Expert Picks - Kim Nelson

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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.

E.g., November 30

    Kim Nelson

    Kim has been involved with horses all her life. She has worked with pregnant mares, prepping yearlings, managed lay-up barns, exercise rider, assistant trainer and has trained a few of her own horses. She is also very involved in the placement of retired thoroughbreds once their racing careers are over. Kim worked as a handicapper for the Daily Racing form for 5 years before starting her work with Keeneland.

    Saturday, October 31, 2015

    Race 1

    #3 Lord Commander has a race over the track and was a winner here early in the fall meet. The Pletcher charge is lightly raced but his commanding win last out suggest he is ready to start swimming in the deep end. #8 Bayerd is making his 3rd start off the layoff and should be sharp for this one. He just missed last out with Grade 3 company and looks dangerous with these. #9 Majestic Affair is making his first off the layoff and barn is 29% with first back runners. The Chad Brown charge has a couple of nice wins with similar company earlier this year.

    Top Pick #3 with #8, #9 and #1

    Race 2

    #2 Whence was such an impressive winner here at Keeneland in his last start. He drew off from the rest of the field and looked like a pro doing it. #2 Banree also a recent winner over the Keeneland main track. She is taking on the boys but do note she broke her maiden here at Keeneland against colts. #5 Dan the Go to Man actually beat Whence here early in the meet over a muddy course. He too poses a threat. #3 Noholdingback Bear was an impressive first out winner and expect him to be running at the wire.

    Top Pick #2 with #3, #5, #6 and #7

    Race 3

    #10 Songbird is hard to look past. She has done nothing wrong in 3 starts winning all three by a combined 16 ¼ lengths. Her early speed should help overcome her outside post and she keeps Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith in the saddle. #9 Rachel’s Valentina, the darling daughter of Rachel Alexandra, is undefeated in 2 starts. She was a clear winner of the Grade 1 Spinaway last out. This is her first time around 2 turns but this very talented filly should love the distance. #8 Dothraki Queen is the hometown favorite from the McPeek barn. She finished 2nd in the Grade 1 Alcibiades but caught a tough trip that day over a sloppy track. She appears to have much more in the tank and like that she has a race over the track. #7 Nickname exits a win in the Grade 1 Frizette over a sloppy track. She was quite impressive drawing clear in that one and deserves a look here.

    Top Pick #10 with #2,#7,#8 and #9

    Race 4

    #1 Pure Sensation is 3 for 3 at this distance on the grass and 2 for 2 this year. Winner last out with Grade 3 company. If he breaks sharp, he could be very tough in here. #3 Undrafted seldom misses a check while keeping the toughest company going. Draws a good post and will be closing strong and expect him to be in the mix. #5 Lady Shipman is the early favorite bringing several triple digit Beyer figures. She has had a tremendous year with 7 wins in 9 starts and is 7 for 8 at this distance.

    Top Pick #1 with #2, #3 and #5

    Race 5

    #4 La Verdad is 6 for 6 this year and making her 3rd start of this form cycle. In her last she won easily which looks to be a prep for this one. Like her for the win here. #14 Cavorting has won her last 3 starts and has a tremendous closing stride. The outside post could be tough but this talented filly is likely to overcome and find her spot on the board. #11 Judy the Beauty missed as the favorite last out but was coming off a brief freshener. She also got caught on the inside rail in that one and had trouble getting running room. She a brilliant filly and can’t leave her out. #6 Super Majesty is a lightly raced filly but has shown signs of real talent and look for a big effort from her.

    Top Pick #4 with #6, #11 and #14

    Race 6

    #5 Photo Call is making her 3rd start of this form cycle winning her 2 previous. She appears to be getting better with age and like her to bring a career best effort here. #3 Legatissimo is a multiple Grade 1 winner and is your 8-5 morning line favorite. She is experienced at this distance and has a 50%-win percentage. #11 Stephanie’s Kitten exits a win in the Grade 1 Flower Bowl over a soft turf. This is a hard knocking mare that has won over $3 million. Always a threat. #12 Secret Gesture is a regular check getter while keeping Graded Stakes company.

    Top Pick #5 with #3, #11 and #12

    Race 7

    #5 Runhappy has run away with his last 4 races including his upset of the Grade 1 Kings Bishop. If he gets out of the gates first, he looks to be a winner at every pole. #13 Private Zone is a brilliant sprinter with over $2 million in earnings. Outside post not so great but he has a ton of class. #4 Limousine Liberal is a lightly raced gelding but has shown signs of raw talent and expect a big effort.

    Top Pick #5 with #4, #13 and #14

    Race 8

    #7 Tepin was so impressive in her last in the Grade 1 First Lady over a soft Keeneland turf. She looks to be hitting her best stride and looks capable of beating the boys here. #3 Make Believe exits a sharp Grade 1 win in France. The Andre Fabre charge is 3 for 4 at the distance and has 2 Grade 1 wins in only 6 starts. #1 Grand Arch winner of the Shadwell Turf Mile Grade 1 here at Keeneland during opening weekend draws the inside post. The Arch gelding loves this turf course.

    Top Pick #7 with #1, #3 and #6

    Race 9

    #7 Brody’s Cause won the Grade 1 Breeders Futurity here in his last start. Like how this colt worked his way through traffic and stayed focused for the win in that one. Look for a big effort again. #3 Greenpointcrusader exits a win in the Grade 1 Champagne and has since turned in a very sharp work over the Keeneland course. #13 Nyquist is a very talented colt that is undefeated in 4 career starts including 3 Graded Stakes. Post is tough but he is so talented he could overcome.

    Top Pick #7 with #1, #3, #5 and #13

    Race 10

    #1 Golden Horn is the 4-5 morning line favorite. He won the Arc de Triomphe last out and is 7 for 8 lifetime keeping Graded Stakes company. History hasn’t been kind to Arc winners coming in to this race and will try to beat him with the American #10 The Pizza Man. He likes this distance and he is having a tremendous year with 3 wins and a 2nd including a win in the Arlington Million. #9 Found comes over with Aidan O’brien and has over a $ 1 million in earnings. #7 Big Blue Kitten consistently post triple digit Beyer numbers and seldom misses a check while keeping the toughest of company.

    Top Pick #10 with #1, #7 and #9

    Race 11

    #9 Honor Code was so impressive in his Whitney win and the horse has been training lights out coming in to this race. He is battle savvy and can work his way to the front in this very tough field. #4 American Pharoah is the Triple Crown winner and the 6-5 morning line favorite. He draws a good post and can take advantage of his early foot. He has been training like the champ he is preparing for this. #2Keen Ice the only horse to beat American Pharoah this year has also been training so well and have to keep him in the exotics.

    Top Pick #9 with #1, #2 and #4

    Race 12

    #5 Desert Valley lead the way in her last race and tired to finish 6th but beaten only 3 lengths for all of it. Quite impressive since she was facing Grade 2 company in that one. Making her 3rd start of this cycle and like her for the win. #8 Dr. Fager’s Gal won her last out with similar stakes company. Consistent Beyer numbers and sharp works. #1 Sweet Swingin managed a 3rd in the Grade 3 Dogwood in her last start. Bit of a class relief here and expect her to show up strong.

    Top Pick #5 with #1, #6 and #8

    Good Luck





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