The Bluegrass Special

Saturday’s $600,000 dollar Bluegrass Stakes (G2) offers 170 qualifying points toward this year’s Kentucky Derby with 100 points going to the Winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to 3rd place and 10 points to 4th.

The Blue Grass is race 9 on a card of 10, with a scheduled Post Time of 5:30.  So let’s take a look at the field.

 

1. SHIVAREE  [8-1]  Jockey: John Velazquez.  Trainer: Ralph Nicks.  Was 2nd to TIZ THE LAW in the Florida Derby.  Ultra-consistent, enters here with a three-race Win streak along with three 2nd and one 3rd place finish.  So on the board in seven straight.  Great post and could secure the lead if they don’t send the filly out with him.
2. FINNICK THE FIERCE  [12-1]  Jockey: Jose Ortiz.  Trainer: Rey Hernandez.  Has ran some good races, and has been knocking on the door at this level for some time now.  Gets a good post and a possible a good pace to run into.  Keeps getting better and fired a very impressive workout at Keeneland on July 4th, going the fastest of 90 working that day.
3. ART COLLECTOR  [6-1]  Jockey: Brian Hernandez Jr.  Trainer: Tom Drury Jr.  Another with a three-race Win streak and may be an underlay given the big speed figure last time which was earned wiring a four-horse field on a slow pace, so some skepticism is warranted.  He’s improving rapidly and it’s hard to say how good he is and this will be his biggest test.   
4. MR. BIG NEWS  [10-1]  Jockey: Mitchell Murrill.  Trainer: Bret Calhoun.  Is another improving type.  Furiously closed to take the Oaklawn Stakes in the slop on April 11th.  But that race was 91 days ago.  Three-year-olds can improve so much this time of year, it’s hard to say when he stops improving.  Given that his Win was in the goo, he could get forgotten here.
5. MAN IN THE CAN  [12-1]  Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione.  Trainer: Ron Moquett.  It’s hard to knock a horse that’s Won 80% of his starts and comes in Winning three in a row.  That said, after SWISS SKYDIVER this race is incredibly deep.  His two Stakes Wins were against weaker Arkansas-bred competition and his figures are a little light.  Another improving colt that is working great and not without a chance.
6. HARD LIGHTING  [50-1]  Jockey: Rafael Bejarano.  Trainer: Alexis Delgado.  Has only a Maiden Win in the slop and looks to have no chance here.  As a rule Morning Line’s don’t often go higher than 50-1, so that’s being nice.  He could get to 90-1 by Post Time.
7. SWISS SKYDIVER  [3-1]  Jockey: Mike Smith.  Trainer: Kenny McPeek.  Has been nothing but stellar in her last three starts.  At Santa Anita last time out and at Gulfstream three back, she got easy leads, something that’s unlikely to happen on Saturday.  Anticipating odds much lower than 3-1.  With this field she seems like a play against, considering the lack of Value.
8. BASIN  [8-1]  Jockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.  Trainer: Steve Asmussen.  Thinking his trainer and jockey may put him close to lead here.  He’s been a gamer in his last three outings, chasing hot paces.  He could be tough if he works out a trip near the lead in only an above-average pace this time. 
9. ATTACHMENT RATE  [20-1]  Jockey: Luis Saez.  Trainer: Dale Romans.  Suffered some wide trips in last two, but there are legitimately 6-7 in here that have run faster speed figures so he will be largely ignored for that reason plus his only Win was a Maiden in the slop at Gulfstream.
10. RUSHIE  [5-1]  Jockey: Javier Castellano.  Trainer: Michael McCarthy.  Ran a strong 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby behind HONOR A.P. (who would be the second betting choice in the Kentucky Derby if it were run today) and AUTHENTIC.  He’s improving rapidly, working great, has a recency edge on many of these and his last out speed figure of 103 is tied for best in this field with ART COLLECTOR.
11. HUNT THE FRONT  [20-1]  Jockey: Corey Lanerie.  Trainer: Nick Zito.  Almost nothing to recommend here.  Finished 11 1/4 lengths behind MAN IN THE CAN last time out.  Owns a good workout, that’s about it.   20-1 seems low, should be 50-1.

 

12. ENFORCEABLE  [8-1]  Jockey: Joel Rosario.  Trainer: Mark Casse.  Has been stuck with wide trips and average paces to close into. He’s the best closer in this race.  Though he’s been off nearly four months he’s working tremendously.  If the time off yields improvement, this is going to be horse to be reckoned with come autumn.
13. TIESTO  [15-1]  Jockey: Flavien Prat.  Trainer: Bill Mott.  He finished 2nd in the G3 Palm Beach on the Gulfstream turf two back.  Has many thing against him including (but not limited to) no dirt experience, a bad post, and slow speed figures.  That being said, he should be every bit of 30-1.  Apparently his connections think it’s worth taking a shot here.  But for bettors this race is so deep it probably doesn’t make sense to go fishing for long-shots without dirt experience.

Summary: This is an incredibly deep and interesting race.  The main opinion here is to play against #7 SWISS SKYDIVER as she’s had some easier races and will be a much lower price than the 3-1 Morning Line.  So the Daily Racing Blog will try and beat her with both the #3 ART COLLECTOR and #10 RUSHIE.

The Play:  We’ll start with an Exacta Box using those three horses- #3-7-10.  Then a Trifecta Key using both the #3 & 10 on top of the #1-7-8-12.  So the ticket will read: 3-10 with 1-3-7-8-10-12 with 1-3-7-8-10-12.  And Win bets on the 3-8-10.

Best of luck no matter how you play it.

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