Derby points update: What’s missing here?
In this strangest of Triple Crown prep seasons – and, no, we’re really not kidding (more on that in a moment) – two horses are atop the Derby points leaderboard with 14 each, with a clutch of 10 more just behind with 10.
Pappacap hasn’t won any of the three points races he’s entered, but he’s run well enough in all of them to grab a point here and a point there. Trained by Mark Casse, the Gun Runner colt was the beaten favorite last out when third in the Grade 3 Lecomte at the Fair Grounds.
That netted him two points, and adding that to the eight he earned for being runner-up in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and four he got for another runner-up effort, in the Grade 1 American Pharoah, puts him atop the leaderboard with 14.
He’s joined there by Epicenter. Trained by Steve Asmussen, the son of Not This Time was second in the Lecomte but previously had won the ungraded Gun Runner Stakes at the Fair Grounds.
That there’s a Derby points race named for Gun Runner – decent but forgettable as a three-year-old before becoming the beast everyone remembers at the very end of his sophomore season and especially in the second half of his four-year-old campaign – isn’t the oddest feature of the current Derby trail.
Nor is it that the race named for Gun Runner is a points race though it’s in its very first year of existence and is just a $100,000 contest. You figured that Churchill Downs Inc. would take care of its own, and the Fair Grounds is, of course, one of its own.
- Lightening Larry surprises In Chick LangLightening Larry outdueled favored Cogburn to post a 12-1 upsetin the Grade 3 Chick Lang Stakes Saturday at Pimlico.
That’s in large measure – though not entirely – because of racing’s Bob Baffert problem. Baffert, the seven-time Kentucky Derby winner (unless the somnambulant Kentucky Horse Racing Commission gets around to disqualifying Medina Spirt sometime this century), is prohibited from entering horses in the Derby (or running at any Churchill tracks) this year and next.
And his horses may not earn Derby points.
Thus, the Baffert-trained Corniche, winner of the 20-point Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and 10-point American Pharoah Stakes, has zero points.
Three other Baffert trainees who also would have earned points have zippy, as well. Those include Los Alamitos Futurity runner-up Messier (would have been four points) and show horse Barossa (two), as well as American Pharoah fourth-place finisher Rockefeller (one).
In addition to the Baffert horses, two other runners are pointsless despite finishing in the top four in a points race. Concept and Classic Moment ran third and fourth, respectively, in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park December 17. But because both ran with Lasix, they are ineligible to receive points.
None of this is a particularly sensible way to handle the points system, of course. Maybe it’s just a hiccup on the way to something better and more logical. But then again, this is horse racing, so perhaps it’s best not to get our hopes up.
- The (almost) fabulous fillies of the PreaknessBefore Rachel Alexandra and Swiss Skydiver won the Preakness, these four fillies made a major impact on the Middle Jewel without winning it.
Kentucky Derby points
|1||Pappacap (FL) / T: Mark Casse / O: Buttonwood Farm Inc.||14|
|2||Epicenter (KY) / T: Steve Asmussen / O: Westwind Farms||14|
|3||Smile Happy (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Lucky Seven Stable||10|
|4||Slow Down Andy (CA) / T: Doug O’Neill / O: Reddam Racing LLC||10|
|5||Rattle N Roll (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Lucky Seven Stable||10|
|6||Mo Donegal (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Donegal Racing||10|
|7||Make It Big (FL) / T: Saffie Joseph Jr. / O: Red Oak Stable||10|
|8||Major General (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc||10|
|9||Jack Christopher (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud & Peter Brant||10|
|10||Dash Attack (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Catalyst Stable, Magdalena Racing, Kevin Pollard & Patty Slevin||10|
|11||Courvoisier (KY) / T: Kelly Breen / O: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings & James Spry||10|
|12||Call Me Midnight (KY) / T: Keith Desormeaux / O: Peter Cantrell||10|
|13||Commandperformance (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable||6|
|14||Classic Causeway (KY) / T: Brian Lynch / O: Kentucky West Racing LLC & Clarke Cooper||6|
|15||Zandon (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Jeff Drown||4|
|16||Tough to Tame (KY) / T: Christopher Davis / O: Rittdiculous Gazmanian Stables||4|
|17||Tejano Twist (KY) / T: Bret Calhoun / O: Tom Durant||4|
|18||Smarten Up (FL) / T: Alfredo Velazquez / O: Happy Tenth Stable||4|
|19||Oviatt Class (VA) / T: Keith Desormeaux / O: James Downey||4|
|20||Osbourne (KY) / T: Ron Moquett / O: Southern Springs Stables (Ron Moquett), The Estate of Floyd Sagely, Mark Tauber & KeithJohnston||4|
|21||Giant Game (KY) / T: Dale Romans / O: West Point Thoroughbreds and William Sandbrook||4|
|22||Double Thunder (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Phoenix Thoroughbred III||4|
|23||Barber Road (KY) / T: John Ortiz / O: WSS Racing LLC||4|