Let our experts help you handicap the day's races at Keeneland.
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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.
SATURDAY / April 12
Race 1: (8) Wallyanna goes for a new barn that shows a high percentage with new claims. Given this is a weak field, this one could offer good value. Kowboy Boots figures to go favored but is a question mark on polytrack. Exacta boxes: 8-5, 8-2, 8-3, 8-6
Race 2: (6) Tap Twenty One likes Keeneland and Garcia is riding well at this meet, plus I think Ultimate Shopper is vulnerable, given his lack of experience on synthetics. Exacta boxes: 6-4, 6-5, 6-7
Race 3: (1) Twang is trying poly for the first time but he shows a great work at Keeneland earlier this month. Johnny V takes the mount and Stall wins at a 38 percent clip with first-time lasix types. Exacta boxes: 1-3, 1-5, 1-7
Race 4: (4) Partyinslowmotion has two mile-and-70-yard races under his belt and that fitness edge could be helpful in this spot. Also, he's worked well on this track. Exacta boxes: 4-2, 4-7, 4-5
Race 5: (6) Oil Strike goes for a potent combo of trainer Casse and jockey Leparoux and has a pedigree to win early and like polytrack. Exacta boxes: 6-4, 6-1, 6-5
Race 6: (11) Xaverian encountered trouble in his start here last week, so he might well improve. And Mott has done well before here when running a horse back on short rest like this, so it suggests confidence from the trainer. Exacta boxes: 11-9, 11-6, 11-1
Race 7 / grade 3 Commonwealth: (5) Undrafted broke his maiden on this track and his works suggest he's coming up to a good performance. I also like that Johnny V takes the ride. Laugh Track has run well at Keeneland but has a tough post for working out a trip. Dimension is the next one I would use in horizontal wagers. Exacta boxes: 5-1, 5-3, 5-6
Race 8 / grade 3 Shakertown: (1) Channel Marker usually touts his big efforts with the way he's training, according to trainer Al Stall, and Stall sees Channel Marker coming up to a good effort here. This horse has already won on the Keeneland lawn and Nakatani is a great turf rider. Go Blue or Go Home is training well and Havelock dearly loves this track. Exacta boxes: 1-6, 1-7, 1-8
Race 9 / grade 1 Madison: (7) Byrama is my pick at a price. She just missed in this race last year and she's making her second start for Bill Mott, so that could mean an improved performance. I also like the turnback from a longer distance. Judy the Beauty and Apropos are the ones to beat and Eden Prairie is a live longshot. Exacta box of 7-4-2 and 9
Race 10/ grade 1 Jenny Wiley: (2) Stephanie's Kitten gets the nod over (10) Centre Court because of a better post position. Also, trainer Chad Brown wins at a 25 percent clip with newcomers to his barn. Exactas keying #2 and #10 Centre Court over #2, #10, #1 Kitten's Point, #4 Abaco
Race 11 / grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes: (13) Medal Count likes this track and showed it with an easy win in the opening day Transylvania Stakes. The decision to run back on eight days rest suggests a very confident trainer and I'll take a stand there. Bobby's Kitten is the one to beat but the final sixteenth of a mile could be his undoing. Asserting Bear is a live longshot off a big race in the Spiral. I'm discounting both Pletcher horses because of bad post draws but if one of them gets it done, it's likely to be Gala Award. Exacta boxes keying #13 with #5 Bobby's Kitten, #1 Asserting Bear, #14 Gala Award
Race 12: (6) Perfect Timber has always been well-regarded by his connections and given that they're bringing him on Keeneland's biggest day of the meet suggests confidence to me. Exacta boxes: 6-5, 6-10, 6-1
All Stakes Pick 4 (race 8): 1,8,6 with 7,4,2 with 2,10 with 13, 5, 1, 14