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From Coast to Coast, Road to Kentucky Derby Nears Conclusion

The Road to the Kentucky Derby nears its terminus as the results of Saturday’s three prep races shape the field for the first Saturday in May. Six horses are assured spots in the Derby as the top two finishers in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, the Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby would all have enough qualifying points.

Fierceness (+350) is the favorite in the Kentucky Derby odds at the BetUS racebook after crushing last week’s Florida Derby field by 13½ lengths, earning a Beyer speed figure of 110.

From Coast to Coast, Road to Kentucky Derby Nears Conclusion
From Coast to Coast, Road to Kentucky Derby Nears Conclusion


Saturday’s Preps

  • All three races will be run at 1⅛ miles.
  • Saturday’s races offer Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 100-50-25-15-10 basis.
  • A fast track is expected for all three races.


Blue Grass Stakes: Favorites Don’t Need to Win

  • Track: Keeneland Race Course, Lexington, Ky.
  • Post time: 6:26 p.m. ET (Race 11)
  • TV: TVG


Sierra Leone, the 2-1 morning-line favorite, already has enough Kentucky Derby points with 55 after winning the Risen Star Stakes in February. So does Dornoch (60), the 3-1 second choice. Seize the Grey (20-1) has 27 points while Just a Touch (7-2) owns 25, so a third-place finish for either of those two should be enough for their owners to continue their Derby dreams.

Be You, Good Money, Lat Long, Epic Ride and Encino must finish first or second to earn enough points to make the Kentucky Derby, while Top Conor and Mugatu probably need to win.

Be You, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. and trained by Todd Pletcher, is intriguing. The Curlin colt needed six starts to break his maiden, but the 96 Beyer he earned on March 2 is the highest in the field. Be You is 8-1 in the horse racing odds, and could be about that come post time. Look for Ortiz to position Be You behind the early speed from post 2 and find room in the stretch.

Good Money (20-1), ridden by Javier Castellano and trained by Chad Brown, makes his third career start. Early speed can be dangerous at Keeneland, and the Good Magic colt showed plenty while nearly going all the way in the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9.

The Las Vegas odds reveal that both should be bet to win. An exacta box is also in order.



Wood Memorial: Tuscan Sky Could Make it 3-for-3

  • Track: Aqueduct Race Track, New York
  • Post time: 4:07 p.m. ET (Race 10)
  • TV: TVG


Deterministic owns 50 Kentucky Derby qualifying points after an impressive two-length victory in the Gotham in his second career start. That should be enough to make the big race, but he’ll probably pick up a few points as the horse to beat in the Wood Memorial.

Resilience, Uncle Heavy, Tuscan Sky, Lonesome Boy, Protective, Evening News, Merit, Elysian Meadows, Gettysburg Address, Society Man and Deposition must finish first or second in order to run for the roses. El Grande O qualifies for the Derby by hitting the board.

Tuscan Sky comes with a bullet workout in making his third career start, and first on a fast track. He earned a field-high 95 Beyer in winning an allowance race at the Fair Grounds. Deterministic earned a 92 in the Gotham. Tuscan Sky owns enough early speed to overtime post 9, and jockey Matt Franco, the rider for his maiden victory, should be able to map out a winning trip.


Santa Anita Derby: Mc Vay Could Mow Them Down

  • Track: Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, Calif.
  • Post time: 7:30 p.m. ET (Race 10)
  • TV: TVG


This is not a prep race for Imagination and Wynstock, trained by the embattled Bob Baffert and ineligible to run in the Kentucky Derby. It’s a shame that the Baffert horses are in position to take Derby qualifying points away from the other runners, but those owners have a right to feel the thrill of winning a Grade 1 race worth $750,000, and boost the value of their investments.

Stronghold owns 25 points – the most in the Santa Anita Derby field – after winning the Sunland Derby. He only needs to hit the board to make the Kentucky Derby. Mc Vay (19 points) more than likely needs to finish first or second to ensure a spot in the Derby starting gate. Curlin’s Kaos, Tapalo, Tessuto and E J Won the Cup must win or finish second.

There is a ton of speed in the Santa Anita Derby with the Baffert horses, Stronghold, Tapalo, Tessuto and E J Won the Cup all having early foot. This is good Kentucky Derby news for Mc Vay, who was ridden poorly in finishing a troubled third in the San Felipe. Mc Vay arrives with a pair of bullet works and a new jockey in 20% Hector Berrios, who should be able to parlay a winning path from post 8 into a trip to Churchill Downs to run on the first Saturday in May. It would be wise to bet Mc Vay to win at the BetUS racebook, where he should be about 3-1.





Questions Of The Day

When is the Kentucky Derby?

The Kentucky Derby is traditionally run on the first Saturday in May. The 150th Kentucky Derby is scheduled for May 4, 2024 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Ky.

Who is favored to win the Kentucky Derby?

Fierceness is favored to win the Kentucky Derby at +350.

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