Kentucky Derby Hopefuls
Bob Baffert has offloaded his Kentucky Derby hopes to former assistant Tim Yakeen, in the hopes that they will get points toward the big race.
Horse racing betting markets are out for the weekend’s biggest races, including the San Felipe Stakes, where four Baffert runners are in action.
San Felipe Stakes
Four Baffert runners were moved to the Yakeen stables for the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, including 2-1 favorite Hejazi.
The 3-year-old colt headlines horse racing odds following a win at Santa Anita, and although he’s not the premier Kentucky Derby hopeful, he’s worth looking at for Saturday’s race.
He has a placing behind Cave Rock and stablemate National Treasure, who hasn’t been forgotten about at 3-1.
The son of Quality Road, who is another Baffert runner, won on debut at Del Mar before adding three consecutive placings. Two of those placings came at Grade I level in the American Pharoah and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Cave Rock and Forte respectively.
We think the horse betting odds might be the wrong way around for Hejazi and National Treasure, so there is value with the second favorite.
Also coming from the Baffert barn are Fort Bragg and Mr Fisk, who are paying 8-1 and 15-1.
It wasn’t easy for Baffert to let go of his 2-year-old charge, but it’s the best thing for connections after Churchill Downs imposed a two-year ban.
“I was trying to set up as smooth a transition as I could for the horses and the owners and still allow them to get Derby points,” Baffert said.
“It’s hard on the grooms that have been working with the horses for a year or so. We’ve all been around these horses and in some cases we found them [at sales]. Our whole program is based on 3-year-olds and the Kentucky Derby. It’s tough to give them up. We thought we had a god chance to get an injunction, but we didn’t. So, we‘ve got to move forward, we’ve got to move on.”
Horse racing lines favor a wager on National Treasure in the San Felipe Stakes.
- Pick: National Treasure (3-1)
Carmel Road Best of Gotham Stakes Runners
Carmel Road is another Baffert runner who headed to Yakeen’s stable last week.
The 3-year-old is a 6-1 chance for the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct, and although a step below Kentucky Derby odds favorite Arabian Knight, he has upside.
He struggled in the Breeders’ Cup Futurity behind Forte, but he rebounded with a second placing behind Practical Move in the Los Alamitos Futurity, who is also trained by Yakeen.
The second Baffert runner to line up in the Gotham Stakes is Fort Warren, who went to Brittany Russell’s barn.
Fort Warren isn’t as strong of a chance at 15-1, but the son of Curlin won on debut at Santa Anita before placing behind Havnameltdown, so the form stacks up well enough for a possible each-way value bet.
Online gambling markets have them at backable odds, so we would include both runners in our Gotham Stakes picks.
- Pick: Carmel Road (6-1) and Fort Warren (15-1)
— BloodHorse (@BloodHorse) February 23, 2023