Handicapping races has been a pleasurable pastime of mine for nearly 40 years.  My mother once said, “If you read the Wall Street Journal as much as you do the Daily Racing Form, then you would be a millionaire.” I  replied with this retort: “If I keep reading the Form, I still might be.”  I think that got Mom’s attention, and a chase around the house with the old butter paddle.

But, nevertheless, I kept reading the Form.  And, I kept handicapping.  And, I’m still trying to win back that million.

Here are today’s selections for Ellis Park:

1st: 4-1-3-2-6…No Partners (4) gets the nod in this wide open affair.  The 2YO filly by Awesome Patriot caught a good one in her opener and then had some real trouble at the start in the last, which cost her any chance of a good placement.  Drops from MSW to MC16 today. Picks up jockey Calvin Borel today and that’s a positive switch.  A better trip may land these connections in the circle. Woman of Love (1) goes for a little known trainer, but does add the blinkers and the Lasix today for her second start and she caught a monster field in her first out.  Gets class relief today and this one may be the “Claim Possible” of the Day. Indysuglyduckling (3) ran out of gas in her first out, but out-ran her odds (42-1) for sure.  Has trained well since that race and warrants a shot with a hot trainer.  I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-1-3 in one exacta.  I key the 4 over/under the 1-3-2-6, as well.

2nd: 5-3-8-7-1-4…Another very competitive race, and, thus, a good betting opportunity if you can find the needle in this hay bale.  I go with the Bajan Cash (5), who goes for red hot trainer Bernie Flint (3 wins, 2 seconds and 1 third in 6 outs this meet). This gelding has hit the board in five straight and six of the last seven (9 out of 13 lifetime). Gets my “dot” (must use) here. Tick Tizk (3) gets back to the dirt and he looks to prefer this surface.  Ran against Todd Pletcher’s Action Everyday at Tampa earlier this year.  If he can find his Tampa mojo, then watch out. Sir Douglas (8) has held his own against solid company and will be stalking the lead.  Consistent sort.  Brave John (7) gets a little action here, too. Hooked Preakness Stakes show horse, Senior Investment, in his last. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers listed.

3rd: 6-4-2-1-5-7…Despite the fact that he has never run on grass before in his 12 lifetime starts, Society Beau (6) is going to get my Bet of the Day bullet.  This one ran a huge 3rd to McCraken in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill on June 17.  The place finisher, Colonelsdarktemper, came back to run 2nd in the Indiana Derby.  He is facing older for the first time today, too, but this son of Curlin could turn out to be Stakes caliber the rest of the year.  Zapperini (4) is a stalking closer who nearly got to the winner’s circle in his last.  This son of Ghostzapper has hit the board in 6 of 13 starts and has good numbers on the grass. Likely favorite. Zambian (2) has been off the board only once in his last 11 starts and has been first, second or third in 14 of 19 lifetime starts.  Check cashing machine.  And, he should be right there again today.  I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers.  I also key in the Doubles and Pick 3s.

4th: 10-3-5…Tale of Honor (10) finally gave in in his last out here on July 3, but the winner that day (Political Justice) has already come back to win.  If not gutted from that effort, Tale of Honor could get to the circle today. Bet of this lot.  I bet the 10 to win/place and box the 10-3-5 in the exacta.

5th: 2-4-6-7-8-10…Chigger Bite (2) didn’t show much in his first out for breeder/owner Charles Cella (who owns Oaklawn Park). But this one has been working lights out since that race for trainer Mike Johnson and picks up the meet’s top rider in Corey Lanerie.  Must be “Go Time.” Conquest Archie (4) gets the blinkers today for trainer Mark Danner.  This one is 6-1 ML, but did run a good one in his career debut against Colonelsdarktemper (runner-up in the Indiana Derby). Similar effort today puts him in the mix. Major Munnings (6) is a first timer for Jinks Fires and gets son-in-law Jon Court in the saddle.  Capable here.  I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-4-6.  I then key the 2 over/under the numbers in another exacta.

6th: 3-2-1-4-9…Sharm (3) is a deep closer in a field chalk full of speedsters and ones that want to be in the front.  Sets up good for this son of Majestic Warrior. Man of Stature (2) will be the likely favorite, and will be tough to beat here.  But he is one that likes the front end and that may compromise him today.  I bet the 3 to win/place and then box the 3-2-1 in one exacta and key the 3-2 over (only) the other numbers.

7th: 1-2-9-10-3-4…Kelly’s Humor (1) gets my top pick here for red hot trainer Brad Cox and rider Corey Lanerie.  Training well and this trainer/jock combo is deadly here.  Two Sips (2) goes for the barn of Steve Asmussen and has trained at Ellis Park, too.  Road of Honor (9) gets second start for a barn that normally points to the second race, and this one gets Lasix and a new rider.  Could be fitter today.  I bet the 1 to win/place and then box the 1-2-9 in one exacta and then key the 1-2-9 over the 10-3-4 in another.

8th: 2-9-10-5-7…Bourgeois (2) goes for the barn of Dale Romans and picks up a huge rider change.  If he can run the same race he did two back, against Wholehearted, he is going to be tough to keep out of the circle today.  Super Shack (9) comes from the Bill Mott barn and has been training super, super good.  Gets Lanerie up. Trivial (10) is a first timer for Brad Cox.  Ok. Good enough for me. Watch out for the 5.  Those times she has been posting at the training track are lights out over that very good surface. I bet the 2 & 5 to win/place/show and then box the 2-9-10 in one exacta and then key the 2-9 over the rest of the numbers.

9th: 3-10-8-5-6-1…Por Favor (3) gets a huge class drop from trainer Jack Van Berg and that should be enough to help this one climb back into the circle today.  She has hit the board in 8 of her previous 19 starts and gets the blinkers off, too.  Trained well on July 16 and seems ready with a new rider in Channing Hill.  Cowgirl Tyne (10) is 15-1 ML and could upset the tote board with a little luck. She has 9 Top 3 finishes in 15 starts and may like the grass. One that definitely loves the grass is Grace Margaret (8), who won her first two career starts.  Trainer Stephen Lyster, who can get them ready to go, has been hunting a grass course for this one for about five weeks.  Today, he may find a firm one for this girl.  I bet the 3 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest.  I also take a little shot across the board on the 8.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene