Keeneland Racing Preview – 4/21/21 – By Eric Solomon

We’re down to the last three days of one the premier racing meets of the country. There’s an 8 race card this afternoon highlighted by a pair of maiden special weight races and a pair of N1X allowance races, all four on the turf. Personally, I’m looking to build off one of my better days at the meet, after connecting with 14-1 and 11-1 top picks in back to back races on Sunday, netting a $253 daily double ($2 base wager) and a $766 pick 3 ($1 base wager, AxAxB).  I hope that we can keep building up that bankroll for the Derby next week.

Edit: I’m seeing pictures on Twitter of a coating of overnight coating of snow at Keeneland, which could threaten the turf racing today. I’ll keep an eye on it and try to update accordingly.

Edit #2: They are off the the turf today. Changes will be updated by 12:45 on my end.

Race 1: Top Pick: 7

The opener is an N1X allowance for older horses going 12 Furlongs on the turf. High Tide (7) from the Maker barn is the one to beat here. He was away a bit slow when facing winners for the first time in starter allowance company at Gulfstream last out. He won two back with $35K maiden claimers was solid and he has a nice race last year at 11 Furlongs with maiden special weight foes at Belmont.  This looks like a good spot as there doesn’t seem to be too many that will relish the longer trip. Yamato (4) is the main danger and most likely to go off as the favorite after running a monster effort with starter allowance company at the distance in December at Gulfstream. He came up a short last out at the starter allowance condition when going the same distance. He attended a slow pace that day and was simply outkicked in the run home. I do wonder if his form is sliding a bit. Barring anything unforeseen, Winners Club (5) should be the one establishing the tempo in here, and I don’t think he’ll be pressured in doing so. His pedigree doesn’t scream turf marathon, but he has made significant improvements in form since switching to the grass. It wouldn’t shock me if he got a little brave on the front end.

Edit: Upgrade Job Security (2) to an A horse as he has decent dirt form and can handle longer distances. Yamato will be downgraded.

2,7 5 1,4


Race 2: Top Pick: 1

This 1 Mile claiming contest for older fillies and mares, carrying at $40 tag, is a tricky puzzle. I’m wagering that Golden Curl (1) can go turf to dirt here for Brain Lynch and Adam Beschizza. Her form has been improving while racing on the turf in South Florida, winning two back with $35K multi-conditioned claimers. She has some tactical speed she can employ from her rail post and she is a proven winner on this course. Subiaco (3) ships in from Oaklawn for Ron Moquett and gets Joel Rosario to ride. She ran huge two back in the slop with $20K N3L claimers, but bounced a bit last out in a tougher spot. She worked well when taking a spin over the local course for the first time on 4-9. She, too figures to get a good stalking trip off the early pace, which figures to be set by Resurrection Road (2). She makes her first start of the year after improving considerably toward the end of her four year old campaign. She was 4th with tougher in her last effort in November at Churchill and ran a credible third here two back. Her races with claiming company have been competitive, so it’s mostly a question of if she is fit enough off the layoff.

1,3 2 4,5


Race 3: Top Pick: 6

This is the first division of a maiden special weight race for three year olds at one mile on the turf. The debut race from Win Worthy (6) was really quite impressive. He was dismissed in the wagering at 26-1 in a pretty strong field for the condition at the Fair Grounds on the Louisiana Derby undercard. He broke well and settled midpack before moving up willingly on the far turn. His move may have been a bit premature, but he battled gamely through the length of the stretch, when defeated by a classy and more seasoned horse, Hidden Enemy, who was the even money favorite, ridden by Irad Ortiz that day. He definitely looks like a runner and should very tough in this race with a decent trip. Ready To Pounce (1) is another one who debuted with a strong effort at the Fair Grounds last month. He was away slow in a 5 and ½ Furlong sprint race, but was closing well to finish 4th that day. He’s sired by More Than Ready out of a Flatter mare, so I would think two turns will be where he will be more successful. I think that last race was really more of a prep for this kind of race. Realm of Law (10) runs here for Chad Brown after a decent debut in September at Belmont. He sprinted that that today and found the 6 Furlong trip a little short, as he closed well to get third against a next out graded stakes winner in Second of July. He’s another one that should improve at two turns, being sired by War Front out of a mare that was a winner in a Grade 2 turf mile race and placed in 4 Grade 1 turf races (Filimbi). On tickets where more coverage can be afforded, City Tavern (11) is coming out of one of the faster races at this level at Gulfstream this winter, having a bit of a rough trip for his debut, before improving position to finish 5th. He figures to improve, but he gets a tricky draw. It will be interesting to see if he can be more forwardly placed with a better start. He’s one of many that is live here. Prairie (8) has been close in four career starts, three of them coming in sprint races. His race at one mile in New Orleans back in December, may be have been his best race yet, when he finished third behind Palazzi (next out stakes winner), and Hidden Enemy (MSW winner mentioned above). I think others might have a higher ceiling here, but I think he’ll move forward while stretching back out to the mile.

Edit: Based on pedigree and on track performance, the two left that I’ll use on dirt are Beduin Fighter (3) and Emphasize (4). Beduin Fighter showed some zip in a very fast one turn maiden race against strong horses in New Orleans. This will be class relief and he should appreciate the two turn trip. Emphasize ran well in synthetic in a strong race at Turfway last month. He should appreciate the longer distance and his pedigree leans dirt. If the track was still a little wet, he would probably appreciate that being sired by Exaggerator.

3,4 1,2,7,10,12  


Race 4: Top Pick: 2

20K N2L go 7+ Furlongs on the Beard Course here. This is a tricky race, as many of the six are cutting back two turn races to one turn here, and there’s not a lot of recent dirt form to go off for many. Hard Sting (2) was 5th at this level two weeks ago, going 1 Mile and 1/16. He showed a few sharp races at Laurel while going the one turn mile, so he’s playable on the cutback. He doesn’t have a ton of early foot, which is a minor concern in a race where there isn’t a ton of pace. Can’tbetemall (3) was making some progress on the dirt before having more success on the turf and synthetic. His last effort wasn’t his best, as he had traffic issues and was forced to steady that day. He was claimed and makes a return to the main track this after, while cutting back in distance. Hemp Heaven (6) has two career tries, both on synthetic, and both were solid tries against lesser company. He’s sired by Dialed In, so there’s reason to believe his form can carry over to the main track, while making his second start of the layoff and claim.

2,3 6 1,4,5


Race 5: Top Pick: 6

The second division of the maiden special weight for three year olds on the turf looks to be as deep of a race as the first division. Paulo Lobo trains Purple Dream (6) who had an eventful, but impressive on the Tapeta surface at Turfway, when going off at 54-1. He broke in a bit of tangle and was outsprinted early in the 6 Furlong maiden special weight race that day. He made a strong bid from the back of the pack to rally to get second, beaten less than one length. He’s sired by Point of Entry out of a Uruguayan bred mare, so there’s reason to believe that he will get better with added distance while getting on the grass. Snow House (3) debuted in a strong maiden special weight on the Louisiana Derby undercard, where Hidden Enemy was the winner (See Win Worthy from Race 3). He had an even trip that day, where he lost a bit of action as others were making their move, but he re-rallied and fought on the get back up for 4th. I like betting Brad Cox’s horses second time out, as they have won 32% of the time since 2020 with a positive ROI. Both Pregame (7) and Dance Some Mo (8) have similar running lines, where they started their careers with dull efforts on the main track at 7 Furlongs and then dramatically improved while switching to the turf in their next start. I’ll give the slight edge to Pregame as he’s coming from Gulfstream, facing better foes, whereas Dance Some Mo is coming out of a softer race at Tampa. Both showed tactical speed in their last start.

Edit: With the surface switch, my picks will remain the same. I’ll upgrade Pregame to an A horse though and move Snow House to be B horse.

6,7 3 2,5,11  


Race 6: Top Pick: 2

The maiden claiming races at the meet have produced some of the larger payouts and some of the more difficult to predict results. There are four shorter priced horses in this field of 8 and four longer priced horses. The longshot are pretty hard to make a case for, but I think two of the favorites have an advantage over the other two. Adara (2) had a pretty miserable trip in a maiden special weight race on the dirt at Tampa two races back. She drew post 10 and was four wide on the first turn, and wide again late to finish 8th beaten 7 and ½ lengths. She tried the turf at Gulfstream, and again drew the far outside post (12) and was wide pretty much every step of the way. She draws near the rail today and gets some significant class relief for her 6th career start and her third on the main track. I think she takes a step forward today and beats this group. I think the main danger here is I’m Intrigued (3) who starts in the stall next door for Brad Cox. She was an even 4th in her debut at Turfway at this level last month. Brad Cox second time out is always a dangerous angle at any level of competition. I think she has enough tactical speed to keep Good Juju (6) honest in the early stages.

2 3 1,4,5,6,7,8


Race 7: Top Pick: 9

Three year old fillies go 1 Mile and 1/8 here in this N1X allowance race on the turf and this is a very evenly matched group. I really like Il Malocchio (5) getting back on the turf for Kenny McPeek this afternoon. She showed ability on both turf and synthetic at Woodbine as a two year old, winning the restricted Victoria Queen Stakes on the inner turf with a bold move to power home in the stretch. She moved to the McPeek and took a swing on the dirt in the Suncoast at Tampa, where she was third beaten five lengths that day. Toss her effort at the Fair Grounds when she was facing top tier three year old fillies in the Fair Grounds Oaks. She was wide on both turns and never really seemed comfortable on that course. She moves back to turf and drops in class this afternoon, and I’m expecting her to run a much better race. I’d be comfortable using her as single, however on deeper tickets, I think there’s value in using both Forever Boss (1) and Girl’s On Fire (3).  Forever Boss (1) is also trained by McPeek, and she’s coming off a dull effort in the Bourbonette Oaks, when trying synthetic for the first time. She’s never crossed the finish line first, but she was put up via DQ when losing a close photo three back. She had trouble in the Florida Oaks, but didn’t run a horrible race. She’s another one that should improve when getting back on the turf. Girl’s On Fire (3) didn’t love the good going at the Fair Grounds last out, and wilted late after setting the pace and wilting last out when facing winners for the first time. She might not get a very firm course today, which is a concern, but she appears to be lone speed in this race, which does merit attention.

Edit: This race was most affected by the surface  change. Tiz Splendid News (9) has better dirt for him than anyone else in this race and becomes the A horse. I’ll use Il Malocchio as a C on deeper tickets.


9 5 1,4


Race 8: Top Pick: 1

$30K maiden claimers close the card in a snappy 5 and ½ Furlong sprint. Much like the 6th race, I spent a lot of time trying to build a logical case for a longshot, but I think the favorites have an advantage here as well. Wesley Ward sends out Fine Prospecture (1) on debut here. It’s pretty hard to ignore the success he’s had at this meet and his record with first time starters in maiden claiming races (20 for 47, with a 43% win percentage and a $3.27 ROI). Her works are good and she finds a pretty soft field for her debut. The rail is not ideal, but I think she’s going to be the one to beat. Watermark (10) makes her second career start for Ben Colebrook after getting away slowly, but finishing strong to get third at this level at Turfway. Luis Saez taking the mount is a plus, as he’s undefeated in three starts on Colebrook’s horses at the meet. Of the second time starters coming in from Turfway, her pedigree is the one that leans the most towards success on the dirt. On deeper tickets, I’ll use two more second time starters coming in from Turdway. Both Lucky Lauren (2) and Cha Cha Mission (6) debuted in the same race with $15K maiden claimers, and both were a part of a four horses photo at the wire, in a race won by 38-1 longshot winner, Fandancer. The third place finisher, who led until the final strides, Blue Abbi Road, came back to win in her next start at Mahoning Valley. I’ll give a slight edge to Lucky Lauren, who was wider than her rival last out and her pedigree leans a little more toward the main track, However, it’s hard to use one without the other.

1,10 2,6 3,4,5,7,8,9, 11


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