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The Conscience of Thoroughbred Racing

UPDATED: PREP FINALES FOR FRIDAY, SATURDAY; LOOKING FOR MORE, A-B-C GRADES COMPLETED

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL, October 7, 2021 – At last, the third and final huge weekend of Breeders’ Cup Championship Series events which coincides with Friday’s Keeneland Fall opener.

The lid-lifter features a sprint prep, the Grade 2 Phoenix and the prestigious Grade 1 Alcibiades, a gateway to the BC Juvenile Fillies. This two-turn 1-1/16 miles is always a handicapping challenge and this year is no exception.

Saturday will feature three Grade 1s and a Grade 2, the Breeders’ Futurity for the boys and two one mile turf preps for both sexes, the First Lady, and the always highly competitive Keeneland Turf Mile.

Sunday brings down the curtain on opening weekend with two grass races for juveniles: sprinters going in the 5-1/2 furlong Indian Summer and the two-turn Grade 2 Bourbon. The day’s showpiece is the storied G1 Spinster for the distaffers.

New Yorkers need not fret. The Grade 2 Vosburgh for sprinting 3-year-olds and up, the Grade 3 Matron for juvenile fillies, and the day’s centerpiece, the Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic.

On Sunday, the baby boys will get their turf licks in with the Grade 3 Futurity.

Seven sprinters entered Friday’s Stoll Keenon Phoenix. Early line favorite Special Reserve (9-5) is going to be a very tough customer, having recently stared down all but Lexitonian in Saratoga’s G1 Vanderbilt. This is easier, but not by much.

In the Alcibiades, four of the juveniles have prior experience around two turns. Three have won and the other finished second. In all, three of the 12 entered have the caught eye.

We suggest that interested bettors check out Juju’s Liam maiden win at Ellis, Metareya’s 6-1/2 furlong winning debut, also at the Pea Patch, and Penny Saver’s maiden breaker at Churchill.

We have mixed feelings given the quality of competition and the field size of Monmouth’s Sorority, but will not sell Runup short since she’s undefeated in two dirt starts since adding blinkers.

A-B-C Grade for Friday’s Keeneland stakes:

G2 PHOENIX STAKES Race 8

A:  6-Special Reserve (9-5)

B:  5-Aloha West (3-1)

C:  2-Mucho (6-1),  Just Might (9-2),  3-Endorsed (6-1)

G1 ALCIBIADES STAKES Race 9

A:  1-Juju’s Map (5-2), 10-Penny Saver (4-1), 7-Matareya (4-1)

B:  6-Mama Rina (12-1),  8-Distinctlypossible (8-1)

C:  3-Sequist (30-1),  12-Runup (12-1)

BELMONT PARK Saturday

G2 VOSBURGH STAKES Race 5

A: 5-Following Sea (9-2), 4-Firenze Fire (8-5), 3-Baby Yoda (7-5)

B: 1-Jalen Journey (7-2)

C: None

G3 MATRON STAKES Race 6

A: 4-Lady Danae (6-1), 7-Bubble Rock (7-2), 3-Mystic Eyes (6-1)

B: 1-Poppy Flower (10-1), 8-Chi Town Lady (4-1)

C: 6-Makin My Move (8-1)

G1 JOE HIRSCH TURF CLASSIC Race 7

A: 3-Gufo (8-5), 7-Japan (5-2)

B: 4-Rockemperor (10-1), 2-Arklow (6-1)

C: 6-Channel Maker (6-1)

KEENELAND

G2 WOODFORD STAKES Race 6

A: 6-Extravagant Kid (5-2), 2-Golden Pal (4-5)

B: 4-Firecrow (9-2)

C: 3-Inhalation (30-1)

G2 THOROUGHBRED CLUB OF AMERICA STAKES Race 7

A: 4-Estilo Talentoso (5-2), Bell’s the One (7-5)

B: 3-Inthemidstofbiz (10-1), 1-Frank’s Rockette (5-2)

C: None

GI FIRST LADY STAKES Race 8

A: 3-Althiqua (7-2), 8-Harvey’s Lil Goil (6-1)

B: 7-Daddy Is a Legend (12-1)

C: 9-Blowout (8-1), 10-Princess Grace (6-1), 11-Dalika (12-1), 1-Abscond (30-1)

G1 BREEDERS’ FUTURITY Race 9

A: 9-Great Escape (8-1), 13-Classic Causeway (5-1), 1-Double Thunder (4-1)

B: 7-American Sanctuary (12-1)

C: 5-Don’t Wait Up (9-2), 3-Stellar Tap (9-2)

G1 KEENELAND TURF MILE Race 10

A: 10-Order of Australia (7-2), 7-Pixilate (9-2)

B: 6-Ivar (5-1)

C: 4-Space Traveller (6-1)

When multiple horses are listed, preference goes from left to right. Grades can be adjusted, up or down, but only one level.

This is a live column, will be upgraded regularly

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13 Responses

  1. JP,
    IMO the “Cs” are at least as talented as the “As” in the Phoenix, and offer far greater value.

    Spr: 2,3,4 \\ 2,3,4,6 \\ 2,3,4,5,6 \\ 2,3,4,5,6,7 (3x3x3x3=81)

    Can’t argue with your analysis of the Alcibiades.

    Spr: 1,7,10 // 1,7,10 // 1,7,10 // 12,6,3,8 (3x2x1x4=24)

    1. IMO the C’s can be B’s in the Phoenix; thought all but one horse had a chance to win of the seven. But I feel strongly about the favorite and he is the only A listed. And given it’s only a seven horse field, wanted to pare down the number of combinations since I’m not anticipating a payoff that would justify a spread approach. Alas, we shall see.

      A safe and speedy journey to your steeds, I…

  2. October 9,2021
    Keeneland

    8th-#3 Althiqa (7/2). Play with the 6,8,9,10

    9th- #13 Classic Causeway (5-1). Bad post but tons of talent. Play with the 1,5,7,9.

    10th- #7 Pixelate (9/2). Play with the 3,4,6,10.

    Let’s go get the bad guys. Vin

    1. Denny, like mirror images. My most basic play is Win and a both-ways exacta, or key-box if I’m using more than one horse.

  3. Nice pic on the Belmont Vosburgh ,along with Newsday ‘ s Matthews ! I mention it because with so many good races from major tracks,football games et Al it IS very hard to duly concentrate on more than a couple of betting availabilities. I have to bring up ,if I may, how sometimes we ‘ re ” stuck” between what our intelligence,knowledge and habit tells us to get or ‘ go with the maddening crowd’,the board, which people keep on saying that it is the final decision. But what happens when your deductions and numbers point to a longshot? Are we crazy? Do ” They”,whomever they are, really read the PP s the same way we do? I don’t think so,not when a horse who’s won at the distance,track and Turf has made more money than all the other participants ! The race in question is Belmont ‘ s second race on Friday,October 8,2021. Skipped the first race while devouring the second,reading it over and over again…is it possible,or Why is it that this quadruped,re claimed by it’s previous connections is at over 20/1 ? Class ? Check ! Same with distance,track,turf and the best $XRace,so ok,Irad,Joel,Saez are not riding him…Sooo? Approaching the machine I used it with three horses for exacta box,6( 2491) and quinellas with the same competitors… I don’t want to describe the race because It Was Beautiful,you know,slow start,relax on the inside and then.. Zig Zagging on the stretch winning ..just like it looked on the program !!😁😁What made me happy,besides the tremendous prices was the feeling that I Got this pick without looking at odds,going against the flow,whatever that means and another lesson is that I d rather skip the first race and buy that $7-9 program then just looking at the board which with time seems to be less reliable since too many times,just like in “Vegas betting”,the late $$ beats you to the windows. Ain’t it a great feeling hitting a 30/ 1 horse because you believed in your work,numbers and,yes darn it,discipline ?? I got that Race Chart laminated ( as a reminder to myself) because if something works,there are no logical reasons to divert from it,in any part of life,work or esp. betting. Thank you x your time and space😷🏇🐎

  4. You took a long way to get there but I hear you. First, even if I were not a public handicapper, I could never use ONLY the tote board to make decisions. Why? Because you are right. You solve the puzzle by any means necessary by mining data, watching video, tracking trends–whatever your specialty–and stick to it. Glad you did and happy you scored.

    JG, the question you asked at the top I have asked myself many times. The betting process, IMO, needs to be fluid and sometimes outside factors, such as “other people’s opinions, the tote board,” causes you to rethink a particular race. For me, because I trust my process, I will stay with the original conclusion, just bet the race differently.

    Going in, some races involve a key horse… the most logical straight wager. The races that appear inscrutable due to too many viable contenders, best require a spread approach, whatever the pool, vertical or horizontal.

    Short answer. Back your best opinion and let the chips fall. That’s why they call it gambling.

  5. Thanks x the clever,professional, reply. Tote boards,DD ,Exacta and PK3 $ suggest where the wind is blowing and lots of times I’m only interested in who is getting bet with the visible favorite since anybody can see it. In this cheap,$ 10 K claiming race which I usually skip, it , the Pizzazz horse,stuck out and, guess what ,it was not even one of the claimed horses in the race ! ” Do Your Thing ” . Gambling is a solitary endeavour and going against yourself, your numbers , could be the bitterest lesson to learn,and the most expensive one.If it does not work in the long run,cut the losses,Quit it ! CANNOT BLAME Anyone else,but that face on the mirror !😷🤔🐴

  6. PS: You believe that most,or if any,public handicapper assiduously investigates most races or just the main ones and throw in the ML favorites in other races ? My opinion is that,just like politicians, they may skim through the program without paying much attention to the lower rank races ( maiden claimers,low claims,statebreds) thusly , I ‘ve rarely paid attention to what someone picks in that last cheap,formless race of the day. It just seems another shot in the dark.. If I ignore the DD$.🐴😷🐎📝

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