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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., July 29

    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, April 12, 2017

    Jeremy Plonk’s Keeneland Keys for Wednesday, April 12

     

    What to Watch for Today: Week two of the Spring Meet opens with an 8-race card that includes a pair of turf events and a Race 6 allowance with promising 3-year-olds. The 7th race allowance feature drips with pedigree intrigue. Meanwhile, the late pick 4 lines up with huge 9x11x12x12 field sizes to tempt horseplayers.

     

    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 @Keenelandracing on Twitter or at the live racing page at Keeneland.com.

     

    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. Also look for final, up to the minute adjustments by following @Keenelandracing as I live Tweet throughout the card.

     

    Chat Us Up: Join the live chat at Keeneland.com (http://www.keeneland.com/racing/racing-live-coverage) each day beginning at 12:45 pm ET through the end of the card and converse with other horseplayers as well as me and my team from Horse Player NOW.

     

    Get to the Windows: Be sure to open a Keenelandselect.com wagering account and play the action all meet long as well as great tracks worldwide. Dedicated to the sport. Dedicated to the players.

     

    Weather: After some light rain on the dark day and evening, sunny skies and temps in the 70s are forecasted for a gorgeous kickoff to 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!

     

    As is our annul custom, the Wednesday blog takes a look at past trends of the week so that we can look ahead with a sense of understanding of the recent events.

     

    A total of 30 races were held over the opening 3 programs, 22 on the main track and 8 on the turf. Those 30 winners came from 10 different last-out locations as well as a pair of first-time starters. The Keeneland melting pot was alive and well opening weekend.

     

    Let’s dig into the 22 main-track races. Favorites went 7-for-22 on the dirt, less than one-third winning and far below the 40-percent dirt average we’ve come to expect at Keeneland. And when you take away the Wesley Ward 2-year-old sweep of 2 races as the chalk, the traditional dirt races for older horses saw just 5-of-20 winning favorites. The average dirt winner was almost right at 6-1 odds even though 19 of 22 were single-digit odds. The G1 bombs of Irap (Blue Grass) and Sailor’s Valentine (Ashland) really kicked up the overall averages at 31-1 and 22-1 prices. Given that 2 of the races were baby dashes with all first-time starters, it’s notable on dirt that Fair Grounds and Gulfstream led the way with 5 winners produced each from the 20 offerings, while Tampa Bay Downs produced 3 and Oaklawn Park 2. It was a banner weekend for the Fair Grounds set. Overall, 11 of 17 dirt winners last week had a local Keeneland workout prior. Sires Flashy Bull and Lookin At Lucky struck with 2 dirt winners each. Eddie Kenneally and Wesley Ward each saddled 3 dirt winners, while Mark Casse added 2. Julien Leparoux led all dirt riders with 4 wins, followed by Javier Castellano and Corey Lanerie with 3.

     

    Pace-wise, 13 of 17 dirt sprint races were won by horses within 2 lengths of the lead after the opening half-mile. All 5 dirt route winners were within 3 lengths after the opening half-mile with 4 of the 5 within a single length. Seven of the 17 dirt sprints were won by horses turning back from a mile or longer prep. None of the routes were won in sprint-to-route fashion.

     

    Among the 8 races on turf, favorites were just 1-for-8 with an average winner of just under 6-1. Posts 1-3 tallied 6 of the 8 wins despite an average field size of 10.4 horses per race. Only 1 winner came from farther out than post 4, and that was Arklow in post 6 on Sunday. A pair of the 7 turf routes were won by the half-miler leader, but the average winner was 3 length off the lead after the opening half-mile. Gulfstream shippers won 4 of 8 turf races like clockwork as they’ve averaged about 50% of the grass wins here over the past decade of Spring Meetings.

     

    Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin led the turf trainers with 2 wins, both exiting Gulfstream preps. A trio of jockeys combined to horde 7 of the 8 turf victories – Joel Rosario (3), Javier Castellano (2) and Joe Ortiz (2).

     

    Feature Race Play, courtesy of the Horseplayernow.com BUZZ Report:

     

    Wednesday’s Race 7 allowance feature is at 1 mile on turf. Trainer Kiaran McLaughlin’s Gulfstream Park shipper Adonis Creed wired a similar event opening weekend and that barn will try to repeat the effort with speedy Alasaal. The always-potent GP brigade in this race also includes impeccably bred Morse Code, half-brother to Met Mile winner Honor Code, for Shug McGaughey, as well as Rusty Arnold’s Derby Champagne and Southern Wild.

     

    Three of the 8 turf winners opening weekend were coming off winter layoffs from 2016 and that’s been a good historical angle at Keeneland this time of year. Fresh turf horses fire. Remembering Mickey has not started since August, but has worked very well for Roger Attfield, who has won more Keeneland Spring Meet turf miles than any other trainer the past decade. Commend also figures prominently for Bill Mott in his first start since October. He ran a big second over this course last year. This colt is half-brother to Congrats and Flatter, quite a pedigree!

     

    I’ll be playing a price with Remembering Mickey to win-place, and using an exacta key-box of Remembering Mickey with Morse Code, Commend and Alasaal.

     

    Head to Keenelandselect.com to send in your plays!

     

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

     

               

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