Best bets for the horse racing at Keeneland this weekend
Away for the big meeting at Aintree here in the UK I think there are a couple of bets to be had over the pond in America, Lexington Kentucky, this weekend at the Keeneland Spring Meet. With most of my time being taken up with the Grand National for the next couple of days I thought I'd go up nice and early with the two for Kentucky, hopefully they won’t be ridiculously short-priced, as long as not daft prices I will be backing both.
I noted Charlie Appleby mentioned a couple of American targets for two of his stable stars a little while back in an interview and I have been keeping a close eye on the entries. Modern Games has been aimed at the Grade One Makers Mark Mile at Keeneland this Friday, due off at 10.16pm our time and With The Moonlight has been trained with the Grade One Jenny Wiley as her early season target which is on the Saturday card due off at 10.48pm here in the UK.
According to reports Stateside after clearing quarantine, then training for a short period at Churchill Downs, the pair were on the track well before dawn Sunday (9th) at Keeneland making final preparations for their seasonal bows after being vanned over Saturday afternoon. Traveling lad Chris Connett has been supervising and William Buick has made the trip to get the leg-up on the pair.
Modern Games is 3 for 3 in North America, all in Grade One races, starting with the 2021 Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf as a two-year-old followed by the Woodbine Mile last September and the Breeders Cup Mile in November. The four-year-old clearly likes it Stateside and should have too much for this small field having several pounds in hand of official ratings as he does. Talking on the Godolphin website earlier this week Charlie Appleby said “We’re very much working back from the Breeders’ Cup Mile at the end of the year. Hopefully, he can try to emulate Goldikova by winning three Breeders’ Cups. Keeneland is the starting point for his year, with the Queen Anne being his first big target. But we know he thrives in America and that he loves fast ground, that’s why we have taken him abroad for his first run. He’s very good on the tight tracks there. At this time of the year in Europe, we know we would be gambling to get those conditions for him. We feel that if he can go over to Keeneland and get the job done in the Maker’s Mark, he then gets a nice break until Royal Ascot. From that point, after Ascot, he will be campaigned with the Breeders’ Cup in mind. Everyone’s happy with him there. If the Modern Games we’re seeing at home turns up like he did last year, he’s going to be hard to beat.”
With The Moonlight has gone well in America before, winning the G.3 Saratoga Oaks Invitational Stakes last year having finished second in the G.1 Belmont Oaks before that; she was also second in the G.2 Lake Placid Stakes. She arrives off the back of two G.2 wins in Dubai and looks a filly to keep on side this season. Appleby said of the filly “The conditions in America suit her. She’s done well there in the past, winning the Saratoga Oaks Invitational and finishing second in the Belmont Oaks and the Lake Placid at Saratoga. She’s coming back in trip in the Jenny Wiley but she won’t look out of place in this. She’ll be a big player.”