Three important Kentucky Derby qualification races took place yesterday with White Abarrio winning the $1 million Florida Derby, Cyberknife winning the $1.25 million Arkansas Derby and Tiz the Bomb winning the $600,000 Jeff Ruby. Since 1975, the Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters. For the past eight years, horses wanting to qualify for one of the 20 spots, have needed to earn the privilege by accruing points in the prep races known as The Road to the Kentucky Derby. Each of the designated races awards points to the top 4 finishers in each race. The top 18 point earners will earn a spot in the starting gate for the 148th running of the Kentucky Derby, which will take place on Saturday, May 7, 2022. One invitation will be extended to the top point earner in the Europe Road to the the Kentucky Derby, an the last spot will be offered to the top earner of the Japan Road to the Derby. You can see the Leaderboard for current standings here. Saturday’s three prep race each guaranteed 100 points to the winners, out of only eight races with such a rich prize.
White Abarrio needed at least a second place finish in the Florida Derby. He won the Holy Bull Stakes back on February 5th but after coming down with a fever two weeks ago, it was not known whether he would recover in time for the Florida Derby. He picked up 100 points with his win on Saturday. Second place finisher, Charge It, picked up 40 points, which currently puts him 15th on the list.
Cyberknife made a strong move on the backstretch and held off the late-charging Barber Road and Secret Oath to win Saturday’s $1.25 million, Grade 1 Arkansas Derby. After tossing his jockey, Florent Geroux, in the post parade, the colt got down to business and pulled off an upset. I must admit to rooting for the filly, Secret Oath, who started as the favorite and surged to second after trailing the field. She was passed by Barber Road in the final moments of the race but she put on an impressive race against the boys. While some thought Secret Oath might be aimed for the Kentucky Derby, her connections have said she’ll run in the Kentucky Oaks. With his second place finish, Barber Road has 58 points to rank ninth on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Tiz the Bomb made a three-wide move off the final turn to take the lead and pulled away for a 2 1/4-length victory over Tawny Port in the $600,000, Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Steaks. Tiz the Bomb picked up 100 points for the win, but his place in the Kentucky Derby is still uncertain. Trainer, Kenny McPeek suggested before the race that Tiz the Bomb might bypass the Derby go to the UK for the G1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket Apr. 30 and/or the G1 Cazoo Derby at Epsom June 4. This was the colt’s second win on
With just a little over a month to the Kentucky Derby, it’s unlikely that we’ll see these horses race before then, but there are three prep races next weekend on April 9th — the Wood Memorial, The Blue Grass and the Santa Anita Derby. It will be interesting to see how they shake out.
Who do you like for this year’s Kentucky Derby?