Not a bad day at Keeneland for day three of the spring meet. Some close calls, some boxcar winners, and a dominating performance in the feature, the Beaumont.
The day kicked off with my top choice running second and I kind of thought that it was going to be another day like Saturday where I would excel at picking the Place horse only. The second race was as little more kind as Fortheboysatthebar was able to take the top prize at odds of 3/1.
Race three featured another second spot but in the fourth race, a race that looked wide open going in, I was able to get my long shot play, Tangled Sheets, to bring it home at odds of 13/1. A $26 horse certainly helps point the day in the right direction
The day closed out with a daily double play in races seven and eight. The eighth race featured a heavily favored Franny Freud (3/5 post time odds), but by combining that horse with Bluegrass Princess, Miss Keller, and Sweetest Song in the seventh I was able to cash a little bit of value.
On to day four…
Race 1: $40K Claiming, 1 1/8 Miles, 4yo & up
Not a lot of great ideas in this small field of six $40k claimers as the Gulfstream dropper, 4-Valtrus (5/2), stands out as the logical favorite. 1-Jade's Revenge (3/1) fits in with this group on class but this horse hasn't done a lick of winning over the last two years, something I never like to see in the race record.
Race 3: $30K Maiden Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles, 3yo & up
Two horses stand out in this group: the 1-Ice Mist (4/1) and the 9-Refined Silk (4/1). Ice Mist hadn't done anything of note in his first four career starts but woke up when sent to the grass last time out at the Fair Grounds. If he's able to improve off of that effort in this spot he's got a shot at the win.
Refined Silk ran the best race of his career when he was stretched out to today's distance two races back on the Fair Grounds turf. He should get a decent pace to run at and the outside draw should help to keep him from getting boxed in when coming off the turn. Of these two horses, I prefer Refined Silk for the win.
Race 4: $10K Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles, 4yo & up, Fillies & Mares
Keeneland is certainly not at a loss for route races this spring meet as it seems everything is at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. The fourth race looks like it could be a little chalky as the 5-Cat Hop (5/2) has had a bunch of success over the Keeneland Polytrack. In fact, during the 2009 fall meet, Cat Hop scored a win against $25K claimers at this same distance. Notice that her only two bad races over the past couple of years have been her only two dirt races, so you can throw out that last effort.
Cat Hop won't offer a whole lot of value but I think she's clearly the best.
Race 5: N1X Allowance, 7 furlongs, 4yo & up, Fillies & Mares
There is a decent amount of pace in race five which should set things up perfectly for a horse to win from off the early pace. 4-Bramalea (5/2) has been running very solid races in her last three and broke her maiden at this distance during the Keeneland fall meet. Her previous success over this track is certainly a plus.
A little bit of an upset play might be the 3-Joxy Roxy (8/1), a filly that started her career with a couple of dull dirt efforts before finding her stride over synthetic and turf. She's shortening up after routing in her last three and should have plenty of stamina to run down the leaders in the lane.
Race 6: Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles, 3yo
This race appears to me to be screaming for a price play as we've got a very evenly matched field of twelve maidens. The sixth also is the opening leg of the late Pick 4 and is probably a spot to spread a little bit in order to ensure good coverage.
In terms of a win bet, I think the 7-Hurricane Hal (8/1) might be able to spring a win at a nice price. This horse has only run twice in his career, once on dirt and once on turf. The turf effort was somewhat dull but he did show a decent amount of early pace, something that would come in very handy in this spot. The dirt race was a very good race as the first, second, third, fifth and sixth place horses all came back to score in their very next race. That's not your ordinary Maiden Special Weight company and this race could offer a bit of relief in terms of class.
At 8/1 on the ML, and with Leparoux taking up the mount, Hurricane Hal seems like a good price play.
Race 7: N2X Allowance, 1 1/16 Miles (Turf), 4yo & up
Many eyes will be on the seventh race today as it features the return of Nicanor (5/2), full brother to Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro. Nicanor certainly has turned it on once he was switched from dirt to the lawn, and his high cruising speed makes him a very dangerous horse in this spot. However, I wonder if it might be a little too much to ask of this colt to fire off a nine month layoff. I'll be pulling for him but I'm going to try and find value elsewhere.
The pace doesn't look brilliantly fast in this race but that doesn't scare me off the closer, 9-El Crespo (10/1). This colt has been facing some really tough stakes competition the last two years and probably could have used a little class relief prior to this race. He's run pretty well at this distance in the past and if he can get a little bit of help on the front end he might be able to spring a nice upset.
Race 8: Grade 1 Vinery Madison, 7 furlongs, 4yo & up, Fillies & Mares
This analysis is going to be very short and sweet: 6-Informed Decision (3/5) towers over this field. She's been an absolute monster over this Keeneland course (4-for-4) and she beat champion Ventura twice last year. If she's even 85% of her 2009 self she should romp home.
Race 9: N1X Allowance, 1 Mile (Turf), 3yo, Fillies
The last leg of the Pick 4 isn't as hard as the first, but it's still a difficult race to navigate with several legitimate contenders. The 11-Queen of the Creek (6/1) looks to have a very good chance to make it two wins in a row against these allowance level fillies. Queen of the Creek broke out a very good race when asked to try the grass for the first time while also being asked to go two turns. Sired by Theatrical (IRE), it should surprise no one that this filly would love a switch to the turf.
If Queen of the Greek can't get it done, both 9-Smart Seattle (4/1) and 12-Hatheer (5/1) could be logical winners.