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Road to Kentucky Week 10

Beautiful Keeneland is home to the contest today with the featured Lexington Stakes as the contest bonus race. If you’ve never been to Keeneland I highly recommend doing so when you get an opportunity. The Lexington has a full field but probably no horses that will move on to the Kentucky Derby. Pletcher trained Connemara would have the earnings to do so if he wins today. My strategy today is to not play any horses that their last race on a dirt track (when it’s a main track race). Let’s see if there are any shockers like last weeks Blue Grass winner at 40-1 odds. The track doesn’t seem to be playing as closer friendly as it has the past couple of years.

Race 1: This is a Clm40000 for 4+ at 7f. I selected Shore Do (ML 7/2) who makes his second start off the layoff after finishing third against a bit tougher at the same distance. He bobbled at the start in his last and gets a rider switch to Albarado from Lebron. Only five horses in the gate for the opener.

The Result: New Believer won by a length at 5/2 over Shore Do (5/2) and Silent Pipe (9/2). The winner was previously 2 for 2 at Keeneland and was exiting a turf race at Gulfstream back in February. He stalked the pace about 5 lengths behind the leaders and rolled home.

Maximum Points: New Believer 142
Maximum Score: 142
My Score: 58

Race 2: This is an Alw58000N2X for 3yo fillies at 1m1/16 on the turf. I selected Laura Babe (ML 4-1) who broke her maiden at Churchill last year at 21-1 and was recently facing stakes competition at Oaklawn Park.

The Result: Joharmomy prevailed at 2-1 over Lisa’s Kitten (2-1) and Lucky Lass (5/2). My selection was well beaten 4th at 4-1. The winner was a Tampa shipper off a two month layoff and has now won three straight races.

Maximum Points: Joharmony 130
Maximum Score: 272
My Score: 58

Race 3: This is an Msw50K for 4+ at 6.5f. I selected Lejadami (ML 5-1) who debuted on the Gulfstream turf and shows a bullet workout over the Keeneland surface.

The Result: Versailles Road went wire to wire at 5-1 over Tapis Magique (3/2) and Strategic Decision (17-1). My selection faded to fourth at 7/2. The winner previously ran on the Gulfstream dirt in a race that has now had at least three starters win their next out.

Maximum Points: Versailles Road 208
Maximum Score: 480
My Score: 58

Race 4: This is an Alw58000N2X for 4+ at 1m1/16. I selected Il Girasole (ML 8-1) who has shown sharp early speed on the turf at Santa Anita and Gulfstream in his last few starts. He has been off seven weeks since his last race.

The Result: Gridiron grabbed the lead from the rail and went wire to wire at 4-1 over Fine Flyer (5-1) and Conservative (2-1). Gridiron had last run at Aqueduct main track in February in a wire to wire win at 7-1.

Maximum Points: Gridiron 198
Maximum Score: 678
My Score: 58

Race 5: This is an Msw50K for 3yo fillies at 7f. I selected La Cloche (ML 15-1) who makes her 3yo debut after running on the Belmont turf last fall.

The Result: First time starters took down all three spots as Embur’s Song won at 7-1 for the Pletcher barn with Gomez aboard. Longshot Dixie’s Hope was second at 36-1 and Developing Story (5-1) was third. Embur’s Song is by Unbridled’s Song and she won easily by at least 10 lengths. Keep your eye on her down the road. Surprising that she was such a good price with those connections. My selection didn’t fire at 8-1. Dixie’s Hope got the most contest points for her second place finish.

Maximum Points: Dixie’s Hope 418
Maximum Score: 1,096
My Score: 58

Race 6: This is an Alw58000N2X for 4+ f&m at 5.5f on the turf. I selected Qeyaada (ML 6-1) who is a Euro sprinter making her U.S. debut. She gets first Lasix and has Albarado aboard for Attfield.

The Result: Ivory Empress won as the 2-1 favorite over Qeyaada (9/2) and Tsunami Bertie (7-1). The winner was shipping in from Gulfstream and making her third start off the layoff.

Maximum Points: Ivory Empress 134
Maximum Score: 1,230
My Score: 150

Race 7: This is an OC80K/N3X for 4+ at 1m1/16. I selected Premium Gold (ML 6-1) who has been running on the Gulfstream turf and has Gomez aboard. He has wins at 9-1 and 11-1 on form.

The Result: Forest Attack was the wire to wire winner at 2-1 over Deal Breaker (2-1) and Hallway (6-1). The winner was from Turfway and trained by Michael Maker who had last weeks 40-1 Blue Grass winner. He excels with his runners on the synthetic. My horse faded at the top of the stretch at 9/2.

Maximum Points: Forest Attack 120
Maximum Score: 1,350
My score: 150

Race 8: This is the 14th running of the Giants Causeway for f&m 3+ at 5.5f on the turf. I selected Life Lesson (ML 6-1) who has good early speed and had a very bad start in her last effort on the synthetic at Turfway Park.

The Result: Stealth Woman prevailed at 3/5 over Raspberry Jam (6-1) and Shopping Cart (9-1). The track has dried out and speed is doing much better. My selection showed brief early speed and faded at 17-1.

Maximum Points: West Ocean 92
Maximum Score: 1,442
My Score: 150

Race 9: This is the 29th running of the G2 Coolmore Lexington at 1m1/16. I selected Krypton (ML 6-1) who exits a huge win over the track in his last start against Allowance foes at 7f. He has two turn experience on the turf and should secure good position from the rail.

The Result: Exhi grabbed the early lead around the first turn and didn’t look back at 19-1. Bushwacked was up for second at 5-1 and Uptowncharlybrown (4-1) was third. It seems unlikely that Pletcher would be able to send out a horse at such a high price after the run he’s been on this spring, especially a horse coming off a win on synthetic. Only three horses in the race had posted bigger speed figures in their career than Exhi’s last race. 19-1 seems inexplicable in hindsight with connections like that. That’s the tough thing about this contest is trying to guess which contenders will go off at the best odds. My selection chased the winner to the top of the stretch and tired at 6-1.

Maximum Points: Exhi 1,344
Maximum Score: 2,766
My Score: 150

Race 10: This is a Clm10000 for 4+ at 1m1/16. I selected Runaway Banjo (ML 5-1) who has been outrun against better in his last few starts and takes a needed class drop today.

The Result: Royal Jabar wins the nightcap at 7-1 for McPeek and Albarado. Another Dancer finished second at 8/5 and Curly (9-1) was third. The winner was taking a big drop in class and was second off the layoff after running at Gulfstream Park. My selection was never involved at 8-1.

Maximum Points: Royal Jabar 276
Maximum Score: 3,042
My Score: 150

Summary: You needed to be right on Exhi today to have a shot at the weekly prize. Other than that it was pretty formful. The speed seemed to hold pretty well all day. The winning score should be right around 2,000 points this week. Congratulations if you tabbed Exhi!

The Oracle