Betting Strategies: Saturday’s All-Stakes Pick Four at Keeneland

Written By Andrew Champagne on April 8, 2022 - Last Updated on April 25, 2022
Lexington Stakes

It’s opening weekend at Keeneland, one of the premier boutique meets in American horse racing. The calendar features several stakes-laden cards, including Saturday’s program highlighted by the Grade 1 Blue Grass.

The Blue Grass finishes off an all-stakes Pick Four that includes some of the fastest horses on the Keeneland grounds. I’ll look to attack it with a $12 ticket, and here’s how I’ve put it together.

Kicking it off with the Appalachian

The Grade 2 Appalachian has drawn eight 3-year-old fillies to go two turns on the Keeneland turf course. It features a 7-5 morning line favorite, and I’m using her, but there’s another runner I think you need to consider too.

No. 3 Spendarella makes lots of sense. She went 2-for-2 at Gulfstream, including a wire-to-wire score in the Grade 3 Herecomesthebride. There isn’t much other early speed signed on, so she could get very comfortable in front once again. My only question is, if Spendarella is that well-meant, why is Graham Motion also running No. 7 Ouraika?

That’s one of the reasons I’m also throwing in No. 5 Skims. That filly is 2-for-2 since being stretched out to two turns, and she overcame a three-month layoff to take her first start against winners last time out. She comes into this event off of back-to-back bullet drills at Payson Park, and top turf jockey Flavien Prat sees fit to ride her.

Three deep in the Madison

The Grade 1 Madison is always a lot of fun. It attracts some of the top female sprinters in the country on an annual basis, and this year’s renewal is no different.

Three runners are likely to take most of the money, and I’m using two of them. No. 5 Bell’s the One was one of the top female sprinters in the country last year. She’s been working steadily ahead of her return and would benefit from a fast pace. No. 6 Kimari, meanwhile, won this race last year and was impressive in her comeback at Gulfstream last month.

I am, however, against No. 3 Lady Rocket. Yes, she’s won four of her last five starts, but she hasn’t beaten much in those victories. I think there are others who are faster early than she is, and if she’s so well-meant, why is Brad Cox also saddling No. 4 Just One Time?

At a much bigger price, I prefer No. 8 Club Car, and she’s the other one I’m using. She wasn’t far behind Bell’s the One in two starts last fall, and she chased a very talented sprinter home her last time out at Turfway. That last-out effort was on a synthetic track, and I think she’ll move forward coming back to dirt second off the bench.

Can’t shake Golden Pal in the Shakertown

It’s not as though the field in the Grade 2 Shakertown is a bad one. In fact, the 11-horse field includes some top-tier turf sprinters and a few horses you’ll want to keep an eye on.

However, that doesn’t change that No. 10 Golden Pal is a freak. His win in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint was outstanding, and it’s far from the only such effort on his sheet. He runs well fresh, he’s going to be prominent early and I don’t think anyone in this field will catch him.

Four deep in the Keeneland main event

The Grade 1 Blue Grass has drawn 12 Kentucky Derby hopefuls. We’ve seen a bunch of these horses in prior Derby preps, and it’s the last chance for these horses to earn valuable Derby points.

I’ll use the four horses I drilled down to in my Blue Grass preview. No. 10 Smile Happy and No. 4 Zandon will likely be the two favorites after running 2-3 behind Epicenter in the Grade 2 Risen Star.

I’ll also throw in No. 5 Volcanic and No. 6 Emmanuel. Volcanic may be a very big price, but he was a credible third behind Classic Causeway last time out and has taken a significant step forward as a 3-year-old.

The $12 Keeneland all-stakes Pick Four ticket

R6: 3, 5
R7: 5, 6, 8
R8: 10
R9: 4, 5, 6, 10

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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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