It was a big day of racing at Keeneland Race Course on Saturday, with the running of the Blue Grass and several other stakes races. We came out of it a winner, including a successful selection on Art Collector in the feature race of the day. Art Collector collects 100 points and is automatically eligible for the Kentucky Derby with the win. It was a bold effort by Swiss Skydiver, but she came short of making history as the first filly to win the race. She just couldn’t keep up with Art Collector in the stretch. With 40 points to her name, that puts Swiss Skydiver on the Kentucky Derby bubble. However, it appears that Kenny McPeek will be pointing her to the Kentucky Oaks. That’s more of a winnable event for Swiss Skydiver.
Art Collector is a serious contender that can’t be ignored on Labor Day Weekend. Barring any setbacks or an injury, Art Collector put the rest of the field on notice with his performance in the Blue Grass. Keeneland isn’t done yet with its action packed stakes racing weekend. This is the third straight day with graded events at Keeneland Race Course. There are two on the schedule. The running of the $100,000 Transylvania Stakes (Gr. 3) and $175,000 Elkhorn Stakes (Gr. 2) is on the docket today. Head below for our free Keeneland picks for July 12, 2020.
Race 7 – Transylvania Stakes
Post Time: 4:24 p.m. EST
Distance: 1 1/16 Miles
We will tackle the final three races at Keeneland on Sunday, with two of them the biggest races of the day. Feel free to play a Pick 3 or Daily Double with these selections. First up is the Transylvania Stakes in Race 7. This event will cover 1 1/16 miles on the turf. There are two horses that I’m circling in Race 7. Chad Brown’s Vintage Print is going to be a major contender.
Vintage Print is 2 for 4 in his career and coming off two wins. His biggest win to date would complete a hat-trick. This is his stakes debut after winning a maiden and allowance race. Vintage Print didn’t get off on the right footing. He finished 6th as a first-time runner on October 5, 2019 at Belmont Park. As a follow up, Vintage Print finished 9th on November 11, 2019 for a $70,000 purse.
Vintage Print found his winning stride on February 22 at Gulfstream Park. He defeated Voodoo Zip by ¾ lengths after edging away to get clear. Vintage Print responded for another positive showing on June 11 for a half length win over Fancy Liquor for a $81,000 purse. He continues to get better with time and should play a role in this one. Chad Brown is one of the best trainers that has a stable at Keeneland and tends to have lots of winners back there.
In his previous three workouts, Vintage Print completed 4 furlongs with times of 50.60, 49, 49.80 seconds. Expect Vintage Print to be close in the stretch. This is the biggest event of his career and will have to deal with some worthy opponents, though. Field Pass from the No. 1 post position. He is 4 for 10 in his career and has stakes experience, which includes two wins.
Field Pass was a winner in the $100,000 Dania Beach Stakes (Listed) over Get Smokin by a neck on February 1. He followed up with a win in the $250,000 (Gr. 3) Jeff Ruby Steaks on March 14, and then most recently won the $100,000 Audubon Stakes (Black Type) on June 20 by a length over Bama Breeze. That was a relatively easy wire-to-wire win for Field Pass. He completed a 48.80 second workout on July 4 and looks ready to go for today. A win is within reach for Field Pass in the Pennsylvania Stakes.
Post Time: 4:57 p.m. EST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
This is the sandwich race between the two stakes racing on Sunday at Keeneland. I’m pointing towards C Z Rocket and Whitmore on my shortlist. C Z Rocket is taking a jump up in class today after winning back-to-back events on May 25 and June 21. I’ve been on C Z Rocket in the past, so know what this gelding is all about. C Z Rocket won by 4 ¾ lengths over Do Share in May to take down the top prize out of a $54,000 purse. He was able to repeat as a winner in June in a $83,000 allowance optional claiming event. C Z Rocket was a winner over Shashashakemeup by 4 ½ lengths as a favorite.
Overall in C Z Rocket’s Career, he has gone 6 for 19 with appearances in four graded races. C Z Rocket’s best finish in those races was 4th three times. He does have a stakes win in a Black Type event on June 30, 2018 in the Kelly’s Landing Overnight Stakes. Since then, though, C Z Rocket has come up short in takes racing and hasn’t touched one after finishing 7th in the Tenacious Stakes (Black Type) on December 21, 2019. However, based on his recent form with back-to-back wins, C Z Rocket may be a surprise contender from the No. 2 post position.
This is the first race that Whitmore will be entered in that isn’t a stakes race since a win on January 15, 2017. Whitemore has participated in 25 straight stakes races, which includes some big time Breeders’ Cup events and several Grade 1 events. He finished 3rd in the $2,000,000 Breeders’ Cup Spring (Gr. 1) on November 2, 2019. Whitemore followed that up with finishes of 3rd, 7th, 2nd, 1st, 1st. He’s on the heels of back-to-back wins in the Hot Springs Stakes and Count Fleet Spring Handicap (Gr. 3) at Oaklawn Park.
Whitmore won by ¾ lengths over Flagstaff for a $350,000 stakes win in that Grade 3 event on April 18. His form appears to be in great order going into today. Whitmore completed recent 4-furlong workouts with times of 48.40 and 46.60 seconds. He was blazing hot on July 5 to record a time under 47 seconds. If Whitmore doesn’t get caught up in traffic or suffers another bad luck encounter, he should win this $80,000 event with ease.
Race 9 – Elkhorn Stakes
Post Time: 5:30 p.m. EST
Distance:1 ½ Miles
The feature race of the day at Keeneland on Sunday is the Elkhorn Stakes, a 1 ½ mile event which offers a $175,000 purse on the turf. There are 13 horses currently scheduled to race in the event. Arklow and Zulu Alpha should prove to be in the mix in the stretch. Arklow is 6 for 26 in his career which has primarily been stakes races. He is coming off a pretty strong run in the $100,000 Louisville Stakes (Gr. 2) on June 13.
It was a really tight race at the wire, with Arklow coming a head short of winning against Admission Office. I don’t want to say it was what his connections had in mind for that event, though. Arklow was the betting favorite, but didn’t deliver. In his previous eight races, Arklow has finished 2nd, 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 1st, 8th, 5th, 2nd.
The win was in the Turf Classic Stakes (Gr. 1) for a $500,000 purse on October 5, 2019. He came close in the Man o’ War Stakes (Gr. 1) and Belmont Gold Cup Invitational Stakes (Gr. 2) last year, but wasn’t close in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (Gr. 1) on November 2, 2019 and the Pegasus (Gr. 1) on January 25. Those races were out of his reach, but I think the Elkhorn Stakes is more along his level.
After finishing 2nd in the Louisville Stakes on June 13, Arklow completed 4-furlong workouts with recorded times of 51.20 and 49.20 seconds. Average enough for Arklow, but this is a winnable event. Arklow will have to deal with Zulu Alpha who is likely going to have a strong performance on Sunday. Zulu Alpha is 11 for 33 in his career and has been in great form.
Zulu Alpha stomped on Arklow to win the $1,000,000 Pegasus on January 25. He ran the race of his life, as Zulu Alpha beat Magic Wand by 2 lengths to get clear for the win. Zulu Alpha followed up for another win in the $200,000 Mac Diarmida Stakes (Gr. 2) by a length over Admission Office. It was the sixth graded win of his career. Zulu Alpha followed up on March 28 for 2nd in the American Stakes (Gr. 2) at Gulfstream Park. He lost by a neck so it was incredibly close at the wire.
His most recent workouts have been impressive with times of 1:00.00 and 1:01.60 at 5 furlongs. Compared to Zulu Alpha’s most recent races, the Elkhorn Stakes is down in class from those events. If Zulu Alpha runs how he’s capable of going, there is a strong possibility of another stakes win today.