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One of the most exciting weekends of the racing calendar each year did not disappoint, with 3 preps for the Kentucky Derby (G1) and 4 for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) just part of the action between Aqueduct, Keeneland, Oaklawn Park, and Santa Anita Park. When multiple Grade 1 winners don’t make our list of the latest Three Stars of the Week, you KNOW it was a wild one!
If we had one, the honorable mention award would go to Imprimis, who fought hard in the stretch but couldn’t stop Bound for Nowhere and jockey Joel Rosario (more on him later) from passing him in the final jumps of Saturday’s Shakertown Stakes (G2). Owned and trained by Wesley Ward, Bound for Nowhere (who won last year’s event when it was delayed until July) won the Shakertown for the second time following the 2018 edition before finishing second in 2019 and third last year. This horse loves Keeneland, his only question mark has been his health – the 7-year-old has made just 15 starts.
The weekend’s only Kentucky Derby prep rated a Grade 1 went to an undefeated horse … who was trying dirt for the first time. Rock Your World went straight to the lead in Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby and let everyone eat his dust from gate to wire, and while many keyboard jockeys rushed to proclaim him as overrated and not worth a look on the first Saturday in May, he earned a 100 Beyer Speed Figure. That makes him the only 3-year-old currently in training to post a triple-digit Beyer; in day’s the other two Derby preps, Essential Quality earned a 97 for winning the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) and Bourbonic an 89 for upsetting the Wood Memorial (G2).
There were 20 graded stakes held last Friday- Sunday in America, and yet we made the third star a human?! An extremely rare choice even when the weekend’s stars were slim pickin’s, but this guy rode his ass off. Rosario won 2 of Keeneland’s 3 graded stakes Friday and finished second in the other, then won 4 straight graded stakes Saturday afternoon (including both Grade 1s) as well as an undercard allowance. Rosario likely spent Easter Sunday walking on water. Other than Bound for Nowhere in the Shakertown, perhaps his best ride came in the Ashland (G1), when he spent half the race pumping on Malathaat to get her to victory.
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