KENTUCKY DOWNS SELECTIONS FOR 1 SEPTEMBER 2018

The Travers Stakes came and went, which means it is time for pumpkin spice.

And Kentucky Downs.

You guys are probably thinking, that weird turf track north of Nashville? Don’t be fooled, the horseplayers are very excited for this very short meet.

First off, the field at each race gets filled with talent. That’s because Kentucky Downs offers huge purses. Second, the takeout rate (aka the ‘vig’ or the commission) is lower than nearly all the racetracks. These two things appeal greatly as no one wants a dinky field with scratches and high takeout. Most racetracks would do a 20-24 percent takeout on the Pick 4 bet. Kentucky allows up to 22 percent takeout. Kentucky Downs has it at 14 percent. And third, going to Kentucky Downs is an informal affair. General admission is free and you can have a choice of dining arrangements starting at 25 bux. The snob factor is much less than a certain racetrack in Lexington.

I am hoping to attend a race, but I must work. And I don’t have the dosh to gamble, despite the attractive races. So instead, I’m going to give you my picks for today.

Race 1 is a 1 1/2 mile race. Due to the inflated pools, it’s tricky to see the caliber of that race. But there are some clues: the race is open to horses who started above $30k in their last five races. Also, subtract the Kentucky Thoroughbred Development Fund money from the purse. The $130,000 purse included $72,000 KTDF money, so you get a base of $58,000. I would say that in other tracks, it’s like a MSW 52-58k race.

So what I look for is someone who can race well at the 52-58k level. I would try Somebody’s Beau at 8-1 morning line…unless you can get Mjolnir who is an “Also Entering”.

Race 2 is a 42k Starter Allowance for mares that are 10k or lower claimers. I choose I Am Miss Brown as she is in the money 8 out of 9 times on turf. That, and she and Declan Cannon gets along with each other. For a longshot, I select Channel Nine. Throw out the off-turf race at Ellis. She is a winner at a 15k claimer at Ellis. The only problem is that Channel Nine is the pacesetter and she might tire out, so try Miss Brown.

Race 3, it’s an Allowance Optional Claiming that I would rate as 64-67k. Some guy already recommended Sharm El Sheikh, a 20-1 shot. He did very well at two Kentucky Downs races. But there is another horse who did well at KD, and his name is King Valero. Another horse to watch is Spikes Shirl, who has Corey Lanerie up and he won an $67k allowance at Keeneland.

Race 4– I would rate it as Alw 65k. So many angles…but you may want to play it safe with Cash Out. For longshot, I recommend Vanilla Cat.

Race 5– Try Convict Pike, his sweet spot is 1 mile. Lanerie up. I rate it as Alw 65k.

Race 6– I rate it as Maiden 58k. I have an eye on Arch Avenue. This is his second start. Calvin Borel does good at KD.

Race 7 has Burma Road, Borel up. She is the pace. On Leave will be betted down due to her NYRA creds. Try Con Te Partiro. She is a Scat Daddy filly, and Wesley Ward is her trainer.

Skip Race 8. Mr Misunderstood is a threat. Bound for Nowhere won at Royal Ascot. Just grab a beer and enjoy the race.

Race 9 will have Henley’s Joy, a Ramsey-bred horse who has good first time speed figs.

Race 10 has City Diva, who did well at Ellis with Edgar Morales as her jockey. Morales will be up again, and it’s her second turf race.