The next-to-last big weekend of Derby preps occurs over Easter weekend with The Grade 1 $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland and the Grade 2 $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. Let's take a good look at these two races and who might be thinking Roses coming out of them.
The Blue Grass Stakes
I tend to lean toward #10 Hold Me Back here, who finished fast to win the Grade 2 Lane's End at Turfway Park on March 21. He is now 2 for 2 over Polytrack surface, including a win at Keeneland during last fall's meeting. #3 Theregoesjojo was clearly the third-best horse in Florida at Gulfstream Park behind Quality Road and Dunkirk. His Beyers in the two races in Florida would clearly be better than anyone's here and if he runs those races again, he could be the winner. If there is a longshot to like in here, it just might be #8 General Quarters, who is 15-1 on the morning line. He won the Grade 3 Sam Davis at Tampa and posted a blistering 5F workout at Churchill earlier this week.
The Arkansas Derby
#8 Old Fashioned needs to prove that his loss in the Grade 2 Rebel was a fluke and I think he is capable of doing that today. Terry Thompson reclaims his seat in the saddle from Ramon Dominguez after the loss and he is 2 for 2 aboard this runner. Trainer Larry Jones is one of the best in the business and he should have this colt ready to go here. I think that #9 Win Willy is just a horse for the course. However, this is the course he is the horse for. Win Willy is 2 for 2 at Oaklawn, including his upset win in the Grade 2 Rebel on March 14. His Sire is 2001 Derby winner, Monarchos. A longshot to consider in this spot is #4 Poltergeist, who is 20-1 for this go. He was 3rd in the Grade 2 Rebel and has a win and a third in three lifetime Oaklawn starts.
Tune in again on Monday for the updated Super Six Derby Pix and have a very Happy Easter. For right now, I am Gone...GOODBYE!