Category : News
Wed 06/04/2016 – 19:14 EDT
Opening day at Keeneland features its usual bevy of top-class stakes action, led by the Grade 1, $1 million Blue Grass Stakes as an overflow field of 16, including two from the also-eligible list will contest the mile and one eighth race worth 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.
Zulu is the 5/2 morning line choice for trainer Todd Pletcher after chasing top three year-old Mohaymen February 27 in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes and finishing second despite making his first start around two turns. The talented son of 2006 Preakness winner Bernardini is bred to handle more ground and has won 2 of 3 starts while showing improvement each time out. The naturally speedy colt adds blinkers – a 20% winning move for Pletcher and picks up the services of top jockey Javier Castellano who replaces John Velazquez in the irons. Zulu will break from post 4 as he tries to punch his ticket to the Kentucky Derby with a top two finish.
Grade 1 winner needs rebound
Brody’s Cause (4/1) won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Futurity at Keeneland as a juvenile over a muddy track before returning to finish third in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. His first start at three did not go as well, with the colt finishing a disappointing seventh in the Grade 2 Tampa Derby depsite going to post as the 5/2 favorite. The Dale Romans trainee will need to rebound in a big way – and likely improve upon his two year-old speed figures to contend for the win and a spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate.
Aqueduct shipper has live look
My Man Sam (10/1) draws wide, but the Chad Brown charge has been eye-catching in his last two starts, running well of the pace to defeat maidens at Aqueduct going a mile and a sixteenth and returning at the same distance to fall just short of an $80,000 optional claiming field. Both efforts earned Beyer Speed Figures above 90 and the colt’s running style suggests that he can handle the extra real estate and then some.
Handicapping the 2020 Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks.
For all the negative buzz about Nyquist’s average speed figures and vulnerability, the newly crowned and much-deserving 2016 Kentucky Derby winner might just have the most impeccable credentials of any Derby winner in the illustrious history of the race – and certainly in the modern era.
On Friday at Churchill Downs, the field has been set for the 142nd running of the $1 million Kentucky Oaks. The Grade 1 event, carded at a mile and an eighth, has drawn a full field of fourteen three-year-old fillies with one listed as an also-eligible.
With the final round of Kentucky Derby preps in the books, it seems improbable, but arguable that the March 12 Tampa Derby was the most useful and review-worthy of the 24 official point-bearing races in 2016.