|2019 Overall 1,150||1,150/400-403-519|
|Win % of Top Pick||34.78%|
|Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall||38.32%|
|2019 Top Pick in the Money –758 of 1,150||65.91%|
|Top Selection ITM / KEE 67-132||50.76%|
|Top Selection Win / KEE 33-132||25.00%|
|“Key Horses” @ KEE 14-1-2-1||0.71%|
|“Key Horses” in 2019 188-71-37-22||37.77%|
Another rough day at the ole’ ball yard on Wednesday. Nary a winner out of the 8 races. Toughest streak I have ever been through, to be honest. But I know that rainbow is lurking just over the horizon.
Talked to a friend and horseman this morning. He may have been trying to encourage me, but he said:
“I always like the picks from someone who has been cold,” he said. “They are the ones that are due.”
Here’s a look at today’s card:
Race 1: 1-2-6/3-4-5…Ronamo (1) comes into this one off a nice performance up at Arlington Park and over the all-weather surface. Closed well before flattening out late. Went wide in that one, though, and gets a new rider today. The stretch-out should help a bit, too, although he doesn’t have a win at the 11/16-mile distance. In 7 starts there, he has a record of 0-3-2. Remember, though, the finish line is in the short stretch here. May help? Love the work on Oct. 19 and, the winners of the last two races both came back to win the next time out. May be this guy’s turn. Mt. Mitchell (2) didn’t muster a step in the career debut. Now, drops from the MSW level to the MCL ranks, and the barn hits with .20% of those kind. Also, the barn hits with .20% of those making the second career start. Interesting enough, the meet’s leading rider sticks in the saddle for a barn that he normally doesn’t ride that much for. Like the work on Oct. 14. Chance. Martial Eagle (6) is another who will get the big class drop from the MSW ranks. Barn hits with .25% going into the claimers for the first time. Top rider takes the assignment for the first time today. This 3YO gelded son of Curlin will be making his third career start. For his third career trainer. This barn is having a good year, but what’s wrong with either Baffert or Mott? I bet the 1-6 across the board. I box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. And, I will key the 1-6 over/under the 2-3-4-5 in two smaller versions.
Race 2: 7-2-3-4-8…This is a $7,500 claimer, and, to be honest, I don’t know if I have ever seen a race at Keeneland where it is more wide open. (Is that the best way to write it?) To be honest, I haven’t even heard of some of this riders, either. Jerick Ello? Javier Padron-Barcenas? (I’m just glad they don’t write that name on the back of a jersey!) Luan Machado? Beats me. I tell you how confused I am here. I put an Indiana-bred on top and use a Minnesota-bred second. Tachi (7) is an 8YO gelding trained by a talented young trainer in John Ortiz. In 8 starts this meet, the barn is 0-0-0. Maybe it can’t land a spot here. This guy won two in a row at Belterra back in late July and August. Not so much since then. But does have 9 wins, 11 seconds and 20 thirds in the career. Around. Monday Confession (2) is the Minnesota-bred, who ships in for trainer Nevada Litfin. Ran well for a higher tag last time out. Nearly won the time before. Looks to be on a good streak right now. In 32 lifetime starts, he has a mark of 8-6-5. Not bad. I bet the 2 — take note — to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed. Sounds like a strategy, right?
Race 3: 11-10-4/8-3/5-7-12-2…Shell Fire (11) is stuck on the outside and that’s not preferable, but the 3YO son of Gemologist is coming off a real nice run for $10,000 at Churchill Downs in the last outing. Moves up a class for a veteran barn operator who has a win in 4 starts her this meet. Highlight Reel (10) drops all the way from a $50,000 tag to the $15,000 price today. Barn hits with .36% of those getting this kind of plunge. Picks up the meet’s winningest rider for this job, and the works have picked up a tick over the last 3 morning exercises. The connections paid $260,000 at the 2017 KEE September Yearling Sale. Must look good. Arabian Story (4) will be moved from the turf to the dirt today to try to shake things up. Gets a huge class drop, as well. Picks up Corey Lanerie today, and that may help. But this one could use all the help he can get. I bet the 10 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the 10-11 over/under the 4-8-3-5-7 in two smaller versions.
Race 4: 7-2-8/11/5-9-4/3-1-10-12-15…The first grass event of the day will be contested at the 5.5-furlong sprint distance, and I will load up on the two Wesley Ward pupils in the race. Frontana (7) is a first-time starter and by the world class sire War Front. Out of the Stakes-winning and classy mare Keertana, too. The dam has already thrown one turf winner from 1 starter and that one is already a Stakes winner. Breeding is there. Barn hits with .29% of those making the first start. And, this one is working very well — by virtue of the move here on Oct. 13. Looks ready. Aye Aye Sir (2) is the “other” Ward horse in this one, and this colt is coming off a 3rd place showing in a Stakes race at Woodbine. Made the debut at Saratoga before that. Has flashed speed in each of the first two, but had trouble finishing. Worked well here on Oct. 18, as well. Look for this one to sprint early and often until the gas runs out. Good One (8) comes from the barn of Brad Cox — who is having a bit of a chilly meet here, too. Winning at a .13% rate going into this one with only 4 wins in 32 starts. This colt is by Street Sense and may want more ground. Gives me some pause. but the work here on Oct. 6 was OK. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed. More on the 2-8-11. Less on the 5-4-9. Lesser on the rest.
