McLean’s Picks of the Day: Ellis Park Races 4-5-8-9

Day Results6-3-1-3
2018 Overall 964360-359-425
Win % of Top Pick37.30%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.60%

We had an OK day at the race on Saturday. We picked three winners out of the six Stakes races conducted up at Indy Grand, although we missed on the Derby. And, on our Twitter feed, we touted Once On Whiskey — which has been one of our “Horses To Watch” all year — in the Los Alamitos Derby.

So, not a bad afternoon, sunning on the lake and then taking in my good friend John Austin down at The Breakers Marina.

Here is a look at four races today at Ellis Park. Very condensed version on just the horses I like today:

4th: Our Majesty (7): If this one comes off the turf today, I will be headed right to the first horse entered for the “Main Track Only,” and that is Our Majesty. This 4YO daughter of Majesticperfecton — bred by Gov. Brereton C. Jones — was and is really cut out to be a top one. She won her first three starts and four of her first five. The only loss in that grouping was a second to Vertical Oak in the G3 Ms. Preakness Stakes at Pimlico last Spring. (Editor’s Note: She won the Purple Martin Stakes in career race #2, but was DQ’d down to fourth. I hated that call, and in my mind she easily won that race.) After the Ms. Preakness Stakes, she was put away until earlier this year. And, she returned just the way she started her career — with a nice win. Came back to run second in her next try at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 16, but beat the show horse easily — and that one came right back to win the next out. In the last race, back in March at Oaklawn, it appeared that trainer Ron Moquette and rider David Cohen tried a new strategy by rating on the inside. By all intents and purposes, she hate that idea. She never got into the race and finished off the board for really the only time in her 7 race career. Now, she is back. And, there is rain in the forecast in West KY today. If this one comes off the grass, watch out here. This one had a monster work at the Churchill Downs’ training center track on July 7 and looks poised. My Best Bet of the Day.

5th: Crosswalk (1): This is a 3YO son of City Zip, and I’ve been waiting, waiting and waiting for this one to run back for trainer Neil Howard and owner W. S. Farish. Especially at this 6-furlong sprint distance. He was beaten in the last race — a high end allowance event at Churchill Downs — going a mile in the slop by a horse named Seven Trumpets. That one came right back to run a huge, huge, huge race for Dale Romans up at Belmont. Now, Crosswalk gets back to his specialty — sprinting. And, he could develop into one of the best in the country before all is said and done. In 6 lifetime starts to date, he has 2 wins, but 4 seconds. Included in those seconds, is one to Quip in a MSW event at Churchill Downs last September. That one went on to win this year’s Tampa Bay Derby. My second Best Bet of the Day, right here.

8th: Kada (1) & Cause I’m Edgy (9): The obvious favorite in this spot will be the rail horse, Kada. This 2YO daughter of Violence was bet down to favoritism in her career debut and ran very well pushing the pace before tiring late in that 5-furlong sprint on June 30. Will get an extra 1/8th of a mile today, but should be up for this one. The runner-up in that race was Rumandice, who is a really good one, and the trainer hits with .26% of beaten favorites. With any improvement at all, she will should be very tough to catch in this spot. But one to watch today and in the future is the outside horse, Cause I’m Edgy. This daughter of Creative Cause is super good looking and has the presence of a winner on the track in the mornings. Trained by Buff Bradley, this filly had a super move over the Churchill Downs main track on July 8. Big, strong and a good mover. One to definitely watch, even though Buff is not known to crank them up for a first start. This one could be an exception. She is out of a Stakes winning mare, and has “the look.” I bet the 1-9 across the board and then box those two in the exactas.

9th: Upset Brewing (7): This hard-knocking filly has raced 13 times to date and has only one win. But she has 7 seconds and 2 thirds. Didn’t really fire here on July 6, when moved 3-wide at the turn. Now, Buff puts her on the grass for the first time. Trainer hits with .10% of those making this surface switch, but I think this filly is really bred for the lawn. She likes to come from off of the pace, and she has faced some really good ones in the past. Already Stakes-placed, she may have the perfect trip set up for her today, and she will be reunited with a rider who has finished second with her three times already. I look for big surge of improvement out of this one today with the move to the sod — if it stays on.

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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