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Best Horse Racing Bets Today | Keeneland, April 13

Written by: Brian Zipse
Published April 12, 2024
10 min read

Led by the Grade 1 Jenny Wiley, for top female turf runners, and the Grade 3 Lexington Stakes, which is the final Kentucky Derby prep race of the year, Keeneland brings us another strong card of racing on Saturday. In the 1 1/16-mile Jenny Wiley, Gina Romantica and Didia will headline a deep and contentious field of ten. 

Meanwhile, in the Lexington, The Wine Steward looks to prove he still belongs near the top of the division when he returns on Saturday after a six-month layoff. A third graded stakes race of the afternoon also features turf females, but the Giant’s Causeway will be run at the sprint distance of 5 1/2-furlongs. The overflow field is led by the multiple stakes winning pair of Elm Drive and Roses for Debra. Without further ado, let’s get to my best bets from this solid card of racing.

Keeneland Grounds Race Course 2024 Horse Racing Bets April 13

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Race #7 Giant’s Causeway Stakes (Grade 3) $300,000 5 1/2-Furlongs Turf - 4:12 pm EST

A multiple graded stakes winner, Elm Drive will be in search of her first win of 2024 when she ventures east to top a wide-open field of female turf sprinters in Saturday’s Grade 3 Giant’s Causeway Stakes. 

In her only start of the year, the daughter of Mohaymen just missed in the Grade 3 Las Cienegas in January at Santa Anita. It was actually her sixth straight defeat, but she has run plenty of good races for trainer Phil D’Amato while running against solid competition. The 5-year-old mare has won 5-of-16 overall facing a steady diet of stakes races primarily in Southern California.

Second choice on the morning line is the returning Roses for Debra. A gray daughter of Liam’s Map, she made a name for herself last season with four consecutive wins after switching to the turf. When last seen, the Christophe Clement-trained 5-year-old was beaten less than five lengths by the boys in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Santa Anita in November. 

Another one that should not be ignored here is the Mark Casse-trainee Play the Music. A 4-year-old daughter of Mo Town, she enters this 5 1/2-furlong test off two straight wins in Florida. Last time out, she was a sharp winner of the Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs seven weeks ago. Overall, though, I cannot look past the class of Roses for Debra. She is my top pick.

My Plays

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Roses for Debra over Play the Music, Bling, and Oeuvre = $30

  • $10 Exacta Part Wheel - Play the Music, Bling, and Oeuvre over Roses for Debra = $30

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Race #9 Jenny Wiley Stakes (Grade 1) $600,000 1 1/16-Miles Turf- 5:16 pm EST

Twice a Grade 1 winner in her only two previous starts at Keeneland, Gina Romantica rates top billing, but must tackle an extremely tough field in Saturday’s Grade 1 Jenny Wiley Stakes going 8 1/2-furlongs on the turf.

With plenty of rain this week in Lexington, the Chad Brown-trained daughter of Into Mischief must also prove that she can beat the best on a turf course which will play less than firm. When last seen, she was beaten only one length by the boys in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile in early November.

Among her many challengers in the Jenny Wiley include three very capable stablemates in Surge Capacity, Fluffy Socks, and Beaute Cachee. The South American import Didia, who won the Grade 2 Pegasus World Cup Filly & Mare Turf in her only start this year, also merits strong consideration in the deep field.

Three others who began their careers in Europe, English Rose, Elusive Princess, and Star Fortress, all could appreciate a Keeneland turf course with plenty of give on Saturday. Of the trio, I like English Rose the best. She was a very impressive winner last time in Dubai for trainer Charlie Appleby. She will be the top pick.

My Plays

  • $10 Exacta Box - English Rose and Elusive Princess = $20

  • $20 Win - English Rose = $20

  • $10 Win -  Elusive Princess = $10

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Race #10 Lexington Stakes (Grade 3) $400,000 1 1/16-Miles Dirt - 5:48 pm EST

A game second in last October’s Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, The Wine Steward will look to pick up where he left off as the morning line favorite in the $400,000 Lexington Stakes on Saturday.

A winner of his first three career races before the narrow defeat, the son of Vino Rosso will be making his first start in more than six months. The New York-bred was a winner at three different tracks, which included two stakes races, as a juvenile for trainer Mike Maker. 

While the favorite is returning after a long layoff, several others in the 1 1/16-mile test will be taking one last shot to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. The 20 qualifying points to the Lexington winner could make all the difference for the stakes winning trio of Hades, Liberal Arts, and Encino. 

The Holy Bull winner Hades will add blinkers after a tough trip in the Grade 1 Florida Derby last time, while Encino’s win in the John Battaglia was flattered when the runner-up Epic Ride came back with a strong effort in the Grade 1 Blue Grass. I think both of these have a big shot to upset the returning The Wine Steward, and I will go for value with Encino as my top pick.

My Plays 

  • $5 Exacta Box - Encino, Hades, and Footprint = $30

  • $5 Exacta Box - Encino, Hades, and The Wine Steward = $30

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Race #11 Allowance $110,000 1 1/16-Miles Turf - 6:20 pm EST

In the afternoon’s final race, an overflow field of 16 has been entered in a turf allowance race for 3-year-old males. Only a dozen can run, leaving the four also-eligibles in the field in danger of not getting into the 1 1/16-mile affair. 

The lukewarm morning line favorite in the race is the Todd Pletcher-trained Moonlight, who will be making his first start on grass since finishing a close second at Saratoga in his career debut last July. In four subsequent dirt races, he had an easy maiden win before three defeats in graded stakes company.

The English-bred Royal Majesty is one of his top opponents here. He ran only once in his native land before coming to the barn of Bill Mott in the United States. In his two starts here, the Frankel colt rallied to win a maiden at Gulfstream Park, before finishing a decent fifth in the Colonel Liam Stakes next out. 

Several others in the field rate a real chance to win, and my favorite of the bunch is the Shug McGaughey-trained Frontline Warrior. He broke his maiden at Keeneland last fall and then got very little pace to run at in two subsequent stakes tries. He should get a better early pace in which to rally here. He is the top pick.

My Play

  • $25 Win & Place -  Frontline Warrior = $50

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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

293 Articles

Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.

Email: [email protected]

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