It was a busy day/night getting ready for today’s actions, and what a weekend coming up.  Wow.  But it is that time of year that “Summer Time” becomes “Racing Time.” Saratoga is in full swing and we will be headed up there next week.  Del Mar is where the “surf meets the turf,” and we will be headed there for this year’s Breeders’ Cup.  And, of course, we have Ellis Park — The Spa of the South.  I will be headed there when I get back from Saratoga.  So, busy business these days.

Let’s start with Ellis Park’s Card:

1st: 8-4-1-6-3…The ML favorite is surely to become the post time fav in this one, and that’s Heir Ball (8).  This filly broke her maiden for MC20 in her last out at Arlington Park and now shows up south at EP for $7,500 against winners for the first time.  This daughter of Wildcat Heir has speed and will try to take them wire to wire today, in a soft field.  Miss Discreet (4) drops from C16K to this level, which is the lowest of her career.  She was “slammed” at the start of the last one and that cost her all chances.  Cleaner trip today and she may be handy.  Heavenly Daze (1) has some decent back class on dirt for trainer, and good friend Rick Hiles.  Will try the lawn for the first time, although not really bred for it.  If she finds her old gas, she may have a shot at some good odds.  I bet the 8 to win/place and then key over/under the rest.

2nd: 8-6-5-9…Equulei (8) will try to make the “Hard Eight” roll in the Daily Double.  Claimed last time out for 5K, this one goes for new trainer John Hancock for the first time.  Didn’t really fire last time at CD, but gets a more bump down the ladder and if she can regain the form that helped her hit the board in the previous four outs, she could be tough today with the pick up of a good rider.  For some reason, the meet’s top rider, Corey Lanerie, jumps on two for trainer W Stinson today and they both look suspect.  But Lanerie can work magic and he may try again in this heat with Cash Dance (6). Our Adieu (5) does not need to improve much to lap this field.  I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-6-5.

3rd: 6-1-8-3-9…Samicean (6) is a horse that trainer Kenny McPeek picked up and he broke his maiden in a MSW event at Churchill Downs in the fall of 2015.  Has not done a thing since.  But plummets to the bottom today and goes on the dirt for the first time in a fire sale.  Made a decent run in his only 2017 start here on July 2 and gets blinkers today.  Trying everything.  This might work. Bro Stroll (1) gets another bump down the ladder and has some decent back class races to go on. Lanerie gets on Slater River (the other Stinson saddled horse today), who is 15-1 ML.  Obviously, the “Lanerie Effect” will kick in and those odds are sure to come down, but I have to use just because of the jock.  I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-1-8.

4th: 7-5-8-10-6-3…I will key the 7 in this event. Elwood’s Advice (7) drops all the way from C32K at Indiana to C5K here today for trainer Tim Glyshaw, who has saddled 2 winners out of 7 starters this meet.  if he can run anywhere close to the same race he had two back, then he will win for fun.  I bet the 7 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers.

5th: 4-2-5-6-10-9…I like Hugh B. (4) in this spot for trainer Phil Sims, who does a solid job in the barn.  This is one that has been knocking on the door and hanging around in much better company before today’s drop.  Two thirds in 2 starts on the grass before today. Chester Mon (2) didn’t fare well against repeat winner Dark Arden, but drops from C30K to C7,500K today for a trainer that can win races here and there.  Kiss My Note (5) won his last out, breaking his maiden at the lower end, for hot trainer Buff Bradley.  Could repeat.  I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-2-5.

6th: 12-4-8-5-11-1…If the 13 and 14 draw into this one, I have to reshuffle the deck.  I would go to the 14 on top.  But the way its sits right now, I go with Steve Asmussen’s Orbatron, who very easily could have won his debut if not for getting caught in very tight quarters.  Came back to run a sputtering race at Churchill, but picks Lanerie back up today.  Grandpa Knows Best (4) has been training very well of late for McPeek, whose numbers nearly triple from first race to second.  Ran OK first out, and should be better today.  This one cost $220,000 as a yearling. Blue Mesa (8) goes for trainer Ian Wilkes, and his get better with time, too.  The third place finisher in the debut came back to win.  I use.  Can’t dismiss Asmussen’s other one in here, either.  Bodenus (11) has trained well at Ellis.  I bet the 12 to win/place and then key the 12-4 over/under all the others.

7th: 4-3-5-6-2-7…Art Imitates Life (4) picks up Lanerie and has trained super since his last race on May 5. That was a key race, with the runner up coming back to win already.  Gets the plunge to C30K today and that should boost this one’s spirits.  Silver Defense (3) is another class dropper and could be tough if he runs anything close to his maiden victory race at Keeneland three back.  Sixty Five (5) has been solid, with five ITM finishes in 7 grass starts. Keep an eye on both Cicerone (6) and Alittlevodka (2), as well.  Good race.  I bet the 4 to win/place and then key over/under the other numbers listed.

8th: 10-3-2-4-5-6…Golden Amber (10) picks up a huge rider switch to Lanerie, who has hit with 56% at this meet with trainer Brad Cox.  Can see why not in this one.  I bet the 10 to win/place and then key over/under the “all button.”

Now, let’s go to Saratoga today:

1st: 5-2-4-1…Missy Mouse (5) gets the edge in the opener after a rough outing as the favorite in her last.  She hit the gate in that one and never got into contention.  Picks up new rider today and I bet right back. Madam Aamoura (2) once ran against Paulassilverlining (a real good one). Just missed in her last and was claimed out of it.  I bet the 5 to win/place and then wheel over/under the other numbers.

2nd: 4-8-6-2-9-1…Professor Snape (4) just missed in the mud in his last as the favorite.  Goes for top trainer Linda Rice and once ran against the Graded Stakes placed winner Meantime.  I go right back here.  Lightning Buzz (8) picked it up last out and if he can duplicate that effort, could be right there, as well.  I bet the 4 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

3rd: 7-2-5-9-10-6…If the 12 and 14 draw into this one, I need to reshuffle a bit.  But, until then, I land on Dovecote (7), trained by Chad Brown.  Closed with a purpose in the last try, after bobbling at the start.  Cleaner trip today puts this one in the circle.  Bodie’s Valentine (2) ran well in her career debut at Churchill Downs for trainer Mike Maker.  Stretch out does NOT hurt this one’s chances. Double Cast (5) has two nice runs in a row, and I LOVE the breeding on Soar Once More (6).  I have to use her, no doubt. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers listed.

4th: 6-5-1-2-7…Gambler’s Ghost (6) is another one that could pull the trigger for trainer Gary Gullo today.  All speed with this one, but has hit the board in 14 of 21 starts at this distance and never worse than second in three tries at the Spa. Will Did It (5) is a true closer getting a huge class drop for a trainer that enters aggressively.  Gets a hot rider, too.  Set The Trappe (1A) and Draxhall Woods (1) have the same jock named, so one is sure to scratch.  But either is good enough to upset this apple cart.  I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-5-1 and the 6-5-2.

5th: 9-4-8-1-2…This event for 2YO colts is wide open, but I go to Aveenu Malcainu (9), a son of Into Mischief, who is having a really good year.  This one is training well and goes for an outfit that knows how to win. Big Gemmy (4) is working lights out at Churchill for trainer Bret Calhoun, who gets the same rider that rode his good filly Finley’sluckycharm in the Stakes earlier this week. Perfectexpectation (8) is a first timer for Mike Maker, who is tuning up his stable. I bet the 9 to win/place and then box the 9-4-8 and then the 9-4-1 in the exactas.

6th: 9-11-4-1-5-3…Rimanisempreforte (9) is a name that I have no idea what it means or possibly stands for, but it could spell winner in this one.  Drops in class for a good barn and picks up a significant rider switch. Ten Pennyu Princess (11) gets HOF rider JJ Castellano after Rosario jumps off.  JJ has to heat up at some time. Marnesia Big Girl (4) goes for Linda Rice.  Watch out any time she has a class dropper. I bet the 9 to win/place and then box the 9-11-4 in the exacta and then wheel the 9-11-4 over the 1-5-3.

7th: 4-9-8-1-2-6…Threefiveindia (4) gets my nod in this one, after repeatedly knocking on the door. This colt has hit the board in 6 of his last 9 efforts, with a close-up fourth in his last.  Got a muddy track in that one and he appeared not to like it.  If dry today, this one might score. Shaft of Light (9) and Economic Model (8) both have a ton of class and the the likely post time favs.  I bet the 4 to win/place (if dry), and then box the top three.

8th: 8-7-9-3-1-6-10…Rocketry (8) is 2-1 ML and will likely get bet down farther.  Still, this one should have won his last if not for being nearly knocked off his feet. Gets a huge rider switch today and should beat these. Gauguin (7) and Rosario were the ones that caused the trouble in the last and the rider should have been given days for those actions.  Nevertheless, the colt has some talent and should benefit from that race, which was his first off a layoff. Holiday Bonus (9) and Memories of Peter (3) both have legitimate arguments to make, too.  I bet the 8 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest.  Rocketry is my Bet of the Day.

9th…The Curlin Stakes…7-2-1-5-6…You’re to Blame (7) will get another shot at two turns after nearly missing against the red-hot West Coast in the Easy Goer Stakes last out.  He went 6 wide in the upper stretch in that one, and may have traffic issues again today to negotiate.  But a cleaner trip could certainly help seal the deal.  Talented son of Distorted Humor. Outplay (2) is a speedball that will try to take them wire to wire for trainer Todd Pletcher.  Backed up in the Easy Goer, after not making the lead and having his heart broken.  Everybodyluvsrudy (1) was a Triple Crown nominee, as well, and hit a nice win in his last out.  Looks like the extra distance may be what he wants.  I bet the 7 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers.  Second Best Bet of the Day.

10th: 8-2-9-10-4-7-6…And, watch out if the 13, 14 or 16 draw in.  So, in other words, the “all button.” If forced, I will go with the 8, Brooklyn Speights, who has five seconds in 10 tries on the grass. But…Be careful…Not the Best Bet of the Day.

Good luck &

All the Best/

Gene