Things didn’t fall ideally last week for Tom’s Ready and Mo Tom to give Tom and Gayle Benson two entries in the Kentucky Derby in the Saints/Pelicans owner and wife’s first year as thoroughbred owners.
But going into Saturday’s Arkansas Derby, the final major Derby prep race, Tom’s Ready is assured of his berth, and the odds are with Mo Tom to wind up with him as well.
Tom’s Ready is No. 14 and Mo Tom is 18th in the Kentucky Derby point standings, which will determine the automatic qualifiers for the race’s maximum field of 20.
That means Tom’s Ready can’t be knocked out of the top 20 by the results of the Arkansas Derby, which awards 100 points to the winner, 40 for second place, 20 for third and 10 for fourth.
But a possible, although unlikely, order of finish could put Mo Tom’s status in jeopardy.
Mo Tom has 34 points, the last 10 earned via a second-place finish in the Louisiana Derby in which Tom’s Ready, who has 44 points, was second.
Thus, Mo Tom can be bumped from the top 20, especially if favored Cupid, who already has 50 points, finishes outside the top four. Cupid’s 50 points came from winning the Rebel Stakes last month at Oaklawn Park, site of the Arkansas Derby.
Dazzling Gem (20 points), which finished third between Tom’s Ready and Mo Tom in the Louisiana Derby, will pass Mo Tom by with a top-three finish, and Whitmore (24) can do so by coming in fourth.
Any other horse in the rest of the field of 12 needs to be first or second.
That’s not impossible.
Trojan Nation, an 84-1 shot, was the runner-up in last week’s Wood Memorial, earning 40 points to punch his ticket Churchill Downs.
And while qualifiers dropping out before May 4 when the Derby field is set is almost inevitable, thus far that hasn’t been the case.
In fact, Japanese-owned Lani, winner of the UAE Classic in Dubai, shipped in to Louisville last week and is expected to run. Also, the owners of Oscar Nominated, which has 50 points but was not nominated for the Triple Crown, have stated they will pay the $200,000 supplemental fee.
So the only sure way Mo Tom is in the Kentucky Derby is to remain in the top 20, something he no longer has control over.