2018 Blue Grass Stakes Expert Picks with Odds and Betting Predictions
The Blue Grass Stakes was a disaster of a race from 2007 to 2014. It was sad, really. This used to be a truly great race, but Keeneland gave in to the thankfully mostly dead trend of synthetic tracks, and it led to a prep race that was virtually meaningless. A mess. It was not what a race that produced winners like the all-time legend Northern Dancer and other Derby winners including Tomy Lee, Shut Out, Chateaugay, Lucky Debonair, Forward Pass, Dust Commander, Riva Ridge, Spectacular Bid, and Strike the Gold deserved.
It wasn't just those top horses that came from this race. Bull Lea is a foundational sire who won here. Prairie Bayou, Skip Away, and Holy Bull all turned into three-year-old champions after their Blue Grass win. And Alydar finished second to Affirmed in all three Triple Crown races in 1978 after his Blue Grass victory. Since returning to dirt in 2015, there hasn't yet been a breakthrough - Brody's Cause was a long shot, Irap wasn't a real contender, and Carpe Diem was irrelevant in the Derby. But can this year be different? Will this be the start of the return to glory for a once great race? Here's how the highlights of Saturday's massive 14-horse field shape up (horse, jockey, trainer, odds):
Good Magic, Jose Ortiz, Chad Brown, 2/1: This colt has only one win, but it was the right win - he crossed the line first in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile to break his maiden and was named the champion two-year-old colt as a result. He came back in Fountain of Youth in early March, and it went really badly - he was a disappointing third and was really flat down the stretch. That was a odd race with a rough pace scenario, though - Promises Fulfilled won it on the back of that pace and then came back to finish a miserable ninth in the Florida Derby. This son of Curlin is much better than he showed in that three-year-old debut, and this is the spot for him to show it. Brown is a great trainer, and he should have this horse dialed in and ready because he needs a strong showing here - he likely has enough points to make the race but not enough to be viewed a strong contender yet. The connections and the breeding are great. The price isn't, though - especially in a field this big - but he is the horse to beat. He's my strong pick, and that means that this isn't a great betting race.
Free Drop Billy, Irad Ortiz Jr., Dale Romans, 5/1: Dale Romans won this race in 2016 with Brody's Cause, so he wants to try it again here. And we know that this horse can win here at Keeneland - like Brody's Cause he won the Breeders' Futurity here in October. But he hasn't won since and was a total disaster in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. I just don't trust him anymore and can't justify this price in a field this size. This is a pretty easy pass for me.
Quip, Florent Geroux, Rodolphe Brisset, 6/1: This horse won the Tampa Bay Derby last time out. It was a bit of a surprising result but an impressive one nonetheless. Now he gets a chance to prove that it was no fluke. He's a horse that has early speed, but he doesn't need to use it. That makes him versatile here and sets him up to be a part of the race in a few different scenarios. If he goes off at a price close to this one then he'll be a factor in exotics betting. A big factor.
Flameaway, Jose Lezcano, Mark Casse, 6/1: I'm a little torn on this horse. I really like Casse, and Lezcano is solid. And this horse has been strong this spring - he won the Sam F Davis, and then came back to be second in the Tampa Bay Derby. He's on the Derby bubble, though, and he needs points while stretching out and facing a stronger field than he is used to. His breeding is solid, and he has heart, but I just don't know if he is good enough. He's another that I will use in my exotics, but not up top
Sporting Chance, Luis Saez, D. Wayne Lukas, 10/1: I am such a sucker for betting on D. Wayne Lukas horses in Derby preps. I'm nostalgic for the days of racing when he was in his prime, and I want any new chance to relieve that that I can get. But that isn't enough to make me believe in this horse. He was a huge disappointment in the Rebel last time out and has only really run on off tracks. Not a factor.
Kanthaka, Julien Leparoux, Jerry Hollendorfer, 10/1: This California runner won the San Vicente, but that was only around one turn. And then he came back in the San Felipe, and his third-place finish showed above all that he wasn't anywhere near the caliber of McKinzie and Bolt d'Oro. So, he came to Kentucky primarily because it is a long, long way from California and those horses. It was the right move, but it won't be enough. I don't see him as a factor.
Doc's Sports is offering $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please for any handicapper and any sport on Doc's Sports list of expert sports handicappers. Get $60 worth of premium members' picks free .
Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
Most Recent Horse Race Betting and Handicapping
- Will There Be A Triple Crown Winner in 2020? Expert Horse Racing Tips and Predictions
- 2020 Belmont Stakes Predictions
- Belmont Stakes Odds - Live Horse Racing Betting Odds Updated
- 2020 Arkansas Derby Predictions with Morning Line Betting Odds
- 2020 Louisiana Derby Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
- 2020 Rebel Stakes Predictions with Odds and Expert Betting Picks
- 2019 Breeders' Cup Betting Tips: Horses to Watch
- 2019 Breeders Cup Long Shots: High-Value Horses to Watch
- 2019 Breeders' Cup Classic Predictions and Expert Betting Picks
- 2019 Breeders' Cup Mile Predictions and Expert Betting Picks