Friday, March 23, 2012

Kentucky Derby Countdown - 43 days 8 hours 17 minutes


Early spring brings early interest in 138th Run for the Roses

As the days, hours and minutes count down to the fastest 2 minutes in sports a picture is starting to develop of the strongest contenders to get into the Derby.

We give you the top four below but 250 horses are hoping to qualify for the Derby.  At the same time we are reprinting an article from the official Kentucky Derby website explaining about the entry process for horses in the Derby.

A number of people have expressed an interest in how the system works.  I hope this helps.

2012 Graded Stakes Earnings List

Updated Through Saturday, March 17, 2012

The Kentucky Derby 138 Graded Stakes Earnings will likely determine the participants in the 138th running of the $2 million Kentucky Derby presented by Yum! Brands (Grade I) on Saturday, May 5.

The Kentucky Derby field has been limited to 20 starters since 1975, and graded stakes earnings accumulated in prestigious races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” have helped determined the field for the 1 ¼-mile classic since 1986.

The Kentucky Derby 138 Graded Stakes Earnings List includes all 3-year-olds – colts, geldings and fillies – who were made eligible to this year’s Triple Crown at $600 per horse when the early nomination period closed Jan. 21. A late period for nominations at $6,000 each will close Saturday, March 24.

Twenty horses have entered the Derby every year since 2004, and 11 of the last 13 years. The 20th and final spot in the starting gate – a.k.a. “the bubble” horse – has varied year to year. The final horse to make the field last year, Derby Kitten, had $120,000 in graded stakes earnings. Two years ago, it took a record $218,750 for eventual fourth-place finisher Make Music for Me to make the Kentucky Derby lineup.

Over the last five years, the final horse to make the field has earned an average of $132,650 in graded stakes races. In the case of a tie for the final entry position or the determination of all remaining starters, preference is given to horses that accumulated the highest earnings in non-restricted stakes races. If a tie still remains, the final spots in the starting gate will be determined by lot or a “shake.” For the first time since 1984, there will be an “also eligible” list with as many as four horses eligible to draw into the field until scratch time on Friday, May 4 at 9 a.m. ET.

In addition to Triple Crown nomination fee, owners must pay $25,000 to enter the Derby by 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, May 2, and an additional $25,000 to start. If there are less than 20 Triple Crown nominees entered, a horse may be supplemented for $200,000.

The Kentucky Derby post position draw – a tradition “pill pull” in which horses’ entry blanks are pulled simultaneously with a numbered pill to determine what stall a horse will break from the starting gate – will be held at Churchill Downs on Wednesday, May 2, at 5 p.m. ET (Live on NBC Sports Network).

The Derby winner will receive gold trophy plus an estimated $1.24 million payday. A total of $400,000 will be awarded to the runner-up, $200,000 to third, $100,000 to fourth and $60,000 to fifth.

Current Top Derby Contenders - Winnings to date

1.         Hansen                          $1,400,000

2.         Union Rags                  $1,070,000

3.         Creative Cause               $686,000

  4.         Sabercat                           $601,429

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