McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Friday, Nov. 15

Day Results10/4-3-8
2019 Overall 1,3151,315/462-473-595
Win % of Top Pick35.13%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.78%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –861 of 1,31565.48%
Top Selection ITM / CD Nov 78-12263.93%
Top Selection Win / CD Nov 47-12238.52%
“Key Horses” @ CD Nov 18/8-4-047.06%
“Key Horses” in 2019 207-80-41-2238.65%

A solid day at the ole’ ball yard on Thursday. Scored 4 winners out of the 10 races carded, and landed 6 exactas that returned $6.80, $11.40, $18.10, $20.20, $4.60, $40.70 for each $1 played.

Seen better days.

Seen a lot worse ones, too.

So, we turn the page to the old program and search for a few more winners on Friday. Here is our look:

1st: 2-1/7-5-3-8/4…Mesange (2) is the 2-1 ML favorite and figures to be well supported at the windows at PT, too. Ran a nice 3rd last time out at this same level when running here just 14 days ago. Since adding the blinkers three starts back, this 4YO daughter of Gio Ponti has been much more responsive and into the game action. Barn hits with .15% of those making the third start off a layup. And, the rider has hit with 3 of the last 7 outs with this trainer, too. My pick. Punish (1) may be the one to beat. This 3YO daughter of Cairo Prince cost a heft $90,000 as a 2YO last year. Now, she is running for a $15,000 price tag. Look at the start three back, too. Very nice against much tougher. Should fit with these. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-1 in the exacta. I will key the 2-1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

2nd: 3-7-8/2-1/5-6…Replete (3) comes into this one off two straight wins. Will make the first start for a new barn operator, who scores with .25% of those that are making the first start for the new connections. Barn also hits with .26% of them returning from a win, too. Gets a new rider. But the work here on oct. 21 is spot on. Looks good right now. Hidden Ruler (7) was claimed last time out, as well. New barn hits with .14% of those making the first start for the new connections. Was the favorite in the last out, too, and lost by just a neck at the wire. New trainer hits with .21% of those returning as a beaten fan fav. Like the work at the Lou Training Center on Nov. 10. New rider has hit with .29% of his rides with this barn over the past 60 days. Watch out. Extra Medium (8) won the last two, as well. Has a 2-3-3 record in 10 lifetime starts and most of his damage has come over the all-weather surface. Does have a 1-1-0 mark in just 2 starts over fast dirt. Gets a top rider back up today. That did good work together at KEE on Oct. 19. I bet the 3-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2-1 in two smaller versions.

3rd: 5-7-1/4/8-2-6/3…As Fast As You Can (5) takes a serious drop in class for this tilt today, and should relish the easier company. Never has raced this low before, and comes in off a very nice work over this surface on Nov. 6. Barn hits with .27% when dropping this much in one swoop, and with .20% of those in the claiming ranks, all told. Serious contender here. My Girl Rocket (7) was claimed two back, when she won for fun at Indy Grand. Came back and stepped it up in class, and was nowhere to be found last time out on Sept. 27. Has a 2-5-2 mark this year in 12 starts and has been a contender for much of the season. Bears watching. Angel’s Cut (1) is 8-1 in the ML odds, and could spice up the odds rack in this one. Won last time out and now loses that condition. But this 3YO filly by Dominos does have 2 wins and a second in 6 starts, all told. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 5-1 over/under the 7-4-8-2-6 in two smaller versions.

4th: 2-7/4-6/1-3/5-8…Candy Carlos (2) won the last time out, and, now, after 41 lifetime tries, this 5YO gelding has a record of 11-5-6. I look for him to show out a bit more today. Has the speed to rip and road and has shown a likeness for this track, too. Owner/Trainer duo are deadly together. Beware of this one. Ruler of the Nile (7) is a 4YO son of Pioneerof the Nile and will get the saddle from a trainer who is looking for that elusive first win here this meet. Won here back in Sept. Has 3 wins in 3 lifetime tries over this main track. Looks salty when you  consider this factoid. I bet the 2-7 across the board and then box them strong in the exacta. I will key the 2-7 over/under the 4-6-1-3-5-8 in two smaller versions.

