The valuable G3 Ohio Derby at Thistledown on Saturday, the marquee event of the year at the Cleveland circuit, has drawn a hot field headed by G1 Florida Derby winner White Abarrio, who renews rivalry with fellow Kentucky Derby also-rans Tawny Port and Classic Causeway as the classy trio bid to get their careers back on track.
Grade 3, $500,000, 1m 1f, 3yo
There are many Derbys in the racing calendar, and for those who don’t figure in the big one in Kentucky there are plenty of smaller ones in which to make a mark, and with half a million bucks on offer in the Ohio Derby at Thistledown on Saturday the rewards are substantial.
Three also-rans in the Kentucky Derby go on a recovery mission and White Abarrio is top of that list despite a morning-line that looks out of sync with the bigger picture, as on his previous start the dashing grey was an authoritative winner of the G1 Florida Derby at Gulfstream Park, stalking the pace before driving clear, which made him a leading contender for Louisville.
Like many in the ‘Roses’, though, his chance went up in smoke behind a stupidly fast pace and he dropped right out to finish 16th. He is obviously considerably more accomplished than that suggests and the shape of this race, with moderate early speed, will suit his stalking tactics well by giving him plenty to run at. He also gets Lasix for the first time.
That early speed will come in part from Classic Causeway, another Derby failure (11th) who was also a complete washout in the Florida Derby, on the lead before dropping right out soon after halfway. He has moved barns since the Derby and his victory in the G2 Tampa Bay Derby says there’s ability there, but he has a lot to prove after two poor efforts in a row and is not easy to like.
The morning-line choice is Tawny Port, possibly because of his hot-ticket trainer-jockey combo and possibly because in finishing seventh at Churchill Downs, flattening out late as though the return to a mile-eighth would suit, he did best of the ‘Derby three’. He had earlier won the G3 Lexington at Keeneland but that was not a strong race, and his best form has been on the synthetic surface at Turfway Park. He races away from the pace, which may give him a lot to do in this set-up.
Fourth in the Lexington was Ethereal Road, who came up short in all the Derby preps but bounced back in a stakes at Pimlico last time when easily beating inferior opposition. He’s in form, confidence high, but has a tough task back up in grade.
Aqueduct stakes-winner Barese was beaten sprinting last time but is probably better judged on his fifth place in the G2 Wood Memorial, also at the Big A, behind Belmont and Preakness winners Mo Donegal and Early Voting.
He also gets first-time Lasix and is a much better prospect than his barnmate Pineapple Man, a maiden winner who may have a role on the lead alongside Classic Causeway. Droppin G’s was beaten 14 lengths into fourth in the G3 Matt Winn at Churchill Downs and will find this even harder.
|Horse||Jockey||Horse Racing Odds by JazzSports|
|Brigadier General||Reylu Gutierrez||+1200|
|Droppin G’s||Malcolm Franklin||+800|
|Ethereal Road||Rafael Bejarano||+375|
|White Abarrio||Tyler Gaffalione||+325|
|Pineapple Man||T. D. Houghton||+1000|
|Tawny Port||Irad Ortiz, Jr.||+275|
|Classic Causeway||Brian Joseph Hernandez, Jr||+600|
Ohio Derby Betting Prediction
It’s easy to forgive WHITE ABARRIO his defeat in the Kentucky Derby, and he’s a class act who can bounce back with first-time Lasix and an ideal pace scenario.
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