Dan’s Double: Grass Could Be Greener at Keeneland

Fans get a closer look at the horses in the paddock at Keeneland Race Course. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Dan’s Double of the week, featuring handicapping analysis from America's Best Racing's New York correspondent Dan Tordjman, is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders' Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

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Each Week, Tordjman will provide readers with his two best bets of the weekend and strategies for how to bet them. Tordjman will keep track of his return on investment (ROI) throughout the year and, as a bonus, he will also provide picks for a selection of the key races on the Triple Crown trail and the road to the Breeders’ Cup. Dan was able to manage a positive ROI for his plays in 2016 but was in the red for 2017. How will he do in 2018? To find out and to play along, come back every week and be sure to follow Tordjman on Twitter.

Saturday, Oct. 6

Keeneland Race Course, Race 8, $400,000 First Lady Stakes, 4:40 p.m. ET

#1 Insta Erma: This race has the feel of one that could fall apart, especially given the presence of several need-the-lead types including La Sardane, Quidura, and Dona Bruja. Admittedly, the latter two have been taken off the pace at times, but they’ve clearly done their best when they’ve been allowed to roll early. In any event, that dynamic should eliminate several runners — whether they’re chasing or taken out of their preferred running style — and potentially open the door for something wacky. I think Insta Erma fits the profile. She’s 20-1 on the morning line but STATS Race Lens’ Adjusted True Odds have her win odds at closer to 11-1. Aside from winning the Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes last out on turf rated good, and it’s expected to rain all weekend at Keeneland, she’s run a couple of other good races on a wet surfaces, including a third-place finish in an allowance at Keeneland last spring. Finally, I like seeing Tyler Gaffalione riding her. He’s one of the best young turf riders in the country.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$2 win, place, show on #1 Insta Erma ($6)

$1 exacta: 1,4 with 1,4,10 ($4)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$6 win, place, show on #1 Insta Erma ($18)

$1 exacta box: 1,4,10 ($6)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$8 win, place, show on #1 Insta Erma ($24)

$2 exacta box: 1,4,10 ($12)

$.50 trifecta: 1,4 with 1,4,5,10 with 1,3,4,5,8,10 ($12)

Keeneland Race Course, Race 10, $1 million Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes, 5:49 p.m. ET

#9 Analyze It: This sort of feels like a safe pick but no matter how many times I looked at the race, I found it hard to unfold in a way that doesn’t suit Analyze It. For starters, he’s one of the most tactical runners in the field. Were it not for two necks and a head, he’d be 6-for-6 lifetime. Unfortunately, three close finishes this year haven't gone his way. But for context, two of those losses came to Catholic Boy — before he won the Travers and subsequently had his form further flattered last week by Mendelssohn in the Jockey Club Gold Cup — and all three races saw him give up the lead at distances that were longer than Saturday’s mile. The cutback should help Analyze It, and if it rains he’ll like that, too. His best career effort came on yielding turf at Keeneland earlier this year. If Voodoo Song, Heart to Heart, and Great Wide Open mix things up on the front end, that should position Analyze It perfectly to roll past them all late.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$2 win, place, show on #9 Analyze It ($6)

$2 exacta box: 9,14 ($4)

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$4 win, place, show on #9 Analyze It ($12)

$2 exacta box: 9,14 ($4)

$.50 trifecta: 9,14 with 9,11,14 with 2,6,9,11,12,14 ($8)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$10 win and $5 place, show on #9 Analyze It ($20)

$4 exacta box: 9,14 ($8)

$.50 trifecta: 9,11,14 with 9,11,14 with 1,2,6,7,9,11,12,13,14 ($21)

YTD BANKROLL: -$1,258.10

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