Expert Picks - Jeremy Plonk

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Sunday, October 22, 2017

    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.


    Sunday, October 22, 2017

    Jeremy Plonk’s Keeneland Keys for Sunday, October 22

     

    What to Watch for Today: Whereas the male turf marathoners had their chance to shine in Thursday’s Sycamore Stakes, the ladies are center stage today in the G3 $125,000 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes at 1-1/2 miles on the grass. Apple Betty dropped a nose decision here last year and looks to make amends for Lexington native Shug McGaughey.

     

    **NEW** Updated analysis: Follow @BetKeeneland on Twitter or go to the Keeneland.com live racing page to get my live podcast reports at 10 minutes to post for each race of the meet, including how horses look pre-race, overlays/underlays, track tendencies and more. Miss them live? Each report will be immediately archived for your convenience.

     

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

     

    Weather: It’s another fabulous day in the high 70s and expected dry skies. Enjoy!

                                                  

    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!

     

    Race 1 – A classy allowance/optional claimer opens the card at 6 ½ furlongs. Ricardo Santana has ridden the winners of 4 of the first 10 races this meet at this elongated sprint distance. He pairs with Far Right. Crewman has run well here in 2 prior starts and is a son of leading Kee dirt sire Candy Ride, always to be respected, and the same can be said for Wilbo. Yockey’s Warrior ran the fastest 6.5 furlongs of the 2016 Fall Meet when besting Crewman here a year ago. In fact, it ranks fourth-fastest of 86 races at this distance on the Kee dirt.

     

    Race 2 – The early pick four starts with non-winners of 2 claimers going 1-1/16 miles. Favorites have won just 1 of the last 12 N2L claimers in Fall Meets dating back to last year. But the average winner during that run is between 5 and 6-1, so it’s a very juicy and playable race. Nancy Doll is a horse-for-course who has run well here in past meets and Pavel Vashchenko pulled an upset here on Thursday this week from his Chicago base. He also sends out Villa Elena. Clever Serve off a 1-turn prep at Churchill fits the profile of this class and distance.

     

    Race 3 – Basement level $7500 claimers go 1-1/16 miles in a big field of 11. The field almost exclusively is from Belterra and Canterbury. The average winner at this class level is 4-1 odds, but at this class and distance a mere 5-2! Overall, 29 of 34 bottom claimers in Fall Meets have been 5-1 or less on the toteboard, but that swells to 11 of 12 at this distance (none more than 7-1). Two-thirds of the winners are within 1-1/2 lengths after the opening half-mile and the average winner is 2 lengths back at that juncture.

     

    Race 4 – Elder turf maiden special weights are up next. Twenty of 21 such races in past Fall Meets since 2011 have been won by horses by horses 8-1 or less, so don’t get too crazy here. NYRA owns a 9-7 edge over Kentucky Downs as CD has produced only 1 such winner. High Promise under hot-riding Jose Ortiz, Le Pien on the also-eligible list and Arch Daddy for a Shug McGaughey barn already with a turf maiden breaker at the meet fit the bill here.

     

    Race 5 – Veteran $16k claimers match up in the kickoff leg to the pick five. We saw run-back winners here second time at the meet win at this level in 2014 and 2015, so beware Hot Yankee and Dustem Carolina coming out of the same Oct. 6 race and since being claimed. Princess Dinah ran very well here in the Spring Meet and has a fondness for the track. Rise Above It has a classic Tom Amoss claim, class rise and drop pattern that is highly potent.

     

    Race 6 – This is a very rare 2YO turf allowance. What we know about the juvenile MSW races is that chaos often ensues and the average winner pays more than $21 with a few big prices this meet already. Ian Wilkes and Chris Landeros have been maestros of surprise here and High Tech should not be a surprise if successful. No one has had more 2YO turf success here than Mark Casse, who offers Moonlight Rain as a very logical player. Casse won a similar race here last Fall as well.

     

    Race 7 – The Churchill invaders own 6 of the first 10 juvenile MSW wins at the meet on dirt. Sourdough comes off a Churchill debut fourth to Quip, who came back here to win in allowance company nicely on Thursday. Steve Asmussen owns a couple of 2YO wins already at the stand and has CD-prepped Title Ready. He was fourth to Promises Fulfilled and Ribus, who already have returned to win at this meet. Key race players here abound! First-time Antarctic deserves a look by Tapit.

     

    Race 8 – The featured Dowager has been a safe space for favorites of late, winning of the last 5 and 6 of the last 8. It’s also been a deep closer’s race. There’s a LOT of speed in here, so look deep, deep into the pack. The average winner is nearly 6 lengths back after the opening half-mile and only 1 of the last 11 has been on the front end. Wins have been evenly distributed from New York to California and points in-between. Tom Proctor upset Thursday’s 12F Sycamore with Big Bend and looks to sweep the marathons with Promotional. Tim Glyshaw has had a career in a few weeks with Bucchero and Bullards Alley winning the Woodford and Canadian International and will try to keep that stunning upset roll going with Polar Vortex.

     

    Race 9 – We close with a N2X allowance at 7 furlongs. Only 5 of 41 such races have been won in turf-to-dirt transitions overall, which in this race my help eliminate a few entrants if you subscribe. About two-thirds of the winners prepped at 7 furlongs or longer last out, which puts Zulu, Grand Candy, Rocket Time and Rocking the Boat in the category of dirt preppers at 7F+. Grand Candy scored here Oct. 8 in the slop from 5 lengths off the pace after a half-mile, something done in only about 1 in 8 races on this dirt surface at 7F.

     

    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 (http://www.keeneland.com/racing/handicappers-consensus). Also look for final, up to the minute adjustments by following @BetKeeneland as I live Tweet throughout the card.

     

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

Sunday, October 22, 2017

 

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