Three out of the five remaining Kentucky Derby prep races happen Saturday in three distinct tracks throughout the nation. With post times within a half an 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 area.
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 selections The largest of the three competitions is 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 final outing was a tough one, since he was all out in a driveway for half-mile and couldn’t get by Omaha Beach. That was his first race back on the trail after a 4??1/2-month layoff, plus one could believe he obtained some good conditioning from that hard work or he’s a little beat up and tired.
His main competition may be ROADSTER (5/2 chances ), who also hails from the Baffert barn. From the Del Mar Futurity, Roadster finished third, beaten just two lengths by Game Winner.
INSTAGRAND, trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, is your third option on the morning line at 3/1. He will want to extend his sprinter’s speed around two turns and the 1??1/8-mile distance. He looks to rebound from his first loss at the Gotham Stakes after winning his first two races by ten spans apiece.
NOLO CONTESTO (6/1) ran second to Roadster following bobbling in the break in his newest and conquer Omaha Beach in his previous start. Those 2 endings place him in the mix Saturday.
The field is rounded out by two long shots; SYNTHESIS (30/1), with one win in nine races, and MORE ICE (30/1), who has never won on the dirt.
Game Winner is the only horse which has secured enough points to move on into the Kentucky Derby. All other horses would have to win or run second to have a chance in reaching the gate at Churchill on May 4. This race awards points onto a 100-40-20-10 basis towards the top four finishers.
The Santa Anita Derby will be run as race No. 8 on Saturday’s Santa Anita card. Post time is 5:30 p.m. CT..
GAME WINNER 4/5: Should boss these
INSTAGRAND 3/1: Better than his past ROADSTER 5/2: In nice shape Bluegrass Stakes at Keeneland chances, analysis and picks The first Saturday of the Keeneland match is highlighted by the 95th running of the Grade 2, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes, to be conducted at 1??1/8 miles. It seems to be an open affair one of 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 at 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 this particular race under his belt.
The second choice in 7/2 is WIN WIN WIN, who is looking to rally from a third-place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9. He did not appear to appreciate two turns for the first time and has been flat in the lane, but he still ran a good third. He conducted fairly wide throughout that race and might be place to get a far superior performance Saturday if put into the mix sooner.
SIGNALMAN (5/1) had a gorgeous autumn campaign but returned to the races from a three-month layoff to conduct a dismal seventh at the Fountain of Youth. He’s a person who could improve off his comeback race and ought to get some focus in the windows.
SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN (10/1) will be attempting to prove he can run onto the dirt after notching wins in his two most recent outings on the artificial and also a preceding turf score in Saratoga. His first start was on the dirt and it wasn’t a good one; if you can forgive this first poor effort, he’s a player here.
DREAMAKER (12/1) comes off a dismal 10th-place end at the Tampa Bay Derby, but he did get left at the beginning and had a fairly rough trip then.
The rest 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) has never won on dirt; SO ALIVE (15/1) ran a distant third at 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 neglected since the favorite in his last; 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 after five starts.
The Blue Grass is race No. 10 on the Keeneland card, and post time is 5:23 p.m. CT..
WIN WIN WIN 7/2: Another chance VEKOMA 9/5: Stalking design fits nicely here
SIGNALMAN 5/1: Needs a fast pace
SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN 10/1: Could like this dirt
MARKET KING 20/1: Decent 3rd in The Rebel
Wood Memorial at Aqueduct odds, analysis and picks The Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial, the final prep race at New York, attracted a field of 11. Points will be awarded on a 100-40-20-10 point foundation to the top-four finishers, promising the winner and the runner-up a place in the Kentucky Derby. Tacitus and Haiklal already have enough things to secure their spot at Churchill Downs in May.
TACITUS (5/2) is your morning-line favored and is two-for-three in his profession — including a fine win at the Tampa Bay Derby, where he beat Outshine by 1??1/4 lengths. The combination of coach Bill Mott and jockey Jose Ortiz will get some action on the tote board.
HAIKAL (7/2) comes into this contest on a three-race win streak, including a win in the Gotham Stakes over this program. He’s just a neck away from being a flawless four-for-four, all at Aqueduct, and he looks fairly tough Saturday.
TAX (9/2) was away because taking the Withers Stakes over this route and distance on Feb. 2, when he held by a head Not That Brady. He seems primed for a good attempt here and ought to be around the action at the wire.
OUTSHINE (6/1) is coming off a fantastic runner-up finish to Tacitus from the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9, and his current workouts state he’s in good form.
HOFFA’S UNION (6/1) has won his only start, a maiden event at Laurel by 15 lengths. Not sure he is good enough to compete here.
FINAL JEOPARDY (8/1) broke his maiden in his first outing after which ran third at the Limehouse Stakes before taking an allowance race last month. Two wins out of three starts rather than off the board says that he warrants a look.
OVERDELIVER (20/1) is just another who won his introduction and moved immediately to the stakes level, finishing second from the Pasco Stakes at Tampa, some 7??1/4 lengths behind Win Win Win. However, with only two career races and neither being a path, I’ll pass.
NOT THAT BRADY (20/1) tanked in the Gotham past month and finished last. But he ran a fantastic moment to Tax, losing by only a head in his previous outing at the Withers Stakes. Not That Brady is not that bad. Live in a cost.
GRUMPS LITTLE TOTS (30/1) just struck his eponymous Feb. 18 over this route in his fourth effort. He would have to improve a ton to maintain the mix today.
MATH WIZARD (30/1) has two wins (by 18 lengths and 6??3/4 lengths) plus a second-place end in his past three starts. Talented but overmatched.
JOEVIA (30/1) hasn’t been out of the exacta in 3 starts and ran a good second to Haikal two races back, losing by just a neck. This speedy colt will be forwardly placed and could 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 to enjoy TACITUS 5/2: Connections came to play with NOT THAT BRADY 20/1: Live and speedy long shot
FINAL JEOPARDY 8/1: Never off the plank JOEVIA 30/1: Speedy and working well
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