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

Maker’s Mark Mile

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

Maker’s Mark Mile Post Position and Odds

Check out our predictions and odds for the 2021 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland!

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
J Alvarado T Bush
F Geroux D Blacker
J Velazquez M Maker
J Castellano C Brown
5 DARAIN 8/1
L Saez B Cox
T Gaffalione M Casse
C Lanerie J Sisterson
I Ortiz Jr C Brown
J Rosario M Maker

Best Bets for the Maker’s Mark Mile

Here are my plays ($48 in total)

$1 Trifecta part wheel – Hit the Road, Ride a Comet and Darain over Hit the Road, Sacred Life, Raging Bull, Ride a Comet and Darain over Hit the Road, Sacred Life, Raging Bull, Ride a Comet, Darain and Field Pass = $48

Top Pick:

Darain (8/1)

Red-hot on the West Coast, Hit the Road will take his show on the road to tackle a tough pair from trainer Chad Brown as well as six other very capable turf horses in a wide-open edition of the Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile on Friday at Keeneland.

Trained by Dan Blacker, Hit the Road comes to Kentucky on a four-race win streak, including sharp victories this year in the Grade 3 Thunder Road and the Grade 1 Kilroe Mile. Both of those victories came at Santa Anita for the son of More Than Ready, who has never before raced outside of Southern California.

Trainer Chad Brown is constantly a major threat in big turf races in the United States, and this edition of the Maker’s Mark Mile will be no different. He sends out a pair of talented ralliers on Friday in Raging Bull and Sacred Life. Grade 1 winner Raging Bull has beaten a neck in last year’s Maker’s Mark, while Scared Life won his only previous start at Keeneland and was an easy winner of the Oceanport Stakes at Monmouth Park two starts back. Both Brown runners will be making their seasonal debut on Friday.

While favoritism figures to fall to one of those three, this $300,000 turf race is not short of solid contenders. Eight of the nine horses in the field are graded stakes winners, while the only one who is not, Darain, has impressed in two starts in the US after beginning his career in his native England.

How to Watch the Maker’s Mark Mile

Maker’s Mark Mile Information
What Maker’s Mark Mile (Grade 1)
Where Keeneland
When Friday, April 9 — 5:30 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $300,000

Race Analysis

Raging Bull

This will be his third try in the Maker’s Mark Mile, having finished fourth in 2019, before just missing in a wild finish last year. A consistent competitor in Grade 1 racing, he brings the most class to the table of anyone in the field. He also has a wicked late run when he is at his best. Of the two trained by Chad Brown, I like him slightly better than his stablemate, but his lack of ability to actually find the wire first of late is a concern. This is a course and distance which suit him, and he should find plenty of early speed to set up his late run. He is a big threat.

Hit the Road

A winner of six of eight-lifetime races on the grass, this son of More Than Ready is better than ever. He earned his first Grade 1 score last month, to go along with three other stake wins. He also has certainly found his home in rallying strongly at a flat mile. That’s all he does and he does it very well. He also has a little more tactical speed than several others who like to come from off the pace, which could play to his advantage. The big question on Friday will be if he can bring his best while leaving his home base for the first time. If he brings the same form he has been running out West, he is the most likely winner of this tough race.

Sacred Life

He’s been lightly raced since arriving in the United States from France nearly two years ago but has generally accounted himself quite well. Having said, his only two wins in the States have come against easier competition, while against tougher competition he has not been able to make it to the winner’s circle. Having not raced in seven months and going a distance that might be a little shorter than his best, I do prefer a few others. Still, he’s turned in plenty of strong performances with his late kick and must be respected. He’s one of many in with a shot.


From the barn of Michael Maker, this son of Big Brown is a very nice New York-bred who has won several stakes, but I believe he is just a cut below this Grade 1 level. He also looks best when he can control things on the front end, and with the speed signed up here, I don’t think a comfortable early lead is in the cards. He will win more this year, but I don’t like him in this spot.

Ride A Comet

Despite a more than a two-year gap in his racing, this very well-bred son of Candy Ride seems to have come back as good as ever. Like many in the field, he can really finish these one mile races with a flourish. At his best, he can win a race like the Maker’s Mark Mile, which would be the biggest of an already successful career. Last time he failed to kick it in as well as usual, but the winner of five of seven career grass races was likely hampered by a slow early pace. He’ll get more pace to run at on Friday, and is a real threat to take home the big prize for trainer Mark Casse.


The least experienced horse in the field, this 4-year-old son Dubawi will get his first big test in America on Friday. A winner of 2-of-4 over in England, he has come to the States with big hopes and has looked good so far. He could not quite get there in his U.S debut in January but ran quite well. In his second start here, he was much the best. Both of those races came in allowance company, so it will be a big step up on Friday. Although, he ran against some tough horses already in Europe. With a strong late run, and building up perfectly for his Grade 1 debut, I am expecting him to fit in with this bunch for trainer Brad Cox. He is a lukewarm top choice in a very wide-open affair.

Field Pass

A game-winner of the Grade 3 Transylvania over the Keeneland turf course last summer, this multiple-stakes winning son of Lemon Drop Kid rarely fails to fire. With enough tactical speed to sit off the early speed, he can get first jump at the top of the lane. Unfortunately, he does seem to lack the explosive burst of speed that often wins these Grade 1, middle distance turf races. I expect him to run a strong race once again for trainer Michael Maker in his seasonal debut, but it’s more likely he is a horse to use at the bottom of your trifecta and superfecta tickets.

Get Smokin

A confirmed front runner, this Thomas Busch-trainee was able to relax in second early before taking over the race last time in the Grade 3 Tampa Bay. It was a nice win to be sure, but now he moves back up in class to test top company once again. He did beat nice horses in last fall’s Grade 2 Hill Prince, but that came while not pushed much early. In this one, he is the most dangerous of the early speed, but I do not expect things to be uncontested early. Couple that with a Keeneland turf course which hasn’t been favoring speed, and I am going to wait for another day to bet this tough customer.

Flying Scotsman

This son of English Channel upset a nice allowance race two starts back flaunting his early speed and that is probably what he will attempt to do on Friday. He is a graded stakes winner on the lawn, but that is going back a few years now. With formidable other speed in here like Get Smokin, I believe he is in tough in this Grade 1 affair. I will pass.

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Brian Zipse

Expert on Horse Racing

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]