We have three Road to the Derby points races on Saturday, and the $1 million Wood Memorial (G1) appears to be the most wide open and best wagering race among the trio.
The race drew a field of seven including three highly regarded Derby hopefuls in Daredevil, the 9-5 morning line favorite and winner of last fall’s Champagne (G1), Gotham (G3) and Jerome (G3) winner El Kabeir and Holy Bull (G2) runner up Frosted.
The $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1) drew just six runners led by the undefeated Dortmund, who was installed as the 3-5 morning line favorite.
The $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G1) at Keeneland also has a prohibitive favorite in Carpe Diem, the even money favorite among a field of eight that will contest the race over conventional dirt for the first time since 2006.
Each race offers up 100-40-20-10 Derby points to the top four finishers. The winners will lock in a starting spot in the gate in Louisville while the runner up in each race in all likelihood will as well. Right now Prospect Park is 20th in the Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings with 20.
Three of the top seven in early Kentucky Derby wagering at Bovada will be in action on Saturday–Dortmund (15-2), Carpe Diem (14-1) and Upstart (20-1).
The three Derby preps will be televised live on NBC Sports Network, the two-hour telecast set for 5:00 ET.
For Saturday, I will be providing my full card reports for both Aqueduct and Keeneland, and some of the stakes action from Santa Anita will be included in my Best Plays Report.
Let’s head out to Aqueduct for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Aqueduct Race 10 The Wood Memorial G1 Post time 5:30 ET
1 Tiz Shea D 8-1
6 Daredevil 9-5
4 Frosted 5-2
5 El Kabeir 3-1
Tiz Shea D figures to get overlooked on the tote in this spot, as everyone seems to be focused on the big three. This colt was a smart looking maiden winner at Philly in his debut, with the runner up a next out grad. Trainer Bill Mott thought enough of that performance to try him in the Gotham (G3) where he had an eventful trip under Taylor Rice.
The colt broke inward and bumped around with a foe in the early stages, was down along the inside in the mud and was on hold waiting for running room until the quarterpole. He then has to wait briefly at the eighth pole and finished gamely when clear, just holding on to the place spot while no match for the winner El Kabeir.
This colt has a nice pedigree despite getting purchased for just $65,000. He is by two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) winner Tiznow out of the stakes winner Ender’s Sister ($525,048). The colt gets a jockey upgrade to Manuel Franco and this guy still appears to have some upside.
Daredevil could not get to our top pick ready for Rye last out in the Seale (G2) who shook loose heading for home. It was his first go off a four-month layoff and the extra ground here will suit. He won the Champagne (G1) going a one-turn mile in the slop last October earning a 107 Beyer, then was not a threat in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) where he drew an outside post and raced wide much of the trip. The Todd Pletcher barn is 26% winners (with a +ROI) moving runners from sprint to route.
By More Than Ready out of a Forty Niner mare and a half to $1.3 million earner Albertus Maximus, this colt can handle the stretch out to nine furlongs. The main knock is going to be the light price.
Frosted was the beaten chalk in both the Remsen (G2) and Holy Bull (G2) and was my second choice in the Fountain of Youth (G2) in his last outing but after grabbing the lead he did not have enough punch left in the final furlong and faded to finish fourth. The colt makes his third start of his current form cycle and I like the switch in jocks to Joel Rosario.
The colt is by Tapit out of the stakes winner Fast Cookie ($557,480) who could run on turf or dirt. The colt is better than he showed last out and looking for him to bounce back with a better effort here over a surface he has run well over.
WIN: Tiz Shea D to win at 6-1 or better.
EXACTA: 1,6 / 1,4,5,6
TRIFECTA: 1,6 / 1,4,5,6 / 1,3,4,5,6
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