Well…we are off to a rather inauspicious start here at the great race oval, in the ole’ handicapping department. I will be adding my statistical data in just a few. Just note, that it has to come up from here. But the good news is that we are really gearing up for a great weekend. I think. I hope.

Here is a closer look at Thursday’s “Thurby” race card, but since we have so much handicapping to do over the next four days, we will keep our comments more succinct. If you have questions, hit us on Twitter, or email us at Gene@mcleanlobby.com:

1st: 6-1-4-2-3-5…Toothpic (6) nearly won the last time out as the favorite. Trainer hits with .10% of those returning from being bet down so low. Gets a huge rider switch for this one. We will see if speed will hold early on today. This is a def speedster. One River Place (1) has flashed tiring speed in the past, too, but appeared to try a stalking run last time out. With the rail — with is winning at a .18% clip so far this meet at this distance — the new rider may decide to send him again. That could set it up for a closer. The best of that group seems to be Pop Culture (4). This one picked it up with the drop in class last time out. I bet the 6-4 across the board and then box the top three choices in one exacta.

2nd: 3-2-6-4-1…Win With Pride (3) goes for the barn of Ian Wilkes, who is one of the best in the business. This one has hit the board on 7 of the 13 career starts, but did win two back. Drops back into the claiming ranks again today and that should help. Electric Avenue (2) is a speedy type who was claimed last time out after the win. New trainer hits with .17% on the first try after the purchase. Solid work before that last win. Should be sharp, still. Burgameister (6) is a closer who will drop into the claiming ranks off three good races in the last four. Won four races back and nearly won the last two. Could get up in time today with the right trip. I bet the 3-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

3rd: 2-6-1-7…Annapolis Class (2) gets a drop back to the level that she won at in January at Laurel Park. Had back-to-back win then before the 4th against toughener. This trainer is super good in the training ranks (.29%) and this one has a really nice work here on April 26. Choice. Arch Arch Baby (6) gets a drop in class after four sub-par performances this year. Did win at this level at Ellis Park last summer. Worked well here on April 27. If she can find that stride, she may be tough at the wire. Aubrey (1) drops into the claiming ranks for the first time, it appears. Has not been close in the last 4 — but all of those have been on the sod. Goes to the dirt today for a trainer that scores with .13% making that surface switch, and did work OK here for this one. I bet the 2-6 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

4th: 8-7-1-5-4…Union Bowman (8) got his first start since last September when running third at Indy on April 20. That bid was 4-wide, and didn’t give the 11YO much of a chance. Today, he is reunited with his old former pilot, who is one of the best on these grounds. Look for improvement with the 2nd try off the layoff. Trainer is good at .19% with these kind. Quiet Concert (7) was claimed last time out by a top trainer/owner combo. Wheels right back after that purchase on March 24, and has trained OK for the new connections. Trainer hits with .27% of those making the first start after the purchase, and with .33% of those switching from grass to dirt. This one fits both categories. Inmyfathersimage (1) comes up from Florida with a new barn operation. Ran third and second in the last two, but was 4-wide in the last run which left him 2 lengths short of the winner. A better run today could help the finish. I bet the 8-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

5th: 2-8-5-3-9-4…Dreaming Diamonds (2) ran 3rd in her only previous start for a top barn. Was wide in that 41/2-furlong sprint for the babies, and that is a tough spot to be at Keeneland in that configuration. Need to be on the lead and near the rail there. This set-up is not much different, but the filly gets Lasix for the first time and draws the 1-hole. Could motor today. My first Best Bet. Toy Moon (8) is stuck in the #9 hole and that is a tough vantage point to begin in this super short sprint. Should benefit greatly from the past experience and a more aggressive rider today, too. New York Charmer (5) is a first timer for the barn of Todd Pletcher. Don’t see many of his hit the track this early, but this filly did cost $250,000 as a yearling at Keeneland September. Might as well start recouping some of that investment. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed.

6th: 2-7-3-5-1-6…Dapper Sam (2) finished 6th in his first try against winners, and was beaten 11 lengths in that try — last time out. The race before, he got to run against maiden claimers and whipped them by 10. His talent level may fall somewhere in-between those two different results. Should appreciate the class relief here. Cause to Action (7) won the last time out to break his maiden at the MC level. Before that one, though, he had four seconds in a row. Looks to knock on most doors. Likes an off track, too. Maximus Dan (3) is an Indiana-bred, but has hit the board against open company in three of the last four races. Trainer hits with .25% of those making the second start off a layoff. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 7-3-8-6-1…The Money Monster (7) was claimed in the last race for $16,000. Bumps up a notch for this try for a trainer that hits with .16% of those making the debut for the new barn. This one has hit the board in each of the last four races, and keeps the same rider who booted him home third in the last. Key Stat here: he is a perfect 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs. Sunny’s Rainbow (3) gets the saddle from a trainer who has hit with .25% of all starters this year (93), and does very well across the board in most categories. He hits with .33% of those coming off this type of a layoff. Worked well at the training center here in Louisville on April 21, and looks ready for this one. Tarpys paper (8) drops considerably for this try today. A beaten favorite when he faded badly at the end of the March 17 test. The breeze here on April 22 was spectacular, though. Ready? I bet the 7-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

8th: 4-1-5-3-2-9-1-8…Mr. Misunderstood (4) is 4-for-5 at the 1-mile distance and a perfect 2-for-2 at Churchill Downs. Caught a pretty salty bunch in the G1 Maker’s Mark 46 Mile. The other two starts this year were OK. Look for him to take to his home course in this one. No embarrassment to lose to Heart to Hart and Synchrony. Flatlined (1) has run three seconds in five starts over this grass and has 5 seconds in 7 tries at this distance. When he is on, he is rally on. First Premio (5) ran a game second to Mr. Misunderstood three races back. Caught a monster in The Player in the next after that one. This guy could add some value to the exotics in this spot, with a 10-1 ML odds. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed. I take one 4-1-5 exacta box to add a little insurance.

9th: 6-3-4-2…Hint of Mint (6) ran fourth against winners for the first time in the last out in November. Impressive in breaking the maiden, and worked super here for the return to the track on April 26. Naples Mist (3) picks up a huge rider switch for this one, and the trainer is having another solid year — winning at a 20% clip in ’18. Stall has 2-1-1 record in the last 6 starters. Thirteen Songs (4) didn’t fire the last time out, but had two respectable seconds in a row before that. Hot jockey returns to the saddle. I bet the 6-3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

10th: 4-3-5-1-7-6…Kentucky Juvenile Stakes…Luv This Lifestyle (4) ran off to a near 6-length victory in her debut race. Will face colts this time around, but the trainer is the “super man” of these “baby races.” And, he has fired the fillies vs. the colts many times in the past. Looks to have speed to burn, but will have to flash it early and often to overcome a post away from the rail this time. Does that do enough to maker her vulnerable? Shanghaied Roo (3) won on debut at Keeneland, too. He ran off to a near 3-length win for trainer W. Bret Calhoun. He draws inside of the filly, and that may be enough to off-set any speed in-balance. Myhotrodlincoln (5) ran second to the second choice in the debut, and tired after making a bold earlier bid in that one. If the conditioning helped, he may be ready to cut into the difference today. I bet the 4-3 across the board, and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I key the 4-3 over all the numbers in a smaller version.

11th: 9-11-6-4-1-5-3-2-7…Sensitive (9) looks salty in this spot to finish the day. The filly has hit the board in four of the last five tries, and ran third as the beaten-favorite in the Pago Hop Stakes at the Fair Grounds in the last. Deep closer will need some space allotment late, but gets the same rider back to try this spot. Tough. La Sola Ranger (11) didn’t get any breaks with the far outside post, but this deep closer should be able to drop over and save ground until the real running begins. Before the 4th in the last our, she had four ITM finishes in a row. The one to beat, and will be running late. La Sardane (6) will be making the second start in NA after shipping her from France. Should run much better in this spot today, after a real nice work over this sod. Beware. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 9 over/under all the numbers in two smaller versions.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene