We're now over the half-way mare of the 2012 Keeneland Fall Meet with the ninth day of racing on tap for Wednesday, October 17th. Let's take a look at the entries, changes and handicap some of the more interesting races on the day.
Race 2 - $10k Claiming, 6 Furlongs, Polytrack, 3up f&m
The Early Pick 4 kicks off with an open company $10,000 claimer for older fillies and mares and features a pair of well-intentioned runners in the field. 2-Easy Ashley (3/1) is a Wesley Ward trainee (and ownee) making her first start since winning at Keeneland last spring at the $25k level. She's run well over synthetics and at Keeneland, but you have to wonder about a mare that won at over twice the tag last time out almost half a year ago and hasn't raced since. I'm guessing she's been dealing with some physical issues.
9-Prairie Prize (3/1) jumps up in price after scoring at the $5k level at Arlington Park in late September. This is a tough class test for this mare but her recent form suggests she's strong enough to be a prime contender.
The low priced horses (including morning line favorite 5-More Miss Crissy (5/2)) all have flaws but the rest of the field looks pretty weak on paper making it tough to get away from the chalk.
Race 4 - Maiden Special Weight, 1 1/16 Miles, Turf, 2yo f
7-Penrose (6/1) woke up nicely in her first start on Polytrack at Turfway in her last start and should be able to transfer that form over to the turf course. Throw in the fact that that last race was at two turns and she becomes an interesting price play in this spot.
Race 5 - $25k Claiming, 1 1/16 Miles, Polytrack, 3up f&m
Sometimes I just don't get why some connections enter horses in certain race with exhibit 1A being 7-Full a Tension (50/1) in the fifth race on the card. And while this filly scratched out of today's race this morning, why the hell was she even in it to begin with? This is an open company claiming even and Full a Tension is a maiden that lost her only race by 26 ¾ lengths at Turfway Park in early September.
4-Rose Medallion (2/1) is a legit favorite in this race and her Keeneland Polytrack form is simply fantastic (6-4-1-1). She tried the Keeneland lawn in her last race and didn't show very much in the way of quality. The drop into the claiming ranks should enliven her form.
I love the Poly and Keeneland form of 8-Francis Gardner (4/1) but she'll need to step up her game again open company after facing conditioned claimers in her most recent efforts.
Race 6 - $40k Claiming, 6 Furlongs, Polytrack, 3yo f
As I've written before, I love the abundance of open company claimers at Keeneland on a daily basis. Unfortunately, three morning scratches decimated what looked to be a nice field of ten three-year-old fillies in the sixth race.
With the scratch of 8-Jamraa taking out one of my plays in this race, I'm now leaning towards the Presque Isle Downs shipper, 2-Royal Reward (8/1). She should be able to sit just off 1-Guava Girl (5/1) and 7-Admired (6/1) in the early stages and should have a good shot at a victory in the final quarter mile.
Race 7 - Maiden Special Weight, 7 Furlongs, Polytrack, 2yo f
Another big field of juvenile maiden with a bevy of first time starters thrown into the mix, from which I've got two fillies caught my eye in this race: 1a-Ultimate Trooper (10/1) and 4-City At Dawn (15/1).
Ultimate Trooper is by a good win early and synthetic sire in Successful Appeal but he's trained by a trainer that's been abysmal with first timers over the last five years (4 for 53, 8% Win%, 23% ITM, $1.20 $2 ROI) and even worse with that move at Keeneland (0 for 15, 20% ITM). Love the pedigree. Hate the trainer numbers.
Michael Matz isn't tremendously successful with firsters (12 for 49, 6%, 26% ITM, $1.55 $2 ROI), but he's good enough that I don't mind taking a shot with a well-bred runner at good odds. City At Dawn is a son of City Zip, another strong sire of first time winners and synthetic runners.
I'm not super excited about playing either of these fillies but if the price is right on either I'll take a small nibble in the WPS pools.
I initially liked 9-Rate Change in this spot but she scratched from the field this morning.
Race 8 - Allowance N1X, 1 1/2 Miles, Turf, 3up f&m
The eighth race on the card is the first of three mile and a half races on the turf over the next two days, two of which are allowance events.
I didn't really love any of the fillies in this field but I do think that 3-Beijoca (4/1) could be in line for a nice run coming off that good third at Kentucky Down in her last start. Fitness shouldn't be an issue given the testing nature of that course and this might be a race that plays heavily towards fillies and mares able to survive the trip.
Race 9 - $10k Claiming, 6 Furlongs, Polytrack, 3up f&m
Another open company claiming races completes Keeneland's Wednesday card, this one for older fillies and mares at $10k a pop.
There isn't a ton of speed in this race which should give a big advantage to 9-W. W.'s Senorita (5/2), another nice looking Presque Isle Downs runner.
I really like 5-Miss Eliza (8/1) in this race due to her solid form on synthetics in the past. Her most recent effort at Turfway was a bit of a head scratcher but her races on the plastic last spring were all quite good. At morning line odds of 8/1 I'm willing to take a shot that she finds her true synthetic form in this spot.