(It’s Veteran’s Day on Thursday, Nov. 11, and Indiana Grand Racing & Casino is honoring those that have served our country and raising money for our Homeless Veterans, who have been left and forgotten. I will be on site, along with many others to help raise money and making people aware of our “Forgotten Heroes.” We will be betting Pick 5s, in hopes of landing a huge ticket to donate to this worthy cause. Check in and see how you can assist / Photos by Holly M. Smith)

Updated Handicapping Stats After Churchill Downs on Sunday:

Total Day Results 10 / 7-3-3
2021 Overall 1,624 1624/611-578-775
Win % of Top Pick 37.62%
Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall 40.31%
2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 1,100-1,624 67.73%
2021 Top Selection ITM / CD 38-62 61.29%
2021 Top Selections Win / CD 17-62 27.42%
“Key Horses” @ CD 5/1-1-0 20.00% Win / 40.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2021 245/ 110-55-23 44.90% Win / 76.73% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @ CD 7/0-0-1 00.00% Win / 14.29% ITM
“Longshots of Day” @IGR (10-30-21) 18/4-0-0 22.22% Win / 22.22% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ SAR (8-28-21) 4/0-2-0 00.00% Win / 50.00% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ KY Downs 19/2-1-2 10.53% Win / 26.32% ITM
“Key Horses” @ Breeders’ Cup 2/1-0-0 50.00% Win / 50.00% ITM
“Longshots of the Day” @ Breeders’ Cup : 2 / 1-0-1 50.00% Win / 50.00% ITM

(These will be updated after Churchill Downs’ races this Wednesday)

Here’s our looks at the Indy Grand card on Thursday, Closing Day and Veteran’s Day. It is supposed to rain heavily on this day and the track may end up muddy and “off.” Keep an eye on this possible condition. I will make a few notes below about those horses that do run well over an “off track” in the past.

1st: 2-3/1/4-8-7/5…Caerus (2) — a 3YO son of Curlin and out of the Stakes-winning mare Giant Mover — gets the nod in the ole’ lid-lifter. This one has raced at this two-turn route distance twice now and has a 2nd and a 3rd in those endeavors. Has been off since June 3, and will go for a barn that wins with .16% in the first try off this long a layup. But the works have been solid of late and indicate that he may be fresh and ready. Barn has gone 3-0-1 in the last 9 starts over the past two weeks. Warming back up. Honky Tonk Hero (3) nearly won here in the last outing, after moving up from Churchill Downs off a rough debut effort. Just tired in the final yards and lost the lead late. Jostled around in that one, too. Could improve and will likely be the horse to catch on the front end. Neither of these have shown an affinity for the wet surface, yet. But speed does seem to carry very well over this track when it gets moisture. Note. I bet the 2-3 across the board and then box these two in the exactas. I will key the 2-3 over/under the 1 in two smaller units.

2nd: 9-5-3/8-7-1-2/4/6…I will travel to the far outside stall in the starting gate and land on Taperinea (9). This 3YO daughter of Tapiture comes from a top Indy-barn operation and has a win and a second in 3 starts over this track. This one has raced over the sod the last 5 times, but has shown ability on the dirt, too. Our very own Diamond Solitaire has run up against this one before, and we respect her talent and grit. Will come from a stalking position and should be a tough out with the regular rider up. Pilot has won with .20% of the last 10 mounts for this trainer. Mizzen Ash (5) is a teammate of our top pick and another one we have run up against. This is a veteran of the grass races, too, and has been in 3 Stakes events this year, as well. Will come from far back and that may compromise this one if the track does turn wet. Rider is 3-3-2 in the last 11 mounts. Comes in off a top effort. Elusive Justice (3) ran over a sloppy track last time out and didn’t fare well. But in 6 starts over a “wet track” this one has a 1-2-1 mark. Has 2 wins in 22 starts here, but does have 4 seconds and 4 thirds. Ran well here two starts back. Chance. I bet the 9-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 9-5 over/under the 3-8-7-1-2 in two smaller units.

3rd: 5-6-8/10-4-3/2-7/1…Ocelia (5) has won two in a row and has 4 wins in 15 starts here overall. This one has a win over an “off track,” too. That came back in July. Barn has been chilly all year, but this one may be the exception. Lady Dont Mind (6) is our first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This one won the debut here on Nov. 2. Broke slowly, but just gassed to the front early and often. Ran off to a 4-length lead and throttled down at the wire. This one could be a real good one. A definite use for me. Breeding suggests she should like the “off track,” too. Naughty Justice (8) has won two in a row and run three good ones in a row. Still looking for the first win here, after 6 previous tries. Been on the turf of late and now must convert to the main track. Barn wins with .21% of the last 62 to make this surface switch. I bet the 5-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 5-6 over/under the 8-10-4-3 in two smaller units.

4th: 9-3/2-4-8/5-1-6/7…Fouette (9) is another shipper for the barn of Team Asmussen. This 3YO daughter of Nyquist will be returning to the track where she ran a game 2nd last time out. Shortens up off that sprint and that may assist her efforts. Definitely the speed and should be a tough one to catch, too. In one previous try over an “off track,” this one ran 2nd in the mud at Oaklawn Park in April. Nice. Magine (3) was claimed last time out and will make the first start for a top barn operation here. Trainer wins with a whopping .36% in the first start off a purchase, and with .10% of those away from the races this long. Has not started since November of 2020 — a year ago. May need one. But the works of late are very good. Interesting. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-3 in the exactas. I will key the 9 over/under the 3-2-4-8-5-1-6 in two smaller units.

5th: 2/7-4/8-5/6/1-9-10-3…The first “Key Play of the Day” will come here with Pole Setter (2). This 5YO son of Take Charge Indy will ship in from Cincy to take on this group. Has raced here 3 times, with a win. Here’s the key, though. Has started over an “off track” on 7 previous occasions. Has won them all. All. Has speed. Can carry it long. Especially in wet conditions. Be interesting to see what he does in this spot. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed. More with the 7-4. A tad less with the 8-5-6. 

The Pick 5 Will Start Here…I Will Post My $250 Ticket Later This Week:

6th: 5-8-9/4-7-2/6-3-1-10…Como Square (5) gets the nod in this tilt. The 2YO daughter of Into Mischief certainly has the pedigree edge for the barn of Brad Cox, who ships up from Churchill Downs for this encounter. Barn has won with .27% this meet and the rider has been red hot of late. Dam has 2 winners from 2 starters and has a Stakes winner, already. Breeding suits this distance and the barn wins with .24% in the MSW ranks. Is dangerous to single a first-time starter, but this one could be a real show-stopper here. Bodieful (8) ran here over the grass on Sept. 29. Was 5th that day after a rather deliberate start. Gets a new rider for this one and the barn wins with .27% when shifting from the turf to the dirt. Could improve with this breeding on this surface. Call Me Penny (9) seems to be the best of the “experienced” horses in here. This 2YO daughter of First Samurai ran a tiring 4th at Keeneland in the career debut. That was over the slop and at odds of 36-to-1 this one set the early fractions early and often. Went the first quarter in :22 & change. Barn wins with .18% when moving up from a MCL start to the MSW level. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 5 over/under the 8-9-4-7-2-6 in two smaller units.

7th: 3-8-12/11-10-9/1-7/4-6-5…Prime N Proper (3) has never won over this track in 11 previous tries. But? This one has 2 seconds and 3 thirds. Didn’t travel well in the last one. But drops out of the MSW ranks to the $5,000 MCL level here. Last time at this grouping? Ran a huge 2nd. Could be a tough out with that same run here. Anna’s Tribute (8) has run two 3rds in a row and was very close to a win just two starts ago at this same level. Gets the meet’s top rider up here. Look out. Trilobyte (12) drops all the way to the $5,000 price tag here for the first time. Barn wins with .14% when making this drop. Needs to flash a bit more speed, but this one could have a run. I bet the 3-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 3-8 over/under the 12-11-10-9 in two smaller units.

8th: (13)-4-10-9/2-3-8-11/5/6-1…Mamala Kamala (13) is on the outside and looking in from the AE List right now. If there is a scratch, though, and there is likely to be one, this daughter of Exaggerator could make the field. If so, she could be a really tough out and will definitely be one of my “Longshot Specials of the Day.” Ran 3rd just two starts ago and has experience over a sloppy track. Ran 2nd here on debut. Barn is top notch and the meet’s top rider gets the assignment. Take note. Molly’s Warrior (4) is another longshot possibility. This 2YO daughter of Warrior’s Reward ran 3rd here on debut on Oct. 27. Winner in that one came right back to win the next outing, too. Has speed and the barn wins with .10% in the MSW ranks. Zipsy Rose Lee (10) will move from the grass to the main track and the barn wins with .18% of those kind. Wins with .23% of the last 153 in the MSW ranks, too. Wow numbers there. Will be coming late. No Drama Momma (9) ships up from Churchill Downs for the career debut. Trainer is the leading conditioner so far this meet at Churchill Downs. This one is working well, too. Look out here. Can’t leave out. I bet the 13 if she gets in. If not? I go with the 4-9. Either way, I use the 9 across the board. I will box the 13-4-9 in the exactas. Or…I will box the 4-10-9. 

9th: 7-12-4/8-10-5/1-2/6-3-11/9…Cap de Fuego (7) has hit the board in the last 8 races and 9 of the last 10. Only miss with a 4th. Has raced here 23 times, but has only 3 wins. Six seconds. Seven thirds. Likes to be close. Doesn’t like to win. Take note. Returns here as a beaten favorite and the barn wins with .25% of those kind. Deuteronomystrong (12) is my next “Longshot Special of the Day.” This 3YO is trained by George Leonard III, who just made his Breeders’ Cup debut. This gelding has won 2 in a row and 3 of the last 4. Big shot here with a square price. Must use for me. Sacred Sky (4) is another long price that could light up the tote board. This one misfired last time out, but won the two previous outs and three of the last four beforehand. Has 3 wins and 2 seconds in 9 starts here, too. I’m in. I bet the 7-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 8-10 in two smaller units.

10th: 7/4-6/3-1-2-8/5…Salute the Heroes Stakes…I will go with my last “Key Play of the Day” here with Spa City (7). This 4YO gelded son of Street Sense has raced over this track two previous times for trainer Tom Amoss. Has won them both. Has raced over a “wet track” once, too. Won that. Has 3 tries at this distance. Has a win and a second. Last time here, this one won by nearly 7 lengths and was claimed by one of the best in the biz. Went to Churchill Downs and held his own against much tougher. Look out here. Huge threat. I bet the 7 across the board and then key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed. More with the 4-6 than the rest.

11th: 1-3-4/6-8/5/7-2…The first Quarter Horse event of the day and I am amped. I have done great with these speedsters this year, and I am looking to close out the meet with a couple of trips to the betting windows to both bet and cash. Confidence. Even though I don’t have a clue how to handicap a QH race. But I have won with nearly 80% of my picks on them this year. Who knew? I go with Jess a Flyin Beach (1) from the rail. Normally, I avoid the inside post. Seems daunting. But this one won the last time he found the #1 hole and has run well in two straight Stakes events coming in. Should like this drop. Jess Bringing It On (3) is trained by Paul Martin, and what a wonderful human this guy is. Loved our recent chat and the man donates much time and talent to help the industry in Indiana. Here’s rooting for his 3YO filly to best the boys. And, she does have 3 wins in 8 starts this year. Love the odds, too. I bet the 1-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 1 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

12th: 1-3-7/2/5-6-8…The final race of the 2021 racing season at Indy Grand is a QH event to be conducted at 300 yards. I saddle up with the rail runner, again. Secret Eyes (1) comes in off a near-miss 2nd last time out and has 2 seconds and 2 thirds in 10 lifetime starts. Could break the maiden here. Has run from the rail twice before, and was 2nd in one of those. Like that experience. Dont Frette (3) has the best form coming in. In the last five outings, has not lost by more than 3/4ths a length. Actually won once, but was DQ’d. Should be the one to beat. I bet the 1-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 1-3 over/under the 7-2-5-6-8 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene