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

The Grade 3 Baird Doubledogdare Stakes is the Friday feature, and racegoers will be treated to the return of three time Grade 1 stakes winner, Malathaat. She appears to tower over her five rivals in that race, which will be her first start as a four year old. While she may feel like a short priced free square in the Late Pick-5, the other four races are competitive contests with some large fields that could still produce a decent payout. 

 

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
6 7 1,3,7 6 PK5, PK3, DBL
7 8 5,8 11,12 6 PK4, PK3, DBL
8 6 2,6 PK3, DBL
9 1 1 DBL
10 13/12 4,7,12,13

 

 

Race 6: 

All seven three year old fillies entered in this optional $80K claiming allowance are entered under the N1X condition. The two favorites, Storm Kiss (#1) and Mouffy (#3) look very tough in this spot, and I’ll use both on the A line, but I’m going to take a shot with Taleofreadychianti (#7) in here to wear them both down late. She won on debut in a maiden special weight race at the Fair Grounds that came back slow from a figure standpoint, but has proven to be a productive race. Imogine Malvina was 5th in that race and she came back to break her maiden here at long odds on opening weekend. She improved in her first start facing winners, while going two turns in New Orleans. She’s been working well in the AM for Dallas Stewart down the road at Churchill, and I think she can spring the upset in a race where she’s cutting back in distance and her three main rivals are stretching out. Mouffy was very fast in South Florida this winter, breaking her maiden on the Tapeta in January and narrowly losing at the N1X level in her last start in February. Jonathan Thomas does well with runners coming off a layoff, and she’s bred to handle longer distances. She will likely be well-backed, and she sure looks like a nice filly that could have her eyes on a race like the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga down the road. Storm Kiss (#1) has a pair of synthetic starts for Wesley Ward, breaking her maiden in her most recent effort back in January. She looks like a filly that will want to challenge for the early lead with the other two shorter prices. Joel Rosario has had a slow start to this meet, but he has connected at a 30% clip since 2021 when riding for Ward at Keeneland. On deeper tickets, Querobin Dourada (#6) is worth covering. She’s listed at 3-1 on the morning line after a game second place finish at long odds in the Serena’s Song Stakes at Turfway. She has progressed nicely this winter, but she’ll still need to prove that she can handle the main track. I’d like her better at odds closer to 5-1.

Race 7: 

This two turn maiden special weight is full of questions for me. I see this as a total spread race where I’d want a decent amount of coverage. I’m not loving the favorite, Silver Spur (#3) who keeps coming up short in Florida. I ended up with Making It (#8) on top for George Weaver. He debuted in an 11 furlong maiden special weight on the turf in February at Tampa where he finished 3rd, beaten 5 and ¾ lengths. He makes his second start on dirt, which according to his pedigree, should be more to his liking. Weaver does well with turf to dirt runners and John Velasquez gets the call. Always Above (#5) for Michelle Nihei is interesting in this spot. He’s been facing some tough fields, two back running into Charge It, who was absolutely dominating when winning that maiden race. He shipped to Tampa to find “class relief” and he wound up facing Fenwick and Commandperformance, both of whom recently competed in the Toyota Blue Grass on Opening Weekend. He was pace compromised for sure in that race, but still ran on well to get third. I think two turn racing will be where he will have the most success. I’d like to see him lay a little closer on this course, but he’s definitely trending in the right direction. Todd Pletcher sends out a pair of well-meant runners with lousy posts in this race. Afjan (#12) was a solid second to his stablemate at Tampa when going two turns in his last start. Post 12 is no picnic, but he was trending in the right direction and Irad Ortiz is riding very well at this meet. Stay Restless (#11) ran a huge race on debut at six furlongs, but he bounced when racing in the slop in his second career start. He’ll stretch out to two turns for the first time today, which as a son of Empire Maker, shouldn’t be an issue. Both are live runners and worth covering. Aussie Pride (#6) is the one that I have no idea what to do with. He was purchased for $4.1 million dollars by Godolphin. He’s making his third career start after not racing at two or three, and he’s making his first dirt start after a pair of turf tries. His debut at Tampa was solid, but his last was dull on the grass. I can’t play him at 4-1, but at longer odds, he’d be more palatable. I’ll throw him on the C line, backing him up on some smaller plays.

Race 8:

Yesterday, we saw fillies and mares tackle the 12 furlongs on the turf under N2X allowance conditions, and today, the boys get a chance to do the same. I’m going to try to get out of this race going only two deep. While I think you could make an argument for Cibolian (#3) and Risk Taking (#10), I’m going to leave them off my tickets. Cibolian seems like the kind of horse that gets better as the season goes on, and I’m not sure he’ll come back at the same level while coming off a six month break. Risk Taking won the Grade 3 Withers last year and was the beaten favorite in the Wood Memorial. After flopping in the Preakness, he was given some time, and has run three respectable races on dirt at this N2X level. This seems like an experiment for a horse that might struggle in New York and Kentucky at this level on dirt, since these N2X races are often very deep. I’m going with Offlee Naughty (#2) and Modus Operandi (#6) on the A line. Modus Operandi was dull here as a three year old, but his last two races at longer distances on synthetic have been better. He s in his third start off the layoff after pairing his Beyers. He’s proven on the grass overseas at long distances and Tyler Gaffalione getting the mount in a race like this, which user turns out to be a “riders race”, is certainly a plus. Offlee Naughty ships in from Southern California after a 4th place finish in the Grade 3 San Luis Rey. He cleared the N1X condition this fall at Del Mar going 11 furlongs on the grass. He too is in the third race of his current cycle, so he might have an advantage on some of the others that are coming in off layoffs. One other horse to note is Celerity (#7) who is 30-1 on the morning line. I don’t see him as a horse that I’d use in the multi-race sequences, but I think he’s an interesting longshot here. I don’t know much about the rider, Williams Naupac, who has only raced twice in 2022. One of those races was aboard him in a 10 furlong race on the synthetic at the beginning of the month at Turfway. He doesn’t care for the synthetic, but he can be competitive at longer distances on grass. I think he’s a cut below the top two, but I think he could get into the trifecta at a big number, if he gets the right kind of ride.

Race 9: The Grade 3 Baird Doubledogdare Stakes:

With races like the Grade 1 Apple Blossom tomorrow and the Grade 1 La Troienne in two weeks, both at this same 1 mile and 1/16 distance, this Grade 3 race is usually somewhat of an afterthought. There have been some Grade 1 winners that have won this race in the past, most notably being Silverbulletday. Dancethruthedawn in 2002 and Pool Land in 2006 used this race to springboard them to a Grade 1 win later in the season. This year, the three time Grade 1 winner, Malathaat (#1) is using this race to springboard her four year old campaign. She’s quite a filly that has won 6 of her 8 career starts. She was less than a length behind the winner in both of her defeats. She was bred to be a champion, and she accomplished that last year by being named the Champion three year old filly. She’s proven that she can win from anywhere on the racetrack, leading gate to wire, stalking, or coming from off the pace. She won the Grade 1 Ashland here off the layoff last season, which propelled her to a win in the Kentucky Oaks. She’s been working well and I think she’s a short priced single in this race that seems to be a prep for the Odgen Phipps on the Belmont undercard.

Race 10: 

The day ends with a maiden special weight for fillies and mares, sprinting on the grass. If Honorably (#13) draws in off the AE list, she’d be my top pick. She was very sharp in one turf sprint race at Churchill last June. She returned in February after eight months away with a decent effort on synthetic at Turfway. She flopped in her last where she struggled to keep up with an aggressive early pace. She gets back on the grass in a softer field for this condition, while making her third start off the layoff. There’s a lot of things to like here. If she doesn’t get to compete, I’ll look to Jazz Time Girl (#12) with Luis Saez for the red hot Mike Maker. She struggled in her lone start on this course last year, but that was in a race at one mile. She was more competitive in her two sprint races. She’s bred to be a good turf sprinter and I think she can move forward in her first race since October. Musical Design (#7) is the morning line favorite for Wesley Ward. She debuted in a maiden/optional claiming race at Gulfstream, and just missed after breaking slow. She obviously could move forward off that effort, and Wesley Ward’s record with turf sprinters here is tremendous. She’s a must use, but I’ll be a little cautious as she probably isn’t one of the higher regarded runners in his stable if she debuted for a tag. Lady Pele (#4) is a first time starter that is a bit interesting in here at long odds. While her pedigree doesn’t scream turf sprinter, Jordan Blair has a strong ROI and winning percentage in turf sprint races. He has only run three horses at the meet thus far and the fact that he shipped her up here from Tampa tells me that he thinks that she can a run a bit, and that she’s not entered in this race solely for getting race day experience. 

The Tickets:

Malathaat (#1, R9) feels like a free square in the feature today. There isn’t a ton of pace in that race, but she’s the kind of horse that is able to adapt to the flow of the race and create her own trip. Playing my whole grid on a caveman ticket would cost $80 for a $0.50 base wager ($60 if Honorably (#13, R10) isn’t able to draw in). If I kept the budget to under $50, my $48 ticket would look like this:

Race 6: 1,3,7

Race 7: 5,8,11,12

Race 8: 2,6

Race 9: 1

Race 10: 4,7,12,13

 

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