One year ago, many handicappers would have examined the pedigree of Highly Motivated and concluded he had little chance to win the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby (G1). But times have changed.
Handicapper J. Keeler Johnson shares his picks and plays for Saturday, April 17 at Keeneland, Oaklawn, and Santa Anita, along with thoughts on mandatory Pick 6 dispersals at Gulfstream and Mahoning.
Winner of the Robert B. Lewis S. (G3) in late January, Medina Spirit exits a pair of runner-up finishes in the San Felipe S. (G2) and Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Mandaloun secured a Kentucky Derby berth over the winter at Fair Grounds, recording a win in the Risen Star S. (G2) and a close third in the Lecomte S. (G3) in his first two stakes appearances.