2023 Only / Top Pick in the Money Overall — 484-800
2023 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ HI 34-51
2023 Only / Top Pick Wins @ HI 18-51
2023 Only / Top Pick in the Money @ CD 86-150
2023 Only / Top Pick Wins @ CD 43-150
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ CD 26/10-7-2
38.46% Win / 73.08% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ KEE 2 / 2-0-0
100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ TP 45/21-8-4
46.47% Win / 73.33% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ FG 5/1-1-1
20.00% Win / 60.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ GP 6/6-0-0
100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ OP 2/1-1-0
50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ HI 6/2-0-2
33.33% Win / 66.67% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” @ PIM 2/1-0-1
50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
2023 Only / “Key Horses” Overall 117/51-23-13
43.59% Win / 74.36% ITM
Stats Are Now Completely Updated:
Here’s our looks at the big oval in Louis-Town on this Saturday of a great holiday weekend:
1st: 3/4-7/6/1-2-5…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes in the very first race of the day at the big oval in Louis-Town and with Good Penny (3). This 5YO mare has been off since April 7, but two races back she won easily for $25,000. Moves up from that victory, but down from the last outing. Gets a huge rider uplift here and has 3 wins in 9 previous tries here. Looks good. I bet the 3 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will key the 3 over/under the 4-7-6 in the exactas. More with the 4-7 than the rest.
2nd: 8-7-1/3/4//5-6/2…Ball Gown (8) goes for a barn operation that wins with .24% of the last 125 to go in the claiming ranks and this one picks up a veteran rider, who is having a very solid meet. Should help use this one’s speed element to perfection. Rider has gone 4-1-2 in the last 13 for this barn. Coexist (7) was claimed last time out for $20,000 and now moves up a couple of notches in the ranks. Wont easily and should be able to handle the tougher crowd here. Winning rider sticks. Nice. Bali Dreaming (1) goes for a barn that wins with .29% of the last 381 to make the first start after a claim purchase. Must consider, for me. I bet the 8 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 3-4 in two smaller units.
3rd: 3/9/1-5-2-7/4-6/8…The second “Key Play of the Day” comes here with Liam’s Message (3).This is a 2YO filly who will be making the 3rd start already. Nearly won the last time out and looks like a standout here if she can duplicate that message. Top rider sticks. Look out. Could be a good one. I bet the 3 across the board and then double down on the win wager. I will key the 3 over/under the 9-1-5-2-7 in the exactas. More with the 9-1 than the rest.
4th: 6-4-3/2-5/1…Just Call Ray (6) gets the nod in this abbreviated field of only 6 runners. Has won two in a row and has 2 wins in 5 starts here. Ran off the last time out and is 5-1 in the ML, from my good friends at Brisnet.com. Like it. Fifty Cent Dollars (4) ships in from Arkansas for a trainer, who normally does very well here. Off to a bit of a slow start in Louisville with only 2 wins in the first 17 outs. But could pick it up quickly. This 4YO son of Quality Road has hit the board in each of the last 7 outings, with 3 wins in that grouping. Will be a tough one to catch on the lead. Don’t Forget (3) won the last outing and two of the last 3. But is 1-for-6 here. I bet the 6-4 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 6-4 over/under the 3-2-5-1 in two smaller units.
5th: 5-6-2/8-4/7/1//3…Happy Soul (5) drops back into the allowance ranks after a very credible Stakes effort last out at KEE. Nearly won a Stakes at KY Downs last September, too. Should be a standout here. I look no farther. I bet the 5 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the first 3 numbers in one exacta, and then key the 5 over/under the 6-2-8-4-7-1 in two smaller units.
6th: 2-1/5-7//6-3//4…Royal Take Charge (2) has never been worse than 2nd in three career starts and has a win over this surface, too. Comes in off a nice run at KEE and looks the part here. I’m sold on this one, too. I bet the 2 across the board and then double & triple down on the win wager. I will box the 2-1 sternly in one set of exactas, and then key the 2 over/under the 1-5-7 in two smaller units.
7th: 6-8//1-3-5/2-4//7…The top 2 numbers look like standouts here, to me. I give the edge to Forever After All (6), who has run two 2nds in a row and has 5 runner-ups in 7 career starts. Needs to find a way to get up at the wire, and that can be troublesome for some. This may be one. Corsini (8) may be the beneficiary of the top number’s reluctance to pass others. This 3YO Hard Spun filly came with a rush in the last effort here, but that was at 11/4-miles. Did come back with a bullet work on May 18. One to beat. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-8 sternly in the exactas.
8th: 7-2/1/3-6-4//5…Kupuna (7) ran a huge number in the Knicks Go Stakes here on KY Derby Day. Nearly won at good odds, too. Returns here and will be the one to beat, for sure, and the PT favorite, most likely. Rider has gone 4-0-2 in the last 14. Hot. Three Technique (2) has only 1 win in 7 starts here previously, but it was a doozy. Won the Knicks Go in 2022 at huge odds. Does have 2 runner-ups and 2 more thirds here. Look for this one to add to the resume. My betting choice. I bet the 2 — take note — to win/place/show and then double down on the win wager. I will box the 7-2 solidly in the exactas. I will key the 7-2 over/under the 1 in two smaller units.
9th: 2-8-9/6/4/1/3-7//5…Alva Starr (2) gets my nod in this high-priced optional-claimer. This daughter of Lord Nelson has some tactical speed to use and has been a force in the first two career starts. Gets an aggressive rider, to boot. Big shot. Jersey Pearl (8) picks up a huge rider switch and that should help immensely. Will be coming in the stretch. Tammy Tap Tap Tap (9) didn’t like the turf last time out, at all. Barn shifts back to dirt here and wins with .23% of the last 26 making this surface switch. Chance. I bet the 2 across the board and double down on the win wager. I will box the top 3 in the exactas, and then key those numbers over/under the 6 in two smaller units.
10th: 10-4/7-2-5/6-8/12/9/1…Kertana Stakes…This 11/2-mile endurance marathon over the sod is a good one. I go with Sparkle Blue (10) big time here. Needed the last race, desperately and had some serious traffic issues that were mostly related to the ride and rider. Can’t understand the restraint that the man put on this one. But? He’s gone and a new jockey climbs up. Great change. This one should be a big force here at solid odds. I bet the 10 across the board — strong — and double down on the win wager. I will box the 10-4 in one set of exactas, but then key the 10 over/under the 4-7-2-5-6-8 in my main set of exactas. Love the 10 here.
11th: 1-11-3/4-10/5/9-6-8//7…The day’s finale is a 6.5-furlong sprint for the MSW company and I will saddle up with the railbird — Mullikin (1). This 3YO son of Violence comes in of two impressive 2nds in a row. Came running late in one. Tried the front end on the other. This is the classic “Z Pattern” that old-time handicapper “Pittsburgh Phil” used to love. I love it, too. Look out and hold on. I’m all in. I bet the 1 across the board and double/triple down on the win wager. I will box the top 3 numbers in one exacta combo, and then key the 1 over/under the 11-3-4-10-5 in two other units.
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 the vision for the site and still finds time to handicap races, interview trainers and keep his finger on the pulse of the industry, More About Gene.