The final three cards of the Keeneland meet are upon us and we’ll take the same number of cracks at trying to take down the Turf Pick 3. On the surface, it looks like the Wednesday sequence has the chance to chalk out as there is a favorite listed at under 2-1 on the morning line in each leg. However, that also indicates that those runners will be disproportionately used by other players and all three have their own set of questions to answer.
- Leg 1 (R4): 9-2-8-3
- Leg 2 (R6): 4-5-7-9
- Leg 3 (R8): 3-6-5-7
Leg 1 (2:36pm): Keeneland Race 4 – AllowanceN1X 110k Purse
Many handicappers are likely to concede the opening leg of the sequence to Exact Estimate (#7) as this Chad Brown trainee was able to break his maiden last time out in his first try over the grass. However, Chad Brown usually has a good idea of which surface his prospects will excel over, so I find it concerning her waited this long to get him on turf. Furthermore, this barn was certainly not sending their best stock to Gulfstream Park this winter and that’s where this colt broke his maiden. Because he’s likely to get overbet, I’m liable to just use him on combinations with my top price plays in other legs. Another factor leading to my skepticism of the favorite is the fact that this barn’s preferred jockey lands elsewhere. Irad Ortiz Jr has the mount on Gamer (#2) who makes his first start on the grass, but is bred to handle it being by a solid turf influence sire in Twirling Candy. The Brendan Walsh barn has been quite hot over the past few days here, so I see this colt as one of the possible upsetters. My top pick will be Catnip (#9) who is another one that is eligible to improve his speed figures with the maturity that comes from developing from three to four. This lightly raced son of Kitten’s Joy ran really well in the Virginia Derby in just his third career start finishing sixth while making the lead in the lane. That race has been productive as two of the also-rans (Limited Liability and Royal Patronage) have come back to win allowances at this Keeneland meet. This will be his first start since being gelded which could help him save his energy for the race as his reluctance to load likely cost him a better finish when last seen. Contention runs deep in this spot and I can make fringe cases for stretch-running Policy Option (#8) as well as Reward Night (#3) from the streaking Ian Wilkes stable.
Leg 2 (3:40pm): Keeneland Race 6 – Conditioned Allowance 130k Purse
Morning line maker Nick Tammaro has pegged Bound for Nowhere (#9) at 2-5 on the morning line and while his prior class and speed figures certainly tower over this group, I think there are some question marks that make me hesitate to stomach that short a price. This Wesley Ward trainee has always had trouble staying on the racetrack, but each time he’s comeback, he’s still been able to produce graded stakes quality efforts. While the conditions of this race were likely written to allow him to be eligible, it’s worth questioning whether he can be the same top notch turf sprinter at the age of nine. Ward also sends out Infinite (#7) who has a similar amount of layoff lines littering his past performances, but at least he is two years the junior of the overwhelming favorite. He defeated a good one in Artemus Citylimits in a race over this course and distance last spring and will likely be 10-15x the price of his stablemate. Purple Dream (#5) has not sprinted on turf in a while, but his races over today’s configuration are some of the best ones on his page. His synthetic races prove that he’s in decent form and now can get back to a race type he might be even more suited to. However, I think if the favorite isn’t the same horse he once was, the winner is likely to be Our Shot (#4). Whereas a lot of this field may be in the latter stages of their careers, this four-year-old gelding still possesses some upside. He won his first turf sprint start on the Black-Eyed Susan undercard in a fourteen horse field, then nearly got up to win off a 244 day layoff at Gulfstream in a race where he was the only runner closing from the back of the pack. It was nice to see him get the job done in a dirt sprint, but this is the surface he’s run the best over and its possible this PA bred can be a player in this division down the line.
Leg 3 (4:44pm): Keeneland Race 8 – AllowanceN2X 120k Purse
The Jimmy Toner barn has had quite the resurgence in recent months and he will saddle the likely favorite Broadway Boogie (#7) in the nightcap on the Wednesday card. She is the horse to beat after a dominant win going this distance two back and she unleashed a menacing bid around the turn before finding the company in a Grade 3 last time a bit too touch. She’s reasonably spotted here, but I’m hesitant to take too short of a price in these marathon races at Keeneland where horses seem to take turns beating each other. It’s not often you see two horses that are coming off 200+ days layoffs exiting the same race but that is the case with Federalist Papers (#1) and Light Stars (Fr) (#5). While the former ultimately scratched, the latter is worth using although will likely be launching a rally from near the back of the pack. Bravo Kitten (#3) and Shad Nation (#6) both have a bit to find on speed figures against the principles in this race, but the long distance is often a great equalizer. The former was overrun by the favorite in her first start of the year, but showed improved form and tactical speed in her most recent start. Shad Nation will likely come from the clouds, but this filly has always had talent and might be able to step forward in her first start at four.
Leave a Reply