The first Road to the Kentucky Derby points race of 2015 is Saturday’s $200,000 Jerome (G3) at Aqueduct, a one mile and 70-yard test on the inner track that drew a field of nine recently turned three-year-olds.
The winner earns 10 Derby points, with 4-2-1 points awarded to the next three finishers.
The John Terranova trained El Kabeir is the 2-1 morning line favorite and is currently sitting third in the Road to the Derby standings with 11 points. The son of Scat Daddy earned one point for his fourth in the Champagne (G1) last October at Belmont Park and earned 10 points for his victory in the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs in his last start.
Hall of Fame rider Calvin Borel, who has won the Run for the Roses three times, is in to ride the colt, who was a $250,000 Ocala purchase, and will break from the nine post.
Trainer Todd Pletcher, who has not won the Jerome, sends out a pair of runners that had less than stellar trips in the Remsen (G2), Royal Burgh (8-1) who was 12th and Ostrolenka (7-2) who was 13th.
The John Servis trained Nasa may take some action from his 8-1 morning line. The colt won the Pennsylvania Nursery in gate to wire fashion last out at Parx going seven furlongs in the slop. There is rain in the forecast for Saturday afternoon in New York.
The Jerome is the first of four key Derby preps on the New York circuit this year. Coming up is the $250,000 Withers (G3) on February 7, the $400,000 Gotham (G3) on March 7 and the $1 million TwinSpires.com Wood Memorial (G1) on April 4.
Let’s head out to the Big A for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Jerome G3 (Post time 3:48 ET)
9 El Kabeir 2-1
8 Nasa 8-1
2 Royal Burgh 8-1
1 Mini Cosmo 8-1
Analysis: El Kabeir set the early fractions and held on in deep stretch to win the Kentucky Jockey Club (G2) at Churchill Downs, earning 10 Derby points in his first start around two turns. The colt owns solid early and mid pace numbers and ran well in a runner up finish in the mud two back in the Nashua (G2) behind Blofield. The John Terranova trainee has come back with a couple of quick works since his last outing and Borel is in to ride this colt.
Nasa took the field gate to wire to win the Pennsylvania Nursery last out at Philly in the slop going seven furlongs. The colt goes two turns for the first time here but has plenty of pedigree, by Smarty Jones out of a Seattle Slew mare. He is proven over a wet track and that could be the conditions today with rain in the forecast. The John Servis barn is 12% winners moving runners form sprint to route, below average compared to most of this barn’s stats.
Royal Burgh is one of two in here sent out by the Todd Pletcher barn, which surprisingly has never won this race. The colt did not have a good trip in the Remsen (G2) where he was never a threat in a 12th place finish. He came from off the pace to get up late to break his maiden in a game effort in his debut. Three foes her beat that day came back to break maiden in their next starts. Worth tossing in the mix here if he goes off near his 8-1 morning line.
WIN: #9 to win at 2-1 or better.
EX: 8,9 / 1,2,8,9
TRI: 8,9 / 1,2,8,9 / 1,2,4,8,9
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