The Kentucky Derby is only three weeks away, so this weekend is the when most of the top contenders will make their final start before the big day. This weekend there are seven races on the Triple Crown trail, headlined by the Big 3 Pick 3: the Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland, and the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. These three races will be offered as a national pick three bet and televised on ESPN and NBC. ESPN will show the Wood and the Bay Shore from 3:30-4:30pm EDT while NBC will show the Wood via tape delay with the Blue Grass and Arkansas Derby live from 4:30-6:00pm. Post time for the Wood is 4:15pm EDT so get your Big 3 Pick 3 wagers in before then.
Preachinatthebar, winner of the San Felipe Stakes last out, will go east and take on some good horses in the Blue Grass Stakes.
Master David was established as the 5-2 morning-line favorite when he drew post position No. 5 in a field of 11 for the 80th running of the $750,000 Wood Memorial. "With a good effort in the Wood we should be in a good spot" for the Kentucky Derby, said Master David owner Peter Minikes. "Given that three of the last four winners of the Derby have come out of the Wood this is a logical place to go." Looking for redemption for poor peformances last out are Tapit and Eddington, who were hot prospects early in the year. Eddington was third last out in the one-turn mile Gotham and trainer Mark Hennig thinks the longer distance will improve him. "I don't think there is any question he is a two-turn horse. "We knew that going in. We knew we were taking a step back, going against horses more suited to doing what we asked him to do in the Gotham. But we were there for educational reasons."
Free past performances for the Wood Memorial
Hollyeood Futurity winner Lion Heart, second to Imperialism in his only race this year, is the 5-2 favorite for the Blue Grass and will break from post 6 in a field of 9. His trainer Patrick Biancone said, "It's the toughest prep race there is. There are three grade I winners in this field. The Santa Anita Derby didn't have any grade I winners; the Wood doesn't have any grade I winners; and the Arkansas Derby doesn't have any grade I winners." Lion Heart, Action This Day and Birdstone are the grade I winners in the field. Nick Zito, who looked to have an unbeatable hand coming into this year's Triple Crown Trail and has yet to win a single prep race, will have both The Cliff's Edge and Birstone in here to try and turn that around.
Free past performances for the Blue Grass
Smarty Jones , the unbeaten winner of the Southwest and Rebel at Oaklawn, drew the outside post in a field of 11 three-year-olds for the Arkansas Derby. John Servis, Smarty's trainer, didn't seem worried though. "I love the outside, it's just fine," he said. "Smarty will be the last to load, and there's a good, long run to the first turn. He's got the tactical speed to get a good position. I sure would rather be out there than in the first three."
Free past performances for the Arkansas Derby
Here are the entries for the three big preps:
|The Wood Memorial|
Grade 1, $750,000, 1 1/8 miles
|7||Little Matth Man||Ciresa||Fragoso||15-1|
|The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes|
Grade 1, $750,000, 1 1/8 miles
|2||Action This Day||Mandella||Flores||9-2|
|3||The Cliff's Edge||Zito||Sellers||4-1|
|5||That's An Outrage||Puhich||Guidry||30-1|
|The Arkansas Derby|
Grade 2, $1,000,000, 1 1/8 miles
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