Archarcharch and Nehro, who were separated by a neck in the Arkansas Derby, and narrow Toyota Blue Grass winner Brilliant Speed earned their way in the prospective Kentucky Derby 137 field Saturday.

Archarcharch, who began the week at No. 25, jumped to No. 3 on the Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings List after the $600,000 Arkansas Derby first prize jumped his graded stakes earnings to $780,000. The list will likely determine the field for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands on Saturday, May 7 at Churchill Downs. Runner-up Nehro doubled his earnings to $400,000 and went from No. 22 to No. 13.

In the Blue Grass, Brilliant Speed hung a nose on Twinspired and earned $450,000, which ranked No. 10. The second-place check of $150,000 pushed Twinspired’s bankroll to $197,500 and put him on the outside looking in at No. 24. Both horses needed to win to crack the Top 20, and Twinspired will need defections, which could happen.

Here’s the official Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings Top 30 through Saturday, April 16 (with last week’s ranking on the Graded Stakes Earnings List plus graded stakes earnings, the trainer of the horse and the next race and/or travel updates):

Rank (Last Week)                Horse, Graded Stakes Earnings, Trainer (Possible Next Race)

  1. (1.)          Uncle Mo, $1,360,000, Todd Pletcher (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrived Monday)

2.     (2.)          Dialed In, $840,000, Nick Zito (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives April 30)

3.     (25.)        Archarcharch, $780,000, Jinks Fires (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrived Tuesday)

4      (3.)          Comma to the Top, $671,000, Peter Miller (May 7 Kentucky Derby under consideration; arrival TBA)

5.     (4.)          Toby’s Corner, $625,000, Graham Motion (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrival TBA)

6.     (5.)          Pants On Fire, $623,000, Kelly Breen (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives Sunday)

7.     (6.)          Midnight Interlude, $600,000, Bob Baffert (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives Thursday)

8.     (7.)          J P’s Gusto, $544,000, Joe Petalino (May 7 Kentucky Derby under consideration; arrives in Ky. Tuesday)

9.     (8.)          Soldat, $540,000, Kiaran McLaughlin (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives April 30)

10.   (New)     Brilliant Speed, $450,000, Tom Albertrani (May 7 Kentucky Derby; stabled at Keeneland and arrival TBA)

11.   (9.)          Master of Hounds, $441,884, Aidan O’Brien (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives May 3)

12.   (10.)        Twice the Appeal, $400,000, Jeff Bonde (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives Tuesday)

13.   (22.)        Nehro, $400,000, Steve Asmussen (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrives Tuesday)

14.   (11.)        Mucho Macho Man, $370,000, Kathy Ritvo (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrived Monday)

15.   (12.)        Decisive Moment, $301,000, Juan Arias (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrived March 30)

16.   (13.)        Animal Kingdom, $285,000, Graham Motion (arrives Thursday, decision on Derby after Saturday work on dirt)

17.   (15.)        The Factor, $272,500, Bob Baffert (plans not firm after displacing palate in Arkansas Derby; arrives Tuesday)

18.   (16.)        Stay Thirsty, $260,000, Todd Pletcher (May 7 Kentucky Derby; arrived April 7)

19.   (17.)        Jaycito, $250,000, Bob Baffert (April 23 Coolmore Lexington; arrives Thursday)

20.   (18.)        Santiva, $242,397, Eddie Kenneally (May 7 Kentucky Derby is possible; stabled at Keeneland)

21.   (19.)        Watch Me Go, $235,500 Kathleen O’Connell (status unknown after sixth in Illinois Derby)

22.   (20.)        Shackleford, $212,000, Dale Romans (May 7 Kentucky Derby or May 21 Preakness)

23.   (37.)        Twinspired, $197,500, Mike Maker (May 7 Kentucky Derby if he can get in)

24.   (23.)        Silver Medallion, $184,334, Steve Asmussen (Coolmore Lexington on Saturday; needs win to crack Top 20)

25.   (24.)        Anthony’s Cross, $182,000, Eoin Harty (status unknown after fifth in Santa Anita Derby)

26.   (26.)        Brethren, $155,000, Todd Pletcher (plans not firm after 11th in Arkansas Derby)

27.   (28.)        Mr. Commons, $120,000, John Shirreffs (status unknown after third in Santa Anita Derby)

28.   (35.)        Sway Away, $111,500, Jeff Bonde (plans not firm after fourth in Arkansas Derby; arrives Tuesday)

29.   (New)     Dance City, $100,000 Todd Pletcher (status unknown after third in Arkansas Derby; arrives Tuesday)

29.   (29.)        Norman Asbjornson, $100,000, Chris Grove (status unknown after fourth in Wood Memorial)

31.   (30.)        Ruler On Ice, $96,000, Kelly Breen (April 30 The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial)

After a string of stunning upsets in major preps (note: the average winning payoff for the four Grade I Kentucky Derby preps was $35.45), it appears that Florida Derby champ Dialed In will inherit the role as the Derby favorite. Others that figure to receive support from the betting public include winter book favorite Uncle Mo, Risen Star winner and Louisiana Derby third Mucho Macho Man, Archarcharch, Nehro, Fountain of Youth champ and Florida Derby fifth Soldat, Santa Anita Derby winner Midnight Interlude and Wood Memorial victor Toby’s Corner.

The status of several horses remains in a state of flux:

  • Top-ranked Uncle Mo (gastrointestinal infection), No. 18 The Factor (flipped palate) and No. 20 Jaycito (bruised foot) are recovering from recent setbacks, with the latter possibly contesting Saturday’s Grade III, $200,000 Coolmore Lexington at Keeneland.
  • The connections for No. 4 Comma to the Top suggested that the gelding would bypass the Kentucky Derby in advance of the Santa Anita Derby, but are now considering the race after he finished a close second.
  • The status of No. 8 J P’s Gusto remains unclear after back-to-back disappointing efforts at Oaklawn Park. He is booked on an Arkansas-to-Kentucky charter flight Tuesday, but the plane reservation notes that he will then be vanned to New York. On Tuesday morning, trainer Joe Petalino said the colt could go to an area farm until owner Dr. John Waken makes his final decision about the Derby, which he expected to come sometime between Thursday and Sunday. “He’s still in the mix,” said Petalino, who reported that the ridgling would likely go to East Coast-based trainer Mike Hushion following the Derby.  
  • Ireland-based No. 11 Master of Hounds, who was under consideration for the Qipco English 2000 Guineas on Kentucky Derby Day, now appears on course for the Derby as travel plans appear firm with his arrival scheduled for approximately 11 a.m. on Tuesday of Kentucky Derby Week (May 3).
  • Plans for No. 16 Animal Kingdom, who has raced exclusively on turf and synthetic surfaces, won’t be finalized until the colt has a workout over Churchill Downs’ dirt oval Saturday.
  • It was announced Monday that Astrology, who would be ranked No. 17 with $281,893, would contest Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Jerome at Aqueduct and, in all likeliness, bypass the Kentucky Derby. “We feel that running him in the Kentucky Derby off one prep race is too much to ask of him at this point,” trainer Steve Asmussen said in a news release. The colt departed for New York on Monday night, and he was removed from the list of possible contenders.
  • No. 20 Santiva finished ninth in the Blue Grass as the 2-1 favorite but is considered “possible” for the Derby if he makes the field.
  • There’s been no word from the camp of No. 21 Watch Me Go about next-race plans following his distant sixth in the TVG Illinois Derby. After the race, trainer Kathleen O’Connell suggested the colt may not have liked the Hawthorne surface. He was made a late Triple Crown nominee after winning the Tampa Bay Derby.
  • Silver Medallion, who begins the week at No. 24 with $184,334, will attempt to crack the Top 20 in Saturday’s Lexington. The 1 1/16-mile race over Polytrack features a $120,000 first prize, which would jump him to No. 16. A runner-up effort, worth $40,000, would only move him up two spots ahead of No. 22 Shackleford and No. 23 Twinspired, whose connections desire to make the field.
  • No. 25 Anthony’s Cross, No. 26 Brethren, No. 27 Mr. Commons, No. 28 Sway Away and others appear to need several defections within the next two weeks to make the field.


Outside of Astrology, Jaycito and Silver Medallion, it does not appear that this weekend’s races – the Lexington and Jerome – can produce any other Kentucky Derby 137 starters.

The final chance for those on the outside looking in to accrue coveted graded stakes money will come Opening Night at Churchill Downs under the lights in the Grade III, $200,000-added The Cliff’s Edge Derby Trial. The one-turn mile race, which will feature a first prize in excess of $124,000, will be run as Race 8 in prime time at 9:39 p.m. ET on Saturday, April 30 – one week in advance of the Kentucky Derby.

The $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) has been restricted to 20 starters since 1975. Graded stakes earnings accumulated in races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” have determined the field for the 1 ¼-mile classic since 1986.

The Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings List only includes active 3-year-olds that were made eligible to the Triple Crown. Also, their connections have suggested that they’re considering a run in the 1 ¼-mile classic.

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.

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