Day Results 10 / 5-4-4
2020 Overall 459 459 / 163-149-183
Win % of Top Pick 35.51%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 35.95%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –290-459 63.18%
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 67-20-17-9 29.85% Win / 68.66% ITM

(It’s supposed to be KY Derby Week. So, out of tribute, I am posting KY Derby photos this week. Here’s my photo with a member of the Emergency Responders. This photo was taken about a week after my second bout with blood clots that nearly sent me to the big bugler in the sky. So, knowing where the stretcher was located was important. LOL.)

We are back to racing today. Not in Kentucky, mind you. But that’s another story for another day. Yet, we are back to racing at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs, Ark. They must be able to do a better job of preventing the virus down there. But that’s another story for another day.

It should be Kentucky Derby week. Instead, it is Arkansas Derby week.

So, we will pretend that we are happy about it, and get amped up for a great week of racing. So, this is “Thurby,” razorback style.

And, here’s our picks:

1st: 12-7-2/5-(13)-8/(14)-10… Explosive Shoes (12) ran very well until he didn’t in the last out. But this one did run a very nice 3rd in the career debut last December at Hawthorne. If he can find that run again? Airs here. Boo Be Right (7) could kick things off right for us today at Oaklawn Park. The 3YO son of Caleb’s Posse will be facing older ones in this tilt, but this field is not full of the most stellar competitors in the entire free world. And, he does show a modest race over the mud here on April 5 — although that was at nearly 36-to-1 odds.  Rider has 3 wins over the last 12 starts and the trainer has upped his win percentage here to .13% overall. James’s Moonshine (2) drops to a career low level today and gets a nice jockey change. May need a sip of that shine, but in this field? Chance. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. If you are playing the Pick 4 to start the day? All button. Hit the all button. Or…you could hit the “none of them” button.

2nd: 7-10/2-6-12/1-9-(14)/(13)-8-4…My Boy Lollipop (7) comes from the barn of Brad Cox, who has won with .20% of his 113 starters here this meet. This one ran an “even” fourth last time out. But that was after a 11/2-month layup. And, that was against much, much tougher. Gets dropped to near the bargain bin today and gets a new rider for the journey. Returns as a beaten favorite, too, and the barn hits with .30% of those. Threat. Tiz McNamara (10) drops from the $50,000 price category to the $10,000 level here. Barn hits with .12% of those getting this big of a class plunge. Also, this one returns to a spring after a route race. Barn hits with .26% of those cutting back, too. Has a 1-1-1 record in 5 starts here. Contender. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-10 in one exacta. I will key the 7-10 over/under the 2-6-12-1-9-14 in two smaller units.

3rd: 4-1-7/3-6-10/5-8/(14)-(13)-12-2…Roaring Rule (4) is my first, albeit modest, Upset Special of the Day. This one is listed at 6-1 in the ML and I would love to lock in those odds. This one ran horribly here last time out over a sloppy racetrack. But today’s weather is supposed to be grand and a return to a fast track could be just what this California-bred is looking for. Goes for the dangerous duo of trainer Robertson Diodoro and jockey David Cohen. They have teamed up to win .19% of the 73 mounts this meet. In 3 starts here? Two wins. I’m backing. Lewis Vaporizer (1) drops to the bottom price ranks today after a poor performance at the $20,000 level. Ran a huge one two starts back and should be tough at this level. Likes to spin his wheels early and often. Look for the rider to hit the gas pedal from the rail. Barn wins with .35% of those making the 2nd start for the new operation. Take note. Big League (7) drops from the $20,000 level to the $8,000 tag today, as well. Barn hits with .17% of those getting this kind of relief. Trainer having a cool meet, though, and the rider has won with a meager .04%. Hmmm. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 4-1 over/under the 3-6-10-5-8 in two smaller units.

