The Sunday card offers nine races to end the week of racing in Lexington, Kentucky. The featured race is the Grade 3 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes for fillies and mares going 1 Mile and ½ on the turf course.After today, there’s only four more days of racing left in the year at Keeneland.
|5||1,6||3,5,7||DBL, PK3, PK5,
|6||3,6||DBL, PK3, PK4|
Race 5: Top Pick: 6
This is a tricky N3X allowance race sprinting on the grass. The two shorter prices in the race, Competitive Saint (1) and Into the Sunrise (5), both ran here last week. Of that duo, I prefer Competitive Saint, but my top pick in here is Strike Me Down (6) coming in off of a pair of solid efforts at Colonial. He won two starts back at this distance, clearing the N2X condition. He was a narrow second to English Bee, who ran yesterday in a stakes quality allowance race here. His dam was a stakes winning turf sprinter at Woodbine and he looks like a horse that could sit right off the speed and strike in the stretch in this race. Competitive Saint was my best bet when he was posted outside when winning a N2X allowance race last Sunday. This is not a typical move by George Weaver, but he’s clearly in good form, and I can’t argue with the idea of striking while the iron is hot. I’ll use three on the C line as backups in this race. Wesley Ward has been red hot in turf sprint races at this meet, and he sends out Into the Sunrise, who is coming off an inexplicably dull effort here last Wednesday. I think this race is considerably deeper, as that race was restricted to three year olds. I’m concerned that he simply doesn’t take well to this course, as he ran two dull races here last year. Granted, both of those races were graded stakes races, however, my concern is that he’s a horse that wants a hard and firm course, which I don’t think he’s going to get in Kentucky at this time of the year. If he was from a different barn, I’d probably leave him off my ticket completely, however, I’ll use him as a saver strictly based on the connections. A longshot that is a little bit interesting to me is Exprompt (7). He’s a closing sprinter that will likely need to run a little bit faster to win this race. However, he looks like the kind of horse that will appreciate the extra half furlong. He’s run well in four career turf sprints, winning two, finishing second once, and then finishing 4th when having some traffic woes in the stretch. I think it’s possible that the shorter prices struggle a bit and perhaps he’d be a candidate to light up the tote board. I prefer him underneath in the vertical exotics, but I think he’s worth adding as a backup on deeper tickets. I’ll also cover with Mark of the Z (3) who appears to be a pace factor in a race where E.T. Baird should be able to secure rail position. I’m not certain he wants the 5 and ½ Furlongs here, but he fits on speed figures. The other two frontrunners, Quick Tempo (4) and Into the Sunrise have struggled to find late in races, so he could emerge as the target for the closers to catch.
Race 6: Top Pick: 6
I think there are two logical players in this optional $80K claiming/conditioned allowance. It’s Cold in Dehere (6) is a useful mare that is coming in winning three of her last four races, including a dominating win at Churchill last out when clearing the N2X condition. She was claimed this spring by Norm Casse for $25K at Keeneland and she struggled in her first race out for him, catching a sloppy course that day. Casse stretched her out to two turns and she looked like a different animal, dominating that $32K claiming field by over six lengths. She came back three months later last out to win that race at Churchill off the layoff, going 1 Mile and ⅛. I think she’s simply better than most of the fillies and mares in this race. The filly she’ll likely have to run down in the stretch is Cheetara (3) who was caught in the last 1/16 of a mile when running at this level as the favorite at Churchill last out. She’s a graded stakes winner in Chile at 1 Mile and ¼, so the distance isn’t a concern for me with her. She should be more fit for this race, where she should pretty much have things her own way on the front end.
Race 7: The Grade 3 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes: Top Pick: 9
Several in this race are stretching out to 12 Furlongs for the first time in their careers. Some are better equipped for that challenge than others. Key Biscayne (9) has some distance pedigree in her blood, but her human connections are what gives her an edge here. Mike Maker takes over the training of this four year old filly, who is racing back into top shape. She made her first start for Maker at the Spa, finishing second to a dominating Chad Brown filly, Pocket Square. She has some tactical speed to be on or near the lead in this race, and I think Maker will have her ready to keep finding in the stretch on a course where a horse has been better off when they’ve been in the front half of the field this week. Luck Money (5) gets Joel Roasrio aboard for the first time after finishing fourth in a pair of stakes races in her last two starts. She is a stakes winner at this distance, winning the Zagora Stakes at Belmont last year. She’s winless in four tries this year, but she’s run quality races against some better fields that what she’s facing today. La Lune (4) is the wildcard in this race, as she looked very good at Kentucky Downs, finishing second in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Marathon last month, losing in a photo to Family Way. She is a Group 3 stakes winner overseas at this distance earlier this year, so the distance is not a concern. I wouldn’t be surprised if she was made the post time favorite after her last effort, but this will be her first start on a more traditional American turf course. I’m not completely convinced she can duplicate her late closing effort on this course today. I’ll definitely cover her, but I think the value lies elsewhere.
Race 8: Top Pick: 6
Warrior’s Charge (6) comes into this optional $80K claiming/conditioned allowance as strictly the one to beat. His form in two turn dirt races on fast tracks is very good, consistently running Beyer figures in the high 90’s. I thought he ran a strong race at Parx in the Parx Dirt Mile against a good field there. He gets some notable class relief while dropping to this spot this afternoon. Brad Cox and Florent Geroux teamed up to win the Perryville yesterday. On deeper tickets, Highest Honors (5) feels like the only other logical player in here. He ran a big race two back at Belmont to clear the N2X condition. He won the Curlin Stakes as a three year old and ran a solid race to be 6th in the Travers. He’s a well bred five year old, looking to put his recent awful effort at the Spa in the slop behind up.
Race 9: Top Pick: 5
I’m looking to try to connect with some prices in the nightcap, both of which that are coming in to this race after some time off. Joy of Painting (5) makes her first start since an off the board finish in a turf sprint at Churchill back in June. I really liked her third place effort this winter in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride Stakes at Gulfstream, where she was moved up to second via DQ. Trainer George Arnold does well with horses coming off the layoff, and I think she’s dangerous in this race, coming back to two turns. Batyah (9) was very good on debut last year at Belmont, winning impressively at first asking, while coming from off the pace when facing a solid ten horse maiden special weight field there. She came here and finished an even 5th behind eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly and Mare Turf winner, Aunt Pearl in the Jessamine. She’s been on the shelf ever since that race, but she’s been working well at Fair Hill for Graham Motion to prepare her to start her three year old campaign here. She’s bred to be a good one, and I think she’ll be gaining late. Texas Shuffle (3) is the deserving morning line favorite after a big effort to be second at this level at Kentucky Downs last month. She paired her first two Beyers in two turn turf races at Churchill this spring while finishing second both times. She broke her maiden two starts back at Ellis in a race that was taken off the turf. On deeper tickets, Amiche (7) is going to look to take this field gate to wire after two strong races since trying the turf. She’ll need to take a step forward in this spot tonight, but her dramatic improvement since going to grass is worth considering. I’d like to get a little better than 5-1 (ML) on her though. Gladys (13) is a player in this race if she gets to compete. She’s first to go in off the AE list, and she’s coming in off a huge effort in her turf debut last time out. She’s from the same family as Rachel Alexandra, so dirt was the logical choice for the first few starts. She didn’t run that well, but she looked like a different horse last time out at Gulfstream on the grass. She’s been away since February, so she may need this race, but I think she’s worth covering if she’s in.
All A’s/B’s ($1.00 Base Wager – $36)
1,6 w/ 3,6 w/ 4,5,9 w /6 w/ 3,5,9
4 A’s / 1 C ($0.50 Base Wager – $18)
3,5,7 w/ 3,6 w/ 5,9 w /6 w/ 3,5,9
4 A’s / 1 C ($0.50 Base Wager – $12)
1,6 w/ 3,6 w/ 5,9 w /5 w/ 3,5,9
4 A’s / 1 C ($0.50 Base Wager – $12)
1,6 w/ 3,6 w/ 5,9 w /6 w/ 7,13
Total Wagered – $78.00