News and STORIES

Helium Steps Up Preparations Ahead Of Triple Crown Opener

Author: Ryan Knuppel
Published: Wednesday April 21, 2021
The anticipation ahead of the Kentucky Derby is building, with many of the runners that are set to be involved preparing for the huge Grade 1 race. Many of the leading contenders have been taking to the gallops this past week, as trainers look to ensure that their runners are in their peak condition to ensure that they have the best possible chance of claiming the opening Triple Crown race. This week four of the main contenders from Tampa were back on track ahead of the run at Churchill Downs.

Helium Steps up Preparations

Among the horses that were preparing for the Triple Crown opener this past week on the gallops was Helium. The three-year-old is trained by Mark Casse and is owned by D J Stable. The talented horse has run on just two occasions in the past, and connections made the huge decision to use his most recent run at Tampa Bay Downs as the final prep before the Kentucky Derby in May. However, he was mightily impressive on that outing, as he claimed his first Grade 2 success in the form of the South Tampa Bay Derby.

Helium finished three-quarters of a length ahead of Hidden Stash in that outing. That run in March was the final time that we had seen the three-year-old, but he was back on the track last Friday with new jockey Julien Leparoux. Helium completed the five furlongs in a time of 1:01 4/5 last week, which was slightly slower than the 59 1/5 second time that he clocked the week before. Some gamblers may also be slightly concerned about the change of jockey, as Jose Ferrer rode Helium to success in the Tampa Bay Derby last month.

Hidden Stash Also On Gallops

Hidden Stash for trainer Victoria Oliver was also out training ahead of the Kentucky Derby this past week. The three-year-old completed four furlongs of the track in a time of 47 4/5 seconds. Despite being 23rd in the overall standings for the Road to the Kentucky Derby, he is highly probably to feature as three horses rated higher have already been pulled out of the Triple Crown contest.

Hidden Stash is still a horse regarded by many as a live contender, despite finishing behind both Helium and Essential Quality this year. He finished second behind Helium in the Tampa Bay Derby and finished fourth in the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes last time out. However, it would be hard to see him reversing that form, and that is evident by the fact that he is a 40/1 chance with BetOnline for the Kentucky Derby next month.

Known Agenda & Soup And Sandwich Continue Preparations

As well as Hidden Stash and Helium, the preparations of Known Agenda and Soup And Sandwich have also been stepped up over the past week or so. Hidden Agenda could be one of the main contenders of the dark horses for the Kentucky Derby, as he has strong form behind him for trainer Todd Pletcher. The three-year-old has won two from three starts this season, which includes Grade 1 success last time out in the Florida Derby. That commanding win saw his price for the Kentucky Derby drop to 8/1 with BetOnline.

Soup And Sandwich was a distant two and three-quarter lengths behind Known Agenda in the Florida Derby. His maiden victory came at Tampa Bay Down back on February 24th. The Kentucky Derby is a big step up, but he will be ridden in the Triple Crown race by Tyler Gaffalione. Soup And Sandwich is currently a 25/1 chance with BetOnline.

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