There is $1 million up for grabs in Saturday’s Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) at Keeneland, the richest event of the fall meeting and the starting gate will be full for the one-mile test.
The winner of the race earns an automatic starting spot in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. Last year’s winner was the Euro invader Suedois, who went on to run fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Brian Lynch trained Heart to Heart is the 7-2 morning line favorite. The seven-year-old was the pacesetter in last year’s race but could not hold off the winner late and had to settle for the runner up spot. He was sixth in the Fourstardave Handicap (G1) at Saratoga in his last outing, beaten to the lead by Voodoo Song (6-1).
There is plenty of early speed signed up to go this year which should set things up for somebody coming from off the pace. The Kiaran McLaughlin trained Qurbaan gets the call off a game nose win in the Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2) last out in his U.S. debut.
The Shadwell Turf Mile is one of six “Win and You’re In” races this afternoon. There are four at Keeneland and one each at Belmont Park and Santa Anita. I have all six covered in today’s Best Plays Report.
The co-features on Saturday’s card at Keeneland are the $500,000 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (G1), $400,000 First Lady (G1), $200,000 Thoroughbred Club of America S (G2) and the $200,000 Woodford Presented by Keeneland Select (G2).
Let’s head out to Keeneland for Saturday’s featured race of the day:
Keeneland Race 10 The Shadwell Turf Mile G1 (Post time 5:49 ET)
#7 Qurbaan 5-1
#11 Almanaar 9-2
#9 Analyze It 9-2
#12 Mr. Misunderstood 12-1
Analysis: Qurbaan came off an 11-month layoff and made his U.S. debut in the Bernard Baruch where he stalked the early pace and got up late to win by a nose at 13-1. His best finish in a Group race overseas was a third at Vichy in France last summer on good to soft ground. I like the jock switch here from Irad to Mike Smith and his 102 Beyer he earned last out puts him in the mix as he takes on a much tougher group here. The McLaughlin barn is 30% winners (with a +ROI) with runners making their second start off a +180-day layoff.
Almanaar exits a runner up finish in the Arlington Million (G1) last out. The gelding was rank in the early going, had to check in traffic whit about a mile to go when he spaced shrunk up. He came with a five wide bid and got to the lead inside the final furlong but could not match strides late with the winner Robert Bruce. That foe came back to run second in Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) over soft ground last out and probably would have won with a smarter ride. This Brown trainee is going to get a good pace set up here as there is plenty of early zip signed up. No tries over less than firm ground since arriving in the U.S.
Analyze It is also sent out by Brown and this guy looked headed for victory in each of his last three starts and got nailed in each outing, twice by Catholic Boy and last out by Carrick, who did not care fort eh soft going in the Joe Hirsch last out in a sixth-place finish. Brown has had nearly two months to figure out why this guy keeps getting beat. He won his first two starts at a mile including a Grade 3 and the cut back here from 1 1/4 miles may suit this guy.
WIN: #7 to win at 9-2 or better.
EX: 7,11 / 7,9,11,12
TRI: 7,11 / 7,9,11,12 / 5,7,9,11,12