Racing at Keeneland is moving into its 3rd week, and sadly, that means we are almost done with this celebrated event. Enjoy it while it lasts! Today, we have a 10-race card that is sure to be a challenge for even the most-seasoned of handicappers.
Betting options abound including the $3 Turf Pick 3, and our focus, the .50 Late Pick 4. That has a guaranteed $200k in it, and of course that means that it will build from 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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The Friday $200k Guaranteed Late Pick 4 sequence arrives, and it is sure to be a full pot when this 1st race goes off. Kicking off the festivities is this race for older females. I say they are “older,” but when it comes down to it at the MSW level, this is honestly just, for the most part, a bunch of rookie 3-yr-olds. Most in here have little in the way of experience, and that makes all of them supremely dangerous. What we could do from the get-go is hit the “ALL” button, and move on down the race card. That seems sensible considering how difficult this race truly is to handicap.
You could certainly back a runner like Phil Sims’ Solarri #12 who is well-bred by Malibu Moon, or you could support Ray Handal’s Mun Luv #7, who rarely comes to Keeneland, because his charge ran gamely in a MSW100k last time at Saratoga. Still, most will not want to hear much of this kind of talk since they will be swayed to back Chad Brown’s M/L favorite, Goodnight Olive #10. I do not see why this entry is 6/5, and there is no way I could back such a short price when this daughter of Ghostzapper is coming off of a 7+ month layoff. That race at Gulfstream Park was her career debut, and even though she posted a strong speed fig, that doesn’t mean she is a cinch in this spot. Better to err on the side of caution, and go all in. That will put pressure on us to make some key decisions later, but I have a sneaking suspicion I will be able to rise to the challenge.
Selections: 1-12 (ALL)
LEG 2: (Race 8: Turf, 1½, Sycamore S. (G3), $150k, 3+)
What a race we have before us in this 2nd Leg of the LP4! This Grade 3 came up tough, and there is nothing like routing on the turf. Of course, when we talk about going deep at 1½, invariably Mike Maker’s name gets mentioned. He regularly has a strong hand. When it comes to his uncoupled entry, I particularly like Glynn County #1 who is owned by Three Diamonds Farm. The colt is a favorite of mine because I think he is extremely talented, and can easily handle the class/distance in a race like this one. I think what happens to him is that he just has not had the ability to harness that late turn of foot that is necessary to get the job done. Once again, Tyler Gafflione gets the call, and we all know what kind of aggressive turf riding he can muster. The chances are high for this one after he competed in the UN (G1) @Mnmth, the former Arlington Million (G1), and the Cal Turf Cup (G2) @KD. High marks …
Just in case my ace does not come through, I want to also have one in the wings that can help me move the ticket along. I am spurning the Arlington Million champ, Two Emmys #12, and instead going with a longer shot in Pat Biancone’s Sole Volante #7. Fairly new to this surface, the former KY Derby alum is following in a great tradition of “Classic” distance runners on dirt who make the switch to the grass. Looking at the 4-yr-old gelding’s pedigree it screams being able to handle a situation like this G3. Checking a rider like Gaffalione with Florent Geroux is not a poor solution. At 20/1, or maybe even higher, this one could be just what we need to cash a massive ticket. When you see Karakontie (JPN) backed up Bernstein, plus a dam side that includes Kingmambo in the background, then that is reason enough for me. Let’s put this one in …
Selections: 1/7 (2-Deep)
LEG 3: (Race 9: Dirt, 6½, AOC80k, 2)
With half of the ticket in the books, it is time to turn our attention to some young freshmen colts who are trying to make their mark. Who knows … maybe there is a budding champion among this lot?
A sprint through this card, and we find that when it comes to last out speed figs, Bret Calhoun’s Tejano Twist #5 is pretty dang fast. Back at Remington Park in late September, the gelding set the dirt on fire with a 93 … not too shabby. Right now, there are some hot, up-and-coming sires, and one of them is Practical Joke. If Joe Rocco can keep this one close at Keeneland, he might have a shot in the end to reach the wire 1st. I am interested in this one because he comes from a track that doesn’t get much in the way of notoriety, but I am going to pass.
Instead, I am after a “Single,” and that honor goes to Steve Asmussen’s Cool Papa G #4. The well-bred colt by Maclean’s Music won by a whisker, breaking his maiden on debut. What was most impressive about that race at Churchill Downs was the way he finished, which showed nothing short of grit and determination. Partly-owned by Rockingham Ranch, he comes back to the oval after 4+ months off. Being rested could be a benefit in a situation like this … what we know is that Ricardo Santana is going to give it his all. Are we looking at the next gen of great Asmussen runners? Will see … whatever the case, it is a “Single” for me.
Selections: 4 (Single)
LEG 4: (Race 10: Turf, 1 1/16th, St.ALLW50k, F&M 3+)
The capstone to the Friday afternoon at Keeneland includes this Haggin slugfest going around 2-turns. There are no golf-like “gimmies” cadre … remember where you are! In a spot like this one I want to try and keep the ticket price fairly manageable, so I am going to try and go 3-Deep in order to keep this under $40. I particularly like the idea that trainer Jeff Hiles has when it comes to running his filly, Silky Warrior #2, once again during the October Meet. We just saw the 3-yr-old by Declaration of War on the 10th in an ALLW86k event. Now, she is going to drop down into this spot with the hope of improvement on her side. The addition of Brian Hernandez is super, especially considering how well he is currently riding. At 6/1, this one is a square price in my book.
Along with this pick, let’s also include Mike Maker’s Lucy’s Cakes Fly #5 and Anna Meah’s Ollie’s Gold #6. Both look intriguing … The former is probably going to end up the favorite, and will take significant money since Tyler Gaffalione is aboard. By Vancouver (AUS), she stepped up nicely from an MC contest at Indiana Grand to an ALLW Co. at Saratoga … not easy to do. As for the latter, Meah was forced to flee Arlington, her base, and she took this one on the road to Kentucky Downs. That effort was not too shabby considering her odds were 18/1 that day. Her chances look even better with Florent Geroux at the controls. What a way to balance out the ticket!