Tuesday, April 08, 2008

A Few Midweek Selections

Keeneland Race #2
The Keeneland juvenile races can often offer a good opportunity to make money. Not that you'll hit a bunch of longshots but generally there are only 2 or 3 horses capable of winning and certain connections tip their hands sometimes. As with all firsters keep a close eye on the tote right when the betting opens. Horses that are bet down significantly in comparison to their morning line are often live. Generally the Keeneland maidens are dominated by Asmussen, Ward and Pletcher. Throw in the odd live horse from Reed and Werner and you've basically covered every race. Most of the key connections are represented in this race but I don't really like the morning line favorite from Asmussen's barn. This horse has been working with Merkel (recent winner at Keeneland) but he does not get the stables first rider. Bridgmohan instead is on Political Chief who has seemingly been outworked by his stablemate. Downrigger is also drawn inside which can be a tough place to be. Wesley Ward may be one of the best gate trainers in the game. His charges nearly always break in front and flash good speed. The trouble with many of his horses is that they don't have any staying power but in a 4.5f race you don't need much stamina what you need is a good position early. Dicey Riley looks like the Ward ace. He's been working great not only here but in California. His western string always tends to be a bit stronger. The Pletcher horse Laver is live but Todd was a little dry with 2yo's last year and again this year his charges are struggling everywhere but the turf. Causin Havoc is a wild card who may be the wiseguy alternative. Watch the betting closely and use in exacta's for sure. I'm going to prefer the Ward entry slightly, but only if Dicey Riley stays in and I'll also use Political Chief and box those two with Causin Havoc in an exacta.

LATE EDIT: All the early money has flooded in for Troy G the McPeek entrant. I'd prefer to use him over Causin Havoc.

Ward Entry
Political Chief

Keeneland Race #3
For my money this race contains the play of the day. The field is not very high in quality and the big favorite is a horse who has never run on Polytrack and is a speed horse. It's hard for speed horses to take 7f races at Keeneland. Meanwhile the horse with the best All Weather surface form is the 4th choice on the morning line. Morada Key may be somewhat of a "hidden" horse because of his dreadful race on the grass last time but realistically that race has nothing to do with this one. He likes Keeneland and is very good at the distance. His 4th place finish in the Perryville represents form that is well above the rest of the field. He picks up Gomez who does not usually ride for the Holthus barn and has a nice off the pace style. I know it's a horse race so anything can happen but this looks like an excellent play.

Morada Key

Madison Stakes
The stakes features at Keeneland for the next three days typify what I love about the meet. There are at least 5 or 6 legitimate contenders in all of the races. The downside is that you could be completely wrong but not at all surprised with the result. The upside is the high probability of good value on your selection. Zada Belle looks scary and should be favored, if not heavily favored. I think you have to bet against her being a freak. She's speed, she's never faced this class or been on Polytrack. I like a pair of fillies that have proven ability over the surface and like to come from off the pace. Carriage Trail is trained by the savvy Shug McGaughey who I maintain is one of the best conditioners in the nation. 7f is definitely this girls best game and her highest figures have also come on this very track. it may seem like a step up in class since most of her career has been spent in allowance company but she even managed a 3rd behind Hystericalady and Pussycat Doll last year. Both of those would be very tough here. Watch for her to be picking them off late. Wild Gams is another who should be coming late. She has traditionally been a bit more of a 6f specialist but she loves the surface and even managed to beat Sugar Swirl at Keeneland. It's her first race of the year so she might not be as sharp as Carriage Trail who goes Turf to Main Track and has a fast blowout work but she is just as capable at her best. I'd use both of those in an exacta. I also have a ton of respect for Frankel's Ventura. She might be the horse who gets to Zada Belle first. It'll be up to the closers to reel her in. A must use in the exacta but I'm not enough on her to use her for the win spot.

Carriage Trail
Wild Gams

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