Race of the Week 2017
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The Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland - Branching out for a Victory

keeneland start

As the warm summer air gives way to the cool autumn breeze, the turning of the leaves welcome in the opening of Keeneland race track. The meet started off with a bang, with prestigious races such as the Shadwell Mile and the Spinster Stakes highlighting the festivities.

But lest you think the high-quality action ends following the running of the meet's final Grade I - the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup - there are still plenty of great races on tap. In fact, you don't even need to wait for the weekend. Thursday afternoon's card features a solid stakes event with great tradition.

For the past 17 years the Sycamore stakes has been a staple of Keeneland’s fall meet. The grade III Sycamore is run at the 1 ½ mile distance.  It has come to symbolize a race for tough, hard knocking colts and geldings.

The perfect example of this was last year’s edition - won by Brass Hat. Brass Hat personified heart and toughness. The 9-year-old gelding had an explosive turn of foot. He had an incredible career, winning graded stakes from the age of 3, all the way up until his last year on the track at the age of 9.

Brass Hat, who was trained by William Bradley, will be paraded this Thursday at Keeneland before the running of the grade III Sycamore.

The 2011 Sycamore lacks the star power of last years group, but, it does boast a field of up and comers.

#4 Center Divider is the 3-1 morning line favorite. This son of Giants Causeway is coming off a career best 93 beyer speed figure in his second place finish to Grassy in the grade II Bowling Green Handicap.  The Chad Brown trainee boasts a record of three wins from 11 starts, two of those on the turf.  Center Divider is coming into this race in great form, with back to back second place finishes. He’s won at a distance longer than 12 furlongs, so he should have the stamina to last here. The question is: does he have the heart and talent?

#6 Sanagas is the 7-2 second choice.  Sanagas has been ultra-impressive in his short eight race career.  He has five victories, three of those on the turf. Sanagas has been knocking heads with Center Divider since coming to the U.S. in July. The Graham Motion trainee got the best of Center Divider in the John's Call Stakes at Saratoga, a race in which Sanagas won, with Center Divider 2 ¼ lengths behind in second.  Sanagas is coming off a some-what disappointing 4th place effort in the grade II Bowling Green Handicap, a race in which Center Divider ran 2nd.   Sanagas is strictly the horse to beat in my opinion. He has the class and the stamina. He also loves to win.    

#8 Bim Bam is the 3rd choice on the morning line at 4-1. Bim Bam has been knocking heads in graded stakes company for the better part of two years. He’s a consistent sort, but often seems to settle for the minor awards.  The son of Deputy Wild Cat hasn’t won a race since June of 2010.  Bim Bam is solid, boasting several 2nd place finishes of late, including a 2nd in the grade I Manhattan Stakes at Saratoga. The problem with this colt is the distance, and the fact he doesn’t like to win. I honestly wouldn’t take a short price on Bim Bam in the Sycamore.    

#3 Bold Hawk is 5-1 on the morning line. Bold Hawk started his career with a lot of promise, he won the grade III Hawthorne Derby in his 3 year old season. Things obviously went amiss for this son of Silver Hawk, he went on the shelf for 3 years before making his return in October of last year at Keeneland.  Trainer James Toner seems to have this colt in fine condition with back to back solid 3rd place finishes. Bold Hawk gets the services of hot riding jockey, Corey Nakatani.  Nakatani has been in the zone of late, having won 6 races on a card at Belmont which included two grade I victories. Bold Hawk has the pedigree to last the grueling 12 furlong distance of the Sycamore. Hawk is rounding into form and will definitely be a play in the exotics. 

#5 Ashtar is 8-1 on the morning line.  Ashtar is shipping in from California for trainer Ruben Cardenas. He’s coming off a strong 4th place finish to Acclamation in the grade II Clement Hirsch. Ashtar is a grade I winner in Chile and has won at the 12 furlong distance. He seems to be a versatile type who can be close to the pace or come from behind. There’s not a lot of speed in this race which could favor Ashtar. I think this horse could surprise in the exotics at a price.    

>>Sycamore Plays: $10  win on #6 Sanagas.  $5 exacta #6 with 4 Center Divider and #5 Ashtar.<<


In Honor of Tim (Tiznow) Reynolds, you changed all of are lives for the better and you'll be with us always. Donations can be made to the Timothy (Tiznow) Reynolds Memorial Fund. A memorial fund for his daughter, Lauren Reynolds.  


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Older Comments about The Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland - Branching out for a Victory...

Me and Zipse cashed the early Pick 3 which paid great. We also cashed the late double, profitable day!
Nice pick, Scott. Too bad that it was taken off the grass, but I hope you landed on that 2nd place horse for your exactas since Ashtar got scratched.
Great call on Sangas, Scott! I'm glad you got down to Keeneland today!
Giving Odds On a long look as my Sycamore longshot.

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Meet Scott Dick 















My journey into the sport of kings has been different than most. I do not boast a royal pedigree, and in fact, before my interest in horse racing, my family thought the Kentucky Derby was the only race of the year! I'm the son of a minor league baseball player and a homemaker, which doesn't exactly scream grade I winner.

My passion for the sport started about 8 years ago.I was watching as Funny Cide was making his triple crown run. The “Gutsy Gelding” had my eyes glued to the television with each of his triple crown races. After watching Funny Cide on TV. I decided to make a trip down to our local track, Indiana Downs.This would be an experience that would change my life.

I looked over the program, while having no idea what I was doing,I decided to put my 5 dollars on a horse named Apollonea. As the gates broke and the announcer began his race call, I heard the words Apollonea to the lead. My excitement grew as I watched my horse lead all the way around the track, eventually drawing to win by an easy five lengths. Apollonea paid 58.00 to win, I was hooked from that point on.

For the past 8 years my life has been horse racing.  I've tried to educate myself on every aspect of the sport and learn about it's past. The incredible run of the Super Filly Rachel Alexandra would also change my life. It was my intense passion and love for Rachel that would bring me to meet some of the greatest  people in the world. I owe a lot to Rachel and this sport for introducing me to such wonderful people.

I want this blog to show that Indiana Racing stacks up with any track, anywhere! It will also show what great value can be found in Indiana for the bettors, and not to mention, the incredible purses for the owners and trainers.

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