Bal Harbour holds the edge in Fayette

The Grade II, $200,000 Fayette Stakes anchors the final card of the Keeneland fall meet this Saturday. A field of 10 will compete in this 1 1/8-mile event on what’s likely to be a muddy main course. Post time for the Fayette, Race 9 of a scheduled 10, is 5:30 p.m. ET.

#8 BAL HARBOUR (7-2) will try to find the winner’s circle for the first time in 2019 after starting the campaign 5-0-3-1. His last two defeats were agonizing; he was second by a head with an inferior trip to War Story in the Grade III Monmouth Cup before surrendering a late lead to Preservationist in the Grade I Woodward at Saratoga. BAL HARBOUR won his only start at Keeneland (an October allowance event in 2018) and is 3-2-0-1 on wet tracks. The Todd Pletcher trainee is drilling well for the Fayette and reunites with Tyler Gaffalione, who guided BAL HARBOUR to his aforementioned victory over this course.

#2 MR FREEZE (7-2) makes his third start off a lengthy layoff for Dale Romans in the Fayette. He was last seen cruising to victory in Churchill’s one-mile Ack Ack Stakes. MR FREEZE has experience at the 1 1/8-mile distance, taking last year’s West Virginia Derby by eight commanding lengths. He will be ridden, as usual, by Robby Albarado on Saturday. The Fayette could be MR FREEZE’s first off-track start.

#3 TOM’S D’ETAT (2-1, morning-line favorite) seems to be an underlay based on his form this year. He was well-beaten despite earning placings in the Alysheba and Stephen Foster earlier this year before beating much weaker foes in Saratoga’s Alydar Stakes two-back. TOM’S D’ETAT was most recently seen running fourth behind BAL HARBOUR in the Woodward. His wet form offers mixed signals as he’s 4-1-1-0 lifetime, including a disastrous ninth-place finish in the Pegasus World Cup. Joel Rosario has the call.

The play: $2 exacta key box 8/2,3, $1 exacta 8/2,3 ($10)

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