Another cloudy & rainy day in the Bluegrass State, but a beautiful day to go racing.  And, that’s where I will be headed shortly after lunch. Here is a closer look at today’s card at Churchill Downs:

1st: 5-7-3-6-1…Gypsy Janie (5) won at MCL16 at Ellis Park back in September, but was no threat at this level on Oct. 26.  In this heat, though, she figures much better and gets the preferred ranking with the stretch out to the mile distance. Top rider stays aboard and with a tad improvement could be tough in this spot. Penance (7) won her last out in MSW company at Penn National. Ships down for this one and stretches out, as well. Picks up the meet’s top rider and should be closing with a purpose for this one. The one to beat. Uno Sueno (3) steps up in company after a convincing win at Churchill in September. Got blinkers for the first time in that one and it may have been the huge difference. I can’t dismiss. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top three choices in one exacta.

2nd: 1-4-3-2…Burgameister (1) was claimed out of the last try, where he was beaten just a head, by top trainer Steve Asmussen. Wheels right back at the same level, but does stretch out around two turns for just the second time.  The last time he tried this distance, he was against much, much tougher. Has a win over the Churchill dirt already. Cass in Stone (4) has run two straight thirds against tougher competition, and ranks a solid chance in here today. Has hit the board in 8 of 15 lifetime starts, but has only one win.  Better to try underneath. Higher Factor (3) is a dead closer who broke his maiden after adding blinkers. Gets a huge class drop today and should figure with these. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta.

3rd: 5-6-1-2-8-9…Dreaming of J C (5) gets my first “dot” (must use) of the day. This one faced much tougher in the career debut, and yet was bet down to odds of 4-1 in that one.  He was “taken up” at the start in that one and then ran 5-wide the rest of the trip. A complete throw out. Has returned to work OK for this drop in class. Should get good odds on him today. Just Be Frank (6) has faded badly in each of the last two tries, but gets a huge class drop in today’s tilt. Gets a veteran rider today who knows how to negotiate the best of trips on this track. Pickford (1) is a second time starter for a trainer that does well with these types and he has worked well since tiring in the debut. Trainer is having a nice meet her and he picks up the meet’s top jock. Consider her at 10-1 ML. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key the 5 over all the numbers in another.

4th: 3-1-4-5…Polar River (3) has not been seen since running in Dubai back in March. Has not hit the board in either of her two tries this year. But just consider what she did before then. Against colts, she ran second to the highly touted Lani in the 2016 UAE Derby and before that reeled off 4 straight wins against the males. Training very well for a trainer that does good off the bench. My first Best Bet of the Day. Mines and Magic (1) has run two nice seconds in a row after finally getting back to allowance company for an ultra aggressive trainer. This gal can run and fits with this bunch today, and loves both the distance and the track. Take note. Ready to Confess (4) and Julerette (5) both have solid credentials, as well, in a small but talented field. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-1 solidly in one exacta and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers in two more.

5th: 4-8-2-1-9…Fuhrious Warrior (4) is 8-1 ML and I love both the odds and this guys chances. Goes for a sharp young trainer who is just looking for that break-out horse to make a name and a splash. Picks up a hot rider and gets a class plunge for this one. Has won at the distance and over this strip, too. Vacanza (8) gets the meet’s leading rider aboard for the first time ever today and that should help this 5YO gelded son of Harlan’s Holiday. Has hit the board in 4 of the last 5 outs, too. Can’t dismiss. Toasting Master (2) picks up a rider who is 0-for-19 at this meet, and looks up against it today — except for one thing. He loves this track. Has 4 wins, a second and a third in his 6 tries over this surface. Watch out. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta. In a smaller version, I key the top 3 numbers over the 1-9, as well.

6th: 9-7-6-4-3-1-5…Top three in here are much preferred, led by Lenamarie. But this one is off the turf today, and that makes the #15 — Julia’s Kitty — the top choice. Has a win and two seconds in three career tries and figures to be on the lead or close to it from the get-go. Sassy Sienna (6) ran fourth in the G1 Alcibiades at Keeneland on the dirt in her last. Regal Dame (10) has a win over a wet track.  Toss up with the surface switch. Look for many scratches, but I take 15-6-10 with the changes.

7th: 6-8-1-2-5…King Coral (6) has hit the board in 6 of his last 8 tries, with 3 wins in that span. He is a speedster that will try to carry over a distance that he has never won at, though. Northeast Bound (8) is a dead closer who will try the blinkers for the third time today and gets a HUGE rider switch for this one. Has a win over a wet track. Spinning for Home (1) has not fared as well on the wet, but gets a nice class drop for this one. I bet the 6 to win/place/Show and then box the top 3 choices in the exacta.

8th: 10-2-3-9-7-5-4…Watch to see if the #15 draws into this one. I have to use, if she does. If not, I go solidly with Cheeky Cherub (10), a first time starter for Eddie Kenneally, who is having a great meet her this Fall. This one is training very well and cost $200,000 as a yearling. Has a right to be a good one, but being by Pioneerof the Nile, she may want more ground. That is my only question mark. Cicatrix (2) goes for a barn that never cranks them completely up for the debut, but this one is training so well she is hard to ignore. The trainer does well with 2YOs, too. Must use, for me, at odds of 12-1. Nice. Lesley May (3) is a daughter of the great Tapit, and owned by Stronestreet Stables. Great connections and has been training very well, too. Gets Lanerie. I bet the 3 (take note) to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I then key the top 3 over the rest of the numbers listed in a smaller version.

9th: 6-2-9-3-7-8…Another one that is off the turf, which throws this one into confused mode. As a result, I go to the horses entered for the Main Track Only and focus on the 15-16-17.  They are closely matched, but I give the edge to Shareholder Value (15), who goes for trainer Tom Amoss. He is a deep closer and picks up the barn’s top rider. Had a tough trip in the last out, and figures to be running late in this heat. The best bet, though, may be the 17 — Sir Navigator, a 5YO gelding who likes to be on the front end. Has been working extremely well at Keeneland and has posted two wins in a row. Toss up race, but I go the the 15-16-17 in here.

10th: 7-10-3-2-6-5…Keep an eye out for the #14, if he draws into the race. If not, I go with Benediction (7). He is a solid choice in here, dropping down in class and picking up the top rider in these parts in Corey Lanerie. Trainer/Jock combo wins with .36% over the last two years here, too. This one has hit the board in 5 of the last 7 and has 2 seconds in a row against tougher. My choice. Small Town Hero (10) gets a nice class drop in here, too, and should be tough at this level. Picks up a nice veteran rider who can win races. Oriental Crown (3) has not been close in the last three, but may show up better today with a hot rider and a return to the two turns. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-10 solidly in one exacta, and then key those two over the rest of the numbers listed.

Good Luck &

All the Best/Gene