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StableDuel $12,500 Saturday Contest at Keeneland

StableDuel $12,500 Saturday Contest at Keeneland

StableDuel $12,500 Saturday Contest at Keeneland

On Saturday, April 9, StableDuel is hosting a $12,500 contest for the Opening Saturday of the Spring Meet at Keeneland featuring the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes. So, how do you get in the action at StableDuel? Download the StableDuel app and then pick 10 horses with your $50,000 fantasy budget.

StableDuel $12,500 Saturday Contest at Keenelan

How to Play StableDuel

StableDuel is a fantasy horse racing contest where you create a stable of 10 horses from a particular card. Each horse costs a fixed price based upon their morning line odds. You are given an allocation of $50,000 StableDuel dollars to purchase 10 horses. Favorites are worth more as horses with 2-1 odds cost $9,000 whereas horses with 10-1 odds only cost $1,000. Once racing starts you earn points based upon the performance of your horses: first (60 pts.), second (40 pts.), third (30 pts.), fourth (20 pts.), and fifth (10 pts.). Negative points are awarded to horses that finish fifth or worse.

Is StableDuel winner-take-all?

No. Saturday’s $12,500 contest, which requires a $100 buy-in, awards $2,000 to the winner while the 25% of finishers double their entry fee by winning at least $200.

Playing Keeneland

The weather during the Opening Weekend will be cold and rainy. Turf races may be taken off the grass or will be run on a softer surface. If you’re not familiar with the trainers and jockeys at Keeneland, check out the StableDuel blog that gives you some pointers.

Horses to Build Your Entry Around

When building a successful StableDuel entry you should always identify three types of horses: safe favorites (3-1 or lower), consistent midshots (between 5-1 and 8-1), and live longshots (10-1 or greater). You don’t need to win every race in StableDuel, but you need to avoid losing points by selecting a horse that finishes 5th or worse. Below I’ll give you two of each to help get you started for a winning StableDuel Keeneland entry.

Safe Favorites

Race 6 – Dolce Zel 5-2 ($8,500 in StableDuel)

Conditions will be a factor in the Appalachian Stakes as morning line favorite Spendarella (7-5) has only run on firm turf. Since the turf will be softer, I believe Chad Brown’s Dolce Zel who has run all her career races on softer grass is a great choice. She made her North American debut last month by winning the Grade III Florida Oaks. While she needs to improve her speed figures, Brown horses run well in their second race back from a layoff. He’s currently winning 30% of races under those conditions. She also has an ideal running style as she will sit behind Spendarella before kicking for home. In a race in less than ideal conditions, I’ll take Dolce Zel’s experience with soft ground and her trainer with a proven track record on turf.

Race 9 – Emmanuel 9-2 ($6,500 in StableDuel)

Emmanuel provides great value in the Grade I Blue Grass Stakes. Emmanuel has great tactical speed and should sit behind the early leaders of Fenwick (20-1) and Grantham (20-1). The last time out, Emmanuel was forced wide at the Grade II Fountain of Youth and faded late. Better early placement should result in a better finish. His trainer and jockey (Todd Pletcher and Luis Saez) are winning at an astonishing 64% clip at Keeneland. Early speed has been a winning formula during the Kentucky Derby Prep season. Emmanuel has better early speed than the other favorites and should run into the winner’s circle.

Consistent Midshots

Race 4 – Gunfighter 6-1 ($5,000 in StableDuel)

The combination of trainer Brad Cox and jockey Florent Geroux make Gunfighter an appealing option. Over the last year at Keeneland Cox and Geroux have won at a 28% rate when teaming up. As for the horse, Gunfighter represents the most complete entrant in the field. Several top contenders such as Iron Works (3-1), Naval Aviator (4-1), and Red Knobs (12-1) are coming back from multi-month layoffs. Others are stretching out to a longer distance for the first time. Gunfighter has been running regularly and broke his maiden running over a mile. The race should feature a hot pace which suits his late charging running style. He’s run against better horses in the past and should provide you plenty of points at a modest cost in your stable.

Race 5 – Prevalence 5-1 ($6,000 in StableDuel)

Prevalence provides much better value in the Grade III Commonwealth Stakes than morning line favorite Nashville (1-1). To start, Nashville has lost two of his first three races since returning from a year-long layoff. He’s also stretching out to seven furlongs after exhibiting fatigue at a shorter distance. Meanwhile, Prevalence ran his best race last time out and should be able to sit off Nashville’s early lead. In a field filled with closers, Prevalence should sit behind a modest early pace before making his move. Prevalence’s jockey, Tyler Gaffalione, has been winning big races all winter down in Florida before coming to Kentucky. Additionally, the seven-furlong distance is right in his wheelhouse. He turned in a solid workout last week after arriving at Keeneland so he’s clearly feeling good.

Live Longshots

Race 7 – Just One Time 8-1 ($3,000 in StableDuel)

The Grade I Madison features some heavy hitters, but I think you can get great value from Brad Cox’s Just One Time. I underestimated this filly in the past much to my own detriment. She’s gone from running allowance races at Penn National to being a Grade II champion. She possesses incredible natural speed and has only lost one race in her career. She gets top jockey Flavien Prat aboard and should love the conditions. She’s the only horse in the field who has won in sloppy conditions.

The dirt track at Keeneland is bound to have a lot of moisture after three days of bad weather. Additionally, the favorites do not overwhelm me in this race. Kimari (2-1) has yet to recapture her 2021 form. Meanwhile, Lady Rocket (5-2) and Bell’s the One (7-2) are both coming back from five-month layoffs. Just One Time loves to win and for only $3,000 in this week’s StableDuel Keeneland contest is a great investment.

Race 8 – The Lir Jet 12 ($750 in StableDuel)

I’m cautious of horses coming off a long layoff, but The Lir Jet provides too much value to ignore. The common assumption in the race is that it’s a two-horse duel between Golden Pal (4-5) and Just Might (4-1). While that might be true, both horses have a similar frontrunning style that could wear each other out. This opens the door to a late-charging closer such as The Lir Jet. The Lir Jet is the only horse in the field to have bested Golden Pal, which took place in 2020. The Lir Jet made his North American debut last year at Kentucky Downs winning the Grade II Franklin Simpson Stakes. He’s not run since, but his trainer Brendan Walsh is successful (24% win) at getting horses ready after a layoff. The pace sets up well and he’s got the class to beat the favorite.

For less than 2% of your StableDuel budget, The Lir Jet provides great value and should net you significant points. I hope these horses give you a good starting point for your StableDuel Keeneland entry and good luck!

Get all of Matthew’s horse racing coverage by following him on Twitter at @failedtomenace.

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