Andrew’s Play of the Day: 1/11/20


It’s official: I’m making my first visit to the Blue Grass State this April. Several of my best friends in the game have made the unfortunate mistake of opening their home to me as I make my maiden voyage to Keeneland, play overly competitive board games, and (arguably most importantly) eat lots of food.

I’m excited for the trip, and if you’ll be at Keeneland on Saturday, April 11th, chances are you’ll see me around filming stuff for my YouTube channel. If you do, come say hi! It’s going to be a great time, and hopefully it comes complete with a few winning tickets.

FRIDAY’S RESULT: Unfortunately, Iona played probably their best game of the season to date. The Gaels were 6.5-point underdogs at Rider, but wound up winning outright. Somehow, this is Rich Ensor’s fault.

SATURDAY’S PLAY: As much as I’d like to bet some NFL playoffs action, it’ll have to wait until Sunday, as I’m just not in love with the Saturday slate. Instead, my focus is on an old-school Big East college basketball showdown, as Georgetown heads to Villanova for a 12 pm Eastern tilt. Both offenses have been sputtering a bit of late. The “under” is 6-1 in Villanova’s last seven games and 5-1 in Georgetown’s last six, which makes the 147.5 total perplexing. I’m taking the “under” here, as even a 75-65 game is a cover with room to spare.

Keeneland Selections and Analysis: 4/11/19

Best Bet: Talk Veuve to Me, Race 8
Longshot: Proud as Punch, Race 9


Fashion’s Touch
Miss Harry
Saints’ Girl

#5 FASHION’S TOUCH: Romped against weaker last time out and takes a significant step up in class, but seems like the main speed in the Thursday opener. If left alone on the lead, he could be tough to catch; #2 MISS HARRY: Rallied to win by a neck earlier in the meet and will look to sit an ideal stalking trip once again here. It’s a quick turnaround, but this is a logical next step; #7 SAINTS’ GIRL: Hasn’t won in a while, but improved on the drop in class last time out and could take another step forward second off the bench.


My Cadet
Morning Social
Into the Breach

#7 MY CADET: Was purchased privately after his debut, where he rallied to finish fourth for a barn that rarely has first-time starters cranked up. His workouts since have been sharp, and I’m hoping (but not confident) that we get the 8-1 morning line price; #1 MORNING SOCIAL: Has run well in three prior starts and comes back to the dirt for this event. He’ll have to work out a trip from the rail, but the Beard course’s distance shouldn’t be a problem; #4 INTO THE BREACH: Comes off a long layoff for Michael Dilger and will look to shake a case of seconditis. He has some strong past Beyer Speed Figures, but it’s tough to have too much confidence in a horse with six seconds in 11 starts.



#2 TABIA: Stretches out to two turns and has the running style, pedigree, and connections to suggest he’ll love the added distance. The faster they go early, the more he’ll like it; #3 PALADAR: Woke up in his first start for Richard Baltas, a front-running score at Santa Anita. The chance of a regression off of a career-best race does exist, but a repeat of that effort would make him tough; #6 BELIEVEINHOLIDAYS: Put it all together last time out in the slop at Fair Grounds. He generally runs the same race every time, and such an effort would likely be good enough for a piece of it here.


Handsome Honey
Firewater Jake

#11 HANDSOME HONEY: Has run well in several recent turf routes at Fair Grounds and could get an ideal setup here. Many contenders in this full field want to be on or near the lead, and if this 8-1 shot can save some ground, he could come running late; #10 FIREWATER JAKE: Wired the field as a 6/5 favorite last time out and tries winners for Brad Cox, who’s gotten off to a big start this meet. He’s logical, but it’s tough to imagine him getting an easy lead from a less-than-ideal post; #15 QUARKY: Graduated in a swift time going much shorter at Tampa, but is bred to like two turns and could be coming around. He’ll need some luck to draw in, but he’s a contender if he does.


Knight Disruptor

#5 KOMRAD: Has run well since being dropped to this level and is a likely favorite here. He’s the main speed in this spot, which otherwise seems light on early zip; #6 ODIE: Takes a big drop in class after a disappointing run at Turfway Park. He was second in his debut over this track, and several of his races last year came against much better horses; #1 KNIGHT DISRUPTOR: Has not run since October, but could have enough speed to secure position along the rail. Such a trip could conceivably move him up.


East Moon
Shackleford County

#7 EAST MOON: Hasn’t run in a while, but looms large in this spot given her strong local form. Her dirt sprint races have been solid, and the steady work tab indicates she’s ready to go; #8 SHACKLEFORD COUNTY: Returns to Keeneland, which doubles as the site of her lone career win to date. She’s got some speed, and a run over her favorite track could wake her up; #1 WENEEDTOTALK: Just missed at this level at Fair Grounds last month. She figures to be going well late, but the rail draw isn’t usually ideal for a closer.


Desert Ride
Mission From Elle

#4 CONNECTIVITY: Bounced last time out in a Grade 3, but has every right to return to her debut form. She was an impressive winner in her unveiling, and may get an ideal pace situation given the ample early speed surrounding her; #14 DESERT RIDE: Has hinted at considerable talent despite a pair of rough trips. She needs two scratches to run, but I think she’s a must-use if she gets in; #8 MISSION FROM ELLE: Much like my top pick, she won her debut impressively before faltering in a graded stakes race. Her two most recent workouts were sharp, and there’s reason to believe she can run to that form.


Talk Veuve to Me
Upset Brewing

#1 TALK VEUVE TO ME: Was one of the better 3-year-old fillies in the country last year. She makes her 2019 debut here, and while she may need a race, she has tons of sprinting form, and a repeat of one of her runs from last year is likely more than enough; #5 UPSET BREWING: May be the lone in-form closer in this field, and if she gets a good setup, she’ll likely be going well late. I don’t know if it’s good enough to beat my top pick, but she’s a must-use in vertical exotics; #2 AWESTRUCK: Hasn’t won in a while, but takes a pretty big drop in class and likely gets a fast track for this event.


Proud as Punch
Lake Nakuru

#9 EXULT: Has run second in both of his career starts, and his most recent effort came against a next-out winner. If he can transfer his Gulfstream form to the Keeneland turf course, he’ll be tough to beat; #2 PROUD AS PUNCH: Comes back to the grass after faltering as a 4/5 favorite in an off-the-turf event. He’s another that may be moving well when the field turns for home; #5 LAKE NAKURU: Has run second in all three starts and adds blinkers here. This barn is due to get going, and the presence of Joel Rosario is a plus.

Keeneland Selections and Analysis: 4/10/19

Best Bet: Keep Quiet, Race 5
Longshot: Buggy Brown, Race 8


Champagne Affair
Merchants of Cool
Alec and Arthur

#7 CHAMPAGNE AFFAIR: Is one of two in here for Wesley Ward, whose record with first-time starters is one of the best in the game. Her sire, Daredevil, was a Grade 1-winning 2-year-old; #4 MERCHANTS OF COOL: Is the other Ward runner, and he’s been working consistently here. I think the race comes down to which of the barn’s runners is more ready to run; #6 ALEC AND ARTHUR: Comes in with a few solid gate works for a trainer that can get debuting runners ready to go.


Market Garden

#8 COWORKER: Has shown speed against better groups, and drops back in for a tag in a race light on early speed. He figures to go to the front early, and he could be tough to catch if he gets comfortable; #1 MOTI: Was a good second at Fair Grounds in his first start on dirt, where he made a decent move before flattening out. He was wide that day, and covering less ground could help; #5 MARKET GARDEN: Drops in class for a barn that knows how to win races here. This is his first start going long on dirt, and it comes against a suspect field.


Stefanie On Fleek

#7 STEFANIE ON FLEEK: Has improved with each start to this point and faces winners for the first time. She came home very quickly last time out at Gulfstream, and trainer Todd Pletcher is off to a great start at the meet; #1 TULA: Put it all together last time out at Tampa against a weak field. She has back form, and must be respected even on the big jump up in class; #11 CATSOUTOFTHEBAG: Draws a very tough post but seems like the main speed in this race. Early speed is often formidable at Keeneland, and she could play a big role here at a price, especially if she clears.


Marie’s Mandate
Duches of Grace
Miss Hannah

#4 MARIE’S MANDATE: Debuts against what seems like a suspect group after a string of solid local workouts. Brad Cox has already won three races at the meet, and he could have this filly ready to go; #5 DUCHES OF GRACE: Merits respect off of an OK second in the mud at Oaklawn in her debut. She’s the likely favorite, and she could conceivably improve at second asking; #1 MISS HANNAH: Was one-paced in her debut at Gulfstream, but this barn’s runners tend to improve with experience.


Keep Quiet
Cuestion de Tiempo

#6 KEEP QUIET: Has run well in both starts this year and returns to a turf course where he won a Grade 3 in 2016. He’s won just once since then, but his best race would make him very tough; #5 CUESTION DE TIEMPO: Merits respect at a price second off the layoff. He almost certainly needed his most recent race, and a repeat of his two-back win at Arlington makes him a contender; #2 ANOTHER: Won two back at Gulfstream and finished a credible fourth at this level last time out. The faster they go early, the more he’ll like it, and Jose Ortiz sees fit to ride back.


Day Dreamer

#9 TRAPPEZOID: Drops to his lowest-ever claiming tag and has tons of back class. His lone race here came against eventual stakes winner Promises Fulfilled, and the outside post should be a big help; #6 DAY DREAMER: Won for fun against weaker at Fair Grounds, and has since been claimed by Eddie Kenneally. He’s facing tougher company here, though, and regression off of a career-best race wouldn’t be surprising; #3 NOTTOWAY: Takes a big drop in class in search of his first win since July. Luis Saez hops aboard for a barn that’s due to heat up.


In the Lee

#4 IN THE LEE: Makes her seasonal debut, and while this race isn’t the goal, she’s been working well ahead of this event. She’s a graded stakes-caliber mare, and anything close to her best beats these; #8 DYNATAIL: Broke a long winless drought last time out in a race here in October. She’s got plenty of tactical speed and should be prominent early; #2 CARTABIANCA: Has won five races overseas and gets Lasix for her American debut. It’s tough to say much about what she beat in France, but the workouts here are very sharp.


Buggy Brown
Parade Blue
Unbridled Outlaw

#9 BUGGY BROWN: Will almost certainly not be 8-1 given his high-profile connections, but has worked very well since being claimed by Tom Amoss. He’s got plenty of speed and will likely be urged hard from the gate; #2 PARADE BLUE: Drops in for a tag after two starts at Gulfstream against better horses. His two prior starts against claimers this winter were both wins; #5 UNBRIDLED OUTLAW: Takes a big drop in class off of a failed run in a minor stakes race at Gulfstream Park. A repeat of his efforts two or three back would make him a player.

Keeneland Analysis and Selections: 4/7/19

Best Bet: Kimari, Race 1
Longshot: Roan Like the Wind, Race 4


Palace Duchess
Secretly Wicked

#5 KIMARI: Fetched $152,000 at auction last summer and has worked well for 2-year-old maestro Wesley Ward. That gate drill, in particular, jumps off the page, and I highly doubt she’ll be as high as her 5/2 morning line; #10 PALACE DUCHESS: Is the other Ward trainee, and she runs for owner/Triple Crown-winning jockey Steve Cauthen. She’s from the first crop of Palace, and it’ll be interesting to see if his offspring can run; #7 SECRETLY WICKED: Turned in a strong four-furlong move a few days ago and gets Jose Ortiz for her unveiling. She may want a bit longer, but there’s reason to suspect this one can run a bit.


Strut the Ring

#8 UNSTABLED: Romped at Turfway last time out, but may be even better on conventional dirt. He won two in a row over that surface late last year and could sit a perfect stalking trip; #7 PEEKACHO: Has won two of his last three and may be in peak form. He may be better on synthetic surfaces, but he did run an OK second at a similar route at Churchill last year; #4 STRUT THE RING: Settled for second in an off-the-turf event last time out at Fair Grounds. He won his other dirt route start earlier this year and may go off favored.


Bar Harbor
Life Mission

#14 EXULT: Needs some luck to draw in, but merits respect if he does. He’s run well twice at Gulfstream, including a second behind a next-out winner last time out; #12 BAR HARBOR: Closed very well to be second in his debut for a barn whose debuting runners often need a race to get going. The post isn’t ideal, but a step forward will make him tough to beat; #6 LIFE MISSION: Ran well in several stakes races last year, but makes his 2019 debut off of a layoff. There’s a chance he’s simply better than this group, but if there’s a time to go against him, it’s here.


Roan Like the Wind
Grove Daddy
Musical Man

#10 ROAN LIKE THE WIND: Hasn’t run in a while, but has shown early zip against better fields than what he’ll line up against here. Speed has been good at Keeneland, and I think he could lead them a long way at a nice price; #2 GROVE DADDY: Drops in for a tag for the first time and cuts back to one turn. His debut here last fall wasn’t bad, and the class relief should be a big help; #7 MUSICAL MAN: Generally runs the same race every time out and was an OK second against state-breds last month at Fair Grounds. His one-turn efforts haven’t been bad, and his versatility is a plus.


My Sixth Sense
Mr. Ankeny

#5 COMBINATION: Adds blinkers on the ship-in from Gulfstream, where he’s run pretty well against some solid sprinters. The recent workouts are strong, and this barn is likely riding high after Imprimis’s win Saturday in the Shakertown; #7 MY SIXTH SENSE: Makes his seasonal debut off a considerable layoff, but he’s been working steadily and showed some zip as a 2-year-old. This sharp barn may have him ready to go here; #9 MR. ANKENY: Likely needed his 2019 bow and almost certainly will not be his 15-1 morning line price off of just one bad effort. His connections thought enough of him to try last year’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity, and this one-turn route should suit him better.


Kulin Rock
Daddy’s Cozy
Battle of Memphis

#6 KULIN ROCK: Gets a tepid nod in a very difficult turf race. It’s tough to get too excited about a 1-for-13 entrant, but he was a very good third in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida and could be in career-best form for Mike Maker; #8 DADDY’S COZY: Stands to be forwardly-placed at a big price off of a race he likely needed. Early speed isn’t too prevalent in this field, and recent workouts indicate he’s primed for a big one second off the bench; #7 BATTLE OF MEMPHIS: Graduated last time out at Gulfstream and faces winners for the first time. He hasn’t done much wrong to this point and could be ready for a step up.


Mother Mother
Queen of Beas

#2 MOTHER MOTHER: Comes east for Bob Baffert and, in doing so, gets away from Bellafina. Her main opposition is no joke, but this seems like the perfect spot for her, especially given her win in Kentucky last fall; #8 FEEDBACK: Scratched from the Grade 1 Ashland to run here and drew a cozy outside post. She has every right to move forward off of her most recent start and certainly merits respect; #3 QUEEN OF BEAS: Has won two in a row at Gulfstream and gets a class test here. Jose Ortiz stays aboard, and her two-back Beyer Speed Figure of 92 is the highest such number in the field.


Regal Glory
Princesa Carolina

#9 REGAL GLORY: Won two in a row before finishing second in the Grade 3 Sweetest Chant at Gulfstream. That was her first route start, and she has every right to improve here for Chad Brown, who holds a very powerful hand here; #1 CLAUSE: Debuted with a smashing performance where she rallied from nine lengths back to prevail. The rail isn’t always the best post for a deep closer, but a clean trip would make her tough; #5 PRINCESA CAROLINA: Was second in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride at Gulfstream despite rating behind a very slow pace. The faster they go early, the better this filly will like it.


Bandon Woods
Runnin’ Ray
Passion Play

#9 BANDON WOODS: Gets a tepid nod in a finale that can best be described as befuddling. He showed some speed in his debut and has every right to relish the added distance he’ll get here; #1 RUNNIN’ RAY: Debuted with a solid second in the mud at Fair Grounds and is bred to go longer. He’s by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, and Joe Sharp trainees tend to improve with experience; #12 PASSION PLAY: Drew a horrible post, but has every right to improve off of his recent dud at Oaklawn. That may have been a bounce off of a strong race two back, where he was a tough-luck second behind a next-out winner.

Keeneland Analysis and Selections: Blue Grass Day (4/6/19)

Best Bet: Vekoma, Race 10
Longshot: Uno Mas Modelo, Race 6


Topper T

#5 TOPPER T: Drops back into the allowance ranks after six straight starts against stakes foes. He ran well twice against much better at Gulfstream, and anything close to those efforts would make him formidable; #6 PREAMBLE: Won two in a row as a 2-year-old, including a swiftly-run heat here in October, but hasn’t been seen since that race. He’s talented, but runs for a cold barn and may need his seasonal bow; #4 WALLACE: Almost certainly needed his 2019 debut, which came last month on a synthetic track. His lone race on dirt wasn’t terrible, and the class relief could help.


Honest Mischief
Camp Randall
Island Song

#11 HONEST MISCHIEF: Settled for second in his debut after running pretty quickly early on. He’s worked well since then, and the Juddmonte homebred figures to be very tough to beat in this spot; #12 CAMP RANDALL: Fetched $240,000 as a yearling and has a series of strong five-furlong workouts under his belt. Luis Saez signs on, and while the runner to his inside could be a serious horse, there are signs this one is ready to fire right away; #5 ISLAND SONG: Ran OK in a pair of starts at Gulfstream and has shown an ability to rate. The extra furlong shouldn’t be an issue, and he could hit the board at a bit of a price.


Take Charge Angel
Free Cover

#1 COVFEFE: Was 3/5 in the Grade 1 Frizette, where she tired to finish fourth behind eventual champion Jaywalk. Maybe she bounced, or maybe it was too long for her, but she’s worked really well and looks ready; #6 TAKE CHARGE ANGEL: Is another who bounced in stakes company last time out, and in this case, she makes her first start for Ben Colebrook. She’s worked well at Tampa and merits respect; #3 FREE COVER: Returned to form on the cutback in distance last time out, when she did everything but win at Fair Grounds. Toss her dud going long in December, and her form looks considerably better.


Midnight Pleasure

#6 ALMITHMAAR: Hasn’t won in a while, but doesn’t come up against the strongest field for the level and has been chasing stakes-quality horses. It helps that he’s won here before, and he could sit an ideal stalking trip; #5 SPARTICLE: Has shown he may not like Gulfstream, so I have no problem tossing the last-out effort. Jose Ortiz rides for a consistent barn, and he’ll likely be prominent early; #8 MIDNIGHT PLEASURE: Has finished out of the money just once in his last nine starts, a stretch that includes four wins and several solid runs in stakes company. He’d benefit from a pace meltdown and should be going well late.


Amazing Audrey
Cured by Kitten

#5 AMAZING AUDREY: Could hold a pace advantage as one of only a few frontrunners in the field. Her last-out win at Gulfstream was very good, and she may not have to go much faster to make the lead out of the gate here; #3 DYNABEE: Closed well to be third in her 2019 debut after spending 2018 overseas. She ran well in stakes company as a 2-year-old, and a move forward off of her seasonal bow gives this one a big shot; #1 CURED BY KITTEN: Hasn’t had a lot of racing luck in her last two starts, when she’s rated behind slow paces at Gulfstream. She does sport a win over this turf course, though, and her recent running lines are dotted by several next-out winners.


Limousine Liberal
Uno Mas Modelo
Recruiting Ready

#6 LIMOUSINE LIBERAL: Makes his 2019 debut and is an easy horse to root for. His non-threatening fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint is one of only a few misfires on his ledger, and this seven-furlong distance fits him like a glove; #8 UNO MAS MODELO: Has always had the look of a very strong sprinter. Toss his run in the Jockey Club Gold Cup (which he never had a chance in given the distance), and you have a horse that has won seven of his last eight starts; #2 RECRUITING READY: Has won two of three since coming off a long layoff and looked great when winning the Grade 3 Gulfstream Park Sprint. If there’s hesitation here, it’s because of the seven-furlong distance and the fact that he’ll almost certainly be pushed early on.


Disco Partner
Bound for Nowhere

#11 IMPRIMIS: Will almost certainly be less than his 6-1 morning line price, and for good reason. His two losses both came with subpar trips, and he’ll be very tough if Paco Lopez can keep him out of trouble; #3 DISCO PARTNER: Has been one of the best turf sprinters in the country for several years and makes his 2019 debut in a tough spot. He should be rolling late, but does he need a race off the bench?; #9 BOUND FOR NOWHERE: Hasn’t been seen since misfiring in the Shadwell Turf Mile, but that was far too long for him. He’s a sprinter who loves this route, and he’s got a real chance to win this event for the second year in a row.


Shamrock Rose
Amy’s Challenge
America’s Tale

#9 SHAMROCK ROSE: Ran a very good third behind Midnight Bisou and Elate at Oaklawn and cuts back to her preferred route of ground here. They should go fast early, which would set up perfectly for this one’s late kick; #4 AMY’S CHALLENGE: Has emerged as a monster following two runaway wins over weaker at Oaklawn Park. She’ll certainly be contending for the lead, but is this seven-furlong distance further than she wants to run?; #8 AMERICA’S TALE: Showed a lot by winning the Inside Information after rating a few lengths off the pace. This barn is off to a scorching start in 2019, and we may get a bit of a price on a horse that likes this distance.


Restless Rider

#5 FEEDBACK: Came back running in the Grade 3 Forward Gal and has every right to continue her forward progression here. Two turns shouldn’t be a problem, and we may get a fair price given the presence of my two underneath horses; #4 JAYWALK: Laid an egg when fourth in the Grade 2 Davona Dale, but she may have needed that race off a long layoff. She’s worked well since that dud, and a repeat of her Breeders’ Cup score would make her the horse to beat; #6 RESTLESS RIDER: Did not finish worse than second in six starts as a 2-year-old, but comes in off of a long layoff for a trainer whose horses sometimes need a race to get going. She could win, but I feel she may be a slight underlay.


Market King

#2 VEKOMA: Came back running when a decent third in the Fountain of Youth, and has been working steadily ahead of his second start of the year. This field is heavy on quantity, but a bit suspect in quantity, and his best race almost certainly beats these; #4 MARKET KING: Was third behind Omaha Beach and Game Winner at a big price in a division of the Grade 2 Rebel. He’s shown plenty of early speed, which this field is actually pretty light on. If the track favors early zip leading up to the Blue Grass, he could have a say in the outcome at a nice price; #3 SIGNALMAN: Was one-paced in the Fountain of Youth but may have needed the race. McPeek’s horses tend to improve second off the layoff, and the recent bullet at Gulfstream inspires some confidence in an improved performance.


Choate Bridge
Delta’s Kingdom
Hungry Kitten

#2 CHOATE BRIDGE: Ran very well in her debut last summer and almost certainly needed the last-out effort. She should take a step forward here, and the improved post position draw is a big plus; #5 DELTA’S KINGDOM: Was a beaten favorite last time out at Gulfstream, but didn’t have much pace to run at that day. She’s an obvious contender with better racing luck, although it’s tough to take 5/2 in a 12-horse maiden race; #9 HUNGRY KITTEN: Closed well in her debut back in November and has some flashy works on the tab ahead of her return to the races. Javier Castellano signing on is another positive.