Course specialists win European Road to the Kentucky Derby series preps

Mar 06, 2019 Vance Hanson/

The European Road to the Kentucky Derby wound its way through England and Ireland in the span of 20 minutes Tuesday evening, with course specialists winning the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes at Kempton Park and Patton Stakes at Dundalk.

Both the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes and Patton offered qualifying points of 20-8-4-2 to the top four finishers in the European Road to the Kentucky Derby series. The highest point earner in the series will earn an invitation to participate in the Kentucky Derby (G1). 

Jahbath, an odds-on favorite in both England and in the U.S. pools, won for the third time in as many starts at Kempton when taking the Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions Stakes by two lengths under Jim Crowley. Getchagetchagetcha finished second by a half-length over Target Zone, with Chairmanoftheboard a neck behind in fourth.

Owned by Hamdan Al Maktoum and trained by William Haggas, Jahbath paid $2.60 in the U.S. pool and covered one mile on the all-weather track in 1:38.78. A son of Mukhadram, Jahbath has now won four of five starts overall. However, the bay is not currently Triple Crown nominated. The only current nominee in the field, Spanish Mission, finished fifth.

At Dundalk, Playa Del Puente edged Western Australia by a half-length to win the Patton Stakes, also over one mile on the all-weather. Numerian and Van Beethoven finished third and fourth, respectively.

Owned by Huang Kai Wen and trained by Mick Halford, Playa Del Puente covered the course in 1:37.37 under Ronan Whelan and paid $6.40 in the U.S. pool. Third in his debut last August at The Curragh on turf, Playa Del Puente has won his last three in succession at Dundalk.

'The Kentucky Derby wasn't the plan before tonight! I am sure we will have a talk about it, but we have made plans for the horse to ship to Hong Kong in early May,' Halford said.

Like Jahbath, Playa Del Puente is not currently nominated to the Triple Crown. Western Australia, whose run through the stretch was hampered from a bump by tiring leader Colfer Me, and fourth-place finisher Van Beethoven are. The Coolmore-owned duo earned eight points and two points, respectively. Western Australia now has a total of 10 points in the series. Points earned by non-Triple Crown nominees can be retroactively restored once the earners are made nominated.

The final European Road to the Kentucky Derby series prep will take place April 11 at Chelmsford City, England. The Cardinal Condition Stakes will offer qualifying points of 30-12-6-3 to the top four finishers.

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