Tapit Trice goes after his fourth win in five career starts on Saturday in the $1 million Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland Race Course, highlighting the final three big Kentucky Derby trail races.
The son of Tapit roared down the stretch to win the Tampa Bay Derby by two lengths despite trouble on March 11 and Hall of Fame trainer Todd Pletcher’s colt is the morning-line favorite for the Blue Grass in the horse racing odds at 5-2. Tapit Trice will take on as many as 10 others, including Gotham winner Raise Cain along with talented Blazing Sevens and Verifying.
Practical Move, who won the San Felipe on March 4, is the morning-line favorite in the sportsbook for the $750,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday at 8-5.
Red-hot trainer Brad Cox also sends out Hit Show as the 5-2 favorite in the $750,000 Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct in New York on Saturday. Hit Show, who won the Withers at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 11 at Aqueduct, drew the outside 13 posts.
Each of the three races will be run at 1⅛ miles and award 100 Derby points to the winner. NBC will telecast the Blue Grass (5:15 p.m. ET) and Santa Anita Derby (5:30 p.m. ET) while the Wood can be seen on Fox at about 6:15 p.m. ET.
Good Test for Tapit Trice
While Tapit Trice was impressive in the Tampa Bay Derby, it was also his first stakes race and Pletcher said afterward that he would need more experience..
The Blue Grass at Keeneland in Lexington, Ky should provide that test for Tapit Trice, who will break from the 1 post and face a field full of talented closers in Race 9. Tapit Trice (+750) is currently second in Kentucky Derby odds behind stablemate Forte (+270).
Raise Cain (10) ran by most of the field in the stretch to win the 1-mile Gotham Stakes on March 4 at Aqueduct and Classic Car Wash (4) was second behind Tapit Trice at Tampa Bay. Blazing Sevens, who closed to win the Champagne at Aqueduct last October and was a troubled fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland, also hopes for a rebound after an eighth-place finish in the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on March 4.
Scoobie Quando (6), Sun Thunder (7) and Mendelssohns March (11), a winner of both his races, have also shown closing ability.
That could set up well for Verifying (3), who may think about going to the lead or sitting just off speedy Major Blue (9) and getting the jump on the closers.
Bet 1-3 with 1-3 w 4,8, 11
Upset at Santa Anita?
Practical Move was not the favorite in either of his last two races, but won the Los Alamitos Futurity and the San Felipe by a total of almost six lengths..
Trainer Tim Yakteen’s colt won’t be an underdog in this one when he breaks from the 5 post, but he should be severely tested by at least three horses that may be building up to their best race.
National Treasure (6), who was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, makes his return after being scratched from the San Felipe with a minor foot injury. Yakteen has taken over the training from Bob Baffert, who is under suspension by Churchill Downs and unable to earn Derby points for his horses.
Geaux Rocket Ride (3) showed speed and was second in the San Felipe, 2 ½ lengths behind Practical Move, and trainer John Shirreffs’ Skinner (7) closed for third in the same race.- 1 ¼ lengths behind second.
This seems like a good spot to take a chance if you’re online gambling. Bet 7 over the 3,5,6 and 1 (trainer Doug O’Neill’s I Don’t Get It).
A Wide-Open Wood
Hit Show will likely end up the favorite for the Wood Memorial in the horse racing betting lines, but his outside post and a big field will make his task a tough one.
If jockey Manny Franco can get Hit Show to break well and slide over to a mid-pack stalking position that is not too wide, he might still end up being the best bet to win. That won’t be easy.
Pletcher sends out three, including Dreamlike (1), maiden Crupi (9) and Classic Catch (11), who won a 1⅛-mile Allowance race on March 2. To go along with Hit Show, Cox also has Slip Mahoney (5), who closed for second in the 1-mile Gotham last month at Aqueduct and could move forward.
Trainer Linda Rice also decided to put Arctic Arrogance (7) in the race. The son of Frosted will run near the front and has been first (2) or second (4) in all six of his races. Closers Shadow Dragon (2), General Banker (4) and Lord Miles (8) would also benefit from a potentially hot pace if you are betting online.
Bet 5 over the 8, 9, 11,13. Save with a 13-5 straight exacta.