Kentucky Downs opens its popular five-day stand today with a 10-race card filled with wagering opportunities. Seven of the 10 races are oversubscribed and horseplayers never expect to see five or six-horse fields at the turf-only track.

A pair of contentious juvenile stakes will be offered along with the $300,000 More Than Ready Mile, which features the return of Undrafted, conqueror of the prestigious Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot last out. I’ll focus earlier on the program, recommending a pair of horses that will be key to my Pick 4 tickets.

Race 4: Early speed has been in advantage in sprints the past few seasons, with four of the eight six-furlong races being won wire to wire last year, and I tab the front-running BRASKO (#4).

An attractive 15-1 on the morning line, Brasko displayed high speed when making his debut on Ellis Park’s main track, showing the way on a contested pace through the opening half-mile before weakening in the stretch, and Darrin Miller was using that race as strictly a prep for this $120,000 maiden, wheeling his charge right back eight days later. The trainer wins at only a 9% clip overall but connects at an 18% rate with horses making both their second career start and first on turf, generating a positive ROI with the latter. A $210,000 yearling purchase, the well-bred son of Colonel John is eligible to relish the switch in surfaces and picks up a top speed jock in Corey Lanerie. Wire to wire.

Race 5: A fair amount of early speed is entered and NICKY’S BROWN MISS (#9) can parlay stalk-and-pounce tactics into another local win.

The only member of the field with a victory over the course, Nicky’s Brown Miss romped by a 2 ¾-length margin in the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies Turf last September. The 3yo Big Brown filly brings increasing BRIS Pace and Speed numbers into the race, recording an encouraging third versus a nice allowance field at Monmouth Park last time, and shows a recent bullet work in preparation. Regular rider Tommy Turner accompanies the 6-1 co-fourth choice on the morning line.

Wagers

Brasko and Nicky’s Brown Miss are win plays and I’ll build a couple of Pick 4 tickets around them.

Pick 4 (races 2-5):

Ticket 1 – $37.50

3,4,5,6,9 with 5,6,7,11,13 with 4 with 8,9,10

Ticket 2 – $25

3,4,5,6,9 with 5,6,7,11,13 with 6,14 with 9