Another challenging set of races is on the table for the all-turf pick three at Keeneland on Sunday. With two oversubscribed fields and two juvenile stakes races with limited form on the page, horseplayers are surely to be handsomely rewarded if they can string together the three winners.
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- Leg 1 (R6): 9-13-10-8
- Leg 2 (R8): 7-8-2-4
- Leg 3 (R10): 5-14-11-10
Leg 1: Keeneland Race 6 – AllowanceN1X 86k Purse
I’m as big of a Brendan Walsh fan as anybody, but it’s tough to trust his two entrants in this opening leg of the turf pick 3 and both are certain to take a ton of play. The morning line favorite is I Hear You (#12) and in addition to that difficult post, she just doesn’t have any sort of figure edge over her rivals and has yet to hit the board in 2021. I’m not as much against Longpants Required (#1) who drew much better along the inside. She was wide much of the journey last time at Kentucky Downs and I think that race represents the strongest event runners of this race come in from. However, it’s tough to put too much money through a filly who is 0/10 on turf in her career and who’s worst turf start came over this course. It’s worth noting that Charges Dropped (#13) draws in off the also eligible list and whose effort in the same race as Longpants Required last time makes her a huge player in here. She’s really improved since switching to the Michael McCarthy barn and I like the little bit of a cutback to 9 furlongs. She’s afforded no favors from the outside post, but there is a long run into the first turn and she has tactical speed. My top pick is going to be Sursum Corda (#9) for Ian Wilkes. The Kentucky Downs course is not for every horse and that seems to be the case with this filly. If you excuse those races, her form matches up to the shorter priced runners in this field. Despite being 0/4 over the Keeneland turf, some of her best races have come over the local sod including last fall when closing into a slow pace behind eventual stakes winner Luck Money. I’m also going to be using prominently the filly who edged my top pick two back and that’s Social Dilemma (#10). She’s only a three-year-old, so there’s some natural improvement still available to her and she’s already run numbers that make her competitive while possessing some positional speed that could be advantageous in this affair. Other backups that are interesting in this wide open race are Suki (#8) off some solid races on the west coast for Ten Strike Racing and has a clear lead on the TimeformUS pace projector. Finally Ice Queen (#3) and Foolery (#6) are both going to be huge prices, but are worth throwing in on a backup line. The former had some trouble in her last and this barn points to the Keeneland meet, and the latter gets to the turf for the first time for her three-year-old debut and is bred for the surface and might have grown up a little while on the long break.
Leg 2: Keeneland Race 8 – Indian Summer Stakes Stakes 200k
While the other two legs of the sequence are open to many logical contenders, I think this traditional prep for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint features a very likely winner in Averly Jane (#7). While none of her career races to date have come over the turf, she’s got the pedigree to handle it as her sire hits at 13% with his turf runners and she’s a half sister to Chattel who also took the 2018 Skidmore when it was actually stayed on the turf. More importantly is the fact that she has loads of early speed and there was a key scratch of the inside runner so she now could wire this field as Wesley Ward horses often do. Speaking of Wesley, his other runner Kaufymaker (#2) is not without a chance either. The connections thought highly enough of this runner to ship over to Royal Ascot off a dirt maiden score and while she couldn’t close the deal in the Kentucky Downs stakes last time, the cutback to 5.5f suits her and Ward has already scored a win this meet with a turf sprinter with Euro form in Golden Pal. The only other backup I’d want to throw in is Roman Poet (#8) who is a crazy 50-1 on the morning line. He was impressive in his debut at Gulfstream taking down Castle Leoch who has since returned to break his maiden at Gulfstream and then ran on well behind Her World and eventual stakes winner Trust Our Jouney in the Tyro at Monmouth. Toss the dirt race and there’s no reason this gelding should be any more than 15-1 against this group.
Leg 3: Keeneland Race 10 – G2-Bourbon Stakes 200k
If this turf pick three wasn’t tough enough already, we get a 14-horse affair to close out the Keeneland card and this sequence as runners from this race look to parlay success here to Breeders’ Cup glory in the Juvenile Turf. Many of the key contenders are posted to the outside of this field. Red Danger (#10) might end up going off favored coming in off a stakes win at Kentucky Downs where he was able to stalk and pounce and that tactical speed could be key in this affair to get position entering the clubhouse turn. He can win, but I wonder if the pedigree shapes a touch more to the sprint side and he wasn’t exactly pulling away late in his last. Morning line favorite Tiz the Bomb (#12) is logical as well also exiting a stakes win, but I can make a case that Play Action Pass (#14) ran the better race that day setting a pace where he buried the other speeds and the Cairo prince colt showed he can stalk and pounce in his maiden breaking score. Heaven Street (#11) was also super impressive last out under a confident ride by Joel Rosario and has the form over a mile distance is a feather in his cap. He loses Joel’s services today and will have to be sent from that outside post to not get hung wide. Because I believe that a lot of runners will be sending early to get over, I think it could set up for a closer and the one I landed on was Rocket One (#5) for Bill Mott. He defeated Gingrich last time who returned to win on Opening Day at Keeneland and might sit the right trip behind a fast pace. On deeper tickets, I won’t let horse with better posts and postional speed like Dowagiac Chief (#3) and Martini’nmoonshine (#4) beat me and Lucky Boss (#13) has enough turf pedigree as a Street Boss to make the transition to grass and the McPeek barn has been hot to kick off this meet.