The Road to the Kentucky Derby picks back up on Monday with a field of seven going to the post in the $150,000 Jerome (G3) at Aqueduct led by the promising Takaful.
The colt is looking to bounce back off a third-place finish as the beaten favorite in the Remsen (G2) on the main track at Aqueduct going nine furlongs in his first start after a good looking maiden score in his debut.
The Jerome is a Road to the Kentucky Derby points race with 10-4-2-1 points up for grabs to the top four finishers.
Classic Empire remains the early leader in Derby points with 30 and is the early betting favorite for the Kentucky Derby at Mybookie.ag at odds of +500.
Takaful is the even money favorite for the Jerome and is currently listed at +1900 in early Kentucky Derby wagering at Mybookie.ag.
McLaughlin will also saddle True Timber (12-1), who broke his maiden on the inner track at six furlongs in his second career outing.
The Cathal Lynch trained El Areeb is the second choice on the morning line for the Jerome at 3-1. The colt makes his first start going long after winning the J.F. Lewis last out at Laurel Park.
Trainer Todd Pletcher will saddle a pair of runners. He sends out Bonus Points (15-1), who was second in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity at Laurel Park in his last start and Win With Pride (6-1), who was fourth in the Remsen in his last start.
Completing the field are Everybodylovesrudy (8-1) and The Walk (30-1).
Let’s head out to the Big A for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 8 The Jerome G3 Post time 3:50 ET
3 Takaful 1-1
6 El Areeb 3-1
1 Bonus Points 15-1
2 Everybodyluvsrudy 8-1
Takaful is going to be tough here as the short-priced favorite. The Kiaran McLaughlin trainee looked upper breaking his maiden in his debut going 6 ½ furlongs at Belmont Park at 12-1. He returned in the Remsen (G2) going nine furlongs and he ran off a bit early while a bit rank and weakened to finish third, beaten six lengths by Mo Town as the beaten chalk.
He came back with a bullet drill on Dec. 23 and should move forward here as he goes two turns for the first time. He owns solid early and mid pace numbers but may get outrun early by out second choice who brings some serious early zip to the race. The colt has a nice pedigree, by Bernardini out of an unraced Distorted Humor mare, her first foal to race.
El Areeb went gate to wire to win the J.F. Lewis last out at Laurel Park going six furlongs and earned the top last out speed fig. The colt broke his maiden two back in his third career start in gate to wire fashion. The runner up and seventh place fisher came out of that race to graduate next out.
The colt was a $340,000 Ocala purchase and has plenty of pedigree to handle two turns. He is by Exchange rate out of a A.P. Indy mare that has dropped three other winners. The Lynch barn is 17% winners moving runners from sprint to route.
Bonus Points goes for the Pletcher barn off a runner up finish in the Maryland Juvenile Futurity, no match for six length winner Greatbullsoffire. Two back he was third in the Awad over yielding turf and he broke his maiden in the mud three back.
His numbers are on the light side but he may still have some upside as this will be just his third career start over a fast dirt surface.
WIN: Takaful to win at 1-1 or better.
EXACTA: 3,6 / 1,2,3,6
TRIFECTA: 3,6 / 1,2,3,6 / 1,2,3,6,7
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