Saturday Horse Racing Picks: Stakes Racing From Keeneland
Keeneland is trying something new this fall. The track is offering a $3 Pick Three on the final three turf races of each day’s racing program, and if you have strong opinions, it’s a fun way to zero in on them in a low-takeout setting.
Saturday’s wager focuses on the sixth, eighth, and tenth races of the day. All three are stakes races, and in an odd twist, I have singles in all three legs. Let’s take a look!
The Grade 2 Woodford for turf sprinters is often seen as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, which is coming up in four weeks at Del Mar. This is especially true this season, as one of the day’s heaviest favorites looms large and will look to use this event as a springboard to even bigger things.
#2 GOLDEN PAL returns to the U.S. after a failed expedition to York for the Group 1 Nunthorpe. While #6 EXTRAVAGANT KID is no joke, this field, by and large, is far weaker than the one he ran against in Europe back in August. He’s a freakishly talented horse that has shown world-class early speed, and I simply don’t think there will be any catching him if he’s ready to run (and judging by the most recent bullet drill, I don’t think readiness will be a problem).
The Grade 1 First Lady could be used as a prep for either the Breeders’ Cup Mile or the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. While it’s drawn a strong group, I do think there’s a standout, and for the second race in a row, I can’t go against the likely chalk.
#3 ALTHIQA has done nothing wrong in the United States. She’s started twice, both times in Grade 1 events, and she’s rallied to win those races. Stablemate Summer Romance doesn’t show up in this spot, but I don’t think that’s any cause for concern. Althiqa always seems to fire and has never been worse than third in 11 lifetime starts. There seems to be some speed signed on, and if she gets her desired trip, I think she’ll be very tough to hold off.
Here’s where I’ll go against the grain a bit. The Grade 1 Keeneland Turf Mile has drawn a large field, and while #10 ORDER OF AUSTRALIA returns to the scene of his win in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, I’ll try to beat him here. 7/2 hits me as a bit of an underlay, and while he’s been running well overseas, his lone win since last fall’s shocker came going seven furlongs rather than a mile.
I prefer #4 SPACE TRAVELLER, who figures to get something he hasn’t gotten in each of his last two outings: A legitimate pace to chase. He was a good second in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile last time out and chased a loose-on-the-lead winner that day. That scenario should not unfold here, and the faster they go early, the better this one’s chances figure to be. He’s 6-1 on the morning line, and between the race shape and his proven form, his likely price hits me as an overlay.