Keeneland Best Bets on Friday's opening day
Many horseplayers look forward to the first weekend in May for the Run for the Roses. Mr. Ed likes to jumpstart his Kentucky racing season during the initial weekend in April when Keeneland opens its three-week spring meet prior to the prestigious Churchill Downs festivities.
Keeneland, which hosted last fall’s Breeders’ Cup, reopens Friday with a 10-race card sprinkled with an abundance of top trainers (Brad Cox, Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher, Bill Mott, etc.), talented riders (The Ortiz Bros., Joel Rosario, Johnny Velazquez, Tyler Gaffalione and European import Larry Dettori among many), dozens of stakes-winning horses (beginning with Wonder Wheel and Julia Shining) and exciting races every day.
There’s nowhere Mr. Ed would rather be than Keeneland, betting on horses in the central Kentucky bluegrass with friends old and new, avid horseplayers and well-aged bourbon.
Now, let’s go to the track and cash some tickets. Similar to our past VSiN.com columns at Keeneland and Saratoga “on $100 a Day,” we’ll aim to cover the card with $100 in wagers, but we’ll have a lower bankroll on days that don’t warrant it, and wager more on days with better opportunities.
Race No. 4 (2:36 p.m. ET/11:36 a.m. PT)
I like #2 Camp Hope (8-1 morning line). If ever there was a horse-for-the-course, it’s this guy. Five-year-old is a perfect 3 for 3 over the turf at Keeneland, with career earnings in excess of $330,000. Seasoned trainer Kenny McPeek brings Brian Hernandez back to ride in turf allowance. First bet of the meet – Mr. Ed is hopeful. Wager: $10 Win and box in $2 Exactas with 4,7,8. ($22 total)
Race No. 6 (3:40 p.m. ET/12:40 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed likes #6 Her World (3-1 morning line). Trainer Wesley Ward excels with turf sprinters and this gal fits the mold. Post-time choice in each of her five lifetime starts, her record is somewhat disappointing (5-2-1-1), but the return of nation’s top jock Irad Ortiz Jr. says conditioner is pointing her toward winning effort. Welcome to Ward’s world. Wager: $10 Win ($10 total)
Race No. 7 (4:12 p.m. ET/1:12 p.m. PT)
I’ll take a shot with a $.50 Pick 4 (cost $48)
Race 7: 1,3,4,5
Race 8: 5,8,11,12
Race 9: 2,4,5
Race 10: 6,7
Race No. 9 (5:16 p.m. ET/2:16 p.m. PT)
Mr. Ed’s BEST BET OF DAY is #4 Julia Shining (3-1). Powerful daughter of Curlin returns to Lexington – site of her debut maiden victory last October – in Grade 1, $600,000 Ashland Stakes. Super trainer Brad Cox retains rider Luis Saez for Stonestreet Stables. Slight stretch out should help her defeat BC champ Wonder Wheel. Julia’s turn to shine. Wager: $20 to Win. ($20 total)
TOTAL WAGERS: $100