There are five graded stakes races, including three Grade 1 races that will anchor this loaded Saturday program in Lexington, Kentucky. Note that there’s some changes in the typical wagering menu today. The Late Pick-5 is an All Stakes Pick-5, starting in Race 6 today (Not Race 7). The Pick-6 will start in Race 5 and end in Race 10. There are two Pick-4 wagers, and All-Stakes Pick-4 starting in Race 7 and the Late Pick-4 starting in Race 8. Post time for the 11 race program that is certain to have some Breeders’ Cup implications is 1:00 (ET).
Best Bet: Race 7, #4 Carribean Caper (5-1, ML)
Best Price Stab: Race 9, #6 Bourbon Bash (20-1, ML)
I’ll typically be covering the Late Pick-5 sequence from this exciting meet on the ITM Blog, along with posting some updates and thoughts from time to time on Twitter @EricSolomon718. Feel free to reach out!
|Race||Top Pick||A||B||C||Wagering Menu|
|6||4||4||PK5, PK3, DBL, All Turf Pick-3|
|7||4||4||1||PK4, PK3, DBL|
|8||5||5||4||3||PK4, PK3, DBL|
Race 6, The $350K G2 Woodford Stakes Presented by Fanduel:
This race will start both the All Stakes Pick-5 (which is in place of the Late Pick-5 today), and the Keeneland Turf Pick-3. The question handicappers will have to be asking themselves will be if it is worth trying to beat Golden Pal (#4) in this race. He’s 4-5 on the morning line, coming off a hard fought win in the Troy Stakes at Saratoga. He wasn’t at his best that day, and one could start to wonder if his form is tailing off toward the end of his four year old season. He’s never lost a North American turf sprint, including three of those victories on this course. After his win at Saratoga, there was a thought that we would be seeing him in the Grade 2 Stoll Keenon Ogden Phoenix Stakes on yesterday’s card, possibly trying to earn a graded stakes victory on the dirt to go along with his six graded stakes victories. While there are some nice horses in this race, he’s the only one that I would label as special. I’ll use him as a single to start this wager off, knowing that I’ll want to spread deeper into the card.
Race 7: The $350K Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes:
I like Carribean Caper (#4) quite a bit in this six furlong stakes race that serves as the local prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint. She caught my eye on debut when she dominated a solid field of maidens on debut last year at the Fair Grounds on the Risen Star undercard. She would go on to win her next four starts, including a win in allowance company on this track and stakes wins at Ellis and Churchill. She was on the shelf for almost a year before returning in the Seeking the Peal Stakes at Colonial Downs in August. She was a part of a contested pace when going seven furlongs and she tired late, finishing 4th for her first career defeat. It’s not surprising that she was a little more keen than usual in her first race off the break, but she looked very comfortable last year, sitting off the early speed and pouncing on the leaders late. I think that’s the kind of trip that will win this race, as there are several speedy horses that want and need to go early. She’s been working up a storm on the Churchill Downs Training Track, and I think she’ll get back to her winning ways today. Palm Cottage (#2), Slammed (#7), Joyful Cadence (#8), and Happy Soul (#9) all are nice horses that are certainly possible in this race, however, all four seem to run their best races when they’re on the front end. I think Joyful Cadence and Happy Soul out wide are going to make things very difficult for the other two runners. On deeper tickets and underneath, I’ll look to add a closer. Li’l Tootsie (#1) is cutting back to a sprint after three straight efforts going one mile or longer. She was the was the winner of the Anchorage and the Groupie Doll Stakes when going one mile. She came up short when going two turns in the Locust Grove last out at Churchill. While the six furlong distance of this race might be a tad short, I do think she could excel at the seven furlong trip of the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint next month. She has won 4 of 10 starts at this distance and has finished in the money four more times. I think 15-1 (ML) is a fair price for this daughter of Tapiture, who should definitely get a favorable setup for what she wants to do.
Race 8: The $750K Grade 1 First Lady Stakes Presented by UK Healthcare:
Chad Brown sends out half of the field in this Grade 1 test at one mile on the Keeneland turf course. This race feels like it is Regal Glory’s (#5) to lose. She was second to Casa Creed in the Grade 1 Fourstardave when taking on the boys in her last start at Saratoga. She was a narrow second in this race last year when her stablemate, Blowout, had a more advantageous trip and was the better overall horse. After that, she went on a four race winning streak, where she won three Grade 1 races, including the Jenny Wiley on this course. While that was her only local win in four starts, she has really found her niche in these one mile races over the last year. She’s as good ever and I think she’ll sit a winning trip, just off her stablemates. Technical Analysis (#3) and In Italian (#4) are both live in this spot and both should likely keep Princess Grace (#2) from setting an easy pace on the front end. Both horses are four year old fillies, trained by Brown, but with different ownership. Klaravich Stables owns Technical Analysis while Peter Brandt owns both In Italian and Regal Glory. In Italian was the “other” Chad Brown runner that upset the favorite, Bleecker Street, in the Diana when she made her last start. She was second best in the Distaff Turf Mile and the Just A Game (behind Regal Glory that day). She continues to get better, but I do wonder if she’s more effective going a little farther than the mile distance. I do think this race will set her up nicely for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 Mile and 3/16 on this course. Regal Glory may be better suited for the Breeders’ Cup Mile, and thus better suited to win this race. Technical Analysis was a gate to wire winner of the Ballston Spa when she was able to set a moderate pace with a small field. She was second best behind In Italian in the Diana. Her only off the board finish came with a miserable trip in the Wonder Again Stakes. She always runs her race and is getting better, but like her stablemate, I think she’s better going just a little farther than a mile.was installed as the co-morning line favorite, if she does draw into the body of this field.
