We continue on with another #TurfPick3 with a couple of competitive turf sprint allowances that bookend the sequence and a full field of well-matched starter allowance foes in the middle of the sequence that caused a handicapping headache.
- Follow me on Twitter: @michaeldomabyl
- Leg 1 (R4): 4-5-3-7
- Leg 2 (R6): 7-1-8-11
- Leg 3 (R8): 8-5-7-1
Leg 1: Keeneland Race 4 – AllowanceN1X 86k Purse
The sequence kicks off in a spot where I get to bet back a runner on my horses to watch list. Love and Money (#4) showed immense talent in her debut sprinting on the grass en route to a gaudy speed figure. They’ve tried to stretch her out in each of the last two starts, but even the advantages that come from being forwardly placed over the Saratoga inner turf couldn’t make up for just how much of a runoff she was in those route efforts. She seems like a filly that doesn’t want to be restrained and does her best running wheeling and dealing on the front end. There is some other speed in this affair, but I think if the meet’s leading rider Tyler Gaffalione lets this filly roll on the lead, she’s going to be tough to catch in the lane. In the event the pace collapses, the runners I’d want to use underneath all exit races at Kentucky Downs. Lubna (GB) (#3) and Mused (GB) (#5) look very similar to each other on paper and finished up that way in their common race at the Franklin, KY track last month. Cruz Bay (#7) seems to be improving for Joe Sharp and while she was vanned off after that facile maiden score, she has returned to work well since suffering that scare. Finally, American Goddess (#8) gets back to the course and distance of her maiden win and Wesley Ward’s barn continues to fire with these turf sprinters here in Lexington.
Leg 2: Keeneland Race 6 – Starter Allowance (50k) 43k Purse
The middle leg of this pick three is about as wide open of a race I’ve seen all meet, so it’s tough to really even lay a finger on the horse to beat. I guess, for me, that distinction falls to Hawk of War (#8) who has paired up 80+ Beyers in each of his last two starts and the former of which he defeated a couple of these common opponents, but he did so while getting a pretty good trip and ride. The same cannot be said for my top pick Fieldstone (#7) who looked like he had run coming into the lane, but was stymied and had to blind-switch after a failed move to split horses. He crossed the wire first in a race at a similar level to this two-back and could be lost in the wagering after being defeated by two of today’s rivals in his last race. Girl Dad (#1) is well posted for George Weaver and was fractious in the gate before exerting too much energy early in a race that was won by a runner coming from off the pace who returned at Belmont to win over the weekend. If he can ration some of that newfound positional speed it could be advantageous in a race with little early foot to speak of. Risk Manager (#11) might wind up favored, but this is the first time for a new barn from a tough outside post. His previous trainers were both high-percentage turf outfits at high-class circuits and this trainer hasn’t quite proven that yet, although, he has done impressive work with likely BC Distaff favorite Letruska.
Leg 3: Keeneland Race 8 – AllowanceN1X 86k Purse
The wager concludes with another turf sprint and the trainer that has taken down three of the eight turf sprints run to-date at this meet holds another strong hand. Wesley Ward’s charge Spicy Marg (#8) was scratched out of a race at this level on Sunday that featured a much tougher field. Ward eventually won that race with his trainee Illegal Smile, so rerouting this speedball of a filly to Thursday’s card sure seems like a shrewd move. She reunites with Gaffalione and should be prominent from the start. There is a bit of speed to her inside, but I think this filly is classier and can just perch alongside and take over in the stretch. Touch of Class (#7) has come to hand for Bernie Flint in recent races and should appreciate the turnback to 5.5 furlongs. Hey Kitten (#5) gets a similar cutback in distance and while she’s never gone this short in her career, she’s won over the Keeneland sod and would appreciate if there’s some sparring on the lead.