Saturday Free Horse Racing Picks: Late Sequence at Keeneland
Friday was a good day in this space, as the $15 ticket, I gave out for the late Pick Four at Keeneland hit and returned a bit more than $60. We’ll head back to Keeneland for Saturday’s late sequence, which features a pair of stakes races and a bunch of big fields. I’ll look to hit for the second day in a row with a $36 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.
We start off with stakes action for 3-year-olds. This is the Perryville, and I’m steadfastly against #1 SOUP AND SANDWICH, who hasn’t run since the Kentucky Derby. I didn’t get his appeal then, and I think he’ll be overbet in his first start in almost six months.
I’ll go three-deep to try to beat him, and my top pick is #4 HE’SMYHONEYBADGER. who most recently ran second in a similar spot at Churchill. He didn’t break well, but that allowed him to show a new dimension and may have actually worked in his favor. The early pace was very fast that day, and I think he could get a similar setup here. Florent Geroux rides for Brad Cox, and 6-1 hits me as more than fair.
I’ll also use #3 RAM and #6 PIPELINE. Ram is another that would certainly benefit from a pace meltdown and was just a length behind my top pick last time out, while Pipeline has a pair of 97 Beyer Speed Figures in each of his last two outings, including a win at this distance. This is a class test for that one, but when Chad Brown trainees get going the right way, they’re very dangerous.
We’ll head to the turf for this allowance event, one that’s drawn, several stakes-quality runners. It’s a pretty fascinating race, and I hope going three-deep is enough.
#4 BIG AGENDA hasn’t done a lot wrong since going to Mike Maker’s barn last fall. He’s won three of six races, and his lone misfires have come against much better horses. His return off of a long layoff last month at Kentucky Downs was excellent, and there should be plenty of pace signed on to set up for his late kick. I wouldn’t be surprised if he goes favored, and I think he’s got a legitimate chance.
#5 MR DUMAS and #7 ARGENTELLO are also on my ticket. The former ran in a very tough spot last time out, when he chased the likes of Plainsman and Beau Liam in the Grade 3 Ack Ack on dirt, while the latter is a plodder in every sense of the word and will certainly benefit from the likely, speed-heavy race shape.
The third leg is the Grade 2 Raven Run for 3-year-old fillies. This is a very strong group, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see any of these wheel back in two weeks for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint (Shamrock Rose won both races in 2018, so it’s doable).
My top pick is #8 CARAMEL SWIRL, and I think you can draw a line through her last-out clunker in the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks. That bullring is a very quirky track, and two turns probably isn’t what she wants to do. Her two-back score at Saratoga was extremely impressive, and if she runs back to either that effort or her smashing maiden win at this route in April, I think she’ll have a big chance.
I’ll also use #9 ZAINALARAB, who’s clearly had her issues given the layoff lines but has shown plenty of talent when she’s right. Her lone loss came two back to multiple stakes winner Australasia, and she’s been working very well since a last-out allowance win at the Spa.
We’ll finish with another grass grab bag, and I’ll take a stand against the likely favorite. #10 PINE KNOLL has run fairly well against allowance foes in each of his last two starts, but with a career record of 1-for-10 and two tries at the level where he just wasn’t good enough, I cannot justify backing him at his likely price.
I’ll go four-deep against that one, and my top pick is #5 GINSBURNED, who exits a third-place finish in the Grade 1 Bruce D last time out at Arlington Park. He’s taken steps forward in each of his three career outings, and this is probably a weaker spot than the one he exits. If he takes another step forward, I think he’ll be the one to beat.
#3 EL SOCIO, #4 HEALING, and #6 SANTIN are on my ticket as well. I’ll focus on El Socio, who is 15-1 but has several things in his favor. Tom Amoss takes over the training, and his first start sees him go back on the grass for the first time since June. He’s run well on the turf in the past, and he’s got a few sharp works since the trainer switch. At his likely price, I need to have him on my ticket.