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A CLOSER LOOK at Keeneland races on 10/05
Went the distance last time over against a very slow pace and after a rough trip around the first turn did not do much; while it is possible that she will both get a better trip and improve from the inside she will have to run better than she did then; will give the edge to others this time.
Went to the turf for the first time last time and she showed much better speed than before when going a little farther than this; that should lead to good speed again today and she might do better for that race and the follow up works; of course her tactical speed won't hurt at this surface if it plays to speed and the inside as it so often does; contender with one a good effort.
Also goes turf to dirt and stretches out, but she has run so often and has tried easier company that she would seem to be a very risky win play today as she has lost when she could have won more than once; she does however make sense to include underneath on the odd ticket just in case she uses her early speed and the track keeps her going.
Is stepping up from the claiming ranks and while she might be well suited for a hunch play as she makes her career debut in the month of "October", she would appear to be more for "Dreamer"s than for serious players.
Yuki No Princess
Should benefit from the extra distance and the experiences and should get a good tactical trip; she will have to demonstrate that she is good enough with an improved race but there is every reason to believe that she can be competitive based on her opening pair.
Has run okay but has burned some money while disappointing win and exacta bettors alike in all three of her starts to date; she fits here as she gets a little more room and goes turf to dirt but don't know what effect the blinkers will have on her performance or that we would be taking a short price on the win end, though it might be risky to omit her completely.
Will be trying to run down the speed and it could be that she will be in the right position to do so after two races in her current form cycle; have a preference for those with fewer starts and her best may be a little slower than some of the others; could make the board, but will look to others for the win.
Has been an improved runner since adding blinkers and will now get to show what she can do on the dirt; if she can transfer her form to the dirt she will be a serious threat in deep stretch; she ran decently here in the spring of '00 and is interesting here thinking that she will run her race on this surface; now, if closers can...
Has run some good races and if she is able to run close to her best following some time away and regular works, with the blinkers being added, she will have a big chance to be well positioned early and there when it counts; good start could mean a good finish; contender.
Her chances could be compromised by her outer post as she will have to catch a break to get a good start; her latest was a good race and she gave it up late after making the lead with a wide run on the grass; leaning to others but she could well make the board with that good trip.
Been away for a while after she ran her best race when the blinkers went on before taking some time off; what kind of trip she will get is difficult to ascertain, but if she makes a fit and ready appearance in the paddock she has run well enough when fresh and at the distance to treat as a serious contender as she is eligible to run even better with the additional time.
Will need to do some improving in her second career start and first at the distance and do that from the outside post where she might be inclined to break outwardly; has been here and working regularly, but still can't predict that she will get the trip or run fast enough to be competitive.
Go for Gin colt worked a half from the gate over this surface three days back; half brother to stakes winner Knoxville (2 wins-$75K), who was a winner as a 2yo; gets Velazquez aboard from the inside post; will need the experience.
Louisiana Downs shipper has posted three 6/8s published works leading up to his debut; first dam is a stakes-placed winner of $111K, and she has produced one winner from two foals to race; best effort yields minor award.
Couldn't move forward off of his even efforts in his first two starts against straight maiden sprinters; Dehere colt finally draws an inside post today; he's a half brother to stakes-placed Elaines Reason ($208K), and Beauty Runs ($70K); should appreciate this surface, and the extra 1/8 of a mile; board finish.
Split the field last time out after his early effort against MSW turf routers at Kentucky Downs; Peteski colt is the third foal out of his multiple stakes winning mare; wasn't much of a factor sprinting against $30K maiden claimers four starts back at Ellis Park; early factor.
Dam is a winning half sister to GI winner, and multiple graded stakes-placed Papal Power, and she has produced five minor winners from six foals to race; gets Calvin Borel aboard for his debut; published works indicate that he'll probably need this one.
Flying Chevron colt recovered well after the bad start as the chalk in his debut at Ellis; first foal out of his dam, who was a winner in two starts as a 2yo; productive Churchill Downs works; money finish.
Mr. L. D.
Didn't finish well in his Turfway Park debut, the day after his :36.00-3/8s work over this main surface; Florida-bred is a half brother to five minor winners; will have to prove himself over his home surface with the bug-rider aboard today.
