Total Day Results 9 / 3-4-4
2021 Overall 606 606 / 211-221-245
Win % of Top Pick 34.82%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 37.24%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 383-606 63.20%
2021 Top Selection ITM / KEE 92-131 70.23%
2021 Top Selections Win / KEE 55-131 41.98%
“Key Horses” @ KEE 18 6-5-1 33.33% Win / 66.67% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 98 / 42-23-7 42.86% Win / 73.47% ITM

Today’s the closing day of the 2021 Spring Meet at Keeneland. Fans returned. Real fans returned. Fun returned. And, we are hoping that the world will soon return to normal after the past year of turmoil, strife and strain. Here’s hoping.

And, here’s the final picks for this Spring Meet. Hope we have a few winners to propel us into “Derby Week.” And, that is coming very soon. Very. Very. Soon. Yippity-da-day.

1st: 5-4-1/3-10/2-6-7-9/8…Napa Spirit (5) gets the nod in today’s lid-lifter. This 2YO, Irish-bred colt comes from the barn of Wesley Ward, who truly does own these “Baby Races,” and is winning at a .30% rate here this meet. This one has the breeding and has been training good enough to score in this unit. My pick. If there is to be another that may win this one, it surely could be Magniloquent (4) — who is, yet, another from the Ward barn. This is a 2YO filly by American Pharoah. Filly vs. Boys. No big deal to this barn operator. And, this one has a race under the girth. Moves to sod here. Dam has 0 turf winners from 3 starters. Hmmm. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 5 over/under the 4-1-3-10-2-6-7-9-8 in two smaller units.

2nd: 3-2-7/4-5-6…Headline Report (3) may give Ward back-to-back winners and the “Daily Double” here. This 2YUO son of Gormley comes from a dam who has produced 2 winners from the first 2 starters and a Stakes winner. Working good to this first event. Gets a HOF rider up. Big shot. John’s Protoege (2) comes from the? Yep. Ward barn. This one is already gelded and the sire wins with .16% of those making the debut. That’s a big number. Working well, as well. Chance. I bet the Ward duo — 3-2 — across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 3-2 over/under the 7-4-5-6 in two smaller units.

3rd: 7-10-3/5-6/2-8/4-1…This is a 5.5-furlong event over the sod and I will go with After Five (7). Could Ward win the first three races today? Could. Maybe should. This is a 3YO son of The Factor and will be making the first start since running 5th in the G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint here last November. Gets the Lasix for the first time and the blinkers come off. Barn wins with .17% of those getting treated with the anti-bleeder and with .22% losing the shades. Modesto (10) is? Yeppie. Another from the Ward barn. (Thank goodness this guy has flooded the entries this Spring session. If not? Wow. The horse count would be a tough one. Especially when you consider that Turfway Park averaged 2.5 more horses per race than Keeneland this meet.) But…back to handicapping…This 4YO son of Uncle Mo ran once at Saratoga last July. Threw up a nice 2nd. Has not been seen in the afternoons since. Has been working very well for the return. Look out here. I bet the 7-10 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 5-6 in two smaller units.

4th: 5/2-4/3-1…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes right here with Hollywood Gina (5). This 3YO Frosted filly is trained by? Nope. We may have a new winner. This one is trained by Danny Gargan, who has been hot all year until he arrived in Lexington. Looks to get off the “duck” here with this one. She won the last time out by nearly 10 at Aqueduct. Been off since February, but this outfit can win off the bench and works are very good. Gets the hottest rider in the world right now, too. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under the “all button,” and over/under all the numbers listed, as well.

5th: 8-5-4/6-1A/2-7/3…This is a very nice turf event and I will go with Floriform (8), who comes in for the barn of HOF trainer Bill Mott. This 3YO son of Into Mischief just broke the maiden last time out at GP in February. Has run two big ones in a row after being treated with Lasix. Gets a return to HOF rider here and should be a tough out at the wire. My pick. Solid. Crew Dragon (5) has more experience than our top pick and just ran 2nd in a Stakes event at Tampa Bay. But? This one was beaten by our top pick, too, three races ago. I like our top selection to edge this one again. Catman (4) could split the duo. This one ran 5th in the John Battaglia at TP last time out. Came with a very late run and effort. Gets a new rider who knows his way around these parts now and how to get to the winner’s circle. Chance. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 6-entry. I will also key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

6th: 3-5-1/2-6-4…Wide open event here with no apparent leader or clear-cut choice. At least, not for me. I will give the edge to Puye Timing (3). This one has not been close in either of the last two outings. Not when it matter, any way. But? This one has run here 3 previous times and has a win and a second. The 3YO filly also has been training well and the rider is red, red, red hot. If she can rediscover her KEE form today? Lights out. My Bets (5) is a 4YO Include filly who has hit the board in each of the last 4 outings and in 5 of 6 career races, to date. Returns as a beaten favorite here, and the barn wins with .31% of those kind. Chance, to be sure. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 3-5 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.

7th: 5-7-8/2/4-6/9…This is an endurance test over the tender grass surface, and I will give the edge to a European runner who should be well-suited for this effort. Did get a race in here on April 8. Ran better than looks 5th. Only beaten 11/2 lengths in that one. Gets a hotter rider here. And, one that can judge both pace and distance. Should rally late and could be a very tough out. My solid selection here. Conviction Trade (7) ran 3rd in a G3 Stakes just two starts ago and has speed enough to be dangerous. I bet the 5 solidly here. Win. Place. Show. I will box the top 3 in the exactas, and I will key the 5 over/under the “all button” in two smaller units.

8th: 9-5/11-6-10/7-8-1-12/4…This is a MSW event for the 3YOs, and I will saddle up with Buffalo Shuffle (9). This one hails from the barn of Brad Cox, and did run 2nd in his last effort last September at CD. Gets Lasix for the first time today and the work here on April 17? Spot on. Spot. On. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-5 in the exacta. I will key the 9 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

9th: 8-2-7/4-6/5-3-12/10-1-9-11…G3 Bewitch Stakes…The last Stakes event of the meet, and this is a 11/2-mile endurance run over a grass course that has seen much rain and a little snow this meet. So, the ground will have some give to it, to be sure. I will give the edge to War Like Goddess (8), who won over a “good” Churchill Downs surface last October. Just won the G3 Orchid Stakes at GP last time out. Looks to be a true “stayer” and gets a top grass pilot here, as well. My pick. Delta’s Kingdom (2) ran 4th behind our top pick in that last Stakes. But this one was 3-wide in both turns. Amazing. You go 13/8ths and you are stuck 3-wide? Gets a new rider here and one that is winning at a .32% rate. Big difference. Take note. I bet the 8-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 8-2 over/under the 7-4-6-5-3-12-10 in two smaller units.

10th: 6-7-2/5/4-3-1…Tallaj (6) is a first time starter for the barn of? You guessed it. Ward. Might as well close out the meet in style, right? This one is a 3YO gelded son of Lemon Drop Kid and should fit well at this 7-furlong distance. Son of a Stakes winner. Training good enough for this crowd. Poseidon Wrath (7) has been working lights out here and gets a clever and aggressive rider up. Dam has 4 winners from 6 starters. Threat. American Union (2) is another making the debut. Gets the meet’s top rider in the closing race. Have to respect that. I bet the 6-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 5 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene