Three out of the five staying Kentucky Derby prep races occur Saturday in three distinct paths across the country. With post times in just a half hour of each other, the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the Santa Anita Derby can help shape the Derby field.
All 3 races are part of a live nationwide broadcast on NBCSN from 4:30-6:30 p.m. CT..
Santa Anita Derby chances, analysis and picks The largest of the 3 competitions is that the Grade 1, $1 million Santa Anita Derby.
The Bob Baffert trainee, GAME WINNER, headlines a short field of six. He is the morning-line favorite at 4/5 chances and is probably the best horse in the race, but his last outing was a tough one, as he was out in a driveway for half-mile and couldn’t get by Omaha Beach. This was his first race back on the track following a 4??1/2-month layoff, and you could believe he received some good conditioning with that effort or that he’s a bit beat up and tired.
His primary competition might be ROADSTER (5/2 odds), who also hails from the Baffert barn. From the Del Mar Futurity, Roadster finished third, beaten just two spans by Game Winner.
INSTAGRAND, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, is your third option on the morning line in 3/1. He’ll be looking to extend his sprinter’s pace around two turns and the 1??1/8-mile space. He looks to rebound from his first loss in the Gotham Stakes after winning his first two races by ten lengths apiece.
NOLO CONTESTO (6/1) ran second to Roadster following bobbling in the break in his latest and conquer Omaha Beach in his previous start. Those two endings place him in the mix Saturday.
The area is rounded out by two long shots; SYNTHESIS (30/1), who has one win in nine races, and MORE ICE (30/1), that hasn’t won on the dirt.
Game Winner is the only horse that has secured enough points to move on to the Kentucky Derby. The rest of the horses would have to win run next to have a chance in reaching the gate at Churchill on May 4. This race awards points on a 100-40-20-10 basis to the top four finishers.
The Santa Anita Derby is going to be conducted as race No. 8 Saturday’s Santa Anita card. Post time is 5:30 p.m. CT..
GAME WINNER 4/5: If manager these
INSTAGRAND 3/1: Better than his last ROADSTER 5/2: In nice form Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland odds, analysis and picks The first Saturday of the Keeneland meet is emphasized by the 95th running of the Grade 2, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes, to be run at 1??1/8 miles. It seems to be an open affair among the top several favorites in a field of 14.
VEKOMA, the 9/5 decision on the morning line, is coming from a third-place finish in the Fountain of Youth Stakes, where he conducted 2??3/4 lengths supporting Code of Honor. Vekoma was coming from a four-month layoff and ought to be tighter for this outing with that race under his belt.
The second alternative in 7/2 is WIN WIN WIN, who’s seeking to rally from a third-place end in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. He didn’t appear to love two ends to the first time and was flat from the street, but he ran a decent third. He ran fairly wide throughout that race and may be place for a far superior performance Saturday if placed to the mix earlier.
SIGNALMAN (5/1) had a gorgeous autumn campaign but returned to the races out of a three-month layoff to conduct a dismal seventh at the Fountain of Youth. He’s another who could improve off his comeback race and should get some attention at the windows.
SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN (10/1) will probably be trying to prove he could run onto the dirt after notching wins in his two most recent outings on the synthetic and a preceding turf score in Saratoga. His initial start was about the dirt and it wasn’t a great one; if you can forgive that first bad attempt, he’s a player here.
DREAMAKER (12/1) comes off a dismal 10th-place end in the Tampa Bay Derby, but he’d get abandoned at the beginning and had a fairly rough trip then.
The remaining portion of the area is comprised of a lot of long shots: ADMIRE (15/1) broke his maiden in November and has done nothing since; SIR WINSTON (15/1) hasn’t won on grime; SO ALIVE (15/1) ran a distant third in the Sam F. Davis; MARKET KING (20/1) ran third to Omaha Beach in the Rebel; LUCKY LEE (20/1) ran dead last in the Withers; PARSIMONY (20/1) hasn’t won a race; AQUADINI (30/1) simply struck his maiden in February and failed as the favorite in his final; MOONSTER (30/1) won his only career race out of eight starts way back in September 2018; and CHESS CHIEF (30/1) simply broke his maiden last month following five starts.
The Blue Grass is race No. 10 on the Keeneland card, and place time is 5:23 p.m. CT..
WIN WIN WIN 7/2: Another chance VEKOMA 9/5: Stalking style fits well here
SIGNALMAN 5/1: Needs a fast pace
SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN 10/1: Could like this dirt
MARKET KING 20/1: Decent 3rd at The Rebel
Wood Memorial at Aqueduct chances, analysis and selections The Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial, the final prep race at New York, attracted a field of 11. Points will be given on a 100-40-20-10 point basis to the top-four finishers, promising the winner and the runner-up a spot in the Kentucky Derby. Tacitus and Haiklal have enough points to secure their place at Churchill Downs in May.
TACITUS (5/2) is the morning-line favorite and is two-for-three in his career — including a nice win in the Tampa Bay Derby, where he beat Outshine by 1??1/4 lengths. The combination of coach Bill Mott and jockey Jose Ortiz will find some activity on the tote board.
HAIKAL (7/2) comes into this contest on a three-race win series, including a win at the Gotham Stakes over this program. He’s just a neck from being a perfect four-for-four, all at Aqueduct, and he seems pretty tough Saturday.
TAX (9/2) has been off since shooting the Withers Stakes over this course and space on Feb. 2, when he held on by a head Not That Brady. He seems primed for a good effort here and should be around the action at the cable.
OUTSHINE (6/1) is coming off a good runner-up end to Tacitus from the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, and his recent workouts state he’s in good shape.
HOFFA’S UNION (6/1) has won his only start, a maiden event at Laurel by 15 lengths. Not sure he’s good enough to compete .
FINAL JEOPARDY (8/1) broke his maiden in his first outing and then ran third at the Limehouse Stakes before shooting an allowance race last month. Two wins from three starts and never off the board says that he deserves a look.
OVERDELIVER (20/1) is another who won his debut and proceeded immediately to the bets level, finishing second from the Pasco Stakes at Tampa, a few 7??1/4 lengths supporting Win Win Win. However, with just two career races and neither being a path, I’ll pass.
NOT THAT BRADY (20/1) tanked at the Gotham past month and ended last. However he ran a fantastic moment to Tax, losing by just a mind in his previous outing at the Withers Stakes. Not That Brady is not so bad. Live in a price.
GRUMPS LITTLE TOTS (30/1) simply struck his maiden Feb. 18 within this route in his fourth effort. He would need to improve a ton to maintain the mix today.
MATH WIZARD (30/1) includes two wins (by 18 lengths and 6??3/4 lengths) and a second-place finish in his past few starts. Talented but overmatched.
JOEVIA (30/1) has never been outside of the exacta in 3 starts and ran a fantastic moment to Haikal two races ago, losing by only a neck. This quick colt will be forwardly placed and may stick around for a piece.
The Wood Memorial is race No. 10 about the Aqueduct card with a post time of 5 p.m. CT..
HAIKAL 7/2: Loves this course TAX 9/2: A lot TACITUS 5/2: Connections came to play with NOT THAT BRADY 20/1: Live and quick long shot
FINAL JEOPARDY 8/1: Never off the plank JOEVIA 30/1: Quick and working well
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