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#3 Frosted – Keen Ice defeated American Pharoah in the Travers, but Frosted was the one that made it all possible by pressuring American Pharoah for the entire race. No other horse before that had been able to use those tactics, but Frosted was classy enough to get it done. The obvious worry now for him coming into this one is his energy level as the Travers was just three weeks ago, but his latest workout shows me he’s doing very well. Plus trainer Kiaran McLaughlin is a smart horsemen and would not bring him here unless he was ready to fire. As long as he runs his race he’s classier than the rest of the field by a wide margin.
#6 Gimme Da Lute – Shipping outside of California after enjoying a four race winning streak there, but you can understand why with a million dollars on the line in a race he fits well in. Bob Baffert only ships out when he expects his horses to have a peak effort so I expect this one to be ready to fire. The only question now will be how does he fit in class wise? His numbers from previous races show he is fast enough, and he definitely passed the “eye ball” test as well. Can he run those types of numbers when facing better competition? If so he should be tough to handle.
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#5 Madefromlucky – This horse has had major success when getting away from American Pharoah this year as he hasn’t lost all year in races were American Pharoah has not been present. So you would think his connections are jumping for joy because the beast isn’t entered here, but I think the trend of winning when he’s gone will change today. The fact is Madefromlucky just isn’t quite in the same class as Frosted, and perhaps not Gimme Da Lute as well. Love how honest he’s been all year, but can’t see him winning.
#9 Upstart – This will be his third race off the layoff, and basically this is my last hope for him. I felt he ran well at Monmouth in the Haskell for his first race since the Kentucky Derby, but expected a little more from him in the Travers Stakes next time out. Not that he ran a bad race…just didn’t make much progression. We’ll see if the third time is a charm for him in this one.
#10 Mr. Z – I think we all know his act by now! He’ll set the pace in this race, look pretty decent turning for home, then do something dumb or flatten out down the stretch. He’s the most frustrating horse I’ve ever followed…his mind continues to get in his way. Today’s distance will also be a little bit of a stretch for him, but I do think it’s possible for him to hang around for a small piece of it.
#4 Iron Fist – His races leading up to the West Virginia Derby had people excited, but he flattened out in a big way in that race to finish fourth. The inside trip may have not done him any favors though, and I like that Hollendorfer is showing confidence by running him here. Could be one on the improve that can jump up and upset this group.
#1 War Story – Actually made a big improvement in the West Virginia Derby, but was still defeated by two lengths. The West Virginia Derby was not an overly tough race, but it wasn’t awful either. Still can’t see him picking up a win here.
#7 Tommy Macho – Seems to be on the wrong side of the “Pletcher Progression System” as he has not looked good in his last two races.
#2 Island Town – Won the local prep for this one with relative ease, but he class jump is steep today. The toughest race he ran in was the Indiana Derby where he finished a well beaten fifth.
#8 Battle Midway – There’s overmatched…and then there’s Battle Midway. No chance.
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