The Blue Grass Stakes is likely the final prep for many in this field before the 2015 Kentucky Derby. The Blue Grass Stakes is being run a week early than past years to better align with the flow of Kentucky Derby contenders. This is also the first year that Keeneland will offer a $1 million purse for the key prep race.
Carpe Diem is the even money favorite and all expectations are that the Blue Grass Stakes is a necessary stop en route to the 2015 Kentucky Derby. However, a field of seven others is stepping up to the plate for their shot at Kentucky Derby points and a share of the $1 million purse. Let’s not waste any more time and get right into it.
Race: Blue Grass Stakes (G1)
Location: Keeneland Race Course
Distance: Mile and a eighth
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, April 4th 2015
Post Time: 6:00 PM ET
TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network
|1||6-1||Ocho Ocho Ocho||Gonzalez||Here lies the only other stakes winner in this field. Ocho Ocho Ocho is 3-for-4 lifetime including the Delta Downs Jackpot. In his only start of 2015 he finished a very disappointing 8th in the San Felipe. However, it appears he suffered cuts at the gate that have since healed. If you throw out last there is a small chance.|
|2||8-1||Gorgeous Bird||Hernandez Jr||He has two wins in four starts including an optional claimer. Attempted to step forward in the Fountain of Youth and was outclassed finishing a distant 7 lengths behind the winner. In this field he might find the board but that should be the end unless there is a miracle step forward.|
|3||12-1||Pepper Roani||Mena||He took six tries to break his maiden. Came back to finish over 5 lengths behind the winner in a lower level stakes. Bumped at the jump and 1st turn but that would not have factored then. Is maker looking for another Stately Victor? This is a HUGE step up and I cannot fathom a way.|
|4||12-1||Unrivaled||Albarado||Took five tries to break his maiden but unlike PR things have changed for the better. Rested for 3 months after the maiden win and returned a fuller horse with a longer stride. While only allowance, he was impressive rating before making a big final turn move and drawing clear for a 5 length score. Team Valor ha him going the right direction and here lies the threat to Carpe Diem, if any.|
|5||Even||Carpe Diem||Velazquez||The real deal and proven commodity here in this field. The only stakes G1 winner in this crop. If he runs a race like any of his 4 lifetime starts, including his only loss in the BC Juvenile, this field will be left in the dust. Even if he bounces he could still have enough to win here. It is weird to say but the Blue Grass is a glorified work for him heading to Churchill. A deserving Even money favorite.|
|6||8-1||Frammento||Stevens||Adding a HOFer like Stevens never hurts. He is stakes placed but was overmatched in both. Ran from Upstart and landed here. Speed numbers are not worthy here but did flash a nice work recently. I give him 50/50 to hit the board here.|
|7||6-1||Classy Class||Alvarado||In four starts, he has two 3rds and a MSW win. Folks are always high on him but I just feel his best belongs at 2nd tier stakes races. He is straightforward and runs his race but his race is never good enough and I lack a belief in him at 1 1/8. I will always pass.|
|8||8-1||Danzig Moon||Leparoux||1 lifetime win to break maiden. Only stakes start was last out in the Tampa Bay Derby where he finished 12 behind Carpe Diem. Speed figures are not great but if you are looking for an angle he is 3rd off the layoff. Leparoux could find a way to get a minor prize here.|
Blue Grass Stakes Breakdown and Betting
Make no mistake about it, if every horse in this field runs to their peak ability this is Carpe Diem’s race to lose. He is the class of the field and the most accomplished by far. Hs only loss was to an otherworldly run of Texas Red in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in November. The $1.6 million dollar price tag for the Giant’s Causeway prodigy came with high expectations and he is living up to them. In his only 2015 race, Carpe Diem dominated the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby and retains John Velazquez. You can expect 1-5 or worst at post time of the Blue Grass Stakes.
However, if he falters, can anyone else take the crown and edge their way in the 2015 Kentucky Derby? While many do not believe, I think at 12-1, Unrivaled has a solid shot here. The form trends in the right direction and Team Valor knows how to get a horse ready (I.E. Animal Kingdom). He ventures into this level for the first time but the majority of this field are glorified Allowance runners. Watch that allowance race and see what I am talking about.
If you are willing to take the injuries as the excuse and that he was knocked out before the first turn in his last, Ocho Ocho Ocho could be a threat. He is the only other stakes winner in this field when he captured the Delta Downs Jackpot. He was a hot horse on people’s tongues entering the San Felipe, can he rebound and become an interesting horse the first weekend in May? We will see.
Below are some betting options for the race. You can take all, some or none but I wanted to give you some combinations that just make come true when making your 2015 Blue Grass Stakes picks. Remember the morning line odds for the Blue Grass Stakes are suggestions/opinions and frankly nothing more. As always if you are struggling to raise a couple of dollars to make a bet, please don’t. Pay a bill, which is more important. Remember, this is supposed to be fun. On to my win picks, predictions, and betting strategies for the 2015 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland.
|$1 Exacta Box||1 with 4 with 5|
|$1 Trifecta Box||1 with 4 with 5|
|$1 Exacta Box||1 with 4 with 5|
|$ 1 Trifecta||4,5 with 1,4,5,6|
|$3 Win/ Place||4|