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Post Time: Ohio Derby in weekend spotlight

The 3-year-old class continues to stay in the spotlight this weekend with the $500,000 Ohio Derby at ThistleDown in suburban Cleveland tomorrow afternoon. Several horses that were on the Triple Crown trail are entered in a solid field of nine that will run 1 1/16-miles around the ThistleDown oval.

The morning line favorite is the Illinois Derby winner Whiskey Ticket (3-1) who is conditioned by Triple Crown winning trainer Bob Baffert. Included in the field are six horses that ran their last race in either the Kentucky Derby or Preakness.

Let’s take a look at the field (post position, trainer, jockey, morning line odds in parenthesis):

1 – Whiskey Ticket (Baffert, Pedroza, 3-1) The lightly raced son of Ghostzapper returns after a bit of a layoff since the Illinois Derby. Martin Pedroza will make his third career ride aboard the Baffert colt. The undefeated colt drew the rail and should be the one to beat.

2 – Far Right (Moquett, Santana, 9-2) After a disappointing 15the place finish in the Kentucky Derby, trainer Ron Moquett has picked this spot to run back to his winning ways at Oaklawn. He won the Southwest at the distance beating Mr. Z. The conditioner is winning 26 percent of the time in non-graded stakes. Considering underneath in the exotics.

3 – Thirtysilverpieces (Marshall, Gonzalez, 12-1) The son of Badge of Silver finished third last out in a non-graded turf stake at Indiana Downs. He appears to be over his head with this group, his big last dirt effort coming in a claimer at Keeneland.  Passing.

4 – Diving Rod (Delacour, Leparoux, 7-2) Second choice on the morning line returns after his third-place effort in the Preakness behind American Pharoah in the slop. He cuts back in distance that should suit his running style for trainer Delacour. Main contender.

5 – War Story (Amoss, Desormeaux, 6-1) Finished behind Far Right in the Derby and returns after the layoff with blinkers on for trainer Amoss. The only race he ran without blinks was the Derby in six prior career races. I still think his best distance is a mile, but could grab a piece of the super.

6 – Tencendur (Weaver, Franco, 8-1) Finished behind War Story in the Derby after a strong second-place finish in the Wood Memorial behind Frosted, who proved his mettle in the Derby and Belmont.
At 8-1 he’s one to keep an eye on at 8 ½ furlongs and with a possible strong pace presence with the rail horse and Mr. Z.

7 - Dekabrist (Dorochenko, Orm, 15-1) Longest shot on the board, the Street Boss colt has 16 (!) career races. He did not fare well against graded company in two prior efforts. This race appears to be above his pay grade.

8 – Mr. Z (Lukas, Bravo, 6-1) He’s baaaaack. Likely to be out on the engine from the outside and setting the pace. He’s also had quite a bit of action (14 career races) and still only has one career win. I don’t think this will be the breakthrough.

9 – Bodhisattva (Corrales, Espinoza, 12-1) The Student Council chestnut colt returns from a last place finish in the Preakness in the slop after winning the Tesio at Pimlico at the same distance as the Ohio Derby. If you throw out the last race his numbers seem to fit and he has a sharp June 12 workout on his tab. Could be a surprise hitting the board at a price.

Post Time Outlook: 1 – Divining Rod; 2 – Tencendur; 3 – Whiskey Ticket; and 4 - Bodhisattva

Gene Kershner, a Buffalo-based turf writer, is a member of the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters Association, and tweets @EquiSpace.

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