The Big Three

Fresh off a nice win with Known Agenda in the Florida Derby, it is only natural to look at the three Kentucky Derby preps for Saturday with confidence.

The Blue Grass at Keeneland was the easiest for me. While I do not like the pace set up favorite Essential Quality gets, he has overcome that and other adversity in the past, and I think he will again on Saturday. I am not going past him in this spot. I think he is legit and will get the job done.

The lack of pace in the Blue Grass may even help him be closer and have less to do and worry about, and I just don’t see anyone getting far enough away from him to beat him, even though it is speed deadly Keeneland.

The Wood Memorial was a little more interesting. I like Risk Taking for Chad Brown who is two for two at the Big A at this distance and who Irad Ortiz will ride. There are a lot of stakes Saturday, and Irad opting to ride this colt shows some confidence in his potential. He is only 5-2 on the morning line, but we should get that or more as there are a lot of ways one can opt to go in here. Brooklyn Strong, Chad’s other horse Crowded Tale, the highly regarded and touted Prevalence, and Weyburn will all get support. Prevalence may even wind up the favorite.

My parlay, if we can call it, that gets really interesting in the last leg, the Santa Anita Derby. Bob Baffert’s fourth stringer, albeit one really nice horse Medina Spirit, will be the favorite, and he is tough to knock. I had been really high on Roman Centurian early on, but I did not love his last race or his last work. I also don’t like the pace set up for him on Saturday. He may still wind up ok down the line and even in the big one, but I have to stray on Saturday.
I am looking for a big race from Rock Your World who runs on the dirt for the first time. This is no easy task, but I love his last work, and Sadler’s horses tend to run well when they work well. He can stalk the pace if he takes to the surface and move at the right time if he is good enough. He is bred good enough to handle both surfaces, and I think he can offer a big surprise on Saturday. I think he goes higher than the 4-1 morning line and maybe even 6-1 or thereabouts.

Those will be my shots in the big ones. Obviously, Essential Quality would be a single in any multi-race wagers for me. He will be far too short to use any other way. The other two should give me more than a few game time decisions and options.

Of equal importance to playing these Derby preps and points races on Saturday is you watching all the runners closely and taking some good notes. You could spot something that can make your day or superfecta on some of the big days coming up. This is where in today’s game, we find our biggest edges,

Enjoy the races and win the photos!

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Jon Stettin

Since childhood, Jon has always had a deep love and respect for the Sport of Kings. His years of experience have earned him a well respected spot in the industry as a handicapper. He now is a frequent contributor to AmWager as well as writing for his own site.

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