At least, we are better than this guy…And, we use, too…

Well, the clock and the calendar have turned, yet again.  As we sit on the brink of Labor Day, which was created to honor those that have spent their lives dedicated to doing a job well done, we look at the finishing touches of two of the best race meets all summer — Saratoga and Ellis Park.  Let’s take a closer examination of both of those track’s cards today.


1st: 5-2-3-7…Augie’s Coming (5) gets the edge in the opener. This one has speed to burn, and he made just blister this field that does not appear to have an abundance of early foot. He has hit the board in 7 of 9 lifetime starts and nearly pulled off a wire-to-wire effort at this same level here on July 30.  Was compromised in that one by another speed bully, though, and tired for a third. Distance is an issue. Enduring Honor (2) figures to be the one to come and catch the preferred choice, if one is to head him in the final yards. This one ran a tough-beat second to Dunk a Din, who is at his best right now. Will be closing fast, but has a rider who fell off a mount yesterday and is having a hard time riding all the way to the circle — with only 5 wins in 76 starts. Pirellone (3) is another who likes to run at them later in the proceedings, but rarely goes by them at the wire, too. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5 over/under the other numbers in one exacta and then box the 5-2 solid in another.

2nd: 2-4-5-6-8-10-7…Take a look to see if the 14 draws in.  If so, reshuffle the cards. But, for now, we go with Radiant Beauty, an Orb filly on the grass. Orb — who won the Kentucky Derby on the dirt, obviously — has turned into quite the turf sire early in his career. He was 3-for-8 until he had one win the stakes race at Saratoga yesterday on the lawn.  Now, his progeny are 4-for-9 starting out. Nice for the Claiborne Farm rookie. This one got the glasses for the first time in her last, but bobbled at the start and lost all chance. A better, cleaner trip today and she could find the circle. Brattata (4) is a first timer for Chad Brown, who is having another terrific meet here. His horses have hit the board in 84 of 125 starters. Amazing. This one looks good in the a.m. works; cost a lot of money and is bred to love the grass. Has all the ingredients. Puttinyouronthenews (5) has run twice and has stalked the pace without a solid closing kick in each. Has gone wide in both of those, but loses his regular jock to the preferred choice. Question mark? I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-4-5 in one exacta.  I key the 2-4-5 over (only) the 6-8-10-7 in another.

3rd: 5-4-6-3-1…Short field for this place, but a solid grouping. I land on Valhalla (5), who is a true closer and will need a little racing luck. Comes off a win at Belmont Park on July 9 and the trainer does not do well with repeaters at all (.04%). But this one does love the distance with 3 wins and 1 second in 5 career starts at 6Fs and is having a good year. Italian Syndicate (4) is a horse who has beaten the preferred choice (April 9). He has a stalking style and will get the first jump on the leaders. Unsuccessfully tried the turf in the last and you can throw that out. Back on preferred surface for this one. Buddy Anthony (6) is the prevailing speed in this one, and will try to go wire-to-wire.  Has a win and a second in 3 starts at this distance, but had a similar experience on the grass as the #4 in his last.  I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top three choices in one exacta and the 5-4-3 in another.

4th: 1-6-2-4-3…Tug of War (1) is a steady veteran, who is now 8YO, but still has some style and kick to him. Had a 7-wide run at the top in his last, but before that one, he had hit the board in four straight — with two wins. Gets blinkers on for this one and worked a bullet before his last race.  Look for a rebound effort today. Major League (6) has run 3 top races since the addition of blinkers. No reason to think he will try to use his speed again today.  Gets a top rider for this one. Draxhall Woods (2) was claimed out of his last two races and the trainer does OK with first efforts off the purchase. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-6-2 in one exacta and then key the 1-6-2 over the 4-3 in another.

5th: 5-1-6-3-2-4…Divine Interventio (5) comes into this one after trying the likes of Petrov and Gray Sky in a tough allowance adventure in his last. Will like the drop in class here. Before that last race, he had hit the board in 8 straight tries, with a win and 4 seconds. Will be truing on a late rush. Deep Sea (1) is another true closer, but gets a huge equipment change for this one.  He is a first time gelding since running last on June 10. Plenty of time to recover from surgery and will appreciate the drop in class, too. Decorate Soldier (6) is another from the barn of Steve Asmussen, and if you go back in time, he has some class performances. Can’t dismiss or go to sleep on this one. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-1-6 in one exacta and key over (only) the 3-2-4 in another.