Race 9: The $600K Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders Futurity:
On paper, this is one of the deeper editions of the Breeders’ Futurity that I can remember. There are several well-meant runners that have a bright future in front of them. Lost Ark (#10) gets the call, making his third career start for Todd Pletcher. He’s never been tested in two career starts, winning both by a combined 13 lengths. He’s the only runner in the group that has a stakes win at two turns on his resume. He easily defeated a nice field in the Sapling at Monmouth at the end of August. He’s a half to Grade 1 winners Idol and Nest, and he’s looking to add another trophy for the family mantle. Brad Cox has two runners, Loggins (#2) and Instant Coffee (#5) that look like they could be any kind. Of the two, I like Instant Coffee a little bit more. Any time a horse can win when debuting at seven furlongs, it tells me that the horse has some definite ability. He was comfortable coming from off the pace when winning that day at a price for Brad Cox. He’s sired by the precocious and talented, Bolt d’Oro, who is off to a solid start at stud, with horses sired by him winning at a 16% rate in his freshman campaign. Bourbon Bash (#6) is the longshot that I’ll be using in this race, hoping that his miserable trip in the Grade 1 Hopeful was an aberration. His two starts prior to that were promising, finishing second to eventual Champagne winner, Blazing Sevens, in his debut, and then dominating in his second start. He had a rough journey, being forced to take up early and then going very wide on the turn on a very sloppy course when running in the Hopeful last month. He continues to work well for D. Wayne Lukas and I think he could run big in his first two turn try. Loggins put up a monster figure in his debut at Churchill a few weeks back. He certainly could be the real deal and easily win this race. However, it’s a fairly quick turnaround for his second start. I’ll cover with him based on connections and his draw for this large field.
Race 10, The Grade 1 $1,000,000 Coolmore Turf Mile:
The final Grade 1 of the afternoon looks like a large field of turf milers where there is no shortage of early pace. I think that should tilt the advantage to the 2020 winner of this race, Ivar (#6). He’s been lightly campaigned in his six year old season, winning once at Horseshoe Indianapolis in stakes company and then finishing second to Modern Games, who dominated the Woodbine Mile last month. This is a little bit of a quicker turnaround than usual for Paulo Lobo, but he clearly likes this course. He’s able to come from off the pace, which seems like the kind of trip that stands the best chance with all of the other speed signed on here. Casa Creed (#9) is another six year old, and Bill Mott has the one in the best form of his career. He was a winner in the Grade 1 Fourstardave in his last start at Saratoga. After trying some longer sprints, I think the team has discovered that the mile might be his best distance. He’s got two Grade 1 wins already and could start building his case for Champion Turf Horse with another score here. Annapolis (#8) is one of two three year olds entered in this race. He was absolutely dominant in the Saranac last month at Saratoga. His Pilgrim win last year suggested that this War Front colt might be something special. He will try older horses for the first time today after never finishing worse than second in six career starts with age-alike runners. Irad Ortiz has ridden him in each start so far and he keeps the mount today. On deeper tickets, Set Piece (#12) may be worth including in the event of a total pace meltdown. He might need to hit a career best figure to win, however, Rosario will have plenty of pace to run down. I assume his best move is to drop him toward the back and save as much ground as possible. There are at least five candidates to be leading this race going into the first turn, and whoever that winds up being, I can’t imagine they’ll get any breathers up front. He comes in off a Grade 3 score at Pimlico and he has a triple digit Beyer Speed Figure on this course. At 15-1 or higher, he’s worth using as some insurance.
Pick-5 – Main Ticket: ($0.50 Base Wager- $48 Ticket)
Yesterday’s late Pick-5 paid over $43K as there were some improbable results early on. For this sequence to sniff that kind of number, someone will have to finish in front of Golden Pal (#4, R6) and someone other than the Chad Brown runners will likely need to win the First Lady. I don’t see either scenario happening, so I don’t want to invest much more than this with this wager. I’ll be aggressive with Carribean Caper (#4, R7) early on, hoping to spread out four deep in the last two races.