|Total Day Results||9 / 3-5-2|
|2021 Overall 579||579 / 205-208-233|
|Win % of Top Pick||35.41%|
|Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall||37.19%|
|2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 365-579||63.04%|
|2021 Top Selection ITM / KEE 82-114||71.93%|
|2021 Top Selections Win / KEE 52-114||45.61%|
|“Key Horses” @ KEE 15 6-3-1||40.00% Win / 66.67% ITM|
|“Key Horses” in 2021 91 / 40-19-7||43.96% Win / 72.53% ITM|
We begin the final week of the 2021 Keeneland Spring Meet on Wednesday. Hard to believe that one of the greatest rites of Spring is about to come to an end. Feels like we just started. But, then, again, time does fly when you are handicapping races. Right?
Here’s a look at our top picks for the Wednesday card:
1st: 7-5-4/3/1-2…The first event of the day is a 11/2-mile marathon over the sod, and I will saddle up with High Tide (7). This 4YO gelded son of Malibu Moon broke the maiden two starts back at Gulfstream Park. Ran a very credible 4th last time out. Was beaten less than 3 when facing winners for the first time. Barn hits with .18% when shipping in and the rider has won with .11% of the last 44 mounts for this trainer. Could be coming late. Winners Club (5) broke the maiden last time out at the MSW level. That win came down at the Fair Grounds. It was the first start of 2021 and in two starts over the sod now, this one has a win and a third. One to beat. Yamato (4) has a 2-1-1 record in 6 starts over the grass, so far. Gets a new rider here after running 7th against much tougher last time out. Was 2nd two starts back. Threat. This one has a win in two starts at this distance. I bet the 5 — take note — across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 3 in two smaller versions.
2nd: 3-1-2/4/5…Subiaco (3) drops back into the claiming ranks here after facing tougher last time out. In 10 starts over a fast dirt track, this one has a 2-2-1 mark. Two starts back, this 5YO mare ran over a sloppy track for the third race in a row. Won by 6 that day. Has a super work here on April 6, and the rider is red hot right now — what with a 6-2-4 record in the last 24 races. Can stalk and close. Golden Curl (1) moves back to the dirt track after three turf tries in a row. In 5 starts over the dirt, this one has a 1-1-1 mark. Love this rider choice. Could be a front-end threat. Resurrection Road (2) should have run here on Easter weekend. Would have been a hunch play then, to be sure. But this 5YO Bellamy Road mare does drop in class for this effort. Last time in the claiming ranks? Was 2nd over the sod at Churchill Downs. Barn wins with .13% when away from the gate this long. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4-5 in two smaller units.
3rd: 10/6-8-11/1-7/3-2-4-12…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes right here with Realm of Law (10). This 3YO son of War Front has not been out since last September. Ran a good one on debut at Belmont Park that day. Returns with Lasix here and some nice works leading up to this entry. Rider has gone 2-1-0 in the last 4 starts for the trainer. Was bet down to less than even-money in the debut effort. Barn should be ready to pop here. I bet the 10 to win/place and then key the 10 over/under all the numbers listed. More with the 6-8-11. Less with the 1-7. Even less with the rest.
4th: 2-6-5/3-4/1…Hard Sting (2) has only the one win in 13 career starts going into this affair. But the 4YO gelded son of Hard Spun does have 2 seconds and 2 thirds on the resume, too. Ran well to be third here on April 7. Led until he didn’t. Gets a return visit from Drayden Van Dyke, and he should be a little more familiar with his steed this time around. Like this spot. Hemp Heaven (6) moves up in class after winning at the $15,000 level last time out at Turfway Park. Was claimed out of the race before for $7,500 after a near-miss 2nd. This one obviously didn’t mean the bump up in class last time and may handle a move North again here. Barn wins with .33% when facing winners for the first time. Rider is 0-for-9 here this meet. Front Man (5) gets the blinkers off for this try. Barn wins with .14% when tossing the shades. In 3 starts this year? Has a second and a third. Drops in class for this one. Chance. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 3-4 in two smaller versions.
5th: 12-7-3/1/5…This is a 1-mile turf event for the MSW level and the 3YOs. I will go to the far outside and team up with King of Miami (12) and trainer Wesley Ward — who is winning at a .30% clip here this meet with .43 runners, to date. This 3YO gelded son of American Pharoah is also bred and owned by the trainer. Has not run since last August at Saratoga. Ran two nice ones in NY before the hiatus. Gets the Lasix and loses the jewels for this attempt. Picks up a hot rider, too. One to beat. Pregame (7) ran a good one in the first try on the grass. Ran out of gas in the late stages, but still held on for 3rd at 34-to-1 odds. Gets a huge rider choice and switch here. Look out this time. Snow House (3) goes for the barn of Brad Cox, who is winning at a .36% rate here this spring. Had all kinds of issues in the debut at the Fair Grounds on March 20. Will be a tough out with a cleaner run. New rider for this assignment. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and box the top 3 in the exacta. I will also key the top 3 numbers over/under the 1-5 in two smaller units.
6th: 7-6-3/1/5…Excursion (7) drops from the MSW level and into the MCL ranks for the first time here. The barn wins with a whopping .26% when it makes this move. In first time claimers? Wins at a .28% rate. With horses running for the 2nd time off a layoff? Wins at a .17% rate. This one gets a top rider in the saddle and the work here on April 13 is improvement. Love the breeding on this guy. Good Juju (6) is going for an ice cold barn operation, which is scoring at a .03% rate with the first 31 starters this meet. But this 4YO gelded son of Ghostzapper has run two 2nds in a row. Nice work on April 9. Hoping for this guy; love the trainer, too. I’m Intrigued (3) comes from the Cox barn and ran OK on the debut effort at Turfway Park on March 19. I got to use. I bet the 7-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 1-5 in two smaller versions.
7th: (8)-(9)/6-7-5/3-1-2/4…If this 11/8th mile turf event is moved to the main track? I go with the two MTO horses. Who are both prime time players with solid credentials. If it stays on the turf? I go with Viburnum (6), who ran a huge one two starts ago. I can toss the last one. Was way, way wide and got the worst of the trips. Moves to the hottest rider in KY right now and should be motivated at the end of this event. Clear path = clear chance. Go Big Green (7) goes for the barn of Tom Amoss, who is looking to get off the “duck” here this meet. Has 0-for-6 mark going into this one. This one ran super in the last two and has a chance with a clever and under-rated rider in the irons. Has speed. Has a chance. Il Malocchio (5) has a real chance, but the rider is something like 3-for-140 since winning with Swiss Skydiver in the 2020 Preakness Stakes last October. Hard for me to put this one on top with those credentials. Impossible for me, to be honest. I bet the 6-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 6-7 over/under the 5-3-1-2-5 in two smaller units. If it is moved to the main track? I go hard with the 8-9.
8th: 11-1-10/6-2/8-5-4…The finale is a 5.5-furlong event over the main track and at the MCL $30,000 level. I will go with Tesorina (11) — who has not started since racing here last October. Ran a good one at the $30,000 level. Ran a bad one at the $40,000 mark. Has been off since, but has been training lights out for a barn operation that can get them ready off the bench. Gets a HOF rider for this job. Look out with a clean break. Fine Prospecture (1) is another from the barn of trainer Wesley Ward and should be a threat with the recent work pattern. Draws the rail and that is an awful spot to be with a debut runner. Has to break spot on, or will be in a tough spot. Gets a top rider for this effort, though. Break is a must. Watermark (10) goes for a trainer who has a .38% win rate in 16 starts this meet. Rider has won all 3 of this mounts for this barn this meet. Gets Lasix for the first time. Real chance here. I bet the 11-10 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 6-2 in two smaller units.
Good Luck & All the Best / Gene