5th: 10-5-2/6-11/4-7/3-9-8…This is a 6.5-furlong sprint event over the main dirt track, and I will give the lean to Impact Player (10). This one has not been out since the sluggish finish here on Sept. 28. Ran against tougher in that one, but never really got the attention of others in that event. Drops significantly today, and the barn scores with .27% of those that make the second start for the new connections and with .30% making their way into the claiming category for the first time. Lionite (5) can really run, but the 4YO Quality Road colt has not made the starting gate in the afternoons since Sept. 30, 2018 — when he ran in the G3 Oklahoma Derby at Remington Park. Worked like a super horse here on Nov. 6. Barn hits with .23% of those making the first start for the new director of operations. Sir Truebadour (2) loves this track. In 3 tries over the main surface here, the son of More Than Ready has a win. Colt now has 2 here. No slouch. I bet the 10-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

6th: 6-8/2-7/1/3-4…Cool Beans (6) was not much of a factor when running over the grass in the G3 Ladies Sprint at KY Downs on Sept. 7. That one was won by Morticia, who just went over $1 million in career earnings. Cool Beans has a ton of speed, and is a perfect 2-for-2 at this distance. Love the work here on Nov. 1. Boxwood (8) is a 3YO daughter of English Channel and could give anyone in here a run for the money. Worked a bullet here on Nov. 6. Faced the likes of Winter Sunset, Guarana, and Divine Queen — all major Stakes winners — recently. Held her own in most of those occasions. I bet the 6-8 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 6-8 over / under the 2-7-1.

7th: 1-5/7-4/6-2-3…Cairo Cat (1) is getting a huge drop in class for this one, after a very unimpressive performance in the last outing at KEE on Oct. 25. Worked OK on Nov. 9 but has not been the same horse since he won back-to-back races in early August and September. This barn hits with .15% of those that get a new racetrack surface. Also, the barn scores with .16% of those that are getting this kind of a class drop. Truth Seeker (5) is a dangerous one. Will inch up the claim ladder in here, after running a well-positioned 3rd last time out at KEE. Since getting the blinkers three starts ago, this one has 2 wins and a tough-beat third. Take note of this one’s chances. I bet the 5-1 across the board and then box those two in th exacta. Io will key the 5-1 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

8th: (14)-3/2-6-10/8-4-11/7-1…If Mr. Monomoy (14) — yes, he is related to that Monomoy Girl,  draws into this one, I have to use. Was bet down in the debut and then got a horrendous start. Broke a bit tardy and then was squeezed back — even farther. Not much of a factor in that one, although he did close well to show a spot of run. Dangerous type. Churn N Burn (3) ran well despite a poor start in the debut race on Oct. 19. Lost by less than 4 that day. Could be dangerous with a better beginning in this tilt. I bet the 14-3 across the board and then box the 14-3-2 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under. I bet the 14 to win/place/show and then key the 14 over/under all the numbers in two smaller versions, too.

9th: 5-9-3-(14)/8-2-6-10/12-4-1-11…The final grass event of the day will be contested at the endurance distance of 13/8-mile. Aspen Summer (5) looked to have both the eye and the legs of a winner when he ran at KEE on Oct. 20. Went into that one off a bullet work on Oct. 12 at Churchill Downs. Went 4 furlongs in :47.25 that day. Had all kinds of issues in the last afternoon race. Slipped to 8th in the final analysis. Silver Shaker (9) picks up the meet’s top rider for this mount. Deep closer will need some racing room and luck to be a presence here in the late going. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 in an exacta with the 9-3-(14)-8-2, as well.

10th: 12-7-5-3/4-11-10/6-8-9-1…The finale will be contested at 7 furlongs over the main track, and I will saddle up with Jimmy At Last (12). This 3YO gelded son of Temple City has won only one time in 10 lifetime starts. But he does have 3 seconds and 2 thirds to throw into a nice mix. Never has seemed like he could finish a race. Will need to find that gear today. Upset Special of the Day — 6. Super Terrific (7) was claimed last time out by a barn that scores with .25% of those making the first start after the purchase. Can certainly close with a purpose, and gets a new rider up that can help in those regards, as well. Love the work here on Oct. 27, and this barn hits with .24% of those moving up to face winners for the first time. Has a win and three thirds in 5 starts here. Aqualityindividual (8) has run two poor ones in row. Faltered in both of those tries over he sod. But this son of Quality Road has both the pedigree and high-cruising speed angle to be dangerous in this spot. Barn hits with .21% of those getting this kind of class drop. Don’t totally dismiss. Could score at a huge number.  I bet the 12-7 across the board and then box those two in one exacta. I will key the 12-7 over/under the 5-3-4-11-10-6-8 in two smaller versions.

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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