Maker's Mark Mile Picks: Our experts both fancy Ride a Comet

Mark Casse's Ride a Comet is a potential upsetter in the Maker's Mark
Mark Casse's Ride a Comet is a potential upsetter in the Maker's Mark

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The one-mile $300,000 Grade I Maker's Mark Mile is the feature race on the card this Friday at Keeneland.

Both our in-house handicapper and turf-man are covering the Spring Meet at the track so they both have their thoughts on the race below along with our race card...

Sean's take . . .

It’s by no means a vintage G1, but this is a really fun edition of the Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland that lacks a clear favorite. I suppose that role will go to Hit the Road (#2), who has been a completely different animal in 2021 and is coming off a win in the G1 Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita Park. This horse has always hinted at having a ton of quality, but it really hasn’t been until this year that he’s put it all together. He obviously has a lot of talent, however my problem with him is that I don’t see him replicating his Frank Kilroe score as he ships cross-country for Dan Blacker, who rarely ventures outside of California. Also, he got a very good trip in the Frank Kilroe and he’s likely going to be too short a price in this spot.

As far as potential favorites go, I’m more interested in Raging Bull (#8), who makes his seasonal debut in the Maker’s Mark. This horse can be frustrating to bet, at times looking like a true G1 type and then inexplicably turning in a subpar performance, however I think he’s primed for a good effort off the bench, as he was last year when he won the G1 Shoemaker Mile at Santa Anita. I don’t know that he’s going to get as much pace in front of him as he did in the 2020 Shoemaker, but between Get Smokin (#1) and Somelikeithotbrown (#3) there should be enough to set up his late kick.

I like Raging Bull, but I couldn’t possibly lean on him at a short price, which is why my top pick is Ride a Comet (#6), a horse that’s following a similar path to War of Will, who won this race last year for trainer Mark Casse. After being away from the races for over two years, Ride a Comet has pulled off one of the most remarkable comebacks you will ever see, with three wins from his last four races, including an impressive tally two back in the G3 Tropical Turf at Gulfstream Park. He disappointed last out in the Frank Kilroe, however he had to ship across the country for the race and got stuck behind a tepid pace. I think there’s a strong chance he rebounds here, and if he gets back to his effort in the Tropical Turf he’s going to be a major player at square odds.

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J.N.'s take . . .

The Grade I $300k Maker’s Mark Mile is a celebrated race when it comes to Keeneland during their April Meet. It is a true test of speed, positioning, and jets-go, as the runners enter the top of the lane. If you can be on the lead, that might seem like the place to be, but perhaps retaining that final burst for when it counts, is the way to play it. This may not be a sport that is called “jockey racing,” but as pilots, they can have a major impact on a race like this one. Settling is absolutely necessary when it comes to races on the grass.

I like several entries here, but my top selection goes to Mark Casse’s Ride a Comet #6. This 6-yr-old has some excellent class lines, and came back in 2020, after taking the previous year off, with a strong pair of performances at Woodbine. He is a true miler out of Candy Ride (ARG), but it is really his dam I like even more, Appealing Zophie (former Asmussen runner with major class). Last out in the Kilroe Mile (G1) at Santa Anita, he didn’t take to shipping in, and lost to Hit the Road #2, who is drawn in here. I am willing to line that one, and I think that Casse brought him back to his FL Training Center with a new plan. The works look sharp, and I think the world of Tyler Gaffalione’s evolving ability on the sod.

As we construct an exotic ticket, some others than can provide some insurance, just in case, does decidedly not include Chad Brown’s Raging Bull #8. This veteran of many wars is going to be a short price, and I am thinking he is coming off the shelf into a difficult spot. Instead, let’s look to the classy Somelikeitbrown #3 (who I prefer, if we are looking at layoffs), Sacred Life #4 (who gets turf wizard Castellano), and Darain #5 (who Brad Cox is upping the ante after a score in a FG ALLW51k).

Talk about a nice race, and what we will need to watch is how the weather develops overnight. Some “give” in the ground could make the difference as “Good” heads towards “Soft.” Is everyone paying attention?

Wagering Recommendation: $100 Win #6, and/or $1 Trifecta Wheel, 5/6 w 3/4/5/6 w 2/3/4/5/6/8 or 3/4/5/6 w 5/6 w 2/3/4/5/6/8

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