Tired after his early effort as the chalk last time out routing against turf maidens at Arlington Park; dam is a winning half sister to multiple GI winner Wise Times ($870K); he's finished in the money three out of three starts, and he's poised for another solid effort today; contender.
Didn't benefit from the slow start, and wide trip in his debut at Saratoga, but he has benefited from those last two solid 5/8s works at CD; Maria's Mon colt is the second foal out of his dam, who is a winning half sister to multiple graded stakes winner Screen Prospect (12 wins-$576K); should move way forward off of his last; money finish.
Pulpit colt worked 3/4s from the gate eight days back at CD; dam is a multiple stakes winner (6 wins-$242K), and she's a half to multiple graded stakes-placed Hitch (9 wins-$426K); gets Prado aboard for his debut; check post parade for more clues.
Dam is a half to multiple graded stakes winner Mariah's Storm (10 wins-$725K), although the dam hasn't been much of a producer as far as racehorses; Broad Brush colt draws a tough post for his debut; will have to be game at first asking.
Future Storm colt bled as the chalk in his last sprint effort at Arlington Park before the lay-off; first dam is a graded stakes winning (13 wins-$554K) half sister to multiple GI winner Heavenly Cause (9 wins-$622K), who is the dam of Two Punch; gets Lasix, and D'Amico aboard for this one; front runner could get used up early breaking from the outside today.
Scan the PP's and the first thing to notice is that they all won when on or setting the pace throughout and that several have failed when they were under pressure or unable to clear; she has given signs of being able to run from off the pace; that would be helpful and she could be on the right part of the track if the inside is good; can be competitive.
Had a bad start too last time and that may have compromised her chances last time; she is within range with her best but trip will be the key factor and she might be in trouble in this pace match up.
Has been off for a while since winning her debut over a good surface; she will have to show what she is made of and she will have to deal with a faster early pace today; if she can handle that she can be there throughout.
Spirit and Soul
Broke her maiden at Saratoga with a pace-pressing trip when she had to work hard and was no match when placed in G1 company in the Spinaway; she should benefit from the time off, the interim works and the easier company; Mr Day returns; good trip likely, and she should be a contender.
Popped up with an improved race at Saratoga on first Lasix and then was third throughout in her follow-up allowance test; she has worked regularly since then and could return with a strong effort after more time; whether or not she has the speed to be there or will rally if she doesn't are the questions that need to be answered.
Had a less than perfect beginning last start, bid and hung thereafter and will has come back with a couple of recent works; the fact that she has at least passed others is a positive; could make a race of it if closers can and if she gets away well.
Gold Bar Lady
Was a game winner of her debut battling throughout under pressure on the inside; moving outside she might be more content to take a reserved approach to the proceedings; these might be tougher but then she might be better than her opener; a possibility in open contest.
Set a slow pace to win her debut against claimers and starting outside of many of the other speedsters and stepping up she is going to have a tough time of it; she is stabled here and has worked well since the win but has a lot to prove to stay in the hunt.
A last-place finish for a $35,000 claiming tag on Sept. 17 doesn't bode well for his chances in this stakes race; his best race showing was three starts ago when he missed by only a neck in a classified allowance field at Churchill, but even that performance would leave him off the board against this type; pass.
Alea Iacta Est
The explanation for his last-place finish at 2-1 odds on Sept. 20 can be found by glancing at the fractions of that race; after dueling through a :22 and :45 pace, he figured to surrender readily down the lane while going 1 mile and 70 yards; the switch from a route trip to this 5 1/2 furlong distance will probably agree with him; his best Canadian form would give him a look at a board finish here.
Outran his odds when he finished a contending second as a 42-1 longshot here in April, but his 7-0-2-1 record over this course provides a clearer picture of how he usually performs locally; he has been stuck trying to break through his allowance N3X condition for too long; appears to be overmatched.
Won an allowance N1X more than a year ago, and has been winless since then; like Morrow, his best race showing is his June 16 running line at Churchill; with both Morrow and Traversteed finishing in the money that day, it might not have been a strong field; faces a huge challenge against stakes company; pass.
