McLean’s Selections for Keeneland on Saturday, Oct. 19

Day Results10-1-2-1
2019 Overall 1,1231,123/397-394-507
Win % of Top Pick35.35%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.53%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –751 of 1,12366.87%
Top Selection ITM / KEE 60-10557.14%
Top Selection Win / KEE 30-10528.57%
“Key Horses” @ KEE 11-1-1-10.09%
“Key Horses” in 2019 185-71-36-2238.38%

So close.

Yet, so far away.

On Friday, we managed to coax only 1 winner across the finish line in 10 races. Pretty pathetic, to be honest. Pretty poor numbers. Pretty ugly.

But it could have been so much better. So much.

On Friday, we witnessed 5 of our top selections run second on the board. Five. 

And, as we count our stats, those five runners netted us zero in the ole’ statistics department.

Maybe a few of you were able to use them underneath in some of the exactas. After all, we did hit with 4 of those that returned a handsome $29.70, $16.60, 14.60 and $31 for each $1 played.

I’m hoping that helped the wallet.

And, maybe you played our top selections across the board and netted a few dollars back to fire back at them today. After all, our selections did return some money in 7 of the 10 races.

So, without further adieu, and delay, here’s what we have in store for Saturday:

Race 1: 5-6/2-3-4/1…The first tilt of the day is a 6-furlong sprint for the fillies and mares. I go with Sterling Miss (5), who comes from the barn of trainer Tom Amoss. In 14 lifetime starts to date, this one has a 5-1-3 record and at this distance shows a mark of 4-1-0 in 8 starts. Never been out here, but if you go three races back — when racing at Churchill Downs this May — she beat a very good field for fun. Runner-up that day came right back to win. The last two may have been too much, and she had issues from the gate on in the last out in September. Now, the barn gets .28% of those home on the second start off a layoff and wins with .30% of those returning as a beaten favorite. Needs to break clean, but has the gas to move to the front early and often. My pick. Thoughtless (6) has been running against much tougher up at Arlington Park. Gets a drop in class and returns to the dirt — where she is certainly more accomplished. In 23 lifetime tries over fast dirt, she is 5-6-5. Over the turf and all-weather surfaces, she is a combined 2-1-1 in 11 starts. Back on dirt today. Barn hits with .23% of those getting the claiming ranks for the first time, too. Like the recent work here. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-6 in the exacta. I key the 5-6 over/under the 2-3-4-1 in a smaller version.

Race 2: 9-1-8-(13)/6-12/7-10-11…A wide, wide open affair with few standouts to give applause. After due diligence, I will give a slight edge to Giant Boo Boo (9). This NY-bred is coming off a rough outing against open company in Ohio. But two races back, the 4YO gelded son of Frost Giant won against open company at Saratoga and at a higher level. Has faced tougher in the past, too. Gets a solid rider in the saddle. Fridaynitestar (1) is a Minnesota-bred son of Five Star Day and will be moving into open company after two straight wins against other state-reds at Canterbury Downs. Last time he faced open company, though, he ran a nice third. Has a 8-6-2 mark in 19 races over fast dirt. That’s getting it done. I bet the 9-1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 9-1 over/under the 8-6-12 in two smaller versions.

Race 3: 3-2/1/7-8/5-6-4…Peruvian Appeal (3) is coming off a visually impressive performance at Churchill Downs in late September. Slow start. Wide trip. Comes running late. Gets up at the end. Impressive. Has been facing tougher. Ran up against Ascot Day and Royal Charlotte in the previous two. Training well. And…Mike Smith takes the ride. Wow. Edge here. Take Charge Angel (2) is coming off a well-beaten 5th to Covfefe in the Dogwood Stakes the last time out. Set suicide fractions in that one. Now, barn’s go-to rider comes back for the job. Won on her two starts back. This one ran within a half-length to Covfefe here in the Spring. Take note. Super work on Oct. 13. I bet the 3-2 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I key the 3-2 over/under the 1 in a smaller version, and then key the 3-2-1 over (only) the rest of the numbers in a smaller one, too.

