Gene and Mike

Gene McLean and Mike Schnell announce the development of the Louisville Thoroughbred Society.


Total Day Results 8/ 5-2-5
2021 Overall 1,884 1884 / 705-662-885
Win % of Top Pick 37.42%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 39.84%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 1,264-1,884 67.09%
2021 Top Selection ITM / TP 52-96 54.17%
2021 Top Selections Win / TP 34-96 35.42%
“Key Horses” @ TP 13 / 5-3-2 38.46% Win / 76.92% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 286/ 129-64-26 45.10% Win / 76.57% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @ TP 12 / 0-1-2 00.00% Win / 25.00% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @IGR (11-11-21) 21/4-1-0 19.095% Win / 23.81% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ SAR (8-28-21) 4/0-2-0 00.00% Win / 50.00% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ KY Downs 19/2-1-2 10.53% Win / 26.20% ITM
“Key Horses” @ Breeders’ Cup 2/1-0-0 50.00% Win / 50.00% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ Breeders’ Cup : 2 / 1-0-1 50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM

We have some great races that will be conducted all over the great U.S. of A. today on the day after Christmas. So, we decided to offer you a special Christmas “Present(s).”

We have handicapped the Stakes events at the Fair Grounds on Sunday, with a few other “Horses to Watch” on the card.

In addition, we will be handicapping and offering you our selections of the Stakes events on Sunday at Santa Anita, which will be opening day for the Winter / Spring meet, as well.

I hope you enjoy the greatest Holidays of them all, with family and friends.

And, I hope that these can add some “Christmas Cheer” to the weekend.

Here’s our looks:

Fair Grounds:

3rd: Horse to Watch is #8…Cousin Larry (8) is our first “Horse to Watch” and also our first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This 3Yo son of Cairo Prince was claimed by our great friend Michelle Lovell just two starts ago at KEE for the price of $50,000. Ran a troubled 4th over a sloppy main track at Churchill Downs on Nov. 11. Didn’t like that surface that day, at all. In fact, this one has hated the off-going in all three times he has faced it. Now? Now, this trainer moves to the grass for the first time. Look out. This one has the perfect running style and this lady works wonders, too. Look at the work here on Dec. 12. I’m in. All in. Go Michelle Go.

5th: 1-8/3-4/7-6/2-5…Blushing K.D. Stakes…I saddle up with Summer in Saratoga (1), who will make the gate as the PT favorite, in all likelihood. But this 5YO Hard Spun mare has never been better. Has won two of the last three outings and the last was the G3 Dowager at KEE over a solid field when traveling 11/2-miles. Cuts back to the 11/16-mile distance here, but this one has a 2-1-0 record in 5 starts going this far. Has a win and a second in four previous tries over this sod. This one’s favorite rider ships in for the trip. Should be coming late. Bellagamba (8) will be traveling best in the final stages, too, and cannot be dismissed here. This one has a 3-1-2 in 9 career efforts to date and has hit the board in 5 of 7 turf tries. Ran very well here on opening day and the winner of that one came right back to win the next outing, too. Will face tougher here, but may be up to the challenge. I bet the 1 across the board and then box the 1-8 in the exactas. I will key the 1-8 over/under the 3-4-7-6-2-5 in two smaller units.

6th: Horse to Watch is #9…Legionnaire (9) is a first-timer from the barn of my good friend Tommy Drury. this is a homebred son of Into Mischief and the dam has one winner from two starters so far. One of those is a Stakes winner. Rider is red hot, with 4 wins and 3 thirds in the last 8 starts. Sharp, sharp work on Dec. 13. Look out here. Solid price.

7th: 5-7-9/4-8/3-1-6/2…Richard R. Scherer Memorial Stakes…This is a 5.5-furlong turf sprint and I will go with the first winner of the LTS Stakes — Just Might (5). This 5YO gelded son of Justin Philip is trained by Ms. Lovell and he is fast and tough as hell. Has a 4-1-1 mark in 8 starts over a fast dirt track. Has a 1-1-0 mark over an “off track.” And? And, has a 4-5-5 record in 21 starts over the sod. In 8 starts here on the turf, he is 2-4-1. Can’t find a more honest horse than this one. I love him. Just love him. I bet the 5 across the board and then box the 5-7-9 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 4-8 in two smaller units. I will key the 5 over/under the 7-9-4-8-3-1-6-2 in two smaller units, as well.

8th: 2-3-10/5/1-8-9/4-6-7…Tenacious Stakes…This is a 11/16-mile event over the main track and I will go with one of my most favorite horses in recent years — Major Fed (2). This talented son of Ghostzapper may be the toughest horse in the world who has won only 3 races. Out of the 12, though, he probably has had significant trouble in the other 9. I’m not kidding. This horse has found more difficult spots and situations than any other hard-luck guy I have witnessed. If he can get a clean trip with the new rider here? Look out. This sucker can run. Big time. Just needs a little good luck for a change. I’m thinking today is the day. At a solid price. I bet the 2 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 5 in two smaller units. I will also key the 2 over/under the 3-10-5-1-8-9-4 in two smaller units.

9th: 11-10/1-3-6-9/4-5-7/2-12/8…Buddy Diliberto Memorial Stakes…This is a 11/16-mile event over the turf and I will journey to the outside of the starting gate for my dynamic duo and betting choices here. I give the slight edge to Pixelate (11), in what could be a slight upset. This 4YO son of City Zip comes in off a near-miss 2nd here in late November. Had the lead late and was just out-bobbed at the wire. Barn wins with .24% when returning to the gate with a beaten favorite. Has a 1-2-0 mark in 4 starts here and has a 1-3-0 mark in 4 starts at this distance. I give the head bob to him this time. Spooky channel (10) is definitely the horse to beat here. Comes in off an impressive win in the G3 Sycamore at KEE in October. Off since then, but the works are solid and the barn can win off the bench. In 24 turf starts, this one has an impressive 11 wins. Will get the first jump on the rest. I bet the 11 across the board and then box the 11-10 in the exactas. I will key the 11-10 over/under the 1-3-6-9-4 in two smaller units.

10th: 5-8-2/1-6-7/4-3…Untapable Stakes…This is a 2YO Stakes event for the fillies and one of the first stepping stones to the KY Oaks. I will go with Cocktail Moments (5) — who ran off to a near 10-length win in the first start and for a trainer who normally does NOT crank them up for the first attempt. But this one — who broke dead last in that MSW event at Churchill Downs in late November — was visually and literally impressive in every stride. Kicked that field with authority. Daughter of Uncle Mo should appreciate the extra distance and the connections paid $190,000 for this one at the 2020 KEE September Sale. Adds up to a good one. I’m in. I bet the 5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units, as well.

11th: 3/1-6/4-5/2-7…Gun Runner Stakes…This is the 11/16-mile Stakes event for the 2YOs and one of the early preps for the upcoming Risen Star and Louisiana Derby. And? Ultimately? The KY Derby, too. I will saddle up with my “Key Play of the Day” — Rocket Dawg (3). This son of Classic Empire cost a hefty $375,000 to purchase as a yearling and the first race was beyond impressive. Broke poorly. Went wide. Still won the 7-furlong sprint by nearly 6. The runner-up that day came back to win the next out and did so impressively, too. I love this one and he could become the newest star in the barn of Brad Cox. Don’t go to sleep on this one. I bet the 3 across the board and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. I go more with the 1-6. Little less with the 4-5. Lesser on the rest.

12th: Horse to Watch is #6… The day’s finale is a 6-furlong sprint for the 2YOs, and I will be watching carefully and intently Peaceful Waters (6). This 2YO son of Dialed In nearly won on debut at Churchill Downs in late November. Made all the pace and just gave it up at the wire in the 7-furlong debut. Gets Lasix for the first time here. Gets a new rider who is a regular for this barn. The winner in the inaugural run is a good one, too. Look for more here. Working well for this one. I’m in.

Santa Anita:

1st: Horse to Watch is #11…The first affair of the day is a turf event scheduled to go the flat, 1-mile distance. I think the key to the race could be Crosby Beach (11), although this 2YO son of Gormley drew a horrid post position. Will need to utilize the gate experience and early speed to navigate a good early spot. Rider can’t use it all, though, and have enough left at the wire. If the price drops below 3-1, may be time to shop for the upset.

2nd: Horses to Watch are #5-6…Sumo (5) is a 3YO son of Not This Time and cost $700,000 to purchase. Trained by the embattled Bob Baffert, who still seems to skate around and find a place to run horses left in his care. The owners of this one is the Albaugh Family Stables. Love those guys. But this one belongs in another barn, IMO. The ML favorite. I will be rooting against. Notre Dame (6) gets the blinkers back on and will go from a route distance to a sprint. Barn wins with .20% of those. Look for huge improvement here and is 3-for-3 over this ground. I go with the 6.

3rd: Horse to Watch is #6…This one is down the hill and I saddle up with Nazuna (6). This Irish-bred has raced in NA four times since coming from across the pond. Could factor here in the cutback in distance and the new rider up. I think she warrants a shot against the likes of these. After all, this one is Group Stakes placed in the Mother land.

4th: Horses to Watch are #4-1…Q B One (4) is the 3YO son of the great Beholder. Will make the career debut here. Training well for a HOF barn operator and an interesting choice of riders is up. Barn wins with .13% on debut and this one may need a race or two. But fun to see this one make the track. Hopkins (1) is a 3YO son of Quality Road that brought $900,000. Is trained by Baffert. First time starter is training lights out. Should win from the rail. Dam of this one has 6 winners from 6 starters and 1 Stakes winner, too. OK.

5th: 4-2/5-6-1/7-3…G2 San Gabriel Stakes…This is a 11/8-mile event over the grass and I will give the edge to Hit the Road (4). The ML favorite comes in off two 3rds in a row, but could have easily won both or either. Does have 4 wins and a third in 6 previous tries here. Return of a rider who has two wins on this one’s back. Look out. Friar’s Road (2) has run 2 thirds in a row, as well. Could have won either or both of those, as well. Only one previous try here. It was a 3rd. But deep closer will be running at the end. Jockey opts for the top choice. Hmmm. I bet the 4 across the board and then box the 4-2 in the exactas. I will key the 4-2 over/under the 56-1-7-3 in two smaller units.

6th: 4/2-5/1-6-7…G2 San Antonio Stakes…The first “Key Play of the Day” at the “Great Race Place” comes her with Hot Rod Charlie (4). Has been facing the toughest all year. Has run his eyeballs out all year. If he gives that same effort? Look out. Blinkers come off and he has done well without them in the past. Keep him straight in the stretch, and he may be able to make the circle afterwards. I’m in. I bet the 4 across the board and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. More with the 2-5 than the rest.

7th: 8-7-6/1/4-5-9/2-3…Santa Anita Mathis Mile…This is a turf event that is well-balanced and tough to separate the top contenders. I will give the edge to Beyond Brilliant (8) who has won two of the last three since switching back to the sod. Has speed and can use it early and often. Will have to catch this one. The increase in weight assignments here does issue a worry bulletin. Du Jour (7) is from the Baffert barn and has a perfect 2-for-2 mark here. Can you hold your nose and bet? Flashiest (6) has a win and a second in three starts here. Ran a very nice 2nd in the G2 Del Mar derby just three back. Only miscue this year came with a trip to Saratoga. Must use for me. I bet the 8-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta group. I key the top 3 numbers over/under the 1 in two smaller units.

8th: 4-7/3-5/6/1-2…G1 La Brea Stakes…Private Mission (4) should be the winner here, despite the debacle that she threw in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Toss that and this one figures to beat these here. Work on Dec. 19 was spot on. But another Baffert. Ugh. Livingmybestlife (7) is a speedball that will make the top contender work for her money here. May take the  starch right out of both. Can this one last? Great question. I bet the 7 across the board and then key the numbers listed all over the 4-7 in the exactas.

9th: 1-6-9/2-3-5/8/7-4…This is an allowance event to be run over the downhill turf course and it is probably the most wide open of the races all day. Throw a dart. Top 6 numbers — maybe 7 — all figure in the mix. So? I bet the 1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units. I will use the top 7 numbers in the horizontals. 

10th: 4/5-7/3/2-1-6…G1 Malibu Stakes..The next “Key Play of the Day” comes here with Dr. Schivel (4). Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. I read and hear all the hype on Flightline (5). But? If the good DR. was half an inch better in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, well, I am still cashing tickets … for awhile. That one cost me dearly. The distance here is a stretch, but this guy is a good one. A real honest, good one. I go back for some more. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the numbers listed n the exactas. More with the 5-7-3 than the rest. 

11th: 1-5/3-4/7/2-6-9-11/8…G1 American Oaks…This is a 11/4-mile turf event for the fillies and I saddle up with an upset contender — Fluffy Socks (1). This 3YO daughter of Slumber has a 4-3-1 mark in 10 career starts — all over the sod — and comes from the formidable barn of Chad Brown. Gets the HOFer Mike Smith up, too. Will stretch out and that may make the difference here. I am hoping anyway. I bet the 1 across the board and then box the 1-5 in the exactas. I will key the 1-5 over/under the 3-4-7-2-6-9-11 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene