Keeneland selections and analysis for Wednesday, April 26
We've got eight races to kick off the final week of the Keeneland Spring Meet!
Let's get to Wednesday's picks.
#2 Blue Eyed Soul (7-5): No Nay Never filly makes initial start for Wesley Ward, a 31% winner this meet and a 26% winner with horses making debut at maiden special weight level. Two-year-old has looked sharp in morning workouts. Walter Rodriguez is named to ride and is 4-2-0-1 paired with Ward the last 14 days.
#5 Saddle Up (6-1): Munnings colt recorded 63 BRIS figure in first career start when fifth by 8 1/2 lengths in $80K maiden special weight at Keeneland April 13. Will return to race 13 days later for Steve Asmussen, a 19% winner second career race and an 18% winner in maiden special weight races. Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount.
#3 Kore Kinetic (3-1): By Nyquist out of a Congrats mare who has two winners from two starters. Two-year-old colt has put in fast workouts ahead of debut for Luis Mendez, an 11% winner with first-time starters and a 19% winner at maiden special weight level. Declan Cannon (18% winner this meet) is named to ride.
#10 Nurcan (8-1): Flashed 63 BRIS figure when sixth on debut at today’s distance in $80K maiden special weight at Keeneland April 7. Luis Mendez is a 20% winner second career race and a 19% winner with two-year-olds. Abel Lezcano will pick up the mount.
#12 Charging (2-1): Candy Ride colt flashed 89 Brisnet Speed rating in second career start and first turf try when second to a next-out winner in a one-mile maiden special weight at Fair Grounds. Posted 96 E1 and 105 E2 figures and should relish the cutback in distance. Brad Cox is a 25% winner with horses making second start on turf. Florent Geroux will retain the mount. Posted sharp five-furlong workout April 19.
#11 Liquid Addiction (8-1): Showed good early speed on debut when fourth as the favorite in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Turfway. Dueled to deep stretch but faltered in late going and can improve with slight cutback in distance. Brendan Walsh is a 27% winner this meet and a 15% winner with first-time turf starts. No Nay Never gelding is out of a Danzig mare that has produced three turf winners. Irad Ortiz Jr. will inherit the mount and strikes at a 29% clip on turf. Sharp trio of recent workouts.
#3 Alibi Ike (6-1): Recorded 74 Brisnet Speed rating last out when third in a six-furlong maiden special weight on Turfway’s all-weather. Will race on Lasix a second time, a winning move 25% of the time for Wesley Ward. Munnings gelding can improve off the more than two-month layoff. Walter Rodriguez will retain the mount.
Also consider for horizontals:
#6 Eternal Bliss (9-2): Came home 1 1/2 lengths behind today’s race rival Monet Never in $84K maiden special weight in Munnings colt’s first career start. Brian Lynch is a 38% winner with second turf starts but 1-for-12 this meet. James Graham (14% winner on turf) will inherit the mount.
#5 Monet Never (4-1): A length second last out in a five-furlong maiden special weight on Gulfstream’s turf March 19 while recording 80 BRIS figure. Makes third career start for trainer Philip Antonacci, an 11% winner with turf starts. Luis Saez will retain the mount.
#9 McGolden (15-1): May improve with cutback in distance and first start off a 56-day layoff for Al Stall Jr., a 29% winner this meet and 14% winner with turf starts. Joel Rosario will pick up the mount.
AE of note:
#16 Beer Run (4-1): Son of City of Light (17% sire win rate first time turf) is a first-time starter for Wesley Ward, a 20% winner debut turf. Out of a Congrats mare who has one winner from two starters but no turf winners. John Velazquez named to ride.
#1 Deputy Connect (5-2): Graduated at today’s distance in a $90K maiden special weight in sixth career start at Oaklawn March 2. Connect colt recorded 86 Brisnet Speed rating — tied with the highest last race speed figure among the field — and will pick up hot jockey Florent Geroux, who’s 7-2-1-0 paired with Brad Cox the last 14 days. Cox is also a 36% winner this meet and a 30% winner with horses coming off a maiden win. Four-year-old will make first start in 55 days. Rail post is winning at a 27% clip.
#3 Wolfe County (2-1): Was beaten a head second in a maiden claimer four back in first start for Kenny McPeek in June 2022 at Churchill. Rebounded to win 1 3/16-mile maiden special weight at same track 15 days later, then faced allowance company in last two and placed fifth. May improve second start off a layoff and will regain rider Brian Hernandez, who guided the Medaglia d’Oro colt four back. McPeek is a 17% winner with routes, and Hernandez is a 17% winner this meet.
#6 Miacomet (9-2): Flatter son was off a step slow when finishing sixth in an allowance at Oaklawn Feb. 11 at today’s distance over a muddy track. Will make fourth start for Matt Shirer, an 18% winner with routes, in five-year-old’s first start in more than two months. Will pick up high percentage jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
#2 Idratherbeblessed (7-2): Unified gelding won by a neck last out in a one-mile starter optional claimer at Fair Grounds March 12 while recording an 86 BRIS figure with a 101 Late Pace rating. Has raced at today’s distance once, in second career start, at Churchill in September 2022. Moves up in class for Chris Hartman (1-for-5 this meet), who strikes at a 25% clip with horses that won their last race. Irad Ortiz Jr. will pick up the mount.
#7 Exact Estimate (7-5): Moves up in class off a one-length win in $84K maiden special weight run at 1 1/16 miles. Will make second turf start for Chad Brown in the Into Mischief four-year-old’s second start off a layoff. Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount with Irad Ortiz Jr. aboard Gamer. Sharp trio of workouts at Keeneland this month.
#5 Baj (8-1): Beaten a neck against this class level last out at Keeneland in October and will return off a more than six-month layoff for Paulo Lobo, a 20% winner off layoffs of more than 90 days and a 22% winner at allowance level. Can the Man gelding posted 88 Brisnet Speed figure in the effort — the highest last race speed figure among the field. Joe Talamo, a 17% winner this meet, will pick up the mount. Has looked sharp in recent workouts.
#8 Gamer (8-1): Clocked an 85 BRIS figure last out when the Twirling Candy gelding scored a 3 1/2-length victory in a 1 1/16-mile maiden special weight on Turfway’s all-weather. Will try turf for the first time for Brendan Walsh, a 20% winner with horses coming off a maiden win and a 14% winner with turf starts. Irad Ortiz Jr. will retain the mount.
Also consider for horizontals:
#3 Reward Night (6-1): Was beaten half a length last out when racing a mile on Keeneland’s turf against this class level. Will return off a more than six-month layoff for Ian Wilkes, a 12% winner at the allowance level and an 11% winner with horses returning off a long layoff. Will Take Charge five-year-old put in bullet five-furlong workout April 20 at Churchill. Regular rider Chris Landeros will stay in the saddle.
#6 Rally Squirrel (20-1): Mshawish son forged clear to win by three lengths in second start off the claim for Brittany Vanden Berg last out in $25K claimer at Hawthorne when racing a mile and 70 yards on dirt. Vanden Berg is a 31% winner with horses that won their last race and a 19% winner with horses switching from dirt to turf. Chris Emigh will retain the mount.
#9 Catnip (9-2): Has looked good in morning moves ahead of first start in more than six months. Came home fourth in 1 1/8-mile Keeneland allowance after stalking the eventual winner from the outside and giving way in upper stretch; lost place between horses in the final sixteenth. May improve with cutback in distance in first start since Oct. 26. Michael Stidham is a 17% winner with turf starts and a 16% winner at allowance level.
#2 Barbtourage (4-5): By Into Mischief (16% sire win rate with first-time starters), the two-year-old will make debut for Wesley Ward, a 30% winner with first-time starters. Has put in several impressive workouts at Keeneland this month. John Velazquez is named to ride and wins at a 26% clip with sprints.
#1 Brightwork (8-1): By Outwork (15% sire win rate) out of a Malibu Moon mare who has produced a winner from two starters. Two-year-old filly makes first start for John Ortiz, a 16% winner at the maiden special weight level. Reylu Gutierrez strikes at a 19% rate in sprints and has won at a 15% clip this meet. Bullet four-furlong workout April 16 at Keeneland.
#11 Just an Opinion (9-2): Kantharos filly has put in solid works ahead of debut for Steve Asmussen, a 13% winner first-time starters, and will get high percentage jockey Tyler Gaffalione.
Also consider for horizontals:
#5 Unmatched (8-1): Speightstown filly is out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare with one winner from one starter, and the two-year-old put in a bullet three-furlong workout at Keeneland April 18. Will get rider Gerardo Corrales, a 19% winner in sprints, but Ben Colebrook is just 1-for-12 this meet and a 4% winner with horses debuting at maiden special weight level.
#7 Crimson Advocate (15-1): By Nyquist out of a Proud Citizen mare with two winners from three starters. George Weaver is a 12% winner with first-time starters, and Luis Saez is a 24% winner in sprints.
#9 Boyne Valley (20-1): Unified filly is out of a More Than Ready mare who has three winners from four starters. John Ennis is a 15% winner with horses debuting in maiden special weights and a 12% winner with first-time starters. James Graham named to ride.
#9 Bound for Nowhere (2-5): Heavy favorite for Wesley Ward. The Factor nine-year-old took a narrow lead at the quarter pole but was no match for the winner when second in the six-furlong Nearctic (G2) at Woodbine last out, but the cutback in distance and class relief can help him bounce back in his first start since October. Joel Rosario will pick up the mount. Sharp works ahead of nine-year-old season debut. Owns 8-4-2-1 record at today’s distance and 6-3-1-1 record at Keeneland.
#4 Our Shot (6-1): Flashed 88 Brisnet Speed rating last out when racing at today’s distance on dirt. Two back, the Kantharos four-year-old finished a neck fourth in a five-furlong sprint on turf. Will make first start in nearly two months for John Terranova, a 14% winner dirt to turf and a 24% winner with shippers. Luis Saez will pick up the mount. Sharp pair of recent workouts at Keeneland.
#7 Infinite (15-1): Scat Daddy seven-year-old came home third in six-furlong allowance optional claimer on Turfway’s all-weather last out in January. May improve off the more than two-month layoff for Wesley Ward, a 22% winner with turf starts and a 24% winner at allowance level. Posted sharp five-furlong workout April 12. Walter Rodriguez will retain the mount and is 4-2-0-1 paired with Ward the last 14 days. Gelding owns 3-for-6 record at today’s distance and 4-for-9 record on turf.
#6 Nero (8-1): Returned off two-month layoff to finish fifth in 6 1/2-furlong Clocker's Corner Stakes at Santa Anita. Will put blinkers back on and cut back in distance for Neil Drysdale, a 19% winner with shippers. Vincent Cheminaud will pick up the mount. Bullet five-furlong workout at Santa Anita April 10.
#10 He’smyhoneybadger (3-1): Unlikely we’ll see this race taken off the turf, but if so, Daredevil gelding is a win contender. Flashed 98 BRIS figure in win at today’s distance last out at Fair Grounds.
#2 Gold Luck (6-1): Makes first start off the claim for Jonathan Wong, a 33% winner this meet and a 30% winner first off the claim. The Goldencents colt will wear blinkers the first time (22% winning move for Wong) and comes off a 48-day layoff. Irad Ortiz Jr. (24% winner sprints) will pick up the mount. Three-year-old flashed 85 BRIS figure two back when a length second in 6 1/2-furlong allowance optional claimer at Turfway Feb. 10.
#5 One Giant Leap (6-5): Got up to win by a neck in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden claimer at Turfway last out on March 15 while recording 84 Brisnet Speed rating — highest last race speed figure among the field. Moves up in class in third career start for Wesley Ward, a 23% winner with horses coming off a maiden win and a 32% winner second off the layoff. The Will Take Charge colt will race on Lasix a second time and keeps jockey Walter Rodriguez, who has gone 4-2-0-1 paired with Ward the last 14 days.
#6 Dog Red (3-1): Two back, the Flatter gelding won by three lengths in 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight while clocking an 87 BRIS figure on Turfway’s all-weather. Last out, the four-year-old was far back in sixth in a one-mile allowance at the same track and will drop in class today for Robert Medina, an 18% winner at the claiming level but 0-for-9 with horses switching from AW to turf. Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount. May improve with cutback in distance and first start off a more than two-month layoff.
#7 Broadway Boogie (9-5): Uncle Mo four-year-old came home fifth by 1 1/2 lengths last out in the Very One (G3) at Gulfstream and will drop in class for Jimmy Toner in first start in nearly two months. Two back, the filly romped to a six-length win at today’s distance under Jorge Ruiz, who retains the mount, and recorded a 102 Brisnet Speed rating, the best turf speed figure among the field.
#1 Federalist Papers (6-1): Makes first start in more than six months after finishing a two-length fourth in an allowance at Keeneland last October while recording 92 BRIS figure at today’s distance. Beaten a length by second-place finisher and today’s race rival Light Stars. Brendan Walsh is a 27% winner this meet and a 19% winner with horses coming off a long layoff, plus a 16% winner at allowance level. Tyler Gaffalione opted to guide the More Than Ready mare and hopped off Bravo Kitten. The jockey is 10-5-1-0 paired with Walsh the last 14 days.
#3 Bravo Kitten (8-1): Scored a 3 1/4-length victory in an allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream last out on March 5 under Gaffalione and will move up in class for Saffie Joseph, a 22% winner with horses that won their last race. Flashed 91 BRIS figure in effort and re-opposes Broadway Boogie, who beat the Kitten’s Joy four-year-old three back when racing today’s distance. Luis Saez will pick up the mount.
#5 Light Stars (4-1): Came home three-quarters of a length in second last out in allowance at Keeneland in October; recorded 93 BRIS figure. Christophe Clement is a 19% winner with runners coming off a layoff of more than 90 days and an 18% winner at allowance level. Joel Rosario will regain the mount on the Sea the Stars mare.