Unexpected horses on Derby trail after upsets foxsports Apr 11, 2010 at 9:43p ET One colt had never won a graded stakes race. The other had never even raced in one. Stately Victor and Line of David were barely blips on the Article continues below ... Kentucky Derby radar. But after surprising wins Saturday in the Blue Grass Stakes and Arkansas Derby, they’re suddenly very much in the picture. “This one kind of got along late. We knew he could run,” Line of David owner Ike Thrash said. “We’ll show up, now that he’s in.” The Kentucky Derby field is limited to 20 starters. If more horses are entered, the field is determined by graded stakes earnings, and sometimes all it takes is one big victory to earn enough money for a spot. That was the case for Stately Victor and Line of David. It makes no difference that the former was a 40-1 shot in the Blue Grass or that the latter had never won on a nonturf track before his Arkansas Derby victory on Oaklawn Park’s dirt. Now the question is whether either of these horses has a chance in the May 1 Run for the Roses, which was won last year by long-shot Mine That Bird. Stately Victor had won just once in seven career starts, but his victory in the Blue Grass at Keeneland was by a convincing 4 1/4 lengths. “We always believed he was a runner,” owner Tom Conway said Saturday. “He’s been getting a lot of bad breaks, bad draws, getting stopped and blocked. But today the jockey was magnificent. He got him out there and he dusted them, didn’t he?” Line of David’s finish was a lot closer, but he managed to hold up down the stretch despite being in the lead through some quick early fractions. Thrash said he considered entering Line of David in the Blue Grass but forgot to nominate him. The Arkansas Derby was the horse’s debut on dirt after racing exclusively on turf and synthetic tracks. “It’s always good to try the dirt in a Grade 1 race for the first time,” Thrash joked. Line of David certainly seemed to like it, holding off challenges from Super Saver and Dublin to win by a neck. The victory earned him a shot in three weeks in Kentucky, although in the Derby he’s likely to have some company if he tries to move straight to the front again. “Twenty horses, and probably eight of them in this bunch look like they’re dedicated to be front-runners,” Thrash said. “But he’s a nice horse. Maybe he can move up another 10 lengths every time he runs.” The upsets by Stately Victor and Line of David came a week after Eskendereya won the Wood Memorial by 9 3/4 lengths. Some other Derby favorites may be struggling to keep up. Noble’s Promise finished out of the money for the first time in eight career starts in the Arkansas Derby, while Dublin and Super Saver couldn’t put away Line of David after pulling up next to him in the stretch. “I think we got our nose in front at one point there. It seemed like the speed held pretty good,” said D. Wayne Lukas, Dublin’s trainer. “The first three finishers stayed there all the way. Nobody closed.” Dublin, Super Saver and Noble’s Promise still have enough earnings to make the Derby field, although Noble’s Promise came out of his race with cuts on both front legs and will have to be evaluated again. Blue Grass favorite Interactif appears safe despite a fourth-place finish. Tampa Bay Derby winner Odysseus might be stuck on the outside looking in after coming up short in the Blue Grass – although defections from horses with high earnings are always a possibility. Stately Victor and Line of David don’t need any more money to make the field. They rewarded their owners’ patience just in time. “You hate to make excuses over and over for this horse, but that’s basically what we’ve been doing,” said Mike Maker, Stately Victor’s trainer. “He’s had bad trips and so forth. But I never quit believing in this horse.” FOX Fantasy Auto Form a Racing Team, Compete for Prizes Play Now!