We are launching a new Triple Crown Blog for members only. For every 3yo prep that offers qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby, we will provide detailed race analysis. Of course we will heavily leverage our own handicapping sheet, but we will also bring in outside tools as necessary. One note of caution, our sheets need past performances to properly assess the value a horse offers in a race but with 3yo preps many horses are inexperienced and improve when stepping up in class.
You can only earn points in 3yo preps if you do not use race-day Lasix. This is a major change. I'm not sure if this prevents a horse from using Lasix 72 hours before the race or not...I'm researching that. Lasix is not only used to prevent horses from bleeding, it is also used as a diuretic to lower a horses water weight and help them race faster. The USA is the only country that allows this drug. So it is going away and this will dramatically change how the trainer prepares their horses.
Meanwhile we kick off the 2021 Triple Crown preps with the Jerome Stakes. There used to be a NY track called the Jerome and this was a major G1 for 3yo+. Now it is an Aqueduct race and this year is a weak edition with only 5 horses set to run.
1. Capo Kane - This horses raced previously with Lasix and graduated from a $40 MSW race at Parx. The horse is eligible to improve in 3rd lifetime start but losing Lasix could hurt the horse. His connections are the weakest in the race. He showed speed to win his race and likely won't get the lead here. This is an easy toss.
2. Swill - This is a Brad Cox trained horse and the morning line favorite. He took 3 starts to break his maiden but did so going 7F with blinkers on. When stretched out to two turns he was rated without blinkers and didn't close that well. Now with a minor cutback and switch back to one turn he may improve. His pedigree looks like a sprinter and he will face pace pressure up front. This horse gets the A grade in my sheet and is a contender to win but is a clear underlay.
3. Hold the Salsa - This horse is heavily raced and unlikely to improve. Racing primarily against NY breds he has won several races. Now he steps into a weak open competition race. His speed figures are competitive and his running style is ideal as he figures to be relaxed at back of pack early as several others fight for the lead. My program has him with the A+ grade and fair value odds of about 2-1. So at 4-1 he is the clear bet in the race. I see two weaknesses. First he is 1-2 against Eagle Orb. Second, his jockey, Maragh is only winning 6% of his races right now. He did win on this horse six months ago.
4. Eagle Orb - Also a NY bred, this horse lost to Hold the Salsa 3 back but clearly improved in next two starts. Going a mile he faded late to take second to talented Brooklyn Strong with the addition of blinkers. He was then cut back to 6F and won from off the pace. His pedigree is stronger than Swill's to get the mile distance and he is not the favorite. A B grade contender to win in this tiny field.
5. Original - This is the most confusing horse in the field. Regally bred to a $200K sire and sold for $425K as a yearling. His pedigree is fine for the distance. His debut was poor going 7F. He wasn't bet heavily, was bumped at the start and Saez may have wrapped up on him just to give him an education. In his next start he won easily going 8.5F on yielding grass wire to wire. Now how does he perform returning to dirt and stepping up into stakes competition? At 7/2, he's an underlay and I'll just watch and see.
Conclusion - You could make a case for 4 of the 5 starters and only one of them offers any value at the morning line (#3 Hold the Salsa). There could be a pace battle but it's not a certainty with these horses being so lightly raced and this being a one turn mile, jockeys may be content with their early positions. This is not a race to get brave. I will be betting the #3 to Win at 3-1 or better otherwise I will pass. I would not touch vertical exotics in this race. For serial wages you probably need to use the 2,3,4 budget permitting.