A full field of 12 fillies and mares will travel 1 1/2 miles over the Churchill Downs lawn in Saturday’s $225,000 Keertana S. The grassy feature attracted a well-matched cast for the marathon on the grass in what appears to be a very competitive betting endeavor. 

The Mark Casse-trained Talbeyah showed a lot of promise as a sophomore in Europe and also looked the part in her North American debut when dominating allowance foes at Woodbine last season. She concluded 2022 with a pair of unplaced stakes tries on the all-weather and then kicked off her five-year-old campaign with an even try running one mile on the Gulfstream turf. 
Talbeyah stretches out to a distance that will be more to her liking on Saturday, and the mare has very good value here as well. Christian Torres will guide the Irish-bred for the first time Saturday so I expect her to surprise at a big price. She is the Expert Pick of the Week. 
Grade 3 heroine Sparkle Blue kicked off her season with a sixth-place finish in the Modesty (G3) here at nine panels, and the four-year-old daughter of Hard Spun figures to take a major step forward in her second assignment of the year. Trained by Graham Motion, she picked up a pair of stakes victories as a sophomore while also placing in the American Oaks (G1) at Santa Anita and possesses the tactical speed to stay in range throughout the 12-furlong test, too. 
Sparkle Blue will be able to overcome a wide post to secure a sensible voyage in the contest to the top of the lane, prior to unleashing her late kick inside the final furlong. The four-year-old will have Vincent Cheminaud in the silks. 
Paulo Lobo’s Quality Star made a huge late run to defeat allowance foes at Keeneland in her second try of 2023 and seems poised to give a fine account of herself in this spot. The consistent daughter of Animal Kingdom has no distance limitations and received a fine post to save ground throughout the marathon. Joe Talamo will be in the stirrups atop the dangerous contender. 
Expert Pick
An exacta with #9 Talbeyah on top of #2 Quality Star and #10 Sparkle Blue in the Keertana is the Best Bet of the Week.