2018 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes
It's hard not to get excited about this event from a wagering perspective. To start, you've got the big field and plenty of choices, but you've also got the up-and-coming angle on several price horses in this race.
Knicks Go is a deserving favorite at 2/1, but this colt was 70/1 two starts ago, and 40/1 in his last start. Granted, those efforts resulted in an upset win in Grade 1 Breeders' Futurity and a game second-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Classic. He's earned the favoritism, but he'll also have his work cut out for him.
A bulky field of juveniles can lend itself to uncertainty. The aforementioned Knicks Go will have to negotiate terms from an outside post (13) and will encounter several live runners in this spot. Knicks Go is also an early-speed type and plenty other rivals figure to have their sights set on the front end. Here's a look at the group:
- Signalman 5/2
- Tracksmith 20/1
- Manny Wah 20/1
- Dunph 6/1
- Plus Que Parfait 20/1
- Blue Steel 15/1
- Limonite 20/1
- Royal Urn 30/1
- Current 15/1
- Roiland 20/1
- Mick's Star 30/1
- King for a Day 8/1
- Knicks Go 2/1
- 14-Topper T 20/1
- 15-Ever Fast 15/116-Kentucky Allstar 30/1
Like Knicks Go, Signalman comes back on relatively short rest after placing in the Grade 1 Breeders' Cup Juvenile. The Kenny McPeek trainee rallied well, but was a length behind Knicks Go while finishing third. I don't discredit this colt's chances, but 5/2 is a pretty unappetizing price here.
Top picks and prices
I'll put myself out there by saying that 20/1 shot Tracksmith looks live. This colt has made all three starts on turf despite being bred for dirt. He did some nice running over the lawn, and should improve on the main track. His sire, Street Sense, won the 2007 Kentuky Derby and this colt has worked well on dirt for this start. To boot, trainer Joe Sharp connects at a favorable 20% clip with runners going turf to dirt.
In addition to this bomb, I also like the looks of Dunph at 6/1. He's 2 for 2 and has yet to be challenged, winning both starts by around 8 lengths. He'll surely be facing better horses here, but this colt is bred to handle more distance and has shown excellent speed.
Let's try something a bit exotic here and go with an exacta and trifecta. I'll use numbers 1,2,4 and 13 boxed in both wagers. For a $1 exacta, this will total $12 and for a 50-cent trifecta, this will cost the same amount. I'll play both wagers several times and hope I get one or both price horses to connect.
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