It was another rather dismal day at the ole’ ball yard in Lexington. Thought we had righted the ship this week, with a rally on several of the past few days. Today was an ugly reminder of just how difficult it is to handicap a very short race meet, when most of the horses don’t train over the track.
We did close the card with a bit of a rush. Had Mr Freeze has a Key Play of the Day and our top three picks all hit the board in the QE II Challenge Cup. So, we redeemed some face and reputation.
But we are back to wrap up the weekend. Here’s a look at today’s selections:
1st: 4-2-1/3/6…Shippingport (4) is the 9-5 ML favorite, according to the handicappers and line’s makers at the www.brisnet.com expert desk. This 3YO gelded son of Midshipman ran well to be 3rd last time out over the turf. Moves to the dirt today, and the barn wins with .40% of those surface switches. But that is with only a 5-horse sample size. Gets rider who has won with .33% of the last 6 mounts for the barn. Threat. Beverly Park (2) has not been within double digits at the wire in the last 3 outings. But…This one drops to a career-low price tag and moves from the turf to the dirt. Barn wins with .26% of those making this surface switch and with a whopping .37% when coming back as a beaten favorite. A perfect 1-for-1 here. Fast Cash (1) will be making the first start after a claim last time out. Easy winner over at Churchill Downs on Sept. 23. Moves up the class scale here, but looks capable. Winning jock sticks even with the different barn operation. I bet the 4-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over the other two numbers listed in two smaller units.
2nd: 4-7/5-3-6/2…Majid (4) comes into this one for a red-hot barn that won three in a row on the Friday card. In 9 races here, the barn has a 4-2-3 mark and it’s lighting up the tote board, too. This one figures to be the PT favorite with the drop to the career-low price tag. Look at the start two back at Saratoga. Work on Sept. 20 at Ellis proves this one is ready for a return to that level of effort. County Court (7) ran a solid 2nd at this same level last time out. Has a chilly rider up in the saddle, but he knows how to win. At this distance, this one has a 2-1-0 mark in six previous runs. I bet the 4 to win/place and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.
3rd: 2-3-1/5-4/6…Locally Owned (2) ran much better than the finish position in a tough outing last time. Before that, this one had hit the board in the previous four tries. I look for a return to those results here. Gets a HOF rider up. Barn wins with .24% of all dirt starters and is still looking for the first winner this meet. May be able to find the circle after this one. Haunt (3) moves to the barn of a new, very young trainer for the first time. Works are very good and the 2020 debut could be a solid performance, although this trainer has never won with one away from the gate this long. Looks poised for a nice effort today, though. Signalman (1) was cut out to be a real good one. Has over $610,000 in earnings and ran 3rd in the G2 Blue Grass Stakes here in 2019. But has not won since November of 2018 and has gone 0-for-8 since then. Works OK. Last race OK against a horse that came right back to run a very good one in the Stakes event here on Saturday. That could be a key race. I bet the 2-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 2-1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two shorter versions.
4th: 7-4/6-3-2-1…Nip N Tuck (7) ran OK in the career debut, but this barn does much better with the subsequent starts. This one gets blinkers today, and the barn wins with .17% of those getting the shades for the first time. Also, the barn wins with a whopping .23% when routing for the 2nd time. That ‘s the case here. Gets a top rider, who has won with .28% of the last 39 rides for this trainer. Birthday Party (4) didn’t show a lot in the initial start. Drops into the MCL ranks today, and the high-class trainer wins with .28% of those making that drop in class. Will stretch out, too, and the barn wins with .15% of those going two turns for the first time. Chance. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in the exacta. I will key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed in two more shorter units.
5th: 5-7-8/2-3-4-6/9…Treaty of Paris (5) looked like a winner in the stretch of the last race. Was up by 3 within the shadow of the wire. Lost in the final strides in that one, but should be a tough out here. Dam has 2 winners from 3 starters and this one could join those ranks today. Orencia (7) returns as a beaten favorite here, and the trainer wins with .28% of those kind. The work here on Oct. 3 was spot on. Daughter of Blame should improve with this one. That may be just enough to overcome most of these. Good News (8) is a 3YO Uncle Mo filly owned by CJ Thoroughbreds, who has been on a real roll of late. This one has raced 6 times, so far. Has not won. But…has 2 seconds and 2 thirds on the resume. Could find the finish line first today. Has the talent to dominate these. I bet the 5-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2-3 in two shorter units.
6th: 2-5/4-1/7-6/3-1A…Beautiful Trauma (2) won the last time out by a long-distance 16 lengths. That was back in December of 2019 and over a sloppy racetrack. If today’s track has any moisture in it — whatsoever? I def use this one and use her a lot. In 5 starts, now has a 2-1-0 mark and the work pattern has been spot on going into this long-awaited first start of 2020. Love the rider for this one, too. Smooth With a Kick (5) goes for the barn of Chad Brown and comes out of a Stakes event at Laurel Park. Works have been very good here an d this one picks p a rider who won with this one two starts back at Saratoga. Cruised in that one. Look for this one to return to those results very soon. I bet the 2-5 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 2-5 over/under the 4-1-7-6 in two smaller units.
7th: 5-8-4/9-1-10/3-11-6/7-2…Cousin Larry (5) ran second behind a real monster last time out. Lost by more than 7 that day, but could be closer to the front today with a better start. Sharp work at Churchill Downs on Oct. 6. Barn wins with .15% with the juveniles. Interesting chance here. Divinium (8) is a 2YO son of Into Mischief, and will be making the career debut today. Barn wins with .21% in the MSW ranks and with .19% of those making the first career start in the MSW level. Barn’s go-to rider takes the reins and this one could be a tough out. High Press (4) is a first timer for the young man Norm Casse This 2YO will make the career debut here and the barn wins with .12% of those kind. Homebred son of Hard Spun, who should love it if the rains turn this track a bit bet. I bet the 5-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 5-4 over/under the 8-9-1-10-3-11 in two smaller units.
8th: 3-4-8/6-9/5-7-2/(11)-(12)…Jo Jo Air (3) is a 4YO daughter of Scat Daddy. Won a Stakes event at Del Mar just two back and in July. Has blitzed over this track in the a.m. works. Combo of trainer Wesley Ward and rider Gerardo Corralles have won .26% of the last 27 rides together. Escapade (4) has run in 4 straight Stakes events, and ran runner-up in one of them. In 7 starts at his distance, this one has a record of 3-1-1 and in 10 grass events. Trainer having another solid year, even though he doesn’t have another Catholic Boy in one of those stalls. Tomlin (8) has run two races at this distance. Has a win and a third. Over the turf, this 4YO Distorted Humor filly has a win and 2 thirds in just three starts. A perfect record of hitting the board. Threat. I bet the 3-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 3-4 over/under the 8-6-9-5-7-2 in two smaller units.
9th: 4-6-2-1/11-3/5-9/7-10…The final race of the day is a MSW event for the 2YOs, and it is a wide, wide, wide open affair. I have grouped 4 first-time starters together at the top of this list. I think the debut runners will have a fierce battle and a field day in the last event. You may want to drop a dart to separate these Top 4 numbers, but I am going with my Longshot Special of the Day — Dr. Duke (1). This 2YO son of Ghostzapper comes in from Florida and grabs a star rider for the effort. Don’t like the rail on the initial start, but if he can break well and move to the middle, just a bit, he may be a tough out here. The works in the a.m. at Gulfstream Park are spot on. Interesting. Hard Asset (4) is a 2YO son of Hard Spun, and is another training well for the debut. Plus trainer Dale Romans may have a real sleeper in All Bodes Well (2), too. This is another who is gearing up in the a.m. But…my real play here is with Hold Tight (6). This is another long shot possibility. This 2YO son of Candy Ride has trained well for a barn that wins with .23% of those making the debut in the MSW ranks. and with .20% making the first start of the career. Barn is as good as they come. Anywhere. Any time. Any place. I bet the 1-4 across the board and then box the top 4 numbers in one exacta. I will key the 1-4 over/under the 6-2 in two more exactas. And, I will key the 4-1 over/underteh 11-3-5-9-7-10, as well.
Good Luck & All the Best / Gene