A number of horses that qualified for the Kentucky Derby have had their connections opt for other Triple Crown races, so the field continues to see some changes and additions. When the last prep races were completed, it appeared that it would take 40 points to earn an invitation to the Run for the Roses, but that total is now down to 20.
The latest horses to be pulled from the May 1 race at Churchill Downs are Concert Tour and Crowded Trade in order to focus on the Preakness Stakes on May 15. That pair of defections brought to 12 the number of horses that could have been in the 20-entry field had they opted to be in Louisville on the first Saturday in May.
A rundown of the withdrawals
San Felipe Stakes winner Life Is Good was the first announced withdrawal after his connections noticed a non-career-threatening ankle injury. The Bob Baffert-trained colt is expected to recover and continue racing in the fall.
Rebel's Romance won the 100-40-20-10 UAE Derby but has opted instead to skip ahead to the Belmont Stakes on June 5. Gotham Stakes winner and fourth-place finisher in the Wood Memorial Weyburn will also be at Belmont but is expected to also run in the Peter Pan Stakes in preparation at the same track on May 8.
With 80 points, Greatest Honour had a busy prep race schedule but will be rested due to picking up bone bruising in both of his front ankles.
Panadol was the top horse in earnings among those that collected 40 points with his second-place finish in the UAE Derby, but he will also skip Churchill Downs with no future racing plans announced at this time.
Proxy, who had made it into the field with 36 qualifying points, will not run the Derby, with Rombauer at 34 points looking ahead to the Preakness Stakes. After a second-place finish in the 50-20-10-5 Fountain of Youth Stakes, Drain the Clock was an early scratch from the Triple Crown to focus on shorter races, winning the seven furlongs Bay Shore Stakes at Aqueduct on April 3 as a result.
Just one Baffert entry left
Bob Baffert's Hozier put in a poor performance with a sixth-place finish at the 100-40-20-10 Arkansas Derby on April 10 and his connections decided to opt out of the Derby field. He had raised hopes in the Baffert camp after a second-place finish to another Baffert entry, Concert Tour, in the 50-20-10-5 Rebel Stakes.
The withdrawal of Hozier leaves the legendary Baffert with a lone entry in the Kentucky Derby, Medina Spirit. Spielberg could eventually move up into the field with another withdrawal, but Baffert had previously taken him out of consideration. Baffert was wavering on Concert Tour, but pulled him out of the Kentucky Derby over the weekend, with a focus on the Preakness instead.
Hockey Dad had shown some promise with a third-place finish in the 100-40-20-10 Jeff Ruby Stakes at Turfway on March 27, but after a lethargic eighth place in the Lexington Stakes, his handler had other ideas for the colt. There are still a couple of other horses that could again change the field, with Dream Shake and Brad Cox's Caddo River still in the probable category.