Day Results 8-3-3-3
Churchill 65-14-24-28
Top Pick Win % 21.50%
Top Pick ITM % 34-58 58.60%
Top 3 Picks ITM % 33.80%
2018 Overall 654 Races 229-249-264
Win % of Top Pick 35%
ITM % of Top 3 Picks 37.80%

A solid day, yet not spectacular at Churchill Downs on Thursday. We missed on the “Single 6,” but we have another shot today. It is beautiful. It is Friday. It is Churchill Downs. It is time to play.

Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 2-4-3-6-1…Shea’s Cool (2) gets a significant class drop for this one, and has never seen this low a level before in her career. Deep closer will stretch out to the longest race of her career, as well. Winner and runner-up both came back to win after the last one, and the winner of the last has now scored three in a row. Facing tougher in the past. Gets the services of the HOF rider Calvin Borel today, and we are looking for a score. Dancing Waves (4) is a stalker/speed type who nearly won last time out against a softer group. Top rider returns to the saddle for this one and the trainer does hit with .17% of those making the second start off a layoff. Looks like this one prefers the dirt, which she gets again today. Play the Break (3) just may be the horse to beat in this one, but it has been awhile since she has run a good one. Two races in a row she has backed up nearing the wire. Drops a level where she was claimed at back in November. Was third in that one, too. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3. Tread lightly. 

2nd: 4-9-5-6-8-7-1-3…I go to Roundaboutation (4), who will be making his career debut in the 4.5 furlong “baby race.” This one is a Texas-bred, but had some nice works down at Lone Star. Must have been showing enough that Team Asmussen elevates to the “A” team at Churchill. The dam has 5 winners from 5 starters and 1 SW to date. (Our Stat of the Day.) Looks ready. Best You Ever Seen (9) gets in at odds of 6-1 ML, and I have to take a long look at this one, who will be getting Lasix for the first time after a so-so run against much tougher at Keeneland. Post position does not help, but this one has a race under his belt and has returned to wok OK since the initial effort. My Perfect Graydar (5) is 12-1 ML, but is another who showed a little early punch before fading in the debut against tougher at Keeneland. Has come back to work steadily and a tad better, too. I can’t dismiss totally. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the rest in the exactas.

3rd: 4-7-8-5…Mrs Rocco (4) is a filly that we have used before, and we will put on top today. She gets a huge class drop for a top barn operation, which is used to winning races. Trainer hits with .32% when making this type of class drop. Top rider for this barn gets up, and I can dismiss the muddy try last time out. Should appreciated the return to the sprint distance, and looks to be a solid choice in this spot. My first “Bet of the Day.” Getupbabygetup (7) goes for a trainer who thrives when making this type of class dump. He hits with .41% when he drops this much, and this one should like a return to Churchill Downs — where she won last November in style against much, much tougher. Eye on Harper (8) is another class dropper, and falls to the lowest level ever. She ran a solid second just four starts ago against much tougher and has a super hot rider in the irons. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the other numbers.

4th: 8-3-6-2-1…A wide open affair, to be sure. Closing Strike (8) looks, on paper, like the top choice for trainer Buff Bradley. This son of Smart Strike will get a huge class drop for the owners at Keene Ridge Racing (Go Ann Bakhaus and team!). Trainer hits with .14% of those switching from turf to dirt, and this will be the first time he has seen this type of surface. Good enough work on May 5 to give some hope here, and I like the rider choice. Leo Meister (3) nearly won last time out, when beaten just a nose. Drops just a notch for this try and if he can avoid the trouble he encountered in the previous race, he will be tough to handle at the wire. Show horse in that one came right back to win. Claret Jug (6) gets the price cut in half today and switches to the dirt for the first time. Trainer hits with .33% with this type of class dump and this one had an OK work on May 8, too. I bet the 8-3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

5th: 2-4-9-3-1-7…Come on Dover (2) switches back to the dirt, where he won his only race two back. Ran off to a 10-length win in that one before he was mysteriously moved back to the turf. Didn’t like it then and has never shown to like it before. Has worked super over this dirt track the last two mornings, and looks to be in the right spot — finally. Flash Harry (4) drops in class for a top barn, which is off to a good start this meet, too. Moved to the dirt last time out and ran OK sprinting. Now, stretches out to a distance that he may prefer. Look for improvement out of this one today. His Royal Majesty (9) gets a huge class dump for this one and is eligible to improve with the third try off a layoff. Won with this jockey here last September, and they go team up to do it again. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I box the 2-4-1 in another one. I like the 1, Silver Giant, some at a “giant” price.

6th: 10-8-7-1A-1-9-2-4-3-5…I key on the top 3 numbers in this spot. Snickerboxer (10) got stuck wide in the post draw, but this one is a deep closer and should be able to move over and find a good running spot early. Will need racing room late. Gets a huge class drop for a trainer that hits with .20% on the second try after a claim. Looks to be priced right today. Colony Strike (8) nearly won last time out and did win two back. Looks like he is good right now and picks up a huge rider switch for this one today. Has hit the board in 18 of 24 at this distance. Take note. Eden Ridge (7) has two wins in five starts at this track and gets the price tag cut in half for this one. Won here against tougher last September when he score in back-to-back efforts. Return home may be good for this one’s soul. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the top 3 numbers over the 1-9-2 as well.

7th: 7-1-8-4-5-2-9-10…You Flatter Me (7) is 6-1 in the ML and may drift up the odds board before post time. I take a shot here with the daughter of Flatter, who ran a solid second before tiring in the mud at Indy. That was this filly’s first out since February and probably needed that start. The trainer is .42% at the second start with the barn, and this one appears to be training well, too. My “Upset Special of the Day.” Jan One (1) is aptly named for the post position, and drops from the MSW ranks into the MCL level for the first time. Trainer hits with .12% of those kind. Super work here on both April 22 and 29. Look for a solid effort here. Corker (8) drops from the MSW level into MCL ranks for the first time, too. Trainer off to a super start here this meet and a solid rider in the irons. Look out. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I put the 10 in the rankings, because she looks to have the pedigree that may entice a claim.

8th: 6-8-1-7-5-2-3…I focus in on the top two numbers here in a big way. Originator (6) will get the saddle from trainer Ian Wilkes, one of the best conditioners on the grounds. Drops in class out of a Stakes effort and the two races before that were spot on. Has really good turf speed and the son-in-law has won 3 of the last 6 for the barn. Top pick. Elizabeth Darcy (8) goes for a trainer known for this type of race — turf sprints. This filly ran super at Keeneland before tiring late, and that was her first start in nearly 6 months. Should benefit from that one and be ready to fire with all cylinders in this one. Solid work since the race. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top two numbers solidly in the exacta. I may key them over the rest in a small version just to cover a bit.

9th: 9-8-7-4-1-10-3…Once again, I focus in on the top two numbers here. Patti Patti Patti (9) has two seconds in a row and wheels back at the same level. Trainer hits with .20% of those making the second start off the claim, and the young rider is doing OK in limited numbers here. This one has 4 seconds and 2 thirds in 10 starts to date. Graduation day today? Klassie Connect (8) goes to the post for good friend Rick Hiles, who is looking for his first win of 2018. This one is another who has shown a liking to run second or third with 2 runner-ups and 3 show placings in 11 starts. I use her, then, underneath. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-8 in one exacta and then key the 9-8 over/under all the other numbers listed.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene