The Week Ahead: Old Fashioned Redemption

If you liken the run-up to the Kentucky Derby to a horse race itself then we are in the stretch with just three weekends between now and the Run for the Roses.  The last two “big” preps are slated for this Saturday as the $750,000 Toyota Blue Grass (G1) will be contested over Keeneland’s Polytrack while the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby (G2) will be run at Oaklawn Park. 

After seeing numerous impressive performances by Derby bound three year-olds over the last two weekends it almost seems imprudent to think we might be in store for another strong effort this weekend.  This is, however, a very strong group of three year-olds and it seems like they have incredible potential.

Who has the most to prove this weekend?  Without question, Old Fashioned, who graced the top of nearly everyone’s Derby lists coming into 2009, has the most to prove.  He scored in his ’09 debut at Oaklawn but didn’t quite show the same finishing kick that he did last year in the Remsen.  He then suffered a bad case of wobbly legs in the Rebel after chasing extremely fast fractions and was passed by the longshot Win Willy.  It looks like he will not have to deal with a one-way speedster like Silver City in the upcoming Ark Derby and that should help his chances significantly.

In the Blue Grass, Patena will be given an opportunity to erase the horrible memories of his 1st start in the IEAH colors when he was never involved in the sloppy Louisiana Derby (G2) at Fair Grounds.  He’ll face Hold Me Back, the impressive winner of the Lane’s End (G2) at Turfway along with Charitable Man, the Futurity (G2) winner from last year who has not started in 2009.  Here’s a look at Charitable Man’s victory in the Futurity and take note of the eventual 4th place finisher:

In New York the racing week is headlined by the $150,000 Comely (G2) which will feature Laragh, a promising filly who finished 3rd in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and subsequently scored in the Hollywood Starlet (G1).  Her main rival looks to be Don’t Forget Gil, who recently scored in the Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay Downs.

Just a reminder that there will be no live racing at Aqueduct on Sunday in observance of Easter.

 

 

Keeneland will offer three graded stakes in addition to the Blue Grass, including the Jenny Wiley (G2) which is scheduled to be the 2009 unveiling of Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf heroine Forever Together.  The four graded stakes will be bundled together in a Pick 4 with a guaranteed pool of $200,000.
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