The final day of the Keeneland Spring meet is upon us and that means it’s also the last chance to cash in the turf pick three wager. For better or for worse, this offering contains what looks to be a very heavy favorite in the second leg of the sequence, but we’ll still see if we can extract some value in the other legs
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- Leg 1 (R6): 3-6-5-8
- Leg 2 (R8): 4-7-3-6
- Leg 3 (R10): 10-3-8-2
Leg 1 (3:05pm): Keeneland Race 6 – AllowanceN3L 120k Purse
The all-turf pick 3 kicks off with a very competitive allowance race due to the relative lack of turf form among its participants. However, I do think that the winner will come from three candidates that will ultimately separate themselves from the others in the wagering. Brad Cox sends out a pair of runners drawn towards the middle of the field that both offer significant merits. Tommy Bee (#5) had a troubled trip in the Rushaway last time out and looked decent gaining a stakes placing in his last turf start. Bloodline (#6) also narrowly missed in a stakes race the last time he tried the green stuff, but was a pace benficiary that day. I’ll use them both prominently but will make my top pick someone else. Bochombo (#3) is dangerous because he possesses enough early speed to clear off on the front end and he showed last time that he can parlay that to an easy score. He powered home to the finish line and looks as if the added distance will not be an issue. With the ticket getting skinny in the later legs, I’ll cover my bases with some other backups.
Leg 2 (3:40pm): Keeneland Race 8 – G3-Bewitch Stakes 300k Purse
The final stakes race of the meet features the return of War Like Goddess (#4) and I view her as a virtual cinch. While there is always a risk that these mares lose a step when coming off the bench, I think this girl has a big year in store for her in these three-turn races. Her speed figures tower over the field and she also is getting a huge rider upgrade for her five-year-old campaign. Aside from the layoff the only other possible flaw is she is a deep closer in a race with almost no pace signed on. I’ll reserve a small percentage of my budget to play a few combinations with Breeze Rider (#7) who will be able to dictate terms on the front end. While this mare’s most recent try past 9f saw her fading in the lane, that pace in the Modesty was a bit more contentious than I project for today.
Leg 3 (4:44pm): Keeneland Race 10 – AllowanceN1X 110k Purse
The meet and this sequence conclude with a contentious turf allowance with a full field of twelve signed on. I’m not too fond of the shorter priced favorites on the morning line, so I’ll try to make this sequence pay by focusing on other runners. Guntown (#2) and Verstappen (#8) both are coming out of a race at the fair grounds where they were compromised by a slow pace. In the case of Guntown, he has a right to be good on that surface as a half brother to Paddy O’Prado, but Gun Runner hasn’t got off to a hot start as a turf sire. Verstappen is in the capable hands of Brendan Walsh, has prior turf form, and should appreciate the extra furlong. Naval Aviator (#1) has positive pedigree credentials as well as his dam was a G3 winner and banked over a half a million on grass. I think the surface switch may wake him up and Flavien Prat gets the call from a cozy inside post. Finally, I think the obvious trouble that Hail to Thee (#3) suffered in his debut might lead to him attracting more support at the windows than his 12-1 ML, but it was a dominant effort. He broke hopelessly slow and still rallied to be much the best. He’ll need to take a step forward in the speed figure department in his first try on turf, but he’s in the right hands to do so with Clement and Rosario teaming up. However, my top selection will be Spin Wheel (#10) to hopefully close the meet out with a win for popular connections in the Lexington area. This son of Hard Spun’s only turf try was in his debut at Saratoga which featured a solid field and no pace for him to close into. His dam was G3P, but more importantly he’s a half brother to Moon Over Miami who took down an expensive stakes race at Kentucky Downs and was G1 placed in last year’s Man O’ War. He’s been running admirable races on dirt and simply has to transfer that form over to what looks to be his preferred surface to potentially end the meet with a bang.