Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - October 14, 2022

Maker’s Mark Mile (Keeneland) Predictions, Picks, Betting Odds

If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Set Piece (8/1).

Brian Zipse

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Makers Mark Mile

Maker’s Mark Mile Odds and Post Position

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2022 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 IN LOVE 8/1
BET HERE
A Achard P Lobo
2 SHIRL’S SPEIGHT 15/1
BET HERE
L Saez R Attfield
3 ATONE 15/1
BET HERE
T Gaffalione M Maker
4 MASEN 6/1
BET HERE
F Prat C Brown
5 IVAR 6/1
BET HERE
J Talamo P Lobo
6 SMOOTH LIKE STRAIT 7/2
BET HERE
U Rispoli M McCarthy
7 COUNT AGAIN 6/1
BET HERE
J Rosario P D’Amato
8 SOMELIKEITHOTBROWN 12/1
BET HERE
J Ortiz M Maker
9 SET PIECE 8/1
BET HERE
F Geroux B Cox
10 MIRA MISSION 12/1
BET HERE
J Leparoux I Wilkes
11 PUBLIC SECTOR 6/1
BET HERE
I Ortiz Jr C Brown

Maker’s Mark Mile Picks and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($60 in total)

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Set Piece and Masen over Set Piece, Masen, Public Sector, Smooth Like Strait and Count Again  = $40

$20 Win – Set Piece = $20

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Set Piece (8/1).

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Runner-up in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Mile, Smooth Like Strait headlines a field of 11 older turf males set for Friday’s $600,000 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland.

Trained by Michael McCarthy, Smooth Like Strait will be making his 2022 debut in the Grade 1 affair. In 2021, he finished in the money in all seven starts, including a victory in the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile.

Count Again joins Smooth Like Strait as one of four Grade 1 winners in the field. The 7-year-old son of Awesome Again is coming off a win in the Frank Kilroe Mile (G1) in March at Santa Anita for trainer Phil D’Amato.

The other two Grade 1 winners in the field both come from the barn of trainer Paulo Lobo.  In Love and Ivar, both Brazilian breds, accounted for the 2021 Keeneland Turf Mile (G1) and the 2020 Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) respectively.

Trainer Chad Brown will also be well represented in the rich turf race with Public Sector and Masen. The former won three graded stakes races in New York, while the latter will make his first start in the U.S. after winning 3-of-6 in Ireland.

 Maker’s Mark Mile Predictions and Race Analysis

Smooth Like Strait

This son of Midnight Lute had one of the best one-win seasons I have ever seen last year. His lone victory came in a Grade 1, and his six losses were all really good performances, including a strong second-place finish in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile to close the season.

As consistent as can be for trainer Michael McCarthy, he will once again be a factor on or near the early lead. The one negative on Friday could be the course condition as we are getting plenty of rain this week in Kentucky. I will try to beat him as the favorite, but he is an obvious threat and one I will use underneath in the exotics.

Ivar

This Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold was an impressive winner of the Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in the fall of 2020 for trainer Paulo Lobo. Last year, he only got in three races, but closed out the season with a strong effort to rally for third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.

This will be his first race since then, which was more than five months ago, and while he is a dangerous competitor his past performances point to him needing a race or two to be at his best. I fear him, but will not use him this time in this deep field.

Count Again

This 7-year-old son of Awesome Again comes to Kentucky off a pair of graded stakes wins at one mile in California and looks better than ever for trainer Phil D’Amato. It only gets tougher on Saturday, though, as he finds a difficult spot here in the Maker’s Mark Mile.

Flavien Prat rode him to both of those wins, but will be on Masen on Friday. That is a bit of a negative, as is the move to a course with more cut, but still the consistent rallier is a threat down the lane and must be respected.

Public Sector

The first of two from top trainer Chad Brown, this 4-year-old son of last year in New York with consecutive graded stakes wins in the Hall of Fame, Saranac and Hill Prince. Of course, those all came against fellow 3-year-olds, so he will now have to prove that he has the class of these tough older competitors.

It’s a tough spot for his seasonal debut, but his trainer is well known for having his horses ready to run in their first start of the year. His only previous trip to Keeneland did not go well, but he seems like a better horse now. He is a contender.

Masen

Beware the first-time in the U.S. import of trainer Chad Brown. This one only made six starts in his first two seasons on the track in Ireland, but was able to win half of them, including his last two. The one-mile distance should be right up his alley and he possesses good tactical speed.

Best of all coming from Ireland, he should be right at home on a turf course that will be far from firm. Trained by one of the best off the layoff and with European shippers, this son of Kingman will likely run a good race and looks like one of the ones to beat in his American debut.

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In Love

Another 6-year-old Brazilian-bred son of Agnes Gold for trainer Paulo Lobo, he pulled off a 12/1 upset in last fall’s Keeneland Turf Mile over Ivar among others. On his best, he has proven he can win a race like this, but has also not started since the Breeders’ Cup.

Like his stablemate, he is a dangerous runner in here, but I would like his chances better if he had a race under his belt this season.

Set Piece

This 6-year-old son of Dansili got very good last spring for trainer Brad Cox, rattling off three straight-stakes wins at Churchill Downs. He finished 2021 with a disappointing result in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, but traffic was likely a big part of that finish. He’s been away since, but this is a horse who likes to win.

Bred in England, he also should like the condition of the turf course which will be softened by the rain this week. Training well for his return, he has fired off the layoff before. There also should be enough speed in here to set up his late run. Offering good value, he is the top pick.

Somelikeithotbrown

One of two from the barn of Mike Maker, this New York-bred has been a reliable fixture on the middle distance graded stakes turf scene in recent years. He’s got good tactical speed and is a hard-trying type that is often in the mix as the field turns for home.

Still, the millionaire always seems to be just a cut below the Grade 1 level and might need the race, having not started in more than five months. The son of Big Brown is a nice horse, but I prefer others in this spot.

Mira Mission

One of the younger horses in the field, this 4-year-old gelding comes into the Maker’s Mark Mile in career-best form, having won two straight at Gulfstream Park to begin the season. In fact, the former claimer one his stakes debut last time in the Grade 3 Canadian Turf.

Clearly improving for trainer Ian Wilkes, he deserves a shot in here, but will certainly be facing a class of field that he has not seen before. Like everyone in the field, he merits consideration but is probably not quite ready to beat a group like this.

Shirl’s Speight

This talented son of Speightstown looks to be returning to his best form after missing most of 2021. Trained by Roger Attfield, he looks well suited for the one mile distance and has a versatile running style.

There is plenty to like, but in a field with so many contenders, I worry that he appears to prefer a firm turf. If he is all compromised by a course with plenty of cut on Friday that is enough to leave him off the tickets as he faces his toughest test yet.

Atone

The second from the barn of Mike Maker, this Into Mischief is steadily improving and may have run his best race yet last time when a competitive fourth behind Colonel Liam in the Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf.

That was his first try at the Grade 1 level, and while solid, I still don’t see quite enough to back him against this bunch. Having said that, he is not out of it and if you are looking for a longshot to use in the exotics, he is worth a look.

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How to Watch the Maker’s Mark Mile

Maker’s Mark Mile Race Information
What Maker’s Mark Mile (Grade 1)
Location Keeneland
Time Friday, April 15 — 5:16pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $600,000

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AUTHOR

Brian Zipse

218 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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