BEST BET: RACE 7, MARY CELESTE
Willing to look past the layoff from WENT WITH THE WIND, who is unraced since breaking her maiden at Churchill for a $40,000 tag in June. There aren’t many opportunities for 2-year-olds in claiming races until the fall, and she is not of stakes or even allowance quality. Expecting her to be ready off a long series of works for a skilled 2-year-old barn. BOLD ESTHER led throughout at Arlington in her second start, and would seem the type to make the transition to dirt. Early speed has done well on the main track this meet, though she ranks behind the top choice due to a hike from the maiden $20,000 level. TAKE ALETTER MARIA is another 2-year-old with speed. She wired maiden $30,000 stock two starts ago before failing to keep pace in an allowance and weakening to be last by a long way. Better fit in here.
SNIPER KITTEN is the grass class, a 3-year-old stakes winner on the lawn who is also the leading money earner among these on turf. Plus, he showed a liking for this course with a win here in the spring. Ready to rebound from a couple unplaced finishes in his last two starts vs. better. CEEVEE possesses dangerous speed and could be left alone in a race that otherwise drew stalking and closing types. May have needed his last race Aug. 26 when sixth at Saratoga after being away since February. RERIDE won over this turf course last year when it was soft, but has otherwise given the impression of being better on dirt than turf. Most notably, he was a fast winner of the Mine That Bird in the spring at Sunland.
WEILAND is spotted aggressively by winning connections following a lackluster third at Indiana Grand after being acquired over the summer. A precocious runner, he actually won a slow stake as a maiden in May, only to follow that with a fifth in a weak Bashford Manor before his failure at Indiana. Well drawn as the outside speed, leaving him in position to make the front or dial up the pressure in the clear. DEANO was slower to get going than WEILAND, but has come around over the past month, first with a second and then with a maiden win at Churchill. Untested vs. winners, an obvious hurdle, but he at least he can pass horses, something others have yet to display. LADY’S WEEKEND figures to be a part of the early scrum, a likely ‘send’ candidate after running poorly when behind horses in his first two races vs. winners. He took a straight maiden race at Ellis a few starts ago on the front end.
Went looking for a 2-year-old in this maiden $30,000 claimer that had the potential to improve, and settled on FIRST TO DANCE, a first Lasix recipient. Although unplaced in three starts, two of those races came vs. straight maidens and last time, as reflected by the addition of Lasix, she may have bled. Tactical speed to at least be close to the pace. GATOR VINDICATION is speedy and outperformed some of today’s rivals in finishing a distant third at Churchill last out going a mile. Form over her four starts makes her the one to beat. FRANKI D ORO chased the eventual winner before weakening to fourth when debuting for maiden $20,000 Sept. 21 at Churchill. Though that race came for a cheaper tag, it seemed a decent field with horses trained by Asmussen, Casse, and Hartman running one-two-three.
MO WHEELS UP improved second out with experience, turning in a runner-up finish at Churchill on the main track there. It would have been natural to return on dirt with her, yet instead trainer Joe Sharp interestingly tries the grass...viewing that as a positive sign, perhaps indicative of more room for development. She is a half sister to a couple turf winners. HIDDEN FACTS ran second in her turf debut at Saratoga. She stalked a fast pace, surged to the lead, and then was nailed late. That race makes her the one to beat. CAP DE
CREUS debuted with a runner-up finish on dirt at Gulfstream, and has the pedigree to improve with distance and turf. Take note she is a half to Grade 1 turf winner Seek Again, who took the Hollywood Derby in 2013. Trainer Todd Pletcher has also been on a roll at this meet. HONOR WAY is five for 14 over the past couple years, a record that includes a couple allowance triumphs at Indiana this year. She failed to fire in her latest but under difficult circumstances, racing over a synthetic track and in a stakes race that was won by Presque Isle Masters winner Hotshot Anna. Not the most likely winner - MAYBE WICKED is - but her price should be three or four times greater. MAYBE WICKED brings good form and speed to the table, along with a winning trainer/ jockey combo. What she lacks is simply value, sitting at 6-5 on the morning line. GO LADY JAY won against second-level allowance company a few races ago at Arlington, doing so on the Poly, before a fifth and a third on turf, a surface on which has yet to win in three starts. She fits better here on dirt, over which she has won five races, though all at Hawthorne.
MARY CELESTE kicked off her career with a promising second at Kentucky Downs. Though that race came sprinting, her pedigree suggests her future should come at a route, making her appealing in this 1 1/16-mile turf race. JULIA’S READY rallied from behind slow fractions to be fourth at Churchill in a turf route Sep. 20, and now gets blinkers added for her third race. Moving forward. ANDI’S KITTEN is brought down to Keeneland by Chad Brown to debut for Ken and Sarah Ramsey, connections that want to be slugging it out for leading owner every meet here. Brown matched her up with talented workmates at times in Saratoga breezes over the past few months. In one of two works posted on Xbtv.com, she breezed with Newspaperofrecord, possibly the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies favorite. That said, she could not keep up, falling back a few lengths under pressure. She finished in front of another workmate under a bit of urging in the other Xbtv.com published drill.
Taking a price shot with 6-1 comebacker BOBBY’S WICKED ONE, who has performed well in all four of his races and starts for a barn that is typically dangerous with layoff runners. Perhaps will fall between the wagering cracks after being out of action since a third at Keeneland Apr. 7. CURATE won at first asking with a flashy 94 Beyer for trainer Brad Cox. If repeated, he would figure to be very tough to beat. The hike from maiden to allowance company is demanding, however. SHARE
THE UPSIDE has a win and two seconds in four starts, all the while showing speed. He has not quite met the public’s expectations since breaking his maiden on debut - losing twice as an odds-on favorite at Indiana and once at Churchill at 2-1.
SAN ELIJO, re-entered after landing in a $30,000 claimer on Saturday with an uncoupled stablemate, is now in a more testing spot in this $50,000 claimer. Still view him as a major player, dropping out of allowances and having the speed to be prominent. COMMANDEERING is the morning-line public choice at 3-1, and likely goes off lower than that. He looms as a contender, based on current form and winning connections. 11-1-5-1 record makes accepting a short price difficult in the win pool and therefore seems best focused in the twothree spots in the gimmicks. After going zero for eight to begin his career, RUSHIN TOTHECIRCLE seems to have been a bit more determined in his last two since adding nd blinkers. He broke his maiden by a head July 14 at Ellis on turf and then returned after a couple months off to run third in a Churchill dirt allowance on dirt. His relative lack of early speed is what lands him behind the top pair in the selections.