We close out the penultimate weekend of racing at Keeneland with another fun Turf Pick 3 sequence. Be sure to check out my thoughts on this sequence in podcast form as I break it down with PTF.
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- Leg 1 (R5): 4-12-10-2
- Leg 2 (R7): 5-7-11-6
- Leg 3 (R9): 10-6-3-4
Leg 1 (3:08pm): Keeneland Race 5 – Allowance N3X 130k Purse
The all-turf pick 3 kicks off with an interesting allowance contest. Dark Shift (GB) (#10) is likely to go off favored in this spot in his North American debut. Any colt that boasts a win at the Royal Ascot meeting deserves respect especially when that victory was earned in a field of 29 horses carrying one of the top weights in the race. If he is indeed a short price, I’m willing to only use him defensively. While the barn he’s entering has won with a few foreign shippers in the past few years, I’m not as confident this colt will retain his European form as I would be if he was switching to the likes of Brown, Clement, or Mott. I really like King Vega (GB) (#4) in this spot and would be enthralled to get something near his 8-1 morning line. There has never been a more perfect example of a horse not seeing out the distance as this gelding’s run in the G3-Singspiel. It’s worth noting he lost some energy early in the race as he was rank going into the first turn, but overall, I see the turnback from 11f to 8.5f as a huge positive. This runner toyed with a quality field of older horses in his win in the Buckland Stakes at Colonial and ran extremely well in his two starts prior to that. I love the rider switch to Joel Rosario who will likely be able to handle his keyed up tendencies and the Motion barn has been firing on all cylinders. I don’t think either of the 2-3 finishers of the Tapit Stakes are without a chance. Spanish Kingdom (#2) has the favorable post position draw in his corner, but I prefer Shadow Spinx (#12) as this old gelding has the type of back class Maker excels with off the claim. Note that if Street Ready (#13) draws into the body of the race, he’s worth including as a backup.
Leg 2 (4:12pm): Keeneland Race 7 – G3-Dowager Stakes 300k Purse
The middle leg of the sequence is a graded stakes event for older fillies and mares going 12 furlongs on the grass. My first thought in this races is that Beside Herself (#7) will be super dangerous if allowed to waltz along alone on the lead. She was able to do just that when defeating older rivals back at Saratoga in late summer and then last time the pace heated up on her a bit too much in the G3-Jockey Club Oaks when fading in the lane against a solid group. I’m not sure Flying Fortress (#4) classes up in this race, but she could pressure Beside Herself on the lead since enterprising tactics were the key to her win last time. I’m hoping the fact there is a field of 10 that the race will be run at a fair pace and if that is the case I think Temple City Terror (#5) is a likely winner. Bettors may be put off with her coming off three straight defeats, but I can forgive each of those efforts. Three-back she caught a bog of a turf course. Then, in the G2-Glens Falls she ran well to be second to War Like Goddess while finishing ahead of G2-Waya Stakes winner Virginia Joy. In that race, Temple City terror was compromised by a slow early pace. Graham Motion and Eclipse Throroughbred Partners send out two runners in this field and both I give an outside look to. Sister Otoole (#6) took advantage of a weak west coast turf division to notch a stakes win last time, but she did so while making this huge middle move while wide on the backstretch which is rarely a winning move. Mia Martina (#11) just continues to get better and was impressive winning over this course and distance 16 days ago but note that Prat opts to ride elsewhere.
Leg 3 (5:16pm): Keeneland Race 9 – Allowance N2X 120k Purse
It’s a full field of turf sprinters to close out this sequence, the Sunday card, and the penultimate week of racing at Keeneland. While, there are plenty of solid runners going postward in this event, I believe there’s a standout in the field in Evan Sing (#10). Both times this colt has been able to go 5.5f, he’s been able to put daylight between him and the field. His most recent try at this distance was ultra impressive as he was able to bury a field that has proven to be a live race. The fourth and fifth place finishers came right back to win while both improving their speed figures and the runner-up, Thin White Duke, has since finished 3rd beaten less than a length by Golden Pal in the G3-Troy and won the Lucky Coin Stakes later at the Saratoga meet. I think his run last time at Kentucky Downs is forgiveable for two reasons with both the extended sprint distance and inability to find clear running in the lane contributing to his off the board finish. On paper there should be plenty of speed to set up his closing kick since Dreamer’s Disease (#3), Agent Peter Graves (#4), and Lyrical Poet (#6) all like to do their running on the front end. However, I’ll use the latter as my primary backup to the top pick as the first two potential speeds I mentioned are exiting route efforts and Wesley Ward runners are known to be the speed of the speed at times.