Kentucky Derby: March 10 is a Huge Day for 3-Year-Olds

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D.S. Williamson

March 8th, 2018

This Saturday, March 10, is a huge day for 3-year-olds. At Santa Anita is the San Felipe Stakes. One of the Derby Future Book favorites, Bolt d'Oro, makes his 3-year-old debut in the San Felipe. But, the San Felipe isn't the only race that could have an affect on the Run for the Roses.

Flameaway attempts to make it two in a row in the Tampa Bay Derby while the Gotham could produce one, maybe, even two, Derby contenders.

Kentucky Derby:  March 10 is a Huge Day for 3-Year-Olds

Will Bolt d'Oro Shine in the San Felipe Stakes?

Bolt d'Oro must show something in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes. He's got precious little time to get ready for the hardest race of his career, the Kentucky Derby. If trainer Mick Ruis truly wants the son of Medaglia d'Oro to get into the Derby starting gate, he must pick up more Derby Points. That's not the only reason he must run well, though.

Bolt d'Oro can't afford to take a step back the way that Good Magic appeared to take a step back after the Fountain of Youth Stakes. Good Magic had some excuses after Promises Fulfilled ran the half-mile in over :48. Bolt d'Oro won't have that luxury because Lombo is in this race. So is the Bob Baffert trained McKinzie.

In fact, I believe McKinzie has the upper hand in the San Felipe because it's only at a mile. He should get the jump on Bolt d'Oro. Will finishing a close second to a horse like McKinzie knock Bolt d'Oro off the Derby Trail? I don't think so. But, if Bolt d'Oro doesn't finish a close second, or, maybe, a close third, Ruis might want to consider saving him for the Preakness and the big 3-year-old races this summer.

Can Flameaway Make it Two in a Row in the Tampa Bay Derby?

Flameaway reminds me some of Barbaro. Barbaro won his first 3 races over the turf. Then, he won his next 4 races, including the Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby, over the dirt. Could Flameaway be a Barbaro in the making?

Maybe. In any case, Flameaway might be turning into a nice 3-year-old. At first watching, I wasn't all that impressed with his Sam F. Davis win. Then, I watched it again after having watched his other dirt tries. It sure looks like he figured something out in the Sam F. Davis. If Flameaway improves again in the Tamp Bay Derby, Mark Casse might have a legit Derby contender for the second year in a row.

However, Tiz Mischief, Free Drop Billy, and Vino Rosso won't make it easy on Flameaway. I might end up on Flameaway, though. This is espeically true if his odds are overlaid.

Will a True Derby Contender Emerge From the Gotham?

Will a real Derby Contender come out of the Gotham? Free Drop Billy might end up in the Gotham. If he does, he'll go off the favorite. Calumet Farms' Beautiful Shot could improve as well while Firenze Fire always runs hard.

The horse that everyone will have their eyes on is Enticed. The Kentucky Jockey Club winner finished fourth behind Audible, Free Drop Billy, and Tiz Mischief in the Holy Bull. Medaglia d'Oro sired Enticed. He's a Godolphin horse trained by Kiaran McLaughlin. Improvement is expected.

I actually believe the John Servis trained Dial Operator will have a shot if Servis decides to run him. The Dialed In sired horse from a Wildcat Heir mare looked great when winning a 5.5 furlong allowance race at Laurel in his last.

He beat a super fast horse in Nico Bree N Teej. I hope he runs. If he does, who knows? Maybe, he takes the Gotham field gate-to-wire at something like 16 to 1 odds.