Breeders' Cup Friday: Undercard value plays
The Breeders' Cup will get underway with the Juvenile Turf Sprint (G2), carded as Friday's sixth race at Keeneland, but the Breeders' Cup is only half the card.
The Friday undercard is a perfect opportunity to catch some prices and pad your bankroll early in the day!
Race 1: Nyquist Stakes
There will be a hot pace in this 6 1/2-furlong sprint for 2-year-olds, thanks to #2 Roderick, #4 Upstriker, #5 Sir Wellington, #6 Quick Tempo, and #9 Saffa's Day.
#1 Highly Motivated makes sense, with tactical speed and a nice maiden win at six and a half furlongs, but between the rail draw and trainer Chad Brown's tendency to get overbet wherever he goes, there's good reason to consider #8 Awesome Gerry as a live option to beat the chalk.
Off two wins in Florida, Awesome Gerry has some class to prove for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr., but the colt took a nice step forward in his 6-furlong, first-level allowance win at Gulfstream Park West on Oct. 4. His pedigree suits the extra half-furlong, and he should be able to get a clean tracking trip.
Race 3: Bryan Station Stakes
This 1 1/8-mile race drew an overflow field of some of the better 3-year-old turf horses not named Gufo.
However, one of last year's better juvenile turf horses is back, #12 Fighting Seabee.
After almost a year off, trainer Kenny McPeek brought him back in a suitably confident spot, an allowance at Keeneland against older horses. Buried inside, Fighting Seabee battled to get room in upper stretch, rallied, and missed by only a neck to Artie's Rumor, a 5-year-old who was first off a $40,000 claim by the king of the turf claiming trainers, Mike Maker.
Fighting Seabee is versatile enough to work a trip from this gate, he showed last time out he is gritty enough to fight in a big field, and it's a positive that Brian Hernandez Jr. has ridden him in a range of race shapes.