2023 Blue Grass Stakes Odds & Betting Picks

Kentucky Derby second-favorite Tapit Trice is the A-list celebrity in the G1 2023 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday, one of the last 100pt qualifying preps for the ‘Run for the Roses’. He goes up against G1-placed rebounders Blazing Sevens and Verifying, with G2 winner Raise Cain also in the mix.

KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS

Blue Grass Stakes

G1, $1,000,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo, 5.15pm ET

There’s still everything to play for as the final weekend of major Kentucky Derby preps unfolds before us, with the Blue Grass headlining Saturday afternoon at Keeneland and offering Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 100-40-30-20-10 breakdown, making it a win-and-in for America’s greatest race.

The market leader Tapit Trice (5-2) doesn’t need any more points, having booked a spot in the gate at Churchill Downs – for which he is second-favorite on the Jazz Sports future book – with victory in the G3 Tampa Bay Derby over a mile-sixteenth, in which he finished off his race like a locomotive to run down Classic Car Wash (12-1) in the last sixteenth and win going away by two lengths.

With just four races to his name there’s likely more to come from the grey, but trainer Todd Pletcher had worries about the draw last week with Forte and has them again with Tapit Trice, who may have problems from his inside post because he’s a habitual slow starter and could end up behind a wall of horses on the clubhouse turn. He has the talent but he’ll need luck too.

Another with no points concerns is Raise Cain (9-2), who ran his rivals out of town as a longshot in the G3 Gotham at Aqueduct over a mile, taking command at the top of the lane and clearing right away on a muddy track to score by seven and a half lengths.

It was visually very impressive, but it was a crazy race, with a loose horse on the front end and a severe pace meltdown, and it would be wise to treat the form with caution. Raise Cain will be ridden patiently but the race won’t break the same way. His barnmate Scoobie Quando (15-1) has only raced on the synthetic at Turfway Park so has surface and class issues to overcome.

Two with reputations to mend and a rivalry to continue are Blazing Sevens (6-1) and Verifying (3-1), who filled the exacta in the G1 Champagne at Aqueduct in October and then ran four-six in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile here over a mile-sixteenth.

Both are better than their most recent runs suggest; Blazing Sevens was beaten a city block when eighth of nine in the high-quality G2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park, and Verifying had a difficult trip before rallying for fourth in the mile-sixteenth G2 Rebel at a sloppy Oaklawn Park. Of the two, Verifying makes more appeal.

Kenny McPeek brings a triple threat, although all three need to find a lot more. Sun Thunder (10-1) is on a two-week turnaround after keeping on late for fifth in a paceless G2 Louisiana Derby over a mile and three-sixteenths at the Fair Grounds, while Hayes Strike (15-1) snapped a six-race losing streak when taking a mile-sixteenth stakes at Laurel Park, and Mendelssohns March (20-1) is unbeaten in two and makes his stakes debut here. Hitting the board would be a big day for any of this trio.

2023 Blue Grass Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Tapit TriceLuis Saez+250
Clear the AirRicardo Santana, Jr.+3000
VerifyingTyler Gaffalione+300
Classic Car WashJavier Castellano+1200
Hayes StrikeJames Graham+1500
Scoobie QuandoLuan Machado+1500
Sun ThunderFlorent Geroux+1000
Blazing SevensIrad Ortiz, Jr.+600
Major BlueDavid Cabrera+3000
Raise CainJoel Rosario+450
Mendelssohns MarchBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+2000

The inside post does Tapit Trice no favours so perhaps VERIFYING, who persevered gamely after a rough trip last time, can finally begin to live up to his reputation.

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