Keeneland Late Pick-5 Preview – 4/27/22 – By Eric Solomon

We’re in the homestretch of the 2022 Keeneland Spring Meet with three more days of racing left. Today’s card is highlighted by a very good N2X allowance contest on the grass in Race 6. Both the trainer and jockey races are tightly contested and are likely to come down to the final day of racing this Friday.


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



Race 4: 

Maiden special weight fillies on the turf, bookend the Late Pick-5 sequence today. The first leg drew an overflow field of 16 going 5 and ½ furlongs. Wesley Ward is always dangerous with debut runners, and he sends out a pair here. Of the two, I give the edge to Doozy Batz (#11) with the post position being the tie breaker for me. She’s posted some nice works, and while her dam didn’t have much success on the lawn, horses sired by Uncle Mo seem to have success on whatever surface they run on. His other filly, Chardy Party (#1) also boasts an impressive work tab in the AM. She’s an Irish bred filly, bred for grass on the top and bottom. Irad Ortiz will get the assignment of trying to work out a winning trip from her rail draw. Of the horses with experience, the one that I’m most interested in is Peligroso (#8). She was miserable in her debut on the main track at Gulfstream. She came back two weeks later and ran a much better 5th on the synthetic at Turfway. She showed more speed in that six furlong contest, before fading out of the money. The winner and the runner up came back with solid efforts in their subsequent starts, so I believe she faced some horses that can run a bit. If she can find the same success on grass, she’s a candidate to blow up the toteboard at long odds, especially if the two Ward runners misfire.

Race 5: 5-9-11

This is a wide open $100K maiden claimer, where I’m going to try to use three to get out of this sequence alive. West Love (#11) drops in class after pairing her Beyers in her first two starts. She ran into a runaway winner in her debut at Turfway last month, finishing a clear cut second. She ran 5th in her local debut two weeks ago, splitting a ten horse field in maiden allowance company. Ben Colebrook brings her back before the end of the meet and enters her for a tag that is considerably higher than her auction price. I think she could take a step forward with this group today. Sonoma County (#5) debuts for John Servis, who typically keeps most of his horses at Parx. She was based in Florida over the winer and came up here to work a few times before her debut. Servis typically only sends horses to Keeneland that he feels he can win with. He’s hit with 14% (5 for 34) of his first time starters since 2021, completing the exacta with a pair of two year olds that debuted at Parx on Monday. Three of those five winners debuted in maiden claiming company during that time span. Coco Puff (#9) drops back in for a tag and shortens up from a pair of two turn maiden special weight races at the Fair Grounds. I do like playing horses cutting back from turns on the turf to seven furlongs on the dirt, especially in a field like this where there are some lightly raced runners and horses stretching out to this distance for the first time. She may have a stamina edge and Irad Ortiz taking the assignment can’t be a bad thing.

Race 6: 

This is a very good N2X allowance race on the turf that features some promising four year olds that could have an impact on this division by year’s end. I think this race starts with the two runners that are coming out of the Tampa Bay Stakes in February, Floriform (#9) and Cellist (#1). Shirl’s Speight was the winner that day and he went on to win the Grade 1 Makers Mark Mile here two weeks ago. Floriform finished within two lengths of him, and right behind graded stakes winner, I’m Smokin. He finished in front of Chad Brown’s multiple graded stakes winning gelding, Devamani that day. Cellist finished in 7th, right behind Devamani, and only four lengths behind Shirl’s Speight. Today, I slightly prefer Cellist, who was third in the Grade 1 Belmont Derby as a three year old. Prior to that race, he cleared the N1X condition when winning the Audubon Stakes at Churchill last spring. In his last start, he was making his first start since a third place finish in the Dueling Grounds Derby back in September. I expect him to be more fit for this race today. Floriform is an Into Mischief colt that started his career with a pair of dull efforts on the main track, but he has been a revelation on the turf. He’s never finished worse than two lengths behind the winner on grass, winning two of those four starts. His last race in Tampa was a major step forward, and Mott gave him a little extra time off in between starts. If he can run back to that race, he’s going to be very tough to beat. Palazzi (#12) showed some promise as a three year old last winter, winning the Texas Turf Mile at Sam Houston back in January after breaking his maiden in a field of 14 at the Fair Grounds the month before. He would not win again last year, but was still competitive, including finishing a very good second in the Grade Transylvania on this course in April. He returned as a four year old against a very salty field at this N2X level last month at the Fair Grounds, and finished a fast closing 4th. The second place finisher, Fenwick Station, just went on to clear this condition in a 12 Furlong turf allowance race here last week. I’m expecting him to be rolling late in this race at decent odds. Point Me By (#11) cleared the N1X condition when winning the Grade 1 Bruce D last summer at Arlington. While he is a Grade 1 winner, I’m not sure that was a Grade 1 caliber field he beat that afternoon. He struggled in his last four starts, all in stakes races, including a dull effort at the Fair Grounds when facing older horses in the Fair Grounds Stakes. Luis Saez rode him to victory in the Bruce D and reunites with him today. I’m thinking he could be dangerous on the drop into allowance company. Skyro (#5) is one that I’ll cover with on deeper tickets, since Tyler Gaffalione is upgrading just about every horse that he’s been on lately. However, I see him as a horse that is moving up in class and facing a sharper group. He beat Mid Day Image two back, who is a nice veteran claiming horse, but isn’t as classy as some of the other runners his some of his rivals have been facing. He’s earned big figures on the Gulfstream Park turf course, but I’m always a little cautious about those kinds of horses when shipping here. I’ll use him as a back up on the C line, and if anyone other than Gaffalione was riding, I’d likely try to beat him straight up.

Race 7: 

Only five three year olds are entered in this $50K claiming contest at 1 mile and 1/16 on the main track. I like Bureau (#1) to rebound while dropping in class and moving back to the main track. He was overmatched by Zozos two starts back at Oaklawn in an allowance race that turned out to be stiffer competition than the field that he faced in the Smarty Jones back on January 1st. His maiden breaking effort at Remington back in November was solid. There’s not much speed signed on, so don’t be surprised to see Joel Rosario try to put him in the race much sooner than usual here. Down Cold (#3) is the other logical contender, making his 11th career start for Steve Asmussen. Asmussen’s runners have really struggled at Keeneland over the last few meets, and he’s yet to saddle a winner there this year. He has done well when employing Tyler Gaffalione here though, who is still the leading rider with three days left in the meet. I thought his last race in an off the turf spot at the Fair Grounds was his best effort on the main track to date. He’s never won on a fast track though, winning once in the slop and once on the grass. There’s only five runners here, so I’m not sure what kind of value will be there.

Race 8: 7-10/12/4-5

As maiden special weight races on the turf go, I don’t think this one for fillies and mares stacks up as one of the stronger fields that we’ve seen at this meet. It’s a wide open race with many unproven runners and the two morning line favorites, Spare Cash (#4) and American Pyramid (#5) feel vulnerable in here. I’ll try Take Joy (#7), hoping that Vincent Cheminaud, who has ridden this course masterfully in limited opportunities, can keep his hot hand. Her debut last year on the grass at Tampa wasn’t bad. It felt like a race where they were giving her an opportunity to get some race day experience under her belt. She passed some runners late, splitting the field to finish 6th. She showed some speed in her next start, which was a maiden allowance race there, which was taken off the grass. She faded to 4th, before going on the shelf for 11 months. She resurfaced last month at Turfway, where she had an odd trip, moving early to get within two lengths of the leaders, before leveling off while in traffic. That was another race where I think it was more about gaining fitness and race day experience. She gets back on the grass for her second start off the layoff, where I think she’ll run an improved effort. Whether or not it’s good enough to beat these, I’m not sure, but at 15-1 (ML) or better, I’d be willing to pay to find out. Diva Ready (#10) makes her debut for Jonathan Thomas, who is very sharp with first time starters. His horses have been live at this meet, sending out two winners and four second place finishers with only seven starters. She’s bred up and down for the turf and her works in Florida are decent. Saez has great numbers when riding for Thomas and he gets the assignment today. Honeycomb (#12) intrigues me a bit here after a strong debut on the grass in her last start back in January. She ran well in her debut in the slop here on the closing day of the fall meet, finishing second behind a runaway winner. She ran poorly on the dirt in her next start at Churchill when going two turns. George Arnold tried her on the grass at Gulfstream where she made a nice run before flattening out. She was vanned off the course following that race, so whatever was ailing her may have affected her finish. She’s been off since the beginning of January, but has been working well for her return. I don’t love the post, and Saez going to the Thomas firster isn’t ideal, however I think she still is playable. On the C line, I’ll come back and cover with the two shorter prices, Spare Cash and American Pyramid. Spare Cash has been plugging away on synthetics at Turfway this winter for Brad Cox. He brings her back to turf for her 6th career chance to graduate from the maiden ranks. If she was one of the better turf horses in his stable, I suspect Cox would have had her in New Orleans. American Pyramid has a pair of seven furlong dirt efforts under her belt and now stretches out to a two turn turf race for the first time. Catalano has good numbers with first time turf runners and American Pharoah’s offspring certainly are capable on the grass. However, 3-1 (ML) feels very short on horse in a wide open race, trying something new for the first time. 

The Ticket: ($54 Play, $0.50 Base Wager)

If I had to put together one ticket, I’d build it around Bureau (#1, R7). He faces a small field while dropping in class and cutting back from a turf route to a dirt sprint. I think that race could be wide open on the tote, so I think the money will be spread around a bit, despite the smaller field. I like some prices in some other legs that could pan out nicely on this ticket.

Race 4: 1,8,11

Race 5: 5,9,11

Race 6: 1,9,11,12

Race 7: 1

Race 8: 7,10,12

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