Days Picks 13 / 2-3-5
2024 Overall — 386 386 / 111-114-160
Win % of Top Pick 28.76%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 33.25%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money Overall — 218-386 56.48%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ TP — 206-368 55.98%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ FG — 12-18 66.67%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ TP — 103-368 27.99%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ FG — 8-18 44.44%
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ TP  34/ 12-8-5 35.29% Win / 73.53% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ FG 1 / 0-0-0 00.00% Win / 00.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” Overall 35/ 12-8-5 34.29% Win / 71.43% ITM

(Stats need to be updated from last week)

Here’s our looks at the Stakes races at Keeneland today, including the G1 Blue Grass Stakes:

6th: 2-9-4/6-7-1//3-8…G3 Commonwealth Stakes…This 7-furlong test is a doozy, as most are these days in Kentucky. I go with Wico (2), who ships in after a tune-up at Turfway Park last time out. Returns as a beaten favorite and the barn wins with .26% of those. Also, the barn wins with .30% of the last 132 to make the 2nd start off a layoff. This one has run here before. Won. Trainer known for prepping just for this meet. Look out here at 4-1 ML odds. Minnesota Ready (9) won the Colonel Power Stakes at the Fair Grounds last time out, when the race was moved off the turf. I caution against betting these types too much. But this one is training lights out for a top conditioner, who is winning with .22% of the last 487. Raise Cain (4) ran in last year’s Kentucky Derby, finishing a distant 8th. But look out here. Has run on his home track 4 times now, with 2 wins and a third. More importantly loves this distance, with 2 wins in 3 tries. I bet the 2 across the board and double down on the win wager. I box the top 3 in the exactas. Then, I will key the 2 over/under the 9-4-6-7-1 in two smaller units. 

7th: 6-9/5-10-4/12/3-11/8-1/7…G2 Appalachian Stakes…This is a 1-mile turf event for the 3YO fillies and I line up with Austere (6), who is 10-1 in the ML. If the odds stay here? My Upset Play of the Day. This one ran much better than looks in the Florida Oaks last time out. Trouble throughout in that one. Ran huge in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, too. Gets Kentucky’s best up in the saddle again. Look for this one to close very late. Love this one. Pounce (10) is 3-1, but this trainer’s horse’s get over bet and normally under perform. I am leery here. I bet the 6 across the board and then key the 6 over/under the 9-5-10-4-12-3-11 in the exactas. 

8th: 8-6/2-7-5/3/1-4…G1 Madison Stakes…This is a 7-furlong event for the older mares and I go with the favorite here — Valve (8). This 4YO daughter of Gun Runner has won the last two (both Graded Stakes) and 3 of the last 4. Has run here twice, with a win and a runner-up. Gets the top rider and the trainer wins with .21% when coming off the layoff in the last 112 tries. Lots to like here. Alva Starr (6) is an upset possibility, but won’t be huge odds, either. Has won 3 of the last 4 and has never been worse than 2nd in 7 lifetime tries. Has speed galore and this track loves the speedy ones. I bet the 8-6 across and box these two sternly in the exactas. I key the 8-6 over (only) the 2-7-5-3 in a smaller unit. 

9th: 9-3/11-10-6/4/12//1…G2 Shakertown Stakes…This is the 5.5-furlong specialty race over the sod and speed looms large here. But despite the short distance, this is a race that can and does play to late closers who get the trip. I go with Panther Island (9), a 5YO son of Speightstown who comes in off back-to-back 2nds down at Gulfstream Park. never been here before and that is a challenge to try this deep, soft and rather wet grass course. If he takes to it, has the style to be tough. Mischief Magic (3) ships in for a world-class trainer and will be tough. My betting pick here if stays anywhere close to 7-2 ML odds. I bet the 3 — take note — to win/place/show and then double down on the win wager. I will box the 9-3 sternly. I will key those two numbers over/under the 11-10-6-4-12 in two smaller units. 

10th: 4-11-10/1-6/8-5//3…G1 Blue Grass Stakes…The key race of the day and maybe of all the KY Derby preps. This is a good one, with lots of intrigue. The horse to beat, I think, is Dornoch (4). This son of Good Magic has tons, tons and tons of speed and this track loves to help those kind out. Especially in the big races. Has won over this track before, too and the trainer wins with .19% of the last 68 to make the 2nd start off the layoff. The best horse in the field may be Sierra Leone (10). But this boy is a deep closer and this track just does not give them a great chance, especially from this post position. I love this one and touted him hard in the G2 Risen Star. I think he hits the board, but I don’t think he gets up in time at the wire. So, who do I bet? I love two long shots here in this one. Encino (11) comes in off three super performances at Turfway Park for trainer Brad Cox. Don’t forget this winter/spring was a different Turfway Park. Races there were as deep and tough as anywhere. Any. Where. And, this son of KY Derby winner Nyquist is super talented. Look out here at 12-1 ML odds. Top Conor (1) is even higher odds at 15-1. Connections paid $1 million for this boy at the OBS 2YO sale a year ago. Didn’t make his first start until February and he ripped off a very nice win for trainer Chad Brown at Gulfstream Park. This is a huge jump in class, no doubt, but these connections know what they are doing. I bet the 11-1 across the board and maybe again. I will key them in the exactas over/under the 4-10 heavy. Then I will key the 11-1-4-10 over (only) the 1-6. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene