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​Cyberknife, White Abarrio, and Tiz The Bomb all punched their tickets to Kentucky Derby 2022 with tactical stakes victories in the Arkansas Derby (G1), Florida Derby (G1), and Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) on Saturday, April 2. There are three more 100 points races on the docket for April 9, and one race worth 20 points on April 16. We are getting down to the wire now and the Derby picture is getting cleared, but this division remains highly competitive with no apparent standouts.

Kentucky Derby 2022 Points Race Results

Arkansas Derby (4-2-22) – Winner: Cyberknife ($13.60)

The four-race road to the Derby series at Oaklawn Park was disappointing. The Smarty Jones, Southwest (G3), and Rebel (G2) were slow events, and the Arkansas Derby (G1) was not much better. Kavod was intent on the early lead from the inside post, and Chasing Time from post 2 was forward early as well. In a surprising pace development, SoCal closer Doppelganger removed blinkers and was aggressively handled early under Johnny V. It looked like the latter wanted to make the front but was not quick enough, so he chased wide. While all of that was going on, Cyberknife sat a dream trip stalking from 4th. He crept closer under Geroux, split horses, hit the front, got clear, and scored by a bit less than three lengths while lugging out late. Barber Road rallied for the place and was lugging in. He wins the award for the most consistent 3yo in Arkansas. He completed the exacta in the Smarty Jones, Southwest (G3), and this race, and landed the show in the Rebel (G2). Secret Oath was the chalk while taking on the males, and she was bothered early, sat back, made a premature wide move, got into 2nd, and flattened out in a solid show finish. She will target the Ky Oaks and should be competitive in that spot. Doppelganger started to drop back with three furlongs to go and appeared to be done at that stage, but moved outside in the lane and somehow passed multiple rivals to complete the superfecta while no threat to the Top 3. The final time was 1:50.02 (final quarter in 26.02), with a final furlong in 13.18.

Florida Derby (4-2-22) – Winner: White Abarrio ($7.80)

This was probably the strongest of the three Derby preps run on April 2, but I am still not convinced that we saw the Derby winner this weekend. Classic Causeway made the early lead and that was hardly a surprise, but I was not expecting him to be pressed by post time favorite Simplification and BC Juvenile (G1) runner-up Pappacap. Charge It did not have the smoothest start and ended up stalking inside, and White Abarrio stalked wide while out in the clear. Simplification turned up the pressure on Classic Causeway, and the latter was surprisingly done very early. Pappacap immediately confronted Simplification and stuck his head in front briefly. White Abarrio moved up outside and Charge It was given his cue inside. Pappacap started to tire and Simplification kept fighting on, but White Abarrio gained command in the lane and Charge It came after him. The latter could not keep a straight line and that cost him dearly. In the end, White Abarrio scored by a length and a quarter over a green Charge It, and Simplification was best of the rest in 3rd. Pappacap ended up an okay 4th and the others never really got involved. Classic Causeway turned in a real clunker and faded to last (beaten more than 21 lengths). I did not like him coming back in three weeks, and he figured to face pace pressure as the slowest of the four main win contenders, but I did not expect him to give up the ghost so quickly. I do not see how they go to the Derby after this effort. The final time for 9f was 1:50.64 (25.87 final quarter), with a final furlong in 14.09.

Jeff Ruby Steaks (4-2-22) – Winner: Tiz The Bomb ($5.20)

Tiz The Bomb followed up a win in the local Battaglia Memorial with another victory in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3). He sat in midpack in the 12-horse field, and he got into a tussle with my top choice Tawny Port. Those two ended up dominating, and Tiz The Bomb seized control late and edged clear by 2-1/2 lengths. Tawny Port worked out a decent tactical trip and was clearly second best. Rich Strike rallied from the back of the pack to garner the show, and Dowagic Chief set the pace and weakened to 4th. The final time for 9f on all-weather ground was a solid 1:48.60 (final quarter in 24.51), with a last fraction of 12.71. The main concern for the top two finishers in regards to the Ky Derby is the dirt surface. Tiz The Bomb bombed on dirt in the Holy Bull (G3) earlier this year, and Tawny Port was a non-threatening 5th on the main track in the Risen Star (G2).


Kentucky Derby 2022 Points Race Results
Iroquois (10-4-2-1) – Sept. 18 – Winner: Major General ($11.80)
American Pharoah (10-4-2-1) – Oct. 1 – Winner: Corniche ($2.80)
Champagne (10-4-2-1) – Oct. 2 – Winner: Jack Christopher ($5.40)
Breeders’ Futurity (10-4-2-1) – Oct. 9 – Winner: Rattle N Roll ($19.40)
BC Juvenile (20-8-4-2) – Nov. 5 – Winner: Corniche ($4.80)
Ky Jockey Club (10-4-2-1) – Nov. 27 – Winner: Smile Happy ($11.60)
Remsen (10-4-2-1) – Dec. 4 – Winner: Mo Donegal ($4.90)
Los Al Futurity (10-4-2-1) – Dec. 11 – Winner: Slow Down Andy ($12.40)
Springboard Mile (10-4-2-1) – Dec. 17 – Winner: Make It Big ($4.60)
Gun Runner (10-4-2-1) – Dec. 26. – Winner: Epicenter ($7.80)
Smarty Jones (10-4-2-1) – Jan. 1 – Winner: Dash Attack ($17.40)
Jerome (10-4-2-1) – Jan. 1 – Winner: Courvoisier ($10.00)
Sham (10-4-2-1) – Jan. 1 – Winner: Newgrange ($7.40)
Lecomte (10-4-2-1) – Jan. 22 – Winner: Call Me Midnight ($59.00)
Southwest (10-4-2-1) – Jan. 29 – Winner: Newgrange ($5.00)
Withers (10-4-2-1) – Feb. 5 – Winner: Early Voting ($4.60)
Holy Bull (10-4-2-1) – Feb. 5 – Winner: White Abarrio ($14.00)
Robert Lewis (10-4-2-1) – Feb. 6 – Winner: Messier ($3.20)
Sam F. Davis (10-4-2-1) – Feb. 12 – Winner: Classic Causeway ($5.20)
El Camino Real Derby (10-4-2-1) – Feb. 12 – Winner: Blackadder ($9.60)
Risen Star (50-20-10-5) – Feb, 19 – Winner: Epicenter ($9.00)
Rebel (50-20-10-5) – Feb. 26 – Winner: Un Ojo ($152.80)
John Battaglia Memorial (10-4-2-1) – March 5 – Winner: Tiz the Bomb ($5.20)
Fountain of Youth (50-20-10-5) – March 5 – Winner: Simplification ($7.00)
Gotham (50-20-10-5) – March 5 – Winner: Morello ($4.00)
San Felipe (50-20-10-5) – March 5 – Winner: Forbidden Kingdom ($4.00)
Tampa Bay Derby – March 12 – Winner: Classic Causeway ($3.60)
UAE Derby (100-40-20-10) – March 26 – Winner: Crown Pride (JPN)
Louisiana Derby (100-40-20-10) – March 26 – Winner: Epicenter ($4.00)
Sunland Derby (50-20-10-5) – March 27 – Winner: Slow Down Andy ($4.40)
Florida Derby (100-40-20-10) – April 2 – White Abarrio ($7.80)
Arkansas Derby (100-40-20-10) – April 2 – Cyberknife ($13.60)
Jeff Ruby Steaks (100-40-20-10) – April 2 – Tiz The Bomb ($5.20)

Upcoming Derby Points Races
Wood Memorial (100-40-20-10) – April 9
Blue Grass (100-40-20-10) – April 9
SA Derby (100-40-20-10) – April 9
Lexington (20-8-4-2) – April 16


Top 30 Kentucky Derby Points Leaders (thru 4-8-22)

164 Points: Epicenter

112 Points: White Abarrio

110 Points: Tiz the Bomb

100 Points: Cyberknife, Crown Pride (JPN)

74 Points: Simplification

66 Points: Classic Causeway

60 Points: Slow Down Andy

58 Points: Barber Road

54 Points: Un Ojo

50 Points: Forbidden Kingdom, Morello

40 Points: Zozos, Summer Is Tomorrow, Charge It, Tawny Port

30 Points: Smile Happy

25 Points: Pioneer of Medina

21 Points: Grantham, Rich Strike

20 Points: Rattle N Roll, Ethereal Road, Bye Bye Bobby, In Due Time

14 Points: Zandon

12 Points: Mo Donegal

10 Points: Major General, Dash Attack, Early Voting, Call Me Midnight, Happy Jack


Jarrod Horak’s “Exceptional Eleven” Kentucky Derby 2022 Contenders (4-8-22)

1 – SMILE HAPPY (Runhappy – Pleasant Smile, by Pleasant Tap)

He won what was arguably the top juvenile points race last year. He was sharp in that victory in the Kentucky Jockey (G2), and three runners from that heat have won four Derby points races this year (Call Me Midnight, White Abarrio, Classic Causeway). He made his 3yo bow in the Risen Star (G2) and ran well without winning, and two runners from that heat have won subsequent Derby points races (Epicenter, Slow Down Andy). He has worked five times since the Risen Star including a 5f bullet at Gulfstream Park on March 19 (58.81 – best of 28). They have landed on the April 9 Blue Grass (G2) as his final Derby prep, and he drew post 10 and is the morning line favorite.

2 – EPICENTER (Not This Time – Silent Candy, by Candy Ride)

Improved nicely in his prominent throughout romp in the Gun Runner Stakes at 8.5f on Dec. 26. He came right back in the Lecomte (G3) at Fair Grounds on Jan. 22, and he carved out above par fractions, turned away multiple challenges, and was nailed on the line by longshot closer Call Me Midnight. He lost nothing in defeat in the Lecomte, and he really put it all together with a strong front running victory in the Risen Star (G2) at 9f. Quality early-pressing types will make you pay if you hand them an easy lead through comfortable fractions, and he did just that on Feb. 19. The LA Derby was his final Derby prep, and instead of setting the pace, he settled inside stalking the early leaders, and he tipped out and rolled home to another easy victory. This is not really a knock, but it is more like a nagging feeling that he is peaking too soon. He ran well in points race routes on Dec. 26, Jan. 22, Feb. 19, and March 26. It is tough to run so many hard races in a relatively short timeframe without regressing.

3 – WHITE ABARRIO (Race Day – Catching Diamonds, by Into Mischief)

White Abarrio was solid again in the Florida Derby (G1), and he is now 4-for-4 at GP. He had every right to be a bit short in the Holy Bull (G3) and in the Florida Derby due to a light workout pattern for the former race and a couple days of missed training for the latter race, but he prevailed both times for Saffie Joseph Jr. His tactical speed always leads to a favorable trip and he is a legit Derby win contender.

4 – ZANDON (Upstart – Memories Prevail, by Creative Cause)

He gave Mo Donegal a real tussle in the Remsen (G2). In the latter event, he stalked slow fractions while out in the clear, grabbed the lead in the lane, and fought back when Mo Donegal passed him in a gritty nose defeat. He was originally slated to go in the Holy Bull (G3), but his connections called an audible and opted for the Risen Star (G2). In the 9f affair at Fair Grounds, he was expected to stalk the pace but lunged at the start and was away last. He made a nice, long run from off the pace and ended up a solid 3rd. That race should have done wonders from a fitness standpoint and he might move up in a big way next time. Chad Brown has penciled in the April 9 Blue Grass (G2) for his next assignment, and he drew comfortably in post 4 and is a solid contender.

5 – MO DONEGAL (Uncle Mo – Callingmissbrown, by Pulpit)

Back-to-back route wins including the Remsen (G2). In that race, he saved ground stalking the pace from the rail, swung out wide in the stretch, gained a short advantage, and dug in and edged Zandon in an exciting stretch battle. He showed nice determination, and Todd Pletcher’s well-bred colt owns fine tactical speed. He made his sophomore bow in the Holy Bull (G3), and he rallied for the show in a rock solid effort. He was entered in the March 5 Fountain of Youth (G2), but he drew post 12 and came down with a fever, so he was removed from that event. The Wood Memorial (G2) on April 9 will be his final Derby prep, and he sports back-to-back bullets for that engagement.

6 – MESSIER (Empire Maker – Checkered Past, by Smart Strike)

Slow Down Andy beat him in the Los Al Futurity (G2) late last year, and that one recently captured the Sunland Derby (G3). Messier ran off the screen in his lone 3yo start in the Robert Lewis Stakes (G3) Feb. 6, and that is still the fastest points race this year. He was recently transferred from Bob Baffert to Tim Yakteen due to his former conditioner’s ban from the 2022 Derby. He has worked six times since his last including a 6f bullet March 27, and a solid 5f move April 2. He goes next in the SA Derby (G1) April 9 and is the even money favorite. He needs a 1-2 finish to qualify for the Ky Derby.

7 – FORBIDDEN KINGDOM (American Pharoah – Just Louise, by Five Star Day)

He sure looked sharp in his seven panel return in the San Vicente (G2). In that affair, he got to the front from the inside post and stayed clear throughout in a nice 2-1/4 length score over Baffert trainees Pinehurst (next-out winner in G3 Saudi Derby), McLaren Vale, and Doppelganger. He was firing three bullets in advance of the San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita on March 5, and he used his blazing easy speed to run them off their feet in that spot. The waters get deeper in the SA Derby (G1), and he is going to need to distribute his energy more efficiently if he expects to handle 9f and beyond. He is the 6-5 second choice in the SA Derby.

8 – CYBERKNIFE (Gun Runner – Awesome Flower, by Flower Alley)

Cyberknife picked up his first stakes win in the Arkansas Derby (G1), and that was his sixth career start for Brad Cox. He has made nice progress this year and is getting good at the right time, but he could not have hoped for better trip on April 2. He sat sweetly behind three early runners, moved up while racing between rivals, pushed clear, and won comfortably over consistent board-hitter Barber Road and filly Secret Oath. He seems a cut below the top runners in this division, but this continues to look like a relatively closely-matched group, and I would not completely count him out on the first Saturday in May.

9 – CHARGE IT (Tapit – I’ll Take Charge, by Indian Charlie)

I am not quite sure what to make of Charge It’s Derby chances after an unprofessional, runner-up finish in the Florida Derby (G1). His raw talent carried him at the Gulf on April 2. That was just his third start and first stakes and route attempt. He took dirt for the first time after a less than ideal start, and he might have won if he kept a straight line in the lane. It was a nice education run and I might really like him if he had one more race under his belt. The feeling at this stage is he will be better later this year.

10 – SIMPLIFICATION (Not This Time – Simply Confection, by Candy Ride)

Simplification ran quality races in a front running win in the Much Macho Man, a rallying 2nd after a bad start in the Holy Bull (G3), and a late running score in the Fountain of Youth (G2). He ran hard throughout in a solid show finish in the Florida Derby (G1), and I do not know if he has another big effort in him on the first Saturday in May. He might run out of wind at 10f and probably peaked in the FOY.

11 – MORELLO (Classic Empire – Stop the Wedding, by Congrats)

Asmussen’s early-pressing colt captured all three starts. He stalked and scored in his 6f bow, and duplicated that feat in the 7f Jimmy Winkfield. In the Gotham (G3) at one mile around one turn, he chased the pace and pulled away in the lane. He got back to work at Belmont Park (dirt training) March 14, and the April 9 Wood Memorial (G2) is his next step. We will learn much more about him in that 9f affair., and he is the 8-5 morning line favorite.

Next Nine: (12) Early Voting, (13) Grantham, (14) Ethereal Road, (15) Zozos, (16) Emmanuel, (17) Tiz the Bomb, (18) Pioneer of Medina, (19) Un Ojo, (20) Commandperformance

Article by Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak

Jarrod Horak posts stakes recaps from Del Mar and Santa Anita Park, along with full card recaps and free stakes picks from Southern and/or Northern California.