Kentucky Downs Scouting Report for Sept. 5

Profile Picture: Joe Kristufek

September 4th, 2021

Sunday’s 11-race opening day card is highlighted by the $500,000 Dueling Grounds Oaks and the $750,000 Dueling Grounds Derby. There are six maiden special weight events on the card, and the majority of the races are extremely wide open, which is the norm.

For a preview of what to expect and some useful betting angles, check out my Kentucky Downs Meet Preview blog here.

The usual suspects – Mike Maker, Wesley Ward, Brad Cox and Mark Casse – are well represented on the card. Joe Sharp and Kenny McPeek also appear to have some live runners on Sunday.

On the jockey’s side, Tyler Gaffalione, Julien Leparoux, Adam Beschizza, Rafael Bejarano and Joe Talamo appear to be well mounted for the curtain raiser, but it’s Joel Rosario who could be in for a banner day. He’s just 3-for-28 at Kentucky Downs over the past two seasons, but he should be a major force in 2021.

Sunday’s forecast does call for a 50% chance of rain in Franklin, Kentucky, but the rest of the week appears pristine. Some give in the ground traditionally would work in the favor of off the pace types, so monitor the turf condition before sending it in.

With the top pick listed first, “A” horses are in order or preference. The takeout on the Pick 4s (14%) and Pick 5s(15%) is super fan-friendly, so let’s try to take advantage, but also focus on individual horses that you like because chances are the price is right!

1st Race – Pick Five starts here

Stamina is the name of the game in this 1 1/2-mile maiden tilt, and #9 Marvelousmoondance has plenty of that. He took the blinkers off for the first time in his seven-race career last out and finished strongly to be second over a Ellis Park turf course that favored speed.

  • A – 3, 9
  • B – 2, 4, 5, 8
  • C – 1, 6, 7, 10

2nd Race – Pick Four starts here

Watch the toteboard on the #6 Misthaven and take a close look at her in the paddock and post parade. She RNA’d as a yearling and as a two-year-old in training for well over $400K, and with Joel Rosario up, she appears to be very well intended here.

  • A – 6
  • B – 1, 2, 4, 12
  • C – 3, 5. 11. 14

3rd Race

All eight of #7 Exhulting’s wins have come on dirt, but even though he’s 0-for-7 on turf, he has run some fast races over the surface. He looks like a bit of a standout here, although #1 Quality Step is versatile and he does love to win. 

  • A – 7
  • B – 1
  • C – 3, 9, 13

4th Race

Despite being sired by the $7,500 stallion Mohaymen with not a ton of quality in the immediate family, #7 I’ll Figure It Out was purchased for $172K as a two-year-old in training. He pressed a fast pace and faded on Saratoga dirt on debut, but being out of a Lemon Drop Kid mare, he might relish the move to the grass.

  • A – 5, 6, 7
  • B – 4, 8
  • C – 1, 9, 10

5th Race

I like #12 Souper Dormy quite a bit in this spot. He was third at 47-1 in the Franklin-Simpson S. here last year. He enters this race in excellent form, and Adam Beschizza knows him well.

  • A – 12
  • B – 2, 11, 14
  • C – 1, 4, 5, 8

6th Race

At 8-5, #8 Vivar is the shortest-priced morning line favorite of the day. He did have some trouble on debut and a win is certainly not out of the question in what appears to be an average race for the level, but at 8-1 in the program, I’m going to give a long look to #9 Scattershack. He didn’t run well on grass on debut, but he’s bred for it, and the follow-up route start on dirt was much better. I also like the bullet work in advance of this.

  • A – 8, 9
  • B – 6
  • C – 1, 3, 4, 10

7th Race – Pick Five starts here

#8 Social Dilemma has hit the board in all four of her turf starts, but she keeps falling short. Seems to me like she should relish the cutback to the elongated 6 1/2-furlong sprint distance at Kentucky Downs.

  • A – 2, 7, 8
  • B – 4, 5, 6, 11
  • C – 3, 9, 10

8th Race

If she draws in, #14 Stormy Stella must be given serious consideration. She broke awkwardly out of the gate on debut at Saratoga and slammed into a rival before stalking the pace and losing ground late over a turf course that favored off the pace types. She addition of blinkers could make a big difference. Debuters #10 Queen Judith and #11 Robinhill are both intriguing.

  • A – 10, 11, 14
  • B – 3, 4, 6, 8
  • C – 2, 7

9th Race

#8 Core Values has become a different horse since moving over to the turf. Trainer Vicki Oliver wanted the Prevue distance that the Derby offered, so she ran her against the boys at Ellis. She closed into a tepid pace to win at 11-1 in an effort that was even more impressive than it looks on paper. Given that performance and the trainer speak that went along with it, she should truly relish the added ground here.

  • A – 3, 8
  • B – 1. 6. 7
  • C – 9

10th Race

#12 Du Jour is squarely the horse to beat, but that extreme outside post doesn’t do him any favors. Jockey musical chairs lands Tyler Gaffalione on #3 Yes This Time, and not the slightly-more accomplished #5 Palazzi, who employs strong man Adam Beschizza instead. Yes This Time had rattled off five consecutive wins entering the Saratoga Derby (G1), and a severely compromised start hampered any designs at pulling off the upset. That run was better than it looks on paper, and this versatile colt certainly has a nose for the finish line.

  • A – 3, 12
  • B – 5, 8
  • C – 2. 4, 6, 9, 10. 11

11th Race

This might be the biggest crapshoot in a card full of them. #3 Front Street is winless from 10 starts and she has yet to run on turf, but she keeps lighting the tote behind some talented foes. She should get a great trip, and perhaps today is her day.

  • A – 3, 5, 10, 12
  • B – 4, 16
  • C – 2, 8, 9, 11, 14

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