Gary | Sat 29/04/2017 - 16:24 EDT

The Road To The Run For The Roses

The Road To The Run For The Roses
The trip to the 2017 Kentucky Derby for hundreds of thoroughbreds began back on September 2016, and ended with 20 horses qualified to run in the big race on May 6. Here's how they got there.

How Each Horse Qualified For The Kentucky Derby

By Brent Sedo

Horses eligible to run in the Kentucky Derby take part in a series of races where they accumulate points for finishing in the top four places in any of those races. The series is actually split into three segments, with the first 19 races offering points on a 10-4-2-1 scale, the next seven offering points on a 50-20-10-5 scale, and the next seven offering points on a 100-40-20-10, while the final of the 35 races reverts back to a 10-4-2-1 scale.

The series began with the running of the Iroquois Stakes on September 17, 2016 at Churchill Downs, and concluded with the running of the Lexington Stakes on April 15 at Keeneland Racecourse. While the top 20 in the final point standings are eligible to run the Derby, it’s not unusual for one or two of those to be withdrawn prior to the race, in which case the next horse on the leaderboard takes their spot.

Here’s a look at the probable Derby starters, and how they accumulated their points. To effectively handicap the Derby, it’s always a good idea to go back and watch video of how these races were run. Note particularly the races where Derby qualifiers ran against each other. 

Probable 2017 Kentucky Derby Starters by Points

Girvin (150 pts.) – Won the Risen Star Stakes and Louisiana Derby.

Classic Empire (132 pts.) – Won the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and the Arkansas Derby and was 3rd in the Holy Bull Stakes.

Gormley (125 pts.) – Won the Frontrunner Stakes, Sham Stakes and the Santa Anita Derby, was 7th in the BC Juvenile and finished 4th in the San Felipe Stakes.

Irap (113 pts.) – Was 2nd in the Los Alamitos Futurity and the Robert B. Lewis Stakes, won the Blue Grass Stakes and finished 4th in the Sunland Derby.

Irish War Cry (110 pts.) – Won the Holy Bull Stakes and the Wood Memorial Stakes, while finishing 7th in the Fountain of Youth Stakes

Thunder Snow (100 pts.) – Won the UAE Derby.

Always Dreaming (100 pts.) – Won the Florida Derby.

Gunnevera (84 pts.) – Was 5th in the Breeders’ Futurity Stakes, won the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes and the Fountain of Youth Stakes, was 2nd in the Holy Bull Stakes and 3rd in the Florida Derby.

Practical Joke (74 pts.) – Won the Champagne Stakes, was 3rd in the BC Juvenile, 2nd in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and the Blue Grass Stakes.

J Boys Echo (63 pts.) – Was 4th in the Delta Downs Jackpot Stakes and the Blue Grass Stakes, 3rd in the Withers Stakes, won the Gotham Stakes.

State Of Honor (62 pts.) – Was 3rd in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, 2nd in the Tampa Bay Derby and the Florida Derby.

Tapwrit (54 pts.) – Was 2nd in the Sam F. Davis Stakes, won the Tampa Bay Derby, was 5th in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Hence (50 pts.) – Was 7th in the Southwest Stakes and won the Sunland Derby.

Fast And Accurate (50 pts.) – Won the Spiral Stakes. 

McCraken (40 pts.) – Won the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and the Sam F. Davis Stakes, was 3rd in the Blue Grass Stakes.

Battle Of Midway (40 pts.) – Was 2nd in the Santa Anita Derby.

Patch (40 pts.) – Was 2nd in the Lousiana Derby.

Untrapped (34 pts.) – Was 2nd in the Lecomte Stakes, the Risen Star Stakes and the Rebel Stakes, while finishing 6th in the Louisiana Derby. 

Lookin’ At Lee (32 pts.) – Was 2nd in the Iroquois Stakes and the Breeders’ Futurity, 4th in the BC Juvenile, 3rd in the Southwest Stakes and in the Arkansas Derby. He also finished 6th in the Rebel Stakes.

Sonneteer (30 pts.) – Ran 2nd in the Rebel Stakes, 4th in the Arkansas Derby.  

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