Kentucky Derby 2024 Update (2-13-24)

Pat Day statue at Churchill Downs (Stacy Edwards Photo)

By Jarrod Horak

The Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs was the most recent road to Kentucky Derby 2024 points race. In this article, I will look back at that race and update my “Exceptional 11” Kentucky Derby contenders. The next points race is the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Saturday, Feb. 17, followed by the Grade 3 Sunland Derby on Feb 18.

Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Race Recaps

Sam F. Davis – Feb. 10 (Tampa Bay)

Fractions: 23.52, 46.61, 1:10.81, 1:36.59, 1:43.26 

Top 5 Finishers: No More Time, Agate Road, West Saratoga, Elysian Meadows, Fulmineo

This did not seem like a strong Derby prep but time will tell. No More Time was able to get out there and control the pace. West Saratoga stalked the pace and made a bid for the lead, but No More Time turned him away and was clear at the wire by a length and a quarter. Surface switcher Agate Road was at the back of the pack for the opening half-mile, and he steadily advanced and rallied wide in the stretch in a clear runner-up finish. West Saratoga just held the show over late mover Elysian Meadows. Fulmineo finished an even 5th and picked up two Derby points.  

Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Race Results

Iroquois (10-5-3-2-1) – Sept. 16 – Winner: West Saratoga ($26.96)

Champagne (10-5-3-2-1) – Oct. 7 – Winner: Timberlake ($11.80)

American Pharoah (10-5-3-2-1) – Oct. 7 – Winner: Muth ($2.80)

Breeders’ Futurity (10-5-3-2-1) – Oct. 7 – Winner: Locked ($3.52)

Street Sense (10-5-3-2-1) – Oct. 29 – Winner: Liberal Arts ($14.18)

BC Juvenile (30-15-9-6-3) – Nov. 3 – Winner: Fierceness ($35.00)

Ky Jockey Club (10-5-3-2-1) – Nov. 25 – Winner: Honor Marie ($19.62)

Remsen (10-5-3-2-1) – Dec. 3 – Winner: Dornoch ($5.40)

Springboard Mile (10-5-3-2-1) – Dec. 15 – Winner: Otto the Conqueror ($4.80)

Los Al Futurity (10-5-3-2-1) – Dec. 16 – Winner: Wynstock ($29.40)

Gun Runner (10-5-3-2-1) – Dec. 23 – Winner: Track Phantom ($11.80)

Smarty Jones (10-5-3-2-1) – Jan. 1- Winner: Catching Freedom ($5.40)

Jerome (10-5-3-2-1) – Jan. 6 – Winner: Drum Roll Please ($3.20)

Lecomte (20-10-6-4-2) – Jan. 20 – Winner: Track Phantom ($4.80)

Withers (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3 – Uncle Heavy ($20.60)

Robert Lewis (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3 – Winner: Nysos ($2.20) 

Southwest (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3 – Winner: Mystik Dan ($24.80)

Holy Bull (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3 – Winner: Hades ($20.20)

Sam F. Davis (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 10 – Winner: No More Time ($8.60)

Upcoming Points Races: 

Risen Star (50-25-15-10-5) – Feb. 17 

Sunland Derby (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 18

Rebel (50-25-15-10-5) – Feb. 24 

Fountain of Youth (50-25-15-10-5) – March 2 

Gotham (50-25-15-10-5) – March 2 

John Battaglia Memorial (20-10-6-4-2) – March 2 

San Felipe (50-25-15-10-5) – March 2 

Tampa Bay Derby (50-25-15-10-5) – March 9 

Jeff Ruby Steaks (100-50-25-15-10) – March 23  

Louisiana Derby (100-50-25-15-10) – March 23

Florida Derby (100-50-25-15-10) – March 30

UAE Derby (100-50-25-15-10) – March 30

Arkansas Derby (100-50-25-15-10) – March 30 

Blue Grass (100-50-25-15-10) – April 6 

SA Derby (100-50-25-15-10) – April 6 

Wood Memorial (100-50-25-15-10) – April 6 

Lexington (20-10-6-4-2) – April 13 


Top 20 Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Leaders (thru 2-13-24)

Fierceness (36 points)

Track Phantom (30 points)

Mystik Dan (21 points)

Hades, Uncle Heavy, No More Time (20 points)

Locked, Liberal Arts (19 points)

West Saratoga (17 points)

Timberlake (16 points)

Just Steel, El Grande O (15 points)

Nash (13 points)

Honor Marie, Agate Road, Otto the Conqueror, Dornoch, Catching Freedom, Domestic Product (10 points)

Moonlight (7 points)

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2024 Contenders (2-13-24)

1 – Sierra Leone (Gun Runner – Heavenly Love, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Chad Brown –  Last Ranking (1)

Comments: His Remsen near-miss in his second career start was rock solid. Race favorite Dornoch was controlling the pace over the speed conducive, wet oval, and Sierra Leone was all by himself in last place for much of the running, He made a strong, wide run in the stretch and went past Dornoch, but that one came again to prevail by a nose. Chad Brown’s colt probably should have won the Remsen, but it was just his second career start and the track surface did not favor closers. He is spending the winter in Florida and has breezed eight times at a half-mile since Dec. 24. His last move was completed in 49.20 (10/56) on Feb. 10. He is entered in the Grade 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17. 

2 – Timberlake (Into Mischief – Pin Up-IRE, by Lookin At Lucky) – Trainer: Brad Cox –  Last Ranking (2)

Comments: Last year’s Grade 1 Champagne hero is spending the winner at Fair Grounds and has breezed four times since Jan. 20. He drilled a five panel bullet in 59.40 (1/46) on Feb. 10. There are two races being considered for his sophomore bow. The Rebel (G2) at Oaklawn on Feb. 24 is first preference due to the timing and 1 1/16 miles distance. If he is not ready for that race for whatever reason, the Gotham (G3) on March 2 is the other possibility. 

3 – Track Phantom (Quality Road – Miss Sunset, by Into Mischief) – Trainer: Steve Asmussen –  Last Ranking (3)

Comments: Elevated his game around two turns in his last three starts. He won all of those routes including back-to-back points race victories in the Gun Runner and Lecomte (G3).  He has breezed twice since the Lecomte and is entered the Risen Star on Feb. 17. His early speed should serve him well in the Risen Star. 

4 – Fierceness (City of Light – Nonna Bella, by Stay Thirsty) – Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Last Ranking (4)

Comments: He could not have been more impressive in the BC Juvenile last fall. He was the overwhelming favorite in his Holy Bull (G3) return, but he did not have a great start and came up empty in the lane after taking the lead around the far turn. He ended up a disappointing 3rd last time and I am not sure what is next. The original plan was to win the Holy Bull, skip the FOY, and wait for the Florida Derby. The talented colt has yet to overcome anything so he still has plenty to prove. He had uncomfortable starts in both losses, and let’s see how he bounces out of the Holy Bull. 

5 – Locked (Gun Runner – Luna Rosa, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Todd Pletcher –  Last Ranking (5)

Comments: He was originally slated to run in the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs on Feb. 10, but an elevated temperature knocked him out of that Derby prep.  Let’s see how long it takes to get him back on the worktab. Todd Pletcher is hoping to work him as soon as possible. His most recent published workout was a 5f move in 1:02.02 (3/6) on Jan. 26. 

6 – Dornoch (Good Magic – Puca, by Big Brown) – Trainer: Danny Gargan – Last Ranking (6)

Comments: He landed the place in his sprint bow, and was miles clear of the show as the beaten 3-2 favorite in the Sapling second time out. He returned to the maiden ranks and romped in a dirt route at Keeneland last fall, and set the pace, lost the lead to Sierra Leone, and came again to win the Remsen (G2) by a nose. He has breezed three times this year at Palm Meadows in Florida (4f in 49.10 on Feb. 7). He is expected to make his first start of the year in the Fountain of Youth (G2) at Gulfstream on March 2.  

7 – Hall of Fame (Gun Runner – Flag Day, by Giant’s Causeway) – Trainer: Steve Asmussen – Last Ranking (7)

Comments: We will learn more about this one in the Grade 2 Risen Star on Feb. 17. He rallied for the place as the beaten favorite in his extended sprint bow, and stretched out and romped by 10 lengths second time out on Jan. 20. His first work since his maiden win was a 5f breeze in 1:01 flat on Feb. 3. 

8 – Conquest Warrior (City of Light – Tea Time, by Pulpit) – Trainer: Shug McGaughey – Last Ranking (8)

Comments: He was visually impressive graduating from off the pace in his second career start at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 13. He has worked three times since his maiden win and fired bullets on Feb. 3 and Feb. 11. Shug McGaughey reportedly is looking at an allowance race at the end of the month. If that race does not fill, he will probably take his chances in the Fountain of Youth (G2) on March 2. 

9 – Nash (Medaglia d’Oro – Sara Louise, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Brad Cox –  Last Ranking (9)

Comments: Has yet to run back to his fast maiden win. He was a disappointing 3rd as the strong favorite in the Gun Runner, and Track Phantom beat him again in the Lecomte (G3). As reported here in past Derby reports, they were looking to find an allowance spot to get his confidence back. He is entered in an allowance dirt route on the Risen Star undercard at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17 (race 3). His most recent work was a 5f move in 1:00.60 (12/45) on Feb. 10.  

10 – Stronghold (Ghostzapper – Spectator, by Jimmy Creed) – Trainer: Phil D’Amato –  Last Ranking (10)

Comments: The Bob Hope (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) runner-up was entered in the Grade 3 Robert Lewis Stakes on Feb. 3, but he scratched in favor of the Sunland Derby (G3) on Feb. 18 (5-2 morning line favorite). He has worked six times at Santa Anita this year, most recently logging 5f in 1:00.60 (21/72).     

11 – Resilience (Into Mischief – Meadowsweet, by Smart Strike) – Trainer: Bill Mott – Last Ranking (11)

Comments: This one seems to be getting good for Bill Mott. He met some quality rivals in his first three MSW starts as a juvenile (Locked, Drum Roll Please, Stronghold, Track Phantom, Nash). He added lasix in his first start of the year at Gulfstream on Jan. 1, and he came through with a big 4 1/4 length maiden win as the favorite. He has worked five times since his first win including a half-mile breeze in 49 flat on Feb. 12. He is entered in the Risen Star on Feb. 17.  

Next Nine – (12) Catching Freedom, (13) Mystic Dan, (14) Liberal Arts, (15) Uncle Heavy, (16) Hades, (17) No More Time, (18) Snead, (19) Speak Easy, (20) Victory Avenue