Keeneland Presents American Graded Stakes Standings: March Madness
The NCAA men’s college basketball tournament is upon us, and many people across the country have a strong case of ‘March Madness’.
Like basketball, horse racing, too, has a version of March Madness – the time of year when 3-year-old colts are trying to earn enough points to qualify for their own championship game – the Kentucky Derby.
Just as a basketball fan is always told ‘never overlook any team coached by Tom Izzo’ in March, racing fans should never underestimate any colt trained by ‘The Coach,’ D. Wayne Lukas.
The most significant change in the American Graded Stakes Standings this week occurred on the trainers list, in which four of the top five conditioners are members of the Hall of Fame. Once again, Todd Pletcher, Bob Baffert, and Bill Mott held down the top three places on the list. The major move came from ‘The Coach’, who notched yet another graded stakes win this season when Will Take Charge caught stablemate Oxbow near the wire to win the G2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park.
The victory earned Will Take Charge 50 points to vault him to the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby point standings. Runner-up Oxbow also captured 20 points and moved into sixth place. Fourth in the AGS trainers standings, Lukas has three individual winners and four wins on the year.
Joyful Victory’s dominating performance in the G1 Santa Margarita Stakes moved her sire, Tapit, into sole possession of first place on the sire list this week. The son of Pulpit has produced four individual stakes winners so far this year. In addition to Joyful Victory, Tapit is the sire of graded stakes winners Tapicat, Honorable Dillon, and Flashback.
The victory by Aubby K in the G2 Inside Information Stakes provided jockey Edgar Prado with his fifth graded stakes win of the season, moving him into a tie with Joe Talamo. The Hall of Fame rider has been on fire of late, winning stakes races with Graydar, Starformer, Kitten’s Point, and Rydilluc.