Scully's Kentucky Downs Day 2 handicapping blog
Day 2 of Kentucky Downs features 10 races, including the $150,000 Old Friends Stakes. Given how contentious the racing can be in Franklin, Kentucky, it wasn’t surprising to see several upsets on the opening-day card but six of the 10 winners left the starting gate at odds of 5-1 or less, with Saratoga shippers capturing five of the last six races.
Here are my thoughts on Thursday’s program:
1st race: Will watch the tote to see if firster #9 Heavenly Kingdom takes early action. Bred for turf and out of a dam who has four winners from as many starters, Leroidesanimaux filly is trained by Brad Cox, who is hitting at a 23% clip with horses making their career debut on turf.
2nd race: Steve Asmussen has a logical short-priced entrant in #12 Curlino and respect the chances of #13 Man of Stature but I’m intrigued by #6 Better Watch Out, who enters in good form and is eligible to relish the surface change. Listed at 12-1 on the morning line, lightly-raced Lonhro gelding has displayed good speed and adds blinkers today.
3rd race: #6 Souper Smart looks well-meant for Mark Casse in his career debut. Trainer Jack Van Berg isn’t known for cranking first-time starters and perhaps #5 Schoenhardt will need a race, but he’s one to consider at expected long odds. Shackleford colt is a half-brother to Grade 2 scorer Bourbon Courage, a romping winner in his first two career starts.
4th race: Interesting to see #1 Downton Kitten make her second career start here. A debut winner on turf in England in late April, Kitten’s Joy filly is the first foal from the Empire Maker mare Manda Bay, a half-sister to Delaware H. (G2) winner and turf stakes runner-up Summer Wind Dancer. And while Downton Kitten will face more seasoned foes today, the competition isn’t too daunting in this spot. I like her chances with Julien Leparoux.
5th race: #1 Strong Current could be poised to graduate at short odds following a close fourth versus maiden special weight rivals at Saratoga. #13 Over Thinking is eligible to improve second-time out for Vicki Oliver at long odds.
6th race: #12 Frozen Hannah brings good form to her first start for Mike Maker and looks like lone speed on paper with Jose Ortiz. An imposing favorite. #10 Pour Girl a candidate to outperform her double-digit morning line price. Filly didn’t fire against stakes foes two back but appears headed in proper direction for Sam Logsdon following a career-best second versus allowance rivals.
7th race: I expect #1 Champagne All Day to move forward in her second start and she is one of my best bets today. Trainer Ian Wilkes doesn’t mind giving his horses a race and 2-year-old Candy Ride filly exits a respectable fourth in a key race at Arlington, with the top two finishers being leading contenders in Saturday’s Arlington-Washington Lassie. Champagne All Day’s lone sibling to race won on turf and her dam is a half-sister to a pair of graded stakes winners as well as Closing Bell, who captured the Dueling Grounds Derby at Kentucky Downs and finished second in the Secretariat (G1). Champagne All Day adds Lasix for her second outing and while her 12-1 morning line odds may not be realistic, she should offer decent value for my straight plays.
8th race: Wesley Ward-trained #1 Delphinia is a front-running threat from her inside post and stakes winner #11 Triple Chelsea rates as a logical contender in the 6 ½-furlong sprint.
9th race: #1 One Mean Man ran well over the course when recording a close third two years ago and the 4-year-old colt returns for Bernie Flint in good form, posting back-to-back seconds in the last two starts. I give the hard-trying gray the edge today.
10th race: After a nice career bow at Churchill Downs, #6 Bodie’s Valentine drew a tough outside post and didn’t fire her best shot against a buzzsaw winner at Saratoga last time. Look for her to make amends in this spot for Maker/Ortiz. #12 Discreet Power will be included in multi-race bets. Graham Motion trainee shows a couple of respectable efforts in recent months and is eligible to move forward after finishing fifth versus maiden special weight foes at Saratoga last time.