The Cliff's Edge Tops List of Leading Derby Contenders by Graded Stakes Earnings

Previous to Saturday's Arkansas Derby (gr. II), Smarty Jones had the distinction of being the best horse who might not get to participate in the Kentucky Derby (gr. I). Although he had won all five starts before extending his win streak to six at Oaklawn Park, Smarty Jones had no graded stakes race earnings that are used to determine which horses will actually start in the May 1 Derby if more than 20 horses are entered.

Smarty Jones' $600,000 winners' purse in the Arkansas Derby moved him to fourth on the list of graded earnings for Derby contenders, meaning his chances of starting are all but assured. The Cliff's Edge, winner of the April 10 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (gr. I), has the highest graded earnings with $793,258 among leading Derby contenders.

If more than the maximum starting field of 20 horses are entered for the 1 1/4-mile race, the actual starters will be determined by a preference system.

"In the event that more than 20 entries pass through the entry box at the closing, the starters shall be determined at the closing from original (Visa Triple Crown Challenge) nominees first, the supplemental nominees if starting positions are still available with preference given to those horses that have accumulated the highest earnings in the graded stakes races," the conditions for the Kentucky Derby state. "Should additional starters be needed to bring the field to 20, the remaining starters shall be determined at the closing with preference given to those horses have accumulated the highest earnings in non-restricted sweepstakes."

Based on statistics from Churchill Downs, here is a list of the graded stakes earnings for leading Derby contenders.

Graded Stakes Earnings for Kentucky Derby Hopefuls

Horse Graded Earnings
1. The Cliff's Edge $793,258
2. Action This Day $780,000
3. Friends Lake $611,000
4. Smarty Jones $600,000
5. Tapit $530,000
6. Castledale $510,000
7. Limehouse $478,405
8. Lion Heart $475,600
9. Read the Footnotes $397,860
10. Wimbledon $375,000
11. Pollard's Vision $366,000
12. Imperialism $363,000
13. Minister Eric $350,000
14. Birdstone $327,000
15. Borrego $320,000
16. Sinister G $302,500
17. Value Plus $252,500
18. St Averil $215,200
19. Master David $208,000
20. Tiger Hunt $165,500

21. Preachinatthebar $159,000
22. Saratoga County $156,500
23. Capitano $115,000
24. Kilgowan $110,000
25. Pro Prado $105,685
26. Consecrate $100,500
27. Song of the Sword $100,000
27. Tricky Taboo $100,000
29. Eddington $95,000
30. Mr Jester $92,000
31. Rock Hard Ten $90,000
32. Mustanfar $87,500
33. Harvard Avenue $83,000
34. Pomeroy $80,000
35. Fire Slam $78,000
36. Skipaslew $70,000
37. O.K. Mikie $65,000
38. Quinton's Gold Rush $57,000
39. Suave $55,000

Figures courtesy of Churchill Downs