Keeneland Late Pick-5 Preview – 4/14/22 – By Eric Solomon

It was a wild Wednesday at Keeneland yesterday where the Late Pick-5 paid over $326K. While it seems unlikely this sequence will get anywhere close to that number, there are still some vulnerable favorites in these races. I think there’s a solid single to use in the featured 8th race that hopefully we can build some winning wagers with.

 

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
5 8 1,4,8 6 5 PK5, PK3, DBL
6 4 2,4,11 10 PK4, PK3, DBL
7 3 3 4 PK3, DBL
8 1 1 3,7 DBL
9 4 2,4 1

 

 

Race 5:

Today’s sequence starts with a maiden special weight race for three year olds and up, going 6 and ½ furlongs on the main track. Runpat (#8) for Brad Cox, made his return last month, after nine months away from the races. He was a solid second, looking like he didn’t miss a beat. There are many unproven commodities in this race, but he feels like the one they will have to beat.  Chargeittothegame (#4) is one of four first time starters in this field. His last two works over the local surface look like he’s ready to race in the afternoon. He was a $400K purchase back in 2019, and is finally preparing to make his debut for Ben Colebrook. He doesn’t have great numbers with firsters and Colby Hernandez has struggled so far at this meet. However, he’s one of many well-bred runners here. Nabokov (#1) is the most expensive of the bunch, debuting for Chad Brown today. He’s a $775K son of Uncle Mo that was working steadily at Payson Park over the winter. He shipped here and worked well over the track last week. He’s 2-1 on the morning line, and he could very well go below that number, which is tough to take on a horse that has never started. This isn’t the deepest field, so I feel compelled to use him, but I think he could be vulnerable. Ratification (#6) makes his third career start after a second place finish on the grass in his last try at the Fair Grounds. His dirt debut was decent, so he’s yet another one that has a live look here. On the C line, I’ll use Prize Fighter (#5). On paper, I prefer others, but I’m a bit intrigued. Lothenbach Stables paid $260K for him in 2019. He debuted in the slop in October of 2021 in a $50K maiden claiming race where he finished second. He was claimed in defeat, thus posting a six figure loss for his connections. He returned to the races a month later, in with $75K maiden claimers, and he was reclaimed for more money by his previous owners. He’s been off for five and a half months, but has been working nicely for his return, where he is protected. I’m not sure if this is a case of seller’s remorse, but there is investment in this runner, so there’s reason to believe that he could improve at a price here. 

 

Race 6:

Three year old fillies go 1 mile and 1/16 on the grass in this N1X allowance race. One thing that makes this race so difficult is that the AE list is loaded. I’d likely use any of the four if they draw in. Assuming they don’t get into the race, Stepper (#4) is an interesting longshot here from the Tom Drury barn that I’ll try on top. I liked her races as a two year old on the grass at Ellis this summer, breaking her maiden back in August. She came up empty in a stakes race at Kentucky Downs in her next try, however, she didn’t run again until March, so it’s reasonable to think something was amiss that afternoon. She returned in a six furlong race on the Tapeta at Turfway, which feels like it was a prep race for a spot like this. She wants to go longer than six furlongs and Drury has good numbers with horses in their second starts off the layoff. At 15-1 (ML) or better, she has the look of a horse that has been targeted for a spot like this by a shrewd trainer. She could be totally overlooked in a race where the most talented runners seem destined to be excluded. Ready Lady (#2) looks like she could be a tough one here. She debuted well at Woodbine and jumped into Grade 1 company, running a beaten 7th in the Natalma back in September. Roger Attfield isn’t typically very active prior to Woodbine opening, and this year is no different, only starting six horses in 2022. She’s been working well and she draws a favorable post for her seasonal debut. Oakhurst (#11) might be a Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz runner that is actually under the radar a bit. She ran two decent races in maiden special weight races on the grass to start her career. She broke the maiden in an off the turf race on the Tapeta at Gulfstream in a race that came back very slow. While the figure was light, her run was visually impressive, and the third place finisher broke her maiden in her subsequent start. I’m So Sorry (#10) is another filly that was a winner on Gulfstream’s synthetic surface. Having that new course there is another new wrinkle in handicapping the shippers coming to Keeneland.Her debut in a turf sprint in a restricted maiden special weight at Saratoga was decent this summer, and I liked that she was able to win while coming off the bench in her first start since then. She has some upside in this wide open race as well.

 

Race 7:

$50K claimers go seven furlongs here. I like the cutback in distance for American Hero (#3) for Brad Cox and Flavien Prat. This duo is undefeated this year when they’ve teamed up at Keeneland. His dirt debut at Churchill wasn’t awful before wintering at Turfway. He broke his maiden two back on the synthetic with maiden allowance types there. He’s in good form while dropping in for a tag for the first time. I think he’s one that could appreciate the shorter distance and surface switch. Blue Kentucky (#4) is the logical, and shorter priced alternative. He was sharp in the Sugar Bowl stakes three starts back, but after watching Underhill’s Tab underperform yesterday, I do wonder if that is a race that looked better on paper than it actually was. The class relief appears to be welcome after struggling in the Lecomte in January, and then again with allowance types. 

 

Race 8: 

This is a stakes quality, $140K conditional allowance race for fillies and mares. On paper, I can’t see anyone challenging Princess Causeway (#1) in the early stages of this race. She ran in a similar race here back in October, and won gate to wire, beating a similar field with most of her competition having similar late running styles. She’s struggled of late, but she had an excuse in the Grade 3 Suwanee River, where she was posted wide and didn’t have the greatest start. Her other three races were in stakes races, one on dirt and the other two were synthetic sprints. Two turns on turf is what she does best, and she gets the rail and a rider upgrade to Hall of Famer John Velasquez. She has a definite advantage here and I think she’ll offer decent value because I think there will be a lot of money on Fluffy Socks (#7). She makes her four year old debut for Chad Brown after a third place finish in an off the turf American Oaks. Her last start on grass was a Grade 2 win in the Sands Point at Belmont. She ended her 2021 campaign in good form and this race could springboard her 2022 campaign. Pass the Plate (#3) has run very well in two stakes starts at the Fair Grounds, just missing with both. She likes the local course, and this is probably her best distance. I’ll cover with both of these ladies on deeper tickets, but I have serious concerns that they’ll be pace compromised today.

 

Race 9:

The Thursday nightcap is a maiden special weight for three year olds going 1 mile and 1/16 on the main track. There’s a few horses with big speed figures that seem to make the most sense in what figures to be a chalky race. Warrior Johny (#4) and Brigadier General (#8) are coming out of the same race at the figures where they finished third and second, respectively, separated by the narrowest of margins on the wire. Warrior Johny was making his first start on the main track after a pair of turf races to start his career. I also think he can sit the better trip in this race with the likely pace pressure that Brigadier General will likely have to face from Classic Mark (#7). I like his prospects in this race today. The morning line favorite is Cape Trafalgar (#2) for Saffie Joseph and Irad Ortiz. He ran a monster race in the slop in his debut last month at Gulfstream. He’s stretching out and will likely be on a dryer track today. However, he looks like he has some ability. The Gatekeeper (#1) is the most appealing of the longer priced runners here, trying to get Mark Casse and Florent Geroux their first wins of the meet. He debuted at Turfway last month, and was near the back of the field. He closed ground well late to get into 5th, finishing three lengths behind the race winner. He’s sired by Arrogate, so there’s reason to believe that he’ll be better on the main track. This is a tough race, but I think he does have a forward move in here. 

 

Pick 5 Ticket:

Not knowing if any of the Also-Eligibles are going to make it into the field in Race 6 totally changes the way I’d structure my ticket. My strongest opinion in the sequence is Princess Causeway (#1, R8), because I think she’s a talented filly that is lone speed in a small field on the grass. I’ll be singling her on my main ticket, building around her. If no AE’s get into the body of the field in the 6th, my main ticket will be an All A/B structure, shown below.

Race 5: 1,4,6,8

Race 6: 2,4,10,11

Race 7: 3,4

Race 8: 1

Race 9: 1,2,4

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