Anthony Fontaine goes race by race through Keeneland’s strong Saturday card.
A great card is on tap today at Keeneland. The weather should be ideal for racing so dive right in!
Race One: Selections 5-8-2-10
#5 Hallajoori lost all chance in her last race as she stumbled at the start. Going only five and a half at full throttle any disadvantage like that made the race a toss out for me. Had previously shown some ability and should rebound today with a much better effort.
#8 Lucrezia debuts for Delancour who can have them ready to fire early. Lures the services of Prat which catches the eye and the works for this are solid if not flashy, worth a shot. #2 Hai Bobbi was playing bumper cars last out in the stretch and was subsequently DQd to 5th. All in all it was a solid effort and if this one can maintain a straight course this time may be a threat in the lane.
Race Two: Selections 8-6-3-1
#8 Gotham Gala has had a steady campaign this season and will look to take another today. Comes off a game effort where she fell a little short however was game in defeat. Should find the competition in this contest manageable and should be right there at the wire.
#6 Whoa Nellie comes off a break since July and finds a spot where this one can be effective. This one has been a consistent performer and look for a nice forward move off the freshening today. #3 Red Dane seems to love Keeneland and invariably outruns her odds at this track. Will need to get a good trip but Hernandez is very good on this circuit so will rate this one a very long look in all the slots today.
Race Three: Selections 8-7-4-2
#8 Flight Time has yet to display any of the brilliance that led to all those victories back home. This may be the easiest spot since coming to the US and may sneak under the radar off those non show performances so will give a shot here at a nice price.
#7 Solomini seems like a horse that avoids the winners circle at all costs. Normally runs respectably and gets a slice but cannot back with confidence in the top slot, all respect to the new trainer. #4 Altito is the definition of a blue collar performer that tries hard each time. Has had success at this distance and there are questions concerning many of the other more fancied runners and I feel this one should be given serious consideration today.
Race Four: Selections 10-11-4-3
#10 Pow Wow Prince ran evenly around the turf course at the Spa without threatening and will seek a better outcome on the main track today. The winner of that turf race came back to win a stake so that race looks live and with the pedigree of this one I am willing to give him another opportunity on the main surface.
#11 Whisky Man closed like gangbusters in the debut at Ellis. This runner can benefit greatly from that experience and if able to work out a good trip from the wide post should be closing again for a slice. #4 Sprawl disappointed in the second outing as was favored but could only manage a minor placing. Had some trouble but did not think this one would have won anyway that day. Must improve but can share today.
Race Five: Selections 10-7-4-1
#10 Great Ulysses won like a favorite should in the debut at Indiana. Was well in hand and won as rider pleased so may not have seen his best as yet. Connections took the finale on the Friday card with another that ran at the Indiana meet so will rate this one highly today.
#7 Peruvian Boy has ran well each time out and will need to continue that trend with this salty bunch. Comes off two consecutive stake races and may be comfortable with the level of competition today. Must consider. #4 Beyond Gone did not appreciate the lawn last out and will welcome a return to the main. Runner has shown ability in the past and looks spotted for action today.
Race Six The G2 Woodford : Selections 9-6-4-3
#9 Leinstar may have regressed a bit from the huge effort at the Spa last out. Has had some time to recover and look for another huge performance more like the one delivered at the Spa today in an ultra- tough race.
#6 Smart Remark tried to wire the field last out at Kentucky Downs and fell just short as was caught late. If opening day was any indicator speed is holding well on the turf. The Lexington area has had an unprecedented drought where they have not seen any real rain in months and the course is rock hard with very little give. #4 Stubbins had a great view of the crowd at Kentucky Downs last out being fanned wide yet closed nicely. Will have to get a better trip today to have an impact as the Keeneland course is not as expansive as the one at Kentucky Downs.
Race Seven The Thoroughbred Club of America: Selections 3-6-5-8
#3 Spiced Perfection has shown an affinity for this surface and always brings her A game to each event. This is a highly competitive group today however I feel this one will be able to sit a good trip and pounce at the right time with the master of strategy Castellano signed on.
#6 Mia Mischief has had two ho hum races where she faded a bit however that work at Keeneland indicates to me she is on her toes ready to deliver an optimal performance today. Do not sell short in this spot. #5 Dawn the Destroyer comes off a solid runner up effort and will look to improve on that race today. Will have the speed to chase and if rider can time his move can make serious noise in the stretch.
Race Eight The G1 First Lady: Selections 8-11-7-13
#8 Mitchell Road can wire this field as long as the rider breaks alertly and allows her to use her natural speed to establish the lead without going all out. A controlled :47 half and she will prove difficult to reel in late.
#11 Rushing Fall has been a virtual ATM for connections as this ever consistent filly always gives asuper effort. Was defeated last out by a runner that has won 5 straight Grade 1 races on the lawn including the Breeders Cup F&M Turf. Ultra game horse will be tough to deny once again. #7 Indian Blessing closed well last out and made the lead but was caught late in a very impressive effort. This one may be at a disadvantage on this rock hard turf course as speed has been holding well so would have to be kept close when ready to make her move.
Race Nine The G1 Breeders Futurity: Selections 6-8-1-2
#6 Maxfield broke slowly in the debut yet was able to corral the field and win in a good looking effort. With all the speed signed on for today’s event I envision Ortiz sitting back and letting the pace develop then pouncing all the way to the winners circle.
#8 Ajaaweed weaved through traffic like an experienced runner in his second start to earn a nice win. Will need to utilize similar tactics today as there is a plethora of speed on paper, and rider would be well advised to give a patient ride in this spot to maximize this one’s chances of being an exacta player. #1 Tap It to Win ran a nice speed number while breaking the maiden stylishly at the Spa. Must stretch out today and break from the rail which is always a tricky proposition with young horses. Has the tactical speed to be in the mix from the start, however with all the other speed in this race I have a difficult time seeing this one lasting into the stretch for the win.
Race Ten The G1 Shadwell Turf Mile: Selections 10-8-6-12
#10 Robin of Navan had the world of trouble last out at Longchamp and will appreciate having the ability to actually make his run without a wall of horses in his way. This one’s form has been darkened a bit by the horrendous trips experienced and I think today he will show his true ability at a nice number.
#8 Vintager is another coming from across the pond seeking Grade One riches in this race today. Has been a solid contender all year and gets Lasix for this event today so I would look for a solid effort. #6 Admission Office fires each and every time he enters the starting gate. In his last race before the break he had significant trouble early yet rallied for a share. I feel this is a horse on the improve with unlimited potential which should be on display today.
Race Eleven: Selections 9-11-5-8
#9 Bird Map debuts for Norm Casse in this tough MSW to close out the Saturday card. Has good solid works for debut and Liam’s Map has already produced a few debut winners as a sire.
#11 Honor Hop will have to overcome the wide post however Rosario is very adept at working out good trips. This one may ultimately appreciate more distance however I feel this one is ready to fire a good shot today. #5 Further lane has been working exceptionally well for this debut and the presence of Castellano indicates connections are all in for the win today. First timers are always a bit tricky however if this one runs to the works everyone else will be running for a minor award.