Expert handicapper Jeremy Plonk of @Horseplayernow looks at a few of the Keeneland keys at the halfway point of the Spring Meet
California Raisin’: The California trainers have raised their games at the 2019 Spring Meet. During the first two weeks, 7 different west-coast based trainers won a combined 10 races. John Sadler (3) and Richard Baltas (2) led the way, with other winners from Shelbe Ruis, Jeff Mullins, Peter Miller, Ron Ellis and Paulo Lobo. Phil D’Amato is active in the entries this coming week, too.
Clock Strikes Midnight: Sire Midnight Lute quietly is having quite a start to the Spring Meet with a meet-leading 4 victories by his offspring. They’ve all come on the dirt, but at distances of 6, 7, 8 and 9 furlongs. And they’ve spanned from maiden claimers to the allowance ranks. In fact, he’s had 9 wins here over the past 2 meets dating back to Fall 2018 – second-most to Into Mischief’s 10. Midnight Lute offspring have had more Keeneland wins in the past 2 meets than he had in the previous 6 years combined.
Accounting Firm of Stewart & Walsh: Trainers Dallas Stewart and Brendan Walsh have been on the money from Fair Grounds this Spring Meet. Stewart has 4 wins, 3 last week, at prices of 3-1, 4-1, 19-1 and 52-1 Ashland upsetter Out for a Spin. He went 8: 3-1-0 in Week 2, only to be outdone by Walsh’s 8: 4-1-2 performance during the second stanza. The Walsh quartet checked in more modestly on the toteboard between 2-1 and 6-1. Neither has an entrant Wednesday, but both are represented on the Thursday and Friday cards already drawn.
Favorites Cleaning Up On Dirt: The public has dialed in dirt racing to the tune of favorites going 34-for-63 during the first two weeks of the Spring Meet. That’s 54% and far out-paces the 40% winning favorites we’ve seen in Spring Meet dirt races from 2015-’18.
Cast-Away: Leading jockey Javier Castellano and his 13 meet victories return to New York this week and he’ll leave behind a chance for riders Florent Geroux (9), John Velazquez (9) and Joel Rosario (7) to pick up live mounts, not to mention Jose Ortiz (2), who is bound to heat up.
Utilize the free Keeneland Handicapping Database and come up with your own exclusive stats and trends to put you on a winning track at http://apps.keeneland.com/awstats/Default.asp.