The gate to the 2021-22 Kentucky Derby trail came down Saturday, with Tawny Port winning the final Derby prep on the trail: the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes.

Tawny Port and Florent Geroux captured the final Kentucky Derby prep: the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland Saturday. That vaulted the colt from 20th to 11th on the final points ladder. (Image: Keeneland/Coady Photography)

That brought the Brad Cox-trained colt safely in the field with 60 points, courtesy of the 20 he earned with his one-length victory over Major General. There was symmetry to this exacta finish since Major General won the first Derby prep: last September’s Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes at Churchill Downs.

That victory in the first of 48 Derby prep races brought Major General eight points, giving him 18. In Due Time, who needed a win to put him in the Derby field, finished third. The four points coming with that brought him to 24 points, where he sits 22nd. Ethereal Road, who wheeled back on one week’s rest after a dreadful Blue Grass Stakes, finished fourth, giving him two points. He sits 23rd on the ladder with 22 points.

Happy Jack sits on the bubble in 20th place with 30 points. The Doug O’Neill-trained colt grabbed his spot with third-place finishes in two Derby preps: the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes and Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. That puts him five points ahead of Pioneer of Medina, six up on In Due Time and eight ahead of Ethereal Road.

Derby prep points are fixed, but scenarios aren’t

That trio would need defections from horses above to get into the field. Based on history, Pioneer of Medina, In Due Time and Ethereal Road are by no means out of the Derby picture.

That’s because it bears noting these standings are fluid. Because while the Derby preps are done and the points are set, the horses aren’t. A lot can happen between Tawny Port’s exiting the Keeneland winner’s circle and the Churchill Downs gates opening May 7. Just in the last couple weeks, three Derby prospects: Forbidden Kingdom, Classic Causeway and Slow Down Andy exited the trail due to injury or form.

Last year, Hidden Stash was 23rd in points after the final Derby prep. Defections above him put him into the field, where he finished 13th.

Eight members of the 100-point club

Typically, the points cutoff after the final Derby prep is 40, which is what it was last year. But with Slow Down Andy and his 60 points exiting due to a fever Saturday, that put Charge It and his 40 points into 19th place. Tawny Port sat on that 20th place bubble until his Lexington Stakes victory took him off it and lifted him into 11th place.

With the Derby prep season complete, there are four horses with 40 points who sit 16th through 19th on the list: Messier, Zozos, Summer Is Tomorrow and Charge It. After the Derby preps, they are all safely in, ranked based on the tiebreaker: earnings in non-restricted stakes races.

2022 Kentucky Derby Final Points Standings

Rank Horse Points Trainer Earnings
1 Epicenter 164 Steve Asmussen $940,000
2 Zandon 114 Chad Brown $663,500
3 White Abarrio 112 Saffie Joseph Jr. $769,650
4 Mo Donegal 112 Todd Pletcher $561,500
5 Tiz the Bomb 110 Kenny McPeek $1,012,610
6 Cyberknife 100 Brad Cox $752,000
7 Crown Pride 100 Koichi Shintani $671,544
8 Taiba 100 Tim Yakteen $450,00
9 Simplification 74 Tami Bobo $482,150
10 Smile Happy 70 Kenny McPeek $499,410
11 Tawny Port 60 Brad Cox $351,400
12 Barber Road 58 John Ortiz $589,700
13 Un Ojo 54 Ricky Courville $661,250
14 Early Voting 50 Chad Brown $277,500
15 Morello 50 Steve Asmussen $242,500
16 Messier 40 Tim Yakteen $390,000
17 Zozos 40 Brad Cox $200,000
18 Summer Is Tomorrow 40 Bhupat Seemar $200,000
19 Charge It 40 Todd Pletcher $188,000
20 Happy Jack 30 Doug O’Neill $142,000
21 Pioneer of Medina 25 Todd Pletcher $116,000
22 In Due Time 24 Kelly Breen $113,800
23 Ethereal Road 22 D. Wayne Lukas $231,000
24 Rich Strike 21 Eric Reed $74,500
25 Rattle N Roll 20 Kenny McPeek $356,500
26 Skippylongstocking 20 Saffie Joseph Jr. $86,350
27 Major General 18 Todd Pletcher $251,525

Topping the list is Epicenter, who finished with 164 points. The lone millionaire currently in the field is Tiz the Bomb with $1,012,610. He sits fifth with 110 points, one of eight horses with 100 or more points.