#10 Teeth of the Dog (KY) – I’ve been handicapping and writing previews for this website since the first of the year, and I can tell you that I find this race to be the most difficult I’ve tried to analyze yet aside from the Lexington Stakes at Keeneland. I’ve settled on Teeth of the Dog as my top selection. The price is going to be decent on him, and I love the fact he looks to be on the improve. He went straight from a maiden win into the Grade 1 Wood Memorial, and finished a solid third behind two Kentucky Derby starters. Even though those two runners did not fair well in the Derby, you’d have to think either of them would be a heavy favorite in this race. There is one slight worry, however. His connections have talked about running in the Preakness, so there is a chance he could scratch out of this race.
#11 Summer Front (KY) – Summer Front will be trying dirt for the first time in this spot, but he may be the classiest horse in the race. Your guess is as good as mine on how he’ll handle it. His sire had no trouble with dirt, but his dam’s blood lines scream turf. If he runs ok on it, you can bet he’ll have a big time chance to win. You are basically betting on his class, and hoping dirt is something he can handle. The price will be pretty good on him so he’s worth a long look.
#2 The Lumber Guy (NY) – You can bet this guy is going straight to the lead as he’ll look to wire this field. If the race were at a mile or less he’d be my top selection, but I do question whether he wants to go this far. His other try at this distance was in the Wood Memorial where he faded badly down the stretch. He set fairly fast fractions in that race, so maybe he’s learned his lesson and will slow it down a little here. If he gets the lead to himself it could be lights out for this bunch, so for that reason alone you have to respect him. Early speed can sometimes be a dangerous weapon.
#5 Mark Valeski (KY) – It was a smart move by trainer Larry Jones to skip the Kentucky Derby and point Mark Valeski to the Peter Pan. Even though this is a more realistic spot, it’s still not going to be easy. There is a lot you have to like about him, as he’s been so close to winning a couple of Grade 2’s. But, the horses that beat him in those races have not come back to run very well, so there are question marks about just how good he is. The Fair Grounds were short on quality three-year old colts this year so I’m not picking Mark Valeski as my top pick. He’ll most likely be the favorite, but I think he’s beatable.
#12 Street Life (KY) – There are a lot of people who are high on Street Life, and I was one of them until his performance in the Wood Memorial last time out. He finished a flat sixth in that race, and failed to make much noise at any point in the race. I’m not going to give up totally on him, but he needs to show me something in this one. I wouldn’t leave him off your exotic tickets, but I would tread lightly if betting to win.
#1 Right to Vote (KY) – This one looks to be a sleeper. Hadn’t ran since last October when returning in Mach at Gulfstream, and won against a decent allowance field that day. May not be ready to win this race just yet, but should run well enough to be competitive.
#3 Zetterholm (NY) – You can’t throw out a horse that has won three races in a row. This will be Zetterholm’s first try against graded company, but he made short work of an ungraded stakes field last time out. With so many other betting interests, look for him to be ignored and may go off at a great price. Would not be surprised if he pulled off the upset here.
#9 Master Rick (FL) – Just like Zetterholm, this will also be Master Rick’s first try against Graded Stakes company. Also like Zetterholm, Master Rick made short work of an ungraded stakes field last time out. That race included Drill, a horse that has won a couple of graded stakes in the past. It looks like this horse has finally figured out what to do, and is a logical play in this one.
#6 Good Morning Diva (KY) – Before I talk about my throw outs, let me just say that it would be dangerous to throw any of these out. This kind of race is why the “all” button was invented. But, I’ve picked four that I think you can toss. I admit it was hard to toss Good Morning Diva, but I don’t think he’s quite up to this level.
#8 Big Screen (KY) – Has only won one of six races so you have to think he’s out-classed against this tough bunch of horses. Also, he was beaten last time out by fellow throw out horse Good Morning Diva
#7 Hakama (KY) – He’s tried graded company twice now, and did hit the board once in the Illinois Derby finishing third. I believe that race to be fairly weak however, so I look for him to struggle in this one.
#4 Le Bernardin (KY) – Has won two in a row, but against much easier company than what he’ll be up against her. Major class jump will probably be too much for him to overcome.