A strong field of 12 horses has gathered to compete for the $750k purse of the Grade 1 Shadwell Mile at Keeneland. The winner is guaranteed not only a large sum of money, but also a spot in the starting gate of the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Mile on November 3.
SKYRING is a good Grade 3 horse, but is likely biting off more than he can chew here. He made a big lead last out in the Saranac Stakes against a good group of horses before stubbornly holding on to be second by a half length. Unfortunately for trainer D Wayne Lukas, this field is twice as good as that one. Rajiv Maragh picks up the mount.
DOUBLE’S PARTNER will make his first start for Todd Pletcher since May 5. The horse has performed well on a long rest before. His only try at Keeneland saw him finish a troubled third in the Makers 46 Mile. JJ Castellano is in to ride the son of Rock Hard Ten and they figure to race mid pack.
CORPORATE JUNGLE has had only one race that wasn’t at a mile. He owns a 8-4-2-0 record at the distance and was last seen finishing second to Wise Dan in the Four Star Dave Handicap. Overcoming the 5 lengths he lost to Wise Dan will be no easy task. Paco Lopez rides for Chad Brown.
The connections of WILLCOX INN have a tendency to run this horse over his head. He was last seen finishing eighth in the Arlington Million. He has finished no better than fourth in his last three tries against Grade 1 horses. What’s more, he doesn’t seem to excel at today’s distance. Approach the Michael Stidham pupil with caution. James Graham is listed to ride.
The final boss of this group is WISE DAN. The gelding has gotten so good this year that it is almost unbelievable. If I had not seen it then I would not have believed it. His last trip to the track was in the Woodbine Mile where he smashed a good group by 3 ¼ lengths. Before that he won the Four Star Dave at Saratoga with an equal amount of ease. If he brings his “A” then none of the others have a chance. John Velazquez will be in New York riding for Todd Pletcher, so Jose Lezcano picks up the ride.
WORTHADD (IRE) shipped across the pond to contest the Woodbine Mile, but couldn’t make an impact on that race. A good Group 2 horse overseas, he fits with this bunch. Typically a good Group 2 horse would be the favorite in a race like this, but the American turf milers are a tad stronger than usual. Luis Contreras will retain the mount for new trainer Bryan Lynch.
DATA LINK had his coming out party at Keeneland in the spring. He ranged up on the outside to capture the Maker’s 46 Mile in breath taking fashion for Shug McGaughey. Since then he has won Monmouth Stakes and finished second in the Bernard Baruch Handicap. His chances are strong, but like everyone else, he has to beat Wise Dan. Alex Solis returns to the irons.
SLIP AND DRIVE enters this race after two allowance wins at Delaware, but is probably over his head. McLean Robertson trains and Alex Cintron will ride.
The same can be said for OL ARMY. The gelding has two wins in a row, but both came against much lesser foes. Jesus Castanon will ride for Chuck Peery.
SILVER MAX reeled off seven magnificent turf wins in a row before failing to keep the streak going when last seen in the Secretariat Stakes. In his streak of wins he took down races like the Transylvania Stakes, American Turf and Virginia Derby. He figures to be rolling along on the lead. How far he can take such a quality group is anyone’s guess. Robby Albarado will ride for Dale Romans.
DOMINUS scored an easy win in the Bernard Baruch, his first time stepping on the turf course. The Todd Pletcher pupil likes to go to the front, but will have a hard time doing so with Silver Max looming to the inside. Julien Leparoux is likely to take hold of the son of Smart Strike and make a run from mid pack.
SWIFT WARRIOR has always seemed like a good horse and he is finally showing that. Unfortunately, he couldn’t have caught a group any tougher than this. He has a puncher’s chance under Jose Espinoza for trainer John Terranova.
I’m going to call for Data Link to pull the upset. The pace will be strong and Alex Solis will be making a big run down the lane. This horse is very good right now and he is going to show that at Keeneland on Saturday. The rest our Keeneland Picks will be available soon!