Girvin’s a slam dunk in Ohio Derby

The Grade III, $500,000 Ohio Derby takes place at Thistledown this Saturday. A field of nine colts (seven betting interests) looking to establish themselves in the second half of their sophomore campaigns will line up for this 1 1/8-mile test. They’ll go in the gate at about 5:30 p.m. EST for the program’s eighth of nine races. Several notable jockeys are shipping in, so study the Ohio Derby carefully for FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game!

#7 GIRVIN (2-1) gets Mike Smith on again as he looks to bounce back off a disappointing Kentucky Derby run. GIRVIN was fighting a minor hoof injury at the time, which may have contributed to his 13th-place finish at Churchill. GIRVIN began his career with three wins in four tries, which included consecutive graded stakes scores (the Risen Star and Louisiana Derby). He now shows a bullet final work for trainer Joe Sharp and owns some of the best career speed figures in the field.

#1X GAME OVER (12-1) has the best chance of any in the three-horse entry of hitting the board here. He’s run just twice in his career but both starts were wins over next-out victors. GAME OVER shows a sharp work for the Ohio Derby for new trainer Jeffery Radosevich, who’s 27% with recent acquisitions. Jacob Radosevich will ride. GAME OVER will have to improve considerably to win, but assuming he takes a step forward in career start number three he could be in the mix late.

#2 IRAP (3-1) and #3 UNTRAPPED (9-2), also-rans in the Derby like GIRVIN, are seeking redemption as well. IRAP was forwardly-placed in the Blue Grass Stakes two starts back and could find himself on the lead in a fairly paceless Ohio Derby. Julien Leparoux, who helped orchestrate that 31-1 Blue Grass upset, will be aboard once more.

UNTRAPPED got some needed time off after missing the board in two straight for Steve Asmussen. He’s shown distance limitations but is fast enough to land a share. Ricardo Santana Jr. will be in the irons.

The play: $4 exacta 7/1,2,3 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Mike Smith carries a low enough salary to justify the risk of picking him with just one mount on Saturday. GIRVIN looks like a solid play in the Ohio Derby.

Julien Leparoux’s absence from Churchill could open the door for Corey Lanerie to have a big day there. Lanerie rides in all 11 races and will be aboard six program favorites; an astonishing number at a major circuit.

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