Crank up your old “Rocky” cassette and begin shadow boxing. The sweat starts running down your back, and your hard work is beginning to pay off. That’s exactly the mindset needed for this weekend. Think of this one as one of the last opportunities for the runners to stamp their card for Louisville, and that’s easy, because it’s true. Here is a breakdown of the marquee races that await our wagering dollars.
The Wood Memorial/Aqueduct
At the time of this writing, weather was the focus for handicappers. The forecast calls for 51 degrees and partly cloudy, and a field of seven three-year-olds go to post.
Race #10 – The 91st running of the Wood Memorial – 1 1/8 – 5:30 ET
#6 – Daredevil (9-5) = If there was a runner who looked to fit, this guy would be the poster boy. A son of More than Ready is trained by Todd Pletcher and has the services of Javier Castellano. His three starts at two were excellent, and just toss out the Breeders’ Cup race and you’ll bet early and often. he has that versatile style that is pretty effective the first Saturday in May, but let’s take one race at a time. #5 – El Kabeir is a nice runner and has shown up-close action. That was until his last where he broke 9th by 12 lengths, and closed weaving through traffic. I just don’t think he’ll be able to pull that act again as the price of poker I going up. #4 – Frosted (5-2) = Kiaran McLaughlin brings this son of Tapit with new rider Joel Rosario. His last effort looked like gold until he hit the top of the lane. He tossed out the anchor and his Tapit bloodline showed quickly. I love he is 5/6 ITM lifetime and is a gamer. He may be able to shake off the traffic making his third off the shelf. – If your still not sold on Daredevil, just watch his Evil Knievel like performance on 10/4/14 in the Champagne.
Keeneland / The Bluegrass Stakes
The 91st Running of the Toyota Bluegrass Stakes – 1 1/8 – 6:00 ET
Keeneland cancelled live racing for the first time in 78-years due to torrential rains. Kentucky has had flooding since the heavy snows, and this didn’t help matters. The track crew is excellent, and you can bet they’ll have the track in the best shape possible. After going back to dirt and tossing out the poly track, handicappers have been waiting for quite sometime. The track may be off, and you’ll be able to utilize your E-Z Win Forms to change the track condition tab if the surface tightens up. The forecast calls for 58 degrees and sunny.
#5 – Carpe Diem (1-1) = John Velasquez in the irons for Todd Pletcher, and this son of Giant’s Causeway won the Breeders’ Futurity at two-years-old over the oval. His last race in the Tampa Bay Derby was ultra impressive, and the TBD oval gets runners “legged up.” – He’ll benefit from the big win and has two solid works at Palm Beach Downs. He has the top dog rider, loves the track, and is hard to slight. But, there are a few that can offer a challenge of he’s not up-to-snuff. – #1 – Ocho Ocho Ocho (6-1) = Up and coming rider Santiago Gonzalez is coming to town for James Cassidy. This is the second off the shelf for the son of Street Sense and was brutalized last against the West Coast monster Dortmund. He was only (4-1) and you can toss that race. He draws the rail today and should be forwardly placed. – #2 – Gorgeous Bird (8-1) = B.J. Hernandez in the irons for Ian Wilkes. He made up some nice ground last out, and if Carpe Diem doesn’t seize the race, he could be a player.
Santa Anita/The Santa Anita Derby
Race #8 – The (G-1) $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby – 1 1/8 – 6:38 ET
I guess the world is chanting this by now, but here goes anyway. Dortmund doesn’t have to win or run the race of his undefeated life. He’ll be forwardly placed along the rail and don’t look for him to get in a knockdown drag-out fight. If left alone, he’ll roll. If there are any tough guys taking shots, here are a couple of names that could take down the cheese. Look for him to get some points at worst, but at (3-5) maybe a little hard racing is what the doctor ordered.
#4 – Bolo (4-1) = Mike Smith in the saddle, and that alone is worth a bet. Carla Gaines brings this son of Temple City to post, and he has looked great on the turf. His only dirt effort last out was pretty good, and he’ll push the pace as he did against Dortmund in the San Felipe. 2nd time out in 2015, and if he improves off his last, Smith will find his best game.
#5 – Prospect Park (7-2) = Kent D for Clifford Sise, and this son of Tapit should be in the second flight looking for a meltdown. He ran a good closing effort against Dortmund, and it is starting to look like there will be pace, and stalkers waiting for Dortmund to get caught napping.
There are excellent undercards, and plenty of solid players all day long. Also, with all due respect to the fillies, there will be four races that are the last to offer points for the Kentucky Oaks. Keeneland is offering a $300,000 guaranteed all-stakes pick-four and pick-five. Santa Anita is shelling out a sweet $750,000 late pick-four guarantee and $300,000 pick-six pool. Winning Ponies will be all dialed in and you can go back and take a look at the prep replays on the site before you download your E-Z Win Forms. Enjoy this incredible day and racing and best of luck from your friends at Winning Ponies!