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 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.
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
3. Classy Class
4. Ocho Ocho Ocho
Check back on Saturday evening for a recap of the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes.