The Friday card is highlighted by a very good edition of the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes for fillies and mares sprinting on the turf. The late multi-race sequences are going to be tempting as usual at Keeneland. The late Pick-4 offers a $200K guaranteed pool and after a day off, the all turf Pick 3 is back today, starting in race 5.
Best Bet: Center Aisle (#2, Race 8, ML 9-5)
Best Price Stab: Lead Guitar (#7, Race 9, ML 10-1)
|6||1,6||8||7||DBL, PK3, PK5,|
|7||3,11||5,9||1||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 6: Top Pick:
This is a tough two year old filly $50K maiden claiming race that kicks off the late Pick-5 sequence. Mrs. Nushi (1) ran an even third place finish maiden special weight company in her debut at Ellis. She took a swing for the big purses at Kentucky Downs, but was overmatched that day. She came back to the dirt and gets significant class relief as she’s offered for a tag for the first time. Murgatroyd (6) makes her seventh career start and her first for the tag here. She has two clunker races at Ellis, one of which came on the turf. If you can look past those races, she’s improved steadily while facing better horses. She belongs at this level and could be tough in this race where there’s not a lot of proven commodities. Alittlesliceofpie (8) gets the outside for her debut and she has some decent AM drills for Kenneally. He does well with runners that debut in maiden claiming company. I don’t love that she’s starting for tag that is $65K less than her purchase price. However, this field is not the deepest. Becauseofthebrave (7) met a runaway winner at Churchill last month when making her debut in maiden special weight company. She too drops in for a tag for her second career start. I don’t love the 3-1 odds, but she’s worth covering on deeper plays.
Race 7: Top Pick: 11
There’s a $200K guarantee in the pool for the late Pick-4 wager which starts with this N3X allowance race for fillies and mares going 1 Mile and 1/16 on the turf course. This stakes quality allowance race is absolutely wide open. I’m looking to the outside with Market Rumor (11) as my top pick. She had some credible efforts with stakes quality fillies and mares on the dirt prior to trying grass for the first time in July. She beat allowance foes that day at Ellis and followed that effort up with a narrow miss in stakes company at Colonial. She makes her third straight start on turf where she may have found a new home. Breeze Rider (3) is a filly that knows how to win races. She’s won 9 times in 21 career starts. She’s improved a lot this season, winning several races on the grass. This is a big class test for her, but she hasn’t been awful when facing better fillies and mares in the past. Both Sweet Melania (5) and Joy Epifora (9) have run big races in stakes company at times. Both have also been confounding at times for handicappers, failing to win at this level in the past. Both have enough class to cover with, but I think both are a little vulnerable in here. Winter Sunset (1) returns to the races after a three race spring campaign for Wayne Catalano. She made need this race, but I think she’s worth a flyer at 20-1 based on pedigree, and the fact that she’s been competitive at this level in the past. She made need this race, making her first start since May, but I think she’s playable on deeper multi-race tickets and underneath in some of the vertical exotics.
Race 8: Top Pick: 2
There are two that are likely to be heavily bet in this N1X allowance race at 7 Furlongs. Silver Strand (5) ran a big race on debut in the slop at Saratoga, where the second and third place finishers of that race came back to break their maidens in their subsequent tries. She’s bred to be a good one, but she’s unproven against winners and on a fast track. I’ll cover with her on the C line, but I’ll side with Center Aisle (2) making her first start of the year and her first start since being moved to the Paulo Lobo barn. She was purchased by OXO Equine for $1.5 million, so obviously expectations have always been high. She won her debut as a three year old, but she struggled in her first start against winners in May, when facing a very strong field at Churchill that day. She faced lost twice to Frank’s Rockette in graded stakes company when that filly was on a roll, before coming back to allowance company at Aqueduct and finishing third at this level. She’s been away for ten and a half months, and looks ready to go. There’s not a ton of depth to this field outside of Silver Strand, so this seems like a good spot to launch her four year old season.
Race 9: The Grade 3 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes: Top Pick: 7
The feature this afternoon features a dozen talented turf sprinters going 5 and ½ Furlongs. I’ll want some coverage here, but I think Lead Guitar (7) could be sitting on a big race here. She ended her 2020 campaign with four straight wins in turf sprints on the NYRA circuit. She made her seasonal debut in the Grade 2 Royal North at Woodbine, where she was deemed to have an unfair start and thus declared a non-starter. She caught a yielding course in the Smart N Fancy Stakes at Saratoga where she finished a game second, beating a speedy filly, Robin Sparkles. She’s in her third race off the layoff now and she should sit a good trip off the early pace here. Campanelle (4) returns to Keeneland for the first time since finishing 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf in November. She’s a multiple Group 1 winner overseas, most recently winning the Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot via DQ. She came up empty on a soft course at Deauville in August. She should appreciate a firmer course and certainly could be the class of this field. Change of Control (12) struggled against the boys in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile last month, but she’s been very good when sprinting this year, especially in Kentucky. She won the Giant’s Causeway here in April and also the Grade 3 Intercontinental at Belmont in June. She cuts back to 5 and ½ Furlongs, which is her best distance. In Good Spirits (5) has improved considerably in her last two starts, finishing second to Caravel in the Grade 3 Caress at Saratoga and then winning the Grade 3 Ladies Sprint at Kentucky Downs. Kentucky Downs runners have been dominating the turf stakes races at the meet thus far.
Race 10: Top Pick: 10
I think the pair on the outside can get you home in the nightcap here. I prefer Golden Sights (10), who is the deserving morning line favorite in here. She debuted in the slop at Indiana Grand and ran 5th, beaten less than three lengths. That effort was good enough for her to take a swing in the Debutante Stakes at Ellis, where she ran a competitive 2nd. She came back to maiden special weight company and met a runaway winner with Penny Saver last month at Churchill. She cuts back to 7 Furlongs after going two turns and she should sit a very cozy stalking trip from her outside draw. La Bombonera (9) is a second time starter for Brad Cox that should be respected here. She debuted evenly at Churchill at this distance last month. Cox is always live with second time starters, and she’s a beautifully bred filly that certainly is eligible to improve in her second career try.
Pick 5 – Plays
All A’s/B’s ($48.00 – $0.50 base wager)
All A’s/One C ($8.00 – $0.50 base wager)
All A’s/One C ($16.00 – $0.50 base wager)