Kentucky Downs – Saturday Stakes Analysis with suggested plays

BY JOSHUA PRAIN

We only get to enjoy the brilliant “European-Style” track that is Kentucky Downs for a handful of race days each September.   Due to its proximity to Nashville, Tennessee which is about forty miles south, Kentucky Downs has become a must visit track for many racing fans.  The track is a gamblers paradise.  The large purses bring full fields and that combined with turf only racing creates some large payouts on vertical and horizontal wagers.  Saturday’s ten race card is the signature race day of the meet highlighted by the Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup.

Race 6 – Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Post Time – 3:55 PM
Purse $500,000. For Two-year Olds. Six and One-Half Furlongs. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Perfect Answer (FL) 2/C E E Prentice Jr. 121 C Davidson 20/1
2 Chattel (KY) 2/C L K Carmouche 123 B McFarlane 5/1
3 Faraway Kitten (KY) 2/C L T Gaffalione 121 M J Maker 12/1
4 Sovereign Impact (KY) 2/G L A Beschizza 121 W J Denzik Jr. 15/1
5 Carter Cat (KY) 2/C L R Santana, Jr. 121 S M Asmussen 8/1
6 Cardinal Coach Mac (KY) 2/C L J Rocco Jr. 121 J Sharp 15/1
7 Mine Inspector (KY) 2/C L J Graham 121 V L Foley 20/1
8 Life Mission (KY) 2/C L F Geroux 119 B Colebrook 4/1
9 Blame the Frog (KY) 2/F B J Hernandez, Jr. 118 B Colebrook 10/1
10 Moonlight Romance (KY) 2/F L J L Ortiz 118 W A Ward 3/1
11 Mae Never No 2/F L A Jimenez 118 W A Ward 5/1

 

 

The All Stakes Late Pick 5 begins with the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint.  Although not graded, this race offers a whopping $500,000 purse.

 

To nobody’s surprise Wesley Ward sends out two live horses in here and they both happen to be fillies.  The “other” Ward runner #11 Mae Never No (IRE) is the horse that I want to take a shot with in here.  This filly has been very competitive in her three previous starts, all on dirt.  Her dam was Grade 1 placed at Saratoga as a two-year-old and her sire No Nay Never was obviously a very nice turf horse.  Her connections decided to try the turf last out, but the race was moved to the main track that day.  Her future may very well be on the dirt, but I like this filly at a square price in here and her pedigree suggest she will like the turf.  She gets talented jock Albin Jimenez in the irons.

 

The second choice on the morning-line and a bit of an unknown is #8 Life Mission who last ran in a maiden event at Curragh (IRE) on August 25th for trainer John Murtagh under the Qatar Racing silks.  He is now with trainer Ben Colebrook and owned by Marc Detampel, so it looks like he was recently purchased privately and perhaps with this very race in mind.  I can’t play this horse to win at a short price, but I’m also not letting him beat me in horizontals. It should be noted that he finished 3rd out of 25 runners in his last outing, so he should have no issue with today’s field size.

 

#10 Moonlight Romance is the second of the two Ward fillies and she’s the 3/1 morning-line favorite.  She was a runner-up to eventual Norfolk Stakes winner Shang Shang Shang in her debut over the dirt at Keeneland back in April, then broke her maiden next out over the Belmont turf.  She was a no factor in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in her last start and has been training at Keeneland since.  Ward takes the Blinkers off for this contest which is a 25% angle for him.

 

 

Race 7 – Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3) Post Time – 4:26 PM
Purse $500,000. For Fillies and Mares Three-Years-Old and Upward. One Mile. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 I’m Betty G (MD) 4/F L T Gaffalione 125 M J Maker 7/2
2 Bonnie Arch (KY) 5/M L C Landeros 125 I R Wilkes 12/1
3 Storm the Hill (KY) 4/F L J R Leparoux 125 P D’Amato 4/1
4 Oh So Terrible (KY) 4/F L C Villasana 121 B S Ross 15/1
5 Valadorna (KY) 4/F L F Geroux 121 M E Casse 8/1
6 Pas de Soucis (IRE) 5/M L F Prat 121 J R Abreu 8/1
7 Hallie Belle (KY) 4/F L J Bravo 125 M Stidham 8/1
8 In the Lee (KY) 4/F L J L Ortiz 121 C R McGaughey III 5/1
9 Insta Erma (KY) 5/M L D Van Dyke 121 R Baltas 6/1
10 Dubara (GB) 4/F L A Beschizza 121 B P Walsh 15/1

 

 

 

The Grade 3 Ladies Turf Stakes looks like it could end up being one of the most competitive races on the card.  I think there is a handful of fillies and mares in here that could take the cake.  This race starts the Late Pick 4.

