This Saturday sees the running of the premier race of the Indiana Grand race schedule, with the running if the Grade 3 Indiana Derby.
Personal Diary Headlines Field for $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
On Saturday at Keeneland, the featured race is the $500,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. The Grade 1 race, restricted to three-year-old fillies, will be run at a mile and an eighth on the turf and could serve as a final prep for the Breeders Cup Filly and Mare Turf.
Topping the field of nine at morning line odds of 7-2 is Personal Diary for trainer Victoria Oliver. A sophomore daughter of City Zip bred and owned by G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. and St. George Farm Racing, the chestnut filly earned the first Grade 1 win of her career last time out in the Del Mar Oaks (G1). She has won two of her ten starts and has been training steadily at Keeneland since her last win. Corey Nakatani, aboard for her win last out, will be back in the irons from post five.
Chad Brown has formidable duo ready
Chad Brown will saddle two fillies in the race, Ball Dancing and Minorette, both at odds of 9-2. Ball Dancing will have Joe Bravo aboard after winning her stateside debut in the Sands Point (G2) after beginning her career in France. Minorette, winner of the Belmont Oaks (G1), will be reunited with Joel Rosario after a fourth-place finish in the Lake Placid (G2). Ball Dancing will break from post six while her stablemate will break from post two.
Crown Queen puts undefeated streak on the line
Also in the field is the highly-regarded Crown Queen, tabbed at odds of 4-1 on the morning line. Trained by Bill Mott, the three-year-old daughter of Smart Strike was purchased for $1.6 million as a weanling for Besilu Stables. She is a half-sister to multiple champion Royal Delta and undefeated from three starts this year. John Velazquez, aboard for her winning stakes debut in the Lake Placid (G2), will be back in the irons from post eight.
Players looking to create betting value in the 2016 Preakness May 21 at Pimlico face a familiar dilemma in horse racing: create value underneath the heavy favorite or decide whether the heavy favorite is beatable for the top spot.
On Thursday at Churchill Downs, the Kentucky Derby week festivities will begin with the $100,000 Kentucky Juvenile Stakes. The five-furlong contest has drawn a field of nine two-year-olds.
Likely a top three betting choice in the Kentucky Derby, Santa Anita Derby winner Exaggerator is a bit of a puzzling case as handicappers begin the process of sorting out contenders in the weeks leading up to the big race.