This Saturday, from coast-to-coast, the Road to the Kentucky Derby enters the stretch drive with three marquee races on tap at New York, Kentucky and California. Winners of those races will each receive 100 qualifying points and a guaranteed spot in the Derby starting gate on the first Saturday in May.
At Aqueduct Racecourse in New York, TACITUS has been tabbed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite in the 95th running of the $750,000 Wood Memorial Stakes (G2). Post Time is 6:00 p.m.
Tacitus comes into this race with a 2-0-0 record in three starts for trainer Bill Mott including a win in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
TACITUS raced three wide early, settled off the pace, off the rail, moved up two wide on the far turn, raced between horses turning for home, rallied in the two path in the stretch, gained the lead near the sixteenth pole and moved clear under urging.
Tacitus looked good in his debut as a three year old to get by on the rail and and win his first graded stakes race by 1¼ lengths.
Tapit, the sire of Tacitus, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 3-0-0 record in six starts with $557,300 in career earnings.
As a two-year-old, Tapit was undefeated in two starts including a win in the Laurel Futurity (G3). Tapit was troubled by a lung infection for much of his three-year-old season but he did win the nine-furlong Wood Memorial Stakes (G1) in route to a ninth-place finish in the 2004 Kentucky Derby.
At stud, Tapit has sired numerous graded stakes winners including the Belmont Stakes (G1) champions Tapwrit (2017), Creator (2016) and Tonalist (2014).
Tacitus has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the best-bred horse in this herd of runner. Tacitus has room to improve in his second start of the season and I look for him to run a good race.
TAX (9-2) comes into this race with a 2-1-1 record in four starts including a win in the Withers Stakes (G3) last out. Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
TAX stumbled at the start and came under coaxing to be forwardly placed along the inside through the first turn and into the backstretch, tracked in the loose pocket patiently handled until placed to coaxing three furlongs from home, spun just off the inside in upper stretch, got forced to be taken in hand and paused at the three-sixteenths when placed in tight inside as NOT THAT BRADY drifted in, had that rival be corrected outwards and rallied up the inside to take narrow command a furlong out, dug in under threat from a pair through to the finish and repelled the duo gamely on the wire.
Tax looked good in his first start of the season to squeeze through on the rail and best Not That Brady by a head and the finish.
Arch, the sire of Tax, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 5-1-0 record in seven starts with $480,969 in career earnings.
Arch made only one start as a two-year-old easily winning a maiden special weight at Keeneland in October 1997. As a three-year-old, Arch won an allowance race at Keeneland in April 1998 and compiled a 4-1-0 record in six starts including wins in the 10-furlong Super Derby (G1) and the 9½-furlong Fayette Breeders' Cup Stakes (G3).
Arch passed away in 2016 and as a stallion, his best runners include: Instilled Regard, Nyaleti, Arklow, Blame, Grand Arch, Arravale, Hymn Book, Art Trader, Les Arcs, Archarcharch and Pine Island.
Tax has an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s the second best-bred horse in this herd of seven runners. I look for him to improve in his second start of the season.
OUTSHINE (6-1) comes into this race for trainer Todd Pletcher with a 2-1-0 record in four starts including a second-place finish to Tacitus in the Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby (G2). Here’s the video and chart call of that race:
OUTSHINE settled into stride racing well off the early pacesetters, advanced into contention on the far turn, rallied four wide into the stretch, dug in gamely in the stretch drive and closed steadily to earn the place award.
Outshine tracked the leaders in third and passed them in the stretch but was no match for the winner Tacitus and settled for second-place honors.
Malibu Moon, the sire of Outshine, made only two starts as a two year old, compiling a 1-1-0 record, before a slab fracture ended his racing career.
At stud, Malibu Moon sired the 2013 Kentucky Derby winner Orb. In addition, he’s sired several horses that have been competitive on the Derby trail such as Gormley, Danzig Moon, Mr. Z and Stanford. Other nice runners sired by Malibu Moon include Life At Ten, Devil May Care, Declan’s Moon, Ask the Moon, Prospective, Kauai Katie, Moon Catcher, Moonshine Memories, Ransom the Moon, and Malibu Mint.
Outshine has a B Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and he’s ranked third in the herd of runners. He’s been training well and a recent bullet work out could have him ready to run a good race.
FINAL JEOPARDY (8-1) comes into this race with a 2-0-1 record in three starts for trainer Jason Servis including a win last out in an Allowance Optional Claiming race. Here’s the video and chart call:
FINAL JEOPARDY stalked the pace three wide, took over turning for home and went clear, shied out from left-handed pressure in mid-stretch, widened and shifted back inward as the rider switched right handed, and was kept busy.
