Coming down to the stretch! 

March 31, 2023

Only five weeks and six chances remain for horses to qualify for their spot in the starting gate in the “Run for the Roses.” 

Derby Dispatch

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – The days are ticking down until the first Saturday in May and horses are aiming for their final shot to qualify for the $3 million Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I). 

Forte, the early favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby, will be in action Saturday against 11 rivals in the $1 million Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park. About one hour later, a competitive field of 11 3-year-olds were entered in the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (GI) at Oaklawn. 

The European Road to the Kentucky Derby will conclude Saturday at 2 p.m. with the Woodford Reserve Cardinal Condition Stakes at Chelmsford. Late Triple Crown nominee Brave Emperor (IRE) is likely to enter the race along with fellow Triple Crown nominee Stormy Entry. The top five finishers will receive points on a 30-12-8-4-2 scale. If Brave Emperor finishes ahead of Stormy Entry, he would be the top point earner in the series. Stormy Entry could snatch the berth with a win…. 

Winchell Thoroughbreds’ Disarm was the first contender for this year’s Kentucky Derby to arrive at Churchill Downs. He and 13 of his stablemates arrived to Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s Barn 38 around 6 a.m. Tuesday. … 

Japan’s Kentucky Derby hopes Derma Sotogake (JPN) and Continuar (JPN) are slated to fly next week from Dubai to Chicago where they will quarantine prior to vanning to Churchill Downs on April 8. Continuar has received an invitation to compete in the Kentucky Derby via the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. … 

The connections of Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII) runner-up Major Dude stated he would be more likely to return to turf than target the Kentucky Derby. … 

Several Brad Cox trainees have arrived to Churchill Downs including 3-year-olds Instant CoffeeJace’s Road and The Alys Look. Cox stated he would watch how Instant Coffee trained in the next several days before making a decision about running him in the April 15 Lexington (GIII). … 

A total of 13 horses were made late Triple Crown nominees with a $6,000 payment that was due Monday. Among the group is Sunland Park Derby (GIII) winner Wild On Ice. … 

Derby fans can keep up with all the news and notes on the Road to the Kentucky Derby by listening to “Inside the Kentucky Derby: – available on iTunes, Spotify and YouTube. 

Upcoming Road To Kentucky Derby Races 

April 8 – $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII), 1 1/8 miles, Aqueduct (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Arctic Arrogance (Linda Rice); Dreamlike (Todd Pletcher); Hit Show (Brad Cox); Lord Miles (Saffie Joseph Jr.); Ninetyprcentmaddie (Butch Reid); Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook); Shadow Dragon (Bill Mott); Slip Mahoney (Brad Cox) 

April 8 – $1 million Blue Grass (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Keeneland (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Blazing Sevens (Chad Brown); Classic Car Wash (Mark Casse); Classic Legacy (Bill Mott); Confidence Game (Keith Desormeaux); Hayes Strike (Kenny McPeek); Mage (Gustavo Delgado.); Major Blue (Wayne Lukas); Mendelssohn’s Song (Kenny McPeek); National Treasure (Tim Yakteen); Raise Cain (Ben Colebrook); Tapit Trice (Todd Pletcher); Verifying (Brad Cox) 

April 8 – $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Santa Anita (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Cave Rock (Bob Baffert); Dazzlemesilver (Keith Desormeaux); Geaux Rocket Ride (Richard Mandella); I Don’t Get It (Doug O’Neill); Mandarin Hero (JPN) (Terunobu Fujita); Practical Move (Tim Yakteen); Skinner (John Sherriffs); 

April 15 – $400,000 Lexington (GIII), 1 1/16 miles, Keeneland (Top 4 points: 20-8-4-2) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Bo Cruz (Al Stall Jr.); Instant Coffee (Brad Cox) 

Note: The possible fields for upcoming Kentucky Derby Championship Series races are fluid as owners and trainers vie for points. Known possible horses mentioned to be under consideration for each race are based on published news reports and other sources. Horses listed in italics are possible for multiple races. 

Jeff Ruby Steaks Winner Two Phil’s Move To No. 1 On Derby Leaderboard 

Following Saturday’s Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII), Patricia’s Hope and Phil Sagan’s Two Phil’s moved to the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 123 points. 

Here are the Top 20 horses on the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard: 

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