Day Results 11-2-3-8
Churchill 204-67-63-104
Top Pick Win % 32.80%
Top Pick ITM % 126-195 64.60%
Top 3 Picks ITM % 38.20%
2018 Overall 777 285-291-341
Win % of Top Pick 36.70%
ITM% of Top 3 Picks 39.30%

After a glorious night of racing on Saturday, Churchill Downs cranks it right back up today with a 10-race card on a sun-splashed day. Bring the sun screen, your kids, your binoculars and watch all the fun unfold at the world’s most historic and wonderful racing venue.

We only had two winners, but…

We need nail a nice exacta in Race 2 — which returned $49.80 for $1 bet. And, our good friend, Ed DeRosa, the Director of Marketing at Brisnet.com, alerted us this week that Churchill Downs has “the lowest percentage of favorites winning this year among tracks with at least 150 races” in the entire land.

So…our numbers are not looking so bad, right?

Yet, we are looking for more today…

Here’s a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 5-4-3-6-2…My focus is on the top three numbers in this sequence. Dos Cuernos (5) is a 4YO gelding who will drop to the lowest level ever today. Ran OK for awhile here in a 1 mile event against tougher. Now, shortens up to a pure sprint, which should help. Trainer hits with .12% going from a distance race to a sprint. Won when claimed at Oaklawn Park back on March 4 at near this level. Maybe today’s drop back down the chain helps restore this one to game ready status. Five O One (4) is 4-5 ML favorite, and may run these off their feet today. But he is an Arkansas-bred who has made nearly all of his money in restricted races for that state’s breeding program. Not the toughest competition, if you know what I mean. In the lone race against “Open Company,” he ran a disappointing 4th out of 5 horses as the odds-on favorite then, too. I am leery. Swamp Ruler (3) may be the best of the rest, and may be the horse to beat, actually. Gets back to claimers today and won two in a row and three out of four in Louisiana this winter. Trainer is still looking for a win this meet after 30 tries. I bet the 5-3 (take note) across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

2nd: 4-2-6-5…I focus much of my betting attention on Dance Rhythms (4) in this spot. This 3YO filly drops all the way from the $30,000 level to $10,000 today. She comes in with four straight 5th place finishes against much, much tougher competition, and shows a decent enough work here on May 22. When she won, back on Jan. 19 at Gulfstream, she did so in the high end MC ranks and did so with authority. Has not fared so well against winners, but looks tough in this spot. My first “Best Bet” of the Day. The rest of this crowd is a little suspect, for me. Cuddle Kitten (2) gets a drop in class, as well. Ran at this level two back at Oaklawn, and ran a rather “blah” fourth. Has not been close in any of the last six, since breaking the maiden here last November for a $30,000 tag. Trainer has a lone win in 20 starts this meet, but does hit with .19% of those cutting back from a route race to a sprint. Kiwi Cat (6) drops to a career low, too, but she needs it. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key the 4 over the rest.

3rd: 4-3-2-6-7…Another race where I key on the #4. Triple Dog Dare (4) comes from the barn of Brad Cox, who is starting to heat up here this meet. The trainer/jock combo have hit with a record of 2-1-1 in the last 7 starts and this one figures to really enjoy the return to the dirt after a blah turf try last time out. Drops from the MSW ranks into the MC types for the first time, and the trainer hits with .23% of those kind. A couple of nice works leading in, especially on May 14 at Keeneland. My solid pick here. Lielielie (3) nearly won at this level last time out, finishing 2nd by a neck. This guy is a deep closer for the barn of Jinks Fires, but has been sharp in the mornings the last month. Could fire another good one today. Firehorn (2) ran well on debut in the MSW ranks, but came back to fire a dud in the next out. What kind is he? The one who ran well, or the one who didn’t? I give another chance, especially after the nice work at Keeneland on May 29. Drop could inspire, as well. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in the exacta.

4th: 1-6-5-4-2-3…The top two numbers here are nearly identical, for me, and they are both nice fillies. I go with Life’s Blessings (1) with just a narrow edge — mainly due to the connections. She comes in off a sound beating, but that was off a layoff and she caught a super filly right now in Awestruck. This one is a perfect 1-for-1 at this route distance, and looks to have settled in nicely from her California home base. The work here on May 24 was very nice. Lilt (6) has better odds, and I think a legit chance for the upset, too. She was behind the top choice in the last race, but by less than 3 lengths and she was compromised in that one from the start — after a bumping incident. I think the new rider will attempt to put her in the race a bit more early one to at least a better stalking position. Super work here on May 26. And, if you toss the last race, she has never been worse than 3rd. Looks capable to me. I bet the 6 to win/place in a mild upset and then box the top two numbers solidly in the exacta. If there is to be a split of these two in the exacta, it may come from the 5.  But I focus on the top two numbers only.

5th: (10)-9-2-7-5-4-6-8…The real leader of this crowd, for me, would be Own Agenda (10). But he is entered for the Main Track Only, and this one does NOT appear to be coming off the grass. So, I look for that one on another day. Instead, I go to Hot Springs (9), who is owned by Woodford Racing and trained by one of that group’s newest conditioners — Steve Asmussen. Those two have really teamed up to do quite well of late, and this one could add to the mix at some nice odds. This son of Uncle Mo cost a hefty $750,000 at the Keeneland September Sales in 2016. He has raced only once, finishing a distant 9th on the grass at the Fair Grounds on March 10. He was bet down for that debut run, but never got much of a chance. He was “bumped hard” at the 3/8ths pole and forced to go 9-wide that day, losing all chance. Gets the barn’s go-to rider today, and they are 3-2-1 in the last eight mounts together. My “Upset Special of the Day.” Zero Gravity (2) has a third and a second in the last two and ran into a buzz saw in the race three back. The grass races for this son of Orb have been nice, and he looks to step it up in this route today. Trainer is having a solid meet (.25%) and gets his NO. 1 rider aboard. A shot. Dreamology (7) goes for my good friend Buff Bradley. This one is super well bred and cost $500,000 as a yearling. Has had trouble in both of the previous grass races, and the trainer scores with .19% of those returning after beaten as the favorite. Training lights out here. Three bullets in a row. I have use. I bet the 9-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

6th: 7-6-4-1-3…Race Me Home (7) is another strong contender today from the barn of Dale Romans. This one, like the one before, is dropping in class and should really benefit from that move. This will be the 2018 debut for this runner, who cost $185,000 as a yearling and this will be the first time he has ever hit the claiming ranks. Trainer hits with .18% of those kind, and .29% of those returning to the races as a beaten favorite. Will be making the 2018 debut, but I like the training session on April 26 here. Looks fit and ready. Hour City (6) looks to be the main competition for the preferred choice. This one comes from the Bradley barn, as well, and he puts up long-time friend and ally Calvin Borel in the saddle. These two connected together on Friday for a nice score at a price. This one gets class relief today, as well, and moves from the turf to the dirt. Trainer hits with .15% of those surface switchers. Race two back at Tampa was nice, and he won four back there, as well. Like the recent work pattern. The horse to beat. I bet the 7-6 across the board and then box those two solidly. I key the 7-6 over the rest in a smaller version.

7th: 6-3-7-5-2…I land firmly on Bourne in Nixa (6), who comes into this one for a trainer that has only 1 win in 14 starts, but has added 3 seconds and 7 thirds. Has hit the board in 11 of 14. Wow. The last three starts for this one have been in Stakes company, and the last one was against the best — arguably — sprinter in the world right now. The win two back was against that same horse over a sloppy racetrack. That was a huge move right there. Caught the nice Reride in the race before that, and he went on to win the Mine That Bird Stakes at Sunland and run third to Mendelssohn in the UAE Derby. Moves to the grass for the first time today, but the trainer does hit with .15% of those switchers, and this one is by the grand sire More Than Ready. He can surely get you anything you want, but he has plenty of nice grass horses, too. Catholic Boy proved that on Saturday, right? My second “Best Bet of the Day.” My second choice in here is Smart Remark (3), who won two back at Keeneland. That was over a fast track, and this one obviously didn’t handle or like the slop on Derby Day in the G3 Pat Day Mile. The three races before that one, though, were all very solid. Jockey is ice, ice, ice cold. Vitsal (7) goes for the Lexington-based Ben Colebrook, and he won a turf sprint race at Tampa two back. Steps it up against better today. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers in the exactas. He is a key for me in the horizontal plays, as well.

8th: 6-4-5-3-7-1-2-1A…Arcelor (6) comes into this one off a nice third the last time out. The reason I write that it was a nice third, is because it should have been a win if not for the interference of the winner that day (who comes back in this one, as well) — Ivy’s College Fund. The rider of that one, Sammy Camacho, nearly put Arcelor over the rail and the rider should have been given days for that ride and serious situation. Not only that, he cost that horse the win, and the bettors the ticket (and, yes, I was one of those). Arcelor did come back and nearly won, any way, but was only moved up to second. If Corey Lanerie can avoid that kind of trouble here, and the horse’s mind is OK after that debacle, they are my clear favorites in this spot at 5-2 odds. Dustem Carolina (4) comes from the same race and was not involved in the incident late, but was the post time favorite. He got a tough trip that took him 7-wide that day. Gets a new rider for this one, m and he is hot. Won a Stakes event here on Saturday, too. Should be closing from a stalking position if placed correctly. Ivy’s College Fund (5) comes back with Camacho still in the saddle. Beware of this one, despite the rider. If not for the DQ last time out, he would have won three in a row. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed, but more so on the 4-5-3.

9th: 2-6-5-1-4…I go with an upset in this frame. Rizzoli (2) is listed at 5-2 odds in the ML, but I think will drift up by post time. She comes into this one off a win to break her maiden here on May 4. The previous two races, she was right there for a trainer that normally takes his time getting his horses race ready and fired up. Like the works at Keeneland since the win, and love the trainer/jock connections. Fine horsemen. She will have her hands full today facing winners for the first time, which is a tough transition in its’ own right, but also with the likes of ML favorite She’s a Julie (6). I think this one will be odds-on favorite by post time, and maybe she should be. She ran 5th in the G2 Fair Grounds Oaks and was only beaten 33/4 lengths by Classy Act — a real nice one who won here this week, as well. This one broke her maiden here by nearly 6 lengths last May and beat a real good one that day in Pure Praise. Training well here, too. The one to beat, for sure. Princess Warrior (5) is no slouch, either. She has raced in five Graded Stakes events in her first 7 starts. She drops back into allowance company for the first time since Nov. 25 — when she ran a game second — and only the second time ever. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 2-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the 2 over/under all the numbers in two more smaller versions.

10th: 1-8-10-7-5-2-3-6…I key on Love Sick Kitten (1) in today’s finale, a fine MSW event over the grass course. This one comes in off three impressive, near-wins to date, and picks up one of the finest riders in these parts for the first time. Likes to come from a bit off the pace, which fits this rider’s style perfectly, and comes in as the odds-on beaten favorite from the last one when he encountered horrendous traffic issues that compromised every chance for victory. The trainer hits with .26% of those returning as a beaten favorite, and that makes this one my last “Best Bet of the Day” nominee. Burciaga (8) is 8-1 ML odds, but warrants a serious look. He comes in off four second place finishes at Turfway Park in the first 5 career starts. Now, shifts to a major barn operation for the first time, and they hit with .19% of the newcomers to the outfit. Super training sessions at Keeneland in early May, and the dam of this one has 6 winners from 8 starters and one turf winner. My Brisnet.com Stat of the Day. Can’t dismiss this one. Unbridled Rebel (10) ran two solid seconds at Gulfstream Park before coming here on Derby Day. Ran a tiring fourth that day after pushing the pace at a mile. This speedster stretches out even farther today, and that may compromise his chances even more. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene