It’s opening day at Keeneland in Kentucky.
It’s opening day at Keeneland in Kentucky.|

Thoroughbreds: RT’s early bird special picks the first two races at Keeneland and Penn National

If you win early, you can spend all afternoon.


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For the Wood Memorial – Quick Story
I met a family at Laurel who invited me back to their private box a week after we met. They invested in one yearling, without knowing the business and made a couple of bucks. The guy, his children, sister, friends and his mother had golf ball sized eyes with the sport. The husband and I went to the paddock to watch the post parade and he asked, “What do I look for?” Simultaneously, Hoffa's Union turned the corner and both of our jaws dropped . . . we stared at one another and said . . . “that.” Both of us bolted to the ATM and maxed our respective daily limits and put every dollar we had on the nose of this guy. My new friend did the 100-yard dash to his wife, sister and elder mother and got their cash. Just before it went off, we were all laughing so hard and saying, “This is it. You can’t be more all in than this.”

Hoffa's Union made it look effortless. A 15-length victory and 16 of us are still having a screamfest when it was in hand. That was a blast.

Hoffa’s Union -- In Hollywood, it's called the IT factor.

Get well Mick Jagger. You have sympathy from this devil

Here’s a good question to ask your buds -- What’s the capitol of Kentucky, Louisville or Lexington?
Neither. It’s Frankfort.

Keeneland Race 1
First two-year-old race east of the Mississippi this year (to my knowledge).
$60K MSW 2yo Fillies 4.5f

The skinny:
4-Quality H Two O (6-1) betting from a profitable angle where the horse has a recent bullet work (all three) and two out of the gate. Trainer Teresa Connelly 20% with first timers. Quality’s dam has had three foals and one of them, Battle Colors, won its first out at CD scorching a 94 E figure.
13-Nayibeth (AE) 2-1 betting on several angles here. Wesley Ward 36% wins with 1st timers, the dam has 17% wins from its foals, Ward is 29% with 2yo’s, 36% with 1st Lasix and with Joel Rosario, they are clipping at 24%. Rosario on a tear the past 10 days bagging 33% winners and 29% in the last thirty days. Ward also has the #15, another AE, entered with Johnny V up.
2-Mean Sophia (8-1) I like to bet a mid-level odds horse such as Sophia because you never know what you’re going to get with this size field and this age. Sire is 14% winners and the dam is batting .1000 with one offspring going 2-2. Mean S had a outstanding bullet work on March 22nd covering 4f in :48.2 from the gate. She’ll get a jump on these.

Keeneland Race 1 bets:
$10/w $20/p #4
Exacta Box 4-13-2. If 13 doesn’t get in, then #11

Keeneland Race 2
$20K OC/SAL $10K F&M 4yo+ going……..going….wait for it…about 7f

A bet my Dad would make, the 3-Honey Bunny (6-5) because that’s what he called Big Gina.

Regardless, she is one my choices. Buzz around the pot belly is that Fair Grounds shippers do well at Keeneland. Honey Bunny gets Joel Rosario, again, where he scored a win last out on her, Honey has two previous and solid outings at Kee, comes out of FG and her bounce pattern suggests this will be a bigger race.
The Skinny:
6-La Femme Royal
(8-1) returns to dirt where she has performed better, ships from FG, is third out after claimed with trainer Matt Shirer (last 30 days, 40%) and will set the pace where Florent Geroux will play catch me if you can.
2-Zena Rules (3-1) with the pace in front of her, look for Jose Ortiz to lay back and watch it unfold. When it gets to the turn, he’ll have her in gear and bombing the stretch. Zena’s last workout went very well and she has a race over the track. She’s ready

Keeneland Race 2 Bets
2 - $10/w $20p
Exacta Box 2-6-3
Trifecta 3-6/3-6-1/2, 3-6/2/3-6-1, 2/3-6/2-6-1

Penn National Race 1
$16K Claimers going 1 & 16th mile F&M 4yo+

The Skinny:
6-Beautiful Maiden
(9/5) Jamie Ness claimee three back and Gonzalez/Ness combo always in the hunt. Since having this mare in her barn, Beautiful Maiden has shown solid improvement.
5-Trulamo (3-1) comes in off a game effort last out. Carujo/Kreiser seem to be on a win/lose/win/lose =streak with this mare. Today’s trend is win.
1-Edgy Redhead (10-1) why did Jackie Davis get off the favorite, 5-Riva Belle, to have this mount? Because Riva Belle is a false favorite. Quick opine – Jackie Davis a personal fave and is fantastic at rating her horse. A veritable modern-day Pat Day.

Penn National Race 1 Bets:
6 - $10w/$20p
$2 Exacta Box 6-5-1
Trifecta 6-4/6-5-4/1, 6-4/1/6-5-4, 1/6-4/6-5-4

Penn National Race 2
$8K MCL Staties going 6f for 3yo+

The Skinny:
(4-1) major break in the weights, 2nd time out for trainer and is dropping in class further than appears; hasn’t run against PA breds and comes from Parx which Penn is usually an easier track. Gets positive jockey change.
9-Glacier Express (5-2) perfect spot for Tyler Connor to negotiate the speed in this race. With a first time starter that hasn’t worked more than 4f as well as three other front runners, Glacier will stalk and strike.
5-Exchanging Ember (8-1) 2nd Lasix, and last out on 1/23, this single raced 4yo filly had five solid works since last. Retains the jockey and trainer Salvaggio is an ace moving from msw to mcl (40%).

Penn National Race 2 Bets:
$10w/$20P on 4
Exacta Box 4-9-5
Trifecta 4-5/4-5-2/9, 4-5/9/4-5-2, 9/4-5/4-5-2

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