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Let our experts help you handicap the day's races at Keeneland. To see the analysis provided by each handicapper, choose a handicapper name on the left, then choose a date.

Please note that selections typically are available about 48 hours in advance of the race.

E.g., October 17

    Jeremy Plonk

    Jeremy Plonk has worked in the racing industry professionally for 23 years and has been a statistical consultant to Keeneland, Del Mar and Oaklawn Park, as well as NBC Sports and ESPN. He has been a national racing columnist for ESPN.com and Daily Racing Form and is the owner of Horse Player NOW, creator of the Night School national fan education program. A former chart caller for Equibase, he continues to be a public handicapper in the Horse Player NOW BUZZ report.


    Wednesday, October 18, 2017

    Jeremy Plonk’s Keeneland Keys for Wednesday, October 18

     

    What to Watch for Today: A season-high pick six carryover of $132,849 awaits horseplayers on today’s third through eighth races.

     

    Jockey Ricardo Santana Jr. won 5 races here Saturday and Sunday and has only 2 mounts on the card – Zing Zang in Race 6 and Fizzy Friday in Race 7. The riding colony welcomes back Julien Leparoux following his road trip to Woodbine when second in Sunday’s G1 Canadian International, as well as International-winning trainer Tim Glyshaw.

     

    **NEW** Updated analysis: Follow @BetKeeneland on Twitter or go to the Keeneland.com live racing page to get my live podcast reports at 10 minutes to post for each race of the meet, including how horses look pre-race, overlays/underlays, track tendencies and more. Miss them live? Each report will be immediately archived for your convenience.

     

    Today’s Keeneland NOW live podcast: Join Caton Bredar and me from noon-12:30 pm ET as we preview the entire day’s action in a 30-minute daily preview at Keeneland.com (http://www.keeneland.com/racing/racing-live-coverage). Miss the live premiere? Get the archive immediate thereafter with a link from @BetKeeneland on Twitter or at the live racing page at Keeneland.com.

     

    Weather: A gorgeous autumn day with temps in the upper-60s and a 0% chance of rain are in the forecast. We should be fast and firm to start the racing week.

                                                  

    Keeneland Handicapping 101: Most information is gleaned from the free Keeneland Handicapping database (http://apps.keeneland.com/awstats/Default.asp) that you can manipulate and search for yourself as well!

     

    Races 1 and 4 – We have a pair of maiden claimers on the dirt early in the card today. Churchill preppers have won 5 of the 12 maiden claimers at the meet (no other circuit more than 2). Sire Tapit is fast-approaching status as the leading dirt sire at Keeneland (18 wins, 2 this meet) and is represented by Headliner and Encrypt in Race 1. He’s just 1 behind Candy Ride (19) and tied with Harlan’s Holiday (18) since the dirt conversion. My favorite price sire Archarcharch has Ty Man in this race and it’s notable that 5 of his 9 Kee dirt wins have been in this MCL division. As for Race 4, we have 2-year-olds and trainer D. Wayne Lukas (Card Club) and he’s won at least 1 maiden 2yo dirt race here at Kee each of the last 4 years. Note first-time starters have won only 2 of the 19 maiden claimers on dirt at 7F.

     

    Race 2 – Open $32,000 claimers sprint 6 furlongs to open the early pick four. Royal Assset’s April 26 win was fifth-fastest of 21 at the distance during the Spring Meet. Control Stake was runner-up in the second-fastest 6F race of the Spring Meet. Blue Wings ran the fifth-fastest of 28 races during the 2016 Fall Meet at 6F, while Speightsong was runner-up by a neck in the seventh-fastest such race at the ’16 Fall stand. Wabel’s only effort here on dirt was the second-fastest 6.5 furlong race of 16 at the 2015 Fall Meet. In other words, these are some high-quality claimers who have an affinity for the track. Candy Ruby has never been on this track, but brings that Candy Ride pedigree that’s been most effective here over the years. Speed has been strong at 6F historically and this meet with an average winner just ¾ of a length off the lead after the opening half-mile and 15 of 17 winners within 2-1/2 lengths of the lead at that point.

     

    Race 3 – Allowance/optional claiming sprinters match up at 6 ½ furlongs. I can’t wait to see Excitations back at Keeneland after an impressive 7F romp here in the Spring Meet in the second-fastest time only to the Commonwealth Stakes. He was 1 of 3 offspring of Into Mischief to win at that meet at 7 furlongs alone. But Petrov had his number at Parx last time and he’s by sire Flatter, whose sprinters on this Kee dirt are second-to-none. Meanwhile, red-hot upset trainer Tim Glyshaw has 12-1 morning line offering Dark Arden (by my longshot sire Archarcharch, no less). This barn has won the G1 Canadian International and Keeneland’s G3 Woodford with 42-1 and 26-1 shots in recent weeks.

     

    Race 5 – Churchill Downs preppers own an 11-4 edge over Indiana Grand runners in the non-winners of 2 lifetime claiming races during Fall Meets on dirt. Those 2 circuits seem to have the main contenders on paper in this race. Pretty Greeley has a win over the track, but her MCL score here last Fall was 2 lengths slower than par for the class/distance and sixth-fastest of 9 MCLs at the meet.

     

    Race 6 – Trainer Steve Asmussen and jockey Ricardo Santana teamed to win 2 races here Saturday and reunite with Zing Zang, a first-time by the aforementioned Tapit. Keeneland fans will recognize the pedigree of Mark Casse’s Mississippi, a son of Thoroughbred Club Of America Stakes winner Katz Me If You Can. Don’t look for a big upset here as 13 of 15 juvenile MSWs at 7 furlongs have been won by horses 5-1 or less. Seven prepped at Churchill, 6 were first-time starters. Mark Casse leads all trainers with a trio of 7F MSW-winning 2YOs and offers Steel Shot. Ben Colebrook’s horses have had a penchant for winning 7F races here at Keeneland, so Violent Strike might be worth a look, but first-time starters haven’t been his bag.

     

    Race 7 – Turf route allowance competitors match up here and it’s notable that Kentucky Downs-prepped horses have won 10 of the first 18 turf races at the meet. Churchill has produced only 1 grass winner, almost equally surprising. Brooks House, Bonnie Arch and Sensitive are your KD raiders of note. The latter’s trainer, Brad Cox, was ice-cold the first several days of the meet but perked up with a pair of winners over the weekend. Quebec deserves a look off the also-eligible list from KD if she gets in. Six of the 18 turf races at the meet have produced upset winners paying $20 or more.

     

    Race 8 – The action ends with a $10,000 claiming route at 1-1/16 miles on dirt. Sire Candy Ride has former graded stakes competitor Candy My Boy on a massive class drop to consider. Jack Tripp has run well over the track for sire Flatter. Glitnir makes the Churchill 1-turn mile to Keeneland 1-1/16 miles I love to see and that has won 3 of the 11 Fall Meet bottom-level CLM races at this distance. Favorites are 6-11 at this class/distance in Fall Meets and only 1 winner has been more than 4-1 on the toteboard, so don’t reach too far.

     

    My Selections: You can get my top 3 picks in each race on the track simulcast feed before each race as well on the Keeneland.com handicappers’ consensus page (http://www.keeneland.com/racing/handicappers-consensus). Also look for final, up to the minute adjustments by following @BetKeeneland as I live Tweet throughout the card.

     

    Feel free to drop me an E-mail anytime at Jeremy@Horseplayernow.com.

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