Closing day spot plays for Keeneland
Friday marks the closing day of the always fantastic spring meet at Keeneland. A 10-race card is on the slate, topped by the $150,000 Bewitch S. (G3), a 1 1/2-mile turf affair for fillies and mares.
Below are some of my top selections for Friday afternoon.
Race 2 -- Maiden Special Weight
#3 Headline Report (8-5) brought a whopping $550,000 at OBS in March, and I have to imagine that the son of freshman sire Gormley is especially fast. His blistering gate drill here on April 5 strengthens my theory. And while the expected price will not be big, the bay could be a logical single to start the early Pick 4 for Ward.
Race 3 -- Maiden Special Weight
The Graham Motion-trained #6 Vassar’s Boy (10-1) faces a tough task in a strong field, but I can’t let him go off at a price close to his morning line without a play. First-time starter is a half-brother to two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G2) winner Stormy Liberal, as well as dual Grade 2 victor Leinster, who was a sharp third in the 2020 Turf Sprint (G1).
Race 5 -- Allowance
Turf test for three-year-olds attracted nine, and I really like #8 Floriform (3-1) for Bill Mott. Juddmonte homebred has shown vast improvement since switching to the green two back, and I envision that the Into Mischief colt will be a stakes performer throughout the second half of 2021.
Race 8 -- Maiden Special Weight
O’Dwyer’s #5 Sibelius (7-2) ships in from Laurel Park following a sharp runner-up performance following a slow break on debut, and the $100,000 weanling purchase seems poised to graduate on Saturday. The gelded chestnut gets the red-hot Saez to ride, and while he does face some well-bred foes in this dash, I still think his experience will help carry him to the winners’ circle.
Race 9 -- Bewitch S. (G3)
I will take a flier on #12 Court Return (20-1) to run a big one at a hefty number. The Josie Carroll pupil gets the dreaded widest post, and she hasn’t been in great form as of late, but I still can’t let a mare who missed by a neck in the E. P. Taylor S. (G1) in the fall go off at boxcar odds in a winnable affair. Court Vision five-year-old, who was also third in the 2020 Canadian S. (G2), would appreciate some moisture in the ground, too. Johnnie V takes the reins.