Day Results 9 / 3-4-5
2020 Overall 735 735 / 264-244-287
Win % of Top Pick 35.92%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.05%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –467-735 63.54%
Top Selection ITM / CD Spring-Summer: 148-237 62.48%
Top Selection Win / CD Spring-Summer: 85-237 35.86%
“Key Horses” @ CD Spring-Summer:28-12-6-5 42.86% Win / 82.14% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 101-35-23-15 34.65% Win / 72.28% ITM

Just a ho-hum day at the ole’ ball yard on Friday. Three winners. Five short-range exactas.

Nothing to write home about. Nothing to get hurt about, either.

Today, though, is The Day.

Today, we have the G2 Stephen Foster Stakes — which will highlight a showdown between the likes of Tom’s d’Etat, By My Standards and Owendale. Truly? I love all three of these horses. Love.

Today, we have “The Champ” Midnight Bisou making her first start since running second to Maximum Security in the Saudi Cup back in the wintertime. She will tangle with the speedy, gritty, tuffy Serengeti Empress — winner of the 2019 KY Oaks over this same track. Wow.

We also have two “Baby Stakes,” for the 2YOs.

And, we have a host of other nice races, too boot.

Wish we could go to the ole’ ball yard today. I would be sitting on the 50-yard line (finish line). Throwing back a chilly pop and munching on one of my favorite ball park franks. Tossing a few yankees in the spin-alone self-service terminal. Taking a whack at some of the big-ticket items — like the Pick 5s.

Instead, I will be at home. Watching. Wagering. Wishing. Waiting.

Here’s a look at a stellar card spun up by Churchill Downs’ Racing Secretary Ben Huffman and his very capable sidekick, Tonto (Dan Bork):

1st: 3-6/5-1/2-7…Raison d’Etre (3) ran up against a monster in the career debut here on May 25. The winner ran off to distance the entire field by 81/4 lengths. The closest rival was this one. The “show” horse that day, another head back, won the next time out, too. This 3YO daughter of Medaglia d’Oro cost a hefty $825,000 at the OBS-April 2YO Sale last year. Gets a top rider for the iron job. Work on May 18 — prior to last race — was spot on. Look for more here. Purrfectly Claire (6) gets Lasix for the first time and this ownership team loves to bet when they think they have a hot one. Watch the tote board on this one. Early. Often. This one just missed in the career debut — but that was last September. Has been working good for the return. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then hit the exacta with the 3-6 box rather hard. I will key the 3-6 over (only) the other numbers listed. Shorter unit.

2nd: 2-8/6/1-3/5-7…Frost Or Frippery (2) has already raced 6 times this year. Has 3 wins and 3 seconds to show for the efforts. Comes into this one off an impressive win as the odds-on favorite. Figures to be low odds again here for the barn of Brad Cox, who is winning at a .24% clip this meet. One to beat — for sure. Parade Field (8) goes for one of the hottest barn operations in the world right now. Was claimed for this same tag amount last time out. Ran 2nd in that one. This barn hits with .25% on the first try after the purchase. Has never hit the board in 3 tries here. That may change today with this one. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-8 in one exacta. I will key the 2-8 over/under the 6 in two other units.

3rd: 1-7/8-2-5-4/3-(10)-(1A)…Zero Gravity (1) gets the nod here in this 1-mile turf event. I don’t normally go for the rail contender, but this one is likely to drop well off the pace in the early footing, anyway. Should have time to collect and make a serious run coming out of the last turn. Rider leads the meet. Clint Maroon (7) has not been close in any of the last 3 outings. Not close in 4 of the last 5, either. But this one gets a nice drop in class here and does have a win and 3 thirds in 8 tries at this distance. Has 3 wins and 4 thirds in 14 starts over the sod, too. Different horse when he sees the green. Like the rider choice here, too. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-7 in one exacta. I will key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed and the 1 over/under the “all button,” in another.

4th: 9-7/5-2-11/1-6-10…Holland (9) will be making the first start for Team Asmussen today. This 2YO son of Into Mischief cost a hefty $400,000 to purchase at the 2019 Fasig-Tipton Summer Sale. Rider has gone 6-5-2 over the last week. Could be a tough out. Look at the work on June 7 over at KEE. Whiskey Double (7) is another from the barn of Team Asmussen — just like our top pick. The barn’s go-to rider leans up on this one. Probably could have had his pick of either. This one worked a real nice breeze at KEE on June 2. Has the speed to be dangerous. I bet the 9-7 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 9-7 over/under the 5-2-11-1-6-10 in two smaller units. 

5th: 3-6/2-1/4-7-8/5…Ashiham (3) is a 3YO son of Tapit and is trained by Todd Pletcher — who has a meager one win in 9 tries here this meet. Cool. Chilly. Frosty. But this one ran 4th here last time out as the favorite and that was the first time in blinkers. Barn hits with .26% of those returning as a beaten favorite and with .28% of those that are making the 2nd route distance race. Johnny V takes the reins. Real contender here. Bakers Bay (6) woke up last time out when getting the blinkers for the second time. Works here are solid. Hot jockey takes the reins, too. HOF trainer has an 0-1-1 mark in just 5 starts. Look out. Has the look. I bet the 3-6 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. Stronger than most on this combo. I will key the 3-6 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two shorter versions.

6th: 10/6-3/5-1-8/7-9/2-4…The first Key Play of the Day comes here with Impeccable Style (10). This 3YO daughter of Uncle Mo — who has been on the board in 3 of 5 lifetime starts to date — gets a rather hot rider. Only times off the board came in the career debut at Saratoga, when she was 4th, and in the G2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes — when just behind the emerging great filly Swiss Skydiver. Look out here. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key the 10 over/under the numbers listed in the exacta. I will key over the “all button” in one more try, too.

7th: 7-9/6-5/1A-2-1/3-4…Carotari (7) has made 3 starts this year with a win and a second. I can toss the last time out. Bumped at the start of that one and never was able to recover and make the lead. This one loves the lead. This one cherishes the lead. This one has to have the lead. And, it looks like he will get to the front here in this spot. Jockey has teamed up to go 2-1-1 in 4 starts for this barn and the rider is the best guidance system over this lawn. My solid choice. Holiday Stone (9) could spice up the odds rack here. This one is 6-1 in the ML and could slide up the odds scale before PT. Comes off a win last time out — but that was in October at KEE. Works good. Look at the May 30 drill at KEE, too. Rider has been on board for the last 4. Knows this one inside and out. I bet the 7-9 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 7-9 over/under the 6-5-1A and then key the 7-9 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed.

8th: 6/2-4/3-5…G3 Bashford Manor Stakes…Cazadero (6) made an impression in his career debut here on May 29. The son of Street Sense broke 10th from the 3-hole in that 5 furlong event. Quickly sprinted to the lead. Never looked back, building the margin to nearly 9 lengths at the wire. Work on June 14 was spot on. Has the game here. It looks. My second Key Play of the Day. I bet the 6 to win/place and then key the 6 over/under the “all button” in the exactas.

9th: 5-4/1-3/7-2…G2 Fleur de Lis Stakes…”The Champ” Midnight Bisou (5) has to get the top number in this event, which is to be contested over the main track at 11/8 miles. This classy 5YO mare has a record of 12-5-3 in 20 starts. Has earned over $7.2 million in purses. Just ran a bang-up 2nd to Maximum Security in the Saudi Cup. And? Last year won 7 straight Graded Stakes events before running 2nd to Blue Prize in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Wow. A wow mare. To be sure. But I am betting against her today. I am going with Serengeti Empress (4) on top. The 4YO daughter of Alternation is the speed of the race. She is going to the front. They will have to run her down in the stretch. No mystery here. Instructions are simple: Go. Go. Go. Wish the distance was a tad shorter, but I am lining up with the Amoss Family here. I bet the 4 to win/place and then box the 4-5 in the exacta. I will key the 4 over (only) the 1-3-7-2 in a smaller version.

10th: 6-5-8/7/1-4-2/3…G2 Stephen S. Foster Stakes…What a race. What. A. Race. This is the closest thing to a G1 this year. And, instead, it is a G2. I’m going with By My Standards (6), although there is very stiff competition in this spot. The 4YO son of Goldencents is a perfect 3-for-3 this year and just seems to be getting better and better; stronger and stronger. Works here are spot on. This guy could be the best older horse in the world right now. I compare him very closely to Gun Runner. Same style. Same imposing stride. Same quality. Quantity is to be determined, but he could stamp it strong here in this spot. Tom’s d’Etat (5) has raced here 7 times in his career. Has a 3-2-1 record here, too. Won the G1 Clark here, thrice. Hard to knock. Will be tough to knock off this throne. Owendale (8) may be coming off the most impressive last race, also. The 4YO son of Into Mischief roared through the lane to win the Blame Stakes here on May 23 in his 2020 debut. Impressive. To say the least. These 3 should have a showdown. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 6 over/under all the numbers in two smaller units. And, I load up on a 6-8 exacta box, too.

11th: 13-6-5/1-11/4-10-9/3-8-2/7…G3 Regret Stakes…The final race of the day is a 11/8-mile route over the weeds. I go to the extreme outside and land on my Upset Special of the Day — Hendy Woods (13). This 3YO daughter of Uncle Mo has won both of her career starts. Both of them at 1 mile over the sod. Has been off since March and this barn has been ice, ice, icy cold all meet (2-for-33 going in to today). But this gal has the pedigree. Has the ability. May not have the seasoning or the post position. But worth a shot at this price. Micheline (6) is 8-1 in the ML, too, and offers real value. Won the last time out at GP and had serious traffic issues three races ago in the G3 Sweet Chant. Look for this one to be rolling late. Crystal Cliffs (5) should be the PT favorite, but, IMO, may be a venerable favorite. Won the NA debut last time out, but steps up in class in a serious way today. Yet to be seriously tested. That may or may not come today. I bet the 13-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 1-11 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene