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Saturday Stakes: A look at the Morning Line Favorites for today's Three Kentucky Derby Qualifying Races
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 2020
by: Rich Bieglmeier
Saturday offers a trifecta of stops on the 2020 Road to the Kentucky Derby.
Let's hop in the convertible and go to the track. We'll have to keep the top up at our first stop. Conduit Avenue, off Interstate 80 in Queens, New York, to Aqueduct Race Track.
Aqueduct Race 8 - $250,000 WITHERS STAKES awards 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, four for second, two for third and a point to clean up the superfecta. A field of eight will race 1 1/8 miles on Aqueduct's main track for their share of the quarter-million-dollar jackpot.
SHOTSKI (PP: 5 ML 2-1) is the morning-line favorite and is vulnerable, without a doubt. The Jeremiah O'Dwyer trainee has two wins, a fourth and tenth in his four starts. He wins when he's first or second out of the gate and limps home when he fails to pilot or co-pilot the race. He ran the highest, last race speed figure but has alternated between wins and bombs. He won last time out; so, if the trend continues…
SHOTSKI at Aqueduct
Our handicapper ranks SHOTSKI as the most likely Withers' winner, but jockey Luis Saez will need to get him out of the gate quickly.
Back to the red convertible, head south on Interstate 95, put the top down at the Georgia/Florida border. This Is How We roll on I-95 to exit 18, Florida-858/East Hallandale Beach Boulevard to Seabiscuit Trail, Gulfstream Park.
Holy Bully Batman, we have another race where Kentucky Derby points are up for grabs. The Grade III, $250,000 HOLY BULL Stakes is the first leg of the late daily-double. Seven will vie for the points in a 1 1/16 mile race in the 11th on Gulfstream dirt.
Gulfstream oddsmaker Jay Stone sees TIZ THE LAW (PP: 3) as the heavy, fat chalk at 3/5 morning-line odds. Despite the odds, TIZ THE LAW can be beat, like he was as the favorite in his last start, finishing third in the Grade II, Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs. He was undefeated in his two previous starts, getting home by at least four lengths.
TIZ THE LAW at Belmont Park
TIZ THE LAW is the one to beat and our handicapper believes a RADAR horse could be the one to get the job done. Make sure you get today's full card picks to find out which horse we believe could steal the 10 Kentucky Derby points and wear the Holy Bull crown.
We'll need to swap the convertible for a time-traveling DeLorean to make to Santa Anita Avenue, exit 32 on the 210 to make it on time to the 6th at Santa Anita, the Grade III, $100,000 ROBERT B. LEWIS STAKES.
Again, we have a big-time, pre-race favorite in THOUSAND WORDS (PP: 2) at 4/5 morning-line odds. He's undefeated in two starts, winning his debut by a 1/2 length and his last by a neck. It looks like TIZAMAGICIAN (PP: 3 ML 3-1) is the main threat to beat THOUSAND WORDS to the finish line; however, TIZAMAGICIAN is coming off his maiden win, in his sixth try. He did finish second in four of the others and seventh in his lone trip off the board. HIGH VELOCITY (PP: 5 ML 3-1) is the other second choice, according to the oddsmaker. The thing is, THOUSAND WORDS topped HIGH VELOCITY by 5 1/2 lengths in their last start. It's hard to see HIGH VELOCITY flipping the script.
Our handicapper believes a THOUSAND WORDS is in a good spot versus competition that appears to be at least a cut below trainer Bob Baffert's horse.
Good luck at the races!
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