McLean’s Selections for Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 12

Day Results10-3-2-6
2019 Overall 1,0771,077/384-377-495
Win % of Top Pick35.65%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.87%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –721 of 1,07766.95%
Top Selection ITM / KEE 30-5950.85%
Top Selection Win / KEE 17-5928.81%
“Key Horses” @ KEE 6-0-0-00.00%
“Key Horses” in 2019 180-70-35-2138.88%

Ho-hum day at the ole’ ball yard on Friday. Three winners. Four exactas. Missed the late Pick 5 — in a collaboration with my good friend Ed DeRosa — by a single race. Bad ride in the 8th.

But we are still standing. And, swinging.

Here’s our picks for Saturday’s card:

Race 1: 2-1/5-4/3-6-7…Eve Harrington (2) will be making the U.S. debut today and will be converting to the dirt, as well. The new trainer hits with .22% of those shipping to NA, and with .28% of those making the first start for the new barn. Has been working super well over this strip for the debut. Has run well over the all-weather surface over in Great Britain. Gets a fantastic rider to take the reins. Harmony Victory (1) was the last time out as the betting favorite. Top jock returns to the saddle. Worked well at the Training Center in Lexington on Oct. 5. Will be running just off the pace setters and may get the jump on the others at the short finish. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-1 in one exacta. I will key the 2-1 over/under the 5-4-3-6-7 in two smaller versions.

 

Race 2: 1-5/6-10-2/3-7-12-8…Olympic Romp (1) will be making the second career start for trainer having another outstanding year. Barn has hit with .27% of the 700 starters this year. This one returns off a 4th place finish on debut. Had some issues in that one, and now picks up the barn’s go-to rider. Should be fitter for this one, and the rail post is hitting at .32% win clip at this distance. Fearless Rocket (5) is another from the barn of Brad Cox. This one sits at the 6-1 ML odds, and could be a real sleeper here. Gets a huge drop in class and gets a veteran in the saddle. Had trouble on the rail last time out. Look for more today. I bet the 1-5 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 1-5 over/under the 6-10-2-3-7 in two smaller versions.

 

Race 3: 1A-1/2/4-3/5…The entry looks solid and promising in this tilt. Whereshetoldmetogo (1A) doesn’t have the accomplishments of his stablemate, just yet, but is coming off a nice run against Engage in the last out. If you will remember back to the opening of this meet, Engage won the G2 Phoenix Stakes here to earn a spot in this year’s BC Sprint. Before that, this one ran a huge second to a good one in the G3 Galant Bob Stakes at Parx last year. If he improves off the 2019 debut last time out, he could be poised for a big one today. Love the recent works, too. American Anthem (1) has been a G2 winner on multiple occasions for the barn of Team Baffert. Now, he moves East and to the barn of Rodolphe Brisset. Will get his first start for the new trainer, and the barn hits with 0-for-19 of those that fit that description. Ran third in the G2 Pat O’Brien Stakes last time out. Interesting. I bet the entry to win/place and then key the entry over/under the 2-4-3-5 in the exactas.

 

Race 4: 1-2/9-8-(15)/4-(16)-3-10-12/6-5-(14)…The first grass race of the day will be contested at the 11/16-mile distance and I will go back to the rail for my top pick – Unchained (1). This 4YO filly ran a huge one on debut last time out on Sept. 20 at Churchill Downs. Lost by a neck that day, and had to alter her run late. Now, will be treated with Lasix for the first time. Barn hits with .12% of those getting the medication for the first time. Great Island (2) is a first time starter for the barn of Chad Brown. Worked really well here on Oct. 5. Daughter of Scat Daddy cost $300,000 to buy at the 2017 KEE September Yearling Sale. Can’t leave out. I bet the 1-2 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 1-2 over (only) the 9-8-(15)-4-(16)-3-10-12 in two smaller versions.

 

Race 5: 6-2/10-11/4-3/1-8-5…Debating (6) is a 4YO gelded son of Giant’s Causeway and if you throw out the last race, has been a consistent runner and a constant threat. Found himself in tight along the rail last time out and never got into the race. I can toss that one. Corey Lanerie stays in the saddle, and will look to make amends today. Candy Store (2) will move off the turf to the main track and will pick up the blinkers for the first time, too. The barn hits with .21% of those adding the shades for the first time. In 7 lifetime starts, to date, he has a 1-2-3 mark. Always close. Blinkers may help over the hump. I bet the 6-2 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 6-2 over (only) the 10-11-4-3-1-8-5.

 

Race 6: 4-12-11/3-8/10-(13)-9-5-1…My numbers suggest that the top 3 numbers are very close in the handicapping analysis, but I will lean hard on the top choice – Day Dayenu (4). This 2YO daughter of Into Mischief ran well on debut at Saratoga. Ran up against Shug McGaughey’s Alandra in that one. If you will harken back to the G1 Alcibiades Stakes on the opening weekend, you will remember that filly nearly ended up the PT favorite for the Stakes event. Ran third. If Day Dayenu improves at all, she should be mighty tough in this spot. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the 4-12-11 in the exacta. I will key the 4 over/under the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

 

Race 7: 1A-1/7-3/2-10/4-11-6…Onthewaytonevrland (1A) is part of any entry that is likely to get a scratch of one of them. I prefer this part of the couple, although he has not been out since April. Ran 5th in the G3 Transylvania Stakes that day, giving up the lead very late in the 11/16-mile event. Away from the races since then. Does not have a win at this 5.5-furlong distance, but does have a win at 7.5 furlongs and a close second at both 4.5 furlongs on dirt and 6.5 furlongs down the hill at Santa Anita. Has been training well for the return. Classy. If he is scratched, the stable mate is No Bang No Boom (1). This one is coming off a win at 6 furlongs over the sod at Belmont Park in June. Ran on the lead that day, like he prefers. The rail is a tough spot in this dash for cash, but he has the speed to carve out a good trip. HOF rider is going well right now, too. My solid choice in this one. I bet the 1A-1 to win/place/show and then key the Wesley Ward pupil over/under the rest of the numbers in the exacta.

 

Race 8: 9-7-11/4-10/3-2-8/5-1…Curate (9) was claimed last time out for $40,000 and now bumps up to the $50,000 level today for a barn that hits with .22% on the first race after the purchase. Ran second in the last outing as the favorite, and the new connections score with .27% of those kind returning to the starting gate, too. In 5 races this year, has 2 wins and 2 seconds. Has hit the board in 6 of the last 8 tries. Looks solid. Cautious Giant (7) is dropping out of a G3 turf Stakes event at KY Downs into the claiming ranks. Barn hits with .17% of those making the surface switch this one gets today; and with 19% of those making the 2nd start for the barn after a claim purchase. Has a 9-6-7 mark in 34 fast dirt races in the career. Steady. Belle Tapisserie (11) could spice up the odds rack, too. This one was claimed out of a winning race last time, too. Beat our top choice in that affair. New connections win with .25% of those making the new barn debut and with .32% of those trying to repeat in the claiming ranks. Can’t leave out. I bet the 9-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will also key the top 3 numbers over (only) the 4-10 in a smaller verions.

 

Race 9: 3/5-7/9-6-2/1-4…G1 QE II Challenge Cup…This is a major Stakes event for the 3YO fillies over the sod, and I will key on Cambier Parc (3) in this spot. The 3YO daughter of Medaglia d’Oro has never raced over the Keeneland turf in her 7 race career. But she won the G1 Del Mar Oaks last time out on Aug. 17, and that firm grass could be very similar to the dry, hard sod that Kentucky has this Fall. This one has only lost twice in the career. Both of those came to the great Concrete Rose – the best 3YO grass filly in the world. Doesn’t have to face that one today, and should stand out at both this distance and this spot. I like the two foreign invaders to give her the best battle at the wire. But there is very little – to zero – speed in this one. All connections have to be a little be cognizant of the pace scenario, or Regal Glory (9) may be able to steal this one on the front end. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key the 3 over/under the numbers listed.

 

Race 10: 1-4/3-5-12/6-7-2-9-11/10…Getridofwhatailesu (1) looks the best on paper, IMO. This 3YO daughter of Ghostzapper ran really well in the career debut last time out at Churchill Downs on Sept. 15. Came running late in that one and just ran out of space. Now, she will cut back to 6 furlongs for this one. But she may break a bit sharper this time around, what with the racing experience she gained last time out. The barn hits with .24% of those making the second career start. Like the work on Sept. 28. Winner if she improves much off the first start. Club Car  (4) has raced three times so far, and has hit the board in each. Comes off a good third in the last outing, but that was back in May at Churchill Downs. Has been working lights out – look at the Sept. 22 exercise. Gets a top dirt rider in the saddle. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-4 solidly in one exacta. I will key the 1 over/under the rest of the numbers in two smaller versions.

 

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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