News and STORIES
Gamine Lines Up For Derby City Distaff Stakes As The Red-Hot Favorite
Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Friday April 30, 2021
Saturday’s action at Churchill Downs will be all about the Kentucky Derby, but before the most exciting two minutes in sport, fans will be able to bet on six other Graded races. There are two Grade 1s to look forward to before the opening Triple Crown race of the season.
One of the most exciting stars that we will see on the track on Saturday will be Gamine, as the Bob Baffert-trained horse looks to follow up her Grade 2 Las Flores Stakes victory with another win at Grade 1 company.
Gamine Leads Betting For Derby City Distaff Stakes
The Derby City Distaff Stakes is the first Grade 1 of Derby Day, and there are expected to be six horses that go to post. However, all of the attention for this race will be on Gamine, who is as short as 1/5 with many of the leading sportsbooks. Such is her dominance in the market that the second favorite in the race, Bell’s the One, is priced as high as 6/1. Gamine is certainly the most talented horse in this field, as he has won all but one of her career starts to this point.
The only blip on her record came in the Kentucky Oaks 12 months ago, as he finished back in ninth. Since then, she has bounced back and shown her quality. She won her third Grade 1 last season, as she cruised home in the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She has continued to improve this season and comes into this contest off the back of winning the Las Flores Stakes by five lengths from Qahira. Make no mistake about it; Bell’s the One is a talented horse for trained Neil Pessin, but the runner-up in the Grade 1 Madison Stakes will need a run of a lifetime to get anywhere near Gamine this weekend.
Competitive Churchill Downs Stakes Expected
The tenth race on the card at Churchill Downs is the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes. This could feasibly be one of the most exciting races of the day and is one of the big betting races on Derby Day. Thirteen horses will go to post for this race, and a case could easily be made for all that will be lining up. Flagstaff is the current market leader for trainer John Sadler, as he looks to follow up with a second consecutive Graded victory. The seven-year-old was in excellent form when winning the Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes last time out. However, gamblers may be tempted to look elsewhere in the market.
Whitmore won the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland last year but has finished second on his last two starts. There would have been enough encouragement from his last run in the Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint Handicap to attract support this weekend. Mind Control has also performed well in Graded company this season, as he finished second in the Carter Handicap back in March. Basin, Tap It To Win and Endorsed are all others that could be ridden prominently.
Colonel Liam And Ride A Comet Compete in Final Grade 1 Before Kentucky Derby
The last Grade 1 before the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs is the Old Forester Bourbon Turf Classic Stakes. This Grade 1 has attracted a competitive field this year, with Smooth Like Strait, Ride A Comet, and Colonel Liam all involved. The latter of those for trainer Todd Pletcher comes into this race after winning the Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational Stakes and Muniz Memorial Classic Stakes and certainly has leading claims.
Ride A Comet remains a popular selection, despite seeing his incredible record brought to an end over recent starts. After winning four straight races, which includes the Del Mar Derby, he has failed to win his last two. However, he finished second in the Maker’s Mark Mile Stakes, which was a determined run. Domestic Spending for trained Chad Brown could be one that goes well here if he can continue the form he showed when winning the Hollywood Derby in November.