Keeneland Late Pick-5 Preview – 4/21/22 – By Eric Solomon

There’s a nine race card this afternoon at Keeneland, highlighted by a 12 furlong N2X allowance race on the grass for fillies and mares. The Late Pick-5 is yet another challenging puzzle that certainly feels like a sequence that could pay out a handsome reward to sharp players. 

 

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 9 3,9 7 PK5, PK3, DBL
6 8 3,4,8 2,7 PK4, PK3, DBL
7 1 1 8,9 PK3, DBL
8 8 3,8 2 DBL
9 12 7,9,12 2

 

 

Race 5:

The Thursday Late Pick-5 sequence kicks off with a $20K N2L claiming race for fillies and mares. It’s not very often that a Delta invader looks to have the advantage over a field at Keeneland, but that feels like the case with World Party (#9) here. Brett Brinkman and Thomas Pompell teamed up to win a race together on this oval on opening weekend and they’re trying to do the same with this Orb filly. She’s making her third start of the year after finishing second in allowance company in two starts on the bullring down in Vinton, Louisiana. She handled her business on a bigger track, breaking her maiden last fall at Delaware. She drops in for a tag on a stronger circuit, but finds a fairly soft field, while still racing for a purse that’s about the same as what she was running for at Delta. Pliantlea (#3) has never raced on a fast dirt track, but her one effort on the main track in the slop was solid, running 4th, beaten only two lengths when going 10 furlongs at Churchill last fall. She struggled in her first two starts at Turfway over the winter, but she looked better in her most recent start, finishing third with $15K-$10K M2L claimers there. She moves up in class and gets the services of apprentice, Rene Diaz. Oaklawn invader, Simply Beguiled (#7) is another one worth considering in this spot. She broke her maiden with a last to first move after starting slowly in a six furlong sprint. She’s run well at two turns on this course in the past. This is also her third start of the year, so I’d think she could move forward off her maiden victory.

Race 6: 

This  is a wide open starter allowance where coverage would seem to be a smart idea. I ended with Optimus Kat (#8) as the top pick, since he will appreciate the return to the grass for sure. D. Wayne Lukas had him down in Arkansas where he ended his 2021 campaign two starts ago. He finished off the board there after a strong performance to be third at this level here in October. He started his 2022 campaign there last month and ran 6th when facing better dirt horses. That race was clearly designed as a prep for a spot like this, as his pedigree (Optimizer out of a Kitten’s Joy mare) definitely leans toward the turf. Fieldstone (#4) is making his first start of 2022. Joe Sharp does very well with horses off layoffs of six months or longer. He’s run twice at this condition on this course, and finished off the board both times, yet was less than three lengths behind the winner in those races. I don’t think this field is a deep as the ones that he saw here at this level in the past. Hawk of War (#3) is the more interesting of the two short prices that Mike Maker is sending out in this race. He’s dropping in class after a pair of strong runs at Turfway with a poor race sandwiched in the middle. He was competitive in a start at this level on this course in October. Maker is heating up after a three win Wednesday to start the week. Eyes on Target (#2) makes his first start for Maker after he claimed him for $50K back at the beginning of the Championship Meet at Gulfstream Park. He’s been idle since, but just about all of his efforts on the turf would put him in play with this group. One longshot that I think could be a player with this group is Epimythium (#7). Toss his non-effort at Charles Town with allowance foes in the slop last time out. Like with Optimus Kat, that felt like more of a race that was designed to stretch his legs, as opposed to win. His best career race on the turf came on this oval, back in October, when facing the three A line foes. He was right in the mix in that race, and I think he can be again today while getting back on the lawn. His last two efforts have been bad enough to likely ensure that we get 20-1 (ML) or better on him.

Race 7: 

Fillies and mares go 1 mile and 1/16 in a maiden special weight contest. There are five three year old fillies and four four year old fillies entered here. The three year old fillies are all facing older horses for the first time, however, I see them as having the advantage in this spot. I think Tiffany’s Mo (#1) is a very interesting runner in this race, making her second career start for Dale Romans. Romans’ horses that run at Gulfstream tend to improve significantly when coming to Kentucky. She was bet down to the 5-2 favorite in her debut, indicating that she might have shown some ability in the morning. She was purchased for $500K at the Keeneland September Sale in 2020, so she’s always looked the part, while having the pedigree to back it up. She stretches out to two turns after a seven furlong debut, and she’s drawn the rail in a race where there are prominent runners with much wider draws. I’m expecting a significantly better effort from her this afternoon. Falconet (#9) also stretches out for the first time after finishing about 11 lengths better than my top pick in the same maiden allowance at Gulfstream. There’s no doubt that the debut performance was strong, and like the top pick, she’s sired by Uncle Mo, suggesting stretching out to two turns won’t be a concern. Todd Pletcher gives Tyler Gaffalione the return call on the morning line favorite, who will have to overcome the wide draw. Friendship Road (#8) has made three career starts for Shug McCaughey, most recently finishing second behind a runaway winner in a one-turn mile contest at Gulfstream. She did go two turns once, albeit on the grass. I do see a nice improvement pattern for this daughter of Quality Road, and Shug’s typically has his horses pointed toward this meet.

 

 

Race 8:

The feature race is a N2X allowance race for fillies and mares going a mile and a half on the turf course. The half to Rachel Alexandra, Gladys (#8) is interesting in this spot, being asked to try to carry her speed twelve furlongs for the first time. She was a part of a decent pace battle in the Grade 2 Hillsborough at Tampa in her last start. She tired late that day to finish third, beaten 4 and ½ lengths by Bleecker Street. She ran a big race two back while on the front end on the grass at Tampa, dominating a N1X allowance field. If Julien Leparoux can get her to relax on the front end, there’s no serious early speed type to engage her. I think she could carry this field gate to wire. If she can’t get the distance, the logical alternative would be the runner-up in the Grade 3 Astra last out at Santa Anita, Disappearing Act (#3). Flavien Prat gets the return call after getting caught late by Neige Blanche in that twelve furlong test back in January. Baltas has freshened her up a bit and brings her back at this distance in N2X company. Don’t overlook Tweety Show (#2), who is 15-1 on the morning line. She’s gone off at double digit odds in her last 11 starts, so seeing the big number in front of her name is not unusual. She does run her best efforts in these longer races though. She is second off the layoff after prepping at Turfway for this. She isn’t as classy as some of the others, but this eight year old mare can get the distance. She’s likely a better play underneath, but at big odds, I would toss her on some deeper horizontal exotic wagers.  

 

Race 9:

$20K maiden claiming fillies and mares going six furlongs will close the day in Lexington, Kentucky. Shady (#12) is an Eddie Kenneally firster, drawing the far outside post for her debut. She’s worked well enough in the morning for a barn that is capable of winning first out. Luis Saez taking the mount is a positive sign. He doesn’t ride much for Kenneally, but when he does, it is usually a live mount. Super Surge (#7) may be one of the Turfway invaders that flies under the radar in here. She drops in class again for her third career start. She paired her first two Beyers on synthetic and could move forward for Michael Ewing on the surface switch. Hot Anna (#9) makes her second start off the layoff for Ken McPeek. She was third beaten seven on the dirt with $50K maiden claimers as a two year old last summer at Saratoga. She returned in a five furlong turf sprint at Gulfstream, where she ran an even 5th. She’s one to keep an eye on in the paddock, as she’s acted up in the past. On deeper tickets, Watermark (#2) is likely worth covering in this race, dropping back in for a tag. She was improving in maiden claiming races at Turfway this winter for Ben Colebrook. She’s a tough sell for me as the favorite in this race, so vertically, I’d be inclined to play against her, especially when being asked to race on the main track for the first time. However, she’s never been off the board in a maiden claiming race, losing two of those races in photos. 

 

Wagering Strategy:

Yesterday’s sequence paid $12K+ with some wide open races. This sequence feels even tougher today. The lone “single A” for me is Tiffany’s Mo (#1, R7) and this one is more of a value play, as I think she stands to be overlooked in her second career start. Meanwhile, I think Falconet (#9, R7) in that race will be hammered at the windows. I’ll single Tiffany’s Mo on this $45 ticket where I’ll use all A’s and the B horses in the 6th and 8th races. I’ve got $51 in back up tickets for an overall $96 investment in this sequence. 

Main Ticket ($45)

Race 5: 3,9

Race 6: 2,3,4,7,8

Race 7: 1

Race 8: 2,3,8

Race 9: 7,9,12

 

Backup 1 ($36)

Race 5: 3,9

Race 6: 3,4,8

Race 7: 8,9

Race 8: 3,8

Race 9: 7,9,12

 

Backup 2: ($6)

Race 5: 3,9

Race 6: 3,4,8

Race 7: 1

Race 8: 3,9

Race 9: 2

 

Backup 3: ($9)

Race 5: 7

Race 6: 3,4,8

Race 7: 1

Race 8: 3,8

Race 9: 7,9,12

 

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