Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - October 28, 2022

Fayette Stakes (Keeneland): First Captain Headlines a Field of Six

Fayette Stakes Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland!

PPHorseOddsJockeyTrainer
1WEST WILL POWER
7/2
BET NOW
J Rosario
B Cox
2CHESS CHIEF
15/1
BET NOW
R Gutierrez
D Stewart
3FULSOME
7/2
BET NOW
F Geroux
B Cox
4FIRST CAPTAIN
8/5
BET NOW
L Saez
C McGaughey III
5KING FURY
4/1
BET NOW
B J Hernandez Jr
K McPeek
6LAST SAMURAI
6/1
BET NOW
T Gaffalione
D W Lukas

Fayette Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($56 in total)

$20 Exacta - First Captain over Last Samurai = $20

$2 Trifecta Part Wheel - First Captain and Last Samurai over First Captain, Last Samurai, West Will Power and Fulsome over First Captain, Last Samurai, West Will Power, Fulsome and King Fury = $36

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick First Captain (8/5).    

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Fayette Stakes Keeneland

Coming in off a solid third-place finish in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup behind Olympiad, First Captain headlines a field of six entered for Saturday’s $350,000 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland.

Trained by Shug McGaughey, the 4-year-old son of Curlin is a two-time Grade 3 winner in his nine-race career, including the Pimlico Special three starts back. 

Second by a nose in the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park after that, the chestnut colt rallied for third in a strong field at Saratoga last time in his Grade 1 debut.

Chief among his challengers in Saturday’s 9-furlong, Grade 2 affair is the Brad Cox-trained pair of West Will Power and Fulsome.

A 5-year-old son of Bernardini, West Will Power has yet to win his first stakes race but comes in off a sharp allowance win at Churchill Downs, which followed a just miss second in a listed stakes race at Ellis Park

Fulsome, meanwhile, has been a little hit or miss of late, but the four-time Grade 3 winner has still won more than half of his 15 lifetime starts. 

A winner of the Oaklawn Mile to begin his season, he had a two-race winning streak snapped last time while finishing fifth in the Grade 3 Ack Ack at Churchill Downs.

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Fayette Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

First Captain

This son of Curlin appears to be the class of the race. He showed signs of being a good one last year with three consecutive wins, including the Grade 3 Dwyer at Belmont Park. Still lightly raced with five wins in nine career starts, he has moved up the class ladder this season. 

Trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, the well-bred chestnut has won twice in five tries this year and comes into the Fayette off three straight good performances around two turns. Three starts back, he closed strongly to get up for the win in the Grade 3 Pimlico Special. 

After that, he was unlucky not to win the Grade 2 Suburban at Belmont Park. Most recently, he faced true Grade 1 competition and rallied in the stretch to run third in the Grade 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. Working well, I expect another strong effort. He is the top pick.

West Will Power

Though he has yet to break through with a stakes victory, this son of Bernardini looks to be a dangerous runner in the Grade 2 Fayette. Trained by Brad Cox, he ran a couple of solid races in graded stakes races last year at Monmouth Park. 

More recently, he returned from a long layoff to just miss in a stakes race at Ellis Park, where he finished ahead of Last Samurai. In his second race back, he easily wired a decent allowance field at Churchill Downs. 

Breaking from the rail in a race without much speed, he should get a good trip under Joel Rosario and is a clear threat to the top pick.

Fulsome

The second from the Cox barn, this homebred son of Into Mischief has been good enough to win four Grade 3 races in his career. I’m not sure if any of those wins, however, came over a field as good as the one he will face here. 

Despite a fifth-place finish last time in the Grade 3 Ack Ack, it’s been a very solid career to this point, with 8 wins in 15 career races. Unfortunately, I see a pattern of falling short against stronger fields after beating up the slightly lesser competition. 

Perhaps I am nitpicking here, but I need to see him beat a horse as good as First Captain before I pick him as a top choice as one of the race favorites. Having said that, I can’t completely toss him from the exotics.

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King Fury

Winless in three starts this year, this well-bred son of Curlin seems to be rounding into form for trainer Kenny McPeek. Last out, he ran with the big boys in the Grade 2 Lukas Classic and finished up well to be third behind Hot Rod Charlie and Rich Strike. 

A similar effort for the two-time stakes winner on Saturday to what he turned in at Churchill Downs certainly puts him in with a shot here. 

Without much pace here, though, I think he could well be at the mercy of horses with greater tactical speed. He is a threat, but I prefer others.

Last Samurai

A stakes winner at Oaklawn Park in both December and April, this son of Malibu Moon has lost three straight since his nice win in the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap back in April. If he can find that form again, he rates a serious shot here at attractive odds. 

Last out, he fell behind early and had little chance around the tight turns at Charles Town, but before that he battled all the way around the track in a solid listed stakes race at Ellis Park. 

Without much speed in here, I look for him to get involved early under new rider Tyler Gaffalione. He’ll offer value in this compact field, and I expect him to run a good race on Saturday. He is my top longshot.

Chess Chief

This longshot from the barn of Dallas Stewart has thrown in enough good races in his career to have collected over $900,000 in earnings in a 36-race career. Unfortunately, the 6-year-old has not been as good this year. 

The son of Into Mischief only has a distant third to show from six starts this year and has been well beaten by First Captain, Fulsome, and King Fury in recent races. He has kept good company, but this race is no easier. I find him hard to like off recent form.

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How to Watch the Fayette Stakes

Fayette Stakes Race Information
RaceFayette Stakes (Grade 2)
WhereKeeneland
WhenSaturday, October 29 -- 5:16 pm Eastern time
How to WatchFanDuel TV
Purse$350,000
Image for Brian Zipse

AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

225 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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