Picks for Keeneland – Saturday, October 30

On Saturday, October 30 at Keeneland features some exciting racing including the Grade II Fayette Stakes, which will be the final race for the great horse Code of Honor. I break down that along with the other two stakes races at Keeneland 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: 1 1/16 miles

Type: $10,000 Claiming

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

Surface: Dirt

Overview: We start off with a small but competitive field where I’m initially looking at Angel of Verdun (4-1). She is taking a step up in distance but has run against similar levels of competition before with success and I like for that speed to translate in this race. Additionally, she’ll be on the lead and setting the pace, but that might be an issue. Miss Commish (9-2) and You Can Be Magic (9-2) should be right with her while morning line favorite Indian Bella (7-2) will likely be sitting off a very hot early pace, which will bring the closers into consideration. The horse that may benefit from that the most is Our Closure (6-1) who will sit well off the early speed and then start tracking horses down one at a time. War Eagle’s Love (8-1) may try to do the same and has been a consistent horse at hitting or nearly hitting the board.

Win: Our Closure ($5,000)

Place: Indian Bella ($7,500)

Show: Angel of Verdun ($7,000)

Race 2

Post time: 1:32 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

Age: 2-years-old (fillies)

Surface: Turf

Overview: We move to a turf route race where the field is running in unchartered territory going 1 1/8 miles for the first time but several horses seem to have strong pedigrees for the challenge. Bella Astem (4-1) faded a little bit her first time out, but she’ll have an ideal trip from sitting off the pace and her bullet workout last week indicates that she’s got the speed necessary to pass horses in the homestretch. Morning line favorite Pearl Earring (7-2) showed some improvement and maturity her second time out as she broke significantly better and was in a better position to succeed. Ultimately, she finished second, but I’m slightly worried that she didn’t show a propensity for passing many horses in what will be a crowded field. The horse I’m intrigued by is Bee Right (6-1) who finished 3rd last time out to California Angel who promptly punched her ticket to the Breeders’ Cup the next time out. It shows that she’s run against strong competition and might be a factor now that the upper echelon of her division is no longer present. Sign and Seal (5-1) and Freedom Rose (4-1) will likely be the early pacesetters. If they maintain a reasonable pace, both could hit the board, but I’d lean toward the latter as having the stamina to hold on based upon a stellar 6-furlong workout last week.

Win: Freedom Rose ($7,000)

Place: Pearl Earring ($7,500)

Show: Bella Astem ($7,000)

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Race 3

Post time: 2:04 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: $20,000 Maiden Claiming

Age: 2-years-old

Surface: Dirt

Overview: You can find some value in this race as the favorite, Illustrious (5-2) appears to be the favorite for no other reason than we finished in the same ZIP code as Jack Christopher last time out. Yes, that was an insanely fast pace and he’s not facing anyone as good in this field, but he still finished 7th in a 7-horse field by 23 lengths. Meanwhile, Loonshot (3-1) does not inspire much confidence either as he’s been getting demolished in his dirt races and might be better on turf. I’m looking at Embodiment (5-1) who is making the transition from turf to dirt and his trainer, Brendan Walsh, is on a roll lately at Keeneland. I also love Tyler Gaffalione giving him the best possible ride. I’d also take a hard look at Verrucarol (4-1) who is making his first start but checks all the necessary boxes and has the right connections. Baja Fog (6-1) should be on the early lead and while I think he’ll give ground late due to the distance; I think he’ll be strong enough to hit the board.

Win: Embodiment ($6,000)

Place: Baja Fog ($5,000)

Show: Verrucarol ($7,000)

Race 4

Post time: 2:36 PM ET

Distance: 7 furlongs

Type: Maiden Special Weigh $84,000 purse

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

Surface: Dirt

Overview: This is an interesting race to handicap as none of the horses have been spectacular, but they’ve all been solid in their previous efforts. Upandcomingstar (5-2) has run well but never finished better than third. That said, she’s run against very strong fields with good speed, but still seems to be regressing. Kizzy B (5-1) ran some strong races at Keeneland in the spring but has not recaptured that form and looked weak last time out. I’m glad she’s cutting back in distance but she’s still running against some of the same competition who beat her before. Surrealist (3-1) is a good horse, but I think she’s better off on turf. Dalida (8-1) had a terrible effort last time out after she was bumped early; however, I think with a better trip she could be a factor if she’s placed a little closer to the lead. Ultimately though, I’m looking at Temper Time (4-1) as the pick since she’s got the outside post position, great workouts, and showed improvement last time out after switching off turf.

Win: Temper Time ($7,000)

Place: Kizzy B ($6,000)

Show: Dalida ($3,000)

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Race 5

Post time: 3:08 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/16 miles

Type: Allowance $86,000 purse

Age: 2-years-old (fillies)

Surface: Turf

Overview: This is a great field that presents lots of value opportunities. Morning line co-favorites, Bhoma (9-2) and Kneesnhips (9-2), both competed at the Grade 2 Jessamine Stakes a few weeks ago at Keeneland where they finished 9th and 8th respectively but were less than three lengths from the winner. Interestingly, Roughly a Diamond (8-1) finished ahead of both of them in that race and is providing much better value. Now, she’s not worked out since, which might be a red flag, but I like those odds. Speaking of odds I like, Triple Tiara (15-1) broke her maiden last time out after changing surfaces and running on turf. This will represent a significant step up in class but she’s a closer who should relish being in a prime position to strike down the homestretch. Yin Yang (4-1) had a poor start last time out and lost to Breeders’ Cup-bound Turnerloose so she’s been in big races, and this will not phase her in the least. This will be a slight increase in distance but that should not be too much of an issue. North County (12-1) won her maiden and is now stepping up in competition, but her pedigree would indicate that she should like the distance and she’s had solid workouts at Keeneland this week. You can go in a lot of directions in this race and talk yourself into several different horses but I’m going to chase a little value here on what is otherwise a top-heavy day.

Win: Roughly a Diamond ($3,000)

Place: Yin Yang ($7,000)

Show: North County ($750)

Race 6

Post time: 3:40 PM ET

Distance: 6 ½ furlongs

Type: Allowance Optional Claiming $80,000 purse

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Dirt

Overview: Morning line favorite Pyron (3-1) is extremely consistent and hits the board no matter the conditions. If you like fading favorites, that’s fine, but I would not fade this horse too far and make sure he’s included in all your exotics. Much Better (4-1) has run three races this summer/fall since a nearly one-year layoff. He’s run well but last time out he wasn’t able to keep up with a brisk pace and this race is setting up to be fast, so I’m concerned how he’ll fare with the extra ½-furlong. I find myself drawn to Ebben (10-1) who is a horse that has run against the best sprinters in the country and while he’s come up short, he’s shown good class and can run with them. He doesn’t like the slop, so if conditions are bad, then I’d fade him. However, if the dirt is holding moisture, then I’d strongly recommend him in your exotics. Top Speed (7-2) is not a threat to win but should hit the board as he’s been alternating between graded stakes and allowance races the last few times out.  

Win: Pyron ($8,000)

Place: Ebben ($1,000)

Show: Top Seed ($7,500)

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Race 7

Post time: 4:12 PM ET

Distance: 6 furlongs

Type: Bowman Mill Stakes

Age: 2-years-old

Surface: Dirt

Overview: Let’s start off the stakes race with a group of juveniles who will not be running at Del Mar among the elite of their crop, but that shouldn’t distract from this group’s quality. My Prankster (5-2) is coming off a 4th place finish where he finished well behind the dominant Jack Christopher, but in his previous race, he crushed the field by 10 lengths. He’s got talent and is cutting back in distance, which is something I typically like to see after being empty at a mile. Meanwhile, Wesley Ward has been on fire at Keeneland, and his horse Nakatomi is improving each time out. Ward thought so highly of the horse that he sent time to Ascot in only his second race. Since returning from overseas, Nakatomi has shown steady improvement and should have a running style that sets up nicely for this race. Chattalot (3-1) beat Nakatomi last time out and has a lot to like, but his trainer, Steve Asmussen, has been on a cold streak at Keeneland this meet and while he should be nearly the lead, I have a feeling he won’t take the necessary step to improve like he did between his previous two races. Freelancer (4-1) will need to start better and can pass horses but coming from off the pace in potentially muddy conditions does not sound like a winning strategy. This is a pretty top-heavy field, but if you’re looking for some value, Hungry Henry has been running some insanely good workouts at Churchill Downs and it might be an indication that he breaks for the lead.

Win: Nakatomi ($8,000)

Place: My Prankster ($8,500)

Show: Hungry Henry ($750)

Race 8

Post time: 4:44 PM ET

Distance: 1 mile

Type: Bryan Station Stakes

Age: 3-years-old 

Surface: Turf

Overview: Let’s start with a scratch as Dyn O Mite (15-1) will not be running as he just ran (and won) on Thursday at Keeneland. With that out of the way, this is another top-heavy field with Camp Hope (3-1) and Yes This Time (3-1) being the clear class of the field. I’m more concerned with Camp Hope since he’s taking a step up in class and I have a feeling we may see a Baby Yoda situation where a horse that has been running blistering races at the Allowance-level has a setback when running against more elite competition. I’m not worried about Yes This Time though as this is a horse with a graded stakes win, can win on less than firm turf, and is getting a cutback in distance. Like the King (4-1) ran well last time out against Public Sector who went on to recently win a Grade 2 race at Belmont last weekend. That said, Like the King will likely need to run the best race of his career to win and may not respond well to the pace. I do like some long shots here with Point Me By (10-1) being a horse with a Grade 1 win under his belt and is showing lots of improvement and growth. His workouts on the Keeneland turf last week left a lot to be desired, but there is clearly talent there. Dreamer’s Disease (12-1) got shifted to the turf and got gelded and those two things have led to a resurgence. He’s not won recently, but he finishes a very close second in non-graded stakes races against solid competition. He also tends to run above is betting odds as well.  

Win: Yes This Time ($8,000)

Place: Dreamer’s Disease ($750)

Show: Camp Hope ($8,000)

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Race 9

Post time: 5:16 PM ET

Distance: 1 1/8 miles

Type: Hagyard Fayette Stakes – Grade II

Age: 3-years-old and up

Surface: Dirt

Overview: In the Grade 2 headline race we find a very evenly matched field led by Independence Hall (5-2) who has run against some monster competition over the last few races including Breeders’ Cup Classic entries Knicks Go, Express Train, Tripoli, and Idol, let alone others like Maxfield and Tizamagician. He typically is not able to win those races, but he always runs respectably among the best of the dirt route circuit and now that those horses are out west prepping for their next race, this seems like the type of race that would set up well for him. He should be on the lead and in perfect position. One of the horses challenging him for the lead is Sleepy Eyes Todd (3-1) who has started to rebound after a rough stretch in late-2020 and early-2021. While his performance against Art Collector at the Charles Town Classic wasn’t overwhelming, it showed that he still has speed and can flash to the lead against good competition. Code of Honor (3-1) is running in his final race on Saturday, and I want to pick him to win, but I just don’t think that he’s able to run the type of race needed to beat this field anymore. He’s had a great career and should be a factor, but I’m not sure if he hits the board. None of the long shots are particularly appealing and so Night Ops (6-1) is where I would look for value as he’s had success running in less than ideal conditions and while his running style of closing probably isn’t good enough to win, I think he’s able to snag a couple of horses in the final furlong and hit the board.

Win: Independence Hall ($8,500)

Place: Sleepy Eyes Todd ($8,000)

Show: Night Ops ($5,000)

Race 10

Post time: 5:48 PM ET

Distance: 7 furlongs

Type: Maiden Special Weight $84,000 purse

Age: 2-years-old (fillies)

Surface: Dirt

Overview: For the last several months one of the first things I have done when scanning racing forms is to see whether any Gun Runner progeny are running. His offspring have been prodigious this year, winning all over the country at every level of competition. In our final race, we see another one of his progenies, Gun Slingin (5-1), and while she is unraced to this point, she’s been turning in great workouts at Keeneland and gets more of an outside post position. The only downside is that she’s being ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. who is on an unreal losing streak as he has not won in his last 68 mounts. On the far inside is Famed (6-5) who ran a monster maiden but came up just short. Of the horses who have run a race, Famed ran against the best competition and ran against the best pace of them all. A horse that finished a little further back in a very strong field is Bunduki (15-1) and I really love the value for this horse. She’s taking a step back in distance and not going to be intimidated by the field as she’s run against Penny Saver and Juju’s Map. I love the value. Halo of Fire (9-2) showed some improvement in terms of finish after switching to dirt, but her future may still be on turf given that her dirt pedigree is hardly overwhelming. At the end of the day, all year I have been telling people to bet on Gun Runner progeny, so I can’t very well reverse course now.

Win: Gun Slingin ($6,000)

Place: Famed ($9,800)

Show: Bunduki ($500)

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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