Keeneland has put together an absolutely fantastic card for its second Saturday of the meet. There’s usually a hangover following most track’s big weekends, but that’s definitely not the case with this card, a blockbuster of full, competitive fields headlined by the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
I normally don’t support Grade 1 races restricted to three-year-olds so late in the year, but it would be difficult to say that the QE2 wasn’t a blockbuster last year with the likes of Marketing Mix, Hungry Island, and Winter Memories all competing and going on to win Grade 1 races this year.
There are plenty of other moneymaking opportunities on today’s card, though: 9 doubles, 8 Pick 3s, 2 Pick 4s, and a Pick 5. My most likely winners on the card are #12 Divine Luck in race 4 and #8 Spun Cap in race 8.
My best value is #5 Tulira Castle in race 3 and #5 Photo Shoot in race 5. Both are 5-to-1 on the morning line.
I’m disappointed Joe Nevills won’t be on hand to witness Michigan-bred Meadow Magic contest the second race, an $8,000 starter allowance event. The Meadow Prayer gelding was last seen finishing fourth in a Michigan Sire Stakes race at Mount Pleasant Meadows. Joe was there that day, and he’ll be at MPM again today for its closing weekend festivities.
Also in the second race, jockey Carlos Villasana is married to Laura Villasana (nee Pepper). Like Joe Nevills, Laura is a former Thoroughbred Times intern. Their involvement in the racing industry outlasted the publication where they started.
Race 4 has two obscure (to me, anyway) jockeys: Rick Knott pilots Elegant Jule, and Borja Fayos has the call on Beaucoup.
Good luck today!