Kentucky Downs rolls into this Labor Day Monday with the featured Grade III Mint Million. Remember, this Meet only lasts a total of 5 more days, so enjoy it while it lasts! As we handicap and offer our selections, there will be some excellent grass contests headed your way!
At HorseRacing.net/us, we will be with you every step of the way for all the action! Today, we find ourselves in the midst of a 11-race card that is sure to bring some major value. Have a look at all of our selections, a 50-cent Late Pick 4 ticket, and a targeted analysis by our resident turf-man, J.N. Campbell. Be sure to check the weather conditions, as they could have a major effect on the turf.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Monday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
The Labor Day Kentucky Downs card is off and running on Monday, and the 1st race will certainly test our sensibilities, as we go sprinting up then down that undulating grass course. They have made even more upgrades to the scene, so it should be fun to watch and wager on this one. By the looks of things from the form, Wesley Ward’s Gypsy King #2 might have the inside track, so to speak. The gelding out of Summer Front was just off the board going 5½F in ALLW Co. at Saratoga. That race was a good start to his 2021 campaign, and once again Joel Rosario climbs aboard. Ward is a specialist with these types, and being back in Kentucky should suit. I probably would not take any lower than 3/1 on this one because this is such a full field.
Thinking value, maybe the other route to go is to back a strong sire that delivers some turf wins. Trainer Ian Wilkes is always present during the KD Festival, and he sends an Into Mischief colt into the fray. King’s Mischief #10 should enjoy the cutback in distance after running across state at Ellis Park. He should be fine with the class company in here, and Chris Landeros once again rides for the 6th time in-a-row. I think the price on this one will be double-digits, and that is just fine by me. Clearly, his fitness is solid coming into this race. Wilkes has him primed for a nice score … Going 2-Deep at the outset is a great plan, since we know that picking multiple horses late will be necessary.
It is a good bet that Brad Cox has the winner in this 2-yr-old filly battle for these budding milers. He will have a couple of shots, entering Yin Yang #6, who is a frontend-type by way of Point of Entry. With Joel Rosario aboard, she will take money just like when she debuted at Ellis Park back in early July. I respect her, but I am much more interested in her stablemate and uncoupled partner. Turnerloose #2 out of Nyquist won her debut race, thus breaking her maiden in fine style by a length. That sire is starting to make some noise with his grass runners, and in this conditioner’s hands, she has every right to take a step forward in this spot. It is very challenging for Thoroughbreds to go out on the first try, and even know what is transpiring on a racetrack. At Ellis Park, she did just that as jockey Florent Geroux placed her near the lead, in what were some very slow fractions up front. The rating turned out to be perfect, as she tracked the pace. When the time was right, the expert lawn jockey swept ahead around turn-2, leaving no doubt whose race it was to win. Now, her time has arrived to go up against a tough field. I think she can do it.
LP4 Leg 2: 2 (Single)
Wagering Recommendation: $50 WP #2
Race 10: Turf, 1 Mile, WinStar Mint Million S. (G3), $1 Million, 3+
Monday brings us some excellent opportunities for some wagers, but none will be greater than the day’s richest race, the Mint Million Stakes. This Grade III event brings together a collection of fairly experienced older males who will be going 8 furlongs on the KD grass. If you are wanting to back a “deserving favorite,” then Chad Brown’s Flavius #11 is definitely your selection. The Juddmonte homebred is coming to KD, and do not forget that the ridgling won here in 2020 in the Tourist Mile750k. He returns with much promise today, after a convincing speed controlling win at Saratoga on 7th August in a “Non-G” 120k event. I think he go too easily a lead that day, and my sense is that he will be up against some way more accomplished competition this time around.
Opposing Brown, I like several others that have a great chance this time around. Namely, Mike Maker’s Somelikeitbrown #9, Larry Rivelli’s Bizzee Channel #7, and Mike Stidham’s Pixelate #6. Out of these, Maker’s charge is clearly formfull and classy … he was last seen in the Wise Dan (G2) at Churchill. Running loose on the lead, Jose Ortiz could not hold it forever. Finishing 2nd was a disappointment, and I am sure he has a great opportunity to get back on track in here. Betting him makes sense, but the 5/2 price is a real downer.
I would much prefer to back the aforementioned entries because they have skill and will possibly be double-digits on the tote at post time. I have a soft spot for Rivelli’s stretch runner. He was a fan favorite on the Arlington ship, and I was convinced that he had a shot at the final “Million” (G1), renamed the Mr. D Stakes. Alas, it was a Hugh Robertson entry that won that day (at least it was a Chicago local), but I still think Rivelli’s ran well. Coming into this spot, Florent Geroux and Co. could be the sleeper late in this route.
Even better value can be found in Stidham’s excellent colt out of City Zip. With some excellent class, the 4-yr-old has challenged the likes of Colonel Liam and many others. I really think the addition of Joel Rosario can be just what the Godolphin homebred needs. Nothing like aggressive riding when it counts on the turf. I have witnessed this jockey pull off some brilliant moves over the years. He will need to do so once again on Monday … top pick for me!
LP4 Leg 3: 6/7/9/11 (4-Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Wheel, 6/9 w 6/7/9/11 w 6/7/9/11
The finale on this Labor Day Kentucky Downs LP4 is a tough one going a mile on the green. Speaking of the color … how about the purse for this one--$500k! When it comes to this multi-race wager, I am hitting the famous “Alll” button for this one. I do not want to be left holding the proverbial bag when I get to this portion of the sequence. So, it is best with a bunch of 2-yr-old colts to err on the side of caution.
As for a top selection, I am interested in Steve Asmussen’s runner, Red Run #10. Winchell T-Breds owns this one out of Gun Runner. Though the colt has no turf experience whatsoever, he does have some higher class-oriented contests under his saddle. The Saratoga Special (G2) for instance was a dead last finish, but what is important is the company. As a young colt, he can use that to his advantage with Joel Rosario aboard.
As for one other to consider, I also like Mark Casse’s On Thin Ice #8 with Tyler Gaffalione up. The More Than Ready colt was that and more, breaking his maiden the first time out at Gulfstream in early August. He did all of his running out on the frontend, and that could be a weapon in this race too. Gaffalione handles young runners particularly well, so you expect much the same this time around. Nothing like a HOF trainer in your corner, eh? Casse continues to excite … Let’s finish with a flourish!
LP4 Leg 4: 1-11 (All)
Cost of Ticket .50: $44.00
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 8/10
The Kentucky Downs Meet is here! Enjoy some fabulous turf racing while it lasts …