Bluegrass Singer has shot at a price in Holy Bull at Gulfstream, three Kentucky Derby preps on tap, two longshots worth a look
We’re just starting to look at the 2015 Kentucky Derby contenders as the championship prep races approach beginning with the Risen Star at Fair Grounds and the Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park on February 21, but we like one horse at a decent price today in one of three Kentucky Derby preps.
Speedster Bluegrass Singer is listed at 4-1 as he stretches out slightly from two excellent wins at a mile to 1 1/16-miles in the $400,000 Holy Bull Stakes-G2 at Gulfstream Park in the ninth race. In his most recent start, the Bluegrass Cat gelding dueled through a half mile in 44 4/5 and got the six furlongs in 1:09 in the $100,000 Mucho Macho Man going a mile at Gulfstream Park, before holding on comfortably to win by 1 3/4-lengths.
His pedigree says he can get the extra sixteenth of a mile and there doesn’t appear to be anything that can go with him early and stick around late. Fellow Holy Bull entrant Juan and Bina tried to stick with him early in the Mucho Macho Man and ended up fifth beaten 14 1/2-lengths.
Leading Gulfstream Park rider Javier Castellano was aboard Bluegrass Singer in the Mucho Macho Man and will be aboard again to try to steal away from the class in the Holy Bull, Breeders’ Cup Juvenile third-place finisher Upstart and Remsen runner-up Frosted.
Upstart faced the best of his generation last year and while he couldn’t beat Daredevil and Texas Red it wasn’t for lack of trying. The problem is that he comes into the Holy Bull off an 11-week layoff. Almost the same can be said for Frosted, who comes into the Holy Bull off a game performance in the Remsen seven weeks ago.
Upstart’s trainer Richard Violette is operating at only a five percent win clip off of long layoffs, while Frosted’s trainer Kiaran McLaughin wins at a 19% clip off long layoffs. That gives Frosted the edge in the exactors, at least for today. And while we’re on the subject of trainer stats, Bluegrass Singer’s trainer Marcus Vitali wins at a 23% clip with repeaters.
Also worth a look as a longshot in the exactors, triactors and superfectas is Canadian invader Decision Day. Coming into the race off a 7-week layoff and slated to be ridden by top rider John Velazquez for trainer Josie Carroll, Decision Day might be underrated in here. In his final start last year he won the $250,000 Coronation Futurity at Woodbine in game fashion going 1 1/8-miles and his Beyer Speed Figures as a 2-year-old steadily improved from 56 to 62 to 77. If he continues that improvement as a 3-year-old he’ll certainly be better than his 30-1 morning line. And his trainer wins at a 21% clip off a layoff.
We’ll bet Bluegrass Singer to win and place and take him top and bottom in the exactors with Frosted, Upstart and Decision Day.
Bluegrass Singer scratched out of the earlier 7-furlong $150,000 Hutcheson Stakes-G3, which goes as the seventh race on today’s Gulfstream Park card. In that race he would have faced likely winner Barbados, who was very impressive winning the $100,000 Spectacular Bid Stakes at Gulfstream Park on January 3.
Barbados looks like the logical short-priced winner of the Hutcheson, but Dom the Bomb, like Decision Day in the Holy Bull, might be a little better than his 6-1 odds indicate. It’s a given that Dom the Bomb is moving up in class, but he certainly looked good winning his last two starts, both stakes at Hawthorne. He’s also fit and gets leading rider Castellano. Worth using in the Hutcheson exactors, triactors and superfectas.
The final Derby prep of the day is the $250,000 California Cup Derby, which goes as the sixth race at Santa Anita. Heavily favored Acceptance looks logical but Tough Sunday has a chance at an upset if he can overcome his recent foot problems. We’ll probably pass on Tough Sunday for today and wait to see how his foot issues work out, but we’ll be watching him closely.