04/08/2010 12:00AM

Keeneland roundup

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WHO'S HOT

Jockeys

Getting off to a fast start is a good sign at any race meet, especially a short meet like Keeneland. Kent Desormeaux did quite well over the first two racing days, winning with four of nine mounts (44 percent). He also rode a second- and a third-place finisher for 67 percent in the money. His ROI is $3.96.

No jockey worked as hard as Robby Albarado, who rode in 17 of the 20 races run in the first two days. That's five more mounts than James Graham and Javier Castellano, who were tied for second-most mounts with 12 each. This is similar to Albarado's workload in October, when he rode 28 horses in the first three days of racing.

Albarado won three of his races, the first three on the card Saturday. That's 17 percent wins with a $1.49 ROI. He is in second place in the standings. Castellano and Graham were less productive. Castellano finished second once and third twice. Graham earned one second-place finish on a 28-1 first-time starter in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden race.

Miguel Mena was efficient with his two mounts. He won once and finished second once. His ROI is $10.20.

Trainers

Kiaran McLaughlin, Wesley Ward, and Bill Mott are tied for first with two wins each. McLaughlin has the highest win rate, 67 percent from three starters. He was the most profitable of the trio, with a $5.40 ROI. Mott won two of four races and had a third-place finish. He was the second most profitable at $4.65. Ward won two of four races and finished second once. His ROI is $2.75.

Jockey-trainer combinations

The amount of data is limited in this category, but the statistics might still prove to be significant since the early leader in this category in October also turned out to be the leader at the end of the meet. The Ken McPeek-Robby Albarado combination won twice from three tries with a $2.73 ROI through the first three days of racing in October. They ended up winning with 11 of 28 runners, with a $3.11 ROI.

With two days of racing in the books through Tuesday, Bill Mott and Kent Desormeaux have been the leading combination, with two wins and one third-place finish from the three times they have teamed up. Their ROI is $6.20. Whether or not they combine often enough to have a chance to lead the standings at the end of the meet, they might continue to be profitable the rest of the way.

TRACK BIAS

Horses with tactical speed had the most success on opening day, Friday, April 2. Six of the eight winners were among the first three to the first call on Polytrack. Both of the turf routes were won by horses who were located in the rear-half of the pack at the first call.

The Polytrack played fair to all running styles Saturday, with half of the eight races on that surface won from the front-half of the pack; the other half were won by horses who had been in the rear-half at the first call.

Both of the turf routes were won by horses who were in the front one-third of their field at the first call.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

Secret File is a 3-year-old filly who finished third at Turfway with a 58 Beyer in her debut. She ran a much better race against a stronger maiden special field in Friday's fifth race. Secret File stretched out from 5 1/2 furlongs to seven furlongs and dueled throughout this race. She held on to finish 1 1/4 lengths behind the winner and was unlucky to miss second by a nose. She earned an 80 Beyer and can graduate with help from a better pace scenario and/or while cutting back to a shorter sprint distance.

Havelock rallied from 10th to win his debut going five furlongs on the grass at Gulfstream. Supporters of this 3-year-old had good reason to like their chances when Havelock broke with his field, then quickly moved into contention along the rail in this Polytrack race at "about" seven furlongs. Anything vaguely resembling the strong late kick he showed in his debut would make him formidable from just a couple of lengths off the pace. Then Havelock made a huge mistake. He veered in sharply at the gap and appeared to make a half-hearted, unsuccessful attempt at jumping over the temporary rail. That stunt cost him five or six lengths as he dropped back to last place. He made a quick move back into contention on the backstretch, battled for second down the stretch, then tired late and finished fourth.

I can't say Havelock would have beaten Krypton, the 6 1/4-length winner, but he would have made Krypton work a lot harder. Havelock missed second by 2 1/4 lengths and would have finished at least as well without the self-inflicted trouble. He'll be hard to handle if he behaves better in his next race.

Nina Fever made her debut for Wesley Ward in a 4 1/2-furlong maiden special race Saturday. This 2-year-old filly cruised to an eight-length victory in 51.19 and will be a threat to repeat against stakes company.

Bless Me Father finished third at Turfway in his debut with a 51 Beyer. This 3-year-old colt was delivering a strong effort going seven furlongs in Friday's fifth race when he made a nice move into contention, but he checked hard, dropped back, then clipped heels and lost all chance. Bettors weren't expecting much from him as a 22-1 longshot, and this 26-length loss won't attract much support next time, but he is significantly better than that running line suggests.