Day Results 17 / 7-7-4
2020 Overall 707 707 / 251-231-274
Win % of Top Pick 35.50%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 35.64%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –448-707 63.37%
Top Selection ITM / CD Spring-Summer: 129-209 61.72%
Top Selection Win / CD Spring-Summer: 72-209 34.45%
“Key Horses” @ CD Spring-Summer:26-11-6-5 42.31% Win / 84.62% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 99-34-23-15 34.34% Win / 72.73% ITM

(My son Brad holds his sons, Ford and Jack, so they can see Miss Jacqueline work)

(My daughter, Alex, and me when she lived in New York — the city so nice that they named it twice)

(And, my son Will. He used to allow me to tie his tie. Now, he’s 6-foot-4 and too tall for me to reach his neck)

There is not a father on this Earth more lucky than me. Maybe some that tie me. But none more lucky.

I have had the blessings of being around and loving three.

Brad, my oldest, lives in Columbus, OH with wife Kate and their two sons Ford and Jack. Brad was recently named the President for ATT-Ohio. A prestigious honor. And, at the age of 35, one of the youngest to ever reach such a honor. My God, how proud I am of that boy.

Alex, my daughter, lives in Nashville, TN with her husband Evan and they have one son — John McLean Sharp. Alex works at the Country Music Association and runs her own fashion blog. She lived in NYC for about 3 or 4 years. On her own. She has more guts than anyone I know, and is pure spirit right down to her core. There is no task that she can’t tackle; wrestle to the ground. But, then again, she grew up watching Professional Wrestling, even though I told her not. My God, how proud I am of that girl.

Will is my step-son, but I tell everyone that he is mine. Because he is. He is 16 years old, and funny to the bone. He is 6-foot-4 and can play basketball better than I could ever dream. More importantly, though, he is kind, tender-hearted, and loving — in his very own way. In today’s world, I think he is so very special. He knows how to treat others. Just like the way he wants to be treated. Seems like rare commodities in our world today. Will has them. My God, how proud I am of that boy.

So, you see, on this Father’s Day, I have so many blessings. More than I deserve, to be sure. And, I treasure each. I value all.

Still, at some time today, I will hit my knees and thank my own Dad, who now resides above the clouds so high. He was a tough son-of-a-gun. Earned everything he made in his life with hard work; long hours; callous hands; and heart’s commitment. He passed along those traits to his children — whether you wanted them or not. It was not a request in his home. It was demanded.

At the time, I truly didn’t understand those values. Why they were so important to him. Why they were so important in life. Why it was so important to instill them in us.

Today, I know why.

Today is Father’s Day. No better day to enjoy a day at the races. Maybe soon we can reunite there. Together. That, my friends, would make my day.

Here’s a closer look at the card at Churchill Downs — on Father’s Day:

1st: 2-4-6/5-3/1…The Rock Says (2) will be making the 2020 debut today for a stable that appears to be down-sizing and running some in aggressive spots. This 4YO gelded son of Uncle Mo has run twice on “off tracks,” and has a win and a second. Has run 3 times over this track and has a win and two seconds. Returns as a beaten favorite, too, and the barn hits with .47% of them. Looks tough if the works help get him ready. Tikhvin (4) drops to the claiming ranks for the first time, too. Barn hits with .20% of those. This one ran in the G1 Arkansas Derby in 2019. High hopes. Has been six races since he hit the board, though. Drop has to help, right? Strike Appeal (6) broke the maiden two back in the slop at the Fair Grounds. Last outing didn’t go well, but caught Blackberry Wine in that one. Barn hits with .22% of those getting dropped into the claiming ranks for the first time. Chance. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed.

2nd: 9-3/4-5…The first “Baby Race” of the day is for the colts (and one filly) and will be contested at 5 furlongs. Looks like a 2-horse race on paper, but, as you know by now, they don’t run on paper — unless you count polytrack. I give the edge to the outside and As Required (9). This is the lone filly in the race and I think she may be quicker than the rest. Barn hits with .15% when debuting in the MCL ranks. Dam of this one has produced 3 winners from 3 starters. And, the work here on June 12 was spot on. Better odds, too. To win, though, she will have to beat the guru of 2YO races — trainer Wesley Ward and his steed Blues Power (3). This one is already a gelding and is owned by the trainer, too. Dam has produced 1 winner from 1 starter and the jockey has won with 2 of 5 for this barn this meet. Hot work at KEE last out. The one to beat, to be sure. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-3 in one exacta. Solid.

3rd: 1-3-2/5/8-6-4…It’s hard to beat a Robertino Diodoro horse these days. The barn has won with .22% of 618 starters this year, and the trainer is even better here this meet — what with a 5-2-0 mark in just 14 starts. That translates to a win mark of .36%. And, give him a hot horse, too? Summer Revolution (3) won his first start for this barn at this same level last time out by a whopping 7 lengths. Wow. But there could be a possible kink. In 3 starts over an off-track, he has only 1 third to show. So? I give the edge to Above Board (1), who hails from the Steve Asmussen barn and the man who used to train Summer Revolution. Above Board nearly won against much tougher last time out and now slips back to the $8,000 tag. Asmussen took him off of Diodoro two starts ago for $5,000. He won that day by 12. So…interesting story developing here, right? I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 5 in two softer versions.

4th: 5-7-2/8-1/4-3…A wide open affair here, with some breaking ranks and dropping into the lower price categories. I will go with the hot hand and trainer Tom Amoss — Seeds of Time (5). This 5YO mare loves the off going, with 2 wins, a second and a third in 4 career starts over that type of surface. Also has a 1-1-1 mark here at Churchill Downs. I toss the last one, and the rider is 4-1-6 in the last 13 mounts for this barn — which won a G1 in NY on Saturday. Hot. Hand. Miz Shelton (7) has speed and that’s always dangerous. Finds a softer group to tackle today, too. Has a second and third over an off track and has a 1-2-2 mark in 8 starts here. Lexington Grace (2) drops considerably for this one, too. Has never run over an off-track before, but does have some nice back-class for a barn that is looking for the first win of the meet after 15 starts. Does have 4 seconds and a couple of thirds on the resume, though. In too tough of late. Let’s see if she likes the dirt. Lady Cleopatra (8) is on a roll right now. Has two wins in the last three starts and 4 wins in 9 over the off going. Got to use, right? I bet the 5-8 across the board — take note. I then box the 5-7-2-8 in one exacta — hoping to catch some odds. I will key the 5-8 over/under the 7-2-1-4-3 in two softer versions.

5th: 9-10-1/2-8/7-3-5…Another wide open affair, but I land on Money Well Spent (9). She drops from the MCL $30,000 tag to the $20,000 level today after running 5th last time out. The runner-up in that one came right back to win and this one had some serious traffic issues. With a cleaner trip? Maybe graduation day today. Annie’sgoldengirl (10) will be making only the second start and ran a woeful 11th and was beaten 16 lengths in the debut. So, what gives? She was bet down as the favorite off works alone and has come back to work even better. May have not liked the inside position in the debut and got wrapped up on. Look at the odds board for this one to see if the action returns. If it does? Maybe alive. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 9 over/under the rest of the numbers in two shorter versions.

6th: 8-(17)-7-3/4-5-6-9/12-11-1…The first grass race of the day promises to be intriguing — if it stays on the sod. If it comes off, it can be even more so. I go with Brad Cox’s steed — Dreamalildreamofu (8). Could get a square price, too. Ran well over the grass in the first two of the career. Ran two good ones over the dirt in the last two. Versatile sort should be a forward presence in here, and could get the first jump at the top of the stretch. Rider is winning with .22% of the last 9 mounts for the barn, too. If it comes off the turf, I think you have to consider the MTO entry — #17. If not, Evil Lyn (7) and Osaka Girl (3) both warrant a serious look here, too. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

7th: 11-1/9-10/2-3-4/7-8-6-5…Lanse Mitan (11) gets no favors with the starting gate assignment, but the 3YO son of More Than Ready looks well-placed for this outing. Has hit the board in each of the last 3 and 4 of the last 5 outings. Has a win and three 2nds in that span. Has a nice run over a wet track, too. Has been a different horse since getting the blinkers five races back. My solid pick here. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the 11-1 in one exacta. I will key the 11-1 over/under the 9-10-2-3-4-7-8 in two lesser amounts.

8th: 8-3-4/7/1-5-1A-2…C Z Rocket (8) returned to sprinting a couple of starts ago and the flashbulb has gone off again. Super performance last time out, to run off by nearly 5. Probably can’t duplicate that effort again, but if the bounce is not too severe he could be spot on again for a barn that wins with .24% of those trying to repeat and does well with reclamation projects like this one. Talent there. Dig deeper in the well. Guest Suite (3) is the type that likes to hit the board — and he has done that 16 times out of 27 lifetime tries. Much of that against tougher, too. Has a 2-1-2 mark here, but excels over an off track — with 3 wins in 5 starts. If it gets wet? Take a serious look at this guy. Shashashakemeup (4) is a 3YO that looked to be a Triple Crown contender at one time. But poor runs in the G3 Lecomte Stakes and the G2 Risen Star sidelined those dreams and aspirations. Did run very well last time out to win at nearly 50-1 odds. May be back? I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 7-1 in two smaller units.

9th: 2/6-7/1-4-8/5-1A-9-11…The first Key Play of the Day comes here with Tapit Today (2). This well-bred lady is trained by Chad Brown, and is running in the feature over the sod. Enough written yet? Also ran 3rd to Starship Jubilee in the last outing, too and before that had won 3 of the previous 4. That’s enough. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2 over/under the rest in the exactas.

10th: 3-6-1/8-7-4/10-9-11…Backshot (3) ran within a head of Ragtime Blues — a highly touted colt in the barn of Bob Baffert and a Stakes contender this weekend — just two starts ago. Anything close to that race? Lights out. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene