Final Version: McLean’s Picks for Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 13

Day Results10-3-4-3
2018 Overall 1510559-551-658
Win % of Top Pick37.02%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.03%
Top Selection ITM / KEE: 37-5962.71%
Top Selection Win / KEE 20-5933.90%
“Key Horses”: 5-2-1 in 8 races62.50%

We had 3 winners on the 10-race card for Friday, and our top selection hit the “board” in 7 of the 10 races. We also had exactas that returned $41.40, $15.20, $16.40, and 6.80 for each $1 play.

Our one “key” horse of the day ran a huge second, and I was thinking he was going by the winner with each stride in the stretch. We did hit the exacta in that one and got back $41.40 for each $1 bet in that one.


We are hoping for a bit more luck. A few more trips to the winner’s circle. And, a few more tickets to cash. We are headed out to tailgate in just a few. Cool weather. Hot bets. Right?

Here’s a look at today’s card:

1st: 7-3-4/1-5-6…Mjoinir (7) was claimed last time out by a barn that is 0-for-25 with debut runners after the purchase. But this one will get the blinkers for the first time today, and if you go back three races, tis one nearly won a nice MSW event at Churchill Downs over the sod. Lost that one by a nostril. If the new connections can get this one back to that level? Watch out. Somebody’s Beau (3) ran a good one three back, as well, finishing second by a neck at the MSW level. That was this one’s second straight second. The rider is a bit suspect at this level, but this one could be better shifting back to a traditional turf course today. My Dream (4) will get Corey Lanerie in the saddle. He is bound to heat up sooner rather than latter. He’s too darn good not to get to the winner’s circle soon. This one ran huge last time out and should be the PT favorite. I bet the 7-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

2nd: 5/2-4-1/6-7…As I have written here before, it is tough for me to “key” a horse at this claiming level. Consistency is what makes a “key” horse a “key” horse, and these types are hard to find consistency. But…San Elijo (5) should get bought today. I think he is better than the price tag that he is entered for in this case by a barn searching for wins this meet. Gets the hottest rider on the grounds and this one started off the career with a huge bang. Last out was awful, tiring and quitting. He has done that twice in his five race career. Yet, when he is good, he is really good. Halite (2) is dropping down for the same barn. Broke the maiden three races back and ran well immediately after that at Delaware Park. The last out was not good, but he, too, gets a top rider and is looking for redemption. Maybe the work before the last race was just too much before the race. This one should be better today with the drop in class, as well. Forgotten Coast (4) has not run well since Tampa Bay in January. But he has been facing much tougher and now gets class relief of major proportions. Trainer hits with .17% of those getting into the claiming ranks for the first time. Maybe? I bet the 5-2 across the board and then box the top 2 solidly in the exacta. I key the 5-2 over/under the 4-1 and then key over (only) the 6-7.

3rd: 5/1-2-4-6…Now, we get the first “key” horse of the day, and my first Best Bet of the Day. Copper Town (5) has not raced since a year ago at Belmont Park. But this son of Speightstown and out of a Ghostzapper mare is and could still be the real deal. Before going on the shelf, this guy ran off to two straight impressive and runaway wins. He has been working steadily for the return and has been gassing it in the a.m. for a red-hot trainer here. My solid pick. If he gets out of the gate? Look the heck out. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under the 1-2-4-6 in the exacta. I will key the 5 over (only) the numbers again. My key in the horizontals, as well.

4th: 3-5/9-8-4-7…I wil focus on the top two numbers in this race, led by Gozer the Gozerian (3). This one is trained by a barn that is red-hot this meet. This one ran awful on debut back at Ellis Park in July, but gets the blinkers for the first time and the barn is .34% in 41 tries with the new equipment. There is one other change for this guy. And, he loses his “other equipment” for the first time, and runs as a gelding today. The works in the a.m. since the “procedure” have been awesome. I look for a huge performance out of this one today. Wings Up (5) is a first time starter for a new barn that is off to a really nice start. Work at the Churchill Training Center on Oct 5 was super nice and this one comes from a dam who has 4 winners from 4 starters and she has already tossed a Stakes winner. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 numbers here in the exacta. I will key the top 2 numbers over the 9-8-4-7.

5th: 1A-7-2/1-3-4-10…I will zero in on the top three numbers in this case, led by She Doesn’t Mind (1A). This 5YO mare is returning to the races as a beaten favorite, and the barn hits with .33% of these. Was beaten a dirty nose in the last at Saratoga. That was this one’s second runner-up finish in a row. Shifts to a solid rider in this one, even though he has been cold of late. Looks solid in this spot. Holly Go Lightly (7) has run three really good ones since getting back to the grass. Two seconds and a third in those, and now drops in class. Should press the pace early, and speed has been doing well on both the grass and the dirt here this meet. Take note. I Got the Boy (2) is another who is dropping down the class order in this one. Ran really well against tougher at KY Downs before tiring late in that one. Went too far probably for her liking and the cut back in distance should help this one, who likes to be out close to the lead as well. A good grass rider gets the call today. I bet the 1A-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 1A over/under the 3-4-10 in two more.

6th: 3-4-1A/2-8-9-5…Another race where I will spread out a bit, and focus on the top 3 numbers in this spot. Broome (3) is the prohibitive ML favorite, and should be with the drop from two straight Stakes events into the claiming ranks in her first start for one of the Midwest’s top barns. Like the recent works since shifting here from the West Coast, and the barn hits with .22% of those making the debut for the new connections. This one likes to go to the front, too, and that is playing very well here this meet. You will have to beat this one to win the race, for sure. Our Girl Abby (4) shifts here from Belmont and Saratoga. Moves up a class bump, but this one has two seconds and a win in the last 4 races. The only poor performance came on a “good” racetrack, and we should get a fast surface today. Had a chance to work over the track here on Oct. 6, and the barn hits with .25% when they ship to race. Honor With Pride (1A) won the last time out when dropped into the claiming ranks. Fits with this category, and may spice up the exotics at a price. Likes to rally late, though, and that style of racing has been compromised on the dirt here this meet. I bet the 3-4 across the board and then box those 2 solidly in the exacta. I will key the 3-4 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed.

7th: 5-10-11/12-9-8-6/1A-2…A wide open affair right here, with plenty of contenders and options. Tough to narrow this crop down to a betting few, but, if I must, I will venture a bit to Explorationist (5) — who will be making his second career start for a barn that hits with .17% of them. Ran well on debut at Ellis Park, but tired late and hit the ball in a 5-furlong event. Now, stretches out to 6 furlongs and will need to extend his speed. Pedigree suggests that he should have more stamina that what he showed on debut. Dam was a SW, too, and this one was heavily bet on debut. Trainer hits with .25% of those returning as a beaten favorite. Bourbon Calling (10) ran well on debut at Churchill Downs on Sept. 15 for a barn that rarely has them cranked and ready for the first try. Does move up to .10% win rate for second timers. Tapit Wise (11) is a super well-bred colt by Tapit, and will be making the career debut today for a red-hot barn. Dam of this one has 4 winners from 5 starters and 2 SW. The work here on Oct. 5 should set this one up just right. My pick to bet. I bet the 5-11 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 5-11 over the 12-9-8-6.

8th: 10-7-11/3-9-8-6/5…Another wide open affair here, and I will focus on the top 3 numbers once again. Treasure in Heaven (10) made the return to the races in nearly 10 months with a disappointing performance. Ran well for half of that one at Saratoga in late August, but spit the bit late. Now, she will get Lasix for the first time — suggesting that she may have bled in the last out. Like the works since the race, and this one showed a lot of potential before the last out, too. HOF rider gets the call today. Upset Brewing (7) will get the saddle from one of the best trainers and people I have ever met. This filly has only 1 win in 14 starts. But she has 7 seconds and 3 thirds. Seemingly, she always tries and runs her race. Comes off the grass today, and I expect a huge effort with a new rider up. Quick Quick Quick (11) has been off her game of late, but I can toss the race over the slop and the last out was difficult as well — going wide. If she can rediscover her Kentucky form, she could be tough in this spot. I bet the 10-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 7 underneath the “all button.” 

9th: 8/5-7-1/3-4…G1 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup…The coronation of this G1 event has all but begun, and one can understand why. In six career starts, Rushing Fall (8) has five wins and a second. That loss came in the G3 Edgewood early this year when she tired late while making her second start of the year and off an extended vacation. Today, she will return to a track where she is a perfect 2-for-2, and she has the only speed in the race. Looks to have her way — on paper — and she may have her way on the grass, too. Super talent. With that being written, these types can get a bit lazy on the front end if nothing peaks their interest. And, there are two European shippers in here that just may give the top choice a race in the late going today. Mission Impassible (5) comes out of a Group 1 event in France, and, before that, she won a Group 2. She may not have the speed to match the top one, but she could be motoring late to make it interesting. Should love the cool temps and this softer ground. Chapel Temptress (7) is a later runner who will pick up the hottest grass rider in the country right now. Ran second to the top choice in the G2 Lake Placid in August. May do it again. Nyaleti (1) is the other Euro shipping in, and this is another one who could press the pace, a bit. The field will need this one to be keen early to soften up the top choice. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-5 solidly in one exacta. I will key the 8 over (only) the 5-7-1-3-4.

10th: (13)-8-6-2/1-7-9/10-11-3-5…If the #13 draws into this field, I will definitely go there to top this field. If not, though, I will have to spread out — once again. Vagabond Princess (8) ships back home after a try in the G2 J.C. Mabee Stakes at Del Mar. Didn’t fare well over that firm grass, but she does have a win here and has faced some good ones earlier this year. Trainer hits with .12% of those making the second start off a layup. Like the work here in Oct. You Cheated (6) won last time out when the race was moved off the grass. Ran off to an easy win in that one. The two races before, though, she ran well. Has done some good work since being claimed by this barn three races back. Has to gear up today, though. Mo Knows (2) comes from the barn of Wesley Ward and picks up a top rider in the saddle. This one hooked a good one at Belterra. Don’t be surprised by this one today. The entry is well balanced, and both have a shot if they get in, as well. If the 13 draws in, she becomes the key. If not, I bet the 8-2 across the board, and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 8-2 over/under the 2-1-7-9.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • 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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