Kentucky Derby 2024 Update (3-12-24)

Domestic Product (center) wins Tampa Bay Derby (Photo: SV Photography)

By Jarrod Horak

The Tampa Bay Derby was the latest road to Kentucky Derby 2024 points race at Tampa Bay Downs on Saturday, March 9. In this article, I will look back at that event and update my “Exceptional 11” Kentucky Derby contenders. There are no points races on the docket for March 16, and preps worth 100 points to the winner start on March 23 with the Jeff Ruby Steaks and Louisiana Derby. 

In other Derby news, Locked is off the Triple Crown trail. He missed two intended starts this year and was recently diagnosed with a minor ligament injury in his left knee. No surgery will be required. A fall campaign is not out of the question if his injury heals quickly. 

Tampa Bay Derby – March 9 (Tampa Bay Downs)

Fractions: 25.25, 51.14, 1:16.21, 1:39.36, 1:45.47

Top 5 Finishers: Domestic Product, No More Time, Grand Mo the First, Good Money, Heartened

This Derby points race got off to a rocky start. There was a long tote delay and it was unable to be fixed, so this race was run as a non-wagering event. The pace was slow to develop and second timer Good Money was the default leader. He was quickly joined by No More Time, and Everdoit, Grand Mo the First, and Domestic Product were also forwardly placed. There was a tight pack due to the slow fractions and it turned into a sprint for home. Four horses were close together at the wire and Domestic Product stuck his neck out to prevail. No More Time was a head better than Grand Mo the First for the runner-up spot, and Good Money was another half-length back in fourth. Todd Pletcher’s recent maiden winner Heartened rallied mildly to finish a clear 5th. Domestic Product is yet another graded stakes winner from last year’s Remsen (G2), and he was exiting a solid runner-up finish in the Holy Bull (G3). It is hard to gauge the overall strength of this race due to the race flow. Going in, I thought Domestic Product was more of a Preakness horse , and I feel the same way now. He has enough points to run in the Kentucky Derby if they decide to go in that direction. He will go next in the Blue Grass or Wood Memorial on April 6. No More Time will train up to the Kentucky Derby.  

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)

Risen Star (50-25-15-10-5) – Feb. 17 – Winner: Sierra Leone ($7.40)

Sunland Derby (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 18 – Winner: Stronghold ($4.40)

Rebel (50-25-15-10-5) – Feb. 24 – Winner: Timberlake ($3.60)

Fountain of Youth (50-25-15-10-5) – March 2 – Winner: Dornoch ($2.40)

Gotham (50-25-15-10-5) – March 2 – Winner: Deterministic ($9.80)

John Battaglia Memorial (20-10-6-4-2) – March 2 – Winner: Encino ($13.38)

San Felipe (50-25-15-10-5) – March 2 – Winner: Imagination ($3.80) 

Tampa Bay Derby (50-25-15-10-5) – March 9 – Winner: Domestic Product (non-wagering event)

Upcoming Points Races:

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 25 Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Leaders (thru 3-12-24)

Timberlake (66 points)

Dornoch, Domestic Product (60 points)

Sierra Leone, Track Phantom (55 points)

Deterministic (50 points)

No More Time (45 points)

Fierceness (36 points)

El Grande O (30 points)

Common Defense (27 points)

Stronghold, Catching Freedom, Just a Touch (25 points)

Mystik Dan (21 points)

Hades, Uncle Heavy, Encino (20 points)

Liberal Arts, Mc Vay (19 points)

Northern Flame (18 points)

West Saratoga (17 points)

Scatify (16 points)

Just Steel, Honor Marie, Grand Mo the First (15 points)

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2024 Contenders (3-12-24)

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

Comments: He won his debut at Aqueduct last fall, and his near-miss in the Grade 2 Remsen second time out is looking better all the time. That was the most productive points race last year, and he was sharp from off the pace in the Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 17. He has breezed twice since his last start. Both half-mile moves were completed in 49 flat on March 2 and March 9. He will go next in the Grade 1 Blue Grass at Keeneland on April 6. 

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

Comments: Everything seems to be good with the two-time graded winner. He exited his Rebel Stakes (G2) victory in good order and returned to the worktab with a half-mile breeze in 48.40 (5/73) at Fair Grounds on March 8. He will make his next start in the Arkansas Derby (March 30) or Blue Grass (April 6).  

3 – Fierceness (City of Light – Nonna Bella, by Stay Thirsty) – Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Last Ranking (3)

Comments: We got some validation for the Holy Bull (G3) when runner-up Domestic Product returned to take the Tampa Bay Derby (G3). The 2-year-old champ was a flat third in the Holy Bull but seems to have put that below par performance in the rear view mirror. He has breezed three times at palm Beach Downs since his last start including a 5f move in 1:00.99 (5/10) on March 8. The Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30 is his next engagement.  

4 – Track Phantom (Quality Road – Miss Sunset, by Into Mischief) – Trainer: Steve Asmussen –  Last Ranking (4)

Comments: This one has been rock solid for Steve Asmussen. The Gun Runner and Lecomte (G3) hero made the running and missed by a half-length in the Risen Star (G2) on Feb. 17. He breezed 5f in 1:02.60 (19/28) on March 3 and is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby on March 23. 

5 – Dornoch (Good Magic – Puca, by Big Brown) – Trainer: Danny Gargan – Last Ranking (5)

Comments: He has now won three straight including the Remsen (G2) and Fountain of Youth (G2). He had circumstances in his favor in both of his stakes wins. The track was wet and speed favoring in the Remsen, and he was one of seven front running winners at Aqueduct that day. In the Fountain of Youth, his main rivals scratched and he controlled the pace. We will learn more about him when he gets a sterner pace test in the Florida Derby (March 30) or Blue Grass (April 6).    

6 – Conquest Warrior (City of Light – Tea Time, by Pulpit) – Trainer: Shug McGaughey – Last Ranking (6)

Comments: This late bloomer could be dangerous in a year without any standouts. He won his last two starts at Gulfstream and his numbers are slowly rising. He handled 1/18 miles with ease vs. optional claiming foes at 1 1/8 miles on March 1. He breezed a half-mile in 50 flat on March 11 and is expected to make his stakes debut in the Grade 1 Florida Derby on March 30. 

7 – Stronghold (Ghostzapper – Spectator, by Jimmy Creed) – Trainer: Phil D’Amato –  Last Ranking (8)

Comments: He has been very steady for Phil D’Amato. He completed the exacta in the Bob Hope (G3) and Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), and became Ghostzapper’s 100th stakes winner in the Sunland Park Derby (G3) on Feb. 18. He has worked twice this month including a 5f move in 1:00.60 (25/65) at Santa Anita on March 11. 

8 – Liberal Arts (Arrogate – Ismene, by Tribal Rule) – Trainer: Robert Medina –  Last Ranking (9)

Comments: Last year’s Street Sense (G3) winner returned with an encouraging show finish in the Southwest (G3) on Feb. 3. He has worked four times at The Thoroughbred Center in Lexington, Kentucky since his last start including a half-mile bullet in 49 flat on March 11. He goes next in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby on March 30. 

9 – Tuscan Sky (Vino Rosso – South Andros, by Sky Mesa) – Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Last Ranking (10)

Comments: He graduated in his Aqueduct debut on Jan. 13, and shipped to Fair Grounds and defeated Nash in an optional-claiming race on Feb. 17. He has breezed twice this month at Palm Beach Downs including a 5f move in 1:00.99 (5/10) on March 8. He will try to qualify for the Kentucky Derby in a yet to be determined points race. It looks like his connections might run him in the LA Derby (G2) on March 23.  

10 – Nash (Medaglia d’Oro – Sara Louise, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Brad Cox –  Last Ranking (11)

Comments: He is just surfing on the bottom of my list. I had him ranked on top after his maiden win in November, but he disappointed when hitting the board as the beaten favorite  in all three starts since that fast victory. He breezed a half-mile in 49.80 (37.75) at Fair Grounds on March 3, and went 5f in 1:00 (3/22) on March 9. 

11 – Deterministic (Liam’s Map – Giulio’s Jewel, by Speightstown) – Trainer: Christophe Clement – Last Ranking (12)

Comments: This one is the newest member of my list. He overcame a less than ideal trip to capture his seven panel bow at Saratoga last summer. He disappeared for more than half a year and seemingly came out of nowhere to qualify for the Kentucky Derby in a smart stalk and pounce victory in the Gotham (G3). I am not sure where this actually one fits on the Derby trail, but he is lightly raced with upside and has done nothing wrong. We will learn more about him in his next start around two turns.   

Next Nine – (12) Catching Freedom, (13) Mystic Dan, (14) Hades, (15) Domestic Product, (16) No More Time, (17) Encino, (18) Resilience, (19) Just a Touch, (20) Honor Marie