|Total Day Results||10 / 5-2-5|
|2021 Overall 482||482 / 167-164-192|
|Win % of Top Pick||34.65%|
|Payoff% of Top 3 Picks Overall||36 .17%|
|2021 Top Pick in the Money Overall — 296-482||61.41%|
|2021 Top Selection ITM / KEE 35-48||72.92%|
|2021 Top Selections Win / KEE 22-48||45.83%|
|“Key Horses” @ KEE 6 2-3-0||33.33% Win / 83.33% ITM|
|“Key Horses” in 2021 75 / 34-17-4||45.33% Win / 73.33% ITM|
Had a nice start to the expanded weekend with 5 winners on the 10-race card at Keeneland on Friday. Added 7 exactas out of the day, as well. Those exotics paid $38.80, $8.70, $37.90, $11.20, $6.70, $38.30 and $13.00 for every $1 played. Not bad.
We are hoping to build on that momentum today.
And, if we are to be successful in doing just that, we will have to do it with these top runners. Here’s our looks:
1st: 4-2/5-3/6-1…Artemus Citylimits (4) has made the starting crew 6 times already and has hit the board in 5 of them. Only miss was here last October. Went way wide in that one when under the guidance of a rider who has one of the lowest winning percentages in the history of the game over the past two years. Gets a rider who is a perfect 1-for-1 for the barn in the comeback tour, and this one can rally from off the pace. Trainer is 9-6-1 in the last 18 starts. Figures here. Smart Time (2) drops into the claiming ranks for the first time and is coming off a vacation of about 6 months. Barn wins with .36% when returning from this type of a layup, and this one has faced much, much tougher in the past. I bet the 4 across the board and then box the 4-2 in the exacta. I will key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.
2nd: 5-7/4-8/2-1…Walkoff (5) goes for one of the hottest barn operations in the country this year. Trainer has won with .27% of the last 254 starters. Over the last 7 outings, this one has 4 wins; a second; and a third. Stalks and scores is the name of his game. Rider has won on this one’s back before. Is a perfect 1-for-1 here, too. My pick. Baby I’m Perfect (7) spit the bit last time out, but had an eventful trip in that one. In the last 406 starts over the dirt surfaces, this trainer has won at a .25% clip. Rider is winning at an amazing .43% rate this meet. Midas touch. Work in late March at Tampa Bay? Spot on. Threat. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-7 exacta. Sternly. I then key the 5-7 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.
3rd: 6/4-1/5/3-7…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes here with Turnagain Tide (6). This 4YO son of Into Mischief will make the 2nd career start, but first outing since last September at Churchill Downs. Tired mightily in that one, but that was against some tough customers, too. Working very well for this return and the barn wins with .29% when routing the firs time. Gets the “Irad for Brad” angle here. Look out. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in the exactas. More with the 4-1.
4th: 4-2-1/1A/7-6-5…Aviano (4) is a high-priced sales baby by Medaglia d’Oro. Sold at Saratoga in 2019 for a whopping $775,000. Has made 4 starts to date, and has never missed the board. Won last time out at GP, going 11/16-miles over the sod. Came from well off the pace to nab the win late. Looks to face winners for the first time here, but has the talent to take the next step right away. Ethical Judgment (2) gets the Lasix for the first time and is coming off a win here last October. Ran off to a 4-length win that day. Been training great for the return trip. Gets a HOF rider in the irons and the barn wins with .12% of those that go from dirt to turf. Chance. Fulsome (1) has a lot of potential. The son of Into Mischief ran 4th in a Stakes last time out. Had all kinds of issues in there, and it is amazing that he was able to get to the wire in that spot. Look for more here. I bet the 4-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 4-1 over/under the 2-7-6-5 in two smaller units.
5th: 1-3-7/10-6-2-8/11-(13)-12…Bold Victory (1) is the ML favorite, and this 4YO gelded son of Flatter should be considering the drop in class from the MSW ranks to the MCL $20,000 tag here. Has not started since last October at Woodbine. Changes barns to a new trainer. Lost the jewels since the last race, too. Working super for this return. I’ll go. Rogue Element (3) will make the first start for the new barn operation, which does win with a whopping .03% of the last 33 of those. But? The blinkers come off and the new barn wins with .23% of those. Could be in the mix. Midlaner (7) was not in the same zip code as the winner last time out. Lost by over 35 lengths. Comes back at the reduced rate of $20,000 and gets blinkers here. Barn wins with .22% of those getting the shades for the first time and with .17% of those getting Lasix for the 2nd time. Work here on April 3 suggests this one could be a threat. I bet the 1-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 1-7 over/under the 3-10-6-2-8-11 in two smaller units.
6th: 2-1-8/1A-5/4-6-3…West Will Power (2) ships in from GP for this outing and the barn wins with .20% when they travel for the race. This will mark the 2nd trip off the layup, as well, and the barn wins with .20% of those kind. In the first four career starts, this one has two wins and two seconds. Always right there at the wire. Looks tough. Noren (1) is another very consistent sort and the speedster has been clicking right along on the lead. But this will be the longest test of his life and it may max him out. Distance here is a serious question for me. In Love (8) is a deep, deep closer and the distance should not be an issue for this Brazilian-bred gelding. Gets a new rider who is the best at judging pace and distance. Look out late. Very late. I bet the 2-8 across the board here and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 5 in two smaller units.
7th: 3-5/1-4/2…G3 Ben Ali Stakes…This G3 event will be contested at 11/8-miles over the main track. I will give the edge to the even-money ML choice Night Ops (3). This one started the 2021 year with a 3rd in both the 5th Season Stakes and the Essex Handicap at Oaklawn Park for the barn of Brad Cox. Ran behind Silver State in both of those, and that winner may be one of the best in the country right now. In two previous tries here? Never hit the board. Interesting. Works are promising. Silver Dust (5) is closing in on the $1 million watermark in purses. The 7YO gelded son of Tapit did not fare well in the grass try last time out at the Fair Grounds. Before that, he ran 10th in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile here last Fall. Other than that? Has run two 2nds here in the other 2 tries. Has speed. Has class. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 3-5 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 3-5 over/under the 1-4-2 in two smaller units.
8th: 10-7-3/1-6/2-8/9-5…Giant’s Causeway Stakes…Jakarta (10) nearly pulled off the win in the G3 Honey Fox over the turf at Gulfstream Park last time out. Just ran out of gas late. Cuts back from that 1-mile distance to 5.5 furlongs here, and this PA-bred is 2-1-1 in 5 starts at this distance. Nearly won a G3 here at this distance last Fall. Was defeated by Got Stormy in that one. Gets a hot rider who has won on this one’s back before. Like this mare. Karak (7) is my first “Longshot Special of the Day.” This 4YO filly has not started in nearly a year. But in the first 7 career starts, this one has 3 wins and 2 thirds. In 3 starts at this distance? Has 2 wins. Look out here with a HOF rider up for the first time. Like the 8-1 ML odds. Elle Z (3) has a win in her only previous run here. That came last Fall against allowance company. This speedster has been pure gas in the last two tries. Won the Mardi Gras Stakes at the Fair Grounds last our by 4 lengths. But that was moved off the sod and she beat only 3 others. Hmmm. I bet the 10-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 1-6 in two smaller units. I will also key the 10-7 over/under the 3-1-6-2-8-9-5 in two smaller units, as well.
9th: 7-6-3/2/5-8-9-4/1-10…G3 Lexington Stakes…This marks one of the last ditch efforts for connections to attempt to build enough points to make this year’s 147th running of the KY Derby. Some interesting prospects in this one, though. Proxy (7) is the most accomplished coming in. This 3YO son of Tapit threw a dud in the G2 Louisiana Derby, but was 2nd in both the G3 Lecomte Stakes and the G2 Risen Star Stakes before that. Has talent. Has trouble passing horses near the wire. But has talent. Work here on April 4? Wow time. Hockey Dad (6) is 8-1 in the ML and that makes this one my second “Longshot Special of the Day.” This 3YO son of Nyquist really ran a good one to be third in the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks. The California-bred has now run four good ones in a row for a trainer who has already won two KY Derby events. Do not dismiss this one. Big shot, IMO. Bezos (3) was highly, highly, highly touted all winter. Ran an awful race on debut and people wondered what the deal was and how could it happen. Came back to win the next MSW event at Santa Anita, though, and did it impressively. Now, this 3YO son of Empire Maker may be on track to tackle the KY Derby, if he can somehow wiggle his way into the 20-field gate. This one has speed and on this track and at this distance? That’s huge. I bet the 6-3 — take note — across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2 in two smaller units. I will also key the 6-3 over/under the 7-2-5-8-9-4-1 in two smaller units, too.
10th: 1-3-4/2-5/6…G1 Jenny Wiley Stakes…Micheline (1) nearly won the G1 QE II Challenge Cup over this track last October. Came off the layup to win the G2 Hillsborough Stakes at Tampa Bay on March 6 to begin the 2021 campaign. In the last 3 outings? Has two wins and a close 2nd. She looks to be a different horse than before. No reason to believe she won’t run another big one here. Juliet Foxtrot (3) comes from the Brad Cox barn and this speedster has a 1-1-1 mark in 3 tries over this surface. Has a win in 3 tries at this distance. Gets a familiar rider back in the irons, too. Will have to run down late. Etoile (4) is not to be dismissed. This French-bred mare is trained by Chad Brown, and he has made a nice living winning G1s over the sod all over NA. This one has not raced since last October, when she won the G1 E.P. Taylor at Woodbine. Has adjusted nicely to NA racing. Look out here. I bet the 1-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2-5 in two smaller units. I key the 1 over/under the “all button” in two smaller units, too.
11th: 7-1-3/11-6-9/8-10/4-5…The Saturday finale is a very nice MSW event for the 3YO colts, and I will saddle up with Stage Rider (7), who is nominated to the Triple Crown races. This one is trained by Chad Brown, as well, and in his only race to date, he ran 2nd to the highly-touted Prevalence. Lost that one by 8.5 lengths. But the “Show” horse came back and ran super well, too. This one gets Irad Ortiz, Jr., up and will be a tough out in this spot. Love the work here on April 4. Mr Annoying (1) ran just 5 furlongs over the grass in the career debut at GP on Feb. 26. Been off since then, but has been training over the dirt in Florida and now in KY. Barn wins with .19% on the second career start. Love this one here at some square odds. Six Pack (3) ran third at the Fair Grounds on debut, but the “Place” horse that day came right back to win the next outing. This one training very well. Gets a HOF rider here and looks dangerous to me at some nice odds. 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 3-11-6-9-8-10 in two smaller units.
Good Luck & All the Best / Gene