Keeneland Select Derby Preps Picks
Saturday, March, 14, 2020
By Bob Ehalt and Matt Shifman
The $1,000,000 Rebel Stakes (G2), Oaklawn Park
10th race – (1) Nadal brings his perfect record to Oaklawn Park for the Rebel Stakes (G2) which drew an unexpectedly small field of eight. He broke his maiden at Santa Anita in January going 6 ½ furlongs and then won the San Vicente (G2) by less than a length going seven furlongs. He now must go two-turns for the first and interestingly gets the blinkers off. Trainer Bob Baffert has won this race six times in the past decade including in 2009 with Triple Crown winner American Pharoah. (4) Silver Prospector is the most experienced horse in the field with eight starts and the leading money winner with more than $700,000. He ran the best race of his career when he won the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn with a determined closing move. As has been the case in most of his starts, he is expected to be in the mix right at the wire. (6) Three Technique is owned by Super Bowl winning coach Bill Parcells who now seeks to get to the biggest horse race in the country. Three Technique broke slowly in the Smarty Jones at Oaklawn and rallied to finish second behind a horse that relishes wet tracks. He earned a career best speed figure and could be sitting another a big performance. (3) Basin may have been Steve Asmussen’s best 2-year-old last year based on his maiden win and then his victory in the Hopeful (G1). He has been away since the summer and overcoming a six-month layoff is not easy to do. Betting strategy: Exacta box: 1, 3, 4, 6. Trifecta box: 1, 3, 4, 6.
The $250,000 Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3), Turfway Park
11th race – (5) Myamanoi failed to fire in his career debut against eventual Breeders’ Cup winner Structor, but has been impressive in his two starts since then. He was a decisive maiden winner and then moved right into stakes company where he rallied seven wide and only lost by a little less than a length. He’s never raced on a synthetic surface but his form in three turf races should translate well to the surface at Turfway Park, making him the pick. (11) Invader is definitely a horse for the course. He broke his maiden here by 12 ¾ lengths and then romped by 6 ¼ lengths in a stepping stone stakes for today’s race. He’s the one to fear. (12) Field Pass beat Myamanoi in the Dania Beach Stakes but he drew the outside post here and that could come back to haunt him. (8) Finnick the Fierce has never raced on synthetics or turf, but a sharp 46 3/5 work over the track paints him as a main contender. Betting strategy: 5 to win, place. Exacta box: 5-8-11-12. Trifecta box: 5-8-11-12.