“Frosted no flake today.” – Twitter commentary from Jon Mikkelson, Television Producer, Canterbury Park Racetrack (Twitter handle @JMouse83)
Spring is in the air when the Road to Kentucky contest travels to Keeneland for the featured Blue Grass Stakes. On Friday, a severe weather system forced the cancellation of the opening day card after Race 6, but any doubts of a Saturday struggle were quieted when the track was labeled “fast” by mid-morning. Perhaps the Friday weather was an ominous sign for what was to become of the beloved Kentucky Wildcats on Saturday night, but the afternoon crowd at Keeneland was yet unaware, simply enjoying the racing action and the Kentucky Burgoo.
The Keeneland main track appeared to have a bias towards stalkers and closers, and favorites and low-odds contenders dominated the day. The maximum available points were a tepid 2,507, a low number considering the 13 races included 3 bonus races. But that has been the rule in the 2015 Road to Kentucky Contest rather than the exception. Favorites prevailed in 5 of the 13 races, and 8-1 was the highest winning price.
Carpe Diem and Dortmund won their respective Derby preps as heavy favorites, and Frosted drew off in the Wood Memorial as the 2-1 second choice. Frosted rebounded from his disappointing Fountain of Youth stretch run, and flattered the Florida horses in the process. Daredevil was the beaten favorite in the Wood, one of the few Pletcher runners to disappoint on this year’s trail.
I had a bit of excitement this week as my selection Tencendur (21-1) in the Wood kicked two lengths clear at the top of the stretch. But Frosted iced my enthusiasm as he raced by, relegating Tencendur to runner-up status. It was still the top point horse of the day at 420 points, but will not be enough for me to secure a top 5 finish.
Expect the winning score to be in the 1,400-1,500 point range this week. I checked in with 800 and change, blanking in the other two prep races with Classy Class (9-1) in the Blue Grass and Cross the Line (27-1) in the Santa Anita Derby. Good news for those near the top of the leaderboard as it continues to be difficult to make up ground with longshot winners.
This Saturday the Road To Kentucky Handicapping Contest track is Oaklawn Park for the featured Arkansas Derby. American Pharaoh figures to be the heavy favorite once again for Bob Baffert. There is also a bonus race at Keeneland, the Lexington Stakes. Hope to see you here!