A new week of racing starts with opening day at Kentucky Downs. Tim Holland offers his opening day picks along with Saratoga and Laurel Park.
Some well-bred maidens going 12 furlongs include #5 Accessible (6-1), who makes his first start for Mike Maker off a narrow miss when closing to finish second over one mile at Arlington in July. Son of Tapit is out of Riposte, who won the Sheepshead Bay (G2) and who is out of a half-sister to Arlington Million (G1) winner Powerscourt. Gray has hit the board in two of three starts on grass and Maker has won with 20% of his runners this year. Rusty Arnold will saddle #6 Paintsville (6-1), who is out of a half-sister to champion and Irish Oaks (G1) winner Peeping Fawn. Son of Medaglia d’Oro finished well when second at Ellis in his latest in July in his first start since February, and Arnold wins with 23% of his runners second time off a layoff.
Graham Motion wins with 19% of his second-time starters and saddles #5 Indian Heart (15-1), who made belated progress to finish fourth in her debut at Colonial over 5 furlongs on the main track last month. Daughter of Uncle Mo is a half-sister to three winners on grass, and Motion wins with 17% of his runners making their turf debut. Filly figures to show improvement with Velazquez taking the mount.
#3 Varenka (4-1) gets some class relief off a closing fifth-place finish in the Matchmaker (G3) at Monmouth Park in July and has a record of 11-3-2-2 on grass. Daughter of Ghostzapper won the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga last year for trainer Motion, who wins with 17% of runners that have not raced for 46-90 days. Bay can be tough here with Castellano in the saddle.
A competitive field for the Tourist Mile includes #9 Flavius (6-1), who comes off a close third-place finish in the First Defence S. over 7 furlongs at Saratoga in early June. Trainer Brown wins with 30% of his runners that have not raced for 90+ days and son of War Front is out of Starformer, who won the New York (G2). 5-year-old has won two of six starts and can be along from off the pace with Castellano up.
#6 Mrs Frankel (6-1) finished well when second in her latest over the course and distance as the favorite early last month behind Simply Ravishing, who won the P.G. Johnson S. in her next outing. Daughter of Frankel is out of a full sister to Gregorian, who won the Hungerford (G2), and trainer Casse wins with 24% of his runners that were beaten as the favorite in their last outing. Filly can be in good position throughout under Davis, who has won with one of his last five rides for the barn.
#2 Talk Or Listen (15-1) gave way to finish unplaced in a tough allowance at Belmont in June in his first North American start for trainer Delacour. Gray won three of 11 starts while facing tough company in France before joining Delacour, who has won with 19% of his runners at this meet and who wins with 22% of his starters that have not raced for 46-90 days. Gelding will likely show more here with Carrasco taking the mount.