After holding our own through the first two days of the meet, we struck out on Sunday. Chelsea Cloisters and All About It ran 2nd and 4th in the Indian Summer, and Talk Veuve to Me didn’t run a lick in the Spinster. Those results tapped the bankroll for $73, leaving us $83 in the red heading into Keeneland’s second weekend of the 2018 fall meet – also the first weekend that it might actually feel a bit like fall.
Friday, October 12 – Race 2
A dozen low level maiden claimers take to the main track for this 7 furlong contest. Rio Bueno ran a decent third on the grass at Indiana in his debut. He came back with a solid :48 and 3 breeze and adds blinkers for his first start on the dirt. Brad Cox made a name for himself and came to be a Grade 1 winning trainer by first winning a multitude of races just like this one. He excels at a 29% rate with this particular surface switch, and the feeling here is that this Smart Strike gelding might have a touch more class than the rest of these.
Wager: $10 WP on Rio Bueno
Eleven go postcard in this 3/4 mile sprint for juvenile fillies. Workaholic may go favored in this maiden event as she actually crossed the finish line 4 1/2 lengths to the good at Indiana last month before being disqualified and placed second for veering out in the stretch. She just missed by a head at Churchill following that effort and rates as a major threat to find the winner’s circle today. Stolen Beauty blazed a bullet 1/2 mile in :46 flat over this track on the third of October, and she seems worth a shot at 15/1. Crafty’s Dream ran 3 times at Arlington Park and may not have cared for the synthetic surface. The daughter of Bodemeister makes her dirt debut in this spot for a trainer that scores at an 18% clip with his two-year olds.
Wager: $1 Exacta Box with Workaholic, Stolen Beauty and Crafty’s Dream
Race 9, the Franklin County
A full field of turf sprinters will challenge for this Grade 3 reward. Girls Know Best ran the race of her life over a yielding course here in the spring. She has the gate speed to establish good position early and deserves a long look. Belvoir Bay won 3 straight times going down the hill at Santa Anita prior to a 5th place finish in the Grade 1 Highlander at Woodbine. She’s been freshened since and will likely be amongst the betting favorites under Flavian Prat. Chanteline has won half of her starts on grass and enters this off a very impressive 3 length victory in the Smart and Fancy at Saratoga. Ruby Notion comes in on the heels of back-to-back victories and has shown an affinity for courses with give in the ground. That preference could certainly come in handy over a track that has seen an ample amount of rain in recent weeks.
Wager: $0.50 trifecta box with Ruby Notion, Chanteline, Belvoir Bay, Girls Know Best, and Brielle’s Appeal
Saturday, October 13th – Race 3
Copper Town looked like something very special in two runaway victories at Belmont last fall. He emerges from the Todd Pletcher Racehorse Protection Program with a worktab full of solid breezes over the deep, stamina building Oklahoma training track at Saratoga. Pletcher excels bringing horses back off extended layoffs, and if this son of Speightstown is anything close to what he was a year ago, he lays over this field.
Wager: $40 win on Copper Town (at odds of even money or better)
Race 9, the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup
I’ve gushed about Rushing Fall in this space several times before. She has been nothing short of brilliant winning 5 of her 6 lifetime starts. Two of her most visually impressive performances came right here at Keeneland over softer ground. If the daughter of More Than Ready runs her race, the rest are competing for 2nd place. Nyaleti ran respectably against her elders in her only other North American start (the Grade 1 Beverly D at Arlington) and could fill out a spot in the exotics with a repeat of that effort. Mission Impassible has had spotty success in Europe, winning the Grade 2 Sandringham at Chantilly over soft going and following that up most recently with a dull 5th, beaten 7 lengths, in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville. She’d be in with a shot to hit the board with her best race. Fatal Bere and Daddy Is A Legend appear best suited to filling out the exotics for the American based team.
Wager: $60 win on Rushing Fall (odds of 3/5 or better)
Best of luck to all who get involved. Get out and enjoy true fall weather at Keeneland over this football bye week.