Kentucky Downs Picks & Betting Analysis for September 5
Kentucky Downs is a regular stop on the Thoroughbred calendar for the top trainers and jockeys in North America ... It only lasts a total of 6 days, so enjoy it while it lasts! As we handicap and offer our selections, there will be some excellent grass contests headed your way, including a $750k race ... nice purse!
A reminder ... 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 at the betting windows. 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 Sunday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Race 8: Turf, 6½F, MSW135k, 2F
The opening leg of the Late Pick 4 is this difficult turf sprint for younger fillies. We could easily hit the “All” button at the teller, but you are going to need a big bankroll to accomplish that. When it comes to those that are drawn in here, you want to uncover a winner from a “stable” barn … a proven KD “stayer,” in both senses of the word.
With half of this 12-horse field being classified as 1st time starters, that will make our work infinitely more difficult. I am inclined to delve into those “firster sire/dam percentages” because they can be telling. One that stands out is Joe Sharp’s Azamana Empire #5. By way of Classic Empire and Far Out Freebie, this filly has been working well, and with Tyler Gaffalione, might impress in her debut. I am not willing to “Single” her, but putting her on the ticket is a must. As for a true “top pick,” I like Brad Cox’s Robinhill #11. Out of Kitten’s Joy, she has good works under her at Keeneland/Turfway/Ellis, plus she gets Joel Rosario. Cox does well enough with these types, and she should be pretty game against a field of inexperienced runners.
Two other ones to add to the mix who at least have a race under them is Vicky Oliver’s She’s Gone #8 and Dale Romans’ Delightof the Nile #6. Each was capable in their 1st race at Ellis, and even that opportunity to get one out of the way could be useful in this spot. They both get fine riders in Rafael Bejarano (now firmly ensconced in KY’s racing circuit), and Mitch Murrill, who had a nice run at this year’s Fair Grounds Meet in New Orleans. Including them along with those “firsters” should make for a good start as we set out on this ‘capping journey.
LP4 Leg 1: 5/6/8/11 (4-Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $100 Bankroll, Graduated Wager, WPS #11 ($10-W, $15-P, $75-S)
Race 9: Turf, 1 1/16th, Exacta Systems Dueling Grounds Oaks, $500k, 3F
Moving right along to the 3-yr-old fillies, this race, the Dueling Grounds, is going to test both horse and rider. Settle them early, then hope to have enough left in the tank … that seems to be the order of the day. When it comes to a distance test like this one, you need a runner who can handle going long both through their pedigree and recent tests. It would seem logical to choose Vicky Oliver’s Core Values #8, especially since she won a nice prep for this one at Ellis Park—the DG Derby. Winning by a nose against Brad Cox’s Royal Prince was no small feat in mixed company, so that must reflect something because she bested the boys. Rafael Bejarano once again gets the call, and the filly out of Honor Code should have a good chance of success.
I want to also think long and hard about Cox’s Adventuring #6. The filly was 3rd in the other “DG” race that was geared for female runners at Ellis—the Oaks. Though she has not contested a distance like this one, she is well-bred out of Pioneerof the Nile, and she has enough class built in already to make this race a success. The switch to Joel Rosario could be the proverbial “game changer.” He can get the best out of this Godolphin homebred, and I like his level of fitness coming into what is expected to be a hotly-contested race. One other runner that I want to include on the P4 ticket is Mark Casse’s filly, Inthewinnerscircle #3. I wouldn’t necessarily “Single” her, but she gets veteran rider Julien Leparoux. Her recent efforts at Woodbine were solid, and I wouldn’t necessarily count her out as she stretches out in distance. Going 3-Deep should cover us …
LP4 Leg 2: 3/6/8 (3-Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Trifecta Box, 3/6/8
Race 10: Turf, 1 5/16ths, Big Ass Fans Dueling Grounds Derby, $750k, 3
The KD “Feature” that is coming your way is this 750k valued contest for 3-yr-old colts, and it is sure to bring some magnificent opportunities.
Of course, we have several alums from the prep for this race that was held at Ellis Park last month, the aptly-named, Preview Dueling Grounds Derby100k. That race was actually won by a filly, but Accredit #1 (4th), Modern Science #4 (3rd), Red Hornet #6 (6th), and Royal Prince #9 (2nd). A deep dive into each of these colts tells me that they have some serious vulnerabilities, and that makes me question whether any of them are ready to take the step forward that is necessary in this spot. Instead, I would much rather focus on some others that are coming into this spot with some major ability.
Tops on many bettors’ lists is the former Bob Baffert charge now with Bill Mott (he is still partly-owned by Baffert’s wife), the improbable Du Jour #12. I say “improbable” because I did not think he would come out and win the American Turf (G2) on the KYD147 undercard. The Temple City son was superb. He is going to start the tote watching at 5/2, but I would guess that he will come down even from there, especially with Joel Rosario riding. I don’t know if I want to accept such a short price on this one.
Much more enticing is Rusty Arnold’s Cellist #8. Last out in the Saratoga Derby (G1), which was part of the “Turf Triple,” the son of Big Blue Kitten was outmatched in every way. Maybe coming back to the Bluegrass State will be just the ticket. Julien Leparoux, who just won another victory aboard War Like Goddess yesterday at The SPA, knows this one through and through.
Outside of these 2 selections, I also fancy Palazzi #5 (8/1), and even longer shot, Grey Streak #10 (12/1). Both are value plays, and should be able to at least hit the board. Maybe one of them can get home late with some of that turn-of-foot they possess. I have a real soft-spot for the former. Casse has targeted this race, so watch out for the turf route specialist.
LP4 Leg 3: 5/8/10/12 (4-Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box, 5/8/12
Race 11: Turf, 6½F, MSW135k, F&M 3+
Heading into the finale on this 1st day at Kentucky Downs, we are faced with a contest for older females at this heightened MSW level. This track is a challenge because it is difficult to gage the class ratings. With so much money in the purses, trainers might be stretching their charges "ratings," in order to see what they can elevate towards. In other words, the rewards ... they outweigh the risks in these instances. Coming into this spot, I am going to try and get a “Single” because I found a runner that looks pretty inviting, and it is not Wesley Ward's "chalk," Six Feet Apart #10.
I was extolling the virtues of jockey Julien Leparoux, and this pick focuses on his mount, Nota Bene #4. I am having a hard time believing that this filly for Ian Wilkes is going to end up 12/1 when this one goes off. My sense is that she will float down towards 5/1. Out of Declaration of War, she ran very well at Keeneland back in April at 5½F, and nearly won at a great price. Wilkes has had some quality moments this year, and I am thinking she is going to appreciate going a bit longer in this spot. Leparoux has the experience needed to make this score a reality. That is why I think she is my “Single.”
LP4 Leg 4: 4 (Single)
Total Ticket Cost LP4/.50: $24.00
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #4
The Kentucky Downs 6-day Meet is here! Enjoy some fabulous turf racing while it lasts …