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: BERNIE THE MAESTRO (#3) faltered as the favorite in the Commonwealth Stakes (G3) on April 13 but drops in against much easier company today and should be able to beat these. ADIOS NARDO (#1) ran evenly in his lone start here and looks like the main competition. UNION BOWMAN (#4) is a contender.
2nd Race: MURPHYS COVERT (#7) didn’t break sharply from the 12 post last out and was bounced around a bit into the first turn. He failed to fire in that one but probably needed the race and can be expected to run much better today. SPARTAN KING (#8) beat the top pick last out and figures to be dangerous. PROUD JARED (#4) should figure in the gimmicks.
3rd Race: NAUGHTY NIGHTIE (#3) was slammed leaving the gate in her debut but rallied well to finish fifth. If she takes to the Polytrack, she can win this one with Gary Stevens picking up the mount for trainer Dale Romans. SMITTENWITHKITTEN (#1) was a beaten favorite last out at Turfway Park but drops in for a tag and will be tough at this level. LITTLE NORWEGIAN (#7) will be running late.
4th Race: BALTHAZAR (#7) ran well in both of his races on the Gulfstream turf. He should be able to handle the added distance and could make it two in a row for trainer Dale Romans. CANTINERO (#6) has shown steady improvement in each of his races. He moves up in class for this one but is definitely the one to beat. EMPIRE KNIGHT (#8) debuts for Christophe Clement, who does well with his first-timers.
5th Race: TANGLED SHEETS (#8) comes off a couple of solid efforts at Oaklawn Park and owns two wins over the Keeneland Polytrack. His best would make him a winner in a well-matched claiming test. PUREST FORM (#2) won his first start back after being claimed by owner Ken Ramsey and trainer Mike Maker. He has never tried the Polytrack but still figures to be the one to beat. TOBOGGAN SLIDE (#4) has been off since 2011 but is in the capable hands of trainer Graham Motion and has to be respected.
6th Race: SQUALL KING (#2) made a big middle move in the Palm Beach Stakes (G3) but was caught behind a wall of horses and then faded in the stretch. He looks like another live runner from the Dale Romans barn with Gary Stevens picking up the mount. AMEN KITTEN (#6) beat the top pick in the Palm Beach and figures to be dangerous. BOLD DANCE (#10) ran poorly after breaking poorly and encountering some trouble in the first turn last out. He is a solid contender in a tough allowance race.
7th Race: STARSHIP GAMBLER (#2) and FOG HAPPENS (#4) are both trained by Mike Maker and exit the same race at Gulfstream. Starship Gambler was checked hard entering the first turn and faded badly after moving up to press an extremely fast pace. She has trained very well since that race and rates a slight edge over her stablemate, who will be running well at the end. WHY TAKE A CHANCE (#3) needed her last start and drops a notch in class.
8th Race: ASSATEAGUE (#11) was in contention when she clipped heels in the stretch last out at Gulfstream Park. She continued on well after that and actually galloped out on top. She is training well over the Keeneland strip and can spring the mild upset in a well-matched allowance race. TROPHY WIFE (#1) has been off since October but trainer Shug McGaughey’s horses are running well and this one looks dangerous. RUN A RISK (#10) had a rough trip at Gulfstream and broke her maiden over the Keeneland turf.
9th Race: SOUTHERN JOY (#1) comes off a front-running win last out and is 2 for 2 over the Keeneland Polytrack. He should be on or near the lead again today and can make it two in a row for the hot trio of Ramsey/Maker/Rosario. FIVE AFLEET (#5) won here last meet and will be running at the end. ROCK IN BAGE (#2) drops in class and has to be considered.