Keeneland spot plays for Opening Day Oct. 7

October 6th, 2022

Racing returns to Keeneland on Friday, and all meet long TwinSpires is offering the Daily Double Down, in which you get a 50% bonus, up to $50 daily, on all winning daily double wagers if you hit at least two daily doubles on a given day.

To get you ready for opening day on Friday, Oct. 7, we provided a few spot plays for Keeneland’s 10-race card, including the Phoenix S. (G2) and Jessamine S. (G2) in Races 7 and 8.

Race 4: 5 1/2 furlongs, turf, three-year-olds

#2 Therideofalifetime (9-2) won by a length at Ellis Park on Aug. 27 when making his second career turf start and trying today's distance for the first time. The Candy Ride colt flashed a 91 Brisnet Speed figure in the $40,000 allowance optional claimer while stalking behind the leaders before rallying in midstretch.

The Bret Calhoun-trained four-year-old earned the second-highest last race speed rating among the field, behind only #10 One for Richie (3-1), who's a main-track-only entrant.

Calhoun is a 21% winner with horses that won their last race and a 20% allowance winner, while jockey Reylu Gutierrez is winning at a 22% rate paired with Calhoun the last two months.

Race 5: Seven furlongs, fillies and mares

#1 Golden Sights (6-1) ran one mile on turf in her last two, finishing second in both allowance races by less than a length. The Goldencents three-year-old will cut back to seven furlongs, a distance from which she has one win and a second in two career tries, and will return to the track where she broke her maiden in a seven-furlong sprint on Oct. 15 of last year.

Trainer Brad Cox, who ranked second in wins during Keeneland's spring meet, is a 23% winner with horses transitioning from a route distance to a sprint and a 30% winner switching from turf to dirt. Florent Geroux, a 20% winner paired up with Cox the last two months, will stay in the irons.

Race 7: Phoenix S. (G2), six furlongs, three-year-olds and up

#5 Sibelius (5-2) scored back-to-back victories at today's distance by a combined 11 1/4 lengths in his last two races, with a 105 Brisnet Speed figure two back in an allowance optional claimer and a 106 Speed rating in the Lite the Fuse S. on Sept. 10, good for the highest last race speed figure among the field.

The Jeremiah O'Dwyer pupil moves up in class in his second graded stakes try and posted a sharp, 34-second three-furlong workout ahead of this event, a Challenge Series qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Sprint (G1).

The Not This Time four-year-old also has one win from one start at Keeneland and will keep rider Junior Alvarado in the saddle.

The pacesetter has good early speed and with a clean break can pull off a slight upset of #2 Special Reserve (2-1), whose recent speed figures at today's distance pale in comparison to those of Sibelius.

Race 8: Jessamine S. (G2), 1 1/16 miles, two-year-old fillies

#12 Towhead (9-2) set the early pace in the one-mile Juvenile Fillies S. at Kentucky Downs on Sept. 3 and just missed by a nose to City of Light filly Chop Chop, who is undefeated in two career starts. The Malibu Moon daughter was nine lengths in front of the third-place finisher, C C Cruise Control, who re-opposes here.

Towhead has yet to break her maiden, but the chestnut has a chance to improve in her return to 1 1/16 miles. The two-year-old flashed a 96 Late Pace rating last out, and her 95 Speed figure is the highest last race speed figure among the field by 11 points and the fastest turf speed rating among today's rivals.

Tyler Gaffalione, who was the leading jockey at Keeneland last fall, will retain the mount in this a Challenge Series qualifier for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf (G1).

#5 Blind Spot (15-1) is an intriguing longshot to consider as well. The Saffie Joseph trainee won by three-quarters of a length in the one-mile-and-70-yard Our Dear Peggy S. on Gulfstream's Tapeta on Sept. 17 and will try grass for the first time. Joseph is a 13% winner in graded stakes and an 18% winner with shippers, while jockey Edgard Zayas strikes at an 18% rate on turf and has won 24% of his last 76 races paired with Joseph.

Blind Spot's dam, Your Flame in Me, is also a multiple stakes winner who has produced six winners, including three on turf and one stakes winner, from seven starters.