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Tom Leach is “the Voice of the Wildcats” for football and men’s basketball and a contributor to Keeneland.com as well. He is a two-time winner of the Eclipse Award for radio coverage of thoroughbred racing. During race meets, check out Keeneland’s You Tube channel for his trainer and jockey interviews ahead of major stakes races and listen for the weekly “In The Money” podcast with Tom and Jim Goodman at keenelandselect.com. You can follow Tom’s coverage of the Cats at tomleachky.com.
Friday / October 3
Race 1: Aggrandizement (1) turns back from two 1 1/8 mile races and has good speed to hold his position down inside. It would be good to see Nick Zito back in the Keeneland winner's circle. Cosmo Blue is the one to beat. Exacta boxes: 1-6, 1-10
Race 2: Bettina Bugge (5) is steadily improving and another similar effort could take this one. Still, there's no standout so rather than key on my top pick, the play is four-horse exacta box: 5-2-4
Race 3: Hunting Hill (4) ran an 85 Beyer two starts back and that kind of effort would be good enough to win this heat for Rusty Arnold. Exacta boxes: 4-3, 4-1
Race 4: Cleveland Sound (3) has caught some tough fields in the last two outings, so he's battle-tested. Also, this one is bred to relish the switch to turf, so he could move forward enough to beat Designed for War. Exacta boxes: 3-2, 3-4, 3-7
Race 5: Joe Franklin (10) is a speed horse who gets a great speed rider in Paco Lopez and trainer Breen does very well with second-time starters. He could provide some value in a wide-open race. Exacta boxes: 10-9, 10-6, 10-2
Race 6: Officer Alex (4) made a major move forward in the first start off the layoff and he has some of his best figs at the longer sprint distance. Bourbon Courage (2) is certainly the one to beat. Exacta boxes: 4-2, 4-5
Race 7: a tough handicapping challenge with a race full of promising two-year olds from high-profile connections. I'll go with Exodus (8) because of the strong numbers trainer Larry Jones has in these kinds of circumstances. Moonlight Bandit (5), Tapit Wicked (4) and Hoarder (3) are others to strongly consider. Exacta box of 8-5-4-3
Race 8: C.Zee (1) is working lights out for Zito and I can see this one getting a nice trip just behind a speed duel and then surging to the lead in deep stretch, along the rail. Don't overlook Eastwood (6) either, as he's improved since the last time he tried graded stakes company. Exacta box of 1-6-4
Race 9: Top Decile (9) was an impressive maiden winner at Saratoga and she's bred to be even better around two turns. And trainer Stall is 22% on sprint-to-route moves. Exacta boxes 9-8, 9-2, 9-1
Race 10: Conquest Rebel (8) got his best Beyer in his first turf try and he's working well for Casse. Exacta boxes 8-10, 8-7, 8-6
Late Pick 4 (starts in race 7): ALL with 1,6 with 9,8 with 8,6