Welcome to the Road to Kentucky blog recap for week 7! This week our featured track is Turfway Park and there are 5 stakes races carded for the afternoon. The featured race is the Grade 2 Lanes End which features a full field of 3 year olds hoping to project themselves into the Derby picture. None of the entrants is considered a first tier Derby contender at this time. Turfway Park has a synthetic racing surface so put your Polytrack thinking caps on and let’s give it a look. I’m generally not a great Polytrack mind!! Good luck today!
Race 1: This was a Mcl5000 for 3+ at 6.5f. The contender group didn’t look too deep; I ended up taking Sir Cat Dance (ML 7/2) who showed some brief early speed last time while routing. He may appreciate the cut back in distance and grab a share against a very modest field. The even money favorite is Stormin in Dixie and he may be the controlling early speed. His trainer is winless, though. The other logical contender was Friendly Partner who also turns back in distance and has the outside post. He also gets a little class drop for this one.
The Result: Sir Cat Dance broke well and made the lead shortly after the start. Stormin in Dixie loomed at the 16th pole but Sir Cat Dance fought him off late to win by a head. Stormin in Dixie was second and Friendly Partner finished third.
Maximum Points: Sir Cat Dance 166
Maximum Score: 166
My Score: 166
Race 2: This was a Clm5000N3L for 3+ at 1m1/16. I tried Seaside Storm (ML 3-1). He has been in the mix at this level over the past couple of months and had a troubled trip in his last start. He should be forwardly placed early. Many in this field have settled at this level and it will just depend on who gets the trip and who is feeling good today.
The Result: Seaside Storm got a nice stalking trip at 2-1 and prevailed over Smarty O and Teds Buddy. The favorites dominated this one as well.
Maximum Points: Seaside Storm 134
Maximum Score: 300
My Score: 300
Race 3: This was an Alw24000N1X for 3+ fillies and mares at 6f. I selected Panthera Tigre (ML 3-1) who exits a 2 month layoff and has finished in the money in all three career synthetic track starts. She will need some early pace ahead of her to set up her late run. The main rival is Wedding Diamond who has not finished worse than second in five races over the Turfway strip.
The Result: Phoebe’s Song pulled the 5-1 upset in front running fashion over Wedding Diamond and Moa Annette. This was a tough horse to like in my opinion because she hadn’t run in 14 months and was switching to an ice cold jockey who was only 3 for her last 121 mounts. My selection rallied wide into contention but flattened out down the lane.
Maximum Points: Phoebe’s Song 230
Maximum Score: 530
My Score: 300
Race 4: This was an MSW22K for 3+ at 6f. I selected Kennessey (ML 5/2) as he gets the jock change to Leparoux today and should be formidable at short odds. Run Gump Run and Fleet Dayjur appear to be the main rivals.
The Result: Big longshot Kentucky Blend kicked clear on the turn and held on by a head at 33-1! This was a horse that had run once and showed some brief speed against maiden claimers and today was entered against the special weights. Obscure connections also enhanced the price. Itza Maker finished second and Portstewart ran third. The even money favorite Kennessey made a bold run on the inside through the turn but lost some momentum and ran evenly late. I don’t believe the inside is the place to be on these synthetic racing surfaces. The win was capped at 600 points. Great handicapping if you found Kentucky Blend!
Maximum Points: Kentucky Blend 968
Maximum Score: 1,498
My Score: 300
Race 5: This was an OC50K/N1X for 3yo fillies at 6.5f. I tried longshot Janou (ML 20-1) based on her two workouts since her last start. She had shown some ability earlier in her career. She flashed brief speed in her last effort around two turns and cuts back to a sprint today. The heavy favorite is Complicity for trainer Michael Maker. She also turns back from a route after running a game second in her last start.
The Result: Complicity was last to the top of the stretch and then flew down the outside late to score at 2/5. Full Strut was second and Uneven finished third. No shockers in this one. My selection didn’t show the speed I was hoping for and never got into contention at 23-1. Full Strut got the most contest points for her second place finish.
Maximum Points: Full Strut 74
Maximum Score: 1,572
My Score: 300
Race 6: This was the 23rd running of the Queen for 4+ fillies and mares at 6f. It looked wide open on paper so I selected Hadavision (ML 10-1) who has the hot trainer Michael Maker (41%) and exits a dominating win at this track in her last start. She has two wins on the Polytrack in her career and merits a look against these in a wide open race. A case can be made for about any of the runners in this race.
The Result: Favored Just For Keeps won it at 2-1 over Proud Heiress and Mrs Petoski. My selection showed nothing at 10-1. This was Maker’s “other” horse in the race. Normally I like to play the longer price of the uncoupled entry. Four doughnuts in a row, ouch!
Maximum Points: Just For Keeps 136
Maximum Score: 1,708
My Score: 300
Race 7: This was the 15th running of the Hansel for 3yo at 6f. I thought the pace would be fast so I chose King Puma (ML 5/2) to score from just off the pace. King Puma has three bullet workouts since his last start and appears to be the one to beat on paper as he opened less than 2-1 on the board.
The Result: Turfiste set some fast splits but hung on to beat the heavy favorite with a 6-1 score. King Puma was second best today at 6/5 and He Ain’t Right ran third at 15-1. The speed is holding well today from what I’ve seen so far because they were really crackling in this one. Leparoux wins his second straight race!
Maximum Points: Turfiste 262
Maximum Score: 1,970
My score: 366
Race 8: This was the 27th running of the Grade 3 Bourbonette Oaks for 3yo fillies. I’m probably in trouble here the way the track has been playing but I selected Hot Cha Cha (ML 10-1) from the outside to score from off the pace. Hot Cha Cha faces Stakes competition for the first time today and has won two of four career starts. She stretched out successfully in her last start and scored at 5-1. The big favorite is Fitz Just Right.
The Result: Hot Cha Cha was up to the task today as she stayed wide on both turns and drew away to an impressive 6 length victory at 9-1. Jockey Mojica had a ton of horse today with Hot Cha Cha. Fitz Just Right held second and Instrumentalist was third. Hot Cha Cha is the daughter of Cactus Ridge who made a brief appearance on the Triple Crown trail several years ago before being injured. He had raced at Canterbury Park as a two year old and also won the Washington Futurity at Arlington Park I believe.
Maximum Points: Hot Cha Cha 322
Maximum Score: 2,292
My Score: 688
Race 9: Here is the 24th running of the Rushaway for 3yos at 1m1/16. I selected Fitzaslew (ML 5/2) as he projects to get a lone early lead in my view. He just failed in a sprint at Gulfstream Park in his last start and he tries the synthetic surface for the first time today. Trainer McPeek is having a huge spring. Other contenders are Ziegfeld, Cliffy’s Future and Summer’s Empire. No Inflation is getting a lot of early money as he exits a victory on the turf at Tampa Bay Downs.
The Result: Cliffy’s Future rallied into the stretch and won going away at a nice price of 7-1. Ziegfeld was up for second and Toccet Rocket ran third at a big price. My selection bobbled a bit at the start and never got clear like I envisioned he would. Instead, he got stuck in the middle of a three way pace battle and we’ve all seen those types of trips end with ripped tickets on the ground. That’s why I use a betting card; I don’t have to rip up the tickets.
Maximum Points: Cliffy’s Future 282
Maximum Score: 2,574
My Score: 688
Race 10: This was the featured 38th running of the Grade 2 Lanes End Stakes for 3 yos at 1m1/8. I took an absolute bomb that really isn’t defensible on paper, but nevertheless when you’re on Page 16 in the contest it’s time to shake things up. My selection was Bruce N Autumn (ML 20-1), who is a cut below the top runners in here but Romans is a sharp trainer and he thinks enough of him to give him a shot against these. He will have to really step it up on the Polytrack to contend and he makes his debut over this surface. Three year olds make huge leaps forward sometimes…why not Bruce N Autumn today? Also, picking horses that have your real first name within the name of the horse is an obscure handicapping angle that has mixed results. Zayat Stables own this son of Lemon Drop Kid. West Side Bernie and Bittel Road are the two favorites and Garrett Gomez has shipped in from California for the ride on Bittel Road.
The Result: Picking a longshot was the way to go as the two favorites were nowhere at the wire. Hold Me Back scored from the rail at 9-1 followed by longshots Flying Private and Proceed Bee. Hold Me Back had defeated Rushaway winner Cliffy’s Future last November at Keeneland over the Polytrack and he is trained by Bill Mott. The son of Giant’s Causeway may have stamped his ticket to the Kentucky Derby if the connections so choose to go. The more I look at this horse the more playable he is on form, with the strong connections, good breeding and the projection of development from age 2 to age 3. My selection ran evenly in about mid-pack at 50-1 odds. Nice handicapping if you found this playable winner at a square price.
Maximum Points: Hold Me Back 740
Maximum Score: 3,314
My Score: 688
Race 11: This was an MSW22k for 3yos at 6f. There were a few scratches in this race including my selection which means I will have the post time favorite. It looks like the favorite will be Marcus Erroneous from the rail with Garrett Gomez aboard.
The Result: The favorite Marcus Erroneous got one of those inside trips on the Polytrack that doesn’t go anywhere. Leopold Bloom was the 12-1 upset winner as a first time starter for trainer John Good who is now 6/13 at the meet. King Andrew was second and Marcus Erroneous was third. The track has proven to play for speed and closers today as late in the card we have had several rally wide types score after the speed dominated early.
Maximum Points: Leopold Bloom 524
Maximum Score: 3,838
My Score: 718
Race 12: This was anMSW22K for 3yo fillies at 6f. I thought there were only a few contenders and I chose the probable front runner Princesa Marin (ML 5-1) who generally gets the lead and doesn’t hold on. Eibar Coa tries his luck aboard my selection today. Flowers of May defeated my pick pretty handily last time out and Future Story looks like a well intended first time starter for the George Arnold barn. I can’t see anything besides one of these three winning it. The public is hammering a different first time starter named Wynchase who shows some sharp workouts at Keeneland.
The Result: Future Story won it at 5/2 with another wide rallying trip over Princesa Marin and Commadore Kate. Favored Flowers of May never showed up.
Maximum Points: Valiancy 152
Maximum Score: 3,990
My Score: 800
Summary: The key horses today were Kentucky Road and Hold Me Back. There were also several mid-range priced horses as the favorites had a bad day. I could only manage to find one of those longer priced winners. Something around 2,500 points would be in line to win it using my 2/3 of maximum points rule of thumb. I doubt we saw any serious contenders for the Kentucky Derby today as this Lanes End field looked pretty modest to me. Good luck if you tabbed one of those big prices and I will be back next week.