Saturday’s Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule is one to watch, as three Championship Series stakes races are key preps for bigger Derby prep races at the same tracks next month. This trio of races award 50 points to the winner and enough points to gain a spot in the starting gate for the Run for the Roses May 6 at Churchill Downs.
Bettors looking to cash in on Saturday’s big races and the unrivaled day of racing the first Saturday of March can watch and wager on the biggest races through FanDuel Racing. FanDuel TV will be live on-site covering select stakes Saturday with exclusive coverage of the Road to the Kentucky Derby races providing expert analysis and behind-the-scenes coverage by FanDuelTV’s staff .
Also check out FanDuel Racing for for handicapping tools and resources including Kentucky Derby betting information and updates. More than a dozen stakes races from around the country will be available to live stream through FanDuel racing.
Fountain of Youth Top Win Contenders and Horses to Watch
Along with FanDuel Racing coverage, I turned to the experts at Horse Racing Nation (HRN) and it’s Super Screener big stakes race analysis for more insight and complete racing coverage. Horse Racing Nation provides racing previews, picks and insight, and the HRN Super Screener features race analysis and wagering recommendations for key graded stakes. A bonus edition to with 13 stakes races over four tracks this weekend is available for horse players.
The Super Screener’s top win contenders in the 10-horse Fountain of Youth (Race 14) going 1 1/16 miles include:
#8 Rocket Can (8/1)
#4 Forte (7/5)
#6 Blazing Sevens (7/2)
Horse Racing Nation’s Super Screener says the Fountain of Youth has “moderate payoff potential” with the win contenders and added horses to use underneath for exacta, trifecta and superfecta payoffs. Those include: #1 General Jim (6/1) and #3 Shadow Dragon (12/1), who finished a fast-closing second to Rocket Can in the Holy Bull Stakes last month.
Forte makes his 2023 debut and he was the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champion last November. He’s beaten Blazing Sevens twice including by margin in the BC Juvenile.
The 1-mile Davona Dale Stakes is a Kentucky Oaks prep race for 3-year-old fillies and is Race 12 Saturday at Gulfstream, where top track announcer Pete Aiello makes all the racing calls. The HRN Super Screener top win contenders and top value in the Davona Dale Stakes include: #2 Infinite Diamond (10/1) and #1 Atomically (8/1) with #3 Red Carpet Ready (2/1) the most reliable board hitter.
San Felipe Top Win Contenders and Horses to Watch
The San Felipe has produced more than a dozen Kentucky Derby winners since 1947, including 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Other notable Triple Crown race winners include Sunday Silence (1989) in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, Fusaichi Pegasus (2000) in the Derby, Point Given (2001) Preakness and Belmont, California Chrome (2014) Derby and Preakness, and Authentic (2020) winning the Kentucky Derby.
In 2021, Life is Good won the San Felipe and was the early favorite for the Kentucky Derby. But an injury later in March knocked him off the Derby Trail.
Then last year, Forbidden Kingdom put on a stellar display in winning the San Felipe. The son of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah was on his way as a serious Kentucky Derby contender until a epiglottis issue forced him off the Derby trail following the Santa Anita Derby.
This year’s 11-horse field in the San Felipe Stakes includes the swift-footed Hejazi (7/2), a $3.5 million auction purchase and a son of Bernardini out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare. But the HRN Super Screener picks Hejazi to finish behind others and to only use underneath in exacta, trifecta and superfecta wagering.
Top win contenders in Race 6 and the 1 1/16 mile San Felipe Stakes include:
#8 Geaux Rocket Ride (5/1)
#2 National Treasure (3/1)
#9 Fort Bragg (8/1)
National Treasure is a stablemate of Hejazi for trainer Tim Yakteen, who covers for suspended Churchill Downs/Kentucky Derby trainer Bob Baffert. National Treasure is a most reliable in-the-money finisher who has hit triple-digit EFS speed figures his last two graded stakes starts including in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile behind Forte.
Geaux Rocket Ride did not race as a 2-year-old, and was a most impressive maiden winner five weeks ago with ideal speed and balanced energy. He moves up quickly to face winners for the first time.
Two other Grade 1 races Saturday at Santa Anita include the Frank E. Kilroy Stakes (Race 11) with top win contenders #7 Du Jour (10/1) and #4 Air Force Red (4/1). And in Race 12 for the Santa Anita Handicap, longshot #7 Heywoods Beach (20/1) is a top win contender along with Newgrange (6/1).
Gotham Stakes Top Win Contenders and Horses to Watch
There is a third Kentucky Derby Championship Series prep race Saturday offering 50-20-15-10-5 points to the top-5 finishers. The 1-mile Gotham Stakes is Race 9 at Aqueduct in Queens, NY. The HRN top win contenders include #11 Slip Mahoney (5/1), #10 Lugan Knight (6/1) and #3 Mr Swagger (10/1). The race has high-payoff potential for horse players looking to watch and wager with hopes to cash in for a potential a bigger score.
The time is near to separate the wheat from the chaff on the Derby Trail, and we’ll know who can win and the 20-horse field for the 2023 Kentucky Derby over the next month. Young horses growing, maturing, learning — this is the time for their jumps and leaps in development and into the Derby conversation.