We close out the penultimate week of the boutique Keeneland Spring meet with a competitive turf pick 3 sequence.
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- Leg 1 (R5): 6-9-3-5
- Leg 2 (R7): 8-6-5-1
- Leg 3 (R9): 6-2-10-9
Leg 1 (3:08pm): Keeneland Race 5 – AllowanceN2X 120k Purse
The all-turf pick 3 kicks off with an absolutely wide-open allowance race for fillies and mares routing on the turf. It’s anyone’s guess who might wind up going off favored in this affair, but if it ends up being Poca Mucha (#8) that is a horse I would be willing to fade. While the trainer change to Bill Mott and rider upgrade to Joel Rosario are both positives, she was out run by a common foe in her last on synthetic. Of the shorter prices I want to use both Postnup (#6) and Undisturbed (#9). The former seem to have been exiting the best races and Cherie DeVaux’s runners have all been showing up and running well this meet. Undisturbed has positional speed and exits a race where the runner-up came back to win yesterday at Keeneland for the same trainer. All the horses in the middle gates look worth using as Fair Game (#3) seems to be improving for Vikki Oliver, Vezpa (Brz) (#5) has competitive speed figures for a barn that while cold this meet is certainly capable. Finally, the wild card in the race is Kestenna (GB) (#4) and in a race where it’s tough to latch on to anyone, I’d want the fresh face on many of my tickets.
Leg 2 (4:12pm): Keeneland Race 7 – AllowanceN3X 130k Purse
The second race of the sequence is another competitive event with twelve runners looking to contest this turf sprint. I suppose the horse to beat is Maven (#2) who goes out for the dangerous Wesley Ward operation. He was declared a non-starter in his last race which came here at Keeneland in the fall, but his prior efforts over this turf course would make him extremely tough for this field to handle. However, I’m hesitant to put too much of my play through him with the spotty form he’s got on his page. I actually think the most likely winner is Seven Scents (#8) who shows up in a new barn off the claim. His races in the south were among the fastest of anyone in the field and there’s no reason he won’t take another step forward with Brad Cox now at the helm. However, there are some other interesting faces worth including. Turned Aside (#6) showed immense talent in his three-year-old season and after selling for an obscene amount of money in the fall of that year at the Paul Pompa dispersal, he didn’t really cash in on it last year. I suspect the connections were reluctant to geld the expensive purchase, but maybe that’s what he needs to capitalize on the underlying talent. I think the 5.5f is perfect for him and if he gets back to his races for Linda Rice, he could upset this field at a price. The closer I want to keep onside is Bullseye Beauty (#5) who ran super at the fall meet here and has since had his form dirtied by multiple synthetic races. The low-percentage barn is certain to ensure a good price. Finally, Mr. Hustle (#1) is a sneaky looking runner as he gets back to the turf off the Mike Maker claim. He appears to be working forwardly for the first effort for the new barn and was facing some good horses in the winter at Fair Grounds.
Leg 3 (5:16pm): Keeneland Race 9 – AllowanceN2X 120k Purse
The conversation in the payoff leg has to begin with morning line favorite Abscond (#9) who is not running in a stakes race for the first time since winning her debut. However, she’s currently in the midst of a long losing and always seems to run to her level of competition while never winning. She can win, but I’m looking in a different direction. Petricor (GB) (#2) shows up first time in the United States for Bill Mott and comes from the powerful Juddmonte operation. While her races overseas don’t appear to be anything special, she is kin to a few high class European runners and could find the waters more suitable on this side of the pond. I’m using her prominently, but my top selection is going to be Lashara (GB) (#6). This daughter of American Pharoah ran some solid races for Mark Casse in the spring of last year, before showing up in Brian Lynch’s barn this year. While her return race at Gulfstream doesn’t appear to match her prior efforts, I see it as more of a prep with a less than ideal journey. She was wide around the racetrack while caught behind a slow pace and the runner up, Market Rumour, returned to win at Keeneland yesterday. I think the rider upgrade from Leparoux to Flavien Prat cannot be understated and think she has the tactical speed to be close in a race lacking much pace. Due to the lack of early speed, Amiche (#10) will be dangerous if left alone on the front end.