StableDuel Strategy for Keeneland's Thursday Oct. 8 Races

America’s Best Racing and StableDuel are partnering on a contest held every Wednesday and Thursday during Keeneland’s fall meet. (Eclipse Sportswire)

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.

The contests cost just $10 to enter and offer a minimum prize pool of $500. StableDuel and ABR have scheduled the contests for every Wednesday and Thursday of the Keeneland Fall meet.

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. 8 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 10 races that are scheduled at Keeneland on Thursday.

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.

Patrick's Keeneland Oct. 8 Stable Duel Roster

Race 1

Horse: #4 Hombrazo

Salary: $7,500

Reasoning: This ridgling’s best races have come around two turns and he gets back to 1 1/16 miles after checking in third in his last race at seven furlongs. In particular, his race two starts back – fourth after giving up the lead late in a 1 1/8-mile allowance-optional claiming race at Churchill Downs – is good enough to win this $40,000 claimer.

Race 3

Horse: #8 Demeter

Salary: $3,000

Reasoning: This Godolphin filly was bumped at the start in her debut last month at Kentucky Downs and was never a factor. The winner of that race dominated by 6 ¼ lengths and was coming back from a start at Royal Ascot for Wesley Ward. She’s got as good a shot as several other higher-priced horses in this wide-open race, and retains Florent Geroux to ride.

Race 4

Horse: #5 Sonneman (MUST START)

Salary: $9,400

Reasoning: Sonneman has a class edge on this field, coming in off of a runner-up finish to Rushie in the Grade 2 Pat Day Mile Presented by LG and E and KU. He stretches out to two turns in this 1 1/16-mile allowance-optional claimer having been eased in his only prior two-turn start, which turned out to be a match race with one other opponent. He should sit a stalking trip under Ricardo Santana Jr. and win today.

Race 5

Horse: #9 Algebraic

Salary: $6,000

Reasoning: Trainer Dane Kobiskie wins at 32% in maiden claiming races and this colt exits a debut effort in which he dueled for the lead and faded late to finish fourth at the same six-furlong distance as he’ll run today. I don’t see any other speed lined up in this race, and I expect Corey Lanerie to send him from his outside post.

Race 6

Horse: #6 Soviet

Salary: $6,000

Reasoning: #1 Pit Boss is a heavy favorite, but $9,800 is far too expensive and I burned money on him in a couple of earlier races and question whether he wants to win at this point, even though he drops down into the maiden claiming ranks for the first time. Soviet, on the other hand, appears to have upside as he finished fourth of 11 in his most recent start on turf at Kentucky Downs and a closing third in his prior 2020 start at Ellis Park after a slow start. His recent workouts at Keeneland have been good, too.

Race 7

Horse: #3 Cambeliza (SLEEPER PICK)

Salary: $750

Reasoning: This is a very competitive race, and if I had the funds I’d use #9 Romantic Pursuit at $8,000 as he has the best back class in the field along with #1 Eliade. Instead, I’ll select this Curlin filly who ran a good third at Keeneland last fall and has two wins at Kentucky Downs in route turf races (she was elevated to first last month after the winner was DQ’d for interference; that filly came back to win on Keeneland’s opening day last week).

Race 8

Horse: #6 Tizmotionalgold

Salary: $5,000

Reasoning: This Tiznow filly exits a second-place finish at 1 1/16 miles last month at Churchill Downs, but on turf. Her only dirt start in August at Ellis Park was not bad – third in a sprint – but I think she has a pedigree for route races. She should sit a stalking trip under Joe Talamo and make an early move into Keeneland’s short stretch for this distance.

Race 9

Horse: #4 Big Score

Salary: $6,000

Reasoning: This is a stakes-quality allowance-optional claiming race and you could make a case for any horse. My first pick won the Transylvania Stakes here way back in 2017 and has come back for his 6-year-old season with a win at Del Mar and an eighth-place finish last month at Kentucky Downs. Toss that most recent start over the love-it-or-hate-it course in Franklin, and he fits in well against this field that includes enough speed horses to set up his back-of-the pack rally.

Race 9

Horse: #2 Title Ready (SLEEPER PICK)

Salary: $500

Reasoning: I’ll use an outsider in Race 9, too. Title Ready has only made one turf start, and that was back in his career debut in 2017 at Ellis Park, where he finished second. Since then, he’s run competitively in dirt stakes races, facing horses such as Vino Rosso and Mr. Buff, and he won a 1 1/16-mile allowance race during Keeneland’s July meet this year. Corey Lanerie retains the mount after riding him in both of his 2020 starts, which means he’ll probably be saving ground into the stretch.

Race 10

Horse: #6 Twirling Wildcat

Salary: $5,000

Reasoning: Although #3 Ambitiously Placed looks like the lone speed in this maiden-claiming dirt race, $7,500 is out of my range. I’ll use this Twirling Candy filly who showed little in her only prior start on turf at Ellis Park but races for trainer Wesley Ward and jockey Gerardo Corrales, who have been winning at a 36% clip this year.

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