How to bet the 2022 Dueling Grounds Derby
An overflow field of 14 three-year-olds will travel 1 5/16 miles on the Kentucky Downs sod in Sunday’s lucrative $750,000 Dueling Grounds Derby (G3). In a field with so many intriguing contenders on the unique turf course, I feel compelled to find value with my top selection. The Shug McGaughey-trained #9 Dripping Gold (8-1) gets the nod.
The son of Lemon Drop Kid commenced his career on the green at Saratoga as a juvenile and was a clear winner on debut, driving home a convincing, 2 1/4-length winner. He finished fifth in the Summer S. (G1) at Woodbine over a "good" course to conclude his brief two-year-old campaign.
Dripping Gold was unplaced in his first two tries in 2022 prior to adding blinkers and finishing a big second in a deep allowance cast at The Spa, where the Kentucky-bred earned a lifetime-best Brisnet Speed figure (92). I think that the equipment change will bring the sophomore to a new level going forward.
His full-sister was a multiple Grade-3 heroine on the lawn, and the fact that the $300,000 purchase comes back on such short rest for a relatively conservative barn is a major plus. Julien Leparoux will be in the silks and stalking the pace from the early stages.
Recent Hall of Fame S. (G2) victor #12 Ready to Purrform (3-1) rates as the one to beat for conditioner Brad Cox. The Kentucky-bred son of Kitten’s Joy has excellent versatility and comes in with very good current form, as well.
The chestnut colt will likely be put into the race to some extent early on to avoid a wide voyage from a tough post. Joel Rosario will be in the silks atop the dangerous win threat.
#6 Double Clutch (4-1) ran well despite a less than favorable trip in the Hall of Fame S. at Saratoga last time out. The Rusty Arnold pupil has been consistently solid from four lifetime tries to date, and the son of Optimizer could be sitting on a big one while making his third run off the layoff, too.
The Calumet homebred smoked a bullet half-mile on the lawn at the Oklahoma training track in advance of Sunday and will be tough to deny if he runs to that morning breeze in this offering. Top pilot Florent Geroux taking the reins is another positive.
Dueling Grounds Wagers
- $10 win/place/show: #9 Dripping Gold ($30)
- $4 exacta key box: 9 with 6,12 ($16)
- $2 trifecta box: 6,9,12 ($12)