By J.N. Campbell

Keeneland’s Fall Stars Meet: Free Picks Thursday 22 October

By J.N. Campbell
Pick-4 Action and Picks for Keeneland's Thursday Races
Pick-4 Action and Picks for Keeneland's Thursday Races

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  • Keeneland Picks

Keeneland Picks

  • Race 1: 5-2-1-3
  • Race 2: 1-6-7-4
  • Race 3: 8-6-3-4
  • Race 4: 7-6-3-2
  • Race 5: 8-6-4-7
  • Race 6: 11-7-2-9
  • Race 7: 6-3-5-1
  • Race 8: 10-8-2-5
  • Race 9: 5-7-1-2
  • Most Likely Winner: Race 2, Summer Palace #1
  • Live Longshot: Race 9, Hard Rye Guy #5

We have nine races on the Thursday card at Keeneland… Racing was off-the-turf yesterday. For the final 3 days of the Meet, in order to preserve the Haggin Course for the upcoming Breeders' Cup the only turf events (if it does not rain further) will be Thursday's Race 6, and Friday and Saturday's Race 9, respectively. Check the Keeneland website for updates on conditions.

These precious days are ticking by, and though the “Fall Stars” Meet is fleeting, that news also means that the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, hosted by the green and white-clad venue off Versailles Road, is just around the corner.

By the way, do you know how to properly pronounce “Versailles,” as in the Kentucky town just beyond Keeneland?

If you don’t, no worries, it is actually “Ver-Sales.” I know, I know… Locals will politely correct your mispronunciation, for this is not the mirrored palace outside Paris. By the way, there is a Paris, Kentucky too, just in case you were wondering.

Enough diaspora linguistics lessons, here are my selections below, including comments intended for a Late Pick 4 ticket…

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Pick 4 Sequence:

First Leg:

Race 6 @ 1 1/16th Mile.

When you are forced to start a P4 sequence at Keeneland on the turf (the only grass of the day), you know you are in for it. Yet, I absolutely relish these types of races because they present such a challenge. Having said that, most of the stats point to favorites coming out on top.

Still, I am a junk picker, after going around town when I was a kid with my grandpa looking for aluminum cans. Looking for value in vertical wagering like this is essential, in other words. Point v. counterpoint… Obviously, choosing whoever Tyler Gaffalione is riding is probably a good idea, since he is as hotter than a Ramsey's Hot Brown as the Meet winds down. He will ride either Current #7 for Todd Pletcher or possibly get drawn in for the AE, On a Spree #1A for Mike Maker. The Pletcher-trainee would be one to include for the simple fact that his back class is strong. Oddly, he ran earlier this month in a 1 ½ mile distance race on the grass here at Keeneland. I say “oddly” because dirt horses do that, not usually ones on this surface.

Others to think about include the logical Eddie Kenneally brand Constitution colt, By Your Side #11. You get Florent Geroux, and this one already has one under his belt in the cycle (@KD those conditions were gd on the turf). If he runs like his former opponent Sugoi did last weekend in another Allw, then this one will win.

There are some other directions to go in here, but I thought hometown guy Kenny McPeek deserved a look. He has a nice 3-yr-old colt making his season debut - Fighting Seabee #2. If he can jump into the deep end after maturing for almost a year, he should make a nice splash. Others to use, are the former Joseph O’Brien-trained Irish import, Dune of Pilat #12, and the Brian Lynch oft-claimed runner High Promise #9. If you think you can afford them, I would put them in this first leg.

Picks: 5 Deep - 2/7/9/11/12 and/or 1A, if he gets in

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Second Leg:

Race 7 @ 1 Mile.

Since we waded in 5-deep in the first leg, I believe we can save some money here in the second. I know it is risky, but that’s racing for you. These dirt claimers at KEE are not easy, but if you do your homework and look for some tendencies, you might be able to wade through the possibilities. What we have going for us here is a manageable field of 6.

I am sure George Arnold’s Sugar Love #3 will go the distance and be the darling of the tote at race time. That makes me want to go to the outside and focus on Flower House #6, who is doing it “old school” and running back after finishing second at the level just below this one on 7 Oct @KEE.

Brian Williamson is a quality trainer, even if he does not have a stable the size of Maker, Cox, and Pletcher. He is one of the gems of watching/handicapping racing at Keeneland. This miler has not won since last year and has spent time bumping around the 30k-50k claiming levels. That is just fine by me because class droppers do not always equal paydays. There is sometimes a negative reason that they are going down the ladder instead of up. I think singling #6 is my play, plus Florent Geroux climbs back aboard for this second go round.

Picks: Single - 6

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Third Leg:

Race 8 @ 7 Furlongs.

Piggybacking on the theme that we established in the last race, we are going to single here too. This dirt spot is infinitely more dangerous. The simple reason is that we have a giant field of 11 running in what is effectively a one-turn sprint. In these trying times, since Churchill is not present, the former PM and not the O’Brien Thoroughbred, we should do what I always do in a situation like this - trust in Wesley.

Wesley, being trainer Wesley Ward, who already has some nice scores during this Meet with his go-to rider Gerardo Corrales (28 7-2-5 25%). He rides Stage Left #10, who has spent 2020 around the 3 NYRA Circuit tracks. As a 4-yr-old gelding, this son of Congrats can blow and go when the bell sounds. There is a good bit of speed in here, so we are going to need Ward’s gate training ability - a specialty, like Chef Jacques Pépin’s Poulet Rôti. Running against the likes of Everfast and Cool Bobby, adds to my argument that this one is ready. Single, yep.

Picks: Single - 10

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Last Leg:

Race 9 @ 1 1/16th Mile.

Here is a beast of a race for our finale, and it is a doozy off the turf. These types of races at this class level and on this surface have been virtually non-existent @KEE over the past few seasons. That is going to be tough when the question is asked, “Who do you like?” Well, here it is, I would virtually hit the “All” button. It is just going to be too difficult, especially if we get this far in the sequence.

Since we did already tab singles in the middle legs with two strong opinions, that will assist with parrying a hit to the pocketbook. If I am forced to single out a top selection, I like the “experienced” Ian Wilkes freshman colt, Hard Rye Guy #5. I think his fitness level should be up to scratch since he ran 2x during the KD Meet back in September. That late gain at a 90k level was good enough for me. Btw, kudos to Kentucky Downs, they keep gaining in quality and strength when it comes to entries.

Beside #5, I also want to include all the offspring of American Pharoah. I know this sounds odd, but this newly christened sire seems to be producing some nice turf runners. We cannot leave them out because the barns know what they are doing: Kentucky Pharoah #2-Sisterson; American Patrol #11-Mott; American Tryst #12-Maker. Do it in memory of the beleaguered Zayat Stable!

Finally, I want to include 3 others that have the ability to either win and/or hit the board. That makes them dangerous, and I do not want to leave them out. Wentru #7 had a nice maiden at KD but alas, lost the lead in the stretch. That experience for Brad Cox-Florent Geroux should come in handy here (that KD race was gd on the turf), as this one tries to avoid the late fade. Ethical Judgement #1 was just the opposite in his debut at Churchill Downs for Brendan Walsh-Tyler Gaffalione, just missing at the wire after a fiery late surge.

Fighting Force #4 should not be forgotten, even though some of you know how I feel about Ricardo Santana as a jock on the turf. Maybe he can get this one home for Mr. Pletcher. After all, he placed in his debut at Belmont in a Mdn 63k behind rookie sprinter and now BC entry Second of July, who was 68/1. We shall see if #4 can stretch his legs and come up with a victory this time around.

Picks: 7 Deep - 1/2/4/5/7/11/12

                                       TICKET COST $1.00 P4: $35.00, Selections By Race: 2/7/9/11/12; 6; 10; 1/2/4/5/7/11/12

                                                                            Go get them Horseplayers! Enjoy Keeneland!

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