Day Results 9 / 2-1-6
2020 Overall 755 755 / 271-247-297
Win % of Top Pick 35.89%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 35.98%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –482-755 63.84%
Top Selection ITM / CD Spring-Summer: 163-257 63.42%
Top Selection Win / CD Spring-Summer: 92-257 35.80%
“Key Horses” @ CD Spring-Summer:29-13-6-5 44.83% Win / 82.76% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 102-36-23-15 35.29% Win / 72.55 ITM

(Let’s get hot)

While we may not handicap the full race cards from Ellis Park each and every day, we thought we would kick start the meet on Thursday with a snapshot of our picks for the day.

It promises to be hot.

It promises to be humid.

And, it promises to be everything that we have come to love and expect in Henderson, KY and the little “pea patch” by the river. Hotly contested.

Today’s card promises to be just that, too. Tough to handicap. Tough to predict. And, fun to bet.

Here’s our examination:

1st: 7-3-2/6-1-5…The key number on the day for me is the #7, and I start off the races at Ellis Park this summer with a good one. I hope. A.K. Safari (7) is my Upset Special of the Day for the barn of my good friend and trainer Buff Bradley, who is having a bit of a rough year up till now. But Buff is a fan favorite at the “pea patch” and does some of his best running at Ellis Park, too. Here’s hoping that he can kick-start a terrific meet here. A.K. Safari is a 4YO gelded son of Animal Kingdom. Moves from the turf to the dirt and the barn hits with .09% of those. But this one has run over a dirt track 3 times so far. Has a nice third against much, much tougher. Drops from the $50,000 tag to just $16,000 today and has never been offered up for this amount. Work on June 20 at Churchill Downs was super good and gets a veteran rider who knows how to find a winner’s circle. Wide open race. Might as well go for a price, right? I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

2nd: 7-1-2/4-3-6/5…The second race of the day and my second #7. This time I saddled up with Gangly (7). This Florida-bred drops from the $40,000 tag level to the $16,000 price category today. Never offered up for this cheap, either. Gets the same rider as my top pick in the 1st. Could be a Bejarano “Daily Double.” Olson (1) drops from a high-end allowance event into the claiming ranks for the first time. This barn hits with .29% of these kind and this son of Midnight Lute just broke the maiden two starts back when put on the lead. Gets a top class rider back in the saddle here. Watch out. One to beat. Its My Bag Baby (2) was claimed last time out for $20,000. Goes for $16,000 here. Barn hits with .32% of those dropping after a claim purchase. Gets a top rider up. Work on June 23 was spot on. Chance, too. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 7-1 over/under the 2-4-3-6-5 in two smaller units.

3rd: 4-1-6/5-7/2-3…Noble Alma (4) is the prohibitive favorite in the ML, and could be a tough out if she can find her form of two starts ago when she broke the maiden at GP. Comes from a dam, who was a Stakes winner and who has produced one turf winner from 3 starters. Gets a rider who has won 1 of 2 for this barn over the last 60 days. Had a tough trip last time out. I can toss the one. Skyvalue (1) was claimed last time out for $20,000. New barn hits with .14% on the first try afterwards. This one ran two nice races to begin the career and threw in a clunker last time out. Gets the grass for the first time now, and the pedigree suggests an improvement. Stylish Kitten (6) is a daughter of Kitten’s Joy, a top grass sire. Had a tough go in the first try over the sod last time out. Wide in that one. Gets a new rider who is expert on the weeds. I look for this one to be a tough out here. I bet the 4-6 across the board (take note) and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the 4-6 over/under the 1-5-7-2-3 in two smaller units.

4th: 4-7-2/8-5/6-3…Looting (4) gets my nod in the “Baby Race” of the day. Aptly named for these days and times, Looting is by Violence and out of the Put it Back mare Shoppers Return. Gets the blinkers for the first time and this one ran nicely against Hulen in the career debut. Barn is winning with .19% of 42 starters this year and this one looks like he could improve off a solid debut. Dreamer’s Disease (7) goes for one of the hottest barn operations around. Trainer has won with .23% of 663 starters so far this year. This one will be making the career debut, but is working lights out — right here and over this track. Gets the barn’s go-to rider up. Look out. Fast. Furious. Fuego Caliente (2) is a 2YO son of Will Take Charge and will be making the career debut for Team Asmussen — who just won the Trainer’s Title at Churchill Downs and will be seeking his 4th title here at the “pea patch.” This one is a home-bred for Three Chimney’s Farm and comes from a dam who has produced 4 winners from 4 starters. In that mix? Three Stakes winners. Wow. Rider has gone 5-3-0 in the last 19 starts for the No. 1 employer. I bet the 4-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. 

5th: 8-4/7-5/3-1-2-6…Girl From Berlin (8) drops to the bargain bin for a top trainer, who is struggling a bit this year. Broke the maiden last December in Chicago for $25,000. Now, this one offered up for the mere asking price of $5,000. Should be salty here. Proudly Fought (4) broke the maiden last time out and now will face winners for the first time. But this one may be ready for that stiff challenge. Work on June 24 was a bullet. Barn hits with .15% of those making the 2nd start off a layup. And, this one appears to have the best early speed in the tilt. Dangerous. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in one exacta.  I will key the 8-4 over/under all the other numbers listed in two smaller units.

6th: 7/(9)-5-1-3/2-6-8/4…Cashanova (7) could put us back on the “7” train here. This 4YO son of Twirling Candy is coming off a nice win at Churchill Downs on June 18 when running over the sod for only the second time in the career. Jockey up for that one is back for the rein job here. In 10 career starts, this one has a 3-3-1 record and the barn is winning with .24% of the 364 starters this year. On the turf? Even better. Wins at .27% clip. My pick and my first Key Play of the DayI bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in the exacta.

7th: 7/4-6-2-1/3-5…My second Key Play of the Day comes here with another “7.” Misty Blue (7) threw in a clunker last time out when racing at Oaklawn Park back in late April. Flashed early speed and then faltered. Gets a new rider today and one the has a 5-4-0 record in the last 17 days and 19 mounts. The 3YO daughter of Competitive Edge has a 3-1-0 record in 9 career starts and had hit the board in the three previous before the last race debacle. Works good of late. Could be right back at the circle today. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under the “all button” here.

8th: 9-8-7/2-1-3-5/4-(13)-(12)-(11)-10…This 1-mile turf event promises to be a good one. Lots of contenders. Lots of options. Lots of nice odds on the board. I go with my second Upset Special of the Day here with Battleofwinterfell (9). This 3YO daughter of Declaration of War comes from the barn of Mark Casse. After getting named to the Racing HOF earlier this year, the barn suffered through a tough Churchill Downs’ meet. But this is a fresh start and this one could be a nice shocker here to help boost the confidence. Ran three really good ones to begin the career. Last 2 were tough, but finds a softer spot here and a return to the grass, where she seems to run her best. Barn hits with .13% of those switching from dirt to sod and the dam of this one has already produced 4 turf winners from 7 starters and 1 Stakes winner. Lady Oxbow (8) ran in a G2 last time out in March. No match for those kind, but finds a softer bunch here today. Barn hits with .17% of those making the first start under the new connections. Hasn’t been out since March, but the barn hits with .20% of those away this long, too. Crystal Lake (7) nearly won last time out for the “Coach.” Only two tries over the sod, to date, and has a win and a third. Back on the weeds here. Like the last work at CD. Well Spent (2) may be one to toss in your exotics, too. Daughter of Hampton Court flashed a real nice run over the grass last time out before tiring late. Could be a tough out if she can make an easier lead today. I bet the 9-2 across the board and then box the 9-8-7 in one exacta, and the 9-7-2 in another. I key the 9-2 over/under the 8-7-1-3-5-4 in two smaller units.

9th: 6-(13)-1-2/5-7-9-3/(12)-(11)-4…The finale is another grass race, and the 4th sod event of the day. I go with Broadway Lady (6) in this MSW event. The 3YO daughter of Constitution is a deep closer and has been facer tougher in the first three races. Drops in class today and is eligible to improve in the 2nd start off a layup. Hot jockey takes the seat. Tomorra (1) has 2 thirds in the first 5 tries. Another who will be coming late in the proceedings. Gets a top rider switch for this one and the barn hits with .18% of those getting the blinkers for the first time. Chance. Country Time (2) is a first time starter for an up-and-coming barn operation and for Bloom Racing Stable. This daughter of Lemon Drop Kid has been working well and the barn has hit with .22% of the first 27 starters making the career debut. Wow. I bet the 6-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 6-2 over/under the 1-5-7-9-3 in two smaller versions. Rooting for Sofine Samantha (3) here. Friends own and train. I’m a little biased.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene