Thoughts on Saturday's Derby preps for the $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

February 3rd, 2017

The $25,000 Kentucky Derby Dream Bet is back at! The qualifying round is simple enough: cash a $5 Win bet on a single horse in any of the 16 Derby preps between Saturday and March 26, and you advance to the Final Round, which will be held from April 1-15.

While only one winning ticket is required to advance to the Final Round, playing all 16 races and cashing the most winning contest wagers ensures an opportunity to win Qualifying Round Prizes, including a first-place prize of $1,000 and tickets to the 2018 runnings of the Kentucky Derby (G1) and Kentucky Oaks (G1).

The first three qualifying races -- the Holy Bull (G2), Withers (G3) and Robert B. Lewis (G3) -- are Saturday, and a large share of Dream Bet participants may comfortably advance to the Final Round if juvenile champion and current Derby favorite Classic Empire runs to his expected odds-on price in the Holy Bull.

I won't get cute trying to oppose Classic Empire in the Holy Bull, or for that matter El Areeb in the Withers at Aqueduct. The Robert B. Lewis (G3) at Santa Anita, though composed of only five runners, appears a more contentious race.

The least experienced member of the field based on number of starts is Royal Mo, who broke through with a maiden score at Del Mar in late November after placing second in his first two outings. Leading throughout to win over a mile, he's well drawn in post 1 to potentially show similar speed in this 1 1/16-mile test.

From the same connections that won last month's Sham (G3) with Gormley, Royal Mo is less exposed than most of these and might have the tactical advantage. He's the 5-2 second choice on the morning line.

Click the above links for FREE Brisnet Ultimate Past Performances for all three of Saturday's Kentucky Derby preps.