McLean’s Selections for Keeneland on Friday, Oct. 11

Day Results10-4-4-3
2019 Overall 1,0671,067/381-375-489
Win % of Top Pick35.71%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.89%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –717 of 1,06767.20%
Top Selection ITM / KEE 26-4953.06%
Top Selection Win / KEE 14-4928.57%
“Key Horses” @ KEE 5-0-0-00.00%
“Key Horses” in 2019 179-70-35-2139.11%

We had 4 winners out of the 10 races on Thursday, which is not a bad percentage — especially at Keeneland. One of the most difficult handicapping meets of the year. Anywhere. Any time.

But…

All 4 winners were low prices, and heavy favorites. Didn’t move the needle much in the pari-mutuel game.

So, we are back hunting for a combo of wins and payoffs.

Here’s a look at the Friday card:

Race 1: 11-1/2-8-10/6-12-13-14/4…Alex of Ice (11) is dropping down a couple of rungs after being disqualified after winning at Ellis Park on Sept. 1. Was called for bearing out late in the stretch. And, he did. Under a rather interesting rider choice. Now, the Brad Cox barn goes back to one of its’ prime time players, in Florent Geroux, and now enters for a career low price tag. This one should be the PT favorite, and should be the winner at the wire, too. Odie (1) is dropping in class, as well, after a near-miss second at Saratoga. Winner of that one has already come back to win again, and this one looks to have some speed to use from the rail spot. Rail is winning at a .21% clip at this distance over the main track, and a HOF rider returns. Will have to catch this one. I bet the 11-1 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 11-1 over (only) the 2-8-10-6-12 in one smaller version.

Race 2: 2-3/6-4-1…Cowboy Rhythm (2) will be making his first start for the new barn of Steve Asmussen, who claimed this one last time out for the price tag of $12,500. Won that one by a neck at Saratoga, and now will inch up the price ladder. Barn’s go-to rider climbs aboard for the first time, but this 7YO gelded son of Tapit has a win and a second in two previous runs here. Will be stalking the leaders for the quick run in the stretch. Should fit perfectly with this group. Chief Know It All (3) is another changing barns and running for a new trainer for the first time. This one won at Saratoga last time out, as well, for the $12,500 tag. Barn hits with .26% on the first try after a purchase. Super training session for the new trainer on Sept. 22. Rider sticks despite the barn change. Interesting. I bet the 2-3 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 2-3 over (only) the 6-4-1 in a smaller version.

Race 3: 3-1/6-2/4-5…This is a tremendous allowance race with some talented runners dotted throughout the starting gate. I will give the edge to Gray Magician (3), who is coming off a second in the G3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx last time out. Ran a game second to the hot Mr. Money in the G3 Indy Derby three back. In 12 career starts, has a 2-5-2 resume. But looks to have the right kind of run here to be tough. Night Ops (1) could slide up the odds scale by PT, and this 3YO son of Warrior’s Reward has a legit shot. Ran 3rd to our top pick in the Ellis Park Derby. Was wide, wide, wide in the stretch then. Could be closer with a better trip today. I will be the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-1 in one exacta. I will key the 3-1 over/under the 6-2-4-5 in two smaller versions.

Race 4: 3-(9)/4-7-8/1-6/5-2…The first turf race of the day, and I will go strong on Zabava (3). This 3YO daughter of Skipshot comes into this one off a 5th place finish down at KY Downs. Ran out of steam late in that one when running up the hill. Gets a new rider today and a shorter distance, as well. Both could help out immensely. In 4 races at this distance, this gal has 2 wins. Barn and rider have teamed up to go 2-2-0 in the last 6 starts together. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in the exacta.

Race 5: 7-4/2-1A-1/6-8-10-3…My Maiko (7) is my first Upset Special of the Day. This 3YO daughter of Magician will move to the dirt, and drop into the claiming ranks for the first time. Both may help and assist this homebred. Has not been out since February, but the works are encouraging — especially the one on Sept. 27. Love the way this one run the first time out when traveling over the dirt. Badgeri Candy (4) is another dropping into the MCL ranks for the first time, and the barn hits with .19% of those getting this kind of class relief. Nabs a top rider for the assignment. And, gets blinkers for the first time, too. Lots of changes. Maybe one of them will make the difference. I bet the 7-4 across the board and then key the 7-4 over/under the 2-1A-1-6-8-10-3 in two smaller versions.

Race 6: 6-10-9/5/11-7/1-2-3…Raggedy Annie (6) is a 2YO daughter of Union Rags and a member of the Churchill Downs Racing Club. This one ran a huge 2nd two times ago, while up at Saratoga. Lost by a skinny nose that day. If she can find that run again? Look out. Like the work on Sept. 27 and the rider choice for today, as well. Rhythm Tree (10) is another potential longshot special. This one is 8-1 in the ML and should improve off the 3rd place finish on debut on Sept. 21. This barn is known for getting its’ horses better and better after the first race experience. Interesting rider choice here. But beware at a price. Tapigal (9) is a first time starter for a barn that hits with .19% of those debuting in the claiming ranks. Working OK for this one and the sire hits with .19% of debut runners. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 6-10 over/under the 9-5-11-7 in two smaller versions.

Race 7: 1-5-6/9-10-(15)/4-3-8-11-2…Another grass event, and this one will be contested at the flat 1-mile distance. Interesting track configuration here, that hinders the outside runners. As a result, I go to the rail and with Proliferate (1). This one is a deep closer, but will be stretching out off a sprint race and getting back to the sod where he has performed very well in the first two starts of the year. The last out was just an exercise, IMO. Look for this one to improve immensely today. My first Key Play of the Day. In the last out, Bizzee Channel (5) ran a huge second. Set all the fractions in that one and tired at the wire. Should be able to make the lead while stretching out today. Great sod breeding on both sides of the aisle. Gets a top rider up. Barn has hit with .33% this year, and that comes after 339 starters. Look out. Chewing Gum (6) broke the maiden last time out at KY Downs. Was impressive pulling away late at this same 1-mile distance. Jockey is top notch on the grass. Could repeat for a barn that scores with .13% of those graduating to face winners for the first time. I bet the 1-5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the 1-5 over/under the 6-9-10-4-3 in two smaller versions.

Race 8: 2/6-7-9-1/10-5/11-4/12…I go with another Key Play of the Day here with Mutakaamil (2). This 3YO son of Tapit has not raced since last November. Nearly won that day when he caught the likes of Mihos — who was highly touted as a Triple Crown candidate back in the Spring. Barn can get them ready off the bench — winning at a .28% clip when away this long. Love the recent works, too. Should be ready to go. I go with him. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed in the exacta.

Race 9: 3-2-11/10-1-8/12-5/4-(15)-7-13-14…G3 Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes…This grass Stakes event will be contested at the sprint distance of 5.5-furlongs. This speciality races are usually wide, wide, wide open, and this one could figure into that same category. I will give the slight edge to Morticia (3) — who is coming off a win in a G3 Stakes event at KY Downs. She went 6.5 furlongs that day, and I am shocked should could last coming up that hill to the wire. If that one didn’t take too much out of her, she should fit this distance much better. Has a 2-1-2 record at this track, too, and is 8-5-4 in 20 starts at this distance. The most accomplished runner in this field. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under all the numbers in the exacta.

Race 10: 9-12-1/3-1A-4…The final race of the day is a $7,500 claimer for the boys, and I will go to the outside in this 11/16-mile event over the main track. Stormy Pacific (9) has run 2 2nds in a row and three times in the last four races. In 64 career starts, look at his stats: has 6 wins and 21 seconds. So? What do you do? Bet the 9 to run second, silly. I am. I am going to bet the 9 to place and then key the 9 under the “all button” in the exacta.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

 

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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