04/11/2014 10:19AM

Byron King's Keeneland handicapping notebook April 11


Thursday, April 10 review

Having placed in a stakes over the winner and sporting flashy speed figures, Silver Lining John looked too good to be true on the class drop into a $25,000 claimer in the day’s opener, and as is the case with many of such types, he ended up losing. He opened up a clear lead after a hotly contested early pace, and was caught by 7-1 comebacker Fleet Beat, a synthetic specialist who was well prepped off a layoff by trainer Joseph Cheeks.

The second race was one of those contests where it was hard to like anybody. The race drew quite likely the worst maiden-claiming field of the meet. The result was hard to predict, with First Freedom pulling off a 26-1 shocker after rear-half finishes in her first four races.

She likely would have paid even more if she had not been ridden by the hot Stewart Elliott and trained by Paul McGee, whose stock is down but whose talent as a trainer remains.

Triple Charm relished a drop from Grade 2 company into an allowance, and had no trouble transferring her excellent turf form to the Polytrack in race 3, winning for fun in a race that unfolded much like a turf race – with a slow pace and a sprint home.

Third-place Sky Girl – who is superior on dirt – broke slowly and trailed early.

Katy Lied won the fourth race, which was for $10,000 claimers, showing no rust from a layoff going back to January. She drew clear under confident handling from Robby Albarado, notching her eighth victory from 18 synthetic starts.

Town Tour reversed her tendency to fade by catching Zamquick in the lane and pulling away to a two-length victory under Joel Rosario in a soft maiden race in race 5.

Maggi Moss and trainer Tom Amoss – long known for their success with first-after-claim runners – were somehow forgotten in the following race, the sixth, with their representative, Red Strike, going off at 12-1. But he ran more like a 1-2 shot under Rosie Napravnik, splitting horses after falling back in traffic and winning by three lengths.

Trainer Chad Brown and owner Martin Schwartz - long successful with turf-running imports taken to the U.S. – picked up a Poly victory in race 7 with Dauphine Russe, who rebounded from a disappointing winter filled with troubled trips.

The card ended with the late daily double going to trainer Neil Pessin, whose Sir Applesolutely won the featured eighth at 10-1 odds, followed by Goesse taking the nightcap at 7-1 odds. The Pessin double returned $180.60 for a $2 wager.

In the eighth race, which was won by Sir Applesolutely, Console crossed the wire second but was disqualified and placed third for drifting out into the path of Admiral Perry, who was elevated by the stewards from third into the runner-up spot.

Friday, April 11 preview

It is two-time Horse of Year Day at Keeneland when Wise Dan kicks off his 2014 campaign Friday in the Grade 1 Maker's 46 Mile going a mile on the Keeneland turf. The 2-5 morning-line favorite, he is 11 for 12 on turf.

The last race for Wise Dan came Nov. 2 when he won the Breeders’ Cup Mile, defeating Za Approval, who is back to challenge him again in the Maker's 46. Wise Dan has typically fired fresh.

Za Approval was fourth in his last race, which came in the Frank Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita March 8, and he may have needed the race. He likely would have finished better than fourth if he had not had a wide trip.

Running second in Kilroe and also in the Maker's 46 is Lochte, who has gone from a maiden to a Grade 1 winner since joining the barn of trainer Marcus Vitali.

The turf has been firm in two racing days this meet, though that could change with scattered showers forecasted for Friday. Post time for the Maker's 46 is 5:13 Eastern.

Early Keeneland scratches

Race 8: No. 10 Fonepferesh