Dick's Picks are focused on exactas, mostly exacta boxes. Kentucky Downs has the lowest exacta takeout in North America.
NOTE: Exacta boxes are recommended except where indicated.
NOTE: Scratches are noted by a
strike through. Also, please check for any resulting changes in the bets.
Sept. 13 NOTE: The track took rain Wednesday and Thursday afternoons, so it won’t be as firm as it was the first two days of the meet.
Race 1. Maiden Claiming $12,500, 3YO & up, $25,000, 1 Mile 70 Yards
1. THE PROGRAM (#5). He stretches back out and returns to turf while dropping in class and getting Corey Lanerie aboard. He looks like he’s regrouped and ready for a big effort on or near the pace.
2. FAITHOPE (#6). He must be feeling better, putting in a second start without a layoff for the first time in a good while, plus he’s hit the board here twice in three starts, and he was a sharp winner last out.
3. ALANDTOM (#11). He ran his highest Brisnet figure while winning at the track last year in an allowance on soft ground, and he drops in class, but Lanerie has gotten off him to ride the top choice.
4. EL SOMBRE (#3). “The somber one” ran close behind the second and third choices in the recent past and could turn the tables with the service of David Flores.
RELIGIOUS ED (#4) concerns me due to the significant class drop and the presence of Jon Court. HA LONG BAY (#7) put in an odd, lackluster effort most recently, considering the competition level.
Race 2. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO, $90,000, 1 Mile
1. POKER PLAYER (#4). I like the chance for upside improvement in the second start for this $120,000 purchase coming in off the sharp breeze for Wayne Catalano and prominent owners Gary and Mary West.
2. BROADWAY MISSILE (#10). He adds blinkers to gain focus and will attempt to atone for his second-place finish last time out at 9-5 odds.
3. MYGALSAL (#9). This colt got a better result in his most recent race after adding blinkers, but his Brisnet speed figures have remained constant in all three starts.
4. KEENELAND KITTEN (#7). In his debut, he ran at higher odds in a shorter field than did the top choice. Recent workouts don’t inspire, so we’ll see.
Race 3. Maiden Special Weight, 3YO, $75,000, 6 1/2 Furlongs
I will play a $5 exacta box instead of the usual $2 bet in this race, but I am only using two selections.
1. MONGOL BOSS (#11). Saratoga graduate comes to Franklin, Ky., but it’s the seven-furlong race at Belmont Park that has my attention. He was beaten a neck to a time of 1:21 and change. The most recent start was a difficult trip.
2. SWEET PLATINUM (#6). Son of Elusive Quality has been working well and should move forward on the switch from dirt to turf in this, his third career start.
Race 4. Allowance N1X $8,500/N2L, 3YO & up fillies and mares, $94,000, 1 Mile
I am going five deep in this race. After the scratch of SPRING REASON (#1), I will use PEBBLE HILL (#4) instead.
1. VINTAGE STRIKE (#8). Steve Asmussen trainee, in her second turf start last time out, broke her maiden by a six-length margin.
2. GET REAL (#11). Lanerie stays with her; the filly has won twice and run second in five starts this year. Her failed start at Kentucky Downs last year was at the very least partly because she just got way too far behind early.
3. SPRING REASON (#1). After a five-month break, Spring Reason has put things together with a win and a second in two starts on synthetic. Now she returns to turf.
4. SANDSARITA (#7). While she was beaten badly in the Hatoof Stakes, her Brisnet speed figure from that race is certainly competitive in this one.
5. KIPLING’S JOY (#5). Three thirds and a win in her last four starts, and it’s her second race since adding blinkers.
PEBBLE HILL (#4) comes in after a three-month break; daughter of Lemon Drop Kid could run well off the bench like she did in her debut. Jon Court stays aboard GIVMETHREESTEPSMR (#3) instead of DEVIOUS D’ORO (#2).
Race 5. Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Stakes, 2YO fillies, $150,000, 7 Furlongs
1. J J JULEP (#4). Rosie Napravnik teams up with Kellyn Gorder after this one was switched to turf and broke her maiden by 6 1/4 lengths under Lanerie.
2. PERSONAL DIARY (#7). Lanerie winds up on this one for the prominent trainer/owner combo of Victoria Oliver and G. Watts Humprhrey.
3. LA MEJOR FIESTA (#3). Wesley Ward and David Flores reunite and hope that this one breaks better this time than she did last time out.
4. LIEN ON KITTEN (#9). She ran professionally in her debut to win but needs to run faster this time -- and very well could.
Race 6. Kentucky Downs Juvenile Stakes, 2YO, $150,000, 7 Furlongs
1. HERE’S JOHNNY (#7). Easy debut winner was shipped to France and was a close fourth in a stake for the team of Wesley Ward and David Flores, who have already tasted success at this meet.
2. MISTER SPECIAL (#5). Ramsey runner has been working well for his second start after a gutsy debut win.
3. PURE LUXURY (#1). Lanerie could get the jump on them with this one, but he’ll have to outgun the top choice to do it.
4. BOJI MOON (#8). I guess he should be picked on top, what with his superior Brisnet figs, but it’s hard to trust the competition he’s faced in two races restricted to Iowa-breds.
Race 7. Kentucky Downs Turf Dash Stakes, 3YO & up, $150,000, 6 Furlongs
I have picked the four horses that have been in the best races over the course of time. With the scratches of HAVELOCK (#3) AND SWEET CASSIOPEIA (#5), I will use SAINT LEON (#6) and ANCIL (#8) instead.
1. GOOD LORD (#2). Despite a tough summer, I like the way Good Lord won the Don Bernhardt in a fast time just like he did before winning the Turf Dash this time last year, and his morning line is sky-high at 12-1. He is capable of taking what comes to him after the break from the gate, either going to the early lead or sitting off ample early speed.
2. HAVELOCK (#3). The recent two-time group 1 loser drops back to a class closer to the multiple Grade III races in which he’s competed this year and last year.
3. REGALLY READY (#7). The former Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner engaged in an uncharacteristically fast workout for trainer Asmussen two breezes back, signaling a readiness to run. Wouldn’t surprise me if he wins.
4. SWEET CASSIOPEIA (#5). Exits a loss in the Grade I Princess Rooney and has been freshened. Unlike last year at this time, this race was chosen for her to face boys instead of Groupie Doll in the Grade II Presque Isle Downs Masters.
SAINT LEON (#6) consistently shows early speed, which might be enough to win; question is the class test for him. Same deal for ANCIL (#8).
Race 8, Franklin-Simpson Mile, 3YO & up, $150,000, 1 Mile
1. UTLEY (#10). Jonathan Sheppard brings in legitimate contender of the layoff. This is something he does well.
2. COALPORT (#2). Ramsey color-bearer can stalk or close and should be considered live, particularly if his odds drop below his 4-1 morning line.
3. DEPECHE CHAT (#7). Last year’s F-S Mile winner on a yielding track returns, and even without considering that win, his Brisnet speed figs are very competitive with this group. Brian Hernandez, Jr., last year’s meet-topper, is on board again.
4. THE PIZZA MAN (#3). He could come flying late and would not shock if he delivers.
Race 9, Kentucky Downs Turf Cup Stakes, 3YO & up, $150,000, 1 1/2 Mile
I am picking this race to run formfully for the most part.
1. SIDE ROAD (#7). Kiaran McLaughlin makes a rare appearance as trainer of an entry at Kentucky Downs; Darley Stable is the owner. Side Road has the kind of tactical speed to get the job done.
2. TEMERAINE (#8). Beaten less than four lengths in the Grade I Arlington Million, he once again gets the services of Gary Stevens, who rode Side Road twice recently.
3. WHATTHECATDRUGIN (#2). Running off six days’ rest, he’ll try to steal the race on the front end in this paceless-looking race, but the question is whether he can he get to the wire fast enough.
4. SUNTRACER (#9). Team Block returns with a different horse to defend its Turf Cup title, and with full knowledge of what it takes to win this race. I like the fact that he’s seen some success at this distance.
NAJJAAR (#4) is almost always around at the end.
Race 10. Maiden Special Weight, 3YO fillies & mares, $75,000, 7 Furlongs
1. MORE THAN A SONG (#10). Asmussen trainee comes in off a long break after her debut and sole career start. Even though she was badly beaten, a reasonable improvement off that Brisnet figure probably wins on Saturday.
2. SASSY KITTEN (#12). A pair of bullet works, including one from the gate handily, signals impending readiness to run in her debut.
3. DOCTOR VICKIE LYNN (#4). Saratoga graduate has been knocking on the door since May.
4. ROSEE IS COZEE (#6). She fired in her debut, so maybe she’ll fire again after the 10 1/2-month break.
CATBIRD SEAT (#11) has run second in her last two starts for good connections. FLAK (#8) cuts back in distance, and a top effort puts her in the picture. JUANITA SENORITA (#7) has finished third three straight times in maiden special weights, so she looks better than her 30-1 morning line indicates.