Nadal in lead as Road to the Kentucky Derby series remains in quiet mode

May 11, 2020 Vance Hanson/

Sending two-thirds of his power trio to Oaklawn Park earlier this month for the Arkansas Derby (G1), trainer Bob Baffert walked away with both divisions of the 1 1/8-mile test as both Nadal and Charlatan earned 100 qualifying points toward the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby (G1).

Nadal, who was following up on an earlier score at Oaklawn in the Rebel (G2), now sits atop the leaderboard with 150 points. Charlatan, who comfortably captured the first division of the Arkansas Derby in his stakes debut, currently sits fourth with 100 points.

Wells Bayou, who finished unplaced in the second division, remains in third place. The second division runner-up, Tampa Bay Derby (G1) winner King Guillermo, now sits fifth with 90 points. Others that placed in the Arkansas Derby, Basin and Gouverneur Morris, are currently in the top 20.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby series has entered a relatively lean time with most track and stakes schedules uncertain due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the postponement of the Derby, Churchill Downs had previously announced that point-scoring opportunities would be added during the course of the spring and summer.

The next known prep is Churchill's Matt Winn (G3), a 1 1/16-mile race on May 23 that will offer points of 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers. A potential contender is Maxfield, last year's Breeders' Futurity (G1) winner who was sidelined over the winter due to an ankle chip.

With racing in Southern California tentatively scheduled to resume this week at Santa Anita, the track has penciled in June 6 as the new date of the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby (G1). That race will still carry qualifying points of 100-40-20-10 to the top four and should be the next port of call for the Baffert-trained Authentic, who currently sits eighth on the leaderboard with 60 points.

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