Derby points update: Newgrange gets nothin’
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.
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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.
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.
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||Barber Road (KY) / T: John Ortiz / O: WSS Racing LLC||8|
|14||Commandperformance (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable||6|
|15||Classic Causeway (KY) / T: Brian Lynch / O: Kentucky West Racing LLC & Clarke Cooper||6|
|16||Zandon (KY) / T: Chad Brown / O: Jeff Drown||4|
|17||Tough to Tame (KY) / T: Christopher Davis / O: Rittdiculous Gazmanian Stables||4|
|18||Tejano Twist (KY) / T: Bret Calhoun / O: Tom Durant||4|
|19||Smarten Up (FL) / T: Alfredo Velazquez / O: Happy Tenth Stable||4|
|20||Oviatt Class (VA) / T: Keith Desormeaux / O: James Downey||4|
|21||Osbourne (KY) / T: Ron Moquett / O: Southern Springs Stables (Ron Moquett), The Estate of Floyd Sagely, Mark Tauber & KeithJohnston||4|
|22||Giant Game (KY) / T: Dale Romans / O: West Point Thoroughbreds and William Sandbrook||4|
|23||Double Thunder (KY) / T: Todd Pletcher / O: Phoenix Thoroughbred III||4|