Scully: Kentucky Downs stakes picks on Opening Day

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September 1st, 2018

Kentucky Downs (c) Bob Newell/

Today is the first of five cards at Kentucky Downs and the 10-race program includes four stakes. Here are some of my thoughts:

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RACE 7, One Dreamer

On Leave may wind up a prohibitive favorite based upon back class but the multiple graded winner is winless from three starts this year including a pair of unplaced efforts in her last two. Not keen on backing her at short odds.

English Affair (#10) is my pick. I liked the entry-level allowance win in her 2017 finale and after opening her four-year-old season with a couple of solid efforts, the English Channel filly recorded a fine second making her stakes debut in the August 5 Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Turf at Ellis Park. Her BRIS Class and Late Pace numbers are increasing and English Affair appears to have plenty of upside for Rusty Arnold.

RACE 8, Tourist Mile

Connections have been targeting the $750,000 race and I won’t go against Mr. Misunderstood (#1). After opening 2018 with three consecutive setbacks, the four-year-old gelding has turned things around nicely for Brad Cox, improving his turf mark to 10-for-13 with back-to-back stakes tallies at Churchill Downs and Ellis, and Mr. Misunderstood should receive the proper set-up with a fair amount of speed signed on for the one-mile contest.

RACEe 9, Kentucky Downs Juvenile

Out of a juvenile Grade 1 winner, Pole Setter (#11) showed an affinity for turf when making his debut in a salty maiden special weight at Ellis Park on August 5 and it was easy to come away impressed by the turn of foot in a 2 3/4-length decision. The gray son of Take Charge Indy appears to be training forwardly for Brad Cox in the interim and the $235,000 two-year-old in training purchase can earn his first stakes victory today.

RACE 10, Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies

Belmont Park debut winner Miss Technicality and Saratoga first-out winner Two Shakes rate as legitimate contenders, but I’ll take a swing at an expected price with Sexyama (#9), who invades from Laurel Park off a much-the-best maiden tally. Second in her first two turf efforts, the gray daughter of Cairo Prince still doesn’t have it all together mentally but showed fine improvement breaking her maiden last time, easily scoring by about a length despite appearing uncomfortable in traffic and racing all over the place in the stretch. Sexyama appears to be of stakes quality for Jeremiah O’Dwyer and doesn’t mind a little contact.

Good luck playing Kentucky Downs!