The Keeneland fall meet winds down on Saturday, October 30, which means the day’s card will include the usual closing day feature: the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes. A nine-furlong dirt race open to horses aged three and up, it drew a field of nine to run for a $200,000 purse. Be ready to enjoy all the excitement by betting the race online!
The horse to beat in this year’s Fayette is New York-based: Code of Honor, for longtime New York trainer Shug McGaughey, is the likely favorite. But, it won’t be an easy task, with eight other foes who include both graded stakes winners (like Independence Hall, winner of the 2019 Nashua (G3) at Aqueduct!) and rising stars.
Fayette Stakes Horses
This is the official field for the 2021 Fayette Stakes including post positions, trainers, and jockeys:
Sleepy Eyes Todd (Miguel Silva/Ry Eikleberry)
Manhattan Up (Robertino Diodoro/Chris Landeros)
Militarist (Carlo Vaccarezza/Martin Garcia)
Night Ops (Brad Cox/Florent Geroux)
Independence Hall (Michael McCarthy/Javier Castellano)
King Fury (Kenneth McPeek/Brian Hernandez, Jr.)
Code of Honor (Shug McGaughey/Tyler Gaffalione)
Fort Peck (Robertino Diodoro/David Cohen)
Major Fed (Gregory Foley/Ricardo Santana, Jr.)
Closer to the race, online sportsbooks will begin to offer odds on the Fayette Stakes. Make sure you are ready to bet the race by signing up for one or more of the top online sportsbooks for New York bettors. Then, you will be ready to lock in your price when you see an overlay on the horse you want to play!
Fayette Stakes Handicapping
Saturday, and the days before it, are supposed to be wet in Lexington. Thus, horses who enjoy running on the slop have an advantage.
The Front End
Drawn on the rail, #1 Sleepy Eyes Todd is the likely pacesetter. Though he does not have to set the pace, the style suits him well and speed can be a good asset on a wet track. Sleepy Eyes Todd has won both his wet-track attempts. His better races make him a good fit for this level and he is a strong contender.
#5 Independence Hall has early speed, but his tendency is to stalk, not make the top. He will probably sit just off Sleepy Eyes Todd. This is a welcome class drop, though Independence Hall still needs to prove that he wants to stay a mile and an eighth.
More Real Contenders
We saw the best of #6 King Fury last April in the Lexington (G3), over a Keeneland track rated sloppy. Though facing older horses for the first time will not make it an easy task, he can be a contender. His best races are fast enough to fit in this spot, he has tactical versatility, and he just got a very nice tune-up at Churchill Downs.
Likely favorite #7 Code of Honor also has excellent wet-track form, with a win and a second in his two tries. Even though he disappointed in the Woodward (G1) last out, this is a pronounced class drop. He also gets Tyler Gaffalione in the irons; Gaffalione has been red-hot this Keeneland meet. If he can keep Code of Honor relatively close early he can continue his hot streak.
Rounding Out Exotic Plays
#4 Night Ops will probably be an underlay in the win pool since, even though he goes out for hot trainer Brad Cox and rider Florent Geroux, he tends to find a horse or two too good at this level. His effort in the Ben Ali (G3) is a point in his favor, as he ran a good second over a sloppy Keeneland course. But, he is more likely to get a piece underneath than he is to win.
The Other Runners
Trainer Robertino Diodoro has a pair in this race #2 Manhattan Up makes his first start for the barn and may improve, but has yet to show that he really likes an off-track like some of the other runners. #8 Fort Peck, his stablemate, is a strong mile and an eighth horse but tends to do his better work on a fast racetrack.
#3 Militarist has shown more form on grass than he has on the dirt, and also stands to get a suboptimal setup for his closing style. #9 Major Fed has some upside, riding a two-win streak into this race, but needs to find a career-best over a sloppy track, and it is hard to like the fact that his jockey Ricardo Santana is winless on the meet.
Fayette Stakes Bets
Here are the best bets for the 2021 Fayette Stakes:
$20 to win – #1 Sleepy Eyes Todd
$1 exacta key - #1 Sleepy Eyes Todd with #6 King Fury and #7 Code of Honor
$0.50 trifecta key – #1 Sleepy Eyes Todd with #4 Night Ops, #6 King Fury, and #7 Code of Honor
Where to Bet the Fayette Stakes
You have learned about the contenders and the best bets to make, so now is the right time to place your bets on the Fayette Stakes online! The best online racebooks for New York bettors offer excellent racebook bonus offers and the best betting odds, as well as trusted deposit and cash-out options. Make your account, and get ready to bet the races all year long!
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