Derby points update: Newgrange gets nothin’

American Sailor
Newgrange won the Southwest Stakes. Photo Coady Photography.

Heavy favorite Newgrange, in his first race outside California, came from off the pace under Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez to score a 1 ½-length victory in the $750,000 Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn Park for 3-year-olds to remain unbeaten in three lifetime starts.

It was a record-tying fifth Southwest victory for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert and his 18th overall in Oaklawn’s four-race Kentucky Derby prep series – all since 2010. Newgrange was exiting a front-running 2 ¾-length victory over stablemate Rockefeller in the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) Jan. 1 at Santa Anita.

Although the Sham and Southwest offered 17 points (10-4-2-1, respectively) to the top four finishers toward starting eligibility for the Kentucky Derby, Newgrange was running for purse money only because of Baffert’s suspension from Churchill Downs. It stems from a possible medication violation involving his 2021 Kentucky Derby winner Medina Spirit. No stewards’ ruling has been issued, but a Feb. 7 hearing is reportedly set.

When Churchill Downs released its official Kentucky Derby leaderboard late Saturday afternoon, Newgrange, instead of topping the list with 20, had zero since Baffert trainees are ineligible to collect Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

“I’m not going to worry about that right now,” Baffert, a record seven-time Kentucky Derby winner, said in a phone interview moments after the Southwest.

Baffert-trained horses have now combined for more than 40 unawarded points. Additionally, two horses that ran in the Springboard Mile at Remington Park and would otherwise have earned points did not receive them because they ran on Lasix.

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In a text message to Oaklawn public relations Sunday morning, Baffert said Newgrange emerged in “great” shape physically from his Southwest victory and would be flown back to his Southern California base Tuesday.

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1Pappacap (FL) / T: Mark Casse / O: Buttonwood Farm Inc.14
2Epicenter (KY) / T: Steve Asmussen / O: Westwind Farms14
3Smile Happy (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Lucky Seven Stable10
4Slow Down Andy (CA) / T: Doug O’Neill / O: Reddam Racing LLC10
5Rattle N Roll (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Lucky Seven Stable10
6Mo Donegal (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Donegal Racing10
7Make It Big (FL) / T: Saffie Joseph Jr. / O: Red Oak Stable10
8Major General (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: WinStar Farm LLC and CHC Inc10
9Jack Christopher (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Jim Bakke, Gerald Isbister, Coolmore Stud & Peter Brant10
10Dash Attack (KY) / T: Kenny McPeek / O: Catalyst Stable, Magdalena Racing, Kevin Pollard & Patty Slevin10
11Courvoisier (KY) / T: Kelly Breen / O: Hill ‘n’ Dale Equine Holdings & James Spry10
12Call Me Midnight (KY) / T: Keith Desormeaux / O: Peter Cantrell10
13Barber Road (KY) / T: John Ortiz / O: WSS Racing LLC8
14Commandperformance (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable6
15Classic Causeway (KY) / T: Brian Lynch / O: Kentucky West Racing LLC & Clarke Cooper6
16Zandon (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Jeff Drown4
17Tough to Tame (KY) / T: Christopher Davis / O: Rittdiculous Gazmanian Stables4
18Tejano Twist (KY) / T: Bret Calhoun / O: Tom Durant4
19Smarten Up (FL) / T: Alfredo Velazquez / O: Happy Tenth Stable4
20Oviatt Class (VA) / T: Keith Desormeaux / O: James Downey4
21Osbourne (KY) / T: Ron Moquett / O: Southern Springs Stables (Ron Moquett), The Estate of Floyd Sagely, Mark Tauber & KeithJohnston4
22Giant Game (KY) / T: Dale Romans / O: West Point Thoroughbreds and William Sandbrook4
23Double Thunder (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Phoenix Thoroughbred III4