Picks for ‘all-3-year-old Pick 3’ ending in Kentucky Derby

Picks for ‘all-3-year-old Pick 3’ ending in Kentucky Derby
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

One of the unique wagers on the Kentucky Derby card is the “all-3-year-old pick 3,” which includes the Pat Day Mile (G2), American Turf Stakes (G2) and the featured $3 million Kentucky Derby to end the unique sequence.  

The minimum amount for this wager is $3, but this should not pose a problem for most bettors if there is a confident single in there.

Here are picks for the 3-year-old pick 3 and the final ticket.

Churchill Downs Race 7: Pat Day Mile (G2)

Last year, Jack Christopher was tearing up the course as a precocious 2-year-old at both Saratoga and Belmont.

Jack Christopher broke his maiden at Saratoga by 8 3/4 lengths in August, before winning the Champagne Stakes (G1) at Belmont by 2 3/4 lengths. The son of Munnings shows a 123 TimeformUS Speed Figure for the latter win.

Not every precocious 2-year-old carries their form into the next season. Yet, trainer Chad Brown must hold some confidence in this colt if he wants to start Jack Christopher in a Grade 2 race on Derby Day off a 217-day layoff.

Plus, this is not a strong field. The second choice on the morning line is My Prankster, and he is only mildly talented for a 3-year-old at this level.

None of the other horses are fast enough to pressure Jack Christopher either. Kavod is fast in a nine-furlong route, but he is cutting back.

Jack Christopher is the single.

Churchill Downs Race 9: American Turf (G2)

Sy Dog carries an undefeated streak into this race with three wins and two stakes victories. The most recent win came in the Transylvania Stakes (G3) at Keeneland, where Sy Dog overcame a slow pace to pick up the third win.

Regardless, Sy Dog is not a lock in this spot.

Portfolio Company faded to eighth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November after setting the pace. The effort is forgivable as a learning experience though. This of Kitten’s Joy might step forward off the 183-day layoff.   

Royal Spirit took a shot at the Derby trail and ran fifth in the Jeff Ruby Steaks (G3) at Turfway Park. Over turf, he broke his maiden at Gulfstream in January and finished second in the Kitten’s Joy Stakes (G3). Royal Spirit might receive a great trip stalking a fast pace here. 

Stolen Base finished seventh in the Jeff Ruby Steaks. But, he was also second by a neck to Tiz the Bomb in the John Battaglia Memorial Stakes in March and second by 3/4 of a length to Tiz the Bomb in the Bourbon Stakes (G2) on turf last October at Keeneland. The switch to Flavien Prat is a huge plus.

Churchill Downs Race 12: Kentucky Derby

The modern Kentucky Derby favors talented speed horses.

Messier lost to his stablemate Taiba in the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Before that race, he won the Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G2) by 15 lengths after taking pressure on the lead. If Messier can get to the lead under John Velazquez in the Kentucky Derby, he might get brave and forget to stop.

Epicenter owns speed and almost swept the Fair Grounds series for Derby hopefuls with wins in the Gun Runner Stakes, Risen Star Stakes (G2) and Louisiana Derby (G2). He lost the Lecomte Stakes (G3) by a head to Call Me Midnight, but a fast early pace with pressure from another horse in the opening quarter affected him in the stretch.

The best closer is Zandon, who won the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) at Keeneland by a clear 2 1/2 lengths over Smile Happy. At Fair Grounds, he ran a troubled third and 3 1/4 lengths behind Epicenter in the Risen Star Stakes. If Flavien Prat can work out a trip for Zandon and avoid traffic, he can win.

Final “all-3-year-old pick 3” ticket:

5 / 6,7,8,9 / 3,6,10

Meet Reinier Macatangay

My first time at the racetrack came as a 5-year-old kid at Santa Anita Park. For most of my younger life, that was the only track I attended other the occasional visit to Hollywood Park. 

Years later, after graduating California State University, Stanislaus with an English MA, I began writing for Lady and the Track. From late 2014-2016, my articles were seen on a weekly basis and covered handicapping, interviews with well-known racing personalities, fashion and more. 

The handicapping style I use concentrates on pace analysis. Some horses are compromised by the pace. Others are helped. Handicappers just starting out cannot easily see how pace affects the finish, so with this blog, I hope to help those unsure of how to apply pace into their handicapping and post-race analysis. 

On an unrelated note, I enjoy video games and attending anime or comic-book conventions. I am currently based in Kentucky, but spend a lot of time traveling between there and California.

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