Final Jeopardy tracked the leaders in third, took command a quarter mile from home, and pulled away in the stretch to win by 3¾ lengths.
Street Sense, the sire of Final Jeopardy, was a multiple graded stakes winner that compiled a 6-4-2 record in 13 starts with $4,383,200 in career earnings.
As a two year old, Street Sense finished third in both the Arlington-Washington Breeders’ Cup Futurity (G3) and the Lane’s End Breeders’ Futurity (G1). He followed that with a win in the 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Stakes (G1) and was tabbed as the Eclipse Champion Two Year Old.
Street Sense won his season debut as a three year old in the Tampa Bay Derby (G3) and finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) en route to a 2¼ length win over Hard Spun in the 2007 Kentucky Derby.
Final Jeopardy has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® and I look for him to run a good race in his second start of the season.
A total of 35 prep races comprise the USA Road to the Kentucky Derby. In addition, there are seven races on the European road and four races on the Japan road to Derby glory.
2019 KENTUCKY DERBY LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Plus Que Parfait, 104, Brendan Walsh, $1,540,400
2. By My Standards, 100, Bret Calhoun, $600,000
3. Maximum Security, 100, Jason Servis, $582,800
4. Code of Honor, 74, Shug McGaughey, $432,070
5. War of Will, 60, Mark Casse, $440,840
6. Long Range Toddy, 53.5, Steve Asmussen, $830,000
7. Cutting Humor, $50, Todd Pletcher, $462,467
8. Haikal, 50, Kiaran McLaughlin, $247,500
9. Tacitus, 50, Bill Mott, $210,000
10. Game Winner, 43, Bob Baffert, $1,610,000
11. Gray Magician, 41, Peter Miller, $526,000
12. Spinoff, 40, Todd Pletcher, $224,000
13. Bodexpress, 40, Gustavo Delgado, $188,000
14. Omaha Beach, 37.5, Richard Mandella, $450,000
15. Bourbon War, 31, Mark Henning, $137,200
16. Anothertwistafate, 30, Blaine Wright, $228,960
17. ++Country House, 30, Bill Mott, $120,000
18. Sueno, 28, Keith Desormeaux, $265,000
19. Improbable, 25, Bob Baffert, $389,520
20. Mucho Gusto, 24, Bob Baffert, $286,800
++ = Profiled as a B yearling at the 2017 Keeneland September sale.
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Royal Marine (IRE), 10, Saeed bin Suroor, $263,370
2. Western Australian (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $59,201
3. Sydney Opera House (GB), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $107,544
Not Triple Crown Nominated
1. Playa Del Puente (IRE), 20, M. Halford, $50,047
2. Jahbath (GB), 20, William Haggas, $0
3. Magna Grecia (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $185,000
4. Mohawk (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $128,702
5. Japan (GB), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $75,316
6. Phoenix of Spain (IRE), 4, Charlie Hill, $157,944
7. Broome (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $140,871
8. Mount Everest (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $24,254
9. Numerian (IRE), 4, Joseph O’Brien, $7,634
10. Target Zone (GB), 4, David Elsworth, $0
11. Van Beethoven, 2, Aidan O’Brien, $114,655
12. Anodor (FR), 2, Freddie Head, $99,215
13. Cape of Good Hope (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $41,515
14. Power of Now (IRE), 2, Michael O’Callaghan, $11,489
15. Chairmanoftheboard (IRE), 2, Michael E. Channon, $693
16. Boitron (FR), 1, Richard Hannon, $44,917
17. Victory Command, (IRE), 1, Mark Johnston, $35,108
18. Circus Maximus (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $24,368
19. Sovereign (IRE), 1, Aiden O’Brien, $5,106
JAPAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Earnings
1. Master Fencer, 19, Koichi Tsunoda, $168,979
2. Derma Louvre (JPN), 14, Hirofumi Toda, $616,402
3. Romantico (JPN), 1, Kazuo Fujisawa, $101,200
Not Triple Crown Nominated
1. Der Flug (JPN), 40, Nobuhiro Suzuki, $157,187
2. Oval Ace (JPN), 30, Noboru Takagi, $326,720
3. Nova Lenda (JPN), 20, Takashi Saito, $446,285
4. Weitblick (JPN), 12, Shoichiro Wada, $195,593
5. f-Make Happy, 12, Koichi Shinkai, $184,181
6. Rhein Carina, 8, Yoshinori Muto, $211,813
7. Black Warrior, 4, Masayuki Nishimura, $254,305
8. Gal Vihara, 4, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $216,271
9. Kingen (JPN), 4, Kunihide Matsuda, $97,867
10. Johaan (JPN), 2, Yasuyuki Takahashi, $72,900