The brief 12-day Meet before Keeneland opens over in Lexington on 8 October at Churchill Downs continues ... We at Horseracing.net/us have you covered every step of the way until then, as we offer all of our selections and specific analysis.
Even though the new $10 million Matt Winn Turf Course refurbishment project will not be completed until some time in the Spring of 2022 (that means no grass contests), the Main Track is the place to be. So, stay tuned!
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Friday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
The Wesley Ward sprinter is an alum of the Norfolk S. (G2) back in June at Royal A. Though the gelding ended up 8th—behind Perfect Power and Go Bears Go—he has talent through good breeding. His performance last time in the Saratoga Spcl (G2) was not exactly inspiring, but trust that Ward has a new plan coming back to Kentucky. With Tyler Gaffalione at the controls for the first time, you know he will be aggressive when it counts. As a conditioner, Ward is world-famous when it comes to gate training, and maybe catching the break will make all the difference.
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win, #6
Off-the-Pace Play of the Day: (Race 8: Claytnthelionheart #3, 10/1):
Trainer Phil Bauer is just getting his CD Meet shuffle together, and once he does, everyone needs to look out. He is one of those conditioners that has major ability, and each time he enters one of his charges, respect is deserved. I liked this runner when he entered into an OC62.5k distance test last time, but the result was less than savory—8th, 29-lengths back. The son of Declaration of War can do better, and should this time around. New jockey Rafael Bejarano needs to get him to the lead or 1-2 lengths just off of it. If he can do that, he might be well on his way to earning a victory at a great price.
Spotlight Race of the Day: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Seneca Overnight S., $160k, 3F):
The “feature” on this Friday is a challenging route that brings us a number of quality betting opportunities, especially if you can find an alternative to Phil Bauer’s Played Hard #5 or Kenny McPeek’s Crazy Beautiful #6. Both looked steeped when it comes to class, and they both are alums of the Alabama (G1) up at Saratoga. Neither were any match for Malathaat, Clairiere, and Army Wife, but they still get top billing in a spot like this one. Using them is a must, but I am more intrigued by McPeek’s “other” entry …
Susan Moulton’s Oliviaofthedesert #7. The filly is not without routing ability, nor is she lacking in class. To my eye, “Non-G” races are her bag, and as she switches back to the dirt (after some attempts on the turf), this might be just the angle the Bernardini filly needs. Corey Lanerie is a Churchill specialist, par excellence, and he has the capability to guide her to victory. The price will be right at more than 6/1, as too many bettors will be focused on the top 2 favorites, previously mentioned. That should give McPeek’s uncoupled, higher odds runner, a chance. Bet on it!
Wagering Recommendation: Trifecta Wheel, 7 w 5/6 w 5/6