The Blue Grass Stakes is likely the final prep for many in this field before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Many are ready to run over the Keeneland track and cement the chances at a Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May. Each trainer, jockey, or ownership group has a reason for “their” horse in the 2016 Blue Grass Stakes field but some will have better chances than others.
Race: Blue Grass Stakes (G1)
Location: Keeneland Race Course
Distance: Mile and a eighth
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, April 9th 2016
Post Time: 6:00 PM ET
TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network
The Backstory – Over the years I have continued to modify how I break down each race based on input from the readers (Thank for your reading and leaving feedback). Years ago I provided very granular and in-depth analysis of each horse in the field. However, as many claimed the reading was dry and over the top as such I began the change. Now you will find data about each horse, how it should shake out, and we will have a little fun doing it.
If you want just the raw numbers then Brisnet, Equibase, or even the Daily Racing Form are right up your alley (and mine since I love them all) but if you want the breakdown with a twist then read on and enjoy. The track record is solid since I tend to stick with the big races each year. You will not find a breakdown of a claiming race next Sunday but if you want the major preps, Triple Crown series, Travers, and more than this is the place for you.
2016 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Contenders, Picks, Betting | Keeneland – Breakdown and Betting
|1||50-1||Lookin for a Kiss||Gaffalione||Lightly raced with only two career starts. In those two starts he has a win and a runner-up finish albeit against substandard competition. New trainer brings him in gives him a shot but it is a long one.|
|2||5-1||Donegal Moon||Garcia||Eight career starts with two wins. Stepped up after a score to break maiden in fourth start and ended up fifth in the Remsen. Poor showing in the Withers back in January but did have an impressive allowance score last out but that was allowance.|
|3||12-1||Cherry Wine||Lanerie||Seven career starts and the earnings are secure for May. Two wins in those starts and a fifth in the Rebel Stakes. Jockey believes and trainer has won here before. The gray is intriguing in the exotics.|
|4||5-2||Zulu||Castellano||Lightly raced with three career starts. Opened career with two solid wins but then lost to Mohaymen in the Fountain of Youth. Competitions last could expose the favorite here. But Castellano and Pletcher seem to pair well historically. In a light field he is the fitting favorite but far from a lock.|
|5||20-1||Crescent Drive||Graham||Never worse than third in four career starts but this is a new level of competition. Finished third in a smaller stakes race in Texas last time out. Sire also produced I'll Have Another so the blood is there. One thing is certain, he will be coming late but not sure the talent is enough to get all the way home.|
|6||4-1||Brody's Cause||Saez||Two wins in five career starts and probably the most accomplished of all running here. Already scored major win over the track in the G1 Claiborne Breeders' Futurity and ran third in the BC Juvenile. Saez and company are in with a real chance on this one. Like Crescent Drive, he will be coming late with probably more kick than most.|
|7||12-1||Laoban||Lezcano||Another in here out of Uncle Moe but this one is winless in four career starts. Does have two runner-ups and a third to his credit including a G3 third in the Sham and a G3 second in the Gotham. There is talent here but could be punished with a few front runners in here.|
|8||12-1||Twizz||Murrill||Yet another front runner in the Blue Grass here. Started career with three straight third place finishes. Big try in his last start yielded an impressive score. Two concerns are the step in class and the abundance of early speed.|
|9||20-1||Goats Town||Albarado||Winless in five career starts but does have three thirds and a runner-up to his credit. Still early in their three-year-old year but if you can't winner at lower levels it would be quite the step up here.|
|10||20-1||American Dubai||Landeros||A front runner who can stalk if required with one win in four career starts to go along with two thirds. One of the thirds was in the Southwest Stakes but was overmatched despite a bit of bad luck finishing 13th in the Rebel. Just not very likely for the Virginia bred.|
|11||20-1||Cards of Stone||Lopez||Two wins and a second in four career starts including a powerful 13 score in a New York bred allowance. Pletcher and connections were heading to the Wood with him but quickly shifted. Does he feel the talent is lighter here? Did the works show something of a big step that warrant? Don't toss at face value.|
|12||30-1||Zapperini||Torres||A tough spot for sure for the one time winner in three starts. Also had a fifth in the Risen Star. He is another that was pointed at a different race (Louisiana Derby) and move to the Blue Grass. Never won against any top level competition but will be coming late and if the speed breaks down things might get huge.|
|13||10-1||Star Hill||Jaramillo||Only one win in five starts but does come with three third place finishes. Broke maiden in fourth start then finished third in the Tampa Derby (where Destin won). Unlike others he can come from off the pace or stalk. That could play heavily in a race that might break down up front. Consider him live.|
|14||10-1||My Man Sam||Leparoux||Chad Brown brings him in with three career starts. A very solid win to break maiden in second attempt and they ran second in a recent allowance race. Another that will be coming late but has never faced competition like this. If looking for a closer I would like others more.|
|AE||30-1||Pinson||Bravo||They are hoping for a scratch to get one of their two horses in (other is Hint of Roses) but with only one score in five starts all against lesser you can bet if in the field he will be 30-1 or more and that is deserving.|
|AE||30-1||Hint of Roses||Geroux||The son of Tapit is the other from the same connections trying to get in on scratches. Winless in five starts but each race he moves up the board to a third last time out. This is a big step up and if he manages to get in you can expect another at 30-1. It would be a huge step forward to factor but not impossible just close.|
The Blue Grass is setting up with speed galore up front. A quick look at the field yields at least five that need the lead in Twizz, Lookin For a Kiss, Cards of Stone, American Dubai, and Laoban with others like Donegal Moon and the favorite, Zulu showing speed as well. That sets things up for a horse coming out of the clouds, or at a minimum from off the pace coming to get the score in the Grade 1. Although lightly raced, Zulu has shown the ability to rate and that should be what is expected from him in here. He should get first jump as the front crumbles.
When evaluating the field it is hard not to lock in on a horse like Brody’s Cause. If you have read my pieces in the past you know how I feel about second and even third off a layoff (I will do the math breakdown in an article at a later date) but Brody’s Cause is second off the layoff and already has a score at Keeneland in the G1 Breeders’ Futurity last year so the track is not a concern. It is true that he laid an egg last out at Tampa but that track is a place some horses just hate or he needed one after the layoff. Either way I am willing to toss it.
Star Hill is a price to consider even with only one win in five starts. Third place finish in the Tampa Bay Derby shows growth. He can come from way off the pace and stalk as well. In a race like this where the front end could fold, he might be sitting in a place near Zulu where the firs jump could very well be his.
Longshot / Sleeper With a Chance – Star Hill
2016 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Contenders, Picks, Betting | Keeneland – The Bets
How will it all shake out? It is almost impossible to tell but based on the data I provided in the contenders analysis and the preceding paragraphs, I present some logical betting options based on your favorite cup of tea or betting style. How do you bet a horse race?? What type of bankroll are you playing with? Is it about having a good time and being a part of the spectacle? Or is it about finding a way to make money? No matter what you want or the size of your bankroll there are different ways you can approach the 2016 Blue Grass Stakes.
Below are my examples of how to play the 2016 Blue Grass Stakes based on bankroll. This is a first look at the field in an attempt to maximize a “safe bet” return for the 2016 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes Contenders, Picks, Betting | Keeneland
|$1 Exacta Box||4 with 6 with 13|
|$1 Trifecta Box||4 with 6 with 13|
|$4 Win / Place||6|
|$2 Exacta Box||4 with 6 with 13|
|$1 Trifecta||4,6,13 with 4,6,12,13|
|$4 Win / Place||13|
|$.10 Super Box||4 with 6 with 11 with 12 with 13|