With two weekends to go and five preps in the Road to the Kentucky Derby Series remaining, an interesting question is how many more horses Todd Pletcher can get qualified for the big race.
On Saturday, the Pletcher barn saw two colts that had never run in a stakes before, Always Dreaming (#3, 100 points) and Patch (#11, 40), both virtually make the Derby field, joining stablemates Tapwrit (#6, 54) and Malagacy (#8, 50) as for-sure inclusions if the race were held today. And let's not forget One Liner (#30, 10), the explosive winner of the Southwest (G3), who still has another prep remaining next week.
Always Dreaming ran away from his rivals to take the Florida Derby (G1), while the one-eyed Patch rallied late to finish second in the TwinSpires.com Louisiana Derby (G2) to Girvin (#1), who, while not trained by Pletcher, has now secured 150 points. That's potentially the highest total any horse will bring into the Derby. Theoretically, only Tapwrit, J Boys Echo (#7, 53) and Malagacy (#8, 50) could equal or surpass that mark.
The Kentucky Derby lost a contender this week when El Areeb, who took the Jerome (G3) and Withers (G3) before finishing third in the Gotham (G3) came out of workout Wednesday with an injury that should sideline him until fall. He had earned 30 points was preparing for the Wood Memorial (G2).
This upcoming Saturday's preps can give more clarity to the Derby picture on a variety of fronts. In addition to the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland and the Santa Anita Derby (G1) will be held.This weekend’s trio of qualifiers and their stakes-laden undercards can be viewed and wagered-on atTwinSpires.com.