©2017 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
In addition to the current top 20 qualifiers listed in the 2017-2018 Kentucky Derby Leaderboard, Churchill Downs has opened international competition to a Japan and European road to Derby glory. The horse with the most points from those races will receive an invitation to compete in the 2018 Kentucky Derby.
The Japan road to the Derby features the Cattleya Sho Stakes (November 25), Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushan Stakes (December 13) and Hayacinth Stakes (February 2018),
The European road to the Kentucky Derby consists of seven races: Juddmonte Beresford (September 24), Juddmonte Royal Lodge (September 30), Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère (October 1), Racing Post Trophy (October 28, Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes (March 1), Patton (March 2) and the Burradon (March 30).
Of the current international qualifiers, I like Saxon Warrior the best. Here’s a look at him and the other qualifiers:
SAXON WARRIOR (JPN), a bay colt by Deep Impact out of Maybe by Galileo, is handled by the Thoroughbred powerhouse connections, trainer Aidan O’Brien and owners Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor.
Undefeated in three starts, Saxon Warrior currently tops the European Road to the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard. However, it not yet known if he will be pointed to the American classics.
His notable stakes wins are in the Juddmonte Beresford Stakes (Group 2) and the Racing Post Trophy Stakes (G1).
Here’s the video of the Beresford Stakes:
Here’s the video of his win in the Racing Post Trophy:
With an A+ Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile®, Saxon Warrior has the potential to be very competitive in the American classics.
Deep Impact, the sire of Saxon Warrior, was a talented Thoroughbred selected twice as Horse of the Year in Japan at the age of three and four. During his racing career, he compiled a 12-1-0 record in 14 starts with $12,825,285 in earnings including numerous graded stakes victories and Japan’s prestigious Thoroughbred Triple Crown.
At stud, Deep Impact is the current leading stallion in Japan, an honor he’s held since 2012. He’s sired numerous graded stakes winners including the champions Deep Brilliante, Kizuna, and Makahiki, winners of the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby); Santono Diamond, winner of the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger); Dee Majesty and Al Ain winners of the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2,000 Guineas).
EUROPEAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
1. Saxon Warrior (JPN), 20, Aidan O’Brien, $245,017
2. Roaring Lion (USA), 14, John Gosden, $136,807
3. f-Happily (IRE), 10, Aidan O’Brien, $543,648
4. Olmedo (FR), 4, Jean-Claude Rouget, $113,505
5. Nelson (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $99,826
6. Delano Roosevelt (IRE), 4, Aidan O’Brien, $38,074
7. Masar (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $101,264
8. The Pentagon (IRE), 2, Aidan O’Brien, $71.981
9. Mildenberger (ENG), 2, Mark Johnston, $64,634
10. Warm the Voice (IRE), 2, Brendan Duke, $12,904
11. Verbal Dexterity (IRE), 1, Jim Bolger, $280,269
12. Kew Gardens (IRE), 1, Aidan O’Brien, $28,605
13. Woodmax (GER), 1, Nicolas Clement, $23,610
14. Petrus (IRE), 1, Brian Meehan, $7,182
JAPAN ROAD LEADERBOARD
Ranking, total points, Trainer, Non-Restricted Stakes Earnings
1. Le Vent Se Leve (JPN), 10, Kiyoshi Hagiwara, $464,985
2. Ruggero (JPN), 10, Yuichi Shikato, $178,045
3. Don Fortis (JPN), 4, Mitsunori Makiura, $437,283
4. Mic Ben Hur (JPN), 4, Yoshihiro Hatakeyama, $106,766
5. Haseno Pyro (JPN), Kenki Sato, $264,191
6. Meiner Yukitsubaki (JPN) 2, Noboru Takagi, $99,210
7. Dark Repulser (JPN), 1, Takashi Kanari, $184,087
8. Bronze Kay (JPN), 1, Koichi Tsunoda, $75.979