By Ryan Dickey:
For every live race day of the Keeneland Spring meet, I will be analyzing the finale for each card. We’ll call it the “Bail-Out Special” — in case you had a bad day at the track and you need JUST ONE WINNER to right the ship. We are going to try our best to give you that advice and counsel and hope that we all can get some “dinner money” for the night.
But the selection can be used for more than just stemming losses from a bad day. Maybe you’d like to get aggressive and single a horse in multi-race bets. Maybe you’ve had a GREAT day at the track and you want to “let it ride.”
No matter how you use it, it’s my goal to pick THE WINNING HORSE in the finale — I won’t be too concerned about the morning line odds. I’ll actually be handicapping the race before the odds are announced. So my selection may not be the “value play” in the finale — just my opinion on who I think will be, can be, may be the WINNER. At the least, we are “all in” together.
Thursday, April 25
Race 9 Maiden Special Weight ($79,000 purse) 3 years old and up 1-1/8 miles on turf approx 5:30 pm ET
As confident as I was in yesterday’s winner (#2 Factor This paid $10.20 in the finale) I’m just as confident that today’s race will be quite a test.
You see, sometimes the “Racing Gods” like to check in and see how everything is going. So far, the “Bail-out Special” has been very successful–winning six of the twelve times we’ve had our choice get to the gate this meet.
But today, there’s a horse in the finale LITERALLY NAMED BAIL OUT–the #2 horse for trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey Jose Ortiz.
It would be extremely lazy and very disingenuous for me just to make #2 Bail Out my “Bail-out Special” of the day.
So I started handicapping the race, like I’ve done every day–and I was truly torn as to who to pick in the finale. Today’s ninth race is a tough one, to be sure.
#10 CARDINAL KITTEN is a lightly-raced five year old son of Kitten’s Joy, running with jockey Tyler Gaffalione in Ramsey silks for trainer Michael Maker. He should be forwardly-placed (a key in grass routes at Keeneland this meet) and had a bullet work here on April 4th.
#9 TRINITY is the morning line favorite at 5/2 for trainer Graham Motion and jockey John Velazquez. He finished second last out at this nine furlong distance on the Gulfstream turf in March. He deserves favoritism, and will most likely be the favorite when the horses go to post.
#6 PREACHER POWER is in form, and is making his third career Keeneland start. He has fared well going longer than a mile (best finished are at a mile and sixteenth) but has never tried nine panels. He too should be forwardly-placed but may have less of a closing kick than other contenders.
#4 UNCLE ARTIE was gelded since he last raced, could also be seen near the front, and sheds blinkers and former jockey Adam Beschizza in favor of Joel Rosario.
And that brings us to #2 BAIL OUT–a four year old son of Arch that does NOT figure to be near the early lead. HE has previously raced at Keeneland twice (finishing second and a distant fifth) and this will be his fourth career start at the distance (3-0-2-0). He’s coming off a 123 day layoff. McGaughey horses win 16% of the time in layoffs of 90 days or more.
So without any further ado, today’s “Bail-out Special is NOT #2 BAIL OUT.
Toay, we’ll be rooting for #10 CARDINAL KITTEN to get the job done for owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey.
Play #10 Cardinal Kitten over #2, #4, #6, #9 in exactas and trifectas.
Best of luck!