1st: 2-1-3-6…Proud to Live Free (2) is a gelding that we picked to win here on July 4, when he made the lead late, but was overtaken and finished second. Comes right back at the same level for a new trainer, though. This time Tom Amoss picks up the saddle duties. He has a win percentage of .27 with first timers in his barn. Arbiter’s Strike (1) and Sevenheartswarrior (1A) go for the barn of Jose Castanon, but only one of them is likely to go since Jesus Castanon is named to ride both. I prefer the 1A. If that one scratches, then drop on down. Buzzkillingon (3) comes off the grass today and that’s a good angle for this barn (.33 win percent) and this one should fit here. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key over/under the rest.
2nd: 5-2-1-6…Plug Catcher (5) comes off a huge effort at Churchill Downs and against Royal Blessing in his last. Anything close to that race, and this one will be extremely tough in here. I’m Ready to Roll (2) goes for Helen Pitts, who has saddled two wins in three tries this meet and one of them is this horse. Rolled to an easy win last time off the class drop and figures to stalk the lead with a little closing kick. Note: This one has never turned in back-to-back good starts, though. Ice Cream Truck (1) is a 7YO veteran, who pitched a clunker in the last. Takes significant class drop and keeps Corey Lanerie. Watch out. I bet the 5 & 1 to win/place and then box those two and key over/under the others.
3rd: 6-4-7…Senor Jobim (6) is a first timer for a hot barn and excellent rider. Tough to look past this combo, especially considering that this one brought $1.5 million as a yearling. Wow. This son of Distorted Humor needs to get started on recouping some of that. My Bet of the Day. Weekend Town (4) has been training well at Keeneland and gets to the gate for the first time for a new, young trainer. Union Cat (7) ran a good one at 22-1 odds at Churchill, beaten just 2 lengths after stalking the pace the entire trip. Is 6-5 ML and should be. One to beat. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-4-7.
4th: 8-7-9…Reward’s Girl (8) gets the nod to break her maiden today. Claimed two starts back for a solid barn operation and picks up a good jock change today to Robby Albarado. Neuter (7) caught a good one in the last and is dropping in class for trainer Buff Bradley. Could jump up a notch today. Frigidish (9) is a speedster that may not look back in this one. Throw out the two back start when she ran off in the post parade. I picked her on July 2 and she nearly pulled it off, running second. I have to use right back. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the top three.
5th: 6-2-4-3-7…Miss Vicki (6) gets my “dot” in here (must use). This will be the third race on the return cycle for a top barn and keeps Lanerie. This true closer didn’t hit her best lick in the last, but anything close to her first two career starts and she’s in the circle, in my opinion. Switches to grass today and has been working well. Distortress (2) is a high-priced daughter of Distorted Humor, who woke up a bit in her first grass start last out. Showed speed in her last and may try to take this 51/2 sprint all the way. Missseventhirteen (4) has run three duds in a row, but has shown a real liking for sloppy tracks. Some mudders transition well to the grass, and this daughter of Flatter gets the green today for the first time. May be a shocker at some odds. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-2-4 and then wheel the 6 over all the numbers.
6th: 5-9-1-2-7-8-4…Taxable (5) is a filly by Tapit that I have loved for quite some time. Runs for the Winchell connections and has been catching some real good ones. Tried the turf in the last and didn’t work out. Back to dirt mile today and she is a perfect 1-for-1 at this distance. Picks up Lanerie in a huge jock improve. Pinch Hit (9) has run three good ones in a row for Brad Cox, who has won half of his starts here. Dream Dance (1) gets her second start off a long layoff and should improve for top connections. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key over/under all the numbers. I bet the 1 a tad across the board.
7th: 11-13-10-8-7-3…I love Lil Vie (11) in this spot. Caught a good one in her career debut and ran a solid third after a wide trip. Went off in that one at odds-on. Should improve off that effort for Cox/Lanerie duo. La Feeme Royale (13) will be tough if she draws into the race for trainer Mark Casse. First timer has been prepping nicely at Keeneland. True Dream (10) gets Lasix for the first time for a trainer who normally takes his time with all his horses. This is third start and should be ready now. I bet the 11 to win/place and key over/under the rest.
8th: 7-6-1-3-4-2-10-11-12…Diplodocus (7) goes for the Cox/Lanerie combo,too, and they figure on top. This one will be making his first start for Cox (.30 win percentage with first timers in his barn), and is coming off a huge effort at Santa Anita. This one looks to be pointed towards Kentucky Downs grass in September, after having run in at least five Graded Stakes on the West Coast. Low odds, but high probables here. Dawn Raider (6) figures second best off his recent form, and this one cost $350,000 as a yearling. Must look the part. Fire for Effect (1) was nominated to this year’s Triple Crown series and ran a credible fourth against Derby winner Always Dreaming three starts back. Catches older ones again today. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key over/under all the others.
9th: 9-13-11-2-3-6-10…Beachtown Benny (9) plummets down the ladder and if he can regain his form of two back, then he will be tough in this spot — for sure. Gets Lanerie, which is a good sign. If Caldera (13) draws into the field from the AE, I have to use. Another huge class dropper with some solid credentials to run well against these types. Hardly Home (11) is the third class dropper that I take. This one was claimed off Shug McGaughey three starts back and has not done well since. If he runs back to that March race, then watch out. I bet the 9 to win/place and then key over/under the rest.
Good Luck &
All the Best/Gene