Well, we didn’t have a lot of pure winners on today’s card at Saratoga, but we hit some nice tickets.  Look at the picks below.  And, you would have reaped many rewards.

The 10th race, we hit the exacta for an $82 payoff for $1 exacta bet.

The 9th race — the G1 Alabama — we hit the exacta for a $77.50 payoff for a $1 bet. And, we touted It Tiz Well, Salty and Elate.

The 8th race — the G2 Lake PIacid — we touted the place winner and hit the exacta, too, for a $9.60 payoff for $1 bet.

The 4th race we hit the exacta and paid $9.80 for $1.

And, the first race, we hit the exacta which paid $12.60 for $1.

Not a bad day.

I’m here at Camp McLean, on the beautiful banks of the Kentucky Lake, making ready for the Total Eclipse of the Sun.  (Reminds me of a line from a Carly Simon song that also references Saratoga!) But what a morning.  Sun does shine bright on this old Kentucky home, with water and dreams dancing.

So, let’s go racing…Here’s a closer look at the full race cards at Saratoga and Ellis Park.


1st: 2-1-6-8…Not an easy race, by any means, but I settle on the Brian Lynch gelding, Turbo Street (2), who will be getting his third race in a cycle comeback.  Has been close enough with some rough travels.  A clean trip makes this one tough in here. Mills (1) is a deep closer who will need a much cleaner trip, and loses a top rider. Still, this one had a huge work on Aug. 10 and may be sitting on go. River Date (6) and Southside Warrior (8) both warrant a look see in this spot, too. I go with the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-1 in one exacta and then wheel that duo over/under the 6-8.

2nd: 4-3-9-8-10-6-7…Chad Brown saddles Congruity (4), a $210,000 yearling purchase a year ago, for his first career start.  Has plenty of works and should be ready for a trainer that seemingly can’t lose. Got to use here. Fletcher is normally not as good with first timer turf horses as he is with the dirt variety, but Hyndford (3) is bred to like it, and, like the preferred choice, is working right up to this one in good form. I really like Discovered (9) in this spot and the barn of Mark Casse, which has been bitter cold all meet, is starting to heat up a bit.  This one nearly pulled off the win at Gulfstream Park on July 20.  Mind you that the comp down there is not real keen right now, but this one gave a nice run at it before tiring late.  I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-3 in one exacta and key the duo over/under all the rest of the numbers. Editor’s Note: Watch out if the 13 draws in.

3rd: 5-4-2…Don’t really like the race, but if I must, I go to Hexameter (5), who has posted 3 ITM finishes in last 5 outs. This stalker was right there in the last and tired mightily. Gets a return to the dirt today and that may be this one preferred surface. Wildcat Belle (4) has 7 ITM finishes in the last 9 tries, and has hit the board in 9 of 13 lifetime tries, but prefers the minor placings. I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the top three choices.

4th: 2-1-6-3-4…Black Sea (2) is my top choice here and if the last race helps with stamina at all, he should be ready to rock and roll in this spot today.  This one ran fourth to Mekhtaal in a Group 3 event in France last fall, before being shipped to NA.  Has caught two good fields here since, but these will be easier today. Hello Don Julio  (1) is 2-for-2 at this long distance route, and had three nice tries before getting thumped in the G2 Bowling Green. Back with his types today.  I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-1 in one exacta and then key the 2-1 over/under the other numbers listed above.

5th: 6-2-7-4-8-3-1…Really good MSW event and it looks like it may shape up to be a really good day for Chad Brown. Again. He sends out Variant Perception (6) — a 2YO son of Curlin — in this spot and he has been training very well at Saratoga. If he can turn his a.m. form into afternoon reality, then it could be another photo op for this operation. Super Sermon (2) goes for the Pletcher barn, and has been working well, too. Brown has another entry in Allured, who cost $600,000. And, he is by Flatter. Another one that would not surprise, at all.  I bet the 6 (who I think has trained just a hair better than his stablemate) to win/place and then box the 6-2-7 in one exacta and then key the 6-2-7 over the other numbers listed.

