The 138th edition of the Kentucky Derby is less than three weeks away, and after an eventful weekend with the last Grade I prep races, there weren't many moves in the Top 20 graded earnings list.
Only the Top 20 entrants based on graded stakes earnings can draw into the race, but this year for the first time there will be an also eligible (AE) list for the Derby. This means that if for some reason any of the horses in the Top 20 is scratched, a horse in that AE list can make it to the starting gate.
Last year when Uncle Mo was scratched the Friday before the race, Sway Away could have made it to the gate. But since the AE list was not in place then, he never had the chance.
Every year the rising purses have made the cut-off line of graded earning to rise year after year. Last year it took almost $200,000 to make the field. This year the horse in 20th place (Went the Day Well) has earned $282,000.
After the Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby were run yesterday, only one horse jumped into the Top 20 list. That was Arkansas Derby winner, Bodemeister, who was 49th with only $60,000 in earnings prior to the race.
With the $600,000 that goes to the winner, he leapfrogged to 11th place in the list.
Secret Circle and Sabercat, who finished second and third respectively, had more than enough earnings going into the race. Their finishes only helped them improve their lifetime earnings.
Blue Grass Stakes winner Dullahan, and runner-up Hansen also had racked up enough earnings to be on the Derby. Third-place finisher Gung Ho only earned $75,000 and will not be able to even make the AE list.
There is still only one horse that could make it into the Top 20 and that is Reveron (23rd). The Florida Derby runner-up seems to be destined to be entered in the Grade III Lexington at Keeneland this upcoming Saturday.
This in a last minute attempt to earn enough graded stakes money to get into the Kentucky Derby field on his own merits.
Reveron eventually might not need those earnings as there are some horses outside the Top 20 who could still make it considering that we might see some defections from the ones already in.
The first one is Hero of Order. He was not an original or late nominee to the Triple Crown. This means that it would require to 1) supplement him with a $200,000 fee and 2) he cannot get into the Derby field ahead of any original or late nominee.
Translation, he is out of the 2012 Kentucky Derby.
Then there is Wrote (Sixth), Liaison (15th), Trinniberg (17th) and Rousing Sermon (21st). They are being considered by their connections on whether they will make it to the Derby or not due to their recent performances or distance concerns.
If all this happens every horse from the 22nd position (Mark Valeski) up to the 26th (Optimizer) would get a chance to make it to the starting gate. It's all a wait-and-see moment now.
There are three more weeks of preparations, and a lot can change before the first Saturday of May, and now we get to see how the action starts to heat up.
Kentucky Derby 2012 Graded Earnings List (as of April 15th, 2012)
|2||Daddy Long Legs||Aidan O'Brien||$1,294,030|
|3||Union Rags||Michael Matz||$1,170,000|
|5||Creative Cause||Mike Harrington||$836,000|
|6||Wrote (IRE)||Aidan O'Brien||$756,630|
|9||Take Charge Indy||Patrick Byrne||$698,400|
|10||Secret Circle||Bob Baffert||$670,000|
|12||Hero of Order*||Gennadi Dorochenko||$617,375|
|13||I'll Have Another||Doug O'Neill||$601,000|
|14||Daddy Nose Best||Steve Asmussen||$545,588|
|19||Done Talking||Hamilton Smith||$311,000|
|20||Went the Day Well||Graham Motion||$282,000|
|21||Rousing Sermon||Jerry Hollendorfer||$270,000|
|22||Mark Valeski||Larry Jones||$260,000|
|23||El Padrino||Todd Pletcher||$250,000|
|25||Isn't He Clever||Henry Dominguez||$188,000|
|26||Optimizer||D. Wayne Lukas||$184,000|
|28||Currency Swap||Kelly Breen||$150,000|
|29||My Adonis||James Cassidy||$140,000|
|30||Brother Francis||Eddie Kenneally||$135,000|
* Not nominated to Triple Crown. It would require $200,000 supplement and cannot get into the Derby field ahead of any original or late nominee.