Day Results 9/1-3-5
2019 Overall 589 589/215-223-287
Win % of Top Pick 36.50%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 41.02%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –404 of 586 68.94%
Top Selection ITM / CD 4-9 44.44%
Top Selection Win / CD 1-9 11.11%
“Key Horses” @ CD 1-0-0-0 0.00%
“Key Horses” in 2019 117-47-23-13 40.17%
Upset Special of the Day/ CD 2-0-0-0 0.00%

Things got started at this Churchill Downs’ Spring/Summer Meet with a bang on Saturday night. Lights. Party. Singing. Dancing. Action.

All that happened.

While we were making little to no noise on the handicapping front. One win in 9 races, as we forgot to even pick the 10th and final on the night. We even got the 1-9 favorite beaten in the Stakes event. We were so much weight, in fact, that the 1-9 shot ran off the board. When was the last time you saw that happen?

Well, it has been the quiet before the storm.

We are getting ready to kick it up several notches on Tuesday, as we get ready for another Derby Week Festival. Can’t wait.

Here’s a closer look at Tuesday’s card:

1st: 3/6-7-1-4…The first race of the Derby Week is a 7-furlong test for the fillies and mares and I will go with my first Key Play of the Day. And, she has been a “Key Play” before. Like in the last two races. Honey Bunny (3) will be stretching out from 6.5-furlongs to the 7-furlong distance, but the way she is running right now that should not make a difference. She won on Feb. 8 at Oaklawn Park. After a third on March 5 at the Fair Grounds, she has now ripped off three wins in a row. She won at 5.5-furlongs on March 15 at Oaklawn; won by 1 on April 4 at Keeneland; and won by 51/2 at KEE on April 17. This will be her third start in the last 26 days, which is a lot to ask of a 5YO mare. But she is good right now. Very good. Ride that hot horse. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under the 6-7-1-4 in the exactas.

2nd: 3-1-6/5/2-4…I will go right back to the “3” in the daily double, picking Just Grace (3) to top this field. The 3YO Graydar filly is dropping all the way from a allowance/optional claimer at the $50,000 water mark down to the $20,000 price tag today for a top barn operation. Trainer has hit with .27% of the last 679 horses to run. This one broke the maiden at first ask on Dec. 21. Came back to run at FG on Jan. 13 and ran into an absolute wall. Now, gets the plunge. Love the trainer/owner combo and a hot rider takes the irons. My pick. Laser Ladee (1) was claimed last time out for $15,000 and now will inch up the claiming game. Trainer hits with .21% making the debut for the new connections, and he used to have this one before. So, the 3YO Data Link filly comes well introduced to these peeps. Like the training session here on April 6. Could improve immensely today. Indicating (6) gets dropped to a career low level, as well. Ran one time at this same price tag in January. Ran second and was beaten only 1/2 length. Gets that company again today with a top name rider here. Chance. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

3rd: 6-7/5-8/1-4/2-3…Duches of Grace (6) is the 8-5 ML favorite, and probably should be. Comes into this one off two straight seconds to begin the career. Ran well in both of them, including a nice run at KEE on April 10 as the beaten favorite. This barn scores with .24% of those returning to the races, and picks up a really top rider for the assignment. Bellazano (7) drops into the MCL ranks for the first time ever and this barn has won with 1-of-3 of them so far. Barn has pushed some runners onto the track of late, and this one could be another. Gets a top rider to take the reins again, and like the work on April 23. Should improve off the last effort. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top two numbers in the exacta. I key the 6 over/under the 7-5-8-1-4 in two smaller versions.

4th: 4-8/7-2-5/3-6-1…She Love Me (4) goes for the barn of Stanley Hough, who returned to the racetrack action last year after a sojourn to the farm. Guy knows how to train. Guy knows how to get winners. And, this 3YO gelded son of Flat Out may be another to jump up considerably today. Ran well to break the maiden in December at GP. Came back after a short break to run horribly in March. Don’t know the reason for that mystery performance, but I expect more today. El Venue (8) will move up a couple of notches in the claiming game, after running a nice second at Oaklawn Park on March 24. Barn hits with only.09% in the second start off a layup, but this field is not the toughest you will see this week at Churchill Downs. This guy cost $280,000 to buy, so he must have looked the part and he has a 1-2-1 mark in 7 career starts. Tries. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the 4-8 in the exacta. I will key the 4-8 over (only) the 7-2-5-3.

