by SCOTT SHAPIRO
I will be making a trip to Lexington on Thursday for a solid 10-race card at Keeneland. Much like the first four days of the meeting there are several challenging races and sequences spread over the day. Here are a few horses I will build my afternoon around:
#3 Cured by Kitten took a ton of support at the windows on debut at Churchill Downs on September 15 and took a while to get going, but finished well to earn second. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy meets a group that includes a pair of vulnerable favorites that have shown an affinity early on in their careers for running second, not first.
If jockey Tyler Gaffalione can get the Mike Maker trainee into the race a bit earlier on after gaining invaluable racing experience last month under the Twin Spires, she should be able to out finish this group and visit the winners’ circle for the initial time on Thursday afternoon. 9-2 on the line seems fair.
Win 3 (if 7-2 or higher)
#2 Meade makes his first start since a last place effort in the Saratoga Special (G2) on August 12. The $250,000 FTS August 2017 purchase won impressively on debut at Belmont Park, but broke out from his inside draw last time out and tired late.
The son of Street Sense should handle the move to two turns and meets a bunch largely comprised of colts coming out of a weak rendition of the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs. The class drop and the fact that trainer Todd Pletcher is off to a strong start at the Keeneland meeting make this runner a legitimate threat at 6-1 on odds-maker Mike Battaglia’s morning line.
Win 2 (5-1 or higher)
#12 Demolition makes his third start off the layoff for trainer Ian Wilkes after a fourth-place effort in a 1 5/16-mile race over the Kentucky Downs sod on September 8. The son of Blame had raced solely over the dirt through his first five races, but is bred to love the green being out of a Northern Afleet mare that won 5 of 11 on the turf throughout her career.
In that last try, the LNJ Foxwoods colt broke well, found a comfortable spot a few lengths off the early pace under jockey Julien Leparoux, made a strong move to confront the leaders before they turned for home, but was out finished in the lane.
The cutback to a mile and a sixteenth and a turf course that should have less give in it should help lead this 6-1 shot to his first victory against winners.
Win 12 (9-2 or higher)