Value plays for the 2021 Phoenix Stakes at Keeneland

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

October 7th, 2021

A berth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) is at stake when seven go postward in Friday’s $250,000 Phoenix S. (G2). The six-furlong dash is part of the “Win and You’re In” challenge series race, and I am expecting a big upset to occur in the heat.

#1 Quick Tempo (20-1) is the longest price on the morning-line as the sophomore squares off with a tough group of experienced sprinters on Friday, but I believe that he could take the field gate-to-wire at a huge number. Trained by Christopher Davis, the three-year-old son of Tapizar is winless from a trio of tries this campaign but has finished second on two occasions, including a nice try in his 2021 debut behind race favorite #6 Special Reserve (9-5) in the Iowa Sprint S.

The dark bay son of Tapizar flashed big potential as a juvenile, capped by a facile score in the Sugar Bowl S. in December, which followed a runner-up result in the Nyquist S. on this surface in November. Second in the Rumson S. at Monmouth Park last time out, the Kentucky-bred is the speed of the speed in this spot with a fine rail post to utilize his gate quickness. If Quick Tempo breaks well and catches an oval that is playing kindly to his running style, then he might be on the front end for a long time with Sophie Doyle in the stirrups.

Special Reserve has been superb while finishing first or second in each of his five assignments since being claimed by Mike Maker. The gelded son of Midshipman has really elevated his game since having the blinkers removed at the start of 2021, and the recent A. G. Vanderbilt S. (G1) runner-up will be especially difficult to topple if he runs his best. Joel Rosario will be up and have the five-year-old in the hunt from the opening bell.

The aforementioned duo, in my opinion, will be one-two in the early going and stay there through the wire.

Phoenix value plays

  • $15 win and place #1 Quick Tempo ($30)
  • 50-cent superfecta 1,6 with 1,6 with all with all ($20)