McLean’s Selections for Keeneland on Sunday, Oct. 20

(I have been cold as ice. Maybe not as cold as this hunk of an Iceland iceberg, which is estimated to be over 1,000 years old. But maybe. Here’s hoping we warm up a tad today. After all it is my Mom’s birthday.)

Day Results10-1-2-4
2019 Overall 1,1331,133/398-396-511
Win % of Top Pick35.13%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.39%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –755 of 1,13366.64%
Top Selection ITM / KEE 64-11555.65%
Top Selection Win / KEE 31-11526.96%
“Key Horses” @ KEE 11-1-1-10.09%
“Key Horses” in 2019 185-71-36-2238.38%

For the second day in a row, we notched a single victory. One.

Any way you cut it, that is not good. And, we are truly not cutting it.

But, to be honest, we are trying. Trying our best. Trying hard. And, we will keep the faith. At least for one more day. LOL.

On Sunday, I will be joined at the racetrack by my beautiful mother and my sister. My mom will be celebrating her 89th birthday. And, she is as sharp, clever, funny, beautiful and active as the first day I remember seeing her pretty face.

She is a remarkable woman.

Still drives her car better than most people you see on the highway.

Still makes a better meal than 99.9% of the people that stand over a stove.

Still climbs the stairs up and down to her basement; still raises tomatoes; still takes care of her sister and niece; still goes to Church every Sunday; still manages to keep the cleanest house I have ever stepped foot in; still can manage a smile.

All that…

Despite the hassles that her only son put her through, Elizabeth McLean has not only kept her religion and faith, but is one of the most faithful people to ever walk on God’s Green Earth.

I love her so. I am so thankful and blessed to call her Mom. She is still my rock.

Happy birthday Mom. I sure hope I can pick you a few winners today. Here’s a closer look at the card:

Race 1: 6-3/5-1/2…lady Cleopatra (6) drops in class today for a trainer that hits with .29% in the third start off a layup. Won the last time out at Churchill Downs in September. Barn hits with .22% of those trying to repeat, too. Same rider is back, and this one has a win in two previous starts here. Adds up for me. Grats Road (3) won the last time out at Churchill Downs on Sept. 20. Drops off that win, too. This barn only scores at a .04% rate when trying to win back-to-back times out. But the work on Oct. 9 was solid. Mixed signals, but I have to use. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the other numbers listed in the exactas.

Race 2: 6/4-1/12-11-(13)/7-3-10/2-8…My first Key Play of the Day comes right here in the 2nd race. I will go strong with Prosperity (6), in hopes that we can start the day with back-to-back trips to the winner’s circle with the #6 saddle cloth attached. This 3YO Tapit filly is coming into this one off a thrilling, near-miss 2nd last time out at Laurel Park in Maryland. Lost by a neck in that one, but was over 15 lengths out of it at one time. Maryland-based rider travels for this one, too. Look for redemption here. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

Race 3: 5-3-4/6-2/1…Whiskarita (5) is my Upset Special of the Day. This 3YO daughter of Shanghai Bobby comes into this one off a win. But that was when she ran last time out — on Oct. 27, 2018. Nearly a year ago. And, that was over the slop. Heaven knows what she might be like today. But the training sessions have been good, and this trainer knows exactly what he’s doing. He has been known to stroll into the winner’s circle on the wings of a prayer and with a mighty longshot. Never heard of this rider, but here’s hoping that Crystal Conning can boot this one home for us. Working very well for the return. Miss Hannah (3) won two starts back at Churchill Downs, but that was in mid-May. Has one race under her belt since then, and it was on Sept. 29. Ran 4th in that one. Barn hits with .15% of those making the second start off a layup. Gets a top jock in the irons. Figures here. Spice It Up (4) will be making the 3rd start off a layup, and the barn hits with .21% of those kind. Drops in class for this one, and a veteran takes the reins. Don’t dismiss. I bet the 5-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 5-3 over/under the 4-6-2-1 in two smaller versions.

Race 4: 1-9-3/4/5-7-8…Niigon’s Glory (1) is a 9YO Ontario-bred, who will be making the 2nd start off a layup. Barn hits with .18% of those. The veteran runner will be sprinting the 7 furlongs and the barn hits with .20% of those kind. And, the barn’s go-to rider takes the reins again. In 16 races off fast dirt, this guy has a record of 3-1-5. Should be closing late and hanging around near the wire. Overzealous (9) was claimed last time out when he rolled to an easy win. Was claimed the race before that, too, when he won too. In 18 lifetime starts, he has 5 wins, 3 seconds and 2 thirds. Over the fast dirt, this versatile runner has a 2-1-1 mark in just 6 starts. This barn wins with .20% of those making the first start after a purchase. Adds up. Ted W (3) has hit the board in each of the last 4 races, and 6 of the last 7. Has a 2-2-2 record in 8 starts this year. Can find the wire. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 4 in two smaller versions.

Race 5: 7-3/2-4/6-5-1…Bourbon Calling (7) has been exceptional in two of the last 3 races. Won twice in that span at Churchill Downs. In-between, he ran disappointingly to Shancealot in the G2 Amsterdam Stakes at Saratoga. But the winner that day set a track record. Over the last 5 races, Bourbon Calling has hit the board 4 times and has 3 wins in that mix. Rider has been hot, mounting 9 winners in the last 29 rides. Will be tough to hold off late. Fortune’s Fool (3) ships into Lex from NYC to tackle this crowd. Comes to town on the heels of a clicking 31/4-length victory at Belmont Park. This one is by a top stallion and out of a Stakes-winning mare. Class here. I bet the 7-3 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 7-3 over/under the 2-4-6-5-1 in two smaller versions.

Race 6: 5-9-8/7-2-3-11/6-4-10-(14)-12…This grass event will be contested at the 13/16-mile marathon distance, and it attracts a very competitive bunch. I will spread out here in all of my horizontal plays (Pick 3, 4, 5), and will share the wealth on my top 3 picks, too. Amazima (5) gets my nod, by a little, coming off a serious 2nd place finish in the last out. Came up the lead very late in that one. In 5 career starts now, she has a win, 2 seconds and 2 thirds. Has some speed and that will come in handy, despite the distance here. Princesschope (9) has been right there at the wire in each of the last 4 races. Doesn’t have a win, but does have 3 seconds — all of which are losses by a slender neck. In 20 starts lifetime, she has a win. One win. Sound familiar? I feel your pain. But this one has 7 seconds and 5 thirds, too. Has hit the board in 13 of those 20 lifetime starts. Roll in the second hole, right? Aspen Summer (8) comes into this one off a nice MSW win in the last. She is out of a SW dam, who has 3 turf winners from 6 starters — including 2 Stakes Winners. Look for this one to stalk the pace setters and get first jump entering the stretch. I bet the 5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 5 over/under the 9-8-7-2-3-11-6 in the exacta. I also key the “all button” over the 9.

Race 7: 3-1-4/7/6-2-8…Tough Love (3) gets the nod here for trainer Wayne Catalano. This 3YO son of Bernardini ran off in his career debut to win by over 3 in gate-to-wire fashion. But that came over the slop at the Fair Grounds back in mid-March. Has been away from the races since then. But look at the work pattern. Fired a bullet here in the last a.m. appearance. Looks primed. Has the gas. And, look who ran third in that debut race…None other than Bourbon Calling. Didn’t we just pick him to win? I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions, too.

Race 8: 3-10-9/12-8-2/4-1…G3 Rood and Riddle Dowager Stakes…This is a 11/2-mile endurance test over the sod, and I will go right back to the #3 for this one, as well, with the talented 4YO filly Gentle Ruler (3). This daughter of Colonel John is coming off a win in the Ramsey Farm Stakes at KY Downs in the last outing. Before that, she ran 4th in the G3 Waya Stakes at Saratoga. And, before that? She had 4 wins in a row. In 3 starts here, she has a win and 2 seconds. In 3 starts at this marathon distance, she has 2 wins in 3 starts. On the sod? She has a 4-3-5 record in 16 starts. Looks the best to me. Elysea’s World (10) comes into this one off a 3rd place finish in the G1 Dodeo Drive Stakes at Del Mar. Ran a super one against major league competition. In 28 starts over the grass, she has a record of 7-5-4. She is G1 Stakes Placed, and a winner of a G3 event on at least 2 occasions. Bullet work here in the last a.m. prep. Class. Pantsonfire (9) is another invader from the West Coast. Has run two thirds in a row after winning the G3 Astra Stakes three back. In 2 starts at this distance, she has a win and a third. Barn normally does very well here with its’ shippers. Here’s another. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over (only) the next 3 in a smaller version.

Race 9: 5-11-12/2-10/1-6…The final race of the day is a claiming event going the sprint distance of 6 furlongs and I will give the edge to Inthemidstofbiz (5). This 3YO filly is making the 2nd start off a layup and the barn hits with .23% of those kind. She will also be dipping her heels into the claiming ranks for the first time, and the barn scores with .21% of those, too. This one has speed. If she breaks well, they will have to catch her. Love to Learn (11) is dropping to a career low price tag for this one, after running poorly last time out. Two starts back, though, she ran her eyeballs out before giving way to a winner that has already returned to win again. This one will be running late for a new jock. A.P. Princess (12) ran 3rd last time out for a much higher price tag. Gets a huge drop in class today, and the barn hits with .14% of those dropping this far. In 12 lifetime starts, she has only 1 win. But she does have 3 seconds and 3 thirds. Should be close at the wire again. Even if she doesn’t win. I use. I bet the 5-11 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over (only) the 2-10 in a smaller version.

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