Pressed a swift pace, then faded in the Grade 1 Forego; the class drop and the surface switch will make him much more effective; best strategy over this course would be to rate a length or two off the pace rather than dueling with Grangeville; major player, especially if he takes a step forward in his second start following the freshening.
This veteran has moved up at Keeneland in the past with a $50 upset win, and a contending third-place finish at 17-1 from two previous visits; versatile running style will give Chavez options; would be no surprise here if that last-place finish on July 4 isn't a sign that he is over the top.
Went through a streak where he was quite impressive while winning four of six races; also lost by only a head as a 20-1 outsider in the Hong Kong Sprint; however, chalk fans will have to look past two straight dull performances at low odds; the layoff didn't help last time; also worth noting that his lone win from five local starts isn't as good as his record of six wins from 17 races on the grass at other venues; his best race takes this, but I'll see if I can beat him at a modest price.
Has been very consistent this year with a 9-5-2-2 record, but he was facing softer fields at Philadelphia and Delaware; still figures to be tough here, but his tendency to want to duel for the early lead might make him vulnerable in deep stretch on a lawn that is kinder to those who are a little more patient.
By a two-time champion who earned $507k and who sired Kentucky D., winner Monarchos; rates as an average debut sire; this one is the first foal from his dam, a winner of $99k and a half-sister to Grade 3 winner Bruho($628k).
Seems to be improving with each start; last out he showed good speed before tiring a little in the later stages over a demanding one-turn mile; that race should set him up well for the seven furlongs he must negotiate this afternoon, a distance that will test some of these; seasoned runner can graduate.
From the second crop of a Grade 1 winner of $476k; dam is a winning half-sister to multiple Grade 2 winner Two Item Limit($623k), and from one starter she has produced one winner, Tornado Trish, a full sibling to this one who won twice at 2 and who has earned $36k.
Showed some early interest in his bow before running into traffic trouble, which no doubt cost him; he has been on the sidelines since that race, and shows some nice works for his comeback; looking for him to run an improved race if he gets a clean trip.
By a Grade 2 winner at 2 who earned $129k and who rates above average as a debut sire; dam was a winner of $34k, and from one starter she has one winner, Cisco Street, a winner at 2 who has earned $13k.
From the first crop of his stakes-winning sire, who won 9 races from 2 to 5 and $549k; unraced dam is a half-sister to Grade 1 winner K.J.'s Appeal($563k), and from one foal to race she has one winner, Pajama Raid($8.2k).
Returns to racing with maidens after picking up a check against winners in his last race, which went in good time; he showed more speed than usual in that race, and seems to be moving in the right direction; maintenance move since to prepare for the added furlong, and his edge seems to be seasoning.
Did not show much interest in racing in his bow last out, but he no doubt learned something about the game in that race and could run an improved race this afternoon; still, suspect he will have to move up several lengths to best some of the leading contenders in this heat; later.
Exits a fast maiden race and notice he was close to the pace that afternoon before losing a little ground to his rivals in the stretch; suspect he had a legitimate excuse for not doing more late in that race as his trouble line indicates he bled; consistent, willing runner appears to be a win candidate.
By a Grade 2 winner of $610k who rates above average as a debut sire; dam was a Grade 2 winner at 2 who earned $172k, and from 13 foals she has 4 winners, including Grade 2 winner Blushing Heiress($356k), and Grade 3 winner Really Fancy($81k); would be no surprise.
By a two-time champion who earned $507k and who sired this year's Kentucky D., winner Monarchos; rates as an average debut sire; dam is a winning half-sister to stakes winner Dance Forth($68k), and from four starters she has three winners, including Fish 'n The Dark($62k).
Second Woodbine outing with first Lasix turned the trick; brings along Boulanger; sire loved this oval; you'd like to give filly a shot at a small slice scraping the paint; but believe she gets an education here after thrust into cavalry charge to save the rail against Never Out & Playing 'n Gold; would be quite a Twist if she prevails.
Snappy wake-up call with the turf stretchout against the boys midway through Del Mar; shelved and shipped ? would look for a late work; yet G2 is a leap with unproven main track form & coming in cold off a six-week break; Lon Meche a sneaky exotics buster in Ky stakes events, but going with others.
Nice upset at the Shore, but assumed command in the far turn when no one else wanted to go on with it; and like Daisyago, main track form is uncertain & certainly not fast enough on paper; unlike that foe, at least she kept busy in Sept. with a.m. trio; Guidry brought in all kinds last meet; but can't back comebacker.
11-1 Ellis diploma no fluke; although admittedly bagged 6f Florence N1x against flat-footed bunch; could be the buzzsaw that prompts overfueled duel between Playing 'n Gold, inside duo and any other random speed; yet Barnett's sterling rep with young fillies makes you wonder ? could she outgun 'Gold and keep going?; Never Out of this at any point; interest rises with the price.
All she needed was the second turn; satisfied pedigree; Flores makes rare appearance; not sure Godolphin filly is as far along yet as some of these; like Exotic Wager, you have to think she's here for any slice that can propel her into BC Juv'y Filly berth; one of a few who doesn't need the lead; but must run right through diploma fig with another new top; dicey.
Carried along by the stretch vacuum of divisional leader Cashier's Dream in noble Spinaway second; Lasix lending a hand; patient approach could play right into this scenario; Johnny V. drops deep into the second tier early, comes out for the drive, tries to wear 'em down; three breezes in five weeks of downtime ? fresh but ready for the stretch fight to come; yet can't give the nod for all.
Take Charge Lady
Throttled heavy hitter Playing 'n Gold in local debut; skipped some obvious comeback spots like the KyCup to tune up with TP N1x drive with first Lasix; McPeek adds three serious bullets ? no snap rating lesson due here; she'll swing hard early against inside duo & Never Out; yet still difficult to see this race come down to stretch rematch with 'Gold; taking stand against threepeat.
Soft Turfway special weight crew gave her nearly 1:15 on a lone lead; but at least you know today's extra sixteenth is not a problem; yet she's no steamer in the making, hooked throughout jumping to G2 first time against winners, even if attempts tracking trip; and the thinnest part of this Wager is presence of Day driving down any chance of bonus odds; yet could still present minor Exotic options.
Cincy local hero Joanie's Bell gave her all in the Bassinet, repeated; Buckeye-bred handled this filly in just 1:12 & change; yet at least the stretchout satisfies; willing stalker can take pocket trip behind pace war; 9/17 breeze quick for this barn; filly is the trickiest part of this equation; does the extra turn move her up or leave her one-paced?; all-Flint exacta?; some things to like.
Playing 'n Gold
Played with a small & lackluster KyCup field; Humble Danzig was the only foe to take a serious run at her ? far too late to seriously threaten; final time was over four ticks faster than Exotic Wager's debut; and looms the benchmark run to beat; only cautionary note ? 13 days enough to stave off any potential bounce?; Holthus lures Prado; the main player.
Pacesetters in Churchill special weight group were in full retreat; readiness made for likable premiere; but Spa sprint duo fail to satisfy as prerequisites for the G2 leap on the stretchout; Borel not a go-for-broke type, but what else can filly do from out here?; local Wed. a.m. blast noted, but seems pure contrarian Play only.
Showed little racing around two turns at TP in his last start, but he beat a MSW field in a one-turn mile race at CD in his previous start; this long, one-turn, sprint should be to his liking, and speed figures are good enough to put him among the major players in this field; Melancon knows him well and should get good position early from the rail; chance at a decent price.
Beat a MSW field at CD in his final start of 2000, but didn't hit the board in four starts this year; he posted a decent speed figure in his winning effort, but his recent figures are not good enough to threaten this group; Albarado, who rode him a 2nd in his debut is back aboard today, but neither his recent races nor workouts have been encouraging; let's wait until he shows more run.
Finished 3rd vs. $30K N2L claimers at TP in his last start and will surely find this competition tougher than he faced in that race; his win came in a $15K mdn claimer at EP, and his speed figure in that race isn't good enough to get any part of this purse; will be a big price, but needs to show more before being taken seriously with this field.
