Kentucky Derby Dream Bet Arkansas Derby & Lexington S. picks from Jennifer Caldwell

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Jen Caldwell

April 15th, 2016’s $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet contest comes to a close on Saturday with the last two races in the final round – the Arkansas Derby (G1) at Oaklawn Park and Lexington S. (G3) at Keeneland.

First up will be the $150,000 Lexington around 4:59 p.m. (ET), which offers up 10-4-2-1 points toward a starting berth in the May 7 Kentucky Derby (G1). It’s hard to ignore Swipe after the Birdstone colt ran second to Nyquist in his past four races, but the Keith Desormeaux trainee is making his sophomore debut in this spot.

With that in mind, Collected (#10, 2-1) seems like a more viable option in this field. The Bob Baffert-trained son of City Zip enters on the upswing after taking the Sunland Park Festival of Racing S. by two front-running lengths.

Collected was fourth prior to that one in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn Park, but captured the Sham (G3) at Santa Anita Park to kick off his 2016 campaign. He earned a 102 BRIS Speed rating for his latest victory, easily best of anyone else in this field, and gets the services of jockey Javier Castellano as he attempts to make it two stakes wins in a row.

The $1 million Arkansas Derby, which is scheduled to go at 7:18 p.m., is a much harder race to decipher, leaving its Derby point total of 100-40-20-10 up for grabs. It features the winners from the Rebel (G2) (Cupid), Southwest (G3) (Suddenbreakingnews) and Smarty Jones S. (Discreetness), all local preps for the Arkansas Derby which were taken by different runners.

With that in mind, I’m tabbing Whitmore (#8, 9-2) to get the score this time around. The Ron Moquett pupil finished second in both the Southwest and Rebel, and could finally be ready to put it altogether in the main event.

Whitmore has been stabled at Oaklawn since December, and has been working up a storm at the Hot Springs, Arkansas, venue. He most recently was caught in :48.80 for a half-mile over the track on April 9, and keeps jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle for his Arkansas Derby go. The Pleasantly Perfect gelding faces some tough competition, but his best should get the job done on Saturday.