by Eddie Olczyk
July 9, 2020
Keeneland in July? It’s not ‘normal’…but not much is these days.
I’m looking forward to a phenomenal card showcasing Keeneland’s traditional Spring Meet headline races – the Blue Grass, Ashland, Jenny Wiley, Shakertown, Madison and Appalachian – and you to commend the star power assembled for these races.
Plus, think of it this way – you can bet Keeneland all afternoon and then switch over to Del Mar starting at 5:00PM ET for the evening. As a horseplayer, I’m not sure it gets much better than that.
I’ll be playing all day at Keeneland but my primary focus is on the $500,000 All-Stakes Pick 4, which spans Race 6 – 9. Here are my thoughts and my ticket:
Race 6 // 3:51PM ET // Shakertown Stakes (G2)
The $500,000 All-Stakes Pick 4 starts with a 14-horse field and I’m jumping right into the sequence by singling #7 FAST BOAT (8/1). His last race at Churchill Downs as awesome, he has won going this trip at Keeneland I think he’s sitting on ‘GO’ in a big way. There is plenty of speed in here for him to track and he should get the perfect midpack closing trip. Let’s get him home at a price and focus on hitting big.
Race 7 // 4:24PM ET // Ashland Stakes (G1)
The G1 Ashland for three-year-old fillies isn’t huge on field size – only six are entered – but I think you probably want to use half of them to feel comfortable. #2 VENETIAN HARBOR (6/5) is the one they’ll need to catch, but she has had a year full of stops and starts and she’ll face pressure from both #5 TONALIST’S SHAPE (6/1), who adds blinkers, and #6 SPEECH (2/1), who very gamely chased Gamine two-back at Oaklawn Park. A pace meltdown would set things up for #4 ENVOUTANTE (5/1). She’s getting very good for Kenny McPeek and her last two dirt races were runaways.
Race 8 // 4:57PM ET // Jenny Wiley Stakes (G1)
It looks like #4 RUSHING FALL (6/5) and #6 JOLIE OLIMPICA (5/2) are the two horses most handicappers will use here. I respect them both, and RUSHING FALL will be on my ticket, but I think there are a few other options to consider. #2 JULIET FOXTROT (8/1) loves Keeneland and I think she’s better suited for a slightly off-the-pace trip. She probably needed her last race and should be sharper here. #8 TOINETTE (5/1) has been a well-kept secret in California but this could be her coming out party. She is a win machine (8-for-12 in her career) and should get a trip just in behind the speed.
Race 9 // 5:30PM ET // Blue Grass Stakes (G2)
The storylines are all about #7 SWISS SKYDIVER (3/1). She’s looking to become the first filly in history to win the Blue Grass, but this is no easy task. There’s plenty of speed signed on and I’m looking elsewhere for my top plays. #3 ART COLLECTOR (5/1) is inside-drawn and if he can replicate his last race, I think they’re all running for second because they won’t catch him. He should sit just off the front-runners, SHIVAREE and SWISS SKYDIVER (and potentially some others), before unleashing his kick. If he falters, #5 MAN IN THE CAN (10/1) and #12 ENFORCEABLE (10/1) are longshot closers I want on my ticket. They should get a pace and that makes then very dangerous at this trip.
Race 6: 7
Race 7: 2, 4, 6
Race 8: 2, 4, 8
Race 9: 3, 5, 12
Ticket Cost: $27 for $1