Analysis for Kentucky Downs

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

With the rail 40 feet out and a run-up of at least 240 feet, the distances of Wednesday’s races were considerably further than advertised. For some perspective, imagine running nearly the length of an entire football field before the timer even starts. 

It was a banner day for the jockey/trainer combination of Gerrardo Corrales and Wesley Ward. The winner of the opener paid off at 32-1 and there was a 14-1 winner mid-card (Shackleford’s Joy, whom we had as our top A selection), but the other eight winners all fell between odds of 2-1 and 8-1. There was only one gate-to-wire winner, but even in the longer races, it helped to be inside and forward. The wide swooping moves off the turn fell short. 

There has been no rain leading into Thursday’s card and the forecast calls for sunny skies and temperatures in the high 80s. I will favor horses with forward speed in sprints and an off the pace style in routes.

With the top pick listed first, “A” horses are in order or preference. Remember, the takeout on Pick Four and Pick Five wagers at Kentucky Downs is only 14%, so take advantage!

Race 1 – Pick Five starts here

Since moving back over to the grass, #7 Double Oaked has become a completely different horse. Her late closing kick has been visually impressive. The concern is the lack of pace to chase here. #1 Jordan’s Kitten just missed in this exact race one year ago. Her most recent effort leaves plenty to be desired, but her efforts just prior to that are likely good enough to win this.

  • A – 7, 1
  • B – 4, 8, 9
  • C – 5, 6, 11

Race 2 – Pick Four starts here

A game winner over a sloppy one-turn mile two back at Churchill, #6 Knight’s Key displayed a serious turn of foot in a recent score over the Ellis Park grass. With a repeat of that effort, the rest of these will be force to compete for minor awards.

  • A – 6
  • B – 2, 9, 11
  • C – 3, 7

Race 3

Over the last five years at Kentucky Downs, Brad Cox is 2-for-6 and Steve Asmussen is just 1-for-12 with first time starters. This race is a complete crapshoot. Don’t be afraid to spread for multi-race purposes.

  • A – 2, 5, 8, 10
  • B – 3, 12, 13
  • C – 1, 4, 6, 7, 14

Race 4

This is another absolute SPREAD race. I do love the tenacity of #2 Shackleford’s Joy, and chances are he will be overlooked in the wagering.

  • A – 2, 1, 6, 8, 11, 13

Race 5

In her first start off a 17-month layoff last out, #5 Margaret’s Joy nearly overcame a troubled trip before finishing an encouraging third. She takes the blinkers off and is bred to handle the added distance. #12 Longpants Required is a hard trying filly who should appreciate the extra ground, and the presence of Gaffalione certainly doesn’t hurt the cause.

  • A – 5, 12
  • B – 2, 11
  • C – 1, 3, 4, 10 

Race 6 – Pick Five starts here

I own an interest in #12 Yes It’s Ginger with Brilliant Racing, therefore I am unable to provide any analysis on this race.

Race 7 – Pick Four starts here

In his career debut at Churchill Downs, #10 Born Great split horses gamely late and got up for third behind a very talented pair. He should move up with that experience under his belt. #11 Fugitive has had his ups and downs, but his best effort was very good and he does have some excuses for the poor performances.

  • A – 10, 11
  • B – 1, 3, 5, 9
  • C – 7, 8, 12, 13

Race 8

With a fast pace likely to set the table here, the very consistent closer #9 Sentry looks tough to deny. #2 Marzo has proven his class in recent starts and his recent clunker over a boggy turf course in the Sword Dancer (G1) at Saratoga is a complete toss out. 

  • A – 9, 2
  • C – 4, 5, 7

Race 9

#5 English Bee has just missed behind War of Will and Factor This in his last two starts, and the Kentucky Downs turf course should suit him well. #8 Hembree already has a win here, and he also ran a good fourth as the slight favorite in the 2019 Tourist Mile. The late kick of the California invader #11 Big Score should suit him well under these conditions, and watch out for #16 Vanbrugh if he happens to draw in.

  • A – 5, 8, 11, 16
  • B – 6
  • C – 3, 4, 9, 12, 15

Race 10

In a race where I have no strong opinion, I have three horses rated equally. #3 Enjoyitwhilewecan is better than she looks on paper, and the pedigree suggests a potential liking for the added distance. #2 Blame Debbie has a touch of class and perhaps the addition of blinkers will move her up even further. #7 Sursum Corda is proven over elongated distances. In most cases, her deep closing style would suit her well here, but there simply doesn’t appear to be much early pace signed on to this one.

  • A – 3, 2, 7
  • B — 11
  • C – 1, 6, 9