Keeneland, Santa Anita, and Delta Downs Picks and Analysis – Saturday, October 16

On Saturday, October 16 at Keeneland features some exciting racing including the Grade I Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes. I break down that race along with Saturday stakes races at Santa Anita and Delta Downs on the podcast and give you my Win, Place, and Show predictions. Additionally, play along at StableDuel where you can enter contests and win big. How? Download the StableDuel app and then pick 10 horses with your $50,000 fantasy budget. If your stable comes out on top, you’re a winner! In addition to picking the winners below, I’ll also include the “price” in the StableDuel contest.

Race 1

Post time: 1:00 PM ET

Distance: 6 furlongs

Type: $30,000 Waiver Maiden Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up 

Surface: Dirt

Overview: The five horses with previous experience in the field don’t overwhelm you with their previous performances, which immediately draws your eyes to the new shooters, Lofty Adjudicator (12-1) and Jovial (7-2). Jovial has run some nice workouts, has great pedigree, and gets an outside post position, which should help breaking and getting to the early lead. Devil’s Tower (5-2) is regressing at six furlongs while Commodore Perry (3-1) is stepping down from Maiden Special Weights to Maiden Claiming races, which might help as he’s shown good speed in workouts and is getting a cutback in distance. Early races are typically ripe for long shots, but this field looks top-heavy.

Win: Commodore Perry ($8,000)

Place: Jovial ($7,500)

Show: Freer ($8,000)

Race 2

Post time: 1:32 PM ET

Distance: 6 furlongs

Type: $50,000 Maiden Claiming

Age: 2-years-old 

Surface: Dirt

Overview: A crowded juvenile race featuring mostly first-time starters offers some opportunities for value and to get a look at an upcoming crop of runners. Morning line favorite Just Say When (3-1) looked crisp during his last workout and while I certainly trust Flavien Prat to give him a good ride, I’m not overwhelmed to think that he’s the clear favorite. I may be proven wrong, but I’m going to take a bit of a swing here and show your attention to Gran Muchaco who is trained by the same man, Fausto Gutierrez, who trains Letruska, and who turned in a great five-furlong workout last week and has Ricardo Santana Jr. aboard for the ride. I think there is something there. Ashwins Orb is the best of the horse that has had a start and has been working out great the last few weeks, so I’d like to see him improve upon his maiden effort. Golden Luna (6-1) should also be considered as a potential winner because of his workouts and because Tyler Gaffalione (27% winning rate) is on a roll so far at Keeneland.

Win: Golden Luna ($5,000)

Place: Just Say When ($8,000)

Show: Gran Muchaco ($250)

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Race 3

Post time: 2:04 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

Age: 2-years-old

Surface: Turf

Overview: Another crowded juvenile race, but this time on turf and we see a few horses looking to build off impressive first efforts. Spin Wheel posted a nice Beyer’s figure in his maiden at the same distance as this race and while he was out of contention, some of the other horses he ran against have gone on to step up against much stronger competition. Meanwhile, Grand Sonata (3-1) came in second last time out but is now stepping up in distance; however, Todd Pletcher is as good as any trainer in the country at building up stamina in his horses. I really like Heston (6-1) coming from in the inside post position because he nabbed a show finish his first time out at this same distance and the Brendan Walsh-Godolphin combination should be taken seriously. Verbier (7-2) is an intriguing first-time start from Brad Cox, but I think he may need a little seasoning to tackle the distance. Of the first-time starters, I like North Street (15-1) quite a bit due to his workouts, connections, and pedigree. Worth considering in exotics.

Win: Heston ($5,000)

Place: Spin Wheel ($7,500)

Show: Verbier ($7,500)

Race 4

Post time: 2:36 PM ET

Distance: 6 ½ furlong

Type: $20,000 Claiming

Age: 2-years-old and up (fillies & mares)

Surface: Dirt

Overview: Afleet Diva (2-1) is making her first start in over a year after being shifted from the barn of Peter Miller to Wesley Ward who has absolutely been on fire at Keeneland so far this meet. Perhaps the long layoff will lead to rust, but her workouts have been solid and she’s going to position herself right off the early speed. Kewpie Doll (7-2) is a worthy second favorite but just switched barns so we’ll see what impact that may have on her performance. However, if you throw out her two turf outings, she shows the sort of speed and consistency that should challenge Afleet Diva. Of the others, I have my eye on Yogurt (6-1) and Mama Lou (5-1). The former has been working out crisply of late and is coming off a little bit of a layoff after two races in 11 days. The latter has been working her way up the circuit and won her last two starts and while she may not have top-end speed, she’s attracted some decent jockeys, so I like her chances to hit the board.

Win: Kewpie Doll ($7,500)

Place: Afleet Diva ($9,000)

Show: Yogurt ($5,000)

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Race 5

Post time: 3:08 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: $50,000 Claiming

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Dirt

Overview: Fighting Seabee (3-1) is getting significant class relief and lost last time out to a horse (Cavalry Charge) who ran very well last weekend. He is transitioning from turf to dirt, but his workouts on dirt have been solid and his four-furlong bullet workout last week was spectacular. I have a feeling Palace Coup (12-1) is going to have a strong showing under the new training of Robertino Diodoro who is winning 22% of his races off the claim and the horse has a history of doing well at the distance. I really love the value of Hanalei’s Houdini (10-1) who has a history of doing well at the distance and never gets embarrassed. The horse changes hands a lot but always seems to improve in the second start after being claimed. I would avoid Pioneer Spirit (7-2) who has been regressing since winning and posting a 94 Beyer’s figure in March. You’re better off taking a flyer on Gigging (8-1) who is stepping up in class after a win.

Win: Hanalei’s Houdini ($1,000)

Place: Fighting Seabee ($8,000

Show: Palace Coup ($750)

Race 6

Post time: 3:40 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

Age: 2-years-old

Surface: Turf

Overview: Really love the favorite, Curbstone (2-1) in this race as it’s a horse that figured things out the second time out and just barely got edged out, but who has run the distance twice and is clearly a turf horse. Additionally, the workouts have been great, and Brendan Walsh will make sure Ricardo Santana Jr. pushes this horse to the lead and uses reasonable fractions. Wicked Genius (3-1) does seem to have discovered something when he switched to turf but is taking a step up in distance and didn’t seem to be able to track people down at 6 ½ furlongs. Hashtag No Wonder (12-1) improved from his first to second race, but that also corresponded to a slight drop in distance. His most recent five-furlong workout looked great though, but I’m not sure how much speed he’s going to be able to run into in the race. If you’re looking for a long shot to play, Big Woo (10-1) has been clocking in solid five-furlong workouts for the last two months and has Tyler Gaffalione aboard.

Win: Curbstone ($9,000)

Place: Hashtag No Wonder ($750)

Show: Wicked Genius ($8,000)

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Race 7

Post time: 4:12 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 mile

Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)

Surface: Dirt

Overview: Sovereign Appeal (8-5) should romp to an easy victory here given his success at the distance and the face she’s been hitting the board and his only two truly bad races were her maiden and the only time she ran on turf. However, I’m always wary of horses that seem to always be the bridesmaid, but never the bride. The problem is Big City Momma (2-1) is taking a step up in distance and has finished double-digit lengths behind the winner in all her races, so we can toss her out, which leaves Street Missy (7-2). There are some things to like about Street Missy, particularly her workouts. Her last effort was on a sloppy track and perhaps that can explain the distant third-place finish. She may ultimately be better as a sprint horse, but she’s run well at a mile and might benefit from facing a slightly smaller field. Berate (6-1) might improve her second time out and Shug McGaughey’s son is the trainer, and he’s already won at Keeneland this season. The workouts haven’t been terrible, and he’s got a good reputation of stretching horses out, so while it’s a risk, I like for him to hit the board.

Win: Sovereign Appeal ($9,400)

Place: Street Missy ($7,500)

Show: Berate ($5,000)

Race 8

Post time: 4:44 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Type: Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes – Grade I

Age: 3-years-old (fillies)

Surface: Turf

Overview: The lone graded stakes race on the card is a great one. You could easily make the case for nearly every horse in the field to hit the board. Morning line favorite Empress Josephine (3-1) ran seven days ago at the First Lady Stakes can come in a driving third. It’s hard to imagine that she will be ready to face this level of competition over a longer distance on such short rest. The two Chad Brown horses are intriguing as one, Technical Analysis (4-1), is a proven commodity while the other, Shantisara (7-2), is the up-and-comer. I prefer the known quantity, particularly since Technical Analysis is coming off consecutive graded stakes victories in Saratoga this summer. Casting our eyes further down the race, I’m particularly intrigued by Closing Remarks (8-1) and Flippant (15-1). Closing Remarks has been about as consistent as any horse in the field and hits the board every time out. She’s got a great turf jockey on her this time in Umberto Rispoli and drawing the outside post position might keep her out of some of the trouble she’s run into in previous races. Meanwhile, Flippant finally got her first win back in July and hasn’t stopped winning since, ripping off three consecutive victories against increasingly improved competition. Additionally, her win at Colonial Downs might be a good omen as several Colonial Downs winners have performed well at Keeneland this season. Of the first-time European shooters, I prefer Cloudy Dawn (15-1) over Nicest (10-1).

Win: Technical Analysis ($7,000)

Place: Closing Remarks ($3,000)

Show: Flippant ($500)

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Race 9

Post time: 5:16 PM ET

Distance: 1 mile

Type: Allowance $86,000

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Dirt

Overview: An intriguing race where Ducale (8-5) should be the early speed and unlike last time out, he won’t have to deal with the likes of Baby Yoda running an even more blistering pace. Stepping up to a mile is a little bit of a question and it’s possible long shot Eastside Cool (30-1) could try to push him early and unlike Ducale, he has experience doing that at a mile. I think you can find value with Ottothelegend (8-1) who flopped at the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby but has been improving beautifully prior to that. The horse loves distance and has been in great workouts at Ellis Park. I also think you can find value in the two 5-1 horses, Malibu Star and Mr. Tip. Malibu Star has done well at the mile distance and should get a ground-saving trip. Meanwhile, Mr. Tip will likely come from well of the pace and should be hoping for a speed duel but has an impressive closing kick at a mile and I like him to sneak on the board.

Win: Ottothelegend ($3,000)

Place: Ducale ($9,4000)

Show: Mr. Tip ($6,000)

Race 10

Post time: 5:48 PM ET

Distance: 5 ½ furlongs

Type: Allowance $88,000 purse

Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)

Surface: Turf

Overview: It seems the benefit of running the 1a, Farsighted (4-1), is only running on turf to force the pace a little bit to allow the 1, Social Chatter (4-1), to use her solid closing kick. Social Chatter is on a two-race win streak and has never finished worse than a neck for second when running on turf and has shown recent improvement. Chili Petin (3-1) has run well of late, but also may prefer synthetic surface to turf. Additionally, she’s coming off a six-month layoff, so there may be some rust and stamina issues. Ghosting Kim (8-1) has won on the Keeneland turf before at the distance but typically comes from well off the pace, which is a risky proposition in such a short sprint. If she could be more forwardly placed, it might really help. The recent three-furlong bullet workouts indicating that breaking and getting out fast is going to be a focus for this race. Signify (5-1) is another strong contender who is 3-3 at hitting the board on turf and won on the dirt at Keeneland in the spring. She’s got some versatility to her running style and hasn’t been on the board in her last five races.  

Win: Social Chatter ($7,000)

Place: Signify ($6,000)

Show: Ghosting Kim ($3,000)

Get all of Matthew’s horse racing coverage by following him on Twitter at @failedtomenace, by subscribing to Amalfi Media’s YouTube channel, and following The Win Place Show podcast.

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