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Spinster Stakes: Race 9 at Keeneland

Sunday, October 9


Embur's Song will take the lead out of the gate with Tapitsfly in close pursuit. The fractions are expected to be honest.


The Grade 1 Spinster is a very competitive race so I searched for a horse who I feel has the credentials to upset the field. I gravitated to (5) STARS TO SHINE and (12) PACHATTACK who I felt were very difficult to separate. The deciding factor to make Stars to Shine my top selections is the price. She is 12-1 on the morning line with Pachattck listed as 5-1.

(5) Stars to Shine ships in from Woodbine for very capable horseman Mark Frostad. All 9 of her races have been in Toronto Canada. As a 2 year old, she won 3 of 5 starts with a neck defeat and a fifth place finish to end the year in her first start in a graded stake. What impressed me most about the daughter of Tale of the Cat was her versatility. Stars to Shine showed the ability to race on the lead or take back and make 1 run. In her first start as a 3 year old off a 7 month layoff, she overcame trouble to win easily. 4 weeks later Stars to Shine ran fifth in the Grade 2 Dance Smartly but would have been much closer at the finish if not victimized by a brutal trip. She rebounded with an easy win Aug 20. In her last start in the Grade 2 Canadian against a solid field, Stars to Shine broke from post 14 and was hard right from the start to stalk the pacesetter in third. She never backed down during the stretch run, losing by 1 ½ lengths. Today she must run just as well or even better to win the prestigious Grade 1 Spinster. Stars to Shine is 2 for 2 over the same polytrack she races over today and 1 for 1 at this 1 1/8 mile distance. She Draws a good post which will allow good European rider William Buick to decide what tactics to employ leaving the gate.

(12) PACHATTACK is back on polytrack, the surface of her 2 finest performances, a 5 ¾ length win in a stake last November at Woodbine and an authoritative victory May 28 at Arlington in the Grade 3 Arlington Matron. In both races, Pachattack showed excellent tactical speed. In her last start in the Grade 1 Personal Ensign at Saratoga, she was racing over conventional dirt for the first time. The daughter of Puplit ran very well to finish second chasing the lone front runner Ask The Moon around the track. I expect a very strong performance today back on her preferred surface. What concerns me a bit is that Pachattack must over post 12. I am also not sure what to make of the front bandages being put on for the first time in the Ruffian. If the fronts are back on today this would concern me. If they are removed, I can only assume that trainer Gerard Butler used them for support on the dirt.

(2) ARUNA has been a gem of consistency since shipping to the US last year, the addition of lasix and a rider change to Dominguez who has been aboard in all 6 starts. Aruna has won 4 times with 2 seconds during this span. The concern I have is that she has never raced over a synthetic surface which is always a tricky proposition, especially that she could go off a lukewarm favorite. Aruna benefits by drawing an inside post as well as getting the right pace scenario to set up her strong late run.


Play a WIN-PLACE-SHOW bet on (5) STARS TO SHINE who is 12-1 on the morning line and should be every bit of that. NOTE: I rarely make a show bet on a horse, but in this wide open race you can conceivably get $6.00 or more for show if she hits the board. Play an Exacta Box: 2-5-12.


Wizard's Pick of the Day

Sunday, October 9
Race 8 at Keeneland
Post Time: 5:13 ET