Ward Key in Kentucky Downs All Stakes Pick 5 Opener

Kentucky Downs offers up a All Stakes Pick 5 with a 14% reduced takeout on Saturday afternoon. (Photo credit: Kentucky Downs).

It is day three of the Kentucky Downs meeting on Saturday and trainer Wesley Ward holds the key in the first leg of the all stakes Pick 5 with a reduced takeout of just 14%. Ward sends out a pair in the $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint, a pair of fillies taking on the boys.

Moonlight Romance (3-1), who makes her first start since a poor showing at Royal Ascot and Mae Never No (5-1), who wired the field in the Colleen at Monmouth Park in the slop and makes her turf debut.

The Pick 5 kicks off in the sixth race with a post of 3:55 CT. The five stakes are worth a total of $2.7 million. (That is not a typo).

Here is a quick look at the final four legs, the opener analysis is below:

Race 7: The $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf (G3) drew a field of 10 that will go one mile. I’m Betty G is the 7-2 morning line favorite and has won three in a row. Perfect Sting runner up In the Lee (5-1) and Yellow Ribbon Handicap (G2) fourth place finisher Hallie Belle will be in the mix.

Race 8: Lull (2-1) is the defending champ in the $450,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint (G3) and looks tough in this spot, taking on nine rivals going 6 ½ furlongs. She was third in the Royal North (G2) at Woodbine in her last outing. Ian Wilkes sends out Originator (12-1) who was second in the Coronation Cup at Saratoga behind Broadway Run, who goes in Friday’s Christiecat at Belmont Park.

Race 9: The $500,000 Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint drew 12 with eleven likely to start. Conquest Panthera (5-1) cuts back from 1 1/16 miles where he was third in the Lure at the Spa and Blind Ambition (9-2) was a game second in the Troy Handicap (G3) in his last outing.

Race 10: If we make it this far in the Pick 5 we still have a way to go as there is a full field of 12 going in the $750,000 Kentucky Turf Cup (G3) at 1 ½ miles. Oscar Nominated (7-2) is the one to beat and the defending champion. Manitoulin is better than his seventh in the Bowling Green (G2) where he caught soft ground he did not care much for, and Bigger Picture (9-2) was eighth in the Sword Dancer (G1) and is capable of much better.

My Best Plays Report for Saturday will include all five stakes from Kentucky Downs and my strongest plays from Belmont Park.

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Let’s head out to Kentucky Downs for the first of five stakes:


Kentucky Downs Race 6 The Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint (Post time 3:55 CT)

#10 Moonlight Romance   3-1

#11 Mae Never No   5-1

#2 Chattel   5-1

#8 Life Mission   4-1

Analysis: Moonlight Romance makes her first starts since getting off poorly and getting outrun in a 13th place finish in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot. The filly was a smart maiden winner at Belmont Park two back in her second career start going five furlongs on the turf at Belmont Park. The filly chased Shang Shang Shang in her debut in a runner up finish, that foe coming back to win the Norfolk Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in her next outing. Ward takes the blinkers off as she returns off a 2 1/2 month break here.

Mae Never No is also sent out by Ward and she makes her turf debut here. She graduated in her debut and then had a clear lead heading for home in the Tremont but was run down and had to settle for third. She took to the slop in a race washed off the turf in the Colleen at Monmouth Park where she sailed to a seven-length win. She is the first foal to race out of a stakes placed Broken Vow mare. The barn hits at a 21% clip when trying runners on the grass for the first time.

Chattel stalked the early pace and came with a good late rally to win the Skidmore over good ground at Belmont Park going 5 1/2 in his first start against winners. He graduated two back at Laurel Park in his fourth career start. He has turned out to be a bargain, purchased for just $2,000 in October of ’17. Carmouche in to ride and he figures to be closer to the pace here on the stretch out to 6 1/2 furlongs.


WIN: #10 to win at 3-1 or better.

EX: 10,11 / 2,8,10,11

TRI: 10,11 / 2,8,10,11 / 2,5,8,10,11


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