We were scheduled to arrive back in Louisville on Wednesday night, but American Airlines, in their infinite wisdom, decided it would be better to diddle daddy on the runway in St. Lucia and get the airplane stuck.  So, instead of getting back to the friendly confines of Greater Louisville, we get to spend a night in Miami.  Thanks, American.  You really know how to run a railroad.

But, in the meantime, we did manage to handicap Thursday’s card at Churchill Downs.  Here is a closer look at the card:

1st: 1-4-3-5…Chilling Street (1) nearly pulled off the win in his last out at Ellis Park, before tiring very late. Keeps a top jock in here and shortens back up off the mile effort. Moves up in class, but looks like he can handle these…Tapster (4) gets the huge class drop from MC50 to MC18 today after being pulled up and eased in his last try here in May. Shows only two works, which is a concern and trainer is zero-for-2017. Despite all those negative angles, he’s still 2-1 ML in here. Question mark for sure? Worthy (3) has run two straight 4ths in MSW company at Ellis Park. Gets the drop in here, and should love this relief. I bet 1 to win/place/show and the 1-3 in a nice exact box and then key those two over/under the rest of the numbers listed. 2-1-4-3…Upset winner spoils a good thing, but we do cash the $3.20/$2.40 for place, show.

2nd: 7-1-2-6-5…Circle Unbroken (7) gets the meet’s top rider – Corey Lanerie – back in the saddle and a return to the class he’s accustomed to in this spot. Should be tough off the layoff…Man of Stature (1) drops back to this level and will be gunning from the beginning. Trainer is having a nice year…Twirling Cinnamon (2) goes for a nice barn outfit, who is having a cold meet to date. Another one who will want to be close to the pace. Loses Lanerie. Hmmm. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the rest listed. 7-6-2-5…We hit the $6.20, $4.20, $3.20 and the $34.40 for $2 exacta.

3rd: 7-9-1-8…Glennwood (7) is 6-5 ML and may go lower, but I can’t get past in this spot. Nearly won the last time out and the winner has already come back to win. Now, gets a class drop for this spot. My Best Bet of the Day. Majestic Force (9) ran for a bit in his career debut before spitting the bit big time. Should be better fit for this one. Nasty Critter (1) gets the blinkers for the first time for a first time trainer, who does well with the equipment addition. May be a surprise option. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key the 7 over/under the numbers listed. 7-1-4-9…We hit the $3.20, $2.20 and the $10.80 for $2 exacta.

4th: 9-6-8-7-1-4…Eqho (9) is my second Best Bet of the Day. Trained by a super talented young man who knows what he is doing. His dad, a good trainer in his own right (R. Warren Lyster), made sure to teach him how to get a horse ready for the afternoon. This kid is one big horse away from the big time. Eqho hasn’t been able to catch a turf course since she ran a really nice 3rd at Indy last October. She gets back on the green today and that should put her in a great stalking position for this one. Lanerie rides well for this outfit, too. Take note. Industrial Policy (6) comes from the barn of Steve Asmussen, and this outfit picked this one up last time at Saratoga for a $25K price tag. Barn is good with first off the purchase. 7YO Harlan’s Holiday mare has hit the board in 16 of 33 lifetime starts. Queenofthepalace (8) had a rough trip on the yielding grass of Kentucky Downs in her last out. Throw that one out, and keep an eye out for this closer. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key over/under all the others listed. 6-9-7-8…We hit the $6.20 and $4.60 for place and show, and cash the $51.40 exacta for $2. Best Bet of the Day runs second at $6.20 to 1 odds.

5th: 5-8-3-2-6-1…Shanghai Tariff (5) was running a real good one before she hit a wall going up the hill at Kentucky Downs. Tough place for a newbie to try afternoon racing. Should benefit greatly from that fitness test. Goes for a good barn, too. Watch out at odds of 5-1 ML. Wine Halo (8) may be poised for a good one. Has been working a hole in the wind at Churchill Downs for a trainer that usually takes 3 or 4 tries to get them fully fit. Palmilla Moon (3) goes for the barn of Ian Wilkes, one of the best on the backside. Training very solidly and this one cost $180,000 as a yearling. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key the top 3 picks over the rest. 9-8-7-2…We miss here.

6th: 9-6-5-10-4…Benchmark Babe (9) broke her maiden in her last start and now faces winners for the first time. I truly hate betting this condition jump, but this filly has really improved with the addition of blinkers and catches a soft field in here. If she can sustain the same type of run that she showed in her last, she can make it back-to-back dustings. Cash Tiz Wonderful (6) could pull an upset at 6-1 ML if she can catch a soft lead scenario. Will try to take them wire-to-wire. Very Elegant (5) certainly has a shot in this spot. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top three numbers in one exacta, and then key them over the rest in another. 6-5-4-9…We hit the exacta for $63.40 for $2. Not bad consolation prize.

7th: 4-5-2-3-6-8-7-1…Nice mile event on the grass for the feature. I land on Moonlight Rain (4), who broke her maiden in her career debut at Woodbine on the grass, but then had a tough time handling the soft going at Kentucky Downs in her last. I throw that race completely out and give her another shot in here today. Has trained well for a barn that can get them ready. Saucy At Midnight (5) is another who was impressive in debut to only fail when facing Stakes company in the second out. Gets back to allowance company in here and should like the grass try. Flight Queen (2) is a Texas-bred who really ran a pretty good race her last time out against the likes of Kelly’s Humor and Upset Brewing. She will get to see the green stuff for the first time today, and she might just take to it. Malibu Saint (3) has a big shot in here, too, with the pick up of top lawn jock Julien Leparoux. I bet the 4 to win/place show and then box the top three numbers in one exacta, and then key the 4-5 over/under all the numbers in two more. 7-4-3-8…#4 pays $3.20/$2.20 and Exacta returns $14.40 for the $2.

8th: 4-6-7-10-11-1-8-2-9…Lots of numbers listed here, but I will key on the top three in a nice MSW event to close out the day’s card. Jan One (4) is a first timer for the barn of Dale Romans. This one has a long series of solid works and should be both fit and good enough to give a nice try in debut. Silver Turns Gold (6) goes for the Van Berg barn, who was torrid hot at Ellis Park this summer. Looks like they are back on track here, too, with a win, a second and a third in the first 5 tries. Should be fit enough for this one after two nice tries. Foxtrot Sally (7) went 6-wide in the same race as the second choice. Loses BJ Hernandez for this one, but should be full of run from the get go in this one. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top three choices. I close out with an exacta key of the 4-6-7 over the rest of the numbers listed. 7-9-10-2…Miss here.


Good Luck &


All the Best/Gene