There are six racecourses open for wagering at BetOnline on Thursday. For a Thursday, it’s an okay slate, but no stakes racing is on the schedule. It’s the silence before the storm this weekend. The Road to the Kentucky Derby goes through Fair Grounds on Saturday with the running of the $200,000 Lecomte Stakes (Gr. 3). The winner only gets 10 points, but that could be the difference between going to Churchill Downs and staying home. We have the Thursday card at Fair Grounds covered. That’s not nearly as big as what we’re going to see on Saturday, but we can still build the bankroll if our horses come through. Turfway Park, not to be confused with Turf Paradise, in Kentucky is racing on Thursday.
Turfway Park has a decent card with eight races worth a total of $173,500 in prize money. Turfway Park is the only racetrack in Kentucky operating at the moment. Keeneland, Kentucky Downs, Churchill Downs, and Ellis Park are all off right now, while Turfway Park gets the winter meet. Head below for our free Turfway Park picks for January 14, 2021.
Post Time: 6:46 p.m. EST
We will get started at Turfway Park on Thursday with Race 2, which covers 5 furlongs on the synthetic track for a $14,000 purse. Goldenpence and Ed’s Rocket should run strong races in this $14,000 event on Thursday. Goldenpence has been a model of consistency, having finished in the top-3 in six out of his previous seven outings.
In his most recent win, Goldenpence beat Good Good by ¾ lengths on October 19 in a $11,000 assignment. He came back to place 2nd, and then 3rd most recently on New Year’s Day in a $16,500 race. Goldenpence has been running consistently and should be able to get close on these terms.
Ed’s Rocket gets the inside rail out of the gate, and is looking for a bounce-back performance after going 12th on December 11 in a $16,500 race. He was expected to be somewhere near the front, with a chance to win, but was near the back instead. This was a few months after Ed’s Rocket torched the competition for a wire-to-wire win by 6 ¼ lengths over Our Thomas for a $15,000 purse.
Note that in that race Ed’s Rocket finished 12th in, he was leading out of the gate to the ½ pole by a length. He was in control before falling out of favor in the second half of the race. Ed’s Rocket drops in class and distance today. That should help his cause on Thursday. I’m backing Ed’s Rocket in what should be a good one down the stretch.
Post Time: 7:16 p.m. EST
Race 3 is our next stop in Kentucky on Thursday night at Turfway. Scale and Nineeleventurbo are ones to watch in Race 3. Scale will have to fight from the outside, but has a mile to work with in this race. The young colt has finished in the top-3 in three out of four races in his career. His best effort was two races ago on November 29 at Churchill Downs.
Scale placed 2nd behind Fastly by a half length in a $85,000 event. That was impressive, but Scale was unable to build on it and get to the winner’s circle in his next outing. He showed 3rd in a $32,000 event behind Nineeleventurbo and Speightstown. Nineeleventurbo had a 3 length advantage on Scale in that race. Nineeleventurbo has finished 8th, 3rd, 3rd, 2nd in his career and continues to show improvement.
This is a $300,000 horse expected to run in bigger classes at some point. Since placing 2nd ahead of Scale on December 19, Nineeleventurbo has been looking sharp in morning workouts. Nineeleventurbo completed 4 furlongs in 47 seconds and 48.40 seconds in January. A win should be in the equation for Nineeleventurbo on Thursday night.
Post Time: 8:46 p.m. EST
Distance:1 1/16 Miles
Race 6 covers 1 1/16 miles for a $39,000 purse on Thursday. This is the feature race of the day at Turfway Park. Luna Fortis and Skygaze must be strongly considered to get the win in this one. Luna Fortis is 5 for 22 in her career, and in search of a hat-trick on Thursday after winning on October 27 and December 12. She beat Kimberley Dream by 1 ¼ lengths in a $30,000 event, and then followed up for another win in December over Kynance by 2 ¾ lengths for a $40,000 prize.
Skygaze is looking for a hat-trick on Thursday as well. She was a winner at Woodbine on October 3 in a $101,200 by a neck over Lilli’s Song by a neck. She was able to show great kick in the stretch in that one, as she entered the stretch in 6th and finished with a trip to the winner’s circle. In her debut at Turfway Park, Skygaze over Be Nimble by a neck in a $36,000 assignment. For $300,000, Skygaze should be winning in this class. He has been strong, and has a good chance of completing the hat-trick tonight.