Welcome to the major prep season on the trail to the 2013 Kentucky Derby. On Saturday the countdown to the first Saturday May reaches 5 more weeks until we crown the winner of the 139th edition. So, things will be heating up from here and to spice it up even more, the long awaited monster point season begins this weekend as well (100-40-20-10). Over the next couple of weeks the points that are up for grabs and eventually awarded will also bring an answer to the lingering question we’ve all been waiting for; how many points will it take to make the starting gate?
But, before we speculate any further on that pressing query let’s look at another subject that revolves around the two legendary preps that are set to kick things off this weekend; the Florida and Louisiana Derby. Both of these well known preps have a long history on the Kentucky Derby trail but the difference between them producing a Kentucky Derby winner is like comparing Secretariat to the rest of the field in the Belmont Stakes.
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Inaugurated in 2003, the Sunland Derby has come a long way in a short amount of time. The snap shot of its timeline: off the radar to worth a total of 85 qualification points. Did something happen in this short amount of time that made this prep so reputable. I can’t give one year or one single horse all the credit but the second biggest long shot in Kentucky Derby history may have helped.
hat’s so curious about Mine That Bird is that he didn’t race in a single graded stakes race in his 3-yr-old season prior to the Kentucky Derby. That’s right, it wasn’t until 2010 that the Sunland Derby became an official graded stakes race.
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For the fifth consecutive Kentucky Derby prep, a horse with one or less qualifying points emerged the victor. The first Kentucky Derby contender to join the fifty point club this past weekend was Verrazano, who dominated the field en route to winning the G2 Tampa Bay Derby. Following that effort later in the afternoon, and in thrilling come from behind fashion, was Hear the Ghost in the G2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and owned by Let’s Go Stable, the son of More Than Ready has long since been an expected derby contender. But, because he waited until now to make his graded stakes and two turn race debut, his status was also met with some speculation.
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