Kentucky Derby and Oaks Roundup: March 7, 2022

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March 7th, 2022

The first week of March was a busy one. A total of 10 Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1) prep races took place around the world.

Let’s get caught up on all the results.

Changes on the leaderboard

A quartet of stateside Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifiers headlined the weekend racing. Here’s how the action unfolded:

  • Simplification (54 points, third place on the leaderboard) bounded from off the pace to win the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park by a decisive 3 1/2 lengths. Longshot In Due Time (20 points, eighth place) won a tight battle for the minor awards over O Captain (10 points, not a Triple Crown nominee) and Emmanuel (5 points, 31st place).
  • Forbidden Kingdom (50 points, fourth place) delivered a stunning gate-to-wire win in the San Felipe S. (G2) at Santa Anita, leading by daylight at every call to score by 5 1/2 lengths. Doppelganger rallied to finish second, but was ineligible to earn Kentucky Derby qualification points as his trainer Bob Baffert has been suspended by Churchill Downs. Longshot Happy Jack (10 points, 25th place) picked up third place over Beautiful Art (5 points, not a Triple Crown nominee).
  • Morello (50 points, fifth place) brought his unbeaten record to 3-for-3 with an easy pace-tracking score in the Gotham S. (G3) at Aqueduct. Pacesetter Dean’s List (20 points, ninth place) stayed on to preserve second place over Golden Code (10 points, 26th place), and Life Is Great (5 points, 30th place).
  • Tiz the Bomb (10 points, 16th place) prevailed as the favorite in the John Battaglia Memorial S. at Turfway Park, edging out Stolen Base (4 points, 35th place) to win by a neck.

European Road to the Kentucky Derby

The European Road to the Kentucky Derby resumed last week with a pair of prep races awarding points on a 20-8-4-2 basis to the top four finishers:

  • In the Road to the Kentucky Derby Condition S. at Kempton Park, Godolphin homebred Blue Trail narrowly got the better of Harrow and Find, prevailing by a nose in a three-horse photo finish. Havana Goldrush settled for fourth place.
  • In the Patton S. at Dundalk, the Juddmonte filly Juncture proved tons the best, winning by half a dozen lengths over Morning Soldier, Sister Bridget, and In Ecstasy.

None of the above-mentioned runners are nominated to the Triple Crown, which means they don’t officially rank on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.

On the work tab

Call Me Midnight: Traveled five furlongs in 1:02.00 on Saturday at Fair Grounds.

Classic Causeway: Turned in a sharp five-furlong workout on Saturday at Palm Meadows, getting the distance in :59.95.

Commandperformance: Breezed five furlongs in 1:00.88 on Saturday at Palm Beach Downs.

Courvoisier: Clocked a quick half mile in :48.00 over the Belmont Park training track on Tuesday.

Epicenter: Fired off a fast workout on Monday at Fair Grounds, completing the move in :59.60.

Ethereal Road: Took a spin at Oaklawn Park on Sunday, getting five furlongs in 1:01.40.

Giant Game: Scratched from the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) and instead breezed five furlongs in a snappy :59.31 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Gilded Age: Breezed five furlongs in 1:03.00 on Friday at Payson Park.

Major General: Turned in an easy five-furlong workout on Saturday at Palm Beach Downs, completing the move in 1:02.92.

Pappacap: Sped four furlongs in a bullet :47.40 on Friday at the Casse Training Center.

Shipsational: Blazed a bullet half mile in :47.60 on Sunday at Tampa Bay Downs.

Slow Down Andy: Breezed four furlongs in :48.80 on Sunday at Santa Anita.

Smile Happy: Breezed four furlongs in :49.03 on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.

Zandon: Recorded half a mile in :49.60 on Saturday at Payson Park.

White Abarrio: Breezed four furlongs in :47.12 on Sunday at Gulfstream Park.

Road to the Kentucky Oaks

Matching up with the Kentucky Derby qualifiers, a quartet on Road to the Kentucky Oaks prep races took place in the U.S. last weekend:

  • Demoiselle S. (G2) runner-up Venti Valentine (54 points, second place) kicked off her 2022 campaign with a blowout seven-length victory in the Busher Invitational S. at Aqueduct. Shotgun Hottie (21 points, ninth place), Magic Circle (23 points, seventh place), and Radio Days (9 points, 23rd place) completed the Busher superfecta.
  • Kathleen O. (50 points, fourth place) brought her record to a perfect 3-for-3 with an impressive performance in the Davona Dale S. (G2) at Gulfstream Park. The Shug McGaughey trainee rallied from last place in a field of seven to beat Classy Edition (20 points, 13th place), Cocktail Moments (12 points, 18th place) and Sweet Dani Girl (5 points, 26th place) by two lengths.
  • Stablemates Eda and Under the Stars ran 1-2 in the Santa Ysabel S. (G3) at Santa Anita, with Eda prevailing by half a length. Both were ineligible to earn Kentucky Oaks qualification points as Baffert trainees, leaving third-place finisher Ain’t Easy (20 points, 11th place) and Desert Dawn (8 points, 24th place) as the only points earners from the Santa Ysabel.
  • Bubble Rock (10 points, 20th place) debuted on the leaderboard following a 2 1/2-length win in the Cincinnati Trophy S. at Turfway Park. Three-time stakes winner Marissa’s Lady (4 points, 28th place) settled for second place in the first defeat of her career.

Looking ahead

If you feel like you need to catch your breath following last week’s hectic action, you’ll be glad to know only one Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifier is on the agenda this week.

The race in question is Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs, worth 50-20-10-5 to the top four finishers. The 1 1/16-mile prize is expected to draw Sam F. Davis S. (G3) winner Classic Causeway and Iroquois S. (G3) winner Major General, among others.