The sun is absolutely brilliant.  Taking a boat ride up to KY Dam Village, crossing through the canal over to Lake Barkley and having brunch at a little place in Katawa.  May be back in time for the solar eclipse tomorrow.  Just kidding, about the length of the trip. But a water day, with phone and ADW in tow. I will def be betting some races at Ellis Park today.  Very nice card.

Here’s a closer look:

1st: 8-12-9-10-5-3-4…The top three are by far the best in the field, IMO, but may try to cover them over others, in case of a bomb underneath.  This play has worked very well of late, particularly on Saturday at Saratoga. Out of the Office (8) gets the edge in this one for James Baker, who has a win and 3 thirds in 5 starts this meet. His horses run well for him and he figures to be closing hard in this one.  Drops from a MSW at Indy to MC7.5 here.  Distorted Ransom (12) gets the glasses off after a bobble at the start here on July 14 cost him all hope. Still ran on for top rider, Corey Lanerie, who retains the mount. Watch out, with a cleaner start. Laughing Levi (9) gets a big class drop for the Dale Romans barn and that may be enough to propel this one into contention for really the first time ever in 8 career starts. Gets a top jock to ride. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the top three in one exacta and then wheel the top 3 numbers over (only) the rest of the numbers listed.

2nd: 6-5-8-3-1-2-4…Funny Questions (6) is my top pick here after running a nice third as the PT favorite and drops significantly in class for this one.  Looks like this barn is really hunting that first win of the meet, after 2 seconds and a third in 7 starts here. Awesome Fu (5) was claimed last out by a trainer that wins with .21% on the first try in the barn. Nearly won last time out at this level, too, beaten less than a length.  A similar effort today will make this one tough to beat. Joey B attracts Lanerie away from #5 and that may be enough for this one, who has 3 third-place finishes in the last four starts. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the top 3 numbers and then wheel the top 3 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed.

3rd: 5-8-7-6-(2)…I don’t know what I’m missing here, but this is a MSW event and it appears in the DRF PPs that the 2 has already won a race? Must be something askew here, so I handicap with that one out of the mix. If he really is in, then you have to use, right? I don’t know.  If not in, or in, either way, I’m going with Beautiful Game (5), a first timer for trainer Steve Asmusssen.  This one has been training nicely at Churchill Downs and picks up a good rider in Shaun Bridgmohan. Rusty Arnold sends out a first timer in Gambit (8), who is training well at Churchill, too. He doesn’t normally crank them up to win first out, but this one may have the talent to do just that. Eternal Force (7) is another from the barn of Asmussen and he warrants a serious look, too.  I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the 5-8-7 in the exacta.

4th: 9-2-3-5-7…Indian Trick (9) gets my selection in here.  She picks up a huge, huge, huge rider switch after a rough trip in the last and the barn has been super hot all meet. Gets the blinkers off today, as well, and this one just may stalk the lead and have the first jump on them at the top of the stretch. The class drop makes this one super dangerous in this spot. Happy Anniversary (2) has not been out since March, but has been training right along at Churchill Downs and takes the plunge in class from MSW to MC16. That should put this one in contention. Tis Howies Hope (3) is another big class dropper, and gets Lasix for this first time. I bet the 9 to win/place and then box the 9-2-3 in one exacta and then key the 9-2-3 over/under the 5-7.

5th: 1-5-9-11-6-4-2…The top 3 candidates in this one are, IMO, much the best. I really like Kitten for Granny (1) in this spot. Had a super wide trip in her last out at this level, and I don’t expect that she will have to negotiate that kind of trip again today. Lanerie gets the mount after that debacle and look for him to move a little quicker and carve out a better spot. Archangel Rose (5) is likely to be the PT favorite, considering the huge class drop he is getting today.  This true closer was a good third at C40 three races ago at Churchill. Watch out. I also like Caldera (9), who is 8-1 ML.  Only 1 win in 24 lifetime starts, but does have 6 seconds and 5 thirds to give him 12 ITM finishes in those efforts. Will be closing hard, too, and will need a little racing luck and a little more heart to get there. I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-5-9 in one exacta. I key the 1-5 over/under all the other numbers.

6th: 4-6-9-3-1-2-8-11-5…I like the top two in this one. Touchdown Trojans (4) is a filly I have touted before, and the daughter of Shanghai Bobby should make it to the circle today.  Got the blinkers for the first time in her last out and she nearly aired them from start to finish.  Should benefit from that experience and be very tough in here. One of my Best Bets of the Day. Cheponera (6) is a first timer for Brad Cox, who is having a super meet. I bet the 4 to win/place (solidly) and then box the 4-6 in one exacta and then key the 4-6 over/under all the other numbers.

7th: 12-8-4-3-11-7-5-2…Ellis Park Debutante…I’m going with a slight upset in the first of two very nice Stakes races on the card. And, she is aptly named: Upset Brewing (12).  This filly, by Justin Phillip, ran two super nice races right out of the box for trainer Buff Bradley, who normally does not have them cranked all the way up for the debut. After running a game second to Sunny Skies in the Debutante at Churchill Downs, she came back to air by 93/4 lengths when guided by Lanerie for the first time.  She is red hot and ready to roll. Sunny Skies (8) has done absolutely nothing wrong — with two impressive victories in two starts. She is trained by Kenny McPeek, who normally doesn’t crank his up for the first try, either. She will be gassing it from the get go and it will be interesting to see how she likes the extra furlong today. (Note: the preferred choice has already been that far; and it came at Ellis Park.) Laudation (4) goes for Asmussen, and she returns to the Commonwealth after a failed effort in the G3 Schuylerville at Saratoga. This one will be stalking the two top choices and may like the extra distance, too. I bet the 12 to win/place and then box the 12-8-4 in one exacta and then key the 12-8-4 over (only) the rest of the numbers.

8th: 12-7-5-4-3-6…Ellis Park Juvenile…What a nice Stakes this is, too. And, I go right back to the 12-hole and another slight upset. Dam Attack (named for the quarterback of the Dallas Cowboys) comes into this one off an impressive debut victory at Churchill Downs in June. Has been tearing up the works at Churchill Downs and the son of Ghostzapper looks to be sitting on a huge one for owners Albaugh Family Stable and Bret Jones (the son of former Governor Brereton C. Jones and his lovely wife Libby Lloyd Jones). Watch out for this one.  He could develop into a REAL good one and my second Best Bet of the Day. McPeek will go for the sweep with Ten City (7), who, like Sunny Skies in the race before, has done nothing wrong. He has two impressive wins to start his career, including a victory over Copper Bullet, who just won the Sanford Stakes at Saratoga in impressive fashion and just may be the best 2YO colt in the country right now. He will be close to the lead and it will be interesting to see how far this son of Run Away and Hide wants to go.  He will get an extra furlong test today. Big Iron (5) goes for Bernie Flint, who is having a solid meet, and comes off a 91/2 length victory here on July 15.  Will face tougher today, for sure, but this son of Caleb’s Posse looks to have some early gas. I bet the 12 to win/place and then box the 12-7 solid. I key the 12-7 over/under all the other numbers, too.

9th: 8-10-9-3-7-5-12-2-4…Don’t worry.  I will be keying the top 2, who look to be much the best in here. Teletype (8) is a Tapit colt that I have been watching all spring to see when the connections take to the turf. It happens today. He hasn’t been out since May, but has trained nicely for this return and should be tough in this spot.  Gets Lanerie in the saddle for the first time and this duo becomes my third, Best Bet of the Day. Love this tandem in here. Confiscate (10) is a well bred son of Lemon Drop Kid and should treasure this surface, but his best race to date was on the poly when the race was washed off the turf. Interesting. Still, this one looks to have a nice turn of foot right from the gate and will have to be run down to beat. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-10 in one exacta and then key the 8-10 over/under the rest of the numbers.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene