Kentucky Downs Selections -- September 6, 2018
by JOE KRISTUFEK
The Kentucky Downs turf course played true to form on opening day Saturday. A little give in the ground aided off the pace types, particularly in the routes. Speed held a little better in the sprints, which is typical. It's been dry all week, but the forecast calls for a chance of rain on Thursday. If it remains dry, upgrade horses with early speed, particularly in the sprints.
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1st Race – Pick Five starts here
In what is a wide-open race to start the day, I like a couple of longshots. #7 Mjolnir (12-1 ML) just missed scoring a massive upset over the Churchill green two back and I'm not going to hold his recent run over the Ellis Park green against him. The under the radar connections would like nothing more than to win a race at Kentucky Downs. Based on observations from opening day, it appears that Joe Sharp has pointed to this meet and even though he was 0-for-6 on opening day, Adam Beschizza looks comfortable riding the quirky course. They team up with #11 Strong Current (8-1), who I believe might be better than he looks on paper. He hasn't run since February at Fair Grounds, but appears on edge to run a big one fresh. #3 Stuart Hall (4-1) has held his own against solid company on dirt. I'm not a big fan of horses making their grass debuts at Kentucky Downs, but you have to respect his closing punch.
A – 3, 7, 11
B – 12
C – 2, 4, 8, 10
2nd Race – Pick Four starts here
On paper, #2 Restless Rambler (3-1) is the horse to beat, but the form has tailed off noticeably in his last two starts. He's tough not to use, but I find it tough to trust him. The problem is, I really don't like anybody else. For multi-race purposes, this is going to be a massive spread race for me, and intra-race, I'll likely sit out.
A – 3, 5, 6, 10, 12
C – 2
Loaded with seemingly well-intended debuters, this appears to be a "spread and hope" race. Intra-race, I'll watch the tote board for clues and take a close look at the babies in the paddock and post parade. If there's value to be had, I hope to find it, but I'm not going to pretend to have a genuine opinion in this space.
A – 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 11, 12
4th Race – Jockey7 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. The horse to beat is likely #10 Galton (3-1). The model of consistency, he has a Kentucky Downs win on his resume, and he swings back off a better than it looks third in the Kentucky Downs Tourist Mile Preview at Ellis Park. I like four horses fairly equally here. #5 Compass Zone (7-2) has run some huge races on grass and with only seven starts under his belt, there is still some upside. Top trainer Brad Cox has pointed him here. #6 Surprise Twist (10-1) showed some promise last year, but he appears to have taken his game to a new level. He hasn't had the cleanest of runs in either start this year, and is capable of taking another step forward at a price. #9 Turf Titan (8-1) is on the absolute top of his game, and this too will be the third race of his current form cycle.
A – 10
B – 5, 6, 9
Man, it doesn't get any easier here. The $400,000 yearling purchase #11 World (3-1) has disappointed in two dirt starts and the pedigree doesn't match the sales price. He can win, but he's certainly tough to lean on. Others who have started haven't been all that impressive, and none of the first time starters stand out. This looks to be another "spread and hope" race. Intra-race, I'll watch the tote board for clues and take a close look at the babies in the paddock and post parade. If there's value to be had, I hope to find it, but I'm not going to pretend to have a genuine opinion in this space.
A – 1, 5, 8, 9, 10
B -- 11
6th Race – Pick Five starts here
By Smart Strike out of the Belong to Me mare Forever Together, #6 Smart Together (15-1) is bred to be a good one. She banked nearly $3 million on grass and is proving to be a promising producer. Against what appears to be a very average field for the level, half of the 15-1 morning line price would be more than fair.
A – 6
C – 1, 8, 10
7th Race – Pick Four starts here
I like four horses equally here, and for different reasons. #2 Naughty Joker (4-1) is a well-bred, seemingly very well intended, Ramsey/Ward debuter with fast works. #5 Khairiya (8-1) ran better than it looks in her third place debut behind a buzz saw over the Arlington Polytrack. Bet down to favoritism in her first try, #7 Confidently (6-1) failed to make a serious impact, but that was an off the turf dirt race, she's bred to mow the lawn, and Tom Proctor means business at Kentucky Downs. Live on the tote board in her second career run, #8 Princess Causeway (6-1) surged late to just miss and she galloped out best. She's learning lessons for a great teacher in Ian Wilkes.
A – 2, 5, 7, 8
B – 12
C – 1
#2 Pastime (12-1) has taken her grassy dash game to a higher level in recent starts, holding her own against tougher fields than this. Following a head scratching slump, #4 America's Tale (5-1) has bounced back nicely of late. By Gio Ponti out of an Unusual Heat mare, sprinting on grass might be what she was born to do. #6 She's All Skeet (10-1) has had success at the trip and Joe Sharp appears to have pointed his stable to this meet. He also has the capable #5 Psalmody (7-2) entered. Take note that filly is a much lower price in the morning line, but that the "Biscuit" sticks with Skeet.
A – 2, 4, 6
B – 5
C – 1, 8
#5 Next Shares (6-1) has kept top company, and when right he's capable of uncorking a serious turn of foot. #10 Parlor (8-1) was a slight disappointment in the Kentucky Downs Tourist Mile Preview last out at Ellis Park, but he may simply not have liked the rock hard, speed favoring turf. He's run well at Kentucky Downs in the past and can bounce back in a big way here.
A – 5, 10
B – 1, 2, 6
C – 7
#2 Gentle Ruler (9-2) is turf talented. She's been a bit of an underachiever, but this could be her coming out party. #8 Screen Image (7-2) has closed solid ground in a pair of recent East Coast turf tests. She looks good enough to win this. #9 Kallio (6-1) is also show signs of ability on grass and she appears to be on edge for the best effort of her young career. #11 Coexistence (4-1) makes her first start for Joe Sharp, who has her rested and ready to fire a big shot in this one.
A – 2, 8, 9, 11