Santa Anita Derby, April 4th

Three Derby Prep races on the schedule this weekend, and a load of other stakes races as well.  In honor of Mark and Cornelio heading to Aqueduct this weekend, we have 3 of the Aqueduct Races in the Pick 6 Challenge this weekend.  A lot of the derby contenders are going off at really low odds, so there won’t be much of a payout, but if they are upset, the monies will be flowing.  I recall a trip to Aqueduct several years ago to watch Uncle Mo romp his way to victory and try to become the Kentucky Derby favorite.  It was not meant to be, as he came in a disappointing 3rd and ended up scratching from the Derby.  The Pamplemousse was a favorite on the derby trail as well who ended up scratching and never raced again, so don’t think that the upsets won’t happen.

Race 1: The Bay Shore.
With that we take you to race one, the Bay Shore from Aqueduct.  Lord Nelson and everyone else got killed last time out by Dortmund, he will try his luck at Aqueduct this weekend.  Ready for Rye had a great run in the Swale, but don’t expect him to surprise you again, he will go off as the favorite now.  Majestic Affair and Ackeret will probably battle it out for third, Final Chapter has won his last 2, both at Aqueduct, and is moving up in class.

Race 2: The Wood Memorial.
Race 2 is also from Aqueduct and is the Wood Memorial.  El Kabier will be looking to lock up his Derby resume with another win after taking the Gotham.  He will be tough to beat.  Lieutenant Colonel was liked by the pundits last race but simply did not fire on Gotham day, we’ll see how he does Saturday, but my hunch is he doesn’t like the track, or the cold.  There’s been much written about Frosted this week, and his owners/trainers changing up a lot of things while trying to get him ready for the Derby.  Blinkers last race, this time a change of venue, one of several coming from Gulfstream.  He’s definitely one to keep an eye on, as well as Daredevil, who as the favorite got beat by Ready for Rye in the Swale.  Lots to like this race.

Race 3: The Blue Grass Stakes.
Race three takes us to Keeneland for the Blue Grass Stakes. I was a big fan of Ocho Ocho Ocho in the San Felipe, but he was terrible.  Can he bounce back in the Blue Grass?  Unrivaled is moving up in class, and has won his last 2 at Parx.  Carpe Diem will be your overwhelming favorite, Winstar, Johnny V, Pletcher, he’s got all the ingredients to win.  Frammento has been working bullets, I liked Classy Class in the Gotham, should be interesting to see what he can do against this field.

Race 4: The Oaks.
To Santa Anita for the Oaks, I always like to get some of the Oaks races in each week.  I’m looking to the outside with Stellar Wind and Luminance, the latter of which, is Baffert trained, and we know he knows what he is doing at SA.  Singing Kitty is moving up in class, and I am not sure she is good enough to compete with the previous two.  Light the City has competed with these horses before, and was the favorite last time out before being beat by Stellar Wind.  Should be interesting.

Race 5: The Carter Handicap.
Back to Aqueduct for the Carter Handicap. This looks like a neat one.  Dads Caps has the speed, and will be a definite favorite if the speed holds up Saturday.  Great to see Clearly Now again, but he hasn’t raced since the Forego last August at Saratoga, and he did so poorly.  Conversely, I loved The Big Beast in the King’s Bishop, how did I not bet that?  The Beast is moving up in class though.  Last summer’s sensation Palace is back, but again, has not raced in months, and Wild Dude is coming out from Santa Anita with a win in the San Carlos.  This is anyone’s race.

Race 6: The Santa Anita Derby.
Lastly, we have the Santa Anita Derby, where Dortmund is undefeated, and will go off as a major favorite.  If this race wasn’t a Derby Prep race, Cornelio might have been convinced to leave this race off the challenge this week, he’s such a favorite.  Looking for an upset, I’d look at Bolo, or maybe Prospect Park can get the better trip on Saturday.  One Lucky Dane for your exotics perhaps?

Best of luck everyone, and wish Mark and Cornelio luck at the Big A this weekend.

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