3 prep races Saturday have Kentucky Derby implications
By Art Wilson
This weekend’s three Kentucky Derby prep races will not tell us who is going to win this year’s Run for the Roses on May 5, but rest assured they will assist handicappers in adding and/or eliminating 3-year-olds from their Horses to Watch lists.
Locally, nine colts with Derby aspirations are scheduled to run Saturday in the $150,000 Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita. None of the top local Derby contenders — Bolt d’Oro, McKinzie or Solomini — are entered, but Shivermetimbers and Peace, two promising colts that will run, are worth keeping an eye on.
Meanwhile, a pair of big 3-year-old races on the East Coast are on tap Saturday — the $350,000 Grade II Holy Bull Stakes at Gulfstream Park and the $250,000 Grade III Withers Stakes at Aqueduct. The Holy Bull, led by Enticed and Tiz Mischief, drew a large field of 11 opposed to a short six-horse field for the Withers.
All three preps are Road to the Kentucky Derby points races, awarding points toward a spot in the Derby on a 10-4-2-1 basis, and they will be televised by FS2 from 1 to 3:30 p.m. PT. The qualifying points increase as we move farther along the Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Here’s a look at all three:
Scheduled for a 1:35 PT post, the Withers Stakes attracted Grade 1 Champagne Stakes winner Firenze Fire and Grade II Nashua Stakes winner Avery Island. Firenze Fire, a disappointing seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar, comes in off a half-length victory over Seven Trumpets in the Jerome Stakes at Aqueduct on Jan. 13.
Avery Island, whose connections skipped the Breeders’ Cup, will be making his 3-year-old debut after concluding his 2-year-old campaign with a second-place effort behind Catholic Boy in the Grade II Remsen Stakes at Aqueduct on […]