(Essential Quality remains unbeaten entering Saturday’s G2 Blue Grass Stakes / Coady Photography)

Editor’s Note:

This Saturday is “The Saturday” on the 2021 “Road to the Kentucky Derby.”

The pretenders will be separated from the contenders.

The cream shall rise and so too will the stakes for the prime time runners.

You have the Wood Memorial in New York. Can Chad Brown and his talented 3YO colt Risk Taking take the next steps to Louisville in style?

You have the Santa Anita Derby, and even with the loss of Life Is Good, this event is always a major prep for the “First Saturday in May.” Concert Tour and Medina Spirit will throw down to figure out which one is Team Baffert’s newest and latest Triple Crown threat.

And, you will have the G2 Blue Grass Stakes at the historic and beautiful Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. While the Blue Grass has not produced Derby winners like it used to, this may be one of the best and most talented fields in recent memory. Essential Quality — the undefeated “Champ” — will put a lot on the line against the likes of Highly Motivated, Keepmeinmind and a ton of talent.

It’s time to punch the ticket.

Or…

It’s time to punch out.

Let the games begin.

Here’s our looks going into one of the most exciting weeks of the year:

RankingsHorseSireTrainerJockeyLast RaceNext RaceComments
1Essential QualityTapitBrad CoxLuis Saez1st in G3 Southwest StakesApril 3: G2 Blue Grass StakesBig Race / Test This Saturday
2Greatest HonourTapitShug McGaugheyJose Ortiz3rd in G1 Florida DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyStuck on Rail / Bad Trip in FLA Derby
3Concert TourStreet SenseBob BaffertJoel Rosario1st in G2 Rebel StakesApril 10: G1 Arkansas DerbyTeam Baffert’s Top Threat Now
4Medina SpiritProtonicoBob BaffertJohn Velazquez2nd in G2 San Felipe StakesApril 3: G1 Santa Anita DerbyBig Race / Test This Saturday II
5Hot Rod CharlieOxbowDoug O’NeillJoel Rosario1st in G2 Louisiana DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyWho Will Rosario Pick to Ride?
6Highly MotivatedInto MischiefChad BrownJavier Castellano3rd in G3 Gotham StakesApril 3: G2 Blue Grass StakesWatch Out Here / Huge Upset Coming?
7Known AgendaCurlinTodd PletcherIrad Ortiz, Jr.1st in G1 Florida DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyDid Trampoline Into Derby Mix
8PrevalenceMedaglia d’OroBrendan WalshTyler Gaffalione1st in GP AllowanceApril 3: G2 Wood Memorial StakesAvoids Big Boys at KEE
9KeepmeinmindLoabanRoberto DiodoroDavid Cohen6th in G2 Rebel StakesApril 3: G2 Blue Grass StakesFaces Toughest Test Yet on Saturday
10Caddo RiverHard SpunBrad CoxFlorent Geroux5th in G2 Rebel StakesApril 10: G1 Arkansas DerbyWhat Happened Last Out?
11MandalounInto MischiefBrad CoxFlorent Geroux6th in G2 Louisiana DerbyApril 10: G3 Lexington StakesWhat Happened Last Out II?
12Midnight BourbonTiznowSteve AsmussenJoe Talamo2nd in G2 Louisiana DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyTime Off Until KY Derby to Recharge
13RombauerTwirling CandyMichael McCarthyKyle Frey1st in El Camino Real DerbyApril 3: G2 Blue Grass StakesStill Coming to KY for BG?
14Risk TakingMedaglia d’OroChad BrownEric Cancel1st in G3 Withers StakesApril 3: G2 Wood Memorial StakesTime to Step Up and Step Out
15Roman CenturianEmpire MakerSimon CallaghanJ. Hernandez4th in G2 San Felipe StakesApril 3: G1 Santa Anita DerbyRan Huge Against Hot Rod, But Last One?
16WeyburnPioneerof the NileJames JerkensTrevor McCarthy1st in G3 Gotham StakesApril 3: G2 Wood Memorial StakesDoes “Huge Longshot” Now Have a Shot?
17ProxyTapitMichael StidhamJohn Velazquez4th in G2 Louisiana DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyFlat Late in LA. Derby…Hmmmm.
18HeliumIronicusMark CasseJose Ferrer1st in G2 Tampa Bay DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyNot a Fan
19Triple TapTapitBob BaffertFlavien Prat1st in Santa Anita MSWApril 3: G1 Santa Anita DerbyPharoah’s 1/2-Brother Comes to Party Late, But?
20O BesosOrbGreg FoleyMartin Pedroza3rd in G2 Louisiana DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyCan He Improve Enough to Fit?
20aSoup and SandwichInto MischiefMark CasseJohn Velazquez2nd in G1 Florida DerbyMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyI’m Still a Skeptic
20bLike the KingPalace MaliceWesley WardDrayden Van Dyke1st in Jeff Ruby SteaksMay 1: G1 Kentucky DerbyI’m Rooting Here