Uncle Mo, the flashy unbeaten winner of the Grey Goose Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs in November, enters this year’s 3-year-old season atop the Graded Stakes Earnings list that will likely determine the participants in the field for the 137th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 7. 

The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975, and graded stakes earnings accumulated in prestigious races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” have determined the field for the 1 ¼-mile classic since 1986.

Sixty-two North American graded stakes events for juveniles are in the books – 35 for colts and geldings or open company and another 27 for fillies – and Uncle Mo, the champion Two-Year-Old Male for 2010 campaigned by Michael Repole, the president and co-founder of Vitaminwater and Smartwater maker Glaceau, heads the early list with $1.26 million in earnings. In addition to his convincing 4 ¼-length triumph in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Churchill Downs, the unbeaten son of Indian Charlie ran away from the field to win the Grade I Champagne at Belmont Park by 4 ¾ lengths. He also won his August debut at Saratoga by 14 ¼ lengths. 

Uncle Mo, a bay colt bred by Dr. D. Michael Cavey of Respite Farm in Paris, Ky., resumed serious training Jan. 30 at Palm Meadows Training Center in South Florida, and breezed four furlongs Sunday in :47.45 – his third workout of the year. Trainer Todd Pletcher, who captured his first Kentucky Derby last year with Super Saver, says Uncle Mo is likely to launch his 3-year-old campaign in the Grade II, $300,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 12. The 1 1/16-mile race would likely serve as a steppingstone to Aqueduct’s Grade I, $750,000 Wood Memorial at 1 1/8 miles on April 9 – four weeks in advance of Kentucky Derby 137.

In addition to Uncle Mo, the first Graded Stakes Earnings Top 20 includes Gourmet Dinner ($700,000), Boys At Tosconova ($532,060), J P’s Gusto ($490,000), Comma to the Top ($456,000), the filly Turbulent Descent ($295,550), Soldat ($270,000), Rogue Romance ($258,000), Dialed In ($240,000), Clubhouse Ride ($210,000), To Honor and Serve ($210,000), Decisive Moment ($200,000), Jaycito ($200,000), Santiva ($180,254), Anthony’s Cross ($162,000), Riveting Reason ($147,500), Blue Laser ($143,502), Willcox Inn ($139,000), Silver Medallion ($124,334), Brethren ($120,000) and Sweet Ducky ($120,000).

On Saturday, Daily Racing Form reported that Boys At Tosconova, the runner-up to Uncle Mo in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, had been taken out of training, sent to a Kentucky farm for some R&R and is off the Kentucky Derby trail.

The initial Graded Stakes Earnings List includes all 3-year-olds – colts, geldings and fillies – who were made eligible to this year’s Triple Crown at $600 per horse when the early nomination period closed Jan. 22. Of the 364 early nominees, only 68 have earned graded stakes money thus far, but 26 open company races remain to be run, plus another 17 for fillies. There also will be a late period for nominations at $6,000 each that will close on Saturday, March 26.

Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings List

 

Rank

Last

Week

 

Horse

Graded Stakes Earnings

 

Owner(s)

 

Trainer

1.

Uncle Mo

$1,260,000

Repole Stable (Mike Repole)

Todd Pletcher

2.

Gourmet Dinner

$700,000

William Terrill

Steve Standridge

3.

Boys At Tosconova

$532,060

Jay Em Ess Stable, Hot Racing Stable, R. Hale, T. Cady & D. Kanakaris

Rick Dutrow Jr.

4.

J P’s Gusto

$490,000

Gem Inc. (Waken)

Joe Petalino

5.

Comma to the Top

$456,000

Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum & Kevin Tsujihara

Peter Miller

6.

Turbulent Descent (f)

$295,550

Blinkers On Racing, Dave Aurelio, Robert Butler, Joleen Coons, Lapso, et al

Mike Puype

7.

Soldat

$270,000

Harvey Clarke & W. Craig Robertson III

Kiaran McLaughlin

8.

Rogue Romance

$258,000

Catesby W. Clay

Ken McPeek

9.

