Confidence Game No. 1, Leaderboard Shakeup Imminent 

March 3, 2023

Confidence Game gamely winning the Rebel. (Coady Photography)

• Leaderboard Top 20, Six Weeks until the Kentucky Derby
• Upcoming Road To Kentucky Derby Races 
• Odds and Ends

Derby Dispatch/Edited

LOUISVILLE Ky.— With his win in the Rebel Don’t Tell My Wife Stables’ Confidence Game rocketed to the No. 1 spot on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 57 points for very excited trainer Keith Desormeaux. 

After acting up in the paddock according to Desormeaux, the Candy Ride (ARG) colt still had plenty of spunk left for the race 

Back at his home training track at the Fair Grounds, the 3-year-old gelding is pointed to the GI Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds March 25 or GI Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on April 1.

Red Route One who had to settle for second in the Rebel moved up to No. 4 on the Leaderboard collecting 20 points. 

Moving into the No. 14 spot is Reincarnate owned by SF Racing LLC (Gavin Murphy), Starlight Racing (Jack Wolf), Madaket Stables LLC (Sol Kumin & Jason Monteleone), Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables LLC (Barbara Banke), Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital LLC (W. Gregg Slager) & Catherine Donovan.

Verifying moved up to No. 16 for trainer Brad Cox after a surprising fourth place finish in the Rebel earned the colt 10 points. Cox has seven additional contenders on the Leaderboard: Angel of Empire (2), Instant Coffee(5), Hit Show (9), Jace’s Road (15), Victory Formation (17), Tapit’s Conquest (21) and Loggins (32).

BC Stables LLC’s Bourbon Bash moved onto the Leaderboard in No. 30 with 5 points for his fifth-place finish in the Rebel for trainer D. Wayne Lukas. 

A Practical Move

Actually, Practical Move is a Tim Yakteen trainee but some of the biggest moves this past week were horses from the Baffert barn to Yakteen just before the transfer deadline of February 28.

Yakteen will now condition National Treasure who had earned an unawarded 16 points, Reincarnate 20 points, Arabian Lion 5 points, Carmel Road 4 points, and Fort Brag and Hejazi with 3 points each. 

Reincarnate earned 15 points for his third place in the Rebel. Previously the colt had earned 20 points for his victory in the Sham but apparently those points did not carry over although the horse was transferred over by the February 28 deadline.

Not making the transition are Cave Rock (22 points), Arabian Knight (20 points) Hard to Figure (10 points) Worcester (6 points) and Gandolfini (2 points). Newgate had earned an unassigned 25 points in three different races before he was sidelined with injury.

Who’s Where and What’s Happening

With the big race weekend ahead, the Leaderboard will be flipped come Saturday night with top horses and big points on the line.

Expect to see a lot of movement especially since former Baffert trainees will now be added to the mix and four are starting in the San Felipe on Saturday. 

Forte (40 pts) will be making his 3-year-old debut in the Fountain of Youth. The Violence colt breezed five furlongs at Palm Beach Downs in 1:01.99 on Feb. 25. With a record of four wins in five starts, three Grade 1s, Forte and trainer Todd Pletcher will look to keep his record near perfect and collect 50 qualifying points putting Forte back at No. 1 on the Leaderboard.

Frank Fletcher’s Rocket Can might have something to say about that. The Bill Mott trainee looks to add to his points total having worked his five furlongs in 1:01.60 at Payson Park Training Center on Feb. 24. The Into Mischief Colt has 20 points and 50 additional points would put him on the top.

Also breezing five at Payson Park on Feb. 25 was Rodeo Creek Racing’s Blazing Sevens completing his work in 1:01.60. An additional 50 points added to his 16 he previously earned would put the Chad Brown trainee on the top.

Pierre Jean Amestoy Jr., Leslie A. Amestoy & Roger K. Beasley’s Practical Move will be hunting points in the San Felipe at Santa Anita to add to his 10. A score at Santa Anita would put Tim Yakteen’s trainee at the top of the Leaderboard. 

Zendan Racing Stables’ Hejazi will be making his first start under Yakteen in the San Felipe. 50 points would pop him right on top. The Bernardini colt worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.20 on Feb. 19. 

