Less than a month after laying in a Dubai hospital after suffering a heart attack, hall of fame trainer Bob Baffert saddled a promising three-year-old named after his son, and that colt trounced a solid field in the $1 million Arkansas Derby (G1) by 9 ½ lengths and became a major play for the Kentucky Derby (G1).
You just can’t make this stuff up.
Baffert came into Saturday at Oaklawn Park having won with 11 of his last 15 starters at the Hot Springs track.
His winning percentage will actually go down after completing the exacta with his two starters, Secret Circle holding on to the runner up spot, completing a $2 exacta that returned $21.40.
The Arkansas Derby was just the fourth start for Bodemeister and just his second victory in his career. The colt was second behind Creative Cause in the San Felipe (G2) on March 10 in his stakes debut.
Dullahan ran down 2011 juvenile champion Hansen in the stretch to win the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1), stamping himself a ticket to Louisville in three weeks.
The Dale Romans trainee came into the race off a runner up finish in the Palm Beach (G2) on turf. Both of his wins have come in Grade 1 races. He broke his maiden last fall at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
The colt certainly looks like he can run all day, but will come into the Run for the Roses without a victory on conventional dirt.
That might have been a concern in previous years, but Animal Kingdom showed last year a talented three-year-old could make the transition from a synthetic surface to dirt and take down the big prize.
While Animal Kingdom was my top pick last year and we were rewarded with a $43.80 payoff, I am not sure we are going to see 20/1 on Dullahan, but yesterday’s results certainly have made the race more wide open than it previously was.
We have just under three weeks to come up with this year’s winner.
My Best Plays Report for Sunday includes my eight strongest plays from Aqueduct and Keeneland.
To purchase my full card report for Aqueduct click here
To purchase my full card report for Keeneland click here
Here is today’s opener from Aqueduct to get the day off to a good start:
AQU Race 1 Clm $30,000N2L (12:50 ET)
#1 Simple Exchange 5/1
#5 Wet One 5/2
#8 Silent Joy 7/2
#2 Katy's Office Girl 12/1
Analysis: #1 Simple Exchange made a good late rally to finish in the runner up spot last out in her first trip over the grass here at this condition. She was stretching out from a sprint on the inner track and catches a group here she should be able to handle. She broke her maiden over the grass at Belmont Park over ground labeled as good and there is some rain in the forecast which may suit her well here.
#5 Wet One tracked the early pace and weakened in the stretch to finish tenth last out at Gulfstream Park versus Alw-1 foes. The cut back in distance here should suit as will the drop back in for a tag here.
WIN: #1 to win at 7/2 or better.
EX: 1,5 / 1,2,5,8
TRI: 1,5 / 1,2,5,8 / 1,2,5,7,8
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Aqueduct:
AQU Race 8 OClm $50,000N2X (4:29 ET)
#3 Viscount 3/1
#7 Saginaw 2/1
#2 Sovereign Default 10/1
#1 Ea / #1a Laysh Laysh Laysh 6/1
Analysis: #3 Viscount is coming off a sharp win at this condition last out on the inner track, drawing clear to win by 4 3/4 lengths. The six year old bounced back nicely off a dull effort over a wet track two back. He comes in here sharp but is going to have to see some pace in front of him.
#7 Saginaw earned a new career top last out in his first go off the claim by the Jacobson barn, beating $25K starter handicap foes. The gelding has landed in the exacta in all seven trips over the Big A main track and his paired up triple digit Beyers look imposing. He owns a solid pace profile throughout and fits well in this spot, but his price may end up on the light side.
WIN: #3 to win at 2/1 or better.
EX: 3,7 / 1,2,3,7
TRI: 3,7 / 1,2,3,7 / 1,2,3,5,7
Today's Featured Race of the Day from Keeneland:
KEE Race 8 The Beaumont G2 (4:42 ET)
#6 Sacristy 7/5
#5 Gypsy Robin 7/2
#4 Born Bullish 3/1
#3 Livi Makenzie 7/2
Analysis: #6 Sacristy missed landing in the exacta for the first time in her career last out when third in the Forward Gal (G2) over a sloppy track at Gulfstream Park. She was second in the maiden ranks in both of her starts on poly, running into repeat winners in both of those outings. The Forward Gal has turned out to be a key race producing three next out stakes winners. Getting off a sloppy track and back on the fake stuff makes this gal real tough here.
#5 Gypsy Robin makes her first start last September where the Ward runner won the Sorority at Monmouth Park. The runner up Say a Novena came out of the race to win the Brandywine in her next start at Philly. The barn is 21% winners with horses coming back off a +180 day layoff and has been sending out live runners at the meeting as usual.
WIN: #6 to win at 7/5 or better.
EX: 5,6 / 4,5,6
TRI: no play
These are price plays for exotic players looking to find a couple of extra contenders to use in their trifecta and superfecta wagers. Or for those with smaller bankrolls, you might want to get in a small win-place wager.
R1: #2 Katy’s Office Girl 12/1
R2: #4 Exact Again 10/1
R5: #7 Hopeful Boy 8/1
R6: #7 You So Smart 10/1
R6: #6 City Scamper 10/1
R7: #4 Report Back 10/1
R8: #2 Sovereign Default 10/1
R9: #1 Touch of Royalty 10/1
Good luck today!