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Bernier's Best

Weekend Stakes Previews for Sept. 10

by Matt Bernier
Updated On: September 9, 2022, 7:30 pm ET

 

The marquee day of the boutique meeting at Kentucky Downs is upon us, with six graded stakes taking place on Saturday (two of which can be seen on CNBC beginning at 5 PM ET).

Kentucky Downs is a racetrack unlike any other in the United States for two reasons.

Firstly, there is no dirt surface found at the facility – turf racing is the name of the game.

Secondly, and more importantly, the turf course at Kentucky Downs is an undulating one that takes on more of a European style than the traditional grass courses we see here in the U.S.

This can make for exciting racing as well as the occasional head scratching result…but can also lead to boxcar prices in terms of wagering.

Below you will find selections from three of the graded stakes taking place at Kentucky Downs on Saturday: the G3 Mint Million, the G2 FanDuel Turf Sprint, and the G2 Kentucky Turf Cup.

After thirty-four weeks, here is the results tally (records reflective of $2 WIN / $2 WPS):

WIN: 14-99 (14.1%, -$87.40)
WPS: 53-99 (53.5%, -$161.20)

 

 

2:45 ET – KENTUCKY DOWNS R5 – G3 MINT MILLION – 1 MILE – TURF

PIXELATE (2) returns to the scene of his greatest triumph to date in last year's G3 Mint Million, and while he enters this year's race on the heels of a loss, he warrants consideration. The Michael Stidham trainee will be making his second start of 2022, and his defeat at Laurel in mid-July isn't as disappointing as it may seem at face value. After sitting in the pocket tracking slow fractions, the five-year-old son of City Zip eventually found a seam in mid-stretch, however he was unable to run down his competitors who had already gotten the jump on him. With a start under his belt, a fitter version of Pixelate should be expected on Saturday afternoon. His impressive victory in this race last year should give backers confidence, even though he may be compromised by race shape. The pace scenario is a legitimate concern, but a replica of last year's effort should put Pixelate in the thick of things in deep stretch.

THE PLAY: 2) PIXELATE TO WIN at odds of 9/2 or greater

 

 

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5:10 ET – KENTUCKY DOWNS R9 – G2 FANDUEL TURF SPRINT – 6 FURLONGS – TURF

There's no denying that Arrest Me Red is the horse to beat in the FanDuel Turf Sprint, but the outside draw combined with the tricky turf course at Kentucky Downs makes him a horse I'm willing to take a shot against at an extremely short price. He may be getting a bit long in the tooth, but TOTALLY BOSS (10) can win this race on his best day, and trainer Rusty Arnold has had a great deal of success in this race in the past. Now a seven-year-old, Totally Boss was, at one time, among the best turf sprinters in the United States, going off at odds of 5/1 in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in 2019. Unfortunately, the son of Street Boss has started just six times since November of 2019 (injuries), but he enters Saturday's race on the heels of a promising comeback effort at Ellis Park last month. After settling at the rear of the field on August 7, jockey Brian Hernandez, Jr. wheeled Totally Boss 8-9 paths off the rail turning for home, rallying to finish a fast-closing fourth. Considering it was his first start in a few months and likely nothing more than a means to an end, the fourth-place finish for Totally Boss was promising and suggests he still has something left in the tank. Reunited with jockey Florent Geroux on Saturday, Totally Boss has upset potential at a square price.

THE PLAY: 10) TOTALLY BOSS TO WIN at odds of 8/1 or greater

 

 

5:45 ET – KENTUCKY DOWNS R10 – G2 KENTUCKY TURF CUP – 1 1/2 MILES – TURF

Some people may look at the past performances of ARKLOW (4) and surmise that his five-race losing streak is because he's now eight-years-old and has lost some steam on his fastball. A deeper dive, however, indicates that the Brad Cox trainee has been remarkably unlucky in each of those races, and perhaps he's still as good as he's ever been. Here's an assessment of his last five trips:

  • 2021 United Nations at Monmouth: Took a terrible step on the far turn
  • 2021 Del Mar Handicap at Del Mar: Impossibly wide throughout
  • 2021 Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs: Checked / steadied multiple times
  • 2021 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at Belmont: Too close to a fast pace that fell apart
  • 2022 Bowling Green at Saratoga: Bottled up behind a wall of horses, found seam too late

Now, in his second start off a lengthy layoff, Arklow has an opportunity to show people that he's still got some pep in his step at one of his favorite racetracks in the country (four career starts: two wins, two runner-up finishes). Gufo is certainly the horse to beat in Saturday's Kentucky Turf Cup, but Arklow may be the horse to bet.

THE PLAY: 4) ARKLOW TO WIN at odds of 5/2 or greater

Matt Bernier

Matt Bernier is a betting analyst for NBC Sports and host of "The Matt Bernier Show" podcast. His work has been showcased in the Daily Racing Form, on ESPN, as well as on TVG. Matt can be followed on Twitter @bernier_matt.