The track at Keeneland has been tough to get a handle. Last Saturday, 6/8 winners went wire-to-wire, or were just off the pace. As late as Wednesday, 4/6 runners made their way into the winner’s circle by closing down the lane. The weather is supposed to be in the low 70’s, and the poly track is always fast. I would start taking a look at how the track plays Thursday and Friday to get a last minute glimpse on what to expect.
Keeneland – Saturday
Race #11 – Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) – 1/8 miles – 6:18 p.m. ET
This weekend should begin the wrap up of the major preps for the Derby. There will be a few solid races left, but historically this will be the last shot at catching that promising glimpse of greatness. The weather will be kind, and as always check-in with the weather report on the WinningPonies site and grab your E-Z Win Forms to get your handicapping plan formulated.
#4 Hansen (6-5) – Ramon Dominguez in the irons for trainer Mike Maker. They make a great team, and Dominguez has been on the mend with his shoulder. He did not opt to lay on the sidelines, but instead rode selective mounts to keep in the groove. As all athletes, a week or two off can really take you out of your game. Ramon is as tough as they come, and the son of Tapit is 5/5 ITM lifetime. He should relish the poly at Keeneland as he won twice over the Turfway Park strip. Last out in the Gotham, they took off the blinkers and he rated off like a maturing runner. I would look for Dominguez to keep him clear off the rail, and lay about 3 or 4th down the backstretch. When they make the 3/8ths pole, you should see a brilliant white flash named Hansen inhale the leaders and take command before they hit the stretch.
#6 Dullahan (6-1) – Kent Desormeaux up for Dale Romans. 2nd off the shelf, and going for the turf-poly angle (16%). Sweet work on 4/8 at Keeneland to tighten the screws with a 57.2 scorcher. 1/1 at Keeneland, and Romans plans to have this guy moving late in the game. If the fractions are hot, and you see a 1:11.2 or better, this guy may put out their lights.
#9 Holy Candy (30-1) - Joel Rosario in town for John Sadler. When they team up in Kentucky, good things happen. I can see this runner being a part of the exotics, but some major factors will have to converge for him to win. Looks to be a solid stalker, and with all of the speed in here, that looks like a good place to be.
#3 Prospective (10-1) – Luis Contreras for Mark Casse. Exits a win in the G-2 Tampa Derby, and should enjoy the poly with two wins at Woodbine. The barn wins 22% on synthetic, and owns two solid works at Churchill Downs.
The track will be the major factor. Be sure to look over the charts for Thursday and Friday, and plan on weather being in the low 70’s. This should be a perfect day for racing in Kentucky, and the race may turn up a bit chalky as compared to many of the past races. Hansen looks to be in his wheelhouse, but the race could also set up nicely for those looking to gain graded earnings. He has $1,400,000, and Dullahan has $405,000. I can’t see past the two favorites in this heat, but your E-Z Win Forms will turn up some nice prices to build some great value. So, get your data in hand early, and enjoy one of your last glimpses before Derby. As always, may your winners be many and your photos be few!