Opening Day at Keeneland

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Mel Daniels

April 3rd, 2015

Keeneland in my opinion is one of the hardest tracks to handicap. On the other hand, it is one of the most rewarding tracks with big fields and great exotic payouts. It makes this track one to do a bit of studying on.

I make sure to visit Keeneland at least one or more times a meet. If you have never been, please take my word that the grandstand is full of electricity right before the horses jump out of the gate no matter if it's a 10k claiming race.

Keeneland was founded in 1936 on 147 acres of farmland just west of Lexington, Ky. They added a turf course in 1985. In 2006, the main dirt track was reshaped and Polytrack took the place of dirt, which made it so much harder on me. Thankfully the track was restored to a dirt racing surface in 2014, and will host this year's Breeders Cup. This Saturday April 4th, the 1 million dollar Toyota Bluegrass Stakes will be held for some of this year's Derby hopefuls. Will a new name come bounding out of this? Keeneland also is host to one of my personal favorite races of the year, the Maker's 46 Mile. It will be held on Friday April 10th.

The top jockey at last years spring meet was Javier Castellano. In 49 mounts, he landed in the top 3 27 times while winning 9 of those. There are two jockeys that you may not see at all during the year, but boy do they make their presence felt at Keeneland. They are Alan Garcia and Stewart Elliott.

Handicapping The Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes

1 A Lot - This William Mott trained colt has been very consistent. He has won 2 out of his last 4 races, while finishing 2nd and 4th in the other two. He is coming off a good win at Gulfstream, which he had a compromised trip but still won by 4 lengths. I expect big things from this son of Tapit.

2 Luck of the Kitten - This 3 year old has been very good in his first 5 races. He has won two and he has been the runner up in the other three. He lost in the Grade 1 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf. Losing by just 3/4 of a length to Hootenanny. Loves to set the pace.

3 Saham - The red hot Paco Lopez gets the call on the very good horse exiting a key race. Saham the son of Lemon Drop Kid ran a very smart last race on Valentines Day at Gulfstream. He broke his maiden in a very impressive way. Brendan Walsh will have this one ready for a very good 3 year old campaign, and you should get him at a nice price with a morning line of 15/1.

By Mel Daniels