If you like turf racing, large fields, big purses, and competitive betting races, then you’re in luck, because Saturday’s Grade 3, $500,000 Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes offers all that and more!
Held at a distance of one mile over the unique European-style turf course at Kentucky Downs, the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes has attracted ten starters, of which only three have competed at Kentucky Downs in the past, with none of them recording even a single top-three finish. So although identifying a talented horse in good form will still be critical to picking the winner, handicapping the race is going to be as much a question of identifying the horse most likely to enjoy the unusual, undulating course.
The obvious choice to win from an overall talent and accomplishments perspective is #1 I’m Betty G, a remarkably consistent 4-year-old trained by Mike Maker. The daughter of Into Mischief excels going a mile on turf and enters the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf off of three straight victories, including a front-running score in the Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Turf Stakes at Ellis Park, where she clocked a mile in a blazing 1:32.64 seconds and missed the 23-year-old course record by just 0.04. I’m Betty G has plenty of early speed, and in a race that’s rather lacking in serious front-runners, she could have a big chance to shake loose on an easy lead.
But of course, I’m Betty G has no experience at Kentucky Downs, which is why I find #10 Dubara to be an appealing alternative. The British-bred 4-year-old was an accomplished runner over the tricky and varying courses in her native country, and since arriving in the U.S. for her 2018 campaign she’s shown plenty of promise, finishing a close third in the Ellis Park Turf Stakes before coming home fourth (beaten less than a length) in the One Dreamer Stakes just a week ago on Sept. 1 at Kentucky Downs.
Obviously the quick turnaround is a bit of a question mark, but Dubara has faced quality competition in her two U.S. starts this far and seems to fit quite nicely at this level. Furthermore, she’ll be ridden by the talented jockey Adam Beschizza, who finished in the top three with half of his mounts on opening day of the 2018 Kentucky Downs meet. If I’m Betty G misfires over this unfamiliar course, Dubara could be poised to take advantage.
#6 Pas de Soucis, a former French runner who has held her own on the tough New York circuit this year, is another to consider since her proven form over challenging courses in France bodes well for her chances of handling Kentucky Downs. #2 Bonnie Arch, beaten just 1 ¼ lengths by I’m Betty G in the Kentucky Downs Preview Ladies Turf Stakes, is also worth including.
Here’s how I would play the race:
$4 exacta: 1,10 with 1,10 ($8)
$3 exacta: 1,10 with 2,6 ($12)
Good luck, and enjoy the race!