Day Results 8 / 2-1-3
2021 Overall 159 159 / 51-56-62
Win % of Top Pick 32.08%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 35.43%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 98-159 61.64%
2021 Top Selection ITM / TP 75-124 60.48%
2021 Top Selections Win / TP 39-124 31.45%
“Key Horses” @ TP 16 / 8-2-1 50.00% Win / 68.75% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 25 / 14-3-1 56.00% Win / 72.00% ITM

We have a few “extras” to offer up for your handicapping perusal and consideration for today. A couple of nice preps for the Kentucky Derby on in the offering, and some other Stakes events that we think could whet the appetite a bit, too.

Here’s our thoughts:

Oaklawn Park:

4th: 7-4-3/5…Knot Anymore (7) is a 3YO daughter of Goldencents and will make the career debut today for trainer Brad Cox, who is off to an impressive start in Hot Springs. After the first 23 races, Cox’s steeds have gone 8-6-3 for a win percentage of .35%. Wins with .18% when debuting in the MSW ranks. Dam of this one has a winner from one starter and the rider has combined to go 6-4-2 in 15 mounts for this barn. Sharp work here on Jan. 31. Looks like she could jump and go at the first ask. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-4-3 in one exacta. I will key the 7 over/under the “all button” in the exacta.

7th: 4-1-6…Green Light Go (4) began the 2020 campaign as a contender for the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.” And, why not. As a 2YO in 2019, the son of Hard Spun broke the maiden by nearly 4. Came right back to win the G2 Saratoga Special by nearly 4. Then ran 2nd to Tiz the Law in the G1 Champagne in October. Seemed like a logical thing to tackle the “big boys” last year. But it just didn’t pan out. Ran third to Mischevous Alex in the G3 Swale in February and then didn’t return until the Roar Stakes at Gulfstream in mid-May. Ran 2nd in that one as the odds-on favorite. Then, it was to the shelf. Now, the 4YO is back. With a new trainer, too, in Jerry Hollendorfer. Training lights out here. Looks primed. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the 4-1-6 in the exacta.

8th: 3/1-2-6/4…King Cotton Stakes…Flagstaff (3) rolls into town from Santa Anita for trainer John Sadler and is promptly made the 8-5 ML favorite for this running of the 6-furlong King Cotton Stakes. And, why not. This 7YO son of Speightstown is coming off two nice 2nds in a row in the G2 Pat O’Brien Stakes and the G2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Both of those tough losses came to C Z Rocket. Ran 2nd here to Whitmore in the G3 Count Fleet Spring Handicap last April, too. In 15 lifetime starts, has 5 wins, 6 seconds and 2 thirds. What could have been with just a few more Graded Stakes wins. But? In 6 tries at this distance? Has just one win and 4 seconds. Hmmm. Strike Power (1) has not faced the same level of competition and doesn’t really figure to match the speed numbers of the top pick all the way to the wire, either. But the rider and trainer have teamed up to go 12-5-3 in the last 35 mounts. Hot. Seven Nation Army (2) can close on both of the top 2 and seems to be at his best right now. Will be making the first start since November, though, and the barn wins with .17% off this kind of a layup. Works are good. Mr. Jagermeister (6) may be the horse to watch here. In 15 tries at this distance, this one has gone 7-5-1 and in 4 starts here, he has a 1-2-0 mark. May not be able to beat the top one. But figures to try hard. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key over/under the rest of the numbers listed. I box the 3-6 solid.

Santa Anita:

1st: 4-5/2-1…Kanderel (4) has not started since he was a disappointing 10th in the G1 Hollywood Derby last November for trainer Richard Mandella. And, he is listed at 8-1 in the ML odds posted by But I like this one’s chances with the move to the dirt. Barn wins with .13% when switching from the turf to the main track and the works have been spot on in the a.m. over the dirt, too. Gets the blinkers today, and the barn wins with .15% of those. And, te new rider is winning at a .21% clip this meet. Longshot play, to be sure. But worth a shot here. Has faced Graded Stakes company in the last 3. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the “all button.”

2nd: 8-1-7/4-5-2/3…Ivy League (8) is another talented runner from the barn of Richard Mandella. This 3YO daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is a homebred who has 4 seconds in the first 5 tries. Burned some money along the way, too. Been favored in 4 of the 5 races. Hangs at the wire, no doubt. But the barn wins with .10% when getting the Lasix for the 2nd time and this one took the worst end of some bumping incidents in the mid-stretch last time, too. Maybe today is the day? I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 8-1 over/under the rest listed.

3rd: 2/3-1-5…G3 Las Virgenes Stakes…Much has been made of and over the 3YO filly Moonlight d’Oro (3). This one cost $620,000 to purchase at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale and she has been the talk of the town since arriving in the Richard Mandella barn to train seriously. Broke the maiden at Los Alamitos last time out. Did it easily and convincingly. Admirers want to see more. But? She runs up against a tough one here in Kalypso (2) — who has the experience edge and, maybe, the talent edge, too. This 3YO daughter of Brody’s Cause won the G2 Santa Ynez Stakes last time out and was a tough-beat 2nd in the G1 Starlet at Los Al in early December. Has already run in three Stakes events and won a Graded one. Has speed. Has grit. Gets a top rider up. My pick. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2 over/under the rest of the numbers listed.

4th: 4-6/2-5/1-3…G2 San Marcos Stakes…Acclimate (4) raced only one time in the entire season of 2020. Was off a year and came back to nearly win the G2 Hollywood Turf Cup, before tiring at the end of the 11/2-mile endurance test, that was eventually won by Arklow (who was really good at that time.) Came back to run a very nice 3rd in the Turf Classic at Santa Anita, when cutting back to 11/8-miles on Jan. 16. Now, this will be the third race back. Barn wins with .28% when racing a beaten favorite. Distance will be a challenge, but the speed can hold here and in 12 starts over this grass? This one has a 4-1-2 mark. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the 4-6 in the exacta. I will key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

6th: 6/3-2/9/5-7…Whisper Not (6) has run two good ones since being shipped U.S.-side at the end of 2020. In 5 career starts over the sod, this one has a 1-1-1 mark. But the last race in a G2 Stakes event, this colt hung right with the leaders all the way to the wire. Works are spot on. Barn wins with .19% in the third start off the layup. Looks primed against this group. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key the 6 over/under the “all button” in the exactas.

7th: 1/6-2-5…G2 San Vicente Stakes…This truly looks to be a match race between the two entries from the barn of Bob Baffert. Well, it looks that way to me. I will go to the rail and land with and on Freedom Fighter (1). This one broke the maiden in the debut run at Del Mar last August. Took the lead out of the gate in the 5-furlong event and held it all the way. Beat some good ones in that affair, too, at odds-on favoritism. Has been training lights out. Lights. Out. Has to stretch out to 7 furlongs today and has some other speed to contend with, including The Chosen Vron (2), to the immediate outside. But I think the class reigns on the rail. It might set up just perfect for Concert Tour (6), the ML favorite and another from the Baffert barn. Won the debut race here on Jan. 15 by nearly 4. Works are good, too, and will stretch out from 6 furlongs to 7 today. Street Sense sire suggests that more ground will be better ground. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed. The 6 may get the set-up, but I think the 1 has the class edge for now.

8th: 7-8-1/2/5-4/6-3…G3 Thunder Road Stakes…Bob and Jackie (7) gets the nod here for me. The 5YO son of Twirling Candy nearly won the last time out in the G2 San Gabriel Stkaes at Santa Anita. Tired at the end of that one and gave up the lead. Cuts back from the 11/8-mile distance to the flat mile here, and has 3 wins in 6 tries at this mileage. In 5 tries here? Has a win, 2 seconds and a third. Looks to push the pace early and may take this group gate to wire. Hembree (8) will stretch out from 6.5 furlongs to the 1-mile, and the question is whether or not he likes the extra ground. In 18 tries at this distance? Just 2 wins and 8 seconds. Come from behind sprinter types normally don’t like this much ground. Sombeyay (1) has raced here only once. Won it. Has raced this distance 5 times. Has 2 wins and 3 seconds. Will be another who could be close to the front. But should love this set-up. Serious contender. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 7-1 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

Tampa Bay Downs:

3rd: 4-3-7/5…Tough Tickets (4) is a first timer from the barn of Christophe Clement, who is winning at a whopping .36% clip at this meet. Out of 14 starters, has a record of 5-2-1. This one is training well at Payson Park and gets HOFer Johnny V in the saddle. Dam has 3 winners from 3 starters and was Stakes-placed herself. Threat. What Else Is New (3) is a first timer from the barn of my good friend Tom Proctor. Is well bred and has a super nice work her on Feb. 3. Rider is 0-for-29? Hmmm. Imtalinittothebank (7) ran a very nice third on debut here on Jan. 15. Made several runs, but he was a little “green” for much of the effort. Maybe that trip help with the education. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 4 over/under the “all button.”

5th: 5-3/2-4/1-10-3/7…New Dawn (5) will make his 2nd start here, after running 4th in a MSW event on Dec. 19. Had a real rough go of it in that debut, and now gets Lasix for the first time. Picks up the barn’s go-to rider and was beaten by a horse that will show up later today in the Sam F. Davis Stakes. Look for more out of this one, who cost $600,000 at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale. Lots more. Unbridled Honor (3) ships in from the South Florida training center after having started the career at Aqueduct. Two tries so far, but gets the Lasix for the first time today. Works are spot on. Barn wins with .22% off this kind of a layup. HOF rider takes the assignment. Big shot. I bet the 5-3 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 5-3 over/under the 2-4-1-10-3 in two smaller units.

6th: 12-3/7-4-8-(13)/5-6-1…Secret Time (12) has not been out since last November, but the barn wins with .26% of them away from the gate this long. Ran a very nice 2nd in a Stakes event at Gulfstream Park West last out. Gets a top local rider for the job today, and could improve with a firm turf. Has got a soft or yielding track in every start to date. Let’s see what happens if she can hear her feet rattle a bit. I think she could produce a good one. Mary’s France (3) nearly won her last time out when racing a flat mile over the sod. Ran out of space late, but gaining with a wide trip. Gets a top rider and a hot one, too. Should have plenty of gas late and a big chance against these types. I bet the 12-3 across the board and then box these two sternly in the exacta. I will key the 12-3 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.

7th: 8-4-2/10/3-6-11/9…Wide open MSW event that will be contested at 6.5 furlongs over the main track. Don’t really like anything, to be honest. If forced, I guess I can lean to East Wing (8), who will be making the 2nd career start here. Ran 3rd on debut. No threat at the wire, but wide for most of the effort. Gets a top rider here back in the irons. Barn wins with .18% on the 2nd try. Wild Story (4) comes from the barn of Kenny McPeek and comes off a race over the new Tapeta at Turfway Park in early January. That was dismal. But gets a top rider for this effort and the works of late are OK. Could jump up late. Grapevine (2) is well-bred and out of a Stakes-winner dam. Ran OK here last time out, when forced to go in-between horses. Could improve today, as well. I bet the 8-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 10 in two smaller units.

8th: 10-12/11-9/2-5-7-3/8-6-1/G3 Tampa Bay Stakes…Fancy Liquor (10) has raced 7 times over the grass in the career, to date. Has a record of 3-2-1. At this distance, he is 1-1-1 in 4 tries. I can kick out the last race at Gulfstream Park. Wide trip and was first effort down South in a month. Works have been spot on since that effort and gets a solid local rider in the irons for a barn that is winning at a .25% clip here this meet. Looks primed. Greyes Creek (12) is another from the barn of Chad Brown. Has won three in a row, dating back to last June at Churchill Downs. Will make first start since mid-December, but this barn wins with .26% when away this long. HOFer takes the reins today. Look for a typical Chad Brown late run in this one. Tough. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the 10-12 in the exacta. I will key the 10-12 over/under the 11-9-2-5-7-3-8-6-1 in two smaller units. 

9th: 5-7/8-2-10/4-9-1/3-6…Suncoast Stakes…Honorifique (5) had an extremely rough trip last time out in the Cash Run Stakes at Gulfstream Park and still managed to be 2nd. In 2 races at this distance, has a win and a second. Barn wins with .20% in dirt races and this one has a super nice work on Jan. 29. Gets a HOFer in the saddle today. Look for this one to be a very tough out in the late going. Gulf Coast (7) edged our top pick last time out, but had the better of the running positions and bumping in that one. Will be coming late with a top grass rider up. Has talent and the connections paid $300,000 for this one at a 2YO sale last year. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 5-7 across the board and then box them sternly in the exacta. I will key the 5-7 over/under the 8-2-10-4-9-1-3 in two smaller units.

10th: 5/6-2-7/8-3/1…G3 Endeavor Stakes…You get a Chad Brown horse in a Graded Stakes on the grass? What do you do? You bet it, of course. And, that’s what we are going to do here. Long. Hard. Counterparty Risk (5) ships in off a master attempt in the Lady Shamrock Stakes at Santa Anita on Dec. 26. Came from dead last to just miss the wire by a head. Gets Johnny V up today and this one should be a tough, tough out. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5 over/under the “all button.” I will also key the 5 over/under the numbers listed above, too.

11th: 3-5/9-8-11/6-1-10/7…G3 Sam F. Davis Stakes…Known Agenda (3) didn’t show his best stuff and stride in the G2 Remsen Stakes to close out the 2020 season. Finished 3rd to Brooklyn Strong that day. But was beaten 9 lengths. Disappointing, especially when you consider that there 3YO son of Curlin went in off an impressive MSW win and a runner-up to a good one in Highly Motivated. But there were issues in the Remsen. Things that you can make an excuse for, on that day. With a clean break today, this one will be tough to handle, IMO. My pick. Smiley Sobotka (5) may be the horse to beat. Ran a huge one to be second to Keepmeinmind in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club to finish the 2020 season. In three starts now, has a win and two runner-up positions. Can motor enough to gain position.l Gets a top local rider for this assignment. Will be a tough out. I bet the 3-5 across the board and then box those two solidly in the exacta. I will key the 3-5 over/under the 9-8-11-6-1-10-7 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene