McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Friday, May 10

Day Results8/4-1-5
2019 Overall 651651/236-238-321
Win % of Top Pick36.25%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall40.71%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –447 of 65168.66%
Top Selection ITM / CD 47-7463.51%
Top Selection Win / CD 22-7429.73%
“Key Horses” @ CD 14-5-3-235.71%
“Key Horses” in 2019 129-52-26-1540.31%
Upset Special of the Day/ CD 4-0-0-00.00%

What a day we had on Thursday. The day we have been looking for, and waiting on. The day that makes amends for going 1-for-14 on Derby Day, and pays for a few sins and bad betting decisions.

On Thursday, we had 4 winners in 8 races. We hit with horses that returned $7.80, $10.60, $11.80, $36.00, $26.60, and $9.40 for each $2 bet across the board.

In the exacta market, we cashed for $17.20, $54.80, $35.70 for each $1 ticket purchased.

Our ROI on Thursday was $103.40 for each $2 across the board and each $1 exacta played on our picks.

Nice.

Thank goodness.

Here’s a closer look at Friday’s card:

1st: (1A)-3-2/6-5-4-1…If the rains don’t drowned out the green locks, this one will be contested at 11/16-miles over the sod. And, it promises to be a fun event – full of contenders. If the rains do mush it up and this one is moved to the main track, then, I will go with Viva Forever (1A). This one has raced 34 times in the career, and the 5YO mare has won 10 of them, with 4 seconds and 2 thirds to boot. Better yet, she has won 3 of 4 over an “off track.” She last raced in the G1 La Troienne Stakes here just a week ago. Now, she is wheeled right back? Interesting move for a trainer who will get to start her for the first time. Very interesting. On the grass, I will give the edge to Princess Warrior (3). Ran last in the G1 Jenny Wiley at Keeneland. Ran 7thof 8 in that one, but was simply overmatched. Now, she is back down into the allowance ranks and her past performances stand out in this group. Won the G2 Mrs. Revere here last November. Ran second to Oscar Performance on a “good” turf at KY Downs last September. Looks the best on the grass. I bet the 1A on the dirt, but if it stays on the grass, I will key on the 3. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-2 in  one exacta. I key the 3 over the 2-6-5-4-1 in a smaller version.

2nd: 2-8-4/1-7-6/3…A high-end MCL event going 11/16-miles over the main track, and I will give the strong edge to Moti (2). This one will be making his first start for a top barn operation, who claimed this one for $30,000 last out. He ran second in that event over at Keeneland. Now, bumps up a level for a trainer that hits with .29% on the first race after a purchase. Gets a top jock in the saddle. Look for improvement here. Hooray for Harvey (8) ran third in a MSW event last time out at Tampa, and now drops into the MCL ranks for the first time. Barn hits with .18% of those doing that. Looks to be much better after the shades were added two back. Worked well here on May 6. Praetorian (4) is another who was claimed last time out for the $30,000 purchase price. Beaten as the odds-on favorite in that race at Oaklawn Park. New barn hits with .19% of those getting blinkers for the first time; with .24% of those that are making the first start after a claim; and with .25% of those making the third start off a layup. Adds up. I bet the 2-8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

3rd: 2-3-6-10/5-7/1-8…Maid of Iron (2) will be dropping down from the $30,000 tag to a $10,000 purchase price today, and goes for a barn that has 1 win in the first 8 races here this meet – but has 5 seconds. Has never been closer than 91/2 lengths of the winner at the wire. But…Dropping in class in a field that lacks a lot of top end runners – on paper. Gets a top rider, who is getting ready to turn it on. Hassle (3) ran 3rdlast time out, but was beaten 13 lengths for $20,000. Gets a huge rider switch here, and that should help. Have No Fear (6) and Dance the Day Away (10) both could have a shot in here, as well. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under the 3-6-10 in the exactas.

4th: 6-5/4-3/1-2…The second turf race of the day – if it stays that way – and I will go with Ginny B (6).  This More Than Ready filly comes in off a second last time out over at Keeneland. Easily could have been a win with a little better racing luck. Has hit the board in the last 5 and has never been out of the Top 3 on the turf. Love the rider. Looks the best. Tula (5) stumbled badly at the start of the last race and lost the rider. Two races back, though, she broke her maiden down at Tampa Bay. In 3 grass starts at this distance, she has a win, a second, and a third. Top rider takes the reins for the first time today. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 6-5 over/under the 4-3 in two lesser versions.

5th: 2-8-9/3/1-5-6…Another wide open affair, to be sure, but I will go with Jerrid (2). This 5YO son of Mineshaft has a win in two starts over this track and drops down to a career low price tag and into the bargain bin. If he can’t get the job done here? Hmmm. Like the rider, choice, too. Solar Maximus (8) drops in class to a career low level, as well. But has been a little more than lacking in the last five outs. Would be a stretch for me, despite the speed numbers that say he fits. El Bonito (9) is one that I can see being close at the wire. Gets a huge rider switch, and ran well at Indy Grand two back. A chance. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under the 8-9-3-1-5-6.

6th: 4-3-1/6-7-2-5…Say It Ain’t So (4) drops in class to a career low level, as well, and should be a contender at this price tag. Broke the maiden at Ellis Park last summer for $30,000. Now can be had for $16,000. Trainer has a win and a third in only two starts here this meet. Gets a top rider for the first time. Rage Away (3) was claimed two starts back when winning at Gulfstream Park. Moved up to face winners with no luck last time out. Now, drops in class. Top rider takes the reins today. Look for improvement. V Tach M.D. (1) has an interesting name, and maybe some “game” to go with it. Broke the maiden last time out by over 3 lengths when stretched out to two turns for the first time. Now, will face winners for the first time, and the barn hits with only .08% of those. Looks like the stretch out and losing the blinkers may have turned on the light bulb here. I bet the 4-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 4-7-8/1-6-2/3-5…Lewys Vaporizer (4) has won two in a row since being switched to the barn of Tom Amoss. Now, will make his third start off a layoff, and the barn hits with .30% of those. Solid rider takes the controls for the first time. Love the recent work pattern, too. Hot right now. Take advantage. Turner Time (7) is a horse that we have touted several times over the past couple of months. Won two of the last three outs since a layup. Won two in a row before the rest break. Meaning? Has won 4 of the last 5. Top rider stays up. One to beat and loves an off-track. Watch out. Brerry (8) has three seconds in the last four races. Likes to close late, and then, maybe, hang just a bit. Consistent sort that I can’t dismiss, though. I bet the 4-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

8th: 7-4-6/1-5-3-10-2/8-9…Uber Kirk (7) has hit the board in three of the last four races and has a win that mix. In 3 races over this track, he has 2 wins on the resume. Barn hits with .25% of those going from a sprint to a route, and the barn’s go-to rider stays aboard. Love the work at Churchill over a sloppy trakc on April 20. Looks good right now if he can negotiate a cleaner trip than the last out – when had to wait for an opening late in the going. Believeinholidays (4) won two races back to snap the maiden condition. That was over the slop, and at odds-on favoritism. Came back to run 4thin first try against winners, but was wide in both turns of that affair. Gets a new rider today, and the work here on May 7 was – spot on. Take note. Laser Loop (6) goes for a trainer that has 4 wins in the first 8 starts here this meet. Fire. Won last time out to snare the second win. Moves up in class now, and will stretch out to a route event. Trainer hits with .14% of those that won the last race, and with .10% who are stretching out. Nice work here on May 2. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exaca.

9th: 2-9-4/10-11-8/6-5-3-7…This last race of the day is a 5-furlong Turf sprint, and features a real nice field of wannabes. I will give the edge to Vogt (2), who is coming out of a tough, tough, tough Stakes event at Keeneland on April 4. Winner of that one was undefeated winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last fall. Race before, this one was second by a nose and he won the race before that one. In 4 starts over the sod, he has a win and two seconds. Top trainer and the rider is off to a fantastic start her – with 8 wins in 23 starts. Just Might (9) is 6-1 in the ML and may offer some nice price addition if he can hit the board. Has hit the board in each of the last 4 tries and was just behind the top pick last time out. Like the work here on May 7. Looks primed. Quick Entry (4) would not be a shock – even though he is 15-1 in the ML. Won here last September over a sloppy track. Off until April and returned with a “better than looks” fifth. Wide in that return to the races. First time on the grass, but is bred for it, and could really improve in this spot today. An Upset Special in the Making. I bet the 2-4 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 2-4 over the 10-11-8-6-5 in a lesser variety.

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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean