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    Ellis Starr

    Ellis Starr, a.k.a. “Ubercapper,” is the National Racing Analyst for Equibase. He publishes detailed analysis and selections for Keeneland and other tracks regularly which can be found at Equibase, Keeneland Select and other web sites. Ellis writes a widely distributed “Race of the Week” article which appears on the Equibase web site as well as America’s Best Racing. Ellis will be posting his analysis daily for one race taken right from his complete selection and analysis report. Additionally, you can follow Ellis’ insights on twitter @ubercapper.

    Saturday, April 8, 2017

    Race #10
    Toyota Blue Grass Stakes

    #3 J Boys Echo - Fair odds 2/1
    #4 Tapwrit - Fair odds 2/1
    #2 McCraken - Fair odds 2/1

    For those that don't know, 2 to 1 fair odds is the equivalent of a 33% chance to win. In other words, if this race (with this field) were run 100 times, one of the three horses above should win 99 times in 100. Maybe that's a little strong, and even though It's Your Nickel could leapfrog any or all of the three win contenders in terms effort, it appears highly unlikely.

    J Boys Echo made his first start as a three year old in the Withers Stakes on February 4, following two and one-half months off, and he got a lot of experience out of the effort because although he was never going to beat winner El Areeb that day he re-rallied gamely for third after being passed on the turn. Showing how three year olds can progress from one race to another, J Boys Echo made a powerful rally on the far turn to go from fourth, two lengths back, to one and one-half lengths in front with an eighth of a mile to go in the Gotham and gave no horse a shot at passing him. Of the three contenders, J Boys Echo is the only one to have won previously at Keeneland, yet alone won, as he powered off to a five length win last October. Having improved from a 93 Equibase Figure in the Withers to 103 in the Gotham, with better to come in his third start of the year, J Boys Echo gets slight preference over Tapwrit and McCraken to win this year's Toyota Blue Grass Stakes. Tapwrit finished second to McCraken in the Sam F. Davis Stakes in February, his first start of the year and first following two months off. With McCraken skipping the Tampa Bay Derby in March, Tapwrit dominated in a field of 10 with a strong move on the turn to go from fourth, three lengths back, to in front by 3 at the eighth pole, continuing strongly to the wire. Having gone from a 101 figure in his three year old debut to 106 last time out, Tapwrit is another colt who may not have peaked and he will likely be a formidable contender in this race. McCraken is undefeated (four-for-four) and some might say untested as well, having pulled away in the stretch without being challenged in all four races. Usually fifth or sixth with a quarter mile to run, McCraken really extends his stride to move by horses with ease. Coming off a career best 104 figure effort in the Sam F. Davis, the main question concerns the 11 days he was on the sidelines (February 28 to March 10) after a slight ankle strain following his February 27 workout. Although he missed some training, McCraken has come back to put in three solid workouts at Keeneland so I don’t consider the time off to be an issue. The only knock on McCraken is from a wagering perspective, because he will likely be the heavy favorite owing to his perfect record. Otherwise, seeing McCraken in the winner's circle is a strong possibility.

    Follow Me on Twitter @Ubercapper

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