Blue Grass Stakes 2014: Outsiders Worth Backing in Saturday's Meet

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistApril 12, 2014

Last Full Measure, right, under jockey Corey Nakatani, holds off late-charging Byrama, far left, and Jamaican Smoke (obscured) to win the Madison Stakes horse race at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky., Saturday, April 13, 2013. (AP Photo/Garry Jones)
Garry Jones

Saturday's Blue Grass Stakes is one of the final windows of opportunity available to those hopefuls still looking to make their way into this year's Kentucky Derby.

Lexington will play host to a field of 15, each descending upon the Keeneland course knowing that a win is guaranteed to put them in the big event. However, even those high finishers can take points away from the meet in a bid to gain qualification.

Garry Jones

On top of that, a $750,000 purse stands as another incentive for those in the frame, with Bobby's Kitten heading into the action as favourite to come out on top.

However, on the synthetic track, the field may well throw up a few surprises, and here we take a look at some of those outsider candidates who could well be vying for the top spots.

All odds referenced from OddsChecker.



Vinceremos has suffered a setback in his preparation for this year's Blue Grass Stakes after jockey Edgar Prado suffered a hairline fracture earlier in the week, with Julien Leparoux coming in to replace the Peruvian native as rider.

However, the colt still stands a good shot as our shortest-odds choice, having placed in the top two of his last five races, winning twice.

Todd Pletcher will be hoping the change in jockey doesn't have a negative impact on his horse's performance this weekend.

However, provided Leparoux can swiftly resume the prolific form that his predecessor was enjoying, he rides a close outsider in good form, but admittedly entering its largest, most intimidating field to date.


Harry's Holiday—12/1

Garry Jones

Leading up to this year's big event, Twitter account KY Derby Contenders quote Harry's Holiday trainer Michael Maker as giving some very positive signs ahead of Saturday's race:

Rosie Napravnik is poised to ride a contender with a decent run of recent results, with just four top-two finishes in its last six outings, winning two.

Set to start at the fourth post, Harry's Holiday did well to come second in his last race, with the weather affecting the Spiral Stakes in Cincinnati but nevertheless helping to prove this horse has some mental fortitude to be wary of. 


Pablo Del Monte—12/1

This won't be the first time that Pablo Del Monte has raced on polyturf, which stands to be an advantage he holds over some of those competing in the Blue Grass Stakes.

The colt has won at Keeneland in the past, and has since gained experience on conventional dirt, as well as other turf, giving him a solid foundation to work off this early in his racing career.

It's been more than a decade since a betting favourite last won this event, and at 12/1, Pablo Del Monte is anything but. However, Victor Espinoza will need to perfect his tactics on board the three-year-old this time around, with the horse having failed to complete a late surge at Hutcheson last time out.

That being said, with five top-five finishes in his last six—two of which were wins—Pablo Del Monte has reason to be upbeat.