(Corey Lanerie / Photo by Gene McLean)

Day Results 4-1-1-1
2018 Overall 1215 448-446-543
Win % of Top Pick 37.00%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 39.40%

We had a rather dismal effort on Monday, cashing just one winner from four races that we handicapped and touted. Sorry. Hope to do better — starting on Wednesday. Have to gear up for a huge weekend at The Spa.

We are holding steady with a 37% win ratio with our top pick for the year, though, and that is after we have handicapped and wrote about 1,215 races this year. And, we are gearing up for a return to a couple of our most favorite racetracks in the world in the next few weeks — when Thoroughbred racing action returns to Churchill Downs in September, and, then, the grand Keeneland in October.

Looking forward to those two meets, where we will once again be providing full race card analysis and handicapping information and intel.

(Corey Lanerie signs autographs at Ellis Park / Photo by Gene McLean)

Notes & Quotes From Ellis Park on Sunday (from the media team at Ellis Park):

Corey Lanerie: Winning rider of Serengeti Empress and Tobacco Road in the Ellis Park Debutante, and the Ellis Park Juvenile, respectively:

“When I came back here, I didn’t know how well I would do after Shantel’s passing, just if people would give me back my mounts right away,” Lanerie said. “It’s been a blessing. I took off where I left, kind of kept on winning. My business didn’t seem to linger at all. Once I saw I had a little chance, I kind of made it a goal to try to do it and be leading rider for Shantel.”

Lanerie on Serengeti Empress:

“My filly broke really well right from the gate,” Lanerie said. “She was in hand pretty much all the way around there. When I got to the quarter pole, I kind of pushed the button and she went on and finished all the way to the wire. I had plenty left on the gallop-out. She was so far in front by herself that I think she was getting a little lost. I was keeping her busy. But she didn’t need any encouragement today. She was going to win.

“The sky’s the limit, I think. Tom has done a fantastic job with her, him and his team. I’m sure he’ll get her as far as he can go and do his best. She’s a good one.”

(Trainer Tom Amoss / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Tom Amoss, trainer of Serengeti Empress:

“We classified her as one of the best in the barn,” Amoss said by phone from New York after Serengeti Empress’ 13 1/2-length laugher over the late-running Include Edition in the $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante. “A big disappointment at Saratoga when Castellano dropped the stick on her and just quit riding her. I’ve never figured out what went wrong in that race. But she came back to show what she was today.

“Super intelligent. Went through all of her drills without blinking an eye. I mean, every time we challenged her she was up to it. So when we made her first start with her, it was more because that’s where the maiden race (at Indiana Grand) appeared at that time. We wanted to go to Saratoga, which we kind of pushed that issue together because they were close together. Just happened to have a maiden race at Indiana Grand as opposed to Ellis, so that’s where we ended up.”

Lanerie on Tobacco Road:

“He had a completely different trip from the filly,” Lanerie said, referring to Serengeti Empress’ front-running 13 1/2-length romp over Include Edition in the $75,000 Ellis Park Debutante a race earlier. “He doesn’t have as much speed as she did. He broke really good, and then the speed just kind of ran away from him. I had to kind of keep him busy the first quarter of a mile. Once he found his stride around the turn, from the three-eighths to the quarter pole, I could tell I had a lot of horse. It was just trying to time it right and get him to the front at the right time.

“Actually at the quarter pole, I thought I had the two in front of me with ease. I hadn’t really asked my horse. I didn’t think the two in front, that they had that much. When I got to his (Whiskey Echo’s) hip, he proved me wrong. I got a little worried at the eighth pole. And then by the sixteenth pole I was kind of taking control and getting away from them.”

(Trainer Steve Asmussen / Photo Courtesy of Keeneland)

Steve Asmussen, trainer of Tobacco Road and runner-up Whiskey Echo:

Whiskey Echo, the program favorite who went off second choice behind Tobacco Road, won his first start at Belmont Park and then was third in Saratoga’s Grade 3 Sanford Stakes. Asmussen said by phone that both colts will go to Churchill Downs and be considered for that track’s Grade 3, $150,000 Iroquois, whose winner receives an automatic berth and entry fees paid to the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 2 at the same track.

“They’re both really nice colts, obviously,” Asmussen said. “We felt good about our chances going in. Whiskey Echo off the third in the Sanford, I thought this was the perfect spot for him. And then when Tobacco Road ran so well there a couple of weeks ago, it was obvious to run him back at Ellis. But both colts ran well and handled more ground, and that’s kind of what it’s all about right now.”

Shaun Bridgmohan, rider of Whiskey Echo:

“The horse tried really hard. He gave me what he had. The winner came on the outside and got us all. But me and Channing (Hill, on Manny Wah) were running right along. The winner just outgamed us today.”