2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby

2021 Road to the Derby

Essential Quality is the leader in the 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby. (Photo credit: Wendy Wooley/Breeders’ Cup/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM)

The 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby is well underway, with nine races in the books and plenty more opportunities available over the next five months.

The 147th running of the $3 million guaranteed Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (GI) will be run Saturday, May 1, 2021 and for the seventh consecutive year, a tiered point system in select races will determine who qualifies.

Churchill Downs introduced the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” to provide a potential entry in the Kentucky Derby for a horse based in Japan and the “European Road to the Kentucky Derby” extending an invite to European horsemen as well.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner Essential Quality is the early leader in the clubhouse with 30 points. The Brad Cox trainee won the Juvenile by 1 ¾ lengths, returning his backers $9.40.

The colt is perfect in is three career starts. He broke his maiden at Churchill Downs on Sept. 5 and won the Breeders’ Futurity (G1) at Keeneland in his first start in stakes company, earning his first 10 Derby points.

Essential Quality Early Derby Favorite

Essential Quality is the early betting favorite in Kentucky Derby wagering at BUSR at 12-1.

Jackie’s Warrior is second in the Derby points standings with 12 points. The colt was the beaten favorite in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile where he checked in fourth, picking up two points.

He earned 10 points with his victory in the Champagne (G1) at Belmont Park on Oct. 10.

The next Derby points race is the $200,000 Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs on Nov, 28. There are 104-2-1 pints up for grabs to the top four finishers.

The first race of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby will be held the same day. The Cattleya Sho at Tokyo Racecourse will get that series underway, the first of four races.

The points increase with the Risen Star (G2) at Fair Grounds on Feb. 13. That race will be worth 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers.

The European Road to the Kentucky Derby has completed four races with Sealiway, Mac Swiney, New Mandate and High Definition each earning 10 points for victories.

The next race of the series is the Patton Stakes at Dundalk on March 1.

The 2021 Road to the Kentucky Derby

Iroquois Churchill Downs Sep 5, 2020 10-4-2-1
American Pharoah Santa Anita Park Sep 26, 2020 10-4-2-1
The Royal Lodge Newmarket Sep 26, 2020 10-4-2-1
The Beresford Curragh Sep 26, 2020 10-4-2-1
Breeders’ Futurity Keeneland Oct 3, 2020 10-4-2-1
Prix Jean Luc Lagardere Longchamp Oct 4, 2020 10-4-2-1
Champagne Belmont Park Oct 10, 2020 10-4-2-1
Vertem Futurity Trophy Doncaster Oct 24, 2020 10-4-2-1
Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Keeneland Nov 6, 2020 20-8-4-2
Kentucky Jockey Club Churchill Downs Nov 28, 2020 10-4-2-1
Cattleya Tokyo Racecourse Nov 28, 2020 10-4-2-1
Remsen Aqueduct Dec 5, 2020 10-4-2-1
Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun Kawasaki Dec 16, 2020 20-8-4-2
Los Alamitos Futurity Los Alamitos Race Course Dec 19, 2020 10-4-2-1
Springboard Mile Remington Park Dec 20, 2020 10-4-2-1
Jerome Aqueduct Jan 1, 2021 10-4-2-1
Sham Santa Anita Park Jan 2, 2021 10-4-2-1
Lecomte Fair Grounds Jan 16, 2021 10-4-2-1
Smarty Jones Oaklawn Park Jan 22, 2021 10-4-2-1
Holy Bull Gulfstream Park Jan 30, 2021 10-4-2-1
Hyacinth Tokyo Racecourse TBA 30-12-6-3
Robert B. Lewis Santa Anita Park Feb 6, 2021 10-4-2-1
Withers Aqueduct Feb 6, 2021 10-4-2-1
Sam F. Davis Tampa Bay Downs Feb 6, 2021 10-4-2-1
John Battaglia Memorial Turfway Park Feb 6, 2021 10-4-2-1
El Camino Real Derby Golden Gate Fields Feb 13, 2021 10-4-2-1
Risen Star Division Fair Grounds Feb 13, 2021 50-20-10-5
Southwest Oaklawn Park Feb 15, 2021 10-4-2-1
Fountain of Youth Gulfstream Park Feb 27, 2021 50-20-10-5
Patton Stakes Dundalk Mar 1, 2021 20-8-4-2
Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition Stakes Kempton Park Mar 4, 2021 20-8-4-2
Gotham Aqueduct Mar 6, 2021 50-20-10-5
Tampa Bay Derby Tampa Bay Downs Mar 6, 2021 50-20-10-5
San Felipe Santa Anita Park Mar 6, 2021 50-20-10-5
Rebel Oaklawn Park Mar 13, 2021 50-20-10-5
Jeff Ruby Steaks Turfway Park Mar 20, 2021 20-8-4-2
Louisiana Derby Fair Grounds Mar 20, 2021 100-40-20-10
Florida Derby Gulfstream Park Mar 27, 2021 100-40-20-10
UAE Derby Meydan Racecourse Mar 27, 2021 100-40-20-10
Fukuryu Nakayama TBA 40-16-8-4
Sunland Derby Sunland Park Mar 30, 2021 50-20-10-5
Blue Grass Keeneland Apr 1, 2021 100-40-20-10
Santa Anita Derby Santa Anita Park Apr 1, 2021 100-40-20-10
Cardinal Condition Stakes Chelmsford city Apr 1, 2021 30-12-6-3
Wood Memorial Aqueduct Apr 3, 2021 100-40-20-10
Arkansas Derby Oaklawn Park Apr 10, 2021 100-40-20-10
Lexington Keeneland Apr 10, 2021 20-8-4-2


NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll

No. Horse Points
1 Flightline 351
2 Life Is Good 306
3 Olympiad 292
4 Jackie's Warrior 282
5 Clairiere 142
5 Country Grammer 142
7 Epicenter 121
8 Regal Glory 89
9 Nest 87
10 Hot Rod Charlie 48
As of August 1, 2022

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