Total Day Results 8 / 2-3-5
2021 Overall 1,485 1485 / 561-525-709
Win % of Top Pick 37.78%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 40.29%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 1007-1,485 67.81%
2021 Top Selection ITM / CD 60-86 69.77%
2021 Top Selections Win / CD 29-86 33.72%
“Key Horses” @ CD 13/5-4-2 38.46% Win / 84.62% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 223/ 98-52-23 43.95% Win / 77.58% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @ CD 13/1-1-3 0.77% Win / 38.46% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @IGR (9-8-21) 11/3-0-0 27.27% Win / 27.27% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ SAR (8-28-21) 4/0-2-0 00.00% Win / 50.00% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ KY Downs 19/2-1-2 10.53% Win / 26.32% ITM

Not a great day at the ole’ ball yard on Thursday. Two meager winners on the 8-race card. Not good enough. Not for me.


There’s always a but, and a glimmer of hope.

Our top pick in each race hit the board in 7 of 8, and we cashed exacta tickets in 6 of the 8, as well.

Our two “Key Plays of the Day,” both ran hard-fought 2nds, after leading late, late, late in the proceedings. Cost us the early Pick 5 and Pick 4, as well.



Here’s a gander at Friday’s picks, and, of course, why:

1st: 5-8/4-9/2/7-6-1/3…The top billing in the ole’ lid-lifter at the big oval in Lou Lou will go to Sunset at Mallory (5). This 3YO daughter of Speightster comes in off three straight 2nds and has had a shot in each of those. Just never could put the head in front at any time during the final stages. Has run over the turf in each of those and each of the past four outings. Goes back to the main track here, and the barn wins with .17% of those converting to this surface type. Works are OK of late and the rider switch is interesting. Threat. Brody Slam (8) goes for the long-term, long-time trainer/owner duo of Dale Romans and Frank Jones. Will drop all the way from the $30,000 tag to the $10,000 scale here. Barn wins with .26% of the last 19 to drop this much at one time. Barn also wins with .19% when gong from a sprint to a route and back to a sprint distance. Rider has won with .17% of the last 30 for this barn operation, as well. Interesting. I bet the 8 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the 5-8 in the exactas. I will key the 5-8 over (only) the 4-9-2-7-6-1 in two smaller units.

2nd: 6-7-3/1/4-5/2…Frolic More (6) is a 5YO gelded son of More Than Ready, who is one of my most favorite and most versatile sires. Guy just throws runners. This one drops from the $40,000 level last race into the $16,000 ranks here for a top claiming operation. Barn wins with .19% of the last 532 that have started in the claiming ranks. Won here back in May and now in 10 races over this main track? Has a 3-2-1 mark. Good here. Good in here. Cove Blue (7) is a 6YO son of Ghostzapper and one who has already tallied over $195,000 in purses, to date. Has speed galore and they will all have to hunt this one down; toss heads with; and then try to put away. Has 2 wins in 8 previous tries over this main track and has a 2-1-0 mark in 6 races at this distance. Won the last out here on May 16. Rider returns. Could be ready to pop off the bench. The Queens Jules (3) does not have his “jewels” any more. Lost those some time ago. Was claimed at Saratoga in the last two outings. Now, falls back into a price point category that he could win at, again. This barn wins with .36% when dropping off a claim purchase and with .25% when making the first start for the new trainer. Will make his Churchill Downs debut here, but does have a win and a third in two previous tries at this distance. I can toss the last one on the grass. Stumbled and lost all chance at the start in that one. Look out. I bet the 6-7-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will also key the top 3 numbers over/under the 1 in two smaller units.

3rd: 3-1-7/2-4/5-6…Oopsy Daisy (3) will make the first start for the new barn operation, and it wins with a whopping .27% of those making the barn debut. Has not run since November of 2020. This barn does win with .18% of the last 80 to make the return from this long of a layup. Gets the meet’s top rider up. Interesting. Take note. Should relish the return to dirt here, as well. My solid choice. Fine Prospecture (1) is my first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This one is listed at 6-1 in the ML, according to my great friends over at, and could slip up the board by PT. Ran huge in April to break the MSW at first asking. Came back to run poorly after a stumbling start in May at Belmont Park. Blossom Road (7) is another longshot possibility. This 3yO filly goes for a barn that does very well here and has a 2-2-0 mark in the first 6 starts of this abbreviated meet. This one ran 5th against much better last time out. Won here about a year ago. Should be better with the 2nd start off the layup and with the addition of blinkers for the first time. Barn wins with .21% when adding the shades. I bet the 3-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 2-4 in two smaller units.

4th: 1-6-7/3-2/5-4…I’ll go to the rail birds and the rail horse in this 7-furlong event. Inside can be very, very difficult coming out of this chute. Requires a great break and some turn of quick foot. If … if Alexandros (1) can do that and still throttle back and hold some energy for the late stages? This 6YO gelding will be a tough out. Was claimed when racing last at Del Mar in July. Has been training very well for the new connections here and gets a veteran rider in the irons for this try. In 7 previous runs over this track? Has a win and 2 seconds. At this distance? A win in two tries. Look out. Especially considering that this barn wins with .30% when going to the gate with a beaten favorite last time out. Brother Aaron (6) comes from the barn of Dale Romans, who is beginning to heat up a tad. In the first 15 starts this meet, the “big guy” has 3 wins and 3 thirds. This one won at Ellis Park just two starts back. Spit the bit last time out when stretching out to a route for the first time. Turns back to the sprint distance here, and the barn wins with .19% when going sprint to route and back to sprint. Also, this one returns as a beaten favorite, too. This barn wins with .27% of those. Rider has won with .30% of the last 10 for this trainer. Machismo (7) is the ML favorite, and drops off a win in Ohio last time out. But? I’m not convinced here. Steps up the big leagues for the first time. Will have to beat me to prove he belongs here. I bet the 1-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 1-6 over/under the 7-3-2-5-4 in two smaller units.

5th: 9-1A-10/2-1-11/4-8-3/5-6-7…Mackenzie’s Novva (9) is a 2YO colt who will be dropped into the MCL ranks for the first time here. This barn wins with .18% when using that angle, and this one should relish a return to the dirt surface. Don’t understand why this one was one the grass to begin with, considering the pedigree. Loses the blinkers, too. Barn wins with a whopping .33% when taking the shades off. Trainer is red hot over the past two weeks. Has gone 6-2-1 in the 15 races during that span. Look out here. Sharp Joe (1A) goes to the gate for trainer Joe Sharp. Clever. This one is a 2YO by Tom’s Ready and should relish this 5.5-furlong distance. Ran OK in the debut at Ellis Park. After hesitating at the beginning, this one click off some impressive early fractions. Lost energy late, as one might suspect. Could be a tough out when the 2nd effort here. Barn wins with .16% of those. Rooster Run (10) drops into the MCL ranks for the first time and this HOF trainer wins with .19% when doing that. Got Lasix for the first time up at Indy and now must go without. But this one should fit better with this crowd. Not without a shot. I bet the 9-1A across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/u under the 2-11 in two smaller units.

6th: 4-5-6/9-1-2/7-3/8…Chattalot (4) is another from the barn of Team Asmussen. Won on debut at Saratoga in mid-July. Came from well off the pace and had to circle the field in that 5.5-furlong sprint. Impressive performance considering. Barn’s go-to rider returns and the works are spot on. Don’t tarry long in looking at others. This one should do the trick. Vodka N Water (5) is our top pick’s roommate and comes in off three tries against Stakes company. Was 2nd here in the G3 Bashford Manor back in late June. Talent there. But the top jock takes the mount on the #4. I stick with him. Nakatomi (6) will get the saddle from the guru to the 2YO — Wesley Ward. Won easily and impressively on first ask at KEE in April. Ran better than looks at Royal Ascot. (No clue why this guy ships these horses overseas when the money is so good at home. No clue.) Came back to run OK at Saratoga in the G2 Stakes. Runner-up was very impressive here this meet. So, got to use. I bet the 4-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 4-6 over/under the 5-9-1-2-7-3 in two smaller units.

7th: 9-(14)-11-3/2-10-12-6/(13)-1-8/4-7…Delightof the Nile (9) is a 2YO filly that trainer Dale Romans touted just a bit in our podcast interview a couple of days ago. If you have not listened to it, take the time. It’s a good listen. This one ran huge on debut and then just spit the bit after gunning it down at KY Downs. Very poor jockey decision in that one. The stretch is all uphill, and this one had zero left after the early fractions that day. So? A jockey switch here. Could spell a huge difference, too. This one has talent and should prefer more distance as it comes along. Look out. This one could be really live at a nice price. I’m in. Old Pho (11) will get bumped up to the 2nd spot if the #14 does NOT draw in from the AE List. And, in all likelihood, that one will be left outside and looking in. Old Pho ran well for awhile in the career debut at Saratoga. That was on the grass, which does not lend itself much to front-running types. Returns here on the dirt. This barn wins with .23% when making this surface switch. Sharp work on Sept. 24. Take note of that. Look for more out of this one this time around the oval. Justastar (2) is my next “Longshot Special of the Day.” This 2YO filly never ran a single step in the career debut at KY Downs on Sept. 5. Not one step. But look at the a.m. works for this one. Take a gander. No horse that can step it up in the a.m. like this and not have some kind of run in the afternoon. If she finds that morning glory here? Look out at a nice price. I bet the 9-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2-10-12 in two smaller units.

8th: 5/9-7-4/8-3/6/2-1…The first and only “Key Play of the Day” comes here in a handy, dandy, nice as candy optional-claimer for the 3YOs & up. I go early. I go late. I go steady. And, I go sternly. Major Fed (5) returned from a 9-month layup to run a huge one here on June 25. Came running late to beat some good ones and edge clear at the wire for new rider Florent Geroux and trainer Greg Foley. Don’t know why he has had another break in-between races. But the works look good of late and we know he can win off the layup. Has raced here 5 times so far. Has a 1-1-1 record. But in 4 starts at this distance? Two wins and a second. Has faced some good ones in the past and should like this reentry into the racing world. If he catches fire? Look out. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5 over/under the rest of the numbers listed above. More with the 9-7-4 than the rest.

9th: 6-5-1/2-7/3-4…Seneca Overnight Stakes…Crazy Beautiful (6) is a G2 Stakes winner and will return to the fray here against lighter after a rather dull run against the KY Oaks winner in the G1 Alabama Stakes last time out. No impact in that one, but won the previous two and showed her true class winning the G2 Gulfstream Oaks in March. Has already won over $709,000 in the career. More to come, too. This could be a stepping stone. Played Hard (5) is a 3YO daughter of Into Mischief and despite her 5th in the G1 Alabama, this one has real talent, too. That was her Stakes debut. Her Graded Stakes debut. Her G1 Stakes debut. Was not embarrassed in that, after setting early fractions. This one has speed. Will use it. Got to chase her down to beat her. Can they? Illiogami (1) has missed the board in the last two, but both of those were G2 events and the last was an ill-conceived try over the sod. Returns to the dirt here and she has a win and a 2nd in two tries here. Gets her regular rider back, too. Could be coming late. If she gets through and with time allowed? Could be a surprise. I bet the 6 across the board. I will box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units. I may even hit the 6 again across the board. Love the 6. 

10th: 8-4-2/3-9/5-6/1-7…Sky Temple (8) gets the nod in the finale. This one drops a notch after running a very game 2nd at Indy Grand. Has run here once before and that was a 2nd here last November. Has 2 seconds in three tries at this distance, too. New rider could spell the difference here. He’s Pretty Lucky (4) ran a better-than-looks 4th last time out at Ellis Park. Moves to the dirt here and the only win on the board came over the main track. Gets a rider who is better-than-looks win percentage, too. This guy can horseback. Look out. Big in the City (2) has a shot. Ran 2nd just two starts ago against weaker, but could be better here if the rider can stay in touch with the field of study. But? Zero-for-4 in 4 previous tries here. HMNMM. I bet the 8-4 across the board and then box the 8-4-3 (take note) in the exactas. I will key the 8-4 over/under the 2-3-9-5-6-1 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene