The field for the 2018 Kentucky Derby (G1) is nearly set following major preps last weekend in New York, Kentucky, and California.
With victories in the Wood Memorial (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1), respectively, Vino Rosso (#4, 107 points) and Justify (#8, 100), respectively, earned a spot in the Derby lineup. For the lightly-raced Justify it was his one opportunity to make the field, and the Bob Baffert trainee passed the test decisively while firming up a position as the likely Derby favorite.
Meanwhile, juvenile champion Good Magic (#1, 134) shot back up to the top of the point standings with a victory in the Blue Grass (G2) at Keeneland. Also securing a berth in the starting gate was Flameaway (#9, 70) and Free Drop Billy (#15, 44), second and third, respectively, in the Blue Grass.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby series concludes Saturday with the Arkansas Derby (G1), which awards the top four finishers 100-40-20-10 points, and the Lexington (G3), which awards points of 20-8-4-2.
While horses like Magnum Moon (#12, 50) and Quip (#14, 50) are safely in the Derby lineup regardless of how they perform in the Arkansas Derby, "bubble" horses like Solomini (#19, 34), Combatant (#24, 22), Dream Baby Dream (#27, 20) and My Boy Jack (#21, 22) (who runs in the Lexington) will need strong efforts this weekend to make the field.
Depending on the outcome of the Arkansas Derby and Lexington, current horses in the field could turn into "bubble" horses. Among these are Florida Derby (G1) runner-up Hofburg (#17, 40) and the New York-based Firenze Fire (#18, 39), who ran fourth in the Wood Memorial.
(Holly Smith photo)