It’s a gorgeous day in Lexington, KY for some racing! Keeneland returns for its abbreviated summer meet; it’s just 5 days long but has some pretty solid stakes races like the Maker’s Mark Mile (G1) and the Madison (G1), along with 8 others throughout the weekend. Day 1 is here and I am fired up for this week of the ponies! Today’s card is interesting, there are a lot of good betting races but not a ton of quality races – those are saved for the weekend. But anyways…Time to kill it before the weekend, let’s have a Wednesday in Kentucky, folks!
Race 1 (1:05pm): $50,000 Maiden Claiming, 8½ furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
This card is full of races similar to this one today. The favorite #9 Majority Rules is one of the stand-outs here but is coming off of a long layoff. His last time out was in August at Saratoga where he finished 6th of 12 and threw up a 59 Beyer. That being said, he recorded Beyers in the 80s in the two races prior. This is the first race of the first day that Keeneland returns, so while I do really like the favorite here I have a hard time using it as a single. #2 Cernan gets Joel Rosario in the irons which is a nice upgrade, and he’s also the most expensive colt of the group (purchased for $500k here in 2018). For value here, I like #7 Can’tbetemall at 8-1 who has great early speed and hasn’t been that bad in his previous starts. He was 6½ behind the winner last time out at Churchill a few weeks back, but that was after a long layoff, so I’d expect to see some improvement here. Note: While I’m going to be playing the Early Pick 5 here, I am extremely scared for this first race. But scared money don’t make no money!
Race 2 (1:39pm): $20,000 Starter Optional Claiming, 6 furlongs on the dirt, fillies & mares 3 yrs old and up
#1 Heavens Whisper is clearly the horse to beat in this small field here. At 1-1 ML, she’ll likely go off at 4-5 or 3-5. She’s won at this distance multiple times and has been putting up very consistent figures. Really liking her here and will single it. However, do not be surprised if #2 Take Charge Erica comes in – she may be inconsistent, but if she puts on a run like some of her previous races I can see this one taking it.
Race 3 (2:12pm): Maiden Special Weight, 6 furlongs on the dirt, 2 yr old fillies & mares
Wild race here, not much to go off of at all with plenty of first time starters but there should be plenty of value offered on the board. To start off, I like #3 Pretty In Pink who is trained by Steve Asmussen and gets Santana on top, a duo I absolutely love. #11 Temper Time is 12-1 but offers some incredible value with Talamo on the saddle. The jockey/trainer combination of Talamo and Dale Romans has given bettors a great ROI this year, and this pony has shown some speed in her workouts recently. #10 Tete a Tete ran a couple weeks ago but didn’t have enough in him to really perform. The added furlong here may help him gain some ground and beat out the favorite #6 Patty H, who finished 3rd in that same race.
Race 4 (2:45pm): Maiden Special Weight, 8½ furlongs on the turf, fillies & mares 3 yrs old and up
Another large field here and a race with plenty of value (should the favorite not win). That being said, #5 Flying the Colors should win this race. At 9-5 ML, she’s finished 2nd in 3 out of 4 of her races all by a very narrow margin. Really liking her here, however I don’t like her enough to single her. I think #7 I Hear You has a shot here. She drew the outside post in her debut race and ran well, catching up to horses towards the end but getting caught in-between. I like Tyler Gaffalione on her, and at 10-1 she’s hard to pass up. Lastly, I’ll be taking #6 Forty Zip who showed incredible late speed in her debut at Gulfstream in May. She gets Leperoux in the irons again and if she breaks better than she did last time out she could do very well with less ground needed to make up.
Race 5 (3:18pm): Maiden Special Weight, 7 furlongs on the dirt, 3 yr olds and up
I. Love. This. Race. When I say that – I don’t mean I love it because I am confident in it, but rather I love it because there isn’t going to be a single heavy favorite. Hoping for value all around. Starting off, #7 Searing Chase is 6-1 ML, but will likely be bet down a little bit with Joel on top. This horse was $700k and purchased back in 2017, however this is his first time out. He’s run decent workouts, but not much to go off of here. #4 Savvy is one of the better horses in the group and has recorded impressive Beyers in previous races. His best finish was 2nd at 6½ furlongs, and the added sixteenth of a mile here could be the game changer. #6 Carmichael has been improving with speed each time out and has hit the board in his previous two. Decent speed on this one with some experience, like him at 12-1. Other horses to look out for are #2 Inis Gluaire and #11 Fugitive.
EARLY PICK 5 CARD:
Total cost: $72 for a $.50 ticket.
I don’t have an analysis for races 6-9, however be sure to follow me on Twitter @SpaSaturdays where I’ll be putting out my picks for the later races. Best of luck everyone!