The race offers 50-20-10-5 Road to the Kentucky Derby points to the top four finishers. That 50-point bonanza to the winner means whoever crosses the wire first is virtually guaranteed a spot in the Kentucky […]
Favorites Look Vulnerable in Grade 3 Razorback
One of three graded stakes races on the Oaklawn card March 19, the Grade 3 Razorback Handicap features a field of eight veteran horses including two familiar names from last years Kentucky Derby set to contest the mile and one sixteenth event on the main track.
Upstart is the 5/2 morning line favorite despite his hiatus from racing since finishing a disappointing fifth in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby last September. The Richard Violette trainee was a major fixture on the Kentucky Derby trail in 2015, winning the Grade 2 Holy Bull in style and crossing the finish line first in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth before a controversial disqualification. The strapping colt then went on to post an excellent Beyer Speed Figure while finishing second in a fast renewal of the Grade 1 Florida Derby and was considered a top Kentucky Derby hopeful before being eased and finishing last in the Run for the Roses. In his next three starts, Upstart could fare no better than third and looked noticeably fatigued from the Triple Crown gauntlet. Upstart has worked steadily for his return while posting average workouts and could be viewed as a horse that will likely need a race or two before being able to return to top form.
Far Right may need more
Far Right (3/1) also competed in the 2015 Kentucky Derby, finishing 15th before returning to dull efforts in the both the Ohio and Indiana Derbys. This year, Far Right has returned with two solid efforts at Oaklawn, finishing second against allowance competition off the layoff and returning in his second start to win at the same level. Still, the Ron Moquett trainee will likely need to show up with a faster race to be considered a win candidate.
Carve looks quite playable
If Carve (4/1) stays around his morning line price, he could represent the betting value in the race. The six year-old will make his second start out of the Steve Asmussen barn and should be much tighter following his third-place effort February 13 in the Essex Stakes – his first start since August 1. Carve has fared well over the Oaklawn dirt, winning 4 of 10 starts while posting Beyer Speed Figures that would easily best this field. Carve may have indicated his readiness with a dazzling five furlong work March 7 at Oaklawn – the fastest of 30 moves at the distance.
The field is set for the 2019 Preakness Stakes, and looking at the 13 rivals on paper is enough to make any serious handicapper's mouth water. There's simply a ton of betting value here.
Post positions have been drawn, and the oddsmakers have instilled Omaha Beach as the morning line favorite for the running of the 145th Kentucky Derby. The race goes Saturday, May 4th, with 20 runners set to battle 1 1/4 miles on the Churchill Downs dirt track, chasing a purse of $3 million and the first leg of the US Triple Crown.
The defending champ is back in the field for the 2016 Arlington Million on Saturday, but he's being overshadowed by a strong group of foreign invaders.