Giant's Causeway Preview: Horse-by-Horse Analysis of Saturday's Race @KEE

Trainer Mike Maker has a pair of sprinters drawn in here for the Giant's C... should be a great chance for a wager if it stays on the grass. Have a read with our analysis below. (photo courtesy of Coady)
Trainer Mike Maker has a pair of sprinters drawn in here for the Giant's C... should be a great chance for a wager if it stays on the grass. Have a read with our analysis below. (photo courtesy of Coady)
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5½F (Turf), Giant’s Causeway S., Purse $100k, F&M 4+

There are turf sires, and then there is Giant’s Causeway. When he was racing in the years 1999 and 2000, the former Aidan O’Brien sprinter was at the top of his game, notching Group 1s time after time. After amassing winnings in excess of $3 Million in just 2 years, he retired to stud. His success has thus extended to his own progeny going all the way back to 2004. Keeneland honored this grass giant, with a race in his honor, and it remains a staple for the April Meet.

Now, let’s find out about the Report Card for this field…


The A’s . . .

#10 Jakarta (Jky: L. Saez/Trn: M. Maker):

I have little doubt who will win this race on the Haggin Course, rain or shine. This Three Diamonds . . . diamond, is accomplished, classy, and can rate with the best of them. She even has a go under her belt coming off the shelf. The Honey Fox (G3) result down at Gulfstream Park was a 4th place, but I think it was a good freshening. Mike Maker’s ability at Keeneland will be tested in this event, but if anyone is up to the challenge, it this conditioner. Tabbing Luis Saez to ride this one again is a brilliant move. I like him more and more on the turf, every time I see him settle his ride, then rate, and close.

Grade: A


#3 Elle Z (Jky: M. Murrill/Trn: C. Hartman):

One of my top picks coming into this race emanates from the accomplished Fair Grounds outfit of Chris Hartman. Much to like here from these bloodlines, through City Zip, to the choice of Mitch Murrill as rider. His work down on the FG grass course was excellent, and I was really pleased to see his progress. Should be a square price by post time. Hoping for 4/1 . . .

Grade: A-


The B’s . . .

#1 Into Mystic (Jky: I. Ortiz/Trn: B. Walsh):

Before Authentic went long, most folks believed the offspring of Into Mischief could only go short. Now most agree that sire produces them both. Here is a quality Brendan Walsh sprinter who gets one of America’s top riders in Irad Ortiz. We all know what this conditioner can do with turf sprinters after he went to Dubai. Good chance to score here, but there is a problem. The connections drew the 1-hole. Not good.

Grade: B+


#4 DixieinCandyland (Jky: D. Van Dyke/Trn: E. Kenneally):

Trainer Eddie Kenneally has not gotten his stable rolling yet during the April Meet, but that can change anytime here in the near future. He sends this mare, who is now a 5-yr-old into Keeneland for her 2nd lifetime go on the Haggin Course. If you want a price play, then this one is a nice choice. We will see if Drayden Van Dyke can earn a new lease on life because he was spent out in SoCal. The sharpness he once had simply isn’t there. This mount of his has a shot, and will be 12/1, or even higher when it time for Kurt Becker to do his thing.

Grade: B

#6 A Bit of Both (Jky: T. Gaffalione/Trn: M. Maker):

Here is the higher-priced of the 2 Mike Maker runners that are entered in this race. Since this mare came over from Brad Cox’s establishment, she has progressed well, except when it comes to hitting the board in “Non-Graded” affairs. Michael Dubb doesn’t invest in poor runners, so one has to think that getting Tyler Gaffalione to ride is a plus for these connections. She is fast based on some recent works, returning to the turf after 2 Gulfstream events that were wash outs. More to do with the class hike, though.

Grade: B


#7 Karak (Jky: J. Velazquez/Trn: W. Ward):

Wesley Ward is hard to catch because his runners are so well-prepared after some wonderful gate-schooling. However, this filly out of super-turf-sire Karakontie, might need a race or 2 after being laid off since last May. That is the reason why John Velazquez will be aboard a higher-priced Ward runner, instead of a lower one. Still, she might be bet down, based on this conditioner’s cache. I would like to see her have at least one under her belt before I could elevate her to the upper echelons of a field like this one.  

Grade: B-


The C’s . . .

#5 Fashionable Lady (Jky: R. Bejarano/Trn: M. Ewing):

I do not know if I agree 100% that this filly, out of turf sire Declaration of War, should be 50/1. She did run at Keeneland on the green last summer in an ALLW77k at 1 Mile, and did not disappoint with a 2nd place finish. She paid well at 10/1. Since then, she has had 2 misses; one in a 150k “Non-G” at Indiana Grand—10th, and last time, in an AW sprint at Turfway that resulted in a blah . . . 5th place. Mike Ewing’s entry is probably more talented than she is being given credit for.    

Grade: C+


#8 Change of Control (Jky: C. Hernandez/Trn: M. Lovell):

I recall I wagered on this Michelle Lovell mare, when she ran at SHRP back during the Houston Racing Festival. She was 3rd that Sunday afternoon behind Fast Boat. I like her lines, and this conditioner very much, but she seems to be a bit out of her depth. I think she needs a superlative lawn jockey, and that is not going to be Colby Hernandez. I know what he has done recently, with a win at Keeneland. Yet, I am unmoved. More to do than is possible, I think, especially considering her record in 75k-100k events like this one. Late turn-of-foot is her best weapon . . .

Grade: C+


#2 In Good Spirits (Jky: M. Mena/Trn: A. Stall):

Conditioner Al Stall has a filly that tried hard down at the Fair Grounds over the winter. The efforts were good ‘nuff, but I question the company he has kept, plus there is little excitement when it comes to the riding of Miguel Mena on the grass. Way too much to do, in my good opinion.

Grade: C


#9 Oooh Barracuda (Jky: J. Graham/Trn: B. Kelly):

With a name like this one, you immediately begin reciting that first line of the song . . . don’t you? Blake Kelly hopes that this filly will elicit a recitation in the Keeneland Winner’s Circle. It probably will not happen, but the power of positive thinking cannot hurt. The lack of class is a major issue coming into this spot. James Graham was so special once again last October during Keeneland—Fall Star. But even he will not be able to will this one home if he does not get a major jump on this field. Hard to do . . .

Grade: C


Join us Saturday for all of our Keeneland selections! Should be a great set of races from picturesque Central Kentucky!

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