Friday Grade 1 Double Kicks Off 2016 Arkansas Derby Weekend

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Ed DeRosa

April 15th, 2016

Is Arkansas Derby week the only week with as many Grade 1 races on Friday as Saturday?

It's a nice twist to a big weekend of racing with the Racing Festival of the South closing the Oaklawn Park meeting and a pair of Grade 1 turf races at Keeneland Race Course marking the final four Grade 1 races until the Kentucky Oaks on May 6 (a Friday!) at Churchill Downs.

The Apple Blossom is the headliner at Oaklawn where 2014 champion three-year-old filly Untapable looks for her first win since last year's Apple Blossom. The race has a quasi 2008 vibe to it with West Coast invader Tara's Tango challenging a Breeders' Cup champion, though these two aren't quite Zenyatta or Ginger Punch, respectively.

Still, they do appear to be the best horses in the six pack, and although they're the obvious favorites and collectively will be overbet, from a multi-race wagering standpoint I feel you either use only those two or all. I don't feel strongly enough about an upset candidate to lean on her only, so if I'm going to try to beat the top 2 it will be with the field.

From a vertical wagering standpoint, Theogony is the one I most want in the number. She was running late when only beaten a length in the Azeri and sheds three pounds off that effort.

In the Maker's Mark at Keeneland, I'll play Heart to Heart to be second lone speed behind Shining Copper, but if things motor too fast early then Reload is the most likely beneficiary. Heart To Heart is the official #BykPick, but it's worth watching the board on Reload as well. Either of their morning line prices is "value."

Both Keeneland and Oaklawn have 10-race cards supporting their Grade 1 events today, and ABC grids for both tracks are below.