by Brian Nadeau
November 4, 2020
Let’s take a week off from the Stronach 5 and take a look at Friday’s early Pk5 at Keeneland, which has a 500k guaranteed pool to kick off Breeders’ Cup Weekend in Lexington.
*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. ***
Race 1 Kee (11:30 AM ET) – 125k Nyquist for 2yos at 6 � furlongs
We kick off what looks like an extremely tough sequence with a 2yo dash that has plenty of speed, so the stalking style of Bel MSW winner #1 HIGHLY MOTIVATED (7-2) should play well if he can work out a trip from the rail for the potent Brown-Klaravich combo. Cutting back and getting out of G1 company should help #4 UPSTRIKER (6-1), who was sharp pressing and drawing off on debut two-back on debut at Ellis. An outside attack post helps #9 SAFFIA’S DAY (7-2), who impressed dueling early and drawing off late on debut, over the track as well.
Pk5 A horses: 1,4,9 (listed in order of preference)
The class test comes for #8 AWESOME GERRY (6-1), but he’s looked good stalking and winning both starts in South Florida, and should trip out here. Maybe I’m just being stubborn, but I’ll make #6 QUICK TEMPO (5-2) prove that very fast romp last time—at Parx no less—wasn’t a fluke, especially since he won’t clear off on the lead like he did last time.
Pk5 B horses: 8,6
Potential B add-ins: #5 Sir Wellington (20-1), #2 Roderick (10-1)
Race 2 Kee – 125k Songbird for 2yo fillies at 6 � furlongs
The sister race to the opener also looks like it could be energetic early, which means #11 FARSIGHTED (5-1) might be able to get first run, and if she can double up on her MSW win last time, she’ll have a huge say. If things fall apart then Brown could be in line for a double with #9 THE GRASS IS BLUE (4-1), who moved way up off the private purchase last time, though I’m not sold on her quality just yet. She’ll have to earn it from the paring lot, but #14 CALIFORNIA LILY (9-2) was awesome winning on debut on the Tapeta at WO after dueling early and drawing off late, and she’s certainly bred for the main track as well. Lastly, I’ll toss in a price player in #4 THINKING (15-1), who is slow on paper but is also improving for Motion, and the aggressive pace will suit her too.
Pk5 A horses: 11,9,14,4
If there one horse who might be able to see out all the speed I’m hoping it’s #6 JOY’S ROCKET (9-2), who comes out of the G1 Frizette and cuts back, though it still won’t be easy, hence the supporting actress spot.
Pk5 B horses: 6
Potential B add-ins: #2 Off We Go (10-1)
Race 3 Kee – 150k Bryan Station 3yos at 1 1/8 miles (turf)
Another toughie, with a very non-descript field where several look the same on paper. I’m intrigued by #3 TAISHAN (12-1), who made his turf debut in the G2 American Turf at CD and was a fast-closing 2nd, and now gets an extra half-furlong to work with. There’s no doubt #2 NO WORD (5-1) hits hard from on or just off the pace, and the cutback from his 2nd in the G1 Belmont Derby probably helps too. If I like Taishan I have to like #6 FANCY LIQUOR (4-1), who beat him at CD and fires every time, though his margin for error, at an underlaid price, is a slim one.
Pk5 A horses: 3,2,6
The cutback out of the Belmont Derby figures to work for #5 PIXELATE (8-1) as well, but he’s a little slower on figures than the trio above, so he’ll have to improve to win. I have no idea what to make of #9 ORDER OF AUSTRAILIA (6-1), and he may well have simply taken an empty stall on the plane from Ireland with his classier stablemates, but it’s Coolmore, O’Brien, and Moore, and Lasix was added here too, and if you toss the soft ground no-show last time, there’s some strong form here to work with.
Pk5 B horses: 5,9
Potential B add-ins: #11 Mo Ready (8-1), #14 Bye Bye Melvin (8-1), #13 Don Juan Kitten (6-1)
Race 4 Kee – 150k McConnell Springs for 3upfm at 6 furlongs
With a trip note on #7 UNHOLY ALLIANCE (9-2), and field I really don’t like, I’ll single her, single I thought the Sar run two-back was really sharp, and she was clearly in too tough in the G2 last time. Her other asset is her tactical speed, as there’s not a lot of it in here and she should trip out nicely from a good attack post.
Pk5 A horses: 7
Clearly the class is #8 WILDWOOD’S BEAUT (9-2), who was in a pair of tough G1’s and wasn’t embarrassed, then didn’t like the Polytrack last time, so she’s got a big chance of bouncing back. Let’s use #6 UNIQUE FACTOR (6-1) too, since she has some class to her as well, and will like the drop.
Pk5 B horses: 8,6 (Please note, to keep the backup ticket down, I’ll be singling #13 Cupid’s Claws in R5)
Potential B add-ins: NONE
Race 5 Kee – 200k G2 Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance for 3up at 1 5/8 miles
What a huge effort off the claim from #13 CUPID’S CLAWS (5-1), who aired in the G3 Tokyo City at SA, drew well here, and has the tactical speed to be involved throughout and get first run too. I’ll take the speed of #8 RY’S THE GUY (4-1), who just romped going 1 � miles at CD and may clear here. It looks like #5 TENFOLD (5-1) is the best stalker/closer, and that fast 4th in the G3 Pimlico Special would work here, so by using him I have a nice bookend with the top-2.
Pk5 A horses: 13,8,5
Anyone else seems like a reach to me, and it would be the old “Use one or use them all,” so I’ll call it a day on the top line.
Pk5 B horses: NONE
Potential B add-ins: #6 You’re to Blame (8-1), #12 Plus Que Parfait (8-1), #3 Rocketry (12-1)
Main Ticket: 1,4,9 with 11,9,14,4 with 3,2,6 with 7 with 13,8,5 = $54
Leg 1 B Backup: 8,6 with 11,9,14,4 with 3,2,6 with 7 with 13,8,5 = $36
Leg 2 B Backup: 1,4,9 with 6 with 3,2,6 with 7 with 13,8,5 = $13.50
Leg 3 B Backup: 1,4,9 with 11,9,14,4 with 5,9 with 7 with 13,8,5 = $36
Leg 4 B Backup: 1,4,9 with 11,9,14,4 with 3,2,6 with 8,6 with 13 = $36