Keeneland opens Friday; Major Derby Preps this Weekend

The 2017 Spring Meet at Keeneland begins Friday, April 7 and runs 15 days through April 28. MVP Rewards members will earn double MVP points on all tracked Keeneland wagers each Thursday, Friday, and Sunday of the meet on all races and all wagers.

Opening day features the G3 Transylvania Stakes.

On Saturday the Lexington, KY track will run the $1m Blue Grass Stakes, a major stepping stone to the Kentucky Derby.

Road to Kentucky Contest

The entire Saturday card from Keeneland will be used for the weekly, free-to-enter, Road to Kentucky Handicapping Contest. The Blue Grass is a double-point race as are two additional bonus races: Santa Anita Derby from Santa Anita and The Wood Memorial from Aqueduct.

This past Saturday, Fair Grounds and Gulfstream held their final preps for the Derby, the Louisiana Derby and the Florida Derby.  Girvin was favored at Fair Grounds and prevailed while at Gulfstream Gunnevera was sent to post at 6 to 5 and ran a non-threatening third. Second choice Always Dreaming gave trainer Todd Pletcher another Derby runner by drawing away to win the $1m prep by five lengths.

Gulfstream’s 14-race card was a mix of favorites and some prices. Total available points for the contest were just over 4,000, so the projected winning total for the week is 2,200 to 2,400, yet another big week for contest players hoping to move up in the standings.

Spring Tune-Up Satellite

Contest players have an opportunity to win an entry to Canterbury’s National Horseplayers Championship qualifiers by winning this Saturday’s Spring Tune-Up Satellite. Entry fee to the contest is $100. Players begin the contest with a $400 mythical bankroll and may wager all day until 5:30 making mythical bets using a tournament account card.  The three players with the largest bankrolls win. First place is a $700 Dog Days of Summer entry plus half the prize pool which will exceed $1,000. Second is a Dog Days entry plus 30 percent of the prize pool, and third wins a $550 Ultimate NHC Qualifier entry and 20 percent of the prize pool.

The 21st annual Dog Days Tournament will be held Sept. 9-10 and will award two entries to the February 2018 NHC. The Dog Days winner also receives a $10,000 Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge entry. The Ultimate NHC Qualifier will be Friday, Sept. 8.

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