Scully: Scouting stakes plays for April 3
Three major Kentucky Derby preps are included among a smorgasbord of stakes action on Saturday, and I will preview some horses of interest at Aqueduct, Keeneland, and Santa Anita.
Blue Grass S. (G2) (Race 11 -- 6:35 p.m. ET)
With some tactical foot, #4 Essential Quality should fall into a good trip in a paceless Blue Grass S. (G2). I won’t go against the odds-on favorite. #2 Untreated and #7 Hush of a Storm are a couple of intriguing options underneath at expected double-digit odds.
Commonwealth S. (G3) (Race 7 – 4:24 p.m. ET)
#5 Attachment Rate overcame a tough trip to win a salty allowance on the Fountain of Youth S. (G2) undercard, racing 10th down the backstretch before rallying about eight-wide off the far turn to easily prove best. The four-year-old colt doesn’t have to be that far back in the early stages, and I like the switch to Luis Saez in the seven-furlong Commonwealth.
The chestnut relishes one-turn, middle distances, and Attachment Rate is poised to make a mark at the graded level this season. This will be the third start off the layoff, and Attachment Rate should receive a perfect setup for his late kick behind a contested pace.
Ashland S. (G1) (Race 9 – 5:30 p.m. ET)
I’m going to try to beat the prohibitive favorite, Malathaat, who will make his first start since narrowly defeating a suspect group in the Demoiselle S. (G2) over a sloppy track last December. Her two starts over fast tracks were visually impressive, but #3 Simply Ravishing ran much faster when posting back-to-back 97 Brisnet Speed ratings last fall.
The break will be key for Simply Ravishing, who crushed rivals when making the lead in the Alcibiades S. (G1) at Keeneland in October. She figures to show speed for Kenny McPeek following the 126-day layoff.
Santa Anita Derby (G1) (Race 8 -- 7:15 p.m. ET)
#2 Dream Shake offered a nice bid to be second entering the stretch of the San Felipe S. (G2), and the inexperienced colt held third after weakening late. After coming back from a short rest last time, the impressive maiden winner looks ready to take a forward step in his third career start for Peter Eurton. Flavien Prat picks up the mount.
Royal Heroine S. (G2) (Race 9 – 7:46 p.m. ET)
It will be a difficult assignment beating Charmaine’s Mia, who has easily captured back-to-back stakes since arriving in Southern California, but I’m intrigued by #4 Warren’s Showtime. A Grade 3 winner over the course and trip last fall, the four-year-old enters in top form for Craig Lewis, and the confirmed closer should have a lively pace in front. She didn’t have the cleanest trip rallying fast for third in the Buena Vista S. (G2) last time, and Warren’s Showtime has a shot at a minor upset.
Wood Memorial (G2) (Race 10 -- 5:58 p.m. ET)
A fair amount of pace is signed on and I’m projecting a favorable outside stalking trip for #7 Candy Man Rocket. By Candy Ride, the dark bay colt did not appreciate being inside rivals after getting away a little slowly in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), spitting the bit and retreating in the early stages.
When able to establish outside positioning just behind the speed, Candy Many Rocket has won a pair of outings comfortably, including the Sam F. Davis S. (G3) in early February. He appears to be training forwardly for Hall of Famer Bill Mott, and I like the outside draw Saturday. Candy Man Rocket can get first jump on the late runners, and he’s listed at an appealing 12-1 on the morning line.