Pass or Play? Sierra Leone

April 15, 2024

Sierra Leone scoring the Toyota Blue Grass at Keeneland. (Courtney Snow/Past The Wire)

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By Laura Pugh and Ashley Tamulonis

When it comes to the sport of Thoroughbred racing, “what have you done for me lately? ” is the name of the game. That rings extra true when it’s Kentucky Derby season, especially when the final round of preps is being completed. 

Fierceness and Sierra Leone both stamped themselves as top Kentucky Derby winning prospects when they victorious in their final prep race. Fierceness went to the lead in the Florida Derby (G1) and never looked back. On the other hand, Sierra Leone was reluctant to load into the starting gate in the Blue Grass Stakes (G1) but was still able to win the race despite expending unnecessary energy and fanning wide off the turn.

So, the big question is: Can Sierra Leone, with his closing style and reaction to the Blue Grass (G1) crowd at Keeneland, be considered a legitimate top contender for the Kentucky Derby (G1) next month. 

Laura Pugh and Ashley Tamulonis debate the merits and detractions of the son of Gun Runner and come to opposing conclusions on Sierra Leone’s chances of winning.

With Sierra Leone’s closing style, post position, trip, and his reaction to the crowd will be prominent factors in his ability to win the Kentucky Derby (G1), Laura takes a pass on him as a win contender, while Ashley believes he’s an absolute must play on top. How he fares and who’s right will be determined on May 4, 2024, under the twin spires.

Contributing Authors

Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh

Laura Pugh got her first taste of Thoroughbred racing when she watched War Emblem take the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2002. At that...

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Ashley Tamulonis

Ashley Tamulonis

Ashley has been an avid horse racing fan since she was introduced to the sport through the Joanna Campbell series "Thoroughbred." As a Georgia native...

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@Tracking_Trips I'm quite content with the 1/10 ex $(109) multiple times. Better if he won...ya...but im not get too greedy. Great pick 💰💰💰

Kevin West @KFWest003 View testimonials



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