Day Results 12 / 8-6-2
2020 Overall 972 972 / 345-322-389
Win % of Top Pick 35.49%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.21%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –627-972 64.51%
Top Selection ITM / SAR 53-78 67.95%
Top Selection Win / SAR 30-78 38.46%
Top Selection ITM / Ellis Park 57-83 68.67%
Top Selections Win / Ellis Park 27-83 32.53%
“Key Horses” @ SAR 11-4-1-1 36.36% Win / 54.54% ITM
“Key Horses” @ Ellis Park 10/3-4-1 30.00% Win / 80.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 129-44-28-18 34.11% Win / 69.77% ITM

It was the day that a handicapper waits for and on.

A huge race card, chucked full of Graded Stakes races.

A G1 here. A G1 there. A Graded Stakes everywhere.

And, it was full of great horses, too.

On Saturday, we handicapped 12 races at Saratoga. We had 8 winners, 6 seconds and a couple of thirds. If not for the DQ in the 8th race? We would have scored early, often.

Hope you travelled along and wagered with us. It was a day.

Now, we hope to continue the streak at Ellis Park. It is Ellis Park Derby Day. Sunday. Fun day.

Here’s a closer look at today’s card:

1st:  4/6-8/1-3-7/5-2…Clear for Action (4) has won 3 times out of 5 at this distance and has 4 wins in 11 tries over the sod in the career. Has never been offered up for this low a tag before. In January dropped in for $20,000 — twice this level. Won that one easily on the lead. Gets a top rider back up today and should be salty with this grouping. My first Key Play of the Day comes right here. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the rest of the numbers listed. More with the 6-8-1-3-7 than the rest.

2nd: 7-8/2-4-5/1-3…This is the first 2YO race of the day and it is a 6 furlong event over the main track. I will go to the outside for my top selections — led by the first time starter Mahomes Money (7). This is a homebred son of Not This Time for the Albaugh Family — who ran the mucho talented son of Giant’s Causeway and the sire. Looked like a KY Derby contender before being injured in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Now, Not This Time is off to a very good start at stud. This son of his is working well for the man who trained Not This Time, as well. Looks like a set-up to run on this day, to me. The spot the connections have waited for and now have. Look out. Snake Doctor (8) goes for a barn that really amps up for the 2nd time out — winning at a .19% clip. This one ran OK on debut at KEE on July 11. Works since have been spot on. Looks like this one may want more ground, though. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-8 in a solid exacta. I will key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

3rd: 8-(12)/9-6-1/4-2-3-5…My second Key Play of the Day comes right here and right now — One Fat Orb (8). This 2YO daughter of Orb ran a huge one on debut at KEE on July 10. Got caught at the wire of a 5.5-furlong event. The “show” horse that day — and one this one beat by nearly 2 — came back to run a huge one at Saratoga on Saturday and finished 2nd for Wesley Ward. Now, One Fast Orb stretches out to the route distance. Interesting. But the barn wins with .13% on the second career start and the same with the first time routers. Gets a top rider up today. Look out for Cecile’s Chapter (12) if she draws in from the AE List. This one is trained by Brad Cox and has been training very well for the debut. I have to use if she gets in. Joy in Grace (9) is a daughter of Kitten’s Joy, and she cost $100,000 at the KEE September Sale last year. Trainer is having a very solid meet and this one has been training well for top connections. Would not be a shocker at a square price. I bet the 8 to win/place/show. I box with the 8-12, if the 12 draws in. If not, I key the 8 over/under the numbers listed. I may box the 8-9 in one solid exacta, too.

4th: 1-3/6-5-4/2…Runhappy Juvenile Stakes…This is a 7-furlong contest over the main surface for the 2YOs. I go to the rail, which is never a good spot for a youngster. But Cowan (1) does have some speed and gets an experienced rider to navigate the trip. Must break well and then must extend the speed to a distance that these have not seen yet. Tricky spot for a 2nd-time starter, who is likely to be very low odds. But? Talented to be sure. Medicine Tail (3) ran off to a very nice win here on July 19. Started the career with a third against a monster. Has been 6 furlongs and has been training well. This one cost $230,000 a year ago and must really look the part. Upset Special of the Day. Dangerous. I bet the 1-3 across the board and then box those two solidly in this exacta. I key the 1-3 over/under the rest of the numbers listed. 

5th: 9-7-3/2-11-12-10/5-8/1-6-4…More Than Usual (9) is listed at 6-1 in the ML, and I would love to have that price by PT. This 3YO daughter of More Than Ready is bred for the grass and ran a very nice 4th on debut at Churchill Downs on June 11. Winner that day came right back to win the next outing. This one has trained well since and yes a rider who has won with .26% of the last 19 mounts for this barn. Should improve today. Sovereign Appeal (7) ran 2nd last time out and now moves to the grass for the first time. Barn hits with .09% of those. Gets a route for the first time, too. Barn wins with .13% of those. And, this will be the 2nd start off a layup. Barn hits with .16% of those. Should improve today, too. Loaded (3) is listed at 20-1 in the ML. Wow. Wow. Wow. Upset Special Galore. This 3YO daughter of Ghostzapper ran two straight 2nds to begin the career. One of those was to Turtle Trax, who looked cut out to be a good one. Moved to the sod for the first time last out and ran a better-than-looks 5th. Barns wins with .23% with those making the 2nd start off a layup and is doing very well here this meet, too. Top grass rider in the irons. I use. Definitely. I bet the 9-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 9-3 over/under the 7-2-11-12-10 in two smaller units.

6th: 12-10/5-4/11-9/2-1-8/7…Runhappy Debutante Stakes…This is a wide open affair that will challenge the 2YO fillies at 7 furlongs over the main track. I will go to the far outside and saddle up with Puye Timing (12), who hails from the barn of the talented young trainer Norm Casse. This one got the blinkers for the first time last outing and zoomed. Won at KEE over a wet-fast track. That could be the surface condition this afternoon at Ellis Park, too, with rain in the forecast. Work on July 24? Super. Looks like she is getting really good. Fabricate (10) could be another solid price category here. This 2YO daughter of Speightstown won on debut at Churchill Downs. Beat a couple of good ones, too. Solid work on Aug. 4. Look out here. This barn rarely wins on debut. Must be very good. Yogurt (5) beat One Fast Orb and Guana Cay in the last race, and you know how we feel about those two (look at the early races). Big shot at a long price. I bet the 12-10 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4 in two smaller units.

7th: 11-4-6/3-10/8-9/1-5/(14)-(16)-(15)-(13)…This is a 11/16-mile event over the turf and may be the most wide open race on the card today. Wide. Open. Spread. Out. I will give the edge to Sharecropper (11), mainly because the 3YO son of Pioneerof the Nile has now been moved over to the barn of Brad Cox and his numbers are always very solid all the way around. But he wins with .26% of those making the barn debut and with .27% with those making the grass debut. Has been working good. Rider has gone 2-1-0 in last 7 for this barn, too. Solid price. Uncapped (4) nearly won here last time out. Came with a serious late run. Work here on Aug. 5 was spot on. Has never won over the grass in 11 tries, though. Hmmm. Believeinholidays (6) has speed and may get to the front in this bunch. But at the distance? One win in 7 tries. Hmmm. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then key the 11 over/under the 4-6-3-10-8-9-1-5. Of the horses on the AE List? I like the 14 the best. 

8th: 5-10-7/6-4/2-1-3/8-9…Runhappy Audobon Oaks…Another outstanding race carded by Racing Secretary Dan Bork. Contested at 7 furlongs over the main track. I will go with Casual (5), whose only bad race came in the G1 Acorn — when the great Gamine freaked for one of her times. She did again on Saturday at Saratoga, too. Should like the cutback in distance and the fact that Gamine is not in the race. Working well here. Daughter of Curlin is from a Stakes-winner. Gets a top rider up. My pick. Mundaye Call (10) will be stepping up in class after a convincing win at KEE on July 11. That was her first try with the new barn connections. Looks good right now and should relish the distance. Look out here. Ocean Breeze (7) ran very well as the beaten favorite in the G3 Iowa Oaks. Should love the cutback in distance today and the winner of the last out came right back to win next time, too. Talent here. I bet the 5-10 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 6-4 in two more.

9th: 12-1-8/9/6-7-10-11…Groupie Doll Stakes…Street Band (12) didn’t catch any breaks with the Post Position Draw. She will have to break from the #12 spot and that is no bargain at this distance. She will have to drop over early and save some ground going into the first turn and then have to navigate a lot of traffic. Tough ask. But she is a tough gal, too. In 16 lifetime starts, she has 5 wins and 4 thirds. Has run in 10 Graded Stakes events in a row. Has a win in only previous try here. And, working well. The one to beat. Lady Apple (1) has the inside, but the rail has not been kind to its’ runners, either. My good friend, Ed DeRosa, points out that the rail spot yields winners about as often as the “Pea Patch” in the infield. Once a year. Or there about. Still, this on has won over $1.012 million in the career and should be a tough out when turning for home. Big shot. New Roo (8) is my next Upset Special of the Day. I don’t know if she is good enough to whip the top two, but she is better than the ML odds. Won by 12 here on July 24. At nice odds. I touted her then — big. I’m sticking for another shot here, too. I bet the 12-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 12-1 (take note) over/under the 8-9-6-7-10-11 in two smaller units.

10th: 4/9-10-12/2-6-11/8-5-3/7…Ellis Park Derby…On Saturday, it was Tiz the Law’s turn to show out. Today, it is Art Collector’s (4) time to glow. The 3YO son of Bernardini has done nothing wrong since being turned over to the talented hands and mind of trainer Tommy Drury — one of the best guys in the game today. He has raced three times this year. He has won three times this year. He has gotten better each time this year. And, he is coming off a superb effort in the G2 Toyota Blue Grass Stakes — where he manhandled that field. With convincing style. Look for him to take the next step today. Impressively. Key Play of the Day. If you want to pair the top pick with some odds, I go with Dean Martini (9), Attachment Rate (10), and Shared Sense (12). Ole Deano has bee spectacular since being claimed by Tom Amoss. Won the Ohio Derby last out. Look for more improvement today. Attachment Rate had no chance on a speed-favoring track in Lexington. If it rains some? Helps. Shared Sense is a Brad Cox-pupil. Does not hurt. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key the 4 over/under the 9-10-12-2-6 in the exacta. More over/under the 9-10 than the rest. More over the 9 than the others.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene