There were no Kentucky Derby qualifying point races this weekend, so it's a good time to take a look at the early odds for the first race in the Triple Crown. The Championship Series, with the next races awarding points on a 50-20-10-5 scale, resumes on February 27 with the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park and will shine a light on which horses will be destined for the Derby.
Since the current qualifying point process began in 2013, no horse with at least 41 points after the 34 prep races has failed to receive an invitation to the Kentucky Derby. With six races awarding 50 points to the winner and then six on a 100-40-20-10 scale remaining, those 12 winners are assured entry. The UAE Derby at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai will also award 100 winner points.
In a previous piece, we looked at the top four horses at the top of the odds in futures betting to win the Kentucky Derby. Of the next quartet, three of the horses currently have odds of 16/1 and the other is at 20/1. That last entrant is Mandaloun, the only horse that has punched his ticket to the Derby.
Deep talent in the next four spots
With a win at the Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans on February 13, Mandaloun has picked up 52 total points on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. He has three wins in four starts and was able to avenge his only defeat by defeating Lecomte Stakes winner Midnight Bourbon at the Risen Star.
Mandaloun's next start will be at the Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds on March 20, where he will again take on Midnight Bourbon and Proxy, the second-place finisher at the Lecomte and the Risen Star.
Greatest Honour is entered in this week's Fountain of Youth after a win at the Holly Bull Stakes at Gulfstream on January 30. The Holly Bull was his first stakes entry and the Claude McGaughey III-trained colt made a great stretch run to win by almost six lengths.
The last race in the Prep Series, which awards points on a 10-4-2-1 scale, is the rescheduled Southwest Stakes, which was originally supposed to be run on February 15 at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Keepmeinmind scratched out of the Risen Star to run in the race that will now be held on February 27, which includes top contender Essential Quality in the field.
Keepmeinmind has 18 qualifying points by virtue of a win, a second, and a third-place finish in three consecutive Derby prep races. The victory was in his last start on November 28 in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.
Trained by Hall of Famer and Triple Crown winner Bob Baffert is Medina Spirit. As is typical with Baffert-trained horses, Medina Spirit has raced a light schedule to start his career but has two wins in three starts and has 14 qualifying points.
His last run was to victory in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita, which followed a runner-up finish in the Sham Stakes at the same track.