Kentucky Downs Selections – September 1, 2018
Kentucky Downs (c) Bob Newell/Horsephotos.com
by Joe Kristufek
Leading up to Saturday’s opener at Kentucky Downs, the forecast calls for rain, so my opinions are tilted to off-the-pace types, particularly in the races at a mile and farther.
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1ST RACE – Pick 5 starts here
The lukewarm program favorite Prompt (#5) (7-2) looks like a logical play for a tough team off several solid turf efforts in New York, but my lean here goes to Somebody’s Beau (#2) (8-1). At odds of 42-1 and 27-1 respectively, he finished as the runner-up behind sharp winners in a pair of Churchill Downs turf tests, the second of which came over nine furlongs of good ground. He’s not bred for 12 furlongs but has run like that marathon distance is within his scope. A recent even run over the Ellis Park green is likely to darken his form, and under the radar connections should help inflate the price.
Campaign (#3) (5-1), a $675,000 yearling buy, could take a huge step forward in this grass debut. His unraced dam is a half-sister to Grade 1-winning millionaire Acoma, Grade 1-scoring sire Arch and others.
A – 2, 5
B – 3
C – 4, 7
2ND RACE – Pick 4 (14 percent takeout) starts here
A layout race for me otherwise, I’ll be using several runners in here for multi-race purposes. Two of my A’s – Myositis Mystique (#9) (8-1) and Awesome Gal (#11) (3-1) – are a combined zero for three on turf, and the other is 20-1 bomb Leeloo’s Journey (#4) (20-1). Turf is her best surface, but she hasn’t run on it since October, and she put in a very representative effort in her only run over this course.
A – 4, 9, 11
B – 1, 8
C – 2, 5
Led by One Mean Man (#10) (8-1) and Spikes Shirl (#6) (15-1), I like several longshots in here. The former hasn’t won in a looooooooong time, but his last two races are even better than they look, and the pedigree suggests he may absolutely relish long-stretch sprinting on turf. Given the pedigree, it’s surprising that the latter has never tried grass. He just missed behind Majestic Affair two back at Churchill and that talented runner returned to win a minor stakes in his last start. Also worth noting, Field of Courage (#11) (8-1) is the first ever Kentucky Downs starter for trainer Rudy Rodriguez.
A – 6, 10
B – 5, 9, 11
C – 1, 2
4TH RACE – Jockey 7 starts here
It’s tough to come up with a Jockey 7 recommendation prior to scratches, so I’ll save any potential opinions for Twitter @joeydakracing. Trainer Michael Matz and jockey Adam Beschizza seem like an odd combination, but the pair did team up to score with a 12-1 shot in Hollywood Strike this past April at Keeneland. They are represented here by Blame Henry (#1) (4-1), who has already run two big races on grass and is still learning. This will be the first Kentucky Downs adventure for the “Biscuit,” and it will be interesting to see how he fares.
Vanilla Cat (#5) (15-1) scored a 27-1 upset here last year, and her recent allowance run at Ellis is even better than it looks on paper. More Fun Again (#10) (6-1) has the look of a very well-intended individual for Tom Proctor – break the maiden, slight freshening, fire again. Cash Out (#11) (7-2) threw in a bit of a clunker last out at Saratoga, but her turf efforts prior to that would make her a contender here.
A – 1, 5, 10
C – 11
Following a pair of runner-up efforts on the Churchill turf, Convict Pike (#8) (10-1) was off slowly before being hung four wide in a grass stakes at Indiana Grand. He was still beaten only 5 3/4 lengths over a turf that was tough to close on. Since adding blinkers and moving back to grass, Cape Angel (#12) (7-2) has turned into a new horse. He swings back off a pair of deep closing wins at Saratoga and fits like a glove on the rise.
Passport to Chaos (#5) (4-1) has formidable connections and he’s proven on grass, while Sir Sahib (#13) (15-1) is as good as he’s ever been but needs a scratch to draw in.
A – 8
B – 5, 12, 13
6TH RACE – Pick 5 starts here
In a race where I don’t have a strong opinion about any of those who have raced, I’m intrigued most by the Norm Casse-trained first-timer To the Moon N Back (#9) (6-1). Noble Mission has made a nice impression as a first-crop sire and there are turf influences on the dam’s side of the pedigree as well.
A – 9
B – 4, 6, 7
C – 8, 12
7TH RACE – One Dreamer Stakes – All-Stakes Pick 4 (14 percent takeout) starts here
On Leave (#11) (3-1) is the class of the field. Shug McGaughey has a win from just three starters over the last five years at Kentucky Downs, and this gal looks to be very well intended. Prado’s Sweet Ride (#9) (4-1) ran a huge race to finish second behind the super legit Daddys Lil Darling last out in the Modesty (G3) at Arlington. She skipped the Beverly D. (G1) at her home track in favor of this event and the recent works have been razor sharp. As an Illinois-bred, she’s not eligible for the Kentucky supplement.
English Affair (#10) (12-1) got a golden trip up the rail and finished second behind the speedy favorite I’m Betty G in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Preview last out at Ellis. She’s the kind of horse who may thrive over the Kentucky Downs turf course. I Remember Mama (#4) (12-1) and Dubara (#3) (12-1) were separated by just a nose in their recent encounter over the Ellis Park turf and both fillies still have some upside.
A – 9, 11
B – 3, 4, 10
8TH RACE – Tourist Mile Stakes
Mr. Misunderstood (#1) (2-1) has won 10 of 13 lifetime on grass, and the connections have been quoted as saying that winning this race is their primary objective of the season. He stuck closer to the early pace than usual over a bone-dry, speed-favoring Ellis Park turf course in the Kentucky Downs Tourist Mile Preview last out, and prevailed gamely over a stubborn foe. He’s versatile and is capable of displaying an electric turn of foot when needed.
Bound For Nowhere (#8) (3-1) was really good when crushing the 5 1/2-furlong Shakertown (G2) over a soft Keeneland turf in April, and he just missed in the prestigious Diamond Jubilee (Eng-G1) at Royal Ascot last out. He’s never competed past six furlongs, but certainly is bred to handle a mile. This should be one heck of a match-up, and for multi-race purposes, I don’t think you need to spread any deeper.
A – 1, 8
9TH RACE – Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf
With Two Shakes set to run in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Turf, trainer Wesley Ward elects to run his prized gal Dragic (#7) (4-1) against the boys, and she certainly has the talent and class to get the job done here.
A – 7
C – 2, 3, 11
10TH RACE – Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Turf
Miss Technicality (#7) (7-2) displayed a visually impressive stretch kick in breaking her maiden at first asking over the Belmont Park green on July 6. She’s been freshened a bit for this and should be on edge for a big run. As indicated above, Wesley Ward has enough confidence in Two Shakes (#3) (3-1) in here to run the higher profile Dragic against the boys. That says a lot.
A – 3, 7