6th: 2-4-8-6-5-1…Caviar Czar (2) is one of my top selections all day.  He has been off since running a tough second on July 4 at Belmont Park and stretches out to a 11/8-mile test today.  But he has won at this distance before and I think will have the perfect stalking position for this tilt. Battle Midway (4) ran a real strong effort against a top notch colt in his last.  Has a tendency to check up once the real racing gets started, but is game enough to put himself in the competition. Meantime (8) is likely to be an odds-on favorite in this spot, and he has run a couple of game seconds to the likes of Patch and Timeline.  I question whether he really wants to go this far, though.  I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2 over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

7th: 6-9-8-3-4-1…Ellery Lane (6) is another Chad Brown pupil.  And, this one will be making her NA debut today.  She ran a game fourth to Roly Poly, who is a super good one over the pond. If she is ready, and Brown always has them ready (or so it seems), then she will be very tough in this spot. Vagabond (9) is 6-1 ML for trainer Shug McGaughey and gets her third race cycle today. If she gets a cleaner trip from Irad Ortiz, then she could close with a rush. Glory to Kitten (8) figures to have the first try with her stalking style, and has not been off the board in 6 tries this year.  I have to use. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-9-8 in one exacta and then key the 6-8 (note the jump over to 8 here) over/under all the other numbers listed.

8th: 6-3-4-2-1…G2 Lake Placid Stakes…On the morning Audiocast with my good friend Dave Baker, I selected La Coronel (3), whom I have watched and wagered on all spring.  I still like her a lot, but I’m going to take a little different approach than I thought, originally.  I’m going to go with Chad Brown — yet again — with Uni (6).  She will be closing with a rush and should benefit from her last out — which was against New Money Honey, a turf champ. I think the rider difference will make all the difference in this one.  Irad Ortiz is simply better than the rider on La Coronel. La Coronel does return to the states after an eventful — and unsuccessful — try at Royal Ascot.  Before leaving the USA, she had hit the board in five of her previous 6 tries. She will be tough if Florent Geroux — who is having a tough year — can keep her out of trouble. Proctor’s Ledge (4) is rapidly improving and ran a huge one in her last, when she won the G3 Lake George and when she received Lasix for the first time.  Do not dismiss this one.  I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-3-4 in one exacta and then key the 6-3-4 over (only) the 2-1.

9th: 5-6-3-7-9-4…G1 Alabma Stakes…As much as I love New Money Honey (1) and have touted the Chad Brown horses throughout the card today, I think this placement is a huge mistake.  Why take a champion grass horse and try her on the dirt? Especially with the huge grass races coming up? Like the one before this one. I don’t know.  But I go with some experienced dirt horses in here, and there are some real good ones.  On the show this morning, I gushed about Unchained Melody (5), and she is worth gushing over.  This daughter of Smart Strike is brilliantly quick and can carry her speed.  But she will have to extend it out to 11/4 miles today and that is taxing.  So, I actually will key my bets on another — Salty (6).  She finally gets away from Abel Tasman, after three straight failed attempts there. And, if she can get away from the gate, too, she will be very tough in this spot.  I think she gets a huge rider switch, too.  I’m also going to key It Tiz Well (3), whom I think is getting better and better with each race. And, she was pretty darn good to start with.  Jerry Hollendorfer normally doesn’t ship all the way across the country without a good reason.  She is a good reason. Elate (7) ran a good one, closing on Abel Tasman in her last.  A duplicate effort today makes her dangerous, too. I go with the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 5-6-3 in one exacta and then key the 5-6-3 over/under the other numbers listed.

10th: 8-7-1-2-5-9-4…And, watch out if the 1A and/or 12 draw in…So, in other words, this is an “all button” race? Maybe.  I am going to take a rider on No Cats Allowed (8), trained by my good friend Tom Proctor.  He is one of the best in the business and hires fantastic staff, as well.  He only ships up to Saratoga for a reason, and it’s not to see his buddies at Siro’s. Watch out.  Remarqued (7) and Assertive (1) both are interesting, as well, and will pose serious threats.  I bet the 8 — who is 8-1 ML — to win/place/show and then box the 8-1-7 in one exacta and then key the top three choices over the 2-5-9-4.

Ellis Park:

1st: 2-8-1-7…Dahlia’s Foxy Lady (2) gets the nod here and why not? The combo of trainer Brad Cox and rider Corey Lanerie have hit with .46% in 13 starts this meet. This one ran a tough-beat second at Indiana on July 26 and gets the drop in class today. Very Elegant (8) gets the drop, too, and will be a tough customer to the wire. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-8 in one exacta solid.  Will key the 2-8 over the 1-7 as a saver.

2nd: 4-7-5-3-8…Kutuzov (4) takes a huge class drop for this one and comes from a good training operation.  Should be mighty tough to beat in this one. Sky Blue Mongolia (7) and Cheyenne Blues (5) are two we have bet before. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key over/under all the rest of the numbers.

3rd: 6-2-8-3-1…Another key horse in here, with Private Time (6) — at 8-1 ML.  This one had a tough trip from the get-go in his last and if Jon Court can avoid the gate issues that he had then, then they may be tough to handle in this spot. Ripping Ranger (2) and Greeleys Charm (8) both have legit chances in here, too. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers listed.

4th: 2-5-6-1-8…I go strong with Just a Lady (2) in this spot.  She has hit the board in 9 of 14 outs and has 5 ITM placings in 7 starts at this distance on the turf. She was a tough-beat second here on July 15 and if she can duplicate that effort with the meet’s leading rider getting on board this time, then she will be very tough in this spot.  I bet the 2 to win/place and then key over/under all the other numbers. A Double and Pick 3 key, as well.

5th: 6-7-8-4-5-3…The team of trainer Steve Asmussen and Lanerie are back at it in this one, and I am very bullish on Sharm (6). This one has three super efforts in a row and was way wide in his last try.  A better, cleaner trip today will boost this one’s chances, immensely, and I bet Lanerie is not 6-wide again. I bet the 6 to win/place and key over/under all the rest of the numbers listed.

6th: 10-3-5-4-9…What a nice race for MC30…I land on Blue Ridge Girl (10) who drops from the MSW ranks at Indy for this spot. Should be tough with a cleaner trip in here. But I will bet my win/place money on Desert Poem (3), who goes for the barn of Ian Wilkes.  This one had a horrific trip in his last out here on July 14, getting caught really wide and then flattening out.  She gets blinkers for the first time today, and that should help this filly focus on the task at hand. Rocket Girl (5) and Sneaky Betty (4) both go for Brad Cox, and both get top riders in here.  I bet the 3 (take note) to win/place and then box the 3-10-5 in one exacta and the 3-10-4 in another.  I use all the numbers in the Pick 3 finale.

7th: 6-9-7-2-10-3-5-4…First glance, it looks like I can’t pick a horse in here. Not so.  The top 3 are, IMO, the best of the bunch, but I’m hunting some payoffs, too.  Top choice is Fight On (6), who caught a wide trip in his first out.  The son of Into Mischief should benefit greatly from that experience. Flat Lucky (9) is another Asmussen pupil in here. This one has trained well over this surface and should be ready for his career debut. Crazy Ivan (7) picks up Lasix for his second out. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-9 in one exacta.  I then key the 6-9 over/under all the other numbers in another exacta — hunting those odds.

8th: 10-6-5-8-3-2…The top two in here get “dots” (must use). I go with Toasted (10) on top, and she has been a different filly since being equipped with the blinkers by trainer Ian Wilkes. She will be closing with a purpose in this one, and if she can get through or around, she will be tough. Dream Dance (6) goes for trainer Neil Howard and picks up regular rider Brian Hernandez, who rides a lot for Wilkes, too.  This one has a lot of seconds and thirds on her resume, but is a true closer, too. I bet the 10 to win/place and then box the 10-6 in one exacta and then take the 10-6 over/under all the others in another.

9th: 7-8-2-3-5-4-1…Again, the top two choices in here stand out to me.  I Remember Mama (7) goes for a top young trainer in Thomas Drury. She is by Ghostzapper, whom I love, and she had a nice learning experience over this track. A better start or a better run will help this one to the circle today. Mister Legend (8) goes for Wilkes, and has caught some good ones in her first four starts. She should be ready for a big one today.  I bet the 7 to win/place and then box the 7-8 solidly.  I then key them both over the rest of the numbers. I’ll def use the 5 in that equation. May be a sleeper in here at odds.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene