Our first 50 point prep of the 2021 Triple Crown season is this weekend. It's a superb card at the Fair Grounds and the late Pick 5 is all graded stakes. This is also a 9F prep and the ultimate FG prep will be at 9.5F which was a great idea last year until they moved the Kentucky Derby. We'll see how this experiment works out this year. FG is a fair track but the long stretch begins to favor strong stretch runners as the distances lengthen. This year there is plenty of pace signed on which could favor closers.
1. Starrinmydreams - Great draw to save ground with early speed but Talamo jumps off to stay on Midnight Bourbon. With that said, Hernandez may be an upgrade. Good works for long-shot specialist Stewart (flat bet profitable in graded stakes) who bred this horse himself and then sold a share to Winstar. Interesting!
2. Proxy - Ran better than expected with LASIX off in Lecomte. Horse's two wins are from the lead but colt is not loaded with speed. No excuse in last when second best to Midnight Bourbon and not eligible to improve significantly. Big jockey upgrade to Velaszquez.
3. Beep Beep - Beaten badly in last by weaker. Toss.
4. Carillo - Sold after nice maiden win in January for $875K and switched to Amoss (from Brown). Stretches out and drops LASIX. Demand a price.
5. Senor Buscador - My top choice for the Derby so far with two impressive wins from far back without every trying. Visually impressive in my opinion. Horse not devoid of speed when 10 lengths back of a :45.1 half winning first sprint start. Pace sets up well with a good draw. Expect this horse to come flying and win going away. Only negative is both starts were with LASIX on and faces tougher today.
6. Midnight Bourbon - Inherited lead without being pushed in Lecomte which won't happen today. Kicked clear at top of stretch and either was tiring or racing greenly late. Colt should get bet down off the morning line and doesn't offer much value.
7. O Besos - Appears to be a wise guy horse after hearing some experts pick this as a long-shot. Hernandez chose the #1. Stretches out from sprints and drops LASIX. May pass tired horses late so usable in 3rd or 4th position.
8. Sermononthemount - Running style is fine for vertical exotics but horse is way too slow. Toss.
9. Defeater - Also trained by Amoss and Graham had his choice and chose Carillo. Not sure how this one is lower priced on morning line. Toss for me.
10. Santa Cruiser - Very rough trip in Lecomte will cause this one to get over bet here. Graham jumps off and expect Beschizza to send. May improve significantly with better trip near lead but expect to tire late.
11. Mandaloun - This horse had no excuses in last and was wide throughout. Horse has even worse draw today. Toss for me at a short price.
12. Keepmeinmind - The favorite off win in Kentucky Jockey Club and has right running style so draw not a concern. This is a legitimate contender but is not the best bet as the favorite. Great works for return. NOTE: EXPECTED SCRATCH OPTING FOR SOUTHWEST STAKES
13. RightandJust - Another speed horse will send from outside post and ensure a hot pace. Should tire late. Trainer has done well in small sample of graded stakes.
Bottom line - The speed should be sharp in this race but one of speed horses could hang on for a piece. Candidates for that are the #1, #6 or #10. Race sets up well for the #5 and is my pick to win. #4 is a viable long-shot underneath for Amoss/Graham. I would toss #11 with that draw and only use #2 defensively underneath. Good luck!