6th: 9-6-1-2-7…Madame Uno (9) has finished a tough-beat second in the last two, and shortens back up to the distance she prefers the most — a flat mile. Used her speed a bit too early in the last one. Desert Duchess (6) is ultra consistent, with 7 top 3 finishes out of 11 starts. Gets a huge rider change for this one. Look out. Laniakea (1) and Vasilika (1A) both have a shot in this one. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-6-1 in one exacta and key those three over the 2-7 in a smaller one.

7th: 8-2-6-9-4-11…Whatstotalkabout (9) is a Jason Servis pupil, and this guy has had the best meet here outside of anyone by the name of Brown or Pletcher.  He has saddled 9 winners 4 seconds and 2 thirds in only 24 mounts.  Wow. This one has hit the board in 6 of 9 lifetime outs and should be right there again today. New York’s Finest (2) has 2 wins in 3 starts this year and is a speedster. Comes into this one with back-to-back circle appearances and one of those was against open company. Beware. D Eloquent (6) is a stalker with a purpose, but loses his top rider today. Don’t leave out D’funnything (11), who may get to make his debut on the grass after 14 lifetime dirt starts. He is out of a Known Fact mare, and they can produce nice turf runners. This one is 15-1 ML and picks up Johnny V.  Alert. I bet the 8-11 to win/place/show and then box the 8-2-6 in one exacta and then key the 8-11 over/under al the numbers listed in two more.

8th: 3-8-4-1A-7-5-2-10…Zap Zap Zap (3) has to get the nod in this one after 3 seconds in his first four starts, including a fourth behind Mr. Crow — who had another impressive win here just this week. But…I’ve been waiting for Pendleton to run since he first of the year, and watching every workout with focus. He is 6-1 ML for his career debut, and he should drift higher if not for the “Brown Effect.” This is a tough one to start out with, but he is ultra talented and is working well for this one, too.  My Best Bet of the Day, a tough, tough field.  Tommy T (4) ran a huge second against a 2YO who has already come back to win again. Like I wrote above. Tough crowd in here. I bet the 8 (take note) to win/place/show and then key over/under all the others listed. Sticking with one that I really love, no matter the odds.

9th: 2-6-1-7-11-10…Hollywood Cat (2) took on Stakes horses in her last and should appreciate a return to the allowance ranks today.  She held her own in that one, but may be a little closer for her stalking run today and retains a top rider, too. Munchkin Money (6) has 2 wins to show for 7 career outs, and ran well despite an awful trip in her last. But her jock opts off for this one. Frosty Lady (1) goes for Servis in this spot and gets the former’s rider. Has won 2 in a row at low odds and has 4 wins to her credit. Top form right now. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-6-1 in one exacta and then key the 2-6-1 over (only) the 7-11-10 in another smaller one.

10th: 5-9-2-6-3…The Lucky Coin Stakes…Dowse’s Beach (5) is really good right now with 5 ITM finishes in his last 6 tries for a trainer who is having a super year. He claimed this one off a very good trainer just four back and nearly won a G2 Stake at Woodbine with him in the last out. All speed. I really love Undrafted (9), though, and have bet and rooted for him so many times in the past. He is now a 7YO (can’t imagine), but he still has enough class to put in a power performance, and I think he will run down the speed today. Ready for Rye (2) is another that prefers to be closer to the front end, in a stalking spot, and likes the turf almost as much as the dirt. I bet the 9 (take note) to win/place/show and then box the 5-9-2 in one exacta and then key the 5-9 over/under the 2-6-3 in two more.

11th: 9-5-8-1-4…Follow the Signs (9) is 4-5 ML and may even slide lower in the odds game. This one is a class dropper for Chad Brown and this might be the trick to get him to the winner’s circle. Jegos Fire (5) has 7 ITM finishes in 11 tries, but doesn’t like to pass the leaders late. There He Goes (8) is a speedster who will try to air them out early, but he has distance limitations. I bet the 9 to win/place and key over/under the other numbers listed.

What about this guy? Couldn’t pick an apple out of an orange bin?

Ellis Park:

1st: 5-3-4-7-8-1…Sevier (5) has not been close in 4 lifetime tries, and I have to admit I am going with the severe bias on the trainer-jockey combo in this spot, believing that they can pull this one off. He does drop from MSW all the way to MC30 today, and the pilot is the best in this land. Top pick. Summer of Fiftyfour (3) gets a similar drop in class for this one, but is likely to get a very wet track today and he showed in his last out that it may not be his preferred surface type. Arizona (4) cost $230,000 as a yearling and is now in for just the $30,000. Should like this crowd better, though. I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the 5-3-4 in one exacta and then key those three over/under the other numbers listed.

2nd: 6-4-2-5-8-1…Pea Shooter Pro (6) has two wins and two seconds in 7 starts on a wet track. Solid numbers there and gets a huge class drop for this one. Either will sparkle or dud today. Oldwick (4) has only 1 third to show for 5 wet tries. But has hit the board in 16 of 31 lifetime tries. I look elsewhere. Rip Roarin Ritchie (2) is 0-for-2 on wet surfaces. Looking for a slop lover? I go to Li’l J (1), who has 3 wins, 1 second and 1 third in 6 wet tries and gets Lanerie.  I bet the 6-1 to win/place show; box the 6-1 in one exacta; and then key the 6-1 over/under all the other numbers listed.

3rd: 6-2-5-3-1…Sixes may be wide today.  Teletap (6) has been on my HTW list since this winter when he was in the Asmussen barn at Oaklawn Park. Steadied in his last race and had to alter course at the 1/8th pole, which cost him dearly. New rider today, but should air these out with a clean run. My Best Bet of the Day at Ellis Park. Huntin Buddy (2) has run up against some good ones in his 4 career starts, and will catch another tough one here. But should have an easier go of it. His Royal Majesty (5) goes for an ice cold training outfit, but this one tries hard and I can use underneath (only). I bet the 6 to win/place and then key over/under the rest of the numbers.

4th: 4-8-9-10-12…Keep an eye out to see if the 13 draws into this one.  If he does, I have to use. If not, I go with Cowboy Quinn (4) on top.  This one gets a nice class drop for a top barn outfit. Haynesome (8) comes right back for trainer Buff Bradley, who is having a really nice meet here. Has done better with the addition of blinkers and the drop to this level. Gets a top rider in the saddle here. Dusty (9) may p;ice up the pieces. I bet the 4-8 to win/place and then box those two in one exacta and then key them over/under the rest of the numbers listed.

5th: 8-12-7-1-2-3…The top three choices are much the better, but may go exacta hunting if a bit. Mount Calvary (8) goes for a Young trainer (as in Tracey Young), who has 2 wins and a second in only four starts this meet. Deep closer needs racing room, but may score today. Hugh B (12) is another pupil of Phil Sims, who is getting a huge class drop. Midnight Decision (7) goes for trainer Stephen Lyster — who I have been trying to convince you sends out runners at Ellis.  The kid has 2 winners, 2 seconds and a third in only 9 starts. Watch out at 12-1 ML odds. I bet the 8-7 to win/place/show and then box the 8-12-7 in one exacta and then key them over (only) the other three numbers in another.

6th: 6-10-12-11-8-3-4-1-2-5…In other words, wide open race here for this MSW special. Title Ready (6) nearly pulled off the win here on Aug. 4 at even money odds. Should benefit from that try and be tough today. Tenkoz (10) is an expensive ($525,000) first timer for Dale Romans, if he tries to go in the mud today. Seven Trumpets (12) is another Romans’ pupil, who faded at low odds here on July 15. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-10-12 in one exacta and then key the top three over/under all the others.

7th: 7-8-10-4-2-3-6-5…The top 3 choices here are much the best, IMO. I go with Toasting Master (7) on top, with a significant class drop. Has been training well, too. Stealcase (8) has run 5 competitive races in a row and may be able to get back on top in this spot. Tapidor (10) is a son of Tapit, who drops in for this tag — which is the lowest of his career, by far.  Either a fire sale or a spark plug. I bet the 7 to win/place and then box the 7-8-10 in one exacta. I key the 7-8 over/under all the rest in two more.

8th: 3-9-7-6-1-12…If he stays in this race, I go with Watch Me Whip (3) in a huge way. Ran a very nice 4th against the likes of Irap, Colonelsdarktemper and Untrapped in the Indiana Derby in his last out.  Had a rough trip up there, and should be ready to fire on any surface today. Donwell (9) has caught some real good ones in his first 8 tries and does so again today. Will make a run. Secret House goes for the team of Brad Cox and Corey Lanerie. Hasn’t seen this kind of rain on the West Coast, but if he stays in, I have to use.  Working lights out at Churchill Downs. I bet the 3 to win/place and then box with the 3-7 in one nice exacta and then key those two over (only) all the other numbers listed.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene