Four horses secured slots in the May 4 Kentucky Derby (G1) this past weekend with first- or second-place finishes in the UAE Derby (G2) and Florida Derby (G1).
Plus Que Parfait (#1, 104 points), who had just four qualifying points from three earlier prep appearances in the U.S., found the Meydan strip in Dubai to his liking when taking the UAE Derby over Gray Magician (#11, 41), who likewise had been a minor player in a previous stateside prep.
The Florida Derby result yielded two new entries on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard in Maximum Security (#3, 100), the ex-claimer who led throughout to win the 1 1/8-mile fixture, and runner-up Bodexpress (#13, 40), who could enter the Churchill Downs classic still a maiden after five starts. Code of Honor (#4, 74) beefed up his point total with a rallying third at Gulfstream, but already had sufficient points following his win in last month's Fountain of Youth (G2).
A huge Saturday of preps is ahead, with the Wood Memorial (G2), Blue Grass (G2), and Santa Anita Derby (G1) on the docket. All will disperse qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers.
The Wood Memorial is expected to feature Haikal (#8, 50), Tacitus (#9, 50), Outshine (#22, 20), and Tax (#24, 12), while the Blue Grass is expected to have a big field that includes Somelikeithotbrown (#21, 20), Signalman (#23, 18), Vekoma (#30, 10), and Win Win Win (#31, 10).
The star attraction of the Santa Anita Derby will be reigning juvenile champion Game Winner (#10, 45), who suffered his first career loss in a division of the Rebel (G2) last month.