The 2013 Kentucky Derby prep races finished with a bang on Saturday, April 13.
Final qualifying races held on at the Arkansas Derby and Blue Grass Stakes provided an exciting afternoon of action—the last before the Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs on May 4.
To qualify for a gate position, the top 20 horses in the points standings are selected.
There are still two remaining wild-card races that will help determine the final participants for the Kentucky Derby. The Lexington Stakes on April 20 and the Derby Trial on April 27 will provide 20 points to their winners, eight points to second, four points to third and two points to fourth place.
Let’s take a look at a couple of participants that benefited the most from Saturday’s action.
Overanalyze showed up big, winning the Arkansas Derby and qualifying for the Kentucky Derby in the process. After an up-and-drown showing during previous appearances, the 3-year-old Todd Pletcher-trained colt showed up huge at Oaklawn Park.
The $1 million win came easy, too.
All other contenders were left in the dust as Overanalyze blew by down the final one-eighth-mile stretch to win by over four lengths.
This late but dominant victory stamped Overanalyze’s ticket after a poor showing at last month’s Gotham Stakes left some doubt about its chances.
After a slow start at Saturday’s Blue Grass Stakes, the Ken McPeek-trained Java’s War exploded and closed fast on leader Palace Malice to win by a neck.
Simply showing would have been enough for Java’s War to qualify after coming into the weekend with 22 points. However, its 100-point earnings from the victory puts it in fourth-place in the points standings with 122.
Java's War went from first to last in this one, making the win even more incredible.
Despite falling short down the stretch, the Todd Pletcher-trained colt finished in second place and earned 40 points, qualifying it for the Kentucky Derby.
First place would have set up Pletcher with another horse in prime starting position at the Derby, but he will take it after a poor showing at the Louisiana Derby.
Hanging on by a neck at the finish after a late charge by Charming Kitten threatened Palace Malice’s qualifying chances.