The Road to the Kentucky Derby is heating up.
Last Saturday (Feb.7) featured a pair of scoring races and the Robert B. Lewis (G2) at Santa Anita turned out to be a thriller, with Dortmund confirming his status as a leading contender.
Trained by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert, Dortmund battled back to narrowly defeat his talented rival Firing Line in a scintillating duel, moving to third on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with a total of 20 points.
The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 three-year-old Thoroughbreds and a points system determines eligibility. We are currently in the Prep Season portion of the Road to the Kentucky Derby series, awarding points on a 10-4-2-1 basis to the first four respective finishers.
A smashing allowance winner at Churchill Downs last fall, Dortmund was bet down to 9-1 favoritism (among individual interests) in Pool 1 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager in late November. The unbeaten colt earned his first 10 points when capturing the Dec. 20 Los Alamitos Futurity (G1).
Firing Line, who also earned four points when finishing second to Dortmund in the Los Alamitos Futurity, is now ranked 15th with a total of eight points.
Last weekend’s other scoring race, the Withers Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct, featured an emerging prospect in Far From Over. A debut maiden winner in mid-December, the colt overcame a stumbling start to remain perfect in his second outing. He jumped to 12th on the Leaderboard with his first 10 points and Far From Over hails from the powerful stable of Todd Pletcher.
The complete schedule and explanation of scoring races, along with the updated standings of the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, can be found here.
This is the last weekend of the Prep Season, with Saturday’s El Camino Real Derby (G3) and Monday’s Southwest Stakes (G3) at Oaklawn both on tap.
The Championship Series begins February 21, with the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream Park and Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds serving as the first of eight races that offer points on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
For more details on last weekend’s races, please check out my Kentucky Derby Report at brisnet.com.