In Boston, but getting ready to get a car and head North to the land of Saratoga. About a 31/2 hour drive, but no matter. Green, green grass and beautiful sound of horses running await. Next week, upon my return, I will head to another one of my favorite spots — little Ellis Park. I love the place, what with its’ country charms and wonderful people.
It will be fun to see horses run, again. Live. In person. Nothing like it.
Here are my picks for Ellis Park today. Then, I’m “off to the races.”
1st: 6-1-7-2…Dreammeister (6) has two things going for him today. He takes the plummet from MC20 to MC5 and he comes from one of the hottest barns in the world right now. HOF Jack Van Berg and his son have been kicking butt and taking names lately, and this one is certainly poised to help push that win percentage North, as well. Van Berg has had 17 starters at this meet, with 6 wins and 4 seconds — and that does not include another win on Saturday. Should be tough in this spot. The entry of Dusty (1) and Kate Loves Me (1A) go for the owner/trainer Jeff Story. I don’t know much about him, other than he is still looking for his first win this year and his horses have not hit the board in 4 starts at Ellis this meet. But Dusty was second here on the dirt two starts back. and was claimed off a good operation. Story tried him on the grass and that didn’t work a bit. Now, back on the dirt. Hundred Across (7) goes for a hot trainer right now, too. I bet the 6 to win (odds will be very low), and then key in the Doubles, Pick 3s and exactas (over/under the “all button”).
2nd: 4-3-2-5-7…I go with a longer shot in this spot with Greely’s Striker (4), for trainer Gary Thomas (1 win in 54 tries this year). These connections have lit up the tote board lately and have rewarded my TwinSpires account, as well. The last two are not good, but she has some back class and could sneak up the rail for regular rider Calvin Borel. Ultra Arumba (3), a Brazilian-bred 5YO mare, has the back class to be tough in this spot, despite having six straight non-competitive races. Greg Foley picks up leading rider Corey Lanerie for this one and that has to help, right? Equulei (2) goes for a locally-based trainer who has been cool all meet. He picked this one up two back and she immediately caught a muddy track, which she obviously hates (never hit the board in 5 starts on the wet stuff). If she gets a dry track today, she has a shot. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the 4-3-2 and the 4-3-5 in the exactas.
3rd: 4-7-5…Caberneigh (4) comes right back in a similar spot for owner/trainer Steve Asmussen and rider Corey Lanerie. Will close from way back and need some room, but should have the gas to do it. Sky Alert (7) was nipped by the preferred choice in the last race. This one will be closing from a stalking placement and doesn’t need much of a break to upset the ML fav. Gill’s Terrace (5) ran fourth in that same heat, but was only beaten a neck and was 8-wide; 8-wide? Calvin Borel now rides and that won’t happen again. I bet the exacta box only here with the 3 numbers listed. They are too close to separate.
4th: 2-4-6-1-5-7…Rippin Ride (2) bobbled at the start of his last and truly lost all chance after he was rushed up into immediate contention by the jock. Gets a new rider today and a clean start may put them in the winner’s circle. After all, he was odds-on favorite in the last for a reason and he comes back at the same level for a good barn operation. Full Heart (4) picks up Lanerie and the speedster may be able to gas them all the way. Heat Road (6) takes a huge drop for a trainer that has had a rough year, but may be heating up a bit. Gets the bug boy and a 7-pound weight allowance for this one. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers. May box the 2-4-6, as well.
5th: 4-2-5-1-3…Smelly Cat (4) is a horse that has shown up in these selections several times this summer, and he’s still looking to reward my patience and confidence. Drops all the way to C20K here and picks up Brian Hernandez Jr to ride. That is a huge improvement here. Madaket Millie (2) shows up on dirt and that may not be this mare’s preferred surface, but if you throw out the last (when she was declared a NON STARTER), then she fits with these. Seems a Fortune (5) was claimed by Steve Asmussen out of her last race and she does have 5 wins and 2 thirds in 10 lifetime starts. Watch out. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-2-5 in one exacta and then wheel the 4-2-5 over the 1-3.
6th: 4-3-6-7…Funny Questions (4) drops from C30K to C16K today and will be closing from the back. Has hit the board in 5 of 6 at this distance and never off the board at Ellis. Joey B (3) gets Lanerie today and will be closing in this spot from a stalking position. Has trained well and looks to be tough in this spot, even though he loves to run third (a lot). Tempestuous Angel (6) and Dos Cuernos (7) both have a shot. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-3-6 and the 4-3-7 in exactas.
7th: 6-3-1-4…Good field for this MSW event for Fillies 3YO & Up. I go to Makada (6), who is a first timer for the barn of Bill Mott (who will be at Saratoga today, too). This one has been training steadily and pretty well. Looks ready for her first try. Lunar Lullaby (3) caught the fillies Nonna Bella and Salty in her first out last winter at Gulfstream Park. No chance there. But she has been training very well for this one, but Corey Lanerie rides for this barn a lot and he’s not up here. Needs to be noted. I’ve Got Grace (1) tries the dirt for the first time, but if she likes it (and breeding says she should), then she will be tough in this spot. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-3-1 and the 6-1-4.
8th: 7-6-1-2-8-3-4…Raising Rumors (7) gets the nod here, due solely to the massive drop in class for a good trainer. This Texas-bred gelding is a Stakes winner as recently as July 2016. Has two tough races in the last two, but has the back class to be tough in this spot and has been training well, too. I can throw the last try, on turf. Greely Is Back (6) ran a good one at Churchill Downs in his last and may give Gary Thomas a good day today. Greeleys Charm (1) is now owned/trained by Asmussen and will get Lanerie back in the saddle. This one was formerly trained by Gary Thomas, as well. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers.
9th: 5-8-9-11-2-6…Play the Break (5) goes for trainer Ian Wilkes, and this combo nearly pulled off this condition win in their last effort. That one was taken off the grass and now she’s back on the turf again. Tizthesound (8) gets a huge class drop from the barn of Dale Romans. That should add some spark to this one, who got an awful trip in her last. Audrey’s Double (9) will be closing from way back and needs a clean trip, but gets a really nice rider pick up in this one. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5-8 over/under all the other numbers. Bet one 5-8 exacta box, too.
Good luck &
All the Best/G