Early Kentucky Derby Prep Races Have Begun

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By Emily Shields

The road to the 2020 Kentucky Derby is already underway, with nine races worth Derby points being run on or before November 1 – the date of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – and another four being run since. The Derby will be held May 2 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.

Storm the Court is the division leader on merit, having gutted out a 45-1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile over Anneau d’Or, Wrecking Crew, and Scabbard. Previous division leaders Eight Rings and Dennis’ Moment ran off the board, the latter having stumbled badly at the start of the 1 1/16-mile race. Storm the Court will winter at Santa Anita this year, along with many of the Bob Baffert-trained runners such as Eight Rings.

Another hailing from his barn is Thousand Words, a handsome son of Pioneerof the Nile who is unbeaten in two starts. After breaking his maiden first out at Santa Anita, the bay colt took the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) over Anneau d’Or, winning by a neck. They were five lengths cleared of the Baffert-trained High Velocity, a son of Quality Road who had previously won the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.

In Japan, the Cattleya Sho went to Dieu du Vin on a sloppy, wet track. The son of Declaration of War is out of a Tapit mare and was ridden by ever popular Frankie Dettori. Japan has four preps for the Derby between November 23 and April 1.

The Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes over the Churchill Downs dirt racing strip went to Silver Prospector, a 7-1 shot, with 3-5 Tiz the Law running third. Silver Prospector is another son of Declaration of War out of a Tapit mare, and is trained by Steve Asmussen. He is now two for six lifetime. Tiz the Law won the grade 1 Champagne Stakes in October, and could prep in New York or Florida.

The Remsen Stakes went to Shotski over Ajaaweed. Shotski is a son of Blame trained by Jeremiah O’Dwyer. He was fourth in the Street Sense Stakes at Churchill Downs before the Remsen win over 1 1/8 miles. Favored Alpha Sixty Six finished sixth after a bumpy start.

One horse worth watching is Azul Coast, a son of Super Saver from the Baffert barn. He broke his maiden first out at Los Alamitos by four lengths under Drayden Van Dyke and looked very good doing so.

The next Derby prep for points is the Springboard Mile at Remington Park on December 15, followed by the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki in Japan December 18.

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