Only two more offerings of the novel turf pick 3 remain before we close out the Keeneland meet. After some early success in this space, lately we have just missed taking down a big score on multiple occasions, hopefully we can notch one more before the curtains drop on the Lexington venue.
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- Leg 1 (R5): 2-8-1-3
- Leg 2 (R7): 1-12-4-10
- Leg 3 (R9): 7-12-6-11
Leg 1 (3:08pm): Keeneland Race 5 – AllowanceN1X 110k Purse
As often has been the case this meet, the turf pick 3 kicks off with a turf sprint where Wesley Ward trainees will attract much of the action. In this occasion, I am willing to lean on his pair as both have significant merits. American Starlet (#8) is a filly facing the boys, but has already shown the ability to take down the opposite sex as evidenced by her debut win in January. She also has the benefit of a 5-11lb weight break versus her rivals. She is drawn outside the other speed and could get a nice stalking trip. However, I’ll give the slight edge to Castle Leoch (#2) as my top pick in this spot. This colt fits a profile that has worked time and time again for Wesley Ward this meet and that’s turf sprinters coming off a break. Currently, he sits at 6/10 (60%, $6.26 ROI) with that move this meet with two of the four defeats coming in races he won with another entrant. This son of American Pharoah showed promise in his 2yo campaign and can easily take a step forward here under top turf sprint rider Joel Rosario. A couple horses to include on deeper tickets are Switzer (#1) and Gold Heritage (#3). The former might look a little slow on paper and tries turf for the first time, but his dam was best over that surface and I like the trip he projects to get under Flavien Prat. Gold Heritage won his debut with an eye-catching run through the lane and ran fine behind a slow pace going a route of ground in his second start. I like the turnback to the distance of his maiden score and the low-percentage connections guarantee him to float up from the 5-1 ML.
Leg 2 (4:12pm): Keeneland Race 7 – AllowanceN1X 110k Purse
The second race of the sequence features a full field of twelve going an extended two-turn route. I think that extra furlong is really going to play to the advantage of my top pick Shad Nation (#1) who comes second off the layoff for the Christophe Clement barn. He was left with too much to do in the final quarter mile of his return at Gulfstream, but if you watch that replay to its conclusion, you can tell he galloped out best of all. His debut win was over some nice colts and I think he’ll just continue to get better with racing and distance. It also wouldn’t hurt if Schlofmitz (#1A) drew into the field to bolster the chances of the entry. I’m not too keen on other short prices like Bravo Kitten (#2) and Beside Herself (#5), so I’ll look for some more creative options to link up with my top pick. Both Whenthedawnbreaks (#10) and Pearl Earring (#12) ran at the Fair Grounds over the winter with the pair exiting a common race on January 29th. Of the two, I think Pearl Earring ran better that day close to a quick pace. She’s a half sister to the good turf router Pixelate for these same connections and while the outside post is not ideal, there is a long run into the first turn. Whenthedawnbreaks might also appreciate the extra ground as her dam Mushka had her best achievement over 11f and her best progeny Heyaarat ran a 93 Beyer at the same distance. I think Two Socks (Ire) (#4) might turn out to be a good one for Graham Motion, but wonder if this field will be too tough for her first time in the states. That being said, it would have been easy for Graham to run her in an easier spot at Laurel, so the confidence is notable.
Leg 3 (4:44pm): Keeneland Race 9 – Maiden Special Wt 100k Purse
The sequence concludes with a fun little turf MSW with yet another full field of twelve. I’m not sure we’ll get anything close to the 4-1 ML on Chad Brown first time starter Polyglot (#7), but I think he’s a likely winner in this spot. This Juddmonte Farms homebred is a half brother to Tilset who was a G2 winner at Ascot last summer and G1 placed at Longchamp. This colt also has some visually impressive morning drills over the Palm Meadows turf course. While both of his workmates have only managed mid-50’s Beyers in their young careers (Running Bee and Public Service), the way Polyglot toyed with them in the workouts has the looks of a horse who will produce better on the day. I’m also encouraged for his chances based on the fact the rival I see as his main threat is drawn in a terrible post. Simply Jack (#12) goes out for Conor Murphy who has already hit with a big-priced winner at this meet. He ran really well in his debut over this same course and distance last fall, but I wonder what kind of trip Adam Beschizza will be able to pull from that draw. Others worth throwing in on distant backup tickets are a couple of first time turf horses in Mighty Sea (#6) and Ardanwood (#11) who both have dams that won over that surface. However, I still want to put about 80% of my play in through the Chad Brown/Juddmonte express.