Keeneland Select Pick of the Day | October 5, 2019
Race 10 at Keeneland on Saturday, October 5 | Post Time 6:15 PM Eastern Time
Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes | Purse $1 Million | One Mile on Turf | Three Years Old and Upward
As a handicapper, bettor and fan of thoroughbred horse racing, I could not ask for a better race than this year’s Shadwell Turf Mile. Consisting of a field of 14, plus two also-eligibles, this race is loaded with talented horses that have credentials to win at the level.
That being said, I am going to write about four which I think have the bulk of the probability to win, but one in particular who I think even sticks out just a bit over the other three. That one is Vintager (8), making his North American debut in his 14th career start. Now a four year old, Vintager won in his career debut in the summer of 2017 then stepped up and into group 3 stakes company and ran poorly twice. Off for six months, he hit the board in his first two starts last year, ran fourth then won a handicap at a mile on turf at Newmarket. Given three months off he came back in group three stakes in Dubai and England and ran poorly then nearly won a handicap in May. Two races later he won a Group 3 race in France at this mile trip before a two and one-half month layoff. Vintager returned from that rest bigger and stronger than ever, winning a group two stakes race in Germany at this mile trip and on a left-handed course like he will be running over at Keeneland. In that race Vintager stalked the pace early, made the lead, got headed then showed a lot of mental and physical ability to fight back and win by a neck. Owned by Godolphin, Vintager is trained by Charles Appleby, who is DEAD SERIOUS when bringing a horse to North America to race. Appleby has run just 11 horses here in the past five years, 10 in grade 1 races, winning FOUR and finishing second in two others. In one of the defeats the jockey lost one of his irons so that one doesn’t even count in my opinion. Jockey James Doyle, whose sister Sophie got her first grade 1 win with Street Band last month in the Cotillion Stakes, rode Vintager to victory in June so knows what to do to get the horse to win and the ONLY previous time Appleby used Doyle on a horse he brought to North America was a couple months ago in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine, which they won with Old Persian. The 114 Equibase figure Vintager earned in his last race is right there with the best horses in this field and it can even be improved upon as this four year old still may not have run his best race.
Bowies Hero (5) is a grade 1 winner at a mile on turf, which can be a significant handicapping factor in a grade 1 race at a mile on turf. He won the Frank E. Kilroe Mile at Santa Anita in March of 2018 and although he has won just once since in eight races, he fits here on all counts. That other win came in the G2 Eddie Read Stakes this summer at Del Mar and the race was followed by a better-than-it-looks effort in the Del Mar Mile in which he was in a position to win with a sixteenth of a mile to go but was jostled around between horses, losing momentum. Flavien Prat, who rode Bowies Hero to win in the Eddie Read, and in the troubled Del Mar Mile, rides back and with three consecutive Equibase figure efforts of 113 or better, Bowies Hero must be respected as a contender in this race.
Admission Office (6), like Vintager, is a four year old. He’s the most lightly raced horse in the field, having run just seven times. However, he’s never been worse than third in any of those races and only third once. That finish came in his most recent race in June in the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes in which he was bounced around at the start, beginning 12th of 13. Still 12th with a quarter mile to run, Admission Office navigated through traffic as best he could and ending up losing by two necks o the wire, improving to a career-best 108 figure in the process. Jose Ortiz will have no less traffic problems in the Shadwell Turf mile as Rosario had in the Wise Dan, but if Jose can take the horse outside turning for home and unleash this colt’s late kick, he could blast past them all for the win.
Suedois (12) is a veteran campaigner with 46 career races, consisting of nine wins, 10 seconds and 11 thirds. He’s the epitome a horse who loves what he does. In 2017, Suedois shipped in from Ireland to post the upset in the Shadwell Turf Mile at 9/1 and I remember that as clear as day as I loved his chances off a win in the Solonaway Stakes a few weeks earlier. He returned to Europe after that and won a few but then went winless for a long time, until taking a group 3 stakes at seven furlongs in August. Prepping in the same race which helped him two years ago, Suedois finished third in this year’s Solonaway Stakes but that doesn’t mean he can’t repeat in this race because like Appleby, trainer O’Meara rarely ships to North America without a top horse. He’s 3 for 9 with one second and that record is from just two horses, Suedois and Mondialiste, who won the Ricoh Woodbine Mile and Arlington Million. My feeling is O’Meara wouldn’t be coming and wouldn’t have Jamie Spencer in the saddle if he didn’t think Suedois, even at the age of eight, is as good now as he was two years ago, and who am I to argue.
For second on exacta tickets, I’ll toss in Valid Point (4) and Van Beethoven (2), three year olds facing older for the first time but having run well when first and second, respectively, in the Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes in August. They do need to improve off the 104/103 figures earned but they are only three and can do just that. I’m also including Real Story (14), because if Get Western (15) doesn’t draw into the race, this gelding will go to the front as he always does and see how far he can take the field. Jockey Bravo will need to negotiate a great trip to get to the rail before the turn but this horse showed some moxie last time out in the very tough Tourist Mile Stakes on the undulating Kentucky Downs course when he led until deep stretch and gamely held second.
The main win bet is Vintager (8) to win at 5 to 2 odds or higher.
Smaller win bets can be made on Bowies Hero (5) and/or Admission Office (6) to win at 7 to 2 odds or higher.
Last but not least, if Suedois (12) is at or above 5 to 1 odds near post time he may be worth a win bet as well.
Bowies Hero (5), Admission Office (6), Vintager (8) and Suedois (12) over Bowies Hero (5), Admission Office (6), Vintager (8), Suedois (12), Van Beethoven (2), Valid Point (4) and Real Story (14).