McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Friday, June 14

Day Results8/2-2-4
2019 Overall 853853/314-300-405
Win % of Top Pick36.81%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.82%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –583 of 85368.35%
Top Selection ITM / CD 185-27766.79%
Top Selection Win / CD 104-27737.55%
“Key Horses” @ CD 42-14-11-533.33%
“Key Horses” in 2019 157-61-34-1838.85%

A couple of wins on the Thursday night card over at the “Downs,” last night, but nothing to really get seriously excited about. Did score three exactas that returned $11.20, $15.70 and a whopping $41.00 for each $1 played. That helped stabilize the night’s activities.

Here’s a closer look at Friday’s card, with the magnificent Saturday night card looming in just 24 hours:

1st: 1/2-7-8/5-3-6-4…The first Key Play of the Day will come in the first race with the #1 horse — Verb (1). This 2YO Dialed In colt ran a nice third on debut at Santa Anita on May 19. Has shipped East since that race and has a couple of tours of duty over this track for Keith Desormeaux. The key? Look who won the debut race. Fore Left has come back to be very, very impressive in winning the next out here, as well. Runner-up in that race returned the next time to win, too. Might as well make it 3-for-3 with the Show horse. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

2nd: 6-5-4/2/3-1…Nice starter allowance event here going 1 mile over the main track and I give the edge to Flat Awesome Jenny (6). This 4YO Flat Out filly can flat out run when she wants to, and here’s hoping that she wants to today. Won the last out at KEE on April 20. Loses that condition. But the barn hits with .209% of those coming off a win and the maiden win was over this track. Solid rider in the irons. Destiny’s Darling (5) could be the main competition. Won the maiden two back by nearly 10 and then returned to miss by 1/2-length last time out. Barn hits with .22% of those going from a sprint to a route race, and the work on June 7 was nice. Danger. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I key the 6 over/under all the numbers in two smaller versions.

3rd: 2-7-6/5-4/1-3…W. B. Smudge (2) was claimed by the Steve Asmussen barn two starts back. Ran well when bumped up a notch last time out. Now, returns to the same claim level. Blinkers come off today and the barn hits with .24% of those getting this angle. Second after the claim? Barn hits with .26%. Has a 1-4-2 record in 9 starts here. Worry. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 2 over/under all the numbers in two smaller versions.

4th: 11-7-4/6-3/2-1…Daddy’s Gone (11) is another from the barn of Steve Asmussen. This Arkansas-bred has done most of his damage in state-bred races only, but did run a nice second at this same level last time out. Has hit the board in the last five outs, and seems good right now. Trainer scores with .26% of those returning as a beaten favorite, and with .18% of those going from a sprint to a route event. The one to beat. Sensational Sam (7) ran second last time out against much tougher over in Lexington at KEE. Has only 1 win in 23 starts, but has 2 seconds and 4 thirds and drops today. Chance. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I bet the 11 over/under all the numbers in two lesser versions.

5th: 10-9-2/11-5-(15)/6-7-8-3…The first turf event of the day, and I will go outside with Rock On Kitten (10). Ran two nice seconds in a  row before spitting the bit last time out on April 11 at KEE. Drops now to the $50,000 price tag for the first time and the barn hits with .26% of those getting into the claiming ranks for the first time. May improve at this shorter distance, too. Higher Authority (9) is another who likes to press the pace and another dropping from the MSW ranks into the claimers today. This barn hits with .21% of those getting the drop and the rider has hit with a 2-2-0 mark in the last 8 rides for this barn. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

6th: 8-7-5/9-4-1/2-3…Mistress at Sea (8) drops back into the claiming ranks and about the same level where she won two starts back here on April 27. Has moved around a lot in the abbreviated career, and this is the only winner for this trainer here this meet. Like the work session on June 1. May be able to go gate to wire again today. Wosie (7) was claimed off the win last time out. Closed strong that day to get the win. Barn hits with .17% of those making the first trip after the purchase, and a new rider takes the reins. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 11-4/8-2-5/6-9-10…Data Damsel (11) is getting a huge drop in class for this tilt today. Barn hits with only .06 when dropping this significantly. Ran well here on May 2 against much, much tougher. Looks like a bargain basement sale, but may be worth it at this low end price point. Mississippi Coast (4) is another dropping in class to a career low level. Has a win at GP in January over a sloppy track. Has a third in 3 tries over a fast dirt surface. Rider has only 3 wins in 75 mounts this meet. Chilly dip. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then key the 11 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

8th: 4-6/3-7-9/1-8-5…The second turf race of the day is reserved for the 5.5-furlong sprinters, and the leader of this group is Skamania (4), IMO. The 4YO Florida-bred is coming off 2 straight wins and 3 in the last 4 outs. The last one, though, was the first try over the grass here. Stretches out another 1/2-furlong today, but has the look that she can handle that. Rider is having a solid meet and Spring. Ficanas (6) ships in from the West Coast and is coming off a nice third last time out. Won the previous 2 before that one, though. Has some late kick and this one may set up perfectly for her run. I bet the 4-6 across the board and then box those 2 solidly in one exacta. I will key the 4-6 over/under the 3-7-9-1 in two smaller versions.

9th: 12-14-1/5-9-1A-11/4-2-3-6…The last race of the day is a wide open affair for the $7,500 claimers. I will go to the far outside for my top pair in here — led by Unstabled (12). Young trainer only has 1 win in 10 tries this meet, but normally does better than that. Has won with .23% of the 62 starters this year. This guy won up at Turfway Park 2 starts ago, and does have 4 wins in 13 starts over a fast dirt surface, in the past. Opportunistic (14) is on the AE List and must draw in, but last 12-1 ML odds could be a real surprise and a real threat. Has 7 wins in 29 starts and 2 already this year. Look for this one stalk a little closer than the last two races show. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

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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