Betting Strategies: Keeneland Late Pick Four Draws Big Fields, Talented Horses

Written By Andrew Champagne on April 14, 2022 - Last Updated on April 27, 2022
Kentucky Derby Prep races at Keeneland

Saturday’s late Pick Four at Keeneland includes three stakes races and a finale that may as well be a fourth. With one exception, the fields are huge, and I had a lot of fun putting together my $13.50 late Pick Four ticket.

Here’s how I’ll be attacking the sequence.

Going against the chalk in the Giant’s Causeway

No. 3 Campanelle will almost certainly go favored in the eighth of 11 races on the program. There’s a reason for that, as her career has included a few tries against top-tier competition overseas. However, I’m against her here.

This ungraded stakes race isn’t the goal for her. That’s almost certainly a trip to Royal Ascot to defend her title in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup this summer. A win would be great for her connections, to be sure, but after being off since October, a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world.

I’ll try to beat her by going three deep. No. 5 Change of Control beat Campanelle last fall at Keeneland and makes her third start off the bench. She’s shown she can rate, which will be hugely important. There’s lots of early speed signed on, and I think the race will fall apart late.

That’s why I’m also using two big prices. No. 2 Star Devine and No. 10 Ghosting Kim are both stone closers, and I think they’ll both be going the right way late. If we beat Campanelle, I think we knock out a lot of tickets right away.

My best bet in the Lexington

The Grade 3 Lexington has attracted a field of 11. However, I think there’s a standout here and that we may get a bettable price given the big field.

No. 2 In Due Time was second in the chaotic Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. There was plenty of trouble that day, but he still showed plenty of talent chasing another talented 3-year-old, Simplification. He’s got enough tactical speed to sit close, and he’s shown two turns won’t be a problem.

Nobody wants a repeat of In Due Time’s most recent trip given what happened to two other horses and riders. From a talent perspective, though, another 90 Beyer Speed Figure is probably good enough to win this, and I think he may be ready to improve.

Is Brown’s 1-2 punch enough in the Jenny Wiley?

A compact field of six will go postward in the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley. Trainer Chad Brown has won this race four times since 2015, and he’s got two big chances to get one for the thumb.

No. 3 Shantisara and No. 4 Regal Glory are both Grade 1 winners. The former got her big win at Keeneland last fall in the Queen Elizabeth II, while the latter won the Matriarch at Del Mar. Both will be short prices, and neither would surprise.

I’ll also, however, use No. 2 Waliyak. She won a Group 3 overseas last year and probably found 10 furlongs a bit too far in the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. She’s been training steadily ahead of her 2022 debut, and this 1 1/16-mile distance should suit her perfectly.

Three deep to finish it off at Keeneland

This optional claiming event drew a stakes-quality field of 11 older sprinters. It’s headlined by last year’s Grade 2 Blue Grass runner-up. I’m using that one, but I don’t think he’s a cinch.

No. 4 Highly Motivated gave eventual champion Essential Quality all he could handle in last spring’s main event. He then ran 10th in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and went to the sidelines. We know he loves Keeneland, and his win in the Nyquist Stakes at two was very, very good. The question is, is he ready to run after almost a year off?

Just in case he isn’t, I’ll also use No. 2 Escape Route and No. 8 Ducale. Escape Route’s lone poor effort came on turf, and his last-out win at Santa Anita was excellent. Ducale, meanwhile, flashed plenty of talent last year, when he won twice and competed against some very classy horses.

The $13.50 Keeneland late Pick Four ticket

R8: 2, 5, 10
R9: 2
R10: 2, 3, 4
R11: 2, 4, 8

Andrew Champagne Avatar
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Andrew Champagne

Andrew Champagne is a Content Manager at Catena Media, as well as an award-winning horse racing writer and handicapper. Originally from upstate New York, he now resides in Concord, California. Follow him on Twitter at @AndrewChampagne.

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