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Road to Kentucky Derby Gets Dark

Owners and their 3-year-old hopefuls spend the week in the rest area on the Road to the Kentucky Derby with no prep races on the schedule. After last week’s debacle at Tampa Bay Downs, this might be a good thing. The Grade 2 Louisiana Derby is next – March 23 at the Fair Grounds – as what looks like a solid field tries to make some Kentucky Derby news.

 

Road to Kentucky Derby Gets Dark
Road to Kentucky Derby Gets Dark

Louisiana Derby Draw Saturday

The top five horses in the Kentucky Derby point standings are all but assured a spot in the starting gate. Two others – Common Defense and Catching Freedom – would join them by hitting the board in the Louisiana Derby on March 23 at the Fair Grounds. Track Phantom, third on the list, is also expected to run. Honor Marie is among those who will likely need to finish first or second to Run for the Roses on May 4. The Louisiana Derby draw is on Saturday.

Another 200-point race will be run on March 23. The Jeff Ruby Stakes is 1⅛ miles over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park. Rich Strike won the 2022 Kentucky Derby at 80-1 in the horse racing odds after finishing third in the Jeff Ruby. Seeing as the Derby is run on dirt, this should be a 105-point race. TwinsSpires Racing, which owns Churchill Downs and Turfway Park, should also add a 105-point turf race as a Kentucky Derby qualifier. The Derby isn’t run on turf either.

Sierra Leone, the favorite in the Kentucky Derby odds, won’t race again until the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on April 6. Sierra Leone, trained by Chad Brown, earned a Kentucky Derby berth with an impressive victory in the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17.

 

Tote Malfunction, Illogical Rule Mar Tampa Bay Derby

Small tracks such as Tampa Bay Downs get an annual moment in the spotlight, so it was sad to see a tote malfunction force the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9 to become a non-wagering event. On the track, Domestic Product, conditioned by Brown, punched his ticket to the Kentucky Derby after winning by a head. The head scratcher, though, was why bettors who had Domestic Product to complete a Pick 4, Pick 3 and/or double didn’t get paid when it became – by rule – an “all” race. This must be changed. The fact that the Tampa Derby was a non-betting event should be irrelevant when there were horizontal bets with pre-existing pools and will pays.

 

 

 

 

Questions Of The Day

When is the Kentucky Derby?


The Kentucky Derby is traditionally run on the first Saturday in May. The 150th Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 4, 2024 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Who was the biggest longshot to win the Kentucky Derby?


Donerail won the 1913 Kentucky Derby at 91-1. Rich Strike, the 2022 winner, was 80-1.

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