 

#8 In the Lee did not run at Saratoga so it’s possible they had this race circled on the calendar.  We last saw her in the Perfect Sting back in late June at Belmont Park where she was a hard closing 2nd behind La Sardane.  She had to circle the field that day, losing quite a bit of ground to the winner.  This filly is exceptionally bred, by Tapit and out of a Grade 3 winning mare on the grass.  Jose Ortiz rides for Shug McGaughey.

 

Joe Bravo has three mounts on the card, each for trainer Michael Stidham.  Of those three I think #7 Hallie Belle is his best shot at finding the Winner’s Circle.  This filly has been well tested in her previous starts and she gets back to her preferred distance of a mile.  I think if she can improve just the slightest, she’s live in here and at an excellent price of 8/1.

 

Mike Maker doesn’t mess around at Kentucky Downs.  He sends out luke warm morning-line favorite #1 I’m Betty G in here.  This filly has won her last three races, but I think the field she faces today is much better than what she has seen in any of those.  This daughter of Into Mischief likes to be on the front end and I think there is just enough pace pressure in here to wear her down.  She’s also untested over this course so she’s worth taking a shot against at a short price.

 

 

Race 8 – Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes (G3) Post Time – 4:57 PM
Purse $450,000. For Fillies and Mares Three-Years-Old and Upward. Six and One-Half Furlongs. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Brielle’s Appeal (KY) 4/F L S Bridgmohan 121 A M Stall, Jr. 5/1
2 Spellker (KY) 4/F L J A Garcia 121 W A Ward 10/1
3 Con Te Partiro (KY) 4/F L A Jimenez 121 W A Ward 6/1
4 Noted and Quoted (FL) 4/F L R Albarado 121 M Stidham 15/1
5 Ruby Notion (WV) 5/M L F Geroux 125 D Miller 3/1
6 Lull (KY) 4/F L B J Hernandez, Jr. 125 C Clement 2/1
7 Originator (KY) 3/F L J L Ortiz 118 I R Wilkes 12/1
8 Bixby Lou (KY) 4/F L E Morales 121 T Glover 20/1
9 Therighttobeararms (KY) 3/F L C Villasana 118 W R Helmbrecht 30/1
10 Mines and Magic (KY) 5/M L C Landeros 121 V H Oliver 12/1

 

If there is a potential single in this late sequence of races, one might say it’s #6 Lull.  The War Front filly is two for two at Kentucky Downs and the defending champ of this very race.  She reunites with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. who was aboard for last year’s win.  I think she sits a few lengths off the pace and pounces late.

 

#7 Originator is the price horse I want out of this field.  One of two three-year-old’s in here, the daughter of Artie Schiller has played bridesmaid in four of her last five starts.  All six of this Ian Wilkes trainee’s lifetime starts have come this season and she’s been tested over five different racetracks.  Her Beyer figures seem to improve with each outing.  Let’s see if Jose Ortiz can help her get rid of the seconditis.

 

#1 Brielle’s Appeal is the only other horse in the field besides Lull who has a win over the course.  The English Channel filly broke her maiden here last year.  This filly will be on the front end and possibly could have the lead all to herself.  I’m tossing her last as it was effort, which came over a very wet turf course that she never seemed to get ahold of.

 

 

 

Race 9 – Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) Post Time – 5:29 PM
Purse $500,000. For Three-year Olds and Upward. Six and One-Half Furlongs. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Conquest Panthera (KY) 6/G L F Geroux 121 M E Casse 5/1
2 Proforma (KY) 4/G L J Bravo 121 M Stidham 20/1
3 Vici (KY) 6/G L J L Ortiz 121 M J Maker 15/1
4 Undrafted (KY) 8/G L J A Garcia 121 W A Ward 4/1
5 Blind Ambition (KY) 4/C L L Saez 125 T A Pletcher 9/2
6 Richiesinthehouse (IL) 4/G L T Gaffalione 121 L Rivelli 15/1
7 White Flag (KY) 4/C L J Rosario 121 C Clement 6/1
8 Jazzy Times (KY) 5/G L T Kennedy 125 W E Hawley 15/1
9 Little Chesney (KY) 4/G L J R Leparoux 125 C Vaccarezza 20/1
10 Maniacal (KY) 5/G L F Prat 121 M J Maker 15/1
11 Master Merion (KY) 4/G L A Jimenez 121 W A Ward SCR
12 Done Deal (KY) 5/G L C Landeros 121 I R Wilkes 8/1

 

This is the type of race where I feel you either go really short or really deep.  I am somewhat interested in the Todd Pletcher runner, #5 Blind Ambition.  Pletcher doesn’t ship very many into Kentucky Downs so I must believe this horse is training well for them to spot him here.  The Tapit colt ran a very nice 2nd last out in the Troy Stakes, and was the only horse to make up significant ground and speed favoring turf course.  What I do find baffling about this horse is the inconsistency in the distances he has been running at.  This will be his fifth distance change in as many starts.  If he can duplicate his last effort, he’s a live one.

 

#1 Conquest Panthera looks to be in decent form for trainer Mark Casse.  He may improve with the distance cut back, but the son of Kitten’s Joy hasn’t seen the winner’s circle since August.

 

Christophe Clemente runner #7 White Flag steps up in company after a win at the allowance level back in July.  This is another horse who passed on running at Saratoga so perhaps the connections were pointing here.  The War Front colt is one of Joel Rosario’s three scheduled mounts on the day.  Needs to improve to win.

 

 

Race 10 – Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes Post Time – 5:59 PM
Purse $750,000. For Three-year Olds and Upward. One and One-Half Miles. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Bronson (KY) 4/C L R Santana, Jr. 121 M J Maker 30/1
2 Nessy (KY) 5/G L J R Leparoux 123 I R Wilkes 15/1
3 Manitoulin (KY) 5/G L J Graham 121 J J Toner 6/1
4 Bigger Picture (KY) 7/G L T Gaffalione 123 M J Maker 9/2
5 Multiplier (KY) 4/C L J Rosario 121 P Miller 5/1
6 Oscar Nominated (KY) 5/R L J L Ortiz 123 M J Maker 7/2
7 All Right (KY) 4/G L A Beschizza 121 K Gorder 30/1
8 Arklow (KY) 4/C L F Geroux 123 B H Cox 12/1
9 Soglio (KY) 4/G L L Saez 121 M J Maker 12/1
10 Some in Tieme (BRZ) 6/H L B J Hernandez, Jr. 121 K G McPeek 12/1
11 My Bariley (KY) 4/G L C Landeros 123 A J Granitz 20/1
12 Big Bend (KY) 4/C L D Van Dyke 121 T F Proctor 10/1
Also Eligibles:
13 Patterson Cross (KY) 5/H L J Alvarado 123 W I Mott 12/1
14 Markitoff (KY) 4/C L K Carmouche 121 M J Maker 15/1
15 Twenty Four Seven (KY) 5/G L F Geroux 121 R A Brueggemann 12/1
16 Bandua (KY) 3/C L A Beschizza 118 D K Weld 8/1

 

The Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup offers a $750,000 purse and closes out the card.  A lot of runners in here seem to be coming into this race off subpar outing, which makes this race that much more difficult to handicap.

 

Mike Maker’s #6 Oscar Nominated is surely the horse to beat if he runs back to his true form.  He had a less than ideal trip last out in the Grade 1 United Nations, getting shuffled back early and checking multiple times.  The winner that day went gate to wire and all hope was likely lost after the first ¼ mile.  I’ll trust that Maker has the son of Kitten’s Joy ready to go.  He’s two for two over the track and looking to defend his title in this race.  Reuniting with Jose Ortiz is also a huge plus.

 

#8 Arklow could be a live longshot in here for trainer Brad Cox.  The son of Arch exits a victory at Ellis Park and looks to be training well coming in.  In his only prior start at the distance he ran decent considering he lost a fair amount of ground in that outing.  Florent Geroux rides the son of Arch.

 

#9 Soglio is one of the five Mike Maker horses entered in the contest and although he exits lesser company I think he’s worth adding to your tickets at a fair price.  He was a beaten favorite at Saratoga last out, but I was impressed with his effort two back at this distance.

 

 

Suggested Plays ($25 Budget Per Race)

Race 6

$5 Win

#11

$5 Exacta’s

11 w 8,10 = $10

8,10 w 11 = $10

Race 7

$5 Win $4 Place + Show

#8

$2 Exacta’s

8 w 1,6,7 = $6

1,6,7 w 8 = $6

 

Race 8

$3 Win

#7

$1 Exacta Box

1,6,7 = $6

$.50 Trifecta’s

6 w 1,7 w ALL = $8

6 w ALL w 1,7 = $8

Race 9

$2 Exacta

5 w ALL = $22

$1 Exacta

1,3,7 w 5 = $3

Race 10

$1 Exacta Box

6,8,9 = $6

$.50 Trifecta’s

6 w 8,9 w ALL = $10

6 w ALL w 8,9 = $10

Bonus Play: Late Pick 4 (Races 7-10)

6,7,8 w 1,6,7 w 5,7 w 3,6,8,9,12 = $45

Good luck!

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