There are no stakes races on tap for the penultimate racing card of the Keeneland meet, but there is an interesting Turf Pick 3 sequence on offer. Only two chances left to take advantage of this player-friendly wager that connects the last three turf races on the Keeneland card.
- Leg 1 (R5): 1-6-5-7
- Leg 2 (R7): 5-13-9-3-4
- Leg 3 (R9): 10-2-8-12
Leg 1 (3:08pm): Keeneland Race 5 – AllowanceN2X 120k Purse
The sequence kicks off with a turf marathon allowance where the participants likely to take the majority of the action are dropping out of graded stakes races. The Grey Wizard (Ire) (#4) is the morning line favorite coming off a close 5th place finish in the G3-San Marcos last time. However, I think he’s achieved the improved results in his last three races by taking advantage of a less than stellar contingent of turf routers out in California. Of the shorter prices on the morning line, I’d much prefer to take Wicked Fast (#5) as his trainer Mike Maker excels with this type of runner. He earned solid speed figures finishing 4th, 5th, and 3rd in his last three races while facing fields that were much tougher than the one he meets today. He’s not the most dependable sort because like the morning line favorite he is void of any early speed and will likely have to pass nearly the entire field to gain the victory. Six Minus (#6) took a step forward in his most recent start dominating a field of allowance horses at Gulfstream in a race that was famously jockey Irad Ortiz Jr’s seventh consecutive win on that card. I’ll be using him as well, but wonder if he’ll be a touch overbet off the 8-1 morning line with high profile connections like Todd Pletcher and Irad in his corner. The improved performance Six Minus put forth last time only flatters my top pick Kitten Mischief (#1) who defeated that runner on New Year’s Day. That race was ultra impressive due to the fact Kitten Mischief was wide every step of that journey, but still had the stamina to hold off the others in his first try going 12 furlongs. He’s been working steadily for his return, is well drawn to the inside and pedigree suggest this four-year-old possesses plenty of upside. By top sire Into Mischief out of a dam in Kitten’s Point that banked over 500k in her career highlighted by a win over this course and distance in the G3-Dowager back in 2015.
Leg 2 (4:12pm): Keeneland Race 7 – AllowanceN1X 110k Purse
As is typical with these Keeneland N1X’s there are plenty of creative cases to be made on horses with unexposed form either switching surfaces or coming in from overseas. I’m going to resist the urge to do so because I think there was a stronger than average allowance race that a few of these run back from of which a repeat of their performance is good enough to win. If the body of the field holds together I think Be My Sunshine (#5) is a likely winner in this spot and can do so at an okay price due to the presence of some of those aforementioned wise guy horses. This filly’s debut was unfortunately mired by a bad spill in mid-stretch, but she did well to close down the leader and win going away. In her first try against winners she ran into a good one in Well Into who was allowed to get away with an easy lead while this Ramsey homebred able to get past the balance of the field and finish second. Well Into validated that this allowance race was indeed a good one with her close 4th place finish in the G2-Appalachian earlier this meet. It remains to be seen if she’ll draw in but Silver Stripes (#13) also exits that same race and while she finished further up the track, she endured a much tougher journey than my top pick. If she does get the needed defection, she’ll have to overcome a tough outside post but Cherie DeVaux has done well recently with some price horses. Also coming out of that race was Cloudy Bay (#9) who didn’t have any excuse to finish behind Be My Sunshine, but she’s worth throwing in at likely 10x the price. Venencia (Fr) (#3) and Gromantine (Fr) (#4) both possess top notch connections and European lineage that makes them both destined to be overbet. The former in particular is likely to take too much money based on the presence of Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz Jr in her past performances. While Chad does well with his overseas shippers, this one possesses a slow maiden win over synthetic that makes it impossible for me to endorse at such a short price.
Leg 3 (5:16pm): Keeneland Race 9 – Maiden Special Wt 100k Purse
The nightcap has a full field looking to break their maidens in this extended two-turn route and while many are in with a shot, morning line favorite offers plenty of appeal. I couldn’t get past Missionaire (#10) as my top pick in this spot as he gets another half furlong for strong connections in Joel Rosario and Christophe Clement. He was narrowly defeated at this level last time out when setting the pace, but has shown versatility in his running styles as he came from midpack in his debut. In his most recent start, I liked how he was challenged multiple times throughout the race and until the last stride had successfully turned away all comers. Today’s race likely features enough other speed where he can find a comfortable spot behind the leaders and trip out. Bee Well (#8) exits the same maiden race as the favorite and while there was no discernible excuse and he loses the services of Tyler Gaffalione, he’s likely to be 3-5x the price of my top pick and Luis Saez is a suitable replacement. The other short price is likely to be Border War (#12) who is cutting back in distance after a much improved effort going 12 furlongs at Gulfstream. Although this is still an extended route, I wonder if shortening up in distance will work against this colt who seems to lack a distinct turn of foot and has a more grinding style typical of those who want to go as far as they will write the race. I don’t know if he’s ultimately good enough, but I want to include King Curlin (#2) on plenty of my tickets. This colt hasn’t raced on grass since his debut at Kentucky Downs back in 2021 where he actually ran well to finish second. He finally gets back to the surface he’s bred for as his dam Blingismything was G3W/G1P on turf in California. There’s bits and pieces in his synthetic races over the past few months to think he’s taken a step forward this year
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