Ranking the 2016 Triple Cown Prep Races

CREATOR - The Arkansas Derby Gr I - 80th Running - 04-16-16 - R11 - OP - Coady Photography
Coady Photography

Now that all the dust has cleared, and the scores have been settled, it’s time to examine which final prep races ended up being the most productive this Triple Crown Season.  The last two years we have made these rankings the Arkansas Derby won both times.  Can the race win this contest three years in a row? We use the following point scale to rank the Preps:

Triple Crown Race Starter: 2 points

Fourth Place Finisher: 4 points

Third Place Finisher: 6 points

Second Place Finisher: 8 points

First Place Finisher: 10 points

1. Santa Anita Derby – 26 Points

Exaggerator was one of only two horses that ran in all three Triple Crown races and earned 20 of the 26 points this race received.  Three other horses, Danzing Candy, Uncle Lino, and Mor Spirt earned 2 points each for making one start in a Triple Crown race.  Those three horses did turn out to disappoint, but Exaggerator was able to carry this race all the way to the top.  People probably will remember this race the most for it being an incredibly sloppy track, but Exaggerator’s performance was probably the best of any horse during the Triple Crown prep season.

2. Florida Derby – 24 Points

Of course this race featured Nyquist who won the Kentucky Derby and finished third in the Preakness Stakes so that is a great start!  Mohaymen ran fourth in the Kentucky Derby earning the Florida Derby four more points, while Majesto and Fellowship earned the race two points each.  The decision to hold Mohaymen out until the summer, and the fever by Nyquist cost the Florida Derby the top ranking in this contest.  However, this was probably the prep race that most people will remember this season.

3. Arkansas Derby – 20 Points

For the first time since we started doing this the Arkansas Derby did not win the contest.  However, it was still a productive prep race as Creator won the Belmont Stakes in stylish fashion.  Unfortunately Suddenbreakingnews struggled in the Belmont after being bet down hard, and showing promise in the Kentucky Derby.  Also disappointing was Whitemore and Cupid who made little to no impact during the Triple Crown race season.

4. Bluegrass Stakes – 20 Points

It was a decent year for the Bluegrass Stakes as Cherry Wine finished second in the Preakness Stakes and Brody’s Cause ran in both the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.  My Man Sam and Laoban ran in the Kentucky Derby as well, but neither made an impact.  With a little help from Brody’s Cause this race could have won the contest, but he disappointed in both races.

5. Louisiana Derby – 8 Points

The Louisiana Derby has been poor in recent years, but Gun Runner did have a great showing in the Kentucky Derby to finish third.  The problem was nobody else helped him much as only Mo Tom started in a Triple Crown race other than Gun Runner.

6. Wood Memorial – 8 Points

Brutally bad version of the Wood Memorial this year as it continues to fade in popularity.  This year Trojan Nation, a maiden, made the biggest impact out of this race as he ran in the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes.  Shagaf and Outwork ran in only the Kentucky Derby with both running very poorly.

7. Sunland Park Festival of Racing – 4 Points

Even though this was not an official prep race this year it still did better than the Spiral Stakes so I decided to put the race on the list.  Collected started in the Preakness Stakes while Gettysburg started in the Belmont Stakes.

8. Spiral Stakes – 2 Points

Easily the worst of the prep races.  Only one horse started in a Kentucky Derby from this race and that was Oscar Nominated.


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