The Transylvania – Keenland Spring Renewal

Just like the Masters Tournament in golf, or MLB Opening Day, the sight of horses in the starting gate at Keenland is a sure sign of spring, quality racing, and big time stakes action soon to follow. The opening day feature is the $100k Transylvania Stakes, a one and one sixteenths mile turf race for three year olds. Several entered in this race are Triple Crown nominated and at first glance the race appears wide open; let’s break it down.

Keeneland Race 9 – Friday, April 6th – Grade III Transylvania Stakes ($100K) – 8.5 furlongs (Turf) – 5:13 post time

Starting off I would suspect that #6 SILVER MAX (7/2) and #2 WAYWARD SAILOR (12-1) will set the pace. SILVER MAX while having not run any real bad races, finished second in his first five tries with three of those efforts coming on the turf and all of them while being on the lead and unable to hold late. He’s won twice, but both were at short prices and races that he was supposed to win. WAYWARD SAILOR appears to be overmatched in this spot.

Not too far behind those two will more than likely be #1 STATE OF PLAY (3-1) and #7 ICON IKE (7/2).  STATE OF PLAY owned by Team Valor won the John Battaglia Stakes last time out at Turfway Park. He set relatively soft fractions and just held on to get the victory. I feel like he will be over bet as people see the same connections (Trainer Graham Motion and Jockey John Velazquez) that won last year’s Kentucky Derby yet none of his wins really overwhelm me. ICON IKE will get a class test today as he attempts to win his fourth straight race. His win last time was impressive being wide the entire trip, but will have to travel an extra furlong here and I’m not sure that’s his game.

Morning line favorite is #5 MONASTIC (5/2) who comes in having been the favorite in all five of his career starts. He finished third last time at odds on and while he can win there are more negatives than positives in my opinion. His speed numbers are average and with his inconsistent from, I’ll let him beat me.

Only #4 SATURDAY LAUNCH (6-1) and #3 TRAVEL ADVISORY (10-1) are left completing the field of seven for the Transylvania. SATURDAY LAUNCH two starts back got nosed by News Pending who came back to run second in the Fountain of Youth Stakes and ran in the Florida Derby. SATURDAY LAUNCH has a good stalker type running style and I think will hit the board.

My pick in this race is TRAVEL ADVISORY. He won his last start at Fairgrounds having broke from post ten was well wide the entire time, took the lead at the top of the stretch and was able to hang on. A repeat of that performance will put him in contention at a nice price. I like that he will be sitting back a few lengths and breaking from post three he should not get caught out as wide this time.





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