The Factor , who banked $180,000 for his gate-to-wire triumph in the $300,000 Rebel Stakes (gr. II) at Oaklawn Park March 19, jumped into a tie for fifth position on the Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings List. The list will likely determine the field for the Run for the Roses Saturday, May 7, at Churchill Downs.
The $2 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) has been restricted to 20 starters since 1975. Graded stakes earnings accumulated in races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” have determined the field for the 1 1/4-mile classic since 1986.
Uncle Mo leads the way with $1.26 million in graded stakes earnings and is the early Derby favorite. J P’s Gusto, who earned a $1,500 seventh-place check in the Rebel, takes over the second position with $541,500 after Gourmet Dinner ($780,000) was dropped from the list due to inactivity. Soldat is No. 3 with $510,000, and Comma to the Top is fourth with $471,000. The Factor shares the fifth position with Mucho Macho Man, who will attempt to add to his total Saturday in the, $1 million Louisiana Derby (gr. II) at Fair Grounds. Rogue Romance ($288,000) was declared Saturday when trainer Ken McPeek discovered a small fracture in the inside quarter of the colt’s left front foot. He’ll be sidelined 60-90 days.
In other movement on the list, Archarcharch , third in the Rebel, banked $30,000 and moved up two spots from No. 17 to No. 15 with $180,000 overall. Runner-up Caleb’s Posse catapulted from No. 53 to No. 24, thanks to a $60,000 check that brought his total to $90,000. Sway Away, sixth as the 9-5 second betting choice, earned $1,500, which brought his earnings to $61,500 and broke a tie for No. 25 with Wilkinson, who is entered in the Louisiana Derby.
Here’s the official Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings Top 25 through March 20 (with last week’s ranking on the Graded Stakes Earnings List plus graded stakes earnings and the trainer of the horse):
Rank (Last Week) Horse, Graded Stakes Earnings, Trainer (Possible Next Race)
1. (1.) Uncle Mo , $1,260,000, Todd Pletcher (April 9 Wood Memorial or April 3 Florida Derby)
2. (3.) J P's Gusto , $541,500, Joe Petalino (TBA)
3. (4.) Soldat , $510,000, Kiaran McLaughlin (April 3 Florida Derby)
4. (5.) Comma to the Top, $471,000, Peter Miller (April 9 Santa Anita Derby)
5. (7.) Mucho Macho Man , $270,000, Kathy Ritvo (March 26 Louisiana Derby)
5. (23.) The Factor , $270,000, Bob Baffert (April 16 Arkansas Derby or April 9 Santa Anita Derby)
7. (8.) Stay Thirsty , $260,000, Todd Pletcher (April 3 Florida Derby or April 16 Arkansas Derby)
8. (9.) Jaycito, $250,000, Bob Baffert (April 9 Santa Anita Derby)
8. (9.) To Honor and Serve , $250,000, Bill Mott (April 3 Florida Derby)
10. (11.) Santiva, $240,254, Eddie Kenneally (April 16 Toyota Blue Grass)
11. (12.) Dialed In , $240,000, Nick Zito (April 3 Florida Derby)
* Watch Me Go, $232,500, Kathleen O’Connell (April 3 Florida Derby) – late Triple Crown nominations due March 26
12. (13.) Premier Pegasus, $228,000, Myung Kwon Cho (April 9 Santa Anita Derby or race out of town)
13. (14.) Decisive Moment, $206,000, Juan Arias (March 26 Vinery Racing Spiral)
14. (17.) Archarcharch , $180,000, Jinks Fires (April 16 Arkansas Derby)
15. (15.) Anthony's Cross , $162,000, Eoin Harty (April 9 Santa Anita Derby)
16. (16.) Brethren , $155,000, Todd Pletcher (April 16 Arkansas Derby)
17. (18.) Riveting Reason, $147,500, Myung Kwon Cho (April 9 Santa Anita Derby or race out of town)
18. (19.) Willcox Inn, $139,000, Mike Stidham (April 16 Toyota Blue Grass)
19. (20.) Silver Medallion, $124,334, Steve Asmussen (April 9 Santa Anita Derby)
20. (21.) Sweet Ducky, $120,000, Herman Brown (March 26 UAE Derby) – sold, might be out of Triple Crown picture
21. (22.) Astrology , $105,893, Steve Asmussen (March 27 Sunland Derby)
22. (23.) Flashpoint , $90,000, Rick Dutrow Jr. (April 3 Florida Derby or Swale)
23. ( 53.) Caleb's Posse , $71,504, Donnie Von Hemel (TBA)
24. (25.) Sway Away, $61,500, Jeff Bonde (April 16 Arkansas Derby)
25. (25.) Wilkinson, $60,000, Neil Howard (March 26 Louisiana Derby)
Dropped Out: Gourmet Dinner, $780,000 (no works, status unknown) and Rogue Romance, $288,000 (fractured foot).
The Kentucky Derby 137 Graded Stakes Earnings List only includes active 3-year-olds that were made eligible to the Triple Crown for $600 during the early nomination which closed Jan. 22. Also, their connections have suggested that they’re considering a run in the 1 1/4-mile classic. Those contenders who were not nominated early – such as Tampa Bay Derby winner Watch Me Go, who would be ranked No. 12 this week with $232,500 – have until midnight ET on Saturday, March 26, to pay a $6,000 late nomination.
Twenty horses have entered the Derby every year since 2004, and 10 of the last 12 years. The 20th and final spot in the starting gate – a.k.a. “the bubble” horse – has varied year to year. Last year, it took a record $218,750 for eventual fourth-place finisher Make Music for Me to make the field. In 2009, it took only $55,500 for Nowhere to Hide to complete the 20-horse lineup. Over the last five years, the final horse to make the field has earned an average of $130,450 in graded stakes races.