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Thoroughbred Thursday: Garrity picks the horses at Keeneland

Chris Garrity

The rains in the Northeast are over, but because of the quantity of moisture that fell, its effects will take a couple of days to dissipate, especially at Belmont Park, which got a deluge yesterday afternoon and last night. We don't expect turf racing at Belmont until Saturday, and even then, the sod will probably be soft (late update: Belmont's Thursday card has been cancelled due to high winds). So we'll turn to Keeneland, which managed to dodge most of the nasty weather, and actually ran all scheduled races on turf yesterday. There's a good nine-race card in Lexington, highlighted by a Grade 3 stakes on the grass. We expect fast dirt there, and turf that will be somewhere between good and firm. Let's go.

Keeneland, Race 5, 3.18 pm ET

Starter Allowance, 6 furlongs, dirt, 2-year-old fillies

A field of seven goes in this starter allowance, and it's a good one, as the juvenile fillies in the field appear pretty evenly matched. We like 6-Persian Queen: this filly broke her maiden in a $50k claiming race at Saratoga in July, and she was so impressive doing it that her connections ran her in a couple of minor stakes races, first on the grass, which she didn't like, and then on the dirt at Monmouth Park, where she finished a well-beaten fifth. Here she drops into much softer company, which we think she will like very much. She's a stalker, and helping that style will be her outside post position, and the fact that the speed of the race will start inside of her. We will bet her to win at 7/2, and we'll also (see below) bet her in the Daily Double coupling Races 6 and 7. The bets: Keeneland, Race 5, $40 to win on 6-Persian Queen; $15 double, 6 (Persian Queen) with 3 (Winning Envelope). Keeneland, Race 6, 3.51 pm ETAllowance, 1 mile, turf, Fillies & Mares 3 & UpA full field of 14 drew into this second-level turf allowance for female horses. These second-level allowances are tough, but we think that 3-Winning Envelope is a strong play here. She's coming out of stakes company, when she finished third in a minor stakes at Indiana Grand, but what we really like her is that she is a strong stretch-runner in a race that is loaded, absolutely loaded, with early speed. The pace in this one looks suicidally fast to us, and that will very nicely set up Winning Envelope's stretch kick. We will bet her to win at 7/2. The bet: Keeneland, Race 6, $40 to win on 3-Winning Envelope.

Keeneland, Race 7, 4.24 pm ET

Allowance, 6 furlongs, dirt, 2-year-olds

Seven juvenile colts drew into this race, a first-level allowance, and we like the outside horse, 7-Complexifier, who's the 5/2 morning line favorite. He has superior speed figures, a good race pattern (steady improvement in his three career starts), and this is another case where his outside post fits both his stalking running style and the fact that the speed drew just inside of him. This one almost looks too easy for us, but we will resist the urge to overthink this, and will take the obvious choice, and bet the favorite to win. The bet: Keeneland, Race 7, $30 to win on 7-Complexifier.

Keeneland, Race 8, 4.57 pm ET

Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes, 1 1/2 miles, turf, 3 & up

The day's lone graded stakes race drew a good field of eleven. The 8/5 morning line favorite is 5-Focus Group, who's trained by Chad Brown and will be ridden by Jose Ortiz. With a field as deep and competitive as this one, we would normally try to beat the favorite, as we dislike taking short prices in fields this large. But we cannot do it here, as Brown has been scorchingly hot at Keeneland recently, and we have given up, at least temporarily, fighting that trend. So we will endorse our inner chalk-eating weasel, and pound the favorite here; we will look to end the day on a high note by betting Focus Group to win at 8/5. The bet: Keeneland, Race 8, $50 to win on 5-Focus Group.

That's all for today. As always, good luck at the windows.


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