Keeneland Picks: Opening Day Arrives, plus LP4 on April 8

The tradition of Keeneland continues ... Is there really anything better? Our turfwriter is here for the duration, and he has you covered with all the free picks, and his expert analysis!
The tradition of Keeneland continues ... Is there really anything better? Our turfwriter is here for the duration, and he has you covered with all the free picks, and his expert analysis!

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Keeneland Picks - Friday, April 8, 2022

  • Race 1: 3-4-7-9
  • Race 2: 9-1-6-12
  • Race 3: 7-10-3-12
  • Race 4: 6-10-5-3
  • Race 5: 2-5-11-8
  • Race 6: 4-8-2-9
  • Race 7: 8-2-4-12
  • Race 8: 1-6-2-4
  • Race 9: 3-6-2-4
  • Race 10: 8-5-10-2
  • **Most Likely: My Prankster #8 (Race 7)**
  • **Best Value: Point Well Taken #9 (Race 2)**

Keeneland ... oh, Keeneland ... if Twain or Faulkner were alive, he would enjoy a wager at one of their hallowed windows ... Keeneland's Spring Meet returns, and they have a superb card to kickoff Opening Weekend! With the Central Bank Ashland (G1) as the centerpiece, it is sure to be a great betting opportunity! Turfwriter J.N. Campbell has you covered with a Late Pick 4 ticket ... here we go!

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Horse Racing Picks
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LATE PICK 4…

LEG 1: (Race 7: Dirt, 7F, Lafayette S., $400k, 3)

Keeneland … returns! That is sweet orchestral music to my ears! Just like that … with Kurt Becker at our sides, we are off … The Late Pick 4 on Opening Day is going to be a dicey one; what with the rain/sleet possibly entering the forecast. This tasty contest for 3-yr-olds that couldn’t make it into the BGS (G2) on Saturday, pits a solid group of 12 against one another. Based on the M/L, it is fitting that Todd Pletcher’s My Prankster #8 gets the nod. The last time this colt was @KEE, the highly-priced son of Into Mischief was 2nd in the slop to Wesley Ward’s Nakatomi . That was in a $150k “Non-G,” and Pletcher used it as a jumping off point to move to his winter base at Gulfstream Park. The Stonestreet bred wasn’t $600k for nothing … he promptly won both of his attempts (OC75kn1x/Swale G3). After 2 months off, he returns ready for action … regular rider Luis Saez takes the controls once again. I think he is a clear “Single,” especially if you think he can can reinvade from GP … I like Chad Brown’s Money Supply #2, as an alternative, but I question whether this “KS” runner can make the leap into such a challenging race. Looking for a “shot” that could surprise, I would not sleep on Steve Asmussen’s All in Sync #5. The Orrs own this colt by Maclean’s Music (OBS Spring ’21 $310k), and he just won an OC62.5kn2L at Oaklawn on 11 Feb. by a whisker. That might concern some, but if you watch the replay, you will see that traffic troubles forced Joel Rosario to switch tactics. That kind of “character build” could work wonders, especially considering that he already has 4 starts under his saddle. Rosario once took Keeneland by storm, and he always finds a way to rise to the occasion in the land of the green. I am an advocate of going 2-Deep … moving right along …

Selections: 5/8 (2-Deep)

 

LEG 2: (Race 8: Turf, 1 1/16th, KU Transylvania S. (G3), 3)

Switching to the Haggin Turf Course, luckily for racing fans Keeneland has some of the best drainage systems in the world. They revamped things awhile back, and it really improved the “going” when rain blitzed the area. I am not exactly sure whether we are looking at “Yielding” ground, but I would be prepared to handicap that way. The “Transy” is typically a tough race, run under difficult conditions … it’s the Bluegrass in April, after all … It can be bright and sunny or gloomy with snow showers … Out of these 6 that are entered, I am pretty keen to back Mark Casse’s uncoupled entry … Coinage #5 will be the shorter price at 3/1 or lower, based on his late-running performance in the Palm Beach S. $125k at Gulfstream Park back in early March. Luis Saez was aboard then, and will be again … I wouldn’t sleep on Credibility #1, though … A Nyquist colt, even though he didn’t run well in that same race as his stablemate, if this KEE contest is taken off-the-turf, he does have experience on dirt. Florent Geroux returns to Keeneland after a great run at Oaklawn, and is always dangerous. I am willing to go deeper in this well-matched race, and including the rest of the field, which I think makes good sense. Chad Brown’s Napoleonic War #2 and Verbal #6 are well-bred, and have the late turn-of-foot to get the job done. We also have members entered here from Todd Pletcher’s outfit, and Graham Motion’s, so with most of the turf titans assembled … let’s go with them all! Time to head to the 2nd Half of this ticket!

Selections: 1-6 (All)

 

LEG 3: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/16th, Central Bank Ashland S. (G1), 3F)

One of my all-time picks was in the Ashland S. when Eddie Kenneally’s Bushfire went wire-to-wire at odds of 15/1. A handsome payout for a $2 wager … $32.20 … I am not sure if we have one of those kinds of shots in this spot, but it is Keeneland, so you have to be prepared to tote watch … Despite the weather that might roll through Central KY, quite a bit of chatter in the air will be consumed by those that back Todd Pletcher’s Nest #4 (powerhouse ownership group of Repole/Eclipse), and Wesley Ward’s ace, Happy Soul #6. With a trip to the KYOaks on the line, there is quite a bit at stake. Of course, this pair are deserved when it comes to water cooler talk because they each have 3 wins in 4 starts. The former really impressed going away in the Suncoast $150k at Tampa in early Feb. Irad Ortiz will be aboard once again, and his aggressiveness is not to be underestimated. As for the latter, if you watched Ward’s speedster at Oaklawn in the Dixie Bell S. $150k, then you were probably impressed with her acceleration down the lane. When the only jock to ever ride your horse is John Velazquez, then you are doing pretty well … wouldn’t you say? This trainer-rider duo in the past at Keeneland have just torched the competition. A couple of other entries that look pretty interesting include Reddam Racing’s Awake At Midnyte #3. Trainer Doug O’Neill does not venture to Lexington all that often, but when he does, it is normally for a reason. His filly by … of course … Nyquist … is coming to Keeneland after 3 “Graded” efforts. The 3-yr-old really tried her best down that long stretch at the Fair Grounds last time in the G2 “Rachel,” and it was a good “Show” performance behind Turnerloose and Goddess of Fire. Regular man, Mario Gutierrez makes the trip east, and I think this one could be a pick that will get overlooked. I am having a hard time believing that she will be 4/1 come post time. It wouldn’t be a filly “G” race without trainer Brad Cox, and not to be left out, he sends Interstatedaydream #2 into the fray. The daughter of Classic Empire was impressive after a long break from running as a 2-yr-old at Saratoga. She steamrolled into Hot Springs, and won by a country mile in an OC80kn1x. I suppose her short price was warranted … Florent Geroux will be aboard once again, and he has the chance to take this Flurry Racing runner to the top of the charts. Cox already has Oaks “players” in Turnerloose, Bubble Rock, and Juju’s Map … will this be a 4th? I am inclined to take all of the aforementioned runners because they all have a legitimate shot to score. Let’s proceed, and hope we can whittle down a winner in the finale …

Selections: 2/3/4/6 (4-Deep)

 

LEG 4: (Race 10: Turf, 5½F, ALLW120kn2x, F&M 4+)

In many ways, ending on a race like this one is a real downer … as the colloquialism goes … “just saying.” But the upside far outweighs such a vapid comment as that one. In a high-level ALLW Co. turf sprint like this one (with options aplenty), that only makes the payoff that much sweeter when a long shot hits. I think you should be prepared if this one is off-the-turf, because that is a distinct possibility in order to save the Haggin for the weekend. When it comes to a top selection, I am pretty keen on Brian Lynch’s Mamba Wamba #5. This filly by Mehmas (IRE) is well-bred for the grass, and ran on some sopping wet blades over in Ireland. The veteran Julien Leparoux gets the call, and he has the ability to reserve enough fuel in the tank when necessary. Another double-digit priced runner that I must include is from the barn of Mike Maker. Amalfi Princess #8 knows moisture, and can handle an off-track. I remember that when she shipped to Penn National for the Oaks $100k at that track, it was just a monsoon. She also ran well at Kentucky Downs in what amounted to a bog. The choice of Turfway’s top jock, Gerardo Corrales, is a major plus, and I always trust Three Diamonds Farm. It would not be a turf sprint at Keeneland without picking at least 1 runner from Wesley Ward’s keep. He has a pair entered, and it is kind of a toss-up between this uncoupled entry. My sense is that Spicy Marg #10 is the one to back because she won under “Good” conditions at Keeneland back in October, and Ward is a master when it comes to runners off-the-shelf. It is good news too that this one is drawn far to the outside … helps avoid the fray. Tyler Gaffalione was on this daughter of Into Mischief then, and will be back aboard. He always is up at the top of the jockey standings, and will do so once again. These are my 3 selections … and they … are undisputed … Let’s go get some green money to with the color of the palatial Keeneland!

Selections: 5/8/10 (3-Deep)

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Ticket: 5-8 / 1-2-3-4-5-6 / 2-3-4-6 / 5-8-10

.50 LP4 TICKET COST: $72.00

Enjoy it while it lasts! Best of luck on another fabulous Keeneland this April in Central Kentucky

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