Race 4: 3-7-10/5/1-8/2-4-6…Complaint (3) is a 3YO son of Kitten’s Joy. Trained by Chad Brown. Ridden by John Velazquez, who has won with .50% of the last 16 rides for this barn. Is coming off a late-closing second going 11/4-miles at Belmont Park. And, is racing on the grass. So…what’s there not to like here? Brown is winning at a .29% clip here this meet. Velazquez has a 3-1-2 mark in just 17 rides. And, the colt looks good, too. My pick. Red Sorrell (7) has run three seconds in a row for trainer Mike Maker, who is having a good meet. Make it four in a row? Shore Magic (10) ran well on debut at Delaware Park on Sept. 18. Picks up the best grass rider around today. Well-bred and well-coached. Chance. I bet the 3 to win/place and then key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in the exacta. I will box the top 3 numbers in a shorter version.

Race 5: 3-6/10-1/9/12-11-5/2-4…What a nice MSW event here, carded for the sprint distance of 6 furlongs over the main track. I go with Maximiliano (3), who is coming off a 2nd place finish to the highly-acclaimed Gouveneour Morris — who ran 2nd in the G1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity early this meet. Max Man lost that one by 9 lengths, granted. But it was over he slop and he pushed the lead strong on the front end with snappy fractions. Beat 5 others in there handily. Barn hits with .22% racing for the second time and the works have been solid for this return effort. Look for a better effort today for this son of Quality Road. Bigmancan (6) comes out of a nice race, too. Winner of the last out came right back to win again. Impressively. In the first 4 starts to date, this one has a second and a third. Bothered in the grass race. Wide in the debut. Huge rider switch for today. Take note. I bet the 3-6 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 3-6 over/under the 10-1-9 in two more smaller versions.

Race 6: 10-6-3/5-4-2/7…Montmartre (10) will be making his 2nd start off a long layoff for the new barn operation today. Barn hits with .28% of those making the second career start for the new connections, and with .31% of those dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time. This one showed a lot of promise in California circles in 2018. Has not mustered much of a run this year, in only 2 starts. Has been working well, albeit at Ellis Park and a long way from the barn’s main headquarters. Interesting. Faced a tough one last time out. If he benefits from that exercise and the drop in class, could fit better with these types. Smile Bryan (6) has been running in Starter Allowance company up at Saratoga. Ran a good one two times back in July. Been off since August. Barn hits with .18% of those returning from this type of a layup. Rider has 2 wins in just 9 rides here this meet. Not bad. Hidden Ruler (3) may be the PT favorite. Has only 1 win in 9 starts this year, but 3 seconds on the board. Love the work at Churchill Downs on Oct. 10. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 10-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the 10 over/under all the numbers listed in two more smaller versions.

Race 7: 7-10-3/5/8-9-(14)/1-11-2…What a super nice MSW event for the 2Yos, going 6 furlongs over the main track. I give the edge to Gold Street (7), who has a big experience advantage over his foes here. Has raced twice. Destroyed at the start of the debut. Had no chance. Came back to run very well against a potential monster last time out. The winner of that one came right back to win at KEE this Thursday in impressive fashion. Gold Street is out of a Stakes-Placed dam and can run a bit. Don’t overlook. Mr. Monomoy (10) comes from the same connections that gave us Monomoy Girl last year. This 2YO son of Palace Malice cost over $202,000 to buy overseas. Sire has hit with .17% of those making the debut. Dam has 3 winners from 4 starters — including the huge SW. Working lights out for a top barn operation that scores with .20% of those making the debut in the MSW ranks. Gets Mike Smith up. Ouch. I bet the 7-10 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 7-10 over/under the 3-5-8-9 in two smaller ones.

Race 8: 12-8-11/9-7-(13)/(14)-3-2/4-1-6…This 11/16-mile event will be contested over the turf course, and I will give the slight edge to the outsiders — led by Kallio (12). This 4YO daughter of Scat Daddy is coming off a rude treatment by Ms. Bad Behavior at the G3 Ladies Turf at KY Downs. Had some late issues in that one, but the extra distance should help this closer. Although…Only has 1 third in 3 starts at this distance. Interesting. Love the work on Oct. 11 at Churchill Downs. Take note. Boxwood (8) could be the “sleeper” in here, at 8-1 ML odds. Thus…My first Upset Special of the Day. This 3YO daughter of English Channel is coming off a rough run against Winter Sunset and Winning Envelope. The latter just won this week at KEE. But this one has 2 wins in 4 tries over the sod, and looks primed to run a good one with a clean trip here. Peru (11) has the best experience at this distance, having recorded 2 wins and 2 seconds in 5 previous tries. Has 2 seconds here, too. Comes off a nice win last time out, but lost to our top choice at Ellis Park two races back. Gets the top grass rider in the area, and he has won on this one before. Take note. I bet the 12-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 12-8 over/under the 11-9-7-3-2 in two smaller versions.

Race 9: 6-3-1/9/8-11-10/5-2-4…G2 Lexus Raven Run Stakes…The Stakes races never seem to stop at Keeneland. Neither does the array of spectacular horses. This should and could be one of the most exciting and exhilarating Stakes races of the entire meet. There are some serious runners in this group. I will go with a filly that I have loved from Day 1 and Race 1 — Restless Rider (9). I know that she has not been out since running 13th against Serengeti Empress in the KY Oaks. That, by the way, is the only time in 8 career starts that Restless Rider has not been either first or second. But I do know that she runs extremely well fresh. I do know that she is training lights out. I do know that she can handle this distance, although it may be a tad short for her. I know that she has a win and a second in two tries here. And, I do know that she can run. Really well. Really fast. I am expecting a huge effort off the bench. My pick. Indian Pride (3) would appear, at least on paper, to be the second choice of the Chad Brown runners in here. After all, the only thing that the 3YO Proud Citizen filly has done to date is break her maiden. But…John Velazquez chose to ride this one, and he surely had his pick. In the last 16 rides for this barn, Johnny V has 8 winners. And, this filly won by 8 in her career debut at Saratoga. Dusted them. So? I use strong. Royal Charlotte (1) comes in with 5 wins in 6 career starts for Brown. Only loss came in the G1 Test Stakes and against the likes of Covfefe, Serengeti Empress and Bellafina. Not to shabby. Will have to stretch her speed out a bit today. Against a great group. I bet the 9 across the board — strong. I box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I key the top 3 over/under the 9 in two more. And…yes…and…I will key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed.

Race 10: 5-10-4/9-7-1-(13)/3-8/2-6-11…The finale is a 5.5-furlong sprint over the sod, and I will go with the Chad Brown runner — Sayyaaf (5). This 3YO colt is coming off a 5th place finish as the odds-on favorite at Saratoga in August. Dueled for the lead in that one and spit the bit — when facing winners for the first time. Has been training well since that debacle, and the barn hits with .28% of those that ship in for a race, and with .26% of those in turf events. Gets Velazquez to take the reins again. And…you should know by now what I think of JV’s riding ability — especially of late. Uncapped (10) has been running in Stakes company and has the experience edge in this one. Will be coming late in the proceedings under the careful hand of James Graham. Has a second and a third in 3 races at this distance. But…has never won over the sod. Interesting. Fooch (4) is trained and owned by Wesley Ward — who specializes in these kind of races. This 5YO gelding has a win and a second in 4 starts at the distance and 2 wins, 2 seconds in 6 starts over the grass. Coming off a nice win at Saratoga in late July, and the runner-up in that one came right back to win again. Could push the pace here. I bet the 5 to win/place and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 5-4 over/under the 9-7-1-3-8 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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