by Dick Powell
Keeneland has an 11-race card on Saturday that is chock full of betting opportunities. The 50-cent Pick 5 wagering begins in RACE 1 and we will try to start our day right.
IPANEMA BEACH (#1) (5-2) is still a maiden after seven start, racking up three seconds and a third during that time. I can forgive her turf effort two starts back and a leap up in class in Ashland Stakes (G1) back in April. She rallied for second here last October in her career debut going six furlongs and will be charging late with Javier Castellano.
HEY GOOD LOOKIN (#3) (6-1) is a second-time-starter from Mike Maker who was vanned off in her career debut. Whatever happened that day seems to be behind her since she has worked well since then.
TIPAZAR (#8) (3-1) rallied for third in her career debut at Saratoga after breaking poorly from an inside post.
MY MERTIE (#1) (4-1) looks like she can be tough from the rail if Carlos Marquez Jr. breaks her well.
MANNERLY (#3) (9-5) has plenty of back class for this allowance race and she beat similar here back in April.
CASCANUECES (#6) (5-1) won her first three starts in Peru on dirt then raced evenly on Tapeta in her first start in a year. The sophomore daughter of Smart Strike is bred for dirt and gets Johnny Velazquez.
RULER OF THE NILE (#1) (5-2) added blinkers and was third going a one-turn mile at Gulfstream Park in July, then romped at Saratoga in fast time going this distance last out. He moves up in class off the claim by Steve Asmussen and has enough speed to handle post one.
WEGOTOLDYOUGOTSOLD (#4) (5-1) was a game second on a sloppy track at Saratoga off a long layoff, then ran evenly from post 10 in a turf sprint making his first start off the claim by Mike Maker.
EL CUCUY (#8) (5-2) was a good second two starts back at Saratoga on a sloppy track, then came back in his first start off the claim and broke his maiden by more than five lengths at Churchill Downs. He draws well for Tom Amoss and should work out a perfect stalking trip.
BOURBON COUNTRY (#5) (2-1) dropped down to this conditioned-claiming level two starts back and missed by a length behind a next-out winner. He then rallied from far back to miss by a length again after being shuffled back from post 1 at Churchill in September. Eddie Kenneally removes blinkers and adds Javier Castellano.
POSITIVE SPIRIT (#6) (4-1) rallied for third in her career debut going seven furlongs at Saratoga for Rodolphe Brisset, who wins 30 percent second-time out and is five for 12 stretching out. The juvenile daughter of Pioneerof the Nile is a half-sister to Kentucky Derby (G1) winner Always Dreaming.
WEB O’ GOLD (#9) (4-1) ran well in her first two career starts on the dirt, then tried a turf sprint at Kentucky Downs and just missed when Lasix was added for the first time.
ARMONY’S ANGEL (#8) (9-2) has the same pattern as Web o’ Gold but didn’t run as well in her turf sprint at Kentucky Downs last out. Her two dirt sprints were excellent.
WAGER – 50-cent Pick 5
1, 3, 8 with 1, 3, 6 with 1, 4 with 5, 8 with 6, 8, 9 — $54
This might be the toughest race on the card. The Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) is a “Win & You’re In” event in the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series where the winner gets an automatic berth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1). A field of 14 is entered and I am going to key SYNCHRONY (#6) (8-1). I like the fact that he comes in here off two easy wins at Monmouth against Grade 3 company and ran well this winter on the turf course at Fair Grounds that is similar to Keeneland’s sod. He has a big late kick and prepared for this with two straight bullet workouts on the Tapeta at Fair Hill’s training center. With $1 million on the line, it looks like Mike Stidham has brought him to a boil perfectly.
Daily Double: #6 with #4
This is an ultra-competitive maiden special weight for two-year-olds going seven furlongs on the main track. A full field of 12 will make the long run down the backside and it is wide open. LIMONITE (#4) (5-1) just missed going seven furlongs at Saratoga after he broke a bit slow from post 1. The son of Lemon Drop Kid went off at long odds so there must not have been great expectations from the Steve Asmussen barn. I look for him to improve here and it should be enough to handle a capable group of maidens.