Keeneland Picks: Blue Grass Stakes Day, All-Stakes P5 on April 9

Keeneland and its Super Saturday are here! Turfwriter J.N. Campbell has you covered with an All-Stakes P5 ticket ... check out some contrarian selections! What ho!
Keeneland and its Super Saturday are here! Turfwriter J.N. Campbell has you covered with an All-Stakes P5 ticket ... check out some contrarian selections! What ho!

Keeneland Picks - Saturday, April 9, 2022

  • Race 1: 11-5-12-4
  • Race 2: 6-1-5-10
  • Race 3: 5-3-12-4
  • Race 4: 12-4-6-3
  • Race 5: 8-5-7-10 (1st Leg, P5)
  • Race 6: 5-3-4-2 (2nd Leg, P5)
  • Race 7: 4-2-3-6 (3rd Leg, P5)
  • Race 8: 5-11-10-6 (4th Leg, P5)
  • Race 9: 8-11-12-4 (Final Leg, P5)
  • Race 10: 2-11-5-12
  • Race 11: 7-12-6-4
  • **Most Likely: Skims (GB) #5 (Race 6)**
  • **Best Value: Ethereal Road #8 (Race 9)**

Keeneland ... oh, Keeneland ... their 1st Saturday is here, and we are going to see quite a spectacle ... Keeneland's Spring Meet is back, and their Saturday card is simply the best! With the Blue Grass Stakes (G2) as the centerpiece, it is sure to be a great betting opportunity! Turfwriter J.N. Campbell has you covered with an All-Stakes Pick 5 ticket ... Let's go!

At we have you covered, including all of the action! 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. Don't forget to follow us on Twitter ... Horseracing_USA !!!

Horse Racing Picks



LEG 1: (Race 5: Dirt, 7F, Commonwealth S. (G3), $300k, 4+)

It would not be a Keeneland Opening Saturday without their All-Stakes Pick 5 … would it? This sequence is going to be the best in the country, and with some possible long shots coming in, it could be a massive ticket to cash, if we can play our selections properly. We start off with the Grade 3 Commonwealth, and this full field makes it very difficult to get a “Single.” The race time favorite will most certainly be Steve Asmussen’s Nashville #5. This son of Speightstown bounced back at the Fair Grounds in an OC80k event, after falling flat in the King Cotton $150k at Oaklawn. The HOF trainer makes the switch to jockey Luis Saez, and he is going to try and blaze a trail right out of the gate (he might do it with that favorable post). I don’t know if I fully trust this early go-er because this is much tougher competition, and for that reason, I want to back another horse that is a much squarer price. When it comes to Keeneland, over the years there seem few that are better than trainer Mike Maker. He knows the claiming biz backwards and forwards, and he got Endorsed #8 just after an OC100kn3x race at Saratoga in early August. That former Godolphin “blue” was trained by Bill Mott, and Maker has since sent this son of Medaglia d’Oro into some very tough spots. He has sprinted against Just Might, Aloha West (@KEE), Sir Alfred James #3, Life Is Good/Knicks Go, and last time at Gulfstream vs. Speaker’s Corner. That is quite a list, and some major company to keep. I like that Ricardo Santana comes from Oaklawn, and is landing for the Keeneland Meet in this month of April. He and Maker worked well together in Hot Springs. I would not count this 6-yr-old out, and that is why he deserves a place on this ticket. Let’s move along …

Selections: 5/8 (2-Deep)


LEG 2: (Race 6: Turf, 1 Mile, Appalachian S. (G2), $400k, 3F)

Heading over to the Haggin Turf Course many bettors will look at this year’s Appalachian and think of it as a two-horse route between Graham Motion’s Spendarella #3 and Chad Brown’s Dolce Zel #4. That’s probably fair, especially considering that we have the winners from the Herecomesthebride (G3) at Gulfstream, and the Florida Oaks (G3) at Tampa Bay. You have a pair of superb grass conditioners going head-to-head, and once again, Tyler Gaffalione and Irad Ortiz will do battle. Don’t get me wrong, you could just pick this pair, and move right along … no one would begrudge you … However, I really prefer Shug McGaughey’s Frankel filly, Skims #5. I know this Andrew Rosen homebred has not tried “Graded” Co. as of yet, but that doesn’t mean she isn’t full of talent. Her pedigree alone makes her viable, and I like the last couple of turf attempts at Aqueduct and Tampa. She is going to get a major upgrade in rider Flavien Prat, who is making his way towards NYRA from SoCal. Her latest works on the turf at Payson Park look smart, and she could be a major player in this division. Prat is particularly aggressive in situations like these, and he navigates turf traffic very well. What a great race this is “going” to be … even with the rainfall that is sure to soften up the Haggin.

