Day Results 12 / 4-6-9
2020 Overall 1657 1657 / 585-573-728
Win % of Top Pick 35.30%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 37.94%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –1,073-1,657 64.76%
Top Selection ITM / CD 120–188 63.83%
Top Selections Win / CD 63-188 33.51%
“Key Horses” @ CD 30-13-3-5 43.33% Win / 70.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 229-82-48-32 35.81% Win / 70.74% ITM

(Gene & the great Citation at the fabulous Hialeah Park on Saturday / Photo by Leigh Ann Thacker)

We had a rather slow beginning to the fabulous Saturday card at Churchill Downs. Zero for the first 7 races. Zip. Nada. Nothing to show for the efforts. Not even so much as a “show” winner. (Well, we did have a couple of those things.)

Sorry, guys. Serious hole to dig out from, after all.

Then, we did some serious digging.

Four winners in a row.

Last race our top two selections finish one-two. We missed the last Pick 5 because I singled the last race. Dumb me.

But we rallied.

Now, we have one last day of live racing at Churchill Downs in 2020. One last day to cash in the chips and rescue some of our previous “investments.”

So, here we go:

1st: 2-1-4/3-5…Lautrec (2) drops to the lowest price tag ever for a barn that is winning at .20% this meet. Rider is having a superb meet, as well. Barn wins with .24% when dropping in the ranks this much. Will get the route distance for the 2nd time and the barn wins with .15% of those, too. Mega County (1) nearly won over the slop here on Oct. 29 when dropped to this price level for the first time. If the 3YO gelded son of Tapizar runs back that race again, then he will be tough at the wire. Will likely come with a late rush. The question is? Who is the speed here? Could be Tiz Light the Way (4). This one drops to the lowest level ever, as well, and could be tough to catch here if able to settle on the front end. Looks to be lone one to be on the front. That could be dangerous here. I bet the 2-4 across the board and then box the top 3. I will key the 2-4 over/under the 1-3-5 in two smaller units.

2nd: 7-6-5/1-4/2-3…Scratch 5…Bode’s Light (7) was claimed last time out for $16,000 and now shows up for the heft tag of $40,000 in the first start for the new owners. The barn has won with only .08% when moving up this many class levels in one start. But? This one ran very well against much better here in September when racing on NO Lasix. Nearly won here for a $50,000 tag. Has run the last two at Indy Grand with Lasix and really showed less urgency at the end of the races. I go with this one losing the Lasix today at a square price. Assumption (6) will get the first start for the new barn operation after being claimed last time out for $40,000. Barn wins with .16% on the first try. Gets to try his luck as a first time gelding here. Change of equipment. Catch the Sparrow (5) is an Indiana-bred facing open company for the first time. Does drop into the MCL ranks to do it, though, and has run a couple of solid races in the last two. Jockey has had a tough time in 2020 finding the winner’s circle, but haven’t we all? I bet the 7-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will keep the top 3 over/under the 1-4 in two smaller units.

3rd: 3-5/7-6/1-4/2…Eskenforit (3) really ran a good one last time out when making a wide move. Closed from 7th — and 10 lengths out at one time — to be 2nd at the wire. Lost by less than 1. Gets a new trainer today for the first time. One of the best young trainers in the game today. He wins with .27% when dressing up horses for the first time. Rider has gone 2-1-0 in the last 4 mounts for the barn, too. Same race as last and thais one could be a handful here and good luck to the connections. Good peeps. Trashtalkinyankee (5) looks to be the horse to catch and the one to beat, all in one. This 4YO son of Northern Afleet has raced here 9 times. Has a 1-1-4 record, which would suggest a play underneath. But the barn wins at a .31% rate when going from two sprints into a route and with .25% when going from a sprint to a route. Big chance here. I bet the 3-5 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 3-5 over/under the 7-6-1-4 in two smaller units.

4th: 4-1-5/6-2/7-8/3-9…Scratch 1…County Court (4) gets the edge here based on his fondness for this track and the dirt here. Outside of the 3 turf wins, the only two dirt victories came here. Last time out here on Nov. 14, he nearly went to the circle again, losing at the wire by a head. Will be coming late and will need a clear lane on the rail. But this rider has heated up of late and the 6YO gelding may be ready to snap the 0-for-9 mark this year. Grants Road (1) is another who prefers to do her best running here. But here is the deal. She is a “her” going against the colts. Never done that before. Can she rally late against these types? Hmmm. Half Trick (5) won here the last time out on Nov. 14. Came from 10 lengths back to do it, too. But the barn is 0-for-7 when asking a horse to repeat this year and has won only 4 of 40 starts overall. Like the new rider a lot, but will have to rally this one a lot to find the wire first again. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

5th: 1-7-2/4-5-6/3…Scratch 3…A couple of the best runners in this group will have to switch over from the turf to the main track today, but I think both have shown the ability to do that. I will give the edge to County Final (1), although the son of Oxbow has found the rail spot to begin and must gas from the gate to have a shot in this 5-furlong sprint. Ran 6th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint last time out and behind Golden Pal. But it was better than looks on paper. Steadied on the backside and last early on. Came with a rush to lose by less than 4. Made up 8 lengths. This one needs to be closer and has flash a bit of speed, but did that here in June when 2nd in the G3 Bashford Manor on the dirt. My pick. Spicy Marq (7) broke the maiden last time out but does have some Stakes experience. Ran behind our top pick in the career debut in the Tyro at Monmouth Park in August. Tired late in that one, but is the speed to beat here. Will have to catch at the first. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 1-7 over/under the 2-4-5-6-3 in two smaller units.

6th: 3-8-4/5-7/1-6-2…Scratch 9…Fastly (3) enters this one off three straight 2nd place finishes, and in 6 lifetime starts has a record of 0-3-2. Could have won any of the last 3. But today two huge differences. One is the rider. Huge move up in this regard today to a chap that has won .17% of the last 6 starts for this barn. Second is the addition of blinkers for the first time. Barn wins with .26% of those. Thus? The two changes here makes this one my Key Play of the Day. Without question. I will be the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

7th: 2-7-4/5-9-10/8-6/1-11…My first Longshot Special of the Day comes here with Bluebird Day (2). This one was claimed for $12,500 up at Presque Isle last time out and now shows up in the barn of Joe Sharp, who is having a solid enough meet with a .17% win clip. Has never been worse than second over the AW and now switches to the main track for the first time. But the work over at the training center on Nov. 20 was spot on and a solid rider takes the reins. Love the 10-1 ML odds here. Chance in my book as a beaten favorite returning. Barn wins with a whopping .31% of those kind. If you are shopping for odds, too, don’t leave out Church of Many (10). This one is a Cal-bred by a sire I’ve never heard of before. Has not run since July, when breaking the maiden. Now, he shows up here for HOF trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and is 20-1 in the ML. Love the works, too. I bet the 2-10 across the board and then I box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 5 numbers over/under the 10 in two smaller units. And, I will key the 2-10 under the “all button” in a smaller unit.

8th: 5-7/8-6-11/9-12/2-10/1-3…Patriarch Artie (5) cuts back from a route to a sprint distance and the barn wins with .24% of those kind. Works have been good leading up to this one and the rider has won with .31% of this barn operation. Looks to have speed and should be able to shoot out of the chute. One to beat. Convention (7) was well bet in the inaugural event, but hesitated at the start of that one and lost all chance. Winner that day was very, very impressive. Look for more — much more — out of this one today. Babylon (8) is a first timer and set at 15-1 in the ML with a jockey whom I have never heard of before. Is 0-for-2 here. But? This one comes from a dam who has 3 winners from 3 starters and 2 stakes winner and is by a top sire. Works are spot on at KEE. Maybe? I bet the 5-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 5-7 over/under the 8-6-11-9-12-2 in two smaller units.

9th: 6-1/7-4-5/2-3…High Regard (6) ran just behind Jeweled Princess here two stars ago and that one rallied along the rail for an impressive win here earlier this week. Has the experience and has gone 3-1-3 in 10 starts here. Closer with a heart. Always dangerous. Mizzen Beau (1) may be the most talented, but will move up to face older for the first time today. Comes off a fourth behind a couple of real good ones in G2 Black-Eyed Susan. Ran 2nd to Shedaresthedevil here in June. Has speed. To burn. One to catch. I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box those 2 solidly in the exacta. I will key the 6-1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.

10th: 1A-10-1/3-5-11/7-4-9/8-2-6…The entry for trainer Jack Sisterson looks imposing in this spot. In fact, IMO, both parts have a shot at hitting the board in today’s featured event. That could make the load odds better, if you get two paybacks out of the top 3 slots. The leader of the group appears to be Excision (1A), who is coming off a 2nd here on Nov. 8. Had an interesting trip that day, but maintain the “Place” position. Gets a hot rider back. Ran 6th in the Preakness Stakes before that — before that was off a near-7 month layup. Ran 2nd to the grand Nadal in the G2 Rebel back at Oaklawn Park in the Spring. That type of run here? Look and see. I bet the 1A-1 across the board as my second Key Play of the Day. I box the top 3 numbers and then key the 1A-1 over/under the “all button.”

11th: 10-3/5-6-11-7-12/1A-4-8-2…What a nice MSW event for the 2YO fillies to end the day and the meet. Some good pedigrees. Some good runners. Some possible bright stars of tomorrow shine bright here today. I will give the edge to Amalfi Princess (10). And, why not? The barn and rider have been hot all meet. This one nearly won over the slop at Aqueduct on Nov. 13 and last time out. Should be fit. Should be ready. Go time. Amusing Antics (3) returns as a beaten favorite for a HOF trainer, who hits with .22% of those kind. Ran a tiring 3rd here on Oct. 31. But gets a new rider today and looks like she has the speed to be close turning for home. Barn wins with .13% of the 2YOs. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in the exacta. I will key the 10-3 over/under the 5-6-11-7-12-1A in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene