McLean’s Selections for the Fair Grounds on Thursday, Jan. 24

Day Results8-3-0-2
2019 Overall 112112/35-35-58
Win % of Top Pick31.25%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall38.10%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –71 of 11263.39%
Top Selection ITM / FG Nov-Mar 198-29168.04%
Top Selection Win / FG Nov-Mar 108-29137.11%
“Key Horses” @ FG Nov-Mar 64-30-15-546.88%
“Key Horses” in 2019 37-14-8-237.84%

It’s back to another week in beautiful Cajun Country. If you have a few minutes, check out our interview with jockey Adam Beschizza. He is currently second in the Jockey Standings at this current meet, and a heck of a good chap.

Here’s a closer look at Thursday’s card:

1st: 2/8-4-6-7/3…Guilty Kitty (2) is a Key Play of the Day for me, right off the bat. This 3YO gelded son of Guilt Trip is a Louisiana-bred trained by HOFer Steve Asmussen. Was beaten as the favorite in the first start here on Jan. 11. Will be dropping way down off that effort, where he set the pace before tiring very late. Barn hits with .25% of those returning as beaten favorites, and with .22% of those making the second career start. Should improve for this try today, and the drop has to help. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the other numbers listed.

2nd: 5-8/1-11-7-9/12-4-6…I’ll focus my betting strategy on the top 2 numbers in this race, led by Havinfunyet (5), who I can’t imagine will go off at the ML odds of 6-1. This one has won four races in a row, and they all came after three seconds in a row. Won the last time out here on Dec. 26, coming from the clouds to run away at the wire. Barn hits with .17% of those returning after a win, and with .13% of those racing over the sod. Figures for me. Lady Temple (8) has been beaten by our top pick in each of the last two outs, but is the 7-5 favorite in the ML? Got to be kidding me, right? This one has hit the board in 10 of 17 grass tries in the career, and figures to be stalking the leaders for the late close. Definitely has a shot, but not the prohibitive fav in here for me. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then box the 5-8 in one exacta. I key the 5 over/under the 8-1-11-7-9-12-4 in two smaller versions.

3rd: 2-1/3-5/7-6-4-8…I’ll go inside for the top picks in this route over the dirt track, led by Cimarron (2). This one will be making the second start for the new barn after being claimed for $15,000. Finds herself back for sell at the same price today, and should be a contender — coming from a barn that scores with .20% of those making the second start for the new connections after the purchase. Will be the first time routing, and the barn hits with .11% of those kind, too. Spun Line (1) will make her second career start for the meet’s top trainer. The barn hits with .25% of those making the second career start and .32% of those routing for the second time. Caught a sloppy track and spit the bit after pushing the pace in the debut. Now, back for another try. I put on top if the track is dry. I bet the 2-1 across the board and then box those two solidly in the exacta. I will key the 2-1 over/under the 3-5 in two smaller versions.

4th: 10/4-1-(13)/2-8-7/3-6-9…The second grass event carded on the day, and my second Key Play of the Day. I go with Remembermis (10) in here, despite the far outside post. This 6YO gelding has hit the board in each of the last five tries, and does have three wins and five seconds in 14 grass starts overall. Has a win and two seconds in four starts over this grass. Barn has been hot all meet and puts the meet’s top rider in the irons. Adds up for me. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and I key the 10 over/under the 4-1 in exactas. I will key the 10 over/under the 2-8-7 in two smaller versions, as well.

5th: 1-3-5/8-2-6/9-7…I will spread out a bit here, but still go with a solid pick on the rail horse — Miracle Mountain (1). The inside post has been solid all meet, and this one drops from a $15,000 price tag to the bargain bin today. Huge drop should help this one, and this one has run well on the synthetic and turf, as well. We’ll see about fast dirt today. Netela (3) has hit the board in each of there last three outs at this same level. Wins two back, but lost that condition. Sunrise Hawk (5) was claimed last time out by a top barn operation — which hits with .25% of those running for the new connections for the first time. Has two thirds in a row and could be tougher on dry track today. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

6th: 1/5-9-7/3-10-6/4…The third turf race on the day, and my third Key Play of the Day. This one comes with the rail horse — Beach Waltz (1). This 4YO Treasure Beach filly drops all the way from the $100,000 optional claimer ranks at Churchill Downs in November to a price tag of $30,000 today. Ran in a G3 two starts back, and was third in a Stakes event at Indy Grand before that. Should love the class relief and gets a top rider in the saddle. My solid choice. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under the 5-9-7 in two exactas. I will key the 1 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed in a smaller version.

7th: 2/1-3-4-8/6-5-7…Back-to-back Key Plays of the Day, comes right here with Arrival (2). This is a 4YO gelded son of Tapit who moves from the grass back to the dirt for this 1 mile & 70 yard contest. Should love the return to the dirt, where he was a nice second two starts back against much tougher. Had only 3 starts last year, but looks to be training well for this one, and goes for a top barn and gets a top rider. My pick. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under the 1-3-4-8 in two exactas. I key the 2 over (only) the 6-5-7 in a smaller version.

8th: 6-10-2/9-11-13-12/1-7…The final grass race of the day is a 5.5-furlong sprint for 3YO colts and geldings. I will spread out a bit here, but will lead with Real News (6) in this spot. This one comes from a top barn and will be making the career debut after turning in some very nice morning works. Look at the move here on Jan. 4. Barn hits with .24% of those making the career debut and with .18% of those debuting on the grass. Out of a Stakes-placed mare who has thrown 3 turf winners from 7 starters. Has 6 winners and a SW, too. Breeding is there. Works are there. He’s the Souperwon (10) is parked wide from the start, but should improve with a return to the grass. Barn hits with .18% of those running for the third time off a layoff, and the rider has won with .30% of the last 10 starts for this barn. Dam is a SW. I bet the 6-10 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. 

9th: 4/8-1/9-6/3-5-10…The last race of the day renders another Key Play of the Day for me. Fancy Pants Jen (4) is 5-2 in the ML, and I think that is a generous offering, considering that she is dropping from $20,000 price tag to the bargain bin today. If you toss the last race, which was the first start in 4+ months, this mare hit the board in the previous five starts. Has only the one win in 15 career starts, but has never been last this low of a level before and the barn hits with .19% of those getting this kind of class plunge. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the 8-1-9-6 in two exactas. I key the 4 over (only) the rest of the numbers listed in a much smaller denomination.

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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