For the past 30 years, Gene McLean has been handicapping horses and horse races.  It is one of the most pleasurable past-times, and is an enjoyable retreat from the real world.  In the pari-mutuel game, you are testing your skills against everyone else in the stands.  And, if you have a competitive bone in your body, you think that you have discovered the one missing ingredient to help your selection make it to the wire first.  Here are my choices for today at Ellis Park:

1st: 1-7-3-4-2-6…Whateverybodywants (1) is dropping significantly in this spot today, but if he still has any run in him like he used to, he will be tough to handle in this spot.  His three tries this year are less than inspiring, but this guy did run second to Cupid last year.  And, Cupid came back to win the Gold Cup at Santa Anita earlier this summer.  If right, he airs. Attraction (7) is another class dropper for the barn of Angel Montano, who has hit the board in 3 of 5 starts this meet.  This one will want to be up close early.  Running Back (3) did not run a lick in his last against much better competition.  Back where he belongs today.  I bet the 1 to win/place and then key the 1-7 over/under the rest of the numbers.

2nd: 3-1-6-5…Miss Cobblestone (3) is back at the same level that she won easily at three starts back.  Trainer Bernie Flint is on absolute fire here, with 3 wins, 1 second and 1 third in 5 starts.  This one can add to that total.  Buy Low Sell High (1) was a selection of mine last time out, and gets a huge rider switch today, as Channing Hill takes over the reins.  Trainer having a good meet here, too.  Danger.  Delusional K K (6) is a notch below the top two and loses her rider to the top selection.  But she has hit the board in 19 of 25 lifetime starts.  Hard to dismiss.  I bet the 3 to win/place and then key over/under the others.

3rd: 6-1-7-4…Twirling Cinnamon (6) is another one of my former top picks, who won her last out by an easy, growing, going-away margin for trainer Corey Lanerie.  She had trouble in that one, too.  I think he is capable of even better today and worthy of a claim drop.  Stealcase (1) and Sharm (1A) are both entered for the barn of Steve Asmussen.  But the same rider (BJ Hernandez is named on both, probably meaning that one will scratch).  Either one is a contender in here.  I have to use.  High roller Dave (7) has hit the board in 7 races in a row.  Now that’s a check collection machine.  I bet the 6 to win and then box the 6-1-7 in the exacta.

4th: 2-10-3-1-4…Fog Happens (2) is my choice here for the barn of Asmussen, who picks up Lanerie to ride.  That combo is hitting at .23% this meet.  She had all kinds of troubles in her last start at Lone Star, and still got beaten only 3 lengths.  Drops in class here, and picks up my top spot.  Scout It Out (10) won her last start from the far outside post.  Draws the same today and she is versatile enough to find a good stalking spot.  Could roll right back on this grass course, and she has 3 wins and 1 second in 5 turf starts. Disones Pretty (3) is another one of my picks, who I touted on July 3.  She got the blinkers for the first time that day and ran a vastly improved 2nd.  Could be close again.  I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-10-3 and the 2-10-1 in the exactas.

5th: 6-1-2-5-7-8-4…This MSW for 2YO fillies attracts a nice field, and I finally land on Touchdown Trojans (6).  She is a daughter of Shanghai Bobby, who I think could make a very useful sire.  And, she brought $100,000 as a yearling.  She has run close in her first two starts, but faltered at the end of both.  Picks up blinkers today and that may help her sustain some of her energy longer.  The last race winner is a good one, too.  Tis a Treasure (1) has been working lights out for a trainer who is fantastic with first time starters (.27%) and does OK with 2YOs, too (.12). Breaks from the rail and may scoot right to the front and play “catch me if you can.” Bikini Hottie (2) is 20-1 ML, but I think worth a shot here.  Goes for local trainer John Hancock for the first time and has been working over this ground very well.  I take a shot.  C.S. Anchorage (5) and La Femme Royale (7) go for top trainers, too, and hate to dismiss.  I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest.  I take a little across the board action on the 2, as well.

6th: 9-5-7-1…Classic Cotton (9) comes into this one off a second place finish in a Stakes race at Churchill Downs.  Trainer Troy Wismer picks up rider Robby Alvarado in a good jock switch and the combo could be tough.  This 3YO colt cost $280,000 at OBS last year.  Crawford (5) was a horse that I didn’t think could get beat in his last here, on July 4.  He did, running second.  He was trying the grass for the first time, and maybe hung a bit in the stretch.  Picks up a rider change that may help overcome that issue.  Watch out.  Zipp On By (7) goes for one of my most favorite trainers, in Ian Wilkes. He has run two very nice races, breaking his maiden very impressively in the last.  Has come back to work a bullet at Churchill.  I would not dismiss.  I bet the 9/7 to win/place and then key the 9-7 over/under the other two. I bet one exacta box 9-7.

7th: 6-4-8-7-9-10…Paola (6) is 4-1 ML and if that stays anywhere close to that range, I think it is something to take advantage of and play.  She was right there in her debut at 61/2Fs at Churchill Downs, before tiring very late and dropping the decision to a filly that has already come back to win again.  This one has trained well since the debut and shortens up to 6F today.  Moves up to MSW, but should be good enough to handle that class switch.  Dirty Red (4) has not been out since last October at Keeneland.  But has been working well at Keeneland and gets Lanerie back in the saddle.  Miss Stalwart (8) cost $270,000 as a yearling and makes her debut for trainer Dale Romans and rider Robby Alvarado.  Works are good enough to get her fit for this one, but she may want longer and grass, too.  Drossy (7) goes for Asmussen and has shown some brief speed in both of her previous outs.  Can she sustain?  I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers.

8th: 8-2-1-7-4-5-10…Darion’s Dream (8) gets class relief and a dry track today, and she should appreciate both of those things.  She was super impressive in breaking her maiden on May 4 at Churchill, but hit the rail in the turn in her second out and that she didn’t like.  Now, with a cleaner trip, she should be tough to handle.  Tizthesound (2) drops back to the level that she ran second at two starts back (beaten only a neck that day).  Romans stays with the bug boy here (Gazader) and the weight allowance may be enough to help her get to the circle.  Merry Memories (1) goes for Buff Bradley, who is having a super meet at Ellis with 4 wins, 1 second and 2 thirds in 13 starts.  This one caught Beauly two starts back and that one just won a G3 Stakes at Indiana.  This is Merry Memories third start off a long layoff and she may be right for the picking today.  I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-2-1 in the exactas.  I also key the 8-1 over/under all the other numbers.

Good luck &

All the Best/

Gene