By Aaron Hayes (@AHaze24 on Twitter)
Race 1. 6 Furlongs Clm Purse $31,000
(3) Junket drops in class for his 2nd race of the year. Ricardo Santana Jr gets on board for the 1st time and should be coming from off the pace.
(5) Town Classic received a 91 Bris speed rating in his last race. He has to rely on his overall speed to make up for the 9 month layoff. Corey Lanerie will manage his early pace tactics.
(1) The Gipper returns back to dirt after 2 tries on the grass at 5 ½F. This also is 2nd start after a layoff so you can expect a better effort than his last race. Brad Cox is winning 26% with horses 2nd off a layoff.
Race 2. 1 1/16 Mile Mdn Purse $74,000
(4) Absolute Love recorded a bullet on April 16th going 4F in 47.3. She ran a game 2nd in his last race at Oaklawn and should improve off that race.
(2) The Girl Factor ran 2nd by ¾ of a length in a mile at Oaklawn. The 78 Bris speed rating was the highest from the last race from this group.
(3) Tell Your Mama has the most races out of these maidens. She drops in class after being a non factor in a G2 at Gulfstream. Robby Albarado returns for his 2nd mount.
Race 3. 7 Furlongs Clm Purse $40,000
(4) Knights Key has a 96 Bris speed rating in his 2nd place finish at Oaklawn last out. He has been off 50 days and looks ready to fire. Ricardo Santana Jr has a win aboard him coming from off the pace.
(6) Majestic Affair will rely on his class after being on the shelf for 10 months. He has 2 workouts over the surface in his attempt to return to a sprint. His front end speed will carry him to the lead without much pace in this race.
(2) Royal Blessing returns to the dirt after 8 races on the turf. This Gulfstream shipper does have some experience at Keeneland going 2 for 2.
Race 4. 5½ Furlongs (Turf) Alw Purse $76,000
(9) Chipolina hasn’t seen the track since her debut win at Saratoga in September. Wesley Ward has given her 4 workouts since February. With lots of speed in this race I see her rating right off the lead and striding past her foes mid way down the stretch.
(1A) Sirenusa broke her maiden on debut at the Fairgrounds on March 17th. She’ll be vying for the lead with jockey Adam Beschizza.
(4) Elizabeth Darcy makes her 2018 debut after finishing 6th in the JuvSprint at Del Mar on Nov 4th. She’s never raced at 5 ½F before and it’ll be interesting if her stamina will hold up today after the layoff.
Race 5. 6 Furlongs Mdn Purse $74,000
(7) Abounding Joy was 2nd best in her maiden debut. She received a nice 81 Bris speed rating for that effort. She’ll be forwardly placed throughout.
(2) Believe in Victory dam has 7 winners from 8 starters
(8) Trace had a decent workout on April 18th going 4F in 48.2.
Race 6. 1 1/8 Mile (Turf) Alw Purse $38,000
(2) Knockholt won his debut going this distance at Tampa Bay on Feb 25th. Stamina will not be an issue for him. He won with a well timed ride from off the pace and was barely asked. Trainer Jonathan Thomas is winning at 29% with shippers and 33% with maiden winners.
(8) Bantu has near misses losing by a neck and a ½ length in his last 2 races. His only win has came with Joe Rocco Jr aboard. With his slightly off the pace style, he should have 1st run coming down the stretch.
(1) Cullum Road had an impressive kick to break his maiden last out. He recorded a 86 Bris speed rating in his last race. Joel Rosario has been in the money 75% this meet.
Race 7. 6 Furlongs A lw Purse $76,000
(1) Autostrade had an imposing debut win by 5 lengths at Gulfstream on March 11th. That wire to wire performance gave him a 96 Bris speed rating. He has the rail and will use his speed to dictate the race. If no one puts a serious challenge to him early, he could open up and get away down the stretch. This Todd Pletcher trainee will be tough to beat.
(4) Twins Farms drops in class after finishing last in a 125k stakes race at Tampa Bay. He now returns after a 3 month layoff and being is now a gelding. Look for him to be a lot sharper with Jose Ortiz aboard.
(5) Shangroyal makes his 2nd start of the year after some time off. He was bumped at the start by still managed a solid 2nd place on the turf. He now stretches out and returns back to the dirt.
Race 8. 1½ Mile (Turf) Alw Purse $76,000
(2) Zumurudee makes his 2nd start off a layoff where he finished a good closing 3rd. He had a slow start, hopping when the gates opened, and had traffic trouble at the top of the stretch. I expect him to rebound at a price with Adam Beschizza aboard.
(11) Focus Group returns for Chad Brown since his last outing in October. He has 2 recent workouts over the Keeneland surface. Jose Ortiz rode him for his lone victory going 1 3/8 mile.
(6) War Daddy received two 90+ Bris speed ratings in consecutive races. With his 2nd race back after a hiatus, he should improve. Corey Lanerie has hit the board on all 4 of his rides aboard him.
Race 9. 1 1/16 Mile MC Purse $23,000
(11) Potomac went to the lead and was clear early but ultimately was 2nd best going 1 1/8 mile. There is absolutely no speed in this race and I expect him to be on the lead. He gets Edgar Morales who carries 109lbs. The weight drop and cut back in distance can be an advantage with these unproven maidens.
(12) Colonel’s Pride returns back to dirt after his last place showing on the turf. Trainer Larry Jones has 3 wins in 7 starts this meet and is winning at 25% with shippers. He had a nice workout going 4F in 47.3.
(6) Strategic Ekati adds blinkers and is a 1st gelding. This is 1st race back since October.