Day Results 10 / 2-2-3
2020 Overall 575 575 / 205-187-225
Win % of Top Pick 35.65%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 35.77%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –366-575 63.65%
Top Selection ITM / CD Spring-Summer: 53-83 63.86%
Top Selection Win / CD Spring-Summer: 29-83 34.94%
“Key Horses” @ CD Spring-Summer:5-3-0-2 60.00% Win / $100.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 77-25-17-12 32.47% Win / 70.13% ITM

(Chilly on Thursday. Very chilly.)

What a pitiful display of horsemanship and handicapping skills we put on display on Thursday. Whew. Stinker. Sorry.

The only thing that salvaged the day was the fact that we did manage to boot him 5 exactas that returned rather handsome payoffs of $44.80, $36.40, $43.30, $8.00 and $71.00 for each $1 played. Parachute, please.

We will endeavor to do better today. Tough card, though. Thrilling card, too. Lots of good ones returning to action. Lots of intrigue. Lots of great gambling options.


Here we go. Here’s a closer look at our options:

1st: 2-1-7/3-6-5/4-1A…Ebben (2) is my first Upset Special of the Day. Listed at 12-1 in the ML, but I don’t think this 5YO son of Trappe Shot will stay there. In 7 starts here, has a win and 3 thirds. But look at the last race. Ran a bang-up 2nd to Dunph. That horse, Dunph, came back to run off the charts in the next outing, after claimed by Robertson Diodoro. Off. The. Charts. If Ebbed can run back that same kind of race. Big shot at a big price here. I’m in. Jungle Warfare (1) won the lat time out at Oaklawn Park on April 20. Came from well back to score late and pull away. Gets the same top rider back. In 5 times at this distance? Has a 2-2-1 mark. Barn hits with .33% when trying to repeat with claimers. Heavy Roller (7) has not been out since February. And, has no wins here in 5 previous runs. But the win at Aqueduct back in January was a good one over two horses that both came right back to win the next out. Chance. I bet the 2-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the 2-1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.

2nd: 10/1-12/4/8-2-13-7…The first Key Play of the Day comes in the 2nd race of the day with Gypsy King (10). Hard to single a 2YO making the first career start. I know. Especially making it a “Key Play.” But this one comes from the barn of the 2YO guru — trainer Wesley Ward. And the works in the a.m.? Spot on. Fast. Furious. Solid. Good. And, I really don’t mind the outside post, either. Clean break and this one could be gone. Gets a top rider, too. Take note. I bet the 10 to win/place and key the 10 over/under the numbers listed.

3rd: 9-8-(14)/5-1-4/3-7/10-12-(13)…Guska Mon Shoes (9) drops to the bargain bin here after running third in two of he last three outings. This is an Arkansas-bred who will be facing open company. But this one figures in this bunch. I like the new rider. Always solid performance from this guy. Lil Mateo (8) is the horse that I will be wagering on, though. This 5YO son of Jazil was claimed for much more two races ago. Faded when facing tougher last time out. Moves to the fast dirt today. And, look at the difference with this one when he gets that kind of surface. Four lifetime races. Two wins and a second. I’m booking on that. I bet the 8 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers (keep an eye to see if the #14 draws in). I also key the 8 over/under the numbers listed in two smaller units. Looking for a score with the top young trainer Thomas Drury. 

4th: (13)-9-10-2/4-7-8-1/3-12-11-(15)…If Tom Management (13) draws in from the AE List, then I go with this one. No doubt. Dropping significantly in class and the barn hits with .30% of those kind. Like the work at the training center in town. Like the rider choice. Like this one. If he doesn’t get in, then I go to a spread formation — led by Roaring Fork (9), which I hope is named after a creek and not the eating instrument. This 5YO son of Mineshaft is dropping in class after two poor performances. Does have some back class. Interesting rider choice, but the jockey has won for this barn in 2 tries. Love the last work. Chance. Coworker (10) comes from a barn that is off to a good start here this meet. Drops in class, too. Picks up Mr. Churchill Downs in the saddle, and he is beginning to warm up with the weather. If this one can move a bit earlier, then may have a shot, too. Betting strategy depends on who gets in this one. All in on the 13 if he makes the gate. If not, I go to 10 — take note — and go across the board and box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 10 over/under the 9-2-4-7-8-1 in two smallers.

5th: 4-5-(11)-(13)/7/2-8-6/3-1-10/(12)-(14)-9…The first grass race of the day will be contested at the 1-mile distance. I go with Mishko (4), who is coming off a Stakes effort at The Fair Grounds against the likes of Hieronymus. That one just ran in a major Stakes event here over the weekend. In 3 tries over the sod to date, Mishko has 2 wins. Likes to stalk. Likes to pounce. Will get a chance to do both with a top rider taking over the saddle duties today. River Finn (5) comes from the Brad Cox barn and will get back to the sod for the first time since Winter. Broke the maiden over the grass. Look for this one to go right to the front and play catch-me-if-you-can. Take a look to see if either the 11 or 13 draw in. They both rate a shot here, too. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers — no matter who they are. I will key the 4 over/under the 11-13-7-2-8-6 in two smaller units.

6th: 5-6/8-3-7-9/2-4-1…What a nice allowance event this is, which will be contested at the 11/16-miles over the main dirt track. I will go with Tempers Rising (5) — who has only one win in 8 starts to date. But…This 3YO daughter of Bayern ran 2nd last time out to Bonny South, in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks. Before that, she ran 4th to Finite in the G2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes. Last work here on May 23 was spot on. Rider is one of the best in these parts. In 3 starts here, she is a 1-1-1. So? I’m hoping she gets over her bad habit of hanging late and manages to make the wire first. Strong Flag (6) ran 6th in the Gardenia Stakes at Oaklawn Park last time out. Before that, though, this one was involved in every other race. Has shown speed. Has shown ability to run late. Like the grit. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-6 in one exact. I will key the 5 over/under the numbers listed.

7th: 8-(14)-4-1/(16)-7-12/5-11/3-2-6-10…Talk about a good allowance race. This is truly a Stakes event. My top pick, in fact, is a G1 winner — Hog Creek Hustle (8). Over the last 9 races, 8 of them have been Graded Stakes events. This one runs on late, and the 7 furlongs should be a perfect distance. In 3 races at that length, has 2 wins and a second. In 3 starts here? A win and a second. I love the rider switch here, too. My solid pick. If the 14 gets in from the AE List, this one could pose a risk. But…I will bet the 8 to win/place/show. I will key the 8 over/under the numbers listed. If the 8 goes at 4-1 odds? Love it.

8th: 4-(11)-9-(13)-10/6-(14)/3-1-7/2-5…Totally Boss (4) will be making the 2020 debut in this grass sprint today. In the past, this one has come off the bench with spectacular results. Look at the 2019 debut at Keeneland. Has been working OK for this return, too. Gets a rider who is a perfect 2-for-2 on him. And, has a 4-1-1 record in 8 starts at this specialty distance. So…all looks good…But…it will be the first start off a layup and we all saw what happened to the great Morticia in the final strides on Thursday. And, she comes from the same barn. Looks best, but vulnerable. Leinster (9) is the stablemate of the 4 and looks to be a top contender, too. But he, too, will be making the 2020, too. Should be coming late. In 7 turf races, has 3 wins, with one second and one third. At the distance, has 3 wins and 1 second in 5 starts. Looks solid here, too. I bet the 4-9 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers — whomever they are. Look to see if 11/13 draw in from the AE List. I will key the 4-9 over/under the 0-10-6-3-1-7 in two smaller units.

9th: 2-8/10-5/1-9/3-7-6…Predator (2) will be dropping into the mid-range claiming ranks for the first time and has never been offered up for this low of a price tag. Never been off the board in 3 starts, to date. This one could take off and be long gone before the rest of them can catch a glimpse. Gets a HOF rider to take the reins for the first time. Has a win, here. Is my last Key Play of the Day. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and box the 2-8 in one exacta. I will key the 2-8 over/under the 10-5-1-9-3-7-6 in two smaller units. I will also key the 2 over/under the “all button.”

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene