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Image for Brian Zipse Brian Zipse - Updated October 14, 2022

Sycamore Stakes Predictions, Betting Odds, Picks 2022 (Keeneland)

Sycamore Stakes Odds and Post Position

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

PP Horse Odds Jockey Trainer
1 ARKLOW 5/1
J Rosario B Cox
G Corrales M Maker
B J Hernandez Jr B Lynch
J Velazquez H G Motion
R Bejarano P Matejka
L Saez W Mott
J Leparoux I Wilkes
8 TEMPLE 15/1
U Rispoli M Maker
R Santana Jr B J Minshall
10 BALTHUS 5/1
M Franco C Brown
F Geroux C Block
12 CELLIST 20/1
C Lanerie G R Arnold II
T Gaffalione C Brown
A Beschizza J Abreu
J Talamo J Hiles
R Gutierrez M Maker

Sycamore Stakes Predictions and Best Bets

Here are my plays ($65 in total)

$2 Exacta Box -Balthus, Mira Mission, Red Knight and Another Mystery = $24

$2 Exacta Box -Balthus, Mira Mission and Red Knight = $12

$2 Exacta Box -Balthus and Mira Mission = $4

$5 Exacta Part Wheel – Balthus over MIra Mission, Red Knight, Another Mystery, Arklow and Highland Chief = $25

If you’re playing only to win, go with my top pick Balthus (5/1).

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Sycamore Stakes Keeneland Race Track

Led by Red Knight, the winner of the 2020 edition, a loaded field of 16 older turf males have been entered in Friday’s Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes at Keeneland.

The 8-year-old gelding has been perfect so far in 2022 for trainer Mike Maker, with a pair of stakes wins at the same 1 1/2-mile distance he will see on Friday.

Most recently, the stakes record holder of the Sycamore was a nose winner over a strong field in the Grade 2 Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky Downs.

Chief among his many rivals in the $300,000 turf test will be the Champion male turf horse of 2020, Channel Maker.

Although the 8-year-old son of English Channel is coming off a sub-par performance last time in the Sword Dancer, he is a two-time stakes winner this year, including a win over the course and distance in the Grade 2 Elkhorn Stakes in April.

Also not short on career credentials is another 8-year-old, Arklow. A six-time graded stakes winner and earner of better than $3 million, the son of Arch was beaten last time at Kentucky Downs by Red Knight.

Second in this race in his only try four years ago, the Brad Cox-trained veteran is looking for a graded stakes win in six consecutive seasons with a win on Friday.

Highland Chief is another who merits strong consideration in the Sycamore. Imported from Europe, the 5-year-old son of Gleneagles will look to give trainer Graham Motion his fourth win in this race.

The Irish-bred won the Grade 1 Man o’ War Stakes at Belmont this spring before finishing fourth in both the Manhattan and Bowling Green in his last two starts.

Sycamore Stakes Predictions and Race Analysis

Red Knight

Always a threat running long, this late-running son of Pure Prize won this race two years ago with a strong late kick. For whatever reason, last year was a bit of an off-year for the veteran, but he has come back as good as ever for trainer Mike Maker this season.

After ten months away, he has won two consecutive stakes races at the 12 furlong distance. Last out, he not only rallied strongly, but he outfought a couple of tough rivals to the wire in a thrilling finish.

A repeat of that effort in winning the Grade 2 Kentucky Turf Cup makes him a big threat in here. He certainly could win his second Sycamore, but there are a couple of horses I prefer on Friday.


This veteran son of Arch can never be discounted. A graded stakes winner each of the last five seasons, he has only started twice this year for trainer Brad Cox.

His first effort of the season was quite good, finishing second in the Grade 2 Bowling Green, but he came up a little empty late last time in the Kentucky Turf Cup. I’m not sure if he is still as good as he once was, but counting him out would seem to be a mistake.

The last one at Kentucky Downs should set him up well to improve here and also give him better odds. I will include the classy 8-year-old in my exotics.


This son of the great sire Galileo has really come around this year for his powerhouse barn. Trained by Chad Brown, he looks to have the potential to be the next big thing for a stable that wins graded stakes on turf all the time.

A non-factor in his only two starts at 3, the gelding has developed with four progressively better performances this year. A winner of three straight, he comes off a powerful rallying score going 12 furlongs at Saratoga.

Although this will be his graded stakes debut, he has shown enough running in New York to believe that he can step right up into this class. With the ability to stay in touch early, and then close strongly, he is the top pick.



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Highland Chief

This Graham Motion-trained import pulled off a pretty big surprise when winning the Grade 1 Man O’ War at Belmont back in May. He hasn’t won in his next two starts, but both came against solid competition, and he was competitive.

The Gleneagles runner has not been breaking well, so a better start here could get him involved early and make him even tougher.

He’s certainly one of many threats in here and for a trainer who has already won this race three times. I do like a few others better, but I respect his chances.

Mira Mission

After a pretty successful early season in much shorter races, which included a just miss in Grade 1 Turf Classic at Churchill Downs, this son of Noble Mission stretched out well for the first time last out in the Grade Sword Dancer.

Striking the lead as they turned for home, he looked like a winner in mid-stretch but ultimately could not hold off the late charge of Gufo. Bred to appreciate the distance, I do not believe that effort was a fluke.

Despite finishing out of the money in his only previous start at Keeneland, it was a solid effort in another Grade 1 race. Given all he has done this year, I like him here and expect him to work out another good trip. I see him as the biggest threat to my top pick.

Channel Maker

This former champion has been able to win two stakes races this year, including the Grade 2 Elkhorn at Keeneland, but both came against slightly easier competition. Most recently, he was a disappointing tenth in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.

The winner of better than $3.6 million has bounced back before from poor efforts to run big, though. So can he do it again here? If allowed to lope along in a relaxed manner early, his chances move way up.

I am going to take a stand against this time, however. I think there will be enough early pace to make the task of this classy 8-year-old just that much tougher.

Another Mystery

This Illinois-bred from the barn of Chris Block does not always give his best, but the good performances seem to be coming more regularly of late. His most recent two, which followed stakes win at Hawthorne Park, both were solid.

One at Colonial Downs and one at Kentucky Downs, he was quite competitive behind Red Knight. In the last one, he lost a three-horse photo with that one and Gufo, with many good horses behind him.

In this field, I still believe his odds will be very playable. Going good now, I will use him as a value play in my exotics.



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One of three from trainer Mike Maker, this Temple City gelding turned in a couple of strong performances early this year at Gulfstream Park, including a win in the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida. Even his two losses after that one were not bad, coming against solid competition.

His last one, though, was a whole different story, finishing 11th in the Kentucky Turf Cup. Perhaps he did not like the Kentucky Downs course, but it leaves cause for pause.

Perhaps a contender at his best, the last race leaves me looking elsewhere in this very deep field.

British Royalty

This Canadian son of English Channel has not won a race since rolling to victory in the final leg of Canada’s Triple Crown last season.

That victory at 12 furlongs on the grass proves that he likes the trip, now he must prove he can handle this class.

It’s not out of the question, as his first three races this year were all pretty solid efforts in America. I remain skeptical of his ability to beat a field this good but do believe he is an interesting longshot play in the exotics.

Admission Office

One of many graded stakes winners in the field, this Brian Lynch trainee comes into the Sycamore off a decent effort when four lengths beaten by Red Knight in the Kentucky Turf Cup.

He did rally nicely four starts back to get up for the win in the Grade 3 Arlington Handicap, but that was at 8 1/2 furlongs. While he can handle the added distance, I do believe he is slightly better when running late in shorter races.

Still, he is worth consideration, especially to rally up for a piece of the exotics. You can’t bet them all, though, and this is a tough field.


A two-time stakes winner at Churchill Downs, this son of Big Blue Kitten is always eligible to pop up and run a strong race for trainer Rusty Arnold.

Unfortunately, his two starts winning the Grade 3 Louisville Handicap have not been good. Perhaps he can bounce back at Keeneland, but I don’t know that even at his best he is good enough to defeat a field like this.

While capable of hitting the board at attractive odds, I like too many others better here to include him on my tickets.


This son of Flatter was able to pull off a big upset last year when he scored in the Dueling Grounds Derby at odds of 36/1. Given his two starts this year, and the depth of the class in this race, I would suspect he will have similar odds on Friday.

His first two efforts of the year were not bad but came against lesser. Now he moves way up in class and stretches out to a distance he’s never seen before. He’s a decent enough horse, but he is not for me in this spot.

Highest Honors (AE)

Is on the also-eligible list and will only get into the race with scratches. If he does draw in, I believe he has a real shot to make some noise.

Trained by Chad Brown, this son of Tapit won an allowance race early this year at Gulfstream Park. While he has not found the winner’s circle in four starts since then, he has been knocking on the door with consistently solid performances.

Coming in off a solid effort behind Red Knight at Kentucky Downs, he could be ready for a breakthrough. If the odds are right, I would include him in the exotics.

Shawdyshawdyshawdy (AE)

Is on the also-eligible list and will only get into the race with scratches. If he does get in, he is not an impossible longshot.

Although he has little stakes experience, he is coming out of a nice allowance score at Aqueduct three weeks ago. He’d be a surprise, but one that is at least possible.

Time for Trouble (AE)

Is on the also-eligible list and will only get into the race with scratches. The good news is that this son of the English Channel is unbeaten in three starts this year.

Unfortunately, all of the wins came against significantly cheaper than he will see on Friday. I like too many others better here.

Keystone Field (AE)

Is on the also-eligible list and will only get into the race with scratches. While he does have three wins on the turf going back to his California days, his recent form is not promising.

Trying a similar class for the first time last out in the Kentucky Turf Cup, he finished last, beaten 33 lengths. I cannot recommend him for this spot.

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How to Watch the Sycamore Stakes

Sycamore Stakes Race Information
What Sycamore Stakes (Grade 3)
Location Keeneland
Time Friday, October 14 — 5:26 pm Eastern time
How to Watch TVG
Purse $300,000

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Brian Zipse

228 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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