Kentucky Downs Scouting Report for Sept. 6
Update from Sunday's action
Starting with the weather, the Kentucky Downs opening day card was random in many ways. As the card progressed, a mist turned into a drizzle which eventually morphed into a shower. The turf was firm for the two races, good for races 3-5, and yielding for the rest of the card. The course got torn up pretty good, but the prospects for beautiful and dry weather for the remainder of the week should alleviate any concerns.
Five of the 11 races were won by deep closers, but the two highest priced winners of the day, Clear for Action and Dueling Grounds Derby winner Accredit, wired the field at odds of 50-1 and 36-1 respectively. Talking to the jockeys after the races, they professed a common theme "either the horses handled it (the turf), or they didn't".
Somewhat predictably, Joel Ro$ario had a huge day with five wins -- two for Joe Sharp, who had three on the day, and two for Brad Cox, including the Dueling Grounds Oaks with Adventuring. Julien Leparoux also scored a riding double.
From what I've heard, Sharp, Cox, Bill Mott, Steve Asmussen, Wesley Ward, Mike Maker, Ian Wilkes, Ricky Courville and Michelle Nihei all have horses on the grounds at Kentucky Downs. Based on popular opinion, horses who have a chance to acclimate and gallop over the turf course typically have an advantage.
With the top pick listed first, “A” horses are in order or preference. The takeout on the Pick Fours (14%) and Pick Fives (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 will be right!
1st Race – Pick Five starts here
#9 Scarabea finished a game second behind Flippant on July 4 at Ellis, and that rival has since gone on to win a pair of stakes. If the screws are tight, this is her race to lose, but the spacing of her works since last raced is a bit of a concern.
- A – 9
- B – 2, 4, 7, 8
- C – 3
2nd Race – Pick Four starts here
I’m not sold on the two favorites here. #2 Britain’s Kitten won an “off the turf” dirt sprint on debut, but he’s bred to route on turf. I loved the speed and professionalism he showed first out of the box.
- A – 2, 3
- B – 6, 8
If one or both draw in, the #13 Flash n’ Dance, who won this same race last year at 32-1, and the #16 Antalya, who loves to win, both rate a big shot. The Indiana-bred #9 Bloody Mary Mornin is also logical in a race that should prove formful.
- A – 9, 10, 12, 13, 16
- B – 5, 6, 11
- C – 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, 8
#5 Emperador returned from a long layoff to run a bang-up race and just miss in a turf sprint last out. He should appreciate the added ground and the long stretch here.
- A – 1, 2, 4, 5
- B – 3, 14
- C – 9, 10
5th Race – Pick Four starts here
#10 Fighting Seabee is better than he looks on paper and still has upside at age four. He ran well behind likely Mile favorite Flavius last out at Saratoga, and fits this condition well at a square price.
- A – 3, 6, 10
- B – 1, 5, 13
- C – 4, 11
Following an up-and-down (mostly down) stretch, #8 Fashionable Lady seems to be headed back in the right direction. She cuts back off a recent win and should relish this trip. Florent Geroux rides KYD well, and has won on this filly in the past.
- A – 5, 6, 8
- B – 1, 2
- C – 3, 7, 9, 10
7th Race – Pick Five starts here
Live on the toteboard on debut, #8 Thanozapper was hung four-wide and made a middle move before faltering behind a talented winner. Stretched out on dirt for her second try, she scored a sharp win and galloped out huge. She has turf influences on the dam’s side of the pedigree and rates a chance at a big price.
- A – 3, 8, 10, 11
- B – 7
- C – 1, 5, 12
8th Race – Pick Four starts here
A solid second behind an eventual graded stakes winner in Point Me By in a June 20 grass dash at Churchill, #8 Purple Dream tossed in a no-excuse clunker in his follow-up start at the same trip. He bounced back in a huge way when stretched out around two turns last time out, and now he gets to cut back to an elongated sprint, which he should relish.
- A – 2, 3, 4, 8
- B – 6
#7 Stepper was heavily backed in her career debut at Churchill, and she ran evenly, She improved to finish a good second when stretched out, then won going away when adding blinkers last time out. Her strong gallop out also caught the eye.
- A – 3, 7
- B – 2, 6, 8, 9
- C – 4
Defending champ #11 Flavius and the classy route speedster #9 Somelikeithotbrown loom as the horses to beat, but longshot #2 Argentello is talented and runs well fresh.
- A – 2, 9, 11
- B – 4, 7, 8
- C – 5, 6, 8
#6 Fan the Fire was intended for grass on debut, and he ran well in both starts at Saratoga sprinting on dirt. Maker's other runner, #3 Kiss the Sky, is likely to draw attention, and is bred to stretch out on turf.
- A – 5, 6, 9
- B – 3
- C – 8, 11
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