Provided he remains healthy and competitive, Bravazo (#1, 54 points) virtually assured himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby (G1) starting field by a few inches over Snapper Sinclair (#4, 22) in last Saturday's Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds.

The first "Championship Prep" in the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, the Risen Star awarded 50 Derby qualifying points to the winner, and Bravazo took full advantage winning by the narrowest of margins. He's a homebred racing for Calumet Farm, which has campaigned a record eight Kentucky Derby winners.

On Monday, My Boy Jack (#13, 12) and Combatant (#14, 12) ran one-two in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park, the final 10-points-to-the-winner prep for the Kentucky Derby. The favorite in the race, Mourinho (#15, 11), garnered a single point for his fourth-place finish.

Saturday's El Camino Real Derby (G3) at Golden Gate Fields was won by the filly Paved against the boys, but she did not accrue qualifying points having not been an original Triple Crown nominee. She could be supplemented at a later stage, but reportedly will be aimed for non-Derby qualifying races in the interim.

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby series concluded Sunday with the Hyacinth Stakes at Tokyo. The race was won by Sumahama, who gets first call at the reserved Kentucky Derby slot for the winner of the series. Ruggero and Taiki Ferveur would be next, in that order, if the connections of Sumahama pass on the invitation.

Eighteen domestic slots for the Kentucky Derby field are available should the winners of the Japan and European Road to the Kentucky Derby series participant. The next prep on the schedule is the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park on March 3, which awards 50 points to the winner.

(Hodges Photography)