The Jury: Expert picks, bets and fades for Oct. 7, 2023 [VIDEO]
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Best Bet for weekend racing
#1 Willakia (7-2) in R4, a turf allowance at Keeneland
- 4yo filly drew the rail post
- She failed as the favorite last out when a distant second in a 1 1/8-mile stakes race at Pimlico
- Two back she dominated by 6 1/4 lengths at today’s distance at Colonial Downs
- She’s 2-for-3 from 1 1/16 miles
- Graham Motion is a 17% winner with beaten favorites
- Tyler Gaffalione will pick up the mount and was the leading rider at Keeneland last meet
I’ll give the closer a shot here over the ML favorite, who’s a Chad Brown runner — Saffron Moon (5-2), has not raced beyond a mile on turf yet
#6 Olympic Runner (10-1) in R8, Woodford (G2) at Keeneland
- Loved his last effort, closed fast from 10th to miss by a half-length over speed-biased Kentucky Downs course in Grade 2 turf sprint at 6 furlongs
- Won at Saturday’s 5 1/2-furlong trip two back by open lengths - Grade 2-winning 7yo has come back into form for Mark Casse after essentially taking a year off, failing to make any impact in pair of 2022 starts
- Olympic Runner started to come around at Gulfstream earlier this year and loved his allowance win off a freshening at Colonial Downs two back
- Former miler has developed a forte for sprinting, Olympic Runner doesn’t face the stiffest competition in this year’s Woodford – there are no runners of the caliber of Golden Pal or other recent winners.
- Confirmed closer should receive ample pace in the large field to set up his finishing kick, attractive 10-1 morning line with the progressing gelding
Scott: Watch The Jury for Scott's best bet at Keeneland this weekend!
Top Fade for weekend racing
- The 4yo gelding makes his first U.S. start for Adam West
- Drew a tough spot on the inside
- Comes off a one-length win in 5F Nunthorpe (G1) and is 4-for-13 from today’s distance
- I like #8 Our Shot (9-2): 6-3-1-1 from distance and 1-for-1 at Keeneland
- Tyler Gaffalione will pick up mount
- Outside posts won at high percentage last meet
- This horse can win gate to wire or from just off pace
- #9 Kaufymaker (12-1): Filly from Wesley Ward’s barn
- Just saw Ward race Playlist against the boys in the Franklin-Simpson (G2) at KD, where she came in second
- 96 BRIS figure when winning at today’s distance against fillies last out at Saratoga
- 6-3-1-1 from 5 1/2 furlongs
- Luis Saez has won two straight since picking up mount
- highest last race speed rating
#3 Alder (2-1) in R5, allowance at Keeeland
- After being tangled in gate and declared non-starter, Alder came back month later and broke tardily before swooping past rivals to win going away at Ellis Park.
- 83 Brisnet Speed rating came back low considering 6 1/2-length win margin, runner-up received 71 and third a 70 rating, and third-placer came back to be well-beaten in maiden claiming event at Churchill Downs.
- Faces salty entry-level allowance competition Saturday, his three main rivals (#1 Normandy Hero, #2 Baxley and #4 Valentine Candy) have run faster.
Scott: Watch The Jury for Scott's preferred fade this weekend!
What else is worth noting?
Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, R9 on Saturday at Keeneland
First-crop sire Vino Rosso will be represented by #1 The Wine Steward (8-1), who’s unbeaten from 3 starts.
- The 2yo clocked a 97 BRIS figure last out when winning the 6F Funny Cide at Saratoga and tries a route for the first time for Mike Maker
- The rail post gives The Wine Steward an excellent chance — it was winning at a 24% clip last meet
- Luis Saez — second leading jockey from Keeneland in the spring — is back aboard
- Top earner for Vino Rosso so far this season
- TwinSpires will be covering five first-crop sires this year, including Vino Rosso
#5 Up to the Mark (5-2) returns in Coolmore Turf Mile (G1), R10 at Keeneland, which suggests he will target Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1)
- Up to the Mark established himself as arguably America’s turf horse winning the Old Forester Turf Classic (G1) and Manhattan (G1) this spring
- Under consideration for both the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) at 1 1/2 miles following win in 1 1/4-mile Manhattan.
- Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortars followed same path in 2019 and connections opted for Turf, which he won. However, Up to the Mark missed couple of months of training time after Manhattan (Bricks and Mortars won the Arlington Million), which probably played a role in him cutting back in distance for Coolmore Turf Mile.
- Great to see him back, Up to the Mark made such an impact during first half of season, winning four of five since switching to turf in January.
- Will take some beating in Coolmore Turf Mile, little underwhelmed by Master of the Seas’ win in Woodbine Mile (his main rival). I like Up to the Mark’s chances.
Scott: Watch The Jury for other races, such as the TCA Stakes, to hear what Scott is looking forward too this weekend!