Keeneland expert picks: Saturday, April 20, 2024

April 19th, 2024

It's the final Saturday of the Keeneland Spring Meet! The Grade 2 Elkhorn and the Grade 3 Ben Ali are the main features on the 10-race card at Keeneland.

TwinSpires is offering a $10 Money Back offer on the Elkhorn, so if you want to play against heavy morning line favorite Bold Act, we've got a few other runners to consider in the 1 1/2-mile turf test below. 

Let's get to it with our top picks in each race!

Race 1: 6 furlongs, maiden claimer, fillies and mares 3yo and up

#7 She’s Always Rosie (3-1) — Tapiture filly was beaten a length as the favorite in third career start when racing six furlongs on Turfway’s all-weather. Will try dirt for the first time. Last-out 75 Brisnet Speed figure is the highest last race speed rating among the field. William Morey is a 26% winner with beaten favorites and a 27% winner at the maiden claiming level. Three-year-old is eligible to improve third start off the layoff and posted a bullet work on April 13. Gerardo Corrales retains the mount.

#8 Golden Degree (4-1) — Goldencents filly is 0-for-4 facing maiden special weight company but will drop to a maiden claimer for Bret Calhoun, a 26% winner first time at the maiden claiming level. Brian Hernandez (16% winner with sprints and a 15% winner this meet) will pick up the mount. Sharp workout at Keeneland April 9.

#2 Lady Aberdeen (2-1) — Midshipman filly was third on debut racing six furlongs in a maiden claimer at Fair Grounds, then stretched out to a mile and finished fourth in second start. Tried turf last out and was far back in sixth at 5 1/2 furlongs. Brendan Walsh will add blinkers for the first time and strikes at an 18% rate going from turf to dirt. Tyler Gaffalione will inherit the mount. 

Race 2: 6 furlongs, maiden special weight, fillies 3yo

#10 Up on the Edge (4-1) — Upstart filly is 0-for-6 lifetime but has been racing seven furlongs or longer in her last five. Had the early lead four back at a mile but was beaten to second by Kentucky Oaks contender Thorpedo Anna. Clocked an 81 BRIS figure. Tried all-weather last out and was far back in seventh at Turfway in December. Will return to dirt and race on Lasix for the first time for Rodolphe Brisset, a 23% winner off layoffs of 90 or more days. Flavien Prat (32% winner with sprints) picks up the mount. Bullet four-furlong workout April 13.

#2 Sailing (12-1) — Union Rags filly makes debut for Shug McGaughey, a 17% winner at the maiden special weight level. Sharp four-furlong workout April 13. Sire’s progeny win at a 10% rate with first-time starts. Irad Ortiz Jr. is named to ride.

#11 Winakaching (8-1) — Dialed In filly was third on debut in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Turfway; recorded a 79 BRIS figure. Dale Romans is a 15% winner second career start and a 10% winner with a +1.05 ROI going from all-weather to dirt. Martin Garcia retains the mount. Sharp works at Churchill in April.

#5 Queen Anna T (20-1) — Classic Empire filly makes first start for Andrew McKeever, a 22% winner with horses debuting at the maiden special weight level with a +4.50 ROI. Solid works at Keeneland. Declan Cannon (11-1-0-2 this meet) will ride.

Race 3: 6 furlongs, allowance optional claimer, 3yos

#6 Iridescent (6-1) — City of Light colt makes fourth start since transferring to David Jacobson’s barn. Won three back in an allowance optional claimer at today’s distance and posted a 93 BRIS figure when going gate to wire at Aqueduct. Moved up to face stakes company and finished a distant fifth at the same distance over a muddy track two back. Was beaten a nose last out when stretching out to 6 1/2 furlongs. Will cut back in distance and return off a nearly two-month layoff. Irad Ortiz Jr. (21% with early pacesetter types) picks up the mount. 

#4 Mr Skylight (4-5) — Graduated at second asking in a six-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream and recorded an 86 BRIS figure. Moves up in class for Riley Mott, a 29% winner coming off a maiden win (from a small sample size). Junior Alvarado will pick up the mount.

#5 Knicks Storm (3-1) — Romped to 5 1/4-length win on debut in a six-furlong maiden claimer at Keeneland. Moved up in class and has finished no better than third in his last four starts. Dialed In colt is eligible to improve third start off the layoff for Ben Colebrook, who’s 10-2-0-2 to start the meet. Luan Machado will retain the mount.

Race 4: 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), allowance, fillies and mares 3yo and up

#3 Cloudwalker (9-2) — Won on debut by three lengths in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight on Keeneland’s turf in October; recorded 84 BRIS figure. Will return off a more than six-month layoff and race on Lasix for the first time, a winning move for trainer Brendan Walsh 18% of the time. Walsh is also winning at a 36% clip this meet. Flavien Prat retains the mount. Bullet five-furlong workout April 12.

#1 Royal Flower (3-1) — Led at every call when American Pharoah mare broke her maiden two back in her fourth career start and first turf try, in which she raced 5 1/2 furlongs. Ran over turf labeled good last out at the same distance and had the lead in the stretch but was beaten a half-length at the wire. Steve Asmussen is a 16% winner at the allowance level and a 19% winner off layoffs of 46-90 days. Frankie Dettori (20% on turf) picks up the mount.

AE #13 Cadencia (8-1) — Six-year-old was beaten as the favorite last out racing a mile on Keeneland’s turf; had the lead at the second call but yielded between horses in midstretch. Clocked 91 BRIS figure. Three back, recorded a 94 BRIS figure (the best turf speed figure among today’s field) when beaten a head at today’s distance. William Morey is a 26% winner with beaten favorites, and Gerardo Corrales retains the mount.

#12 Musical Prayer (10-1) — Maclean’s Music filly graduated in her fourth career start when racing 5 1/2 furlongs in a maiden special weight taken off the turf; posted an 82 BRIS figure. Moves up in class and makes first turf start for Carlo Vaccarezza and is eligible to improve second start off the layoff. Dam has produced two turf winners. Bullet four-furlong workout at Keeneland April 14. Irad Ortiz Jr. (21% on turf) picks up the mount.  

Race 5: 1 1/8 miles, claimer, 4yo and up

#6 Systemic Change (2-1) — Ghostzapper gelding finished third against tougher last out in a 1 3/16-mile allowance optional claimer at Aqueduct. Will drop in class for Chad Brown, a 33% winner first time claiming and a 25% winner with shippers. Five-year-old is 1-for-3 at 1 1/8 miles and will pick up Irad Ortiz Jr. (25% with routes). Sharp four-furlong workout April 13.

#2 Divine Armor (9-2) — seven-year-old was beaten half a length two back racing a mile at Aqueduct, then finished seventh against tougher last out at the same distance. Will drop in class and stretch out to nine furlongs for the first time. David Jacobson is a 22% winner first time claiming, and Luis Saez (18% with routes) will pick up the mount.

#1 Saqeel (10-1) — Early pacesetter makes second start for trainer Mike Maker, a 17% winner second off the layoff. 6yo is 0-for-4 at the distance but has two seconds and a third. Tyler Gaffalione picks up the mount.

Race 6: one mile (turf), allowance, fillies and mares 4yo and up

#8 Glittering Lights (15-1) — Four-year-old filly makes first start for trainer Brendan Walsh after racing overseas. Won three back at today’s distance in France and owns a 6-2-0-2 record at a mile. Walsh is a 24% winner with shippers to the U.S. and a 19% winner off layoffs of 90 or more days. Kingman daughter returns off a more than four-month layoff and will race on Lasix. Picks up Tyler Gaffalione, who’s 7-2-0-1 paired with Walsh the last 14 days. Sharp recent works.

#10 Sacred Wish (5-2) — Beaten a half-length in the Grade 3 Pebbles S. at Aqueduct in November while posting an 84 BRIS figure. Will return off a more than five-month layoff for George Weaver, a 14% winner at the allowance level. John Velazquez will regain the mount and won with the Not This Time filly three back at today’s distance in a non-graded stake at Aqueduct. Came home 1 1/2 lengths in fourth in the Valley View (G3) at Keeneland two back. 

#12 Olivia Maralda (4-1) — European shipper makes first start for Will Walden and will race on Lasix for the first time. Returns off a more than seven-month layoff and will pick up Flavien Prat (21% on turf). Walden is 5-2-0-1 to start the meet, and the Kodiac filly will drop down in class after facing Group 1 company. Has a win four back in the seven-furlong Surrey S. at Epsom.

Race 7: About 7 furlongs, maiden special weight, 3yo fillies

#8 Sarir (3-1) — Makes third career start for Wesley Ward and races on Lasix a second time (29% winning move for Ward). Had the lead through the second call when racing 6 1/2 furlongs at Aqueduct but tired. Will cut back in distance and pick up John Velazquez, who’s 3-for-8 paired with Ward the last two weeks. Bullet five-furlong workout April 6. 

#7 Halstyn Rose (8-1) — Good Magic filly has raced at five furlongs in both career starts, once on turf and once on all-weather. Finished third in both and will stretch out to six furlongs here for trainer by Brian Lynch (29% winner this meet). Junior Alvarado, who’s 11-4-3-1 the last week, will pick up the mount. Sharp 4F workout at Keeneland April 8.

#3 Soundbite (4-1) — Audible filly makes debut for Brad Cox, a 27% winner at the maiden special weight level and a 38% winner this meet. Audible’s progeny are winning at just a 5% rate in their first career start, but Soundbite’s damsire, Distorted Humor, has a 15% win rate with first-time starters, and Soundbite's dam has two winners from six starters, including a stakes winner. Axel Concepcion, who’s 4-2-1-0 paired with Cox the last 14 days, is named to ride.

#1 Illusion (6-1) — Into Mischief filly was sixth of 11 on debut racing six furlongs on Turfway’s all-weather but will add blinkers and try dirt today. Rodolphe Brisset is a 31% winner with second career starts and a 21% winner at the maiden special weight level. Irad Ortiz Jr. will ride.

#4 She’s Wicked Smart (5-2) — Runhappy filly posted an 80 BRIS figure when racing six furlongs on debut, good for the highest last race speed rating among the field, but she’ll return off a seven-month layoff. Robert Falcone Jr. is a 12% winner off layoffs of 90 or more days and a 15% winner when adding Lasix the first time. Luis Saez will pick up the mount.

Race 8: 1 1/2 miles (turf), Elkhorn S. (G2), 4yo and up

#4 Bold Act (3-2) — four-year-old gelding won two back at today’s distance in the Sycamore (53) at Keeneland and recorded a 99 BRIS figure. Shipped to Dubai and won again in a Grade 2 at the same distance. Charlie Appleby is winning at a 40% clip in graded stakes, and Frankie Dettori (29% this meet) will pick up the mount.

#5 Dynadrive (20-1) —  Temple City seven-year-old won two back in a Grade 3 when stalking the pace before driving away to win by 3 3/4 lengths under Reylu Gutierrez, who's 14-2-2-2 this meet with an upset win in the Transylvania (G3). Switched riders last out in the Mac Diarmida (G3) and was a five-length seventh. Will get Gutierrez back aboard and returns off a 49-day layoff for Mike Maker, a 13% winner this meet. Sharp workout April 8. Best dirt speed (110 from two back) is the best turf speed figure among the field.

#10 Missed the Cut (4-1) — Won a Grade 3 at today’s distance last out at Santa Anita and tries Keeneland’s turf for the first time. John Sadler is a 22% winner with horses that won their last race and a 21% winner with shippers. Irad Ortiz Jr. regains the mount. Five-year-old owns 10-5-1-0 record on turf.

Race 9: 1 3/16 miles, Ben Ali (G3), 4yo and up

#1 Time for Trouble (6-1) — Will take a shot with the English Channel gelding, who got a win at today’s distance in an allowance optional claimer at Oaklawn in January, then moved back up in class and was third in the 1 1/8-mile Essex (G3). Trainer Jeff Hiles is 0-for-18 in graded stakes, but the pace could shake out perfectly for the seven-year-old closer, who drew the rail post (winning at a 19% clip) and will pick up Flavien Prat, a 26% winner with routes. Time for Trouble also has a win and a second from two starts at Keeneland.

#9 War Campaign (4-1) — Five-year-old finished second last out in the 1 1/8-mile Essex (G3) and is eligible to improve second off the layoff for Phil Sims. The Declaration of War son won two back in the 1 1/8-mile Tinsel and flashed a 105 BRIS figure over a muddy Oaklawn track. Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount. War Campaign owns a 2-1-0-1 record at today’s distance, but he’s 4-0-2-0 at Keeneland.

#7 Dynamic One (8-1) — Union Rags six-year-old finished second in the Ben Ali last year in 2022, when it was run at 1 1/8 miles. He’ll get some added distance here and has a win near the 1 3/16-mile distance when getting up by a nose in the 1 1/4-mile Suburban (G2) at Belmont in July of 2022. His career-best 109 BRIS figure in that victory is the fastest dirt speed figure among the field. He raced just once in 2023, in a one-mile allowance optional claimer at Gulfstream in December, then jumped back up in class for the 1 1/8-mile Pegasus World Cup (G1), where he was a distant seventh. Last out, he was fourth in the 1 1/16-mile Challenger (G3) and posted a 93 BRIS figure. Todd Pletcher trainee should get a hot pace to run into here, and he’ll keep Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle (25% with routes and a 20% winner this meet).

Will stand against morning-line favorite #4 Kingsbarns (2-1) for Pletcher. Has a win at the distance in the Louisiana Derby (G2) when going gate to wire under Prat back in March of 2023, but has since struggled. Was 14th of 18 in the Kentucky Derby (G1), then got beaten by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile Pegasus S. at Monmouth. Dropped down to an optional claimer and cutback to seven furlongs last out and got up late for the win. Luis Saez rode in the last two and will retain the mount.

Race 10: 5 1/2 furlongs (turf), allowance, fillies and mares 3yo and up

AE #14 Makeup (4-1) — Early pacesetter posted an 86 BRIS figure last out when winning by four lengths at Keeneland in her first turf start. Moves up in class for Steve Asmussen and races on Lasix for the first time while returning off a more than six month layoff. Top pick if he draws in.

#2 Proud Mary (5-2) — Point of Entry filly returns to turf after racing six furlongs on all-weather last out. Won at today’s distance on turf four back and clocked an 85 BRIS figure. Frankie Dettori (29% winner this meet) picks up the mount. Jonathan Thomas is a 22% winner with turf starts and off layoffs of 90 or more days. Bullet four-furlong workout at Keeneland April 14.

#5 Definite Diva (8-1) — Constitution filly went gate to wire in third career start when racing five furlongs at Gulfstream. Kelly Breen is a 16% winner with horses coming off a maiden win and a 14% winner with shippers. Four-year-old has not raced in two months but posted a bullet four-furlong workout April 10.

#12 Parola Sicura (12-1) — Makes first turf start for Joe Sharp after racing on all-weather in first two. Broke maiden on debut in six-furlong maiden special weight at Turfway. Sire’s progeny have just a 3% win rate with first-time starters but dam has produced six winners from six starters, including a turf winner. Sharp is an 18% winner first time on the grass and Tyler Gaffalione inherits the mount.

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