How to play Keeneland on Saturday

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

April 20th, 2018

Spring is (finally) beginning to creep its way into Lexington, Kentucky, on a consistent basis, and the next few days figure to be ideal ones weather-wise for locals to take in the live action at Keeneland before racing shifts to Churchill Downs next weekend.

With fast and firm conditions likely, here are thoughts on Saturday's card:

Race 5

A lot of exposed types in this maiden race for three-year-olds and up. #7 STRIKE THE FLAG (9-2) is more lightly-raced than most, was an encouraging third in his debut on dirt at Fair Grounds in December, and has spent his last couple races on the turf with mixed results. Return to main track could suit.

#1 RED RIGHT HAND (7-2) a strong second to Cayman's Cobra in his debut two back, and that rival has since won an allowance here. Made an early bid into a quick pace last time and is capable of better, but a three-year-old facing older this early in the year is not one of our favorite angles, especially at short odds.

Late Pick 5/Pick 4

#3 LOVE SICK KITTEN (6-5) figures hard to beat in Race 6 if he runs to his Gulfstream form.

Race 7 is a competitive allowance sprint for three-year-old fillies. #1 NAVAJO (4-1) threw in a dud as the odds-on choice in the Tempted (G3) when last seen in November. Capable of better. #10 SMART RESPONSE (6-1) won for fun on debut over the turf at Fair Grounds, then was troubled a bit in her follow-up. Think she can transform that better form to dirt. #3 ENRAGE (9-2) advanced from a claiming diploma here to finish second to the stakes-quality Mia Mischief at Churchill and a stakes placing at Laurel last fall. Could be overbet, though.

Race 8 has 2017 Southwest (G3) winner #1 ONE LINER (8-5), who ran behind some salty competition in his February 9 sprint comeback. #10 SENIOR INVESTMENT (7-2), who upset eventual champion West Coast in the Lexington (G3), should appreciate the return to this track. #9 CLOSING BELL (8-1) is an intriguing horse for the exotics. Overlook the fact he's been running on turf for what seems like forever and note he broke his maiden on dirt in good time.

Race 9 is the Elkhorn (G2), and the mighty Chad Brown barn sends out #3 CALL PROVISION (5-1), who has developed into a highly-capable horse at 11 furlongs. Steps up a furlong here, additional ground that could have helped him in the Red Smith (G3) when last seen in November. #10 ITSINTHEPOST (5-2) won this race over a yielding course last year and has continued his strong form since in Southern California. #12 HAYABUSA ONE (9-2) a close second to Itsinthepost in the San Marcos (G2) and San Luis Rey (G2), has also won over this course.

Race 10 has several intriguing first-time starters, including #4 RAHFEE TOWN (5-1), #1 BARAHIN (5-1), and #7 KING OF THE COURT (4-1).

(Coady Photography)