The second week at Keeneland arrives with some Wednesday racing! With an 8-race card, it is sure to be a challenging one for even the most-seasoned handicappers. The finale, the Jessamine (G2), is a tough one with Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In" status on the line for entry into the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1). What a field it has!
If you are looking for a unique wager, then maybe you should try the new Turf Pick 3 play. The $3 minimum wager will comprise the final 3 turf races of the day, and offer the low takeout of 15%. Should be a solid bet for all your grass fans out there.
At Horseracing.net/us we have you covered, including all of the wonderful Keeneland pomp and circumstance! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned!
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Starting out the sequence with a 6-horse field might seem like a plus, but that in no way should incite bravado or confidence. Sometimes these are the toughest to tackle because you face an evenly-matched field. I am inclined to back Wesley Ward’s entry by Fast Anna because the colt comes from a solid barn and One Fast Cat #6 is just that … speed figs in the lower 90s. It is great to see such a class act as Deshawn Parker come to Keeneland, as he is an accomplished rider with major experience. The Three Chimneys Farm homebred is getting back to the track after running last time on the KYD147 undercard. Maybe that is his weak point—the bench.
Thinking of an alternative, lands me instead on Joe Rocco’s mount, Violent Pass #2. As you might recall, I am a superfan of this sire (Violence), and I think highly of his offspring, especially when it comes to sprinting. Trainer Donnie Von Hemel has this 4-yr-old gelding headed in the right direction after he finished 2nd over at Churchill in a similar contest. After a bullet work on the 1st of this month, he should be able to improve this time around. Losing the lead late in the game is never a good sign … maybe his jockey can modulate the pace up front. At times, even shortening by ½ a length could do the trick. Will see … Using both of these runners should cover us at the outset; we are going to need all the slots we can muster with what is coming.
Selections: 2/6 (2-Deep)
LEG 2: (Race 6: Turf, 1 Mile, ALLW88k, F&M 3+)
The Haggin Course might or might not have some moisture in it come Wednesday … watching the forecast will be key. Going sticks at the ready … Significant backing will be sourced to Mike Maker’s Sun Summers #10, that is for sure. The Broken Vow mare has seen her share of tough spots at Gulfstream, Tampa, and most recently, at Saratoga in an OC80k event. I am not sure if she has the chops to win this race, and thus provides us with an outright “Single.” Let’s include her since she gets Irad Ortiz in the saddle, but others need to be considered too.
I am really hoping that Chris Davis’ Naval Laughter #2 has a high-level of fitness, despite what could be perceived as a poor showing in the Beverly D (G1) back at Arlington Park in mid-August. Drawing the proverbial line through that race seems in order, especially considering the power that Aidan O’Brien’s Santa Barbara exhibited that day. Turning the PP clock back to the race prior—the Modesty (G3)—reveals an impressive performance. The talented Sophie Doyle rides once again, and she is having an excellent year riding on the grass. The only real question here is if the cutback to a mile will do any harm … I don’t think so. This one is going to be my top selection.
One other turfer that I want to use on this ticket is the Granitz Barn’s Timeless Rose #9. Most bettors will overlook this Midshipman filly because she hails from Indiana Grand. Don’t be fooled, as the song goes, because members of that track can race with the best of them. I liked the way this grass router moved from an ALLW Co. race into a tough “Non-G” 103k contest. Finishing 2nd was not a poor showing whatsoever. Now, with Florent Geroux aboard, she should be able to advance further. Her superb price at 12/1 is undeniable.
Those picks should help cover our bases without breaking the bank … time to move on!
Selections: 2/9/10 (3-Deep)
LEG 3: (Race 7: Dirt, 6½F, AOC100k, 3)
This 6-horse speed match has the feeling of a G3 or “Non-G” type of race. I suppose that is rather the point … With several directions that you can go in, I am going to spurn the obvious selection, the coupled entry (Upstriker #1/Kinetic Sky #1A). Instead, I am going to back the layoff runner from Steve Asmussen’s midst, Swiftsure #5. The Siena Farm homebred is a 3-yr-old colt who we last saw in the Lexington (G3) during the Spring Meet at Keeneland. Well-back (20 to be precise) of winner King Fury, he ran nicely before that G-jump at the Fair Grounds (last Nov.) and Oaklawn (in January). The HOF trainer has his charge working nicely … as his ace rider, Ricardo Santana in the irons. He is just getting warmed up at Keeneland, which means he could be poised for a breakout. Let’s “Single” this one, as he has a great chance to score going short around 1-turn.
Selections: 5 (Single)
LEG 4: (Race 8: Turf, 1 1/16th, JP Morgan Chase Jessamine S. (G2), $200k, 2F)
The stakes are quite meaningful in the last race of the day on this Wednesday at Keeneland. Not only does this grass route cap the Late Pick 4, on the line is a trip to the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) at Del Mar next month. Securing the final ticket of the season means we are that much closer to unfurling the signature colors—purple and white. Surveying this loaded field, I am looking for some hidden flashes of brilliance that others might overlook. When it comes to the M/L, Brad Cox’s aptly named Turnerloose #3 could be another Aunt Pearl. That runner blazed to the front during her 2-yr-old campaign and left many afield grazing on grass—enroute to a BC Juv. Filly Turf win last year. Florent Geroux rode that alum then, and he gets the call once again. In 2 tries already, she has won at Ellis and then at Kentucky Downs. Not bad …
In my estimation, rivalling this fine entry is the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners filly by More Than Ready—Dressed #12. Wayne Catalano has her headed in the proper direction, after his charge stepped from an off-track MSW 30k at Arlington, and then won nicely at Kentucky Downs in a OC62.5k going 6½F. If she can take a step forward, and put the turf jockey skills of Flavien Prat to use, she might earn herself a ticket to Del Mar. This ownership group has a long and distinguished record of running well in big races … they can do it again in the Jessamine S.
Beyond these top 2 picks, what I would advise is going as deep as you possibly can in the last leg of the Late Pick 4. It is too difficult a race, what with a capacity field of 14 breaking from the starting gate, so “hedging” when it comes to the ticket is a plan. Either of my top picks can win the day, but maybe, just maybe, we can get a double-digit priced runner home!