With a little nip in the air, these are perfect days and nights for those of the Thoroughbred persuasion.  They are picking up their heads a bit, and on Thursday they will be picking up their feet in another fine day of racing action at one of the most historic and scenic racetracks in the world — Keeneland.  Here is a closer look at the Thursday card:

1st: 8-7-3-2-2B…Flatexcel (8) is a first time starter from the barn of Joe Sharp, who does OK (.11%) with debut runners. This one has been training very well of late, including a bullet move over the Keeneland strip on Oct. 4.  Looks to be ready for a prime trip, and the outside post is not an issue with most first timers. Dalaman (7) had a wide, wide trip throughout in his only try to date.  Comes back at the same level after a nice middle move in the only previous start. Some improvement is expected today. Wolverine (3) gets the blinkers for the first time today and drops from MSW company to MC30.  Should help him perk up, a bit. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta.

2nd: 8-2-7-6-1…Will try to double up on the hard 8s in the first two. Klassie Connect (8) got the huge class drop for the last try and she really came to life, almost winning at the MC10 level.  Goes back up to $15,000 today, but she should be able to handle that move easily, if she can run the way she did in her last out for trainer Rick Hiles, who trains this one for Ellis Park owner Ron Geary. Kells (2) must be named for a super good friend of mine (Kelly Sears)! She gets her first career start in this spot for trainer Joe Deegan, a former rider who can condition a horse. Looks to have this one ready to go for the debut. Newport Blue (7) and Fancy Pinstripes (6) both can take a part of this one, if they run up to capabilities. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top three choices in one exacta and then key the 8-2-7 over the 6-1 in a “saver.”

3rd: 9-7-8-4-6-10-3…Draxhall Woods (9) goes for trainer Eddie Kenneally after he claimed this one in her last out. That marked the third straight race that this filly got haltered at the end of the racing event.  Trainer does well with first timers off the purchase (.21%), and he won just three races back.  Could be tough with the right stalking position. Picks up top rider in Corey Lanerie. Highroller Dave (7) comes into this one off a win at Belterra Park in the last.  Normally, that would mean a toss out, but this one has hit the board in each of his last 10 races.  Now, that’s a record of achievement. Rippin Ride (8) dumped his jock in his last effort, but gets the same rider back up today.  Was a nice winner at Ellis Park two back. Will be pushing the lead in this spot today.  I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key those top 3 over the rest of the numbers listed.

4th: 1-4-8-2-6-5…Be a Factor (1) goes for the barn of Chris Richard and one of the top claiming owners of all time, in Maggi Moss. This one has been to the post on 9 occasions and she has 2 wins and 4 seconds to show for her efforts. Gets a nice class drop in here and should be ready to tackle this group. Moolamiss (4) hit the gate and didn’t run a step in her last try at Arlington Park on the polytrack. Now, gets back to conventional dirt, and a surface she may prefer. Tiger Eyes (8) won her last out at Arlington Park on the poly.  She has now won her last two and three of her last four tries.  Have to respect. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-4-8 in one exacta and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.

5th: 7-3-4-10-5-11-2…Have It All (7) is developing quite nicely as a true closer after her first two outs on the grass. She ran fifth in her debut at Saratoga, before coming back with a huge second at Kentucky Downs.  Should be nice and fit for this encounter today, and may be ready to graduate to and from the winner’s circle. This son of Kitten’s Joy could turn out to be really good. Discovered (3) has shown a lot of speed in his first two tries on the grass. Backed up in both of those efforts, but should be OK at the mile distance today, after having run the same mile in his last out at Kentucky Downs. Storm Runner (4) is a deep closer from the barn of Dale Romans, and picks up the handy services of a top rider in Robby Albarado, who is riding very well of late. Key component right here. I bet the 7-4 to win/place/show and then box those 2 in one exacta and then key the 7-4 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed in two more exactas.

6th: 7-6-9-8-3-2-1…I go back to trainer Chris Richard in this spot.  He saddles Shut the Box (7) who is coming off a nice second place finish to The Player at Ellis Park.  The Player just ran a huge one in a Stakes event at Churchill Downs, before relinquishing late to a horse headed to the Breeders’ Cup.  My first Best Bet of the Day here — #7. Taketothestreets (6) never ran a step in his last back in May.  Freshened since then by trainer Kellyn Gorder, who is very good off the layoff (.21%). If he can get back to his form that he displayed at Oaklawn Park this spring, watch out. Luna de Loco (9) gets the edge here for the third spot. Will run as a gelding for the first time today, but does have a nice touch of back class. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

7th: 3-4-7-11-8…South of Sanity (3) will get the saddle in the afternoon for the very first time, but trainer Wesley Ward knows how to prep them off works along.  He wins with .29 of first time starters, and this well-bred filly by Ghostzapper looks primed and ready to fire today. Krissy’s Candy (4) goes for the barn of Brad Cox, who has been on fire all year. This one ran a very nice one in her career debut back in February at The Fairgrounds. Winner of that tilt has already come back to win again.  Super work at Belmont Park on Sept. 30 in prep for this one. Watch out. Chris Cove Town (7) figures to improve off a lackluster performance in career debut on Sept. 9 at Kentucky Downs. Works indicate a better effort today. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta.

8th: 3-8-7-4-1-2…Cowboy Rhythm (3) gets the edge in this one after a near-miss second in his last try at Churchill Downs on Sept. 16. Had to alter course in that one late (at the 1/16th pole), or may have gotten up in time. Gets top rider Corey Lanerie back in the saddle today and the class drop should help, as well. Singing Bullet (8) goes for the barn of Dale Romans, who is having a super good meet here — with 3 winners and a third in 5 starts to date. This one faced Coal Front just two races back and has faced the likes of McCraken, Classic Empire, Lookin at Lee, Wild Shot and others.  Keep an eye on the tote board for this one’s action. Just Move On (7) has to be considered after putting up 2 wins, 2 seconds and a third in the first 7 races. Ran a good one against Uncontested in the last. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key those three over the rest in another.

9th: 3-6-8-11-7-2-1…Waki Patriot (3) has had 7 races already this year, but returns to her favorite course to date. She ran a very nice second here to start her career in April, and came right back to win easily by 5 lengths in her next out.  Since then, she has run two 3rds and two 4ths in four Stakes races.  You can throw out the last try on the grass at Kentucky Downs. She missed the start in that one, breaking in the air, and was no factor on that soft grass course. Gets back to familiar surroundings and the dirt today, and I love the 4-1 ML odds. My second Best Bet of the Day. Tiz a Treasure (6) broke her maiden in her last try and figures to push the pace from the get-go today. Jehozacat (8) is a daughter of Tapit and won her debut in style and by 5 lengths. Stumbled badly at the start of the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth Park in her last, but should be ready to rock from the gate today. I bet the 3-8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key those 3 over the rest in another.

10th: 1-5-3-11-10-12-6…Love Mo (1) draws the rail in this 1-mile test on the grass, but looks to be the one to beat — for sure.  She ran a very nice race in debut at Saratoga before giving up late. The winner Significant Form — who was disqualified that day — came back to win again and so did the show horse, Gio Game. Love Mo gets Lasix for the first time today and this daughter of Uncle Mo should be forwardly place from the beginning. Lenamarie (5) was a high-priced yearling last August at Saratoga, and this daughter of Paynter ran a huge closing effort at Kentucky Downs in debut on Sept. 6.  Stretches out to a mile today and should love the extra distance. Will be tough in this spot with any improvement at all. Remedy (3) is a first time starter for trainer Brad Cox, but this daughter of Creative Cause has been training regularly since early this year.  Looks primed and ready to fire now. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-5 in the exacta strong.  I then key the 1-5 over/under all the other numbers listed.  I also key them in the trifecta and the superfectas, as well.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene