The final Derby prep race is scheduled to be run on Saturday at Keeneland race course. It’s the $200,000 Gr. 3 Coolmore Lexington Stakes. It’s also referred to as the “Last Chance Derby” because runners who sit at #21 and up on the graded stakes earnings list, their only chance to start in the 137th Kentucky Derby is to run well in this race. So why is there only six (6) horses entered in the Lexington Stakes?
Reason #1: The majority of horses who sit on the outside looking in have run in the past two weeks, so they just have to hope for a number of defections within the Top 20. Reason #2: The $200k purse is small potatoes. The winners share is $120k and second is only worth $40k. Even the $120k will only benefit the horses sitting at #21 thru #27, and only #24, Silver Medallion is taking the bait. Reason #3: The Keeneland track surface is synthetic Polytrack, not natural dirt like Churchill Downs where the Kentucky Derby is run.
Silver Medallion (#2) is the 8-5 Morning Line favorite, but his five rivals are far from begin chopped liver, even though they have no shot at the Derby, but could rain on his Derby parade. #1 – Derby Kitten (4-1) is a turf runner who has improved in each of his three 2011 races. #3 – Prime Cut (7-2) has run all 5 career races on dirt, but beat highly regarded Bind last out. #4 – Hurricane Lake (6-1) invades from the synthetic Golden Gate surface where he’s never been off the board in his last four.#5 – Taptowne (15-1) ran 5th in the Gr 3 Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park and #6 – Casper’s Touch won at Keeneland 2 weeks ago after a disastrous 7th place finish in the Gr.2 Fountain Of Youth.
Go with Casper’s Touch. He has the talent, stamina and right bloodlines mix to prevail over Prime Cut and Silver Medallion.
Answer to Friday’s Derby trivia question: In the 76 year history of the Arkansas Derby, only two (2) winners of this race have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. They are Sunny’s Halo (1983) and Smarty Jones (2004)
Today’s Derby trivia question: What active jockey has over 3,000 career victories in 3 different countries, won over 50 different graded stakes races, including 7 Breeders’ Cups but has yet to win a Triple Crown race (Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont)? (Answer in next blog)
Recapping, Day 13 (Friday, April 22nd) at the Pimlico Spring Meet…
Best Bet Easter Rising (# 4; 1st race; M/L 4-1; P/T 4-1) ran a game race but couldn’t come through as a Hunch Play winner, but managed to hit the board, running third and paying $3.00 to SHOW.
Best Bet pick scorecard from 13 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 4 WIN – 2 PLACE – 3 SHOW.
Longshot Hesagoldmine (# 4; 5th race on the turf; M/L 12-1; P/T 9-1) made it exciting as he uncharacteristically led early and held the until the final 1/16th of a mile, but was good enough to be a clear second, returning $10.00 PLACE and $4.80 SHOW.
Longshot pick scorecard from 13 selections at the Pimlico Meet: 3 WIN – 4 PLACE – 1 SHOW
Here’s how the WDYL (Who Do Ya Like?) Plays panned out…
2nd race: #2 – Skip To The North (P/T 8-1) ran 5th
3rd race: #4 – Classic Rock Star (P/T 2-1) WON $6.00 $3.20 $2.40
5th race on turf: #1, #3, #6 w/ Longshot Pick (#4) came #1 (14-1), #4 (9-1) #6 (5-2), #3 (2-1), sparking exotic payoffs of $232.00 ($2 Exacta), $1,788.40 ($2 Trifecta) and $2,476.70 ($1 Superfecta)
6th race: #6 – The Devil You Say – SCRATCHED
9th race (DD): 2, 5 w/ 5, 1 came 5-3
For the Pimlico Spring Meet, Day 14 (Saturday, April 23rd) …
Soup Of The Day: Chicken Noodle
Best Bet: Balto More (#1 1st race; M/L 3-1) appears to be the only runner among the 6 in here who wants to be on the lead. If that turns out to be the case, he should be able to take this field gate-to-wire. Considering the track will be muddy or sloppy early in the day, this should enhance his chances to score the victory.
Longshot: Side By Side (#1 6th race; M/L 6-1) will benefit from an early speed duel from, be able to sit in a nice stalking position and make a late run in the final furlong to prevail. This daughter of INclude (by Broad Brush) will enjoy an Off Track and the Pimlico surface has her Dad and Granddad did.
Other “Who Do Ya Like” (WDYL) Plays…
1st race ($1 DD): 1, 3, 4 w/ 1, 5, 7 ($9)
2nd race (.50 P3): 1, 5 ,7 w/ 3, 4, 8 w/ 5, 6, 7 ($13.50)
6th race ($1 Tri): 1, 6 w/ 1,6 w/ ALL ($6)
7th race: #3 – Caesar’s Gold (7-2) 2nd race off layoff after 6 furlong tightener
#9 – Rica’s Grandsteed (15-1) use in exotics if track still OFF
10th race (Dahlia Stakes): #3 – Love’s Blush (8-1) benefits from OFF track
11th race: #5 – Dug Bar (5-2) looks prime to graduate against this group.
FYI: No racing on Easter Sunday. Live racing continues on Thursday.