McLean’s Selections for the Fair Grounds on Saturday, Jan. 12

Day Results9-2-3-5
2019 Overall 5454/16-19-31
Win % of Top Pick29.63%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall40.75%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –32 of 5459.26%
Top Selection ITM / FG Nov-Mar 159-23368.24%
Top Selection Win / FG Nov-Mar 89-23338.20%
“Key Horses” @ FG Nov-Mar 44-21-9-447.73%
“Key Horses” in 2019 13-5-2-138.46%

1st: 7-5-6/2-3-1…He’s No Bully (7) has a couple of thirds in 5 previous races to date. Was the beaten favorite from the last time out, and the barn does hit with .19% of those racing for the third time off a layoff. Barn has hit with .11% this meet. Yakadaddy (5) ran second over a muddy track last time out when closing from off the pace. Gets the meet’s top rider in the irons. Barn hits with .30% of those racing in the MCL ranks. Step to the Bar (6) improved when catching a muddy track last time out. Gets the apprentice back in the irons, and the weight allowance should help this one. Barn hits with .10% on third try off the layoff. I bet the 7-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. Tread lightly.

2nd: 6/1-2-4-5/3…Shakopee Town (6) is the first Key Play of the Day. This one has hit the board in all six previous starts. Does drop a bit in class for this one today, after having run in two State-bred Stakes events in the last two. This barn has won with .21% of 33 starters this meet. Gets one of the meet’s top jocks up today, as well. My solid pick. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the 1-2-4-5 and over (only) the 3.

3rd: 1/4/5-(12)/2-8-9…Riv (1) is the second Key Play of the Day. This 5YO gelding is scheduled to move to the turf, but what with the weather forecast it may be moved over to the main track. Check to see track conditions and scratches, for sure. Did win last time out at odds-on when the race was moved from the turf to the main track then. In 17 career starts, has 10 wins. Solid. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under the 4. I then key the 1-4 over/under the 5-(12) in a smaller amount. I also key the 1-4 over (only) the 2-8-9.

4th: 5/9-4-3-2/7-8-1…My third Key Play of the Day in a row. I go with the Brad Cox first-time starter Half Waypoint (5) in this spot. This 4YO filly is the daughter of a dam who has produced 2 winners from 3 starters and the breeding certainly seems to support this distance. The rider is red hot, with 4 wins in the last 11 starts. Has been working well for this one, too. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key the 5 over/under the 9-4-3-2. I will key the 5 over (only) the 7-8-1.

5th: 9-11-(12)/5-6/1-7-10-3…Milk Chocolate (9) has hit the board in each of the first three starts. This is the second try off a layup, and the barn hits with .19% of those. Going from MSW to MCL, the barn hits with .22%. And, the barn hits with .23% when the runners come back as a beaten favorite. Adds up for me. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then box the 9-11-(12) in one box. I will also key the 9 over/under the 5-6 in two smaller versions.

6th: 1-1A/7-4-2/3-6-5…Got another Key Play of the Day in this one, too. And, I will get the benefit of a 2-for-1. The entry of Making a Marc (1) and Boyfriend Material (1A) both have a shot in this event. The former is making his second start off a layoff and the barn hits with .26% of those. The trainer is red hot with a 3-1-1 record in the last 6 starts, and worked well on Jan. 9. The latter is returning as a beaten fav and the barn hits with .31% of those. Gets a top rider in the irons, and the rider has connected with a 2-1-0 record in the last 3 starts for this barn. I go solid on the entry across the board and then key the 1-1A over/under the 7-4-2 in one exacta. I will will key the entry over (only) the 3-6-5.

7th: 6-9-7-(13)/11-4-5/2-3-8…Lounge Act (6) comes out of a G2 event where she didn’t perform her best. But she has been off since that race last April. Before that, she won over this track. In 5 career starts, she has 2 wins and comes into this one off a nice work on Jan. 5. Gets the blinkers off today and the barn hits with .42% of those. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 6-9-7 in one exacta. If the #13 draws into this one, I will box the 6-9-13 in another. I will also key the 6 over/under the 9-7-(13)-11-4-5 in two smaller versions.

8th: 3-5/1-2-7-4/6…Casses Story (3) has a nice 1-2-0 record in 4 starts over this track and ran a nice second here on Dec. 15. The rider has a 6-2-4 record in the last 24 starts for this barn, and the duo has been very solid here all meet. In the last 89 races together, they have hit for .20%. Higher Power (5) goes for a top barn and this 4YO Medaglia d’Oro colt ran third in the Northern Spur Stakes at Oaklawn Park last April. Returned off a long, long layoff to run third here against a real good one on Dec. 15. Look for huge improvement out of this one. I bet the 3-5 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 3-5 over/under the 1-2-7-4-6.

9th: 6-9-(12)/7-11/4-2-1…Ian Glass (6) comes out of a MSW victory here on Nov. 17. Got a break after that, but the 3YO son of Hard Spun has trained well for this return and the barn does hit with .10% of those moving up to face winners for the first time. Gets a top rider in the irons. John’s Bobby (9) gets 6-1 ML odds and can spice up the price if he can run well. This is another son of Hard Spun and has run well over the slop in the last two. Broke the maiden last time out coming from way off the pace. Gets the same rider back. In 7 career races, he has a 1-2-1 record. Frolic More (12) would be tough if this one is moved to the main track. Has a 1-1-1 mark in four starts and won the last time out against a really nice field at Churchill. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 7-11 in two smaller versions.

10th: 3/9-8-6-10/2-7…The last race of the day is for the State-breds only, and I will go with my last Key Play of the Day.This nod will go to Ty C (3) has run third in three of the last four outs and has finished in the show position in each of the 2 races over this track. Barn is 0-for-40 in the claiming ranks and does have a victory on the board that I can see. But…This one could do it with the meet’s top rider taking the assignment in a weak field. I’m going for the first win, Ray (as in trainer Ray Culotta). I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under the rest of the numbers listed.

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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