McLean Ends Churchill Downs’ September Meet On a “Slip & Slide;” But We’re Positive Changes Are Coming

Day Results10-1-2-1
2018 Overall 1487546-539-646
Win % of Top Pick36.72%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.80%
Top Selection ITM / CD: 71-10666.98%
Top Selection Win / CD: 33-10631.13%

It was a wet month of September, by Kentucky standards. Rains were prevalent through many of the days and nights to such a degree that I thought Noah might show up named on a mount or two — and not the one that the ship finally docked at in the end of the 40-days and 40-nights.

If we learned anything from the soggy conditions that turned most of Churchill Downs into “Churchill Drowns,” is that we should avoid soggy conditions.

Before the rains set in, mind you, we were on a roll. Going into Sept. 23 — my wife’s birthday — I had a winning percentage of 41.67% and my top choice had hit the board in either the first, second, or third slots on 75% of the races.

At one time, we had 9 winners in 10 straight races.

Not, that’s some pretty good handicapping by any standards.

Then, the mudslide hit. And, we went slip sliding way. Over the last five days, we managed only 8 winners in 46 races. That’s a pitiful win percentage of 17.39%.

And, as a result, we ended the meet with a win percentage of only .31.13%. By my standards, embarrassing.

But there were some positives.

Our top selection did end the meet hitting the board 71 times out of the 106 races that we ended up handicapping. That is nearly 67% of the time.  Positive.

For the year, our top pick is still winning at a near .37% rate. Positive.

And, if you are a faithful follower of the site, you know that on Saturday, I highly recommended and touted that you consider betting Discreet Lover in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup. In fact, I made him my #1 selection. At the end, Discreet Lover was on top. At odds of 45-1. Postive.

Now, there is one more positive:

I am positive I will right this ship in short order, and get back on a winning streak. Starting this week, when the Kentucky racing circuit shifts to Lexington at the annual Keeneland Fall meet. And, what a meet it is — per usual.

And, I am positive I can find some nice winners in Lexington. Positive.

That’s very, very special to do it at Tampa Bay,” an emotional O’Connell said after Well Defined’s two-and-three-quarter length victory from a charging Kentucky Wildcat in 1:42.70 for the mile-and-a-sixteenth, .26 seconds off 2018 winner Flameaway’s stakes record. So Alive finished a distant third, with the 19-10 favorite, Knicks Go, getting nipped for fourth at the wire by Counter Offer.

“He’s had little things that have happened and he’s grown up mentally and physically, and today he showed up with his game face on,” O’Connell said of the Florida-bred Well Defined, a son of With Distinction by Fru Fru, out of Medaglia d’Oro. “I like this horse a lot and the decision (on what’s next) will be up to the owners (Gilbert and Marilyn Campbell’s Stonehedge, LLC), but we just want him healthy. Maybe the (Grade II, $400,000 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby on March 9) – who knows.”

“His rear end slipped out from underneath him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile,” she said, “and he was compromised on early position when he ran in the Mucho Macho Man and got bottled up inside. He’s a young horse who is improving, mind-wise and everything-wise.”

KATHLEEN O’CONNELL, TRAINER OF WINNER WELL DEFINED
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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