Kentucky Downs Picks & All-Stakes Betting Analysis for September 11

The Kentucky Downs Saturday card is chock full of fabulous betting opportunities ... Check out our turf-man's analysis below!
The Kentucky Downs Saturday card is chock full of fabulous betting opportunities ... Check out our turf-man's analysis below!

With only a pair of racing days left in the Meet, we are on-hand to bring you the very best analysis of all the stakes contests at Kentucky Downs! We have already notched some excellent winners over the past week, so join us Saturday and Sunday, as we look to build on that success.

The turf should be firm at the European-style track that is located right on the southern border of Kentucky and Tennessee. Enjoy this unique turf festival while it lasts, as we have all 11 races covered on this special Saturday!

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

Race 6: Turf, 6½F, Mint Ladies Sprint S. (G3), $600k, F&M 3+

The opening stakes on this Saturday card at Kentucky Downs is a tough grass sprint at the G3 level. By American standards this is a full field of 12 that will go forward. It is tough to really draw a firm line at how the track is playing. It seemed like over Labor Day that those that went out early could hold the lead much better than those looking to come from off of it.

After a quick survey of the form, you will immediately recognize the presence of Richard Baltas’ Venetian Harbor #10. In possession of excellent class, this filly out of Munnings  has only tried the green stuff 2x in her career, and she did not do badly at all … going 2/1-1-0. In the Monrovia (G2), 2 races back at Santa Anita, she won convincingly out on the engine. It seemed like an easy victory with fractions that were honest as could be. Baltas then decided to send her from 6½ on the turf into the Hirsch (G1) on the dirt and at the distance of 1 1/16th. She was 2nd to Cox’s Shedaresthedevil, which is one of the division leaders. Now, coming to KD for the 1st time it is hard to know what to expect, even with Florent Geroux aboard. My sense is to play against her, and seek out some value elsewhere.

The hunt for that prospect yielded some interesting results when I landed on Greg Foley’s Yes It’s Ginger #4. This is a 5-yr-old mare with a ton of upside as she comes in red hot. Her last 2 races were excellent efforts, and I liked the way in which she finished both those “Non-G” affairs. Running at Lone Star and Ellis does not always equal Saratoga and Del Mar, but that doesn’t mean there are not quality runners coming out of those tracks. Out of Yes It’s True, though she doesn’t have the flashy pedigree that others do, she has handled the competition she has faced, and the phrase “going away,” seems appropriate. Even better news is the addition of Tyler Gaffalione, who is riding superbly off his performance at The SPA. Much to like in a price of 12/1 … do not count this one out!

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #4 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


Race 7: Turf, 1 Mile, Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf S. (G3), $750k, F&M 3+

Though not as large a field as the previous “Stakes” race on the KD card, these older females going a mile are in the midst a street fight. There are a number of ways to go in this spot, but it is obvious that Mike Stidham’s Princess Grace #2 is the “deserving favorite” coming into this spot. Rightly so … she looked pretty tough last time out in the Yellow Ribbon (G2) out at Del Mar in early August. Winning by over a length, she lived up to her odds and bested a couple of SoCal routers in Dogtag and Maxim Rate. Her conditioner had her primed to ship back this way for a score, and with Florent Geroux at the controls, the Moore homebred seems poised for a victory. The only weakness in her game is the cutback in distance from 1 1/16th.

Surveying the rest of the field, it looks like Eddie Kenneally’s Abscond #3, and Saffie Joseph’s Shifty She #6 are both milers who could take advantage. Their running styles are completely opposite, and that is what makes using them so inviting. Kenneally’s entry, who draws super SoCal jock Flavien Prat, is one who likes to settle early … making a big run late in the game. That will suit Prat perfectly because he likes a bit of brashness towards the conclusion of a race. It must be zooming up and down “The 5” in LA. As for Joseph’s charge, she gets the other most aggressive rider in America, Irad Ortiz, and her style is to get to the front early … set fractions to her liking … and outlast them all. Both these runners have the class to make a dent here, and let’s use them to round out a few tickets. Example below …

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 2/3/6


Race 8: Turf, 6F, Fan Duel Turf Sprint S. (G3), $1 Million, 3+

The next pair of races at Kentucky Downs take on special significance since they are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series events. The winner of this race, the Grade 3 “Sprint,” will move on to the “Grandaddy of them All,” the BC Turf Sprint (G1). An all-expense-paid trip to Del Mar sounds pretty inviting, and one lucky horse will score the prize.

