McLean’s Selections for Keeneland on Sunday, Oct. 13

Day Results10-3-6-3
2019 Overall 1,0871,087/387-383-498
Win % of Top Pick35.60%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.88%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –728 of 1,08766.97%
Top Selection ITM / KEE 37-6953.62%
Top Selection Win / KEE 20-6928.99%
“Key Horses” @ KEE 7-1-0-014.29%
“Key Horses” in 2019 181-71-35-2139.23%

Not the greatest day at he ole’ ball yard. But rallied late to pull out a nice win. Or five.

We closed the day with the Pick 5, hitting for over $939 on a $60 ticket. Cures a lot of ills. And, bad choices.

(A nice sight at the end of a day’s work)

And, we closed with back-to-back wins to finish out the card. Leads to some momentum going into our Sunday’s best, right? We sure hope so.

No matter what, Sunday here we come. Keeneland here we come. Happy days are here again. Here we come.

And, here’s a closer look at our selections for the Sunday card:

Race 1: 7-8/2-4-6-3/5-1…Island Song (7) gets the edge in this higher end MCL event. This 3YO gelded son of Speightstown has not dented the winner’s circle yet, but has a record of 2 seconds and 3 thirds in 7 career starts. That could be a bit troubling, in that he appears to hang a bit late in the proceedings. And, he is a beaten favorite in the last 3 outs. But he is converting back to the dirt today, and that may help this one immensely. More importantly, though, he gets the drop into the MCL ranks for the first time ever. The barn hits with .26% of those getting the class relief. Huge. Not Fade Away (8) will be making the career debut. Connections paid $100,000 for him at the Fasig-Tipton July Sale in 2017. Now, he’s being offered up for half that price. Has been working well for this one. Gets the barn’s top rider. May be an interesting claim prospect here. Dam of this one is a SW. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-8 in one exacta. I will key the 7 over/under the rest of the numbers in two shorter versions.

Race 2: 6/4-2-3/8-7-5-1…The first Key Play of the Day will come right here in a MSW event. I will go strong on Lucky Curlin (6), who is a nice 4-1 price in the ML. This one comes off a very nice 3rd up at Saratoga, when sent off as the favorite. Has been facing very solid company in all three previous runs and has 2 thirds against those types. Barn hits with .26% of those coming back as a beaten favorite, and with .19% of those getting blinkers for the first time. Love the work at Churchill Downs on Sept. 21. Looks ready here. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. Make sure and use the 2 — Celtic Mischief. Ran up against the Breeders’ Futurity winner Maxfield in that one and ran hard until he didn’t. Could come back strong today.

Race 3: 3-1-11/(14)/2-10/4-9/7-8-12…This is the first turf race of the day and I will land on Untraceable (3). Comes off a nice, speedy win at Churchill Downs on Sept. 15. That was in the claiming ranks and against those that had never won 2 in their race careers. Now, loses that condition and moves up to face tougher. But…It seems that the best completion in this spot is the horse that he beat — Believeinholidays (1). That son of Harlan’s Holiday came running late and simply ran out of time and space. These two figure to match up again today. But I am interested in Salvator Mundi (11), just a little bit. This one ran a huge 3rd to Current in the G3 Bourbon Stakes here last Fall. Has fallen completely apart and on hard times this year with a 0-0-0 mark in 5 starts. Was claimed last time out by the barn of Phil D’Amato, though, and his barn hits with .29% after the purchase. Pulls the blinkers off. Puts up the best grass rider in these parts. I definitely use here. I bet the 1-11 across the board — take note — and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 1-11 over/under the 3-(14)-2-10-4-9 in two smaller versions.

Race 4: 7/6-2/3-8…My second Key Play of the Day comes here with Hardly a Secret (7). This 5YO gelded son of Creative Cause ran zero in the last outing. I toss it out. Because? Before that, this one had hit the board in 7 straight events. Moved up and stretched out farther in the last, and neither suited. Now, this one drops significantly in the class department. Last time offered up for this kind of price tag, he ran a tough-beat second by a neck. In 9 races at this distance, he has a 4-3-0 record. Look for a strong performance with a top rider in the irons. I bet the 7 to win/place and then key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

Race 5: 8-2-12/10-11/6-7-5…Wicked Valentine (8) gets my top spot, coming off the turf at Arlington Park for a top barn operation. Ran super in the debut, losing the lead very late in the proceedings and getting beat only a head. Ran well the next time out, too, but tired very late again. One might think that this one needs to shorten up, but sometimes the 11/16-mile distance is an easier spot than the flat 1-mile for those that like the lead. Gets the blinkers for the first time, too, and the barn hits with .20% of those. Like the 5-1 ML odds, and they could possibly drift up a hair or two. My pick. Queenofcatniphill (2) made a belated run in the debut down at KY Downs. Converts to the main track today and that experience should help with both the conditioning and the experience angles. Goes farther today, and that should help this one. Plus, this one drops into the MCL ranks for the first time. Barn hits with .26% of those getting the class change. The one to beat. Queen Bess (12) ran well at a higher tag over at Colonial on debut. Now, moves to the dirt and stretches out. Both should help. Runner-up in that first race has already come back to win. Love, love, love the 12-1 ML odds here. I use. I bet the 8-2 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 10-11 in two smaller versions.

Race 6: 5-10/7-(13)-6/12-4-2/1-1-(14)…This is the second turf event of the day, and will be contested at the 5.5-furlong sprint distance. I go strong on Stillwater Cove (5), who was scratched out of a race on Saturday to go here — instead. Love that angle. This one faced the Millionaire Morticia in the last out and has run in 3 Graded Stakes events in a row. Gets a lot of relief today and should relish it. Has a win and a second in 3 starts at this distance. Second only time over this sod before. My solid pick. Paper Clip (10) is another from the barn of Wesley Ward, who specializes in developing this turf sprinters. This one won easily over the ground at KY Downs last time out. Now, moves up to face tougher — like the stablemate. Ability, but maybe second best here. I bet the 5 to win/place/show. And, I go a little stronger than normal. I bet the 5-10 exacta box and then key the 5 over/under the 10-7-(13)-6-12-4-2 in two smaller units.

Race 7: 9-6/3-1/7-5-12…A nice MSW event here for the 2YOs going 6.5-furlongs. I go to the outside part of the gate and land on the first time starter Predator (9). This son of Into Mischief cost “only” $175,000 at the KEE September Yearling Sale a year ago. That was the 67th highest price paid for an offspring of this fantastic sire out of 100 offered. But…He has trained lights out for a barn that hits with .24% of those making the debut at the MSW level. Love, love, love the work here on Oct. 5. Top rider up. If he breaks well? Watch out. Shared Sense (6) — a stablemate of our top choice — is also making his debut. Has been training well, as well. The pedigree may suggest that this one needs a little more ground, though, and this could be a tune-up for a longer. Should be rolling late. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in one exacta. I will key the 9 over/under all the other numbers listed.

Race 8: 1-7-8/1A/5-4-3/9-6…The featured event today is a 5.5-furlong sprint over the sod. I go to the inside and the entry of McLean (love the name) Robertson. (Did I mention that my newest grandson, John McLean Sharp, is going by that first name? And, that he is visiting with me this weekend? Well, I’ve got that to consider here, right?) Hotshot Anna (1) just won a G2 over the all-weather at Presque Isle in the last out. Last time on the turf, won at 5 furlongs at Arlington Park. Really good right now. In 4 starts this year, has 3 wins and a second. Seems ready for this one, too. I mix in two “live” long shots in this mix, as well, with La Dame Blanche (7), and Taylor’s Spirit (8). The former has run in 6 straight Stakes events. And, has a win here. The latter ran a huge 3rd in the mud in a G3 at Charles Town last time out, and an OK 3rd in the G3 Iowa Oaks before that. Has faced some real, real good ones. Has a win in only turf try and should like the cut back. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 5-4-3-96 in two smaller versions.

Race 9: 4-11-12-(13)/3/1-2/6-5-7/8-10-9…The last event today is wide, wide, wide open. I will get a slight edge to The Rock Says (4), who comes from the barn of Stanley Hough. Man has won with .24% of his 76 starters this year for the Sagamore Farm. This one is a beaten favorite int he last out. Ran wide into the first turn and never recovered in that 11/8-mile contest at Saratoga. Blinkers come off after one failed experiment. And, barn hits with .45% of those returning as a beaten fav. Like the rider choice. And Seek (11) is my Upset Special of the Day. This one has not run well in either of the last two outs. Had serious trouble in the Iowa Derby and really didn’t handle the extra ground at Saratoga, either. But has a second in only previous try here, and worked really well for this one on Oct. 5. Rider has won with only mount for this barn. Interesting factoid. Royal Mesa (12) could be an even better long shot possibility. This one ran huge off a layoff in February. Second to Market King in that one. In 5 lifetime tries, has a win and 2 seconds. Trainer is sneaky good, and he attracts a top rider. Hmmmm. Watch out. I bet the 4-11-12 across the board. More on the 4. Lesser on the 11. Lesser, still, on the 12. I box those 3 in the exacta. And, then I key the 4-11-12 over/under the 3-1-2-6-5-7. I know that takes a few $. But may be worth it. Stretch out here in the Pick 5.

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 ...

    Full Bio >

More From Gene McLean