Yesterday was a hell of an opening day at Keeneland! First off, if you happened to follow my post, I apologize for the early pick 5 exit…was a tough pill to swallow but somehow I came back to hit the late pick 5. Let’s not do that again today. But anyways, we have a great 9 card race on a beautiful day in Lexington. Fields are big and there will be tons of value in the pools, so let’s get to it.
Race 1 (1:05pm): Maiden Special Weight, 5½ furlongs on the turf, two year olds
Sheesh! A baby race to start off the day with only a few horses with experience to go off of. The horse to beat should be #5 Fauci, who ran a strong debut finishing 2nd in a small field in which he recorded a 72 Beyer. Wesley Ward will be looking to continue his winning streak at Keeneland, and I think Fauci very well could do it – just would prefer value at 5-2, rather than 2-5 which is possible come post time. For value, check out #8 Petit Verdot who improved his second time out but didn’t have enough gas left in the tank in both of his starts. He has that early speed though and is switching to turf for the first time here, which could be the game changer he needs. Loving this one at 10-1 as well as #12 King Uhtred, who is also 10-1. This is the 12’s first time out and he gets one of the better jockey’s in the group that is Joel Rosario. He was a pricey colt; purchased for $250,000 back in September, I do not expect this one to go off at its morning line odds.
Race 2 (1:39pm): $50,000 Maiden Claiming, 8½ furlongs on the dirt, fillies & mares 3 yrs old and up
Interesting second race here, not too many horses I love but a lot of horses I don’t like, but let’s find a winner. #3 Flashing Red has some experience this year, however she’s been damn close a couple times. She sets smart paces and has late speed that will definitely put her in the running for the top 3 again in this one. #11 Malibu Marlee finished 4th her last time out but recorded a 74 Beyer on the turf. Interesting decision bringing her back to the dirt for this one. Well would you look at that…we have another Malibu here! #1 Malibu Anthem gets Tyler Gaffalione, who came in a close second while riding him a couple weeks ago where he put up a 69 Beyer. He was purchased for $180k last year, making her the pricest of the bunch. If you’re hitting the early Pick 5, don’t leave off the favorite #7 Jeweled Princess.
Race 3 (2:12pm): $40,000 Claiming, 6½ furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
Looking into this race, the first thing I noticed was the Santana/Asmussen J/T duo on #9 Pyron, which is obviously something I and many others look for. Pyron is the ML favorite here at 3-1 and is without a doubt one of the best horses in the group, however he’s yet to win in over a year. I can absolutely see the 9 winning, but I’ll be honest I do not love the value here especially if he gets bet down to 2-1 or worse. #3 Mo’s Mojo is sitting at 8-1 ML and offers some great value considering the early speed he’s shown. He’s taking a significant drop in distance here compared to recent races, so if he can break early for the lead I’ll actually be more confident in this one. #4 The Great Dansky has run solely dirt sprints, but takes an extra sixteenth of a mile in this race. Like the 3, she has the early speed, so it will be interesting to see which one gets out in front first. Jockey Florent Geroux had a great day at Keeneland yesterday and this year in general; he and Brad Cox have brought bettors some solid ROI.
Race 4 (2:45pm): $30,000 Claiming, 8½ furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
Tough field here. Plenty of experience all around, and many horses have put up great figures in the past but have been relatively inconsistent. That being said, I’ll be taking the favorite #7 Stealth, who gets Julian Leparoux, Keeneland’s leading jockey, on the saddle and has the best overall numbers of the group. #12 Tiz McNamara finished 3rd in his only race on the turf in his career, where he recorded an 83 Beyer. He’s yet to have a run like that since, and the switch back to the grass for the first time in over a year could be the game changer. At 12-1, this is a great one to consider across the board.
Race 5 (3:18pm): Allowance, 1 mile on the turf, 3 yr old fillies & mares and up
The most important race of the day is this one…Last leg of the early Pick 5 (if you’re still alive) and the first leg of the late Pick 5, need to nail this one. #11 Jen Take Charge is my first pick in this one. She’s been running well this year and broke her maiden at Gulfstream back in February. She’s yet to win again, but she put on a great performance at Churchill a month back, recording her best Beyer yet (76). With experience on the turf and Lanerie out for revenge, very much so liking the 11 at 5-1. Did you really think I’d pass up on the Santana/Asmussen horse #10 Confession? Absolutely not. This is another horse with great, consistent speed figures and has even better late speed than the 11 which could be pivotal in the final stretch. She’s also 5-1 ML odds and will be one of the best in the field. Lastly, #9 Lady Oxbow has been running well on the turf as of recently. Her last time out was in the Hillsborough (G2) at Tampa where she was a huge longshot and finished 8th, but her 81 speed figure did not go unnoticed. Note: For those that are looking to spread a race, I think this is the one to do it. I also like #2 Loving Moment, #3 Ivyetsu, and #4 Osaka Girl, who will all offer much better value come post time and in Pick 5/6 pools.
EARLY PICK 5 CARD:
Total cost: $90 for a $.50 ticket.
These pools are going to pay big today…so while I like keeping tickets cheap (relatively), I always recommend you add in any horses you may like. This is my most expensive ticket yet, and if I’m still in come race 4 I will be shitting myself and mad that I didn’t add more horses, but it’s how I like to play these.
Be sure to follow me on Twitter at @SpaSaturdays to keep up with the action in real time. If I decide to hit the late Pick 5, I’ll put those picks out there as well. Thanks everyone, and let’s have a Thursday!