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2011 Kentucky Derby Prep Race Previews – Apr. 13th

The Road to the Kentucky Derby – April 13th – VOLUME 10

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Leading up to horse racing’s premier event; the Kentucky Derby on May 7 , there will have been close to 60 prep races that were run from the beginning of the year to the middle of this month that will ultimately determine the 20-horse field for this year’s ‘run for the roses’.

These prep races also provide some solid insight into which horses have the best chance to win the Derby and possibly go on to make a run at winning the elusive Triple Crown of horse racing with a win in the Preakness and the Belmont as well. It is crunch time on the Derby Trail with the final few weekends of racing before this year’s contenders head to Kentucky to begin training for the race. The following is a brief re-cap of two of the biggest prep races from last weekend.

The Wood Memorial at Aqueduct Race Track- Saturday, April 9

The Wood Memorial is a grade I stakes race for three-year old Thoroughbreds with a total prize purse of $ 1 million. The race is contested on a dirt track over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. The main buzz in the Wood Memorial this year was the presence of early Derby favorite Uncle Mo in the field. He went off as a ridiculous 1-10 favorite in a field of nine horses but could only manage a third-place finish after second choice Toby’s Corner pulled off one of the biggest upsets in the history of this race by edging 20-1 Arthur’s Tale by a neck for the win.

Toby’s Corner, who is trained by Graham Motion and ridden by Eddie Castro, won the Whirlaway Stakes at Aqueduct on Feb.5 and took third in the grade III Gotham Stakes on March 5. He has won four times in six starts and will now be on his way to Kentucky to prepare for the Derby.

The Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park-Saturday, April 9

The Santa Anita Derby is a grade I stakes race for three-year old Thoroughbreds with a total prize purse of $1 million. The race is contested on a dirt track over a distance of 1 1/8 miles. Trainer Bob Baffert’s domination of this race continued last Saturday after 14-1 Midnight Interlude captured the Santa Anita Derby by a head over Comma to the Top. It was Baffert’s six victory here and one of his most rewarding after the favorite Jaycito, another one of his Derby contenders, was forced to scratch a day before the race because of a lingering foot injury. Comma to the Top led the field deep into the stretch, but began to drift out into the lane allowing Midnight Interlude to close for the win. Mr. Commons finished 2 ¼ lengths back in third.

Ridden by Victor Espinoza, this was just his fourth career start and first stakes race as his only other victory was in a maiden start earlier this year. The stunning win earned Midnight Interlude a spot in the field for this year’s Kentucky Derby as well as $600,000 in graded stakes earnings.

This upcoming weekend features the final full-slate of Derby prep races including the Blue Grass Stakes from Keeneland and the Arkansas Derby from Oaklawn Park. Both races are scheduled for Saturday, April 16.

David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.

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About Dave Schwab

David Schwab is a regular contributor to the Cappers Picks Blog. While not cheering for his beloved Philadelphia Eagles David can be found working on his blog at www.eaglesinc.com. David wants to hear from you so please comment below.


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