OPENING WEEKEND AT KEENELAND! Keeneland is set for a strong opening weekend highlighted by six graded stakes races this Saturday in Lexington, KY. We’re back to give our selections for the Grade 1 Madison, Grade 1 Jenny Wiley and the Grade 2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes, a Kentucky Derby Prep race. And, we’re off:
Keeneland – Saturday, July 11th
The Madison– Grade 1, $250,000 7 Furlongs on the dirt
The Madison is consistently a race that top trainers have circled on their calendars. This year will live up to that hype as this field is loaded with talent. Keep your eye on the winner of this race as they will almost surely be running on the Breeder’s Cup card this November.
Win Bet – #5 Guarana (1/1 ML): It only takes two words to describe Guarana – ABSOLUTE MONSTER. This two-time grade 1 winner is prime for another huge performance second off a layoff. In five career races, she has four wins and one second place finish. It might take an act of God for Guarana to lose this race, thus the even money morning line.
Alternate Selection and Longshot Pick- #3 Sally’s Curlin (10/1 ML): I wouldn’t advise picking against the favorite in this race, but if you wish to, Sally’s Curlin is a good option that comes at a price. The top horse in the CJ Thoroughbreds barn, Sally’s Curlin has won 5 of her last 7. She is one for one at the distance, and if Guarana sets a hot pace, get ready for Sally to come flying like a rocket at the end of this race.
$50 Win #5 Guarana = $50
$10 Win/Show #3 Sally’s Curlin = $20
$1 Exact Box 3-5-9 = $6
$1 Trifecta Box 3-5-8-9 = $24
Total = $100
Toyota Blue Grass Stakes – Grade 2, $600,000 1 1/8 Miles on the dirt
The Toyota Blue Grass is a Kentucky Derby prep race that offers qualifying points to the top four finishers. However, the race hasn’t produced a Kentucky Derby winner since Strike the Gold in 1991. Will this be the year?
Win Bet – #3 Art Collector (5/1 ML): Since switching to trainer Thomas Drury Jr. in 2020, Art Collector is 2 for 2 winning by a combined 9 ¼ lengths. In his last race, Art Collector beat a field of four by 6 ½ lengths which included this week’s Indiana Derby winner Shared Sense, who ran second. Look for Art Collector to take the lead near the quarter pole and let loose.
Alternate Pick – #7 Swiss Skydiver (3/1 ML): Big Money Mike Smith flies into Lexington to take the mount on Swiss Skydiver. Swiss Skydiver looks excellent on paper. However, she is the race’s lone filly challenging the boys in a tough test. 3/1 doesn’t seem reasonable to me, but she is definitely not a bad second option.
Longshot – #9 Attachment Rate (20/1 ML): It is very easy to overlook Attachment Rate’s last race – a 4th place finish in the Grade 3 Matt Winn. However, that field was loaded with derby talent. At 20/1, it isn’t hard to get on board with Saez/Romans/Attachment Rate. All of this to say, I’d bet to show – a win seems more unlikely.
$40 Win/Place #3 Art Collector = $80
$20 Show #9 Attachment Rate = $20
Total = $100
Bonus: “Insider” Longshot of the Week
Grade 1 Jenny Wiley – $350,000 1 1/16 Mile on the turf
#7 Altea (12/1 ML): We all know about Chad Brown on the turf course. He wins – a lot. That being said, Chad has two runners in this race. The favorite, #4 Rushing Fall, and #7 Altea. This race is loaded with speed on the front end. Look for Altea to be coming fast at the end of this race and if she gets there, there is big money to be made.
$40 Win/Place #7 Altea = $80
$2 Exacta Box 4-6-7 = $12
$1 Trifecta Box 4-6-7 = $6
Total = $98