Keeneland Horse Racing Analysis for April 16

The G3 Doubledogdare highlights a terrific Friday card at Keeneland
The G3 Doubledogdare highlights a terrific Friday card at Keeneland

The racing action at Keeneland ramps up on Friday with a 10-race card led by the G3 Doubedogdare for older fillies and mares at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track. As usual, our in-house handicapper has broken down the card, offering in-depth analysis of his best value plays as well as picks for every race.

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country on Friday, be sure to check out our Free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Free Horse Racing Picks

Race 2

I have some questions about the shorter-priced entrants in this race. Jungle Juice (#2) would obviously be very tough to beat if she ran back to her Keeneland win at this level last year in which she defeated graded-stakes winner Queen Nekia, however her last two races were poor and her limited worktab suggests she may not be at 100 percent.

Keep Your Distance (#5) also looks formidable on paper, but I wonder if this mare is better at Oaklawn Park, where her trainer Robertino Diodoro dominates. One of her Keeneland races from last fall put her in the mix, though she’d likely need to improve off that effort to win, which I’m not sure is a fair expectation to have.

Given my concerns with these two, I actually think the most likely winner of this race is Bye Bye Bertie (#6), who should be no better than second or third choice in the wagering. This mare isn’t the easiest one to get a read on, but she’s a proven dirt sprinter who is in excellent form at the moment for trainer Michelle Lovell. I thought she ran really well last out on turf considering it’s not her preferred surface, and her prior win at Fair Grounds was a convincing effort that came back legitimately fast. If she can just maintain her current form I think she’s going to win this race.

 

Race 4

Deferred Taxes (#3), Shaldag (#4), and Feeding Frenzy (#5) are all coming off nearly identical Beyer Speed Figures in the near 70’s, but one of this trio really stands out to me. Bettors are likely to gravitate toward Deferred Taxes, who finished second in his debut at Tampa Bay Downs and is trained by Chad Brown. While he ran reasonably well in his first start, the main reason he’s going to take money is because of Brown, and upon watching that race back I don’t think heavy favoritism is justified, which the morning line hints will be the case. He can win, but he’s going to be far too short a price.

Since I don’t think Feeding Frenzy did much running in his debut at Gulfstream Park, the experienced Shaldag is the one I’ve really honed in on. Although he failed to distinguish himself as a juvenile, he really turned a corner in his last start while running with Lasix for the first time on turf. Facing a quality field at Fair Grounds, Shaldag was reined in after the start and shuffled pretty badly around the far turn, ending up near last heading into the stretch before he launched a powerful rally to get third. I thought that race was much better than it looks on paper, and the top two finishers, who he arguably ran better than, are pretty nice horses. Based on that effort I think he should be a clear-cut favorite, yet he may go off at double the price of Deferred Taxes.


Race 8

This is a wide open turf sprint, one in which it’s not advisable to accept a short price on anyone. I have my doubts that Zero to Sixty (#5) is going to be 10-1, which she is on the morning line, but she should at least offer some value as she enters this race off a pair of disastrous outings. I’m not at all concerned with her non-effort on dirt two back, which is a surface she just doesn’t care for, and while she doesn’t have much of an excuse for her last race it’s unlikely she wants to go two turns. This filly has been given some time off since those races, and if she gets back to her two turf sprints, one in which she beat a solid group of maidens in her debut at Saratoga Race Course and the other a troubled trip at Kentucky Downs against allowance foes, she’s going to be a major player here. I trust her trainer Al Stall to have her ready to go following the break and turf sprinting is what she does best.

Veruca (#8) has a startlingly similar look to Zero to Sixty and is pretty much interchangeable with my top pick. Like Zero to Sixty, Veruca ran very well in her lone turf sprint try, which came in her debut over this turf course, but her connections have since gotten away from what appeared to be her calling on the racetrack. She hasn’t run poorly in any of her subsequent starts, including a couple decent route tries at Fair Grounds, but I’m expecting her to move forward as she cuts back in distance. The 79 Beyer Veruca earned in her first start feels a touch high, however it’s likely she’s matured a good deal since then and any improvement on that number is going to make her a primary contender.


Race 10

In the finale, I want no part of your morning-line favorite Scarlet Fusion (#6). It’s true the speed figures he’s been putting up are head and shoulders better than his competition, however those numbers have come on dirt and he has very little pedigree for this surface. The switch to turf feels more like a desperate move from his connections, and at a short price I believe he’s very vulnerable.

I think a lot of people are going to default to Mubtadaa (#3) because he’s trained by Todd Pletcher, who has been winning at a torrid clip at Keeneland, but this guy did little running in his debut at five furlongs at Gulfstream. Pletcher isn’t typically one to give his horses a race to set them up for a longer assignment, so the fact he made his first start in a sprint leads me to believe a mile and a sixteenth could be pushing it for him.

Given my distaste for these two, I had to go with Prince Maior (#5) as my top pick. He is coming out of a lowly 30k maiden claimer at Turfway Park, which is not generally what you want to see in a maiden special weight at Keeneland, but I thought he ran quite well in that spot and gave the impression that he’s going to relish the switch to turf and stretch-out in distance. His trainer Paulo Lobo has been slow to get off the blocks at Keeneland this year, but he sent out a slew of live runners in 2020 and should not be underestimated and I don’t think it would take as much improvement as it seems to put Prince Maior in the winner’s circle at a generous price.

Sean's Keeneland 2021 Results
  • Date
  • Daily Winners / Places
  • Daily Biggest Winner / Place
  • Daily $
  • Overall $

Date

  • April 2
  • April 3
  • April 7
  • April 8
  • April 9
  • April 10
  • April 11
  • April 14
  • April 15
  • April 16
  • April 17
  • April 18
  • April 22
  • April 23
  • April 24

Daily Winners / Places

  • 3 Win / 6 Place
  • 3 Win / 5 Place
  • 4 Win / 5 Place
  • 4 Win / 6 Place
  • 2 Win / 5 Place
  • 4 Win / 5 Place
  • 3 Win / 3 Place
  • 3 Win / 4 Place
  • 0 Win / 3 Place
  • 2 Win / 4 Place
  • 4 Win / 4 Place
  • 2 Win / 7 Place
  • 2 Win / 3 Place
  • 4 Win / 6 Place
  • 1 Win / 6 Place

Daily Biggest Winner / Place

  • $10.20 (Win - R7)
  • $8.60 (Place - R7)
  • $13.00 (Win - R8)
  • $38 (Win R8)
  • $18.20 (Place - R5)
  • $14.40 (Win - R1)
  • $6.80 (Win - R8)
  • $13.00 (Win - R5)
  • $16.20 (Place - R1)
  • $6.80 (Win - R5)
  • $9.40 (Win - R10)
  • $30.60 (Win - R5)
  • $7.20 (Win - R2)
  • $9.60 (Win - R5)
  • $7.00 (Place - R1)

Daily $

  • $35.80
  • $39.60
  • $46.00
  • $77.40
  • $44.20
  • $55.80
  • $21.80
  • $38.20
  • $21.80
  • $22.00
  • $45.40
  • $72.30
  • $24.60
  • $45.10
  • $30.20

Overall $

  • $35.80
  • $75.40
  • $121.40
  • $198.80
  • $243.00
  • $298.80
  • $320.60
  • $358.80
  • $379.60
  • $401.60
  • $447.00
  • $519.30
  • $543.90
  • $589.00
  • $619.20
Keeneland Picks, Entries & Results
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