A five day racing week begins with an eight race, Wednesday afternoon card beginning at 1:00 (ET). There are only two grass races carded today, so there is no All-Turf Pick-3 wager this afternoon. However, the Late Pick-5 is a tremendous sequence where all five races have drawn overflow fields. Race 4 is the first leg of this wager, and it’s scheduled to go off at 2:36 (ET).
Best Bet: Race : #2 Bourbon Spirit (6-1, ML)
Best Price Stab: Race 4, #12 Can’t Hush This (15-1, 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|
|4||12||3,12||2||PK5, PK3, DBL|
|5||4||4,6||5,7||PK4, PK3, DBL|
One angle that I like playing at Keeneland is playing some smaller, lesser known stables, especially when they have horses that look live. Many times, horses like this will go off at odds longer than their morning line. Hutch Holsapple is certainly not a household name, but he saddles his second horse at Keeneland in the last five years, sending out Can’t Hush This (#12) in this $20K N2L claiming race. His maiden breaking score at Ellis was strong, dominating a $30K maiden claiming race back in July. Holsapple tried him twice in starter allowance company on the turf at Kentucky Downs, finishing off the board both times. He comes back to the main track, which is clearly his preferred surface. Gabriel Saez is going to have to work out a trip from Post 12, however, he has enough early speed to hopefully be in play once the gate opens. One More Baby (#3) should also be interested in the early stages in this race. He embarrassed a $20K maiden claiming field at Saratoga when going 1 mile and ⅛ two starts ago. He cut back to one mile out of the new Wilson Chute there when he ran 6th with $25K N2L claimers. He was three wide most of the way around the first turn and the front runners were able to set moderate fractions before drawing away from the pack late. Robertino Diodoro, who plays the claiming game so well, claimed him that afternoon, likely with this meet on his mind. Sono Gratto (#2) is the morning line favorite, likely because of some solid figures with better fields. He was pace compromised when running 5th with $50K N2L claimers last out. He drops to the lowest level of his career after going winless since breaking his maiden in the slop at Aqueduct in March of 2021. He seems to be trending in the right direction coming into this race, but taking 3-1 (ML) on any runner in this race feels very short. I’ll cover with him, but if his morning line price holds up, I’ll be looking elsewhere for value.
The first turf race of the afternoon is a N1X allowance contest for three year olds an up going one mile. This race oversubscribed and was split into two divisions, with the second heat going as Race 8. I think Policy Option (#4) is going to be tough in this race. He’s a seasoned five year old Empire Maker gelding that ran a few big races on the turf over the summer. He was an impressive winner at Ellis three starts back when beating $30K starter allowance foes. He was a close third at this level when cutting back to seven furlongs at Kentucky Downs. He was a nonfactor on the dirt last out, but he gets back to his best distance on grass. He has three career wins in 25 starts, but all three of those wins came at one mile. He’s been in the money in 75% of his races at this trip. Martini’nmoonshine (#6) was second in that blanket finish at Kentucky Downs that Policy Option was a part of. He broke his maiden in his third career start and his first on turf at Saratoga last summer. He was overmatched in the Bourbon Stakes and was on the shelf for 10 months following that effort. His first two efforts in 2022 are solid, signaling that there’s more to come from him. There’s a pair of longshots that I find interesting in this one. Script (#5) makes his first start since February and his first start on the turf for Graham Motion. Two of the dam’s four runners to race are winners on the turf, including Traipsing, who was stakes placed on grass. Both of those runners were sired by Stroll, who was known for his turf ability, Algorithms gets 10% winners with his turf runners, despite never stepping on the grass in his brief career. Motion already has a winner at this meet and this is a barn that targets races at this track. Penner Ash (#3) debuted at Horseshoe Indianapolis with an emphatic five length victory in maiden allowance company back in August. He was five wide and struggled to muster a strong rally at Kentucky Downs last out. He returns to a two turn mile and gets Luis Saez to ride. At 20-1 or better, I could definitely be willing to give him another shot.
Two year old fillies sprint seven furlongs in this maiden special weight contest. Only three runners have experience, while all of the other runners are making their first career start. Harmonica (#5) checks a lot of boxes for me in this race. Mendelssohn was a special talent on both turf and dirt, and while his turf runners have been doing well, he’s quietly hit with 15% of his first time starters on dirt, with three of them paying a decent price. The dam was a debut winner on dirt and her first foal won on dirt in their debut. Her perks are solid and I believe she’s a candidate to upset this field. Miss Shipman (#7) is one of the few fillies with race day experience, closing a ton of ground to get into third in her debut on the turf at Kentucky Downs. Horses sired by Midshipman have won 17% of their races on dirt, so I believe she can move forward with the surface switch. I think having that race under her belt, coupled with the ability to come from off the pace, should give her a stamina edge over several of her rivals in this spot. Mischievous Gal (#8) debuts for Andrew McKeever, who has good numbers with first time starters with a limited sample. Her works are solid and Practical Joke is one of the better first out sires in the game right now. It hasn’t been a great 2022 for McKeever, but a win with this filly in this race could certainly go a long way towards turning things around.
There’s going to have to be somewhere to pare down your ticket with this wager, and this optional claiming/N1X allowance race for two year olds is going to be where I’ll take a stand. Bourbon Spirit (#2) ran into Lost Ark at the end of August in what was a very good running of the Sapling Stakes at Monmouth Park. That one was a troubled trip 6th in the Breeders’ Futurity on Saturday. Bourbon Spirit set a contested pace after breaking for the rail that day, and while he was no match for the winner, he battled hard to outfinish Major Dude for third. That one was recently an upset winner of the Pilgrim Stakes on the turf at Aqueduct. Brad Cox and Florent Geroux often come to this meet with well-meant runners. He’s drawn well for this race and he proved on debut that he can win while coming from off the pace. I think he can clear this condition, and perhaps earn another shot in stakes company soon.
The second division of this N1X allowance race at one mile on the turf is headlined by an interesting runner that has never run on the grass. Rhetoric (#3) made four starts for Bob Baffert in Southern California on the main track, breaking his maiden at Los Alamitos in July. He ran solid races at Del Mar with optional claiming/N1X allowance company. He put up big figures in those races, but I think his connections feel that his future is one the turf. His dam is the four time Grade 1 winner on turf, Hard Not to Like. One of her Grade 1 scores came on this course in the Jenny Wiley Stakes. Her son was moved from Baffert to Brendan Walsh, seemingly with the intention to start his turf career. He’ll be a shorter price, so I’ll look elsewhere for my top pick, but he’s got too much class and ability to leave off the A line. Greatheart (#8) will be the top pick, with the hope there will be enough speed to set up his furious closing kick. He came up just short at Kentucky Downs last out, losing to Onenightstandards. He was flying late two back to be 5th, beaten only one length at Ellis. He is making nice progress since moving to the turf, and I could see him taking another step forward. Axthlem (#10) faces winners for the first time after winning with a well-timed ride by Edgard Zayas at Kentucky Downs with maiden special weight types. He was second on the Tapeta in his debut, so he seems like a horse that could have a nice future in front of him.
Pick-5 – $54 Ticket:
This is an excellent betting sequence that is likely to pay well, regardless of the outcomes. There doesn’t appear to be any short priced favorite in these fields with huge fields. I’m going to make Bourbon Spirit (#2, 6-1 ML) my single in this wager, as he feels like he’s in a good spot to earn his second win. The value is there for this horse who was second to a good Todd Pletcher runner, Lost Ark, in stakes company last out. I’ll be represented by some price runners in each of the other four legs., many of which feel like they have decent chances in wide open races.