Day Results — 4/19/18 9-3-4-4
Keeneland 92-32-36-42
Top Pick Win % 34.80%
Top Pick ITM % 58-92 63.00%
Top 3 Picks ITM % 39.90%
2018 Overall 577 Races 199-213-220
Win % of Top Pick 34.50%
ITM % of Top 3 Picks 36.50%

Just a so-so day at Keeneland on Thursday, betting wise. But what a great day. Thanks to my good friends at Keeneland, I got the grand opportunity to showcase my sweet, beautiful mom and sister to their first trip to the Clubhouse.

(Momma McLean, left, and Iraline Craig, the greatest sister a wayward brother could ever have)

We had the buffet. And, despite the chilly temps, we got to watch some live races; visit the paddock; talk to Tom Leach, the voice of the University of Kentucky Wildcats (my mom loved that!); chat with jockey Chris Landeros (what a nice fellow); talk to our trainer, Stephen Lyster, and his assistant, Mike Thompson; and chat with Jesse Ullery, the new voice of the Keeneland paddock show.

We also got to visit with my good friends, Rep. Rocky Adkins and Rep. Russ Meyer. And, most of all, spend some quality time together. That doesn’t come as often as it used to, or as often as it should be. But when it does? And, it is at Keeneland? Win-Win-Win.

Love my mom and Sis.

Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 2-3-4-6-5…Mine Mine Mine (2) is usually the refrain of my two grandsons, Ford and Jack, but it kind of reminds me of the fight between the General Assembly and the Governor these days. But that is another story for another day. This 3YO Mineshaft filly has run twice at the MSW level, and will get the drop into the high end Claiming ranks for the first time today. She should appreciate the shorter distance today and had a nice work over the track here on April 13. Trainer normally hits a few at this meet and shows a win and a third in just 6 starts so far this April. Picks up a nice rider today. Hua Mulan (3) went just 51/2 furlongs on debut at Gulfstream Park on March 25. Never got into that one after a slow start. But the world’s top rider stays aboard, and he does well for this barn, which hits with .24% when dropping from MSW to MC ranks. Onzaway (4) will be making her first start East of the Mississippi and the first for a new barn today. Trainer scores with .13% with newcomers and this one has been facing some tough ones on the Left Coast. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

2nd: 7-1-6-9…Electric Avenue (7) gets the drop today into the claiming ranks after a solid third at Oaklawn Park on March 22 against tougher foes. The last time this son of Smart Strike faced these kind, he nearly won, running second as the favorite. Nice work over at Churchill Downs on April 16 for a barn that is coming off a major Winter/Spring meet at the Fair Grounds. The pick. Faction Cat (1) is owned in part by my good friend and high school teammate, Mark Drury. This gelding has raced 19 times in his life with only 1 win. But he has 10 seconds and a third. So, safe thing to do is bet this one to place, right? Has run 4 times at Keeneland before today, with 2 seconds. The rail post is yielding 30% winners and that doesn’t hurt, either. Witnessadream (6) broke his maiden two races back at Turfway. Did not fare too well in the subsequent run, but did come back to work well at Turfway. Will face tougher in this spot today, but picks up one of the world’s top riders for this one. Like the 8-1 odds. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

3rd: 1-6-7-3-2…New Legend (1) is trained by Dale Romans. The rider today will be Corey Lanerie. That used to be a thing in these parts, until the two parted ways last Spring. I think this will be the first time since then that they have teamed up for a reunion tour. The Menifee colt has run third to a couple of good ones in King Zachary, and Machismo. The runner-up two races back has already come back to win, too. And, this one goes for a trainer that loves the Sprint-Route-Sprint angle, where he hits with .26%. Good to see the team back together. Mr Freeze (6) is a first timer for Romans, and he will get a familiar barn hand up in Robby Albarado. The dam of this colt has produced 6 winners from 7 starters — including 3 SWs. And, this one had a really nice work at Gulfstream Park on March 18. Barn does hit with .13% of those making the debut run in the MSW ranks. Laser Loop (7) ran once, but didn’t enjoy it much. Dwelt at the gate and then ran into the metal structure when he finally decided to depart it. Was last throughout that learning experience. Has trained well for the return and gets the same rider back up. Look for improvement today with the addition of blinkers. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

4th: 6-1-2-5-4-7…Grand Candy (6) has not been out since December, but has been training forwardly for this return to the afternoon action. Has run OK off the bench in the past, and the trainer scores with .19% of those returning off this type of layup. Gets a huge jockey change for this effort. May be the trick. Belgian (1) has only run on the dirt surface one time in his life, but it was a winning one. Scored at Delaware Park last June by 2 easy lengths. Has some nice works this Spring in New Orleans, and if you toss the last one, he has been very steady over the other 8 races. Mr. Benz (2) did not run well in the last race, either, running last by many. But before that, this one had hit the board in 9 straight — with 5 wins mixed into that group. Goes for a new trainer today, and he hits with .17% of barn newcomers. Gets an experienced hand to ride. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the top 3 over/under the next 3 numbers, as well. I definitely use the #4.

5th: 10-8-9-7-2…My first “dot” play comes in this race, and with Kinsella (10). This one will be making his racing debut this afternoon, but his mother has produced 3 winners from 3 starters and a Stakes Winner already. The trainer hits with .20% of those making the debut in the MC ranks. And, this one had a superb work here on April 11. Like to see the rider break well from the outside, and move over to save as much ground as possible. If they can manage that maneuver? Watch out. Warrior Inside (8) was claimed last time out by a trainer that scores with .11% of those making the debut for the new operation after the purchase. This one looked like a winner at a grade below, but tired mightily in the final strides to fall out of contention in that one. But the rider did lost the whip in that one, too. Gets a new, more experience rider for this tilt. Could be ready. Still Lookin (9) is another first time starter for a trainer not known for getting them ready for the debut. But this one is training well and the dam has produced 2 winners from 2 starters and 1 SW. Gets a top rider aboard, too. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta.

6th: (12)-8-6-7-9-4-3-2…If this one is moved off the turf today and the #12 gets in, then I think you have to consider in this one. But if it stays on the sod, I like Victory Garden (8) — who has run 2 seconds in as many starts. Should be ready in the third career move today, and had a nice work over at Churchill Downs on April 16. Gets a hot rider to take the mount. The pick. Bouncy (6) is 6-1 ML odds, and that’s attractive for this spot. The Twirling Candy filly will be making her career debut for a trainer that can get them ready off the bench, and this one had a solid work here on April 11. Top rider takes the mount. Interesting choice. Plans to Prosper (7) ran a deep closing third last time out and should improve off that try. If she does, she will be tough in this spot. The interesting note, to me, is that the rider on her the last time out opts to move to Bouncy this time. I take note. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 3-1-7-2-4…Auntie’s the One (3) has a second and 2 wins in the last three outs and was the beaten favorite in the last try here on April 7. Wheels right back in two weeks to try it again. Looks super fresh and sharp right now, by all indications, and the trainer does hit with .15% of beaten favorites on the return. Clever Serve (1) goes for the barn of Steve Asmussen, who is having a very solid meet here with limited number of runners. In the first 7 starters, he has 2 wins and a third. This one is coming off a sloppy track effort in the last, but has 2 seconds and a win since being claimed by the current connections. Should be tough with a dry track today. Upstage (7) is 8-1 ML odds, but ran second here last October. Had a super work here on April 10 and a really good one at Payson Park in Florida before that. Looks ready for the return. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

8th: 4-6-8-2-7-1-3…Patterson Cross (4) has run in four straight Graded Stakes events, but falls back into allowance company today for the first time since December 2016. Won that day at this level when wearing blinkers for the first time. If he is ready to fire, he will be tough at this endurance distance of 11/2-miles. But he does have the benefit of a race this yer to give him some conditioning. Arch Daddy (6) will go for the barn of Shug McGaughey, and he has 2 wins in the last 3 races to his credit. Nice work down at Payson Park on April 7. Could be tough at this distance, since he won two back at 13/8ths miles. Deeply Undervalued (8) is the prohibitive ML favorite, and why not? After all, he goes for the barn of Chad Brown, and they are winning everything in sight. Had his first race since September of 2016 at Gulfstream Park on March 24 of this year. Ran OK after that long layoff, and should improve today. But is he fully fit after the kind of a layoff? I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

9th: 9-11-12-7-2-6-10-8-1-3…G3 Doubledogdare Stakes…Valadorna (9) has run one time in her life over this track, and she won that one, while breaking her maiden, by 6 easy lengths. She has not been out since Jan 28, when she ran in a G3 event at Houston. Tired in that one. But she won the two previous affairs, and has worked super well over this track since April 1. The definite pick for me. Well Humored (11) gets an unfortunate post position, as well. But this one does have some tactical speed, if rider Jose Ortiz decides to employ it from the gate of this 11/16-mile contest. Training very well, and won a Stakes event at Tampa back in January. Trainer is very solid with this type of layoff (.24%) and this one has 3 career wins in just 4 starts. The only loss came on the turf against a good one. Tapa Tapa Tapa (12) lost to our second choice today two back at Tampa Bay by less than a length. Since converting to the dirt full-time, this one has 6 starts and a record of 2-1-0. Two of the losses came in the G3 Honeybee and the G2 Black Eyed Susan a year ago. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under all the numbers listed. 

10th: 7-8-6-9-11-4-1-3-10…City Day (7) has not raced since running third on 2 occasions, but this one has been training very well in Florida for a trainer that scores with .20% of those returning from this kind of layup. Well bred for the grass surface, and from a mare who had 2 turf wins. She has produced 9 starters who have totaled 6 wins, including one SW. Picks up a hot rider for this one. Maybe Wicked (8) has just one start to date, and she ran second in that one when tiring late. Well bet in the inaugural run at the Fair Grounds in late March, and has worked very nicely at Churchill Downs since being shipped North. Should be geared up and ready to go for a jockey that has won with .39% of the last 41 rides for this barn. Lunar Garden (6) ran in a Ontario-bred Stakes event to finish the 2017 campaign. Before that, though, had run two strong seconds. Working very well for the return for a trainer that hits with .17% of MSW races. Super work on March 31 at Palm Meadows and the barn has a win here this meet, already. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I key the 7 over/under all the other numbers in two more.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene