McLean’s Picks for Churchill Downs on Sunday, June 10 — The Day After Amazing

Day Results11-2-4-2
Churchill242-80-77-121
Top Pick Win %33.10%
Top Pick ITM % 150-23464.10%
Top 3 Picks ITM %38.30%
2018 Overall 831305-309-365
Win % of Top Pick39.10%
ITM% of Top 3 Picks39.30%

Saturday was an amazing day, all the way around. Wow. That’s what it was, for sure. A “Wow Day.” And, we didn’t do too badly at Belmont, where we had 6 winners out of the 10 races. A couple of solid exactas.

Churchill Downs on Saturday? Not so good. Only two winners out of the 11 races, but we did finish with a nice winer. So, we will try to pick that back up today.

But a tough, tough card. Hopefully, we can have a bit of good luck. Headed out to meet some new friends, Kimberly Spalding Brown and her husband. Hope the rains hold off until after the last. But what a wonderful day to go racing. Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 6-5-7-1-2-4…I get a solid “dot” (must use) on Naples Legacy (6) to kick off today’s card, and it is tough to get a single in this afternoon’s racing agenda. This one is 8-5 ML odds, but does go for a red-hot trainer (.27% this meet) and one who hits with that exacta same percentage when racing in the MC ranks. This one nearly pulled off the win here on May 1. Has been off about 6 weeks, but the morning sessions are OK. Good work on June 2 coming in. Mine Mine Mine (5) is a horse that I have touted before. Had a rough go of it the last time out here, on May 25. Clipped heels in that one and lost the rider. Same jock gets back up today and if she can duplicate the same run as the one two back against much tougher, she will be tough in here. Trainer having a good meet here with limited runners. Concord Coupe (7) was claimed last time out by an experienced trainer, who knows how to improve them immediately. Caught a tough one last time out, who has come back to run well again. Trainer hits with .17% on debut runners after the purchase. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I key the 6-5 over/under the rest.

2nd: 6-1-5-3-4…Another “dot” play here, with another #6 saddle cloth. Absolute Love (6) moves back up in class for this one after a third last time out, but the trainer has hit with 1 winner out of 4 making this move back up the ladder. She caught a sloppy racetrack last time out and may not have preferred those conditions. She was also very wide throughout. Meet’s top rider sticks aboard, and this one does have 3 seconds and 2 thirds in the first 9 — most against tougher. Claire’s Kitty (1) has run two thirds in a row against a notch below. Moves up a class, but this trainer has hit with 1 of 2 to do that this year. Talented young trainer who has a single client, and this one had a super work here on June 5. May be ready for best yet today. Evening Tide (5) comes from the barn of the talented Ian Wilkes. Ran second three back MSW types. Gets back to the dirt after one turf try. Consider. I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box those two. Key the 6-1 over the rest in a smaller version is what I do.

3rd: 4-5-2-3-6…I go to the first time starter, Got Gold (4), in this spot. The trainer hits with .21% of this making the debut and with .23% of those making the first start in the MCL ranks. This one had a super training session over at Keeneland on June 4; a bullet move out of 55. Looks primed and ready and the jockey has won with .37% of his last 19 mounts for this barn operation. Teletap (5) is a Tapit colt who has put up 3 seconds and 2 thirds in the first 14 races for the Winchell Thoroughbreds, who bred him. Drops into the claiming ranks for the third time. May get purchased today, with the dropping of the blinkers. Trainer hits with .23% of those losing the glasses, and 26% of those returning after losing as the race time betting favorite. Have to consider, right? Industrialist (2) is 9-5 odds in the ML, and has run some solid races for Coach D. Wayne Lukas. The races two and three back were both nice seconds against much tougher. One could expect him to be tougher in this one, while dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time. Barn hits with .15% of these. Son of City Zip may be another purchased for this $40,000 price tag today. He cost $300,000 in March of 2016. I bet the 4-5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

4th: 6-2-5-3-1…Play the Break (6) is a horse that I have touted and used before. But he gets a huge class drop for the barn of Angel Montano, Sr., today, and that operation hits with .19% of those making this type of plunge. Ran a nice second, giving up the lead very late, two starts back here. Stalker may be in the right spot for a win/claim today. Dancing Waves (2) ran a really good one, while second, two starts back. That was off a small layup, but she spit the bit in the last try at the same level. Our top pick bested her easily that day. A return to form today could make this one tougher, but she has to improve. Bella Be Proud (5) is a deep closer who offers some nice value to the mix at 8-1 ML odds. I think she may drift up from there, with “cold” connections attached. She came running in the last two races, and Dancing Waves only nipped this one by a nose two back. With a clear run, and good position, she may be flying at the end. Worth a shot. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

5th: 4-8-6-5-3-7…A wide open affair here, and tough to zero in on the betting choices. Beware, and take note. I finally land on the first time starter Armony’s Angel (4) — who goes for a barn that normally does NOT do all that well with debut runners. But…This one did have a nice work here on June 2, and the dam of this one has 2 winners from 3 starters, and, get this, two Stakes winners already. So…I break tradition and go with this one with Corey Lanerie — who normally does NOT ride for this barn — in the saddle. Interesting. Run the Jewel (8) has been training very well for a veteran trainer over at the Churchill Downs’ training center here. The dam of this one has 3 winners from 4 starters and a SW as well. The jockey, whose agent is the son of Dale Romans (interesting factoid), is red hot. Has 3-1-1 record in the previous 9 races going into Saturday’s card. Channeled’s Lady (6) will get the saddle for the first time today from my great friend, Buff Bradley. He normally takes his time, as well, but his barn is chalk full of good-looking 2YOs. I’m not kidding. He may be sitting on a huge summer with these guys and gals. This one comes from a dam who has 6 winners form 10 starters and 1 SW, too. I bet the 4-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the top 3 over the others in a smaller version.

6th: 12-4-2-9-3-1-11-5-6…Despite the long list of numbers, I zero in on First Spring (12) in this one, and base all my wagers of f this 3YO colt by Spring At Last. He has raced four times to date, with 3 seconds and a win. Won last time out with this same rider up. Could wheel right back with another top performance, but the outside post is not to my liking. He had the rail last time out. Still, the trainer hits with .18% of those returning from the MSW win while facing winners for the first time. A key play here, only dampened by the post. Pickford (4) is 8-1 ML odds, and I think is much, much better than that. Raced for the first time on grass in the last one and nearly got up to win an allowance. Has been facing much tougher and has  already won twice in the career. Trainer having a slow meet, but knows how to win races, and had a nice work here on June 3. Top rider up. Upset Special? Another possible long shot in here could be Mr. Recio (2), who is 12-1 ML odds. Has raced three times on the grass so far, and has never been beaten more than 11/4 length while on the sod. Returns there today, and ran close behind our #2 pick in the last. Rider is hot right now. I can’t dismiss. I bet the 12-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the top 3 over the 4-2-9-3 in another. I key the 12 over/under all of them in two more. A key race for me, obviously.

7th: 2-3-6-8-4-10-11…Another tough race to narrow the focus, but I will center on the top 3 numbers here. Union Bowman (2) goes for a trainer that has a win in just two starts here this meet, and that is with this horse. The 11YO, who has never been gelded, won here two back and ran way from that group. Came back 22 days later, and didn’t seem like the same guy, losing by about the same margin. I think he may return to form today, and he has a 3-2-1 record in 10 starts here. Top rider stays up, and trainer does hit with .21% of those returning as the beaten favorite — in 42 tries. For Goodness Sake (3) goes for a barn that has been red hot all meet long (.38%). This one ran in a Stakes race in February 2017. After a layoff of about 14 months, he returned at the basement and didn’t offer much. He was 7-wide in that effort, though, and has since returned to work a solid bullet here on June 5. Maybe needed a race to spring the legs back into action. Risky, but worth it, I think. Due to His Charm (6) ran a near-miss second in the last try here on May 25, after setting all the fractions until the end. New rider gets up and here’s a big improvement. I bet the 2-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the top 3 over the rest in a smaller version.

8th: 6-1-4-2-3-7…I key on the top two numbers in this one, led by True Boots (6). Drops out of the tougher allowance/optional claimer ranks into the pure claiming group for the first time ever today. Trainer hits with .18% of those making this transition, and the barn does hit with .22% of those running for a tag. The jockey/trainer have teamed up to win .24% in the last 49 races together, and have a 4-2-3ecord in the last 12 going into Saturday’s action. Nice work here aback in May. Looks sharp right now. Dial Me (1) goes for the barn of Tom Drury, a solid young trainer who picked up a win here this week. He trains this one for the Churchill Downs Racing Club, and it would be a pretty day for that group to celebrate in the winner’s circle. hard a near miss second here on May 19, and now shortens up a bit for this return visit. That should help this front-runner immensely. Trainer hits with nearly .30% of all runners on dirt. Mizz Fabulous (4) won last time out for a trainer having an unreal meet here (.42%). Faces winners for the first time today, but this one and this barn are doing so well that I can’t dismiss. I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

9th: 5-1-7-11-8-6…If for some reason this one is taken off the grass course, then I use the #12. Rains are in the forecast, but I’ll stick with the sod runners in here. Topping my list is Vici (5), who ran in a Stakes event at Pimlico on May 18. Didn’t fare too well in that one, but was might tough in the three previous. Has only 2 wins in 17 starts on the grass, but does hit the board with 6 of 9 at this speciality sprint distance. Interesting sort can either stalk or close. Versatile. Lawton (1) is 6-1 ML, and has not raced since April 26, but this one has hit the board in 9 of the last 10 and the one miss was a fourth. Consistent sort goes for a top young trainer, and keeps a top local rider up. Will be closing and has a huge shot at these odds. Get a Valentine (7) and Malraux (8) both have a hot in here, as well. I use them both. I bet the 5-1 across the board and then box the 5-1-7 in one exacta and the 5-1-8 in another.

10th: 9-1-7-5-10-11-6-2-3…Most of my attention goes to the top 3 in today’s finale. Swan of the Nile (9) is super well bred and had a terrific work at Keeneland on June 3. Trainer normally takes his time, especially with the fillies and this will be the third start. Looked a little brighter and sharper the last time out and the work indicates that this one may be ready now. Love the 6-1 odds and this barn operation. Upset Special here in the works. The horse to beat, for me, is Torri’s On My Mind (1). This one ran huge on debut, but tired mightily in the late going of that one. That exercise should help the wind capacity and the stamina, and she may return a bear. Rider is ice cold, though. Puttinyouonthenews (7) will make the fourth start for Team Asmussen today. Has not been seen since racing on the grass at Saratoga last September. Works have been solid for the return. I bet the 9-1 across the board and then box the top 2 numbers in the exacta, and then key the top 2 over/under the rest. More so over the 5-10-11; lesser so with the 6-2-3.

Good Luck &  All the Best/Gene

We never lost confidence in her.  We worked with her and got her to run a good race today–thank God. Mike (Smith) and I both thought she went too fast early last time (when well beaten as favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint Nov. 4), and she didn’t finish. Today, he let her lay a little off the pace and kept her wide and she finished well.  I have confidence in Unique Bella.  She gets into it and I thought she’d beat her (Paradise Woods), and down the lane, she did it.

Jerry Hollendorfer, the trainer of Unique Bella, who won the G1 La Brea at Santa Anita on Dec. 26
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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