Day Results 10/3-5-5
2019 Overall 1,305 1,305/458-470-587
Win % of Top Pick 35.10%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.70%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –854 of 1,305 65.44%
Top Selection ITM / CD Nov 71-112 63.39%
Top Selection Win / CD Nov 43-112 38.39%
“Key Horses” @ CD Nov 17/7-4-0 41.18%
“Key Horses” in 2019 206-79-41-22 38.35%

We start the new week off a day late — and, perhaps, a dollar short, depending on how you thought we might do on the Wednesday card. But, alas, we shall never know. Mother Nature was not nice earlier this week and forced Churchill Downs to cancel the Wednesday matinee.

Now, we will try to make up for loss time. Here’s a look at our picks for the Thursday card.

Still looks like it is going to be a bit chilly.

Still looks like it may be a bit wet, in places.

Still looks like it may be a tough day to handicap.

But look at it this way. It’s not nearly as tough as jumping up on a speeding Thoroughbred and running away — or into — those cold winds.

1st: 3-2-1/4/6-5…Incensed (3) will be making the first start of the career for the new barn operator. New connections hit with .24% of those debuting under this roof. Drops in class for this initial bow and the barn has hit with .25% of the 898 runners it has sent postward in 2019. Like the recent work tab in the a.m., and this one has a 3-2-0 record in just 7 starts at this distance. You’re Killin Me (2) won the last time out at this level. Came from a stalking position to win by a neck at the wire over at KEE on Oct. 23. Has come back to work OK since the race. Same rider stays aboard today. Forerun (1) nearly won the last time out at Indy Grand. In 36 races at this distance, this 8YO veteran has tallied 14 wins, 4 seconds and 7 thirds. That is 25 Top 3 Finishes in the 36 tries. Not bad. Not bad at all. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then I box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 4 in two smaller versions.

2nd: 1/4-2-6/3…The first Key Play of the Day comes right here and right now with Chief Know It All (1). This 5YO gelded son of Flashy Bull will get the saddle from the ultra clever and ultra talented trainer Danny Gargan. Ran over at KEE on Oct. 11. Was odds-on that day and he won by over 2 lengths in this one. Was claimed by these connections for $12,500 two times back when he was offered up for $12,500. Work here on Nov. 5 was solid enough. Gets a rider who has won 1 of 2 for this trainer in recent days. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key the 1 over/under all the other numbers listed in the progression.

3rd: 4-5/7-3/1-2…Sharp Art (4) is a speedy type who gets a little class drop for this level today. The rider has been on top of his game of late, and has teamed up with this barn to win 2 of the last 4 rides for the outfit. Has a 2-2-1 mark in 10 starts at this distance, and has a 2-4-3 record in 17 previous runs here. Will be extremely tough if he can break well and jaunt out to a comfortable lead. Cheytac (5) was claimed last time out for $32,000 and now bumps up to the $40,000 level today. In 7 previous runs here, he has 2 wins and a second. But has 2 wins in 3 starts at his distance, too. Ran very well here back in June. Watch out. I bet the 4-5 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 4-5 over/under the 7-3-1-2 in two smaller versions.

4th: 3-9/5-10/6-4…Warrant Officer (3) gets another huge drop in class for this one today. Goes from $30,000 to the $15,000 price tag. Barn hits with .27% of those getting this kind of drop. Barn also hits with .15% of those making the second start off a layup. Could improve some today in this spot. Golden Rule Haven (9) will be making the first career start for the barn of J. Larry Jones. The barn hits with .25% of those making the first career start at a distance of 1 mile, or greater. Damn of this one has 3 winers from 4 starters, too. Adds up for me. I bet the 3-9 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 3-9 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

5th: 4-7-1/5-6/2-3-8…Taraz (4) is a first time starter from the barn of Brad Cox, who hits with .19% of those. The dam of this one has a winner from 1 starter, and the 2YO Into Mischief showed out while working her on Nov. 6. Went 5 furlongs that day in 1:00.25. That was the 3rd best time out of 28 to work that far on that day. Homebred for the Juddmonte Farms. Solid connections. Snaffle (7) improved mightily last time out, and the barn does hit with a better % share after a couple of starts or two. Love the work here on Nov. 8. Top notch. Gets a top rider for this one, too. Sundae Smile (1) is a first time starter for a barn that normally does NOT fare too well with the debut guys and gals. This 2YO filly by Curlin — who is a homebred for the G. Watts Humphrey bunch — has been working lights out of late. Dam of this one was a Stakes winner , too. Adds up. I bet the 4-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over (only) the 5-6-2-3-8 in a smaller version.

6th: 2-8-(13)-(14)/11-7-6/3-10-2B…This is the first grass race carded for Thursday, and if it stays on the soggy ground, it should be an interesting watch. Morticia (2), who won the G3 Ladies Sprint at KY Downs two starts ago and then eclipsed the $1 million in earnings barrier last time out when she was second in the G3 Buffalo Trace Franklin County at KEE on Oct. 11, looks to be closing out a brilliant racing career and head to the breeding shed soon for her breeder/owner G. Watts Humphrey, Jr. She has run in 4 straight Stakes events, and 9 out of the last 10. She has run very well either on or near the lead. And, she has a win and 2 seconds in her career under the Twin Spires. If it stays on grass, one might suggest that you stick with this one. Moonlight Romance (8) is 10-1 in the ML, and I figure this one to be my first Upset Special of the Day. This 3YO daughter of Liaison has raced only twice this year. Won the first start of 2019 at KEE back in April. Was spectacular in doing it, too, for trainer Wesley Ward. The work on Nov. 2 up at Turfway Park was very solid, as well. Gets back to the grass today — maybe(?) — and that should assist this one. The dam has 1 turf winner in the first 3 starters. I bet the 2-8 to win/place/show and then  box the 2-8 in one exacta. I will key the 2-8 over/under the rest of the numbers listed.

7th: 7-6/3-1-9/8-2-5-4…Bonny South (7) is a 2YO daughter of Munnings and another homebred for the Juddmonte Farms. This one comes from a sire who produces 16% winners on debut, and the dam of this one has a winner from 1 starter, as well. The work on Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs was simply outstanding. Hard to turn this one down, for me. Rising Seas (6) tired in the debut run and finished 4th — but 10 lengths back at the wire. Set the fractions that day, and will get the meet’s top rider back in the saddle. Jockey Corey Lanerie has won .26% of the last 23 races for this barn operator over this track. Big chance here. I bet the 7-6 across the board, and then box those two in one exacta. I will key the 7-6 over/under the rest of the numbers listed. More on the 3-1-9, in particular.

8th: 5-8-1/7-4/6-2-3…Miss Hannah (5) nearly won last time out and did win two races back. The meet’s top rider sticks for this job today, and the work pattern has been outstanding. Can stalk. Can pounce. Can run early. Can really run late. This daughter of Trappe Shot cost $50,000 to buy at a 2YO Sale in 2018. But she received the 2nd highest figure out of 13 off spring of Trappe Shot to sell at that same sell. Worthy foe. Whiskarita (8) is 10-1 in the ML, but is capable of much more in this spot today. Will get the saddle from a new trainer for the first time. This barn scores with .14% of those making the second start off a layup. Gets a new rider to take the reins. Love the 10-1 ML odds, and that triggers another Upset Special of the Day. Bossy Bride (1) will get her first start of her career for the barn of Mike Maker in this spot today. Maker hit with .14% of those making the racetrack initial appearance. Love the work at the Churchill Downs Training Center on Nov. 10. Nice. Gets a top rider to take the reins, as well. Figures for me. I bet the 5-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the 5-8-1 over/under the 7-4 in two smaller versions.

9th: 8-5/10-4-2/12-(13)-(14)/6-9-3-1-7…This grass event is originally scheduled to be contested at the flat, 1-mile distance. If it stays on the soggy sod, I will go with Secretary At War (8). This 5YO War Front horse is coming off a nice third here against tougher on Sept. 26. Was the beaten favorite that day, but the first two finishers in that tilt have both come back to win against since that race. In 7 lifetime tries at this distance, this one has a 2-1-2 record. In the lone race here, he has a third. Work on Nov. 10 was solid, if not spectacular. Threat here with a top rider returning from the injury list. Midnight Tea Time (5) comes from the barn of Joe Sharp, who is having a solid 2019 year. Barn has won with .18% of the 578 starters to date. This one won at KY Downs just two starts back. Dam of this one is a Stakes winner, who has produced two turf winners to date — including a Stakes winner. Ran 4th in the G3 Sycamore Stakes last time out, when traveling 11/2-miles. May improve at today’s shorter distance. Beware. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-5 in one exacta. I will key the 8-4 over/under the 10-4-2-12-6-9. Unless the 13-14 draw in. If they do, I include them in the exacta key, as well.

10th: 6-12/7-11/1-(14)/9-8-10-4…Today’s finale is a MCL event for the price tag of $15,000, and I will go with my last Upset Special of the Day — Dear John Letter (6). This one is a 2YO daughter of Wicked Strong and will be making her career debut for the barn of Mike Maker. Barn hits with .18% of those making the career first start at 1-mile distance or farther. Barn hits with .22% of those in the MCL ranks, and the rider is having a super hot last week — with a mark of 8-3-3 in 25 mounts. Love the work at Turfway Park on Nov. 9. Looks ready to me. Spectacular Temper (12) will be making the 4th career start for the barn of Dallas Stewart. This daughter of Congrats will get the services of the meet’s top rider, and the work here on Nov. 5 was spot on. Spot on. Spot. On. Look for more out of this one today. I bet the 6-12 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 6-12 over/under the 7-11-1-9-8.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene