We are back this weekend at beautiful Lexington Kentucky for some action at historic Keeneland! So far through the meet there has been no shortage of long shot winners, with multiple Pick 5 pools paying out in the five and six figure range. That’s great news for us StableDuel players, as it gives us plenty of options for targeting cheap horses to earn points. Compounding the long shot winners are some extremely poor morning lines, such as Ricky’s darling Shirl’s Speight being made 50/1 on the morning line but ultimately going off at 9/1 and winning the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile. Those are the kind of horses that can make your day, so let’s look at a few value plays and reliable favorites on today’s card.
If you’ve been following along with us here at DFS Karma, you already know the gig. You have a mythical $50k budget to pick 10 horses racing today. Each horse has a price, based on it’s morning line odds. Horses who are heavy favorites will cost you more salary to use, but they also generally bring more upside. Longshot horses will be cheaper but do carry some risk. You will either earn or lose points for each horse you’ve selected based on where they finish. The short version is that finishing in the top 5 earns you 10-60 points from 5th to 1st, respectively, plus or minus some points based on the margin of victory. If you finish worse than 5th, however, you lose points based on how much you lost by, so be careful with taking longshots!
Below, I’ve outlined a few horses at varying price tiers who I feel are compelling horses to include in some StableDuel stables.
If you need a refresher on scoring, please refer back to our debut article that goes a little more in-depth, located here.
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High Price Favorites
Regal Glory $9,600 – Race 10
When investing nearly $10,000 into a horse, you need to be sure that you are all but guaranteed a top two finish. With Regal Glory, that seems like a safe bet. This mare is as consistent as the day is long, winning 10 of 17 career starts and finishing worse than second in just three races. She is a multiple Grade 1 winner across various tracks, and she was a tough luck loser of this race last year when stablemate Blowout stole the race on the lead. The biggest competition here is unquestionably her stablemate Shantisara, however, I much prefer Regal Glory. Shantisara might just be a monster, but she will have to deal with making her first start off of a layoff as well as facing older horses for the first time of her career, so I’d be inclined to side with the more proven commodity in Regal Glory at a slightly better price point.
Mid Price Plays
Ducale $6,000 – Race 11
This allowance race to wrap up the card might just be the best race of the entire day. Highly Motivated makes his long awaited return, and if he is fit and the same horse that we saw in 2021, he will be a handful in here. However, the price is too expensive for me to justify using him in what certainly feels like a prep race for bigger and better things down the road. I was surprised to see Ducale made a relatively generous 5/1 on the morning line, as I expect him to be more in the 3/1 range come post time. This colt is a bit of an every-other race kind of horse, so I’m expecting him to show up with a big effort. There really isn’t a ton of speed in here on paper, so he should be able to secure the lead or sit just off the pace from his outside draw, and I love the turnback from one mile to seven furlongs for a horse that is quite clearly better going shorter.
Star Devine $50 – Race 8
Remember those awful morning lines I mentioned in the introduction? Here we go. Star Devine has absolutely no business being 30/1 in this race. She was facing some talented turf sprinters up in New York last summer before being given time off. She now makes her four-year-old debut in stakes company and retains the services of John Velazquez, who was aboard for her last win. She gets a cozy inside draw here and should be able to sit mid-pack and save ground before tipping out coming out of the turn. Note that the horse she beat in the Galway Stakes, Illegal Smile, is a Wesley Ward turn sprinter who came back to win a $120,000 allowance here at Keeneland last week with a blistering TimeformUS speed figure of 120. While Star Devine does need to improve to beat this field, she has every right to move forward as a four-year-old and can’t be overlooked at 30/1.