Road To The Kentucky Derby Leaderboard: Shakeup After 75-1 Upset

Written By Dave Bontempo on February 28, 2022
road to kentucky derby

The $1 million Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park made a dramatic impact in the Road to Kentucky Derby point standings.

Its top three finishers – Un Ojo, Ethereal Road and Barber Road – have either qualified for or become serious contenders to stamp their passports to the Run for the Roses on Saturday, May 7.

Un Ojo Wins Rebel Stakes at 75-1 Odds

The trio, which produced a whopping $1 trifecta box payout of $5,072, all surged into the top-five positions in the point standings. The top-20 on the leaderboard from the prep races will qualify for the Kentucky Derby. The 20th position last year had 10 points and each of the Rebel’s top-three finishers is already well above that total by virtue of Saturday’s results.

Un Ojo obtained 50 points, hiking his total to 54 and placing him second to Risen Star Stakes-winning Epicenter, at 64. He will certainly finish in the top 20. Ethereal Road collected 20 points and sits fourth, just behind Smile Happy, who has 30. Barber Road collected 10 and has 18, to be fifth. Based on last year’s final standings, they would appear safe to nail at least one of the bottom spots, even if they don’t enter another prep.

The 19th spot in the standings belongs to Kavod, whose fourth-place finish at the Rebel hiked his total to seven. He also completed a spectacular $2 superfecta payout of $141,698. Kavod will likely need to score points in a future prep race to nail one of the bottom qualifying berths.

The Road to the Kentucky Derby is interesting because it allows fans and gamblers to track horses and make comparisons throughout the winter and early spring. Un Ojo, for instance, was 12-1 on the morning line for the Rebel but allowed to drift up to 75-1 as late money went to favored Newgrange, who did not hit the board at 4-5 odds.

The performance of Un Ojo will provide additional respect to Early Voting, who defeated him in the Withers in impressive fashion in February.

Un Ojo, Ethereal Road and Barber Road all are improving and it will be interesting to see where thy race next.

Three more prep races unfold March 5:

  • Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park
  • Gotham at Aqueduct
  • San Felipe at Santa Anita

All carry the 50-20-10-5 points distribution awarded to the top-four finishers.

Later prep races in March and April carry 100 points to the winner. That’s why top horses in the Louisiana Derby, Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, Wood Memorial, Blue Grass and Santa Anita Derby will become Derby favorites.

Road To Kentucky Derby Leaderboard

164Steven M. Asmussen
2Zandon114Chad Brown
3White Abarrio
112Saffie Joseph, Jr.
4Mo Donegal112Todd Pletcher
5Tiz the Bomb110Kenny McPeek
6Cyberknife100Brad Cox
7Crown Pride (JPN)100Koichi Shintani
8Taiba100Tim Yakteen
74Antonio Sano
10Smile Happy
70Kenny McPeek
11Classic Causway66Brian Lynch
12Tawny Port60Brad Cox
13Barber Road
58John Ortiz
14Un Ojo
54Anthony W. Dutrow
15Messier40Tim Yakteen
16Zozos40Brad Cox
17Summer Is Tomorrow40Bhupat Seemar
18Charge It40Todd Pletcher
19Happy Jack30Doug O'Neill
20Pioneer of Medina25Todd Pletcher
21In Due Time24Kelly Breen
22Ethereal Road22D. Wayne Lukas
23Rich Strike21Eric Reed
24Rattle N Roll20Kenny McPeek

*Standings as of Feb. 28

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Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo, who writes extensively on the emergence of legalized sports betting, is a recipient of the Sam Taub Award for Broadcast Excellence by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has broadcast boxing for all the major networks over the last four decades and is a member of the New Jersey Boxing Hall of Fame as well as the Atlantic City Boxing Hall of Fame. His work also can be seen at the Press of Atlantic City and iGamingPlayer.

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