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HRN Original Blog:
Across the Board with Mike B

Keeneland: Closing Day Fayette Pick 5

Keeneland stretch 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

Saturday marks the close of yet another glorious Keeneland fall meet of full fields and wonderful wagering opportunities. Their swan song is no different, as this card offers more of the same action that they have provided us all October long. I will have my focus set on the Pick 5 which I found to be a brain buster yet again. The sequence is highlighted by the 56th running of the Grade 2 Fayette contested on the main at 1 1/8 miles. A diverse field of nine will vie for top honors in what appears to be a pretty evenly matched field. I have constructed a modest play, so without further ado, let’s do the darn thing!

 

Race 6: I found this N1X at a mile over the turf a very difficult way to kick things off. No strong opinion in this leg from me. I am going 4 deep with Neat Package, Kitten’s Queen, Praia, and Enchanting Lisa. I’m pretty sure one of these fillies gets the job done. I give a slight edge to Kitten’s Queen I suppose, but I don’t trust any of them completely. Praia is dropping in class but I feel as though she might like to settle for minor awards too much. Neat Package and Enchanting Lisa I want to like more but I just wasn’t that impressed after watching their replays.  Maybe Neat Package appreciates stretching out again and maybe Enchanting Lisa will like the addition of blinkers, who knows. I will be watching the post parade closely in this one in hopes of getting a clearer opinion.

 

Race 7:  I am going to single Brett Calhoun’s charge in here, Tapit’s World. Her maiden score was legit, although a tad bit green in the lane, and in her latest she was clobbered at the start and pressed very closely while three wide to finish a decent 2nd. She comes into this off of a layoff and has been working well. I expect a top effort from her in here. The one I will be scared of is Book Club for Wayne Catalano. She too comes in off of a brief layoff and has a bullet work just jumping off the page at you. The Catman is hot and I can’t argue with you if you want to use her as well. One that interests me underneath is Belle Chausee at 8-1 on the morning line. I found her to be just a cut below the top two contenders in my eyes, but she does have a win here at Keeneland and the last time she was on poly she ran a decent 3rd after a somewhat trouble trip. I would not be shocked at all if she ran well.

 

Race 8: I will be watching this race through my fingers because they will be covering my eyes out of nervousness. I will be singling Klisz in this tough N2X contested over a mile on the green. I know he has burned some dough as of late but I believe it is justified. I feel as though he is in good form now and will run well while making his 3rd start off of a layoff. He is working well for this, he had a bit of trouble the top of the lane last out, and cuts back to a mile. All systems go for Klisz it seems. I will be scared of a lot of horses in here. The ones that I almost used in here were Rocking Hall and Saturday Launch. I feel like Rocking Hall benefited from a perfect trip last out and that’s why I am taking a shot against him today. As for Saturday Launch, I thought he might be an interesting add based on the fact he is rounding back into form it seems. He is coming into this 3rd off of a layoff and is being wheeled back on 9 days rest. Others that definitely have a shot to take this are Exothermic, Cozzetti, and Bellarmine. It seemed to me that my options were to go wicked deep in this leg, or take a shot on a horse I really like and single. I chose the latter but can’t blame you for anyway you choose to tackle this tricky affair. Good luck.

 

Race 9: The Grade 2 Fayette will be the main event of the afternoon and it turned out to be a pretty interesting race. I am going to use 3 in here with You Know I Know, Willcox Inn, and Lea. You Know I Know ships in for this and his race three back was very nice I thought. He may have been in a little over his head in those Grade 1’s in his last two starts, I believe he’s a legit long shot contender in this spot. Willcox Inn comes into this 3rd off of a layoff and is dropping out the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile where he ran ok for 3rd. His race two back at Arlington though in the Grade 3 Washington Park Handicap was real nice I thought.  He ran down a lone speed horse to gut out the win. And lastly, Lea, for Al Stall, definitely has a big shot in here. In fact, I was pretty close to singling this one. Only reason I didn’t is because he has never run on synthetics before. With that being said, he has run well on every other type of ground. Whether it is sloppy dirt, turf, yielding turf, soft turf, or good turf he has brought his game. As for the others, I respect the heck out of Charlie Lopresti but I just can’t convince myself on his two entries. Nikki’s Sandcastle almost made the ticket but I will let him beat me today. He likes to settle and has been burning cash lately. Finnegan’s Wake is a little scary to me but he doesn’t seem to like to win. Winning Cause I am totally against. He is a complete toss out for me. I didn’t like his last two races at all.

 


Race 10: If we are lucky enough to be alive in the last race run at Keeneland in 2013, it will be with Artemus Paperboy, Lofty Heart, and Gunderson. Artemus Paperboy is coming in 2nd off the layoff, dropping in class, and has been working nice for his Keeneland debut. He broke from the rail last out at Churchill going 7 panels, not the place you want to begin your journey from. Catalano should have this one ready to roll. Lofty Heart is coming in off of a long layoff for the very sharp George Weaver. He too is dropping from a straight maiden and looks to be a nice fit in here. Gunderson, also coming in off a long layoff and dropping in class, looks to be spotted right by Mike Maker in here. He is cutting back in distance for this and I think it’s going to suit him just fine. He has been working well and should give a good account of himself.

 

The Play: 5-7-8-9 with 4 with 8 with 2-7-8 with 2-6-10. Fifty cent Pick 5 will cost $18.

 

In closing, I just want to thank Keeneland for another awesome meet and fantastic year of racing overall. I always look forward to the handicapping challenge. Cheers to you.

 

Best of luck everyone on all your wagers. May you be on the winning end of all your photos. Have a winning day everyone. Good vibes.

 

Mike B       

 

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Hard to look past Willcox Inn in the Fayette ... Good luck, Mike!

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 Meet Michael Barry   

 

 It all started 5 years ago for me after a spur of the moment trip to Saratoga Springs with my future wife.  I had always bet on the Triple Crown races, and made a few trips to Suffolk Downs annually, but not until that journey to The Spa did things get serious for me.  I fell in love with horse racing right then and there and I haven’t looked back since.  The following year I read every handicapping book I could get my hands on.  I became, and still am, a very passionate student of the game. 

 

Through this blog I hope to take you guys through my favorite aspect of the game, which is breaking down races and doping out winners.  I focus my attention between the NYRA circuit (mostly), Gulfstream Park, and Keeneland.  I also plan to provide very thorough coverage leading up to the Kentucky Derby and Breeders Cup.  I love analyzing the prep races leading up to both of those grand events. 

 

Wagering wise, I love playing pick 4’s and 5’s, and I have enjoyed some success in the past playing those types of exotics.  In any given race, I try to attack based on strength of opinion and value.  That may be in the form of an exacta, trifecta, superfecta, daily double, pick 3, or by laddering my choice across the board.  Every race is its own animal and must be played accordingly.

 

Personally, I am a graduate of Boston University and reside on the South Shore of Massachusetts with my beautiful wife Tara and wonderful son Finn.  I work as a technician for a communications company by day. 

 

I can be found on Twitter @mbarry24 and I’m always up to discuss anything horse racing related.