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The final events along the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby (G1) ended in back-to-back shockers, with prices galore in both of Saturday’s prep races. That being said, was either winner’s upset enough to claim top spot in the latest Three Stars of the Week?
The $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) looked like a cake-walk for the undefeated Concert Tour, who’d just defeated most of the field in last month’s Rebel Stakes (G2). Trainer Steve Asmussen showed why he’s in the Hall of Fame when Super Stock roared past the tough luck favorite in the Oaklawn Park stretch and sprung the 12/1 upset, earning 100 points and solidifying his place in the starting gate come May 1 at Churchill Downs. The Arkansas Derby has produced plenty of Kentucky Derby winners and strong finishers; will Super Stock add his name to that prestigious list? We’ll find out in just a few short weeks.
The ultra-classy mare finally earned her elusive first Grade 1 victory with a strong gate-to-wire score in Saturday’s Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1) at Keeneland. Owner/breeder Juddmonte Farms elected to keep her in training for her 6-year-old season with the goal being to win a Grade 1, and she did it with a bang, earning the weekend’s highest Timeform US Speed Figure (124) and second-highest Beyer Speed Figure (98). It was also her second attempt in the Jenny Wiley; she was third in last year’s edition. What a fun mare she’s been.
Well before Super Stock made noise in Arkansas, King Fury delivered a knockout punch to the toteboard with an 18/1 upset in the Lexington Stakes (G3) at Keeneland. A hot early pace led to a total meltdown in the far turn, and the two horses at the rear of the field 1/4 of a mile into the race crossed 1-2, with the late-running Unbridled Honor pushing late for second. King Fury earned his only 20 Kentucky Derby points with this win, so the Derby itself is unlikely unless at least 8 ahead of him skip out. However, trainer Kenny McPeek has said that the Preakness Stakes (G1) will be their backup plan, and as the legendary Michael Spector recently pointed out, 3 of the past 5 Lexington winners finished third in the Preakness. That means King Fury is a stone-cold lock to single on the bottom of Saratoga Slim’s Preakness tris!
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