Keeneland expert picks: Sunday, April 21, 2024

April 21st, 2024

It’s the final Sunday of the Keeneland Spring Meet, with closing day slated for Friday, April 26. We’ve got top picks in the first five races for Sunday’s nine-race card.

The middle three races are for maidens, so we’ve got a challenging sequence but a chance for some good prices!

Race 1: 1 1/16 miles, allowance, 4yo and up

#4 Hoodlum (5-2) — Late runner won last out in a 1 1/16-mile allowance over a track labeled good. Pioneerof the Nile gelding has three wins and two second-place finishes from five starts at today's distance, and he’s 3-for-4 in 2024. Al Stall Jr. is a 20% winner with horses that won their last race, and Joel Rosario (28% with routes) will retain the mount. 

#6 Sittin On Go (8-5) — Gelding won last out going gate to wire in a 1 3/8-mile allowance and clocked a 105 Brisnet Speed figure, by far the fastest last-out speed figure among today’s field. The 6yo was able to set pedestrian early fractions then cranked up the pace in the latter stages to get up by 3 1/4 lengths at the wire. Irad Ortiz Jr. (24% with routes) will pick up the mount. However, with early speed to his outside, Sittin On Go may not get the early lead, and he led all the way in his last two victories, in January and March. He’s also 0-for-8 from today’s distance and 0-for-2 at Keeneland.

#7 P H Factor (6-1) — The 8yo gelding won last out in gate-to-wire fashion in a 1 1/16-mile claiming event at Turfway. Clocked a 106 E1 and 100 E2 Brisnet rating and finished with an 84 Speed figure overall. Eric Foster is a 13% winner with horses that won their last race, and P H Factor will pick up Tyler Gaffalione, a 16% winner with routes and a 20% winner this meet. Will duel with morning line favorite Sittin On Go for the early lead but has a chance to get out front early and pull off the upset. The gray son of The Factor is 10-for-18 lifetime and 1-for-1 at Keeneland.

Race 2: 4 1/2 furlongs, maiden special weight, 2yos

#8 Johnny Come Lately (6-1) — Hootenanny gelding makes debut for Wesley Ward, a 28% winner this meet and with first-time starters. Walter Rodriguez is 4-for-8 paired with Ward the last two months and a 17% winner with sprints. Two-year-old has looked sharp in recent works at Keeneland, and his sire produces winners 29% of the time with his first-time starters. Dam has four winners from six starters, including two stakes winners.

#2 Dreamaway (2-1) — Flameaway filly makes first start for Wesley Ward and faces all males. Her sire’s progeny win at an 11% rate with first career starts, and her dam has one winner from one starter. John Velazquez (15% with sprints and 4-for-10 paired with Ward the last two months) will ride. Bullet three-furlong workout April 5 at Keeneland.

#4 Clever Again (5-2) — Steve Asmussen trainee makes his first career start and will get Joel Rosario aboard. American Pharoah colt has put in decent workouts at Keeneland, and Asmussen is a 17% winner at the maiden special weight level.

#11 Baytown Sundance (20-1) — Daredevil colt is out of a dam with five winners from five starters, and the two-year-old put in two bullet works at Keeneland this past month. Trainer Paul McEntee has one win, a second, and a third from 12 starters this meet, but he’s just a 4% winner with first-time starters. Albin Jimenez (12% with sprints but 0-for-17 this meet) is named to ride.

AE #13 The Toner (6-1) — Maclean’s Music colt makes debut for Caio Caramori, who’s 0-for-5 so far this meet. Sire’s progeny win at a 16% rate with first-time starters and the two-year-old’s dam has three winners from four starters, including a stakes winner. Bullet four-furlong workout April 14. Joel Rosario named to ride.

Race 3: one mile (turf), maiden special weight, fillies and mares 3yo and up

#9 Segesta (3-1) — Ghostzapper filly was beaten a neck last out in a one-mile maiden special weight at Tampa Bay Downs when racing today’s distance; flashed an 82 BRIS figure, the highest last race speed rating among the field. Chad Brown is a 25% winner with shippers and a 28% winner this meet. Irad Ortiz Jr. will stay in the saddle and strikes at a 21% rate on turf.

#3 Timeless Elegance (8-1) — Closer was beaten by a length in lone turf start when racing 1 1/16 miles at Horseshoe Indianapolis; recorded 72 BRIS figure. Switched back to all-weather for third career start and finished sixth of 12 and earned the same speed rating. Trainer Jonathan Thomas is a 24% winner at the maiden special weight level and a 25% winner off layoffs of 46-90 days. Jose Ortiz Jr. (20% on turf and 26% winner this meet) picks up the mount. Bullet four-furlong workout April 14.

#5 Life’s Saga (6-1) —  Three-year-old filly finished sixth on debut in a six-furlong sprint on Turfway’s all-weather. She’ll stretch out to a route distance for the first time and try turf. Her dam has four turf winners from seven starters. Trainer Christopher Davis is 7-2-0-2 this meet and a 14% winner first time on the grass. Florent Geroux (19% on turf and a 25% winner this meet) will pick up the mount.

#10 Pisciotta (12-1) — First-time starter for Cherie DeVaux should like today’s distance of a mile. The Wootton Bassett filly is out of a Dubawi mare with one winner from one starter. Joel Rosario (17% on turf) is named to ride. DeVaux is winning at a 36% rate this meet, but she's just a 9% winner with horses debuting on the turf.

Race 4: 1 1/16 miles, maiden claimer, fillies and mares 3yo and up

#10 Queen Rhaenyra (6-1) — Michael McCarthy trainee has raced on turf or all-weather and will try dirt for the first time. City of Light filly will add blinkers for the first time as well and will drop from the maiden special weight to maiden claiming level, a 28% winning move for McCarthy. John Velazquez (25% with routes) picks up the mount. Sharp workout April 6 at Churchill.

#7 Maturity Date (7-2) — Makes fifth career start for Chad Brown and second on dirt. Three back, the Upstart filly finished fourth by 1 1/2 lengths in a one-mile maiden special weight that was taken off the turf at Aqueduct, then tried the same distance and finished far back in fourth on a muddy track. Switched back to turf for fourth career start and was far back in eighth at Gulfstream. Brown is a 30% winner second time racing on Lasix and a 29% winner second off the layoff. Tyler Gaffalione will retain the mount and is 6-2-0-1 paired with Brown the last 14 days. Sharp recent workouts.

#9 Extremely Gruntled (4-1) — Not This Time three-year-old was 0-for-5 at age two and 0-for-3 this season. She raced on all-weather in her last three and will switch back to dirt while stretching back out in distance. Kenny McPeek is a 21% winner with horses dropping from a maiden special weight to a maiden claimer, and he’ll add blinkers for the first time here. Brian Hernandez will regain the mount and was beaten just a half-length in the filly’s third career start when racing 1 1/16 miles at Churchill in November. Sharp workout April 13.

#5 Song Bridge (15-1) — Connect four-year-old makes fifth career start for Dallas Stewart and returns to dirt after trying turf last out. Raced at six furlongs in two of her first three starts. The other was at today’s distance of 1 1/16 miles, where she finished a distant third to a next-out winner at Fair Grounds. James Graham will regain the mount, but he’s a 5% winner with routes and 0-for-16 this meet. Stewart is a 17% winner off layoffs of 46-90 days and a 10% winner first time with blinkers.

Race 5: 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), allowance, 3yos and up

#7 Jefe de Obra (9-2) — Four-year-old gelding tried turf for the first time two back and had the early lead but was caught late to finish second by a neck in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance at Keeneland in October; recorded a 90 BRIS figure. Switched to dirt last out and was far back in fourth after weakening in a 6 1/2-furlong sprint. Can improve off the layoff for Wesley Ward, a 26% winner off layoffs of 90 days or more and a 14% winner going from dirt to turf. Bullet four-furlong workout April 8. In a late rider change, Abel Cedillo picks up the mount. Should get the early lead, and early speed is winning at a high rate in turf sprints at Keeneland.

#3 Demolition Duke (5-1) — Good Magic colt was beaten by a head last out in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance at Fair Grounds when sent off as the favorite in his first start for Brendan Walsh. Will try the same distance today and picks up Tyler Gaffalione. Walsh is a 22% winner second off the layoff and an 18% winner in second starts with the trainer. Four-year-old’s 88 BRIS figure last out is the highest last race speed rating among the field.

#6 Double Clutch (5-1) — Late runner will switch back to turf after racing on dirt and all-weather in last two. Returns off a more than four-month layoff for Rusty Arnold, a 13% winner with turf starts. Jose Ortiz Jr. picks up the mount. Five-year-old gelding owns a 3-1-1-0 record at Keeneland and has one second from one start at today’s distance, when beaten a half-length three back in a 5 1/2-furlong allowance at Keeneland in October; posted a 91 BRIS figure in the effort.

#12 Salt Spray (4-1) — Wesley Ward trainee moves up in class off a win at today’s distance in lone turf start. Won by three-quarters of a length after setting the early pace in a maiden special weight at Churchill and clocked an 87 BRIS figure. Will come back off a more than seven-month layoff and races on Lasix a second time, a winning move 29% of the time for Ward. Frankie Dettori picks up the mount. Outside post could be an issue.