Bo Scarbrough Injures Knee

Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough at practice in March 2015 (Vasha Hunt/vhunt@al.com)
Alabama running back Bo Scarbrough at practice in March 2015 (Vasha Hunt/vhunt@al.com)

Bo Scarbrough Injures Knee

The offseason of trouble will not surrender for Alabama. On Friday, it was announced that running back Bo Scarbrough injured his knee, but the severity is not yet known. Scarbrough was hurt late in practice on Friday.

Head coach Nick Saban told al.com, “You’ve got to take MRIs and do all those things, so I don’t speculate on these kind of injuries. We’ll see, and we’ll let you know when we find out.”

“Bo was doing pretty well,” Saban said Friday. “But we’ve had a lot of injuries, suspensions, and lost some people at that position. So what seemed like a pretty strong position depth-wise has gotten a little thin.”

Scarbrough was expected to have a big role in Alabama’s running game in 2015. He was a member of the 2014 recruiting class, but did not enroll until January of this year.

Scarbrough has seen his share of injuries when he was in high school. According to Trey Burkhalter on Twitter, “[Scarbrough] broke his ankle freshman year, tore his ACL sophomore year, and had a high ankle sprain his junior year. They were all season ending injuries.”

Scarbrough’s injury leaves some sudden depth issues for Alabama at the running back position. Altee Tenpenny transferred at the end of last season and Tyren Jones was suspended and dismissed earlier this week.

Alabama does return Derrick Henry and Kenyan Drake. Henry was the top rusher with 990 yards and 11 touchdowns while Drake 112 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Dee Liner To Transfer To Arkansas State

Dee Liner (#52) at practice for Alabama in 2013 (Vasha Hunt/vhunt@al.com)
Dee Liner (#52) at practice for Alabama in 2013 (Vasha Hunt/vhunt@al.com)

Dee Liner To Transfer To Arkansas State

Former defensive lineman Dee Liner (yes that is his name and his position ironically) has announced via Twitter that he will play at Arkansas State in the future. Arkansas State confirmed the news on Twitter as well.

Liner will sit out the 2015 season per NCAA regulations due to transferring to another FBS school. He will be eligible to play starting in 2016 and will have two seasons of eligibility.

Liner announced in February that he would be transferring after being released from his scholarship.

Liner played in three games as a sophomore last season finishing with 1 tackle. Liner played in one game during the 2013 season and recorded 2 tackles.

Liner was a four star recruit in 2013, but playing time was very limited in his time in Tuscaloosa with a deep and talented roster of linemen ahead of him on the depth chart.

2015 Santa Anita Derby Preview

2015 Santa Anita Derby Preview

The final Road to the Kentucky Derby on Saturday will be the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby. A small field of six horses will compete for $1,000,000 in the one mile and one eighth race.

Both the Grade 1 Wood Memorial from Aqueduct and Grade 1 Blue Grass from Keeneland will be determined by the time the Santa Anita Derby goes off.

The winner of this race will receive 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Second place will receive 40 points, third place will receive 20 points, and fourth place will receive 10 points.

Post time for the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby is scheduled for 6:30 PM Eastern Time and is the eighth of 11 races on the card at Santa Anita on Saturday. Free past performances for the Santa Anita Derby can be found here.

1. Dortmund (3-5 Morning Line) – The favorite has the rail for this race and he is clearly deserving of the low price. He is 5 for 5 in his career and won his stakes debut in a thrilling finish by a head in the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity. He then had to hold off a game Firing Line in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes 6 weeks later on February 7. Dortmund had no trouble in his last race going gate-to-wire while easily winning the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes. He will be very tough to beat in this race.

2. One Lucky Dane (5-1 ML) – Trainer Bob Baffert also saddles the heavy favorite to the inside. He ran third in his debut at Del Mar and then ran second by half a length in his next start. He crushed his foes in his third start by 9 1/2 lengths. Baffert was high enough on him after the maiden win to enter him in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He had a bit of trouble, but was never a factor finishing sixth by 9 1/2 lengths. After more than a three month break, he came back on March 19 to crush an optional claiming race by 9 3/4 lengths. He most likely will not threaten his stablemate to the inside, but he could hit the board.

3. Cross The Line (15-1 ML) – He has run only at Golden Gate prior to this race. He ran second and third in his first two starts before breaking his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths at a mile in his third start. He followed that up with another victory Cal Derby by 1 3/4 lengths. He was then entered in the Grade 3 El Camino Derby where he ran a good second to Metaboss. He will still need to put forth a big effort to have a chance to hit the board.

4. Bolo (4-1 ML) – He finished fifth in his debut at one mile on the turf before breaking his maiden in his second start at a mile and a sixteenth by 2 3/4 lengths. He then made it back-to-back wins by crushing the Eddie Logan Stakes competition by 4 1/2 lengths. A break of over two months led to him being placed in the Grade 2 San Felipe on dirt. He ran very well in his only dirt start finishing 1 3/4 lengths behind Dortmund while falling to third late. He certainly figures to have a chance underneath here once again.

5. Prospect Park (7-2 ML) – He needed four starts to break his maiden, but he did so by a neck. He then went into an optional claimer where he made it two wins in a row by dusting the field with a 5 1/4 length win. Last time out, he too ran in the Grade 2 San Felipe and had no chance of threatening Dortmund, but did get up for second. He would not be a surprise if he finished second again.

6. Bad Read Sanchez (30-1 ML) – The longest shot in the race has not raced since August. He broke his maiden in his debut at Santa Anita in June of 2014 by 10 lengths and was then sent to a listed stakes race at Los Alamitos. He ran a very good second and then ran a solid third in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar. He has decent works coming in, but he will probably need this race.

Selections

#1 Dortmund is the best horse on paper and will probably improve his record to 6 for 6 lifetime. The race for second will come down to #2 One Lucky Dane, #4 Bolo, and #5 Prospect Park. #5 Prospect Park seems most likely to finish second while #4 Bolo could improve in his second start on dirt and #2 One Lucky Dane certainly has talent to make an impact here.

1. Dortmund

2. Prospect Park

3. One Lucky Dane

A recap of the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby will be posted on Saturday night.

2015 Blue Grass Stakes Preview

2015 Blue Grass Stakes Preview

The second Road to the Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday will be the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland. A field of 8 has been entered for this $1,000,000 race going one mile and one eighth on the main dirt track.

The other two races on Saturday are the Grade 1 Wood Memorial and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.

The winner of the Blue Grass will receive 100 points towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard. Second place will receive 40 points, third place will receive 20 points, and fourth place will receive 10 points.

Post time for the Grade 1 Blue Grass is scheduled for 6:00 PM Eastern Time and is scheduled as the tenth of 11 races on the card. Free past performances for the Blue Grass Stakes can be found here.

1. Ocho Ocho Ocho (6-1 Morning Line) – He won his debut at Santa Anita before destroying an off the turf stakes race by 5 3/4 lengths. He was then shipped to Delta Downs for the Delta Jackpot where he won by a nose over Mr. Z. After a break of two and a half months, he tried the Grade 2 San Felipe where he had some trouble, but was overmatched against Dortmund and finished eighth beaten 15 lengths. He avoids Dortmund here, which may be enough to hit the board against this field.

2. Gorgeous Bird (8-1 ML) – He started with a sixth place finish at Saratoga before breaking his maiden in his second start at Churchill. A two month break was followed by a 7 length win on January 24 at Gulfstream. He then tried stakes competition for the first time in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth, but was never in contention finishing fifth by 7 1/2 lengths. He will need to do much better to contend here.

3. Pepper Roani (12-1 ML) – He needed six starts to break his maiden and did so at Turfway Park on January 31. He then ran in the John Battaglia Memorial where he was a second by 5 1/4 lengths behind Royal Son. Royal Son came back in the Spiral Stakes, but was not a factor. Pepper Roani has raced once on dirt at Churchill, but was crushed by 11 lengths and finished eighth. He is a step below these horses and will need a career effort to make the top three.

4. Unrivaled (12-1 ML) – He started with two races at Indiana Downs and then came to Keeneland where he missed by a nose in a $30,000 maiden claiming race and was claimed out of that race. He was then shipped to Parx where he was second by 5 3/4 lengths and then crushed the maiden special weight competition by 15 lengths on December 23. His latest race was an allowance race when he came from well off the pace to win by 5 lengths. He will need to step up a bit to contend, but he is an interesting long shot.

5. Carpe Diem (1-1 ML) – The heavy morning line favorite returns the scene of his best race. After winning his debut by 2 1/2 lengths, he came to Keeneland and dominated the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity by 6 1/4 lengths. He then went into the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and was a good second behind runaway winner Texas Red. His three year old debut was another good performance as he won the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby by 5 lengths. He is the heavy favorite and squarely the one to beat.

6. Frammento (8-1 ML) – He broke his maiden here at Keeneland in his second start and then ran in back-to-back optional claiming races. His last two races were at Gulfstream in back-to-back graded stakes. He first ran in the Grade 2 Holy Bull, but finished a well beaten sixth by 18 lengths behind Upstart. He then ran in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth where he made a strong rally in the stretch to finish third. If he gets enough speed, he could hit the board here.

7. Classy Class (6-1 ML) – He has raced exclusively in New York prior to this race. He won his debut by four lengths at Belmont and then tried the Grade 2 Remsen Stakes. He was fourth that day and then took two months off and returned to Aqueduct. He was third in the Grade 3 Withers after setting the pace and then finished third again in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes after coming from off the pace. He is a versatile horse and that makes him a threat for an exacta or trifecta finish.

8. Danzig Moon (8-1 ML) – He made his debut here at Keeneland and finished fourth at six furlongs. He then went to Churchill and finished second in a maiden race before getting a short break. He resurfaced at Gulfstream where he broke his maiden by 4 3/4 lengths. His first foray after his maiden breaking win as in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby where he ran an even race and finished fourth by 12 lengths. He will need to improve dramatically to have a chance here.