Dialed In

$240,000

Robert V. La Penta

Nick Zito

t-10.

Clubhouse Ride

$210,000

Six-S Racing Stable & Nikolas Petralia

Craig Lewis

t-10.

To Honor and Serve

$210,000

Live Oak Plantation (Charlotte Weber)

Bill Mott

t-12.

Decisive Moment

$200,000

Just For Fun Stable

Juan Arias

t-12.

Jaycito

$200,000

Zayat Stables, LLC (Ahmed Zayat)

Bob Baffert

14.

Santiva

$180,254

Tom R. Walters

Eddie Kenneally

15.

Anthony’s Cross

$162,000

Arianne De Kwiatkowski

Eoin Harty

16.

Riveting Reason

$147,500

M.K. Cho Stables, LLC

Myung Kwon Cho

17.

Blue Laser

$143,502

WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt)

Mark Casse

18.

Willcox Inn

$139,000

All In Stable

Mike Stidham

19.

Silver Medallion

$124,334

Michael J. Ryan

Steve Asmussen

t-20.

Brethren

$120,000

WinStar Farm LLC (Kenny Troutt)

Todd Pletcher

t-20.

Sweet Ducky

$120,000

George & Lori Hall

Kelly Breen

22.

Stay Thirsty

$110,000

Repole Stable (Mike Repole)

Todd Pletcher

23.

Astrology

$105,893

Stonestreet Stables (Jess Jackson) & George Bolton

Steve Asmussen

24.

Lou Brissie

$99,043

Dogwood Stable (Cot Campbell et al)

Neil Howard

25.

Mucho Macho Man

$90,000

Reeves Thoroughbred Racing & Dream Team One Racing Stable

Katherine Ritvo

26.

Major Gain

$86,370

Gary L. & Mary E. West

Wayne Catalano

27.

Tapizar

$65,000

Winchell Thoroughbreds LLC

Steve Asmussen

t-28.

Premier Pegasus

$60,000

M.K. Cho Stables, LLC

Myung Kwon Cho

t-28.

Wilkinson

$60,000

Gaillardia Racing LLC

Neil Howard

30.

Master of Hounds

$41,884

Mrs. John Magnier

Aidan O’Brien

31.

Classic Legacy

$41,756

Lanni Family Trust, Bernard C. Schiappa & K. Jones

Bob Baffert

32.

Jakesam

$40,000

Bourque Goldstein Thoroughbreds LLC

Jerry Hollendorfer

33.

Abjer-FR

$36,235

Mohammed Al Shafar

Clive Brittain

34.

Surrey Star-IRE

$35,257

Class Racing Stable

Jim Cassidy

t-35.

I’m Steppin’ It Up

$30,000

Roman Hill Farm LLC

Anthony Pecoraro

t-35.

Quail Hill

$30,000

Tarabilla Farms Inc.

David Hofmans

t-35.

Rustler Hustler

$30,000

Paul P. Pompa Jr.

Rick Dutrow Jr.

t-35.

Sway Away

$30,000

Batman Stable, M. Hanna, P. Lebherz, C. Olsen, J. Sharp & G. Wallace

Jeff Bonde

39.

Positive Response

$24,000

Saul Gevertz, Bill Morey, Roger Newman & Ray Pagano

Bill Morey

40.

Ribo Bobo

$23,726

Rapputi Stables LLC, Dimitar Pencheff & Carlota Stable

Manny Azpurua

41.

Indian Winter

$22,500

Peter Abruzzo, John Carver, Jerry  Hollendorfer & George Todaro

Jerry Hollendorfer

t-42.

Industry Leader

$20,000

Dimitri Racing Stable, Inc. & Twilight Racing, LLC

Kristin Mulhall

t-42.

Pants On Fire

$20,000

George & Lori Hall

Kelly Breen

t-42.

Powhatan County

$20,000

Richlyn Farms

George Weaver

45.

Thirtyfirststreet

$15,000

Mark Gorman, Neil Haymes & Sterling Stable

Doug O’Neill

46.

Major Art-GB

$13,435

Class Racing Stable

Eric Kruljac

t-47.