Hasn't raced since Feb. 23 at FG; he finished a good 2nd in that race, and his trainer is very good with horses returning from extended layoffs; his recent works aren't particularly impressive, but he won his career debut, so he obviously doesn't need a race to be ready; might be a nice price and worth a long look in this spot.
Finally broke his maiden in his 13th start and paid $5.00 to win; he finished in the money in his last six starts and 4th or better in nine of his last 10; switched to Jon Court for his last race, posted a much higher speed figure, and finally got the elusive win; Court is back aboard today, but he will have to improve some more to win this; his consistency must be respected, so maybe for a small piece of the purse.
Beat an MSW field going six furlongs at Dmr in his last start and posted a very good speed figure; he worked well since shipping to Kentucky and his breeding suggests that the added furlong of this race will help more than hurt his chances; he has the speed to go right to the front and should be very tough to catch, but don't expect a big price.
Finished 5th vs. $30K N2L claimers at TP in his last start and is going to find this a tougher task than he faced in that race; his win was vs. $30K mdn claimers at CD, but he did finish 3rd here at this distance in his racing debut; he was 59-1 in that race and is going to be a big price again today; he will get some support from Longshot Louie, but his chances of winning this race look pretty slim.
Five-year-old is making his first start of the year and shows just one work, six furlongs in 1:15.00; his only win was almost two years ago and his last two races of 2000 were dull; is a very well bred individual, but he just hasn't performed to that breeding; let's don't give up on him yet, since his connections obviously haven't, but he needs to show more run before being backed at the windows.
Finished a distant 3rd vs. N1X alw foes on a muddy track at TP in his last start and was beaten more than 10 length in each of his previous three races, one each at ElP, RD and CD; worked OK since arriving here, but he appears to be a bit overmatched in this field; was 27-1 in his last start and will probably be an even bigger number today.
It's Triple George
Broke his maiden vs. $17.5K claimers at CD, and his two good races since that one were both on the grass at ElP; finished far back vs. N1X alw foes at TP in his last start and isn't going to find this field any easier than that one; Court was aboard all three times that he finished in the money, and he goes with Table Talk today; faces a tough task at best, and he will probably have a wide trip from this outside post.
Although she won her last race, it didn't come easily; as the even-money favorite in a field with no pace, she should have left her foes in the dust; instead she had to battle to win; takes on a much classier group, and appears unlikely to get away with a :49.14 opening half mile; piece possible.
How about that late kick? this mare can fly late; while that style is often the path to failure on dirt, a horse can be effective with a late-running style on grass; expecting a strong performance; she's been running with the top grass fillies in the country (i.e. Englands Legend); outside of Tout Charmant, most of these seem like G3 types; big shot.
Nuit De Siam
Kept tough company on the West Coast, running against fillies like La Ronge and Nepenthe; her only poor race there came when she ran off early in a marathon; training well and appears to be improving; not proven as a graded stakes performer in this country; still has a few things to like.
Lacks size but not heart; this tiny filly gives her best virtually every time; doubt she is as talented as some of these - she probably needs them to not produce their best races; if Tout Charmant and Spook Express don't run to their potential, this race could turn into a scramble; top-notch connections with Nafzger and Day; minor award, perhaps more.
Not a rabbit for Spook Express, but her front-running style complements her late-running stablemate; she should keep the speedy Crystal Sea honest after running within a length and a half of sprinters Tugger and Shine Again in the early stages of her last race; foolish to underestimate; she came within 2 lengths of winning the Q E II here, and Skiffington confidently brings her back; don't forget...playing the larger price of 2 uncoupled stablemates (she and Spook Express) can lead to profits; this happens with Bob Baffert-trained horses all the time; perhaps with Skiffington? potential overlay.
So she faltered in the Beverly D? big deal; that course was a bog, and she wasn't good enough; she isn't a G1 filly, but she's as solid a G3 mare that you will find; was unfortunate not to win against Iowa Two a couple starts ago in the Modesty; she broke poorly that day and was shuffled back; expecting her to flash more speed than what she has shown lately, probably sitting in a pressing or stalking position; contender.
When Dickinson swings for the fences, sharp players take notice; he trusts his instincts, and those instincts are usually right; this filly disappointed a bit in her debut, but seems likely to move forward; she faced some nice mares overseas and is a classy filly; 1st or 2nd in 6 of 8 starts; threat at a decent price.
The class; this mare was dynamite at this time last season, beating champion Perfect Sting in this race and running 2nd to her in the Breeders' Cup; that was then...this is now; is she as strong as she was last season? she has raced just once this year, beating one horse in the Palomar Handicap at Del Mar; she may have been rusty and was carrying 123 pounds in that matchup vs. Tranquility Lake, one of the best female turfers in the land; despite the sketchy schedule this season, she still figures to be a force.
Connections made a nice claim, knowing she was eligible for Ohio-bred stakes; with RD now closed and Beu and Tdn lacking turf courses, those Ohio-bred grass opportunities are over; doubt she possesses the class to challenge in a graded stake; probably a $50k claimer in open company.
Veil Of Avalon
Clement's specialties are turf and stakes; so after watching this filly defeat a stakes-quality allowance field at Saratoga this summer - he freshened her and set his sights on a graded prize; filly ran very well when fresh in her last start; if there is a criticism, it's the 1 3/16m distance; Clement has focused her between 8f to 8.5f; how she adapts to the added distance is an unknown.
Hasn't been out since a horrible trip in the Dade Turf Classic at Ellis Park and returns to a strip she has shown an affinity for in the past; deep closer needs a quick pace to give her a chance at a large check; expect her to need one.
Has yet to find a money finish this year in six trips to the post and hasn't been close in previous tries over this KEE course; like her recent work over the CD oval but her lack of consistent activity this year makes her hard to like.
Found the slop at Mountaineer not to her liking last out and was well in arrears; gets her toughest assignment so far as she gives the lawn another try in hopes of finding her niche in allowance company; going with others.
One of the few gals in her with the ability and likelihood to take command from go, have to expect she'll give them a target today; almost stole a similar contest at Arlington in July before tiring over a yielding course there last out; hard to catch if she shakes loose.
Stalker from the Kaelin barn just missed in a game effort to close out the Ellis meet; has the admiral ability to fare as well on dirt and turf and will be the one to fear most as the field turns into the stretch; has been off the board just once on grass and that was a fourth in the Audubon Oaks at Ellis; tab.
Was victimized by a wider than usual trip in her return to action and shouldn't be penalized for it; expect she got lots in terms of fitness from that Turfway try and should improve if she can find the going more to her liking in the second start of her career on grass; major player if it's rained off, however.
Made up alot of ground in the Pucker Up-G3 last time after walking out of the gate; left herself way too much to do that day so expect Albarado to try and get her away more promptly here; a return to the form that earned he black-type in the Misty Isle at Arlington would suffice; player.
Found that she really liked the Ellis grass course and caused herself more ground lost at the start last out than she lost by; stretch runner keeps Kutz up and the fact that she has gotten her picture taken off two previous layoffs makes her very hard to dismiss today; could surprise and a definite for exotics.
Made it look easy at Kentucky Downs last time as she was barely urged to get the N1X win; honest filly has turned into something special on grass and her versatility puts her in the drivers seat here; had a mild half-mile move since that win and would be no surprise greeting the cameraman again.
Aside from that next-to-last place finish in the Dogwood-G3 at Churchill, her only poor showing of late was on the grass at Saratoga; granted that came on the heels of an almost three-month layoff, so lets not hold that against her; gets the services of Day for her KEE turf debut with two strong am moves on her tab at Churchill since returning to the Bluegrass State; more confident if it's rained off.
Two Dot Slew
Check-getter has been collecting minor awards of late but her best effort recently came on grass at Ellis Park sprinting; can't say that 1 1/8 miles is something she's aching to try, but her affinity for grass may make up the difference; threat to steal if in.
Almost got the job done at Kentucky Downs in her first start in almost three months; prior to that effort, her 2001 campaign had been a bust and she'll need to continue her upward swing in form to make her presence felt vs. this cast; like others.