Days Picks 11 / 1-5-3
2024 Overall — 562 562 / 165-175-236
Win % of Top Pick 29.36%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 34.16%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money Overall — 327-562 58.19%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ CD — 58-96 60.42%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ HI — 14-22 63.64%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ KEE — 19-26 73.08%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ TP — 224-400 56.00%
2024 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ FG — 12-18 66.67%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ CD — 34-96 35.42%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ HI — 5-22 22.73%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ KEE — 8/26 30.77%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ TP — 110-400 27.50%
2024 Only / Top Pick Wins @ FG — 8-18 44.44%
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ HI — 4/2-2-0 50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ KEE — 2/2-0-0 100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ TP  39/ 13-10-6 33.33% Win / 74.36% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ FG 1 / 0-0-0 00.00% Win / 00.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” @ CD 5 / 1-0-0 20.00% Win / 20.00% ITM
2024 Only / “Key Horses” Overall 51/ 18-12-6 35.29% Win / 70.59% ITM

(Stats to be updated with Thursday night’s results)

Here’s our looks at Churchill Downs on Friday’s kick-start to a great, SUNNY weekend:

1st: 1-7/5-4-6/2-3/8…Special Dispatch (1) gets the nod in the ole’ lid-lifter at the big oval in Louis-Town on this Friday afternoon. After all, the #1 in the #1 race? How can you go wrong? Right? This 3YO son of Mendelssohn will be offered up for sale at the $50,000 price tag, and it’s the first time he’s dropped into the MCL ranks. Ran two solid 2nds at the Fair Grounds before coming north. I can toss the last one and the new rider could assist this effort. Like. Drably (7) is the horse to beat, IMO. This gelded son of Tourist comes in with two runner-ups in a row and has hit the board in 3 of 7 lifetime. Has run here twice before, once on the sod. Not to be found at the wire time. But has the speed to be dangerous. Got to catch him. I bet the 1 across the board, and then double down on the win wager. I will box the 1-7 and then key the 1-7 over/under the 5-4-6-2-3 in two smaller units. 

2nd: 2-6-3/4//1/5…Abitibi (2) nearly won at KEE last time out and moves up a notch in the class department. But, consider this. The #2 in the #2 race? How can you go wrong? Right? This one has run this distance a total of 11 times with 3 wins and a runner-up. Rider likes to move wide, but could be a huge threat with a good trip. Goshen (6) has run here twice before, with a win. That was last November against lighter company. Has speed and could be dangerous if deployed. Rose Palace (3) had a huge year in 2023. Won 4 of 9 last season. Drops here to a career low level and could be dangerous at a price. I bet the 2-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4 in two smaller units. 

3rd: 7-1/5-3-4-8/6/2…This is the “baby race,” and I will go with talented, young trainer Norm Casse and his first-time starter Slang (7). This daughter of Omaha Beach has been training well and the sire gets .21% winners on first attempts. Dam has 2 winners from 2 starters. Trainer wins with .21% in sprints. Lots of likes here. I’m all in. I bet the 7 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 7-1 in the exactas. I will key the 7 over/under the 1-5-3-4-8-6-2 in two smaller units, as well. 

4th: 5-4/6-2-3/7/1-8…Argan (5) gets my top vote here. This daughter of KY Derby winner Nyquist has the breeding to be better than what she has shown so far. Just 3 thirds in 7 starts. But drops to a career low level here and that could spike the performance a ton. Like this rider choice. Look out here. Low Key Flex (4) is awkwardly named, but will make the debut for a trainer who wins a lot. Has won .19% of 85 starts so far this year. Sharp work on May 11. Shot. I bet the 5 across the board and then box the 5-4 in the exactas. I will key the 5-4 over/under the 6-2-3-7 in two smaller units. 

5th: (14)/9-10/12/5-1-3-2/4-6/8-11-(13)…This is the first sod race of the day and I will go with one from the AE List in a “Key Play of the Day.” Obviously, this one has to draw in to the main body of the race, but Silver Halo (14) has the potential to wire this field from get to go time. Speedy type is entered for the MTO, and that will determine the choice. If in, I bet. Sternly. If not, I can’t bet at all on this son of the fast Motile. Committee of One (9) gets my top pick, if this race stays on grass. This one has a 1-2-1 mark in 6 sod starts so far. Didn’t fire in a very wide trip in the Palisades Stakes at KEE last out. But had two 2nds in a row going into that one over the main track. Ran just 21/2 lengths behind in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last November. Talent here. Demolition Duke (10) has two 2nds in a row coming in against heady company. Deep, deep closer will need a trip and you know the jockey will be trying to find a spot on the rail. I bet the 14, if in. A lot, if in. A single for me, if in. If not, I bet the 9 across the board and then box the 9-10 in the exactas. I will key the 9-10 over/under the4 12-5-1-3-2 in two smaller units. 

6th: 8-7/4-3/2-1-6/5…Sound Doctrine (8) drops to a career-low level here and should be a handful at this level. Ran 2nd at $40,000 just two starts ago and does have a 2nd in two tries here. Son rides for the HOF trainer, and the combo has gone 3-1-1 in the last 11 outs. Quarrymen (7) goes for the team of owner Maggi Moss and trainer Tom Amoss. They could have a good day today. This one will make the 2nd start with the trainer, who wins with .24% of the last 29 to do that. Nearly came with a late rush to hit the board here on May 1. Any improvement from that and this one sparks the wire. I bet the 8 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 8-7 sternly in the exactas. I will key the 8-7 over (only) the 4-3-2-1-6 in a smaller unit.

7th: 8-5-6/2-7/3-1/4…Born Flawless (8) is another entry for the Moss-Amoss team. This one was claimed for $40,000 last time out and has run against much tougher of late. But the rider choice? Interesting for sure. Jockey has won just 5% of the last 38. Interesting? For sure. P H Factor (5) has run two really nice races in a row coming in. One over the AW at Turfway and the other over the conventional dirt at KEE. Likes both surfaces. Could be a “factor” here, too. Hoodlum (6) won just two starts ago at the Fair Grounds and if you toss the 7 turf races off the resume? Good numbers. Why run 7 times over the grass? Seven? I bet the 8-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. 

8th: 1-8-7/5/3/4/2-9…This is a super nice allowance race that could easily be a Stakes even anywhere else in the country. I go with Howl (1), who will make the 2024 debut here for trainer Brad Cox. This 4YO daughter of Practical Joke broke the maiden last October by nearly 8 lengths at KEE. Came back to win a Stakes at Laurel the next out. Didn’t have a great experience in the G1 La Brea at Santa Anita to end the year. But the fact that they went to take the shot? Means they really like this one. Has been training great and the rail is winning at a .25% rate so far, too. Lots to like here. Lots. I bet the 1 across the board and then double down on the win wager. I will box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will also key the 1 over/under the 8-7-5-3-4 in two smaller units. Like the 1. A lot. 

9th: 3-9/10-4/1/5/6-11/12…The finale is a turf event for the MSW level fillies. I go with Timeless Elegance (3), who hails from the barn of Jonathan Thomas. Trainer wins with .21% of the last 342 turf starters and wins withy .24% in the MSW ranks. This one nearly won last time out at KEE when picking up the blinkers for the first time. Look out here. Deep Satin (9) looks to be the toughest competitor here. Has run one time and nearly won at KEE, too. Barn wins with .21% when making the 2nd career start. Sharp work on May 5. Looks poised. I bet the 3 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the 3-9 solidly. Solidly. I will key the 3-9 over/under the 10-4-1-5 in two smaller units. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene