Race of the Week 2017

HRN Original Blog:
Across the Board with Mike B

Keeneland: Raven Run Pick 5 Game Plan

Keeneland stretch 615 X 400
Photo: Eclipse Sportswire

This Saturday at Keeneland,a full field of 3 year old fillies will take center stage in the Grade 2 Raven Run contested at 7 furlongs.  This contest will highlight the card and the Pick 5 that we will be taking a crack at.  I found the sequence to be pretty tough, but I do have some solid opinions.  I didn’t find any crazy live long shots in the series but I do have some square priced horses included that definitely have a chance to spice this thing up.  We kick things off with a tricky N2X turf sprint, let’s begin there.


Race 6:  I found this leg to be the toughest.  It is a race that on paper is loaded with speed, but I worry one of them will sneak off and get loose on the lead. The more I play it out in my head though, I rule it out.  I’m torn that it could happen, but I can’t see any of the front runners actually pulling it off.  That’s what made this leg tough for me.  I am going to go with three presser/stalker types in here with Spring Formal, Gator Zone, and Crookedpathtoglory.  I will say I am a little scared of Toto Cor, who is dropping out of a Grade 2 for this.  But as I said earlier, I just feel there is too much speed in here and that she will be compromised because of that.


Race 7:  This leg features a nice group of 2 year old fillies going 7 panels.  I am going four deep in here with Azha, Altagracia, Lemon de Oro, and Easy Chair.  This race has no speed on paper.  There are some first time starters in here that may show some early foot, but none of them have been working fast in the mornings.  That’s where Azha and Easy Chair come in to play.  Azha showed speed last out here at Keeneland in her 2nd career start in a route.  It wasn’t blazing speed by any means, but I have a feeling she will be sent from the rail.  Now normally I stay away from the rail horses in elongated sprints, especially out of a chute, but I just feel there is no pace in here and maybe she works out a nice trip at an even nicer price.  As for Easy Chair, I don’t need to waste my breath telling you Todd Pletcher has his 2 year olds fast and ready to run.  I’m not completely sold on her in here, but she may show some speed and I’m not going to let her knock me out of this thing.  Altagracia is a 2nd time starter for Darrin Miller, she has every right to improve and I think she may be overlooked on the tote.  Lemon de Oro was almost my single for the Pick 5 but I wasn’t brave enough to do it.  She is a 3rd time starter for Graham Motion.  She adds lasix for today and cuts back in distance off two soggy route races in New York.  She has a bullet work for this and I think she has a huge shot.  I may key her in a trifecta in here and play her across the board as well.           

Race 8:  Next up we have 1 ½ mile N1X on the turf.  I am going to single Global Express in here.  I just think he will relish the distance and he is a step above his opponents here.  He ran well enough for a decent 4th in the Breeders Stakes at Woodbine coming right off his maiden score.  All of his turf starts have been nice and I have faith in Roger Attfield on this one.  I was a little interested in River Lemon, One Golden Road, and Paroled.  I just couldn’t get past Global Express, though.  If you don’t trust the single, I would take a look at those three I just listed above. 

Race9:  When I first cracked open my past performances for the Grade 2 Raven Run my mouth was salivating.  I love elongated sprints, and I love full fields.  I couldn’t wait to try and dope out a bomb for this race.  After careful deliberation, I landed on the morning line favorite.  I couldn’t believe it!  I just can’t get by her though.  I am going to single Silsita.  I tried and tried to find a price horse in here and I just couldn’t.  Silsita is going to run big I think.  I feel 7 furlongs is going to be perfect for her and her best race to date is on synthetics.  It doesn’t hurt either that Pletcher is red hot with his limited Keeneland starters.  As for the others, I took long looks at Sittin At the Bar, Lighthouse Bay, Jewel of a Cat, Elusive Fate, Ciao Bella Luna, and My Option.  In my opinion, I don’t trust any of those fillies.  I will say though My Option worries me a bit, I can’t figure her out.  I wonder if she will like 7 furlongs.  I wouldn’t be totally shocked if any of those fillies won, but I just think the upside of Silsita trumps all of them in here. 

Race 10:  The Pick 5 concludes with a turf route for maidens.  If the Pick 5 Gods allow, we will be alive to Cosmic Karma, Mutasaawy, Kiton, and Mt Tronador.  I don’t have any super strong opinions in here but I am hoping those four will be enough to get it done.  Cosmic Karma for Jonathon Sheppard, had trouble at the break in his last and I expect him to run well today.  Mutasaawy comes in off a layoff for Daniel Pietz, he’s been working dynamite for this and adds lasix today.  Kiton, I'm taking a flyer with this one, he’s coming in off a layoff for Elizabeth Gray.  He’s removing the shades and has run well at Keeneland in the past.  Mt Tronador, the Ben Colebrook trainee, is coming in 2nd off the layoff after a nice 4th off the bench over at Kentucky Downs.  I do fear Indy Awesome and Forty Four North a little bit and I wouldn’t blame your for including those two on your tickets as well.


The Play:  50 cent Pick 5….4-8-10 with 1-4-11-12 with 8 with 4 with 6-9-10-11, a modest play for the cost of 24 dollars.   


As always, I am here to give you guys food for thought.  I want to give you confidence in your decisions, maybe turn you on to something you missed or didn’t think of, or help you eliminate non contenders and pretenders.  That is my mission to you.  Good luck and good vibes.  Have a winning day.



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Older Comments about Keeneland: Raven Run Pick 5 Game Plan...

Just got the scratches: Race 10 - the 14 March Reward has drawn in, he is a must use and possible single in here-may have to adjust the play folks
Welcome to the HRN blog team!
Good luck, Mike! I'm following along at home rooting on your picks.

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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.

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