Race Preview: Phoenix Stakes – Keeneland, October 4, 2013

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Matt Carter

October 3rd, 2013

Friday is opening day at Keeneland and there are two stake races on the card; the Grade 3 Phoenix and the Grade 1 Alcibiades. First up is the Phoenix, a six furlong sprint for three-year-olds and upward.

The morning line favorite for the race at 3-1 is Gentleman’s Bet, who is coming off a third place finish in the Grade 3 Vanderbilt at Saratoga in August, but is making his first start on a synthetic surface. The son of Half Ours has won five of his seven races and will be tough if the track is playing towards speed. The thing is; however, there appears to be a lot of speed signed on for the race.

Hogy is all race horse and has been since his days at Canterbury Park. He has won 11 of his 19 career starts including five-for-ten on synthetics including the Presque Isle Mile last month and the Grade 3 Hanshin at Arlington Park in May. He is also entered for a race on Saturday at Keeneland so make sure to check the late scratches.

A horse that is bit of a ridiculous price on the morning line is Winning Cause, the Giant’s Causeway colt who is three-for-three at Keeneland. The one caveat may be that those three races were at seven furlongs or longer, but he will definitely have the pace to run into, the only question will be if six furlongs is too short.

Reload was perhaps one of the worst kept secrets at the meet in April. The Shug McGaughey-trained colt was coming off a three month layoff and had not won since May 2012, but was bet from the start and won by a comfortable six and three-quarter lengths. After a pair of fourth place finishes at Belmont Park and Monmouth Park, Reload is back on his preferred surface and will be tough, especially if he is bet down from his 10-1 morning line.

Others to possibly use on the pick-4 or underneath on trifecta or superfecta plays are Marchman, Occasional View, Laugh Track and Hoofit.

Check back tomorrow for analysis of the Alcibiades, featuring My Conquestadory, winner of the Grade 2 Summer Stakes in her debut against the boys at Woodbine.