Awesome Patriot

$12,000

Lanni Family Trust & Bernard C. Schiappa

Bob Baffert

t-47.

Black N Beauty

$12,000

Zayat Stables, LLC

Dale Romans

49.

Ronin Dax

$10,830

Bruno DeJulio, Galen Ho’o, Molly Jo Rosen & Robert Troeger

Robert Troeger

50.

Caleb’s Posse

$10,670

McNeill Stables (Don McNeill)

Donnie Von Hemel

t-51.

Bandbox

$10,000

Hillwood Stable LLC

Rodney Jenkins

t-51.

Beamer

$10,000

Jim Tafel LLC

Carl Nafzger

53.

Monzon

$9,000

Sagamore Farm

Ignacio Correas IV

54.

Leave of Absence

$8,000

Klaravich Stables, Inc. & W.H. Lawrence

Rick Violette Jr.

55.

Uncle Sam

$6,000

Kaleem Shah

Bob Baffert

56.

Cane Garden Bay

$4,851

Wind River Stables

Rusty Arnold II

57.

Economic Summit

$4,500

Klaravich Stables, Inc. & W.H. Lawrence

Rick Violette Jr.

58.

Factum

$4,047

Joseph Allen

Neil Drysdale

59.

Litigate

$4,000

Silverton Hill LLC

David Duggan

60.

Liondrive

$3,000

Thomas Amenta & Tom Amenta II

Tim Ice

t-61.

J J’s Lucky Train

$2,000

Fresh Start Stable

William Anderson

t-61.

Justin Phillip

$2,000

Zayat Stables, LLC

Steve Asmussen

t-61.

Pride of Silver

$2,000

ITA Thoroughbreds, Schroeder Farms LLC & Michael Sigband

Bob Hess Jr.

t-61.

Printing Press

$2,000

Klaravich Stables, Inc. & W.H. Lawrence

Teresa Pompay

65.

Brickyard Fast

$1,333

Baccari Racing Stable LLC

Joe Petalino

66.

Commonwealth Rush

$1,000

Bluegrass Legacy Equine

Tim Ice

67.

Forum

$673

Dogwood Stable (Cot Campbell et al)

George Weaver

68.

Sensational Slam

$400

Bobby Flay

Todd Pletcher

A trio of graded stakes preps are scheduled for the week ahead (11 weeks in advance of Kentucky Derby 137): Saturday’s Grade III, $300,000 Risen Star at Fair Grounds (1 1/16 miles), Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Vicente at Santa Anita (seven furlongs) and the Grade III, $250,000 Southwest (one mile) on Monday, Feb. 21.

Graded Stakes Money Up For Grabs This Weekend

Date

Race

Track

Dist.

Purse

1st

2nd

3rd

4th

5th

Other

Feb. 19

Risen Star (G3)

FG

1 1/16 M

$300,000

$180,000

$60,000

$30,000

$12,000

$6,000

$3,000 each to 6th through 9th

Feb. 20

San Vicente (G2)

SA

7 F

$150,000

$90,000

$30,000

$18,000

$9,000

$3,000

Feb. 21

Southwest (G3)

OP

1 M

$250,000

$150,000

$50,000

$25,000

$10,000

$7,500

$5,000 divided between remaining starters

Restricted to 3-year-old Thoroughbreds, horses only have one chance to win the Kentucky Derby, and it’s quite an accomplishment just to receive a berth in the starting gate. The North American registered Thoroughbred foal crop for horses born in 2008 is estimated at 33,550 by The Jockey Club, but only 20 are allowed to run in “The Run for the Roses.”

Twenty horses have entered the Derby every year since 2004, and 10 of the last 12 years. The 20th and final spot in the starting gate – a.k.a. “the bubble” horse – has varied year to year. Last year, it took a record $218,750 for eventual fourth-place finisher Make Music for Me to make the field. In 2009, it took only $55,500 for Nowhere to Hide to complete the 20-horse lineup. Over the last five years, the final horse to make the field has earned an average of $130,450 in graded stakes races.

