We have reached the end of another fun Kentucky Downs meet. Although Mother Nature has thrown the course for a loop on multiple occasions this meet, the racing has been enjoyable to watch and has presented an often-inscrutable handicapping puzzle day-in and day-out.
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- Race 1: 5-10-7-11
- Race 2: 2-3-8-7
- Race 3: 6-12-9-11
- Race 4: 1-12-10-3
- Race 5: 6-8-5-1/1A
- Race 6: 2-4-1-5
- Race 7: 12-9-8-6
- Race 8: 6-8-1-7
- Race 9: 9-2-1-8
- Race 10: 4-9-6-13
- Race 11: 8-7-11-12
- Race 12: 9-11-10-4
Kentucky Downs Race 6: Doctor Davis (#2)
It’s an oversubscribed field for the last N1X of the Kentucky Downs meet. The favorite in this race is no slouch as Sosua Summer (#1) has been in great form since getting to the Bill Mott barn. Two back he ran well in defeat behind eventual Virginia Derby winner Capensis as well as next out winner Running Bee. He himself broke his maiden in his next start turning back in distance and cruising to an easy win going 5.5f on the turf at Saratoga. Despite the step-up in class, he possesses a speed figures edge on today’s rivals, but I wonder if stretching back out to this elongated sprint will work best for him. I think both Arnaud Delacour runners are live in this spot. The more logical of the two is Two Many Twizzlers (#4) who has made all three career starts at Monmouth Park where the turf sprint configuration might just be too sharp for him. That was especially the case last time out where the race was dominated on the front end. The runner up that day was One Timer who came back to win a G2 at the meet last Saturday and this gutsy Iowa-Bred only finished 3/4 L back in third. However, I’m going to get a bit more creative and tab Doctor Davis (#2) as my top pick who is assuredly going to be a better price. He returned off a long layoff to break his maiden at Laurel and while the speed figure is nothing to write home about, he did it while encountering multiple spots of trouble. He appears to have been working well recently at Fair Hill and that makes sense. He was one of those Saratoga “buzz horses” when he was bet down to 8-5 on debut as a juvenile, so maybe he can take a step forward and deliver on that initial promise.
Kentucky Downs Race 9: Laver (#9)
In a race brought back from the September 3rd card that was shortened due to weather, my analysis remains the same. The likely favorite in the rich stakes race for juveniles is Really Good (#2) who rallied to comfortably win a maiden race at Saratoga back in July. While none of the five colts who have run back out of that race broke their maidens, each improved their speed figure indicating that there was some quality behind him that day. The 72 Beyer he received that day would already be good enough to win many editions of this race. He can certainly win, but I’m concerned the public will go overboard betting a flashy maiden winner at Saratoga for Mike Maker and Tyler Gaffalione. I think there’s another maiden event worth looking at to potentially find today’s winner and that was at Ellis Park back in July in a race won by Mayfield Strong (#1). This striking chestnut by Travers winner Will Take Charge took a ton of money in his turf debut and exploded down the lane to take the race geared down in the end. However, this was his second career start and that’s often when juveniles take the biggest step forward. I’m hoping that’s the case for the runner up of that event Laver (#9) who I think can turn the tables on the rival that bested him that day. He had a touch of trouble at the start which put him towards the middle of the pack early on and despite having to weave his way between horses in the stretch his finishing kick was best of all. Furthermore, he’s bred to be a good one as his dam Centre Court was a G1W routing on turf and earned nearly $1M in her career. Plus, she’s produced G3W Navratilova for these same connections.
Kentucky Downs Race 12: Navy Goat (#9)
I’m wondering how heavily favored Letter of Gold (#4) will be in the race that closes out Kentucky Downs for 2022. She’s listed at 9-5 on the morning line and deserves to go off as the public’s choice off a narrow miss in a maiden race at Saratoga with a somewhat wide journey. While she can win, I think this field is too competitive to take anyone less than 3-1, so I’ve narrowed in on three potential upsetters that will be better prices. Revenue Train (#10) wasn’t much of a factor in her debut sprinting on the dirt at Churchill but given how close she was to the pace that day, it could mean there’s some underlying talent. Though there isn’t much in the way of turf pedigree, you have to respect these connections as Maker is 7/31 (23%, $3.38 ROI) with juveniles going turf to dirt in their second start. I want to use Self Confident (#11), a first-time starter from Shug McGaughey and the Phipps Stable as well. As with many Phipps runners, this filly sports an impeccable pedigree. By top sire Into Mischief, she’s out of a dam that won on the turf, produced two nice turf winners, and is a half sister to G1W Imagining. The filly sports some nice turf workouts up at Saratoga which can be seen on XBTV and even worked in company with debut maiden winner Pleasant Passage. I’ll use all three of the others I’ve mentioned, but my top pick is Navy Goat (#9). This expensive filly worked a flashy 10.1 at the OBS sale in April leading to her selling for $450,000 which is 60x her sire Army Mule’s stud fee. She got outfooted in her debut going a flat five furlongs at Monmouth Park, but it’s worth noting she was bet down to 3-5 that day. She now gets more distance to work with, picks up Joel Rosario, and Arnaud Delacour is 10/25 (40%, $4.22 ROI) with juvenile second time starters on turf and of those 3/8 (38%, $4.03 ROI) when stretching out from sprint to route.