(Updated Statistics After Friday’s Card Is Complete)
Here’s a look at our picks for this Saturday’s card:
1st: 2-5/1-3/4…Grand Design (2) gets the tip of the ole’ fedora in the lid-lifter this Saturday at the “Pea Patch.” This 3YO gelded son of Union Rags was picked up for $15,000 just two starts ago and off the capable hands of trainer Brad Cox. Ran once since then and spit the bit down at the Downs of Delta. Been off since early April, but the works are solid and the connections have been hot of late. Barn wins with .26% of the last 113 to return from this type of a vacation and with .35% of the last 78 on the 2nd start off a claim purchase. Barn’s go-to rider — who has won with .24% of the last 34 — gets the mount. Pick. Mr. Peterkin (5) was claimed last time out for $10,000 and now moves up in the ranks. Comes from a Stakes-placed dam and this one gets a new rider choice here. Last three outs? Has a second and two thirds. Threat. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-5 in the exactas. I will key the 2-5 over/under the 1-3-4 in two smaller units.
2nd: 4-5/6/1-2…Buffalo Shuffle (4) drops from the $50,000 level to the $30,000 tag here. No match for the tougher company last time out, but the race two back was spot on when he was haltered. Barn has a 2-1-2 record in the six starts here this meet and is coming off a very solid Churchill Downs meet, too. Rider has won with .34% of the last 29 mounts for this barn. Looks poised for a big effort. May rumble from the gate. Prioritization (5) will make the first start for trainer Chad Brown. Connections are solid here, and the works over this track have been consistent, if not spectacular. Should fit with these types, and the breeding suggests that this one should be able to run some. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top two numbers in the exactas. I will key the 4-5 over/under the 6 in two smaller units.
3rd: 6-2-8/7-5/9-1/4-3…This is the first turf event of the afternoon, and it will be contested at the two-turn distance of 11/16-miles. I go with Elitch (6). This 8YO gelding goes for a barn that wins with .14% when switching surfaces. Has only raced once over the sod, but this one should be able to convert OK. Dam was Stakes-placed. Will be coming late. Look for a rally. Blue Steel (2) moves to the turf, too. Barn is 0-for-4 when shifting surfaces, but this one has won three in a row and looks (acts) like a different horse since losing the blinkers four races ago. Gets a top rider, who has a win on his back, too. Exemplar (8) was claimed last time out for $8,000. Moves up a notch in the ranks, but the barn wins with .17% in the first start after a purchase. In 6 starts over the sod so far, this one has a win and a second. Chance. I bet the 6-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 6-8 over/under the 2-7-5-9-1 in two smaller units.
4th: 4/6-5-7/2-1-3…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes here with Tea Olive (4). This 2YO daughter of First Samurai will make the first start since breaking the maiden at Churchill Downs on April 29. Won that day from gate to wire over a sloppy surface. Beat 8 other rivals that day. Rider has gone 4-1-1 in the last 8 mounts. Works are nice enough and the barn has captured two of the first three starts here this meet. That’s a win percent of .67%. I will bet the 4 across the board and then key the 4 over/under the numbers listed in the exactas. I will key the 4 over (only) the “all button” in another unit.
5th: (8)-2/1-6-7/4-3/5…This is a 1-mile event scheduled for the turf. My top pick has been entered for the “Main Track Only,” and will run only if the race is moved from the sod to the major dirt surface. Katzarelli (8) is a 4YO gelded son of Capo Bastone, and has raced over a fast dirt track on 9 occasions. Has 2 wins and 2 seconds. Comes in off a better-than-looks 4th last time out. Time before was nipped at the wire by a horse that won the next time out, too. Will be a tough out, if the horse gets in. If not? I go with Decision Maker (2). This 4YO gelding comes in off a super effort over the grass at Churchill Downs on June 18. Has hit the board in each of the last four races and 6 of the last 7. One to beat. If it comes off the turf, I go with the #8. If it stays on the sod? I go solidly behind the 2. I bet them (either one) across the board and then key the 8 or the 2 over/under the 1-6-7-4-3-5 in two units.
6th: 10-4/5-11-12-1/2-8/3-9…This is a MSW event scheduled for a 5-furlong sprint over the main track for the 2YO fillies. I will saddle up with Girl With a Dream (10). This daughter of Practical Joke has been working very well over this surface, and will get the services of a top rider — who ships in for the occasion. Sharp workout here on July 18, and the rider has gone 3-1-0 in the last 7 mounts. Let’s go. Cancel This (4) has been working her way back to you. Over the last 21/2 months, she has been picking up morning drills one right after another. Last one, on July 21, was spot on. Bullet drill. Barn wins with only .08% of first time starters, and .11% in the MSW ranks. But this one looks ready to pop. I bet the 10-4 across the board and then box those two in the exactas. I will key the 10-4 over/under the 5-11-12-1-2-8 in two smaller units.
7th: 8-6-2/1-10-9/3-4-7-5…This is a 6-furlong sprint for the MSW ranks and the fillies and mares 3YOs & Up. I go with Amusing Antics (8). This 3YO Super Saver filly cost $235,000 to purchase at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale and that was the highest fee for one of those babies by that sire, and there were 74 of them sold then. Gets Lasix for the first time and the barn wins with .19% of those kind. Returns after a layup, and the barn wins with .17% of those. Sharp work on July 20 over this surface. Indicates ready. Berning Question (6) is my first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This 3YO filly by Bernardini will get Lasix for the first time, too, and will start for the new barn for the first time. Gets a top rider who is heating up nicely with the summer burn at the “Pea Patch.” Look out here at a nice price. San Star (2) is another outsider that could light up the tote board. This one is 10-1 in the ML, set by my good friends at Brisnet.com, and will start for the first time ever. Barn wins with .07% on debut, but this one sports some very nice works at Arlington Park and moves here for a reason. Take note. I bet the 8-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 8-6 over/under the 2-1-10-9 in two smaller units.
8th: 6-5/1-3-8/2-4-7…This turf event will be contested at the 11/16-mile distance and I give the nod to Bam Breeze (6). The last race was so much better than it looks. Take a gander at the video. Had to move in and around so much traffic and yet was only defeated less than 3 lengths at the wire. The winner that day came right back to win the next outing. In 7 grass starts to date, this one has a first and a second. This will be the 2nd start for the new trainer and will make the second start off the layup. Over the last 115 to qualify for the 2nd start angle, this barn has won with .24%. Gets blinkers for the first time and that could help with the late run, too. Could be a very square price and the jockey is leading the meet here. Bluegrass Parkway (5) has a 2-1-5 record over the 14 starts on the grass. At this distance, though, this one has a win and a third in the 3 starts. Trainer is red hot here, winning at a .38% rate. Rider is relatively new to this barn operation. But is winning at a .41% clip this meet with 9 wins in the first 22 starts here. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box the top 2 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 6-5 over/under the 1-3-8-2-4 in two smaller units.
9th: 4-5-6/9-2-12/1-7-11/8-10-3…The final turf event of the day will be held at the marathon distance of 11/4-miles and will be held for the MSW level. I will give the edge to Alexander Valley (4). This one has raced 5 times this year, and has managed to score 2 seconds and 2 thirds on the resume. Comes from well off the pace and will be running late, but gets a very heady and under-appreciated grass rider for this one. Has faced some good ones in the past and will need some racing luck, but looks to be the best of this group. Trainer has gone 2-0-1 in the last 3 outs here. Warbird (5) ran a good one two starts back at Santa Anita. Has now journeyed East of the Mississippi for the first time and should fit nicely in this group. This one stalks and pounces and will need a solid urge in the stretch, too. Aggressive rider takes the reins. Barn wins with .26% when it ships. Marvelousmoondance (6) has run two 2nds in a row — one on the dirt and one on the grass. The last event was 13/16-miles. Gets a rider who is heating up and this one looks like he will last the distance, too. Chance. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 4-5 over/under the 6-9-2-12-1 in two smaller units.
Good Luck & All the Best / Gene