Keeneland will host its penultimate Derby prep this Saturday with the 87th running of the Grade 1 $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes. It features a very closely matched field of twelve going postward led by the likely favorite, Santiva. Santiva has been on my Derby radar since his win over Astrology last fall at Churchill Downs in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club. Since he will be at short odds on Saturday, though, you just know I have to try and find a way to defeat him. Here is the analysis:
My top choice will be #11 Crimson China. He broke his maiden over the synthetic surfaces at Wolverhampton in Great Britain last November. Since then, he has run on the turf once at Gulfstream and once on the polytrack at Turfway Park. He has a win and a second in those two races. I also think he is a very generous 10-1 on the morning line in here. He has never been worse than second in four lifetime starts and trainer Graham Motion figures to have him ready for a big run. For second, I will use #12 Queen'splatekitten. Although, you would figure this one is more likely to be pointing to the Queen's Plate at Woodbine in June. He crushed his maiden-breaking race at Woodbine last December and won the return from the layoff at Gulfstream in February. John Velazquez gets the riding assignment on this 12-1 shot. #2 King Congie was disqualified from a win in the Hallandale Beach over the turf at Gulfstream last time out on February 6. His last workout came at Keeneland and was decent enough, five furlongs in 1:00 3/5. Rajiv Maragh gets the call on this colt Saturday. Finally, I will round out the top four with #9 Wilkinson, who ran his worst race ever last time out in the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby, but I tend to want to throw that one out because his break was so terrible. He does have a previous try over the track at Keeneland, finishing second in his debut effort on October 21 at seven furlongs. The Sire is 1999 Belmont Stakes winner, Lemon Drop Kid. Here is the play for the Grade 1 $750,000 Blue Grass Stakes:
$5 WP #11
$1 EX BOX 2-3-9-11-12
$1 TRI 11-12 with 11-12 with 2-3-6-9
The blog is currently MINUS $222 for the year, meaning we really need a hit to keep our heads near the Mendoza line. Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again next week for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!