Baffert climbs onto Kentucky Derby trail in big way

Mar 23rd, 2014 | By TrackSide View | Category: Kentucky Derby trail

Ron Correll
Senior columnist
Tracksideview.com

A little more than a week ago it looked like trainer Bob Baffert was going to be on the outside looking in at this year’s Kentucky Derby. But it takes time for some young colts to mature and now Baffert is sitting with three colts that have a lock on getting into the starting gate on May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Two of them, Hoppertunity and Chitu, have legitimate chances of winning the mile-and-a-quarter race. The other, Midnight Hawk, looks like a mile-and-an-eighth is as far as he wants to go.

Chitu earned his way into the starting gate on the first Saturday in May with a determined win in the Sunland Derby on May 23 at Sunland Park in New Mexico. He pulled away from stablemate Midnight Hawk in the final sixteenth of a mile to win by two lengths. He gain 50 points from that race and now has 54. Midnight Hawk received 20 for second and has 52 points.

Commissioner rallied to be third and picked up 10 points, but time is running out for this guy. Early fractions in the Sunland Derby were quick, but Commissioner could get no closer than seven lengths in the end. Rebranded got 5 points for finishing fourth but he isn’t Triple Crown nominated, so there’s no sense in talking about him.

You must take a close look at We Miss Artie after his win in the Spiral Stakes Saturday at Turfway Park in northern Kentucky. Although I think he is a pure synthetic and turf horse, it seems that colts that run well on the Polytrack at Turfway and Keeneland do well on the dirt at Churchill Downs.

I don’t like the horse at all as a pure dirt horse, but you must be forewarned about how you use him in betting on Derby day.

The son of Artie Schiller has 60 points for the Kentucky Derby and is guaranteed a spot in the starting gate. He also could run in the American Turf at Churchill on Derby day or he could head north and run in the Queen’s Plate at Woodbine in Canada. It just depends on which one he has the better chances of winning. Of course, “Derby Fever” by his owners could make all that mute. He is owned by Ken and Sarah Ramsey. Enough said.

Although there are 55 horses on the points list according to Churchill Downs (3-23-14), I’m only going to list the top 31 (plus ties). The earnings are listed in case a tiebreakers is needed;

We Miss Artie 60 – $544,000
Samraat 60 – $450,000
Hoppertunity 55 – $376,000
Chitu 54 – $440,000
Intense Holiday 53 – $327,500
Midnight Hawk 52 – $320,000
Wildcat Red 50 – $410,000
Ring Weekend 50 – $210,000
California Chrome 50 – $182,250
Tapiture 42 – $420,738
Albano 24 – $150,000
Uncle Sigh 24 – $150,000
Vinceremos 20 – $190,000
Vicar’s in Trouble 20 – $160,000
Harry’s Holiday  20 – $150,956
General a Rod 20 – $140,000
Ride On Curlin 15 – $154,387
Havana 14 – $660,000
Cairo Prince 14 – $470,000
Kristo 14 – $56,000
Coastline 13 – $129,679
Tamarando 12 – $495,000
Strong Mandate 11 – $472,500
Rise Up 10 – $786,633
Candy Boy 10 – $260,000
In Trouble 10 – $170,000
Noble Moon 10 – $145,000
Ami’s Holiday 10 – $136,145
Tanzanite Cat 10 – $111,000
Commissioner 10 – $104,000
Cleburne 10 – $102,044
Surfing U S A 10 – $35,000

Kentucky Derby Championship Series:

March 29 Florida Derby Gulfstream Park 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
March 29 Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
March 29 UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse 1 3/16 Miles (S) 100 40 20 10
April 5 Wood Memorial Aqueduct 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
April 5 Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
April 12 Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park 1 1/8 Miles 100 40 20 10
April 12 Blue Grass Keeneland 1 1/8 Miles (S) 100 40 20 10
April 19 Lexington Keeneland 1 1/16 Miles (S) 10 4 2 1

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