Kentucky Downs Selections – September 9, 2018
Kentucky Downs (c) Jamie Newell/Horsephotos.com
by Joe Kristufek
Sunday represents the second to last card of the Kentucky Downs meet. Thursday is closing day, and Churchill Downs opens Friday. With rain the forecast, I’ll continue to lean my selections towards off-the-pace types, particularly in the route races.
With the top pick listed first, “A” horses are in order or preference.
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1ST RACE – Pick 5 starts here
A game runner-up in his career debut sprinting over the Arlington Park Polytrack, Bizzee Channel (#5) (3-1 ML) stretches out on turf for the first time here. By English Channel, he’s certainly bred to mow the lawn, and the debut loss came to a nice horse in Manny Wah, who has since returned to run a good third in the Ellis Park Juvenile. Purchased privately by top Chicago connections, they attempt to recoup a chunk of their investment today.
A – 5
B – 3, 6, 13, 15, 16
C – 1
2ND RACE – Pick 4 starts here
If she draws in off the also eligible list, Glossy (#13) (9-2) looms as the one to beat. She’s proven sprinting on grass, and removing the blinkers two starts back really appears to have provided a spark. She’s won consecutive turf sprints in impressive fashion and fits this condition like a glove.
The Tom Proctor-trained Silla Manila (#5) (5-1) appears to be very well intended off brief freshening, and the cut back should allow her to settle and finish. Bred for turf, La Dam Blanche (#14) (6-1) finally got on grass in her fifth career start last out, and she won for fun.
Wesley Ward seemingly has a pair of live wires here in Pocket Book (#1) (5-1) and Ultima D (#3) (6-1).
A – 13, 5, 14, 1, 3
B – 9, 10, 12
C – 2, 7, 8, 16
Maniacal (#1) (7-5) is sharp as a tack right now, is proven at the trip, he fits the starter allowance conditions to a T and you get two for the price of one with his capable stablemate Belgian (#1a). Depending on budget and how deep you’re spreading in the other races, he may be worth singling, although I do believe that the upstart Judah (#3) (6-1) and the ultra-consistent Bushrod (#5) (9-5) rate an upset chance.
A – 1
B – 3, 5
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.
Aquaphobia (#10) (5-2) looks like an absolute standout here. From the West Coast to the East, he’s run big on every turf course, more than holding his own against salty company along the way. He’ll be a single on the majority of my multi-race tickets.
A – 10
B – 2, 8
C – 7
Starter allowance conditions often breed standouts, and Peru (#9) (2-1) is a good example. Claimed for $25,000 in July of 2017, she’s held her own in a few stakes since. Most recently she smoked a solid field of second-level optional claiming allowance foes at Churchill and this field isn’t as tough as that one. If she holds her form, the rest of these will be forced to compete for minor awards.
A – 9
C – 7, 8
6TH RACE – Pick 5 starts here
Unlike some of the other starters run today, this race appears to be wide open. Likely favorite Kirby’s Penny (#8) (3-1) is the class, but she’s done most of her damage on dirt. Zaphical (#6) (10-1) won a turf dash two back at Arlington and last out she upset an odds-on foe over the Polytrack. Her arrow is pointing up and the price will be right. Also invading from Chicago is the Illinois-bred Go Lady Jay (#13) (12-1). She held her own in a stakes caliber turf optional claiming allowance last out and enters this assignment in the best form of her career.
Sanity (#3) (6-1) loves to win and she rates a fighting chance here, but she exits some slow races and there’s a chance she might be slightly over bet. Honey Bunny (#12) (4-1) was out of her element around two turns on dirt against stiff competition last out at Ellis. She is competitive and proven at this trip.
A – 6, 13, 8, 3, 12, 1
7TH RACE – Pick 4 starts here
Equally good on turf and dirt, Summer Luck (#3) (7-2) ran a pair of huge races over the Churchill Downs main track this past spring and I’m not going to hold a recent even finish in a minor stakes at Indiana Grand against her. Off slowly, she was hung 3-4 wide throughout behind a pedestrian pace over a racetrack that favored front running types. May Lily (#12) (9-2) is a versatile and talented turf filly and the outside post could work to her advantage.
A – 3, 12
B – 11, 15
C – 1, 7, 8, 16
Live on the toteboard in the Pucker Up (G3) at Arlington, Pamina (#3) (3-1) ran a winning race, only to finish second. Hung five-wide on the turn for home, she put her head in front in the stretch, only to get run over late by a sharp winner.
Trained by Jonathan Thomas of Catholic Boy fame, Osare (#1) (8-1) appears to have a bright future. She’s improved with every start and was most recently a clear second behind Lady Montdore at Saratoga, and that talented filly returned to wire the Glen Falls (G3) in her next start.
Princess Warrior (#8) (6-1) has had her ups and downs, but she appears to be headed back in the right direction. She displayed a serious turn of foot in the Pucker Up to finish third and a similar effort would make her dangerous in the stretch here.
A – 3, 1, 8
B – 4, 11
C – 6, 12
He’s not the morning-line choice, but I’m guessing Channel Cat (#9) (7-2) will be the defined favorite at post time. Against some of the top horses in the division, he finished a better than it looks fourth in the Belmont Derby (G1), and last out in a second-level optional claiming allowance against older horses, he just missed behind Focus Group, who has since returned to win the John’s Call Stakes.
A – 9, 6
B – 4, 7
In his career debut back in March at Fair Grounds, Graham’s Way (#13) (10-1) was bet down to 2-1 favoritism against a formidable group of foes. He hopped at the start, losing six lengths, was tugging while three-wide and still managed third. You could tell back then that he was a talented horse who needed to learn his trade. If this first-time gelding draws in for the grass debut, today could be his coming out party.
Sargeant Drive (#15) (9-2) has plenty of experience on turf and he’s run in some fast races. He’s the most proven commodity.
Purchased for $850,000 as a two-year-old in training, Praetorian (#11) (12-1) ran two decent races sprinting on dirt last fall. Transferred to Steve Asmussen, he debuts on grass off a forward series of works and appears to be very well intended.
A – 13, 15, 11
B – 1, 5, 6
C – 10, 12, 16