The Weekend Wagers According to Dew

by Justin Dew

At some point, the idea of needing to race as a juvenile in order to win the Kentucky Derby will be a thing of the past. It’s really the last remaining Derby jinx. Is it possible, even remotely, that Bob Baffert knew what he had all along in Justify and decided, a mere three years after winning the Triple Crown, that he wanted to be the one to accomplish the impossible yet again? Maybe that’s a reach. And maybe Justify is a monster among boys. Will he need to be to break the Curse of Apollo? He’s defeated a grad total of eight horses in his two-race career. If he wins the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday and heads to Louisville as the favorite, he will do so having faced just one more horse in his career (14) than Enticed defeated in just one race.

Since I’ve never been a fan of Instilled Regard, I think the race pretty much comes down to a match between Justify and Bolt d’Oro, just like everyone else. If you think Bolt d’Oro needed his last, then maybe you give him an edge here and play a straight exacta that will pay 2-1 rather than accept 6-5 or even money on Bolt d’Oro. It’s not going to surprise me in the slightest if both horses end up 4-5 on the tote board at some point in the wagering.

The Bet: Straight Exacta: Bolt d’Oro-Justify


I had forgotten that Good Magic finished ahead of Enticed in the Champagne last fall. That bolsters my opinion ever so slightly that Good Magic is the most likely Kentucky Derby winner at this point, as Enticed has returned to win two graded stakes at two turns. He’ll likely go favored in the Wood Memorial on Saturday against a field that can best be described as the JV of this crop. Bob Baffert sends Restoring Hope from out west. Todd Pletcher will look to give Vino Rosso another shot at Kentucky Derby points. I don’t think Firenze Fire wants to go this far. Most of the rest seem at least a notch below the main contenders. Two horses intrigue me: Old Time Revival and Evaluator. I thought Old Time Revival ran a big race in both the Gotham and the Miracle Wood, and if he gets loose on the lead in here, don’t be surprised if he hangs around for a long, long time. And Evaluator has acquitted himself nicely in his two dirt starts. Both were around one turn, so I’ll be interested to see if he can close strongly with the added distance and class hike. He probably can’t, but at the price and against this bunch, I’ll take a chance that he can.

The Bet: Exacta Box: Enticed, Evaluator, Old Time Revival

Just because I’m a huge fan of Good Magic doesn’t mean I think he will win or has to win the Blue Grass Stakes. One thing for sure is that he’ll be overbet. Maybe he’s good enough to overcome the bad post, but I still have this nagging feeling that Chad Brown is setting this horse up to peak on Derby Day. So I could easily see Good Magic running an honest 3rd and heading to Louisville under the radar, so to speak. Quip and Kanthaka are near and dear to my heart, as I won big money on each of them this year at 18-1 and 11-1 respectively in their big stakes wins. But I think both wins were products of race shape and I don’t particularly like either of them in here. I prefer Free Drop Billy over Flameaway and Tiz Mischief among the remaining contenders with a win over the Keeneland surface, but the horse that I really expect to run big is Sporting Chance. I don’t think the ride he got last out at Oaklawn was all that strong, and I think D. Wayne Lukas will have him cranked to run big.

The Bet: Exacta Key: Sporting Chance over Free Drop Billy and Good Magic


handicappers Dew Justin Rich Nilsen

Justin Dew (Left)

Justin Dew is a regular contributor to the educational horse racing site,  He was one of the original bloggers for the official website.





Quip Ready to Roll in 2018 Bluegrass Stakes

Press Release

China Horse Club International, WinStar Farm and SF Racing’s Quip completed his major preparation for Saturday’s $1 million Toyota Blue Grass (G2) by working 5 furlongs in company in 1:00.40 over a fast track early Sunday at Keeneland.

With trainer Rodolphe Brisset aboard, Quip started two lengths in back of Potomac and finished on even terms in posting fractions of :12.60, :25, :47.20 and 1:00.40 in the work that was accomplished shortly after the track opened at 5:30 a.m. ET on Sunday.

“I was happy with it,” Brisset said. “We got lucky with the weather having the rain hold off. I had worked him twice on a sealed track at Fair Grounds and was not concerned about having to do that, but you prefer to have the track like it is this morning.”

Sunday’s work was the second for Quip since he won the Tampa Bay Derby (G2) on March 10. Quip worked a half-mile in :48.40 on March 24 at Tampa Bay Downs before shipping to Keeneland.

“He is training well and he is a good shipper,” Brisset said of Quip, who spent plenty of time here last year and won a two-turn allowance race by 6½ lengths over Keeneland’s main track.

In other Toyota Blue Grass news, Greg Hall and SAYJAY Racing’s Blended Citizen walked the shedrow Sunday morning at Keeneland a day after working 5 furlongs in 1:01. Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill, said Blended Citizen came out of the work well.


California Night worked 5 furlongs in 1:02.23 at Belmont Park on Saturday for trainer Mike Maker.

Monomoy Stables, Michael Dubb, The Elkstone Group and Bethlehem Stables’ Monomoy Girl, the probable favorite for Saturday’s $500,000 Central Bank Ashland (G1), breezed a half-mile in :47.20 Sundaymorning at Keeneland over a fast track.

Working in company with the 4-year-old maiden winner Compass Zone, Monomoy Girl started a length back and finished on even terms while posting fractions of :24, :47.40 and out 5 furlongs in :59.80.

“That was visually impressive,” said trainer Brad Cox, who claimed his second training title at the Fair Grounds meet that closed Saturday. “I had her going out in 1:00.03 and then 1:13.40 for three-quarters.”

A winner of four of five starts, Monomoy Girl comes into the Central Bank Ashland off a 2½-length victory in the Rachel Alexandra (G2) as the 9-10 favorite at Fair Grounds on Feb. 17.

Sunday’s work was the fifth for Monomoy Girl since her Rachel Alexandra victory. Cox opted for the Central Bank Ashland over the March 24 Fair Grounds Oaks (G2) “because this race is Grade 1 and offers more money.”

Although Monomoy Girl never has raced at Keeneland, Sunday’s work was not her first over the track.

“She was here for a few months last year,” Cox said. “She was here and then went to Ellis Park before she debuted at Indiana Grand.”

Cox said Monomoy Girl would return to the track Tuesday and would have a gate schooling session sometime this week as well as Paddock schooling “Wednesday or Thursday or both.”

Zedan Racing Stables’ Tyfosha is considered a 60-40 proposition to start in the Central Bank Ashland over Sunday’s Beaumont (G3) Presented by Keeneland Select, according to Jack Sisterson, assistant to trainer Doug O’Neill. Tyfosha worked a half-mile in :50.20 here Saturday morning.