Saturday is easily the biggest day on the way to the road to the Kentucky Derby as three major preps are scheduled across the country. The action kicks off in New York.
The 10th on the Aqueduct card is the Grade 2 Wood Memorial. ENTICED looks to stamp himself as a legitimate Derby contender following his win in the one turn Gotham. He has wins in two of his last three trips to the post, with the lone defeat coming at the hands of AUDIBLE who recently won the Florida Derby. RESTORING HOPE ships across the country for Bob Baffert following his maiden score in April. There may be some value here as he is 4-1 on the morning line, and has been working like a monster in the Am getting ready for this spot. FIRENZE FIRE and OLD TIME REVIVAL are both 6-1 and have been knocking on the door of late. ‘REVIVAL likes to push the tempo, and FIRENZE FIRE will try to come off of it. Edge has to go to ‘FIRE as it doesn’t look like ‘REVIVAL wants to go much past a mile. VINO ROSSO drew the outside for Pletcher and will have to be more than one paced if he wants a bigger slice today.
Moving over to Keeneland for the Grade 2 Blue Grass, they have an overflow field entered – but it doesn’t look like they fill have a full gate. QUIP will scratch to run in the Arkansas Derby next weekend, and it’s possible that MACHISMO does the same. Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner GOOD MAGIC is set as the morning line choice, but drew post 11. He was flat in his season debut, finishing an uninspiring 3rd at 3/5, but can bounce back here with that race under his belt. He has worked well following that race in the beginning of March, and does get to keep his regular rider. FREE DROP BILLY drew next to him, and shouldn’t be bothered by it as he will take back and make one run. He has picked up slices in his last two, but has not been able to score at lower than 7/2 both times. KANTHAKA ships across the country for Jerry Hollendorfer and could be a sneaky play if he sticks around his 10-1 morning line. He looked good winning the San Vincente and then was 3rd behind two of the division leaders, BOLT D’ORO and MCKINZIE. Horses shipping from California have done very well in Derby preps over the past few years.
The big matchup of the day comes in the Santa Anita Derby between BOLT D’ORO and JUSTIFY. BOLT picked up the win via DQ in the San Felipe over Baffert runner McKinzie – now McKinzie is out and Baffert has rerouted JUSTIFY into this spot. JUSTIFY has been extremely impressive in his two starts to date, winning off by 16 combined lengths. He now steps up to stakes company for the first time, but with triple digit Beyers in those first two tries, JUSTIFY could be the real deal. With a win here, he will likely be the Kentucky Derby favorite come the first Saturday in May.
Make sure to catch all this great action at Northlands Park Racetrack and Casino where you can watch and wager on not only these races, but many more from around the country.
Don’t forget! Live racing is just around the corner – opening day May 5.