Forte’s Tops, Cox’s Trio, Good Magic’s Abundance

January 16, 2023

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Kentucky Derby Leaderboard Update

By Maribeth Kalinich
Derby Update Stats by Darren Rogers/Churchill Downs

At the top of the Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 40 points is Repole Stable and St. Elias Stable’s Forte who is far beyond the others in non-restricted stakes earnings with $1,545,650. Yet to make his 3-year-old debut, the Todd Pletcher trainee was near flawless in 2022 winning four of five starts with a fourth by a neck at Saratoga in the Sanford G3.

The Violence colt posted his highest speed figures, 107 on Equibase, in his last start in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he earned 30 of his 40 points. His other 10 points came from his win in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland Oct. 8. 

Forte, which means strong in Italian as Mike Ripole will tell you, has won three Grade 1 races and one Grade 3. 

In second with 17 points is Michael McLoughlin’s Curly Jack with $348,120 in earnings. The Good Magic colt earned his points from his win in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill Downs and a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs. 

Yet to make a start in 2023, the Tom Amoss trainee also placed second in the Ellis Park Juvenile in August 2022 to earn Black Type with two lackluster performances finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Sanford and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile running against Forte.

Curly Jack earned his points with his Iroquois win (10), second place in the Kentucky Jockey Club (4) and fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (3).

In the third spot is Rodeo Creek’s Blazing Sevens. Also sired by Good Magic, the impressive dark bay cold is trained by four time Eclipse Winner Chad Brown and has hit the board in three of his four starts with two wins. 

Blasing Sevens has earned 17 prep points and $411,000 in non-restricted stakes earnings. Blazing Sevens accumulated his points by winning the Grade 1 Champagne (10) at Belmont at the Big A Oct. 1, 2022, and a fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (6). He also placed third in the Grade 1 Hopeful behind winner Forte. 

The next three on the leaderboard are all Brad Cox trainees who he all has in training at the Fair Grounds, his winter stable. 

In number four is West Point Thoroughbred and the Albaugh Family Stable’s Jace’s Road with 13 points and $89,100 in earnings.

The Quality Road colt has had two January works there. Jan. 7, Jace’s Road breezed four furlongs in :52 flat. On the 14th he breezed five furlongs in 1:00.80.

Winning his debut at Ellis Park Aug. 6, 2022, at six furlongs, the bay colt followed up with a third in the Grade 3 Iroquois for 3 points. After a very disappointing performance in the Grade 3 Street Sense at Churchill Downs, Jace’s Road wired the Gun Runner by five and a quarter lengths at the Fair Grounds to wrap up his juvenile year and add 10 points to his Derby run.

Gold Square’s Instant Coffee earned 12 points winning the Kentucky Jockey Club (10) and fishing fourth in the Breeders’ Futurity (2) for Cox and stands at number five.

The son of Bolt d’Oro had three five furlongs breezes in January: on the 2nd 1:03.00, the 8th 1:01.80 and the 15th Instant Coffee covered the five panels in 1:01.60. 

The dark bay colt’s only other start was his debut which he won gamely by 3/4 length.

In sixth on the leaderboard is Frank Fletcher and Spendthrift Farm’s Victory Formation, recent wire-to-wire winner of the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn Jan. 1. Giving him 10 Derby Qualifying points. 

The Tapwrit colt has a perfect 3-for-3 record having won his Oct. 21, 2022, six-and-a-half-furlong debut at Keeneland (4 3/4 lengths) follows up with a win by a neck over Two Eagles river in an AOC Nov. 26 at Churchill Downs. 

Victory Formation may be Forte’s biggest competition based on their current trajectory.

The next three on the leaderboard earned 10 point each. 

Winner of the Grade 2 Remsen is West Paces Racing and Stonestreet Stables’ Dubyuhnell. Another son of Good Magic, the Danny Gargan trainee sits at number seven.

At number eight is Pierre Jean Amestoy Jr, Leslie A. Amestory and Roger K. Beasley’s Practical Move (Practical Joke) trained by Tim Yakteen, winner of the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity. Third in the Grade 3 Bob Hope at Del Mar, this colt has hit the board in all of his five starts.

Number nine on the leaderboard is BG Stables’ homebred Lugan Knight trained by Michael McCarthy, winner of the Jerome. Although he has run in only one stake, the Goldencents colt has hit the board in all four starts.

Wrapping up the top ten is Chester Broman Sr and Mary Browman’s Arctic Arrogance. The Linda Rice trainee earned 8 points with his second in the Remsen (4) and second in the Jerome (4).

The son of Frosted has two wins and three second places in five starts. He had latest breeze Sunday at Belmont at four furlongs in :50.47. 

Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard 

Bold = Update from previously published Leaderboard. 

Road to the Kentucky Derby Race Results 

19 Kentucky Derby Prep races down, two more in January. The Lecomte takes place Jan. 21 at the Fair Grounds.

Offering 20 points to the winner with the 8-6-4-2 points going to second, third, fourth and fifth place, respectively. 

Jan. 28 the Southwest is at Oaklawn Park. Also offering 20 points to the winner with the 8-6-4-2 structure. 

Of completed races, three have been the European road: Newmarket, Curagh, Longchamps and Doncaster; and two, the Japan road: Tokyo Racecourse and Kawasaki.

* Did not accrue points because trainer is suspended by CDI from competing in the 2023 Kentucky Derby. @ Did not accrue points because horse competed with Lasix 

From Feb. 4 with four preps through the Lexington on April 15 at Keeneland there are 27 more prep races with the most lucrative starting Feb. 18 with the Risen Star at the Fair Grounds with 50-20-15-10-4 point rewarded. 

The big races start in late March with the UAE Derby credited as an American prep race but held in Meydan on the 25th awarding 100 point to the victor with 40-30-20-10.

Likewise, the remaining Japan road races are the Hyacinth on Feb. 19 at Tokyo offering 30-12-9-6-3 points; and the Fukuryu at Nakayama March 25 with 40-16-12-8-4 points.

Picking back up on the European road Kempton Park is holding the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes March 1 for 20-8-6-4-2 points. At Dundalk March 3 the Patton will take place March 3 offering 20-86-4-3 points. The Cardinal Condition Stakes is at Chelmsford City March 30 with 30-12-9-6-3 points. 

The other preps offering the 100-40-30-20-10 point structure are: the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds and the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park both on March 25. April 1 Oaklawn features the Arkansas Derby, April 8 will see the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Bluegrass at Keeneland while the Santa Anita Derby will be held the same day.

How To Get Into The Kentucky Derby Starting Gate – The Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve is a series of races that awards points to the Top 5 finishers in each race. The top 18-point earners will earn a spot in the starting gate for the 149th running of the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve (Grade I), which is scheduled for Saturday, May 6, 2023. One invitation will be extended to the top point earners in the Europe Road to the Kentucky presented by Woodford Reserve and one invitation will be extended to the top point earners in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby presented by Woodford Reserve. The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975. At least 20 horses have entered the 1 1⁄4-mile race for 3-year-olds in 21 of the last 24 years.

2022-23 Road To The Kentucky Derby Schedule: 37 Races 

* = Race dates and distances to be announced by host track; date based on recent historical placement. … Schedule subject to change. … (AW) = Synthetic. 

An amazing article. Well done @jonathanstettin #ruffian…

Drew Mo (@thebloghorse) View testimonials



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