Keeneland expert picks: Wednesday, April 17, 2024

April 16th, 2024

It’s a new week at Keeneland and another chance to win some money! TwinSpires is back with our Daily Double Down promo, where you can get a 25% boost on all winning Daily Double wagers at Keeneland every Wednesday through Friday in April if you hit two Daily Doubles a given promotional day.

Below, we’ve got top picks for Races 4 through 8, plus a pair of doubles to play. Thunderstorms are likely, with a 90% chance of rain during the day, so we’ll keep that in mind when handicapping. See full notes below to adjust tickets in the event of scratches.

$3 Double ($1 minimum), Races 4 and 5

  • 4 with 3, 4, 7, 8 ($12)

$2 Double ($1 minimum), Races 6 and 7

  • 1, 5 with 2, 7, 12 ($12)

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

#4 Bostontonian (2-1) — Bernardini gelding was the morning line favorite in a similar maiden special weight opening weekend of Keeneland but was scratched by trainer Wesley Ward, making way for stablemate Shoot It True to dominate the field. Bostontonian is out of a mare who has produced four winners from six starters, including a stakes winner. Walter Rodriguez, who’s 4-for-8 paired with Ward the last two months, is named to ride. Bullet works at Keeneland in March. Ward is a 26% winner with horses debuting at the maiden special weight level and a 29% winner this meet.

If standing against the favorite…

#2 Jet Sweep Joe (7-2) — Makes first start for Paul McEntee, who’s just a 2% winner with first-time starters and a 10% winner at the maiden special weight. Colt is by Frosted, whose debut runners win at a 13% clip. Albin Jimenez (14% with sprints) named to ride. Super sharp works at Keeneland over the last month.

#9 Deeply Hidden (12-1) — Debut runner for Kent Sweezey, a 12% winner at the maiden special weight level who’s 2-1-0-1 to start the Keeneland meet. Cloud Computing colt will get Luan Machado aboard. Machado is an 18% winner with sprints but 0-for-15 to start the meet. 

#11 Probale Ten (20-1) — First-time starter for trainer James Chapman, a 13% winner at the maiden special weight level but just an 8% winner with first-time starters. Improbable colt is out of a dam who has four winners from seven starters. Axel Concepcion, who strikes at a 14% rate with sprints, will ride.

Race 5: About 7 furlongs, claimer, fillies and mares 3yo and up, non-winners of two

#8 Blenheim Baby (7-2) — Eddie Kenneally trainee won by 5 3/4 lengths two back in a six-furlong maiden special weight over an off track at Mahoning Valley. Audible filly switched to all-weather for third career start and stopped early, dropping far back in last in a one-mile starter allowance. Kenneally is a 29% winner switching from AW to dirt and a 23% winner at the claiming level. Luis Saez (19% winner with sprints) picks up the mount. Returns off a more than two-month layoff.

#7 Crystal Symphony (10-1) — Mendelssohn filly makes fifth career start and third since transferring to the barn of Phil Sims. Broke maiden two back at Turfway when racing 6 1/2 furlongs. The late runner then raced in an allowance at the same distance and weakened in the stretch to finish far back in fifth. Sims is a 33% winner second time with Lasix and a 17% winner at the claiming level. Alex Achard will retain the mount. Switches back to dirt and comes off a more than two-month layoff.

#3 Dancing Nancy (8-1) — Early pacesetter won four back first start off the claim for Joe Sharp in a six-furlong maiden claimer at Churchill. Remained far back in next start at Oaklawn in a starter optional claimer, then switched to turf in last two. Sharp is a 14% winner going from turf to dirt and an 18% winner at the claiming level. Tyler Gaffalione regains the mount and won with the Goldencents filly four back. Lone start at Keeneland was back in October, when Dancing Nancy finished a distant fourth over a track labeled good.

#4 Rapping Wish (12-1) — Another early speed type who won on debut in a six-furlong maiden claimer on Turfway’s all-weather. Faded to finish last of 12 next out in a one-mile allowance optional claimer at the same track, then cut back in distance to 6 1/2 furlongs and sat just off the pace but was beaten to second as the favorite by 3 1/4 lengths. Makes first start off the claim for Richard Estvanko, a 21% winner with beaten favorites, and moves up multiple classes while trying dirt for the first time. Picks up rider Gerardo Corrales, a 23% winner with sprints.

Race 6: 6 furlongs, allowance, fillies and mares 3yo and up

#1 De’ Ans Eighty (3-1) — Four-year filly won first start off the claim for Tom Amoss in a six-furlong claimer at Churchill, then ran the same distance over a sloppy track at Fair Grounds and triumphed by two lengths. Owns 6-3-1-0 record from today’s distance. Last out, the daughter of multiple graded stakes winner Palace was bothered at the break but recovered to finish fourth by just three-quarters of a length in a six-furlong starter allowance at Oaklawn. Today’s race rival Popperina was half a length in front when finishing second. Amoss is a 22% winner with shippers, and regular rider Edgar Morales will regain the mount after Rafael Bejarano picked up the mount in De’ Ans Eighty’s most recent start.

#5 Popperina (6-5) — Beaten a nose last out in the same allowance at Oaklawn as the one mentioned above. California Chrome filly is 1-for-3 lifetime with two second-place finishes. Graduated in second career start with a 5 1/2-length victory at Oaklawn and was beaten as the favorite last out. Ron Moquett is a 22% winner with beaten favorites and a 13% winner third start off the layoff. Tyler Gaffalione (28-7-3-4 the last week) will inherit the mount. However, early speed is winning at a much higher clip at Keeneland in six-furlong dirt sprints, and four-year-old closer may not like the mud.

#3 Crackalacking (9-2) — Early pacesetter comes off a 10-month layoff for Sarah Hamilton and won last out at today’s distance over a sloppy Ellis Park track. McCraken filly graduated on debut at Keeneland when racing 4 1/2 furlongs in the mud. Gavin Ashton picks up the mount.

Race 7: 1 1/8 mile (turf), allowance, 4yos and up

Highly unlikely we’ll be on the turf today, so let’s look for some mudders.

#2 What Say Thee (5-2) — Sea the Stars gelding is the morning line favorite in the turf event, but has a win on all-weather racing a mile and 70 yards. The six-year-old’s 86 BRIS figure last out is the highest last race speed rating among the field, and he’s looked sharp in recent workouts at Churchill Downs. Will return off a 45-day layoff for Mike Maker and retains the services of Luis Saez, who’s a 19% winner paired with Maker the last 60 days. Closer has mud pedigree on dam’s side.

#7 Raise High (20-1) — Vicki Oliver trainee makes fourth career start and won two back at today’s distance when racing on Keeneland’s turf in October. The Noble Mission gelding stretched out to 1 1/4 miles and tried all-weather last out, but was last of 10. Not a prominent mud pedigree but may be a factor returning to Keeneland. Joel Rosario picks up the mount.

#12 Porquerolles (7-2) — Makes second career start for Graham Motion after winning a 7 1/2-furlong maiden special weight at Gulfstream. Sire has 20% mud win percentage. Motion is a 24% winner first time at a route distance and a 17% winner with shippers. John Velazquez retains the mount.

AE of note: #14 Aleman (15-1) — Carpe Diem four-year-old is 8-3-2-1 on all-weather and may do well if this race is taken off the turf. Recorded an 82 BRIS figure last out in a one-mile allowance optional claimer when making first start since transferring to the barn of Kathy Jarvis. Yarmarie Correa will retain the mount. Bullet five-furlong workout April 10.

Race 8: 7 furlongs, maiden claimer, 3yos and up

#5 Contemplation (10-1) — Street Boss colt had the lead at the second call but weakened to a distant fourth in a one-mile maiden special weight at Turfway in his second career start. Three-year-old will drop down to the maiden claiming level and will pick up Tyler Gaffalione (18% winner in sprints). Trainer Michael Stidham is a 21% winner with a +6.60 ROI when going from a sprint to a route and back to a sprint. Early speed is winning at a high percentage in seven-furlong dirt sprints at Keeneland, and Contemplation posted a 96 E1 rating and 98 E2 pace rating last out when sitting right off the early pacesetter. Can go for early lead here. 

#6 Indy Magic (6-1) — First-time starter for Doug O’Neill is by Good Magic, whose first-timer starters win at a 16% clip. O’Neill is a 22% winner at the maiden claiming level, and Luan Machado (18% with sprints) is named to ride. Bullet five-furlong workout at Keeneland on April 5.

#1 Trumptastic (9-5) — Race Day gelding is 0-for-5 for his career with two second-place finishes. The five-year-old tried all-weather last out and finished fourth in a six-furlong maiden special weight. He drops in class and stretches back out to seven furlongs. Was beaten just three-quarters of a length when racing on an off track in second career start. Jose Ortiz (26% winner this meet) picks up the mount. Michael Tomlinson is a 15% winner off layoffs of 46-90 days but an 8% winner going from the maiden special weight to maiden claiming level. Best dirt speed figure is the highest among today’s field — Trumptastic earned an 86 three back in lone start at Keeneland when racing at 1 1/16 miles. Had the lead throughout majority of the race and was beaten by a neck at the wire.

#8 Olivier (5-2) — Early speed type drops in class after finishing sixth in first two career starts in $115K maiden special weights at Oaklawn. Rodolphe Brissett is a 27% winner going from maiden special weight to maiden claiming level, and Flavien Prat (33% winner with sprints) is named to ride.