Selections: 3/4/5 (3-Deep)


LEG 3: (Race 7: Dirt, 7F, Madison S. (G1), $500k, F&M 4+)

There are a number of tough, I mean tough, races on this KEE Saturday card, but this might take the cake. This Grade 1 has a strong field of 10, and did I mention how tough it came up? I did … right … When it comes to some top picks, I have no doubts about Brad Cox’s Lady Rocket #3 (I. Ortiz), Neil Pessin’s Bell’s the One #5 (Lanerie), and Wesley Ward’s Kimari #6 (Gaffalione). Each of these runners has solid back class, accomplished pilots, and has at least 1 win over this MT. The question for me about each of these is … are they ready for this level of competition because the stakes are high. Both Cox and Pessin’s entries are coming off-the-bench, and Ward’s caught a very soft field for her ’22 debut. I am inclined to pitch all three of them, and that might sound a bit off. But in all seriousness, it might be the best plan ever. Let’s consider a couple of other runners that look way more promising. Cox has another one in here, and this filly, Just One Time #4, was in a way tougher race on debut in January. A daughter of Not This Time, she was stellar with Joel Rosario in the irons … rolling late in the Inside Information (G2) at Gulfstream Park. Now, Flavien Prat takes over, hoping to not miss a beat. If she is as fast as I think, her rise to the top of this female sprinting division has arrived. Using her is a great plan, and so is Paulo Lobo’s Center Aisle #2. A glance through this mare’s form, and you quickly figure that this daughter of Into Mischief has game. She is off-the-bench (a critique I just used for the Top 3 M/L), but what is different here is the price. She is going to be double-digits on the tote, and you are getting the services of Luis Saez. Lobo is quite unheralded, and I think he deserves more recognition. Let’s skate by with these 2 runners, and head towards the backend of this nasty (but superb) All-Stakes P4 … 

Selections: 2/4 (2-Deep)


LEG 4: (Race 8: Turf, 5½, Shakertown S.(G2), $350k, 3+)

If you are not licking your chops yet, then you will be by the time this one goes off … Named after that amazing landmark near Lexington (if you have never been, then you are missing out), this turf sprint is a highlight race for me every April. When it comes to a top pick, I am going against Wesley Ward and his colt by Uncle Mo, Golden Pal #10. If you are going to catch the local trainer out on his own “turf,” then this is the spot to do it. I know he gets them ready better than most, but I just do not see much value in backing this short-priced favorite. He is going to be even money when this race goes off, and Irad Ortiz will probably make him even shorter … if that’s possible! When it comes to a top pick, I am not going to miss out on backing Rusty Arnold’s local hero … Gear Jockey #5. This son of Twirling Candy was up against “Pal” in the BC Turf Sprint (G1), and did not acquit himself well. I think he is “gearing” up for a superb ’22 campaign, and I think Brian Hernandez is just the person for the job. Arnold watched his grass sprinter win a nice one at Keeneland at the ALLW level. He is going to have to raise his game after failing to hit-the-board at Gulfstream in their version of the BC Turf Sprint. For some backup, it is probably a good idea to include Michelle Lovel’s Just Might #11 (who incidentally I have bet @KEE all 4x, coming away with zilch …), Mark Casse’s Filo Di Arianna #9, and Brendan Walsh’s import, The Lir Jet #6. This group gives us options, and some big shots that could light up the tote board! In the Bluegrass … we are onto the Blue Grass (G2) … 

Selections: 5/6/9/11 (4-Deep)


LEG 5: (Race 9: Dirt, 1 1/8th, Blue Grass Stakes (G2), $1 million, 3)

We have arrived at the finale, and what a doozy this one is going to be. We had a spirted BGS (G2) last year with Essential Quality (Cox), Highly Motivated (Brown), and Rombauer (McCarthy) … this time should be equally, if not more eventful. Speaking of Chad Brown, he probably has one of the race time favorites in Zandon #4. The colt by Upstart missed in the Risen Star (G2) in mid-February at the Fair Grounds, and now is trying to gain enough Derby “Points” to secure a spot in the starting gate in May at Churchill. I’ve cooled a bit on this runner, and I am wondering just how good he really is … Maybe including him is an idea, but I am going to choose to look elsewhere. When it comes to a top selection, I am particularly keen on D. Wayne Lukas’ Ethereal Road #8. It is always great to see “Coach” take to the road, and travel to Keeneland. This is a very strong late go-er that Lukas has developed, and he was just spectacular in the Rebel Stakes (G2) in late February. His works look just as strong as Brown’s entry, and I am wishing that this son of Quality Road would be 20/1 at post time … it probably will not happen. What a ride for Luis Contreras, who deserves more respect. I am not particularly interested in either of Kenny McPeek’s outside colts. Neither Rattle N Roll #9, nor Smile Happy #10 sway me all that much. I think they are overrated, and I think the latter will barely finish in-the-money. Speaking of those stalls on the outside, who I do fancy are Rudy Brisset’s Blackadder #11, and Mike Maker’s Grantham #12. You talk about some well-priced colts, both of these 3-yr-olds are talented, and raced impressively last time. Brisset took over the training duties from Bob Baffert after Kentucky got under the HOF-er’s skin, and I am glad to see this son of Quality Road skip the Jeff Ruby S. (G3). The addition of the hot riding Florent Geroux is a “key” event. What an accomplished rider! As for Maker’s play, the trainer gleefully watched this son of Declaration of War roll towards the wire in the Tampa Bay Derby (G2), just behind Classic Causeway. At odds of 38/1, that was not a bad showing … 2nd! If Tyler Gaffalione can get his mount into the right position, this could be the sleeper pick of the day! Let’s use these long shots to cap this ticket … If we get one of these colts home, it is going to be a massive score! I haven’t felt this confident about a P5 in quite some time … optimism!

Selections: 8/11/12 (3-Deep)


Ticket: 5-8 / 3-4-5 / 2-4 / 5-6-9-11 / 8-11-12


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