Analysis & Selections By: Dean Keppler @Keppskorner
BEST BET: 4-Youteyourhonor (Race 4)
Race #1: It must be a little frustrating thus far for the ownership of 7-Yellow Brick who has been unable to break through the Maiden ranks in 5 career efforts despite hitting the board in each start, and running some very competitive Beyers in the mid to high 80’s. The Quality Road colt switches to turf this afternoon with some grass pedigree on his dam side and continues to do good work in morning drills for Mandella. 2-Adventuresome comes off a solid runner-up finish a little over 2 weeks ago when flashing good speed on the stretch-out for Miller. The gelding draws well again and switches to Hernandez. 5-Flat Out goes dirt to turf and removes the blinkers today making his 3rd start off the bench. The colt’s sire Uncle Mo gets a respectable 15% with his turf route runners and the Eurton barn has sent out all live runner this current met.
Race #2: 2-Handsome Harry is by Grade 1 winner Graydar who only gets 9% with his debuting prodigy but this colt has flashed some good speed in his morning works for trainer Ruben Alvarado. This barn is a solid 4 for 15 (27%) with first time starters and all indications are this colt is ready to fire at first asking with Bravo aboard. 5-Midnight Love rallied for the place spot despite a slow start in debut and is eligible to move forward off that encouraging unveiling. 4-Mr. Suds is one of two colts entered for the Knapp barn. This son of Stay Thirsty has shown just enough ability on the worktab to consider at first asking. This Maiden Special Weight sprint didn’t come up all that tough.
Race #3: 1-Queenies Way has good early speed and the rail draw shipping in from Oaklawn off the claim. This barn has strong numbers with new acquisitions going 6 for 17 (35%) with a lofty $5.06 ROI. 5-The Reign Song hasn’t done much since breaking Maiden last September but takes a sizable class drop today for trainer Steve Knapp. 2-Ila View Too ships in from Turf Paradise off a decent 3rd against $50k claimers and now drops in for $16k tag this afternoon making second start off the bench.
Race #4: 4-Youteyourhonor stretches out an additional furlong off the win and claim and is projected to be the likely frontrunner this afternoon. This 4-year-old filly is 6 for 16 lifetime and has proven she can handle the distance and string together wins. She should be tough to reel in with Desormeaux. 5-Krist’s Tiger comes off a 3rd place finish against an allowance field in most recent effort on April 28 and was a sharp winner two-back against similar. 3-Kuora (Per) sprung a 54/1 major upset going this 7-furlong trip with a field’s best (85) Beyer when making first dirt start after 26 consecutive grass tries. An obvious threat if he can replicate that effort.
Race #5: The mandatory payout in the 20-cent pick six begins in this leg.
Grade 1 winner 3-Queen Goddess should be able to establish a relatively easy lead in here today and returns to a turf course where she’s had good prior success. The 5-year-old mare faded in the G1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland in a disappointing try but should rebound here making second start off the mini-freshening. 7-Macadamia (Brz) is in super sharp form right now for D’Amato exiting a career best Beyer (97) in the G3 Wilshire victory. This mare is 2 for 3 going this 1 1/8-mile trip and will be running late. Her stablemate 1-School Dance has good positional speed to coincide with her rail draw and showed she has raw talent with runner-up finish in the G1 American Oaks last December. This filly should get the first jump on the deep closers if she proves good enough.
Race #6: Trainer Bob Baffert looks to have a double threat in here with two expensive regally bred colts that draw side-by-side debuting with Lasix. 6-Truehood is a $700K Keeneland purchase by multiple grade 1 winner Nyquist who attracts Hernandez for unveiling off a flashy worktab that includes four consecutive sub 1:00 5-furlong drills. His stablemate 5-Extortion is by lucrative sire Into Mischief and cost a hefty $1 million at auction. His a.m. drills have been strong as well. This pair is tough to separate. 1-Uncle Reg ships west off a 4-month freshening but has valuable racing experience making career start number three for trainer Michael McCarthy. The colt must negotiate the tricky rail draw but shows a sharp “best of 58” 4-furlong local drill on May 22 and turns back to a sprint.
Race #7: We’re all in on the Phil D’Amato runners in this year’s edition of the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile which is likely to come down to pace and trip. 1-Gold Phoenix (Ire) was a beaten favorite in last but returns to his preferred mile trip where he’s 2 for 2 including an 10/1 upset win in the G1 Frank Kilroe two-back over several of these. 2-Hong Kong Harry (Ire) ships back west when hardly disgraced with runner-up finish in the G1 Turf Classic at Churchill on Derby Day and is back on his favorite grass course while also shortening up to a mile. 7-Balnikhov (Ire) co-tops the field’s best last out Beyer (96) with Golden Gate Grade 3 San Francisco Mile win when unleashing a furious rally late. If the race stays intact, there should be enough early pace to set-up his typical late rally. 8-Cabo Spirit has held his own against some of the top older grass runners in the country and exits a “key” race in the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark that’s produced a pair of next-out winners including G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge winning colt Modern Games.
Race #8: A runner-up in this event last year 4-Defunded could potentially get away with much easier fractions on the front end in this year’s edition as this running appears (at least on paper) to be void of any serious early speed. The Grade 1 winning gelding was forced to change racing tactics in last win in the Grade 2 Californian when hopping at the start but still managed to close successfully from off the pace. He’s tough to look past at short odds. His stablemate 1-Country Grammar makes first start since disappointing effort in the G1 Dubai World Cup at Meydan when failing to repeat his explosive 2022 performance but has had two months to recover from that taxing journey and usually fires fresh. This ultra-classy 6-year-old has amassed nearly $15 million in career earnings for Baffert and draws the cozy rail for today’s engagement. 2-Senor Buscador is nowhere near as classy as the top pair but ships in with an improving Beyer pattern and should relish today’s 1 ¼ mile trip.
Race #9: This is a tricky 1x allowance grass route for fillies and mares with many different directions one can go and looks like a spread race for those participating in horizontal multi-race exotics. 3-My Favorite Daughter goes dirt to turf making second start off the bench for Cerin and switches to leading rider Juan Hernandez. This filly’s recent a.m. drills have been super sharp. 6-Ma France (Ire) stretches back out making second start off the layoff for D’Amato and is reunited with winning rider this afternoon. This lightly raced filly can move forward in a big way this afternoon coming off a better than looks sixth place sprint try on April 29. 2-Eleuthera steps up off game win going this mile trip and has speed with inside draw.
Race #10: 7-Doitforandrew is a consistent hard-hitting gelding for D’Amato that tries hard each time he hits the racetrack. He’s run well in both local tries over the downhill course and has a versatile running style giving Prat a few tactical options. His last effort is somewhat excusable after grabbing the lead through a taxing first quarter and 43.4 half mile before folding and tiring late. 5-King Apollo owns the field’s best last out grass Beyer (91) and came up only a ½ length short in lone downhill try two-back. 2-Minister Shane is a tad light on Beyers but returns to the downhill turf course where both tries have resulted in a win and second place finish for trainer Carla Gaines.