Blue Grass Stakes Day at Keeneland, Race by Race Handicapping Analysis

July 11, 2020

Anthony Fontaine once again puts his handicapping skills on display and provides his race by race thoughts and selections.

Race One Selections: 7-9-4-1-5 

#7 Mau Mau has disappointed so far in the career but can rebound in this spot and may be overlooked at the windows. Has a nice work since turf experiment and should give a good effort with the racing experience.

#9 Wolfhand debuts for connections that normally do not excel first tie out however this horse has a nice pedigree and a steady worktab and merits some consideration. #4 Civil Servant has had three races and none of them with an ideal trip. Has caught two sloppy surfaces and the debut run sprinting is better than the result may indicate. With some racing luck may graduate today. 

Race Two Selections: 10-9-7-4-6 

#10 Directional had a scintillating work June 9th and I believe connections saw what they needed. Lookout!

#9 Therideofalifetime had an exceptionally good debut race and will build off that effort. Has worked well since the race and expect a good performance. #7 Plonder makes the debut off some moderate works but trainer is not known to drill them early. This runner ultimately may appreciate more distance but can close for a share in this spot. 

Race Three Selections: 2-9-7-4-6 

#2 Tortuga gets to try conventional dirt for the first time and should be highly competitive with this group.

#9 Crown Jewel has two nice races this year and with that experience may be tough to handle in this spot. Connections are rock solid and look for this runner to give a good effort. #7 Vanilla Bean Back may be overlooked in the wagering because of the soft number earned at Indiana downs but this one is well bred and can surprise the well-heeled aristocrats at this big meet. 

Race Four Selections: 6-1-4-2-5 THE APPALAICHAN GRADE II 

# 6 Walk in Marrakesh had a nightmarish trip at Churchill last race so players can zip a line thru that race. As long as this one is physically and mentally in the game should be formidable today.

#1 Mariafoot makes debut this side of the pond for a former Chad Brown assistant that knows what is doing with her horses. This is the surprise package of this field. Do not ignore. #4 Alms has done little wrong in her racing career. Was a bit wide last out however that race was off a layoff and should be tighter this time. This one is a must include in all multi race wagers. 

Race Five Selections: 8-5-7-4-3 THE MADISON GRADE I 

#8 Bells the One will be a great price in this spot and if the anticipated speed duel develops can benefit and pull off a shocker.

#5 Guarana figures to take some beating in this spot. Ultra-fast filly will be prominent throughout and if the other riders decide to let this one waltz up front forget it. #7 Mia Mischief has been a model of consistency throughout her career and looks to add to an already impressive resume. This one has done well on this track before and should give the favorite all she can handle up front in an ideal scenario. 

Race Six Selections: 13-2-8-7-9 THE SHAKERTOWN GRADE II 

#13 Leinster loves the distance and the surface and with the anticipated speed doing the dirty work this one can swoop in late for picture day.

# 2 Wildman Jack was impressive in the most recent effort after having success in the desert. The course will be a new experience however this one appears to run well over multiple courses so should be formidable once again. # 8 Bound for Nowhere always brings the A game. Trainer knows this course very well and this is the one they all must beat to cash. 

Race Seven Selections: 3-5-2-1-6 THE ASHLAND GRADE I 

#3 Bonny South absolutely loves this distance and figures to get a nice stalking trip while the early burners duel themselves into submission. The price should be nice as well so look for a big run form this nice filly.

#5 Tonalist’s Shape was all the rage at Gulfstream until she was forced to break from a disastrous post and had a wide trip throughout. Had a nice prep for this race last out and a return to form may see this runner shock some of the more fancied entries. #2 Venetian Harbor will be favored in this spot and has had some good efforts to validate that support. The pace will determine how long this runner is involved in this spot. If able to walk the dog up front then everyone else is running for second however if the expected pressure comes from the 6 then expect both to be softened up for some of the better stalkers. 

Race Eight Selections: 8-4-1-6-2 THE JENNY WILEY GRADE I 

# 8 Toinette returns to Keeneland where she had success before in an ultra-tough spot.

The prohibitive favorite Rushing Fall will be tough to deny but this runner should give her all she can handle late. #4 Rushing Fall has an exemplary resume and always brings her best. Chad Brown has many 25 other fillies and mares he could have placed in this spot so the fact she is here indicates she is ready for another dynamite performance. #1 Secret Message will hope for some pace to close into as this runner does her best running late. This one is in form right now and can see her taking a slice of the exotics. 

Race Nine Selections: 12-10-13-2-7 THE BLUEGRASS STAKES GRADE II 

#12 Enforceable will look to add to an already big meet for the Casse barn in this running of the Bluegrass Stakes. Horse will need an alert beginning so he does not get too far back as he tends to lag and make one run. There may be enough speed signed on to set up his late kick so as long as the rider can navigate a good trip and he should be coming in the lane.

#10 Rushie ran a best of the rest 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby won impressively by Honor A.P. who would be 3/5 in this spot. This one appears to be figuring out the game and with some luck can fill one of the top three slots in this event. #13 Tiesto is the surprise package of this event. Last year’s Derby winning connections team up in this spot with a runner that is trying dirt for the first time in a wide-open running of this storied event. The post is no bargain however rider is very adroit at placing his charges in a good spot to give a top performance. Do not ignore. 

Race Ten Selections: 4-5-9-6-10 

#4 Coco Chanel does not fit the conventional handicapping strategy as horse looks to be in tough in this spot. I will give this one a chance to light up the tote based on the fact Velazquez takes the mount and more so I have documented that every meet in Kentucky Lopresti sends out a runner to light up the tote board. Taking a stab here.

#5 Joy of Treasure does some of the best running off a layoff and trainer can have one ready to fire. Should be tough in the lane. #9 Delta’s Kingdom has been a bit of a disappointment however has shown an affinity for this course in the past and may get a good setup to deliver a nice performance.

Listen to our Gate to Wire podcast as we talk race riding and more with Umberto Rispoli…

Contributing Authors

alt="Handicapper Anthony Fontaine sitting in his office"

Anthony Fontaine

An avid horse player for more than 30 originally from the Virgin Islands Tony brings a unique perspective to handicapping.  Using speed figures, keen observation, ...

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