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Saturday, November 07: Keeneland Analysis/Wagering Strategies

by Jeff Siegel

November 7, 2020

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.

The selections are posted at 6:00 a.m. and updated later in the morning to reflect late scratches and changes (approximately 10:30 a.m.). For additional commentary, follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.

Grade Descriptions: Grade A=Highest degree of confidence; Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred or pass; Grade X=probable winner but likely at odds too short to play.

RACE 1: Post: 10:15 ET Grade: X
Single: 1-Nashville

Forecast: Nashville was pre-entered in the BC Sprint-G1 but his connections opted for this easier non-graded stakes restricted to 3-year-olds. Listed at 4/5 on the morning line and likely to go even lower than that, the son of Speightstown obliterated his foes in his first two career starts while earning speed figures that would have made him a serious contender against the best sprinters in North America later this afternoon if he had been given the chance. Simply put, he’s a no-value rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.

RACE 2: Post: 10:45 ET Grade: B+
Use: 3-Absolutely Aidan; 6-Strike That

Forecast: Absolutely Aidan would have been a whole lot closer than fifth, beaten less than five lengths, in the recent Phoenix S.-G2 had he been able to secure room from the furlong pole to the wire but the son of Stay Thirsty still ran well enough to indicate he can win this softer listed stakes, especially given an extra furlong to work with. Victorious in seven of 14 career starts and with enough tactical speed to be within range in a race that projects to have a soft early pace, the W. Hawley-trained colt is listed at 10-1 on the morning line and will offer considerable value at or near that price both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Strike That also is worth including on your ticket. Fresh from a career-top winning performance in a strong allowance race over this track and distance last month, the lightly-raced gelding has never been off the board while finishing first or second in eight of nine career starts. Additionally, he’s a versatile sort that can be tough on the front end or from off the pace.

RACE 3: Post: 11:20 ET Grade: B-
Use: 3-Artie’s Princess; 4-Wicked Whisper; 7-Merneith

Forecast: Here’s an extremely competitive listed stakes restricted to 3-year-old fillies at six furlongs and contains a number of legitimate contenders. We’ll settle on just three in our rolling exotics but you should probably spread as deep as your budget allows. Merneith is fresh from a confidence-building win at Santa Anita, and after being tried over several types of conditions – routes, turf, etc. – the daughter of American Pharoah has established her niche as a one-turn, main track specialist. She arrives fit and ready for another top performance, but to be truthful she’s never really been one to trust, having failed on all three occasions that she was sent to the post as the favorite. Wicked Whisper, a Grade-1 winner as a 2-year-old, looked good winning the Miss Preakness S.-G3 at Pimlico last month, rallying from off the pace to win going away while earning a number that makes her tough right back. She’s reunited with R. Santana, who was aboard when the daughter of Liam’s Map broke her maiden at Saratoga last year in her debut by more than six lengths. Artie’s Princess has dangerous early speed and should be on or near the lead throughout. She won the highly-rated Ruling Angel S. at Woodbine in mid-September, picks up F. Prat, and will have a good look if she can reproduce her all-weather form in what will be her first career start over conventional dirt.

RACE 4: Post: 12:02 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Gamine; 7-Serengeti Empress

Forecast: Gamine has won all three of her one-turn races by a combined 32 lengths, which is why trainer B. Baffert opted for this seven furlong affair over the mile and one-eighth BC Distaff S.-G1. With two triple-digit Beyer performances on her resume including a “Rachelesque” 110 fig earned in an 18 � length destruction of a representative but outclassed field in the Acorn S.-G1, the B. Baffert-trained filly certainly is the one to beat based on pure numbers. The only concern is that she will be facing tougher, older, seasoned high-class competition for the first time, including Serengeti Empress, who based on our fractional study has been consistently quicker during the early stages of her races and seems certain to be sent hard from the gate to secure her preferred trip. That said, the T. Amoss-trained ‘Empress will be making her 19th race career start, but only once has she been able to crack the Beyer triple digit barrier, a 101 that was achieved two-turning over a sloppy track when capturing the Azeri S.-G2 earlier this year.

Bottom line is that we’ll prefer Gamine on top, but if Serengeti Empress isn’t respected, gets away with a clear lead and is able to set reasonable splits, it’s entirely possible that she’ll never look back. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Gamine on top.

RACE 5: Post: 12:39 ET Grade: B
Use: 7-Glass Slippers; 7-Leinster; 8-Oleksandra; 12-Got Stormy

Forecast: This 14-runner affair is a grass grab bag with several contenders and a number price possibilities. We’ll go four-deep looking for wagering value. European invader Glass Slippers is a high-quality filly who won the prestigious Prix de l’Abbaye-G1 on Arc Day at Longchamp last year and then finished an excellent second in that same race last month. She always seems to peak this time of the year – all six of his career victories have been accomplished during the fall months – and with enough early speed to keep her free of trouble the English-bred filly certainly offers long shot value at 12-1 on the morning line. Oleksandra, freshened since beating the boys in the Jaipur S.-G1 at Belmont Park in late June, shows a prior stakes win over this course and distance and can fire a big shot off the bench. She’s a deep closer that will need pace up front and clear room to rally but when things break her way she’s capable of a devastating late kick. She’s another 12-1 morning line runner that must be included on your ticket. Got Stormy has been very comfortable in her new role as a turf sprinter, winning her last pair in graded stakes company with her typical powerful speed figures. The high-class mare should draft into a good second flight, stalking position outside and have every chance to kick home when the pressure is turned on. We’ll also toss in the Keeneland course specialist Leinster, winner of three of four over the local lawn including his last pair. Most effective when settling in mid-pack and then responding when called upon, the veteran son of Majestic Warrior is fast on figures and thoroughly genuine.

RACE 6: Post: 1:18 ET Grade: B
Use: 1-Art Collector; 5-Knicks Go; 10-Complexity

Forecast: This one mile main track event will have a relatively short run into the clubhouse and will conclude at the sixteenth pole, so tactical speed is paramount and a good inside post highly preferred. Art Collector lands the favorable rail and should have every chance to bounce back after an uncharacteristically disappointing run when a distant fourth in the Preakness S.-G1 in his most recent appearance. In that race the son of Bernardini was bottled up for the first six furlongs while wanting to pull and never seemed happy, eventually coming off the bridle when clear approaching the far turn and failing to mount a rally thereafter. The winner of the Blue Grass S.-G2 over the local main track last summer and with pace-pressing style to land a favorable early position, he’s likely to return to form at offers value at or near his morning line of 6-1.

Complexity is the 2-1 morning line favorite due to his Kelso H.-G2 romp at Belmont Park last month that was assigned a career top 110 Beyer speed figure. However, that huge fig was earned with the benefit of a lovely stalking trip that may have flattered him. While he deserves attention, the son of Maclean’s Music is thoroughly unproven around two turns and arguably is drawn a bit farther out in the 10-post position than we’d preferred.

Liam’s Map won this race over this track and distance five years ago in gate-to-wire fashion, and while Knicks Go is far less accomplished up to this point he certainly projects to the be controlling speed. His two 2020 outings have produced wins by a combined nearly 18 lengths – significantly his only two starts since being transferred to the B. Cox barn - and he just broke the Keeneland track record when thrashing a much softer allowance field four weeks ago.

All three listed above should be included in rolling exotic play. We’ll press with extra tickets keying Art Collector on top.

RACE 7: Post: 1:57 ET Grade: B
Use: 6-Rushing Fall; 7-Terebellum; 11-Audarya; 14-Cayenne Pepper

Forecast: This year’s edition of the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf will be contested at a mile and three-sixteenths and thus may favor the American-based entrants over the European contingent, which is comprised primarily of runners that have been competing over longer distances. But make no mistake, there are several exceptional performers from overseas in the lineup, perhaps none more appealing than the rapidly progressing Cayenne Pepper, an Irish-bred 3-year-old filly who shouldn’t be inconvenienced by her extreme outside draw in a race with a relatively long run before the initial turn. The slight drop in trip after a thoroughly dominating mid-September win at The Curragh in the Blandford S.-G2 that produced a career-top 112 Timeform rating isn’t of any concern, either. First or second in seven of eight career starts, she possesses excellent tactical speed to be wherever jockey S. Foley wants her to be and a superior turn of foot when called upon in the final stages. She’s also proven to be especially effective on good ground that is similar to what she’ll be asked to handle at Keeneland.

Another import with credentials to do some damage is Audarya, a Group-1 winner two races back over soft turf at Deauville before finishing a close third behind BC Turf-G1 major contender Tarnawa in the Prix de l’Opera S.-G1 on Arc day last month, and Terebellum, below form when fifth in the Sun Chariot S.-G1 last time out but with excellent form vs. the best English milers last summer.

Rushing Fall is the best of the locals and the deserving favorite. Successful in 11 of 14 career starts including five wins from six starts over the Keeneland lawn, the C. Brown-trained mare is perfect in three outings this year, two of which were Grade-1’s, and based on her recent speed figures she’s every bit as good now as she’s ever been. Almost impossible to get by when gifted a front-running trip but quite comfortable in a stalking role should the race flow dictate, the daughter of More Than Ready has never been as far as today’s 9.5 furlong distance, so if added distance is her Achilles heel, that extra half-furlong may cause a bit of concern.

Starship Jubilee is a remarkable race mare with 19 victories in 38 career starts and just beat the boys in the Woodbine Mile-G1 over a mile, though this longer distance is well within her scope. She couldn’t handle Rushing Falls when they clashed at Saratoga in the Diana S.-G1 and this will be her first career start over the sand-based Keeneland turf course, but she’s simply too much race mare to completely leave out.

RACE 8: Post: 2:36 ET Grade: B-
Use: 2-C Z Rocket; 6-Frank’s Rockette; 8-Firenze Fire; 10-Yaupon; 11-Diamond Oops

Forecast: With the scratching of post time favorite Vekoma, this year’s edition of the Breeders’ Cup Sprint-G1 takes on a much different look and probably requires a significant spread in rolling exotic play. Thanks to the defection of his S. Asmussen-trained stable mate Nashville (who runs instead in today’s first race), unbeaten Yaupon projects to be the controlling speed in a race in which the opening furlong shouldn’t be taxing at all. Given that type of trip, this lightly-raced colt could take this field a long way. He’ll need a career top effort to win, but with just four career starts who’s to know what this son of Uncle Mo truly is capable of?

If it’s not Yaupon – and it certainly doesn’t have to be – there are several others that have a huge look. California shipper C Z Rocket has improved dramatically since being claimed for $40,000 by trainer P. Miller, who certainly knows how to win Breeders’ Cup sprint races on any surface. Perfect in five starts since the barn change, the City Zip gelding should be forwardly placed inside and have his chance from the top of the lane to the wire. Firenze Fire is back in winning form, and with 12 victories on his resume the veteran sprinter always has to be respected. Diamond Oops won the recent Phoenix S.-G2 over this track and distance last month and has a couple of back speed figures that can win at this level. Frank’s Rockette is a filly tackling the boys and is a tad shy in the speed figure department to win, but she’s won her last four in convincing fashion and continues to sparkle in the a.m. At 10-1 on the morning line we’ll give her a look as well.

RACE 9: Post: 3:15 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Kameko; 6-Safe Voyage; 11-Ivar

Forecast: Kameko was a classic winner at Newmarket in the 2000 Guineas-G1 last spring and returned to that form with an authoritative score in the Joel S.-G2 over that same course and distance in his most recent outing in late September. The son of Kitten’s Joy likes to stay within range early and then blast home, and with a ground-saving trip and room to rally when it matters the A. Baldwin-trained colt can produce a career top effort today over firm ground that we suspect he’ll relish. At 6-1 on the morning line, we’ll put him on top. Ivar won the local prep for this race last month when rallying very wide from off the pace to register his fifth win from just seven career starts. Bred on Southern Hemisphere time (he was foaled in October), he’s still a very young four-year-old with plenty of room for improvement and development, and his recent score in the Shadwell Turf Mile-G1 indicates he can act with the big boys. He’s also effective on the front end or from off the pace, so J. Talamo has his options depending upon the race flow. Safe Voyage is a tough-as-nails gelding with 12 career wins, most of which were earned in legitimate graded stakes company overseas. Third but beaten just a neck in the Prix de la Foret-G1 at Longchamp in his last outing, the Irish-bred 7-year-old had won three of his previous five starts and is another that should be comfortable on quick ground. At 10-1 on the morning line, he should at least outrun his odds and may do even better than that.

RACE 10: Post: 3:54 ET Grade: B
Use: 5-Swiss Skydiver; 10-Monomoy Girl

Forecast: The connections of Preakness winner Swiss Skydiver were contemplating a start in this year’s BC Classic but they wisely opted for this less challenging but immensely intriguing showdown with Monomoy Girl. Simply put, it’s a two-horse race with the younger ‘Skydiver getting a slight edge on top under the assumption that she’ll be able to duplicate her terrific winning performance when facing the colts in the Preakness S.-G1 five weeks ago. There’s always a fear that a hard, taxing effort will cause some regression in the next start – even with several weeks rest to recover – and this K. McPeek-trained 3-year-old and fallen into a pattern of a win followed by a defeat in her last five appearances, so the possibility of a backward move certainly exists. However, the 105 Beyer speed figure earned by ‘Skydiver at Pimlico tops anything Monomoy Girl has accomplished and being two years younger she has a right to have a bit more upside than her chief rival.

Still, Monomoy Girl will not be easy to defeat. She’s actually crossed the wire first in her last 10 starts (she had her number taken down once) and her only true “defeat” in a 12 career outings came in the Golden Rod S.-G2 in a photo back in 2017 during her juvenile campaign. Additionally, she’s already won a Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1, having done so two years ago when she defeated, among others, Midnight Bisou, but what has made her especially difficult to deny is her versatility. Whether it’s as the controlling speed or a deep closer, fast ground or a sloppy surface, main track or on grass, it hasn’t much mattered. Monomoy Girl always seems to find a way.

Swiss Skydiver will be the better price, so we’ll put her on top and perhaps press with extra tickets keying her in the win pool and rolling exotic play. But there is no way Monomoy Girl won’t be prominently on our ticket as well.

Race 11: Post 4:33 ET Grade: B+
Use: 2-Magical; 3-Tarnawa

Forecast: At 6-1 on the morning line, Tarnawa represents our best gamble of the two-day Breeders’ Cup festival. The European-based daughter of Shamardal was a multiple group stakes winner during her 3-year-old season last year but in 2020 she’s taken a leap to near the top of her division in what so far has been a spotless campaign in three starts that includes recent back-to-back victories in the Prix Vermeille-G1 and Prix de l’Opera-G1. Equally effective on soft or firm and capable of producing a devastating turn of foot, the D. Weld-trained Irish-bred has Timeform ratings that make her a serious danger in what we’re expecting to be the best race of her career. Champion European jockey C. Keane takes over for regular rider C. Soumillon, who will miss the race due to Covid-19 complications.

However, as good as Tarnawa has become, she’s still looking up to Magical, the deserved 5/2 morning line favorite who finished a close second (while nine lengths clear of the rest) to the magnificent Enable in this same race two years ago at Churchill Downs. The Irish-bred mare has done little wrong since for trainer A. O’Brien, having won a total of six Group-1 races including the Irish Champions S.-G1 at Leopardstown two races back and then losing little when third in a bog three weeks ago in the Champions S.-G1 at Ascot. These two superior female performers look a cut above the American contingent - which we judge to be topped by last year’s BC Turf runner-up United - and will receive most of our attention on the tote.

As for our wagering strategies, Tarnawa is a play in the win pool and key along with Magical and to a lesser extent United in whatever vertical exotics s you wish to participate. With regards to multi-race play, Tarnawa and Magical belong on the main ticket while United can be used somewhere as a saver.

RACE 12: Post: 5:18 ET Grade: B
Use: 2-Tiz the Law; 4-Tom’s d’Etat; 8-Improbable; 9-Authentic

Forecast: Despite enjoying a gorgeous, in-the-clear stalking trip, Tiz the Law came up empty in the final furlong and had to settle for second behind Authentic in the Kentucky Derby-G1 as the 3/5 favorite. His inability to seal the deal was clearly a disappointment and a step back from his magnificent victory four weeks earlier in the Travers S.-G1, though his Beyer speed figure (103) was the second highest in his eight race career, so he hardly performed badly. Perhaps it’s a coincidence that the only two defeats in his eight race career came at Churchill Downs. In any event, we’re expecting his best race today. Freshened for two months, the son of Constitution has displayed his usual enthusiasm in recent workouts to indicate he’s spot on, and from his comfortable number two position he should draft into an ideal second flight, ground-saving trip and then have every chance to exert his superiority from the top of the lane to the wire. Yes, this will be his first test against older competition but his race in the Travers, to our way of thinking, was the best performance of the year and, if repeated should be good enough to win this year’s renewal of the Breeders’ Cup Classic-G1 and clinch Eclipse Awards both as the champion 3-year-old and Horse of the Year.

In case Tiz the Law doesn’t bring his best game, punters may want to protect in rolling exotic play using the other main contenders. Tom’s d’Etat looks quite attractive at 6-1 on the morning line after losing all chance when stumbling badly at the start and then rallying to be second in the Whitney S.-G1 in his most recent outing three months ago, a defeat that snapped a four race winning streak that had established the son of Smart Strike as the top older horse in training. The winner of the Lafayette S.-G2 in his only prior outing over the Keeneland main track, the A. Stall, Jr. trained 7-year-old has a history of firing a big shot fresh and, like Tiz the Law, should settle in just behind the leaders and have dead aim from the quarter pole home.

Authentic surely will be sent to the front and could prove troublesome if not policed. Five years ago American Pharoah led gate-to-wire to win the Classic over this track and distance and given the projected race flow it’s not difficult to imagine this year’s Kentucky Derby winner doing the same. His B. Baffert-trained stable mate Improbable, victorious in three successive Grade-1 races with rising Beyer speed figures in each, looks like the most dangerous of the closers, though we’re stuck with the notion that extremely favorable circumstances in each of those three victories may have flattered his form.

From a rolling exotic wagering standpoint, we’ll put Tiz the Law on top and include him in our main push along with Tom’s d’Etat and Authentic while relegating Improbable to a backup ticket.