Jenny Wiley Stakes Odds & Lexington Betting Picks

The big names keep coming at Keeneland, with Saturday’s G1 Jenny Wiley Stakes drawing celebrity stardust from home and abroad as Chad Brown’s pair In Italian and Speak Of The Devil lock horns with in-form British raider With The Moonlight. The undercard is headed by the G3 Lexington, in which the G2-placed Disarm bids to grab a spot at Churchill Downs next month by finishing third or better in the final stop on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Jenny Wiley Stakes

G1, $600,000, 1m 1/16 turf, 4yo+ females, 5.48pm ET

Saturday’s headline contest at Keeneland, the Jenny Wiley, shares a theme with Friday’s main event at the Kentucky track as it features a leading contender from Britain who has already shown strong form in the US.

Joining barnmate and Maker’s Mark Mile favorite Modern Games on the journey west is With The Moonlight (5-2), winner of last year’s G3 Saratoga Oaks over a mile and three-sixteenths after stalking, pouncing and pushing on for a comfortable victory.

That’s pretty much as far as With The Moonlight wants to go, and she has been making hay at Meydan this winter with two G2 victories over a mile and a mile-eighth, beating moderate opposition in impressive fashion and priming herself for a return to the big league.

She’ll need to be in the pink to cope with strong opposition, led by a star-studded two-pronged assault from Chad Brown, who has trained four of the last five winners of this race. His main threat this time is In Italian (7-5), who rose to the top of Brown’s enormously powerful turf division last year with strong front-running victories in the mile-eighth G1 Diana Stakes at Saratoga and the G1 First Lady here over a mile.

She couldn’t stay ahead in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf here over a mile and three-sixteenths, but was a very gallant runner-up and is preferred to her barnmate Speak Of The Devil (10-1), whose 2022 campaign was over by June and who failed to impress when fifth in the G3 Honey Fox at Gulfstream Park over a mile on her return to action last month.

She obviously needed the run-out, but never got out of mid-division and came in two lengths behind runner-up White Frost (8-1), who was herself getting back in the swing of things after missing the whole of 2022, and probably has scope to improve with just seven races to her name in a very light career.

A seven-month layoff clearly did Queen Goddess (4-1) the world of good, as she is two-for-two since her return including victory in the G3 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf over a mile-sixteenth at Gulfstream. That was her first score outside California and she is peaking now, although this represents a much stiffer test.

A trip to Royal Ascot last summer seemed to knock the stuffing out of 2021 Breeders’ Cup winner Pizza Bianca (20-1) and she was pretty lacklustre when last seen in the 2022 American Oaks at Santa Anita, nearest at the finish in sixth – a length and a quarter behind fifth-placed Skims (20-1) – in what was not a strong G1. This is a tough spot to begin a recovery mission.

Skims had earlier won the G2 Sands Point at Aqueduct over a mile-eighth (Pizza Bianca fourth), her stakes breakthrough, but appears a cut below the standard required here.

Jenny Wiley Stakes Odds & Betting Pick

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Pizza BiancaJose L. Ortiz+2000
In Italian (GB)Irad Ortiz, Jr.+100
Queen GoddessLuis Saez+400
Speak of the Devil (FR)Flavien Prat+1000
Skims (GB)John R. Velazquez+2000
Henrietta TophamBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+3000
Freedom SpeaksReylu Gutierrez+2000
White FrostLanfranco Dettori+800
With The Moonlight (IRE)William Buick+200

There could be plenty of pace and that will suit WITH THE MOONLIGHT, who is race-fit and in flying form and can use her favoured stalking tactics to winning effect.

Lexington Stakes

G3, $400,000, 1m 1/16 dirt, 3yo, 5.16pm ET

It’s the last-chance saloon for Kentucky Derby hopefuls, the Lexington serving as the final prep for the ‘Run for the Roses’ and offering qualifying points on a 20-8-6-4-2 spread, although there’s only one horse in the field who can vault into the top 20 on the leaderboard and stake a place in America’s greatest race.

That horse is Disarm (7-2), who has only won a maiden but showed with his performance in the G2 Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds that he belongs at this level. That race was run at a Sunday-stroll gallop and he did well to make ground out of mid-pack, and although he was nowhere near the winner Kingsbarns he was a clear second-best, with Baseline Beater (20-1) never on the map in ninth and Denington (20-1) tenth.

That gives him a class edge here and he’ll be suited by the expected faster pace. Ironically, if he finishes third or better he’ll replace Louisiana Derby third Jace’s Road in the gate for the Derby.

The Preakness is the potential target for Arabian Lion (7-2), who is on a major recovery mission after taking a huge reputation into heavy defeats in the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity and G3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. He is – probably – better than that but he could also be a one-turn sprinter and is not one to trust yet.

Three maiden winners are prominent in the betting market, with First Mission (3-1) coming off a romping score by six and three-quarter lengths over a mile-sixteenth at the Fair Grounds, a considerable move forward from his debut over six furlongs. His barnmate Demolition Duke (6-1) won a sprint at the Fair Grounds on debut and stepped up next time when runner-up, beaten only a neck, in a mile allowance at the same circuit. It took him time to warm up and he should continue to progress.

Empirestrikesfast (4-1) also got it right first time, seeing off Dreamlike – subsequent Wood Memorial third – by three-quarters of a length over a mile-sixteenth at Gulfstream Park, with the third horse a long way back. The form is stacking up nicely but with just one run under his belt inexperience could be a factor.

If Prairie Hawk (15-1) can build on his longshot fourth behind big Derby player Tapit Trice in the G3 Tampa Bay Derby over a mile-sixteenth then he’s in here pitching, and he was a length ahead of Wood Memorial winner Lord Miles there. He’s the best of those at double-figure odds, as even though Reinvest (30-1) is unbeaten in two, both at Tampa Bay Downs, the market doesn’t speak for him and his form is a long way short of what’s needed today.

Lexington Stakes Odds & Betting Prediction

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
Baseline BeaterCorey J. Lanerie+2200
ReinvestJoseph Talamo+3300
Demolition DukeFlavien Prat+625
TransectGerardo Corrales+3300
First MissionLuis Saez+225
DisarmJose L. Ortiz+200
DeningtonBrian Joseph Hernandez, Jr.+2200
EmpirestrikesfastLanfranco Dettori+250
Prairie HawkJohn R. Velazquez+1700
Curly Larry and MoReylu Gutierrez+5500
Arabian LionIrad Ortiz, Jr.+375

EMPIRESTRIKESFAST looked a force to be reckoned with when winning on debut and, given that the form has been boosted nicely, he can cope with the class hike.

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