LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- A couple of first time points winners jumped right into the middle of the Kentucky Derby picture on Saturday. Favored California Chrome won 50 points in the San Felipe Stakes, while long shot Ring Weekend picked up 50 in the Tampa Bay Derby.
Ring Weekend grabbed the lead from the inside post and took the Tampa Bay field wire to wire in 1:42.7 for the mile and 1/16th. That was less than a second off the track record.
Tampa's leading jockey Daniel Centeno let Ring Weekend run and opened an eight length lead going down the back stretch. The Tapit gelding, trained by Graham Motion got away at 14 to 1.
Centeno was so far in front that he repeatedly looked back to see who might be closing. He easily held off Sam F. Davis winner Vinceremos in the stretch, while Todd Pletcher's Surfing USA was third. 5-2 favorite Conquest Titan was fourth.
And just as New York breds Samraat and Uncle Sigh dominated the Gotham Stakes last week, a California bred grabbed the Derby spotlight for his state at Santa Anita.
California Chrome left state bred company behind and ran away from a field of Derby contenders in the San Felipe Stakes. The son of Lucky Pulpit has won three in a row, but his 7 length win over Midnight Hawk makes him a serious Derby contender.
Trainer Art Sherman, who has been in the thoroughbred business for more than 50 years, now has his first ticket to Louisville and perhaps a showdown with Candy Boy in the Santa Anita Derby.
And if you thought the Tampa race was fast, California Chrome ran the same distance in 1:40.59 on the speed favoring Santa Anita track. Midnight Hawk was second and is now 6th on the Derby points list with 32 points. Third place Kristo is also in the top twenty with 14 points.
The San Felipe was diminished a bit, when Bob Baffert scratched his promising allowance winner Bayern because of a bruised foot. Baffert says the horse could be trained up to future Derby preps if the foot heals.
The Derby Trail moves back to Arkansas next weekend, when Oaklawn stages the Rebel Stakes with 50 more Derby points at stake for the winner.