Day Results 9 / 3-2-4
2020 Overall 388 388 / 135-130-154
Win % of Top Pick 34.79%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.00%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –242-388 62.37%
Top Selection ITM / TP Winter-Sprng 180-291 61.86%
Top Selection Win / TP Winter-Spring 104-291 35.74%
“Key Horses” @ TP Winter-Spring 44-11-11-8 25.00% Win / 68.18% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 56-16-14-9 28.57% Win / 69.64% ITM

(Gene and Leigh Ann on an Oaklawn Park sunny day. Our picks on Thursday? Neither warm or cold. Just porridge warm.)

We got off to a really nice start. Three winners in the first five races. Our top pick in another of the first five tilts ran a nice second. Really. Good. Start.

Then, we finished with a dud. And, a thud.

The exactas bailed us out all day long. We did recommend and cash exacta tickets that paid back $16.50, $12.30, $78.20, $23.00, $14.30 and $26.60 for each $1 played. We had a $2 exacta selection that amped up to $61.00.

So, we had a passing grade. But we could have aced this test. What could have been. What could have been.

Here’s a look at the Friday card:

1st:5/8-12-10-7/2-3-4…Rockthepulpit  (5) is our first Key Play of the Day. This 3YO gelded son of Ordained is an Arkansas-bred and comes from a dam who didn’t win a single race. But…This one ran two really nice seconds to begin the career before bombing when moved up to the MSW ranks last time out. Was 5-wide and had a round-about trip from start to finish in that one. Now, drops back to the same level where he excelled in the two previous runs. Rider who was up in the first two returns to the saddle here, too. Barn hits with .21% of those making the second start for the barn after a claim purchase. Will stretch out for the second time, but ran well at two turns two starts back. I love this spot. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

2nd: 4-10-7/2-3-1/12/1A-5-11…Defender (4) broke in the air last time out, when dropped to this level. Still ran OK as the odds-on favorite despite the misfortunate at the beginning. Now, returns as a beaten favorite and the barn hits with .22% of those kind. Rider has won with .22% of the last 23 mounts for this outfit. Has a 1-2-2 mark in 6 starts over this track, too. Logical. Healing (10) drops a ways off a “better-than-it-looks” 6th place finish over the grass at the Fair Grounds last time out. Was beaten only 21/4 lengths in that one and was wide in the serious part of the race. In two tries over a fast dirt track? Take a look. Has won 2 of 3. Take heed. And, love the odds. Upset Special of the Day lurking here. Violent Storm (7) was claimed two starts back by the Team Asmussen. Trainer hits with .29% of those making the 2nd start off the purchase. Gets the barn’s go-to rider up today. Chance. I bet the 4-10 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 4-10 over/under the 7-2-3-1-12 in two smaller units.

3rd: 3-7-10/12-5-1-2/(14)-4…Be an Inspiration (3) could be just that in this spot today. The 5YO gelded son of Horse Greeley has run three 2nds in a row and now drops to a career-low level. The Illinois-bred looks well spotted for this one. Barn can win off the bench, too. Set at 10-1 in the ML. Hmmm. Another Upset Special of the Day? Could be. Road Game (7) drops off a nice 3rd here last time out. Was beaten as the favorite that day. Barn hits with .19% of those kind coming back. Gets Corey Lanerie up today and that is an interesting development. Moves his tack here. Mr. Unusual (10) moved up when dropped to this level last time out. Gets a huge rider switch for this one. Jockey has won with .27% of the last 11 rides for this barn operation. Work here on April 8 was solid, too. Chance. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

4th: (14)-2-3/7-12-10-4/5-(13)-9-11…The best horse in this field — for me — is a steed who just can’t get any respect, I tell you. Dangerfield (14) will need some luck and respect just to draw into the field from the AE List. But if he does? May be a single for me. In 12 starts here, has a 2-3-1 record and has hit the board in 6 of the last 7. But needs some scratches. If the #14 does not get in, I go back to the inside and double down on Gold Backed (2) and Tapitor (3). Both have credentials and reasons to support any way. I bet the 14 if he gets in. If not? I bet the 2-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 2-3 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

5th: 6-5/2-8/7…Rainbow Miss Stakes…This is a Stakes event for the Arkansas-bred, 3YO Fillies. Proud Victoria (6) looks like the one to beat on paper. Ran in a stakes event last time out. Ran 4th that day, but the “place” and “show” horses both came right back to win the next time out. This gal won the previous two outings by a head each time. Gut check box is checked. Choctaw Charlie (5) is still a maiden, but does have two nice 2nd place finishes in a row to start the career. Returns as a beaten favorite in here, too. Gets Joel Rosario in the irons. Enough written. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the rest of the numbers. I box the 6-5 in two smaller units.

6th: 11-12-8/(14)-(13)/10-5-9/2-4-7-1/3-6…Shacks Way (11) was beaten 37 lengths last time out, in the career debut. That’s nearly the length of the stretch here. But this 3YO son of Shackledord was favored that day and has returned to work very well for the red-hot barn of Brad Cox. Flashed speed in the debut, and then spit the bit. Here’s hoping that he returns a better man for that experience. I bet the 11 — at some darn nice odds, mind you — across the board and then box the 11-12-8 in one exacta. i will key the 11 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units, as well. 

7th: 3-5-8/4-12-7-10/(14)/11-1-2…Summer Revolution (3) is another owned and trained by Team Asmussen. Drops from the $25,000 ranks all the way to the $8,000 level for this one. And, has run 2nd in the last two against much, much better. Don’t know the reason for the cull here, but if primed and ready? This one is a go for me. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

8th: 2-8-11/6-3-9-10/7-12-4-1/5…Curate (2) spit the bit hard in the last outing here on March 14. Finished a disappointing and distant 8th that day. But I am encouraged on the return today. That last effort was over a sloppy racetrack and he set the early fractions in a torrid war path. Went the first 1/4 in :21 & change. Suicide pace numbers. If the rider can throttle that back just a tad? May be better in the 3rd start off the layup today. Barn hits with .25% of those making the first start off the claim, and with .25% returning as a beaten favorite, too. Third start off a layup? Barn wins at a .24% clip. My pick. Zip on By (8) won a nice one last time out, but that was way back in November at Churchill Downs. Has been training lights out in Lexington. But has not shown that he likes to rebound off the bench in the first start. Question there. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 2 over/under all the numbers in two smaller units.

9th: 10/6-2/1-4-7/5-3…Rainbow Stakes…This is a Stakes event for the 3YO males going 6 furlongs over the main track. I get a single here with Zaino Boyz (10). Despite the outside post, this one shows the best numbers. Period. Has been running in open company down at Gulfstream Park and not only has held his own, but has kicked some butt. Won a Stakes at Tampa and won a high-priced allowance last time out. Now, he will face only Arkansas-breds for the first time. Should be a feast. I bet the 10 to win/place and then key the 10 over/under the “all button.”

10th: 3-4-2/10-11-8/12-1/5-7…Codetowin (3) gets the nod in the day’s finale. This one has hit the board in each of the last 10 races. In that span, he has 7 wins, 2 seconds and a single third. Looks like he is well spotted in this one and has never been worse than 2nd over this track. Can stalk. Has proven he can win. My solid choice. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under the rest of the numbers in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene