Keeneland Selections for Wednesday, October 10
by JOE KRISTUFEK
Following a major rain dump the night before, Keeneland's turf was soft for the opening day card and speed held very well, but as the course slowly dried Saturday into Sunday, it evened out. With speed, stalkers and deep closers all finding the winner's circle, I found the main track to be fair all three days.
Scattered showers are in the forecast for Wednesday, but I will attack the card as if both surfaces will play fairly and adjust from there.
With the top pick listed first, "A" horses are in order or preference.
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1st Race – Pick Five starts here
#6 Champagne Anyone (4-1 ML) has followed a solid progression pattern for Ian Wilkes, closing ground in a lesson-learning inexperience in the debut before winning second time out. She's trained steadily between starts and should handle this two-turn test. With a promising debut and a follow-up win, #3 High Regard (5-2) has followed a similar path, and she did defeat a solid field in professional fashion over a one-turn mile last out at Churchill.
A – 6, 3
B – 1, 5, 7
C – 2, 4
2nd Race – Pick Four starts here
There are more questions than answers in this $10,000 claimer. #3 Riff Raff (3-1) takes his second consecutive sizeable drop off consecutive claims, and #4 Grand Candy (4-1) drops several notches off the layoff. Both are tough to trust, but perhaps even more difficult to toss. Perhaps the connections are hoping to slip through into starter eligibility. None of the others are in great form, so for multi-race purposes, it might be worth banking that at least one of the droppers will be good enough to get it done. #7 Prime Issue (5-2) has won for jockey Adam Beschizza over the track, and placement in this spot certainly makes sense.
A – 3, 4, 7
B – 2, 5, 6, 9
C – 10
If not #8 Midnight Tea Time (5-2), then who? It's tough to single in a big turf field, especially when the horse you're going to lean on seems to have difficulty sealing the deal. That being said, he appears to be faster than the rest of the field, and Joe Sharp and Luis Saez have huge numbers when they team up. Depending on your budget and ticket construction, there are plenty of other horses who could take advantage if the chalk fails. Perhaps singling the 8 on one ticket and spreading deep on another is the way to go.
A – 8
B – 2, 3, 7, 9, 13
C – 4, 5, 12
4th Race – Pick Five starts here
Todd Pletcher enjoyed massive success opening weekend, and his #2 South of France (5-2) looks like a contender here, but she certainly doesn't have to win. Homebred first timers #8 Amandrea (8-1) and #11 Floss Dancer (6-1) certainly intrigue. The former has sneaky good pedigree on the dam's side, and although Mike “Money” Maker doesn't have great stats with first timers, I'm guessing he'd love to win this one at Keeneland for Zayat Stables. The latter doesn't have an inspiring work tab, but Al Stall Jr. does have amazing numbers with debuters, it's often a good idea to simply use him blindly for multi-race purposes, and the placement makes perfect sense for this homebred. The debut for #3 Mucha Mezquina (12-1) doesn't look like much on paper, but she chased home an absolute monster that day and drops in with first Lasix here for under the radar connections.
A – 8, 11, 3, 2
B – 7
5th Race – Pick Four starts here
Given the fact that she's out of an El Prado mare, it's surprising that #4 Dancing All Night (4-1) has made seven starts without trying grass. Recent works over the Belmont green hint at a potential affinity for the surface, and she has the major advantage of being a 5-year-old in against mostly sophomore contenders. Brad Cox has the intriguing Euro import #6 Princesschope (8-1) entered here, and she has some legit overseas credentials. Do note that he scratched #10 Napier, who also looked live in this spot. Chad Brown's #7 Civil Union (3-1) won even more professionally first out of the box, and she's trained steadily between starts. There's no reason to think she won't run another big race.
A – 4, 7, 6
B – 9
C – 3, 5, 11, 16
You won't find many second-level allowance races with as much collective talent and depth as this one. I think both of my A's will run big races, but the horses in the B and the C columns are upset capable. #9 Honorable Treasure (5-2) ran a pair of tremendous races at Churchill in May, but followed up with a pair of disappointing efforts. The addition of blinkers seemed to do the trick last out, but he did enjoy a perfect pressing trip over a speed-favoring Saratoga main oval. #7 Barry Lee (10-1) on the other hand, ran well against the bias last out, flashing speed and holding for second over a Churchill surface that strongly favored off the pace types. His two races prior were also better than they look.
A – 9, 7
B – 5, 10, 11, 12
C – 2, 3, 4, 6
By Tapit out of the multiple grade one winning turfer Pure Clan, #7 Princesa Carolina (12-1) was born to mow the lawn. She won her two-turn turf debut in her second career start last out, and Ken McPeek's “1st Lasix” stats are through the roof. #10 Fierce Scarlett (7-2), #6 Pakhet (8-1) and #3 Speedy Solution (10-1) all broke their maidens around two turns on Saratoga turf, and that winning route experience gives them an important seasoning edge here.
A – 7, 10, 6, 3
B – 2, 4, 12, 14
C – 5, 11, 16
This race is a complete crapshoot. There are reasons to use many of the horses, and you should. #2 House of Commons (7-2) ran against the bias in a much tougher race last out. #3 Zip Van Winkle (9-2) returns fresh for Ron Moquett, who had a sneaky good opening weekend at Keeneland. #6 Strolling (8-1) lost four lengths at the start of his most recent race and he was checked on the turn. #7 Teletap (4-1) is just one for 17, but most of those losses came against more talented fields than these. The lightly raced #9 Mighty Ghost (6-1) is a wild card off the bench, but you have to respect the barn.
A – 3, 7, 2, 6, 9
C – 10, 13