Key Races & Bets for Saturday, October 19

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Race 5 at Keeneland -Post Time 3:18 pm Eastern

There are a couple of things to note about the maiden race for two year olds, most just starting their careers and some which may continue to improve to the point they may be mentioned as Kentucky Derby contenders next year. The first factor is of those which have run, it appears up to five of them may want the lead from the start. It may only take two or three all bent on having the lead early to make them all tire late and that helps the horses which can sit in mid-pack in the early stages. However, with some first time starters we have no idea where they like to run during a race.

Tranquility Base is a first time starter who is working every 6 to 8 days over the last six weeks for fitness. He’s by one of the top sires of the past few years in Tapit and he cost $400,000 at Auction so is thought of highly. His dam (mother) has produced two horses to race before him, and BOTH were runners, one winning at first asking. For a trainer (Jones) who wins with more than an average share of first time starters, I’ll give Tranquility Base first look for wagering as he offers value for the risk to be sure, opening at 12/1.

Numidian is another first time starter who opens at high odds, 15/1 to be exact. The reason both he and Tranquility Base open at high odds is the public nearly always gravitates towards horses with experience but there is no problem backing a first time starter. Numidian put in a pretty strong fifth best of 30 workout to cap a nice series of workouts, on 10/11 here at Keeneland, and like Tranquility Base, Numidian’s dam produced a first out winner and that kind of “Precociousness” can be passed along to this colt Trainer Catalano wins with 20% of his first timers and excellent jockey Channing Hill (who happens to be the trainer’s son-in-law) rides a lot of winners for this stable.

Elusive d’Oro has run second in all three career starts to date and is not a horse which appears to need the lead to win. He rallied from eighth to second in his debut then in his other two starts went to the lead and faded just a bit but held second. He gets a key jockey change to Ricardo Santana, who is having a tremendous Keeneland meeting, such as when riding the $31 winner to victory in the Sycamore Stakes on Thursday.

Win Bets: Tranquility Base, Numidian, Elusive d’Oro at odds of 4/1. Bet two of the three going to post at the highest odds if at or above that level.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Race 5: Tranquility Base, Numidian, Elusive d’Oro
Race 6: Boss of Bourbon St, Extra Medium, Smile Bryan and Echo Alpha Six

Race 6 at Keeneland – Post Time 3:51 PM Eastern

This is a race open to horses with just one career win and all of these have more than a few losses to go along with that one win. Most just haven’t been able to repeat their maiden wins so the key may be to look to horses which won their most recent race as they figured it out and haven’t regressed yet. Boss of Bourbon St is one of those who won his most recent race, easily by six lengths. What’s significant is the win came at the same seven furlong (seven-eighths of a mile) distance as this race, and it came in his second start after coming bac from eight months off, so he should improve physically off the effort as well as that win came the first time he was placed in a claiming race, this being a claiming race as well.

Extra Medium also won his most recent race, also at this seven furlong trip. The win came on all-weather in Illinois and horses shipping from Arlington Park to Keeneland have repeated their efforts to another “A” race good enough to win may be forthcoming.

Smile Bryan ran poorly in his most recent race, on 8/28, following a big effort where he led in the stretch and was beaten a neck on the finish, at this seven furlong distance. He also finished second in April in his only previous start at Keeneland and he could return to that kind of form because since he last race he became a gelding.

Echo Alpha Six returns from nine months off and has been working well. He won in his career debut so we now he can fire fresh and he looks to be overlooked in the wagering as he opens at 10/1.

Win Bets: Boss of Bourbon St
and Extra Medium at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Box Boss of Bourbon St, Extra Medium, Smile Bryan and Echo Alpha Six.

Race 6: Boss of Bourbon St
, Extra Medium, Smile Bryan and Echo Alpha Six.
Race 7: Marvin, Gran Hombre, Bunch and High Holy.

Race 7 at Keeneland – Post Time 4:24 PM Eastern

In another wide open maiden race for two year old males, the equivalent of 12 to 15 year old boys, we have a field in which most have never run at all. Marvin put in a strong workout at Keeneland in his most recent full speed drill, the third best of 31 on the day at the distance, and most of the other 30 were likely older horses who have won races. The dam has produced a first out winner and the trainer wins at an above average 22% rate with first timers. The outside post is good too.

Gran Hombre comes from the barn of Al Stall, known for having his first timers ready to run as evidenced by a 25% win rate. This one is also a half-brother to a first out winner and his sire, Fed Biz, produces a strong 21% win rate with his first time starters so this cold is bred to run well early in his career on both sides of his family tree.

Bunch is another first time starter and likely to be one of the highest odds horses at post time. We must remind ourselves to be contrarians and not be scared of high odds horse so perhaps this horse deserves a few bucks to win and place so we won’t be kicking ourselves late. Bunch comes from the barn of Joan Scott, very competent for many years and actually having won with 4 of her last 16 first timers, a very good record. Sire Race day has his foals on the track for the first time this year and five of 20 have won first time out to date, which is a pretty good record so the colt could post the upset.

High Holy is one more first time starter opening at high odds, in this case 12/1. Owner/breeder Silverton Hills farm really takes their time with their young horses so I expect this colt to be well-prepared for his first race. In between a bunch of average morning drills, High Holy put in a sharp 47.8 half mile workout which shows he’s fit and the trainer doesn’t start many first timers but fired with one under the radar at Keeneland last year at 11/1 so beware.

Win Bets: Pick two of these four as win bets at 4 to 1 or higher odds: Marvin, Gran Hombre, Bunch and High Holy.
Add place bets on any of them at 6 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Marvin, Gran Hombre, Bunch and High Holy.

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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