The pear-shaped European-style track located near Franklin, KY is a regular stop for the top trainers and jockeys in America ... Kentucky Downs only lasts a total of 6 days, and already ... we are halfway through! As we handicap and offer our selections, there will be some excellent grass contests headed your way, including a pair of "Non-G" races!
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 10-race card that is going to be a handicappers dream. 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.
If you're looking for picks elsewhere around the country this Thursday be sure to check out our free Horse Racing Picks via the gold button below.
Already halfway through the KD blade festival, we have before us a nice Late Pick 4. At fifty cents, that is a heck of a bargain. This lower level ALLW Co. contest is a twisty one, and I think that in all honesty, anyone of these could jump up for the win. What we need to look for is a “settler” who can handle this distance, and who can rise to the occasion in deep stretch.
As usual, trainer Mike Maker has a strong presence at KD, and he has an uncoupled entry with Shiraz #4 (Three Diamonds), and Bad Beat Brian #8 (David Staudacher). Both have upside in different ways. The former not only raced rather nicely at Saratoga, and the 7-yr-old gets Irad Ortiz who comes into town. The latter is well-bred out of Jack Milton, and he was pretty game sprinting on the Jimmy D. course out at Del Mar. Either might be able to get the job done …
Not to spurn Maker’s entries, but I am more than just a little bit intrigued by Juan Cano’s Lamartine #6. Out of the excellent sprinter, Shanghai Bobby, this gelding has the ability to improve after a 4th place finish in the KD Preview100k at Ellis Park on 8 August. With class relief headed his way, I would think Adam Beschizza can find a seam late in the game, and he should be able to mop this one up for Two Dimes Stables. This is going to be a fun one!
Race 9: Turf, 6½F, Global Tote Juvenile Sprint S. $500k, 2
As we advance to the next stage in this sequence, we are faced with the 1st of 2 “Non-G” stakes races. This one is for the young colts who are on the make. Bettors around the racetrack are always floored by the purse money that will be doled out to the winner. That is Kentucky Downs for you … what is also assured is the fact that we could be looking at a price that gets home for the win.
When it comes to a “deserving favorite” in this spot … there isn’t one. Sure, you could make a case for Mark Casse’s European import, Masseto #3. The 2-yr-old colt out of Territories (IRE) is looking to make a splash in his U.S. Debut. The former Donnacha O’Brien runner was solid in all of his 4 starts. Though he just missed the board at Royal Ascot, he has a high-level of fitness. With Tyler Gaffalione in the irons, he has the ability to take over a race.
I want to use Casse’s new charge, but I also like Mike Maker’s Pure Panic #6. This colt out of excellent turf sire Summer Front did not get to take to the turf in the Skidmore 120k at Saratoga last time because it was an off-track. Getting back on the green is just the ticket. Trading Luis Saez for Jose Ortiz is not a downgrade, and I think Maker has proven that he can spot a horse properly … even if it is off what we think of in the 21st century as “short rest.” Do not count this one out!
One other runner that is of interest is John Velazquez’s mount, who is trained by Royal Ascot specialist and superb gentleman, Wesley Ward. His Kaufymaker #10 was in the Coventry S. with Casse’s own, and did not finish as well as that colt did (8th). Back at it in America, it seems like he has scratched a number of times … Maybe his conditioner has just been looking for the right race? Whatever the case, I am going to break my rule of not backing an entry that last ran overseas. I like this one’s sire in Jimmy Creed, and he has the power to dominate this field. Odds of 3/1 would be a gift, I think.
The other half of this “Non-G” set is a race for older females, and this full field is set to contest a distance we do not often see on the turf.
I am pretty interested in Mike Maker’s entry, I’llhandalthecash #12 because the mare out of Point of Entry won convincingly on the engine last time at Saratoga in a OC100k affair. The word “seasoned” comes to mind, and with Irad Ortiz in the saddle, she is going to get one of the most aggressive riders in the country. An 8/1 price sounds pretty inviting, especially on a turf router who has some nice NYRA back class.
I want to use Maker’s play, but I also want to include Brad Cox’s Dominga #7. Here is a filly out of Ghostzapper who just missed back at Ellis Park in the prep for this race. Florent Geroux ably guided the Don Alberto homebred, and once again, Cox has her ready to go in this spot. She will be formidable late in the game. With Maker and Cox covered, why not also consider another incredibly experienced conditioner, Mark Casse.
His Uncle Mo filly ran well at a double-digit price in a “Non-G” 120k mile on the turf at Saratoga. That 2nd place was up against Regal Glory, and to put it bluntly, that is a good horse. Hendy Woods #10 who is a homebred for Stonestreet, makes a ton of sense as Tyler Gaffalione gets aboard. What a tough race, but in the end, I think Maker gets it.
LP4 Leg 3: 7/10/12 (3-Deep)
Wagering Recommendation: $2 Exacta Box,
Race 11: Turf, 6½F, MSW135k, 2
In order to keep costs down, it is imperative to grab a “Single” at some point. Here it is … I know that taking on a group of inexperienced young colts is playing with fire. At any point, long shots that look like they have little chance, could jump up and make it happen. I am going to take the tact that this phenomenon will not happen because I have what I think is a strong “Single.” Wesley Ward’s reputation as a conditioner of 2-yr-old colts is world-renowned. He understands what they need when it comes to everything from gate training to nutrition. Kentucky Downs is in his backyard, and you can count on his entries being well-prepared. I like Admiral Halsey #11 for a number of reasons … namely, the colt is well-bred out of War Front and Aloof (IRE), so you can count on his turf pedigree being sound. Already, he has his debut out of the way. The end result was not what bettors would have liked to have seen, but he broke well … that is a good sign. John Velazquez works well with Ward, so he should be able to get to the lead and hold the line. Ward goes “Blinkers Off,” and that is a tell-tale sign in itself. Bet this one!
LP4 Leg 4: 11 (Single)
Total Ticket Cost LP4/.50: $48.00
Wagering Recommendation: $25/$50 WP #11
The Kentucky Downs 6-day Meet is halfway through! Enjoy some fabulous turf racing while it lasts …