The first weekend of March was scheduled to have two races on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby®, but only one took place.
In a first for this year's qualifying series of prep races, a contest had to be postponed — but not due to inclement weather. The 2019 Patton Stakes, scheduled for March 1, was abandoned after a member of the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board collapsed following the second race of the day at Dundalk Stadium.
The man, confirmed to be Willie Buckley of the IHRB, died later that night.
The 2019 Patton Stakes, which has yet to be rescheduled, offers 20 points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby to the victor.
While the tragedy in Ireland took the headlines over the weekend, points were still up for grabs in the second Road to Derby race the following day.
With the Kentucky Derby Championship Series now in full swing, let's see who earned points to continue their quest towards Churchill Downs®.
Fountain of Youth Stakes
When the calendar turned over to 2019, Code of Honor was a name heavy on the mind of horse racing fanatics. Under the tutelage of Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, the three-year old colt was already penciled in as a likely starter on May 4 at Churchill Downs.
But that narrative was altered when Code of Honor came in a disappointing fourth place in the Mucho Macho Man Stakes on January 5. The performance set Code of Honor's trajectory back from contender to pretender, and pumped the brakes on many who thought he was a lock on the Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby.
But as with most stories, there are multiple acts, and pretending a tale is finished after chapter one can often get you into trouble.
Code of Honor's lackluster performance in January lit a fire under McGaughey, who ramped up the colt's training to make sure that he'd be ready to compete once the higher points are at stake in the Kentucky Derby Championship Series.
In his second race of the 2019 season, Code of Honor finally came through. In front of an excited crowd at Gulfstream Park on March 2, McGaughey's colt bested the field of 11 by edging close to the rail and running at a steady pace.
With jockey John Velasquez in control, Code of Honor stayed in front of the pack and earned a whopping 50 points on the Kentucky Derby Prep Race leaderboard.
Bourbon War came close to catching the streaking frontrunner, but had to settle for second place and 20 points. Vekoma and Hidden Scroll finished third and fourth, respectively, each also earning points.
Kentucky Derby American Road Standings
|1||War of Will||60|
|2||Code of Honor||54|
|9||Long Range Toddy||16|
Kentucky Derby European Road Standings
|1||Royal Marine (IRE)||10|
|2||Magna Grecia (IRE)||10|
|5||Phoenix of Spain (IRE)||4|
|7||Sydney Opera House (GB)||4|
|8||Mount Everest (IRE)||4|
|10||Western Australia (IRE)||2|
|11||Cape of Good Hope (IRE)||2|
|12||Power of Now (IRE)||2|
|14||Victory Command (IRE)||1|
|15||Circus Maximus (IRE)||1|
Kentucky Derby Japan Road Standings
|1||Oval Ace (JPN)||30|
|2||Nova Lenda (JPN)||20|
|3||Derma Louvre (JPN)||14|
|6||Gal Vihara (JPN)||4|
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