Week three at Keeneland closes out with another fun card and the #TurfPick3 sequence features a graded stakes for the sixth time this meet.
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- Leg 1 (R5): 2-6-1-4
- Leg 2 (R7): 5-3-4-9
- Leg 3 (R9): 3-6-4-12
Leg 1: Keeneland Race 5 – AllowanceN3X 90k Purse
A big scratch has been announced in the first leg of this turf pick three sequence as Wesley Ward has decided not to run Into the Sunrise (#5) coming back in just nine days off a disappointing effort in a similar race at 3-5. That’s unfortunate since I was planning on fading that runner completely in a race with a good amount of early foot. The one who has decided to wheel back on short rest is one I have a more favorable opinion of in Competitive Saint (#1) who comes in off a gutsy win just last Sunday. George Weaver is not known for this kind of quick turnaround, but this race didn’t come up too tough and why pass up an opportunity to graduate another condition with a lucrative purse available. He projects to get a nice stalking trip behind the speed horses to his outside and if he holds his form from last week, he’ll be a handful. However, I want to pair him up with a couple other horses that could benefit if they cook a bit up front. Inhalation (GB) (#2) is more realistically spotted after trying his luck against probable Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint favorite Golden Pal in the Woodford last time. His two races at this distance at Colonial Downs were both visually impressive efforts and Ed Vaughan is having a banner year with his small string of runners. I like that Strike Me Down (#6) is getting back to a sprint as every one of his three turf sprint efforts have produced a solid finish. He got the right pace setup when running down a talented horse in Lontano two back, but a similar situation could present itself Sunday afternoon and Michelle Lovell sports a flat-bet profit with her turf sprint charges. With the scratch of the morning line favorite, I’ll have to throw in Mark of the Z (#3) and Quick Tempo (#4) on the backup line as they’ll face less pace pressure than previously planned. The latter only tried turf once and he was a part of a fast pace and that was before his form improved with the addition of blinkers.
Leg 2: Keeneland Race 8 – G3-Dowager Stakes 150k
The key race to take a look at to try to decipher who is going to take down this year’s G3-Dowager Stakes is the Kentucky Downs Ladies’ Marathon Stakes back on September 12th. That day at Kentucky Downs featured a pronounced rail bias and La Lune (GB) (#4) got a great trip and ride from Adam Beschizza to make her move down the lane rallying to the inside. While she did get that benefit last time, I also believe she is the most proven entity at this marathon distance as evidenced by her solid overseas form. However, my top pick is the horse in that common race that did not have the fortune of spending much time on the best part of the track and still ran on well and that’s Luck Money (#5). She also has has some success at this 12 furlong trip with a stakes victory over eventual G1 winner Mutamakina in the Zagora last fall and has kept some good company throughout her four-year-old campaign. I like the positive rider switch to Joel Rosario who lands on this filly when he appeared to have other options. One of those was Micheline (#6) who had some trouble down the lane in the KD Ladies’ Marathon, but I think it will be overblown since she was on the good part of the track and I just don’t think she’s come back the same horse as last year. Another one I think is interesting is Summer in Saratoga (#3) for Joe Sharp. She’s stretching all the way out for the first time, but I see no reason why she can’t handle it. One of her better efforts came at the 9.5 furlongs over this course when she was without a seem to run through in the lane and she’s a winning type with five victories in her last seven turf starts where she kept the jock aboard. The last runner I have to throw in as a backup is Key Biscayne (#9) out of respect for Mike Maker’s ability to get these horses to relish added distance on grass when they are switched to his tutelage. There is limited form to point to that says she’s able to compete at this level, but it’s not the strongest rendition of this race and she appears to be working well.
Leg 3: Keeneland Race 10 – AllowanceN1X 86k Purse
We close out the wager with a full field of turf allowance fillies all in search of their second career win. The morning line favorite Texas Shuffle (#3) is a prospect I’d like to lean on in this sequence. Although this War Front filly broke her maiden over the dirt in an off-the-turf race at Ellis, she is bred up and down for the grass. Her dam, Homebound, was a winner of the prestigious Prix de Sandringham at Chantilly in France and was the eptiome of a turf miler. Her last race was a very good effort at Kentucky Downs rallying wide around the turn before just missing the win against a good Mike Maker trainee in Camellia Gal. She is well posted in this flat mile race where the turn comes up quickly and that factor could compromise some of her main rival who are drawn to the outside. The wildcard in this race is Magna Mater (Ire) (#6) coming over from France and racing for the first time since April for Brendan Walsh. She may have grown up a bit since last racing as an early season three-year-old and was doing her work on some of the best circuits in France. It’s a similar story for Runaway Rockette (#4) just without the international flare. She scored an eye-catching maiden win over this course and distance last fall and was given a break since her roughly-run allowance try here in the spring. Finally, despite the wide draw I have to throw in Uyuni (#12) as a potential pace factor. This filly also has a strong pedigree as the Uncle Mo’s are known to take to the turf and her dam Pachattack was a versatile graded stakes winning filly for these same owners. She ran into a buzzsaw in Simply Ravishing in a maiden race last summer and I liked her return at Ellis. Maybe she didn’t care for the unique Kentucky Downs configuration and now gets a the services of top turf rider Joel Rosario.