Sunday's ninth race at Keeneland is a very exciting third-level allowance race for fillies and mares going a mile on the turf.
The most intriguing horse in the race is the French invader Filimbi. In her most recent start, Filimbi nicely captured a Listed Stakes race at Chantilly over heavy ground last November. Filimbi is a product of two former Juddmonte owned and Bobby Frankel trained stars. In fact, her dam Flute won the Kentucky Oaks in only her fourth career start, and was a heavy post-time favorite in the Breeders' Cup Distaff.
While the layoff is a worry, Filimbi worked a bullet over the Keeneland Polytrack on Wednesday. That work caught the eye of the clocker who noted "Filimbi was a little stronger than Angle at the finish, good work for both." It's also encouraging that Joel Rosario sees fit to ride.
European invaders should virtually always be respected in turf routes, however it's hard to get too excited about Filimbi at her 4/1 morning line price considering the tough task she has off of an almost six month layoff, in her US debut.
The horse who will be our selection is Gathering. This lightly raced five-year-old is also a former European runner. In fact, in her final start in Europe, she was third beaten just over a length by last years Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf winner Dank. Gathering was tremendously impressive in her US debut at Keeneland, last year. She blew the break, and still won by more than three lengths, going away.
Gathering was a very impressive winner of an allowance race at Gulfstream Park in January, before taking an almost three month hiatus. Her trainer Jonathan Sheppard doesn't place much emphasis on winning at Gulfstream Park. Indeed, since 2000, Sheppard is just 19-for-361 (5% wins) with a $0.74 ROI in turf races at Gulfstream Park. Over the same time period, Sheppard is 41-for-181 (23% wins) with a $2.42 ROI in Turf races at Keeneland.
Gathering offers fantastic value at 9/2 morning line and attracts the riding services of Leparoux.
Betting strategy: Win bet on Gathering.