(McLean’s picks now displayed on the Ellis Park website, too)

(Gene & LA at “The Louisville Thoroughbred Society”)

Total Day Results 8 / 4-3-6
2021 Overall 1,011 1,011 / 365-356-448
Win % of Top Pick 36.10%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.54%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 662-1,011 65.48%
2021 Top Selection ITM / EP 6-8 75.00%
2021 Top Selections Win / EP 4-8 50.00%
“Key Horses” @ EP 1 / 1-0-0 100.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 150/ 71-33-9 47.33% Win / 75.33% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @ EP 3/0-0-0 00.00% Win /00.00% ITM

We got out of the gate OK at Ellis Park on Sunday, the opening day of the historic race meet at the little “Pea Patch” in Henderson, KY. Out of the 8 races carded, we booted home 4 winners and we coached in 6 exactas, as well.

Our lone “Key Play of the Day” was victorious, as well.

Our one — make it three — failures was in our “Longshot Specials of the Day.” We picked three of those, and by post time, two of them were nearly the favorites. But, sadly to write, none of those three hit the board. Sorry. We will strive to do much better.

We return to Ellis Park each and every race day this meet, and the next live race date is Thursday, July 1. Here’s a look at our picks for then:

1st: 1-2-6/7-3/5-1A…Decaf (1) gets the nod in the Thursday lid-lifter, which will go to post at 12:50 p.m. CST, and 1:50 on the East Coast time zone. This 3Yo Upstart filly started one time a year ago and didn’t fire much in the debut race after being betting down to near favoritism. Has been off since last June and that one. Barn does win with .22% on the second time out, and with .15% of those away from the gate this long. Gets a top rider to take the assignment, too. Works are solid enough for this level of competition. I give the edge. Wicked Ecstasy (2) will make the debut for the barn of Tom Amoss, who is coming off a terrific meet at Churchill Downs. Has won with .22% of the 288 starters this year. This one has been domiciled at Indy Grand, and sports a nice work at that venue on June 21. Gets the barn’s go-to rider up. Could be spot on for a trainer who wins with .22% at first try. Shoe Biz (6) is another from the barn of Amoss. Dam of this one has 5 winners from 7 starters, which includes one Stakes winner, so far. This one has been at Indy, too. Gets a rider who has won with .33% of the last 6 mounts for this barn. I bet the 1-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 7-3 in two smaller units.

2nd: 6-5/4/2-1/3…Hold Tight (6) drops back to the same price tag level that he won at just two starts ago at Churchill Downs, in a very impressive performance as the PT favorite. Could not hold the same form against much tougher last time out, but the drop should help remedy that issue. Another for the Amoss barn, and the trainer wins at a .27% clip at the claiming ranks and with .20% in routes. Choice. Double Tough Tiger (5) goes for another hot trainer. This one finished up a nice Churchill Downs’ meet, and teams up with the go-to rider here, as well. Comes off a 2nd and a 1st in the last two outings. Has hit the board in four of the last 5 tries. At this distance, has a win and a second. Barn wins with .18% when trying to repeat trips to the winner’s circle. I bet the 6 across the board and then box the 6-5 in the exactas. I will key the 6-5 over/under the 4 in two smaller units.

3rd: 8-1-4/7-5-2-3/9-6-10…The first turf event of the day will be contested at the 5.5-furlong distance, and will feature the 3YO filly Risky Reward (8). This one has raced over the grass in 5 of the career 6 starts and has hit the board in 4 of those tries. Ran a nice 3rd to some good ones at Churchill Downs last time out, and ran up against New Boss just two starts ago. This one likes to push the lead control, and should find a good trip with a solid grass rider up. My pick. Agog (1) is my first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This is a 3YO daughter of More Than Ready, a rock solid grass sire. Dam of this one was a Stakes-winner, who has thrown 2 turf winners already, too. This one ran a huge one two starts ago at Tampa Bay. Didn’t fare as well at Churchill Downs, but should fit very well in this spot. Gets a top grass rider up. Girl Named Patsy (4) has hit the board in three of the last four outings and has been right there in the mix at the wire of each. Veteran rider can hold his own and could put this one in the circle. I bet the 8-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 8-1 over/under the 4-7-5-2-3 in two smaller units.

4th: 5-2-4/1-6/3…Best of Greeley (5) has been running very well since being transferred to the new barn operation. Won over the slop at KEE on April 10, and came right back with a nice 3rd last time out. Winner of that one ran well on the closing day of Churchill Downs on Saturday. Gets a very under-rated rider, who has won with .14% of his 372 mounts this year. Look for this one to be salty here. In previous 4 races here, he has two seconds. Letmeno (2) has a win and a second in two previous races here, and this one should relish the drop back into the allowance ranks after two tries in the Stakes company. One to beat, to be sure. Briefcase Bully (4) won the last time out in impressive fashion, when the race was moved off the turf to a wet-fast dirt track. Now, this one will try the main surface again, since he must have liked it so much. Rider has been hot of late and has won with .33% of the last 6 mounts for this barn operator. I bet the 5-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 1-6 in two smaller units.

5th: (13)-9-6-2/4-7-8-10/1/5-11…This is the second of the four grass races carded on the day, and it will be contested at the flat, 1-mile distance. I will go to the extreme outside and the AE List to find the top contender — Tayet (13). If this 3YO daughter of Cairo Prince makes it into the race, she figures to be a tough out. Ran third in each of the last two events and was beaten a neck and less than 2 in those efforts. Never missed the board in three grass races, yet. Has the ability to close. Look for more out of this one here — if she makes the starting gate. If not? I look at Autostrada (9) to fill my top slot. This 3YO filly by Quality Road coast a hefty $375,000 at the 2019 KEE September Yearling Sale and comes from a Irish-bred mare who has already thrown a turf winner. Will get the Lasix for the first time and goes for the barn of Chad Brown. Wins with .26% when getting the anti-bleeder for the first time. Sharp work on June 25. Shows she could be raring to go here. Flippant (6) has run two seconds in the last three starts and was narrowly edged in each of those. Gets a veteran rider who has a lot of experience with this trainer. Will be closing late. Needs racing room. But? The winner and the “Place” horse in the last outing both came back to win the next time out. Key race. Reinecke (2) will start for the first time for a HOF trainer, who wins with .18% on the first try. But? When debuting on the turf, the barn wins at half that rate. Half. I bet the 13 if she gets in. If not, I will bet the 9 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 13 or 9 over/under the 6-2-4-7-8-10-1 in two smaller units.

6th: 1A-7-5/3-4/2-1/8-6…Detroit City (1A) ran a very well-regarded 4th the first time out on May 22. The winner that day was Landsdown, who ran in the G3 Stakes at Churchill Downs last Saturday. The “Place” horse came back to win on Saturday in very impressive fashion. If this one improves at all? Look out. My pick. Buckingham Prince (7) ran in the same race as our top pick last time out, too. This one was 5th and just behind our #1 choice here. Trainer has gone 3 for 9 coming in and this one trained lights out on June 25. Look at that work. Wow time. Martini’nmoonshine (5) is one from the Amoss barn and must be respected. Barn wins with .24% of the last 101 to start in the career in the MSW ranks and the dam of this one has 2 winners from 3 starters. Very nice work on June 26. Threat. I bet the 1A across the board 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.

7th: 1-3-5/4-6/7-2-8…This is the third turf race on the day and will be run at the 1-mile distance, too. I line up with Graysonsmacho Gal (1). This 4YO Mucho Macho Man filly ran lights out the last two times out and was 2nd in both of those. In two previous runs here, at EP, this one has a win. That came in the MSW company to snap the maiden. Working well and gets the familiar rider back on the back. Look Me Over (3) won last time out by 8 lengths to break the maiden at Churchill Downs — and over the grass. Eight lengths. That never happens in sod racing. Never. This daughter of Hard Spun comes from a Stakes-winning mare, who has thrown 3 turf winners already. Look out for the speed of this one. May be tough to catch. Miss Tourista (5) goes for the third trainer in the sixth career start. Wow. New trainer wins with .07% on the first try with newcomers. But this one has a good resume, with 2 wins, 1 second and 1 third in the first 5 starts. Chance. I bet the 1-3 across the board and box the top three in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4-6 in two smaller units.

8th: 5-9-2/1-8/3-7-10-(12)/6-4-(13)…The last event of the day is a 1-mile turf event, and I will saddle up with Surrealist (5). This one has run two seconds in a row and now has 4 runner-up finishes in the firsts 7 outings. Wow. Consistent. Yes. But she must an issue with hanging a bit, too, right? Needs to find that extra gear late. Bets a top rider, who is red-hot right now, too, back in the saddle. Should help the effort. Freedomofthepress (9) is a serious contender, to be sure. Gets the Lasix for the first time and the barn wins with .26% of the last 116 of those. Will be the first start of 2021, but this one is training lights out for a top barn operation. Have to consider. Love in the Air (2) is a serious threat here, too. This 3YO filly cost $280,000 to purchase at the KEE September Yearling Sale in 2019. Has two seconds and two thirds in the first five outings. Has not been out since mid-March, but the barn wins with .17% off the bench. Rider has experience here. Returns as a beaten favorite, and the barn wins with .24% of those kind, too. I bet the 5-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over (only) the 1-8 in a smaller unit.

Good Luck &  All the Best / Gene