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Kentucky Derby Comes into Focus with Three Prep Races

April 8, 2017

Just two Saturdays remain for points prep races for the Kentucky Derby as the action for participants in the first race of the Triple Crown begins to heat up.

On Saturday, three top prep races will be held. In California the Santa Anita Derby, at Aqueduct the Wood Memorial and at Keeneland the Blue Grass.

The Santa Anita Derby has seen the winner both in 2012 and 2014 go on to win the Kentucky Derby. In 2015, Dortmund won the Santa Anita and was second in the Derby. Exaggerator won last year’s race, lost the Derby but won the Preakness.

Iliad is the leader in betting at 7 to 2, while Gormley is 9 to 2 and three horses sit 5 to 1.

The Wood Memorial is now a G2 race and its prize purse dropped to $750,000 from $1 million, but 170 qualification points are up for grabs for the top four. Three horses should battle for the top spot including Battalion Runner, Cloud Computing and Finally Irish War Cry.

Another horse, Mo Town lost its rider John Velasquez to front runner Battalion Runner but could still contend. Irish War Cry ran well in the Holy Bull defeating a strong contingent including Classic Empire and Gunneverea, but finished seventh at the Fountain of Youth.

In that race, he lost a shoe so he should prove to be strong in this race. Battalion Runner however is favored at 2 to 1.

In Blue Grass Stakes three horses with good current odds to win the Kentucky Derby will be on tap. McCraken is 8 to 1 in the Derby, Tapwrit is 14 to 1 in the Derby, while J Boys Echo is 16 to 1 at the Derby.

They are 7 to 5, 5 to 2 and 5 to 1 respectively in the Blue Grass. The race should be the best of the three on Saturday with those three talented horses battling it out.

McCraken has looked strong in his four starts and defeated Tapwrit last time he race in the Sam F Davis Stakes. He has beaten several other contenders in Saturday’s race and even though he has not raced since February is the favorite on Saturday.

J Boys Echo will also race well but Tapwrit likely will be the biggest contender to McCraken in this battle of star horses that will also battle the field when the Kentucky Derby arrives the first Saturday in May.

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