It’s a big day in Arkansas on Saturday, as the running of the $1,000,000 Arkansas Derby (Gr. 1) will take place at Oaklawn Park. The Road to the Kentucky Derby goes through Hot Springs on Saturday. Concert Tour, Hozier, and Caddo River are all featured in the small field for a big prize. It isn’t the only Kentucky Derby prep race on Saturday. There is another at Keeneland with the running of the $200,000 Lexington Stakes (Gr. 3).
It isn’t the biggest purse, and isn’t even the biggest at Keeneland today, but 20 points to the winning team could be enough to put a horse over the top and into the Derby. The wealthiest event at Keeneland is the $300,000 Jenny Wiley Stakes (Gr. 1). The Arkansas Derby and Jenny Wiley are the only Grade 1 events in the US on Saturday.
If you are looking for the Arkansas Derby and Oaklawn on Saturday, then we have you covered on the Oaklawn Park page with three picks. A stop at Keeneland for the Lexington Stakes looks like a good move as well. Keeneland has 11 races worth a total of $1,153,000 in prize money. Head below for our free Keeneland picks for April 10, 2021.
Post Time: 2:45p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
We will get started on the grass Saturday afternoon at Keeneland. Seven horses are expected to travel 1 1/16 miles on the turf for a $81,000 purse. I would look at the team of Fulsome and Floiform. Todd Pletcher’s Aviano is likely the best candidate to beat Brad Cox and William Mott’s duo.
Aviano is a one-time winner through four events, finishing 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st in his career. That is some good consistent form, with Aviano breaking through for a win on February 28. Aviano beat Alexander Valley by a neck in a $50,000 event most recently on February 28 at Gulfstream Park.
Prior to that win, Aviano placed 2nd behind Crew Dragon by a neck in a similar $50,000 race. Aviano was purchased for $775,000 in 2019, so there are big expectations for him. He’s expected to be winning stakes races. We’ll see if he is just a late starter in his career, though. Aviano certainly has a chance in this event.
Fulsome is 1 for 4 in his career as well. He beat Hot Stove League by a neck for a $50,000 purse on January 16. Overall, he has finished 2nd, 4th, 1st, 4th, with a 4th place finish in his most recent attempt on February 27 in the $75,000 Black Gold Stakes.
Floriform has gone 7th, 7th, 2nd, 1st in his career with nice improvement noted. He placed 2nd behind Winfromwithin by a half length in a $50,000 race in January, and then beat Bracken by 2 ¼ lengths for a $50,000 prize a month later. I like him a bit more over Floriform, but both offer solid value to beat Aviano.
Post Time: 3:18 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
Race 5 is a $21,000 event covering 1 ⅛ miles at Keeneland. The horses to put on the watchlist for this race has to be Lemon and Diem and Bold Victory. Lemon and Diem continues to show improvement and recently received a gelding operation. Just the odds of 8/1 look too high on a horse that is going in the right direction and open to improvement. Lemon and Diem has finished 5th, 4th, 3rd with improvement in each race that he’s entered.
This is a $475,000 horse that could surprise in this event. In his most recent outing, Lemon and Diem showed 3rd for a $28,500 purse. It wasn’t a terrible effort at all given the competition at Churchill Downs on November 27. Prior to that finish, Lemon and Diem finished 4th in a $34,000 event, so the slide down in class helped.
After a layoff and a gelding operation, he’s scheduled to be back on the track Saturday. He has looked strong in workouts, with times of 59.80 seconds and 1:00.00 at 5 furlongs in March and April. Look for Lemon and Diem from the outside to compete with Bold Victory.
Bold Victory is winless in seven attempts, and was recently sold for $45,000 in November after being bought for $485,000 in 2018. Since finishing 3rd last march, Bold Victory has gone 8th, 5th, 4th, 4th. In his most recent showing, he finished 4th in a $123,200 event. This is a big class drop for Bold Victory. However, it’s hard to ignore the value on Lemon and Diem in this one.
Race 9 – Lexington Stakes
Post Time: 6:41 p.m. CST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
This is the $200,000 Lexington Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday afternoon. Ten horses are expected to participate, with Proxy and Swiftsure likely winners in Race 9. Swiftsure is a two-time winner on November 27 and January 23. As a rookie, Swiftsure beat Blameworthy by 3 ¼ lengths in a $47,000 event in November, and then followed through with another win on January 23 in a $84,000 race over Sir Wellington by 3 ½ lengths.
Expect Swiftsure to continue getting better, but is he good enough to compete in a $200,000 graded event? Look for Swiftsure to run close, with Proxy likely proving to be a tough opponent. Swiftsure is competing way up in class in this race and doesn’t have experience against this competition yet. He completed 4 furlongs in 49.80 seconds on April 5 in recent prep work for today.
Proxy is 2 for 6 in his career, with finishes in the top-2 in five of the first six races in his career. After winning back-to-back events on November 26 and December 19, Proxy rode up in class to graded events. He placed 2nd behind Midnight Bourbon by 1 length in the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (Gr. 3) on January 16. Then 2nd again on February 13 in the $400,000 Risen Star Stakes (Gr. 2) behind Mandaloun by 1 ¼ lengths.
In his most recent entry, Proxy finished 4th in the $1,000,000 Louisiana Derby (Gr. 3). That was tough, but Proxy wasn’t that far out from the front. He finished 3 lengths and a head behind the winner Hot Rod Charlie. Proxy was on fire in a 4-furlong workout on March 30. He was clocked at 46.80 seconds in that impressive workout. I’m on Proxy to win the Lexington Stakes and 20 points.