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    Picks and Preview for Keeneland Ft. Breeders’ Futurity, Turf Mile, and More – Saturday, October 9

    Picks and analysis for the Claiborne Breeders' Futurity, First Lady Stakes, Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes, and more graded stakes races at Keeneland this Saturday, October 9.

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    On Saturday, October 9 at Keeneland features five graded stakes races including four Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In races and three Grade I races: the First Lady Stakes, the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, and the Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes. I break down all five graded stakes races 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 from the fields at Santa Anita on Friday. 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: 1 1/16 miles

    Type: $30,000 Maiden Claiming

    Age: 3-years-old and up 

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: Invisible War (3-1) is the morning line favorite and coming off a 7th-place finish by 10+ lengths the last time out, which was a mile on turf. Fortunately for him, the first race today is on dirt, a surface where he’s performed better. That said, he’s hardly an impressive morning line favorite and I find myself looking at Mo Heat (7-2) as the potential winner. Mo Heat likes the distance and has run well over a mile while collecting several second-place finishes, which can sometimes be a negative, but in this field really makes him stand out. Captain Fantastic (5-1) is another horse that’s gotten close to the winner’s circle several times but just hasn’t been able to finish. He ran just a couple of weeks ago and finished more than eight lengths off the pace, so he doesn’t give me much confidence in this race. However, I do like long shot Blake B. (12-1) who has finished competitively at a mile and while he’s weakened a bit when going longer, I like his chances to hit the board in this field.

    Win: Mo Heat ($7,500)

    Place: My Favorite Uncle ($6,000)

    Show: Blake B. ($750)

    Race 2

    Post time: 1:32 PM ET

    Distance: 6 furlongs

    Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: Despite finishing a distance sixth in his maiden, I understand why Kaely’s Brother (3-1) is the morning line favorite given the strong workouts and great connections. He’s also one of the only experienced horses in the field and should build off a solid, if unspectacular, first effort. Circle Back Jack (9-2) seems like a solid horse, but he’s only run on turf to this point, and given his relative success on that surface, I’m not convinced a switch to dirt will improve his finishes. That said, he should represent the early speed and that can be advantageous in a sprint race against less experienced horses. Of the first-time starters, I’m intrigued by The Judge and Jury (6-1) due to the workout figures and some of the trainer stats as horses trained by John Ennis wins 21% of their first starts and when he hooks up with jockey Adam Beschizza, they win 25% of the time. Additionally, B Sudd (6-1) has the outside post position and has been running some strong five-furlong workouts.

    Win: B Sudd ($6,000)

    Place: Kaely’s Brother ($8,000)

    Show: The Judge and Jury ($6,000)

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    Race 3

    Post time: 2:04 PM ET

    Distance: 1 1/8 miles

    Type: Allowance $86,000 purse

    Age: 3-years-old and up

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: If Orchestration (7-2) continues to progress the way he has from his first two races then this shouldn’t be much of a contest. He was able to win his second time out while stepping up in class and distance while also posting one of the best speed figures in the field. A fellow 7-2 horse, Scarlet Fusion has run against decent competition in his career and transitioned nicely to turf. Modus Operandi (6-1) is a bit of an unknown, seeing as this is his North American debut, but the horse can do the distance and ran better the firmer the turf was over in Ireland, which is promising for a successful transition to the United States. Monition (12-1) provides some nice value for a horse that could make a similar jump Orchestration made last time out. Monition won his maiden at a mile and is taking the next step, but his speed figure is already aligned with many other entries in the field. Kittansett (3-1) is an odd morning-line favorite given that he’s never run on turf despite multiple attempts. Therefore, how he performs on the surface is a bit of an unknown even if he has done well on sloppy tracks.

    Win: Orchestration ($7,500)

    Place: Scarlet Fusion ($7,500)

    Show: Modus Operandi ($5,000)

    Race 4

    Post time: 2:36 PM ET

    Distance: 1 mile

    Type: $80,000 Allowance Optional Claiming

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: This is a fascinating race of potentially impressive two-year-olds who might just make waves next year given their pedigree and early performances. Rich Strike (3-1) won his last time out by 17 (yes, 17) lengths and his speed figure should be taken with a grain of salt since he cantered home. That said, it was at a low level of competition and the horses in this field are of significantly higher quality. One of those horses is Elusive Target (5-1) has a few things going for him. First, he’s a Gun Runner progeny, which has equated to a whole lot of success for this first crop of his offspring. Second, he’s got Ricardo Santana Jr. and Steve Asmussen in his corner. Third, he’s faced stakes competition at a mile his last time out and while he got trounced, he still finished second and was five lengths clear of the next horse. Britain’s Kitten (5-1) and Tuanis (9-2) are both good horses but might be better on turf given their previous performances; however, the latter has turned in some nice workouts on dirt leading up to the race.

    Win: Elusive Strike ($6,000)

    Place: Tuanis ($6,500)

    Show: Rich Strike ($8,000)

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    Race 5

    Post time: 3:08 PM ET

    Distance: 6 furlongs

    Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: Except for Jack Backed (6-1) the rest of the horses in the field are making their first start. Morning line favorite Stealth Fighter (3-1) might be the next good horse coming out of Brad Cox’s barn as he’s been turning out improving workout figures the last few weeks, but he has competition in Classic Moment (4-1) one of the many horses trained by Steve Asmussen who was the most expensive yearling of the field, fetching nearly $400,000 last year. However, Classic Moment is more than just a high price tag as he has also been impressive in workouts. Switzer (6-1) is another potential threat. I like his consistency working out and long-term distance could be an issue but at six furlongs he shouldn’t be pressed too badly. Circling back to Jack Backed, he’s coming off a claim and ran well on turf, but clearly, his new trainer sees something and has a successful track record at transition horses from turf to dirt.

    Win: Jack Backed ($5,000)

    Place: Classic Moment ($7,000)

    Show: Switzer ($5,000)

    Race 6

    Post time: 3:40 PM ET

    Distance: 5 ½ furlongs

    Type: Woodford Stakes – Grade II

    Age: 3-years-old and up

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: The first of five stakes races that features a smaller field that has a clear favorite in Golden Pal (4-5) who is coming back to North America after running his previous race in England. Prior to his jaunt across the pond, Golden Pal has run off a three-race win streak that featured two graded stakes victories. His front-running style should set up nicely as there is no other early speed and he’ll be able to set the pace at which he’s most comfortable. From a morning line perspective, his biggest challenger is Extravagant Kid (5-2) who is also coming back from England for this race, but he’s been trending in the wrong direction the last several races and at eight years old, it’s possible that his best days are behind him. We’ve seen other older sprint horses such as Whitmore retire, and I have a feeling Extravagant Kid may have lost a step. I like the value on County Final (5-1) as a horse that’s cutting back in distance and has been running stronger speed figures each time out. He finished 6th recently at the Franklin Simpson Stakes at Kentucky Downs, but only lost by two lengths, so he was competitive in the 11-horse field. He’s not broken through at the graded stakes level, but this feels like a good opportunity. Meanwhile, Firecrow (9-2) got caught in a bizarre Turf Monster at Parx a few weeks ago that saw a 109-1 long shot, Hollywood Talent, win. He was close for most of the race and is still somewhat inexperienced on turf, but I think he’ll bounce back from a fluky race that also saw him only lose by two lengths despite finishing fourth.  

    Win: Golden Pal

    Place: County Final

    Show: Firecrow

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    Race 7

    Post time: 4:12 PM ET

    Distance: 6 furlongs

    Type: Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes – Grade II

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

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: Another smaller field in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes. Inthemidstofbiz (10-1) will go for the early lead and may be joined by Frank’s Rockette (5-2), but I don’t like the chance of either to wire the field. Bell’s the One (7-5) and Estilo Talentoso (5-2) are talented closers with strong kicks and if there is any speed for them to run into, I’d expect them to make up lots of ground over the last two furlongs. Interestingly, despite being the favorite, Bell’s the One has never beaten Estilo Talentoso in their two career meetings and while Bell’s the One has had an impressive Grade 2 victory earlier this summer, Estilo Talentoso has been incredibly consistent and is taking a step back in distance, which might help her have more at the end. Meanwhile, Club Car (10-1) provides outstanding value to hit the board. She’s hit the board in multiple graded stakes races and has a victory at Keeneland, so at the price, she provides significant upside.  

    Win: Estilo Talentoso

    Place: Bell’s the One

    Show: Club Car

    Race 8

    Post time: 4:44 PM ET

    Distance: 1 mile

    Type: First Lady Stakes – Grade I

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

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: Absolutely terrific field in the First Lady Stakes. I wonder if there is a prop bet you can make about how many lengths clear of the field Blowout (8-1) and Dalika (12-1) will be going down the backstretch as I’m not sure there are two more prolific frontrunners on the entire card. Due to the mile distance, both will probably be a little more restrained, but Dalika showed last time out that she can run from behind at a shorter distance with great success as she came in a close second at the Ladies Turf Stakes at Kentucky Downs in September. However, she loses the exquisite turf jockeying of Joel Rosario and gets Miguel Mena for the race. However, coming to chase them down are a slew of talented horses led by morning-line favorite Althiqa (7-2) who showed a great deal of class at The Diana by nearly passing the entire field for the victory. She’s under the training of Charles Appleby and is one of the dominant horses Godolphin has unleashed on American turf running this year and she’s comfortable at a mile. Not far behind her is crowd favorite Princess Grace (6-1) who just keeps winning and does so on different tracks. She’s never run in a Grade 1 race, but she has competed against several of the horses in the field previously. Her sole loss, a second-place finish, came at Keeneland in a Grade 3 event last fall. She’s been undefeated since and the question will come down to whether she or Althiqa have a strong closing kick. Regal Glory (5-1) is a Chad Brown horse who hasn’t quite been able to break through against this level of competition, but I like his chances to hit the board. The long-shot Hendy Woods (10-1) also fits that provide as she’s been improving and just go edged out by Regal Glory two races aga, but bounced back with an easy victory and really prefers the mile distance. The two outside horses, La Signare (20-1) and Viadera (8-1) bot have a lot to offer, but I don’t love the post position and for Viadera so much will depend on where she is able to settle in and whether she’s too far back to make a run at the end.

