY) / T: Brad Cox / O: Godolphin||140|
|2||Hot Rod Charlie (KY) / T: Doug O’Neill / O: Roadrunner Racing, Boat Racing LLC, and William Strauss||110|
|3||Like the King (KY) / T: Wesley Ward / O: M Racing Group LLC||104|
|4||Known Agenda (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: St Elias Stable||102|
|5||Rock Your World (KY) / T: John Sadler / O: Hronis Racing LLC and Talla Racing LLC||100|
|6||Rebels Romance (IRE) / T: Charles Appleby / O: Godolphin LLC||100|
|7||Bourbonic (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Calumet Farm||100|
|8||Greatest Honour (KY) / T: Shug McGaughey / O: Courtlandt Farms||80|
|9||Medina Spirit (FL) / T: Bob Baffert / O: Zedan Racing Stables Inc.||74|
|10||Midnight Bourbon (KY) / T: Steve Asmussen / O: Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC||66|
|11||Weyburn (Ontario) / T: James Jerkens / O: Chiefswood Stables Lt.d||60|
|12||Life Is Good (KY) / T: Bob Baffert / O: CHC Inc. and WinStar Farm LLC||60|
|13||Mandaloun (KY) / T: Brad Cox / O: Juddmonte Farms Inc.||52|
|14||Highly Motivated (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Klaravich Stables Inc.||50|
|15||Helium (KY) / T: Mark Casse / O: D J Stable LLC||50|
|16||Concert Tour (KY) / T: Bob Baffert / O: Gary West and Mary West||50|
|17||Soup and Sandwich (FL) / T: Mark Casse / O: Live Oak Plantation||40|
|18||Sainthood (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc||40|
|19||Panadol (NY) / T: Salem bin Ghadayer / O: Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed al Maktoum||40|
|20||Dynamic One (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Repole Stable, St. Elias Stable, and Phipps Stable||40|
|21||Crowded Trade (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Klaravich Stables Inc.||40|
|22||Rombauer (KY) / T: Michael McCarthy / O: John & Diane Fradkin||34|
|23||Proxy (KY) / T: Michael Stidham / O: Godolphin Racing||34|
|24||Hidden Stash (KY) / T: Victoria Oliver / O: BBN Racing LLC||32|
|25||Dream Shake (KY) / T: Peter Eurton / O: Exline-Border Racing LLC, SAF Racing and Richard Hausman||30|