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. 24 NOTE: Several of the entries are running at KD for the second time this meet. The track favored early speed on Sept. 7 and 11 when it was very firm, but closers fared much better on Sept. 14 after it rained. The track was firmer again on Sept. 18. The course took a couple of inches of rain the night of Sept. 20, and as these selections are being prepared, the forecast says it’s possible a little more rain will fall.
SEPT. 25 NOTE: Scratches are shown with a
strike through, and betting changes resulting from scratches are shown in red.
Race 1. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO fillies, $90,000, 6 Furlongs
With the 12 out, we'll use ZEE STONE (#8) instead.
1. RAISED ON ROBBERY (#7). Raised On Robbery was steadied and blocked but still closed well at the track on Sept. 11, when front speed did well. Rosie Napravnik replaces Dylan Davis.
2. SPRING AGAIN (#9). She returns from a long layoff after running well to finish third at Del Mar in her debut for Wesley Ward. The top two finishers in that race came back to win.
3. EMMABELLE (#2). Debut runner for Wayne Catalano, who is 18% from his last 216 first-time starters.
4. BE NICE OR LEAVE (#12). Tom Proctor first-timer is a $50K purchase by Kitten’s Joy that shows a very nice series of workouts coming into this.
ZEE STONE (#8) comes back from a decent debut at Keeneland in April for John Hancock.
Race 2. Claiming N2L $20,000, 3YO & up, $36,000, 1 Mile
1. GOLD MEGILLAH (#11). Exits a key race; drops in class for Mike Maker, Ken Ramsey, Napravnik.
2. CATHEDRO (#3). Channing Hill and Wayne Catalano were four-for-four together on Sept. 14. The horse drops in class and shows a good work for this.
3. COURTMASTER (#10). Brian Hernandez, Jr. jumps on for Buff Bradley and has a good shot on the class drop.
4. BYNERGY (#7). Dale Romans, 50% on the board at the meet, teams with Corey Lanerie, who’s still looking for his first win. The horse drops from a higher level for Zayat Stables after taking a six-month break.
AMERICAN BEAR (#4) is sent in by the hot Luis Jarado; his win at KD was a front-running one on Sept. 11 when speed held up well. BAILOUTBOBBY (#1) steps up in class after mixed results; prior efforts above this level were mostly unsuccessful.
Race 3. Maiden Special Weight, 3YO & up, $75,000, 1 Mile
With the 6 and 11 scratched, we add BINGO KITTEN (#1) to the exacta box.
1. GRAND GIANT (#7). The fact that this one is far more experienced than the others cuts both ways, but the track could be playing to closers, and he can close. Four board hits from nine turf starts; freshened from a November-to-June campaign for Maker, who‘s 21% after a 46-90 day break.
2. YARDBIRD MISFITS (#3). Jon Court stays aboard after this one finished well to run fourth at the track in a shorter race on Sept. 14.
3. VIVA LAD (#12). Adds blinkers, cuts back in distance; ran well at Saratoga; rare Kentucky Downs entry from Mike Trombetta. There’s little other front speed.
4. MARCH REWARD (#6). Forwardly-running type could be on the board at the end. There’s little other front speed.
BERMUDA LANE (#11) has a closing style that could work if he could put things together. BINGO KITTEN (#1) debuts for Catalano and Hill off a series of good works. MT TRONADOR (#5) ran a good Brisnet number in his debut but has a spotty workout pattern.
Race 4. Claiming $12,500, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $25,000, 1 Mile 70 Yards
I am going to key the MISTIE ROYALE (#14) over and under in this exacta unless she doesn’t get in; in which case I’ll box what’s left.
MISTIE ROYALE (#14). Arlington shipper is almost always around at the end and won most recently for a trainer who is 27% when his charge won last time out. Ran well on a yielding turf course at Hawthorne last year.
MISS ZIGGY (#1) has a closing running style at times. After being dropped from $6K to $5k and almost scoring, she comes back at a higher level.
TAP MAGIC (#3) gets Jon Court and is likely to set the pace in a field without much other early speed.
GLOSSED AND FOUND (#4) tried to close and couldn’t at the track on Sept. 11.
BOLD TAP (#12) goes to the turf for only the second time for a trainer who’s 17% second time off the claim.
Race 5. Maiden Claiming $25,000, 3YO & up, $24,000, 6 Furlongs
1. BLOCKADE RUNNER (#13). Maker and Ramsey recruited Rosie, who rode #14 at Saratoga in his most recent start, to guide this one in his turf debut.
2. SPILL (#4). Ellis Park runner for Mark Casse, who’s 27% when dropping them from maiden special weight to maiden claiming.
3. PEGASUS FLYER (#10). Andrew McKeever is 16% with first-timers that have come from other barns and is 33% (one of three) when re-adding blinkers. The colt may need a race, but Brian Hernandez, Jr. sees fit to get aboard.
4. SPINTASTIC (#14). He improved when blinkers were added last time out -- but previous turf tries were nothing to write home about. Mixed messages.
Race 6. Claiming $20,000, 3YO & up, $40,000, 1 Mile
LATE UPDATE: With the scratches of #10 and #13 and #2, we add #8 and #4 to the exacta box.
1. CLEMENT ROCK (#12). Maker is 21% when third off the layoff; this one is a class dropper with potential to run big.
2. NO PLAY (#10). Dynaformer blood runs well here sometimes; this one is out of a Dynaformer mare and is dropping steeply.
3. SHUN (#11). He has a win and two seconds from three turf starts for Al Stall, Jr. This is one of two Stall runners entered on this card; the other one is a first-time starter. Shun ran well last year at the track on a surface rated good.
4. VIRAMUNDO (#13). He made up ground on winner Bergerac (see below) on Sept. 7 while finishing just ahead of fellow runner Bob’s Gone Wild after going four wide.
STEW BOY (#2) arguably ran the best turf race of his career on a yielding turf course at Mountaineer on June 30. AWESOME ATTACK (#8) ran a good race on yielding turf at Arlington in May. BERGERAC (#5) won at the track on Sept. 7 while part of the early pace on a day when early speed was king. Bergerac shows fifth- and fourth-place finishes when running on yielding and good turf at Arlington. Like fourth choice Viramundo, BOB’S GONE WILD (#4) made up some ground on Bergerac on Sept. 7 after bumping at the start.
Race 7. Claiming N2L $12,500, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $22,000, 7 Furlongs
1. TRICOLETTE (#10). With blinkers added, this class-dropper could get a better break from the gate and win.
2. PURSTEENA (#13). The class drop after a pair of poor off-the-turf efforts could be just what the doctor ordered. Pursteena finished fifth on yielding ground at Arlington in June, but she was
running at a much higher level.
3. SILVER HOLIDAY (#9). Granddaugher of Dyanaformer drops in class and cuts back in distance to try to get second win in three starts.
4. SCEALEILE (#3). Saratoga shipper has good early speed, but she ran poorly on yielding turf last time out.
Race 8. Maiden Special Weight, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $75,000, 6 Furlongs
With #14 out, we'll add #9 to the exacta box. With Coefficient (#5) a late scratch, we add Quality Kitten (#1) to the box.
1. COEFFICIENT (#5). Catalano and Hill team up again, and she gets first Lasix in her second career start. This comes after more than a year off from a less-than stellar debut at 2-1 odds. Catalano is 44% from his last nine starters that added first-time Lasix.
2. MORE THAN A SONG (#2). Last-race Brisnet fig suggests this Steve Asmussen trainee can handle these. On Sept. 14 at the track, she lunged out of the gate and then ran evenly. She’s the only one to return from that race.
3. CRAB KEY (#14). Willing finish last race and a bullet work at Keeneland indicate she could improve in her second start.
4. SANCTISSIMA (#12). Last time out, she showed improvement in her first start on turf.
STELLA CAVALLO (#9) showed an improved Brisnet speed fig in her second and most recent start, her first one on turf. QUALITY KITTEN (#1), a Ken Ramsey filly, debuts from Catalano’s barn; watch the board. JUANITA SENORITA (#3) was scratched at KD by her trainer on Sept. 14 and would need to step up. LEGACY BIRD (#7) has Calvin Borel but debuts for a trainer who’s 1% from his last 152 first-time starters.
Race 9. Maiden Special Weight, 2YO fillies, $90,000, 6 Furlongs
I’ll go 3-4-11 with 2-3-4-11
1. TRYTOLOVEAGAIN (#11). In a field where those with a start under their belts don’t look all that impressive, I’ll try this $110K first-timer that’s showing a solid worktab.
2. YEMANJA (#3). Her first turf race and second overall was at seven furlongs. She ran the first six furlongs in 1:10 before fading.
3. MERRY MERRY BEE (#4). Granddaughter of Dynaformer has a series of good works at Arlington for her debut, including a near-bullet gate breeze two back.
4. ROOM SERVICE (#2). Catalano teams again with Hill for owners Gary and Mary West; the latter have had two winners from two starters at the meet. On the down side, there’s a spotty work pattern.
Race 10. Allowance N1X $8,500/N2L, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $94,000, 1 5/16 Mile
1. ARCHETYPE (#5). This scratched also-eligible from an opening-day stake has Napravnik riding against Maker for Rusty Arnold. Archetype broke her maiden at the track at this distance last year and exits a good effort at Saratoga.
2. I’M YOUR LUV (#2). Corey Lanerie takes off Get Real (#4) to ride this one, who shows a closing running style and who ran third to the top choice at the track this time last year.
3. HONEY LAKE (#1A). A winner at this distance on Sept. 7 while prominent throughout, the ground won’t be as firm for her this time. However, at this distance, you usually don’t want to be too far back regardless. Breaks from post 6.
4. AL’S ROSIE (#8). She has three board hits in four turf starts and exits a good effort in an off-the-turf race at Saratoga. Claimed from Mike Repole out of that race.
Race 11. Allowance N2X $8,500/N3L, 3YO & up fillies & mares, $96,000, 6 1/2 Furlongs
1. GATOR ZONE (#11). The Cats host the Gators this Saturday, and the result seems like a foregone conclusion. As for Gator Zone, she’s never been off the board in four starts, and she’s run really well in two turf starts on ground rated soft and yielding.
2. REGAL JOANNE (#10). Napravnik is back with Maker on runner that won a sprint at Saratoga after a stalking trip last time out.
3. LITTLE NIP (#2). She’s been on the board in five of her last six races, four of five of those at Arlington, and two of three of them on turf rated good at the same track.
4. SHRINKING VIOLET (#4). Maybe this Wesley Ward trainee trainee can impact this race in her second start this year. She’ll be super-tough if she matches her last effort. She held on to win at Kentucky Downs last year on ground rated good.
Race 12. Allowance N2L, 3YO & up, $94,000, 7 Furlongs
1. GEOTHERMAL (#11). In two races at the track on ground rated good last year, he came from off the pace to win once and run second the other time.
2. DIPSY DREW (#6). It looks like the speed bias of opening day hurt the chances of this one, so he and Jon Court give it another try for Jinks Fires.
3. SIMON EYES (#5). Connections thought enough of him to run him in the Grade I CashCall Futurity last December. That didn’t work out at all, but now he’s back in his second start off the long layoff after a credible effort at Presque Isle Downs.
4. SEVE (#3). Under Corey Lanerie, Seve will likely be a little closer to the pace than he was last Wednesday, which should better his chances.
Race 13. Starter Allowance $8,000, 3YO, $30,000, 1 1/2 Mile
It’s fitting that we close out this 13-race card with a marathon. This meet has been great fun as always.
1. FLATTERMEJIM (#4). He was seventh in a much tougher race last Wednesday, beaten only 2 1/2 lengths.
2. COTURNIX (#1). Gelding has won his last four starts, all of them on turf, -- two of them on ground rated good -- and Napravnik is aboard.
3. BLUEGRASS BULL (#6). Tim Ice comes in with a horse that won on yielding ground at Arlington two races back.