5th: 6/7-1-3/2-5/4…Lady of Luxury (6) is my second Key Play of the Day. This 3YO daughter of Mark Valeski has started just three times to date, and has both a win and a third. Ran poorly over the slop last time out, but she was unruly at the gate before that one and was in the four-path for much of the race. Bailed out when running time came. Has run over a sloppy track in each of her three races. Be fun to see how she can do on a fast surface. I will pay to see. I bet the 6 — at 5-1 ML odds — to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the 7-1-3-2-5-4.

6th: 9-5/4-10/7-13-12/1-6-3…The first grass event of the day will be contested at 1-mile. I will go to the outside and team up with Infuse (9), who is coming off a second place finish the last time out at this same level. This will be her second start off the layup, and the barn hits with .21% of those. Bred for the grass, too, being a daughter of Lemon Drop Kid. Dam of this one has a turf winner from two starters. Gets back to the grass for the first time today since she ran a third at Delaware Park last June. Ran up against a real, real, real good one that day in Last Promise Kept — a Stakes winning filly owned by my good friends Tim & Lisa Turney and trained by Tom Proctor. Key race right there. Dial Me (5) comes from the barn of Tom Drury, a top young trainer in the game today. If he travelled for the winter, you would probably hear a lot more about this young man. Can get the job done. This 5YO Dialed In mare has hit the board in each of the last 5 races and 7 of the last 8. Very consistent. Has a big chance. I bet the 9-5 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 9-5 over/under the 4-10-7 in two smaller versions.

7th: 3-2-6/1-4/5…Champions Day Marathon Overnight Stakes…I will go with the former Kentucky Derby runner Sonneteer (3). Although he has only 2 wins in 24 lifetime starts, he does have 5 seconds and 4 thirds and has run up against some tough, tough customers in the past. Ran in the KY Derby as a maiden, for goodness sakes. Has been training lights out here and I think he could be a real force at this 11/2-mile distance. Be interesting to have this guy back home. Ran second here last May in an allowance/optional claimer. Lookin for Eight (2) won the last time out when racing at 11/16-miles at Oaklawn Park. Pushed the pace from the out-set in that one. Won a Stakes at Woodbine over the all-weather surface last September. High causing speed. Krewe Chief (6) ran second when racing 11/2 miles over the grass last time out at KEE. Moves back to the dirt today, but the barn hits with .17% of those making this surface switch. Also, the barn hits with .24% coming back to the races as a beaten favorite. He was one of those. Gets a top jock in the irons. I bet the 3-6 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

8th: 1/3-7/8-2B-1A-2/(9)-4-6…My third Key Play of the Day comes right here with Mighty Scarlett (1) — named, of course, for my great friend’s daughter, Scarlett Murphy. (This filly was not named for her, but since her name is Scarlett and she is a top softball pitcher at New York University, I thought I would just exaggerate a bit.) The 4YO filly is by Scat Daddy, and is coming into this 11/16-mile turf event off a super fourth in the G3 Valley View Stakes at KEE. Beaten less than a length that day by a good one. Won two starts back at Saratoga last September. This one has back class. Training well now, including the move on April 7 at Payson Park. I’m all in with this one, who goes for a barn that wins with .29% when away from the races this long. I bet the 1 to win/place and then key the 1 over/under the 3-7. I will key the 1 over (only) the 8-2B-1A-2.

9th: 3-6/10-4-11/2-8/5-1…The last race on the day is a MCL for the 3YOs & Up. I give the slight edge to Lemon Again (3), who goes for the barn of Dallas Stewart. This guy ran poorly last time out, but was right there when running at this same level two starts back at the Fair Grounds on March 8. This one likes to close, and has a patient rider ready to take control of the reins. This 3YO Lemon Drop Kid gelding is out of a Stakes-Winning mare — who has produced .33% winners out of the 2YO ranks. Musical Man (6) is a 3YO colt that we have touted before. In 9 career starts, though, he has been blanked from the winner’s circle. Does have 2 seconds and 3 thirds, though. Have to use underneath, even if he is a LA-bred and facing open company.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene