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Road to Kentucky Week 9

by The Oracle

Contest action moves to Oaklawn Park for the Arkansas Derby featuring The Factor. If he wins again he might be the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. We also have a bonus race at Keeneland, the Blue Grass Stakes featuring Santiva who faces a full field of lesser known three year olds. Favorites have been winning at a 30% rate at Oaklawn which is just below average. The prices might be out there if we can find them! Good luck with your selections today.

Race 1: This is a maiden claiming route for f&m 3, 4, 5yo at 1m. I selected My Paige’s Jewel (ML 10-1) who stretches out from a sprint to a route, draws the rail and drops from msw to mcl. She might find herself on a lone lead against this field.

The Result: The opener was a 1-5-12 order of finish as My Paige’s Jewel sprinted clear and just lasted at 3-1 over Lost Account (6-1) and Devine retribution (6-1). The winner was bet way down from that 10-1 morning line!

Maximum Points: My Paige’s Jewel 198
Maximum Score: 198
My Score: 198

Race 2: This is an allowance race for 3yo’s at 6f. The only sprint race of the day looks like it has a lot of early speed signed on. I selected Expecting Cash (ML 7/2) who is the best closer in the race in case the pace battle materializes.

The Result: 9-6-5 under the line as Expecting Cash closed strongly for the win at 5/2 to beat Oops and a Half (15-1) and Prime Objective (9/5). Oops and a Half got the most contest points for his second place finish.

Maximum Points: Oops and a Half 148
Maximum Score: 346
My Score: 342

Race 3: This is an allowance race for 3+ at 1m1/16th. I selected Backtrack (ML 12-1) who has been off form for a while but has been facing much tougher than the runners in this race. Perhaps the drop in class will be a wakeup call at a good price.

The Result: 8-2-9 was the order of finish as Chief Eric (2-1) prevailed over Sunset Stroll (4-1) and Supreme Ruler (5/2). My selection tracked and faded at 14-1 for the Ness barn.

Maximum Points: Chief Eric 134
Maximum Score: 480
My Score: 342

Race 4: This is a claimer for 4+ at 1m. I selected Berlioz (ML 12-1) who can stalk on occasion and faces a field with three confirmed need-the-lead types. A hot pace is likely to develop. Berlioz has been in some fast paced races in his last three starts.

The Result: 4-10-11 as closers ran 1-2-3 in the fourth race. Berlioz (9-1) rallied widest of all to run down For You Reppo (4-1) and T.C. Champ (10-1). Jockey Ocampo pulled Berlioz far off the pace tonight and it paid off. There was an objection against Berlioz for interference in the stretch but it was not allowed.

Maximum Points: Berlioz 362
Maximum Score: 842
My Score: 704

Race 5: This is a claimer for 3+ at 1m1/16th. I selected Electric Alphabet (ML 8-1) who was involved in a fast early pace last time and faded badly. He has worked well since and should get more manageable fractions to deal with on the front end.

The Result: 12-8-5 as East Coast Swing got the money at 10-1 from the outside post over Almighty Adversary (8-1) and Electric Alphabet (2-1). The winner was exiting a win going 5.5 furlongs and was able to overcome the outside post at the route distance. My selection really took money but didn’t run that well!

Maximum Points: East Coast Swing 426
Maximum Score: 1,268
My Score: 740

Race 6: This is an msw for 3, 4, and 5yo’s at 1m1/16th. I selected Two Perfect (ML 10-1) who makes his second career start and stretches out to a route. He shows a very good workout since his last race but must overcome the outside post.

The Result: 8-3-10 as another deep closer got the money. Hot Faucet (3-1) rallied from 10th to win it over Gaither Draw (7-1) and Admiral Rocket (9/2). Speed hasn’t been too good so far today. My selection was never in contention at 10-1.

Maximum Points: Hot Faucet 162
Maximum Score: 1,430
My Score: 740

Race 7: This is an allowance race for 3+ at 1m1/16th. I selected Lookslikeahit (ML 5-1) who stretches out to a route, is lightly raced and should be a decent price. It’s an evenly matched field.

The Result: 3-6-2 as Silver Country (7/2) won a nose decision over Majhood (9/2) and Devil and a Half (5-1). My selection finished 4th at 5-1 in an even effort.

Maximum Points: Silver Country 176
Maximum Score: 1,606
My score: 740

Race 8: This is the Instant Racing Stakes for 3yo fillies at 1m. I selected Harbor Fox (ML 10-1) who really doesn’t measure up against the two favorites but does have a strong workout pattern and is lightly raced. There are two very strong favorites in here that I didn’t think were worth using in the contest even though one of them is almost certain to win. I’m really playing for second in here.

The Result: 4-6-2 was the order of finish as May Day Rose, the 6/5 favorite, prevailed over Hearts On Fire (6-1) and Dixie City (9/5). My selection chased early and faded at 9-1.

Maximum Points: May Day Rose 102
Maximum Score: 1,708
My Score: 740

The Blue Grass: The first bonus race of the contest is the Grade 1 Blue Grass at 1m1/8 over the Keeneland Polytrack. Santiva is the likely favorite off his runner-up effort to Mucho Macho Man in the Risen Star stakes at Fair Grounds. You can make a case for about anyone, I settled on Twinspired (ML 12-1) who has been running on the Polytrack at Turfway Park and broke his maiden at Keeneland by 3 lengths in his career debut. He had some trouble in his last two Turfway races and still ran okay. Some things to like in a wide open race…

The Result: 5-7-2 equals bombs away in this year’s Blue Grass. Brilliant Speed (19-1) trailed the field early but flew down the middle of the track to beat Twinspired (24-1) by a nose. It was another half-length back to King Congie (13-1) who had a bit of trouble in the race. Favored Santiva also had some trouble and couldn’t threaten. The winner has had good success on the turf in Florida but was outrun in two dirt starts before switching surfaces. Congratulations if you found Brilliant Speed it was a tough beat for the Twinspired fans!

Maximum Points: Brilliant Speed 1,480
Maximum Score: 3,188
My Score: 1,400

Race 9: This is the Northern Spur Stakes for 3yo’s at 1m. There is a lot of front end speed in here so I selected a big longshot Zarby’s Derby Day (ML 30-1) on the slight chance that a pace meltdown will occur and my runner can pick up the pieces. It’s a reach.

The Result: 4-3-9 finish as the pace was pretty fast but the front horses still hung in there. Uncle Brent (7/2) won it over Albergatti (9/5) and Derivative (14-1). My selection was 4th early and faded badly to last at 69-1.

Maximum Points: Uncle Brent 172
Maximum Score: 3,360
My Score: 1,400

Race 10: This is an allowance race for 3+ at 1m1/16th. I selected Mesa Sunrise (ML 8-1) who is stretching out to a route and should be in the early mix. He’s a good price in a wide open race.

The Result: 7-2-10 was the order of finish as favored Sky’s the Limit was much the best at 2-1. Mac Dehere (11-1) was just up for second and Ok Nothanksforaskn (8-1) was third. My selection loomed in the stretch but flattened out late for 5th at 10-1. Mac Dehere got the most contest points for his second place finish.

Maximum Points: Mac Dehere 162
Maximum Score: 3,522
My Score: 1,400

Race 11: This is the featured Arkansas Derby for 3yo’s at 1m1/8th. The Factor was dominant in the Rebel Stakes and another clear win here will probably send him to the Kentucky Derby as the favorite. He looks very tough on paper but is a horse that isn’t worth selecting in a contest like this. It’s a full field so maybe somebody will challenge him early instead of letting him get another easy lead. I decided to take Archarcharch (ML 12-1) who I also used in the Rebel Stakes when he finished third. That day he was forced to chase The Factor from the inside and was outfinished by Calebs Posse for the place. Today he draws outside so he should be able to lay back and make a run like he did in the Southwest when he won at 14-1. You can make a case for just about any of the stalkers in this race if The Factor has trouble. They are very closely matched.


Coady Photography

The Result: Just like in last week’s Wood Memorial, a heavy favorite goes down in defeat. This time it was The Factor not being able to control the early pace and dropping out of it at the top of the lane. 9-2-8 was the order of finish as Archarcharch (25-1) took command in mid-stretch and held Nehro (9-1) safe at the wire. Dance City (29-1) ran well to be third as he was part of the hot early pace. I do not understand why Archarcharch was such a big price in here but the public doesn’t like him for some reason. He was 14-1 when he won the Southwest and then he ran a decent third in his last start. As for The Factor, it’s no surprise that he got beat when he didn’t make the lead. He has the look of a pure front runner that wants to be loose on the lead. The question is what does Baffert do now? Nehro looked good running second for Asmussen he has developed nicely in the past few months with back to back second place finishes.

Maximum Points: Archarcharch 1,548
Maximum Score: 5,070
My Score: 2,948

Race 12: This is an allowance race for 4+ at 1m3/4. I selected Geocache (ML 6-1) who looked like a logical contender at a good price. He will be near the early lead which is usually good at these marathon distances.

The Result: Closers had a good day as Toccet Rocket (23-1) wore down favored General Partner (6/5) and Tiz a Scholar (4-1) was third. A bomber in the nightcap just in case you needed one!

Maximum Points: Toccet Rocket 728
Maximum Score: 5,798My Score: 2,948

Summary: Big points were available this week if you guessed right in the double point bonus races. The Kentucky Derby picture continues to be wide open with The Factor fading today under the hot pace pressure. Archarcharch and Brilliant Speed were both worth a lot of points so this week’s winner will have at least one of those two horses. If you had them both it would seal the deal as far as a top five finish. Next week we are at Keeneland for the Lexington Stakes. See you then!