Keeneland $3 Min Turf Pick Three Analysis – April 15th, 2023 – By Michael Domabyl

A wonderful Saturday card is on tap at Keeneland that features three stakes races with two of those comprising the better part of this Turf Pick 3 wager. The sequence concludes with by far the best group of turf fillies to meet on the track in North America this year. Good luck to all my fellow competitors in today’s Grade One Gamble.


  • Leg 1 (R5): 8-10-12-4
  • Leg 2 (R8): 10-11-5-12
  • Leg 3 (R10): 9-2-3-5

Leg 1 (3:08pm): Keeneland Race 5 –  AllowanceN1X 110k Purse

The filly version of this race kicked off the Turf Pick 3 yesterday and now the boys get their turn in this 9f allowance affair. There looks to be a good amount of pace signed on to this event and that should really work in the favor of likely favorite Clever Thought (#8). The money came out in droves on this Phipps homebred in his turf debut and while he was expected to win, I thought it was an impressive effort to come from close to last to get up in a race where the pace really held together. Now, this race is coded red on TimeFormUS and he owns the best late pace rating of the bunch. Some of the other short prices on the morning line don’t do much for me, but I will include some combinations with Emperor’s Appeal (#4). Like his pedigree suggested he would, this colt really moved up first time on the grass and while there was no beating the winner that day, this field could be more within his scope. While most of my play will run through the favorite, there are two interesting alternatives switching back to turf from the synthetic at Turfway worth throwing in somewhere. Paulo Lobo makes winning with mid-to-long priced horses at Keeneland look rather routine so I don’t want to dismiss First Strike (#10) getting back on the surface his dam won a G2 and upwards of $600k on. Some might be dissuaded by the post given to Dark Side (Ire) (#12), but at nine furlongs there is plenty of time to get over and Frankie Dettori guided a filly breaking from the outside post to victory in a race with this same configuration yesterday. While he got a great trip over a track playing to his closing style last time at Turfway, there’s still plenty of upside on this Qatar Racing charge.

Leg 2 (4:44pm): Keeneland Race 8 – Giant’s Causeway Stakes 250k Purse

It’s a turf sprint at Keeneland and Wesley Ward holds a strong hand which is a sentence that can be written about almost every race run with that configuration at this meet. While it remains to be seen if Ward will run both of his entrants since they each seem to want to be forwardly placed, both Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (#10) and Happy Soul (#3) fit an angle for this barn that had been highly profitable. Over the past five years, Ward is 9/24 (38%, $3.82 ROI) with horses coming off 180+ day layoffs in Keeneland turf sprints. I quoted a similar stat for Wesley Ward yesterday and the runners that it applied to promptly ran 1-2 in one of the leg’s of yesterday’s sequence. Of the two I much prefer Twilight Gleaming who has shown more brilliance throughout her career dating back to her win over the boys in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. It’s worth questioning whether she might be a touch more suited to the flat 5f, but Wesley’s runners have a way of finding a bit of extra stamina in the final sixteenth over this particular strip. Star Devine (Ire) (#12) is likely to attract a ton of attention at the window and deservedly so based on her figures and form. She wasn’t too far off Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Caravel in her start here last fall and is proven to be of this class, but the outside post is not ideal and there are others at better prices I’d rather upgrade. This is a big step up in class for Little Jewel (#11), but she beat a decent horse in Train to Artemus (#1) and did so with relative ease. She still has upside and I don’t see why the extra half furlong can’t work in her favor. Amy C (GB) (#5) is the proverbial wildcard in here as she backs up to the shortest distance she’s run in her career. However, this is more of “in Phil D’Amato I trust” as he’s been sharp in bringing the right horses to Keeneland. Not only is his barn 2/2 at the current meet, but he’s also 5/21 (24%, $3.14 ROI) in turf races at this track in the last five years and that sample includes four hopeless longshots that ran in Breeders’ Cup races.

Leg 3 (5:48pm): Keeneland Race 10 – G1-Jenny Wiley Stakes $600k Purse

There’s an argument to be made that the feature on Saturday’s card could be the race of the year in terms of bringing together the highest percentage of the top players in a division. While there are plenty of up-and-comers to discuss, one of the veterans of the group might hold all the cards. In Italian (GB) (#2) is squarely the horse to beat and possesses a huge tactical advantage over her rivals on paper. This likeable mare has turned into a front-running freak in this two-turn route races and assuredly will employ those tactics again this afternoon. While I acknowledge shes the likeliest winner, I won’t run all my play through her because of the fact that the other riders in the race are undoubtedly aware that if they let her walk on the lead the race is as good as ever. I’m not quite sure which of the eight other fillies and mare will get that aggressive ride. It could be hopeless longshot Freedom Speaks (#8) stretching out of sprint races with an aggressive rider in Reylu Gutierrez, but I could also see With the Moonlight (Ire) (#5) being more forward early if the pace is moderate. The latter filly is Charlie Appleby/Godolphin runner looking to take down yet another North American Grade 1, but her credentials overseas aren’t as strong as some of the other monsters he’s brought over. Leaving off “The Other Chad” is always a dangerous game, but Speak of the Devil (Fr) (#4) hasn’t run back to anything close to her stateside debut and that came over the quirky Churchill turf course that some horses relished while others flopped. Because I like shorter priced horses in the first two legs and I’m not against the favorite here, I’m required to leave off Queen Goddess (#3) while acknowledging the fact she can win. I just feel last time was the time and this is a tougher field. The other horse I want to use and the one I’ve made my top pick is White Frost (#9). Is she good enough to beat this tough a field? Maybe not, but if she is this is the time to try and take her when she’s still a halfway decent price and this is a confident placing by Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott. An easy case can be made that she was best in all five of her lifetime turf starts and all she needs to win this race is for someone to go after In Italian early.

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