Keeneland’s Blue Grass Stakes Looks to Have its Say in Crazy Derby Picture – Stakes Analysis with Suggested Plays

BY: JOSHUA PRAIN

Scenes from around the track during Blue Grass Stakes Day on April 16, 2011 at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky. (Bob Mayberger/Eclipse Sportswire)

As someone who resides in Lexington, Kentucky I can tell you that opening weekend of the Keeneland Spring meet is one of those events you look forward to, but feel as if it’s never going to come. I wouldn’t exactly compare Winter in Kentucky to Antarctica, but it sure does drag on.  The forecast calls for some beautiful weather for opening weekend and you can pair that up with some fantastic racing, a recipe that shouldn’t disappoint.  Saturday’s card is especially good with a total of five Stakes races and is highlighted by the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes.  With the Kentucky Derby just a month away, the Blue Grass is one of the last remaining chances for three-year-old’s to earn their way into the starting gate.  Let’s look the race!

Race 10 – Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) Post Time – 6:23 PM
Purse $1,000,000. For Three-Year Old’s. One and One Eighth Miles
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Somelikeithotbrown (NY) 3/C L T Gaffalione 123 M J Maker 10/1
2 Vekoma (KY) 3/C L J Castellano 123 G Weaver 9/5
3 Signalman (KY) 3/C L B J Hernandez, Jr. 123 K G McPeek 5/1
4 Market King (KY) 3/C L J K Court 123 D W Lukas 20/1
5 Chess Chief (VA) 3/C L P Lopez 123 D Stewart 30/1
6 Dream Maker (KY) 3/C L F Geroux 123 M E Casse 12/1
7 Admire (KY) 3/C L R Albarado 123 D L Romans 15/1
8 Win Win Win (FL) 3/C L I Ortiz, Jr. 123 M J Trombetta 7/2
9 Sir Winston (KY) 3/C L J R Leparoux 123 M E Casse 15/1
10 Lucky Lee (KY) 3/C L C Landeros 123 J C Servis 20/1
11 So Alive (KY) 3/C L L Saez 123 T A Pletcher 15/1
12 Parsimony (PA) 3/C L M Gutierrez 123 D F O’Neill 20/1
13 Moonster (KY) 3/C L J McKee 123 D L Romans 30/1
14 Aquadini (KY) 3/C L C J Lanerie 123 D Stewart 30/1

With such a big field this very well could turn out to be a rider’s race. I would imagine a handful of horses will lose ground going into the first turn and that may end up being enough to cost them a chance at a win.  The horse I like in here and who should not experience any ground loss is #1 Somelikeithotbrown.  This colt comes out of the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park which many view as a “weaker” prep compared to the traditional dirt preps.  I think a mistake many handicappers make is labeling a horse a “dirt” or a “turf” horse early on in their careers.  Just because this horse has done most of his running on turf and synthetic, I still feel it is highly probable he can be just as talented on a dirt surface.  Just look at last weekend’s Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow.  With that said, you should get a fair price on the Mike Maker trainee.  Tyler Gaffalione will have the opportunity to establish a solid early position with the rail post and he can also take back if some of the outside horses send.  Either way he has a strong chance to be there at the end and cash some nice tickets.

#6 Dream Maker is a horse many people are going to toss after the clunker he ran in last month’s Tampa Bay Derby.  He broke poorly that day and never really did any running.  It’s encouraging to see that Mark Casse has clearly not lost any faith in this colt by entering in this spot.  I love the bullet work over the track on March 30th.  If Florent Geroux can find a spot behind the leaders with minimal kickback I think this one could run big.

At odds of 7/2 on the morning-line #8 Win Win Win seems like an underlay, but I do think this horse can make a dent in the exotics.  This colt ran a 99 beyer two back in the Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay, that is higher than any other horse in this field.  He closed well to pick up 3rd in the Tampa Bay Derby last out and he has two solid works since then.  Irad Ortiz Jr. rides for trainer Michael Trombetta.

The connections of #7 Admire are no stranger to this race.  They were victorious with Brody’s Cause in 2016.  They may find it a little more difficult to find the winners circle with this one, however I think he provides a lot of value to your tickets.  This son of Cairo Prince will need to improve off his last two efforts, where he was a non-threat.  He was 5th in the Grade 3 Withers and 7th in the Tampa Bay Derby.  I used him underneath in both of those races and I want to give him one more chance here.  He’s also the only horse in the field with a win at the one and one eighth mile distance.

Suggested Plays

 Race 10

$13 Win/Place

 #1 Somelikeithotbrown

$2 Exacta Box

 1,6,7,8 = $24

Bonus Play: $400,000 Guaranteed All Stakes Pick 4 (Races 7-10)

11 w 4,5,8,9 w 1,6,7 w 1,2,3,6,7,8,11 = $42

or

6,9,11 w 9 w 1,6,7 w  1,2,3,6,7,8,11 = $31.50

(With the scratch of Feedback, Imprimis and Shamrock Rose look like the two best single of the sequence in my eyes. Imprimis is 6 for 7 lifetime going five and one half furlongs on the grass.)

Good luck!

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