How to bet the 2021 Dueling Grounds Derby and Oaks

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 3rd, 2021

A huge day of lucrative racing will take place at Kentucky Downs on Sunday, led by a pair of stakes events for the sophomores.

Dueling Grounds Oaks -- Race 9

Nine three-year-old fillies will vie in the $500,000 affair. The rapidly improving #8 Core Values (4-1) has reeled off a trio of wins on the lawn in succession, led by a stakes triumph over the boys at Ellis Park last time out. Victoria Oliver pupil is drawn a bit wide for her first try at 1 5/16 miles, but the Honor Code filly gives every impression that she'll handle the added distance.

The $230,000 yearling purchase has displayed a fine turn of foot at nine panels. Rafael Bejarano will be in the stirrups and rallying the bay from off the pace once again.


  • $40 win #8 Core Values ($40)

Dueling Grounds Derby -- Race 10

A dozen sophomores will travel 1 5/16 miles in the well-matched $750,000 contest. #8 Cellist (4-1), one of two contenders in the cast for conditioner Rusty Arnold, has faced Grade 1 fields in two straight in the Empire State and will appreciate the class relief in this endeavor. The speedy son of Big Blue Kitten went too fast early when leading to the top of the lane before tiring in the deep Saratoga Derby (G1) last time out, and I envision him getting a more sensible trip on Sunday. Regular pilot Leparoux retains the mount.

#5 Palazzi (8-1) was second to the top pick in the Audubon S. at Churchill Downs three back, and I can envision a similar finish in this contest. The late-running colt from the Casse shedrow is another who will appreciate the drop down from the Grade 1 ranks in the field, and an expected strong pace will aid his substantial late burst beneath Beschizza.


  • $15 win and place #8 Cellist ($30)
  • $1 trifecta 5,8 with 5,8 with all ($20)
  • 50-cent trifecta 5,8 with all with 5,8 ($10)