With 38 entrants covering the Keeneland Late Pick 4 last Friday, the winning 50-cent combination paid $1,928. With 43 entrants this Friday, April 22, it could be much of the same with deep, competitive fields. Here’s a look at the action with a recommended play for $24:
RACE 7 (4:12 EST) -- The pace should be hot in this Maiden Special Weight route race and that suits longshots ALWAYS ABOVE and MAKING IT just fine. Always Above earned the best last-out Beyer speed figure in the field in his second start this year, rallying for third behind lights-out winner Fenwick and 1-to-9 runner-up Command Performance, who both tried the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes in their next start. MAKING IT, by Kentucky Derby winner Orb and from a family of stakes-caliber runners, took some betting action in a debut turf marathon and got up for third. Velazquez returns to ride for a 24-percent barn with the turf-to-dirt angle. SILVER SPUR makes the ticket after he dueled through sprint-like fractions, drifted out at the top of the stretch, then battled back for second to the trip-sitting winner. GREYS THE BOY worked forwardly for his debut, but he broke out at the break and was floated wide on the turn while no threat to the odds-on winner. He is by champion sprinter Midnight Lute, the sire of 12-time graded stakes winner Midnight Bisou (13-22, $7.4 million), who excelled going long. STAY RESTLESS, a beaten favorite in the slop after a promising debut sprint, is not on our ticket; however, it’s worth noting that the 6F race produced three MSW winners with an average 78 Beyer.
RACE 8, (4:44 EST) -- OFFLEE NAUGHTY overcame early trouble for two photo-finish victories and a third in his last three non-stakes grass routes at 1-1/8 miles and beyond. His company lines in those races included next-out winner Evening Sun (92 Beyer), Grade III runner-up Dicey Mo Chara and allowance runner-up Tropical Terror (17/2-6-3, $180k on turf), to name a few. The big hurdle will be negotiating traffic in a crowded field. MODUS OPERANDI found his best footing since arriving in the U.S. on the Gulfstream Park main track, tipping wide for the stretch drive and surging past the leaders to win going away at today’s distance. He followed with a fast-closing second behind the pace controlling, 8-to-5 winner on Turfway Park’s synthetic surface. He switches surfaces again, poised for a better effort than his previous two turf runs. JIMMY DAN rallied to win out of a triple-key maiden race, then overcame a snails-like pace to repeat in allowance company. He gets a bigger class test from post 11 but is worth using at 10-1 on the morning line.
RACE 9: (5:16 EST) -- MALATHAAT launched a blockbuster 3-year-old campaign with a win in the Ashland Stakes at Keeneland off a similar layoff, her first of three Grade I victories. She ran third, beat a half-length, in her first start against older rivals in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff to cap a $1.56 million season. BONNY SOUTH won this race last year off similar rest and projects an ideal stalking trip today. She finished in the money three times in Grade I company behind champion Letruska (18-24, $2.3 million).
RACE 10: (5:48 EST) -- MUSICAL DESIGN turned heads in a $50,000 maiden claimer that produced two winners and four runners-up. She broke last, advanced on the rail, closed with a flourish to just miss catching the debut winner and galloped out far in front. ON THE RISE, bumped at the start in a 5F turf sprint at Gulfstream, rallied widest to finish second to the 4-to-5 favorite. She ran well fresh as a 3-year-old and the barn wins with 17 percent of its grass sprinters.
Suggested 50-cent Ticket
7th Race: 3, 5, 7, 8
8th Race: 2, 6, 11
9th Race: 1, 4
10th Race: 3, 7