McLean’s Selections for the Fair Grounds on Wednesday, March 13

Day Results10-4-4-4
2019 Overall 379379-137-143-186
Win % of Top Pick36.15%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall40.99%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –268 of 37970.71%
Top Selection ITM / FG Nov-Mar 397-55871.15%
Top Selection Win / FG Nov-Mar 210-55837.63%
“Key Horses” @ FG Nov-Mar 120-50-24-1541.67%
“Key Horses” in 2019 92-34-18-1236.96%

We finished up the week with several nice winners on Sunday, and now we head into the final two weeks of the Fair Grounds’s Winter-Spring meet with an extended day of racing on Wednesday of each week. Now, 10 days of live racing left on the calendar.

Let’s dive right in and take a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 8-7/2-6/5-4/3-1…The first event of the day is a claimer for LA-bred fillies and mares going the sprint distance of 6 furlongs. I go to the outside and land on my top two selections, led by Miss Brenda (8). This one has 2 wins in 4 tries over this track and comes into this one off a claim last time out. Barn hits with .15% of those making the first start for the new connections. If you go back three races, this one had a 2-win streak in tact and won at a much higher price tag level. Lost that condition, though, and she has not been the same. She has been running from well off the pace in the last two. Look for her to be a little closer today, at some decent odds. Musket’s Cup Cake (7) has been running against much tougher at Delta Downs. Has three tries over this track with a third to show for the efforts. Cuts back in distance today and has a second and a third at this length of race. Wide open affair, but I will bet the 8-7 across the board and then key the 8-7 over/under the 2-6 in the exacta.

2nd: 3-2/5-1/7…Shakes Creek (3) gets the nod in this event, which will be contested at 7.5-furlongs over the turf course. This 4YO son of The Factor won over the turf at Ellis Park last August, when getting the grass for the first time. Won from gate to wire that day. Was off until Feb. 8 and spit the bit early in that try — facing winners for the first time. Barn hits with .27% of those making the second start off a layup, and he will be dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time. Barn hits with .29% of those kind. Like the work here on March 8. Should be salty at this $15,000 level. Vinyl (2) ran third at this same level last time out for a barn that is warming up a tad towards the end of the meet. Was closing in that one after showing speed the time before — in a true “Z Pattern” race record. In 11 career starts, he has a win, 2 seconds and 4 thirds. Has hit the board in 3 of 4 here. Should be close. I bet the 3-2 across the board and then box those two in the exacta.

3rd: 8/3-7-2…My first Key Play of the Day comes right here with Captain Livi (8). This 4YO Bellamy Road filly is dropping all the way from a MSW event to the MCL $12,500 price tag today. Barn hits with .19% of those getting dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time, and she has not been embarrassed when facing the tougher foes. Gets the meet’s second-leading rider in the saddle for the first time, and she has speed to out-class these kind today. I bet the 8 to win/place and then key the 8 over (only) the 3-7-2.

4th: 6-9/7-3-1A-11-5/1-2-13-8-4…This is the second grass race carded today, and it will be contested at the route distance of 11/16-miles. I go with Destiny Awaits (6), who hails from the barn of Mike Maker. This 4YO Curlin colt ran at this same level back in late January and nearly won that one. The winner that day came right back to win the next out. The barn hits with .18% of those running over the sod, and he should be tough if he can duplicate the last out. Federal Dominance (9) is a 3YO Oxbow gelding, and is trained by Michael Stidham. This one will be dropping into the claiming ranks for the first time, and the barn hits with .18% of those. Worked super here on March 4, and gets a new rider in the irons for this one. Should press the pace early on. Dam of this one is a Stakes winner, who has thrown a turf winner. I bet the 6-9 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta.

5th: 7-4-1/6-3-2-5/8…This is a bargain bin event going 1-mile over the main track. I go with Sunrise Hawk (7), who was claimed last time out by his former trainer. Two back these connections lost him when he ran second at this same level. Was beaten badly last time out as the favorite, and the trainer took him back. This barn hits with .26% of those returning as a beaten favorite, and with .25% of those running for the first time after the claim. Look for improvement today. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta.

6th: 2-4-(16)/3-(11)-8-9-(10)/7-6-5-(13)…This is a 5.5-furlong sprint over the sod, and I will go with Sail On (2). This 3YO Into Mischief filly will be making her career debut for one of the meet’s top trainers and this filly has been training lights out. Gets the meet’s top rider in the irons, too. Miss Moneypenny (4) is another first time starter and this barn is 0-for-14 with horses making the career debut over the grass course. But this 3YO daughter of Munnings has been training very well, too, and the barn does score with .23% of those running sprint distances. Gets a top rider in the saddle, and he is sporting a 6-4-1 record over the last 23 mounts. I bet the 2-4 across the board and then box those 2 in the exacta. I will key the 2-4 over the 3-8-9-7 in a smaller version.

7th: 9-10/8-1/6-5-2/7-4…This is another bargain bin affair, and will be run over the main track at 1-mile distance. I go to the outside for my top 3 choices, led by Divine Favor (9). This one ran second here at this same level and distance on Feb. 28. Made the pace in that one before tiring late to finish second. Gets a new rider today and comes in off a solid work on March 8. Could be tough to catch today. Bye Bye Shanghai (10) gets back to the dirt today after two tries over the turf and against much tougher competition. In 5 tries over a fast dirt track, he has a win and a second. Gets down to an all-time low price tag today, and the barn hits with .23% of those getting this kind of class drop. I bet the 9-10 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 9-10 over/under the 8-1 in two smaller versions.

8th: 2/4-7-(9)/6-3-1-5/8…The second and final Key Play of the Day comes here with Tom Management (2). This 3YO son of Lemon Drop Kid has raced twice for trainer Al Stall, Jr., and he has a win over the turf here on Dec. 18 and then ran second by a dirty nose over the sod here on Feb. 10. Has plenty of speed and should fit nicely into this 11/16-mile distance today. Work here on Feb. 26 was solid, and the barn hits with .23% of allowance runners. Will have to get a new pilot today, after the injury to Declan Carroll last weekend. But he will be tough to catch and rundown late if he improves at all off the last outing. I bet the 2 to win/place and then key the 2 over/under the 4-7-9. I key the 2 over (only) the 6-3-1 in a smaller version.

9th: 1-7-11/2-9/6-(1A)-5-4…The last race of the day is for the LA-breds only and will be for sale for the $5,000 price tag. I go with Whoz Talkin Now (1) — who will be breaking from the 8-hole, as he is part of an entry. This 7YO gelding will be making the first start off a claim, but for the same barn that he ran at 2 starts back. Was reclaimed by the same trainer last time out and this is a solid claiming operation. Hits with .29% on the first try after the claim. Hits with .29% of all claimers. And, hits with .26% of those sprinting. Has hit the board in each of the last 11 starts. Consistent. I bet the 1 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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