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.
We've seen more than our share of big prices thus far at the fall meet--good luck at finding them today!
Concord Coupe (10) drops significantly in class but it's not much below the level at which she was originally claimed. These are top-flight connections and trainer Mike Maker wins at a 20 percent clip with second-off-the-layoff horses. Mine Mine Mine (1) drops a notch, too, and makes the second start off the layoff with a better post position. Pinotage (2) has some speed and that could be a big plus and being out of a Point Given mare, she should be okay on the dirt.
Krissys Manicure (4) ran an improved race in the first start for a new barn and might be headed back to the winner's circle in the second such outing. She doesn't figure to be on the lead but she has the speed to be close and that's crucial in this small field. Ivys College Fund (2) got good here in the spring and if she's back to that form, she'll be tough to beat. Arch Arch Baby (1) has form to contend if you forgive the turf effort last time.
You could do worse here than box the four horses coming out of Kentucky Downs races. I'll lean to Love Point (2) for the win pick. Look at his race in the debut--the third-place finisher came back to win the Dixiana Bourbon Stakes here on opening weekend. Fluellen (3) certainly merits a look for his effort behind Salvator Mundi who was narrowly beaten by Current last time. Fake Solution (9) is an equally strong contener off a good debut run at Kentucky Downs. Game Day Decision (8) is the other KD shipper and this one could easily win this.
Soaring Now (4) comes out of races at Cantebury and horses off that circuit have more than held their own here at this meet. This barn has two runners in this race and I'll lean to this one because of a win over this course. Stablemate Spanish Arch (9) is a strong contender, too, so it's essentially a tossup for me. Katie the Cutie (1) is worth a look because of the favorable draw and Leparoux in the saddle.
Shareholder Value (5) was claimed out of the last start and the trainer goes to his go-to jock in Leparoux so I'll take a stand on this one being ready to fire his best. Capital Letters' (1) cozy inside draw gives the jockey a good opportunity to work out a trip to get to the winner's circle. Rich Daddy (6) drops in class from a race in which the winner came back to win his next start and the trainer hits at a 25 percent clip with horses making the second start of this type of layoff.
Belgian (6) posted an 87 Beyer figure last time against a good field at Kentucky Downs. That was the first start off a layoff and just the second outing for the Maker barn. Sharm El Sheikh (2) comes out of one of those tough Kentucky Downs races, too, and gets Leparoux in the saddle off two lifetime best Beyer figures. Snapper Sinclair (10) has a class edge and some solid grass form but this is a tough distance at which to return from a layoff and win.
Fightress (7) finds the softest spot since she broke her maiden back in the summer and she should run them down late to give trainer Norm Casse another trip to the Keeneland winner's circle. Bingwa (3) was heavily-bet in the debut and ran to that confidence and her speed makes her dangerous here. Marvelous Martina (1) won first-out for a barn not known for that and she caught a tough field in the subsequent race.
Blue Lute (2) improved significantly in the first start for Maker and given the stiff competition in those Kentucky Downs races and the competitive Beyer figure he earned, I'll say this one can win right back. Gostisbehere (3) is most definitely the one to beat off that win last time and the good form over this course. Discovered (9) is the one to beat off that runnerup effort in a stake but could get a wide trip here.