Normally, I wait until Friday's blog post to offer a handicapping segment on a race (or races) of the week. However, I am just so darned excited that Keeneland will be opening up tomorrow for their spring season that I have decided to double dip this week and offer you a Race Of The Day for Friday and also do the normal Friday handicapping post that, hopefully, you have come to know and love. The Opening Day feature at Keeneland on Friday is the Grade 3 $100,000 Transylvania and here are my thoughts on the field of nine:
I love a good price and I think you will be getting a good price with #4 Strike The Tiger. The Wesley Ward-trained gelding barely missed last time out in an Allowance start at this same distance at Gulfstream on February 26. Johnny Velazquez has been aboard this horse twice, once was a win at Ascot last June and the other was that second mentioned earlier in Florida. He was the betting choice in his last three and his morning-line today is 8-1. For second, I will go with #6 Lost Aptitude. I think the connections here got swept up in Derby Fever in his last start, as they sent a horse that clearly loves the grass on the dirt in the Grade 2 Fountain Of Youth and you can guess the rest. He finished dead last, 46 lengths behind Eskendereya. It was his first time off the board since his first start. He is back on his preferred surface here and he ran second in the Grade 3 Tropical Park Derby at Calder on New Year's Day, so the competition shouldn't be a problem. I will take likely the best turf trainer in America today, Christophe Clement, and put his horse, #2 Nordic Truce, third. The colt is undefeated in two lifetime tries, both were at one mile so he is stretching out just a touch here. Julien Leparoux brought this horse from last of eleven in the stretch to victory last time out at Gulfstream. Watch for that closing kick in the Transylvania, it could be spooky. Finally, I will round out the top four with #7 Macias, who I think might get caught up in what promises to be a spirited run for the lead in this race and that might compromise his chances at the end. The Baffert trainee will have the riding services of Alan Garcia for the first time and his last work over the synthetic at Santa Anita was a scintillating seven furlongs in 1:25.4. Here is the play for the Grade 3 Transylvania:
$5 WP #4
$1 EX BOX 2-4-6 and $1 TRI BOX 2-4-6
Remember, They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!