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 Wednesday Oct. 7 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 eight 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.
Patrick's Keeneland Oct. 7 Stable Duel Roster
Horse: #5 Mulberry Street
Reasoning: Throw out this colt’s start on turf and his two route dirt starts are good enough to win this race. I expect him to press the pace early and make a bid for the lead heading into the far turn, and his pedigree (by Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense) should be enough to get him home in this 1 1/8-mile test.
Race 3 (MUST START)
Horse: #8 Bourbon in May
Reasoning: This colt is riding a three-race winning streak for Mike Maker, who usually has his horses set to run their best in grass races in Kentucky during the fall at Keeneland and other tracks. He exits a visually impressive win at Kentucky Downs and picks up hot jockey Florent Geroux. I expect him to sit a bit closer to the lead than in his prior three wins to set up his strong stretch kick.
Horse: #1 Rijeka
Reasoning: An alternative to consider in this loaded 1 ½-mile turf race is Rijeka, who has a win at this distance, speed figures competitive with Bourbon in May, and back class as a former graded stakes runner in 2019. He also gets good turf rider Ricardo Santana Jr. assigned for the first time.
Horse: #6 I Dream of Lois
Reasoning: #1 Crazy Sexy Munny is a deserving odds-on favorite in this starter optional claiming race, but her $11,000 price tag is too expensive. I’ll take a flyer on I Dream of Lois, who has had most of her success on turf but is by Uncle Mo and should be forwardly placed under Julien Leparoux.
Race 5 (SLEEPER PICK)
Horse: #4 Churn N Burn
Reasoning: This 1 1/8-mile allowance race is wide open – a typically great betting race on Keeneland’s turf. Churn N Burn has back class on dirt racing against the likes of Ete Indien, woke up in his turf debut at Kentucky Downs when second last month, has a pedigree suitable for this surface and distance as a son of Liam’s Map out of a Leroidesanimaux mare, and reunites with Chris Landeros, an underrated turf jockey.
Horse: #9 Spanish Kingdom
Reasoning: I wish the price was a little lower, but Spanish Kingdom seems to me the most logical choice to win this tough allowance race. He’s got a visually impressive win at the 1 1/8-mile distance and his fifth-place finish in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes at Keeneland in July was quite good. He disappointed as the favorite in his most recent start but is eligible to rebound under the skillful guidance of Brian Hernandez Jr. (Another horse to strongly consider if he draws in from the also-eligible list is #15 Perjury Trap at $7,000. He races for the potent Klaravich Stables-Chad Brown owner-trainer combo and exits a race at Saratoga where the winner subsequently nearly won a graded stakes at the Spa and then did win a stakes race at Pimlico last Saturday.)
Horse: #5 Clever Tale
Reasoning: Much like race 4, this starter allowance has a heavy favorite in gigantic class dropper #1 Queen Nekia whose $10,000 price tag is a bit too much for my liking. My alternative is Clever Tale, who hasn’t raced since April at Tampa Bay Downs but won twice there and comes back for a trainer, Kelsey Danner, who has solid stats off the layoff.
Horse: #1 Batyah
Reasoning: The featured JPMorganChase Jessamine Stakes drew a competitive field vying for a Breeders’ Cup spot, and this Graham Motion-trained Pioneerof the Nile filly could pick up the pieces if the pace is too hot. She had a strong closing kick in her debut win and I think she’ll improve with an added sixteenth of a mile.
Race 7 (MUST START)
Horse: #7 Aunt Pearl
Reasoning: Aunt Pearl turned heads Kentucky Derby week at Churchill Downs in September with a front-running, five-length score in her debut going a mile on turf, one of the more impressive efforts of the short meet. She may get a bit more early pressure in the Jessamine, but jockey Florent Geroux is a good judge of pace and should have this Irish-bred filly in a good position to open up on the field in early stretch.
Race 8 (SLEEPER PICK)
Horse: #11 Englander
Reasoning: There’s a heavy favorite in this 6 ½-furlong maiden claimer shipping in from Saratoga in #8 Long Term Thinking, but his $9,600 price tag is out of my range. I’m backing this English Channel horse who hasn’t been seen on the track since January 2019 when he finished second against tougher competition than he’ll face in this race. Phil D’Amato has good off-the-layoff numbers, and Englander has posted some good five-furlong drills at Churchill Downs leading to this comeback. I expect jockey Rafael Bejarano to send him early from his outside post and try to wire a field that, the favorite aside, lacks speed.