Kentucky Derby 2024 Year-End Report

Churchill Downs starting gate photo by Jarrod Horak

By Jarrod Horak

The is my final Kentucky Derby 2024 report for 2023. I recapped the first eight points races in my initial Kentucky Derby report earlier this month, and I will look back at the Springboard Mile, Los Alamitos Futurity, and Gun Runner Stakes in this article. 

Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Race Recaps 

Springboard Mile – Dec. 15 (Remington Park) 

Fractions: 23.48, 46.35, 1:11.40, 1:25.26, 1:39.91

Top 5 Finishers: Otto the Conqueror, Glengarry, Magic Grant, Third Street, My Buddy Mel

Glengarry and Tyler Gaffalione tried to sneak away early but Luis Saez and Otto the Conqueror were having none of that. Glengarry was inside and Otto the Conqueror was on the outside, and those two matched strides throughout. Otto the Conqueror had a bit more to offer in the lane and he scored by a bit less than a length. Glengarry dueled inside and held the place over late runner Magic Grant. The latter was making up ground in the lane but ran out of real estate, and he ended up 6 1/2 lengths clear of the rest. California shipper Raging Torrent was bet down to favoritism and was pinched back early, moved into contention, and faded to last. This was not a fast race and final fraction was slow (14.65). Glengarry lost for the first time and is expected to return to sprinting. 

Los Alamitos Futurity – Dec. 16 (Los Alamitos Race Course)

Fractions: 23.53, 47.90, 1:12.05, 1:37.01, 1:43.53

Top 5 Finishers: Wynstock, Stronghold, Coach Prime, Wine Me Up, Ace of Clubs

Bob Baffert saddled 60% of the entrants and his least fancied runner Wynstock wired the field under Kyle Frey. My top choice Stronghold worked out a nice inside tactical trip under Antonio Fresu. He made his move in the lane and poked his head in front and exchanged bumps with Wystock. The latter dug in, regained the advantage late, and got the job done by a half-length. Stronghold held the place over beaten favorite Coach Prime. The latter was last of 5 for the opening half-mile, and he raced wide throughout and was slowly getting to the top two under Flavien Prat. Wine Me Up was well-backed at 1.90-1, and he stalked wide and finished a flat 4th. Ace of Clubs chased the pace early and retreated to last. The one horse I probably want out of this race is Coach Prime. He was making his first start since Nov. 10 and only had two published works for this engagement, and he raced wide throughout and was only beaten a length. As mentioned in my recent Kentucky Oaks report, Bob Baffert trainees are ineligible to earn points or compete in the 2024 Oaks and Derby. Look for some of the Baffert runners to switch barns next year. 

Gun Runner Stakes – Dec. 23 (Fair Grounds)

Fractions: 23.61, 46.93, 1:12.04, 1:37.58, 1:44.42

Top 5 Finishers: Track Phantom, Snead, Nash, Footprint, Risk It

Next Level seemed intent on the early lead from the inside post under David Cohen. Track Phantom broke from the outside post and he ranged up and dueled with Next Level. The first interior fraction of 23.32 was swift and 1-2 favorite Nash stalked wide and was ready to pounce. Next Level faded and Nash moved up after six panels and looked good at this point, but Track Phantom still had something left. Snead arrived on the scene in the lane but Track Phantom refused to bend and won by a length and a quarter. Snead rallied for the place and Nash was well clear of the rest in a disappointing show finish. Track Phantom showed grit and determination, and Snead got a nice setup and ran a quality race. Nash failed to advance after his fast, visually impressive dirt route maiden win on Nov. 12. The top three finishers all have ability.  

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)


Upcoming Points Races:

Smarty Jones (10-5-3-2-1) – Jan. 1 

Jerome (10-5-3-2-1) – Jan. 6

Lecomte (20-10-6-4-2) – Jan. 20 

Southwest (20-10-6-4-2) – Jan. 27 

Holy Bull (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3 

Robert Lewis (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3 

Withers (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 3

Sam F. Davis (20-10-6-4-2) – Feb. 10 

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 


Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Leaders (thru 12-28-23)

Fierceness (30 points)

Locked (19 points)

Timberlake (16 points)

Liberal Arts (13 points)

West Saratoga (11 points)

Honor Marie, Otto the Conqueror, Dornoch, Track Phantom (10 points)

Risk It, Moonlight (7 points) 

The Wine Steward, Glengarry, General Partner, Real Men Violin, Stronghold, Sierra Leone, Snead (5 points) 

Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2024 Contenders (12-28-23)

1 – Fierceness (City of Light – Nonna Bella, by Stay Thirsty) – Trainer: Todd Pletcher – Last Ranking (2)

Comments: The 2023 BC Juvenile hero and likely 2-year-old champ is spending the winter in Florida. He has worked three times at Palm Beach Downs including a half-mile move in 49.04 on Dec. 28. The Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 2-3-24 might be his next target. This is my Kentucky Derby 2024 year-end report, and Fierceness is my new top ranked Derby contender.  

