Who: Thoroughbreds Ė Prospective, Hansen, Dullahan, Ever So Lucky, Najjaar, Secret Circle, Bodemeister
What: Horse Racing Betting Tips Ė The Blue Grass, The Arkansas Derby
Where: Keeneland, Oaklawn Park
When: Saturday, April 14th
The final major Kentucky Derby
prep races go this Saturday, and the talent runs deep in both the Blue Grass at Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park. Ever So Lucky entered 2012 as a highly-regarded Kentucky Derby prospect, but has fallen off the radar due to a delayed start to his 3YO campaign and a disappointing 3rd-place finish in the Swale at Gulfstream Park last month. He could surprise in the Blue Grass. In the Arkansas Derby, the talented and well-bred Bodemeister is my play. Letís take a closer look at these races below.
With an abundance of speed to his outside, 2YO champ Hansen (6-5 morning line odds) could get squeezed going into the first turn of the Blue Grass. Also keep in mind that this race is not the objective, making Hansenís odds rather unappealing. This race could set up well for an outside stalker or a deep closer. Ever So Lucky could fit the bill as the most effective outside stalker. Heíll be reunited with Julien Leparoux for the Blue Grass, and has been training up a storm over the local strip. His runner-up effort behind Gemologist in the Kentucky Jockey Club to close out his sophomore season looks even better now, given that Gemologist is undefeated (5-for-5) and one of the Kentucky Derby future book favorites. Ever So Lucky has been favored in all of his starts, so getting him at double-digit odds may turn out to be a steal. Off-the-pace types like Prospective (10-1) and Dullahan (6-1), a combined 3-for-3 on artificial surfaces, could make some noise in the late going. Iíll bet on #11-Ever So Lucky across the board at odds of 10-1 or better, and key him top and bottom in exactas with #3-Prospective, #4-Hansen and #6-Dullahan.
Unlike the Blue Grass, the Arkansas Derby is rather devoid of speed, which could make Bodemeisterís task from Post 11 a whole lot easier. Thereís a long run to the first turn, so he can lead or press, depending on what the speedy Stat does from Post 2. Youíll note that jockey Rafael Bejarano has ridden both Secret Circle and Bodemeister in all of their starts for trainer Bob Baffert. Bejarano sticks with the more accomplished Secret Circle, but Bodemeister isnít losing anything getting Mike Smith as a replacement. Plus, Bodemeister appears to have more upside than his stablemate, especially as the distances get longer. The stretch-running Najjaar has been crying out for more ground, and gets it hereÖheíll be flying late. Iíll bet on Bodemeister to win at odds of 7-5 or better.
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