Let our experts help you handicap the day's races at Keeneland.
Please note that selections typically are available about 48 hours in advance of the race.
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
Race 1: Strong Response (6) ran his best race on the Keeneland poly and he gets the call here. EXACTA BOX: 6-2-1
Race 2: I'm not wild about any of the ones who have started so I'm looking for a first-timer to win this and I'll take Two Comma Guy (6) because Rosario takes the mount for a trainer who doesn't run many horses here. EXACTA BOX: 6-3-9
Race 3: Apex (8) is bred to relish the stretchout and he gets the red-hot Rosario in the saddle. That's enough for me in a tough-to-call race. Won'tualwayswonder (11) is a dangerous contender. EXACTA BOX: 8-11-7
Race 4: I don't like the favorites in here so I'll go for a horse who has several wins and seems to be in top form--Burn the Mortgage (1). We'll go for a 4-horse exacta box here. EXACTA BOX: 1-5-6-3
Race 5: Pyrite Mountain (11) has a bad post but his best race was on poly and with his off-the-pace style, Leparoux could drop to the back and come flying late. EXACTA BOX: 11-10-1
Race 6/ grade 3 Commonwealth Stakes: Bernie the Maestro (5) has 3 wins at 7 furlongs and is 1-for-1 on the Keeneland polytrack. We talked with owner Ken Ramsey for Keeneland's You Tube channel and he believes this is his best chance for a stakes win on Saturday at Keeneland. It was a close call with this one and Bind so I would focus on both in multi-race wagers. EXACTA BOX: 5-3-2
Race 7/grade 3 Shakertown: Regally Ready (7) was one of the country's top turf sprinters in 2011 but went off form last year. Judging from the training--faster than normal for an Asmussen-trainee--this guy may be ready to get back to his top form. Havelock and Perfect Officer have both won on this turf course. EXACTA BOX: 7-5-8
Race 8/grade 1 Madison: Jamaican Smoke has won here and a long sprint like this might be her optimum distance. Trainer Eddie Kenneally told me in an interview this week that that third-place effort first-time out this year was merely a prep for the Madison and he said his horse seems to be back to where she was last summer. Queen's Award is making a big class jump but she absolutely loved this track last fall. EXACTA BOX: 6-1-2
Race 9/grade 1 Jenny Wiley: Samitar equalled her best Beyer fig in the first start of a layoff and if she improves on the stretchout in distance, she could be tough to beat her, but Centre Court and Old Tune are strong contenders. EXACTA BOX: 6-1-2
Race 10/grade 1 Toyota Bluegrass Stakes: Palace Malice (5) has a pedigree that suggests he could like polytrack and he had a nightmare trip last time in the Louisiana Derby. They change jockeys to Garrett Gomez here and I think his ability as a finisher could serve this horse well. Rydilluc (13) is being touted as a potential superstar and if he can transfer his grass form to poly, he might just be better than his rivals here and thus, be able to overcome the questions about surface and post position. On the chance that he’s that good, what I’ll do is take win bets on both horses and play them on top in exactas, in the hope that if one of them wins, the payoff could be juicy. Java’s War, Dynamic Sky and Charming Kitten are the ones we’ll be using with the top two picks.
Win bets on #5 Palace Malice, #13 Rydilluc; Exacta key with 5 and 13 over 5,13, 1, 4, 8
Race 11: Gung Ho (6) had his best Beyer fig on the Keeneland poly and I like his chances to improve in the second off the layoff. EXACTA BOX: 6-1-7
Race 12: Katouni (3) is the pick here because of how well the Motion trainees are running and this horse exits a race with a strong field. EXACTA BOX; 3-6-8
BEST EXACTA RACE: 7
50-cent LATE PICK 4 for $50 or less (starts in race 6): 5/3 with 6/1 with 6/1/2 with 5/1/4/8/13 = $30