God's Tipster's Saturday Kentucky Downs Picks: Four races with the Ainsworth Turf Sprint, Kentucky Turf Cup

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Friday’s Race Recap from Delaware Park:

(All odds US)

Delaware Park:

Race 1: 4th@ 1.30/1


Race 5: 2nd@ 0.60/1

We’re just killing time here at Delaware for a few days til the real racing picks back up. In Race 1, debuting All the Way raced in between horses early - an uncomfortable place to be for an unseasoned runner and he faded late to fourth. In Race 3, Amirati was a scratch. Race 5 was over before it began. The runner who was meant to press the pacesetter scratched earlier in the day leaving Touisset alone to walk on the lead. Tipsy Girl stalked a loose leader early and made her move, but the speed kept on going.

With Delaware’s card on Saturday looking weak it gives us an opportunity to take a crack at Kentucky Downs! Nothing but turf racing here and we’re expecting firm conditions. Let’s get started!

Race 1: Abundant Life - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)

There’s nothing like kicking off a day at the track with a 20/1 shot and that’s exactly what we intend to do in Race 1 as two-year-old fillies sprint 6 furlongs over the grassy Kentucky Downs surface. None of the runners with experience under their belt really gets my blood pumping so I’m siding with a new face with ‘win-early’ breeding. As I began handicapping this race the first thing I noticed about Abundant Life was her dam - Calistoga - whom I remember winning her first two starts in IMPRESSIVE fashion back about ten years ago putting up a 97 speed figure on debut. That memory almost helped us catch her four-year-old daughter - Napa Candy - as we had her when she made her debut at Tampa Bay Downs at 21/1 odds early last year and led all the way before getting beat a neck. She won her next start though, so I like the precocity in the bloodlines. Sire Palace Malice wins with 13% of his turf sprinters and while trainer Vicki Oliver wins with a red hot 22% of her turf sprinters, and although she hasn’t saddled many debut two-year-old runners here at Kentucky Downs in sprint races, she’s a perfectly capable 2 for 20 at an average payout of $12.45. I love the spacing of her works and she has the all-important five-furlong workouts on her tab. This miss will be flying under the radar here and is worth a look at 20/1 or higher.

Race 8: Bat Flip - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 20/1)

Three-year-old turf sprinters go 6 1/2 furlongs and I’m going for a 20/1 home run with Bat Flip. Trainer Todd Pletcher isn’t known for his turf sprinters, but he usually does have a plan. Last year after two failed starts on dirt, his connections raced him in his one and only turf sprint to date and he finished second behind Nagirroc in a maiden race. It didn’t mean much at the time, but Nagirroc turned out to be a pretty nice horse winning a graded turf sprint stake in his next start followed by a third place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. As a matter of fact, Nagirroc is a two-time stakes winner who hasn’t missed the board in nine starts on turf including seven turf starts. Bat Flip exited that maiden race winning back to back races including a stake at a mile before taking some time off. He put up a mediocre race off the bench but he was off for nine months so he had a right to need a race. I love the turn-back to a sprint for him and the fact that Pletcher is confident enough to keep him running against stakes types. Upset special at 20/1 or higher!

Race 10: Bad Beat Brian - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 10/1)

The Grade 2 Ainsworth Turf Sprint will undoubtedly be a major prep for many of this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint runners. This is an evenly matched field of top turf sprinters and I’m siding with Bad Beat Brian here for a few reasons. First off, the Larry Rivelli runners: One Timer and Nobals are likely to control the pace but with Nobals also entered at Colonial Downs Saturday I’m guessing he will scratch. That still leaves Noble Reflection to press from the outside and Bad Beat Brian won’t be far off the early pace either. Last time out, Brian finished a closing 1 1/2 lengths off One Timer in a race that was 1/2 furlong shorter while coming off a May layoff. He should be better tightened today as trainer Brittany Vanden Berg has only started two turf sprinters here at Kentucky Downs and they ran first and second with speed figures of 95 and 87. Bad Beat Brian has a win and a second place finish over today’s surface – experience most in this field don’t have and he has an all-important 3-furlong drill in preparation for this. Value at 10/1 or higher.

Race 12: Therapist - 1 pt win (US Morning Line Odds: 7/2)

The Grade 2 Fanduel Kentucky Turf Cup at a mile and a half is our feature race on a card with plenty of turf star-power. Therapist gets the nod here off his impressive win last time out in the Grade 1 United Nations. Therapist races for top turf marathon trainer Mike Maker, and is in career form which is strange to say for an 8-year-old gelding. But following in the path of geriatric Grade 1 winners like: John’s Call, Bucks Boy and Royal Mountain Inn, sometimes these turf marathoners get better with age. He easily handled Red Knight last time out and that’s our second choice on the morning line today. He’s been working bullets since his last start and looks locked and loaded for a Grade 2 win today.

Best of luck to all our members playing Saturday’s races from Kentucky Downs!

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