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: AWESOME FLOWER (#1) and ON THE SAME PAGE (#1A) have different trainers (Maker and Ward) but run coupled as the Ramsey entry in the opener. The entry looks like a solid play in the opener. AGE OF AQUARIUS (#6) needed her last race and should improve.
2nd Race: The same owner/trainers combo is back again in the second race. STARSILHOUETTE (#1) and SISTERHOOD (#1A) form the Ramsey entry in this one and again figure to be very tough to beat. RARE EVENT (#2) has been off since November but had a solid 3-year-old campaign and is the one to beat.
3rd Race: QUICK PRAISE (#4) didn’t show much last out but probably needed that race after a three-month layoff. She ran well in her only start over the Keeneland surface and rates a slight edge in a well-matched race. ULTIMATE CLASS (#6) has the speed to be on or near the lead throughout and is the one to catch. RATTLIN GYPSY (#10) definitely fits with these.
4th Race: The first 2-year-old race of the year brings out two fillies from the barn of Wesley Ward, who has dominated these races in recent meets. SWEET EMMA ROSE (#2) and TOMEI (#2B) have solid works and John Velazquez is named on both runners. The one he rides will probably win. MAD PRINCESS (#3) posted a bullet work last week and figures to be the main competition.
5th Race: SCATMAN (#3) made a nice middle move before stopping in a Grade 3 race on the turf last out. He will like the move back to the Keeneland Polytrack, where he has already won two races and looks best with Shaun Bridgmohan picking up the mount for trainer Bill Mott. SERUNI (#2) has been idle since a solid showing in the Ack Ack Handicap (G3) in November and is training sharply for his return. UPGRADE (#6) will be hard to beat if he handles the Polytrack.
6th Race: PARNELLI (#4) is a high-priced Keeneland sales grad who showed dramatic improvement in his third career start. He posted a recent bullet work at Palm Meadows and rates a slight edge in a wide-open maiden race. TORMENTA FIERA (#5) ran well in both of his races in Canada last year and figures to be tough. WIND OF BOSPHORUS (#7) has the speed to be in contention throughout.
7th Race: FLYING RAPUNZEL (#3) has been idle since a dull effort as the favorite here in October. Trainer Wayne Catalano is very good with returning runners and John Velazquez is named to ride. She figures to be ready for a solid performance today. SPEEDINTHRUTHECITY (#6) needed her race at Santa Anita and can be expected to move forward off that effort. LIBERATED (#8) is a definite threat in a tough allowance race.
8th Race: BULL DOZER (#1) won five of his 10 races last year and comes off a solid fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Mr. Prospector at Gulfstream. He should get a good trip under Joel Rosario and if he handles the Polytrack he figures to beat these. KLISZ (#4) broke his maiden over this track last year and comes off two solid performances in California. He can’t be left out of the gimmicks. YES I’M AWESOME (#6) is another one who won over this track last year and his speed makes him dangerous.
9th Race – Transylvania (G3): REDWOOD KITTEN (#8) exits a key race at Gulfstream. Black Onyx came out of there to win the Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati Racing Spiral Stakes (G3) at Turfway Park and Crop Report won the Team Valor Rushaway Stakes on the same day. There isn’t a lot of early speed in here, and he could spring the mild upset in an extremely well-matched renewal of the Transylvania. UP WITH THE BIRDS (#3) closed strongly to win last out in his first race back after a layoff. He has won three of four and is definitely the one to beat. FIRE GUARD (#7) and JACK MILTON (#6) ran 1-2 last out and both are solid contenders.
10th Race: MARQUET CAT (#2) drops in class and his best would make him a winner for trainer Mike Maker and jockey Joel Rosario. TAHOE WARRIOR (#4) has been idle since a narrow loss here in the fall and figures to be the one to beat. CALCULATING JIMMY (#3) is a 10-year-old veteran who fits in here.