With prep races for 2011 Kentucky Derby all but finished, the connections of this year's contenders are beginning to make their final preparations for the Run for the Roses. The 2011 Kentucky Derby will take place on Saturday, May 7th (the traditional first Saturday in May), and will be broadcast on NBC. Post time for the Derby is 6:24 p.m. Eastern. Pre-race coverage of the Derby undercard (and additional coverage of Friday's Grade 1 Kentucky Oaks) will occur on NBC's partner network, Versus. The post position draw will occur on Wednesday, May 4th, and will be broadcast on Versus from 5 - 6 Eastern. (Complete TV information can be found at KentuckyDerby.com.)
The 2010 Kentucky Derby was won by Super Saver, giving trainer Todd Pletcher his first ever win in America's most prestigious race. Last year's race featured the defection of Wood Memorial winner and pre-race favorite Eskendereya in the week leading up to the Derby, as well as the brutal post position draw of Bob Baffert's juvenile champion, Lookin At Lucky.
The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 horses in the starting gate and those 20 are determined solely by money earned in graded stakes races since the start of their careers. At the bottom of this post you'll find an Excel file that contains the current graded earnings list as it stands before this weekend's Grade 3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. The Lexington is worth $200,000 in total graded earnings with approximately $120,000 to the winner. Silver Medallion is the only colt in the field that could win his way into the Derby with a victory in the Lexington.
Uncle Mo, on the strength of his win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile last fall, sits atop of the graded earnings list and is the only millionaire among this year's three-year-olds. Dialed In, winner of the Holy Bull Stakes and the Florida Derby this spring, is the top money earner of 2011.
With a little over two weeks to go before the Derby, we could still see significant changes with the probable starters list as every year there are one or two colts that come up with injuries during final preparations. Additionally, some connections may choose to point elsewhere due to concerns with the distance or the overall difficulty of the race. Final morning drills for all Derby contenders will begin this weekend.
For a recap of all the prep races this spring, a summary of raw and fractional times of all races (along with speed figures), and the current graded earnings, check out the 2011 Triple Crown spreadsheet at the link below: