Piassek’s Plays: Riding the Rail at Keeneland

In his regular gambling blog, John Piassek presents his top picks for the upcoming weekend in horse racing, offering betting options at different budget levels. Piassek’s Plays is brought to you by Horseplayers.com, the official online qualifying site of the Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge (BCBC) and National Horseplayers Championship (NHC). Horseplayers.com offers low-cost feeders every day and BCBC and NHC qualifiers every weekend, and it’s the only site where you can qualify for the $1 million BCBC. It’s free to sign up – click here to get information about registering and how to enter contests.

Piassek has contributed to the horse racing sites The Racing Biz and Danonymous Racing and worked at Tioga Downs, Monmouth Park, and Saratoga Race Course. He joined America’s Best Racing in January 2021.

Saturday, Apr. 16

Keeneland, Race 3, post time 2:04 p.m. ET

#5 Distinctive Flower: Through the first few days of the Keeneland season, the rail has been a very advantageous spot. On both opening day last Friday and on Wednesday’s program, horses who raced on the inside did very well. Racing on the inside is almost always a good thing, as the more ground you can save, the better. If the rail bias pops up again on Saturday, it’ll make for some great betting opportunities.

Distinctive Flower will almost certainly be on the early lead in this $50,000 claiming race at six furlongs. She’s led at the first point of call in her last seven races. In her lone start of 2022 so far, she set the pace and went gate-to-wire against lower-level open claimers at Turfway Park. A few horses drawn to her inside have early speed, but her early pace figures are better than any of those. She should be able to clear to the front and get to the rail early. If she’s able to maintain that spot, she can take them gate-to-wire.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

$5 to win on 5

$5 exacta, 5 with 1/1A

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$13 to win on 5

$6 exacta, 5 with 1/1A, 9 ($12 total)

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$20 to win on 5

$9 exacta, 5 with 1/1A, 9 ($18 total)

$2 trifecta, 5 with 1/1A, 9 with 1/1A, 3, 7, 9 ($12 total)

Keeneland, Race 11, post time 6:20 p.m. ET

#2 Escape Route: The Saturday card at Keeneland concludes with a second-level allowance optional-claiming race at seven furlongs. Escape Route ships in from California off a sharp first-level allowance win at Santa Anita Park. He pressed the pace on the outside, then drew off and won impressively by 3 1/2 lengths. He had several near-misses at that level earlier in his career, which is a bit concerning. However, he’s consistently run Brisnet figures in the 90s, which would very likely be enough to beat this field. The two other likely favorites in this race, Highly Motivated and Ducale, haven’t raced this year, while Escape Route has raced recently. That will help his cause. He should be able to work out a trip on the rail and on or near the lead.

Strategy on a $10 Budget

 $6 to win on 2

$4 exacta, 2 with 11

Strategy on a $25 Budget

$15 to win on 2

$10 exacta, 2 with 11

Strategy on a $50 Budget

$22 to win on 2

$14 exacta, 2 with 5, 11 ($28 total)

Year-To-Date Statistics

29 starts: 7 wins, 5 seconds, 6 thirds

$10 Budget Plays: $290 bet, $339.20 returned

$25 Budget Plays: $725 bet, $972.95 returned

$50 Budget Plays: $1,450 bet, $1,928.14 returned