It is not easy handicapping the card at Kentucky Downs. Most races are over-filled and many of the horses that dot the Also-Eligible list have a real chance to not only win, but hit the board. And, then there is the course — which some horses love and some don’t. The hills and dales are not easily negotiated unless you have a horse with some dexterity and mobility. Now, you add in the rain that Kentucky has received over the past two days, and it makes for a slippery slope, so to speak.
That being written, handicapping Kentucky Downs races is fun. It takes a long time. But it is fun. Turf racing offers many chances for long shots, deep closers and others that have yet to try the grass.
So, with only one 10-race card left, let’s give it a shot. And, hope that the track can get 10 more races squeezed over the track and in-between the clouds. Here’s a closer look:
1st: 6-11-5-9-4-2-3…Queenofthepalace (6) is a New Zealand-bred mare who hasn’t won a race in six starts this year, but she is dropping down in class to a career low price and she comes into this one off a good effort over a “good” grass course at Arlington Park. The winners of her last two races have both come back to win and this closer figures to be running up the hill at the end of this one. Five Hearts (11) is a mare trained by Joe Sharp, who put blinkers on her six starts back. Since then, she has 4 ITM finishes and has been tough nearly every time out, except for the last one when she went 3-wide into the first turn and 4-wide into the second one. Picks up a rider change after that. Frozen Hanah (5) is 7-2 ML favorite, and may drop lower for the barn of Mike Maker. She’s a speedster who will target the front from the get-go. She may get challenged early on, though, and that may spell doom. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 6-11-5 in one exacta and then key the 6-11 over/under the rest of the numbers listed. 11-3-6-9. Hit the show ticket ($3.40) and the exacta pays $41.70 for $1.
2nd: 10-9-6-1-12-11…Keep an eye out to see if the Also-Eligibles get in, especially the 14…That one has to figure into the mix. If not, Bridaled Temper (10), who is listed at 9-5 in the ML, looks to be a solid choice in this spot. This daughter of War Front ran an impressive, closing 2nd in her career debut at Saratoga. She was 3-wide at the turn, in that one, and could be even tougher on a course that figures to play to closers today. Miss Subzero (9) is a first timer for trainer Dale Romans. This one is by Kitten’s Joy and has been training very well. Queen’s Fate (6) is a first timer for Mike Maker and has been training well at the Churchill Training Center. I bet the 10 to win/place and then key the 10 over/under all the other numbers listed. I take a smaller 10-9-6 exacta box, too. 11-10-6-14…Hit the place ticket ($2.80) and the exacta pays $53.90 for $1.
3rd: 1-4-2-11-10-3-6…Grand Candy (1) made a nice closing move in his last race and may have gotten home first if not for some severe traffic issues in the stretch. This colt has run against some good ones in the past, including Richard’s Boy, Recount, Hogy, Green Mask and others. May be tough with a cleaner run today. Vici (4) ran a good one against Commend in their matchup at Saratoga on Aug. 16 and the latter came back to run very well here in a Stakes over the weekend. This one likes to be closer to the lead, and make a run. But he has not won — despite 5 seconds and 1 third — in 8 starts this year. Fifth Title (2) is a colt from the barn of Ian Wilkes, and nearly everything from this barn has run well this meet. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-4-2 in one exacta and then key the 1-4 over/under all the numbers listed. 5-2-11-8…No wins here.
4th: 8-9-1-5-11-6…Keep an eye out to see if the 16 draws in; if so, I have to use. If not, I go with To Be Famous (8) on top in this spot. This 3YO filly ran just behind Aircraft Carrier in her last out and the latter was a huge favorite here last week, before she flipped in the paddock and had to be scratched. A similar effort to her last out will make To Be Famous tough in this one. Last Promise Kept (9) goes for the barn of Tom Proctor, who is having another outstanding meet here. This one closes from well off the pace in her last and just missed at the wire. Any improvement at all should make this one the horse to beat Little Code (1) came from last to run third in her career debut. She may run better than her 8-1 odds would suggest. I bet the 8-9 to win/place show and box them solidly in one exacta. I key the 8-9 over (only) the other numbers in another. 9-1-5-7…9 pays $6.60, $4.40, $3.40…Exacta pays $31.40 for $1.
5th: 7-4-12-10-2-3-8-11-1…Watch for the 13, if he draws in…If not, I go with an 8-1 longshot, Tobias, on top in this one. In his last out, he ran third to Mr Cub and Douglas Road. Both of those horses have come back to run very well here over this course. And, Tobias has performed well over a “good” turf course. Watch out. This one becomes my first “Upset Special of the Day.” California Swing (4) comes into this one off 2 straight wins for a hot trainer, who has a win, 2 seconds and 1 third in 5 starters here. Belgian (12) also ran a good one to Douglas Road. He’s 10-1 ML and may light up the board, too. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-4-12 in one exacta and then key the 7-4-12 over the rest of the numbers listed. 5-12-1-7…Winner spoils the pooch here…would have big a huge payoff with him out of the mix…but…
6th: 7-10-4-6-2-3-12…Keep a watchful eye to see if either the 15 and/or 13 draw in. I have to use them, if so. If not, I go with Royal Creed (7) a first timer for the barn of Mark Casse, and this 2YO colt has been training very well at Churchill Downs. Tap Daddy (10) has started once and did not prefer the inside in a tough (but learning experience) run. The winner of that one has already come back to win again. Lion’s Share is a first timer for Dale Romans and this one cost $550,000 to purchase at OBS earlier this year. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-10-4 in one exacta and then key the 7-10-4 over the rest of the numbers in another. 10-6-2-9…Exacta pays $16.30 for $1.
7th: 3-4-10-6-1-5-11-7…Keep an eye out for the 14 & 15 from the AE list in this one…Desert Duchess (3) has hit the board in 7 of her last 8 outs and comes into this one off a nice win. Has the versatile running style that could make her tough from off the pace. Thrice (4) is another Maker pupil with a shot. Throw out the Stakes race here in her last, and she figures prominently with these types. Noble Ready (10) has been ITM in 5 of 7 lifetime outs. Goes for top barn, too. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and box the 3-4-10 in one exacta and then key the 3-4-10 over the other numbers listed in another. 3-11-8-1…Winner pays $5.80, $3.40, $3.00 and $1 exacta returns a whopping $55.60…boom…
8th: 9-4-5-1-2-3-8…The Franklin-Simpson Stakes…What a race. Full of contenders and speed. I settle on Sonic Boom, mainly due to his experience in Stakes company and against top rated horses. Goes for a talented trainer in Wilkes and has a jock who is likely to win the rider’s title here, too. All figures. Master Merion (4) has never been off the board in 7 lifetime starts and comes in off two straight wins. Hard not to like. Kitten’s Cat (5) could be right there, too. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-4-5 in one exacta and then key those over the rest of the numbers in another. 4-1-8-6…Exacta returns $43.70 for $1.
9th: 4-8-11-2-5-1-3-6-9-7…The Ramsey Farm Stakes…Another Stakes race full of talented runners and possible winners, but I land solidly on Kitten’s Roar (4) in this one. She gets my Best Bet of the Day, and figures to be tough here after competing in three straight Graded Stakes races. This mare has been ITM in 13 of 16 lifetime starts and has a win, a second and a third in 5 starts this year despite banging heads with the best of the division. Daring Duchess (8) is another from the barn of Mike Maker and will get the Ramsey silks, too. Obviously, the owners want to give the winning trophy to themselves in this spot. This 5YO mare by Arch is very capable, too, Comes into this one with a win and a second in three starts this year. La Piba (11) is an 8-1 shot from the barn of Brad Cox — who is winning races at a spectacular clip at every racetrack where he has horses. I have to use this one, too, since he has 2 wins and a third since the trainer re-employed the blinkers. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-8-11 in one exacta. I key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in two more. 4-2-6-8…Winner pays $3.40 & $2.60; Exacta returns $8.70 for $1.
10th: 3-8-6…Keep an eye on the 13-14-16, if they draw into this one, too. If not, I like Tiz Sardonic Joe (3), who has made 8 starts this year with 6 wins, 1 second and 1 third. Comes into this one having won 4 in a row. May make it 5. Forever Sure (8) and Point After (6) are the best of the rest. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-8-6 in the exacta. 4-3-2-6-5…#3 pays $3 to place…
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene