Look out Dortmund, Firing Line may be running head to head with you again on Derby Day.
The 3-year-old colt who twice lost by a head to top-rated Dortmund in California, soared to No. 4 in the AP’s latest Run to the Roses’ Top 10 Kentucky Derby rankings after a record-setting romp in New Mexico.
While the Land of Enchantment isn’t the typical path to the Kentucky Derby, Firing Line’s 14 1/4-length victory in Sunday’s Sunland Derby is still impressive. He ran 1 1/8 miles in a track record 1:47.39. Plus, he’s ridden by three-time Kentucky Derby winner Gary Stevens.
The Hall of Fame jockey says he’s in a great spot: “He did it all very professionally. Real easy. He can do well at the next level.”
And there’s this: In 2009, Mine That Bird ran fourth in the Sunland Derby before pulling a huge upset in the Kentucky Derby at 50-1 odds.
Firing Line earned 50 Derby qualifying points for the win, and now ranks sixth with 58 points. The Derby field is limited to 20 starters based on points awarded for designated races.
Also, Dubai Sky earned 50 points with a win in the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park last weekend, and was a late nomination for the Triple Crown races at a cost of $6,000.
The race for points really heats up Saturday with the Florida Derby, Louisiana Derby and the UAE Derby. The point totals double to 100 for a win, 40 for second, 20 for third and 10 for fourth.
Upstart and Itsaknockout top the field for the Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, where Upstart finished nearly 3 lengths ahead of Itsaknockout in the Fountain of Youth but was DQ’d to second for interference.
Upstart is No. 5 this week; Itsaknockout is eighth.
International Star gets his chance for a New Orleans prep sweep in the Louisiana Derby after wins in the Lecomte and Risen Star.
In Dubai, the field for the UAE Derby has three horses nominated for Triple Crown races — Mubtaahij, Maftool and My Johnny Be Good.