The Toyota Blue Grass Stakes (G1) – I Need a Gala

The 2014 Kentucky Derby trail has been one of the stranger ones in recent memory so it seems fitting that the final running of the Toyota Blue Grass Stakes on Keeneland’s Polytrack is a head scratcher.

#3 BOBBY’S KITTEN is a deserving favorite and has yet to run a bad race. He does tend to be very headstong in his races and I have concerns about his ability to rate and close into what looks on paper to be a quick early pace. He’s worth using, but only defensively.

The horse with the most upside from a betting perspective looks to be #14 GALA AWARD. He’s less than a length from being undefeated in three route races. Granted, they have all been on turf and against significantly lower quality competition than BOBBY’S KITTEN. But he appears to be more versatile from a pace perspective and his last two wins have come from outside posts.

His stablemate, #12 VINCEREMOS, appears to be the main threat. His pedigree also suggests that the distance and surface won’t be a problem, even though it’s his first time on Polytrack. He ran well enough in the Tampa Bay Derby to finish second after winning the Sam F. Davis in a gutsy performance. Tampa is a strange surface that not every horse thrives over, so when good horses can consistently run well over it that form is likely to translate to other surfaces.

#11 COASTLINE feels like the wildcard. He’s been trounced by better horses, but those races have come over conventional dirt. His Polytrack races have been superior, though, and Stewart Elliot is riding very well at Keeneland. It’s tough to see this guy winning, but he seems like a horse that will be in the mix at the end.

#8 DANCE WITH FATE has received a lot of buzz in social media after the connections said this was the race they were pointing to for months. He’s obviously better over synthetic surfaces, but I just don’t see him as a factor on Saturday.

The longshot that has the most potential to blow up the tote board looks to be #6 COLTIMUS PRIME. There’s not much to like on paper, aside from the fact that his best race was a close second in a 8 1/2-furlong stake over Woodbine’s Polytrack. Connections likely have their eyes on the Queen’s Plate, rather than the Kentucky Derby, so this will be the acid test for this enormous son of Milwaukee Brew. Did I mention he’s huge? Also, jockey Alan Garcia always seems to sneak up and win big races like this. I’m taking a small flyer in case he blows up all my other tickets.

$50 BANKROLL PLAYS:

$10 Win:  GALA AWARD

$5 Win/Place: COLTIMUS PRIME

$5 Exacta: VINCEREMOS, GALA AWARD/BOBBY’S KITTEN, COASTLINE, VINCEREMOS, GALA AWARD

Originally posted at ThoroFan.

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