Kentucky Derby Championship Series Kicks Off

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Ed DeRosa

February 20th, 2015

There are three Kentucky Derby points races this weekend. The two on Saturday—the Risen Star at Fair Grounds and the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream—each offer a $400,000 purse and 85 qualifying points (w/ 50 to the winner).

So which race attracted the most entrants? That would be the Southwest Stakes on Sunday at Oaklawn with its $300,000 and 17 Derby points (as always, click on the stakes name for FREE Ultimate Past Performances).


All three races are part of the $1-million Road to the Kentucky Derby SHOWdown with 757 players alive for the top prize with 17 races to go. There are also 22 Twitter users still alive in our #TSshowdown. The person who lasts the longest on there will win $500, but anyone can play each race, as we’re randomly selecting one successful tweet per race to win a $20 bet (must be a member to collect the $20 bet, but anyone remaining can win the grand prize).

As discussed on On Point w/ James Scully, I’m not getting too creative with my picks this week at least from a #TSshowdown perspective.

I like Upstart not only in the Fountain ofYouth but also as a serious Kentucky Derby prospect. The best thing about him losing this weekend (assuming an OK race) would be a better price next week in Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool 3, but even a small step back off that Holy Bull Stakesis good enough to finish at least third here.

As for the Risen Star, I’ve spent too much time talking about how awesome last year’s Kentucky Jockey Club was to go against runner-up Imperia in his three-year-old debut here. Winner El Kabeir came back to win the Jerome and finish second in the Withers while also rans International Star and Lord Nelson both won their next starts as well.

On the win end, though, I can’t resist Hero of Humor winging it on the front end at 50-to-1 plus. He didn’t run too badly in the Lecomte for being 173-to-1, and the front end will be kinder to him here with the scratch of J S Bach.

While Danny Zucker of doesn’t share my zest for Hero of Humor, he does plan to try to beat the favorite here. Predicteform portends a formful Fountain of Youth but expects bigger prices in the Risen Star. The Weekend Analysis podcast below discusses both races.

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The Southwest Stakes Sunday features the return of the top four finishers in the Smarty Jones Stakes, and I’m likely not alone in giving third-place finisher Mr. Z another chance.

The D. Wayne Lukas trainee looked like a certain winner turning for him before running like Zorro’s sword through a piece of cloth down the stretch and settling for third. The Racing Hall of Fame trainer said he has the colt figured out, and anything close to what we saw in the middle parts of either the Smarty Jones or Los Alamitos Futurity—where he finished third behind next-out winner Dortmund—wins this.


Hello Race Fans Launches Derby Prep Alert

Jennifer Caldwell analyzes the weekend’s three Kentucky Oaks Championship Series races: the Davona Dale at Gulfstream, the Rachel Alexandra at Fair Grounds, and the Busher at Aqueduct.

Gulfstream Park Fountain of Youth day handicapping reports (all reports—PPs, selections, analysis, workouts, and more—all in one place)