Free Picks & Analysis — Who Do Ya Like?
Friday, October 7, 2016
On Friday, we’re heading back out to Keeneland for the start of the Fall Stars meet! We’ve got FREE PICKS & ANALYSIS from returning DanonymousRacing.com handicapper Mike Bench (@MikeBench1991).
Mike is an NHC qualifier and he won the 2013 Championship at the Orleans at age 21. Today, he has put together an extremely thorough writeup for us. In addition to providing picks and analysis for each race, Mike has also provided some reasonably budgeted Pick-4 and Pick-5 tickets. We thank Mike for his work and wish you good luck if you’re playing along!
Take it away, Mike…
Welcome to Opening Day at Keeneland! Friday opens up the fall meet where the weather is expected to be beautiful and a large crowd is expected. The card is anchored by a pair of graded stakes, the Phoenix & Alcibiades. Without further ado, let’s get to the action.
$0.50 Pick Four: 2,5,6,10 / 3,5,7 / 1,5,6,11 / 10 ($24)
$0.50 Pick Five: 4,9 / 1 / 1 / 1,2,3,6,8,11,13,14 / 1,2,4,9 ($32)
$0.50 Pick Four: 1,2,10 / 1 / 1,3,6,8,11,13 / 1,2,4,9 ($36)
Good luck, everyone!
#4 You Bought Her
A high quality opener takes to the main track in the opener going 7 furlongs. Let’s go in the direction of #5 ATHENA (5/1 ML). She is coming off a good 2nd in a stake at Mountaineer and before that won a listed stake at Churchill. This filly has run well at 7 furlongs, sporting a win and a third in three starts. I think she’s going to lay rather close to the pace with Robby Albarado and could sit the perfect trip perched on the outside. The figures are good enough to contend and a bullet for Helen Pitts aids the cause. #2 Mayla (2/1 ML) has been useful in her career so far, and she comes off a 3rd in the Open Mind at Churchill. 7 furlongs may be more her game and the little drop in class may be just what she needs in this spot. This is a tough one to leave out of exotics as she has the speed to be forward and has solid races at today’s distance. #4 You Bought Her (4/1 ML) is 2 for 2 over the Keeneland oval and gets back to her game, 1 turn on the dirt. She was too close to a hot pace in the Groupie Doll at Ellis last time and if she can relax from off the pace, she can surely factor in this spot.
#2 Bourbon Happens
#5 Media Time
The second gives us a full field of $10,000 claimers and is a spread race in the early pick four. I’m giving the nod to #10 WINDSURFER (4/1 ML) in this spot. He had a very unusual comment line last time, the shadow roll came undone shortly after the start and was sliding around throughout the race. He still only lost 2nd by a length so I’m willing to excuse the double digit defeat at short odds. Prior to that, he had been a model of consistency on the dirt. This is a logical drop for Midwest Thoroughbreds and there appears to be enough speed from the 4 to set an honest pace. If #2 Bourbon Happens (5/1 ML) is in one piece he figures to be a handful in this spot. But there are questions about this geldings soundness dropping directly to the bottom after running in allowance races at Kentucky & Indiana Downs. He’s run once on the dirt where he ran 2nd and attracts Jose Ortiz, who is here for most of the Keeneland meet. Bullet work over this surface helps the cause that he may be ok, so he’ll be used. #5 Media Time (6/1 ML) is another dropper from an optional claimer at Arlington and returns to claiming company today. When in claiming races over the winter at Tampa, he ran very well with two wins and a second. This is a logical spot to run him in and could sit a nice trip off the pace for Mitchell Murrill. Another use in the pick four.
#5 Scarly Charly
A good high end allowance race in the third has us focusing on New York shippers as the principle favorites in this spot. I give the nod to #3 CERRO (3/1 ML) on the barn change to Mike Maker, who has historically been a solid Keeneland trainer. He ran a disappointing race at Saratoga last time but that was for a low percentage trainer, and the claim by Maker should move him up. I am encouraged that Jose Ortiz takes the mount, as he is poised to have a big Keeneland meet. This gelding’s proficiency at the distance and longer along with his tactical speed should have him prominent throughout. #5 Scarly Charly (5/2 ML) ran a game race at this condition at Saratoga off a Rivelli claim, being part of a four way blanket finish. That should set him up well for today’s race and he’s been knocking heads with Cerro at Belmont. They have been pretty close, but I gave Cerro the nod based on Jose Ortiz over Valdivia. They are the two uses on the pick four tho. #7 Helooksthepart (5/1 ML) looks like the one to pick up the pieces late. He should appreciate the stretch out to 7 furlongs in this spot and ran against two nice sprinters at Churchill last time. He has races at the distance that are good enough and if Cerro goes too fast, a patient ride by Leparoux could pay off. Definite in the money consideration.
#1 The Cookie Man
#6 Sir Leighdon
Maiden claimers take to the track in the 4th and I think it is the right spot to take a first time starter. Let’s take #1 THE COOKIE MAN (8/1 ML) who comes in with a string of solid works at Arlington. It does kind of raise a question why this colt isn’t debuting in maiden special weights, but with the inflated morning line, perhaps this race is more competitive than I might think. I like the wide draw for the debut and the poly works are solid. If he transfers that to the dirt, with Wildcat Heir’s connecting at 16% first time out, this is the right one. Lets hope to get 8/1. #6 Sir Leighdon (12/1 ML) middle moved against much better straight maidens at Kentucky Downs and now makes the plummet to the bottom. It was a sneaky decent debut tho and he might like the softer company he’s facing this afternoon. Sophie Doyle’s presence will keep the odds inflated. #11 Teriat (15/1 ML) broke from the rail on debut and had to steady sharply and with the fast middle quarter, never had a chance against maiden special weights. There is an eye catching jockey booking in Florent Geroux today and perhaps this gelding might show more on the drop. As you might infer, a price could very well win this.
#10 Sir Alfred
#1 What’s Your Thesis
The single of the sequence and probably the shortest starting favorite of the day comes in the 5th. #10 SIR ALFRED (2/1 ML) has been facing much better and if he is in one piece, should dispatch these easily. This colt catches a race light on pace so I figure him to be right on the pace throughout and if he runs back to his Monmouth 2nd, should handle these. Jose Ortiz takes the mount for Pletcher and we’ll single in the pick four. #1 What’s Your Thesis (8/1 ML) did not have the smoothest of trips in an allowance at Churchill and drops back into a tag where he won by 7 in May at Churchill. This may be the right level for this gelding and gets Florent Geroux. Probably the main threat to the favorite. #9 Attraction (4/1 ML) runs for a claiming tag for the first time and must be respected on that fact alone. He was an easy winner at Ellis two back and has run well for Drury. Drury is a cagey good trainer and if the favorite misfires, is definitely a win candidate.
Maiden two year olds in the 6th going long, and the call goes to a price, #4 ETHYLENE (8/1 ML). This filly ran just ok on debut going 6 furlongs but I think the stretch out will be beneficial for her. She was bet to 3/1, ran a decent beyer, 61, among the better in the race on debut, and if she moves forward, can certainly be in the mix. No problem with Luis Saez riding for Dale Romans either. #9 Valadorna (5/2 ML) broke slow from the rail going a mile and finished well to miss by a length. This filly ran a winning race that day and any move forward should make her tough to beat here. Would like her to be more tactical in this spot though with the short stretch. Let’s see if Leparoux can do that. #6 Swat (6/1 ML) has run well in each of her first two starts to begin her career and she may be getting to what she may do best, route on the dirt. She ran very well in her debut at Churchill in a blanket finish with trouble. It is encouraging that Lanerie takes the mount here and is probably the other use on the pick five.
#2 Tiz Madness
#10 Walking the Kitten
First leg of the pick four sees the turf course being used and the favorite looks pretty tough in the 7th. #1 AMNICALOLA (5/2 ML) seems to be progressing into a nice horse and is a much better horse on the firm ground. The Kentucky Downs race showed that she can run on this circuit and has been running better figures with each start. Robby Albarado takes the mount for Jack Fisher and the additional distance should be zero issue for this filly as she’s bred to run all day. #2 Tiz Madness (10/1 ML) ran evenly at odds in an allowance at Kentucky Downs and drops back to a distance that might be preferable for this filly. She has flourished since being stretched out in distance, and this 9.5 furlongs should hit her well. Will get the jump on the closers and with Lanerie can run them down late. #10 Walking the Kitten (7/2 ML) needs to be used for the Ramseys and Maker even though she is only 1 for 17 lifetime. She has been nibbling at this condition and she is due to break through. Been the beaten favorite six times at this condition and has lost each time but has been close. Can’t not use, I suppose.
#1 A.P. Indian
#5 Limousine Liberal
#3 Ami’s Flatter
The 8th is the first of the two graded stakes on the program, and I am going to go with the obvious one to beat, #1 A.P. INDIAN (4/5 ML). This gelding has had quite a 2016, 5 for 5 this season including two grade 1 wins at Saratoga. He scratched from the Vosburgh because of an off track but the track should be fast here. The rail draw might be a minor inconvenience but there appears to be enough speed to allow him to settle and make a run. #5 Limousine Liberal (5/1 ML) has promised a lot but hasn’t really delivered. The blinkers go on this gelding for the first time and promises to show plenty of speed in this spot. He ran a 100 beyer over the track in his 2016 debut, which would often be good enough in a spot like this, if not for the favorite. #3 Ami’s Flatter (9/2 ML) ran a terrific race in his one start over the Keeneland oval, winning a Grade 3 with a 105 beyer. He has not lived up to the hype since then but perhaps the return to Keeneland will wake this colt up. Has enough class to take down a race like this but is racing at his shortest distance yet.
#13 For Honor
#6 Caroline Test
#3 Queen Bernardina
What a betting race the Grade 1 Alcibiades is! No clear stand out in a full field of 14, and it begs for you to take a longshot. I’m going to go with #13 FOR HONOR (15/1 ML) who was cold on the board on debut at Saratoga but posted an impressive win from off the pace going 7 furlongs. The beyer did not come back much but I think that only sees fit to increase the odds. George Weaver gets the two turns for this filly and gets the services of Ricardo Santana Jr who was aboard for the debut win. If she can negotiate the post, not the easiest in the world, she can run well at a big price. Been training nicely since her debut and think there is more to offer. #6 Caroline Test (8/1 ML) ran a game race on the turf at Kentucky Downs and looms the speed of the speed in this spot. In a race without a lot of fast figures or strong closing kicks, perhaps a speed horse is the way to go. The short stretch can’t hurt her chances either and looks like one of the uses here. #3 Queen Bernardina (10/1 ML) has the best dirt beyer in the race, by way of her maiden win at Churchill at 20/1. She has improved with each start and gets a nice post position in this bulky field. Jockey switch to Joe Bravo and she is yet another contender here.
#9 Rate for Me
It’s not often I take a Canterbury shipper at Keeneland, but I am going to give #2 REMEMBERMIS (6/1 ML) the nod in a contentious finale. This gelding is coming off a decent 5th against winners in the Mystic Lake Derby while two back ran 2nd against maidens over the Canterbury turf course. Any move forward puts this gelding squarely in the mix, and the jockey booking of Florent Geroux is eye catching. #4 Nseventeen (6/1 ML) ran on okay off a slow pace at Churchill and showed a little something in her race at Monmouth. This is a soft spot for the level and if the 7 can set an honest enough pace, perhaps this one can pick them up at a good price. #9 Rate for Me (6/1 ML) goes for the same connections as my pick in the feature and this one adds lasix for the first time today. I am willing to forgive a poor race at Kentucky Downs, but the question today is the distance. Any improvement and he’s right there and he should be prominent throughout.
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