Day Results 8/4-2-3
2019 Overall 806 806/292-289-384
Win % of Top Pick 36.23%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 39.91%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –546 of 806 67.74%
Top Selection ITM / CD 148-230 64.35%
Top Selection Win / CD 78-230 33.91%
“Key Horses” @ CD 39-13-10-4 33.33%
“Key Horses” in 2019 154-60-33-17 38.96%

Nice day/night double-header at Churchill Downs on Thursday. We had 4 winners and hit four really nice exactas that turned the day into a nice and profitable one.

The exotics paid out $10.70, $12.10, $92.20 and $40.10 for each $1 played on those. Made for some nice working capital for this glorious weekend of racing action — highlighted by the final leg of this year’s Triple Crown, the 151st Belmont Stakes.

Here’s hoping we keep the momentum going. And, a closer look at today’s card and action:

Churchill Downs:

1st: 2-3/5-4-1/6…We start the day with a nice MSW event for the 2YO fillies, and I will go strong with Josie (2), a first-time starter from the barn of Brad Cox. This daughter of Race Day cost $170,000 to purchase at the OBS March Sale earlier this year. Has been training very well here for this outfit, which hits with .20% on first attempts. The dam of this one, a Stakes winner, has 5 winners from 6 starters and has thrown one SW already. Could hit the ground running today. Song River (3) is another who sold as a 2YO In-Training, and this one snared $175,000 to purchase. Will be making the debut today, as well, and tuned up with a lightning work at KEE on May 30. Barn hits with .16% of those making the debut, and an interesting rider choice for this barn. Must respect here. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-3 in one exacta. I will key the 2-3 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed in a shorter exacta, as well.

2nd: 2-4-7/5-3/1-6…A well-balanced field is assembled here, but I will go with Moscow Minister (2), a 3YO son of Power Broker. Was an easy winner at KEE two starts back and didn’t have a shot when moved up to face much tougher here on May 18. Broke the maiden here in the mud last November. And, has a good “mud mark” in the pedigree, if the rains do show up. Barn hits with .23% of those that get this kind of class drop. Contender. Colombard (4), who hails from the barn of Ingrid Mason, ships in from Arlington Park to try this one, and drops all the way to a price tag of $20,000. Ran second at this level at Oaklawn Park two starts ago, and won in Arkansas back in mid-March. Has a second in only try here. Could push the pace early on. Off Sixes (7) gets a huge class drop for this effort today, as well. Never been offered for this low of a price before, and the rider has gone 2-1-0 in the last 8 starts. Out of a Stakes-placed mare, but has not hit the board in two previous runs here. Tries much easier today. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed in two softer versions, as well.

3rd: (7)-1-3/5-4/6…This is scheduled to be the first grass race of the day, and is slated to be contested at the 1-mile distance. I handicap the race as if the rains will wash this one off the soggy sod and over to the main track. If so, I will give a strong edge to Special Relativity (7) — who is entered for the “Main Track Only.” If she runs, she will be dropping out of a Stakes event at Sunland Park and will make the gate for the first time since that April 21 race in Arizona. Didn’t fare well in that effort, but won the previous try at Oaklawn Park. Has a win and a third in 3 efforts over an “off track,” and has hit the board in 10 of 17 lifetime tries. Trainer has won with .24% of the last 442 horses to get the saddle. Looks well-spotted. Stave (1) has never run on anything but the grass in the first 10 tries. Has a 3-1-1 mark, but looks like a scratch candidate if the race is moved to the main track. Has speed to utilize and will be tough from the rail if she goes today. Barn hits with .24% with those making the second try off a layup. Sultry (3) has not hit the board in 4 tries this year, but does have some back class, for sure, and has been running against the best company in the race, to be sure. Should appreciated the drop in class here and she did run second in the G3 Forward Gal to Take Charge Paula  last year. Has talent. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under the “all button” if this one.

4th: 7-8-6/9-4…Way to Wicked (7) gets a huge plunge in this MCL event, and the barn hits with .38% when dropping this far in one big swoop. Ran well two starts back against much tougher and looked to have things figured out. But the last try was not much to sing about. Pedigree yes a nice “mud mark” on the dam side. Could improve chances with an “off track.” Wise to Listen (8) is trained by a clever young trainer, who has hit with .22% of the 55 starters this year. Hits with .31% of those routing for the first time. This is another one making a huge class drop, and the winner of the last race came right back to score the winner’s circle again. Could improve here in this spot at some nice PT odds. Run This Town (6) ran second last time out at this level, but was beaten 12 lengths. This one is now a gelding, though, and that could improve the focus a bit. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

5th: 5-9/7-8/3-4-1/2-6…The second turf race of the day is scheduled to be run at the 5-furlong distance. I’m handicapping it to be moved to the main track, though, with wet weather in the forecast. If so, I lean to Kid Perfect (5). This 5YO gelded son of Majesticperfection is dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time after having run some nice Stakes events in the past. Does have some nice experience at this distance (with 2 wins and 2 seconds in 14 starts) and has a second in 3 tries over an off track. This will be the second start off a layup, and let’s hope that he fares better than the first one. Barn does hit with .18% of those making the second comeback try. Barn doing very well in limited starts this meet. Has a 2-3-1 mark in just 10 starts. Souperfast (9), who was claimed two starts ago, was immediately plunked into a Stakes event at Gulfstream Park in December. Has been off since then, but training OK for this return. Barn hits with .18% of those away from the races this long, and with .20% of them making the second start since a claim purchase. Gets a top rider and could improve with a drastic cutback in distance. Never raced at this sprint distance before. Interesting change of pace here. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-9 in one exacta. I will key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

6th: 8-4-2/7-6-1…Summerduck (8) was claimed last time out for $8,000 and now will be bumped up to the $10,000 price tag for a barn that hits with .31% on the first try after a claim purchase. This one returns as a beaten favorite, too, and the trainer hits with .27% of those. This one ran well last time out. Tired late after setting suicide fractions on the front end. Gets a huge rider switch for this one, and could be tough, tough to catch on the front end. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 8 over/under all the numbers in two smaller versions, as well.

7th: 2-9-3/8-1-7/5-4…Mizzen Air (2) returns today as a beaten favorite, and the barn hits with .33% of those. In the last five starts, she has hit the board in 4 of them and has a nice win four starts back. In 4 starts here, she has a 1-2-0 mark, and the rider has nice experience with the 5YO Langfuhr mare in the past, as well. Has hit the board in 17 of 27 starts, and looks tough in this spot. Sugar Cube (9) is a fan favorite in these parts, and with good reason. In 12 career starts at Churchill Downs, she has 5 wins, 2 seconds and a third. Ran third last time out and was claimed by a barn that hits with .27% of those making the first start after the purchase. The trainer used to have this one before, too, and won with here four starts back. Reunion time. I bet the 2-9 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 2-9 over (only) the rest of the numbers in another smaller version.

8th: (11)-(13)-5/(12)-8-2/10-3-7/1…The final turf race of the day is schedule to be contested at 5.5-furlongs, but, once again, I figure that this tilt will be moved to the main track. If so, I go with the “Main Track Only” entrants — led by Stage Left (11). This 3YO gelding comes from the barn of Wesley Ward, who has won with .24% of his 17 starters here this meet. This one ran huge two starts back and has a win over an off track in the past. Blinkers go back on today, and the barn hits with .18% of those getting the equipment change. Love the recent work pattern. Looks ready. Seven Nation Army (13) has hit the board in each of the last 4 tries and 5 of the last 6. Has 3 wins in that mix. Won the last time out down in Arkansas, and has the speed to be close to the lead from the get-go. Could be a tough out if she can throttle down the front-end speed. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then key the 11 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in the exacta.

9th: 3-10/12-8-6/1-7-2…Marie’s Mandate (3) will be getting a huge class drop for the second career out, and the barn hits with .27% of those dropping this far in one swoop. Ran OK on debut against much, much tougher. Interesting rider choice for this barn, but looks like the winner on paper. Bling Springsteen (10) is another taking a class drop. Ran third last time out as the favorite, when facing tougher. Barn hits with .27% of those returning as a beaten favorite. . Look for more out of this one today, and the pedigree looks to improve with an “off track.” Could be salty on or near the pace here. I bet the 3-10 to win/place/show and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 3-10 over (only) the rest of the numbers in a smaller version.

Belmont Park:

8th: 3-7/5-6/8-4-10-9…G2 True North Stakes…What a nice field has been assembled for this 6.5-furlong trip today, led by Catalina Cruiser (3). Only defeat in the 5-race career came in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile at Churchill Downs last November. Was the odds-on favorite to win that one, but City of Light kicked butt that day. Has been away from the races since, but training well for the return. Interesting spot to make the comeback, but the trainer hits with .16% of those returning after being away this long. Has won 3 times in the past coming off layoffs. Should be ready, but it won’t be easy. Whitmore (7) is a classy veteran, who has won at this distance and performed well at this track before. In 3 tries here previously, he has 2 seconds and a third. Closer-type will make things interesting most of the time, and has won over $2.5 million for the career. Tough as nails. Don’t dismiss Strike Power (5) in here, though. This 4YO son of Speightstown looked like a different horse when he romped to a 5-length win in the 2019 debut. Had throat surgery to help eliminate a breathing issue. Looks like it worked. Could be a tough out in here at a nice price. I bet the 3-5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 3-5 over the rest of the numbers listed in a smaller version.

10th: 1-4/3-9-6…G2 Belmont Gold Cup Invitational…This 2-mile marathon will be contested over the track’s turf course, and I will give the edge to the European invaders — led by Mootasadir (1). This one ran 6th in the last outing, a Group 2 event at York. But the 4YO Dansili colt had won the previous 4 races. Gets the Lasix for the first time today, and the regular rider comes to ride along. Carried 127 pounds in that 13/4-mile effort. Now, will be packing 6 pounds less. That makes a huge difference going this far. Red Knight (4) ran second at KEE on April 20 in the G2 Elkhorn Stakes. Made the lead late, before giving it up at the wire. Gets a nice rider switch here and did win a 2-mile race at Gulfstream Park two back. Best of the Americans, IMO. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-4 in one exacta. I will key the 1-4 over/under the 3-9-6 in two smaller versions.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene