What a day. What a very nice day.
On Saturday, I took the day literally. I sat. And, I watched. And, I wagered.
And, I won.
Out of the 10 race card, I picked 4 winners and had 5 seconds and 6 thirds. My top pick hit the board 9 out of the 10 races. And, most importantly, I cashed some really nice tickets — all day long.
We are hoping to duplicate the day on Sunday. Another literal day? Maybe.
May just sit in the “sun.”
Here are both McLean’s picks and those from our “Guest Lecturer,” “Part-Time Handicapper,” and “All Around Great Guy” — Ryan Dickey. Maybe we can see what we do:
Race 1: 11-(15)-1/12-7-(13)-(16)/6-4…The first event of the day is a MSW for the 3YOs & Up contested at the mile distance. I will go to the outside for my top pick — Chewing Gum (11). This 4YO colt by Candy Ride will be making his first start for the barn of Bill Mott, have moving East from Del Mar. Previously conditioned by HOFer Richard Mandella. Ran a really nice one last time out at the “Turf & Surf,” finishing 3rd by just a neck. Ran 3rd on debut the race before, and the runner-up in that one has come back to win. If this one can use the same closing kick, he will be salty at the end of this uphill climb, especially with a top grass rider up. My pick. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then key the 11 over/under the (15)-1-12-7-6-4.
Race 2: 4-8-11/1-6/3-7/2-10-12…This is a MSW event going the same distance as the first, but this one is being held for the 2YOs. This is a wide open affair, IMO, but I will give the edge to my first “Upset Special of the Day” — Chapalu (8). Love the 8-1 ML odds, and the guy tightening the girth knows how to find a winner’s circle. Has won 20% of the 212 starters this year, and this home-bred son of Flater nearly got the job done on debut at Laurel Park on Aug. 1. Will be treated with Lasix for the first time today. Watch out. This trainer hits with .29% of those getting the anti-bleeder medication for the initial time. Jockey knows this course very well. Win d’Oro (8) is very well bred and cost John Oxley $650,000 to purchase at last year’s KEE September Yearling Sale. This guy was bothered at the start of his debut effort, but still rallied a bit. Should improve off that start, and the work on Aug. 29 was good enough. Look for improvement today. Ahsad (11) is another longshot in the ML (8-1), and another that could make a major late move in this spot today. Ran 3rd and finished ahead of our second selection at Ellis Park on Aug. 11. Clever rider knows how to win here, too. I definitely use. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the 4-11 over/under the 8-1-6-3-7 in two smaller versions.
Race 3: 7-4/12-2-10/6-3/11-1-5…A really nice race has been carded for this 1 mile & 70 yard event. I will give the edge to another potential longshot special in here with Cash Out (7). Trainer Rusty Arnold had a huge Saturday, and is doing extremely well this year with his best horses. This 4YO filly by Street Cry is coming off a win at Ellis Park and truly has been a different horse since she was equipped with the blinkers 8 starts ago. Never has won at this funky distance, but does have a win and a third over this funky, hills and dales course. That matters here. Orageuse (4) has a 2-2-2 record in 7 starts this year and is coming off a third in a Stakes event last time out. Loves this distance, too, with a 1-1-1 mark in 3 starts. Rider has had a solid meet here so far, and fits this one very well. Look for a nice middle move and could have the jump on the rest. I bet the 7-4 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 7-4 over/under the 12-2-10-6-3 in two smaller versions.
Race 4: (13)-(14)-5-6/2-4-9-12/10-11…If the two horses from the AE wedge their way into the body of this race by PT, then they figure on top for me. If they do not, however, I go with a combo of Sista of War (5) and Fortuna (6). Both of these 2YO gals look like they could offer some real value, too. The former is coming off a 5th at Ellis Park on debut. But closed nicely at the end of that one and the winner that day has already come back to win again. Rider up can cover some ground over the turf and is as good a guy as there is on the backside of a track or a horse. The latter is 12-1 ML, and I expect the odds to plummet by PT. Gets Jose Ortiz in the saddle, and there is none better. Anywhere. Comes off a 6th place finish on debut, but the trainer hits with .19% on second try and with .18% of those routing for the first time. Look for a huge improvement out of this one. If the two from the AE List get in, I go there. If not, I bet the 5-6 across the board and box those two in the exacta. I will key the 5-6 over/under the 2-4-9-12 in two smaller versions.
Race 5: 1-6-4/3-12/7-2-11-1A/10…It’s hard to single a horse at KY Downs, what with the depth of quality horses that seem to fill each and every race and starting gate. I won’t single here, either, but I really like Fast Boat (1) in this spot. the 4YO gelded son of City Zip has managed to win 4 of his previous 12 tries over the sod and comes into this one off a nice third the last time out. Take a look who he lost to in that one, as well. Totally Boss. Just happened to dominate the Stakes race on Saturday and punch his ticket to the Breeders’ Cup. Wow performance. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in this exacta. I will key the 1 over/under the 6-4-3-12-7-2-11 in two smaller versions of the exacta.
Race 6: 5/2-9-6-1/11-4-3…I just wrote that it is very tough to single at KY Downs. Very tough. Now, I’m going to do it. Cubs Win (5) appears to stick out in this spot for me. The 4YO English Channel filly is coming off a win at Ellis Park and will lose that condition and have to move up. But she has hit the board in the last 6 outs and has 3 wins in the last four tries. I love the way most of the English Channels have travelled over this track — particularly the last few days. Gets a very talented apprentice in the saddle and the weight allowance does not hurt, either. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed.
Race 7: 7-4/9-2-1-12/11-8…Another Starter-Allowance event here, and I will focus much of my betting strategy on the top two numbers — led by next “Upset Special of the Day” and Apreciado (7). This 5YO gelded son of Skipshot is trained by KY Downs’ all-time leading trainer and the guy who just won a $1 million race on Saturday. This one has won two of the last 3 outs and the lone loss was to Botswana — who ran in that $1 Million Stakes yesterday. Should be pushing the pace from the get-go, and has a win at this distance. Looks good right now to me. Dontblamerocket (4) was claimed two starts ago by a talented young man with a great future. In the first start under his tutelage, this one won easily at Saratoga on Aug. 11 as the PT favorite. Gets a top grass rider in this spot, and figures to be the horse to beat. Can’t pass on this one. I bet the 7-4 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 7-4 over/under the rest of the numbers in two smaller versions.
Race 8: 7-1/6-8-10-4/3-9-5…Dueling Grounds Oaks…This purse is $350,000 and the endurance test will be for the 3YO fillies. I go strong with my top two numbers in this spot — led by Princesa Carolina (7). This 3YO daughter of Tapit gets Jose Ortiz up, and she has run two super seconds in a row. Has never been this distance before, but I think she can get better the farther she does. The dam of this one is Pure Clan — a Graded Stakes winner who has already thrown 2 turf winners, as well. Look for a huge effort in the final strides from this one. Indigo Gin (1) draws the rail, which is not the preferred spot. But she will have plenty of time to find the right running spot on the course. Has the speed to get from the gate and settle into a nice running style. Top KY jock must throttle her back and not use her gas too early, but she has the speed and the pedigree to be a tough customer all the way in this one. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-1 in one exacta. I key the 7-1 over/under the 6-8-10-4-3 in two smaller versions.
Race 9: 7-1-10/6-2-9-5/8-3…Dueling Grounds Derby…This race has a purse of $600,000 attached to it, and I love my top selection in this spot — Ry’s the Guy (7), who is my last “Upset Special of the Day.” This guy sits at 6-1 odds in the ML, and I think there is a big chance that he can slide up the odds table before post. Loved him the day he ran in the G1 Secretariat at Arlington Park. Had a rough trip in that one and never got into a comfortable spot at any time during the race. Came out of two nice wins to jump from a conditioned allowance into the G1. These connections know what they are doing, so must be high on this 3YO son of Distorted Humor. Great spot here. Dam of this one has produced 7 — count ’em, 7 — turf winners. Social Paranoia (1) comes into this one off a 4th in the Saratoga Derby. Before that, nearly won the G1 Belmont Derby, losing late to Henley’s Joy. Any horse that can run second to Henley’s Joy, can run. Must use for me. One to beat. Kid Lemuel (10) may be another to surprise the odds-makers, too. Listed at 12-1 in the ML, this 3YO son of Ice Box is a contender, in my book. Can stalk. Can close. Race two and three back were super good. But look at his career debut. Ran second to Henley’s Joy. What did I write about running second to Henley’s Joy? I bet the 7-10 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the top 3 numbers over (only) the 6-2-9-5.
Race 10: 1-10/6-8-4-(14)/3-(15)-5-9…The final race of the day and I like the rail horse in this one, a lot. Bentley’s Dream (1) is another one conditioned by Ian Wilkes, one of the best in the business and one of the most classy people you will ever meet in your life. This one got on the grass for the first time on Aug. 1 at Arlington Park. Ran a huge second, beaten only a head. The pedigree screams turf, and this one won on debut — something that rarely happens with a Wilkes youngster. Talent here. My choice. Solid. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-10 in the exacta. I will key the 1-10 over/under the 6-8-4-3-5-9 and then key the 1 over/under the “all button” in two more.
Good Luck & All the Best/Gene
Ryan Dickey’s Selections:
Race 1 Maiden Special Weight for three year olds
$130,000 1 mile
First race on the card may end up with a chalky winner, but the way to tackle Kentucky Downs and their large fields is to try to identify a price horse that will add greatly to exotic prices. While my top-pick is #11 CHEWING GUM (3-1), I’ll probably play him on top with #4 EMBELLISHER (5-1). But my price play underneath is #9 WORLD TAX WAR (12-1) who has not fared well in North America, but has hit the board overseas in 10 furlong races, meaning the stamina necessary to finish well here at a mile is well within his wheelhouse. There is plenty enough not to like on speed figures from World Tax War that he should stay well above 10-1 and I’m basing my trifectas on him hitting the board. $0.50 Trifecta 4,11 over 4,9,11 over ALL ($20)
Race 2 Maiden Special Weight for two year olds
$130,000 1 mile
Unless you REALLY like something in this race, the best advice is to either take a pass or just bet your favorite numbers. Should be a very contentious race, and if I play a pick-4, I’ll either start with the “all burger” or play a third of the field with #1 WILD UNION (7/2), #10 CREATIVE PLAN (10-1), #11 AHSAD (8-1) and #12 KID MERCURY (10-1). $0.50 Pick-4: 1,10,11,12 with 3,4,6,8,12 with 4,5,11 with 1,2 ($60)
Race 3 Allowance Optional Claiming for fillies and mares three years old and up
$150,000 1 mile 70 yards
Could be the first race of the day with a severe pace meltdown and I’ll be tabbing a horse who is a closer and will be coming home from far off the pace. #6 PERU (4-1) has finished fourth an astonishing five consecutive times coming into this race, but today is the day he will have some early pace to run into late. My “price” horse in this race will also be far back early in the race, but should be driving for the wire late. #8 DON’T TELL MARGE (12-1) finished second, a head in front of this race’s presumed pacesetter in #1 OH MY (10-1) in allowance company at Ellis Park on August 3rd. $0.50 Trifecta 6 over 8 over ALL ($5) AND $0.50 Trifecta 6 over ALL over 8 ($5)
Race 4 Maiden Special Weight for fillies two years old
$130,000 1 mile
Kentucky Downs purses are huge due to slot revenue and only a five day meet. In this race there are maidens who have raced for as little as $16,000 previously and are now running for $130,000. A great opportunity for owners. My top-choice here is #11 LEEWAY (9/2), who finished a well-beaten sixth in her debut. A filly that will be well-backed in this race is #4 WITEZ (7/2) who finished third last out on the turf at Ellis Park. The horse that finished fifth in that race may improve today as well, as #5 SISTA OF WAR (8-1) made some late gains in her debut and her pedigree calls for her to go longer than a mile. $2 Exacta box 4,5,11 AND $1 Trifecta box 4,5,11 ($12)
Race 5 Starter Allowance for three year olds and up
$100,000 6-½ furlongs
You want to see a race where a short-priced favorite can win and the exacta and trifecta prices are exceptional? This is your race. The most-likely winner is #2 TIGER BLOOD (9/5) but there are a slew of horses with higher morning line odds that could finish right behind the favorite. With the exception of #1 FAST BOAT (4-1) all of the other horses I like to finish in the trifecta are double digit odds on the morning line. #3 FACE OF VICTORY (15-1), #4 JARETH (15-1), #7 BIG BELLA BROWN (12-1), #8 PARADE BLUE (15-1) all represent a chance. If two of those four finish behind Tiger Blood, the exacta and trifecta prices could be balloons. $2 Exacta 2 over 1,3,4,7,8 ($10) AND $0.50 Trifecta 2 over 1,3,4,7,8 over 1,3,4,7,8 ($10)
Race 6 Starter Allowance for fillies and mares three years old and up
$100,000 1 mile 70 yards
Only if I hit a nice trifecta early in the card will I play this 14% takeout late pick-5 as I don’t normally play $75 tickets. But hope springs eternal at Kentucky Downs, and I’m preparing for race 6 as if I’ve already made hundreds of dollars in trifecta payouts. While I see how #9 PUGILIST (9/2) deserves to be one of the top choices on the morning line, MY top-choice is #2 AIFE (10-1) who is coming into today’s race off a win on the turf at Indiana Grand on the last day of July. She should sit midpack in the early going and draw away late as she has the last two times she has won. #4 POUR GIRL (10-1) is a horse to use underneath in exotics, but I’m going two-deep in the pick-5. $0.50 pick-5: 2,9 with 4,9,11 with 1,3,4,7,9 with 1 with 1,3,4,7,10 ($75)
Race 7 Starter Allowance for three years old and up
$100,000 1 mile 70 yards
Unique angle in play here as I’m playing a horse on the Kentucky Downs turf that has most recently won two in a row on the dirt and has only run on the turf in one of his last eight starts. But speed figure-wise, I like #11 RIVER ECHO (6-1) just as much as I like the presumed post-time favorite #4 DONTBLAMEROCKET (7/2). Those two very well could finish 1-2, so a hefty exacta box on the 4 and 11 is a god way to go here. #9 LUSITANO (6-1) should sit midpack early and won his last two tries on the turf. $10 Exacta box 4,11 ($20) AND $1 Trifecta box 4,9,11 ($12)
Race 8 Stakes for fillies three years old
$350,000 1-⅚ miles
Going five-deep in the late pick-5 here as this is another very contentious Kentucky Downs race, the first stakes race of tow on the card. While I recognize #7 PRINCESA CAROLINA (5/2) looks the best on paper, I will include her on my ticket but will be rooting in four others to help bolster the payout on the late pick-5. The biggest morning line longshot that I like on today’s card is #9 LIGHTSCAMERAACTION (20-1) who comes in a little light on speed figures but has excuses in two of her last three starts as she’s had trouble getting out of the gate clean. She placed here at Kentucky Downs last September, and should sit midpack if she doesn’t get pinballed at the start again today. Others I will be using are: #1 INDIGO GIN (5-1), #3 BELLE LAURA (10-1), and #4 PEP (10-1). $0.50 Trifecta 7.9 over 1,3,4,7,9 over 1,3,4,7,9 ($12)
Race 9 Stakes for three year olds
$600,000 1-⅚ miles
Easiest race on the card today and a stone-cold single with #1 SOCIAL PARANOIA (2-1) for trainer Todd Pletcher and jockey Jose Ortiz. Ortiz should sit this Street Boss colt a few lengths behind the early lead and draw clear in mid-stretch. Figures-wise, he’s the best and Pletcher will have him ready. The late part of my day depends on this one winning. Top threats include #5 LIMONITE (8-1) and #7 RY’S THE GUY (6-1). $1 Trifecta 1 over 5,7 over ALL ($16)
Race 10 Starter Allowance for fillies and mares three years old and up
$145,000 6-½ furlongs
Needless to say, if we are still alive in the late pick-5, there will be plenty to root for in the finale, but even if that $75 ticket is dead as dinner, we can still leave Kentucky Downs a winner by hitting the walk-away trifecta. While I don’t always advise playing a five-horse trifecta box, I had a hard time cutting it down to four horses, so maybe a superfecta is in order. I’ll be boxing the five horses I have in the final leg: #1 BENTLEY’S DREAM (3-1), #3 EVEN BEAT (6-1), #4 DIXIEINCANDYLAND (12-1), #7 ELLE’S TOWN (8-1) and #10 PAPER CLIP (4-1). For those averse to playing such a nonsense ticket, try: $0.50 Trifecta 3,4 over 1,3,4,7,10 over 1,3,4,7,10 ($12)
Everybody have fun! Good Luck, and make some money!