Day Results 10 / 4-4-6
2020 Overall 478 478 / 169-159-193
Win % of Top Pick 35.36%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.33%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –301-478 62.97%
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 70-21-17-10 30.00% Win / 68.57% ITM

(Gene & Leigh Ann — in Derby’s Past. I’ve got a lot less weight and hair. LA is just as lovely today.)

By now, if you read this blog, you know my feelings about today and the fact that we are not all ready to pack our hats and best “Sunday dress clothes” and head to Churchill Downs.

These are crazy days and times.

So, we will take our swing at Oaklawn Park and the Arkansas Derby x 2.

Hope we have some good luck.

Here’s my picks:

1st: 2-3/7-6-1-11/8/9-10-4-5…Full of Grace (2) won here in the last out. Barn hits with .24% when trying to wheel right back to the circle. In 5 starts here, this one has 2 wins and is 3-1-1 in 10 starts at this distance. Looks in good form right now and the work is spot on. Miss Imperial (3) was claimed for $25,000 last time out off the barn of Brad Cox. The new operator hits with .25% in first start after the purchase, and that’s with 16 pool sample. Has won 3 in a row and has some very nice stalking speed. Hard to dismiss. Lexington Grace (8) will be running for the first time on the dirt. Maybe just needs a race. But if she can convert her style? She rates a shot at a huge price. Works here are OK. Not great. But the barn is putting the blinkers back on today and it hits with .36% of those kind. At 20-1 ML odds? I use a bit. I bet the 2-3 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 2-3 over/under the 7-6-1-11-8. May use a bit across the board on the 8 and then box the 2-3-8 in one very small unit.

2nd: 6-5-3/1-8-10…Lots of unanswered questions in this MSW event for the 3YO fillies. Most of the contenders seem to be first time starters. So, we do our best guest work using pedigree and works. I give the edge to Scolding (6). This one cost a hefty $475,000 as a 2YO last year. Must have flashed some moves. Nice work here on April 24. Looks ready for a barn that hits with .18% on debut. Extra Effort (5) has been working very well for the debut, too. Homebred daughter of Flashback, who can get a fast runner. Dam of this one is a winner and has a winner from one starter. Jockey is hot, too. Brittle and Yoo (3) goes for the barn of Brad Cox. His first timers hit at a .19% rate. This one comes from a Stakes-placed dam, who has a winner from one starter, too. I bet the 6-5 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 1 in two smaller units.

3rd: 4-2/3-(13)-10-12/5-1-6…Tempt Fate (4) gets his regular rider back in the saddle today, and they teamed up to overpower them two races back. Fell too far off the pace to make a serious run last time and I can toss that one. In 3 races here, has a win and 2 thirds. In 4 races at the distance, has a win and 2 thirds. Look for the rider to ask more from the get in this spot. Captain Don (2) beat our top pick last time out. In 6 career starts, has a win and 3 seconds. Looks to hang a bit when winning time comes. Could happen again today. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the 4-2 in the exacta. I will key the 4-2 over/under the rest of the numbers in two smaller units.

4th: 11-7/8-9-(14)/5-12…Bank (11) is eligible for the Triple Crown and this 3YO son of Bernardini looks to be ready for graduation day today. In 3 previous starts, has 2 thirds. Made a rail trip last time out and just missed second in that one. Not much room to negotiate along the fence and that may have hurt with the inexperience. Gets away from there today, hopefully. With a clear move outside? May run them down. Major Attraction (7) ran in the same race as our top pick last time out. Was beaten about 2 by Bank. This one has just chased around in the first two career starts. Never out of it. Never really making a move. Returns as a beaten favorite today, though, and the barn hits with .28% of those over the last 94 starts. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the 11-7 in one exacta. I will key the 11 over/under the “all button” in two smaller units.

5th: 9-11-2/12/3-8/6-1/5-7-4…What a nice race here. I will give the slight edge to the NY-bred Bankit (9). Ran a huge 3rd to Tom’s d’Etat in the Oaklawn Mile here last time out. In 6 starts here, does not have a win yet. Hmmm. But does have 2 seconds and a third. Has faced some good ones, too, and has two loses here this year by a head each time. Could be better. Much better. Endorsed (11) has raced just 7 times in the career and has 3 wins and a second to show for the efforts. Has not raced since March, when he ran 5th to Combatant in the G1 Santa Anita Handicap. Went way wide into the stretch that day and lost all chance. Gets a nice rider swap for this one and will make the first start for the new barn operator, too. Should fit nicely here. Long Range Toddy (2) could spice the odds rack up in this spot. I definitely use. Will make the 2nd career start for the new barn and has been working great. I look for a lot more out of this one here and the stretch out should help. In 3 starts at this distance, he has a win and a third. I add in the mix. I bet the 9-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 12 in two smaller versions.

6th: 4-(14)-11/3-5-7-2-10/1-6…This is a fine MSW event for the 3YOs, and I will go with Friar’s Road (4) on top. The son of Quality Road ran 2nd in the last out to Shooter’s Shoot, who came back to win the next out and was entered in a division of today’s G1 Arkansas Derby. If this one can hold his own in the early going, he will come with a late kick. Blinkers could sharpen up a bit and that would help. Love the work on April 25. Barn hits with .28% that ship in to race. My pick. Solid. Divine Armor (14) could be a real contender, but needs help just to get in the race from the AE List. Has 3 seconds in a row and a third to Thousand Words. Look to see if he makes the gate. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the numbers listed.

7th: 8-10/(13)-5-7-4/3-9-12-1…I love a lot of horses today. You will see many Key Plays today. Here is one. I just love this filly. In fact, by September she may be even money to win the KY Oaks. And, all she has done — to date — is break the maiden. But don’t be mislead. This gal is a monster. Gamine (8) finally made the starting gate for the first time on March 7. Ran away to an easy 6-plus length win. Could have been twice that in the final margin if they wanted. This 3YO daughter of Into Mischief can motor. Trained by Bob Baffert, Gamine cost a hefty $1.8 million as a 2YO last May. Look for gas. Look for eye-popping time. Look for the win. I bet the 8 to win/place and then key the 8 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. Maybe a tad more on the 10.

8th: 10-5/6-2-1/7-12-8…Trainer Todd Pletcher is winless this meet, but he may get off the “duck” today with some serious contenders on the card. This race he saddles the 4YO son of Medaglia d’Oro — Moretti (10). The connections paid a handsome $900,000 for this one as a Fasig-Tipton Saratoga purchase in 2017. He’s managed to earn back about $80,000 to date. Need a bigger truck. But in 7 lifetime starts to date, he does have a win, 3 seconds, and a third. The two times he was off the board, he lost to Tax in the G3 Withers Stakes last year and then returned to run up against Bodexpress at Gulfstream. None of those kind in here. Look for more. I do. Fra Muro (5) has a few more accomplishments on his resume. In 15 starts to date, he has a record of 3-4-2. Here, he is 1-1-0 in 3 starts. Comes in off a nice second. Nearly made the lead late before being pushed back. Consistent sort likely to run good again. I bet the 10-5 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 10-5 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

9th: 3-7/1-6-5-10/11/8…Fearless (3) is a 4YO son of Ghostzapper and is trained by Todd Pletcher. The same Todd Pletcher who has yet to win a race at Oaklawn Park this meet. Zero-for-6, with just two seconds. But…This one returns as a beaten favorite and the barn hits with .25% of those. And, he was favored to beat By My Standards last time out at the Fair Grounds in the G2 New Orleans Handicap. Fits better with this group, to be sure. Look for more speed today with the barn’s go-to rider getting the reins. Rotation (7) has 2 wins in 10 starts, but 4 seconds. Ran a very nice 2nd here in the slop last time out to begin the 2020 campaign. Barn hits with .19% of those making the 2nd start off a layup and this one has faced some nice ones in the past — like Night Ops, Warrior’s Charge. Will be running at the wire. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-7 in one exacta. I will key the 3-7 over/under the rest of the numbers listed in two smaller units.

10th: 2/7-11-5/1-4/12…Here is another serious Key Play of the Day for me — Ginobili (2). I just love this 3YO son of Munnings. Lost here as the odds-on favorite on April 5, but I can excuse that one. Broke at the back of the pack and then rushed up. Lost all hope on the turn. This one likes and prefers the front. Didn’t happen last time out. I can toss. With a good break today, this one could run them off their feet early and often. Two races back, this one lost to Nadal by less than a length. I go. I bet the 2 across the board and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas.

11th: 1/11-8-4/3-7-10…G1 Arkansas Derby — 1…This is the weaker division of the 2 Arkansas Derbies today, IMO. And, it may have a superstar in the midst. No matter what, I go a single on Charlatan (1). Despite the poor rail draw, this one has plenty of speed to gas out of the early trouble and make the lead. He also appears to have the spunk and style to carry his speed the extra distance today, too. This guy is a perfect 2-for-2 and appears to be the next coming of Justify. Will have to overcome the post and the distance. But that’s about it. The competition just simply can’t keep up on paper. I bet the 1 to win (only) and key the 1 over/under the “all button.”

12th: 12-4-13/9-7-14/11-10…G2 Oaklawn Handicap…This is my Key Play of the Day. I just love By My Standards (12). Love. Love. Love. This 4YO son of Goldencents is stepping up in class in a serious way. Granted. He has never faced the likes to these or the accomplishments of these types. Granted. And, he will get his most serious test of time today. Granted. But this guy just could be and become the best horse in training today. IMO. He has been simply overpowering in his two wins this year and before the KY Derby debacle, he was impressive in winning the G2 Louisiana Derby a year ago. He was given time by trainer W. Bret Calhoun to grow, mature and get healthy in both mind and body. Look for this one to run a huge one. It will take it. But I think he’s got it. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 12 over/under the “all button” in here, too. 

13th: 7-5-10/11-9-4/3-1…G1 Arkansas Derby — 2…I go with my Upset Special of the Day — Silver Prospector (7). This 3YO son of Declaration of War is trained by Steve Asmussen and he just loves a hard, fast, dirt surface. In 3 races over a fast track, he has 2 wins and a third. He does have a win over Tiz the Law, albeit over the slop at Churchill Downs last November. So, talent is there. Loves the conditions. And…this is the race that the HOF trainer has pointed to all along. The works have been solid. Just looks like he is pointed in the right direction and I love the stalking style. Should be poised to pounce behind quick early fractions. Nadal (5) is undefeated in 3 races for HOF trainer Bob Baffert — who has won 6 of 11 races here this meet. Nadal won the G2 Rebel Stakes here in impressive fashion. Took on all contenders. One by one he dismantled them and then show a lot of guts and courage to hold off the fast closing Excision at the wire. Can’t throw out this one. Farmington Road (10) and Wells Bayou (11) are two more that seem to be right there every time, too. I have to use, no doubt. This is the deeper of the two fields and both of these runners warrant serious consideration. I bet the 7-10 to win/place/show and then box the 7-5-10-11 in the exacta, trifecta. I will key the 7-5 over/under the 10-11-9-4-3 in two more exactas — with lesser units. 

14th: 1-5-4/14-13-12-8/7-9…Dangerfield (1) is a 6YO gelded son of Into Mischief and is coming off a win here at the $12,500 claiming level last time out. The trainer wins at a .21% rate when trying to go back-to-back and in 13 starts over this track, this one has a tidy 3-3-1 mark. This year? Has a 1-2-1 record in 4 starts. Good right now. If you are still up and have money left in the account, I go here. Carlos Sixes (5) should be the PT favorite and the horse to beat. This one drops off a win and the barn hits with .27% of those kind. In 4 starts this year, this one has 3 wins and a second. Apprentice takes the ride again. Won with this one last time out. Take note here. Magic Vow (4) could spice up the odds rack a bit. Louisiana-bred has done well in open company in the past and ran 3rd to Carlos Sixes last time out. Could be coming at the wire. I bet the 1-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the f1-5 over/under the 14-13-12-8 in two smaller versions.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene