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FRIDAY / April 5
Race 1: familiar connections (Ken & Sarah Ramsey, trainer Mike Maker) figure to get the meet started off on a winning note. Age of Aquarius is worth a look with two races last spring that would be good enough to win this. Tap All Night goes for trainer Kenny McPeek, whose stable usually performs well at Keeneland. EXACTA BOX: 1-6-7
Race 2: Namaskra comes out of a Gulfstream Park turf race, where the competition was stiff this winter. EXACTA BOX: 3-1/1A
Race 3: jockey Julien Leparoux isn't a regular rider for trainer Ryan Walsh and when a top rider takes a mount for a trainer for whom he doesn't usually ride, that's noteworthy so Devil's Lil Bit is the pick here. Also, this one has good form at Presque Isle and horses who run well there seem to often run well at Keeneland. Megnog won here last fall and is worth a long look in this spot as well. EXACTA BOX: 1-5-6
Race 4: trainer Wesley Ward usually points his horses for the Keeneland meet and that makes Sweet Emma Rose the choice here over Mad Princess, whose recent workouts are quite impressive. EXACTA BOX 2/2b-3-6
Race 5: Scatman loves Keeneland's main track and he's also dropping in class from his recent company. That combination makes him tough to beat here, over two other horses with an affinity for Keeneland--Night Party and Seruni. EXACTA BOX: 3-2-5
Race 6: Pernelli gets a big upgrade in riders and comes off a winning performance. Something close to that last race wins here.. Tactical Moment and Tiz Now My Choice come out of tough races at Gulfstream but they have to overcome difficult post positions here. EXACTA BOX: 4-11-12.
Race 7: Over the Counter ran a super race in her synthetic debut last month. I think the favorite is vulnerable here so Over the Counter gets the call off that improvement last time out. Nahima goes for strong connections and Flying Rapunzel can hit the board at a nice price here. EXACTA BOX: 4-1-3
Race 8: this is an especially contentious race so don't take a short price. Klisz takes a class drop in this spot and has shown a fondness for Keeneland's surface. He's the pick here over a Keeneland-loving horse, Luzianna Man, but it's a close call. And Bull Dozer should be tough on the class drop. EXACTA BOX 4-3-1
Race 9: a very well-matched opening day stake and I find myself returning to that jockey-riding-for-lesser-known-trainer angle. I don't recall Leparoux riding often for the Frostad stable so the pairing here suggests confidence in Pyrite Mountain and that's my pick. Holiday Star was initially my choice but the poor position caused a change of mind. Still, he'll be dangerous if the rider can work out a trip and Bambazonki has shown he likes the surface here. EXACTA BOX: 5-11-4
Race 10: Marquet Cat gets the call on the class drop, over two horses who have that Presque Isle-Keeneland connection--Calculating Jimmy and Tahoe Warrior. EXACTA BOX: 2-3-4
BEST EXACTA PLAY: race 7
BEST LONGSHOT (double-digits in morning line): Luzianna Man, race 8
50-cent LATE PICK FOUR: (starting in race 7) 4/1/3 with 4/3/1 with 5/11/4/6 with 2/3