Lebda, Rowdy Yates tough to split in Ohio Derby

Thistledown’s annual centerpiece race, the Grade III, $500,000 Ohio Derby, takes place this Saturday. A field of 14 will crowd the gate for this 1 1/8-mile affair on the main course. Post time for the Ohio Derby, Race 8 of nine on the day, is 4:22 p.m. ET.

#4 LEBDA (7-2) has shown improvement at age three after hinting at potential in sprints last year. He took the Miracle Wood at Laurel in gate-to-wire fashion before showing the ability to rate effectively in a decisive Private Terms Stakes victory. LEBDA continues to train exceptionally for Claudio Gonzalez, and Alex Cintron sees fit to make the trip here.

#3 ROWDY YATES (9-2) is 5-for-9 lifetime, albeit some of those wins have come in softer spots than this. However, he’s hard to toss based on speed figures, and his human connections (Tyler Baze riding for Steve Asmussen) are solid. ROWDY YATES is the most logical alternative to the top choice.

#12 ESTABLISHED (30-1) is still a maiden but his first two races were well-rated, especially his most recent effort going one mile at Churchill. Being by Constitution, ESTABLISHED shouldn’t mind going an extra furlong. Mitchell Murrill flies in for the call for Michael Stidham.

The play: $4 exacta box 3/4, $1 exacta 3,4/12 ($10)

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