Kentucky Derby: Who’s In, Who’s Out Of The Top 20

by | 04.15.2017 | 9:02pm

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

  • Claydog32

    Malagacy won the Rebel , not Girvin

    • RayPaulick

      Thanks. We’ve fixed the error.

  • just an observer

    Liked the way Lookin At Lee finished in the Arkansas Derby. Will need some help to get in

    • Ruffian31

      Agree, excellent effort with all that traffic to get up for 3rd. Think he may be a sleeper on Derby Day if he takes to the track. Shouldn’t take much to get in if any of the three I mentioned above don’t go…which two shouldn’t.

    • Joe

      I agree Lookin at Lea had a rough finish jumped inside outside inside again and still almost caught the leaders. A straight trip I think he wins it.

      • Mr J

        I bet him. He wasnt catching leaders. Passed tired horses

    • Andy in the desert

      Doubtful that he has the winning spirit it takes to finish first. I’ve been following him since the Breeder’s Futurity and he just seems to pick up the pieces.
      I’ve been in this game long enough to notice talented, well bred horses of ability that never the less do not know where the wire is, not have that will to win that seperates true champions, and he fits the mold to a “T”.
      Sucker bet.

  • Figless

    Suggestion, let the connections pick their post positions based on total points earned. That way a top contender doesn’t get stuck in an impossible post.

    • Ky Race Fan

      Makes sense,so I am sure they would not even consider it. CDI makes their own rules,look at the point system.

  • Ruffian31

    If Malagacy and Tapwrit go to the Derby off their poor efforts I’ll be surprised. Thunder Snow is also iffy. So if they don’t go, that allows Sonneteer, Lookin At Lea (who I think may surprise), and Untrapped in.

    • Mr J

      Two Pletcher Derby duds,and wont last the year if they enter.

    • Tom Gaeta

      Tapwrit didn’t need points for the Bluegrass. He has shown the talent to win in May already. Take a look how how well Irish War Cry came back after a dud race in Florida. That performance makes you wonder about Tapwrit and McCraken to do the same on Derby Day.

      • Ruffian31

        Just because a horse has enough points for the Derby doesn’t mean they should run. Tapwrit’s final Blue Grass workout was abysmal and what he showed there transferred over to his lackluster Blue Grass effort. NO horse has ever won the Derby or even placed in the race off such a poor effort in the Blue Grass or other prep prior. What he showed on Blue Grass Day is he does not belong in the Derby. He faded incredibly bad and shouldn’t go to the race. Reminds me of several other Pletcher horses who floundered in both their workouts and final preps and they ran the horse in the Derby anyways, and they were never the same again.

  • Sampan

    I’m anxious to see Thunder Snow IRE in the Ky Derby.
    The last I read, Godolphin was working out the shipping and quarantine details.
    He is certainly a classy horse, Gr1 winner, breaks well, likes to run with the
    pace and has a very good closing kick.
    He won both starts on dirt this year, a Gr3 Mile by 5 ¾ lengths and a Gr2
    1 & 3/16ths Miles by a head.

  • affirmed

    Now that the Kentucky Derby preps are complete.. its now time to do the homework, as every Race Horse that are entered do have their lifetime performances , however this Kentucky Derby 2017′ seems intriguing to me, I just cannot say at this time that I like a certain Race Horse, I have to do more studies, and probably will come up with the horse I like, three weeks to go, however I will await the post positions , and the scratches etc, ..what I have seen .. and its only my observation, there is no super race Horse like California Chrome, or American Pharoah, just Race Horses winning their share of races, qualifying for the Derby., making the points system, and they all seems fragile to me, and while the Derby is the Derby, and will be a great Horse race, I still have to await some factors, eg. the workouts, the training regimen, and overall their lifestory, so its quite a ways for me to say today.. I like this Race Horse, or that race Horse, I do have some time to try finding the Horse I like, and who I think have the Best chance to win the Derby, thats my opinion, while some of my friends have already chosen their Kentucky Derby Race Horse, I told them I am old fashioned, and I am ALSO patient, and probably the day of the Race, is when I will make my decision, and name the Horse I like to win it all., and then make my wager!

  • affirmed

    Now that I have stated my way, trying to find the Horse I will root for in this year’s 2017 Kentucky derby, win or lose, it will be the one I think is capable to win the race,that’s my opinion, and would not try to prove any point, arguing with my friends .. meaning I would respect their opinions and their Choices! . so what about you guys? have you already found your Kentucky Derby Race horse as yet? you dont have to say his name, just reply and say “yes I have found my Derby Race Horse” , however if you say his name, then I might leave my horse for yours and if I were to bet your Horse, then the pools might be lowered, so please dont mention his name now, then again probably we might like the same Race Horse.. that would be great, ” great minds think alike” , and its Horse racing.its all about fun, so I could say I like all the Horses in the Kentucky Derby, which is a valid point., while only one will win, or a dead heat , for first, dead heat for second, and dead heat for third!!!

  • Sampan

    I have some prospects in mind and I only pick 2 each year.
    I don’t decide which 2 until the post positions are drawn.
    I want to see who gets posts 14 and 15 on either side of the gap which might affect a horse.
    Also, to me, the key is loading and here is the procedure:
    KY Derby horses loaded two at a time, from the inside out, starting with #1 and #11.
    #1 & #11 will have the longest time in the gate. #10 & #20 the shortest time in the gate.
    It normally takes about 2 minutes to load 20 horses.
    There are are horses that will be affected by how long or where they are in the gate.

    • David Juffet

      The #1 post is impossible anyway.

      • Sampan

        It’s not impossible.
        It depends on the type of horse and the type of horse in the next 3 stalls to the right.
        Winning Colors, Ferdinand, Citation have won from #1 amongst others over the years..

        • Tiznowbaby

          Winning Colors broke from post 11. Ferdinand is the last horse to win from post 1 in 1986, and that was a 17 horse field. Before that, it was Chateaugauy in 1963 against a 9-horse field. It’s well documented that a 20-horse field means the horse in stall one is squeezed by the inside rail.

          • Sampan

            Thanks, the source I picked it off of had a typo error.
            I don’t totally agree.
            If you have Battle Runner in #1 and Sonneteer in #2 and Gunnervera in #3.
            The latter two wouldn’t be squeezing Battle Runner.

          • Tiznowbaby

            For me, post one is an automatic toss. I will let them beat me. Your mileage may vary. :)

  • gus stewart

    Im thinking its going to be a derby with many horses that seem not able to get the distance, or havent shown great times. I have watched Gormley here in calif since his first race. And yes his sa derby was a little slow in final time and last fraction. But besides him chasing obvious derby favorite in mastery, in race before, then falling apart, his last race is his best. He can be rated easily, he can get the distance, and he is continuing to improve. I think California horses have done well in the last many years in ky derby. Gormley is growing up and getting better, besides me betting him, if hes running and anchoring him,, lol, he is the horse to beat because he chased mastery who would donimate this field. Battle of midway can also rate and if he bounces back will improve also.

    • Sampan

      Gormley has great balance and is a tough competitor.
      Despite being a small horse he can handle the bumping and it doesn’t bother him.

  • affirmed

    question can anyone in this year 2017’Kentucky Derby wire the whole field? or burn himself out, trying to wire the field? lets hear it!!

  • Rene LaVergne

    Are there any journalists on staff? Are there editors at the Paulick Report? Since Saturday I have noticed y’all misspelled Malagacy in 2 different articles. Your opinions can vary, but grammar should be consistent!!!

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