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The Kentucky Derby Championship Series Begins

Updated on February 19, 2013

Churchill Downs Pre-Derby Madness

Fountain of Youth & Risen Star Stakes Up First

This week closed out the early Kentucky Derby prep season races with Goldencents and Shanghai Bobby tied atop the standings with 24 points each. Oxbow sits in third with eleven points and 14 others are tied with ten points. Those points could effectively lose a great deal of meaning as the Kentucky Derby Championship Series begins, because the points for a victory spikes up to 50 (in the prep season a victory was worth 10 points), while second place gets 20 points, third earns ten, and fourth place gets five. This weekend (February 23rd) kicks off the championship series and with those two races we will be guaranteed to see a new leader at the top of the points standings, as neither Goldencents, nor Shanghai Bobby will be on the track at the Fountain of Youth Stakes or the Risen Star.

Three names that are familiar to those who follow the Derby trail closely are Violence, Falling Sky, and He’s Had Enough. All three will be participating in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park this weekend. Violence is the Todd Pletcher trained colt that many expect to be a big factor in qualifying for the Kentucky Derby. He has won all three of his starts, including two graded stakes victories with the last one coming in the Cash Call Futurity at Hollywood Park back in December. John Terranova trains Falling Sky, who made his name just a few weeks ago by winning the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes over Dynamic Sky at Tampa Bay Downs. A win for Falling Sky this weekend would almost assuredly gain him a spot in the Kentucky Derby. He’s Had Enough is back and taking his fifth shot at winning a graded stakes race. The Doug O’Neill and Paul Reddam duo won last year’s Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes with I’ll Have Another, who didn’t post his first stakes win until after the New Year in 2012. He’s Had Enough has only had marginal success in his career so far with one win, a second and a third place finish in six starts.

The Risen Star will feature quite a few entrants making their graded stakes debut and also a couple of colts with prior Derby season experience. Chad Brown brings Normandy Invasion to Fairgrounds Park as the early favorite. Normandy Invasion earned four points by finishing second behind Overanalyze in the Remsen Stakes in November. Oxbow is a D.Wayne Lukas trained thoroughbred that has enjoyed decent success in his last three starts. He won a maiden race in his fourth try in November, and followed that up with a fourth place finish in the Cash Call Futurity, and a win in the Lecomte Stakes, both races that earned him points towards the Kentucky Derby Championship Series standings. Other horses to keep an eye on are Steve Asmussen’s Proud Strike, Bob Baffert’s Code West, and Todd Pletcher’s Palace Malice, all of whom are making their stakes race debuts.

With the beginning of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series races, we will start to see a big uptick in Kentucky Derby interest. Each championship series race is an audition for Derby hopefuls and fans all over the world will be honed in on finding their horse. If you are interested in learning more about upcoming races, Derby hopefuls, or are interested in buying Kentucky Derby tickets, head over to DerbyDeals.com and surf around the site for a wealth of information on the Kentucky Derby and other horse racing events.

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