04/11/2009 1:39PM

Blue Grass Day '09


Four of today's six graded races across the country are the 6th through 9th at Keeneland, and it's a sequence worth paying attention to beyond playing today's Pick-4: All four races lead to a race on Derby or Oaks Day three weeks hence, days when it pays especially well to have some undercard insights:


--Race 6, the 5.5f G3 $100k Shakertown, is a turf sprint for older males, as is the 5f G3 $100k Aegon Turf Sprint on Oaks Day.

--Race 7, the 7f G2 $200k Commonwealth, is the Polytrack version of the 7f G2 $250k Churchill Downs Handicap on Derby Day;

--Race 8, the 1m G2 $200k Jenny Wiley for older female grass milers, has its equivalent on the Derby Day undercard in the $200k G2 Churchill Downs Distaff Mile S.

--Race 9 is the Blue Grass, a prep of debatable relevance to the Derby these days but still sure to yiield a few starters.

Quick thoughts on today's quartet:

The Shakertown looks like a four-horse race among Hellvelyn, Mr. Nightlinger, Chamberlain Bridge and Heros Reward. Mr. Nightlinger, who won this race last year at 21-1, is the 5-2 ML favorite but makes his first start since fading badly in the BC Turf Sprint nearly six months ago. Hellvelyn and Heros Reward would benefit if Chamberlain Bridge challenges Mr. Nightlinger early. If you're looking for a bomb underneath, Tenkiller Lane steps way up in class here but appears to have found himself since being switched to turf sprints.

The Commonwealth also features a defending champ in Rebelllion, who won it off a nearly identical 5 1/2-month layoff last year but may need more pace than he'll get today. I prefer turnbacking My Pal Charlie and possible lone-speed Ravalo, but will use Rebellion and Eternal Star defensively.

The Jenny Wiley features the season debut of Forever Together. She may not be fully cranked as she begins the defense of her Eclipse Award as the nation's top grass filly, but will win this with anything close to her First Lady triumph at this course and distance last fall. G1 winners Backseat Rhythm (first-time McLaughlin) and Rutherienne are the obvious main competition; I Lost My Choo is an interesting alternative off a gangbusters return at Gulfstream in her last.

I'll cast a wide net in the Blue Grass, emphasizing Patena, General Quarters and Hold Me Back in a race where only 50-1 Loch Dubh is completely implausible.

#       A          B         C                Winner

6    1,10        4        2,9                10-Heros Reward $12.60

7    4,7        1,2,8                           1-Eternal Star $13.20 

8    3           1,7,8                           3-Forever Together $4.00

9    1,8,10    3,6    2,4,5,9,11          8-General Quarters $30.60 

[p4 paid $3009.80 for $2.]      

The afternoon's two other graded races are the G2 Comely at sloppier-by-the-minute Aqueduct, and the G2 Arkansas Derby, where Old Fashioned and Win Willy take on first-time Dutrow runner Danger to Society. ESPN coverage of the Arkansas Derby runs from 6 to 7 pm ET, assuming the Virginia-Duke lacrosse coverage concludes in timely fashion.

Update 6:01 pm: Nice to know where racing stands with ESPN: 4:56 left in the Duke-Virginia "Old Spice ESPNU Lacrosse" game, which appears to have attracted about 100 spectators onsite -- and possibly as many at home! So, Arkansas Derby coverage has been moved to ESPN Classic.

george Quinn More than 1 year ago
To Mike Laz, Good luck with your future, but remember he is not in the starting gate yet. And if does start I know you will be be playing a ton of horses to cover yourself should he not win. But are you covering the big payday? or the couple of hundred you plunked down? Also Quality Road has tactical speed to be wherever he needs to be. He broke the track record in the Florda Derby, and I was sitting right on the finish line for that race and you can watch it a million times, they could have gone around twice and Dunkirk was never going by this horse. Class, speed and stamina! Is that enough to like a derby horse?
raps07 More than 1 year ago
Nice hit on the pick Steve. Still very disturbed with the whole Paragallo situation and hopefully the stable will be barred. And I see Drew Mollica got "Coa'd". Guess he stiffs agents as well as he does horses
ml/nj More than 1 year ago
Hey there cigarvacation! If you're at Keeneland during Lexington weekend, be sure to stop by the back porch between 11 and noon and say, "Hello." A couple of buddies and I will be making our annual spring visit. You won't have any touble finding us!
C More than 1 year ago
CraigJ, Re-reading your question, I'm not even sure if I understood it correctly. It's a parimutuel pool. Why would the prices change if a horse doesn't make the race? The money was still bet on Old Fashioned, and that money became part of the total pool. I'm a little confused what you're trying to get at here.
michael_c More than 1 year ago
George_Quinn, You're not going to get 14-1 (future pool 2) on QR derby day.
Gabe Colon More than 1 year ago
Steve, What is the minimum reserve fund you would recommend for playing the pick 4 exclusively? You wrote in Exotic Betting, "playing the pick four without the proper bankroll is worse than not playing it at all." Would you think I could get away with $2,000? $3,000? Or would you think more? Thanks,
AJV More than 1 year ago
HI Steve, May I offer a sincere "well done" for your saturday Keeneland pick 4 play. I also was convinced there was value there but I just couldn't come up with General Quarters without buying the race, which I was tempted to do but didn't. May I please ask you, our guru of the gamble, an unrelated handicapping question? I have just recently been playing around with "dutching", having used it the first time to play against Barbaro's brother Nicanor in his debut . I'm sure you'll appreciate the opportunity that existed then. Would you please offer a primer on this type of wager? Thanks and regards....
C More than 1 year ago
CraigJ, Sorry, but no. There are no refunds on future wagers, nor do the payouts change because some horse decides not to run after the pools close. If Old Fashioned was declared out before pool 3 closed, they would suspend wagering on pool 3 from that point on... but even then, all money bet during pools 1-3 up to that point would be lost-- no refunds. Still want to play futures next year?
Kelley_Belle More than 1 year ago
CraigJ, Now maybe you understand the "Sucker" part of "Sucker Bet"
mike laz More than 1 year ago
George in Tampa, i disagree with your thought's on lousy value in the futures. My offshore book was giving 25-1 on IWR moments after the gotham, good enough for me to plunk down a couple hundred. Don't think i'll be getting that on the first saturday in may. And as for Quilty Road, can any of the guy's out there who love this horse tell me why they do, cause i don't see it. Thank's.