Day 5 of the 17 day Keeneland Fall Meet is a ten race card, highlighted by an optional $125K claiming/N2X allowance race for three year old fillies, going in Race 8. Static Fire, for Brian Lynch, is expected to be a heavy favorite in that spot. As usual, racing will start at 1:00 (ET) and the Late Pick-5, which starts in Race 6, will start around 3:40 (ET).
Best Bet: Race 9: #7 Daisy Bee (8-1, ML)
Best Price Stab: Race 10: #10 Thirsty Betrayal (12-1 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||10||2,10||8||PK5, PK3, DBL|
|7||9||9||1,4||PK4, PK3, DBL|
Two year old $50K maiden claiming fillies sprint six furlongs here. Through the Cracks (#10) is an interesting runner that might be able to rebound after a dull performance at Churchill last month. She was racing in a restricted maiden special weight contest on a Downs After Dark card, in a race that went off at about 11:15 at night. She was bumped hard at the start and never really got to run her race. I do wonder if running that late was also a factor in throwing her off her game. She was much better two back in maiden special weight company at Louisiana Downs when she was challenging for the lead. She breaks near the outside today and is capable of running better if she can get away from the gate better than she did last time out. Divine Grace (#2) looked like a filly that was starting to figure some things out when making her 4th career start at Colonial with maiden special weight company in August. She’s been on the sidelines since, but she has been working well at the Thoroughbred Training Center for Michael Ewing. This is not the strongest field for the condition, so I do feel she’s getting some significant class relief. On deeper tickets, I’ll include the morning line favorite, Saenz (#8) for Brad Cox. I don’t love seeing her drop in for a tag after one start, but this is probably where she belongs. The dam has produced some winners, but all of them were in maiden claiming races. The connections likely eliminate any real value that could be had on this one, but improvement can be expected from this filly as well.
Maiden special weight two year olds are going the extended seven furlong trip on the Beard Course here. I don’t love playing first time starters at seven furlongs, and I think many of these runners are up against it while facing Todd Pletcher’s Summonyourcourage (#9). He makes his 6th career start, which is not ideal for a maiden at this level. However, his last few races have been decent, finishing second behind Echo Again at Saratoga and then losing by a nose when going a one turn mile at Churchill last month. Gaffalione may have moved a bit early last out, closing into a sharp pace and getting nailed on the wire late. I expect him to take advantage of this lightly raced group and score for the first time today. Sacred Ground (#1) debuted on the turf at Ellis for Robertino Diodoro where he ran an even second that day. Sharp Azteca did his best work on the main track and his runners are hitting at 19% so far in dirt sprints. His dam did all of her work on turf, winning on debut in a turf sprint. However, she was sired by Candy Ride, whose runners can compete on any surface. On deeper tickets, I think we’ll see a better outing from the $900K purchase, Juan Valdez (#4). He’s a half to Constitution, who was the winner of the Grade 1 Florida Derby in 2014. The dam also produced graded stakes winner Jacaranda, who won the Tempted Stakes going the one turn mile at Aqueduct. The dull effort in his break is not ideal, especially seeing as how the graded stakes winners this dam produced were very good from the start. However, McGaughey is a very patient trainer, and I doubt we’ve seen the best from this one.
The featured optional $125K claiming/N2X allowance race for three year old fillies drew a field of six and it will feature the shortest priced runner in this Late Pick-5 sequence, Static Fire (#6). She’s made four career starts, winning her first two, and most recently was 4th in her last two starts in turf sprint stakes races. Her only start on the dirt came at Churchill Downs, which was a gate to wire victory with N2L allowance company. She set an aggressive pace that afternoon and won like she had something left in the tank, despite making her first start in nearly nine months that day. She was favored in the Coronation Cup at Saratoga when she finished 4th after a slow break and a rough trip. She couldn’t keep up with the very speedy Happy Soul when racing in the Music City Stakes last month at Kentucky Downs. She drops back to allowance company while also returning to the dirt. However, there is a lot of speed signed on to this race. She’ll be short odds, and she’s too good to leave off the A line, but there’s value to be had if we can beat her. The X factor in this race is Roses for Debra (#2), who is my top pick. She’s never raced on the dirt, running four times on synthetic at Presque Isle Downs. She crossed the wire first in all four career starts, each one by open lengths, but was disqualified in her debut. She’s sired by Liam’s Map out of a Bernardini mare, so there’s reason to believe that her talent can transfer to the main track. I like her running style for this style, stalking the pace and pouncing on the front runners. If she takes to the track, which is a big if, I think she’s a big player here. On deeper tickets and mostly underneath, Mystique Saboteur (#5) has the look of a filly that could grab a piece of the action if there’s a total pace meltdown. She won easily last out to clear the N2X condition at Mountaineer in a slower race. She was second in stakes company earlier in the year at Prairie Meadows on the dirt. She’ll likely need to be faster than she has been to win this race, but she’s never been in a race where there’s an aggressive pace in front of her. If McKee can let her do her thing at the back of the field early, she might be rolling late, to at least hit the board.
This is an interesting N1X allowance race for fillies and mares going one mile on the turf. As has been the case with most of the turf races so far at this meet, the field oversubscribed with 16 entrants, 12 of which will compete. I like Daisy Bee (#7) quite a bit for Rusty Arnold here. She broke her maiden here at this distance last October in gate to wire fashion. She was on the shelf for 11 months before returning to face a sharp group at this level at Kentucky Downs. She set an aggressive pace, possibly having a little extra nervous energy off the layoff, before fading to 4th, only 2 and ½ lengths behind the winner. She’s the only true front runner in the field and James Graham is a smart gate jockey that should have her prepared for the break. I think her last race was a demanding test off the layoff, and while there are several quality rivals in this spot, I think she has a definite pace advantage over the major players in this race. I think she can get the job done in her second start off the layoff, which has historically been a strong angle for Arnold (21% over the last five years and 30% since 2021). Candy Light (#2) is the morning line favorite after a third place finish last month in the Virginia Oaks at Colonial Downs. Joel Rosario gets the return call for Graham Motion, while also cutting back in distance. She’s had posts toward the outside in her last two starts since returning to the turf, and both times she’s been left with a lot of work to do late. She has shown that she can be forwardly placed in her dirt races, so I would think that would be part of the assignment today. She’s a player, but 2-1 (ML) feels like poor value to me. On deeper tickets, I’ll give a look to Toeris (#8) making her first start since the end of November. She’s been moved to Mark Casse’s barn since then and has been working well for her three year old debut. She was a strong third, beaten only a half length while going off at 45-1 in the Grade 3 Jimmy Durante last time out. She might need a race before she’s at her best, but she’s a promising filly, and if she’s overlooked in the wagering, I’d be willing to take a stab with her.
As $10K starter allowances go, this one might be one of the best that I’ve seen in quite some time. On top of trying to handicap what is already a very difficult race based on form alone, the 6 and ½ furlong distance further complicates matters. I think the added distance is a major concern if you’re betting the favorite, One for Richie (#5). He’s a win machine, winning 5 of 8 starters this year and 12 of 42 lifetime. However, most of those races have been at six furlongs or less. He’s made two starts at this 6 and ½ furlong distance. One was a handy win in allowance company, however that came at Belterra Park, where he was facing softer competition. The other race at this distance was at Turfway on the synthetic, so I can forgive that effort where he faded badly. However, there are several other speed threats here, most notably Shacks Way (#12) in the outside stall. Both of these runners are “need the lead” types, and I think they will duel each other into submission at this slightly longer distance than what they’re used to running. I think the best value, at least with the morning line figures, lies with Thirsty Betrayal (#10). He finished in front of One for Richie two starts back in the mud at Ellis. He’s at his best when he can comfortably track the leaders and make one sustained bid, which figures to be the type of trip that he could get here. He’s not as consistent as some of the other runners that have been assembled for this race, but he’s run credible races on this course and at 12-1 (ML), I could definitely see him making some noise here. Beverly Park (#2) enters this race in what will be his 24th start in 2022 and his 31st start since Norman Cash claimed him on behalf of Built Wright Stables for $12,500 at Belterra back in August of 2021. In that span, he’s earned over $400K and has made 18 trips to the Winner’s Circle at 13 different tracks. His tour returns to Lexington today where he was second behind Baby Yoda this spring at this level. He won twice here last fall and has seven wins and one second in eight starts at this tricky distance. Bejarano will have to avoid getting sucked into the speed duel, which has done him in before. However, his consistency and willingness to compete every 14 days or so at a variety of tracks makes him one of the coolest horses in training. He continues to run very well in races like this and is a player amongst one of the deeper groups he’s faced during this run. Fleetridge (#4) is a bit of an unknown commodity here. He definitely fits well in terms of class, finishing second in the Grade 3 Cornhusker three starts back at Prairie Meadows and third most recently in the Downs at Albuquerque Handicap. Jon Arnett is a high percentage trainer, winning 27% of his races in 2022. This son of Ghostzapper has done his best work at two turns, so the cutback in distance is a question mark. However, if he’s comfortable settling off the pace, he’d likely be the one that is flying home late. 3-1 (ML) is fair, but a little lower than I’d like with the cutback in distance being in question.
Pick-5, $54 Main Ticket:
This is a challenging sequence where there are some short priced runners in three of the five legs. I think both Saenz (#8, R6) and Static Fire (#6, R9) are vulnerable for different reasons in their races. Both are worth including, but there are runners in both of those races that I prefer. Summonyourcourage (#9, R7) feels like the most likely winner in the sequence, but I do want a little protection in that race, since he is winless in five starts. I’ll be squarely against the favorite, One for Richie (#5, R10) in the nightcap, trying to get paid using three others in that one.