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Kentucky Derby qualifying: Standings and how points system works in Road to the Kentucky Derby

The Road to the Kentucky Derby is underway. We’ll be tracking the points standings until the field is set for the 2023 Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.

A general view of roses in the winner’s circle with the Twin Spires in the background before the148th running of the Kentucky Derby on May 7th, 2022, at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo by Brian Spurlock/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With 20,000 thoroughbred horses born and registered with The Jockey Club each year, but only 20 slots in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby, finding a way to narrow the field to only the best three-year-olds is a process.

In 2013, Churchill Downs began the Road to the Kentucky Derby, which uses points system for designated stakes across the world to decide which horses get an invite to Louisville the first Saturday in May. As races get closer to the Run for the Roses, each outing increases in points value so the horses in the best form are given the most breadth. The competition begins for two-year-old juveniles, with each horse earning points for finishing in the top four of a Grade I, II, or III stakes race designated by Churchill Downs.

There are 21 races total during “prep season,” most of which award points to the top five finishers on a 10-4-3-2-1 basis. That triples to 30-12-9-6-3 for the Breeders Cup Juvenile, and doubles to 20-8-6-4-2 for the last races seven stakes races on the calendar.

From there it’s two legs of the “championship season,” where the first seven races are 50-20-15-10-5, and the last eight are 100-40-30-20-10. As you can see, a win late in the season counts far better than finishing barely on the board earlier in the year.

Last year it took just 15 points to make the field, but there were several extenuating factors to make the total that low. Any horses with ties to suspended trainer Bob Baffert weren’t allowed to appear, and the top four finishers in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby and the European Road to the Kentucky Derby had all their eligible horses refuse their position.

One horse from both the Japan and European series is given a spot if they choose, which is rolled down as far as the fourth place in the points standings, but all eight horses chose not to make the equine-taxing journey.

The time this year for a horse to be peaking is from March 25 to April 8. The Louisiana Derby, UAE Derby, Jeff Ruby, Florida Derby, Arkansas Derby, Bluegrass Stakes, Santa Anita Derby, and Wood Memorial are take place during those precious last three qualifying Saturdays. If you cross the line first here you’re guaranteed a spot in the field, and a second place finish can feel very good about their chances as well.

Here’s a look at the complete standings in the qualifying period for the Kentucky Derby.

2023 Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard, updated April 9

Rank Horse Points Non-restricted stake earnings Trainer Owner
Rank Horse Points Non-restricted stake earnings Trainer Owner
1 Forte 190 $2,359,730 Todd A. Pletcher Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable
2 Practical Move 160 $822,000 Tim Yakteen Pierre Jean Amestoy Jr., Leslie A. Amestoy & Roger K. Bersley
3 Angel of Empire 154 $1,026,375 Brad H. Cox Albaugh Family Stables
4 Tapit Trice 150 $783,500 Todd A. Pletcher Whisper Hill Farm & Gainesway Stable
5 Two Phil's 123 $643,850 Larry Rivelli Patricia's Hope & Phillip Sagan
6 Lord Miles 105 $427,100 Saffie Joseph Jr. Vegso Racing Stable
7 Derma Sotogake (JPN) 100 $1,112,319 Hidetaka Otonashi Hiroyuki Asanuma
8 Kingsbarns 100 $600,000 Todd A. Pletcher Spendthrift Farm
9 Raise Cain 64 $232,500 Ben Colbrook Andrew N. & Rania Warren
10 Rocket Can 60 $284,025 William I. Mott Frank Fletcher Racing
11 Hit Show 60 $277,500 Brad H. Cox Gary & Mary West
12 Confidence Game 57 $610,480 J. Keith Desormeaux Don't Tell My Wife Stables
13 Verifying 54 $369,750 Brad H. Cox Jonathan Poulin, Westerberg, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier & Michael Tabor
14 Sun Thunder 54 $181,500 Kenneth G. McPeek R.T Racing Stable & Cypress Creek Equine
15 Wild On Ice 50 $366,400 Joel Marr Frank Sumpter
16 Mage 50 $205,200 Gustavo Delgado OGMA Investments, Ramiro Restrepo, Sterling Racing & CMNWLTH
17 Blazing Sevens 46 $507,600 Chad C. Brown Rodeo Creek Racing
18 Reincarnate 45 $263,250 Tim Yakteen SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital & Catherine Donovan
19 Jace's Road 45 $200,350 Brad H. Cox West Point Thoroughbreds & Albaugh Family Stables
20 Skinner 45 $174,500 John Shirreffs C R K Stable
21 Cyclone Mischief 45 $137,525 Dale L. Romans Albaugh Family Stables
bypassing Dura Erede (JPN) 40 $774,897 Manabu Ikezoe Three H Racing
22 Major Dude 40 $401,595 Todd A. Pletcher Spendthrift Farm
23 Mandarin Hero (JPN) 40 $339,041 Terunobu Fujita Hiroaki Arai
24 King Russell 40 $227,500 Ron Moquett Brereton C. Jones & Naber Racing
25 Disarm 40 $200,000 Steven M. Asmussen Winchell Thoroughbreds
26 Arctic Arrogance 36 $180,000 Linda L. Rice Chester Broman Sr. & Mary Broman
27 Red Route One 33 $417,125 Steven Asmussen Winchell Thoroughbreds
28 Instant Coffee 32 $395,065 Brad H. Cox Gold Square
29 Continuar (JPN) 30 $289,954 Yoshito Yahagi Lion Race Horse
30 Funtastic Again 30 $150,116 Wesley A. Ward Three Chimneys Farm
31 Dreamlike 30 $75,000 Todd A. Pletcher Repole Stable & St. Elias Stable
32 Classic Car Wash 26 $100,000 Mark E. Casse Gary Barber
33 General Banker 24 $84,000 James W. Ferraro Seacoast Thoroughbreds of New England
bypassing Perriere (JPN) 20 $332,805 Yoichi Kuroiwa Yuji Hasegawa
34 National Treasure 20 $297,000 Tim Yakteen SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital & Catherine Donovan
35 Congruent 20 $221,585 Antonio Sano Tami Bobo & Lugamo Racing Stable
36 Low Expectations 20 $130,680 Antonio Garcia Reddam Racing
injured Litigate 20 $120,000 Todd A. Pletcher Centennial Farms
37 Slip Mahoney 20 $82,500 Brad H. Cox Gold Square
bypassing Geaux Rocket Ride 20 $80,000 Richard E. Mandella Pin Oak Stud
38 Mr. Ripple 20 $46,500 Saffie Joseph Jr. Legacy Racing
39 Shopper's Revenge 20 $40,000 Steven M. Asmussen Whisper Hill Farm & Three Chimneys Farm
bypassing Wadsworth 20 $34,000 Brad H. Cox Godolphin
bypassing Classic Legacy 19 $45,000 William I. Mott Bruce Lunsford
bypassing Curly Jack 17 $348,120 Thomas M. Amoss Michael McLoughlin
40 One in Vermillion 15 $178,143 Esteban Martinez Jonathan Kalman
bypassing Henry Q 15 $119,400 Todd Fincher The Del Mar Group
bypassing Fort Bragg 15 $59,900 Tim Yakteen SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Robert E. Masterson, Stonestreet Stables, Jay A. Schoenfarber, Waves Edge Capital & Catherine Donovan
bypassing Shadow Dragon 13 $77,520 William I. Mott Peachtree Stable
not nominated How Did He Do That 11 $100,100 Steven M. Asmussen J. Kirk & Judy Robison
41 Victory Formation 10 $156,750 Brad H. Cox Spendthrift Farm & Frank Fletcher Racing Operations Inc.
bypassing Dubyuhnell 10 $137,500 Danny Gargan West Paces Racing & Stonestreet Stables
bypassing Go Soldier Go 10 $132,062 Fawzi Abdulla Victorious
injured Hejazi 10 $118,500 Tim Yakteen Zedan Racing Stables
bypassing Lugan Knight 10 $83,625 Michael J. McCarthy BG Stables
bypassing Chase the Chaos 10 $81,500 Ed Moger Jr. Adam Ference & Bill Dory
42 Classic Catch 10 $30,000 Todd A. Pletcher Whisper Hill Farm
bypassing Tapit's Conquest 10 $26,000 Brad H. Cox Robert V. LaPenta, e Five Racing Thor. & Madaket Stables
not nominated Airtime 10 $18,750 Robertino Diodoro Randy Howg
injured Eyeing Clover 10 $18,000 Brad H. Cox Ten Strike Racing, Michael E. Kisber & Colin Reed
bypassing Prairie Hawk 10 $17,500 Saffie Joseph Jr. Peachtree Stable & WinStar Farm
not nominated Maker's Candy 10 $14,400 Michael J. Maker Paradise Farms, David Staudacher, Maxis Stable & Gata Racing Stable
bypassing Scoobie Quando 8 $117,700 Ben Colebrook Andrew N. & Rania Warren
bypassing Denington 8 $43,110 Kenneth G. McPeek Fern Circle Stables & Magdalena Racing
not nominated Groveland 8 $40,000 Eoin Harty Godolphin
not nominated Bromley 8 $18,300 Paulo Lobo OXO Equine
bypassing Hayes Strike 7 $168,250 Kenneth G. McPeek Dixiana Farm
bypassing Andiamo a Firenze 7 $72,000 Kelly J. Breen Mr. Amore Stable
injured Frosted Departure 6 $222,112 Kenneth G. McPeek C&H Diamond Racing & Magdalena Racing
bypassing West Coast Cowboy 6 $34,250 Saffie Joseph Jr. Gentry Farms
bypassing Bourbon Bash 5 $33,750 D. Wayne Lukas BC Stables
bypassing Clear the Air 5 $24,500 Will Walden Cypress Creek Equine
bypassing Single Ruler 5 $8,000 Keith Desormeaux Rocker O Ranch
injured Loggins 4 $106,500 Brad H. Cox Spendthrift Farm, Steve Landers Racing, Martin S. Schwartz, Michael Dubb, Ten Strike Racing, Jim Bakke, Titletown Racing Stables, Kueber Racing, Big Easy Racing & Winners Win
injured Honed 4 $65,700 Kenneth G. McPeek Three Chimneys Farm & Magdalena Racing
injured Legacy Isle 4 $44,325 Rohan Crichton Daniel L. Walters, Dennis G. Smith, Anthony Smith & Rohan Crichton
injured Moon Landing 4 $6,150 Kevin Attard Robert V. LaPenta, e Five Racing Thoroughbreds & Madaket Stables
injured Gulfport 3 $267,070 Steven M. Asmussen William L. & Corinne Heiligbrodt, Jackpot Farm, Whispering Oaks Farm & Coolmore Stud
injured Tuskegee Airmen 3 $90,000 John C. Servis Cash Is King & LC Racing
not nominated Echo Again 3 $48,625 Steven M. Asmussen Winchell Thoroughbreds
bypassing Determinedly 3 $20,500 Mark E. Casse John C. Oxley
not nominated Harcyn 3 $12,000 Steve Sherman Jerry Moss
not nominated Packs a Wahlop 2 $196,000 Jeff Mullins Red Baron's Barn & Rancho Temescal
not nominated Zydeceaux 2 $111,000 Ramon Minguet Stud Carmen Cristina
not nominated Passarando 2 $64,450 Steven Specht Larry D. & Marianne Williams
not nominated Prove Right 2 $37,375 James K. Chapman James K. Chapman & Stuart Tsujimoto
bypassing Western Ghent 2 $37,325 D. Wayne Lukas Bob & Ann Ghent, Laurie & D. Wayne Lukas
bypassing Il Miracolo 2 $26,535 Antonio Sano Alexandres
not nominated Gunflash 2 $24,000 Karl Broberg Jerry Namy
not nominated Quick To Accuse 2 $15,000 Horacio De Paz Rupp Racing
injured Tall Boy 2 $12,000 Leandro Mora Calumet Farm
injured Neural Network 2 $9,000 Chad C. Brown Klaravich Stables
bypassing Miranda Rights 2 $4,290 Mark E. Casse D. J. Stable
not nominated Andthewinneris 1 $248,363 Wayne Catalano Susan Moulton
not nominated Campfire Creed 1 $77,000 Danny Pish Dennis E. Foster
not nominated Midnight Trouble 1 $35,000 Peter R. Walder Paradise Farm Corp., David Staudacher & Peter R. Walder
not nominated Man Child 1 $30,000 Ryan Hanson California Racing Partners, Ciaglia Racing, Michelle Hanson, Richard C. Pearson, Timothy J. Husted & Robert Drenk
bypassing Champions Dream 1 $20,000 Danny Gargan Rosedown Racing Stables