Saturday, April 10, 2021
Following a $520 score in this space last week in the Santa Anita Oaks, let's keep the roll going into Triple Crown season. Saturday's Keeneland card features 4 stakes races all in an all-stakes pick 4, spanning Races 7-10. The Grade 1 main event, the Jenny Wiley, anchors the bet in Race 10 and has attracted an evenly matched group of 6.
ETOILE is the field's lone Grade 1 winner. MICHELINE, TAMAHERE and MAXIM RATE are Grade 2 winners. JULIET FOXTROT and LA SIGNARE have won Grade 3s. These are evenly matched on class, tough ETOILE has held up internationally in top-flight races.
There's very little early speed in this 1-1/16 miles race, which should put JULIET FOXTROT in a pace-advantaged situation up front. Aggressive rider Luis Saez may try to put MICHELINE into the mix more than she shows on paper from her rail draw. MAXIM RATE could sit second or third.
Trainer Chad Brown has dominated the Jenny Wiley in recent years, winning 3 straight and 4 of the last 6. He's done it with the likes of superstars Sistercharlie and 2-time winner Rushing Fall, but also with Ball Dancing. ETOILE and TAMAHERE both appear capable of keeping Brown's stranglehold on this race, while likely fitting on talent somewhere between his upper-echelon Jenny Wiley winners and Ball Dancing. ETOILE won the EP Taylor at Woodbine last fall when that race didn't get its usual deep crop of shippers due to COVID-19 restrictions and protocols. But her Group 3 win in France and her narrow defeat in the Group 1 French Oaks (Prix de Diane) indicate she's of high quality. Her races in France were much more difficult than those of TAMAHERE. Both have won in North American since arriving for the 2020 season. The preference here is to ETOILE, even if this trip might be a bit short of her best and closer to TAMAHERE's wheel-house.
Alternatives to the Brown barrage include JULIET FOXTROT trying to steal away up front. She's was third in this race last year when against a much tougher field that included Rushing Fall and Jolie Olimpica. Her hard-luck second in Keeneland's 2019 First Lady came when nabbled late by the dazzling miler Uni. She was an allowance winner here in 2019 in her only other local turf try, so you know she handles the course.
MICHELINE was second last Fall in the Grade 1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland vs. 3-year-old fillies. Now 4, she comes off a nice win beating elders from a terrible post draw at Tampa Bay Downs. Hot-riding Luis Saez takes the mount again as he had at Tampa. With Joel Rosario away at Oaklawn to ride Saturday, Saez could be sitting on a monster afternoon based on his early meet performances. Tampa Bay Downs preppers won the Jenny Wiley from 2015-2017 in succession.
LA SIGNARE was a distant 7th in this race last year at 22-1 and has lost 5 straight. But she was only a length behind MICHELINE last out at Tampa. MAXIM RATE comes in from California for a Simon Callaghan barn that's willing to take a shot at Keeneland. But he's come away 0-10 in those major stakes bids, including a 7th-place effort by MAXIM RATE in the 2019 Valley View over this course and distance.
There's a forecast for rain on Saturday in Lexington, so the wetter the conditions, the better for the European exports.
Most Certain Exotics Contender:
JULIET FOXTROT has a cozy pace projection, is 3-for-3 in the trifecta on the Keeneland turf, and has finished in the superfecta in 10 of her last 11 starts.
Best Longshot Exotics Contender:
Don't expect a big price in this race and it's difficult to project anything in double-digits in the trifecta.
Sending it in ($100 bankroll):
$80 exacta ETOILE over JULIET FOXTROT. $20 exacta JULIET FOXTROT over ETOILE.