This Saturday is the first day of the annual Kentucky Downs five-day boutique race meet that features massive purses and the big fields that go along with them. The opening-day feature on the 10-race card is Race 8, the $750,000 Tourist Mile Stakes for three-year olds and up. When handicapping the Tourist Mile, one thing you will notice is there is a trio of serious speed entered in the race, and a fast one-mile pace will be ensured by the presence of those front runners, Siem Riep (#6) (15-1), Great Wide Open (#10) (10-1) and Real Story (#11) (10-1). All that speed should set the Tourist Mile up to be won from off the pace. A couple of stalkers with good odds who will be well-placed from a pace perspective are First Premio (#8) (8-1) and Mr Cub (#9) (8-1). Additionally, if you are trying to pick a winner at Kentucky Downs, it never hurts to find horses who’ve already proven they handle/like the unique course layout, such as Next Shares (#2) (7-2) and Hembree (#4) (4-1), who each won races at the meet last season. Here are four horses to use in all of your Tourist Mile exotics plays: KENTUCKY DOWNS RACE 8, TOURIST MILE EXOTICS PICKS: NEXT SHARES (#2) (7-2) has lost three in a row, but those defeats were all in Grade 1 races and he will find this spot much easier than facing the likes of Bricks and Mortar in two of the last three outings. Grade 2 winner early this year at Santa Anita and a Grade 1 winner last fall at Keeneland in the Shadwell Turf Mile launched last fall’s campaign with a stakes win here at Kentucky Downs. Form looked murky heading up to the Kentucky Downs season last year, and he turned it around with a win here. Set to do it again versus these. HEMBREE (#4) (4-1) lost in Saratoga’s Fourstardave (G1) last time in an effort that snapped a streak of three straight second-place finishes in one-mile stakes, including a pair of Grade 3s. Owns recent speed figures on both firm and yielding ground that stack-up favorably against this field, and also owns a prior victory at Kentucky Downs in his only prior outing here. Facing none in this spot like Got Stormy, Uni, and Raging Bull who beat him last time at Saratoga. Great chance to land in the exactas. Closing running style should get a good pace set-up behind three speed horses in this race. FIRST PREMIO (#8) (8-1) exits a loss at Saratoga where he had a tough trip when caught behind a quitting rival. The races before were solid stakes efforts and strong BRIS Speed figures, and he will be in a great pace scenario in this race, stalking a contested pace and getting the jump on the closers from further behind. Has repeatedly run competitively versus the other top contenders in this race for trainer Mark Casse, who was 2018’s second-leading trainer at Kentucky Downs with four wins. MR CUB (#9) (8-1) won first time back from a six-month layoff last out and now should improve further in the second start off the layoff. Finished about even against Hembree in a stakes this winter at Gulfstream, and also ran within a half-length of multiple Grade 1 winner and divisional leader Bricks and Mortar at the Gulfstream meet. Owns a career win at Kentucky Downs and has proven to run well against this caliber of competition. ANALYSIS Bet Next Shares (#2) (7-2), Hembree (#4) (4-1), First Premio (#8) (8-1) and Mr Cub (#9) (8-1) in the exotics, and you will have all of the best stalkers/closers in the Tourist Mile on your ticket, most of whom have already earned wins on the Kentucky Downs turf course. In such a big field of 12 horses with several contenders, the exacta in the Tourist Mile should offer a solid return. Best of luck! TOURIST MILE (FOUR-HORSE) EXOTICS WAGERS: $2 Exacta Box 2, 4, 8, 9 = $24 PHOTO: Kentucky Downs (c) Coady Photography/Kentucky Downs