Each day of the fair, Bee handicapper Exacta Kenny will break down one race on the card with a betting plan for $20. For Saturday, he’s attacking race 8, a $25,000 allowance optional claimer with a full field of 10 colts and geldings:
▪ Analysis: The final weekend of the fair is upon us, so let’s go out with a bang and build a bankroll for Breeders Cup weekend. This year it’s at legendary Keeneland Racecourse in Lexington, Ky., for the first time, and I’ve spent the past couple of days there taking notes. Look for my selections in The Bee over Halloween weekend. In the meantime, Saturday’s 6-furlong sprint is a puzzler with many ways to go. Let’s start with three horses that all exit the same race Sept. 20 at Stockton. No. 2 Awesome Silver (7-2) stalked a moderate pace and pounced home to edge No. 9 He’s Very Rare (8-1) by a nose. No. 3 Da Fastest One (5-1) set the pace that day and faded to third, losing by just a length in his first start against winners. Hard to separate these three, but based on the likely odds the 9 seems very playable for a horse that’s never been out of the exacta in a dirt sprint. There’s no shortage of speed in this one, headlined by the outside horse, No. 10 Kaabraaj (10-1). This one ships in from up north at Emerald Downs and cuts back to a sprint after two route races in which he faded to third both times after setting speedy sprint fractions. This is the perfect distance for this horse, who will be tough to run down if given a break in the opening half-mile. He could get some company up front, however, from No. 4 Oneandonlyloveman (8-1), who’s shown some serious speed in some of his races. Sometimes he doesn’t, though, so he’s the key to the race for me. If he lets the 10 get out alone, it could be a race for second place for the other nine. No. 5 I B Mike (6-1) has been off a few months and ships north after facing tougher competition in Southern California. Go back a year in his past performances and you’ll see a dominant win in Fresno, and he is one of the main dangers from off the pace. No. 8 Come Away Home (4-1) comes off a win in Stockton and is a hard-knocking 7-year-old that has been in the exacta 16 times out of 26 races on the dirt. I’m probably not giving this one enough respect here. This is a great betting race with no shortage of viable contenders.
▪ The plays: With his big speed, a nice outside post and a good price, I just can’t resist No. 10 cutting back in distance. $15 win on No. 10; $2 exacta 10 over 5/8, and a 50-cent superfecta 10 over 8 over 5 over 2/9.
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The Big Fresno Fair horse racing
▪ Saturday’s first post: 12:15 p.m. (10 races)
▪ Schedule: Live racing continues through Sunday