    Win: Althiqa

    Place: Hendy Woods

    Show: Blowout

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    Race 9

    Post time: 5:15 PM ET

    Distance: 1 1/16 miles

    Type: Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: This is an exciting group of two-year-olds and sadly I think the race will be dictated by the arbitrariness of post positions. If Classic Causeway (5-1) was anywhere other than the far outside post position 13, I’d tell you to put all your money on him to win. He ran a monster maiden and posted the best speed number, by a significant margin, in the entire field. However, that far outside post position scares me, and based on his running style, he’s going to have to use up a lot of early speed to get on the lead and has the position to be hung out wide the entire way around, which isn’t ideal when stepping up from seven furlongs to over a mile in your second career race. Double Thunder (4-1) has done a nice job ramping up his distance in previous races but got beaten easily in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special by High Oak and Gunite back in August and while this field might not be as strong, I don’t love the odds for a horse that’s now being challenged by a large field and is breaking from the far inside and doesn’t have early speed, which means he’ll be shuffled back. Stellar Tap (9-2) has good pedigree for distance but struggled when running this length at the Iroquois Stakes in mid-September. Two horses that I have my eyes on are Don’t Wait Up (9-2) and Great Escape (8-1). Don’t Wait Up is in a good post position to break for the early lead but like many of these horses he hasn’t done the distance before, so there is a question mark as to whether his front-running style will be effective over two turns. Meanwhile, Great Escape showed nice improvement between his first and second races and has been having nice workouts at Keeneland. Additionally, he should be able to secure a nice stalking position within a few lengths of the leaders, which will set up well for his closing kick. Finally, American Sanctuary (12-1) may benefit from a slightly better trip in this race that could save some ground and could be a factor given his progression in distance. 

    Win: Great Escape

    Place: Classic Causeway

    Show: Don’t Wait Up

    Race 10

    Post time: 5:46 PM ET

    Distance: 1 mile

    Type: Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes

    Age: 3-years-old and up

    Surface: Turf

    Overview: Order of Australia (7-2) is starting on his second race in North America with his only previous one being a victory at Keeneland in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile last year, which interestingly is his only career victory at the mile distance. The Aidan O’Brien horse has continued to run well in his four-year-old campaign but has only managed one victory since the Breeders’ Cup triumph. On the other hand, Pixelate (9-2) has never finished off the board at a mile and has three victories at the distance. He’s also peaking at the right time given his victory at Kentucky Downs recently over fellow runners Somelikeithotbrown (9-2) and Monarchs Glen (20-1). Ivar (5-1) hasn’t run since May and his workout figures have been solid, but unspectacular and I’m not confident he’ll be able to pick up where he left off his previous campaign. Tell Your Daddy (8-1) is running the best figures of his career, but his last victory could be chalked up to the yielding turf, which is unlikely to be the case on Saturday. Finally, I really like Somelikeithotbrown, but for the same reason I’m worried about Classic Causeway, I’m also worried about him since he’s breaking in the 13-post position on the far outside and may get strung out wide in his effort to get to the lead. Finally, if you believe in workouts, it might not be crazy to take a shot on Diamond O0ps (15-1) who is be running great six-furlong workouts recently while preparing to step up in distance. He’s only making his seventh career turf start but might be a valuable addition to exotic bets to hit the board.

    Win: Pixelate

    Place: Order of Australia

    Show: Diamond Oops

    -Ad-

    Race 11

    Post time: 6:20 PM ET

    Distance: 1 1/16 miles

    Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

    Age: 2-years-old

    Surface: Dirt

    Overview: Giant Game (4-1) had the most impressive maiden, but several of these horses appear to be evenly matched and distance is a question mark for nearly all of them. I believe Norgay (6-1) has a lot to offer based on his recent workouts and his improved effort his second time out. Let My People Go (8-1) has two second-place finishes his first two times out but might be more effective on turf. Speaking of that, Bourbon On Fire (10-1) has run at a mile on turf and seem some respectable finishes but a shift to dirt might be what he needs and distance is less of a concern for him than many, so I like his value on the backend of exotics. Another long shot is Call Me Midnight (10-1) who finished behind Giant Game last time out but showed significant improvement from his previous effort. If he can make another similar improvement this time out, he’s guaranteed to hit the board, if not the winner’s circle.

    Win: Norgay ($5,000)

    Place: Giant Game ($7,000)

    Show: Call Me Midnight ($1,000)

    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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