By Jarrod Horak
The road to Kentucky Derby 2024 is in full swing. Eight points races have been run so far and it is time to unveil my first “Exceptional 11” Kentucky Derby contenders list. First, I will recap the points race action from the Iroquois on Sept. 16 through the Remsen on Dec. 2.
Kentucky Derby 2024 Points Race Results
Grade 3 Iroquois – Sept. 16 (Churchill Downs)
The first Derby points race is rarely an indicator of Derby trail success. West Saratoga sat the right stalking trip and outkicked my top choice Risk It to score by 1 3/4 lengths. Liberal Arts rallied for the show and was followed by Seize the Grey, Edified, Patriot Spirit, Union Roll, and Market Street. Gettysburg Address scratched. The final time was 1:37.28 and Rafael Bejarano rode the winner for Larry Demeritte.
Grade 1 Champagne – Oct. 7 (Aqueduct)
The track was sloppy (sealed), and I went with impressive maiden winner Fierceness, but he blew the break, moved early, and weakened in a disappointing try. Timberlake was clearly best in this race. I picked him on top in the Grade 1 Hopeful and he finished an uncomfortable 2nd that day. He got a clean outside stalking trip in this spot and dominated by 4 1/4 lengths. General Partner controlled the pace and was clearly second best, and Dancing Groom rallied from last to pick up the show. Gold Sweep, Air Cav, El Grande O, Fierceness, and Sweet Soddy J also ran. The final time was 1:35.90 and Florent Geroux guided home the winner for Brad Cox.