Classic Empire was always going to remain atop this week’s Kentucky Derby (G1) leader board regardless of his performance in last weekend’s Holy Bull (G2). However, the juvenile champion and early Derby favorite showed plenty of vulnerability when beaten more than eight lengths by Irish War Cry.
Classic Empire’s third-place effort was worth two points, pushing his total to 32, while Irish War Cry entered the leader board for the first time at #8 with his 10-point victory. Holy Bull runner-up Gunnevera moved up several spots to #4 with 14 points.
Jumping up to second on the leader board was El Areeb, who added Saturday’s Withers (G3) to his earlier 10-point score in the Jerome (G3). The gray, Laurel-based colt might not be seen again until early April when the Wood Memorial (G2), worth 100 points to the winner, is renewed at Aqueduct.
Owners Jerry & Ann Moss and trainer John Shirreffs now have two Derby prospects in the top 20 after Royal Mo’s win in Saturday’s Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita. The lightly-raced son of Uncle Mo entered the leader board at #13 and, if he stays in Southern California, is sure to hook up at some point with stablemate Gormley during the prep season.
This week’s lone Derby prep is the $250,000 Sam F. Davis (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs, a prelude to next month’s Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Among those looking to make a move up the leader board are McCraken (#11) and No Dozing (#17). The race is worth 10 points to the winner.
(Adam Coglianese Photography)