Keeneland Selections & Analysis Sunday April 08, 2018
By: Paul Hundley (@vapaul67 on Twitter)
Feature photo by Ann Chaloux (@ChalouxAnn on Twitter)
Hello everyone and welcome to the Sunday Selections and Analysis from Keeneland here on 5minutestopost! I’ll be your host today for this 9 race card featuring a pair of Graded Stakes and a pair of baby races. That’s two pair, a winning hand in poker more often than not! I guess that makes me your ACE in the hole, or maybe the joker? Well enough Poker metaphors, let’s get to the races?
RACE 1: 5-9-3-1
The first of 2 Baby (two year old) races on the card today for fillies going 4 1/2 furlongs. Obviously any discussion of a 2 year old race at Keeneland starts with the Wesley Ward entry or entries, as is the case in this race as he has the 3 and 5 in here. Ward’s main man Julio Garcia is on the 3-Stillwater Cove in here, and he has won at a ridiculous 42% since the beginning of 2017 from a limited amount of mounts. Having said that, I’m preferring the other Ward in here, 5-DRAGIC, who’s Dam is Former Grade 2 Stakes Winner LETGOMYECHO. Has produced 5 winners from 7 Starters. Albin Jimenez rides for 2 year old guru Ward. Like that she comes in with 2 decent 4 furlong works. 9-Shanghai Fantasy is by unraced mare VARUS, who has produced 7 winners from 8 starters. Is trained by James Chapman who is 3 for 7 with debuting at MSW level. the works have been fairly quick, would like to have seen a 4F drill though. The aforementioned 3-Stillwater Cove has to be respected based on it’s Garcia/Ward. Don’t like she comes in not having a work since 3/24. 1-Analyze This Cat, by Overanalyze, 16% FTS(First Time Starters) comes in off a nice 4 furlong gate drill at Keeneland.
RACE 2: 7-2-4-6
One of my favorite handicapping angles is finding horses that have exhibited good early speed in previous races and then cutting back in distance. 7-DIAMONDS FOR LEAH fits that angle perfectly today. Last time at today’s $25K level won by 4 lengths. Also has a win in lone start at Keeneland. 2-RIng Knocker takes a big class plunge from a $110K Stakes and goes turf to dirt for Mike Maker(18% turf to dirt) Jose Ortiz/Maker 21% combo recently. 4-Drop Dead Red has been a different horse since being claimed almost a year ago at Keeneland by Tom Amoss. Last time was in for a tag crushed the field by 9 lengths.
RACE 3: 11-6-9-1
The 2nd of the Two Year Old Filly Races today, and while I said in Race 1 every conversation starts with the Ward horses, I’m going to hope that he is somewhaat vulnerable here as I lean elsewhere for my top pick. 11-TOY MOON is out of the Mark Casse barn, who hits 16% FTS and Sire Malibu Moon clicks at a 14% rate with FTS.Dam Prettyatthetable has 5 winners from 6 starters and a stakeswinner. comes in off an impressive gate work at Keeneland. 6-Athens Queen has Wesley Ward going for it, has two works over the Keeneland surface, is from the Ward barn. Sire Majestic Warrior hits 12% FTS, and did mention Wesley Ward is the Trainer? 9-Our Miss Mo is by Uncle Mo(17% FTS) Dam Rings and Things has 4 winners from 5 runners. We talked about Trainer James Chapman in Race 1.
RACE 4: 7-9-4-10
Our first scheduled turf event of the day sees 3 year old Maiden Fillies going 1 mile. 7-WAR CABINET was 3rd of 9 in debut and only start thus far, which was last year on synthetic. Is a full sister to Group 3 winner Homesman. Shug McGaughey 21% first turf, 26% first time routing(1 mile distance or greater). Dam My Annette has produced 3 other Stakes Winners besides the previously mentioned Homesman. War Front 16% 1st time turf. 9-Kallio has been 2nd and 5th in pair of turf races at Gulfstream, switches to Luis Saez who had a fantastic Gulfstream meet. Not sure which tactics he will employ today; the off the pace style in debut or closer to the pace as was the case in last start. 4-Persepolis is a FTS for the Chad Brown barn(18% FTS) and is also by War Front. Dam has 1 turf winner from only runner.
RACE 5: 7-11-12-3
This is not the best races of the day, but it could be one of the best betting races. No one stands out here. 7-POMEROY’S UPRISING has ran her last 3 races on Turfway’s Polytrack, as alot of horses in here are going synthetic to dirt. Has ran well in her 3 races there, garnering a pair of 2nds and a 3rd, but her 4 starts on conventional dirt before that she posted 3 wins and a near miss for 2nd at 3 different tracks. Is jumping up from $5K claiming level but most in here are either coming from that level or $8K, so I’m not sure how much of a class jump it really is. Though it’s a small sample size, Trainer Eric Foster is 4 of last 9 moving up multiple class levels. Should be up near the front early, but hopefully not on the lead because not sure that’s the best place to be here in a race that appears to have a few frontrunners. 11-See The Bird cuts back from 1 mile and has also been running well at Turfway. Has been competitive on conventional fast dirt with an 11-2-1-3 record. Should be coming from off the pace. 12-She Loves Leather(My kinda woman!) is another cutting back in distance, going gate to wire last time at Turfway in a 1 mile event. You might think this horse fits the criteria of our top choice in Race 2, however that last race was one of only a couple where she exhibited a desire to be near the front. Trainer Merrill Scherer 3 of his last 9 with claim repeaters.
RACE 6: 5-2-4-10
This isn’t a Stakes race but make no mistake this race has the best quality of the entire card. Always been a fan of 5-BLACKTYPE, who is coming in off of a 3 month layoff. Came back from a 4 month layoff last year to run admirably vs the boys in the Makers Mark Mile after missing the break. Should have an ample enough pace to chase at. 2-Are You Kidding Me comes in off a 7 month layoff, and has not been on turf in over 18 months. Millionaire just missed in Grade 2 Seagram’s Cup at Woodbine last August. 4-Master Merion comes in with a 5 race win streak, but has been off for 5 months. Dangerous here with the Garcia/Ward duo guiding her. Has very tactical speed; can be on the lead, stalk, or come from off the pace. Ward 24% with runners off 90 days or longer, so he knows what it takes to get a runner geared up off a layoff. Also has performed well on firm or soft turf.
RACE 7: 4-5-3-2
First of two Graded Stakes for 3 Year Old Filles, this one the G3 BEAUMONT sprinting 7 furlongs. 4-UPPERCUT was a knockout in debut, going gate to wire to beat 4 other rivals that day. My belief that she has the ability to go toe to toe with this field today is the fact that Mike Smith travels over 2,000 miles from Southern California for 2 mounts(also rides in the G2 Appalachian) so I’m thinking that he feels she is a filly with immense talent. Believe she could head up a combination of Southern California horses to come in here. 5-Gas Station Sushi(eh, no thanks) glued to the early pacesetter in debut, took over before the stretch pulled off to a 3 length win as even money favorite(meaning a winning bet on a horse with even money odds would pay you $1 for every dollar you placed a bet for, give or take a few cents). Of course that debut was 8 months ago, but if she has matured and improved since then, everyone else could be running for 2nd. 3-Dream It Is already has won a Grade 3, winning the Grade 3 Schuylerville opening day of the 2017 Saratoga meet. Was her 3rd win in as many starts, but hasn’t been seen since. Another who likes to be up front early, or at least was her style last year. Comes in off a strong 4 furlong breeze a week ago.
RACE 8: 9-2-7-1
The feature race of the day is the Grade 2 Appalachian Stakes for 3 year old fillies scheduled for Turf at 1 mile. All eyes are on the 3 year old debut of 2017 Breeders Cup 2017 Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine RUSHING FALL, who finished her 2 year old season a perfect 3 for 3. Seems like the best chance to try and beat her here first off the layoff with 9-THEWAYIAM, who won 3 stakes at Gulfstream this past winter, the last two Grade 3’s. Her only bad race in the states was last November in the Jimmy Durante at Del Mar where she was in post 11 of a 12 horse field and was put close to the pace early and faded. Has since employed a come from off the pace style that has led to her current success. Probably not a coincidence last 3 wins also included Jose Ortiz aboard. 2-Rushing Fall is the obvious heavy favorite here as we discussed already what she brings to the table. Crushed them last fall in the Grade 3 Jessamine here by 3 lengths on soft turf, a possibility again today. Chad Brown 27% bringing horses off a 90 day or longer layoff. 7-Heavenly Love has only been on turf 1 time, but it was a good one, a 6 length win at Kentucky Downs before they put her on a dirt campaign that has not been successful in Stakes so far. Maybe return to the green stuff(Turf I mean) is what she needs.
RACE 9: 6-7-4-1
The finale on the card today and the only race on the card for male horses. 6-MARRIAGE COUNSELOR is facing older for the first time but there are several 3 year olds in this race. Drops from $50K Maiden Claiming ranks into today’s $20K level. Also goes turf to dirt for Mike Maker, who is 26% dropping multiple class levels. Main concern is if he’s ready for 9 furlongs in only 3rd career start. 7-The Robert also goes turf to dirt and puts Blinkers On for Eddie Kenneally (33% from last 33 starters), who is 22% turf to dirt. Javier Castellano rides. 4-Daddy’s Placer is the Morning Line 2/1 favorite and is taking a major class drop from Maiden Special Weights into today’s level. concern is has failed 5 times as beting favorite so proceed with caution here. 6 second place finishes suggest this one may not have the determination to win, but it would not shock a drop in class could cure his case of Seconditis.
VALUE OF THE DAY: MARRIAGE COUNSELOR 12/1(RACE 9)
VULNERABLE FAVORITE ALERT: 4-DADDY’S PLACER 2/1(RACE 9