The Late Pick-5 sequence on Thursday is another solid sequence at Keeneland. There are three allowance races that look competitive. The other two races, a starter allowance race on the grass and a one mile maiden claiming race for two year old fillies, both have full fields.
|5||3,4||5||DBL, PK3, PK5,|
|6||6,7,8||9,13||11||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 5: Top Pick: 3
The late Pick-5 sequence starts with an optional $100K claiming/N2X allowance race for three year old fillies. Shesa Mystery (3) has been a different filly when running at two turns on the main track. She won her first two races doing such at Indiana Grand this spring. She ran a strong second in the Grade 3 Iowa Oaks in July at Prairie Meadows. She was soundly defeated by Shantisara, winner of the Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup here last week, in the Grade 3 Pucker Up on the grass in August. She came back to the main track and she ran into a beast when she was trounced by Carribean Caper in the Grade 3 Dogwood last out, going seven furlongs. There’s no one of the same quality of either of those fillies in this race and now she’s getting back to what she does best. I think she runs a big race here. Marion Francis (4) comes here after a pair of third place finishes in stakes races at Parx. She was beaten 1¼ lengths in the Cathryn Sophia when facing open foes two back. Last out, she was beaten two lengths when facing older state bred stakes company in the Plum Pretty. Despite being restricted to PA breds, that race was pretty salty as it was won by multiple open stakes winner Chub Wagon and the runner up was the winner of the Grade 2 Ruffian this spring, Vault. Florent Geroux has ridden her in all but one career start, and he’s back aboard today. On deeper tickets, Bill Mott sends out Lovestruck (5) on the dirt for the first time. Her pedigree, definitely leans to the main track and her recent works on dirt have been sharp. She fired a 4F bullet last week on the training track at Saratoga. She was a stakes winner on the turf as a two year old, and Mott has had some success when switching surfaces with some high profiles horses over his career.
Race 6: Top Pick: 7
I’m going value shopping here, as I think you’ll get fair prices on some solid contenders in this $50K starter allowance. Fieldstone (7) ran two very good races at Ellis Park this summer, only to come away empty handed. He was a game winner at the $30K starter allowance condition in July, running his best career race to date. However, he lugged in enough to warrant a disqualification to second. He came back to face a heavy favorite in N1X allowance company. He sat a good trip, just off the pace, tipped out three wide while looking full of run, only to have his hole collapse from both sides. He was steadied hard, losing all action, before re-breaking to finish fourth, narrowly missing third. He looks like a better horse now than when he last raced here, finishing a close 6th here this spring. Hawk of War (8) was second in the same race at Ellis that Fieldstone had traffic troubles in. He cut back to a sprint and finished a respectable 4th in a strong field for the condition at Kentucky Downs last month. He’s a hard tryer who has never run a bad race on the turf. Uncapped (6) was a close third behind Fieldstone three starts ago at Ellis. He had a disastrous journey two back at Indiana Grand, but he righted the ship quickly, winning an open $20K claiming race at Kentucky Downs last month. He moves back into a protected race, where he’s in decent form. He’s a five year old gelding, so he might not have the most upside in the group, but 20-1 (ML), he’s very playable in a wide open race. Perfect Cut (9) is one that could be overlooked in here, as he’s only run on the grass one time in his nine race career. Even though he finished 5th that day, it was a solid effort in May at Churchill. He was claimed in his next start for $50K, and since then, he’s run two credible races on the dirt for Paul McGee. I think he’s trending in the right direction, and his rider, Joe Talamo, was riding with a lot of confidence here over the weekend. Healing (13) is the co-favorite on the morning line, but he’ll need help to draw into the body of this field. He returned off an eight month layoff to run a solid third in a N1X allowance sprint at Kentucky Downs last month. He was in good form when he went on the bench, and he should have a decent effort to give if he does get to run. Risk Manager (11) is the morning line favorite in the body of the field, coming in off a win and claim when facing $40K N2L claimers at Saratoga last month. He certainly improved for Danny Gargan when he was at the Spa this summer. If he can continue to progress while moving up the class ladder for Fausto Gutierrez, he’ll be tough here, however, that’s a lot of ask of a 5-2 favorite in a wide open race. I’ll save him for the C line here.
Race 7: Top Pick: 2
I thought this was a very challenging optional claiming/N2X allowance race at 7 Furlongs on the main track. The morning line favorite, Shoplifted (5) is winless since taking home the Springboard Mile at Remington, back in December of 2019. Asmussen has started the meet ice cold, winning only one time with 30 starters. He’s a well bred horse that hasn’t quite lived up to his lofty expectations as an $800K purchase in March of 2019. I’ll use him on the C line, but I think there’s value in trying to beat him here. The two that I’m going to be relying on are Dennis’ Moment (2) and Bourbon War (6). I ended up making Dennis’ Moment the top pick, thinking that this race sets up a little more favorably for him from a pace standpoint. He burst onto the scene back in 2019 when he earned a monster 97 Beyer figure in his second career start, decimating a maiden special weight field at Ellis by 19+ lengths. He back up that effort with a dominating performance in the Grade 3 Iroquois that year (which was the last time he was in the Winner’s Circle). His career has been start and stop ever since, with a miserable twelve month run where he ran three times and was beaten by double digit lengths each time. He just missed, when looking more like his old self at this level back at Ellis in July. He was overmatched last out in stakes company at Churchill, going 6 Furlongs. I think 7 Furlongs is the best distance for him and the lack of true speed in here should give Lanerie plenty of options. Bourbon War is another beautifully bred horse, sired by Tapit, out of the Grade 1 winning mare, My Conquestadory. He tried the Triple Crown trail in his three year old season, finishing off the board in the Florida Derby, The Preakness, and the Belmont. He ran some sharp races on the grass as well, but he’s looked very comfortable in one turn dirt races. He cuts back in distance as a new gelding, after a pair of 9 Furlong efforts at Churchill at this level and in stakes company at Saratoga. Flap Jack (3) is another one to consider on the C line in this race, considering there isn’t a lot of pace competition for him in the early stages. He’s been a little more aggressive at the start in his last few races. If Dennis’ Moment opts to press the pace, he could wind up being the lone speed.
Race 8: Top Pick: 8
As deep as some of the allowance races have been at this meet, this particular 5 and ½ Furlong turf sprint is not one of them. Spicy Marg (8) is the morning line favorite and the one to beat here. Wesley Ward continues to send out winners in the turf sprint races at this meet. She is probably the quickest of the quick from the gate in this race, and she may be able to put the other pacesetters away as they come of the turn. She be gasping for air late, but there isn’t a ton of quality horses signed on to try to catch her late. If Spicy Marg does go too fast early, I think Touch of Class (7) can get first run on the closers in here. She’s been right there in all four career turf starts, winning once at Ellis three starts ago. She stretched out to 7 Furlongs at Kentucky Downs last out and was flying late to get up for third. She was beaten by Social Chatter, who came back to clear the N2X condition here last weekend. I think she’s fine to handle the returning to the 5 and ½ Furlong distance. I’m a little torn with how to use Hey Kitten (5) in this spot. She’s been a solid two turn horse, but she’s coming off a big effort with $10K starter allowance foes at Kentucky Downs. She cuts back again to 5 and ½ Furlongs, which will be the shortest distance she’s ever competed at. She does like the course and she could get a quality set up in field where there seems to be some cheap speed that can challenge Spicy Marg in the early stages. Ultimately, I think this race is just too short for her though. I ended up leaving her off my tickets, but if her odds float up above her 4-1 morning line, I might hedge a bit in the late double with her.
Race 9: Top Pick: 5
The nightcap s a wide open $50K maiden claiming contest for two year old fillies going one mile. I’m looking for a decent amount of coverage in this race. I made Burrow Down (5) the top pick getting back on the dirt after traveling to California to compete in a maiden special weight race on the grass. That effort was on the dull side at Del Mar, but his prior race on the dirt at Churchill was respectable enough for this level. Being sired by Connect, I’m thinking she’ll be solid at the one mile distance. Bella Prima (2) is another filly going turf to dirt, but she’s also stretching out for the first time. She debuted on the grass at Belmont with a dull try, but she showed improvement on the main track next out at Ellis when running in a live maiden allowance. She went back to the turf at Indiana Grand and showed improvement from her debut. She’s sired by Keen Ice out of a Tapit mare, so I’m thinking she’ll be one that could be upgraded in two turn races. Drawing near the rail in the one mile races here isn’t a bad thing either. Purity (1) is the lukewarm morning line favorite, and will probably go to post at the favorite based on her connections alone. She showed some speed and faded badly in her debut at Indiana Grand. I don’t love the quick drop into the maiden claiming ranks for a horse that they paid $130K for. However, I could see her making the lead while setting slower fractions and taking this field all the way, as Brad Cox’s horses typically improve a decent amount in their second start. She’s one that I want as insurance on the multi-race tickets, but I’ll probably try to beat in the vertical exotics. I’m going to use four on the C line here, and certainly wouldn’t begrudge anyone for using more if your budget allows, as this race is wide open and could be ripe for a longshot. Surf Spa (4) showed some interest early in her debut earlier this month at Churchill. She drops from $150K maiden claiming at 7 Furlongs to $50K maiden claiming while going two turns for the first time. She Stood By Me (7) debuts for Ken McPeek after a string of regular works dating back to August. McPeek has decent numbers with horses debuting at longer distances. The works are a bit slow, hence the 12-1 morning line, but she’s probably the most interesting firster. Swap Shop (9) improved at 6 and ½ Furlongs while dropping from open maiden special weight to restricted maiden special company last out. She drops again while adding distance for Larry Jones. Zazzy Zazzy Dazzle (12) makes her first start on the dirt and she gets a miserable post to do so. She’s bred to like two turn races on the main track and may be one to think about next out at Churchill at a similar level if she can draw a better post. She’s made mild improvements while going long on synthetic and turf, so she may have a stamina edge over her rivals.
Late Pick-5 Tickets:
All A’s ($0.50 Base Wager – $18.00)
All A’s/B’s ($0.50 Base Wager – $45.00)
4 A’s / 1 C ($0.50 Base Wager – $6.00)
4A’s / 1C ($0.50 Base Wager – $18.00)
4A’s / 1C ($0.50 Base Wager – $24.00)
Total Wagered: $129