Selections

This race comes down to #5 Carpe Diem. He is the class of the field, his best career race took place here at Keeneland, and he should be in the perfect spot. The race for place and show is a tougher to discern. For the sake of value, #4 Unrivaled looks good at 12-1 while #7 Classy Class is a consistent horse. #1 Ocho Ocho Ocho does not face Dortmund, which that alone could allow him to hit the board. #8 Danzig Moon could improve and #6 Frammento will need a hot pace to have a chance, which does not appear to be there on paper.

1. Carpe Diem

2. Unrivaled

3. Classy Class

4. Ocho Ocho Ocho

Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.

2015 Wood Memorial Stakes Preview

2015 Wood Memorial Stakes Preview

As the Road to the Kentucky Derby enters its final two weekends, there is still plenty up for grabs including potential spots in the starting gate for the Kentucky Derby.

On Saturday, the first of three prep races (the other two being the Grade 1 Blue Grass and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby) will be run starting with the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes from Aqueduct. A field of 7 horses entered the race and will be going one mile and eighth for a purse of $1,000,000.

Outside of the whopping purse offered, there are 100 points that will be given to the winner of this race towards the Kentucky Derby Points Leaderboard to help determine the 20 starters in the Kentucky Derby. Second place will receive 40 points, third place will receive 20 points, and fourth place will receive 10 points.

Post time for the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes is scheduled for 5:30 PM Eastern Time as the tenth of 12 races at Aqueduct. Free past performances can be found here.

1. Tiz Shea D (8-1 Morning Line) – He has only two races in his career. He won his debut at Parx by 4 lengths going 5.5 furlongs. He was then turned over to the care of trainer Bill Mott where he was entered in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. He ran a very good race in his second career start and first going a route of ground by finishing second by 2 3/4 lengths behind El Kabeir. His rail draw should have him in a great spot here if he is good enough.

2. Toasting Master (20-1 ML) – He has started six times in his career and began by winning two of his first three races. He was then entered in the Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park where he was sixth. He then tried a route for the first time in the OBS Championship, but finished fourth that day. He too was entered in the Gotham Stakes, but could only muster another fourth place finish after setting the pace. He he weakened going 8.5 last time and this is half of a furlong farther.

3. Lieutenant Colonel (15-1 ML) – Like his counterpart on the rail, he too has had only two career starts. He won by a head at Gulfstream in his debut going one mile and was then shipped to New York for the Gotham Stakes. He did not have a good break and was never in contention while finishing last of 10 horses that day. He is probably better than he showed in the Gotham, but we may not see it here in the Wood Memorial either.

4. Frosted (5-2 ML) – He broke his maiden in his third start after starting his career with back-to-back second place finishes. He then ran in the Grade 2 Remsen where he missed by half a length and then took some time off and headed south. He was second in the Grade 2 Holy Bull behind a dominant Upstart and then ran in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He had the lead in the stretch, but ultimately finished fourth in a rough stretch run. He should have a good spot behind the front runners in this race.

5. El Kabeir (3-1 ML) – El Kabeir has seen his name all over the Kentucky Derby prep races in New York. He began the year with an easy win in the Grade 3 Jerome by nearly five lengths before being run down by Far From Over in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes and finishing second. He bounced back in an odd way in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. He had to come from way behind, which is opposite of his normal stalking and pressing style. It did not matter as he won by 2 3/4 lengths over Tiz Shea D. He certainly makes sense in this spot.

6. Daredevil (9-5 ML) – The morning line favorite began his career at Belmont with a smashing debut win by 6 1/4 lengths. He parlayed that into a 2 1/2 length win in the Grade 1 Champagne Stakes, also at Belmont. He had a poor trip in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on his way to finishing 11th, beaten nearly 26 lengths. He came back in March and ran second by 2 3/4 lengths in the seven furlong Grade 2 Swale Stakes. If he is ready (or if there is a sloppy track), he will be tough to beat. It is worth noting he needs to finish first or second to make the Derby.

7. Tencendur (12-1 ML) – He has yet to leave the state of New York to race, but that has worked out just fine for him. He was third in his debut and then broke his maiden second time out while going into New York bred competition. He then finished fourth in the Grade 3 Withers by 4 lengths in an even race and then could not rally to finish better than fifth in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes. He will need a hot pace to make a big impact here.

Selections

There is a reason #4 Frosted, #5 El Kabeir, and #6 Daredevil are the favorites. #5 El Kabeir has done little wrong in New York this prep season and his last race was excellent. He can rate, press, or close if need be and he is the top choice here. #1 Tiz Shea D is probably a step below the top trio, but if he can get a good trip, he could round out the exacta. #6 Daredevil has three really good races and if the track comes up sloppy, he will be hard to beat. #4 Frosted may find it a bit easier against this group, but he needs to run better than his Fountain of Youth last out.

1. El Kabeir

2. Tiz Shea D

3. Daredevil

4. Frosted

Check back on Saturday evening for the recap of the Grade 1 Wood Memorial as well as the Santa Anita Derby and Blue Grass Stakes.