Expert Picks

You are here

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., December 11

    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 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.

    Friday, October 27, 2017

    Jeremy Plonk’s Keeneland Keys for Friday, October 27


    What to Watch for Today: A pair of promising 2-year-old races in today’s 5th and 8th join two turf mile allowances on a card that includes the meet’s final $200,000-guaranteed late pick four pool, presented by TVG.


    **NEW** Updated analysis: Follow @BetKeeneland on Twitter or go to the 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 ( Miss the live premiere? Get the archive immediate thereafter with a link from @BetKeeneland on Twitter or at the live racing page at


    Weather: Temps in the upper 60s are forecasted with a 30% chance of precipitation.


    Keeneland Handicapping 101: Most information is gleaned from the free Keeneland Handicapping database ( that you can manipulate and search for yourself as well!


    Race 1 – Seven-furlong maiden races have been tricky during Fall Meets with 8 straight favorites losing heading into this week and the first 3 winners of this meet being 7-1, 9-1 and 12-1. Trainer Phil Sims long has been an adept conditioner of 7F horses, a specialist distance, and tries Out of Hydeing here. More than 60% of Keeneland Fall 7F MCL winners raced at 7F or longer last time, but it’s rarer to find that in a 2YO version of this race. Still, Linburgh’s Kitten, Want, Royal Holiday, Tizpure and Something Bird all have that going for them – a feather in their cap.


    Race 2 – After going 11-for-23 in previous Fall Meets, favorites in maiden claiming routes are an inexplicable 0-for-6 to open this meet. These are ideal spots for run-back winners second time at the meet as we’ve seen that move work for winners in 2014, 2015 and 2015 in MCL routes. Lil Miss Blue Eyes makes a ton of sense for a Ken McPeek barn that’s won more MCL routes as Keeneland than anyone over the last decade regardless of surface. Also back second time at the meet is Shezappealing. Butter Up Katie and Pocket of Aces both should relish the Kee surface first time over it based on sires Flatter and Harlan’s Holiday.


    Race 3 – Basement level $7500 claimers sprint 7 furlongs in the third. Indiana Grand has produced 5 winners here in Fall Meets since 2014 in these $7500-$10,000 type spots, including 1 already this meet. Spirit Grabber and Solitary Ranger make that move. Youu Den was a run-back winner at this class level last week and we’ve seen run-backs at this class win during 2014, 2016 and this current meet. Court’s Ruling and Lucky Lotto come out of the same Oct. 12 race. That race checked in about 1 length faster than par for this class level.


    Race 4 – Open $50,000 maiden claimers clash at 1-1/16 miles. Trainer Mark Casse’s torrid start cooled mightily after opening weekend, so don’t feel obligated to go for Thirstforlife, though that runner was a course and distance winner here last Fall Meet. Stapleton chased one of the fastest 7F races we’ve seen here in the Spring when fading vs. Excitations et al. That race isn’t nearly as bad as it looks and he’s the speed threat vs. Thirstforlife. Only 1 winner at 1-1/16 miles on dirt this Fall Meet has closed more than 5 lengths after the opening half-mile to win, so you want to be in striking range.


    Race 5 – Juicy prices often follow these 2-year-old turf maiden special weights. Favorites are 1-for-6 at the meet and the average winner in all Fall Meets has paid more than $21. We saw two late-meet run-back winners here during 2016 Fall in this category, so beware Beau Belle and Portrait of Emma at prices. Ian Wilkes has had 3 turf juvenile MSW winners in recent Falls and brings Gentle Ruler here. Horses with experience have won 33 of the 40 such races offered here, with first-time starters accounting for 7. Give the edge to experience.


    Race 6 – This is a mixed condition for non-winners of 3 races lifetime or 3-year-olds. We don’t get much history in these types to look at unfortunately. Hunka Burning Love is a horse-for-course play running back second time at the meet and yet another Into Mischief offspring who excels here. Forty Acres also fits that same mold as a past winner here and one who needed his last. Noshackleshere trainer Ben Colebrook specializes a these 7F upsets at Keeneland and cashed nicely for us at 8-1 on Oct. 14. This is a very deep and contentious race, spread in the pick fours and fives.


    Races 7 and 9 – Both of these are 1-mile turf allowances for older horses. Kentucky Downs preppers have won 5 of the 12 turf allowances this meet coming into this week. Mike Maker has won 4 of these at the meet and has One Last Strike in Race 7 as well as Gentle Kitten/Peru in Race 9. Of the 7 turf miles run at the meet, only 1 winner was closer than 2-1/2 lengths off the lead after the opening half-mile. The average winner has been just over 3 lengths off the pace at that point.


    Race 8 – This one offers maiden special weight 2-year-olds at 6 furlongs. Sire Paynter has had a pair of 2YO winners at the meet (both on turf) and has Clearwater as well as Bootsy’s Hanenough in here. Ipanema Beach is by Candy Ride, the top Kee dirt sire since the resurfacing, and Rusty Arnold has had a whale of a meet with 2 stakes, 2 allowance wins. Bartlett Narrows is by sharp Kee sprint sire Flatter. Tom Morley uncorked a first-time starter winner here earlier in the meet and gets Julien Leparoux to ride rookie Miss Devine. Steve Asmussen has dominated with 4 MSW 2YO wins at the meet and has fast-working rookie Emma Kate. What a race!


    Race 10 – Favorites have won only 1 of the last 12 non-winners of 2 claimers coming into this week at Keeneland, dating back to early in the 2016 Fall Meet (0-4 to start this meet). We’ve seen run-back winners in these N2L sprints in 2014 and 2015 Fall, totaling 3 such wins. Churchill preppers own 12 wins at this level with Indiana Grand a distant second with 5.


    My Selections: You can get my top 3 picks in each race on the track simulcast feed before each race as well on the handicappers’ consensus page ( 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




Keeneland Association, Inc. 4201 Versailles Road
Lexington, Kentucky 40510
Telephone: (859) 254-3412 Toll Free: (800) 456-3412 Fax: (859) 255-2484

©1999-2015 Keeneland Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved