One hurricane, Harvey, rained out Kentucky Downs’ opening day last Saturday, forcing the track to move the date to today. Now, another hurricane is bearing down on the Southeast and may have an impact in Kentucky later.
But, at least for today, the rains will stay away and the wind will blow elsewhere, as Kentucky Downs will unveil its’ hilly turf course to some fine grass racing, and, offer the ultimate in handicapping challenges.
Speaking of hurricanes…take a look at this one…
We’re better than that guy…
So, let’s take a closer look at what promises to be a fun, exciting, and, perhaps, “upset filled” day of racing in little Franklin, KY:
1st: 12-7-9-6-1-11…Sugar Cube (12) is owned and trained by good friend, Rick Hiles, and has had a superb year. The 6YO mare has raced 7 times this season with 4 wins and 3 thirds. And, she is coming off an easy, closing, 21/4-length victory on Aug. 17 at Indy. She breaks from the far outside today in a race that will cover 1 mile and 70 yards, but she will have plenty of time to settle into a nice running spot for her traditional run home. Voluptuous (7) has a win and two seconds in her last three outs and appears to be at the top of her game right now for a very solid trainer. Sark Lady (9) picks up Corey Lanerie to ride today, and that should help this filly who has 2 wins, a second and a third in her 5 starts this year. Keep an eye on Madaket Millie (1), who is a 10-1 ML longshot. If she can duplicate her run at The Fairgrounds on March 3, she will be extremely tough in here. I bet the 12 to win/place and then box the 12-7-9 in one exacta and then key the 12-7 over (only) all the numbers listed in another.
2nd: 8-4-12-9-6-11…Keep an eye out to see if the 13-14 draw in from the AE list, but if they do not, here is how I go…Our Girl Abby (8) comes in with 4 ITM finishes in her first 5 career starts. Has been facing some good ones, too, like Orbolution in her last. The latter just came back to win the P.G. Johnson Stakes at Saratoga, with a super impressive move along the rail. C.S. Incharge (4) took an over-land route in her last, going 5-wide. Still managed to finish 2nd in a dirt try. Will be interesting to see if improvement today going longer and on grass. Downwind (12) has been a beaten favorite in each of her first two tries, tiring late in each of them. Daughter of Curlin is very well bred and cost $270,000 as a yearling. Scenic Road (9) is a first timer from the barn of Steve Asmussen and warrants a strong look. This one cost $225,000 as a yearling and has been training well at Churchill. Don’t leave out. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-4-12 in one exacta and then the 8-4-9 in a smaller one.
3rd: 5-4-3-8-6…Galton (5) has hit the board in 24 of 34 lifetime starts, and gets a return visit from a very talented rider in this spot. Has faced some nice ones along the way and has still posted a win and 3 seconds in 5 starts this year. Look out. Major Munnings (4) has had only two career starts for a trainer that does NOT do well with grass runners (at least not this year). But this one is special. Has opened up in each of his two starts at Ellis Park this summer and has run away and hid. Trounced a good one in his last. Chiltern Street (3) comes from the barn of Wesley Ward, after being claimed out of his last try at Saratoga — specifically for this spot. Is a stalker, who will get a jump coming up the closing hill. Allidoisdreamofyou (8) has raced only once on the turf, and he tired in that one after setting much of the pace. Plenty of speed in here today, so I am weary. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-4-3 in one exacta and then key the 5-4 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed in another.
4th: 3-10-6-2-1-8…Keep an eye out if the 15 draws in from the AE. If not, I go with Douglas Road (3) — who was a feature in our “Pedigree of the Day” segment prior to his last race. He should have won that day, but was nipped a nose by a good one. This one has speed and can stalk, if need be. I love this one today, and, as such, gets one of my “Best Bets of the Day” tag. He was made 8-1 in the ML. Go figure. That makes him one of my “Upset Bets of the Day,” too. Mr Cub (10) is 6-1 ML and may drift up in the odds game. Comes into this one having nearly won his last, when wearing blinkers for the first time. Got a top field in that one and should benefit from the effort. Mongol G (6) is 10-1 ML and has a legit chance in this spot. Throw out the two “off the turf” races in the last four and he figures with these. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-10-6 in one exacta and then key the 3 over/under all the other numbers listed.
5th: 9-6-10-4-2-5-12-3…Keep a watchful eye on the AE list, and if the 13-14-15 draw in, they can figure. If not, I go with my great friend Tom Proctor in this spot and his horse Proud Reunion (9). Proctor has always supported this meet and has won over this course before, and his filly today comes in off a solid performance against Danceland, who recently ran in a stakes at Saratoga. I loved Danceland that day (no, she didn’t win), but this one ran a really good one against her at Saratoga on Aug. 3. A repeat performance of that effort will make her tough in this spot. Wolf Gourmet (6) goes for the barn of Dale Romans and this one cost $265,000 as a yearling. Has hit the board in 5 of 6 starts this year, and has caught some good ones, too. Awesome Boss (10) has a win and 2 seconds in only 4 starts this year, and backs up in distance today. Has only 1 third in 3 chances on the grass, but could close with a purpose over this course. Keep an eye on Pauline Revere (4), who goes for Ian Wilkes today. This one is really doing well and is 8-1 ML. I bet the 9-4 across the board and then box the 9-6-4 in one exacta and then wheel the 9-6-4 over/under the rest of the numbers listed with a $1 exacta, too.
6th: 12-2-4-7-10-1-6… The One Dreamer Stakes…Zipessa (12) has hit the board in 9 of 14 lifetime starts, but has only a second and a third in 4 outs this year. But she has run in 10 straight Graded Stakes races and hit the board in 6 of them. She shortens up in distance today, but certainly has the stamina and has never missed the board in 3 tries at this length. Training well at Fair Hill, too. My second “Best Bet of the Day.” Boreale (2) made her NA debut in June with a nose victory at Delaware Park. Tried Stakes company at Mountaineer in her last and made a nice run. This is her third race for Graham Motion and should be both fit and ready. My Impression (4) goes for Shug McGaughey, who doesn’t ship unless he has a reason. This one ran 6th to Lady Eli in her last out, but was beaten only 5 lengths. Had 2 straight seconds before then. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then box the 12-2-4 in one exacta and then key the 12 over/under all the numbers in another.
7th: 9-3-11-6-5-4-1-8-10… The Exacta Systems Juvenile Fillies…Keep an eye out to see if the 15 or 16 draws in from the AE, too. But don’t get dismayed by all the numbers. I really love Ultima D (9) in this spot today, for trainer Wesley Ward. This daughter of Scat Daddy has run two huge efforts in a row and is firing nothing but bullets since her return from a game neck-beat at Saratoga — against a real good one. Owned by John Morgan and his “For The People” stable. My third “Best Bet of the Day” is right here. Best Performance (3) gets the grass for the first time, and the trainer has excelled this year with first timers on the turf and those that are switching surfaces. Will be making a serious run in this spot. Katie’s Reward (11) stretches out after an impressive victory over at Ellis Park. I can’t ignore. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-3 solidly in one exacta and then key the 9-3 over/under all the other numbers listed.
8th: 8-2-3-1…The Tourist Mile…Irish Strait (8) caught Money Multiplier in his last and only lost by 11/2 lengths. That one just came back at Saratoga and was highly touted to capture a stakes. Ran a huge once against Ascend three back, as well. This one will be tough in this spot today. Flatlined (2) is a horse I touted in the Cliff Guilliams Stakes at Ellis Park on Aug. 13, and he ran down the leaders at the wire to capture that one at odds of 7.60 to 1. Has trained well since then, and looks like the same horse that beat the likes of Divisidero this past winter at Gulfstream Park. No slouch here at 6-1 ML. Shining Copper (3) has not been out since August of 2016. But he runs very well fresh and has been training well for Mike Maker. I bet the 8 to win/place and then box the 8-2-3 in one exacta and the 8-2 in another one.
9th: 9-7-3-4-1-11-12…The Fasig-Tipton Turf Showcase Juvenile…Snapper Sinclair (9) gets the leg up from Steve Asmussen in this spot today, and he comes into this one off a huge, 4-length victory in a MSW at Saratoga. Loved the grass in that first try on the surface, and this son of City Zip appears to have the edge over all of these. Northern Trail (7) broke his maiden on the grass at Ellis Park and came right back to try the ultra-impressive Dak Attack on the dirt in the Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes. Was no match for the winner that day, but that winner may be the best 2YO in the country right now. I can’t dismiss the 7 here. Bantu (3) lost to Northern Trail in his debut, but came right back to win easily in his next — flattering the 7 in that one. I bet the 7 (take note) in one of my “Upset Specials” to win/place/show. I then wheel the 7 over/under all the numbers in two exactas and take a 9-7-3 in an exacta box for a third.
10th: 7-1-11-10-2-5-6-8…Run Time (7) gets a slight edge in the nightcap. I can throw out the last one at Saratoga, after a long ship from Florida and the fact that he had run five good ones before. The race that stands out, though, is the one three back when he ran a length behind Hiroglyphics — who went to Saratoga and impressed all. Iconic (1) is 6-1 ML and likely to drift up the odds board, too. Ran a super one at Churchill Downs back in May, losing by only 1/2-length to Fifth Title, a nice one. Needs a little racing room today, but could score at a nice price. Harangue (11) goes for Scooter Hughes, who does a real nice job of training. This one has 3 seconds in the last 4 outs and has hit the board in 8 of 10 lifetime starts. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-1-11 in one exacta and then key the 7-1 over (only) all the numbers listed in another.
Good luck &
All the Best/Gene