McLean’s Selections for the Fair Grounds on Sunday, Jan. 27 / Seek N Justice Debut Day

Day Results9-1-7-4
2019 Overall 136136/43-47-71
Win % of Top Pick31.62%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.46%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –88 of 13664.71%
Top Selection ITM / FG Nov-Mar 215-31568.25%
Top Selection Win / FG Nov-Mar 116-31536.83%
“Key Horses” @ FG Nov-Mar 72-31-16-543.06%
“Key Horses” in 2019 45-15-9-233.33%

We had one of “those” days at the Fair Grounds on Saturday. And, that’s never good.

Our top pick ran second five times on the 9-race card. Our top pick ran third once. And, our top pick won once. Yet, it is like I tell my lovely bride, Leigh Ann, all the time:

“If I run second, it’s going to be a bad day.”

It was a bad day.

Oh, well. Better things ahead for this beautiful Sunday. After all, our 3YO colt Seek N Justice will make his racing debut this afternoon in the 7th race at the Fair Grounds. Woo. Hoo. Excitement. Central.

Here’s a closer look at the entire card:

1st: 6-1-3/4-1A/5-2-7…Abominable Snowman (6) is a NY-bred who has found his way to the sunny confines of New Orleans for this winter’s long months for trainer Michael Dilger. Barn has only 1 win in the first 10 starts here, but does have 2 seconds to show for the efforts, as well. This one ran second here when on the good main track on Dec. 14. Moved to the turf last time out and spit the bit half way through a mile run over a yielding surface. Drops to the bargain basement bin for today’s affair and back on the dirt. Should relish both the price drop and the surface change. Gets a solid jock in the irons. My pick. My Man Jax (1) ran well on Oct. 31 at Hawthorne against much better, but didn’t fare well here when facing this level on Jan. 5. Was wide throughout in that one and gets back to Mitchell Murrill in the irons today. Trainer having a solid meet with 7 winners in 37 starts. Chance. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta.

2nd: 4/3-(10)-5/6…My first Key Play of the Day comes right here with Kraft’s Rate (4). This one is 2-1 in the ML, but should relish a return to the grass in this spot today. Ran well over it to be second two starts back. Forced wide in that one and still nearly won. Ran third, but tired badly over the slop in the last out here on Dec. 31. Dam has a winner from two starters, and the filly did return from the last to train well here on Jan. 18. Looks fit and ready. Willing and able? I say so. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the rest of the numbers listed above.

3rd: 6/4-7-5/1-2-8/3…My second Key Play of the Day comes in back-to-back races, and with Fashion’s Touch (6). This one was beaten a slick nose in the last out here on Jan. 5, when dropping to the bargain basement bin. Set all the fractions that day and was nipped in the last jump as the beaten favorite. Barn hits with .18% of those returning to the races the next time, and the trainer also hits with .32% of those making the third start off a layup. Trainer having a very solid meet, winning with 5 of 25 starters so far. Jockey has won with .21% of the last 19 rides for this barn, too. Adds up for me. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the 4-7-5 in two exactas, and over (only) the 1-2-8-3 in a much, much smaller version.

4th: 10-9-6/8-3-2/1…The second grass event carded today, and this one will be contested at the flat, 1-mile distance. Despite the angle disadvantage, I will go to the outside with my top two selections, led by Hero of the Hour (10). This one has been off since Aug. 11, but the barn hits with .21% of those returning from this kind of a layup, and the work here on Jan. 21 was very nice for a very skilled and professional trainer. Ran second in each of the last two against some nice ones in Chicago, and now will drop into the claiming ranks for the first time. Barn hits with .14% of those. Wouldn’t be a bad claim for this price tag. Non Regrette (9) is another who will be offered up for a price tag for the first time today. This 4YO gelded son of Blame is 0-for-9 so far, but does have 3 seconds and a third. Barn hits with .15% of those getting into the MCL ranks for the first time. Ran 6th here on Dec. 2, but was beaten less than 3 for all of it. Should be tough against the likes of these. I bet the 10-9 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

5th: 6-7-8/5-4-1/3-2…Divine Desire (6) will get the saddle for J. Larry Jones, who is having a really nice meet. Has a 6-1-5 record in the first 27 starts. This one ran a distant fifth here on Jan. 1, but that was over a sloppy track. Should get a fast one today, and this one has a 2-1-1 record in 7 starts over that kind of a strip. Drops to a career low price tag for this one, and did train exceptionally well here on Jan. 22 to blow out for this one. Looks sharp and ready to break out again. Fascilitator (7) started his career like a real good thing. After two seconds — beaten a neck in each — this son of The Factor nailed back-to-back wins last Spring. Beat some good ones, too. Ran third in the Black Gold Stakes over the grass here on March 3, 2018 — beaten by Dragon Drew. But he has not been the same horse since. Was claimed two starts back and didn’t run well at Churchill on Nov. 17. Drops to a career low level for this one for a barn that knows how to win claiming events. Look for more today. I bet the 6-7 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

6th: 9-8-6/4-10-3/1-5-2…The third of the four grass races today, and this one will be run at 11/16-miles over the green, green grass of home. Again, I go outside for my top picks, led by Wildscore (9). This 4YO gelded son of Tiz Wonderful ran second last time out here on Jan. 6 and will be making his third start off a layup today. Barn hits with .14% of those kind. Rider has scored with .33% of the last 15 mounts for this trainer, and should be a serious contender at this price tag. Zorzor (8) was awful last time out here on Dec. 31. That was over a sloppy main track, though, and this one does have a 2-3-1 record in 15 starts over the sod. Better yet? He has a win and a second in three starts here. Love the fact that the barn hits with .38% of those dropping this far in class, and is having a solid meet. I bet the 9-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

7th: 9-2-1/8-10/5…I give you my numbers for this race, but I will tell you why I can only root and wager on one horse: Seek N Justice (5). This is a 3YO colt by Caleb’s Posse, that I bred and have raised since birth. He will be making his career debut today, with my great friend Buff Bradley doing the honors of tightening the girth. He’s not the biggest guy in this fight. After all, he is a June foal. But he just might have the biggest fight of the bunch. Love his style and grace. His manners are impeccable. And, he’s smart as a tack. Here’s hoping that he gets a clean run and a fair chance. And, here’s hoping beyond hope that he runs his little heart out. Love me some #5. After all, that is my son’s favorite number. Wore it throughout much of his athletic career. Worked for him. Works for me.

8th: 3/4-10-1/5-2-9-7…The last grass race event of the day and the last Key Play of the Day, as well. I will go with Carbonated (3) in this spot. The 4YO gelded son of Langfuhr has raced four times in his career. True to form, he has run four straight seconds. Each of the last two have been less than a length. He will get back on the sod for trainer Tom Proctor today, and I think he will finally find a way to move up a notch near the wire. Today’s the day. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under the 4-10-1-5-2.

9th: 8-1-7/10-6-3-2-9/4…The last race of the day is a bargain basement bin, $5,000 claimer for just Louisiana-breds, and is a wide open affair. I will focus the betting strategy on the top 3 numbers, led by Captain Tyree (8). This one is 4-1 ML odds and could drift up the ladder a bit by PT. Gets a nice jockey up and ran second for him last time out when getting to the LA-breds only for the first time in awhile. Missed by a half length in that one and was wide in the stretch. A little better trip today and this deep, deep closer could be a huge factor at the wire. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

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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