Day Results 8 / 2-3-3
2021 Overall 49 49 / 14-17-18
Win % of Top Pick 28.57%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 33.33%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 26-49 53.06%
2021 Top Selection ITM / TP 21-40 51.22%
2021 Top Selections Win / TP 10-40 25.00%
“Key Horses” @ TP 7 / 3-1-0 42.86% Win / 57.14% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 10 / 5-1-0 50.00% Win / 60.00% ITM

Another dismal performance by “Yours Truly,” or, and I would not blame you at all if the reference is “Not Yours Truly.”

I had only two winners, and they were two of my three “Key Plays of the Day,” and were rather low-priced favorites.

I had only two exactas, which returned the modest prices of $7.20 and $16.20 for each $1 played.

And, to make matters worse, I was out of the big Pick 5 play after the first race. One race.

Sorry, guys. I like to think that I am better than that, but the facts are what they are. We are underperforming right now. So, we are going to mix with the handicapping formula for today to see if we can cure our ills.

Worth a shot, right?

So?

Here’s our “new and improved” looks at the “new and improved” Tapeta course begin right here. And, here’s hoping for a little better performance:

1st: 2-1/6-7-11/4-3-8/5-(13)-10…This is a wide open affair, to be sure. Not an easy tilt to begin the new process, or a new night. I will go with My Dear Lolita (2) on top here, mainly due to the name recognition and PPs of trainer Wesley Ward. In 23 mounts here since the beginning of December, Ward’s steeds have gone 6-3-2. That adds up to a win percentage of .26%. This 3YO daughter of Palice Malice will get the Lasix for the first time and the barn scores with .37% when dropping this much at one time. Work here on Jan. 1 was encouraging. Gets the meet’s top rider up, and he has won with .26% of the last 23 mounts for this barn operation. Has speed. Drop should help her carry it farther. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box solidly with the 1 in the exactas. I will key the 2-1 over/under the 6-7-11-4-3-8-5 in two smaller versions.

2nd: 7-9-3/4-5/6-8/2-1…Gamblin Train (7) ran a huge one to be second here last time out on Dec. 11. Looked like a winner when they hit the wire, but the camera showed that the 5YO mare had lost by a stinking nostril hair. Returns tonight for a new trainer, who won with 2 of 20 starters a year ago. The veteran rider stays on the back and this one looks like the class here, if she can get motivate to run the lane just a bit earlier this time around. Will come late. Will need room. Will need some luck. But I will be on board. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 7 over/under the numbers listed in two smaller units.

3rd: 10-6-1/2-5-7-(14)/3-12/8-4-11-9…What a nice field of horses, who have been carded for this $8,000 optional-claimer. Nice. Group. Very competitive group, too. I will give a slight edge to Fast Fire (10) in this one, although I think you could go 6-deep in the horizontal plays here. This 8YO War Chant gelding is coming off a Stakes event at Presque Isle last time out, but that was back in September. Has been training here, but nothing sharp. Gets a new trainer for the first time, too. There is a lot to like here — especially the AW record: 7-3-1 in 12 starts. But questions, too. Alien Season (6) is another from the barn of Wesley Ward. This 7YO Spring at Last gelding won by over 6 here last time out and now moves up the ladder a  bit. In 4 previous runs over an AW surface, this one does have 2 wins. Bump up in class does not bother me here. Trainer wins with .21% when making he 2nd start off a layup, and with .32% over the AW. Can’t Hide From Me (1) was claimed last time out by one of the hottest trainers on the meet. In 25 starts since December, this barn has gone 7-4-2 — which is a .28% win percentage. This one ran 2nd last time out after back to back wins before that. Has speed to hang in there against these from the rail, but not the best of spots. Returns as a beaten favorite, and this barn wins with .24% of those and with .20% on the first start after a claim purchase. Big shot. I bet the 6 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top three numbers over/under the 2-5 in two smaller units.

4th: 9-11/7-10/5-2-8/6-1-1A…Blanket of Roses (9) drops to a career-low level today for a barn that normally does quite well in the Northern Kentucky venue. Has not won a race since last February at Gulfstream Park. Has seemed to have lost a step or two since then, but still may be good enough against this group. Barn wins at .21% rate on the AW, and this one does have a 2nd in two tries over that type of surface. Adhhar (11) could be a nice alternative here, though. This 4YO son of Daaher was claimed two starts back at Churchill Downs, when racing against tougher and for more money. Tried this track in December and was absolutely no factor. Beat just one horse that night. But? But this one lost all chance at the start, when he broke awkwardly. Got back and watch the video. No shot. Complete toss. Works good here since then. Look for more out of this one tonight. I bet the 9-11 across the board, but I truly like the 11 best here. I will box those two strongly in the exacta. I will key the 9-11 over/under the 7-10-5-2-8 in two smaller units.

5th: 9-7-11/10-8/6-5-12/1-4-3-2…Orb of the Boro (9) ran a very nice 2nd here last time out on Dec. 18. Lost by less than a length as the PT favorite. Was game throughout that affair and did most of the tough work, only to get nipped at closing time. Loses 3 pounds if the rider can make the 120 weight tonight. Has 2 seconds and 2 thirds in the first 7 starts. Time to break the maiden. Southern Will (7) gets the Lasix for the first time tonight and that could help this 3YO son of Twirling Candy. Has hit the board in each of the last three outings and has faced better in the past. Rider is 0-for-15 so far this meet. Hmmm. Cuz (11) ran a solid third here last time out when getting the blinkers for the 2nd time. Since the shades were added, this one has been in the hunt both times. Gets the meet’s top rider up. Will be coming late, but this one has a real chance. I can’t dismiss, despite the trainer’s lack of success. I bet the 9-11 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. i will key the 9-11 over/under the 7-10-8-6-5-12 in two smaller units.

6th: 7-5-6/8/9-1-2/3-4…What a nice allowance event carded here at the 6-furlong sprint distance. I will give my nod to Peruvian Boy (7), who nearly won here last time out when returning to the AW surface. In 4 tries over the AW, now, this one has a 1-2-1 mark. Nice. This one came running in the lane here on Dec. 4. Nipped by a neck at the wire. The race before he may have faced tougher, and he ran 2nd in that one, too. In 17 career starts? Only 1 win. Has 4 seconds and 4 thirds. Hangs, without a doubt. May be better under? Kierkegaard (5) will be making the 2nd start off an extended layup and this barn wins with a nice .21% of those making the 2nd on the return. Made a very serious run in the same race as the top pick. Just tired in that one. This NY-bred is trained by one of the top conditioners in Kentucky now and the works are solid. My pick here. Noren (6) moves up after an impressive MSW win here on Dec. 12. Ran well against tougher at Churchill Downs in the race before. This barn is red hot and wins with .25% when facing winners for the first time, too. A must use for me. I bet the 5-6 — take note — across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. Solid. I will key the top 3 over/under the 8 in two smaller units.

7th: 12/8-7/2-9/3-5-1/11-10-6-4…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes here with the Mike Maker-trainee — Krewe Chief (12). This 8YO gelded son of Parading won here on Dec. 19 at this same level, and there is no reason that he can’t do it again. Won that one going away at the wire and in 6 tries at this distance has a 2-1-2 mark. In two races over the AW, though, this one is a perfect 2-for-2. Likes to come with a late run, which will mean that the veteran rider will need to be on the look-out for a spot. But this one should be able to run them down and over in the late stages. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then key the 12 over/under the numbers listed. More on the 8-7. Less on the 2-9. Less on the 3-5-1. Even less on the last four.

8th: 5-1-12/3-9-4-6/8-7…The finale for the night is a MCL event at the $7,500 level, and they will contest this fight at 6 furlongs. I will give the slight edge to the horse with a bit more experience in Speak English (5). She is 0-for-11. That is not good. Not at all. But she drops to a career-low level and does have some better results in the past against better. And, she does have 4 thirds on the resume. Only time this one showed speed, she stopped. But she returns to a sprint distance tonight and should make a late run, again. Maybe? Maybe? Poppy’s Girl (1) is a first-time starter and draws the rail. Hate that combo. Tough spot to begin the festivities. But this one is a 4YO and does come from the barn of Wesley Ward — who wins with .29% when making the career debut in the MCL ranks. This looks like a fire sale type of runner, but the dam of this one has a winner from 2 starters. Has a chance against these types. If the odds are OK? I go here. Sway My Way (12) will break from the far outside, and comes from a barn that has won with only .07% of the last 57 starters. But this one drops off a third here last time out and may have some late run, too. Chance? Maybe. I bet the 1 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 1 over/under the “all button.” 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene