KEENELAND SATURDAY'S CARD PREVIEW

Saturday race card at Keeneland features a whole bunch of anticipated races, including the G1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity, where the three-year-olds are about to earn some points for the Kentucky Derby 2022, while the winner will be awarded 10 points and join the current leaders on the Leaderboard, Jake Christopher and Major General. European raiders have huge chances of striking gold in the other two prestigious events as both Order of Australia and Althiqa have already been successful in the US, especially when Order of Australia is the BC Turf Mile winner. Golden Pal is then the main star of the Woodford Stakes and Bell’s The One headlines Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

Woodford Stakes

The first of Saturday’s anticipated races welcome seven three-year-old and older sprinters at the distance of five and a half furlongs. The favorite of the $200,000 G2 turf race is one of two three-year-olds in the field, Golden Pal (5-4) trained by Wesley Ward. The bay has always seemed like a promising sprinter, which he justified not only by second place in the Norfolk Stakes at the Royal Ascot meetings but also by a victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Golden Pal commenced the new season in July when he bagged a G3 success, upon which he was pointed towards Europe once more; however, he didn’t fare well this time. In the 5-furlong Nunthorpe Stakes, he was quick out of the gate and showing the way; he looked to be enjoying himself until the last phase of the race when six rivals ran him down. The trainer was quite puzzled why his charge ended up in seventh place in York, but the explanation might be pretty easy – he just didn’t relish the way European races are run, or his style wasn’t suited by the straight track without turns. Despite the defeat, Golden Pal is still a much-respected sprinter who could strike the Woodford Stakes easily. 

Regarding his Saturday’s rivals, five-year-old Firecrow (9-2) has been running in the Allowance and black-type races until late September, when he took on the competition in the G3 Turf Monster Stakes. Leading the pack from the gate, he was then pressed by one of the participants to quicken up, while he couldn’t keep the first place in the final stretch, finishing fourth. Still, he was relatively close to the winner, so his performance wasn’t really underwhelming, and he should place here, too, while Inhalation (30-1) might run a good race here as well.

County Final (5-1) hasn’t scored a Grade victory yet, but being a three-year-old, he has plenty of time to do that as he looks quite talented; moreover, he’s consistent. The distance of five furlongs and a half should suit him fine. The main rival for the favorite seems to be somebody else, though – eight-year-old Extravagant Kid (5-2) trained by Brandon Walsh. The gelding is one of those horses that rarely finished below the board; moreover, he grew into a Grade performance in 2018 when he showed up in the Woodford Stakes for the very first time. Since then, he placed third, fifth, and second in the race, to which he added a fourth place in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint and a sensational G1 success in the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai. He also finished third in the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot, and although he didn’t like everything about the Nunthorpe Stakes, he’s a much-respected contestant once again. 

Woodford Stakes Free Betting Picks presented by TVG

Our pick for the Woodford Stakes is Golden Pal because he’s capable of great speed since the beginning, which his main rival won’t like.

Horse Jockey Horse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
JOHNNY UNLEASHEDGerardo Corrales+2000
GOLDEN PALJohn R. Velazquez-125
INHALATIONAdam Beschizza+3000
FIRECROWTyler Gaffalione+450
CHARCOALCorey J. Lanerie+2000
EXTRAVAGANT KIDJose L. Ortiz+250
COUNTY FINALRicardo Santana. Jr+500

Thoroughbred Club of America S

Three-year-old and older fillies and mares clash in this G2 dirt race held at the distance of six furlongs, while the purse of $250,000 is up for grabs. At first sight, the field looks very competitive as almost each of six fillies wouldn’t make a hugely surprising winner.

Let’s start with Frank’s Rockette (5-2) who belongs among the leading chances due to her past brilliant performances. As a two-year-old, the William Mott’s charge finished second in the G1 Frizette Stakes, added up places in the G2 company, and in 2020, the filly scored three Grade races in a row. Her form seems weaker than last year as she didn’t manage to win even a G3; moreover, she failed to bag a black-type race last time out. Still, she usually had to carry more weight than her most dangerous rivals, which isn’t the case now, so she could return to winning ways in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes.

In 2020, Estilo Talentoso (5-2) was very busy running; however, she concluded the campaign with a Stakes victory, so since the beginning of the new year, she was pointed among the more challenging company. The four-year-old filly picked it up right away, though, taking second and third place at the G1 level and winning a G3 at Belmont Park. Such exploits happened at the distance of 7 furlongs, but in her last outing, Estilo Talentoso grew tired in the final stage, so shortening the trip might help her a bit this time. Bell’s The One (7-5) is another participant to consider, given she finished third and second in the last two editions of the G1 Madison Stakes; moreover, she won the G1 Derby City Distaff Stakes where her this year’s defeat could’ve been caused by the weight she carried. Still, she faced the challenge honorably in the G2 Honorable Miss Handicap, where she dug deep to cling to the tight victory. One more time, Bell’s The One is slightly disadvantaged to her rivals, but thanks to her fighting qualities, she is more than capable of fulfilling the role of a leading chance here.

Although one of the mentioned fillies and mares should strike gold, the rest of the field is not to be utterly disregarded, for Club Car (10-1) has boasted some form this season and is a pretty consistent participant. And while Miss Mosaic (15-1) is the least likely winner, the last contestant to talk about is Inthemidstofbiz (10-1), who scored the Thoroughbred Club of America last year. Since then, she hit the track just twice, winning an Allowance race and finishing fourth in a Listed, but there’s a possibility she’s been systematically prepared for this race in particular. 

Thoroughbred Club of America Free Betting Picks

Our pick for the Thoroughbred Club of America is Bell’s The One, for her exploits at the Grade scene. She should handle the quality of her Saturday’s rivals.

Horse Jockey Horse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
FRANK’S ROCKETTEJunior Alvarado+250
CLUB CARTyler Gaffalione+1000
INTHEMIDSTOFBIZEmmanuel Esquivel+1000
ESTILO TALENTOSOJose L. Ortiz+250
MISS MOSAICColby J. Hernadez+1500
BELL’S THE ONECorey J. Lanerie+140

First Lady Stakes Keeneland Saturday Race Card

A huge field of 16 three-year-old and older fillies and mares head to this G1 turf race, where the participants are about to clash at the distance of a mile. The purse of $400,000 attracted, for example, Godolphin bound Althiqa (7-2) who hinted at her class numerous times, including as as two-year-old when placing among the G3 competition both in France and the United Kingdom. She then gradually formed into a G1 performer. The now four-year-old grey trained by Charlie Appleby bagged a G2 triumphed in Dubai, upon which she aimed at the US G1 gems. In other words, Althiqa won two turf G1 races in summer, leaving some of her Saturday’s rivals behind, so the only thing that may deny her scoring a G1 hattrick lies in the hiatus. Since July, she hasn’t run, which could hinder her performance.

One way or another, the likes she beat in summer, e.g. Harvey’s Lil Goil (6-1), don’t look much dangerous to her anyway. The UK-bound filly is accompanied by an Irish raider here as Aidan O’Brien relies on three-year-old Empress Josephine (10-1). After his American exploits with Santa Barbara went to an end because the filly sadly lost her life to a broken pelvis, he hopes to reach some glory with the Irish 1000 Guineas winner. Under Frankie Dettori, she was a surprising scorer back then, and the quality of the field went into the question as Empress Josephine then failed to fire in both the Coronation Stakes at the Royal Ascot meeting and the Nassau Stakes, where she clashed with older contestants. Still, her fourth place in the Matron Stakes at Leopardstown might be seen as a positive even though the result resembled a fluke. The mile seems to suit Empress Josephine, but some of her Saturday rivals look stronger in terms of class.

Besides Harvey’s Lil Goil, Regal Glory (5-1) got bettered by Althiqa, but the consistent five-year-old mare has won a black-type and Listed race, suggesting she’s in good form, but the carried weight holds her back. In the First Lady S, she isn’t disadvantaged, so she could play a significant role again. It will be tough to score her first G1 here, though, as Blowout (8-1) has also enjoyed some successes at the Grade levels, including her second place in the Matriarch Stakes behind Viadera (8-1) last year. The latter bagged a G2 victory last time out, and having only her second start this season; she could even improve for Saturday’s event. The last to mention in this highly competitive field is Princess Grace (6-1). The four-year-old filly has only seven starts under her belt, while six of them she forged into triumphs. She’ll try to maintain her unbeaten record in this season on Saturday, but it won’t be anything easy as she’s yet to face such a high-class company. 

First Lady Stakes Free Betting Picks

Our pick for the First Lady Stakes is Althiqa, as she’s a double G1 winner in this season.

Horse Jockey Horse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
ABSCONDAdam Beschizza+3000
EMPRESS JOSEPHINEJohn R. Velazquez+1000
ALTHIQAJamie P. Spencer+350
STAR COMMANDBrian Joseph Hernandez. Jr+3000
HENDY WOODSTyler Gaffalione+1000
REGAL GLORYJose L. Ortiz+500
DADDY IS A LEGENDJulien R. Leparoux+1200
HARVEY’S LIL GOILJunior Alvarado+600
BLOWOUTFlavien Prat+800
PRINCESS GRACEKent J. Desormeaux+600
DALIKAMiguel Mena+1200
LA SIGNARERicardo Santana. Jr+2000
VIADERAFlorent Geroux+800

Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity 

With fall progressing towards its middle, more and more attention is primed at two-year-olds earning their points towards the Road to the Kentucky Derby 2022. Ten points will be awarded the winner of Saturday’s Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity run at the distance of a mile and a furlong for the purse of $500,000, while the G1 dirt event attracted the field of 13 two-year-old colts.

Looking at the participants, we can start with the more experienced ones, among which Double Thunder (4-1) belongs as he has four starts under his belt, including a G3 victory over 6 furlongs. He also scored at a longer distance on the black-type scene. Rattle N Roll (6-1) has hit the track three times but only twice crossed the line. Still, his maiden victory was a clear one despite being bumped hard. 

Regarding contestants with two outings on their records, Stellar Tap (9-2) can be quick out of the gate, which he benefited from when bagging his debut; however, he was quite unlucky in his second start. He looked a solid chance in the G3 Iroquois Stakes, though he managed to finish only fifth. He should be capable of more and belongs among the leading chances here together with, e.g., Don’t Wait Up (9-2) who was a bit slower on his debut, but at his second time out, he displayed enough early speed to lead the way, and then he drew clear of his rivals in the end. The question is how he’ll handle a longer trip as his victory happened over the distance of 6 furlongs.

Great Escape (8-1) broke his maiden at the second time, too, dominating in a race over 7 furlongs, while Kevin’s Folly (12-1) secured a victory the first time out. However, he failed to show anything remarkable in the G1 Hopeful Stakes when finishing third. 

Classic Causeway (5-1) is also in the mix thanks to his dominating performance in his maiden at the distance of 7 furlongs, where he displayed some good early speed and galloping gate to the wire; he won by six and ½ of a length. But like some of his rivals, he needs to show how well he gets a trip longer than one mile.

Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity Free Betting Picks

Our pick for the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity is Stellar Tap, who should make amends for his previous run and prove he’s an elite colt.

HorseJockeyHorse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
DOUBLE THUNDERPaco Lopez+400
MR. BOUMACorey J. Lanerie+3000
STELLAR TAPRicardo Santana. Jr+450
SEAL BEACHJulien R. Leparoux+3000
DON’T WAIT UPJohn R. Velazquez+450
RATTLE N ROLLBrian Joseph Hernandez. Jr+600
AMERICAN SANCTUARYSophie Doyle+1200
KING CURLINChristopher A. Emigh+3000
GREAT ESCAPETyler Gaffalione+800
MAC’S TIMEJoseph Talamo+2000
COSTA TERRAFrancisco Arrieta+2000
KEVIN’S FOLLYFlavien Prat+1200
CLASSIC CAUSEWAYJose L. Ortiz+500

Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes

The former Shadwell Mile is open to three-year-old and older horses who will compete for the purse of $750,000. In this G1 turf race over a mile, Ivar (5-1) trained by Paulo Lobo is an interesting participant, given he’s a star of his home country, Brazil; moreover, he scored this race last year before he went on to finish fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. There is a big question mark above his current form as he has run only once this year so far, taking sixth place in a G1 race in May. If he is all right, he is in the mix, but we advise being cautious about this contestant.

The mentioned Breeders’ Cup Mile meant a European success as Irish raider Order Of Australia (7-2) caused an upset when denying the biggest odds in the field and winning after a fight. Upon that, he showed nothing extraordinary, but he scored a G2 victory at Curragh in July, while his form seemed to be peaking in fall as his last two outings seemed quite promising for his Saturday’s tilt. In other words, Order of Australia grabbed second and third place in the French G1s, which cements him as the favorite of the Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes.

Still, he doesn’t pose as the most reliable leading chance, so some of his rivals also deserve attention, including another four-year-old, Pixelate (9-2). The Michael Stidham trained bay won the G2 Del Mar Derby last year, while in January, he finished fifth in the G1 Pegasus World Cup. Pixelate then enjoyed some decent results in the Listed and black-type races, upon which he scored G3 easily in front of Somelikeitbrown (9-2). Both the former and the latter have been showing enough class for the Grade races, however, they don’t seem good enough to threaten the favorite if he performs similarly as in the BC Mile.

Five-year-old Tell Your Daddy (8-1) hadn’t succeeded on the Grade level until this September when he won the G2 Bernard Baruch Handicap, suggesting he might be at the top of his career, while Space Traveller (6-1) ran a great race in defeat when failing to close on to Town Cruise in the G1 Woodbine Mile Stakes. He should also take a nice place on Saturday. Still, the same thing applies to him as to the other rivals for the favorite – if Order of Australia runs as he did in Keeneland last year, he seems the most likely winner.

Keeneland Turf Mile Free Betting Picks

Our pick for the Keeneland Turf Mile Stakes is Order of Australia because he’s shown the most ability of all the participants.

Horse Jockey Horse Racing Odds courtesy of Jazzsports
FRONT RUN THE FEDFrancisco Arrieta+2000
ARGENTELLOBrian Joseph Hernandez. Jr+3000
IN LOVEAlex Archard+2000
SPACE TRAVELLERDaniel Alexander Tudhope+600
TELL YOUR DADDYJulien R. Leparoux+800
IVARJoseph Talamo+500
PIXELATETyler Gaffalione+450
BROWN STORMHector Isaac Berrios+5000
MONARCHS GLENRicardo Santana. Jr+2000
ORDER OF AUSTRALIAJohn R. Velazquez+350
DIAMOND OOPSFlorent Geroux+1500
FIELD PASSFlavien Prat+1200
SOMELIKEITTHOOTBROWNJose L. Ortiz+450

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