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.
SEPT. 18 NOTE: Scratches are shown with a
strike through. Betting changes resulting from scratches are shown in red. Updated 9:05 a.m. CDT. Additional update (Race 3) 12:28 CDT.
Race 1. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO fillies, $90,000, 1 Mile
1. BETH ANN’S KITTEN (#1). Trainer Wayne Catalano is hot, and so are owners Ken and Sarah Ramsey. She has three good breezes since last racing on Aug. 18, when she was beaten by a decent time.
2. SHANON NICOLE (#5). If she can break straight out of the gate instead of rearing up like she has done in both of her starts, this Mike Maker trainee has a big shot.
3. BEST FRIENDS (#7). Rosie Napravnik stays with her ally Maker on Shanon Nicole after riding this one at Saratoga. Jonathan Sheppard trainee could run better with a cleaner break from the gate.
4. CLEO’S KREWE (#9). Adds blinkers. Moved too soon two races back, and Brice Blanc’s patience could turn that around. Wide trip last time as the 6-5 favorite.
Race 2. Claiming $12,500, 3YO, $25,000, 6 Furlongs
1. EVERYDAY DAVE (#6). Has run well on firm turf the last two times he’s tried it, and he has worked bullets three of his last four.
2. GAELICO (#8). Steep class drop for Dale Romans trainee.
3. HEADSTART (#2). He was reclaimed by trainer Donald Parker and has ran well both times since; now moves up the ladder.
4. JAZZ COURT (#3). He has a decent turf record and gets Brian Hernandez, Jr. in the saddle.
GROVE PARK (#4) was helped by a three-month break, could move forward off the first race since then.
Race 3. Maiden Claiming $25,000, 2YO fillies, $24,000, 6 1/2 Furlongs
After the late scratch of #6 Bluegrass Affair, in this race I will go with a 5-9 with 5-8-9-10 exacta.
1. BLUEGRASS AFFAIR (#6). Shows improved Brisnet speed figure in first turf start last time out; more experienced than almost all the others.
2. TOO COOL (#9). He raced on dirt at Churchill Downs the same day he was entered in this race, so he may scratch; bred well for turf and could move forward on it.
3. ALMIGHTY STORM (#5). He’s had trouble with going too fast early, too slow late. The ever-patient Brice Blanc might help with that problem.
4. SOMETHING BLUE (#10). Pair of good gate works could translate to money debut on race day.
5. PURPLE DROP (#8). A good series of works could signal readiness for obscure connections in his debut.
Race 4. Claiming N3L $12,500, 3YO & up, $24,000, 1 Mile
1. KARMA’S COMIN (AE) (#13). He’s run well in five straight starts at a higher level than this.
2. PEAKABOO BRIDE (#7). Had a win and a place at this level three and four races back.
3. BONITA MUNECA (#2). Was running pretty good and pretty bad every other race until three races back, and he’s been pretty good since then.
4. PLEASANT COMMENT (#4). June-to-August break resulted in front wraps being shed and a 5 1/2-length win. Connections look to return of last fall’s form or better.
Race 5. Allowance N1X $8,500/N2L, 3YO & up, $94,000, 6 1/2 Furlongs
Seven of the 11 entries in last Wednesday’s cancelled race 8 return in this one.
1. COUGAR RIDGE (#6). European invader appears to have the right running style and may outclass the others. Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
2. CANNONBALL CHAMP (#8). This longshot won his debut and could win again with an improved effort. The son of Champali has good early speed. Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
3. SHADOW ROCK (#5). From five career starts, he hasn’t been worse than fourth in his last four. Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
4. MARCHWOOD (#11). Has been on the board in six of seven races this year and 13 of 17 overall -- but still looking for first turf win in eighth try on the surface. Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
Race 6. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO, $90,000, 6 1/2 Furlongs
1. MORE THAN CLASSIC (#7). This $100,000 purchase has upside potential after running second at Saratoga in his debut.
2. RUNKLE (#4). Kellyn Gorder make the double-switch: takes blinkers off and puts him on turf for the first time. Gorder has two board hits from three starts this meet.
3. ROPE A DOPE (#1). Catalano first-timer comes in for prominent owners Gary and Mary West; two breezes at about 1:00, then two maintenance breezes.
4. ON THE RIVER (#8). A better trip than he had in his debut could yield better results.
Race 7. Claiming $20,000, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $40,000, 1 Mile 70 Yards
1. BANDED. (#12). Serious class drop looms large.
2. GLORIANA (#9). Tom Proctor trainee drops in class.to level below which she’s been successful.
3. FUR LINED (#5). In seven recent claiming races, six of them were at $16K, she did not finish worse than fourth.
4. HOLIDAY BROAD (#3). Won at $16K two races back; was a close third at $25K most recently.
WORLD CUP (#6) looks for return to April-May form when she had a win and a show at a higher level, albeit on dirt. AQUINNAH (#1) has a good record but is untested at this distance.
Race 8. Maiden Claiming $50,000-$40,000, 3YO & up, $47,000, 7 Furlongs
Eight of 14 entries from Wednesday’s race 10 at one mile were entered in this one.
1. CAGE FIGHTER (#11). He had eventful trips the first two times. Third time the charm? Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
2. RED RONCHO (#5). Adds blinkers. Three good outings were followed by a troubled-trip race you can draw a line through. Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
3. DILLO (#10). Tom Proctor trainee will try to improve his record of a win and a place from four starts. Dillo cuts back from two-turn debut after running forwardly during most of it.
4. PEGASUS STAR (#4). This sometime-closer looks up against it for the win, but a piece of the pie isn’t out of the question. He’s had trouble his last three starts, so maybe a clean trip is due. Comes back from Wednesday cancellation.
Race 9. Allowance N2X $8,500/N3L, 3YO & up, $96,000, 1 Mile 70 Yards
Entries 1 through 12 were all entered in race 9 cancelled last Wednesday. This is a large, deep field that should yield good payoffs. The question is how deep do you go with your bets? I am going three deep on top and five deep on bottom: 3-5-7 with 2-3-4-5-7. The 7 is Gary West's best bet.
1. CHALICE (#3). Shows good stalking ability from time to time and was beaten only three lengths in a $100K stake two races back. Has been freshened. Gorder teams up with Lanerie.
2. MONASTIC (#6). Tom Proctor recruited Gary Steven to ride this closer last Wednesday. Stevens is now elsewhere, and Joe Rocco, Jr. picks up the mount. Closers didn’t win on opening Saturday, but last Saturday some of them did, and this horse often finishes very well.
3. EASY CROSSING (#5). Often shows ability to stalk and pounce, but that has not translated into too many wins in the past couple of years. Still, similar to the top choice, he was beaten only 3 1/4 lengths in a $100,000 stake two back.
KLISZ (#7) scares me. He showed promise early, was going downhill before getting a break, and is running for the second time since the layoff. SOUTHERN PARKWAY (#2) and Brian Hernandez, Jr., meet-leading rider last year, finished second under the same conditions last year. Unfortunately, that means he hasn’t won since then.
FILM MAKING (#12) broke through his N1X condition on May 2 and has been beaten only about three lengths in each of three subsequent races. TILDEN LANE (#4) runs third time off the layoff and has been showing consistent Brisnet speed figs. PIKESTAR (#9) likes to win on the lead.
Race 10. Allowance N2L, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $94,000, 7 Furlongs
1. LIBERATED (#12). Never worse than third in her first seven starts, she finished fifth in the eighth one, followed by a break of almost three months, and now here she is. First time on turf shouldn’t be a problem for daughter of Curlin.
2. NEAT PACKAGE (#11). Trainer Sheppard has hit the board with all four of his starters so far this meet. This filly really moved forward when switched to turf.
3. SMITTENWITHKITTEN (#1A). She’s shown various running styles but has done best coming from off the pace. She’s also-eligible but might draw in.
4. FINURA (#4). A good race two back was followed by a bad race, followed by a bullet work for trainer Ward, who has three wins and a place from seven starts at the meet.
PARTY TILL DAWN (#8) moved up with switch to turf, winning after going four wide. CLASS SONG (#2) finished third here on a soft track last year but has had little success lately.
Race 11. Allowance N1X $8,500/N2L, 3YO & up, $94,000, 1 1/2 Mile
I will bet 5-12 with 4-5-8-9-10-12.
1. GOLDEN SOUL (#5). Whether he ran second in the Kentucky Derby or not, and whether he ran next-to-last in the Travers Stakes or not, he has superior speed figures and is running on turf for the first time as a son of Perfect Soul, a winner of over $1.5 million on the surface. His pedigree suggests the 1 1/2-mile distance will not be a problem.
2. ALBURJ (#12). He has a win and three seconds in four starts at the distance. One of those seconds came at Kentucky Downs.
BLUEGRASS SUMMER (#4) exit’s a series of steeplechase races going over two miles and has a win from two starts at today’s distance. ERIUGENA (#8) wears the Ramsey colors and is a son of Shirocco, winner of the 1 1/2-mile Breeders’ Cup Turf. GUN POINT (#9) recently ran fifth of nine in the Jersey Derby. COMES THE DREAM (#10) is with a barn that did very well at the Saratoga meet and has run well going 1 3/16 mile and 1 1/4 mile.
Race 12. Allowance N2X $8,500/N3L, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $96,000, 1 Mile 70 Yards
1. MOONWALK (#8). Third in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies on firm ground last year, and seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, beaten only 4 1/2 lengths, trainer Romans sends her in off two respectable efforts at Saratoga.
2. GAMAY NOIR (#10). Cutback to one turn on turf worked well for her last time out.
3. GLAMOUR N GLORY (#13). Also-eligible one is almost always around at the finish.
4. SKY HIGH LADY (#11). She will win if she can run back to the Brisnet figure she earned last time out in a $100K stake at Woodbine, but she could also bounce.
DANCE TEAM (#7) is out of the hot Wayne Catalano barn and has alternated running well or not running well lately. She didn’t run well last time.
Race 13. Claiming N2L $12,500, 3YO & up, $22,000, 1 Mile 70 Yards
I will go 4-7 with 3-4-7
1. ALEXANDER THEGREAT (#4). Drops in class and has been second, third or fourth in each of his last five starts.
2. SCANDALO (#7). Drops in class and finished first and second in his last two races.
NORTHERN CHAMP (#8) also drops in class. He ran pretty well at a higher level the last two times after adding blinkers. Z CAMELOT (#3) also drops in class but hasn’t been doing as well lately as the top two.