2 – Nysos (Nyquist – Zetta Z, by Bernardini) – Trainer: Bob Baffert –  Last Ranking (3)

Comments: He was strong in both sprint wins including the Grade 3 Bob Hope on Nov. 19. He has worked twice since that victory at Santa Anita, most recently logging a half-mile in 48.40 on Dec. 18. This one has a ton of raw ability and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do next year. 

3 – Locked (Gun Runner – Luna Rosa, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Todd Pletcher –  Last Ranking (4)

Comments: This Gun Runner colt started four times in 2023 with two wins and two show finishers. He overcame a wide trip to capture the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), and was last seen completing the trifecta in the BC Juvenile. He has breezed three times at Palm Beach Downs in December (4f in 50.06 on Dec. 28).  

4 – Nash (Medaglia d’Oro – Sara Louise, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Brad Cox –  Last Ranking (1)

Comments: He looked like a future stakes winner after his fast dirt route maiden win at Churchill Downs on Nov. 12. He was the overwhelming favorite in the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds on Dec. 23. In that race, the pace was contested and he sat a decent stalking trip, but he failed to deliver in the lane and ended up a clear 3rd. I was expecting much more in his stakes debut and could not find a legitimate excuse for his okay effort. He drops out of my top spot for now, but could move up again if he rebounds next time. 

5 – Muth (Good Magic – Hoppa, by Uncle Mo) – Trainer: Bob Baffert –  Last Ranking (6)

Comments: This $2 million colt got an early start with a debut victory at Santa Anita in June. He got caught in a speed duel and landed the place in the Best Pal (G3), and he stretched out and was clearly best in the American Pharoah (G1). Last time, he was no match for Fierceness in a solid runner-up finish in the BC Juvenile. He has worked five times since the BC (4f in 48 on Dec. 26). 

6 – Timberlake (Into Mischief – Pin Up-IRE, by Lookin At Lucky) – Trainer: Brad Cox –  Last Ranking (7)

Comments: His speed ratings jumped up in a victory in the Champagne (G1) Oct. 7, and he finished a respectable 4th in the BC Juvenile on Nov. 3. He raced five times this year and has not returned to the worktab since the BC. 

7 – Track Phantom (Quality Road – Miss Sunset, by Into Mischief) – Trainer: Steve Asmussen –  Last Ranking (10)

Comments: Steve Asmussen’s Quality Road colt has elevated his game around two turns. He easily graduated at 1 1/16 miles at Churchill Downs on Nov. 25, and he put away Next Level and turned away Snead and Nash in a gritty prominent throughout score in the Gun Runner Stakes at Fair Grounds on Dec. 23. 

8 – Sierra Leone (Gun Runner – Heavenly Love, by Malibu Moon) – Trainer: Chad Brown –  Last Ranking (11)

Comments: They paid $3.3 million for this Gun Runner colt. He rallied for the win in his flat mile debut at Aqueduct on Nov. 4. He stretched out to 1 1/8 miles in the Grade 2 Remsen on Dec. 2, and he raced against the speed bias and missed by a nose that day. In the Remsen, he got past Dornoch in the stretch but the latter came again and just prevailed. He is spending the winter in Florida and had his first work at Payson Park on Dec. 24 (4f in 49.80). 

9 –  Knightsbridge (Nyquist – Tyburn Brook, by Bernardini) – Trainer: Bill Mott –  Last Ranking (5)

Comments: He was outstanding in his romping seven panel bow at Churchill Downs on Nov. 4. Bill Mott’s Nyquist colt has not returned to the worktab since his debut. He will spend the winter in Florida. 

10 – Pilot Commander (Justify – Rebuke, by Carson City) – Trainer: Bob Baffert –  Last Ranking (9)

Comments: Baffert’s $700k Justify colt dueled early and pulled clear to win as the favorite in his six panel debut at Del Mar on Nov. 11. Since that victory, he has worked four times at Santa Anita. He fired a gate bullet on Dec. 4 and most recently went a half-mile in 48 flat on Dec. 26. 

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

Comments: He earned his diploma under the Twin Spires in his second career start on Oct. 1. He ran into Nysos and was a distant runner-up in the Bob Hope (G3), and he stretched out and landed the place in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) on Dec. 16.  

Next Nine – (12) Dornoch, (13) Coach Prime, (14) Parchment Party, (15) Prince of Monaco, (16) Drum Roll Please, (17) Lightline, (18) Otello, (19) Imagination, (20) Resilience