Who Are the Early Contenders for the 2016 Kentucky Derby®?

Posted by Carolynn Wilcox on Mon, Oct 26, 2015 @ 13:10 PM

As the Breeders’ Cup approaches, we’re getting more and more excited about the Road to the Derby and what we might see in 2016!  While no single race in the Road to the Derby guarantees success in the Derby itself, the Breeders' Cup Juvenile is the highest-stakes race we’ll see until the Fountain of Youth in late February, offering 20 points to the winner.  After a three-week lull in activity, a number of Derby hopefuls will take their place at Keeneland with the hope of proving themselves worthy of lining up at Churchill Downs next May.

Who are these early candidates?  Check out the leaderboard straight from the Kentucky Derby website below, and read on to get to know the top-ranked two-year-olds in the current standings! 

Screenshot of Leader Board resized

Nyquist, #1

Nyquist, owned by Reddam Racing and trained by Doug O’Neill, is currently undefeated and sits atop the Road to the Derby leaderboard with 10 points.  He was sired by Uncle Mo, an American champion racehorse who went undefeated in his two-year-old season – his victories included the Champagne Stakes and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile – and was granted the elite Eclipse Award in 2010. 

After winning the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita Park in late September, Nyquist recently had the extremely rare opportunity to work five furlongs at Santa Anita Park with no one else on the track but his workmate!  That kind of break doesn’t happen often in the world of horse racing, and no one appreciates it more than his trainer.  Is Nyquist the “best of the west” in the two-year-old crop?  Only time will tell!

Greenpointcrusader, #2

Currently sharing the second spot in the Road to the Derby leaderboard with 10 points is Greenpointcrusader, who is trained by Dominick Schettino and owned by St. Elias Stable, MeB Racing Stables and Brooklyn Boyz Stables.  This handsome dark bay claimed first at the Champagne Stakes earlier this month and was sired by Bernardini, a former Travers Stakes winner who sired two more Travers winners in his first two crops of foals.

Greenpointcrusader’s current jockey, Joe Bravo, was aboard for the first of two scheduled works at Keeneland ahead of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  After the duo’s win at the Champagne Stakes a few weeks ago, Bravo described Greenpointcrusader as a pleasant ride and very eager to win!

Brody’s Cause, #2

Also ranked at second with 10 points in the Road to the Derby leaderboard is Brody’s Cause, who is owned by Albaugh Family Stable and trained by Dale Romans.  Brody’s Cause was sired by Giant’s Causeway, who had a phenomenal racing career in Europe and due to his astounding season as a three-year-old, was named the European Horse of the Year in 2000.

Brody’s Cause has already had an incredible win at Keeneland because of his first-place performance at the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity in early October.  He covered 1 1/16 miles of mud in miserable conditions as his jockey, Corey Lanerie, went through five sets of plastic goggles.  Brody’s Cause finished a length over favored Exaggerator and gained invaluable experience at Keeneland, where we’ll see him again this weekend for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.

Want to learn more about the Road to the Derby and how horses make it to Churchill Downs?  Check out our earlier post on How to Qualify for the Kentucky Derby!

Get in on the Action at the 2016 Kentucky Derby®!

Starting Gate resized 600Will one of the three contenders above take first place this weekend, or will another horse leap to the top of the leaderboard with a win at Keeneland?  We can’t wait to see what’s in store for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and we’re keeping our fingers crossed that these two-year-olds will stay strong throughout the Road to the Derby and make it to Churchill Downs in May!

If you haven’t already reserved your spot at the 2016 Kentucky Derby, there’s no better time!  Churchill Downs has begun renovations to its premium seating areas that will be finished by May and promise an updated elegance along with the luxury you’ve come to expect from this historic venue.  Guests with premium packages will be out of the elements as they enjoy privileged views of the track and high-end amenities such as gourmet dining, open bars, outdoor viewing platforms and private wagering stations.  Three nights of luxurious hotel accommodations can be had at The Galt House, Embassy Suites Louisville-Downtown and The Seelbach hotels.

Upgraded packages are available exclusively through Derby Experiences – reserve your package today before this once-in-a-lifetime chance sells out!

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Topics: Kentucky Derby, Churchill Downs, 2016 Kentucky Derby, 142nd Kentucky Derby

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Kristen Doolan

Kristen Doolan was born and raised a Florida State Seminole. Making her way from Florida to North Carolina, Kristen achieved her B.S. in Business Administration, Marketing at The University of North Carolina Wilmington. She is an avid traveler, college football addict, beach bum and loves spending time with her family and friends. 


Jazzy Morgan

Jazzy Morgan is originally from London, England and a die-hard Manchester United Fan. She grew up in Connecticut and made the move down south in 2011 where she attended Winthrop University and received her B.S. in Family & Consumer Sciences and a minor in Marketing. Jazzy enjoys traveling, working out, reading her monthly Vogue & Cosmo and keeping up with fashion trends.


Evan Chronis

Evan Chronis was born in Omaha, Nebraska but has made his home in south Charlotte for almost two decades. A Tar Heel born and bred, Evan received his B.A in Media and Journalism from UNC-Chapel Hill. He is an avid Boston sports fan thanks to his family’s New England roots, and a fanboy of Wes Anderson films.