How to bet Saturday’s All-Stakes Pick 4 at Keeneland

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TwinSpires Staff

October 5th, 2018

Vertical Oak wins the Open Mind Stakes (c) Churchill Downs/Coady Photography

by Scott Shapiro

The first Saturday of the Keeneland fall meeting offers horseplayers a loaded 11-race card headlined by a $350,000 guaranteed Pick 4 comprised of all “Win & You’re In” Breeders’ Cup races.

The sequence commences in Race 7 with The Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) and concludes with an incredibly intriguing rendition of the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile (G1).

Here are my thoughts on the sequence:

RACE 7: Thoroughbred Club of America (Grade 2)

This $250,000 event conducted at six panels over the main track drew a competitive field of 10 led by lukewarm morning-line choice Miss Sunset (#3) (3-1). The Cal-bred filly makes her second start off the layoff after a workmanlike 1 1/2-length score in the C.E.R.F. Stakes at Del Mar in early September. I respect the daughter of Into Mischief, especially since she has a win and a second in two tries over the Keeneland main track, but the inside draw and the fact there is plenty of speed to her outside makes her a play against for me in this spot.

Vertical Oak (#4) (4-1) is likely to take significant support after an impressive win in the Open Mind Stakes at Churchill Downs in mid-September. The daughter of Giant Oak was farther back in the early going than I expected, but she finished extremely well to get the best of Astrollinthepark late. She meets a stronger group in the TCA on Saturday, but is in great form for trainer Steve Asmussen.

Golden Mischief (#7) (7-2) is the most likely winner after a pair of victories versus non-graded stakes company for trainer Brad Cox. The winner of nine of 20 draws favorably toward the outside, which should allow Florent Geroux to stalk a likely honest early pace and wear down her rivals in the lane.

Awestruck (#5) (15-1) and Chalon (#9) (4-1) will also both make my tickets. Chalon has not been seen since mid-June, but has run second in both of her starts at Keeneland. Awestruck should appreciate the turnback to a sprint after failing to get the job done in three straight two-turn events dating back to mid-June.

RACE 8: First Lady (G1)

Chad Brown holds an extremely strong hand in this one-mile event over the Keeneland sod.

A Raving Beauty (#2) (3-1) threw in a clunker as the 4-5 favorite last out in the Ballston Spa (G2), but prior to that the German-bred put forth a pair of triple-digit BRIS Speed ratings including a win three-back in the Just a Game (G1) at Belmont Park. The five-year-old mare should find herself in a perfect ground-saving spot a few lengths off the early lead. I expect her to rebound in a big way on Saturday.

If A Raving Beauty fails to fire again, Quidura (#3) (2-1) has a big chance to steal it on the front end. The British-bred daughter of Dubawi wired out the field in the aforementioned Ballston Spa in her second start for Brown. I am not sure she is good enough to hold off her stablemate if they both perform at their best, but if not she can take this group gate-to-wire.

If you are looking to get more bang for your buck, Crown Walk (#4) (4-1)Dona Bruja (#7) (6-1) and La Sardane (#9) (15-1) merit consideration.

RACE 9: Breeders’ Futurity (G1)

Road to the Kentucky Derby points, as well as a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) are on the line in the $500,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1). This 1 1/16-mile event for two-year-olds over the main track drew a full field of 14 and offers horseplayers several ways to go.

In the end, I landed on Dream Maker (#5) (5-1). The John Oxley homebred impressed me quite a bit when he came from off the pace in his debut at Churchill Downs in early June to win by three lengths. Something must have gone wrong in July because he was scratched out of the Sanford (G3) at Saratoga before an even fifth in the Hopeful (G1) on closing weekend. The son of Tapit should be more fit after getting a race off the bench under his belt and he should relish the added ground.

If Dream Maker does not run his race, several runners have a chance to get to the wire first, including Signalman (#1) (15-1) and Hopeful winner Mind Control (#13) (7-2), who drew poorly to the far outside along with Standard Deviation (#14) (10-1).

RACE 10: Shadwell Turf Mile (G1)

The field for this year’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) came up extremely strong led by last year’s runner-up Heart to Heart (#5) (7-2). The seven-year-old son of English Channel has won 15-of-37 lifetime starts, including two of six over this surface, but has failed to get to the wire first in each of his last two tries. If he can get back to his 103 BRIS Speed rating three-back in the Maker’s 46 Mile (G1) he will be tough, but it is doubtful that he will have things his way on the front end given the presence of Voodoo Song (#10) (6-1) drawn to his outside.

I prefer the chances of a few runners that will find themselves off the early pace.

Synchrony (#6) (8-1) comes into this spot on a two-race win streak for trainer Michael Stidham. The son of Tapit has won seven of his 16 career starts and should be rolling late under jockey Corey Lanerie.

I also give a big look to Almanaar (#11) (9-2), who ran a strong second to Robert Bruce in the Arlington Million (G1) back on August 11 in Chicago. The outside draw is a concern, but he should be rolling late on the cutback from 1 1/4 miles to eight panels.

TICKET 1: (50 cents)

Race 7: 4+5+7+9
Race 8: 2
Race 9: 1+5+9+10+13+14
Race 10: 6+11

Ticket Cost: $24

TICKET 2: (50 cents)

Race 7: 4+5+7+9
Race 8: 2+3+4+7+9
Race 9: 5
Race 10: 6+11

Ticket Cost: $20