FallStars weekend continues at Keeneland on Saturday and the Turf Pick 3 is a juicy sequence. All graded stakes and all key preps for next month’s Breeders’ Cup. This is in addition to an all-graded stakes pick five that runs from races 6-10.
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- Leg 1 (R6): 5-9-7-6
- Leg 2 (R8): 5-4-3-1
- Leg 3 (R10): 9-8-3-5
Leg 1 (3:38pm): Keeneland Race 6 – G2-Woodford Stakes 350k Purse
The initial leg of this pick three also serves as a key prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint as that championship event will be run on the same course and distance. The conversation for this race has to begin with Golden Pal (#4) who is the defending champion of both this race and the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint. However, his last race was a subpar effort up at Saratoga and there had been some odd conversation about switching his target to dirt sprints. His differentiating characteristic has always been his ability to put a length or two on the field from the bell, but was not able to do that last time out. I think there are four possible upsetters with the first two coming off the best efforts of their career in Oceanic (#6) and Artemus Citylimits (#7). The former dominated a solid field at Colonial last time out and the latter just missed in a turf sprint at Kentucky Downs at a distance that might be a touch longer than his best. The runner with upside in this field is Cadamosto (Ire) (#9) who ran really well in his U.S. debut behind one of the more talented turf sprinters in the country in Big Invasion. This Mark Casse trainee was forced to be in chase mode behind a runaway leader in That’s Right who returned to win a G3 at Parx last month, but I’m a tad worried he might be in the same position today. My top pick is an old favorite of mine in Gear Jockey (#5). I think he’s run better than it looks in all of his four starts this year, but especially the last two. In the Turf Sprint on Derby Day he had significant trouble on the far turn that caused him to lose valuable position and he was on the wrong part of the track in the Jaipur last time. I like that the connections took a step back and targeted this race for his return as he gears up for another Breeders’ Cup try.
Leg 2 (4:42pm): Keeneland Race 8 – G1-First Lady Stakes 750k Purse
The first turf Grade 1 of the Keeneland meet is the middle leg of the pick three sequence and it would be quite a surprise if Chad Brown didn’t fill out more than half the trifecta in here. Of his entrants I much prefer Regal Glory (#5) as she looks to avenge her narrow loss in this race last year. Since that defeat, she’s been the undisputed top filly miler on grass with four Grade 1’s to her name. Last time out she challenged the boys in the G1-Fourstardave and lost nothing in defeat chasing wide against a good horse in Casa Creed. I don’t think Jose Ortiz will let the other two stablemates get too far out of her sight and will be able to run them down late. Of the other two Chad Brown entrants, In Italian (GB) (#4) seems a bit more dangerous as a possible upsetter as she could take on the same enterprising tactics on the front end that led to her win in the G1-Diana. Technical Analysis (Ire) (#3) was able to control on the front end in both of her wins in 2022, and with her stablemate breaking to her outside, I don’t think that will be the case today.
Leg 3 (5:45pm): Keeneland Race 10 – G1-Coolmore Turf Mile $1M Purse
The closing leg might prove to be the highlight race of the Keeneland fall meet as this will serve as an important form line for the Breeders’ Cup Mile run here in just four weeks’ time. Santin (#7) is listed as the morning line favorite and deserves to be based on his credentials this year. The problem with him is that his two big wins came over the Churchill Downs turf course that is known to have had issues this year and it’s impossible to stomach a short price on a horse like that regardless of the fact I believe he’s super talented. The short price on the morning line I’m willing to feature prominently is Casa Creed (#9). He comes into this race off consecutive Grade 1 wins and has proven recently that the mile distance is no problem. That is certainly the case when he gets some pace to close into which should be on display in this spot with horses like Classic Causeway, Smooth Like Strait (#2), and Somelikeithotbrown. The other runner I’d like to include on the vast majority of my plays is Annapolis (#8). While he needs to improve in the speed figure department, he’s always presented as a talented miler with enormous upside and possesses the ability to sit mid-pack and make a run. As far as some other main backups, Order of Australia (Ire) (#3) disappointed as the heavy favorite in this race last year, but this is certainly a class drop for him coming back over from Europe after dacing the likes of Inspiral and Baaeed. It’s encouraging to see Soumillon make the trip over and worth noting this horse won the Breeders’ Cup Mile over this course and distance in 2020 so there is precedent for him running well in the states. Masen (GB) (#5) has always been highly thought of by the Chad Brown operation, but hasn’t come through with a breakthrough effort yet this season. If it comes in this race, he could win at an overlaid price for this barn.
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