The nationwide betting public was on its collective game Saturday, backing three short-priced horses who captured 50 points each in the 2022 Kentucky Derby standings and clinched qualifying berths in the May 7 Run for the Roses.
Forbidden Kingdom won the San Felipe Stakes at 4-5 at Santa Anita, while even-money Morello secured the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. Co-favored Simplification prevailed at 5-2 in Gulfstream Park’s Fountain of Youth Stakes.
2022 Kentucky Derby Standings
The next Kentucky Derby prep is the Tampa Bay Derby March 12, at Tampa Bay Downs. The top 20 earn spots in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.
|1||Epicenter ||164||Steven M. Asmussen|
|3||White Abarrio||112||Saffie Joseph, Jr.|
|4||Mo Donegal||112||Todd Pletcher|
|5||Tiz the Bomb||110||Kenny McPeek|
|7||Crown Pride (JPN)||100||Koichi Shintani|
|10||Smile Happy ||70||Kenny McPeek|
|11||Classic Causway||66||Brian Lynch|
|12||Tawny Port||60||Brad Cox|
|13||Barber Road ||58||John Ortiz|
|14||Un Ojo||54||Anthony W. Dutrow|
|17||Summer Is Tomorrow||40||Bhupat Seemar|
|18||Charge It||40||Todd Pletcher|
|19||Happy Jack||30||Doug O'Neill|
|20||Pioneer of Medina||25||Todd Pletcher|
|21||In Due Time||24||Kelly Breen|
|22||Ethereal Road||22||D. Wayne Lukas|
|23||Rich Strike||21||Eric Reed|
|24||Rattle N Roll||20||Kenny McPeek|
Simplification rose into third, but has the same number of points as second-place Un Ojo at 54 points, 10 behind circuit-leader Epicenter, the winner of the Risen Star Stakes. Morello and Forbidden Kingdom settled right behind Simplification with 50 points.
Two of the runners-up, In Due Time for the Fountain of Youth, and Dean’s List in the Gotham, attained 20 points and reached the top 10. Doppelganger, second in the San Felipe, did not earn 20 points because he is trained by Bob Baffert.
The trainer has been banned by Churchill Downs from competing in the Kentucky Derby for two years as a result of Medina Spirit failing a post-race drug test last year. Baffert filed a federal lawsuit this past week to try and reverse that ban and force the track to allow his horses to earn qualifying points for the Derby. But while that process is developing, they cannot.
The two horses awarded runners-up points, In Due Time and Dean’s List, may ultimately have enough Derby qualifying points if their connections decide to enter it. The 20th Kentucky Derby qualifier had 10 points last year.
Triple Crown Schedule
Race Recaps: Saturday, March 5 Derby Preps
Each of the 50-point winners took a different victory path in the Derby’s first Super Saturday lead up.
Fountain of Youth
Simplification, slammed in late betting from 9-2 to 5-2, was pocketed at the start and battled for racing room throughout the entire 1 1/16-mile event. Jockey Jose Ortiz was finally able to swing him widest of all around the final turn and he was much the best from there. In Due Time, previewed in The Lines as a game closer, picked up pieces to get second at 6-1.
The exotics money came from the third spot when O Captain nipped co-favored Emmanuel at the wire. He was 80-1 and completed a $1 trifecta of $1,061.
The $1-dollar superfecta, with Emmanuel finishing fourth at 5-2, paid $9,387.
Emmanuel had traffic problems throughout the entire race, being bottled up behind a wall of horses, swinging five lengths wide and tiring to lose both the place and the show in the final strides.
At Aqueduct, Morello prevailed at even money behind jockey Jose Lezcano. He was equal to the task of stretching out to a one-turn mile and collared front-running Dean’s List, 5-1, down the stretch.
Golden Code, at 27-1 was third in a photo to complete a $1 trifecta of $162. Life is Great, given positive reviews at TheLines before the race, finished fourth at a whopping 46-1 and finalized a $1 superfecta of $1,139.
Sna Felipe Stakes
In the San Felipe, Forbidden Kingdom was bet down to 4-5 and made it look that easy in stretching to the 1 1–6-mile distance to wire the field. With Juan Hernandez in the irons, he led by nine lengths at one point. Doppelganger, 9-5, finished a clear, but clearly-beaten second.
The $2 exacta was small, as expected, $7.00, and the $1 trifecta with 19-1 longshot Happy Jack third was only $32.
Forbidden Kingdom had the best pace and size-of-field scenario, as the San Felipe only had seven competitors.
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