McLean’s Selections for KY Downs on Closing Day — Thursday, Sept. 12

It is Closing Day at KY Downs 2019. That means mandatory payouts on all the carry-overs — including the two Pick 5s. And, it means another great day of wagering opportunities and chances to make a little cash money before Churchill Downs kicks off its’ annual September meet on Friday.

Here’s a look at our picks for Thursday, Sept. 12:

Race 1: 10-9-6/8/2-5-3…The first is a claimer going a mile & 70 yards, and I go to the far outside to saddle up with my top picks. Snipper Kitten (10) is trained by the all-time winningest trainer at KY Downs, and comes in off a long, long layoff. Has not been out since May 19 — when he ran 3rd in a high-priced optional claimer at Churchill. Likes to close with the best of them, and that’s not been the preferred style over this dried out course since the meet began. Will get the meet’s hottest rider in the saddle, though, and he has won with .19% of the last 21 rides for this barn. Will need to get going a bit earlier than expected. Applicator (9) was pinched at the start in his last race at Saratoga, and lost all chance in that one. Was claimed by the present connections, with an eye towards a race here at KY Downs. Has been claimed 3 times in the last 4 starts. Throw out the last race debacle, and this one has hit the board in 6 of the previous 7. Will be close to the pace and have the first jump — with a HOF rider in the irons. Jock won on his back two starts back at Belmont Park. My choice. Memory Bank (6) is an Illinois-bred, but sports a 2-5-5 record in 15 starts over the sod. Likes to stalk and pounce, and that is a good running style for this course this year. Love the rider choice, too. Chance. I bet the 9 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the top 3 over/under the 8 in two smaller versions.

Race 2: 6-8/5-4-11/7-9-(14)-3-1…This is a high-priced MSW event for the 2YO fillies going 6.5 furlongs over the hills and dales. I go strong with my top 2 selections here — led by Finite (6). This daughter of Munnings is coming off 2 straight 2nds at Saratoga. Stalked the pace in each of those and hung a bit nearing the wire. Needs to overcome that bad habit, but has the pedigree to be real dangerous in this spot — since out of a Tapit mare, who was a Stakes winner and has already thrown a grass winner, too. Emily’s Oasis (8) is coming off a nice second last time out at Ellis Park when getting the grass for the first time. The dry summer conditions have made both of these tracks similar in nature, and she should like the cutback in distance for this one. Watch out here. I bet the 8 — take note — across the board and then box the 6-8 in one exacta. I will key the 6-8 over/under the 5-4-11-7-9 in two smaller versions.

Race 3: 4-7-12/5-2-6/9-8-11…A wide open affair here in an allowance event for the fillies and mares, who have not won 1x. Makealitlemischief (4) gets my nod. This 3YO daughter of Into Mischief is coming off three really nice races in the last 4 for a trainer who has won .25% of this 126 tries this year. This one likes to be close to the pace, and that should fit well with this serious track bias. Barn hits with .21% of those coming off a win, and the work on Aug. 22 at Churchill was outstanding. Serious threat. Our Bay B Ruth (7) broke the maiden last time out and will move up to face winners for the first time today. Not a good angle, but this one has a 1-3-1 mark in 6 lifetime starts and has speed to carve out a nice trip. Should like the 1 mile distance just fine and gets a top rider to take the reins. Holiday Time (12) is an interesting one for me. Rider normally doesn’t get many chances with this barn, but is one of the best grass riders around. Will be routing for the first time, and the barn hits with .15% of those. Love the work on Aug. 29. Has the pedigree to be OK on this sod. Dam has thrown 4 turf winners and 1 SW. Love the 12-1 ML, too. I bet the 4-12 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over (only) the 5-2-6-9-8-11 in a smaller version.

Race 4: 5-8-4/9-10-12-11-7/3…This is a MSW event for the 2YOs, and it is another wide open arrangement assembled here. But I’m going strong on a horse I loved last week before he was scratched out and saved for this spot — Invader (5). This son of War Front is 8-1 in the ML, and, thus, becomes my first “Upset Special of the Day.” The only time this guy has run was back on July 6 at Belmont Park. Was made the favorite that day for trainer Wesley Ward — who specializes with these youngsters. Got off to a tardy start and was wide for much of the race. Fiddle farted around and ran a disappointing 6th. Off since then, but training very well for this return effort. The connections paid $500,000 for this one at the 2018 KEE September Yearling Sale. My pick. Sticking right here. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed above in two exactas, as well.

Race 5: 5-4-7/(15)-8-11-12/6-9-3-1…This is a MSW event for the 2YO fillies, and will also be contested at 6.5 furlongs. I go with Mom’s Pass (5), who is a 3-1 ML choice. Comes in off a poor outing at Saratoga in the last, but before that she was second twice at Churchill Downs when sporting a lot of speed. Gets a top rider to take the reins today, and will be salty on the front end from the get-go, with a clean break. They will have her to catch. Roman City (4) ran second at Saratoga in the career debut, but that was a high-end MCL event over the sod. Tipped wide in that one, and the rider picks our top selection over this one today. A stalker with a shot, though. Rider is winless here this meet. Enola Gay (7) could spice up the odds rack a bit. Daughter of Uncle Mo is out of a War Front mare, and has been training nicely for the debut today. HOF trainer normally doesn’t crank them up to start off, but ships down from NY for a reason, right? I think so. I use. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I key the 5-7 over/under the 4-8-11-12-6-9 in two smaller versions.

Race 6: 10-3-11/9-7-5-1/12-(13-14-15)-8…Seriously, I think you can throw a dart here. Wide open. Lots of choices with chances. But I will go to the outside and land on Hierarchy (10) — who hails from the barn of Joe Sharp and gets Adam Beschizza in the saddle. The trainer/jockey duo have teamed up to score .22% of the time over the last 23 mounts together. And, this 4YO gelded son of Point of Entry is coming off a nice win at Saratoga. Loses that condition, and faces tougher here, but like the 6-1 ML odds and the fact that he has hit the board in all of the last 4 races. Hot now. Bird’s Eye View (3) has hit the board in each of the last 5 tries, and get a huge jock edge in this one. Rider has won with .24% of his mounts here this meet, and knows this interesting course very well. Horse has experience here, too, with a third in two previous runs. Must use for me. Pyron (11) will stretch out in the second try over the sod, but the barn hits with .24% of those making the second grass start. Ran super before tiring late in a Saratoga Stakes last time out. Can he carry the speed element today? Shall see. I bet the 10-11 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I key the top 3 over (only) the 9-7-5-1-12 in a smaller version.

Race 7: 2-11/6-3-7-8-12/(14)-(16)…Another MSW event that will be contested at the 1-mile distance. This one is for the fillies and mares that are 3YOs & Up. I like Confessing (2). I like a lot. Because there is a lot to like. The 3YO daughter of Scat Daddy cost $875,000 to purchase as a 2YO last year. Has raced only 4 times to date, with a couple of 3rds. But the race two back, she ran up against New and Improved — a Chad Brown trainee. Good one, too. Held her own before giving in late. Ran against Our Bay B Ruth ink the race before that one. We will talk about her more a bit later. In other words, this one has been facing some good ones. May be her turn today. Love the rider choice. My Sweet Baboo (11) may be there filly to beat. The 3YO daughter of Candy Ride will get the saddle today from Mike Maker for the first time, after shifting East from the West Coast. toss the last out. Spit the bit when stretched out too far. Gets a solid rider and a chance for redemption here. Don’t overlook. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the 2-11 in one exacta. I key the 2-11 over/under the 6-3-7-8-12 in two smaller versions.

Race 8: $500,000 Ramsey Farm Stakes…6-1/5-8-12-11/4-2-9…This is an endurance test for the fillies and mares, and I will give the edge to Gentle Ruler (6). This 4YO daughter of Colonel John is trained by Ian Wilkes — who is having a super meet here this year. Although she ran 4th in the G3 Way Stakes at Saratoga last time out, she is tough. Won the previous 4 before that. Has run over this track before, against a good one. Not much on the odds board, but she may be tough to hold off in the late going here today. Gaining (1) ran this to Gentle Ruler last time out, and was second to her the time before. Has 2 seconds and a third in 3 trips over NA sod, after shipping here from France. Trainer knows how to win big races, that’s for sure and this one may get lucky and beat her old nemesis some time soon. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 6 to win/place and then box the 6-1 in one exacta. I will key the 6-1 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller versions.

Race 9: G3 Franklin-Simpson Stakes…2-1/3-11-(13-14)/(15-16)/5-10-12/9-6-4…This is a 6.5-furlong sprint over the hills and dales and wraps up the Stakes season at KY Downs. What a race, too. I will go inside and spring/hope for an upset of sorts with Casa Creed (2). This one is 9-2 in the ML and should probably be the second choice at PT, but I like the fact that he is cutting back in distance from the 1-mile, G2 Hall of Fame to this spot. Won that one as the favorite, and has hit the board in the last 3 races — all Stakes events. Junior Alvarado comes to town to take the mount, and he should cut a nice stalking position from the inside. Love the work on Sept. 6, too. Looks sharp right now. The horse to beat is the railbird — Archidust (1). This is a 3YO colt by Verrazano and he is a perfect 2-for-2 since moving to the turf sprints two races ago. Won at Monmouth — easily. Won at Saratoga — easily. Will face tougher today, though, and will stretch out another 1/8th of a mile. May be able to handle both, but I will be rooting hard against. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under the 1-3-11-5-10-12-9. If the AE horses get in, I have to throw them in the mix as the pop up. 

Race 10: 10-(15-16)/5-(13)-4-8/11-12…The final race of the meet and it is a tough one to predict. These all will be aspiring to make the 11/2-mile distance, and step up in class, too. If the AE horses do not get in, I go strong with Good Old Boy (10). This is another from the barn of Mike Maker, who loves this place. Gets Jose Ortiz to stick around and take the mount, too. Has hit the board in each of the last four outs, and has some versatility, too. Should be able to run late, and get the job done. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key the 10 over/under the “all button” here.

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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