Graded stakes are considered Graded or Group status assigned to the race by the International Cataloguing Standards Committee in Part I of the International Cataloguing Standards as published by The Jockey Club Information Systems, Inc. each year.

In the case of a tie for the final entry position or the determination of all remaining starters, preference is given to horses that accumulated the highest earnings in non-restricted stakes races. If a tie still remains, the final spots in the starting gate will be determined by lot or a “shake.” There is no “also-eligible” list.

In addition to Triple Crown nomination fee, owners must pay $25,000 to enter the Kentucky Derby by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 4, and an additional $25,000 to start. If there are less than 20 Triple Crown nominees entered, a horse may be supplemented to the Derby for $200,000.

The Kentucky Derby post position draw – a tradition “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate – will be held at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, May 4, at 12 p.m. ET.

The winner of the Kentucky Derby will receive gold trophy plus an estimated $1.24 million payday. A total of $400,000 will be awarded to the runner-up, $200,000 to third, $100,000 to fourth and $60,000 to fifth.

The 1 ¼-mile Kentucky Derby, which is the oldest continuously held sporting event in America since its inaugural running at Churchill Downs in 1875, is the first leg of horse racing’s coveted Triple Crown classics: three races at three racetracks over three distances in a five-week period. Two weeks after the Derby on Saturday, May 21 is the 136th Preakness Stakes near Baltimore at Pimlico Race Course over 1 3/16 miles. The annual series concludes three weeks after the Preakness on June 11 with the 143rd Belmont Stakes – the 1 ½-mile “Test of the Champion” – at New York’s Belmont Park.

A Triple Crown sweep – one of the most difficult feats in all of sports – hasn’t occurred in 32 years and has been accomplished on just 11 occasions: Sir Barton (1919), Gallant Fox (1930), Omaha (1935), War Admiral (1937), Whirlaway (1941), Count Fleet (1942), Assault (1946), Citation (1948), Secretariat (1973), Seattle Slew (1977) and Affirmed (1978). Fifty others have finished one win shy of the honor.

Kentucky Derby Graded Stakes Earnings “Bubble” (Since 1999)

 

 

Year

 

Ky. Derby

Field

 

Low Graded Stakes

Earner in Field

Graded

Stakes

Earnings

 

Ky. Derby

Finish

 

 

Horses Entered But Excluded (GSE)

2010

20

Make Music for Me

$218,750

4th

Pleasant Prince ($189,278)

Setsuko ($180,000)

2009

20

Nowhere to Hide

$55,500

17th

2008

20

Denis of Cork

$165,000

3rd

Halo Najib ($157,996)

Tomcito ($151,292)

El Gato Malo ($145,000)

Kentucky Bear ($75,000)

2007

20

Imawildandcrazyguy

$104,000

4th

Reporting for Duty ($100,000)

Delightful Kiss ($83,000)

2006

20

Flashy Bull

$109,000

14th

Sunriver ($100,000)

Lewis Michael ($41,000)

Hemingway’s Key ($10,000)

2005

20

Going Wild

$57,250

18th

2004

20

Song of the Sword

$132,500

11th

Eddington ($95,000)

Rock Hard Ten ($90,000)

2003

17

Ten Cents a Shine

$46,240

8th

2002

20

Wild Horses

$100,000

18th

Windward Passage ($100,000)

U S S Tinosa ($83,750)

Sunday Break ($82,500)

Straight Gin ($52,500)

2001

17

Arctic Boy

$20,000

12th

2000

20

China Visit

Curule

$0

$0

6th

7th

Unshaded ($221,588)

(did not make field because he was a $150,000 non-nominated late supplement at the time of entry)

1999

20

Aljabr

$111,620

Scratched

Etbauer ($95,000)

* Note: Valhol’s $300,000 first place check for crossing the wire first in the Arkansas Derby was stripped after a court battle concluded in Jan. 2001. The Arkansas Racing Commission believed that Valhol’s jockey Billy Patin had what appeared to be an illegal electrical device during the race. Two years later, his pre-Derby graded stakes earnings were actually $38,400, which would have allowed Etbauer into the field.