Bobby Zen

TDN’s Senior Racing Editor Steve Sherack provides analysis for Saturday’s trio of GI Kentucky Derby prep races.

GI Toyota Blue Grass S. – In a race billed as a showdown between the re-opposing GII Remsen S. one-two Dornoch (Good Magic) and Sierra Leone (Gun Runner), don’t look past likely third choice Just a Touch (Justify). The highly regarded bay ran to the hype with a powerful debut score for trainer Brad Cox over the promising $1.7-million KEESEP graduate Gun Party (Curlin) (he returned with another very good second-place finish Mar. 16) on debut sprinting in the Fair Grounds slop Jan. 27. He was well-backed at the windows again for his second career start and lost little in defeat finishing second as the favorite over another saturated surface in a deep renewal of the GIII Gotham S. Mar. 2. Just a Touch will finally get a chance to showcase his ability on a fast surface and has every right to take another step forward stretching out to two turns for the first time as well. He should be able to sit a perfect trip just off Dornoch and have the jump on the stretch-running Sierra Leone, who is the horse to beat off his impressive come-from-behind win in the GII Risen Star S. Feb. 17. Selection: #6 Just a Touch (7-2).

GII Wood Memorial S. – No knocks on the 7-5 morning-line favorite and impressive Gotham winner Deterministic (Liam’s Map), but I prefer the fellow unbeaten Tuscan Sky (Vino Rosso) here. Like the aforementioned Just a Touch, Tuscan Sky has raced only on wet, sealed tracks in his first two starts. The gray finished up like a real good thing after a bit of an interesting journey (led early, dropped back to third on the far turn and leveled off beautifully in stretch to win going away) sprinting on debut at the Big A Jan. 13. He backed up that effort with another fantastic performance–albeit in a three-horse field–with a two-length decision over sharp next-out Hot Springs S. winner Nash (Medaglia d’Oro) (good for a 95 Beyer) while making his two-turn debut on the Risen Star undercard. Tuscan Sky tuned up for this with a four-furlong bullet in :48 3/5 (1/20) for seven-time Wood Memorial-winning trainer Todd Pletcher at Palm Beach Downs Mar. 30. Tuscan Sky’s young sire Vino Rosso won this same race in 2018. Selection: #9 Tuscan Sky (4-1).

GI Santa Anita Derby – It’s difficult to make a case against Imagination (Into Mischief), who will be the much-deserved Santa Anita Derby favorite. The $1.05-million KEESEP yearling has run well in all five of his career starts and has taken a nice step forward in his last two. He gave highly regarded Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Maymun (Frosted) all he could handle while finishing second in an optional claimer Feb. 11, then dug in gamely to secure a career high in the GII San Felipe S. Mar. 3. Should be well-spotted beneath Frankie Dettori either on or just off the lead. Selection: #4 Imagination (8-5).

The post Handicapping the Kentucky Derby Preps: Blue Grass, Santa Anita Derby & Wood Memorial appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Got questions? Please complete the form below and we’ll get back to you asap.

Join Bobby's Newsletter

Enter your email to sign up for Bobby’s newsletter get new racing tips right in your inbox.