In this spot, it appears that Mark Casse’s Got Stormy #9 is once again going to “take on the boys,” in this spot. She is cutting back from a mile, and last out she scored her own BC ticket to the Fan Duel Mile (G1). Her HOF conditioner clearly is looking for options because she has the ability to be pretty versatile. At Saratoga in the Fourstardave (G1) the MyRacehorse-owned 6-yr-old scooped the fellas, and won at the nice price of 13/1. Once again, Tyler Gaffalione rides, and he knows this seasoned mare like the back of his riding crop. She is going to be tough.

I am a little wary of her ability to get sprint distances like this one, so I am more interested in a price runner who can net me some high dollars at the window. In search of some coin, I think my top selection is going to be Brendan Walsh’s Born Great #5. Most will overlook this one from part-owner, Qatar Racing, but that would be a mistake. The gelding is full of quality "verde" pedigree, and I like the fact that his conditioner had him ready to fire up at Ellis in the prep for this race—Preview Turf Sprint100k. Jockey Adam Beschizza has a handle on his mount’s tendencies, and at 15/1, he is going to be a massive overlay in my opinion. Others like Fast Boat #2, Casa Creed #7, and Imprimis #12 have long dossiers that include a number of “Graded” contests, but I like a sprinter who is coming off a “best” performance … that is a bet!

Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Wheel, 5 w 2/7/9/12


Race 9: Turf, 1½, Calumet Turf Cup (G2), $1 Million, 3+

To say that trainer Mike Maker is well-represented in the Turf Cup this year, would be a huge understatement. He has 5 … count ‘em … 5 runners drawn in here, and 1 waiting in the wings on the AE List. After all, a trip to the BC Turf (G1) is on the line, so messing about is not an option for any of these runners. What we do know is Michael Hui’s Zulu Alpha #11 was summarily retired on Friday, so the Maker roster is down to 4. For the record, “Zulu” had a magnificent career, and the 8-yr-old out of Street Cry (IRE) will be missed.

As for the remaining Maker entries, I am bullish on Tyler Gaffalione’s ride … the colt out of Kitten’s Joy named Glynn County #9. If you know anything about the relationship between Three Diamonds and this conditioner, then you know that they work together often and quite well. I have watched this 4-yr-old for some time, as he has advanced through the ALLW/OC ranks … his 5th place finish in the UN (G1) at Monmouth was not a terrible try considering the company. Following that up against a salty group of middle-distance specialists in the Grade 1 “Old Arlington Million” in Chicago, and ending up 3rd, showed improvement. With Tyler Gaffalione back in the saddle I trust that we will see even greater things from the yellow and turquoise-clad jockey. His price will be exemplary at 15/1. Channel Cat #3? Arklow #5? No thanks … give me Maker’s Glynn County #9!

Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #9


Race 10: Turf, 6½F, Franklin-Simpson S. (G2), $600k, 3

Rounding out the “All-Stakes” KD card on Saturday is this shuffle that should get the adrenaline pumping. These 3-yr-old colts are trying to make their mark in this G2 contest. What I am looking for is one who can handle the distance, but has enough class to measure up. The interesting aspect this time around is that there is no “deserving favorite.” Eddie Kenneally’s Point Me By #10 and Bill Mott’s Annex #7 are logical since they both ran well last time at Arlington and Saratoga, respectively. I am sure they need to be respected, but I am non-plussed by their efforts.

Instead, I like Wesley Ward’s Next #6. The colt is not only a Silverton homebred, but more importantly, his conditioner is choosing to shorten him up at just the right time. John Velazquez knows this one through and through, and I like the pedigree connection by way of Giant’s Causeway. Picking this one seems appropriate because last year he won at Kentucky Downs in a MSW90k. That was a smart run, and I suspect that he can do it again.

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #6 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)


The Kentucky Downs 6-day Meet is almost in the books! Enjoy some fabulous turf racing while it lasts …

Horse Racing Results