Barbados one of three opening-day picks with a win at Keeneland
Speed figures prominently in today’s Phoenix (G3) at Keeneland, with Runhappy, A.P. Indian, Fast Anna, Waco and Work All Week all confirmed front-runners in the six-furlong prep for the TwinSpires Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), and sets up well for the finishing kick of Barbados.
Barbados displayed an affinity for the Keeneland oval last fall, rallying to break his maiden by five lengths over a sloppy track, but was sidelined after winning the Spectacular Bid and Hutcheson (G3) at Gulfstream during the winter.
He returned from a layoff in the July 5 Carry Back (G3), displaying a nice turn of foot with a fast-closing second that earned a 105 BRIS Late Pace and 107 Speed number, but the Speightstown colt raced too close to a hot pace when third in the Amsterdam (G2) next out. His last effort, a one-mile turf race at Canterbury, is a throw out.
The Michael Tomlinson trainee is 2-for-2 at the 6f distance at 15-1 on the morning line and I’m tabbing Barbados from off the pace.
I’ll make a case for a couple of other winning Keeneland alumni returning in good form.
Meshell (#4 in race 7) broke her maiden by three easy lengths at Keeneland last April and exits a 5 ¼-length romp over entry-level allowance foes at Indiana Grand. The Elusive Quality filly possesses good tactical speed and retains the services of the up-and-coming Florent Geroux.
Little Cherie (#6 in race 9, the Alcibiades) won’t mind any moisture, breaking her maiden by a 1 ½-length margin over a “good” track in April, and the Mike Maker charge jumped straight to stakes company with a fourth in the Mountaineer Juvenile. She rebounded with a sharp 2 ¾-length score at Indiana Grand, registering an 86 BRIS Speed rating on par with her main rivals, and figures to appreciate the added ground as a daughter of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Pleasantly Perfect. Little Cherie will be forwardly-placed with Luis Saez and is an early 12-1.