Keeneland All Stakes Pick-5 Preview – 4/9/22 – By Eric Solomon

While I’ll normally be covering the Late Pick-5, I’ll be taking a stab at the All-Stakes Pick 5 this afternoon, featuring five graded stakes. I do think there’s a possibility that this sequence could be very chalky, but I feel the favorites are vulnerable enough to build some tickets that could be profitable if they can’t quite get the job done. As a fan, these are five excellent races featuring some very accomplished horses that we could very well be talking about in November when the Breeders’ Cup returns to Keeneland. 


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
5 10 5,10,11 PK5, PK3, DBL
6 4 4 3,8 PK4, PK3, DBL
7 4 4,5 3,6 PK3, DBL
8 6 5,6,10 DBL
9 4 4,10 6,8



Race 5: The Grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes:

Before digging into the past performances, I was looking forward to trying to beat Nashville (#5) in this seven furlong sprint. I see him as vulnerable while going farther than six furlongs, despite the fact that he has a pair of scintillating victories on this course. Even though he’s coming in off a huge race at the Fair Grounds, I’m not fully convinced that he’s the same horse that he was back in 2020. However, after looking at each runner in this race and watching the races yesterday, I don’t see anyone being interested in challenging him early. He does appear to have a prime setup in this race, and despite my doubts, I have to respect that. If there were a few other speed horses in here, I’d likely try to take a stand against him. He’ll be hammered at the windows, and I’m going to wind up using him on the A line, however, I’ll still make Prevalence (#10) my top pick. I really liked his effort to win in allowance company in his second start of the year at Gulfstream last out. He showed a lot of promise as a three year old last season, winning his first two races at Gulfstream, before tiring in his first try at two turns in the Wood Memorial. He went wrong when finishing up the track in the Pat Day Mile and wasn’t seen again on the track until February. He does need to prove that he can win outside of South Florida, however, I think he’s coming into this race very sharp, and he might be able to sit a good stalking trip that allows him to take advantage of Nashville, who could be getting a little leg weary in the final ⅛ of a mile. I expect O Besos (#11) to be finishing well in the late stages of this one as well. He’s had a steady diet of two turn races after winning a pair of sprint races at the beginning of last season’s Fair Grounds meet. He was a game 5th in the Kentucky Derby and he finished second in the Matt Winn Stakes in May, in his last try as a three year old. He came back to the races in February and won his first start off the layoff. He was a competitive 4th behind Olympiad in the Mineshaft back in February. Rather than trying to tackle that one again, Greg Foley opts to send him here to take a shot in a lucrative stakes race, while cutting back to one turn. I’m not sure he’ll get an ideal pace set up, but he’s a hard trying horse in his third race off the layoff, and I’m expecting a decent effort. 


Race 6: The Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes Presented by Japan Racing Association:

I’m going to take a stand with Dolce Zel (#4) in this race, trying to beat the morning line favorite, Spendarella (#3). Spendarella looks like a very promising three year old filly for Graham Motion, who won the Transylvania Stakes yesterday with Sy Dog. However, she’s a speed horse that has run two big races on the Gulfstream Park turf course. I feel like this is the kind of horse that has historically struggled in races like this at Keeneland in the spring, especially on a turf course that is less than firm. Meanwhile, Dolce Zel joined Chad Brown’s barn this winter in Florida after breaking her maiden at Longchamp in France in October. I really liked her effort in the Grade 3 Florida Oaks on a good course at Tampa Bay Downs last month, stalking the pace, and saving enough energy to move three wide to nail Spicer on the wire. Irad Ortiz won the last three races on the card yesterday, but Chad Brown was 0-5, so she may go to post as the second choice, like she is on the morning line. While Brown is winning at 38% in 2022, I don’t expect him to hit that percentage at this meet. That being said, I don’t think he’ll be on the duck for too long here. On deeper tickets, I’ll cover with Spendarella and Kneesnhips (#8). Kneesnhips is coming here off a win in the Joseph LaCombe Memorial Stakes at the Fair Grounds last month, while making her first start as a three year old. She appeared to improve off a solid two year old campaign. She’s run decent races when there’s been some give in the ground. 


Race 7: The Grade 1 Madison Stakes:

A very nice field of ten fillies and mares has been assembled for this Grade 1 contest. Unlike the Commonwealth in Race 5, this field is absolutely loaded with early speed. Just One Time (#4) showed a new dimension last out when winning the Grade 2 Inside Information Stakes at Gulfstream when coming from off the pace. She’s a Pennsylvania bred filly sired by Not This Time, who appears to have been a private purchase after running two very fast races this fall at Penn National. She made her first start for Brad Cox in January and scored with a five wide blitz off the far turn. Flavien Prat won two races yesterday and he gets the call here on what should be the longer price of the two Brad Cox runners. Bell’s The One (#5) was really good last year, but after winning at Saratoga in the Grade 2 Honorable Miss, she ended up ducking a lot of the top competition in her division by staying at home in Kentucky. She was very good in this race last year, finishing in a dead heat for second, less than a length behind Kimari (#6), who is back to defend her title. The pace scenario should be right for her closing style. Kimari has never lost in five career races on the main track. Her only two career off the board finishes have come on Breeders’ Cup Day, both times when facing the boys. She started her season off with an easy win in allowance company at Gulfstream. We know Ward always brings a loaded stable to Keeneland year in and year out. She’ll be a short price, and she’s definitely live, but I do see her as a little bit vulnerable in this race. With all of the early speed signed on, she might find herself a little further off the pace than she’s accustomed to when racing on the dirt. Lady Rocket (#3) will likely take some money after her monster win in the Go For Wand Stakes in her last start of the season last year. She earned a huge 107 Beyer Speed Figure for her dominating performance that day. She makes her first start in over four months today and she’s apt to have a lot of competition for the early lead. If she runs back to her last race, she’s apt to run them off their feet, but that’s no guarantee in this highly competitive contest. 


Race 8: The Grade 2 Shakertown Stakes:

This is another race where there will be a very short priced Wesley Ward horse. Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner, Golden Pal (#10) makes his four year old debut on a course where he is a perfect 2-2 on. He’s a two time Breeders’ Cup winner, out of a dam that narrowly lost the Breeders’ Cup Sprint on this course in 2015. His game is front end speed, and the front runners did struggle over this course yesterday. He’s the most likely winner, but this is not a cakewalk. I’m going to use the runner that beat him overseas, The Lir Jet (#6) to get the better of him again on his home course. He looked very good when winning the Grade 2 Franklin Sampson Stakes in his last start at Kentucky Downs in September. He had a miserable post in his only local race, when drawing post 14 in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. He’s a better sprinter, and while this race might be a little short for him, I think the course will be to his liking. Gear Jockey (#5) is another one that might appreciate a softer course. He was very good at Saratoga and Kentucky Downs this fall, but he struggled on the very firm courses at Del Mar and Gulfstream in his last two. He was flat in his seasonal debut last month, faltering as the 3-10 favorite. However, I think this course and distance is much better for the race he wants to run. 


Race 9: The Grade 1 Toyota Blue Grass:

I wrote about this race much more in depth on the ITM Kentucky Derby Blog, which I’ll link below. I do think the shorter prices make the most sense in this race. I gave the slight edge to Zandon (#4) over Smile Happy (#10) after getting a much better post. I think the two runners are fairly close in ability and Zandon will likely be the better price as well. On deeper tickets, I’m covering with Emmanuel (#6), who I don’t love, but I could see Saez being aggressive with him early in a race where it’s really a mystery as to who’ll be setting the early fractions. Ethereal Road (#8) doesn’t have the strong speed figures as the top choices, but from a visual standpoint, he’s certainly looked like a horse that could move forward with more experience.


Pick-5 – Tickets: Total Wagered: $102

While I didn’t give out the winning Pick-5 Ticket yesterday, nor did I personally have it, playing my entire grid for $96 with a $0.50 base wager, would have produced a $6,469.00 winning ticket. While I’ll lament what could have been a great start to the meet, I did end up on the right side of the ledger when my top pick in Race 6, Imogene Malvina, connected for me at 21-1. I’ll be a little more aggressive with this wager today after watching the races yesterday. Since there is a potential winning ticket with Nashville, Kimari, and Golden Pal that could produce a very modest return, I won’t go crazy with this sequence. While I think all three are very logical, I think all three can be beaten, so I’ve structured my tickets accordingly. 

All A’s ($0.50 Base Wager – $18.00)



All A’s/B’s ($0.50 Base Wager – $48.00)



4 A’s, 1 C ($0.50 Base Wager – $36.00)



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