©2016 Calvin L. Carter. All rights reserved.
The much anticipated journey on the 2016-2017 Road to the Kentucky Derby begins Saturday at Churchill Downs with the 35th running of the $150,000 Iroquois Stakes (G3). Post time is 5:59 ET.
Recruiting Ready has been tagged the 3-1 morning line favorite and he comes into this race with a 1-1-0 record in three starts for trainer Horacio DePaz. In July, Recruiting Ready finished second in the Bashford Manor Stakes (G3). A month later in the Saratoga Special Stakes (G2) he finished second but was disqualified to fourth-place. Here’s a look at that race.
Recruiting Ready picks up the services of Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens and with C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® he has the potential to be competitive and, perhaps, win this race. However, there are others I like better for the win.
Not This Time (4-1) comes into this race off of a 10-length maiden win at Ellis Park for trainer Dale Romans. Not This Time was unhurried early and finished nicely to score the easy win. Here’s a look at the race.
He looked good coming down the stretch and his final time of 1:35.99 is what I like to see in a young colt on the trail to the Kentucky Derby (G1).
Jockey Robby Albarado has ridden Not This Time in his previous two races and he retains the mount. Not this time should enjoy the stretch out in distance and I look for the pair to be competitive in the Iroquois Stakes (G3).
Lookin At Lee (6-1) comes into this race with a 2-0-0 record in three starts for trainer Steve Asmussen, including a narrow win by three-quarters of a length in the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes. Here’s a look at that race.
Lookin At Lee also has a C Classic Champion Thoroughbred Profile® but if he runs to the same form of his last race, I look for him to be competitive.
A long shot I like in this race is Skinflint (20-1) who’s compiled a 1-1-0 record in three starts for trainer Dane Kobiskie. Skinflint comes into this race off of a 4¾-length maiden win at Gulfstream Park August 6. Here’s a look at that race.
The early fraction splits were fast and Skinflint showed good speed as he tracked the leaders to the top of the stretch where he pulled away and went on to record the easy win.
Skinflint looks like an improving young colt and another move forward will make him competitive in this race.
Honorable mention goes to Thirstforlife (7-2) who comes into this race with a 1-0-2 record in three starts for trainer Mark Casse.
This is the fifth consecutive year for Churchill Downs to use a point system to determine eligibility to get into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. A total of 35 races comprise the Road to the Kentucky Derby and a significant change to the schedule is that the Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) will replace the Grey Stakes (G3) as a qualifying race.
In addition, Churchill Downs has partnered with the Japan Racing Association to feature the Cattleya Sho Stakes and Hayacinth Stakes as two qualifying races in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.