OTB Race Previews
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Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes goes down at Keeneland in Lexington, Kentucky this Saturday, April 4. A purse of $1 million and 100 qualifying points toward the Kentucky Derby in less than a month's time will be on the line for three year old hopefuls willing to race 1 1/8 miles on Keeneland's new dirt track.
A competitive group of eight three year olds will take part in the Blue Grass Stakes - race 10 on Keeneland's stacked Saturday card. Post time is 6:00 PM. Let's take a glance into the past performances of all eight combatants for this lucrative and important Grade 1 stakes.
Carpe Diem - Todd Pletcher trained colt will race for the fifth time - the first being a 2 1/2 length wire-to-wire maiden score at Saratoga September 1 and the second being a terrific 6 1/4 length win in the Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity at Keeneland October 4 with a 100 Beyer Speed Figure in that race. Last time out he continued his impressive career - a five length win in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 7 which followed a second place finish behind Texas Red as 9-5 favorite in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Legendary jockey John Velazquez will be in charge of Carpe Diem as he continues his surge up the Road to the Kentucky Derby points standings - from post 5 Saturday as the even money favorite in his first start at 1 1/8 miles.
Ocho Ocho Ocho - will race for the fifth time for trainer James Cassidy looking to bounce back after a career worst effort - an eighth in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita March 7. Before that were three starts and three wins - in his graded stakes debut- the Grade 3 Delta Downs Jackpot November 22, in his stakes debut - by 5 3/4 lengths the minor Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes at Santa Anita November 1 and a maiden score at first asking in October. Ocho Ocho Ocho had looked unstoppable before last time out and suddenly has some work to do in order to qualify for the Derby in a month's time. Santiago Gonzalez has been tabbed the 6-1 morning line co-second choice and only other stakes winner from the rail.
Classy Class - Kiaran McLaughlin pupil makes his fifth career start Saturday. His first start was a good one - an impressive 4 length maiden score at Belmont Park with a 88 Beyer Speed Figure on October 25 and his second was an OK fourth after pressing the pace in the Grade 2 Remsen on this track November 29. He enters off a pair of respectable third place finishes - in the Grade 3 Gotham Stakes March 7 and right behind El Kabeir in the Grade 3 Withers Stakes February 7. He departs from post 7 Saturday with Junior Alvarado aboard at 6-1 odds.
Frammento - Nick Zito pupil made his stakes January out and finished sixth in the Grade 2 Holy Bull Stakes and followed that with an OK third last time out in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes February 21. He also posted a second behind Bluegrass Singer in an Allowance Optional Claiming December 17, had a fourth in a similar race at Churchill Downs in November and a maiden score in his second career start - at Keeneland in October. Gary Stevens will be aboard as Frammento looks to snap a four race losing streak and win in stakes company for the first time - from gate 6 at 8-1 on the morning line.
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Danzig Moon - broke maiden February 7 in his third career start in impressive fashion for trainer Mark Casse - at Gulfstream after a second and a fourth respectively in a pair of MSW races. Last time out he stepped into stakes company for the first time and finished a respectable fourth in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby March 7. He looks for his first stakes score Saturday from the outside post with Julien Leparoux aboard at 8-1 on the morning line.
Gorgeous Bird - Ian Wilkes trained colt raced in stakes company for the first time February 21 and finished a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream after wins in two of his first three career starts. He had a two race win streak before his latest outing - an Allowance Optional Claiming at Gulfstream January 24 and a maiden score at Churchill Downs November 22. Brian Joseph Hernandez will get the call as Gorgeous Bird tries for his first stakes score and is listed at 8-1 odds- from gate 2.
Unrivaled - Marya Montoya pupil will race in stakes company for the first time Saturday after six career starts produced two wins, two seconds and a third place finish. He does enter on a two race win streak - an Allowance March 14 and a maiden score in December - both results at Parx. Before the streak was a pair of runner up finishes. Unrivaled has gotten better in each start and looks to takes the next step from gate 4 with Robby Albarado in the irons at 12-1 on the morning line.
Pepper Roani - Michael Maker trained colt will make his graded stakes debut Saturday off a second in the minor John Battaglia Memorial Stakes at Turfway Park February 28 and a maiden score January 31 in his sixth career start. Pepper Roani has placed in his last four starts overall and has shown steady improvement in each. Miguel Mena will be in the saddle hoping to keep the upward trend going from post 3 at 12-1 odds.
Race 10 on Keeneland's Saturday card with a Post Time of 6:00 PM.
|1||Ocho Ocho Ocho||S. Gonzalez||J. Cassidy|
|2||Gorgeous Bird||B. Hernandez, Jr.||I. Wilkes|
|3||Pepper Roani||M. Mena||M. Maker|
|4||Unrivaled||R. Albarado||M. Montoya|
|5||Carpe Diem||J. Velazquez||T. Pletcher|
|6||Frammento||G. Stevens||N. Zito|
|7||Classy Class||J. Alvarado||K. McLaughlin|
|8||Danzig Moon||J. Leparoux||M. Casse|
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