No, I’m not gonna give you my top 4 for all of them. Life is interfering on this Saturday in good ways. I do have time to give you my thoughts on the Jerome Handicap at Aqueduct and the stakes races at Keeneland. For these I’ll tell you who to play and who to avoid. Frankly I’m avoiding attempting to pick the Rainbow 6 at Gulstream. I’m not too good at those type of wagers. $3 million??
Jerome Handicap looks like 2 horses are strong contenders, and they’re not the ones you’d think. #4 Isn’t He Perfect sports the best winning Brisnet # on the track, and won twice from a middle post. He’s also run a good pair of numbers better than his previous races, a good sign. I can only fault this horse for not having any workouts since. Most importantly, Isn’t He Perfect spots a horse who ‘recovered’ from layoff #s and is still in great form.
#7 Justin Phillip is a strong one to consider with a big caveat; he’s an early-pace type who run a fairly larger Brisnet # last out than previous. Not a good sign. But…..he’s got a strong jockey-combo in Dominguez and Asmussen. He also has the only win over the slop in this field. Further he has good stretch-out statistics; his dam side has an AWD of 7.5, best of the field. Hard to throw him out, especially if going off above his morning-line price but wouldn’t be surprised if he won.
#3 Gallant Dreams, longshot, you can toss out…another bounce-down candidate despite his shipping from FL and working out well.
Among the rest: Cal Nation, #2 can be argued to be in best form…..lost a pace duel in last race, also shipping from FL and with good workouts…
Top 4 are
7-4-2-8…2 morning-line longshots upfront that I feel are the best of these.
I won’t be wagering on this at post time but I strongly advise playing #4 to win plus underneath in exactas with whoever the top 2 favorites are. (probably Cal Nation and/or Astrology, #1)
Definitely take a stand against #3 and #7 in any other bets here.
As for Keeneland’s big races..I’ll skip the selections:
Grade 2 Ben Ali Stakes: The big favorite, #3, Exhi, appears to be best in form and impossible to ignore among the 5-horse field. But, I do have one that may truly prove to be the upsetter. #1 Stay Put may well go off at a good price (4-1 or above); he ranks best among those stretching out in distance. Plus, he has the ‘explosive’ type of form that I like….running off a career best that was slightly better than his prior campaign at 3 years old. He’s a dead closer that certainly did improve a lot in speed from the layoff and last year’s Belmont Stakes, so I can ignore for the most part the possibility that he might bounce down.
Definitely give #1 Stay Put your attention for a win bet and under #3 in an exacta.
Giant’s Causeway Stakes: One horse stands ahead of the others here, and that’s Stormy Publisher, #11….classic ‘explosive’ horse at age 5, with 3 great wins in the US after a good campaign in South America. Coming off lifetime best and a pair of races that are a slight improvement over his US debut. She’s also worked out well and won before off a layoff.
Horses to avoid in this race are #1, 4,6 and 7.
The only horse I would suggest playing over him is #2, Lady’s Laughter.She’s the lone late-pace horse in the field, and also has done well straight off layoff. Her trainer, Charles Lopresti, has great ROI with horses switching from dirt to turf.
Outside of the above, try a value horse (4-1 or worse) to win and under #11.
Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, last big Derby prep for the year looks this way:
3 horses exude either the explosive or ‘recovery’ form type for strong consideration. Yes, that’s a lot for a 6 horse field. I can confidently throw out #3, Prime Cut, a sprinter who appears set to bounce. #4 and 5 don’t look very appearling but not throwing them out.
#1 Derby Kitten, may prove best. He might even go off at some value. Sire line Kitten’s Joy (El Prado) has AWD of 7.4, best of those stretching out here. Shows explosive form with a career best last time out, a slight improvement from his 2 year old best run. #2 Silver Medallion may end up being the odds-on choice, and may certainly win. Very similar progress in form to Derby Kitten. #6 Casper’s Touch forged a new career best after showing the explosive type in his first run at age 3. Only issue is that he has no workouts since his last race and might be conceding a good deal of experience going from allowance race to this stakes.
I can’t figure how the public will bet here, but for the moment I would focus on #1, 2 and 6, and play whoever is going off at odds of 4-1 or worse to win, and under 2 favorites for exactas in either direction. Avoid #3 for this one.
If I have time I’ll give a closer look to the run for all those roses.