Let our experts help you handicap the day's races at Keeneland.
Please note that selections typically are available about 48 hours in advance of the race.
Mike is Keeneland’s longtime odds maker and is recognized as being one of the best handicappers in America. In addition to his duties at Keeneland, he is a racing analyst for NBC’s Thoroughbred racing coverage.
1st Race: LOVE THE KITTEN (#9) and BRUISED ORANGE (#1) are both trained by Wesley Ward but run uncoupled in the betting. Slight edge to the former in the first baby race of the season. BELLA VAQUERA (#2) debuts for trainer Bret Calhoun and has to be respected.
2nd Race: TONY B. (#6) didn't show much in his Gulfstream races but ran well over this track in October. A return to his best form would make him a winner with jockey Corey Lanerie picking up the mount for trainer Nick Zito. WHYRUASWSOME (#2) drops in for a tag for the first time and is definitely the one to beat. OCEAN ALLEY (#1) is a 3-year-old taking on older runners but he also ran well here in October and is a solid contender.
3rd Race: TRANSPARENT (#3) stumbled leaving the gate in the Cigar Mile (G1) and was off slowly last out in the Florida Sunshine Millions Classic. This is a much easier spot and if he breaks well he should win today. RAPSCALLION (#1) was impressive in his win here in the fall and will be tough with John Velazquez picking up the mount. A. P. INDIAN (#2) has the speed to be dangerous.
4th Race: EPHRAM S (#11) didn't have the smoothest of trips last out at Turfway and figures to be running at the end in a race that should have a lively pace. He could win this one at nice odds. CHIEF'S REVENGE (#10) figures to be on or near the lead throughout and is the one to catch. HARBORPLACE (#9) has been dull but is capable of better.
5th Race: EASTERN BELLE (#9) is one of three runners in here who are making their U.S. debuts. She comes off a fourth-place finish in a Group 1 and has been in the money in five of her six starts. Give her the slight edge with John Velazquez riding for trainer Graham Motion. LAHINCH CLASSICS (#6) is another British invader. This one is now trained by Chad Brown and will be tough with Javier Castellano aboard. CREATIVE SPIRIT (#2) rates a chance.
6th Race: Going for a longshot in an extremely wide-open maiden race. HELIODORO (#2) makes his fourth start for trainer Nick Zito, whose horses usually improve with racing experience. He can rally from just off the pace today and could spring the big upset. HOW ABOUT HIM (#8) was no match for Yokeys Warrior at Fair Grounds but that one came back to finish second here on Saturday. He figures to move forward and is the one to beat. ABDAAR (#1) is one of several first-timers from solid barns.
7th Race: GENRE (#11) ran poorly in the Davona Dale (G2) but trainer Todd Pletcher adds blinkers for this one and she has been training sharply for her return. Give her the edge in what appears to be an extremely well-matched race. MAKIN' SENSE (#10) showed nothing in her two races in Florida but has been sharp since returning to Kentucky and could add value to the gimmicks. BROADWAY SHOW (#7) is a definite threat.
8th Race: MATROOH (#4) won his U.S. debut after a 17-month layoff and looked sharp in that score. He has trained well for Chad Brown since that one and can make it two in a row with Javier Castellano back aboard. EMBELLISHING BOB (#8) has never run a bad race. He was moved up to the top spot after Bayern was disqualified in the 2014 Derby Trial (G3) and he figures to be tough to beat. TOP BILLING (#3) had to need his last race after a year on the sidelines and will improve.
9th Race: FIRST WHIPPOORWILL (#11) was claimed by trainer Joe Sharp in February and looked good winning on the grass last out. She posted a recent bullet work over the Keeneland dirt and shouldn't mind the surface switch today. Give her the edge. GREEK LIFE (#7) was beaten by lesser company at Gulfstream but was claimed by trainer Mike Maker, who has excellent numbers with his first claims. DON’T TELL ME NO (#10) is a contender.