Okay, racing fans: it's that time of the year. With all the prep races run and three weeks before the big dance, all that's left is watching each of the contenders in the Top 20 on the Derby Leaderboard as they work up to the Run for the Roses. Two of those are late nominees to the Triple Crown; only one of those has so far paid the $200,000 fee. And there are several colts on the cusp of the Top 20, who will also be training toward the first Saturday in May in the case of a late defection.
Still with the most points atop the Kentucky Derby leaderboard is Louisiana Derby and Risen Star Stakes winner Girvin (150), trained by Joe Sharp and owned by Brad Grady. Classic Empire's Arkansas Derby win vaults him to second on the leaderboard with 132 points, trained by Mark Casse and owned by John Oxley. Santa Anita Derby winner Gormley sits in third (125), Blue Grass winner Irap in fourth (113), Wood Memorial winner Irish War Cry in fifth (100), UAE Derby winner Thunder Snow in sixth (100), and Florida Derby winner Always Dreaming in seventh (100).
Rounding out the Top 10 are Gunnevera (84), Practical Joke (74), and J Boys Echo (63).
State of Honor sits in 11th with 62 points, the second for trainer Mark Casse with a chance to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
Conquest Mo Money, trained by Miguel Hernandez, ran an impressive second in the Arkansas Derby to run his points total to 60. The colt was not an early nominee to the Triple Crown, and owners Tom and Sandy McKenna will have to pay $200,000 to get him into the starting gate. In interviews prior to the Arkansas Derby, Tom McKenna indicated that he intends to pay the late nomination fee and run on the first Saturday in May.
Excluding Conquest Mo Money, 12th on the leaderboard is held by Tapwrit (54). He is followed by Malagacy (50, 13th), Hence (50, 14th), and Fast and Accurate (50, 15th).
A total of five colts have 40 points to their name, and, in order of non-restricted stakes earnings, they are: McCraken (16th), Battle of Midway (17th), Patch (18th), Battalion Runner (19th), and Cloud Computing (20th).
Based on that order, should Conquest Mo Money's connections indeed pay the late nomination fee, Cloud Computing would be bumped from the Top 20, barring any defections.
A cutoff of 40 points is the highest since the points system was instituted in 2013. Those colts on the edge of the Top 20 are led by: Untrapped (34), Lookin at Lee (32), Sonneteer (30), Royal Mo (30), and Local Hero (30).
The full list of colts with Derby points can be found here: 20170415 Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard
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