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    A trio of Kentucky Derby preps this weekend has changed the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and begun to solidify the line-up of talented 3-year-olds likely to make the Kentucky Derby starting gate on May 2. Dortmond dominated the $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Cal., Carpe Diem took the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby (G2) at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Fla. and El Kabeir cinched the $400,000 Gotham Stakes (G3) at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, NY. Each winner picked up 50 points in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points system.

    San Felipe Stakes

    Kalem Shah’s Dortmond, trained by Bob Baffert, remained undefeated to win the San Felipe (G2) in wire-to-wire fashion. Breaking from post three under the guidance of jockey Martin Garcia, Dortmond set a moderate pace on the lead, taking the first quarter in 23:12 and the half in 46:98. Longshot Sir Samson followed a half-length behind through the first half before giving way to Bolo. Second-choice among the bettors, Prospect Park, closed from mid-pack in the field of 10 to grab second place, 1 ½-lengths behind Dortmond.

    “It looks easy because he’s such a good horse and when you have a horse that good, he makes it look easy,” said jockey Martin Garcia of Dortmond’s performance.

    Dortmond added 50 points for the victory and moved into third place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 70 points and earnings of $630,000. Prospect Park, who picked up 20 points, debuted in 10th place, tied with Tiz Shea D, and Bolo debuted at 22, tied with Divining Rod, with 10 points.

    Tampa Bay Derby

    Carpe Diem, with jockey John Velazquez aboard, returned after a four-month layoff to win the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) over Ami’s Flatter and Diving Rod. The Todd Pletcher-trained colt, owned by Stonestreet Stables and Winstar Farms, finished second to Texas Red in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) last November in his last start. Apparently, the time off did nothing to dull Carpe Diem’s brilliance, as he overtook the front-running Divining Rod as the field turned for home and finished five lengths ahead of his rivals. Sent off as the betting favorite, Carpe Diem increased his earnings to $870,000 and his career victories to three in four starts.

    Carpe Diem picked up 50 points and moved into fourth place on the Kentucky Derby Leaderboard with 64 points. Ami’s Flatter debuted in 9th place with 20 points and Divining Rod debuted at 22, tied with Bolo, on the leaderboard with 10 points.

    Gotham Stakes

    Zayat Stables’ well-seasoned El Kabeir dominated a field of 10 with his 2 ¾-length victory in the Gotham Stakes (G3). Sent out as the 6-5 favorite with jockey Charles Lopez aboard, the John Terranova-trainee sat comfortably toward the back of the field before making a move around the turn and emerging in the middle of the race track, gaining ground with every stride. He put away the leader, Toasting Master, and held Tiz Shea D to second place. Classy Class made a late drive and picked up third place.

    El Kabeir moved into first place on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard with 75 points and earnings of $620,792. Tiz Shea D debuted in 10th place, tied with Prospect Park, with 20 points. Classy Class added 10 points for a total of 13 points to move into 13th place on the leaderboard.

    Photo: Courtesy Santa Anita Park

    Jessie Oswald's picture

    About Jessie Oswald

    I'm a lifetime Louisville resident with a passion for horse racing. When I'm not working as a paralegal or taking care of my family, I follow Thoroughbred racing and love to share the excitement and beauty of the sport with anyone willing to learn!

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