Race 5: 5-1-6/2/3-4…My top two picks in this race are both moving up in class after winning last time out — and losing a serious condition. They were facing non-winners of one race “other than,” in those races. Now, they have to face tougher today. Not easy to bump up and keep running winning races. But…On paper, these two do look the best. Summer Delivery (5) is the 9-5 ML favorite coming off a nice win here earlier in the meet. Was dominant in that performance. Won by 4. It was the 2nd start off a layup, and she improved mightily. In the third start off a layoff, this barn hits with .26% rate. Nice. Top rider sticks aboard. Could air them again today. Vomba (1) goes for another top barn operation, who hits with .23% of those that won the last race. This 3YO daughter of Twirling Candy has won 2 of the last 3 and beat our top choice the last time they met up. But that was Summer’s first start off a layup. This one is a stalker, and could lay just off the hip of the top choice,. but the rail may force this one to go a bit earlier than she likes. Interesting. Annathela (6) ran very well in the last out before tiring late. The parachute went out in the final 1/8th. Looks like she may throttle back a bit this time and preserve a little more of that gas. In the 4 races before that effort, she was in Stakes company. She has 4 wins, 7 seconds and 2 thirds under her girth. More experience. Tougher races. And, 8-1 odds. My Upset Special of the Day. I bet the 5-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 5-6 over/under the 1-2-3-4 in two smaller versions.
Race 6: 10-9/8-2/12-3/5-7…This grass race, unlike the first one, is an endurance contest and will be spread out over 13/16-miles. I will go with a bit of experience here and my second Upset Special of the Day. The horse that I like is Marshall Law (10), who checks into the paddock with ML odds of 8-1. This 3YO Irish-bred has raced twice in this country for new trainer Michael Stidham. Won the first outing on Aug. 31 in Virginia, and then ran third in a 11/2-mile event at Laurel Park on Sept. 29. The runner-up in that one came right back to win the next time out. Will be treated with Lasix for the first time today, and the barn hits with .26% of those. Like the rider switch here. Dangerous at some nice odds, IMO. Bluegrass Parkway (9) will be making his second start off an extended layup. Ran a very nice 3rd on the return effort at Belmont Park on Sept. 19. Went 7-wide in the stretch of that one, or could have won. Gets the meet’s top rider in the saddle today, and one of the best grass riders in all the world. Could help. Look who this one faced three races back — here in April. That horse is going to stud at Claiborne Farm. Has faced tougher. Dangerous. Mr. Alex (8) is the ML favorite at 9-5 odds. Has raced twice, and is coming off a really eye-impressive MSW win at Belmont Park on Sept. 15. Must move up to face winners for the first time today, and that’s a tough jump. This barn wins with .19% of those graduating for the first time. Dam of this one has 2 turf winners from 5 starters. Pedigree is there. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 10-9 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 10-9 over/under the 8-2-12-3 in two smaller versions.
Race 7: 9-7-2/4-5/3-1-8…What a nice race this has shaped up to be. Wow. Stakes anywhere else. I will go to the outside for my top two picks — led by No Dozing (9). This 5YO gelded son of Union Rags is coming off a near-miss in a Stakes event at Monmouth Park last time out. Beaten a head as the odds-on choice in that one. Barn hits with .27% of those returning as a beaten favorite, and the barn is having a really good meet here with 2-1-2 mark in 10 starts. New rider fits, too. Major Cabbie (7) is coming off a monster performance here on Oct. 5. Ran off to a near 10-length win that day. Flashed speed at this distance. Will be pushed on the front end today, though, and that may make a difference. Toss the grass race at KY Downs, when he hated that course, and this one has been awfully good of late. Stays hot? Dak Attack (2) has been one of my favorites since watching him as a 2YO. Has battled a shin issue for much of his career, but looks great right now. Ran a huge second last time out at 7 furlongs. Winner came right back to win again. But…this one will try two turns for the first time today. And, there’s other speed in here, too. Look for a good one from him with the addition of Corey Lanerie. Glad to see the “band” is back together again. Trainer Dale Romans. Rider Corey Lanerie. They have won a lot of races together. I bet the 9-2 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.
Race 8: 2/3-4-8-7-6/1…Today’s feature easily could be carded as a Stakes event, too. Especially when you consider that the odds-on ML favorite is Daddy Is a Legend (2). This 4YO daughter of Scat Daddy is coming off a layup since June, which would make her a bit vulnerable today. But she has run well coming off the bench before. In her last start, she ran a game 3third to Rushing Fall and Beau Recall — two of the best grass mares in this country. Before that, she ran third to Beau Recall and 2nd to Uni — who just won a big Stakes event here this Fall. She has been keeping top company. Her last race here? She looked to be making a winning move in the G3 Valley View last October when she ducked through the rail. Hope that memory doesn’t come back to haunt. Key Play of the Day. No odds, admittedly. But the best. The rest of this field is evenly matched, but I think I will include the next 5 in the exotics. I bet the 2 to win (only) and then key the 2 over the 3-4-8-7-6 in one exacta and under the “all button” in a much smaller one. If you want to live dangerously? Box the 3-4-8-7-6 in one, too.
Race 9: 5-6-2/4-1/8…The final race of the day figures to be a highly competitive and well-matched battle. I give the slight edge to a “Mystery Horse” in Señor Friday (5). This one has run all over NA, coming out of a G3 Stakes event up in Canada in the last outing. Now, he is being offered up for $20,000 tag. Love the recent works. Trainer fires hot and heavy and puts where he thinks they can win. Aggressive in the entry box. Son of Curlin won a Stakes event two races back. May be ready to fire again. J Zar (6) has not run well in the two tries for the new barn operation. But…may have been way over his head in both of those tries. Drops all the way to the $20,000 tag today and that is considerable. If he can run like he did over the grass at Ellis Park on June 30. Tough out today. Will be coming real late. He’s No Bull (2) was claimed last time out for this same tag. Gave way and up in that one. New barn hits with .23% of those racing for the first time for the new connections. Has been training lights out. Won at Ellis Park against tougher back in July. Chance. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions.
Good Luck & All the Best/Gene