(Note: this is updated after Saturday’s early scratches with the only change being one of Dave Tuley’s picks was scratched.)
With football back in the spotlight (and with the Kentucky Derby behind us), we’re cutting Tuley’s Thoroughbred Takes to just Saturdays starting this week, but we reserve the right to add additional days with big races or cards that fall on other days of the week.
This Saturday, we have five plays (after one of mine scratched) at Woodbine and Kentucky Downs. As my colleague Ed Sehon wrote this past Monday: “For those not familiar with hidden gem of European-style, cross-country racing located near Nashville, I encourage you to get to know it. All turf racing over hill and dale, full fields and generous purses attract the nation’s cream of the crop trainers & jockeys for six-day meet.” I really enjoyed playing the track on Monday and have looked forward to today’s card at Kentucky Downs though I’m down to one play to go with two from Sehon, but I also take a look at two live long shots at Woodbine on Queen’s Plate Day.
Good luck today (and every day!).
Kentucky Downs Race No. 5 (3:23 p.m. ET/12:23 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #12 Hail to the Chief (15-1 morning line). “By the time the horses arrive at the gate, I’ll be lucky to get more than 10-1 -- but that won’t diminish my enthusiasm for 3-year-old son of Danza. Triple threat connections of owner Ken Ramsey, trainer Wesley Ward & red-hot rider Gerardo Corrales adds blinkers and stretches this guy out for turf marathon. Speedy :59.4 five-furlong work at Keeneland indicates he’s ready for presidential effort. Wager: Win & Place.”
Kentucky Downs Race No. 8 (4:59 p.m. ET/1:59 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #10 Jakarta (10-1 morning line) in the Grade 3 Ladies Sprint Stakes, but she was SCRATCHED.
Woodbine Race No. 10 (5:41 p.m. ET/2:41 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #3 Belichick (30-1 morning line) in the $100,000 Queen’s Plate. No, this isn’t a hunch bet with the NFL season kicking off this weekend. I’m usually not a fan of betting maidens against winners (especially in a stakes race as this is the biggest step up in class you can see in horse racing), but this 3-year-old colt has been running in $123,000 maiden races and was favored to win both (so a ton of people believe that he’s got a lot of talent). We’re getting such a big price because he failed to win either, but that’s fine by me. In his last race, he closed strongly and was leading in the stretch before being passed late, but he has the right to improve off that effort. I also like that he’s a “hidden entry” with two-time Queen’s Plate-winning trainer Josie Carroll, who also has the 5-2 favorite in Curlin’s Voyage. We’ve seen many times where an overlooked stablemate springs the upset. Wager: Win & Place.
Kentucky Downs Race No. 10 (6:04 p.m. ET/3:04 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #2 Red Knight (12-1 morning line) in the Grade 3 Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup. This Bill Mott trainee is a cut below some of these entrants class-wise, but he’s certainly not overmatched and should be a fair price. This 6-year-old gelding should be able to get a ground-saving trip under jockey Luis Saez and be poised to pass runners late down the stretch. Wager: Win & Place.
Kentucky Down Race No. 11 (6:36 p.m. ET/3:36 p.m. PT)
Ed Sehon likes #12 Bound for Nowhere (5-1 morning line) in Grade 3 Runhappy Turf Sprint Stakes. “If there is serious money up for grabs in a sprint race on the turf, then you can bet on Wesley Ward being there. This $700,000 stakes race is no exception as the ever-sharp trainer enters well-travelled 6-year-old off a brief freshening. Julio Garcia, the conditioner’s go-to 55-year-old jockey, accepts mount. This horse, trainer and rider are bound for glory. Wager: Win & Place.”
Woodbine Race No. 12 (7:01 p.m. ET/4:01 p.m. PT)
Dave Tuley likes #5 Positive Danger (20-1 morning line) in the $100,000 ungraded Ruling Angel Stakes. “Similar to what I stated earlier, I’m also usually not a fan of betting horses coming off a maiden victory and facing winners, but Positive Danger comes into this wide-open race off a wire-to-wire victory and could be the speed of the speed and steal this. She might need to outduel #6 Artie’s Princess but worth a shot at anything near this price. Wager: Win & Place.”