The Keeneland fall meeting gets underway on Friday with a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” races, the $200,000 Phoenix (G3) and the $400,000 Alcibiades (G1).
There are nine graded stakes over the opening three days of the 17-day meeting, with seven of those being Breeders’ Cup Challenge races. The Phoenix winner will earn an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1) while the Alcibiades victor will earn a start in the Juvenile Fillies (G1).
Coming up on Saturday there are five graded stakes including the $$750,000 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) here reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan is the 2-5 morning line favorite looking to defend his title and win his 10th straight race, his sixth this year.
The gelding is in a dogfight for Horse of the Year with Game On Dude, who will train up to the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The Bob Baffert trainee is perfect in five starts this year with three Grade 1 wins and a pair of Grade 2 victories.
Wise Dan has also won three Grade 1 races with a pair of Grade 2 wins. If all goes well on Saturday the gelding will attempt to defend his title in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.
Princess of Sylmar owns four Grade 1 wins this year but her connections appear likely to send her to the sidelines for the remainder of 2013, skipping the Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1), which will hurt her outside shot of winning Horse of the Year.
Groupie Doll will also be in action on Saturday as she attempts to defend her title in the $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America (G2). The 2012 Eclipse Award winner for outstanding female sprinter won the TCA by 6 ½ lengths last year, and then won the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint (G1) to lock up year-end honors.
Other stakes on Saturday at Keeneland are the $150,000 Woodford (G3), $400,000 First Lady (G1) and the $400,000 Breeders’ Futurity (G1).
Coming up on Sunday at Keeneland we have the $500,000 Juddmonte Spinsters Stakes (G1) and the $150,000 Bourbon Stakes (G3), both Breeders’ Cup Challenge races.
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Friday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 8 The Phoenix G3 (Post time 4:49 ET)
6 Laugh Track 12-1
8 Go Blue Or Go Home 8-1
7 Gentlemen’s Bet 3-1
11 Sum of the Parts 5-1
Analysis: Laugh Track has won four of his five starts over the fake stuff including last out at Woodbine where the colt won the Vigil (G3) going seven furlongs. He only had to beat three foes, but two of them did come back to win next out including the runner Essence Hit Man, who won the Bold Venture (G3) in his next outing on July 17. This is a tough spot to come back off a four month break, but the Mark Casse barn has good numbers with layoff types and this guy has posted three bullet works on the morning tab. The colt has a win over the surface, taking a Alw-2 optional claimer at the spring meeting. The 12-1 morning line looks fair enough in a wide open race.
Go Blue Or Go Home is back on poly after checking in fourth last out on the grass in the Play King (G2). He has won two of his three starts on synthetic surfaces including taking the Boyes Memorial over Tapeta three back at Presque Isle. The gelding owns solid early and mid-pace numbers and seems to fire every time out. The barn is 21% winners moving runners from turf to the fake stuff.
Gentlemen’s Bet comes into the race with three consecutive triple digit Beyers but they were all earned on dirt and he will be making his first start on polytrack here. Last out be battled for the early lead and weakened to finish third in the A.G. Vanderbilt (G1) at Saratoga. The colt has won four of his six starts this year and looks like he is going to be a player in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint (G1), but could be an underlay here trying a new surface at a light price.
WIN: #6 to win at 6-1 or better.
EX: 6,8 / 6,7,8,11
TRI: 6,8 / 6,7,8,11 / 6,7,8,10,11,12
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