The Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I) is starting to become a little bit clearer; at least, as far as which horses will be in the starting gate on May 7 at Churchill Downs.
With The Factor and J P's Gusto being ruled out by their respective connections on April 26, Shackleford and Twinspired have both catapulted into the top 20 on the graded earnings list. Both horses are believed to be pointing toward the Derby.
Silver Medallion, who was a disappointing fourth in the Coolmore Lexington Stakes (gr. III) last weekend at Keeneland, inherits the role as the new No. 21—the first horse on the outside looking in for the Derby. It is unclear whether the connections of Silver Medallion would run in the Derby, even if there was another defection. It would be the third race in six weeks for the son of Badge of Silver.
Anthony's Cross, who was fifth in the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) in his most recent start, sits at No. 22 on the graded earnings list, which is used to determine the qualifiers for the first leg of the Triple Crown. The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters.
Michael Lauffer and Bill Cubbedge’s Shackleford was runner-up by a head in the April 3 Florida Derby (gr. I). He worked five furlongs in 1:00 1/5 on April 23 over a sloppy Churchill track.
Alpha Stables, Skychai Racing, and Sand Dollar Stable’s Twinspired lost by a nose in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I) on April 16. He is No. 20 on the graded earnings list with $197,500.
The Factor, who displaced a palate as the beaten favorite in the Arkansas Derby (gr. I) on April 9, was ruled out of the Derby by co-owner George Bolton Tuesday morning. The May 21 Preakness Stakes (gr. II) is still a possibility.
A grade I winner as a 2-year-old, J P’s Gusto has lost all three starts this season including an eighth-place effort in the Arkansas Derby. According to Daily Racing Form, he will now be trained in New York by Mike Hushion. He was previously in the barn of Joe Petalino at Oaklawn Park.
Kentucky Derby graded earnings:
1. Uncle Mo, Todd Pletcher, $1,360,000
2. Dialed In, Nicholas Zito, $840,000
3. Archarcharch, William Fires, $780,000
4. Comma to the Top Peter Miller $671,000
5. Toby's Corner, Graham Motion, $625,000
6. Pants On Fire, Kelly Breen, $623,000
7. Midnight Interlude, Bob Baffert, $600,000
8. Soldat, Kiaran McLaughlin, $540,000
9. Brilliant Speed, Thomas Albertrani, $450,000
10. Master of Hounds, Aidan O'Brien, $441,884
11. Nehro, Steven Asmussen, $400,000
12. Twice the Appeal, Jeff Bonde, $400,000
13. Mucho Macho Man, Katherine Ritvo, $370,000
14. Decisive Moment, Juan Arias, $301,000
15. Animal Kingdom, Graham Motion, $285,000
16. Stay Thirsty, Todd Pletcher, $260,000
17. Santiva, Eddie, Kenneally, $242,397
18. Watch Me Go, Kathleen O'Connell, $235,500
19. Shackleford, Dale Romans, $212,000
20. Twinspired, Michael Maker, $197,500
21. Silver Medallion, Steven Asmussen, $194,334
22. Anthony's Cross, Eoin Harty, $182,000
23. Derby Kitten, Mike Maker, $120,000