Kentucky Downs Selections – September 8, 2018
Kentucky Downs (c) Jamie Newell/Horsephotos.com
by Joe Kristufek
Speed held better on the second day of the abbreviated Kentucky Downs meet. Only one horse wired the field, but four of the 10 winners pressed the early pace. Three closed from way out of it and two stalked from midpack.
You can say the turf played fairly on Thursday, but with rain in the forecast both Friday and Saturday, we will tilt our handicapping slightly towards off-the-pace types, particularly in the route races.
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1ST RACE – Pick 5 starts here
Purchased for $235,000 as a two-year-old in training, Perfect Kind (#3) (4-1 ML) was dismissed at odds of 15-1 in a grassy dash at Saratoga. Hung wide turning for home, she closed well to be third. She fits well here and the added distance should work in her favor. An even fourth on dirt in her career debut at Ellis Park, Bourbon Endowment (#8) (15-1) has every right to improve big time here for an excellent educator in Ian Wilkes. She’s out of a promising broodmare who is a half to $575,000 earner Summer Hat.
A – 3, 8
B – 2
C – 5, 6
2ND RACE – Pick Four starts here
On paper, the speedy Fooch (#4) (7-2) looks like the horse to beat, but I don’t completely trust him. There are reasons to like and dislike several of the others, so in the multi-race wagers, spreading and hoping for a price looks like the way to go.
A – 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9
In a race with more questions than answers, Love Your Buttons (#10) (9-2) looks like the most logical winter. He’s proven dashing on grass and appears to be in the best form of his career. Jacktastic (#15) (12-1) has improved massively since adding blinkers and he hasn’t tried turf since the equipment switch. He didn’t have a clean trip in the Ellis Park Derby last out, and that poor result should help darken his form.
A – 10, 15
B – 12
C – 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 13, 14
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). Angel of Mischief (#7) (4-1), who adds blinkers off a narrow miss in the debut, could give trainer Norm Casse and his bride Gabby Gaudet a great gift on their wedding day, and East Moon (#11) (5-2) is a proven talent with an experience edge, but there also a couple of intriguing first timers worth considering.
Ian Wilkes prefers to teach lessons in the debut, but he does pop with a first timer on occasion, and his Shezalemondropkid (#2) (20-1) looks ready off the works. By turf sire Lemon Drop Kid, her dam is a half to Grade 1-placed multiple stakes-winning sprinter Hot Storm, who earned just over $840,000; Grade 2-placed dual stakes heroine and $600,000 earner Unforgotten; and Grade 3 runner-up and $280,000 earner Heavenly Pride, who loved dashing on grass and synthetics. By turf sire Kitten’s Joy, Dynamic Miss (#6) (15-1) is out of Miss Netta, who was third in the 2011 Frizette (G1) as a juvenile. Miss Netta is a half to a trio of $200,000+ earners and there’s grass on that side of the pedigree too.
A – 2, 6, 7, 11
B – 10
C – 3, 4
Kismet’s Heels (#1) (8-1) was a very nice horse at one time. Even when he tailed off, the connections never dropped him in for a tag, and he did show signs of life last out. Demolition (#6) (6-1) has shown plenty of promise on dirt and he still have some upside. His dam earned $200,000 on grass, so perhaps the surface switch will help take him to that next level. Sir Sahib (#7) (10-1) is proven on turf. What you see is what you get, and today it might be good enough at a square price.
Campaign (#8) (6-1) absolutely freaked here on opening day. Far back on the turn for home, he eventually won going away and under wraps. He’s back quick to take on tougher, but with the ridiculous purses being offered, it’s not much of a surprise.
A – 1, 6, 7, 8
B – 10
C – 3
6TH RACE – Pick 5 starts here
What a fun race. Sovereign Impact (#4) (15-1) will almost certainly fly under the radar here, but there are reasons to like – the debut is a toss out race, the follow-up start was a visually impressive romp, and his dam is a half to multiple Grade 2-scoring turfer Catapult, who earned more than $620,000.
Euro import Life Mission (#8) (4-1) finished third out of 25 last out at the Curragh in Ireland, and the winner was a beast that day. His form should transition well here. Trainer Wesley Ward thought enough of Moonlight Romance (#10) (3-1) to take him to Royal Ascot, where a slow start cost him all chance. He takes the blinks off here and is cozily drawn outside.
A – 4, 8, 10
B – 2, 7
C – 3, 5
7TH RACE – Pick 4 starts here
Storm the Hill (#3) (4-1) invades from California in excellent form and she finds a field of mostly glorified allowance and minor stakes females here. The same can be said of Insta Erma (#9) (6-1). Her subpar, last-place effort in the Distaff Turf Mile (G2) at Churchill Downs most recently on May 5 is a complete toss-out. Her form prior to that is excellent and she’s proven to run exceptionally well fresh.
A – 3, 9
B – 1, 6, 8
C – 10
If Brielle’s Appeal (#1) (5-1) brings her A-game, she’s as good as any in here. The super soft turf can be used as an excuse for her ninth-place run in the Caress Stakes last out at Saratoga, the race that Ruby Notion (#5) (3-1) won at 27-1.
The horse to beat is Lull (#6) (2-1). She’s perfect from two starts at Kentucky Downs, and a recent prep at Woodbine should have her on edge for this.
A – 1, 6
B – 5
Conquest Panthera (#1) (5-1) has been a model of consistency and versatility throughout his career. With an expected hot pace, his late kick should prove super dangerous. Blind Ambition (#5) (9-2) is a grassy dash specialist who has held his own against some of the best in the division.
A – 1, 5
B – 7
C – 4, 10, 12
Off a win in this race last year and a perfect two-for-two record at Kentucky Downs, Oscar Nominated (#6) (7-2) will likely go favored, but Mike Maker’s other runner Bigger Picture (#4) (9-2) may have just as good of a chance to win this. Off slowly, he closed into a slow pace to miss by only a length in the Bowling Green Stakes (G2) and I’m not going to hold the merry-go-round Sword Dancer against him.
Arklow (#8) (12-1) had a tough go two back as the favorite in the Stars and Stripes Stakes (G3) and he ran better than it looks. Last out in the Kentucky Downs Turf Cup Preview at Ellis, he adapted to the speed-favoring turf and scored a game victory. In a race that is not overloaded with speed, that versatility makes him doubly dangerous.
A – 4, 6, 8
B – 3, 5
C – 9