And then there were no more, no more stops on the road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Saturday's Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park and Lexington Stakes at Keeneland are the final points races in this year's chase to Churchill.
Based on current standings, available points and prize money, Arkansas Derby runners have a chance to control their destiny. One hundred points go to the winner, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth, plus a split of the $1 million jackpot (winnings are the tiebreaker) gives every horse in the field of six a chance at the first Saturday of May.
With 20 points for the winner and eight for second, most of the 10 horses in the Lexington Stakes have zero chance to earn enough to get into the Kentucky Derby, even if they collect the Lexington hardware. Only PROXY (PP: 7 ML 6/5) and HOCKEY DAD (PP: 6 ML 8-1) could run from the Lexington to Louisville.
PROXY currently holds the 20th spot on the Kentucky Derby qualifying leaderboard, which is the final automatic bid. He has 34 points and $160,000 in winnings from Derby Prep starts. Adding Lexington's 20 points and 60% of the $200,000 prize pool would catapult PROXY into the KD. Second's eight points and $40,000 would put PROXY in 14th place based current totals and in a Kentucky Derby starting gate. Third and PROXY's hopes are more than likely dashed.
For HOCKEY DAD it's win, and maybe you are in. He currently has 20 points and banked $18,800. If he added 20 for winning the Lexington, his points total goes to 40 and his bankroll to $138,800. Right now, that would put him in 17th place. However, the Arkansas Derby's show horse gets 40 points and $200,000, which would put him ahead of HOCKEY DAD.
To lock down a spot in the top 20, HOCKEY DAD needs to win, PROXY to finish third or worse in the Lexington with HOZIER (PP: 3 ML 3-1) and CONCERT TOUR (PP: 5 ML 1-1) crossing the Arkansas Derby tape one-two in any order.
If our friends at Guaranteed Tip Sheets (GTS) are right with their subscribers' commentary, HOCKEY DAD's Derby dreams are over and PROXY's connections will sweat it out for a couple of hours waiting for the Arkansas Derby to go official.
GTS tabbed PROXY to finish second and HOCKEY DAD third in the Lexington, both behind SWIFTSURE (PP: 2 ML 5-1). Over in Arkansas, Guaranteed Tip Sheet thinks it will be another easy win for CONCERT TOUR with HOZIER as deep as fourth. GTS sees CADDO RIVER (PP 2 ML 7/2) and SUPER STOCK (PP: 1 ML 6-1) in a tight one for second and third.
All speculation ends on Saturday night when the Lexington Stakes and Arkansas Derby are final. The top 20 will be set. Borderline horses, ranked 21st and down, will monitor scratches and possibly have their numbers called.
Get today's full picks for all tracks and races at Guaranteed Tip Sheet.