Day Results 11 / 2-4-4
2020 Overall 1645 1645 / 580-563-712
Win % of Top Pick 35.26%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 37.59%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –1,065-1,645 64.74%
Top Selection ITM / CD 112–176 63.64%
Top Selections Win / CD 59-176 33.52%
“Key Horses” @ CD 28-13-2-4 46.43% Win / 67.86% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 225-82-46-31 36 .44% Win / 70.67% ITM

The day after Thanksgiving is normally reserved for a lot of shopping and a lot of handicapping. Depending on your preference. Do you like fighting people over a bargain TV, or do you like fighting over a bargain longshot?

I prefer the latter.

And, I offer up these tasty morsels on “Black Friday” at the greatest racing oval in the free world:

1st: 2-3/1-5/8…Mau Mau (2) has been to the gate 6 times and has only a third to show on the resume. But this one will drop into the MCL ranks for the first time, and he will show up today for a $30,000 price tag. Should benefit from this class drop and the barn wins with .23% when going into the MCL ranks for the first time. Gets a new rider, who is tearing the place up. Over the last week, has a 14-6-3 mark in 33 starts. Nice work here on Nov. 24. Looks ready to pop. Niles Channel (3) ran at this same level last time out and came with a late rush to only lose by 11/2 lengths. Was 11 lengths back at one time. This will be the 2nd start off an extended vacation and the barn wins with .12% of those. Look for more out of this one today. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-3 in one exacta. I will key the 2 over/under the numbers listed in two smaller units.

2nd: 11-8-9/(14)-(13)-6-10/2-3…Payster (11) will not be the favorite in this wide, wide, wide open affair. But this 2YO gelded son of California Chrome may have a right to improve this time out. Ran for this level last time in the first start for the new barn operation. Tired mightily in the stretch to fade out of contention, but that was in the slop. Now, the trainer stretches out to a route for the first time and the the barn wins with .20% of those. Gets the blinkers back on today, too, and the barn wins with .18% of those. But in the 2nd start off a claim purchase? The barn wins with a whopping .38% and that is with a sample size of 80. My pick here. Goodtime Artie (8) goes for one of the hottest barn operators in the entire racing world. This meet, the barn has won with an amazing .29% in 90 starts. Returns as a beaten favorite here, and the barn wins with .24% off them. Rider has won with .38% of the last 24 mounts for this barn, too. Chance. Must use. Surmont (9) drops a couple more rungs down the claiming ladder today, and with make the first start for the new barn operation, too. Gets the blinkers for the first effort, as well. When the barn drops this much at once? Wins with .23%, and gets a huge, huge, huge rider switch for today’s affair. I bet the 11-9 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 11-9 over/under the 8-14-13-6-10 in two smaller units.

3rd: 4/2/1-3-5…The first Key Play of the Day comes right here with the much-anticipated return of one of my most favorite and most talented horses — Dennis’ Moment (4). This is no easy spot for the return, especially when you consider the last race and career accomplishments of Silver State (2), who will be coming with a late rush in this 7-furlong test. But if Dennis’ is as good as I think he is, and if he is training as good as headmaster Dale Romans says he is? Then watch out. The next phase of this troubled career could take off into a lunar orbit. The talent is here. The luck has not been. Maybe all that changes today. I am convinced it will. I will bet the 4 to win/place and then key the 4 over (only) the numbers listed. More on the 2 than the rest.

4th: 3-6-4/5-2/1-7/8…Barakat (3) is a first time starter from the barn of HOF trainer Steve Amussen, who wins with .18% of those making the career debut. This 2O son of Constitution was purchased for $75,000 at a 2YO sale earlier this year and has been working extremely well for the inaugural start. Rider is having a super meet, too. Needs to break well, but looks to have the talent. Manitowish (6) is another first time starter and this one hails from the same barn as Dennis’ Moment. Look at the work here on Nov. 21. Blistering bullet out of 91 to go that far in the a.m. Dam has 2 winners from 3 starters and this one cost a hefty $175,000 at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale. Look out. Copa (4) may be the best of the horses that have already started. This one ran a very nice 2nd here on Sept. 27. Returned to spit the bit in the next outing, though. Shortens back up today and that should help this one immensely. New rider for the first time. Interesting. I bet the 3-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. A spread for me in the horizontals, but I key the 3-6 over/under the 4-5-2-1-7 in two smaller units in the exacta.

5th: 6/5-3-1/4-2…The second Key Play of the Day comes here with Jilted Bride (6). This one could be a square price, too, because of the 3-1 ML price set by This one has never missed the board in 6 career starts and has been right there in nearly every effort. True, this one has not been out since March. But the barn wins with .14% off this type of a layup and with .26% when they return as a beaten favorite. Works are good enough for me and the field is weak enough to allow this one to rally from back in the pack of a short field. I go here. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. More with the 5-3-1 than the rest.

6th: 4-1-8/5-10/9-2-6/7-3…Mishpocha (4) is my first Longshot Special of the Day. This 2YO daughter of Speightstown didn’t fare well in the last outing, and will convert to the dirt for the first time today. But? But this one has two seconds in the first four tries and is a daughter of one of the most versatile and talented sires in the game today. Works in the a.m. indicate that this one can run over the dirt and the barn is having a very nice meet. Chance at a price. Ship It (1) has run two 4ths in a row for a barn that has won just 10 of 62 this meet. Rider has not won a race for this barn, either. This one figures to be the PT favorite and will have to flash speed from the post and the rail in this 5.5-furlong sprint. Don’t see the speed. Universally (8) will get the girth tightened for the first time by the new trainer. Barn wins with .16% when dropping them into the claiming ranks for the first time, as well. Works better than they look and the trainer never gets a lot of support at the windows — but does a very nice job. Looking for the first win of the meet, but might just find it here. I bet the 4-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 5-10 in two smaller units. Wide open affair. I spread in the horizontals.

7th: 9-8-2/7-1/3-4-6…Tonal Vision (9) is a 3YO daughter of Tonalist and hails from the red-hot barn of trainer Mike Maker. Has run two solid races in a row under the guidance of rider Tyler Gaffalione. That jock opts elsewhere here, though, and that is a concern. No doubt. But the replacement jock has won with .38% of the last 24 rides for this barn, too. Not bad. Stripping (8) broke the maiden last time out at KEE on Oct. 24 by a whopping 71/2 lengths. And, this 3YO daughter of Tonalist keeps Gaffalione in the irons. Barn wins with .17% when moving up to face winners for the first time. Should be an interesting battle of the top 2. Funnybet (2) has been on a tear of her own, of late. Has hit the board in each of the last 4 and won the last two. Barn wins with .16% when returning as a winner. Good to see the rider team up with old friend in the barn. Has speed. Could spoil the Tonalist reunion party. I bet the 9-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. i will key the top 3 over/under the 7-1 in two smaller units.

8th: 6-1-2/4-5-7/3-9/8…Tempers Rising (6) has run up against some good ones this year — like  Finite, Swiss Skydiver, Blame Debbie and many others. Does here best running in the late going and returns today as a beaten favorite. Barn wins with .19% of those kind. In 6 starts here, has a 1-2-1 mark and has a 1-3-1 record in 7 starts at this distance. I think she gets the job done against this batch. O Seraphina (1) is certainly the one to beat if she is anywhere close to the same filly that ran at Oaklawn Park in the Spring. She beat Bonny South by 4 lengths and ran 2nd against the ill-fated Taraz in another. But her lsat performance was troubling and baffling. Here’s hoping that she bounces back and does much better with the return to two turns here. Can’t dismiss. Villanelle (2) broke the maiden last time out and has a reason to improve with this job assignment today. Comes from the red-hot barn of Brad Cox, who has had another tremendous year with his fillies. This daughter of Curlin could be the next. I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 4-5 in two smaller units.

9th: 8-4/2-5/9-3-1-6-7…Looking At Bikinis (8) tired mightily in his first start back in 11 months last time out. But the son of Lookin at Lucky had a right to back up late. Blitzed to the lead early. Ran hard to make the lead. Just didn’t have the kick in the end of a testy 7-furlong contest at KEE on Oct. 9. Good ones stacked that deck, too. Barn wins with .29% when they return as a beaten favorite and the barn picks up a rider who has won with .27% of the last 30 mounts for this barn. One to beat here. Hog Creek Hustle (4) has not won yet in 2020 and has had 9 starts to do it. Has run 2nd on 4 occasions and has a third, to boot. Will be coming late. Will be coming with all he has. Does he have enough? In 5 starts here, has a win and 3 seconds. Under? I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-4 solidly in the exacta. I will key the 8-4 over/under the 2-5-9-3-1 in two smaller units.

10th: 12-3/9-5-14-8-7/2-1-10/4-11/13…G1 Clark Handicap…What a field. What a race. What a way to end up the final couple of days of this great race meet. I will go to the outside and saddle up with By My Standards (12). I really thought that this 4YO son of Goldencents had an outside chance in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Did not fire a lick in that one after getting a strange outside trip. I toss that one. Just wasn’t his day. Gets back to Churchill Downs, where he has a 1-2-0 record in 4 starts. Ran 2nd to Tom’s d’Etat in the G2 Stephen Foster here. Won the G2 Alysheba here. Loves this track. Look for this one to be closer to the leaders today and will have the first jump when the real running begins at the top of the lane. Love this one. Love. Code of Honor (3) ships in here for HOF trainer and all-around great guy Shug McGaughey. And, for those TV reporters who don’t know how to pronounce his name? It is Shug — as in Sugar. Shug’s mother nicknamed him “Shuggums” as a child and an abbreviated version stuck. But back to the subject at hand. The man can train a horse. And, this horse has the talent to be one of the best in the game. Ran 3rd in the 2019 Kentucky Derby to the DQ’d Maximum Security and the moved-up Country House. In 14 liftetime starts? Has a 6-3-2 record. Should be a tough out in this spot. I bet the 12-3 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. Sternly. I will key the 12-3 over/under the 9-5-14-8-7 in two smaller units.

11th: 7/4-1-9-3/2-8…The final race of the day and the final Key Play of the Day. Silverbella (7) comes into this one off three straight 2nd place finishes to start the career, and that is for a barn operator who normally does NOT crank them up to begin the racing. Came off a long layup to run 2nd here on Nov. 8. If this 3YO daughter of Tapizar can improve any off the last run, she looks to be a tough, tough out in this spot. Barn wins with an impressive .38% when returning as a beaten fan’s choice. I will bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under the numbers listed in the exactas. I will use more with the 4-1-9-3. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene