(I’ll be meeting 12 or 13 of my closest friends at the LTS on Saturday for a libation or two before we head over to the “Big Oval” for the grand “Downs After Dark” program. It will be my first trip to the track since I contracted COVID back in January. Since vaccinated (twice) and hit with the antibiotic IV (twice). Feeling great. Can’t wait to get back to my “home track.”)

Total Day Results 9 /0-3-3
2021 Overall 903 903 / 325-326-399
Win % of Top Pick 35.99%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.76%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 585-903 64.78%
2021 Top Selection ITM / CD 165-247 66.80%
2021 Top Selections Win / CD 93-247 37.65%
“Key Horses” @ CD 24 / 12-5-1 50.00% Win / 75.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 134/ 60-30-9 44.78% Win / 73.88% ITM

It was a dismal day at the “big oval” in Louisville. Zero wins out of the nine races carded. Only one — one — exacta. Sorry guys. I stunk. Stunk.

Here’s hoping that tonight is more than a bit better and we can make it up to you and our bankers, too.

You know what they say, don’t you? Some days are diamonds…some days are stones. On Friday, we were a lot of “stones.” Little stones. Pea gravel-like.

Here’s our looks for Saturday night’s “Downs After Dark” rock & roll party:

1st: 6-2-5/3/4…Cheyenne Wind (6) is the ML favorite, according to my great friends over at Brisnet.com and I figure the 2YO son of Speightster will be the fan’s choice, too, when they make it to the starting gate. This one ran a nice 2nd when dropped into the MCL ranks for the first time last out on May 7. Now, this one shifts barns and the new operation wins with .10% on debut. Rider has won with .18% for this barn over the last 17 mounts. Has the speed to be a threat here. Romancer (2) didn’t fire much in the debut at Indy Grand on May 25. Went off as the favorite that day, but slipped way back before running 6th. Drops into the MCL ranks for the first time here, and the barn wins with .23% of those getting this drop. Barn’s go-to rider takes the reins and the connections are likely to get bet here. Willie Has Hart (5) is a first timer for a well-known training operation. Sire wins with .17% on first ask, and the rider is red, red, red hot of late. Six wins in the last nine races. Look for some run out of this one. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 3-4 in two smaller units.

2nd: 1-4-6/7-5/2/3…Maxim Moment (1) drops from the $50,000 price tag to $30,000 are and the 3YO son of Hard Spun should appreciate the class adjustment. Goes for a barn that wins with .23% in the third start off a layup, and with .28% in the MCL ranks. Should fit with these. Ran up against the likes of Greatest Honor in just the 2nd career start back last December. Espionage (4) drops significantly in the class department and loses his family jewels for this one, too. That must have been a pretty bad beat in the debut. Wow. Cutting, so to speak. Returns as a 3YO son of Into Mischief without the ability to breed now. But the works have tightened up a bit. Could be a threat here with the “adjustments.” Title Shot (6) cost $360,000 at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale. Now, the son of Union Rags is offered up for $30,000. Need a bigger truck? Ran better at KEE in April. Works are OK. Could move up a notch or two here. I bet the 1-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 7-5 in two smaller units.

3rd: 7-2/3-5/1-4/6…Something Natural (7) drops to half the asking price that the owners were seeking in the last start. Barn wins with nearly .30% when dropping this much at one time. Just ran 2nd by a neck in the Canadian Derby two starts ago. Should be fit and ready here against the likes of these. My pick. Bodemeister Wind (2) goes for one of the hottest trainers in the land. Barn has won with .32% of the last 31 mounts here. Drops to 1/2 the asking price, too, and just won at Delta Downs two starts ago. At this price? Fits. I bet the 7-2 across the board and then box these number handsomely. Handsomely. I will key the 7-2 over/under the 3-5-1-4-6 in two smaller units. More with the 3-5 than the rest.

