Weekend Selections: Derbys, Classics, Stakes, Money

Profile Picture: Ed DeRosa

Ed DeRosa

April 18th, 2014

The heavy lifting for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands is complete, but there are still plenty of boxes to move around this weekend, including the final Lucky 7s promotion, the final chance to earn a share in our $10,000 Kentucky Derby SHOWdown promotion, a possible Kentucky Derby starter running as the favorite in the Illinois Derby, and a 1-million points promo on the all-stakes Pick 4 Saturday night at Charles Town for its $1.5-million Classic featuring Game On Dude.

I’ll yield to Dick Powell on the Australia picks, but I’m loaded for bear in the other spots. Check out these clever opinions:

In the Lexington, I feel some allegiance to Divine Oath, who I’d have loved in the Blue Grass if he had drawn in, and even though I lose some price, I like a now horse for this race in a division that has been pretty plain overall. Other variables in Divine Oath’s favor is that I like Broken Vow on the Polytrack, and I like that Divine Oath has won both his races with different running styles. I’ll also use Poker Player and Ami’s Holiday in multis with a slight preference for the latter, who makes his three-year-old debut after burning some money at the end of his two-year-old season, but any improvement as a fresh horse fits with these.

I will not try to beat Midnight Hawk in the Illinois Derby. Taking a frequent bridesmaid at a short price can be perilous, but I prefer to view him as a class dropper who’s not having to face the likes of Chitu or Candy Boy in this spot. Plus his speed fits the Hawthorne profile, which has had 59% “E” or “E/P” type winners when routing.

Kicking off the graded stakes double at Hawthorne is the Sixty Sails Stakes, and I like jockey Martin Garcia in there as well (he also rides Midnight Hawk) aboard #1 Sonja’s Angel. The 1 1/8 miles is a concern, but anything better than 3-to-1 on her compensates us for that question, and as long as she’s forwardly placed enough breaking from the rail not to get shuffled back, I like her chances to get the trip with a ground-saving trip.

Hopefully we’ll have enough money left for nighttime racing, and the strong 14-race card at Charles Town Races, and I’ll say the same thing about its feature as I did about Hawthorne’s: I’m not going to try to beat Game On Dude here.

Thankfully, there is other value in this Pick 4, starting with the Confucius Say Stakes where In Fairway is the most-likely winner, but #3 Figpen and #9 Allegheny Jack both entice in the $20 range. Figpen returns to a fast track and has gone gate-to-wire at this trip before while Allegheny Jack cuts back and appears to be in career-best form following a layoff.

In the Hinton for three-year-olds, I’m divorcing Rise Up who disappointed in both the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby and now looks to be a short price. Germaniac has disappointed in his last two starts as well, but a return to winter form following a slight freshening gets the job done at 4-to-1.

If you want to brush up on your Derby info among all this action from Friday night (Australia) and on into Saturday, then check out’s Kentucky Derby contender and Kentucky Oaks contender PPs.