Total Day Results 8 / 2-5-6
2021 Overall 894 894 / 325-323-396
Win % of Top Pick 36.35%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.93%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 580-894 64.88%
2021 Top Selection ITM / CD 160-238 67.23%
2021 Top Selections Win / CD 93-238 39.08%
“Key Horses” @ CD 23 / 12-5-1 52.17% Win / 78.26% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 133/ 60-30-9 45.11% Win / 74.44% ITM

We had only two winners on Thursday’s Twilight Racing card, but we added exactas that paid out $5.20, $9.30, $46.70, $17.50 and $7.10 for each $1 played correctly.

Had 4 winners out of the 5 in the first Pick 5, with a second. That is two days in a row. Ugh. So close. Yet? So very far away.

Here’s our looks for Churchill Downs’ Friday card, which will rev up for first post at 12:45 p.m. EST:

1st: 6-7-3/2-1/4-5-1A…Orphan Hallie (6) gets the nod in Friday’s lid-lifter at the big oval in Louisville. This 4YO Ontario-bred drops from the MCL $20,000 ranks to the $10,000 level here and when this barn drops this much at once? It wins at a .21% clip in the last 66 tries. Gets a rider who has won with .24% of the last 25 mounts for this barn operation, too. Has not raced since late March, but the barn can get them ready off the bench. One to beat. Count Your Pennies (7) has raced here 4 previous times. Has 2 seconds and a third. Should be the “money” at the wire, and will be coming at wire time. I like this one. Musk (3) drops to the lowest price tag ever, too. This one cot $100,000 to purchase in 2019. To date, has won $8,510. Figures with this drop and the rider often climbs aboard for this barn operation. When the trainer drops this much at once? Wins at a .28% rate. Chance. I bet the 7 — take note — to win/place/show and then  box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2-1 in two smaller units.

2nd: 2-1-4/6/3…Bhoma (2) is a 2YO daughter of Bernardini and cost a very reasonable $37,000 at the 2020 KEE September Yearling Sale. Ran much better than that price on debut here on May 23. Nearly won that one with a late rush that left her just a head short of the winner’s circle. Barn operation does much better on the second career start than the initial try, and had a very nice work here on June 5. Look out for this attempt. Let’s Be Clear (1) will be making the career debut for the barn of Brad Cox, who is winning at a .28% rate here this meet with the first 54 starters. This one gets the rail, which is normally not the best situation for a first time starter. But? Rail horses are winning at a .34% clip this meet. Dam of this one has 2 winners from 2 starters and a Stakes winner, too. Always dangerous when coming out of this barn. Take the Backroads (4) is another first time starter, and this trainer is winning at a .32% rate after 31 starts this meet. Dam of this one has 5 winners from 5 starters and 1 Stakes winner. Rider has won 3 of the last 8 for this barn. Chance. I bet the 2-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. Another box with the top two picks. I will key the top 3 over/under the 6 in two smaller units.

3rd: 6-5/1-4-7-2/(8)-(9)/3…Souper Dormy (6) is a 4YO son of Into Mischief and a colt who has hit the board in 5 of the first 8 career starts. In only previous run here? Has a second. That came in the last start, when he closed from near last to lost by a head at the wire. In 5 starts at this distance, 2-2-0 record. Lot to like with this deep, deep closer. But must find the right spot to key in the stretch. Bad Beat Brian (5) was just a nose behind our top pick in the same race last time out. In 7 turf sprints like this one, he has a 3-0-2 record. Gets a hot rider, who has a 3-3-1 mark in the last 9 mounts. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box those two sternly in the exactas. Sternly. I will key the 6-5 over/under the 1-4-7-2 in two smaller units.

4th: 8-5/10-3-2-7/1-4-9/11-6…Tejano Twist (8) is a 2YO son of Practical Joke, who I hope can become a very successful stallion in his own right. This colt has raced twice, so far. Has been close at the wire in each. Does come from off the pace and will need some racing luck and should improve with the addition of blinkers to the equipment list. Barn wins with .20% when adding the shades for the first time. Woodline (5) comes from the barn of Steve Asmussen, who will be tightening the girth on this one for the first time. Ran 3rd her for another barn operator on May 9. That was in the slop and against a son of Gun Runner, who was trained by the new trainer here. Look for this one to be much better here. I bet the 8-5 across the board and then box those two in the exactas. Sternly. I will key the 8-5 over/under the 10-3-2-7-1 in two smaller units.

5th: 5-4-3/8-2/1-6-7…Ultimate (5) ran a solid race here over a wet-fast main track last time out on May 28. Was beaten less than 3 after being squeezed mightily at the beginning. This one does rally from off the pace, but should benefit from the rider change to the meet’s top rider. From a leading sire, too. My pick. Manitowish (4) is my first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This one is listed at 6-1 in the ML by Brisnet.com. Didn’t care for the experiment on the grass last time. Gets back to the main track here, and the barn wins with .18% when making this surface switch. Drop in class could help, too. Chance. Perfect Cut (3) returns to the dirt, as well. Won over the main track at Gulfstream Park in March this year. Cuts back to the sprint distance, too, and I think that may help the most. Look for this one to be close at the wire. I bet the 5-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 8-2 in two smaller units.

6th: 2/3-4/1/5-6…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes here with Media Blitz (2). This 4YO son of Medaglia d’Oro has been on a real roll of late. Over the last four starts, this one has not been worse than 2nd and has won two of them. Could have easily won the other two, as well. Trainer wins with .22% of those trying to repeat as a winner, and the rider is having a super meet. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2 over/under the numbers listed. I also key the 2 over/under the “all button.” I close with the 2 over — only — the 3-4-1 in a stronger number.

7th: 7-1/6-4-8-2/3-5…Beachwalker (7) goes for a barn operation that has only 9 starts this year and is just getting started. This one didn’t run great the last two, and now will move to the dirt surface for the first time since Jan. 1 at Aqueduct. On that day, this one nearly won. In 3 dirt races — over a fast track — this one has a win and a second. Look for more with this rider up and the surface switch. Tom Todo (1) will get the drop into the claiming ranks for the first time, and the barn wins with .20% of the last 324 to meet that criteria. Moves to the dirt, too, and this will be the first time since a try over a muddy track at the Fair Grounds in early February. Ran a tough-beat 2nd that day. Could pop up against this crowd and be a real threat. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box those two in the exactas. I will key the 7-1 over/under the 6-4-8-2 in two smaller units.

8th: 5-6/2-1-7/3-4-8…Claytnthelionheart (5) has run two very nice 2nds in a row and three in the last 4 races. In 8 starts here, this one has 4 seconds and a third. But at this distance? Has 2 wins and a third in 3 starts. Looks like he could fit perfectly in this spot for an operation that will support their horses at the window. Keep an eye on the mutuels. If the money shows, then they must like a lot. Friar’s Road (6) goes for a top barn operation that is still looking for the first win this meet. Has 10 starters. But a 0-2-2 record. Ran a solid 2nd last time out, but that was last October. Off the bench, the barn wins with .16%. Chance. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in the exactas.  I will key the 5 over/under the 6-2-1-7-3-4-8 in two smaller units.

9th: 2-1-9/7/4-8/3-5-6/(10)…On a Spree (2) is one of two that will go to the gate for trainer Mike Maker. This one gets the edge, for me, and returns as a beaten favorite. Barn wins with .20% of those. In two previous tries here, this one has a win and in 20 lifetime tries over the grass, this one has a 5-5-3 mark. This one comes late. Interesting rider choice. Very interesting. But I stick here. Tizzarunner (1) is the “other” Maker horse. And, this one figures to be coming late with a real chance, too. This one gets the barn’s “preferred” rider. Interesting. In 9 starts at this distance, though? Has a 1-1-2 mark. Drop in class could help this one. Jungle Fighter (9) was claimed last time out in April, and that was a deep-closing win at Tampa Bay. Must pick up the tempo with a return to the big leagues here. But not without a shot. Like the rider choice. I bet the 2-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 7 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene