2021 Triple Crown: 3 Kentucky Derby Prep Races Horse Analysis

2021 Triple Crown: 3 Kentucky Derby Prep Races Horse Analysis

Written by on March 31, 2021

In the next few days, three of the most important Kentucky Derby prep races happen. The Grade 2 Wood Memorial at Aqueduct, the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland, and the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park should help us determine whether at least one horse has the ability to win the Triple Crown. Check out more info on those three races as well as which horses could become true TC contenders so you can continue planning your bets against their Triple Crown odds

Triple Crown Updates: April 3 Will Knock Out Most Pretenders

2021 Kentucky Derby

  • When: Saturday, May 1, 2021
  • Where: Churchill Downs, Louisville, KY

Essential Quality heads to Blue Grass Stakes a TC threat

Essential Quality is already a Triple Crown threat. The Brad Cox trained runner is undefeated in four races. Because he’s a Tapit sired colt, the Godolphin owned equine should hit his peak in late May or early June.

If he wins the Blue Grass Stakes on Saturday as the 3/5 morning line chalk, there’s a good chance he goes off the favorite in the May 1 Kentucky Derby. If he wins that, he could be a TC lock once he matures.

Of all the three-year-olds running on April 3, Essential Quality has the best chance of padding his Triple Crown credentials. Give the Cox trainee a long look to win the Crown should he handle his competition in the Bluegrass. 

Baffert trained Medina Spirit get’s acid test in Santa Anita Derby

Baffert’s top remaining TC threat, Concert Tour, races in the Arkansas Derby in a couple of weeks. His B-horse, Medina Spirit, could prove he’s good enough to win the Triple Crown by winning the Santa Anita Derby.

We’ll have more info on the SA Derby, including handicapping picks, in our Kentucky Derby write-up later this week. For now, realize that if Medina Spirit wins the SA Derby, he will have earned it. Steve Asmussen, Mike McCarthy, and, yes, Baffert, run last-out maiden winners who look like they’ve got to the moon talent. 

Wood Memorial at Aqueduct could produce two to three Triple Crown contenders 

Six horses have the potential to throw their hat into the TC ring. Crowded Trade, a Chad Brown trainee, finished second to Weyburn in the Grade 2 Gotham in his last. Weyburn, the Gotham winner, calls Pioneerof the Nile, American Pharoah’s sire, dad.

Both Crowded Trade and Weyburn could prove their Triple Crown worthiness on Saturday. So could Godolphin owned Prevalence, Grade 2 Remsen winner Brooklyn Strong, Chad Brown trained Risk Taking, and Todd Pletcher trained Dynamic One.

So far, the Wood Memorial is the most difficult to handicap three-year-old race of the year.  

Like with the Santa Anita Derby, we’ll take a closer look at the Wood in our Kentucky Derby article.