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Three months after its originally-scheduled date, the $600,000 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G2) is finally here! We enjoy having Keeneland finally back, and the track’s marquee event drew a competitive field of 13 that includes the filly sensation Swiss Skydiver. She adds major intrigue to a race that was already setting up to be entertaining.
The Blue Grass will go off as race nine on a Saturday card that features five other graded stakes events. Local post time for the Blue Grass is 5:30 PM ET.
The Kenny McPeek-trained Swiss Skydiver has won three straight stakes, including a dominating effort last time out in the Santa Anita Oaks (G2). She is without a doubt the 3-year-old filly division leader, but a win here could re-route her to the Kentucky Derby. Mike Smith comes east to ride the perfectly-drawn filly from post 7.
The Steve Asmussen barn sends out Basin, last seen finishing second in the Arkansas Derby (G1). Basin has been playing catch-up ever since an injury forced him to miss time in the winter, but he should be ready to put his best foot forward in this spot. He’ll break from post 8 under regular rider Ricardo Santana, Jr.
The up-and-coming Art Collector adds punch after his allowance romp at Churchill Downs, where he earned a 100 Beyer speed figure. That number will likely be good enough to win here, if he can repeat it. Brian Hernandez, Jr., will be aboard for this colt’s next major test when he breaks from post 3.
The full field from the rail out: Shivaree, Finnick the Fierce, Art Collector, Mr. Big News, Man in the Can, Hard Lighting, Swiss Skydiver, Basin, Attachment Rate, Rushie, Hunt the Front, Enforceable, and Tiesto.
#3 Art Collector – His win last time out was impressive and left little doubt that he was ready for stakes competition. He should sit a nice inside trip from this post and save ground in a solid stalking position. If he can continue to show improvement, then the rest of this group will have a tough time beating him.
#7 Swiss Skydiver – It’s exciting that she entered here because she has a big chance to win. She crushed stakes competition in her last three races, all of which came over different tracks. She matches up well with this field and her normal effort will be tough to beat.
#10 Rushie – He is improving with each race and finished third in the loaded Santa Anita Derby (G1) last time out, showing that he can compete with a field like this. With the right trip, he could be difficult to hold off in the late stages.
#8 Basin – The Steve Asmussen trainee has yet to to display the flash that he showed at age 2, but his class makes him dangerous, especially from this perfectly-drawn middle post position.
#12 Enforceable – He appeared to be on his way to big things at the beginning of the year, but he only picked up 1 win in 3 starts at Fair Grounds. He returns after a brief freshening and trainer Mark Casse always has his horses ready to run big at Keeneland. Expect him to play a big factor late, especially if the early pace is hot.
#2 Finnick the Fierce – He never embarrasses himself when running in races like this, but he was also never a real threat to win any of them. He is strictly an underneath play.
#4 Mr. Big News – We know this horse will be closing lae; it will just be a matter of how many he can pass before hittting the wire. He enters the event after a nice win in the Oaklawn Stakes and is a solid “hit the board” candidate.
#5 Man in the Can – Will an Arkansas-bred make his way to the Kentucky Derby? He has won 3 in a row, and while his 2 against fellow state-breds were okay, he really turned heads last time out when defeating open company at Churchill Downs. He will need to show additional improvement in order to have a shot here, but he has been doing that all year long.
#1 Shivaree – Other than his runner-up effort in the Florida Derby (G1), there really is not much on paper to make him a win candidate. He drew the rail here, the last negative that we needed in order to throw him out.
#9 Attachment Rate – He has proven that he can compete in big stakes, but he has been unable to win. This is the toughest group that he has seen and the distance could be a bit questionable.
#11 Hunt the Front – It took him 6 races to break his maiden, which is never a great sign, and his only start against winners was not good. This spot makes no sense.
#13 Tiesto – The younger half-brother of multiple graded stakes winner Promises Fulfilled tries dirt for the first time after 1 win from 4 turf starts. The talent he has shown thus far does not match up in what seems like an overly ambitious spot for his first dirt try.
#6 Hard Lighting – This is an awfully steep jump in class after he finished sixth in an allowance event at Gulfstream Park last time out.
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