4th: 10-1-9/7-4-(14)-(13)/5-11/3…This is another “spread” race for me. I give the edge to Shazzy B (10), who is another coming from the barn of Brad Cox. This Florida-bred has moved from the barn of Dale Romans and will make the first career start for the new barn. Trainer hits with .26% of those making the barn debut. Work here on April 25 was OK, but the barn scores with .29% of those making the first start after losing as a beaten favorite. Has speed to get in a good spot. Up to her after that. Cherokee Maiden (1) returns as a beaten favorite, too. This trainer hits with .24% of those kind. Has run three 2nds in a row. All of them here. Has not caught a fast track yet, though. May be ready to rock today. Kizzy B (9) had here streak of three straight 2nd place finishes snapped last time out when she was 4th. Winner of that heat came right back to win next time out. Gets here 2nd start for this barn, and the trainer wins with .21% of those. Contender. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over (only) the 7-4 in a smaller unit.

5th: 9/3-2-4/11-(13)-7-1/10-6-12…My first Key Play of the Day comes here with Matrooh (9). This 10YO gelded son of Distorted Humor drops from the $50,000 tag all the way to the $20,000 level here. Barn hits with .33% of those making this kind of drop. If you toss the last one, this guy has hit the board in the previous 5 races. Has 3 wins in that mix. In 11 starts here, over the career, has a 4-1-2 mark. I look for a big effort here and what could be a square price, too. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under the “all button.” I key the 9 over/under the 3-2-4 in two smaller units.

6th: 7-6/2-1-8-3/10-11-5-4…C Z Rocket (7) could be a nice surprise and a nice payoff in this spot today. This 6YO son of City Zip used to have some real zip to his step. Over the career, he has won nearly $240,000. Appears to be on the decline of late, and thus the drop to this level. I think this could be a nice wake-up call and the barn hits with .29% of those cutting back from a route to a sprint; also wins with .24% of those that are making their first career start in the claiming ranks. My choice. Gordy Florida (6) has a shot here. Drops from a high-level allowance into the claiming ranks for a trainer that hits with .13% of those making the drop for the first time. This one only has 1 win in 11 tries here. But does have 3 seconds and 4 thirds. Easier competition could help propel this one. I bet the 7-6 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 7-6 over/under the 2-1-8-3-10 in two smaller versions.

7th: 8-12/1-(14)-4-6-7/(13)-5-10-9…Sacred Oath (8) is my “Claim of the Day.” With racetracks starting to open back up, I think this one could be a nice snare at the $40,000 level. The 4YO son of Quality Road has made only 3 previous starts in the career. None of them have been over a dry, fast track. Should get that kind of surface today, and this one may just move up. Love the work here on April 17. Looks solid in this spot to me. The Great Dansky (12) won easily at the $75,000 MCL level here on March 5. Didn’t fare too well in the first start for trainer John Sadler last time out. But gets the blinkers today and the barn hits with .21% of those making the 2nd start after a claim purchase. Barn winning at a .21% clip this meet, too. Dangerous here. I bet the 8-12 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 8-12 over/under the 1-14-4-6-7 in two smaller versions.

8th:9-7-8/2/4-1/3-6-5…This is my 2nd Upset Special of the Day. I love Motion Emotion (9) in this spot. The 4YO daughter of Take Charge Indy will be making the second start since April 5 and she nearly won last time out. Before that race, she was in two straight Graded Stakes events. She ran 9th in the KY Oaks just a year ago, too. In 6 starts here, she has 2 wins and 3 seconds. I look for a huge performance out of this speedster today. Fighting Mad (7) comes into this one off an 8-length win in the G3 Torey Pines Stakes at Del Mar in the last outing. But that was last August. That was 8 months ago. The barn can get them ready off the bench, of course. The man is the best in the game. But she does face some good ones in this spot. Interesting return. Blamed (8) rates a shot in here, too. This one ran poorly in the G3 Hurricane Bertie Stakes last time out. But she won the time before, too. Inconsistent at times, but a torrid runner when she can make the lead. I bet the 9-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 9-7 over/under the 8-2-4-1 in two smaller versions.

9th: 4-(13)-9/11/7-6/1-2-12/5-8/3…Union Ride (4) will be making his 2nd start for the new barn, and the trainer hits with .20% of those. Winner of the last race here came right back to win again. Looks to be a key race, of sorts. Stands a chance to improve with the 2nd start off a layup today and the barn hits with .25% of those kind. Serious contender for me. I bet the 4 to win/place/show. I will box the top 3 numbers — whatever they are. And, I will key the 4 over/under all the numbers in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene