Thistledown Picks & Ohio Derby 2021 Handcapping for June 26

Luis Saez arrives at Thistledown to run Promise Keeper in the Ohio Derby for Todd Pletcher

The $ 500,000 Ohio Category III Derby highlights the ten-race card in Thistledown this Saturday. Our editor pulled this map and it previews the race below as well as the selection of the entire map…

Two months ago, Kenny McPeek trained King Fury (# 4) was starting to attract a serious Kentucky Derby buzz. He was a 20-1 shot on the Morning Line before being crossed out late. Initially, the hope was to get him to turn quickly and race in the Preakness in Pimlico, but the plans changed. His relationships clearly have big plans for him the rest of the year with people like Jim Dandy and Travers being talked about. The first is the Ohio Derby and it just picked up a victory last time in the Lexington Grade III at Keeneland. It was his only run at age three and with McPeek training him, you still expect progress. I wouldn’t be surprised at all if he started as a favorite.

The Morning Line has, however Keeper of the Promise (# 1) as a bet choice. Constitution’s son via Tapit was clearly an exceptional bloodline and looked strong last time in the grade III Peter Pan at Belmont. What I really liked about this race was the kick in the last quarter furrow to put the air clear behind him and Nova Rags. I can see why he is the first choice. Belmont Stakes winning jockey Luis Saez is coming to town for this race.

Keep in mind (# 8) has a record so far in 2021 of 6/5/7/4 in four races. It’s not good but when you look at the quality of the races he has participated in, it doesn’t look so bad. He finished behind Rombauer, Midnight Bourbon and Medina Spirit in the Preakness but his three-year season was considerably poorer than his two-year lap where the only horses to beat him were Arabian Prince in his debut, Essential Quality in the Breeders ‘Futurity and the same horse again with Hot Rod Charlie in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. I will pass it on here.

My first choice on single tickets will be Masquerade parade (# 10). The three-year-old coached by Al Stall Jr. has yet to progress in class, but anyone who saw the way he dominated an allowance run on the Kentucky Derby under-map would have circled his name to see where it appeared next. He had a good grip on both corners but still won by just over ten lengths and ran a mile and an eighth in 1: 48.1. If he runs that well in the Ohio Derby I’m not sure anyone can keep up.

So, Masqueparade is my choice, but on multiple race tickets you might not include both Promise Keeper and King Fury.

You can bet on the Ohio Derby through one of our betting partners. Our race map is below and all of our picks for the Saturday map at Thistledown are above …


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