Also putting in a San Felipe prep work that day for Yakteen was National Treasure who did five in 1:00.80 handily. 

Starting in the Gotham will be Chester Broman Sr. & Mary Broman’ Arctic Arrogance with 16 points and BG Stables’s Lugan Knight with 10 points.

Conditioned by Linda Rice, Arctic Arrogance had his last breeze Feb. 3 at Belmont where he breezed five furlongs in 1:03.22. 

Lugan Knight breezed five furlongs at Churchill in 1:02 flat on Feb. 25 for trainer Michael McCarthy. 

It’s still pretty early, folks, with lots of racing action still to come with big points so don’t discount any horses until the fat lady sings! (And she won’t be singing “My Old Kentucky Home”)

Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard Top 20

Upcoming Road To Kentucky Derby Races 

March 11 – $400,000 Tampa Bay Derby (GII), 1 1/16 miles, Tampa Bay Downs 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Classic Car Wash (Mark Casse); General Jim (Shug McGaughey); Groveland (Eoin Harty); Tapit Trice (Todd Pletcher) 

March 25 – $1 million Louisiana Derby (GII), 1 3/16 miles, Fair Grounds (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Angel of Empire (Brad Cox); Baseline Beater (Neil Pessin); Cagliostro (Cherie DeVaux); Confidence Game (Keith Desormeaux); Curly Jack (Tom Amoss); Denington (Kenny McPeek); Instant Coffee (Brad Cox); Jace’s Road (Brad Cox); Kingsbarns (Todd Pletcher); Litigate (Todd Pletcher); Red Route One (Steve Asmussen); Shopper’s Revenge (Steve Asmussen); Sun Thunder (Kenny McPeek); Tapit Shoes (Brad Cox); Tapit’s Conquest (Brad Cox); Victory Formation (Brad Cox) 

March 25 – $1 million UAE Derby (GII), 1 3/16 miles, Meydan Racecourse (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Commissioner King (Sabah Alshammri); Continaur (Yoshito Yahagi); Derma Sotogake (Hidetaka Otonashi); Es Unico (Antonio Luis Cintra); Perriere (JPN) (Yoichi Kuroiwa); Tall Boy (Doug O’Neill) 

March 25 – $700,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (GIII), 1 1/8 miles (Tapeta), Turfway Park (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Major Dude (Todd Pletcher); Wadsworth (Brad Cox) 

March 26 – $600,000 Sunland Derby (GIII), 1 1/8 miles, Sunland Park (Top 4 points: 50-20-10-5) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Henry Q (Todd Fincher); One in Vermillion (Esteban Martinez) 

April 1 – $1 million Florida Derby (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Gulfstream Park (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): General Jim (Shug McGaughey); 

April 1 – $1.25 million Arkansas Derby (GI), 1 1/8 miles, Oaklawn Park (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Bourbon Bash (Wayne Lukas); Confidence Game (Keith Desormeaux); Disarm (Steve Asmussen); Jace’s Road (Brad Cox); Verifying (Brad Cox); Victory Formation (Brad Cox) 

April 8 – $750,000 Wood Memorial (GII), 1 1/8 miles, Aqueduct (Top 4 points: 100-40-20-10) 
Known possible starters (with trainer): Hit Show (Brad Cox); Verifying (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): Angel of Empire (Brad Cox); Bourbon Bash (Wayne Lukas); Two Phil’s (Larry Rivelli); 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): Arabian Knight (TBD)

April 15 – $400,000 Lexington (GIII), 1 1/16 miles, Keeneland (Top 4 points: 20-8-4-2) 

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.

Odds and Ends

The fifth pool of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will take place March 10-12. The pool with run concurrently with the lone future wager for the Longines Kentucky Oaks. The fields for both wagers will be released Tuesday.  

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.  

Spring meet stall applications are due Friday. Following its annual closer for winter renovations, the Churchill Downs stable area will reopen Tuesday, March 21 and the first day of training is scheduled for Friday, March 24. 

Road To The Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

@PastTheWire Great read brought back some sad memories.The only race she lost killed her. Legacy. @jonathanstettin pic.twitter.com/Jx9WF7OjUe

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