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    Kentucky Downs Picks for Saturday, September 11

    All the picks and analysis you need for the Calumet Cup, the Franklin Simpson, and all the other races at Kentucky Downs this Saturday.

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    Race 1

    Post time: 1:20 PM ET
    Distance: 6 ½ furlongs
    Type: $45,000 Starter Allowance
    Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: It’s not often that a horse that is 2-18 lifetime, Hey Kitten (3-1) is the morning line favorite but here we are. She’s a perfectly fine horse that I’d expect to hit the board, but I’m looking elsewhere for the winner. Heaven Escape (6-1) provides great value and is being ridden by Joel Rosario who won 52% (10-19) of his mounts opening weekend at Kentucky Downs. Additionally, she’s won (through disqualification) at Kentucky Downs before and is taking a step back in distance, which is something I typically like to see. Foreign Exchange (8-1) has some potential intrigue but seems much better suited for five furlongs. I’d look at Freedom Bound (8-1) in exotics given her recent performances and step back in distance.

    Prediction: 11 (Heaven Escape) – 6 (Freedom Bound) – 10 (Hey Kitten) – 2 (Classical Magic)

    Race 2

    Post time: 1:51 PM ET
    Distance: 1 mile
    Type: $135,000 Maiden Special Weight
    Age: 3-years-old and up (filles & mares)
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: This is an intriguing maiden race with several strong contenders who have all been improving the last several races. Fast as Flight (6-1) is taking a step up in distance but has been ripping off impressive five-furlong workouts. Meanwhile, Surrealist (4-1) has steadily improved speed numbers the last several times out and has been within a nose and a ½ length of winning the last two races. Temper Time (6-1) is another horse that’s gotten close to bringing her maiden, but hasn’t quite gotten there, but is accustomed to the distance. Pentagon (10-1) and Lady de Peron (9-2) both have strong speed figures and can do the distance. Obviously, Pentagon offers better value on the backend of exotics. Ultimately, I like Surrealist to finally get it done due to his pacesetting nature.

    Prediction: 9 (Surrealist) – 12 (Fast as Flight) – 4 (Pentagon) – 5 (Lady de Peron)

    Race 3

    Post time: 2:22 PM ET
    Distance: 1 5/16 miles
    Type: Allowance $62,500 Optional Claiming
    Age: 3-years-old and up
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: Several of the horses in the field are taking a significant step up in distance, which creates some potential opportunities. However, what should concern everyone is that there is no obvious pacesetter in the race. The most likely candidate is Conviction Trade (4-1) who occasionally sets the early pace but can also run for days as evidence by his second-place finish last year at Gulfstream Park in a two-mile stakes race. Ironstone Road (12-1) offers great value for a horse that’s won 50% of his career starts but is stepping up in distance and might be better on dirt, but his pedigree suggests the distance portion of the equation won’t be a problem. Cibolian (7-2) has been running consistently lately but has faced limited competition. On the other end of the spectrum, He’s No Lemon (6-1) is getting some class relief after running in some nice fields at Saratoga and a five graded stakes races in 2020, but the lack of potential early speed could spell trouble.

    Prediction: 1 (Conviction Trade) – 8 (He’s No Lemon) – 4 (Ironstone Road) – 6 (Cibolian)

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    Race 4

    Post time: 2:54 PM ET
    Distance: 1 mile
    Type: $135,000 Maiden Special Weight
    Age: 3-years-old and up
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: It should be fun to watch Caveat Emptor (6-1), Cleat (9-2), and Van Dusen (30-1) race to see who will set the pace early, which might lead to a bit of a speed duel and open things up for those horses with a strong late kick. However, it’s also possible one of them, most likely Caveat Emptor, could wire the field. Early speed would set things up nicely for Group Hug (6-1) who likes coming from behind. Morning line favorite Mount Kenya (3-1) has two distant seconds on his resume but hasn’t really been a factor at a mile distance while continuing to improve in terms of speed figures. Makai (12-1) is a fascinating value play since he had a place finish at Kentucky Downs in a non-wagering event last year at the mile distance.

    Prediction: 9 (Caveat Emptor) – 6 (Group Hug) – 10 (Mount Kenya) – 12 (Makai)

    Race 5

    Post time: 3:26 PM ET
    Distance: 6 ½ furlongs
    Type: $135,000 Maiden Special Weight
    Age: 2-years-old (fillies)
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: In my opinion, Trobairitz (15-1) is massively undervalued. While her first effort was forgettable, she didn’t get a great trip and her workouts have been solid. Jazz Time Girl (7-2) is the morning-line favorite, and for good reason, as she ran a strong fourth place her first time out at Saratoga and has turned in some nice five-furlong workouts recently. I’d also look for value with Boxing Day (12-1). Her trainer (Brendan Walsh) has a strong ROI in first starts and two-year-olds and she’s owned by Godolphin, who has been on a roll this year. Vialetto (6-1) may show some improvement by going down in distance from a mile last time out.

    Prediction: 3 (Jazz Time Girl) – 11 (Boxing Day) – 6 (Trobairitz) – 5 (Vialetto)

    Race 6

    Post time: 3:57 PM ET
    Distance: 6 ½ furlongs
    Type: Mint Ladies Sprint – Grade III
    Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: The outcome of this race will likely be determined in the first furlong as Jeanie B (6-1) and Venetian Harbor (3-1) will both vie to set the pace. Jeanie B has been turning in blistering workouts and can win while setting a fast or slow pace. She’s So Special (15-1) represents outstanding value considering she’ll be ridden by Joel Rosario and it’s obvious she does her best work when sitting right off the early speed. Rosario gave so many great rides opening weekend at Kentucky Downs that it’s hard to think he’ll forget how to do that this weekend. Jakarta (12-1) is a fascinating horse that hasn’t run fast lately but had won at Kentucky Downs before and might provide some value on the backend of exotics. Meanwhile, Flavian Prat and Superstition (4-1) have been incredibly consistent the last four races and should hit the board.

    Prediction: 8 (Jeanie B) – 3 (She’s So Special) – 10 (Venetian Harbor) – 6 (Superstition)

    Race 7

    Post time: 4:34 PM ET
    Distance: 1 mile
    Type: Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf – Grade III
    Age: 3-years-old and up (fillies & mares)
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: I’d love to go against chalk, but in every scenario I play out in my head for this race, Princess Grace (2-1) wins. She can run from the front or from behind. She’s won on five different turf surfaces in six career races and can win at over a mile or at a mile, so distance is not a factor. She’sonthewarpath (8-1) has won the last two times out and while this would be a step up in competition lately, she’s been in plenty of graded stakes races in the past. She’s run consistently this year and likes the distance. Meanwhile, Princess Causeway is a worth long shot as she’s won two of her three career starts at Kentucky Downs and showed improving speed last time out combined with strong workout figures. Dalika (9-2) is a shore I like and I’m glad there was a jockey change because the ride she was given at Saratoga in the Glens Falls stakes was one of the more baffling things I’ve witnessed this year. I’m fading Shifty She (6-1) because her trainer (Saffie Joseph Jr.) has been going through an awful stretch lately in races outside the state of Florida.

    Prediction: 2 (Princess Grace) – 5 (She’sonthewarpath) – 7 (Princess Causeway) – 9 (Dalika)

    Race 8

    Post time: 5:09 PM ET
    Distance: 6 furlongs
    Type: Fanduel Turf Sprint – Grade III
    Age: 3-years-old and up
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: The Fanduel Turf Sprint provides a rematch of last month’s Fourstardave Stakes at Saratoga that witnessed Got Stormy (9-2) win an instant classic. Got Stormy posted the best speed number of her career last time out, but if you’re worried about her following it up with a dud, just got back one year and look at when she posted three consecutive 100+ Beyer Speed performances, one of which was at Kentucky Downs. Casa Creed (7-2) is an outstanding horse that has been automatic at hitting and the board and I wouldn’t expect anything different this time out. I would look for value from Born Great (15-1) and Fast Boat (10-1). The former has been very consistent and won both career starts at Kentucky Downs. The latter also has a career win at Kentucky Downs and has won three of his last four overall. Meanwhile, I’d avoid Imprimis (6-1) because I don’t like the distance.

    Prediction: 9 (Got Stormy) – 5 (Born Great) – 7 (Casa Creed) – 2 (Fast Boat)

    Race 9

    Post time: 5:44 PM ET
    Distance: 1 ½ miles
    Type: The Calumet Turf Cup – Grade II
    Age: 3-years-old and up
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: I love the value in this race as I’m highly skeptical of the favorites, Arklow (3-1) and Channel Cat (9-2), so I feel you can find winners elsewhere. Arklow has turned in consecutive dud performances but is returning to a track and distance where he has thrived. The question is whether the 7-year-old still has enough left in the tank against this field. Ditto for Channel Cat and Alpha Zulu (6-1) who both have been slumping but have experience success before at the 1 ½ mile distance and at Kentucky Downs. I’d much rather look at Tide of the Sea (6-1) as a horse that also does well the longer he goes and has won in his only career Kentucky Downs appearance. Breakpoint (20-1) is my value play and long shot of the day. The horse was a monster down in Chile winning three consecutive Grade I races but hasn’t come close to replicating those efforts. Why should you expect anything different? Well, he’s got a new trainer (Steve Asmussen) and a new jockey (Jose Ortiz) so I have a feeling you’ll see his best performance Saturday. Glynn County (15-1) also represents great value on the backend of exotics as a horse that’s continuously improving while stepping up in competition.

    Prediction: 4 (Tide of the Sea) – 12 (Breakpoint) – 5 (Arklow) – 9 (Glynn County)

    Race 10

    Post time: 6:18 PM ET
    Distance: 6 ½ furlongs
    Type: The Franklin-Simpson – Grade II
    Age: 3-years-old
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: Unlike the Calumet Turf Cup, it’s harder to find value in the field from a handicapping standpoint as most of the long shots are long shots for a very good reason and the favorites are clearly a cut above. The early speed of Into Sunrise (12-1) and Bodenheimer (12-1) will fade well before the finish, but the possibility of a speed duel could pull other shooters into the finish. However, Point Me By (7-2) can win at just about any speed or distance and is a horse that has been continually improving. Don’t get sucked into betting on Next (5-1) based on his past performance at Kentucky Downs as that was a Maiden Special Weight against nothing competition. Annex (9-2) is a solid horse that has lost against good competition (e.g. Public Sector, Du Jour) and should run competitively in this field. County Final (8-1) represents the best value in the field as he’s been slowly improving and has red-hot Joel Rosario riding him. Finally, Tango Tango Tango (20-1) ran competitively against Point Me By last time out, admittedly at a glacial pace, but at the price represents solid value.

    Prediction: 10 (Point Me By) – 7 (Annex) – 3 (County Final) – 8 (Tango Tango Tango)

    Race 11

    Post time: 6:50 PM ET
    Distance: 1 mile
    Type: $135,000 Maiden Special Weight
    Age: 2-years-old
    Surface: Turf

    Overview: In the final race, I’m going to fade the favorite Seal Beach (9-2) because this is a step up in distance and his past performance doesn’t necessarily indicate that he’ll take to that all too well. I have my eye on Baj (8-1) who weakened last his first time out but is taking a step back in distance that should serve this frontrunner well. It’s so important for young horses to feel comfortable and Tyler Gaffalione should take him straight to the lead and let him relax around the course. Close Knit (8-1) and Grael (5-1) both ran well their first times out in the same race, which should give hope to an improved performance. Of the first-time starters, I’m particularly intrigued by Brad Cox’s Garmento (12-1) who has been posting some nice five-furlong workouts and presents great value.

    Prediction: 2 (Baj) – 9 (Garmento) – 1 (Close Knit) – 4 (Bourbon On Fire)

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