4th: 5-7/1-2-4-8-10/6-(11)-(12)/3-9…This is the first turf event of the night, and it will be contested at the flat 1-mile distance. I will give the edge to Flauto (5). This 3YO daughter of Street Sense comes from a Stakes-placed dam, who has thrown one turf winner already. Last time out, this one nearly took them gate to wire and will flash the early speed. Cutback in distance tonight should assist this one’s chances. Priddis (7) goes for a barn that does NOT excel on the sod. But this one has run two credible races in a row over the dirt and the winner of the last affair came right back to win the next time out, too. The barn wins with .14% of those making the grass debut, but the dam of this one has two turf winners from eight starters. And, this one may improve with the longer distance, too. I can’t dismiss. I bet the 5-7 across the board and then box these two in the exactas. I will key the 5-7 over/under the 1-2-4-8-10-6 in two smaller units.

5th: 5/1-4-2/3-9-6/7-8…The first “Key Play of the Night” comes here with Keep Your Distance (5). This is a 7YO mare from the Diodoro barn, who is not accustom to winning at the current .14% rate of return this meet. For the year? Nearly double that number. So? I look for an uptick in the operation for the remainder of the meet. This one does have 12 wins in 29 starts over a fast dirt surface. And, at this distance? A win and two seconds in 3 starts. Won by 8 last time out over the slop here on April 29. That was the 4th win in a row. Good right now. Going for #5 in the streak. I bet the 5 to win/place and then key the 5 over/under the 1-4-2-3-9-6 in two exactas. More with the 1-4-2 than the rest.

6th: 6-3/1/4/5-2/8-7…This is the 2nd turf event of the evening and it will be contested at the sprint distance of 5.5-furlongs. I will give the edge to Goin’ Good (6) — who hails from the strong barn of trainer Brad Cox. This one nearly won two Stakes in a row before getting beat here in a Stakes on May 8. Had all kinds of issues and was steadied repeatedly in that 5-furlong event. Now, the barn’s go-to rider is gone and replaced by the meet’s top rider. I kind of like this move. In the last 10 mounts for Cox, the rider has won 4 times. Look for this one to get a cleaner trip and look out. Illegal Smile (3) was defeated less than a length in the same race as our top number. Won the race before at Aqueduct and made the lead the entire way in a 6-furlong event. Like this one’s chances and the Irish-bred picks up a good grass rider, too. Chance. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 6-3 in the exactas. I will key the 6-3 over/under the 1-4-5-2 in two smaller units. More with the 1-4 than the rest.

7th: (13)-3-10/2-4-11-(14)/9-1/5-7/8-6-12…This is a nice MSW event that will be contested at the 6.5-furlong distance and I will go with a horse that needs luck before the race ever begins. Time Leverage (13) will be my solid selection, but there’s just one issue. The 3YO Liam’s Map colt is on the AE List. Will need a scratch, or two, just to make the gate. But if he does get in? Look out. This one has the speed to be very dangerous and lost his career debut to a horse named Highly Motivated. That was last September, but the colt was one of my “hot” picks for this year’s Derby, too. If the #13 does NOT get in, I will punt to the next two choices — led by Pledgeofallegiance (3). This 4YO gelding has hit the board in each of the last three outings and has had a chance in each of those to get the job done at the wire. Former rider returns to the saddle here and this may be the day. Sharp work here on June 5. Global Appeal (10) is my first “Longshot Special of the Night.” This 3YO son of Ghostzapper comes in off two thirds and a nice second in a row. Gets a heady rider up, and this one has faced some good ones so far. Look at this one to stalk the leaders and then move at the 1/4-pole. Could surprise here. I bet the 13 if he gets in. If not? I will bet the 3 across the board and then box the next two numbers with him. I will key the 13 or the 3 over/under 10-2-4-11-14-9-1 in two smaller units.

8th: 10-12-6/1-7-5/4-3/2-8-9/11…This is a very nice optional claimer and I will go to the outside for my top two selections. Joyful Cadence (10) gets the nod. This 3YO Runhappy filly has run three top-end races in a row. Has run up against some good ones in the last two Stakes, too. Work at KEE on June 6 is spot on. Could be a handful here. Altered Shot 912) broke the maiden last time out and now must face winners for the first time. Works are spot on. Jockey is having a very nice meet, winning at a .22% clip. Got the Lasix for the first time last out — and gone. Founder’s Day (6) has never run a bad race yet, and figures here, as well. New barn operator wins with .33% when making the 2nd start off a claim purchase. This is it. I bet the 10-12 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 10-12 over/under the 6-1-7-5-4-3 in two smaller units.

9th: 2-6-11/3-9-8/1-5/10-4…G3 Old Forester Mint Julep Stakes…The last grass race of the night will be contested at 11/16-miles and will include some of the best fillies and mares who expert on the sod. This one should be the showcase stage for Juliet Foxtrot (2). This one has won over $701,000 and the G1 Jenny Wiley Stakes at KEE in the last start. Was headed West for a G1 event before coming down with a little virus. Those plans were scratched and she shows up here — working lights out for a top barn operation and the meet’s leading rider in the irons. Has speed to burn. Will flash it early and often, too. At this distance? Two wins in 4 tries. One to beat. Definitely. Dominga (6) could add some real spice to the rack, though. This is a 4YO Ghostzapper filly from the same barn operation as our top pick. The stablemate ran 6th in the G3 Bewitch Stakes last time out. But? That was going 11/2-miles. This one is not made for that. At this more realistic distance? Has a win and a second in 3 starts. Rider has won a Stakes with this one before, too. If the top pick is to stumble a bit, this could be the one to pick up the pieces. She’sonthewarpath (11) is another longshot possible. This one has won 3 of 6 at this distance. Has a win here, too. I bet the 2-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

10th: 4-7-6/3-5-1/2…Southern Passage (4) drops out of the G3 Matt Winn Stakes to face a much softer crowd here in a starter-allowance. This guy has only 1 win in the first 12 starts, but does have 2 seconds and two thirds. Plus, this one has been facing much, much tougher. Heck, this one ran 6th in the G1 Florida Derby. Look for more against these types. Katzarelli (7) goes for the barn of Tom Amoss. I just think you have to use anything from this barn, right now, and this one comes in off a tremendous effort last tout on April 18 at Oaklawn Park. Look out at a very nice price. “Longshot Special of the Night.” The final horse I will use, a bit, is Handy (6). This 4YO son of Tiznow won last time out here for fun. Ran off by 4 that day. Could have been more. In the last three outings, this one has two seconds and the win. Good right now. I bet the 4-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 4-7 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

11th: 3-4-2/5-8/6-7/1A-1…The final race of the night goes off at the 11:10 p.m. EST post. If I am not fast asleep by now — it will be the biggest upset of the evening. But I may stick around just long enough to try this MSW event. The #1 is Lemon’s Medaglia (1). This is a daughter of the grand sire Medaglia d’Oro. The mom? How about the KY Oaks winner Lemons Forever. Wow. Look at that breeding. Now, at the age of 5, she is still looking for that elusive win. Didn’t race at all in 2020. Has not been out since early December of 2019. But? She is working OK. Just want to see her on the track. As for my selections? I go with Smith’s Point (3) on top. This one comes from the barn of Chad Brown, who is winning at a .24% rate here this meet. Stretches out to a route distance for the first time and the barn wins with .26% of those. Barn wins with .32% when stretching out from a sprint distance to a route, too. Adds up. Bold Tactics (4) has never missed the board in three career starts. Always closing. Always coming. Always hoping. But right there. Must use, for me. Kizzy B (2) is a 4YO daughter of Ghostzapper and the blinkers come off for this affair. Barn wins with .20% of those losing the shades. Could be tough here, too. I bet the 3-4 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 3-4 over/under the 2-5-8-6-7 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene