04/14/2010 11:00PM

Keeneland roundup

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WHO'S HOT

Jockeys

Garrett Gomez is the leading rider, with 8 wins from 27 mounts. That's an impressive 29 percent, with a $2.30 return on investment. He also finished second seven times. His horses participated in the exacta in 55 percent of their races.

Julien Leparoux is second with seven wins, but that is more a function of his large number of mounts ridden than a high rate of success with them. He has ridden 44 horses, seven more than Robby Albarado, who has the next highest total. That's nearly 16 percent wins, with a low $0.87 ROI.

Alan Garcia owns the second highest win percentage among the leaders, with 5 victories from 21 mounts, a shade less than 24 percent with a $5.40 ROI.

Jockey/trainer combinations

As mentioned above, Gomez has ridden eight winners. It is interesting to see that half of them were ridden for just two trainers. Gomez and Christophe Clement have combined four times for two wins and a second-place finish, with a $5.25 ROI. Gomez also has two wins and a second from four mounts when he teamed up with Thomas Proctor, with a $5 ROI.

Trainer Merrill Scherer and Brian Hernandez Jr. have been productive with two wins and a third from five mounts, with a $10.48 ROI.

Kiaran McLaughlin and Garcia also show two wins and a third-place finish from five attempts. Their ROI is a solid $3.48.

It isn't unusual to see the combination of Steven Asmussen and jockey Shaun Bridgmohan winning a few races at Keeneland, but they were overbet at some previous meets. That hasn't been the case at this meet, where they have produced an average $7.06 return. They have won two of seven races, with a second and a third.

Trainer Eric Reed has won with two longshots at this meet, both ridden by Junior Alvarado. That's 33 percent wins from six tries, with a $13.33 ROI.

Ken McPeek and Robby Albarado were the leading combination in October. They haven't won as many races at this meet, but they are nearly break-even for bettors with a $1.94 ROI. They have two wins, a second, and two thirds from 10 starts.

Trainers

Clement is part of a four-way tie for first in the trainer standings, with 3 wins from 6 starts. He also has finished second twice, giving him 83 percent participation in the exacta. His ROI is $4.20.

Proctor has won three of six races, with a second and a $4.53 ROI. McLaughlin has won 3 of 9, with 2 third-place finishes and a $2.58 ROI. Chad Brown has 3 wins from 6 attempts, with a $2.57 ROI.

WHO'S NOT

Jockeys

Some popular jockeys among the top 10 in the standings are winning races, but their winners have been overbet and are not justifying the support they have been receiving.

As mentioned earlier, Leparoux is second in the standings with 16 percent winners and a low $0.87 ROI.

Robby Albarado is in a three-way tie for fourth in the standings with five winners, but he has a moderate 13 percent win rate and a subpar $1.23 ROI.

Javier Castellano is sixth in the standings with a shade less than 14 percent winners and a $1.36 average return.

Rajiv Maragh is seventh in the standings with slightly less than 13 percent wins and a $1.39 ROI.

Jockey/trainer combinations

Trainer Bill Mott and jockey Kent Desormeaux have teamed up far more than any other combination at this meet, with 16 starts. They have produced two wins and a $1.16 ROI.

Trainers

Shug McGaughey has finished among the top three nearly half the time, 7 of 15, but he shows just 1 winner vs. 4 seconds and 2 thirds. His ROI is $0.29.

Rusty Arnold shows 1 win from 11 starters, with 3 seconds. His ROI is $0.69.

TRACK BIAS

Wednesday, April 7: The Polytrack more or less played fair, with four winners coming from the front half of the field and three who rallied from the rear half. One turf route winner was in midpack at the first call, while the other was last at that point.

Thursday, April 8: Early speed was dominant on both Polytrack and turf. Five of the seven Polytrack races were won by the first-call leader. One other was won by the horse in second at that point. The lone exception was a closer who rallied from 11th in a 12-horse field to win a 1 1/16-mile route race. One turf-route winner led at the first call, and the other winner came from second.

Friday, April 9: The fractions and final times of races run on Polytrack were very fast . Early speed was strong again on that surface. Five of those seven races were won by the leader at the first call. The two other winners were fourth during the early going. The three turf-route winners were around midpack or closer early.

Saturday, April 10: The times of the Polytrack races were more normal, and early speed was less effective than it had been in recent days. Four of the seven Polytrack races were won from the rear half of the pack, but early speed still made an impact with two first-call leaders prevailing. Early and tactical speed won all four turf races - three routes and one sprint.

Sunday, April 11: Horses that closed from the rear half of the pack proved best in five of the eight Polytrack races. The turf route was won from midpack.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES

Informed Decision made her first start since her victory in at 4 for 4 on Keeneland's Polytrack and 7 for 7 on synthetic tracks. She also was riding a three-race win streak. Based on that form, she was made the heavy 1-2 favorite, but she was one-paced in the race and finished third. Undefeated Witty, who had won all four of her races on synthetic tracks, was expected to be the primary threat to the favorite, but she finished fifth at 2-1. The winner was Dr. Zic, a longshot who grabbed the early lead and capitalized on a speed bias (five of the seven Polytrack races were won by the first-call leader). She paid $33.40.

Disco Troop, a 3-year-old son of Songandaprayer trained by Eric Reed and ridden by Junior Alvarado, debuted in a six-furlong maiden special Saturday. He won by 6 1/4 lengths and earned an 87 Beyer Speed Figure.

Bettors had a tough time sifting through the contenders in on Saturday. Six of the nine horses closed at odds ranging from 3-1 to 5-1. Stately Victor, who had finished fifth, eighth, fifth, and seventh against first-level allowance company in his last four races, won and paid $82.20. He earned a 94 Beyer.

HORSES TO WATCH

Raging Wit

Trainer: Bill Mott

Last race: April 7, 5th

Finish: 7th by 6 1/4

Mott added first-time blinkers for this race. At first glance, it seems that the experiment failed as he ran wild early while drawing off to as much as a 20-length lead. It is no surprise that he came back to his field as he ran a 22.41-second opening quarter in this 1 1/16-mile turf race, followed by an amazing 22.40 second quarter. He had every right to cave in down the stretch and finish last, far behind his opponents, after a 44.81 half-mile and six furlongs in 1:09.93. But he didn't do that. He finished a very respectable seventh of 11, beaten by only 6o1/4 lengths. I believe he improved dramatically by running as fast as he did early and by holding on much better than he should have late. If he can learn to rate more kindly, he can be a better horse, possibly a much better horse, with blinkers.

Sylvan Saint

Trainer: Victoria Oliver

Last race: April 9, 3rd

Finish: 4th by 15 1/2

Returning from a five-month layoff, she dropped in class from $100,000 maiden claiming to $50,000 maiden claiming. She broke slowly and was about five lengths behind the leader when she settled after the slow start. She rallied wide from sixth and finished fourth. While there was no way she was going to scare the easy winner, she could have been closer than she was. A better performance is likely with a better trip and with some improvement second time off the bench.