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Race Date: 
Thursday, October 15, 2015
Handicapper's Name: 
Ellis Starr

Race #8

#1 Da Big Hoss - Fair odds 3/1

#4 Aldous Snow - Fair odds 4/1

#6 Divine Oath - Fair odds 4/1

#8 Holiday Star - Fair odds 4/1

#9 Xtra Luck - Fair odds 6/1

#11 Charming Kitten - Fair odds 6/1

Exacta: 1 over 4,6,8,9,11 and (the opposite as well) 4,6,8,9,11 over 1
FIVE of the 12 here have won at the trip in stakes races, so I would not be surprised if any of SIX of the eleven entered can succeed.
Da Big Hoss has won FIVE of Seven races this year, finishing 2nd and 3rd in the other two. He won (via a disqualification) at a mile and three-eighths on turf three races back, then won on the square at a mile and five-eighths before winning an identical grade 3 stakes at this 12 furlong trip last month. Jockey Rocco rode him for the first time last out as if he had ridden the horse all along and after saving ground from the rail Da Big Hoss should be charging past most if not all of these once again.
Aldous Snow has won 2 similar grade 3 marathons on grass in the past 2 years, although he did finish only fifth in his last try at Keeneland. He was overmatched in grade 1 and 2 stakes in  his last 2 starts and the class relief he gets today could suit him very well.
Divine Oath won a similar grade 3 marathon last December and after five mediocre races following the win snapped back with a runner-up effort last month. He went 5 for 9 in 2014 and although 0 for 6 this year could be turning the corner back to winning form. Note that the race he finished 2nd in last month was the same race the 2014 Sycamore winner (Holiday Star) finished 2nd in before victory at Keeneland.
Holiday Star won this Sycamore Stakes last year, losing three in a row after that before winning another 12 furlong stakes race in July. He enters the race off a fine runner-up finish behind Da Big Hoss and deserves a lot of respect as he entered this race last year off a similar runner-up finish.
Xtra Luck won the similar grade 3 Louisville Handicap in May at Churchill Downs and finished 2nd right before that here at Keeneland at the distance. He found nearly 1 3/4 miles too far last out but is another with potential to bounce back to competitive form at the distance and class level.
Charming Kitten has been first or second in 12 of 23 career races, 11 of 18 on turf. He is 0 for 1 at this 12 furlong trip BUT won a 2 mile stakes race in June of last year and won and finished 2nd in his first two races this year before being overmatched last time out in a grade 2 race. With John Velazquez riding back for North American leading trainer Todd  Pletcher, even though I think he's a cut below the main contenders, it may be unwise to ignore him completely in this event.

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