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Saturday Stakes: The 2020 Road the Kentucky Derby and Kentucky Oaks Starts Today
SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2019
by: Rich Bieglmeier
This is the time of year to plant the seeds for lilies and roses so they may bloom in May. The perennial planting season begins this Saturday at Churchill Downs. Lilies for fillies will be sown in Churchill's ninth race, the POCAHONTAS STAKES. And roses will be running in the 10th, the IROQUOIS STAKES.
Both races are the first in the 2020 road to the Kentucky Oaks and The Kentucky Derby. The winners will be awarded 10 qualifying points, second place horses get four points, third receives two points, and one point for filling out the superfecta.
The POCAHONTAS STAKES features nine, two-year old fillies running 1 1/16th miles on Churchill Downs' main track. Oddsmakers have two horses as co-favorites. PORTRAIT (PP: 3) and MORNING GOLD (PP: 6) are both listed at 3-1 morning line odds.
Both ladies are making their third career starts and are coming off wire-to-wire wins to get over the maiden hump. Their upfront running styles could give the duo a slight advantage as a little more than half of the winners at distance/surface during the spring meet were labeled "early speed." Four of four during the current meet were frontrunner types.
British Idiom winning at Saratoga
Three other ladies in the field found their way to the wire first on/near the lead, they include BRITISH IDIOM (PP: 7 ML 4-1), LOTTA OTT (PP: 8 ML 8-1) and ADDILYN (PP: 9 ML 15-1).
Which of these fillies will take the first step towards blooming in May's Kentucky Oaks? Our handicapper ranks them like this in our Pro Subscribers' Bonus Commentary:
"BRITISH IDIOM won her debut with ease and is making her first route run, a 25% winner for trainer Brad Cox. LOTTA OTT broke her maiden in race number two by cutting her fractions noticeably. PORTRAIT won her last by 12 lengths, a big run is usually followed by another. MORNING GOLD recorded the highest last race speed figure and gets Lasix today."
Unlike the POCAHONTAS STAKES, the IROQUOIS STAKES has a clear favorite, according to the morning line. DENNIS' MOMENT (PP: 8) is the pre-race 9/5 favorite. He clipped heels and lost the jockey in his debut. In round two, the comments say he "demolished" the field of 12 as the 4/5 favorite. That's an appropriate description as he won by 19 lengths.
To get the winner's 10 qualifying points, DENNIS' MOMENT will need to get past nine other two-year old boys in the 1 1/16th mile, dirt run. Morning line odds suggest SCABBARD (PP: 3 ML 5-1), ROWDY YATES (PP: 4 ML 7/2) and FLUTE MAKER (PP: 6 ML 8-1) are DENNIS' most likely vanquishers as the only others listed under 10-1 odds.
Rowdy Yates winning at Ellis Park
Of the trio, ROWDY YATES (PP: 4 ML 7/2) and FLUTE MAKER (PP: 6 ML 8-1) have the upfront running form that has the slight edge on Churchill's main track. ROWDY YATES put the highest last race speed figure in the books in his first start since June 29th. If history repeats, he could up his numbers in round two. FLUTE MAKER also came off the bench to break his maiden in his second start. He blew away the field by 11 lengths while easing off late. That suggests he has more in the tank if needed.
Our handicapper sees all pre-race favorites fighting to hold the top spot on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
"ROWDY YATES ran the highest last race speed figure in his first race after a short layoff. He should step it up in round two. SCABBARD finished second in a G2 last out. DENNIS' MOMENT ‘demolished' the field by 19 in his second start. LEBDA is on a two-race win streak and improved his fractions sharply last out."
Good luck at the races!
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