Betting Saturday's Stakes at Keeneland and Belmont Park

Profile Picture: James Scully

October 3rd, 2015

Forwardly-placed horses fared well on Friday’s opening day card as Keeneland was inundated with rainfall but Keeneland’s main track drains well and the surface is quickly drying out with less than 90 minutes remaining until today’s opener at 1:05 p.m. (ET).

More rain is on the way to the area but there’s a chance we could avoid heavy precipitation this afternoon.

The Woodford Reserve has been moved from turf and will be run at 5 ½ furlongs on the main track, with Undrafted being a notable withdrawal as 13 sprinters still remain. The First Lady and Shadwell Turf Mile remain on the sod with no early changes.

I’ll give some thoughts on today’s stakes action at Keeneland and Belmont Park.


TCA (G2): Leigh Court (#5) was an impressive three-length winner of last year’s race and returns to Keeneland following a pair of close seconds on turf and Tapeta. The 5yo mare appears set for her best for Mike Stidham and I’ll also use the in-form Spelling Again (#6) in multi-race wagers. Judy the Beauty’s last race was disappointing and the 6yo mare probably prefers a little more ground (6 ½ or 7 furlongs) as well as synthetic tracks.

First Lady (G1): Tough to go against Tepin (#11), who figures to show speed at the break to establish decent early positioning from the outside gate and enters in terrific form for a Mark Casse barn that won two races Friday. She captured the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) over a turf with give to it earlier this year.

Breeders’ Futurity (G1): Exaggerator (#7) and Sheikh of Sheikhs (#8) are top contenders off nice wins last time, but I’ll also make a case for Uncle Jerry (#2), a whopping 30-1 on the morning line. A son of the outstanding freshman sire Uncle Mo (sire of Alcibiades winner Gomo), Uncle Jerry finished a close third when making his debut at 6f and improved with a smart three-length tally when stretching out to a mile last time. The promising youngster figures to appreciate the move from synthetics to a dirt track and I like the inside draw (post 2) and addition of Florent Geroux.  I’ll have some action at long odds.

Shadwell Turf Mile (G1): The soft conditions should favor Euro invader Dutch Connection (#5), who enters off a series of strong performances versus group rivals in England and France and possesses top BRIS Class numbers. The 3yo colt won’t offer much value, but Kelinni (#2) is listed at 15-1 and enters in good form for trainer Kevin Ryan, rolling to a convincing victory in Ireland last out. The 7yo gelding is a hard-knocking handicap type (earning more than $1.1 million) and has experience at this level versus group foes. He’ll be able to save ground from post 2 and I’ll include Kellini in my wagers.

Belmont Park

Kelso Mile (G2): Honor Code loves wet track and is listed at 3-5 on the morning line in his final Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) prep, but the lack of early speed should be a concern to his supporters. Appealing Tale (#1) enters in top form for Peter Miller, leading all the way in the Pat O’Brien (G2) last out, and his BRIS Speed ratings (101-105-103-101) have never been better. The 5yo gelding is a threat to steal it.

Flower Bowl: Curvy (#8) has performed well versus better company overseas and is the horse to beat in her U.S. debut. Danza Cavallo (#10) is unplaced in her last three starts for Chad Brown but those came on firm turf – the French stakes winner prefers ground with give to it and should offer decent value with Javier Castellano.

Champagne (G1): Tale of S’avall (#7) offered an outstanding turn of foot to win at first asking on the Travers undercard and was the most impressive 2yo male maiden winner of the meet in my estimation. Trainer Barclay Tagg adds Lasix and the Tale of Ekati colt shows a nice series of works in preparation. I was disappointed to see him listed at 7-2 on the morning line but he’s still eligible to be the third or fourth choice in the wagering behind Ralis, Magna Light and Ready Dancer – I’m looking forward to playing Tale of S’avall.