McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Saturday, June 22

Day Results9/3-1-4
2019 Overall 899899/323-316-424
Win % of Top Pick35.93%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.41%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –612 of 89968.08%
Top Selection ITM / CD 214-32366.25%
Top Selection Win / CD 113-32334.98%
“Key Horses” @ CD 47-16-12-634.04%
“Key Horses” in 2019 162-63-34-2038.89%

We are now officially into Summer. June 21 was the opening day. And, I guess that means that we can expect more rain and thunder storms? Can’t be possible. Right?

But here we are with more precipitation in the forecast, and more teardrops from the clouds expected. But it doesn’t matter. You can’t rain out a race party. Not at Churchill Downs.

We hit for 3 winners on Friday, and had exacta payouts that returned $15.70, $6.40, $6.00, $23.30 and $29.60 for each $1 played. Not a bad turnout.

Looking for more today. Just don’t stand and look skyward for very long. You may drown. Good news is that the forecast seems to be for sun next Tuesday through Friday. Yeah.

Here’s a look at today’s card:

1st: 1/4-5-3/6-7-2…This is the first Key Play of the Day — with Tobacco Road (1). This guy ran in the G3 Pat Day Mile just two starts ago. Didn’t fire at all, but up against some of the best — like Mr. Money. Has been a consistent runner in the Stakes level company, and has a second in only try over an “off track.” At this distance of 7 furlongs, he has 2 wins and a third in 3 tries. Zero-for-4 here, but tough, tough company, too. I go. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key the 1 over/under all the other numbers listed.

2nd: 2-9/5-8/3-6/7-4…Shanghai Superfly (2) gets another drop in class for this one, and will get the blinkers for the first time. Trainer hits with .19% of those donning the shades for the initial go. Probably likes the return to the dirt, too. Has good mud marks in the pedigree, and rider having a good meet. Will be closing late over a sloppy track? Passion Play (9) is another closer, except for the one race on Jan. 25 when stretched out to 11/16-miles. Guess what distance they are going today? Yep. Same route. Barn hits with .33% on the third start off a layoff, and that’s with a sample size of 42 runners. Like the rider switch back to the barn’s main man. Look for the speed to return here. My pick. I bet the 9 (take note) to win/place/show and then box the 2-9 in one exacta. I will key the 9 over/under all the numbers listed in two more smaller versions.

3rd: 1-4/3-6/2-5-7…Free Cover (1) goes for a hot trainer, who has a 2-0-1 mark in the last 6 starts. This one won the last time out over a sloppy track, and has the speed to really stretch out here. Look who this gal ran against three starts ago. She’s the favorite in the Stakes today. My pick. Stan Council (4) will be coming later in the proceeding, and has a win over an off track. Training session at Ellis Park on June 15 was solid. Nearly won here on May 25 when united with this rider. Chance. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-4 in one exacta. I key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

4th: (17)-8-10-3/5-11-4-(15)/6…Off the grass course today, due to the heavy rains this a.m. Go immediately to the Main Track Only horse of Morning Social (17). Nearly broke the maiden last time out when running over the slop. Has 3 races of experience over an off track and has a second and 2 thirds. Gets the meet’s top rider up. My pick. Oxburger (8) would have been my pick on the grass. Doubt this son of Tapit stays for the muddy version of this race, but has the pedigree to do OK over it. I bet the 17 to win/place/show and then key the 17 over/under all the numbers listed. Maybe even the “all button.” 

5th: 2-9/1-7/6-5/10-4-3…Murika (2) is a tepid pick on top here. Hard to go with a lot of confidence when the rider has won only 2 of 84 starts this meet. That’s a win percentage of .02%. Wow. But this filly did run a nice second here on May 11. Beaten just a head. Has a win in only previous try over the off going. Should be right there. Charmin Dixie (9) is ridden by Corey Lanerie, on the other hand. Meet’s top rider, and a historic winner of the Jockey Title here. Drops in class for a barn that hits with .28% in the third try off a layup and with .25% of those getting this kind of class plunge. My pick. I bet the 9 to win/place/show (take note). And, then box the 2-9 in one exacta. I key the 9 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

6th: 4-8/5-10/6-2-7/1-3…Light of the World (4) won last time out when racing for trainer Al Stall, Jr. for the first time. Was impressive over a sloppy track that day. Barn hits with .21% of those graduating to face winners for the first time. Has a solid mud pedigree, and the rider having a solid meet, as well. Since adding blinkers three starts back, this one has been a different horse. Take note. Dig Charlie Dig (8) was claimed two starts back. Ran second in first try for new barn as the favorite. Barn hits with .34% of those making the second start for the new connections, and with .29% of those making the third start off a layup. Gets an interesting rider for this barn — the meet’s top jock. Look for more from this one today. I bet the 8 (take note) to win/place/show and then box the 4-8 in one exacta. I will key the 4-8 over/under the 5-10 in two smaller versions.

7th: 6-8/3-5-4-7/9-1…Meadow Dance (6) ran a good one over the slop here last November. Has been idle since then, but the works look like she is cranked and ready to fire. Ran third to Restless Rider in the G1 Alcibiades Stakes at KEE last October. Returns as a beaten favorite, and the barn scores with .31% of those kind. Jockey has won with .39% of the last 18 rides for this barn. Wow numbers there. One to beat. Urban Insight (8) won at KEE on April 18 to break the maiden, and ran a nice second last time out here on May 23 when facing winners for the first time. Has a solid mud mark in the pedigree, and gets a top rider for the first time. A chance for a barn that wins with only .10% of its’ starters. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

8th: 6-3/8/4-5-9/2-7/1A…Boxwood (6) has not run since winning the Ginger Brew Stakes at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 5. That was over the turf, but this one has a win and a second over an off track, as well. Trainer hits with .11% of those returning from this kind of a layup, but wins with .21% of those that move from the sod to the dirt. Has the speed to control here. One to beat, IMO. Divine Queen (3) simply loves the off tracks. Won at the Fair Grounds on Dec. 13 over the slop. Won the Dogwood Stakes here last September over the slop. Trained by my great friend Buff Bradley, and ridden by the great Calvin Borel. How can you not root for these guys? Two of the best on the track. I bet the 6-3 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 6-3 over/under the 8 and then key the 6-3 over (only) the 4-5-9-2-7 in a smaller version.

9th: 17-18/7-6-5-19/2-12-10-16…This one is off the grass, too, and I will go to the Main Track Only horses again — led by Owen Agenda (17). This one has a win and a second in two starts over an off track, and is coming off a really nice second at KEE on April 12 over a muddy track. Young trainer has a second and a third in just 3 starts here this meet, and this one looks poised to make a serious run here. Midnight Team Time (18) won by nearly 10 lengths last time out when racing over the slop at KEE on April 7. Loses that condition and faces tougher here, but has the talent. Jockey has a 5-1-2 record in the last 17 starts. I bet the 17-18 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 17-18 over/under the 7-6-5-19, as well.

10th: 2-10/1-3-7/5-9…Roxelana Overnight Stakes…What a dynamite race this looks to be. Covfefe (2) really could develop into a world class runner. She has raced 4 times, with 3 wins. Won the G3 Miss Preakness Stkaes last time out by nearly 9. Only loss came last year in the G1 Frizette Stakes in her second career start. By Into Mischief, and she has the look of a Monomoy Girl type for the barn that trains that great Champ, too. She is a speed ball. Should relish the 6 furlongs, where she is undefeated in two starts. First time on an off track today, but has the pedigree to relish. Faces some real tough ones — like Mia Mischief (10) and will face older fillies and mares for the first time today. Big step up for this gal. But I think she can handle it. I bet the 2 to win/place and then box the 2-10 in one solid exacta. I will key the 2 over/under the 10-1-3-7 in two smaller versions.

11th: 3-11/10-9/7-12/4-2-5…Final race of the day is a MSW event for the 3YO fillies going the sprint distance of 6.5-furlons. I go with Double Axel (3), who is trained by the personable Brian Lynch. Talented conditioner, as well. Has had a solid meet here this Spring, and this one ran a huge second on debut here on May 30. Barn hits with .16% of those making the second career start. This daughter of Orb cost $160,000 at the 2017 KEE Sept. Yearling Sale, and has returned to work lights out since that first race. I mean — lights out. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-11 in one exacta. I key the 3 over/under the 11-10-9-7-12 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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