America’s Best Racing is excited to partner with StableDuel, a first-of-its kind platform for daily live horse racing contests. For the first time, ABR will present with StableDuel two weekly contests featuring racing at Keeneland Race Course.
StableDuel and ABR have scheduled the contests for every Wednesday and Thursday of the Keeneland Fall meet. The contests cost just $10 to enter, and this Thursday, StableDuel’s contest is a “Double Up” bankroll builder, where the top 40% of stables at the end of the card will double their money.
If you’re not familiar with StableDuel, think of it the same way you’d think of any fantasy sports platform. To win, you have to create the best roster of horses – a stable – just as you would select football players for a fantasy team. The better each horse performs, the more points you rack up. The top horses in each race (based on morning-line odds) are assigned the highest salaries. Since each team has a salary cap, teams can’t consist of all “favorites” and inevitably require players to identify winning “longshots” or sleeper picks that can be added to a stable for lower salaries.
The Thursday Oct. 22 Keeneland contest requires the standard selection of 10 horses per team. Each stable assembled must stay within a $50,000 virtual salary cap. The horses available for selection in the contest are the runners from all nine races that are scheduled at Keeneland on Wednesday.
ABR’s Patrick Reed lives less than half an hour from Keeneland and attends the races there regularly, although this fall he'll be watching remotely along with all other fans and bettors. Here’s how Patrick constructed his team.
Horse: #7 Lucky Be a Lady
Reasoning: Lucky Be a Lady comes into this bottom-level $8,000 claimer in poor form, but look back in her past performances and she’s run well when paired with jockey Jon Court. To say the least, there are no world-beaters in this 1 1/16-mile race and I expect Court to send her early and see how long she can last.
Race 2 (MUST START)
Horse: #1 Summer Palace
Reasoning: Summer Palace is a standout in this 1 3/16-mile maiden race on turf. He was bumped early and steadied late two starts back at Kentucky Downs but still ran on to finish fourth (moved up to third) and then just missed last out at Churchill Downs. Tyler Gaffalione, who has been mowing them down on turf all meet long at Keeneland, stays aboard.
Horse: #5 Loopallu
Reasoning: In this very evenly-matched $15,000 claimer, I’ll go with this Curlin gelding who should be prominent early and has hit the board in six of his nine starts at six furlongs. He’s run very well in his two starts after dropping into the claiming ranks.
Horse: #1 Just Life
Reasoning: #6 Spun Run is the morning-line favorite boasting some good workouts, but $8,500 is too much to spend on a first-time starter in a maiden claiming race. I’ll save some dough and go with this Honor Code filly who showed little in her first start back at the beginning of the Keeneland meet but drops from a maiden special weight to this claimer and picks up aggressive rider Adam Beschizza, who should send her from the rail post position.
Horse: #8 Keep Your Distance
Reasoning: This is another competitive race for hard-knocking types, a $20,000 starter allowance (allowance race for claiming horses). Keep Your Distance ran well in four starts earlier this year in New York. His two starts in Kentucky in September and October have not been as good, but one was on turf at Kentucky Downs and in his most recent third-place effort earlier this meet at Keeneland, the winner blew out the field by more than 10 lengths. I expect a better showing here and for David Cohen to stalk the early pace after breaking from the outside.
Race 6 (SLEEPER PICK)
Horse: #12 Dune of Pilat
Reasoning: In this wide-open turf allowance, I’m taking a stab at this French-bred Medaglia d’Oro colt making his first North American start. He made his first three starts on all-weather surfaces in Ireland and England, winning twice by open lengths and finishing a close second. His most recent start on turf in Ireland was not good at all, but it was on a course rated as yielding. He showed good acceleration in his all-weather starts, and if he takes to firmer turf at Keeneland and gets a good trip, an upset could be in the cards.
Horse: #1 Lemon Chill
Reasoning: This Lemon Drop Kid filly has run well this year despite not winning. She finished third twice at Churchill Downs in June, losing by a neck and a half-length, and jockey Martin Garcia was aboard for both races. He’s back on her in this one-mile $50,000 claimer and, if he can summon that summer Churchill form, she has a good shot at winning.
Race 8 (SLEEPER PICK)
Horse: #4 Atone
Reasoning: There are several horses in this about seven-furlong allowance with far better back class than Atone, but I am intrigued by his sudden improvement last month at Arlington Park. This Into Mischief colt came in off of two prior races where he had excuses – a poor start in his debut, blocked in the stretch in his second start – and then romped by 13 lengths on Arlington’s all-weather track. That level of competition is obviously nothing like what he’ll face in this race, but the price is definitely right.
Race 9 (MUST START)
Horse: #4 Fighting Force
Reasoning: In his career debut, this Todd Pletcher trainee finished second by three-quarters of a length to Second of July last month at Belmont Park. That runner subsequently won the Futurity Stakes and is pointed to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. If Fighting Force takes the next step in development, this Coolmore-owned colt has a very good shot at winning this 1 1/16-mile turf maiden race against a full field.
Horse: #10 Tamanrassett
Reasoning: A longshot option for Keeneland’s Thursday finale, this son of Not This Time has run well in both of his starts so far, finishing second by a nose in his debut at Ellis Park and then fourth by two lengths at Kentucky Downs. He was rallying late in both starts and should be doing the same in this race.