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Road to Kentucky Week 10

by The Oracle

Historic Keeneland is the venue today as we are only two weeks away from the Kentucky Derby. Today’s double point bonus race is the Lexington Stakes, which is really the last opportunity for a 3 year old to gain Graded earnings to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. This year’s edition only drew a field of 6 runners so we likely won’t see a big longshot in the winners circle. Keeneland has run 104 races this spring and yielded 27% winning favorites so that is below average. There have been 18 winners that have paid at least 8-1 so prices have been in good supply! The track has been favoring off-the-pace runners more in line with how a turf course would play. Good luck with your selections today!

Race 1: This is a claiming sprint for 4+ f&m at 5.5f. I selected Pish Posh (ML 8-1) who turns back in distance from a route and has 2 wins At Keeneland from 7 starts. He should be closing ground at this distance.

The Result: 4-6-3 in a formful opener as the even money favorite Easy Ashley dueled on the lead and held off Seeking Reason (4-1) and a fast closing Prospector Queen (7-1). My selection flattened out to 6th at 14-1.

Maximum Points: Easy Ashley 96
Maximum Score: 96
My Score: 0

Race 2: This is a claiming race for 3yo fillies at 1m1/16th. I selected Math Class (ML 6-1) who exits a win at Turfway Park and also won three starts back on the polytrack.

The Result: 2-1-7 as the two favorites dueled to the wire and Mundy was placed first after Came of Age (2-1) interfered with him at mid-stretch. It was a long ways back to Summerlong (13-1) in third. My selection faded badly at 9/2.

Maximum Points: Mundy 122
Maximum Score: 216
My Score: 0

Race 3: This is a mcl for 3+ f&m at 6.5f. I selected first time starter Patine (ML 6-1), a 4yo daughter of Smart Strike. She is working strongly for trainer Catalano who wins with 23% of his first time starters. The rail draw is tricky.

The Result: Serving Time blows up the tote board at 54-1 for trainer Speckert and jockey Lenclud! This is the stuff that winning contest scores are made of! This runner was a first time starter by Gilded Time breaking from post position 12. The official order of finish was 12-11-2 with favored Cocoa’s Image (3/2) holding second and Second Street City (5-1) finishing third. My selection ran 4th at 9/2 and had a troubled trip on the inside into the far turn. It’s very unlikely she would have challenged the top two finishers in any case.

Maximum Points: Serving Time 1,026
Maximum Score: 1,242
My Score: 0

Race 4: This is an allowance race for 4+ fillies and mares at 1m1/2 on the polytrack. I selected Cheetah (GB) (ML8-1) who is a European shipper trained by Clemente. This race was originally scheduled for the turf but moved to the polytrack. I like the Europeans going a marathon distance.

The Result: The Euro’s ran 1-2 as Cheetah ran right by them down the stretch to win easily at 9/5 over Dyna Waltz (5/2) and Rose Medallion (13-1). Unfortunately Cheetah was bet way down.

Maximum Points: Cheetah (GB) 118
Maximum Score: 1,360
My Score: 118

Race 5: This is a msw for 3yo fillies at 6f. I selected Dillingham (ML 10-1) who is a first time starter by Pleasant Tap who gets 11% debut winners. Trainer Demeritte is 14% with debut runners.

The Result: 11-7-5 was the order of finish as the top three favorites dominated. Jealousofmyboogie (2-1) defeated Walker Bay (7/2) and Splendor Town (5/2). My selection pressed the early pace at 12-1 and faded.

Maximum Points: Jealousofmyboogie 132
Maximum Score: 1,492
My Score: 118

Race 6: This is an allowance race for 4+ at 7f. I selected Fiscal Stimulus (ML 8-1) who ships in from Gulfstream where he had been running on the turf. His workouts at Keeneland have been very strong.

The Result: 2-8-3 was the order of finish as Trinity Run (7-1) defeated Senor Dehere (3-1) and Wear the Crown (9/2). The tote board was wide open in this one! My selection was in the mix for the show but lost the photo at 6-1. Trinity Run was lone speed on paper and it paid off if you went that direction!

Maximum Points: Trinity Run 292
Maximum Score: 1,784
My Score: 118

Race 7: This is the Grade 3 Benali Stakes for 4+ at 1m1/8th. I selected Mister Marti Gras (ML 6/1) who is another turf to dirt runner. He has 7 top 2 finishes from 13 starts and gets Napravnik in the irons. Exhi is the heavy favorite.

The Result: Exhi cruised wire to wire at 3/5 over Dean’s Kitten (9/2) and Mr. Marti Gras (9-1). Another formful result!

Maximum Points: Exhi 81
Maximum Score: 1,865
My score: 146

Race 8: This is the Giants Causeway Stakes for f&m at 5.5f. I selected Holiday for Kitten (ML 8-1) who turns back from turf routes at Gulfstream Park for trainer Wesley Ward. She should show a good late kick in this spot.

The Result: 7-6-10 was the order of finish as Holiday for Kitten showed surprising early speed and bested Wild About Marie (8-1) and Speedacious (15-1). The track has played very kind to speed types today, I was fortunate that my horse broke to the lead! All three horses were tight on the wire.

Maximum Points: Holiday for Kitten 434
Maximum Score: 2,299
My Score: 580

Race 9: The double point bonus race is the G3 Lexington Stakes for 3yo at 1m1/16th. Only 6 runners signed on, I selected Taptowne (ML 15-1) who has been running at Turfway Park and is proven on a synthetic track. He has run against some strong pace figures and was extremely wide in his last start. His odds warranted a play here as this field is not particularly distinguished. He fits with these. Silver Medallion should be the public choice.

The Result: 1-3-6 in the Lexington as Derby Kitten mowed them down in the stretch at 9-1 over Prime Cut (3-1) and Casper’s Touch (2-1). The winner was playable as trainer Maker excels with synthetic runners and he had the best late pace figure in the race. My selection made a move into the far turn but then fell apart and finished far back at 12-1. Favored Silver Medallion finished 4th. Unofficially, that’s ten straight losing Derby prep favorites!

Maximum Points: Derby Kitten 612
Maximum Score: 2,911
My Score: 580

Race 10: The nightcap is a msw for 3yo at 6f. I selected Gallant Pleasure (ML 6-1) who is a first time starter by Suave who gets 12% debut winners. Trainer Proctor is 9% with his debut runners, but Proctor/Gomez are 4 for 8 at the meet. Some things to like at a decent price…

The Result: 9-4-7 on the line as first time starter Et Al (11-1) won by a nose over Tale of the Dance (9/5) and Special Action (5/2). My selection ran 4th at 5-1. The winner was by Tale of the Cat who gets 17% first out winners. He was very playable with Leparoux aboard.

Maximum Points: Et Al 406
Maximum Score: 3,317
My Score: 580

Summary: The key winner today was Serving Time who was worth over 1,000 points. A few other chances for 400-600 point scores were out there as well. 1,500 points this week is a very good score and 2,000 should win it. Two weeks left in the contest and they are both at Churchill Downs. See you next week!