Another great Saturday and another great Saturday at Churchill Downs.  Those two things go together about as good as an ice cold Pacifico in my right paw on an afternoon at the races.  Here is a closer look at today’s race card:

1st: 2-6-1-5…Bye Crazy Eyes (2) broke his maiden two races back at Churchill Downs, pulling away at the end of a 6-furlong sprint.  Stretches out to a mile today, and that should not be a problem for this one with his breeding. May like the grass down the road, too, which makes him a nice claim possible today.  Picks up the meet’s leading rider, Corey Lanerie, today and goes for a hot barn. All adds up. Over Rider (6) was off a bit slow in the last try, but broke his maiden two back, as well. Drops down the ladder for this one and should fit nicely. Will be closing late. United Patriot (1) won his last out, but loses his jock. Gets a good rider, though, and will be trying right from the get-go.  I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. 1-6-3-5…Exacta hit for $26.60 for $2. Nice.

2nd: 1-6-4-5…Big Exchange (1) is the preferred choice in this one, what with the combo of Brad Cox and Lanerie — who hit with .23% of the time. This gelding has won two in a row, one with Lanerie up.  Has been a different horse since being equipped with glasses seven races back. Should like the distance, where he is a perfect 2-for-2. Private Time (6) gets the blinkers back on after going without in his last.  Gets a huge, huge rider switch, too. This one will press the pace. Ceeky (4) drops down a notch and will make his second start around two turns today.  Should benefit from the last race experience. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top two solidly and then play the first two numbers over the 4-5 in a smaller version. 1-3-6-5…Winner but no Exacta.

3rd: 7-5-6-1-4…Royal Asset (7) is a NY-bred against open company, which is normally not a good idea. But this one has done it all his life and is coming off a nice, tough fought win at Keeneland in his last. The likely pace setter will have to battle a couple more with speed in this tilt, but has hit the board in 7 of 12 lifetime starts. Junket (5) gets my “dot” (must use) in here. Throw out the turf try two back, and this one has been very consistent and the deep closer will benefit from what figures to be a salty pace up front. Noshakleshere (6) has two good ones in a row and looks to be on top of his game right now. Will shorten up for this try and that should help this speedster. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top two numbers very solidly.  I then key the 7-5 over the other three in a smaller version. 3-4-5-2…Not here. 

4th: 8-10-2-7-3-1…Tap Daddy (8) is a solid choice in this nice race for 2YO colts. He nearly beat Flameaway in the G3 Bourbon Stakes at Keeneland in his last and should relish a return to dry dirt in this one. Gets a top rider in Julien Leparoux for this one, too. My first Best Bet. Pont Du Gard (10) is 8-1 ML and has a lot of credentials to make a run at the favorite in this one. He ran 4th, but was beaten only 21/4 lengths in a grass race in his last while closing very late. The only throw out in his 3-race career is the lone trip over the dirt. Should make another serious run late. Machtree (2) is a son of Kitten’s Joy and should run much better than the last two.  Picks up a top young rider and will be closing late, as well. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then key the 8 over/under all the other numbers listed. 8-11-9-7…Winner with heavy favorite, but miss the Exacta.

5th: 8-6-7-1-2-3-5…Bet On Sunshine Stakes…Limousine Liberal (8) is my second Best Bet. This one got on a tear here back in the Spring/Summer, ripping off three straight Stakes wins in a row. After leaving CD, he ran third in the G1 Vanderbilt at Saratoga and third in the G2 Phoenix at Keeneland, but was beaten only a neck in the last one. He looks ready to fire on all cylinders in a  return to his favorite track today. Warrior’s Club (6) is owned by the Churchill Downs Racing Club and he has had some good moments this year.  Gets back to 7Fs today, and he loves that distance, with 1 win and 2 seconds in 4 tries. He should be stalking the lead and will figure to make the lead somewhere around the 1/8th pole. Can he hold on? Don’t know if he is good enough to beat the top choice. Uncontested (7) ran a huge one here in the Pat Day Mile on Derby Day undercard. Should be either on the lead or pressing it hard from his outside post. I bet the 8 to win and then key the 8 over all the numbers listed in the exactas. 8-6-5. Hit here nicely. Exacta pays $9.80 with prohibitive fav on top.Nice. 

6th: 3-12-5-2-6-11…Majestic Force (3) gets a huge class plunge for trainer Steve Asmussen. He has spit the bit in both of his other two tries, but get a much lighter group today. Last Drop of Wine (12) has been close in each of his first two tries at Remington Park, but he will face tougher in the move to Kentucky.  Wouldn’t take much to beat this group, though, and he should get a chance today. Code Eleven Eleven (5) and Run You Down (2) both have a shot here in a wide open MCL event. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta. I tread lightly in this spot. 12-10-4-11. Miss here, although are second place number wins. 

7th: 6-5-7-9-3-4-2…Promises Broken (6) broke thru the gate before the start of the last and that is a death blow. Spit the bit early after being reloaded for that try. Throw that race completely out and this one figures right there in this heat. Hot trainer and hotter jockey team up, too. Joksa (7) is a dead closer who will need a tad of racing luck to get close.  But she has run 4 thirds in 6 tries here before. So…I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top two numbers solidly for this one. I then key the 6-5 over the rest of the numbers in one more. 5-2-6-8…Hit the Exacta for $16.60. Beats a sharp poke in the eye. 

8th: 12-10-3-2-4-11-1-7…Like the top 3 numbers here much better. I go with She’s a Gypsy (12) in here for trainer Helen Pitts, who is having a nice meet. Picks up Julie Leparoux for the ride and she will be closing with a purpose late. Should like the extra distance today. Sunapee (10) goes for Rusty Arnold and should benefit from the debut run at Keeneland. Scat Daddy can get any kind of nice runner, but this one may prefer the grass. Let’s Roll (3) was very close before tiring in the debut. If she gets a tad better, she could be salty in this one. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then box the 12-10-3 in one exacta, and then box the 12-3-2 in another. 12-2-6-10…Winner and Exacta, which pays $27.40. Again not bad for the favorite on top. 

9th: 1-5-3-7-8…Breaking Bread (1) gets the nod in this spot for trainer Al Stall, who is having a great meet with limited numbers. He has 3 winners in the first 7 starters. This one ran behind Julerette in the last and that one came back to romp here this week. The two back winner came back to win, as well. Should benefit from those two races. Champagne Problems (5) nearly pulled off the win in the last here in September. Will be closing hard — on the rail, in all probability.  Look out for this one. Ring Knocker (3) tried the grass in her last and that was a mistake. Is much better than that effort and could contend today. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. 8-5-7-3…All the right numbers, but misplayed. My bad.

10th: 12-2-9-7-11-10…The G3 Cardinal Handicap…Dona Bruja (12) is the class of this field without question, and she loves this track since coming to NA from Argentina. She won here in the G3 Mint Julep Handicap on June 10 and immediately went on to win the G3 Modesty at Arlington Park in July.  After a short rest, she ran fourth in the G1 First Lady at Keeneland. That should sharpen her right back up for this try today. This one will be closing, so the outside post should not be an overwhelming distraction. My third Best Bet. Tricky Escape (2) comes in off a nice third at Belmont Park in her last.  This one has 3 wins, 4 seconds and 3 thirds in 12 starts this year. I have to use. Linda (9), Beauly (7) and Res Ipsa (11) all are solid turf mares. Just don’t think they can handle the top choice, if she gets to run her race. I bet the 12 to win/place and then key the 12 over/under all the numbers listed. 2-10-6-9 after it was moved off the turf. With the scratch of my top pick, this turned out to be a winner and Exacta hit, too. Exacta pays $30.20 for $2.

11th: 8-3-2-7-1…Neapolitan (8) should love the dip in class for this race today. Top rider stays on  board for a hot barn. Shortens back up to a sprint today and definitely the one to beat. Polar Bear (3) gets a drop for trainer Dale Romans, too. Should be better in this spot after being steadied at the quarter pole in the debut. Doctor Lee (2) may not get there in time to win, but he does have 2 seconds and 3 thirds to show for his work in the first 12 starts. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-3 solidly in one exacta and they key those two over all the rest in another exacta. 8-2-10-6. Winner and Exacta winners. Exacta pays $27.60 for $2. Not bad with the favorite on top. 

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene