Keeneland will be opening up its prestigious fall season on Friday, so They Are Off will take a look at one of the graded stakes race on the Friday program in Kentucky. I elected to handicap the Grade 3 Phoenix over the Grade 1 Darley Alcibides because of a bigger field and I feel a better chance to get a price for our efforts. Also, I think there will be something of a speed duel in here and I would expect some closers to make things quite entertaining in the last sixteenth.
The top pick will be #11 Canonize, who is returning from some time off. His last start was actually on the turf at Santa Anita in the Grade 3 San Simeon and he finished fourth that day in April. His last two workouts at Hollywood were swift and Victor Espinoza gets the riding assignment here. For second, I will go with #4 Wild L at 12-1. He scored a win on the turf last time out at Arlington in late August. In fact, so far in 2010, Wild L is 2 for 2. I think he will be one those middle to late runners that will appear on the scene with a chance to do something late in here under Glenn Corbett. I will put the morning-line choice, #5 Warrior's Reward, third. I REALLY needed him to get past Vineyard Haven in the Forego at Saratoga and finish third, but he couldn't quite do it. My concern with him in here is the polytrack at Keeneland. In fact, his last Polytrack effort was a Grade 3 last October at Keeneland at seven furlongs and he finished fifth. Was it the distance or the surface that caused that result? I can't put him on top until I know for sure. Finally, how about a nice 20-1 shot to wrap up the top four with #6 Moralist? He is another that has gotten some time off since the summer. He won the Claiming Crown Express at Canterbury on July 24 last time out and his price makes him an attractive part of the issue here. Again, there is a lack of Polytrack seasoning, but I am more willing to forgive it at 20-1 as opposed to 5-2. Here is the play for the Grade 3 $175,000 Phoenix:
$5 WP #11
$1 EX BOX 4-5-6-7-11
They Are Off accepts no responsibility for any wagers placed in conjunction with these selections. They are merely suggestions. Tune in again tomorrow for more from They Are Off. For right now, I am Gone... GOODBYE!