Keeneland Picks & Late Pick 4 Betting Analysis for October 16: QEII Challenge Cup Day ...

A Saturday at Keeneland! Today's card includes the annual renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S., a Grade 1 affair on the Haggin Course. Check out these selections for the entire card below.
A Saturday at Keeneland! Today's card includes the annual renewal of the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S., a Grade 1 affair on the Haggin Course. Check out these selections for the entire card below.

With an 10-race card this Saturday at Keeneland, it is sure to be a Gordian Knot for even the most-seasoned of handicappers! Today's "feature" is the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes, which should be a rousing Grade 1 on the Haggin Course. What a race!

At we have you covered, including all the history and beauty that Keeneland has to offer! It is a good time for some of the best that North American racing has to offer. Stay tuned! 

If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Saturday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.

Horse Racing Picks



LEG 1: (Race 7: Dirt, 1 1/16th, MSW84k, F&M 3+) 

Kicking off this Saturday Late Pick 4 sequence at Keeneland is this tough MSW84k race for females. Going around 2-turns, when you have such little experience, is a challenge at any age, but these workers will try their best to circumvent the new track at the Old Keene Farm. I see this as a 2-horse race with Shug McGaughey’s Big City Momma #1 and Brian Lynch‘s Sovereign Appeal #2. Each has their share of upside … I like the former quite a bit because this daughter of Quality Road was up against some tough customers up at Belmont last time in a MSW. It was a tale of 2 races when it was all said and done. If she can harness the good parts of that effort, what with Tyler Gaffalione aboard, she should be able to get the job done extending out in this one. Let’s not leave out Lynch’s charge because she has never done much wrong. Being consistent is never something you can knock, and she should be on the threshold when it comes to a score. I like her chances too, even though this daughter of Ghostzapper will not be much of a price. Going 2-Deep from the off should be sufficient.

Selections: 1/2 (2-Deep)


LEG 2: (Race 8: Turf, 1 1/8th, Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S. (G1), $500k, 3F)

The “Signature Saturday Special” is the invitational-only Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup. A Grade 1 race, it is one of the many highlights during Fall Stars in October. When it comes to picking a straight up “Single” in a race like this one, you better have a definite opinion. I have several, but I do not have a strong enough constitution to stand by just one. This is the time to go deeper, and I am not afraid to get my checkbook out. Based on the forecast and the condition of the Haggin on Friday, there is going to be some moisture to contend with. Looking for turf runners who feel more comfortable with some “give” in the ground are probably going to be better bets. 

I am pretty high on WIlliam Haggis’ Cloudy Dawn #9 based on how she ran on in her last time in a Group 3 at Deauville (FR). It was a field that included a 2nd place runner who has already come back and won since then. The connections are employing the services of Brian Hernandez, and he can get the job done. Supporting Haggis, a veteran conditioner, might surprise you because backing the O’Brien entries might seem like a surer wager. I don’t think so. 

While Empress Josephine #4 appears to be more of a known quantity, since she just ran in the First Lady (G1) last week at Keeneland, I don’t think she can improve on her 3rd place finish in that race. Using her in a P4 sequence like this one is sensible, but I think she would be better served by continuing to be a miler. Donacha O’Brien, Aidan’s other son who has turned from being a jockey to a trainer, has Nicest #5 rolling in. She has the opposite problem from his father’s filly … she probably wants to go longer. Using this trio is quite sensible, but I do have some North American turf specialists that we cannot neglect. 

Chad Brown comes to play, especially when it concerns grass racing, and he sends a pair to Keeneland. Both Technical Analysis #2 and Shantisara #3 look pretty formidable based on their back class. Each has some major late gears, and will be ridden by strong jockeys—Jose Ortiz and Flavian Prat. I am partial to the latter after she was stellar in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational (G1) last time at Belmont. If she takes to the Haggin, then watch out for her turn-of-foot. I think either this one or the Klavavich entry (who comes in off a score in the G2 Lake Placid) could be really tough. 

Lastly, I cannot neglect one other that could end up being a great price come post time. Lest we forget that trainer Roger Attfield has a wealth of experience in this trade. He has regularly come to Keeneland with a cadre of contenders that are ready to take victories back to his home base in Canada. This time around, he has Lady Speightspeare #7 at the ready, and you cannot do better than her lifetime record … 3/3. Those are not “soft” races that she ran in because Woodbine outside of Toronto has their fare share of difficult bouts. A winner of the Natalma (G1), she likes to go early, and Emma-Jayne Wilson knows how to handle her. She is my top pick, since most of the pool funding will head to O’Brien and Brown’s entries. Going this deep in a race as tough as this one, makes good horse sense. 

Selections: 2/3/4/5/7/9 (6-Deep)


LEG 3: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 Mile, ALLW86k, 3+)

As we move on to the 3rd portion of this P4 ticket, tops on my list is a layoff runner from Steve Asmussen’s midst. Ottothelegend #2 was last seen at Santa Anita in a little race Grade 1 that they call the “Derby.” Back in April, he tried to take on the likes of Rock Your World, Medina Spirt, and Dream Shake to no avail. Though it was a bust after running well in a tough MSW at Oaklawn, the Three Chimneys homebred was put back into training over the summer. I am banking on his good looking works of late, and the fact that he has matured both mentally/physically. Ricardo Santana is a tough-minded rider who can handle them with the best. This is going to be my top pick of the day, and he should go off at some nice odds versus a heavy favorite like Brad Cox’s Ducale #5. That Juddmonte runner will be a fashionable pick, but I am against. It is a “Single” for me … that confident.

Selections: 2 (Single)


LEG 4: (Race 10: Turf, 5½F, ALLW88k, F&M 3+)

We can probably surmise that the QEII Cup will remain on the turf when Saturday afternoon arrives, but I am not sure about this race. It could be taken off, depending on the “Going Stick” readings. We shall see … Assuming that it stays on, but will be anything but firm, I particularly like the idea of hitting the “ALL” button. I am most intrigued by the MTO entry of Rusty Arnold. Farsighted #1A looks to have the appropriate back class, and can handle an off-track. I do not mind Vicky Oliver’s Social Chatter #1 either. By Twirling Candy, this 3-yr-old filly ran well back at Kentucky Downs last time. Breaking from the rail is never easy, and I normally do not back runners that exit from “down there,” this time I am going to make an exception. Rafael Bejarano, Oliver’s go-to rider, takes the mount. Capping off the ticket with some insurance can give us some much needed confidence and coverage. Let’s go to Keeneland!

Selections: 1-12 (ALL)


.50 LP4 TICKET COST: $72.00

Horse racing and Keeneland in October … Is there anything better?

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