Following a huge weekend of horse racing with three major graded stakes races for three-year olds, a few Kentucky Derby contenders helped to cement their standing as a possible race day favorite for this year’s Run for the Roses with a third horse throwing his name into the mix with a solid win.
The following is a recap of these three key prep races as well as an updated look at BetOnline’s futures odds to win the 2015 Kentucky Derby this upcoming May 2 at fabled Churchill Downs.
Blue Grass Stakes
This year’s Grade 1 $1 million Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland featured a field of eight three-year old thoroughbreds that all had aspirations of making a statement in one of the biggest prep races for this year’s Kentucky Derby, but only one horse stood clearly above the field with a dominating three-length victory in the 1 1/8 mile run.
Trained by Todd Pletcher and ridden by John Velazquez, Carpe Diem made short work of the rest of this field that included Ocho Ocho Ocho, who could not hold an early lead. This was Carpe Diem’s fourth win in five starts and his second this season as a three-year old. Back in early March he posted a five-length victory in the Grade 2 $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs.
BetOnline has now listed Carpe Diem as a +650 third-favorite to win this year’s Kentucky Derby on its latest board.
Santa Anita Derby
Dortmund first broke onto the Kentucky Derby trail as a two-year old with a victory in the Grade 1 $500,000 Los Alamitos Futurity and he opened up his three-year old campaign by winning this year’s Grade 3 Robert Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita Park on February 7. In his next run at this track on March 7, he bested the field again by winning the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes.
Trainer Bob Baffert decided to run Dortmund in this past Saturday’s Grade 1 $1 million Santa Anita Derby and the results were the same with a first-place finish by a comfortable 4 ¼ lengths. It was his six career victory in as many starts. Martin Garcia was once again along for the ride and Dortmund closed as a heavy favorite that paid $3.20 for a two dollar bet.
He is now listed as a solid +475 second-favorite to win the 2015 Kentucky Derby on BetOnline’s board.
If you go back to BetOnline’s Kentucky Derby futures odds before this past Saturday’s Grade 1 $1 million Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct, you would have found Frosted well down the list, but that has all changed since his thrilling run to a two-length victory to ensure himself a spot in the Kentucky Derby field.
Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin has kept Frosted busy as a three-year old with a second-place finish in the Grade 2 Holy Bull at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 24 followed by a disappointing fourth-place finish in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes in late February. Jockey Joel Rosario got the ride in Saturday’s race and guided the second-favorite to the win.
Frosted’s victory in the Wood Memorial now has him listed as a +1400 fifth-favorite to win the Kentucky Derby.
Betting odds for other notable contenders
The horse at the top of the list for most of the Kentucky Derby prep race season has been American Pharoah at +425 betting odds. After being named last year’s 2-year old champion, he opened his three-year old campaign with a victory the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park on March 14 by 6 ¼ lengths.
The fourth-favorite on BetOnline’s current list is Upstart at +1300. He made a name for himself as a legitimate Kentucky Derby contender with his victory in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 21, but he was later dropped to second after apparently impeding Itsaknockout during the 1 1/16 mile run.