1. Dortmond Goes for the Hat Trick at Santa Anita
He’s taken the Robert Lewis and San Felipe, and now he’s back to go a perfect three for three at Santa Anita in the Santa Anita Derby. Most of the horses lining up to challenge him he’s already disposed of, however this time the distance gets longer. The 1 1/8th mile is when we starting separating the “men from the boys” so to speak, and that’s still in question for Dortmond. We’ll see if our number two ranked Kentucky Derby prospect can continue is undefeated streak.
2. Keeneland Opening Weekend Featuring the Blue Grass Stakes
Who doesn’t love Keeneland? Now they’ve made opening weekend even better, as the Blue Grass Stakes has been moved up a week to help lure more attractive prospects for the Kentucky Derby. That, plus the move back to dirt, has seemed to help greatly as our third ranked Kentucky Derby prospect will be running in the race. That horse is Carpe Diem, and there is a cast of seven others waiting to take him down. Keeneland always holds a special place for race fans in the Spring, and this Saturday could be one of the better days of the entre racing season. Even their allowance races are drawing Grade 1 type horses!
3. El Kabeir Takes on Shippers in the Wood Memorial
He’s been the best local horse in New York this winter, but now the shippers come to take him on! Also it can’t be underestimated that he makes somewhat of a surface change, as Aqueduct’s inner track meet is over and they now will go to the main track. His running tactics last time out were both surprising and pleasant to see. If he can continue to show that kind of patients and versatility he’ll be just fine, but there is no doubting the competition will be tougher.
4. Fantasy/Ashland/Gazelle/Santa Anita Oaks Clear up Kentucky Oaks Picture
Last weekend produced a few Kentucky Oaks prospects, and this weekend should pretty much set the field for us. Four major prep races from around the country headline things for the fillies. Many are curious to see how Luminance fairs at Santa Anita, while sleepers such as Oceanwave and Pangburn loom large at Oaklawn Park. The fillies don’t quite have the headliners that the Kentucky Derby has, but that could change after this weekend.
5. The Big Beast Runs in the Carter Handicap
This horse always grabs the headlines because of his massive size, but he certainly has the talent to match his looks. He’s already won a Grade 1 race at Saratoga going seven furlongs which seems to be his optimal distance so the Carter Handicap makes sense. He kicked off 2015 with an easy allowance win at Oaklawn, and should improve off that win making him tough to beat in this spot.