Tepin casts a long shadow in Keeneland Late Pick 4

Profile Picture: James Scully

October 8th, 2016

Breeders’ Cup prep races continue at Keeneland Saturday with five stakes and anticipation runs high for champion turf mare Tepin, who will be heavily favored in the First Lady (G1) before heading to Santa Anita for a title defense in the November 5 Mile (G1).

Three-for-three at Keeneland, Tepin captured last year’s First Lady by seven lengths.

The First Lady kicks off the Late Pick 4, with the Breeders’ Futurity (G1), Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) and a maiden special weight race completing the sequence. I’ll play a pair of tickets totaling $48 and here are my thoughts on the races:

Race 7: #2 Tepin shows a bullet work in preparation and is a candidate to improve upon a half-length victory over males in the September 17 Woodbine Mile (G1), her first start since winning at Royal Ascot three months earlier. She’s won eight straight and will be singled on most tickets, but the First Lady came up with a lot of speed and Tepin likes to race up close. It will be interesting to see if she can work out the right trip and the possibility exists, however remote, that Tepin could be a little over the top after the overseas trip.

Tepin remains a viable single – I’m not keen on any of her American-based rivals – but European shippers #5 Nemoralia and #4 Now Or Never will be used on a back-up ticket. The 3-year-old fillies have been competing against top-class foes Minding and Alice Springs, with Nemoralia defeating the latter in June, and they figure to receive a good set-up from off the pace.

Race 8: Tabbing #3 Singing Bullet for a minor upset in the Breeders' Futurity for 2-year-olds. Listed at 8-1 following a convincing debut score at Ellis, the Hard Spun colt figures to relish the stretch out to two turns (out of multiple Grade 1 winner Life at Ten) and adds first-time Lasix for Dale Romans. He should be forwardly-placed from post 3 with Jose Lezcano.

#11 Classic Empire will be rallying from off the pace with Julien Leparoux. The likely favorite will be used on both tickets, but the well-bred colt must overcome an outside post and prove he can break effectively after dumping the jock at the start of the Hopeful (G1). Arnaud Delacour won Friday’s Phoenix (G3) and could have a live Breeders’ Futurity contender in #9 No Dozing, who brings a 2-for-2 mark into his stakes bow. He’s eligible to make his presence felt from just off the pace with Joe Bravo.

Race 9: The two favorites, #4 Mondialiste and #8 Ironicus, are easy to use in the $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile. The former likes the course, recording an excellent second to Tepin in the 2015 Mile, and exits a good win in the Arlington Million (G1). The latter, a multiple Grade 2 winner, has finished first or second in all five stakes starts and is eligible to fire off the freshening for Shug McGaughey.

I’ll also use the lone speed, #11 What a View, an improving 5-year-old gelding who invades with a four-race win streak; and defending champ #5 Grand Arch, a classy gelding who loves the Keeneland turf.

Race 10: #2 Commandeering and #8 Souper Catch are imposing in the 1 1/16-mile maiden for 2-year-olds and I’ll use the top two betting choices exclusively on the back-up ticket. On the main ticket, #3 Nerinx is an intriguing longshot with speed and #6 Leviathan will be added as well in his second lifetime start for Pletcher.

50-cent Pick 4 Tickets

2 with 3,9,11 with 4,5,8,11 with 2,3,6,8 ($24)
4,5 with 3,9,11 with 4,5,8,11 with 2,8 ($24)

Good luck!

TwinSpires is offering a 3 Million Points Trifecta promotion on the opening weekend at Keeneland. All players who cash a winning trifecta in at least three separate races on a single card will win or split 1 million TSC Elite Points with all other winners