Saturday’s card at Keeneland is a monster.
The 11-race slate includes five graded stakes events and is headlined by the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1). The eight-furlong contest over the lawn not only has a purse of one million dollars, but also offers the winner a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile on Saturday November 2nd at Santa Anita Park.
The 2019 Shadwell Turf Mile features six Grade or Group 1 winners, including last year’s upset winner #1 Next Shares, as well as 2017 winner #12 Suedois. It offers horseplayers a wide-open full field event with a number of ways to go.
There is not a ton of early zip signed on, but the pace should be honest nonetheless given the presence of #3 Bandua and #14 Real Story. I expect Real Story to send hard from his far outside post with Bandua likely to sit second coming out of three consecutive races run at 1 3/16ths or longer. Both runners will need things to go their way early to have a chance late, but they are far from hopeless.
#4 Valid Point enters this spot a perfect three for three for trainer Chad Brown. The son of Scat Daddy moved into Grade 1 company last time out in the Secretariat and rallied late under jockey Javier Castellano to win by a length in the end. The $140,000 Keeneland September 2017 purchase tries older horses for the initial time on Saturday.
He will need to take a step forward to beat this group, but he should get a great ground saving trip a few lengths off of the early pacesetters. Brown has won a ton of graded stakes events on the lawn, but is still in search of his first Shadwell Turf Mile victory. He has a big chance to get it done on Saturday. Valid Point is listed as the lukewarm 5-to-1 morning line favorite.
#6 Admission Office has not been seen since a third-place finish back in mid-June in the Wise Dan (G2) at legendary Churchill Downs. The Brian Lynch trainee may have been best that day given the slow start and traffic issues at the top of the lane. The son of Point of Entry will need to avoid another poor break and jockey Jose Ortiz will need to work out a trip from off the pace, but I love the way the Amerman Racing Stables colt is progressing in his four-year-old campaign. At 8-1 on the line, Admission Office is my top choice in Saturday’s feature.
#5 Bowies Hero comes in off a six-week freshening from trainer Phil D’Amato. The California-based son of Artie Schiller has races to go to back to that would put him right there at the wire. Like Admission Office, he will need to work out a clean voyage from well off the pace to earn his eighth lifetime score, but he has the right guy in the saddle in Flavien Prat. A must use.
The aforementioned Suedois has earned over $1.7 million dollars, including a win in this race two years back, but has just one since the start of 2018. Trainer David O’Meara seems concerned with the heat in Kentucky and this could possibly be a springboard to next month’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, so I will pass on the eight-year-old gelding who will break from a far outside post in his second try over the Keeneland lawn.
I also will toss the defending champion Next Shares. The son of Archarcharch had some trouble last time out in the Tourist Mile over the tricky Kentucky Downs configuration, but he just has not been the same horse in 2019.
#2 Van Beethoven was beaten by Valid Point in his first start in the States at Arlington Park, but he overcame a slow break and finished well to earn second. It is difficult to endorse a two-time winner in a Grade 1 event with this much depth, but he should provide enough value underneath in the exotics to include.
#9 First Premio makes his second try of the form cycle for trainer Mark Casse. The five-year-old son of Pure Prize may be a reach on top, especially from the 9-hole where he could get caught a bit wide into the first turn. However, he does have a win in his only start over this turf course and consistently brings his “A’ game. I will use underneath.
Suggested Wagers in the Shadwell Turf Mile
- $30 Win #6
- $1 Trifecta Key #6 with #2+#3+#4+#5+#9 = $20