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Horse Racing, Kentucky Derby at The Downey Profile®

Derby Points System Worked Efficiently


By Dick Downey

With the Kentucky Derby field now in place, the points system that got us here looks like it's working pretty well.

The Derby points leaderboard was produced from two major stages, the Kentucky Derby prep season which ran from Sept. 29 to Feb. 18, and the Kentucky Derby Championship Series from Feb. 23 to April 27.

The second series was the most important, of course, because horses could earn lots of Derby points -- except for the two wild-card races at the end, the Grade III Coolmore Lexington and the Grade III Derby Trial.

The first two legs of the derby championship series, the races where winners got 50 points, then 100 points, have been efficient producers. From those 15 races, the winners of 12 of them are in the Kentucky Derby.

The Grade II Tampa Bay Derby was particularly productive, generating three Derby starters from its top three finishers: Verrazano, Java's war and Falling Sky.

Likewise for the Grade II Louisiana Derby, which produced three Derby starters from its top four finishers: Revolutionary, Mylute and Golden Soul; the Grade I Wood Memorial, in which Verrazano, Normandy Invasion and Vyack finished one-two-three; the Grade I Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, with its top three finishers of Java's War, Palace Malice and Charming Kitten; and the Grade I Arkansas Derby, producing Overanalyze, Frac Daddy and Falling Sky from its top four finishers. And lest we forget the Grade III Spiral produced Black Onyx, Giant Finish and perhaps the also-eligible Fear the Kitten. Scratches are due by 9:00 a.m. ET on Friday.

Among the least productive prep races were the Grade II Besilu Stables Fountain of Youth, which produced only Orb; the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, which produced only Goldencents; the Grade III Sunland Derby, which produced no derby horses; and the Group II U.A.E.  Derby, which produced one, Lines of Battle.

From the second leg of the Kentucky Derby championship series we have in the Kentucky Derby field grade I winner Orb, grade I winner Verrazano, grade I winner Goldencents, grade I winner Java's war and grade I winner Overanalyze.

The Kentucky Derby Prep Season produced eight winners from its 15 races that made it to the Derby: Goldencents from the Grade III Delta Jackpot, Overanalyze from the Grade II Remsen Stakes, Goldencents from the Grade III Sham Stakes, Oxbow from the Grade III Lecomte Stakes, WIll Take Charge from the Smarty Jones Stakes, Itsmyluckyday from the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes, Revolutionary from the Grade III Withers Stakes, and Falling Sky from the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes. And these races were all worth only 10 points to the winners.

The least productive race from that series was easily the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes, which did not produce a sniff from any of the participants as the Derby Road unwound.

While the system was criticized for not having enough points attached to the Breeders Cup Juvenile, none of the starters in that race went on to produce much more in the way of Derby points. Even with the few points awarded to winner Shanghai Bobby, he could have made the Derby field if he'd remained healthy -- although it would have been by the skin of his teeth -- so maybe the value of that race should be increased.


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