The Road to the Kentucky Derby makes its next stop at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, NY for the 60th running of the Grade 3 $400,000 Gotham Stakes. A field of 12 three-year-olds will compete in the 1 1/16 mile route over Aqueduct’s inner dirt track. In addition to purse money, the winner of the race will receive 50 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system, which should guarantee him a spot in this year’s Kentucky Derby.
The new Kentucky Derby points system replaces the graded stakes earnings system as the determiner for Kentucky Derby entrants. In the first phase, the Kentucky Derby Prep Season that concluded two weeks ago, the top four finishers in 19 pre-determined races were awarded points of 10-4-2-1, respectively. The first leg of phase two, the Championship Series, which started last week, awards the top four finishers in the seven pre-determined races points of 50-20-10-5, respectively. The second leg of phase two begins Mar. 30 and includes two Grade II and five Grade I events in which the top four finishers in these pre-determined races will receive points of 100-40-20-10, respectively. The series concludes with two wild card races in which the top four finishers will be awarded 20-8-4-2 points, respectively.
As was seen when Ive Struck A Nerve won the Risen Star Stakes and Orb won the Fountain of Youth stakes last week, 50 points can put a newcomer immediately atop the leaderboard. Saturday’s Gotham offers the same opportunity to another set of newcomers.
Headlining Saturday’s race, at morning line odds of 5-2, is Todd Pletcher’s Overanalyze who will be making his three-year-old debut. This Dixie Union colt already has two Grade 2 wins under his belt in four stakes attempts. In his last start, he kept a nose in front of Normandy Invasion to win the Remsen Stakes Nov. 24, earning a Brisnet speed figure of 104 for the effort. Normandy Invasion made his return in last week’s Risen Star, finishing fifth. If Overanalyze can return to the form he showed last fall, he should be an easy winner Saturday.