Day Results 8 / 3-4-4
2020 Overall 1740 1740 / 620-597-764
Win % of Top Pick 35.63%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 37.95%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –1,127-1,740 64.77%
Top Selection ITM / TP 45-74 60.81%
Top Selections Win / TP 29-74 39.19%
“Key Horses” @ TP 12-5-0-1 41.66% Win / 50.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 243-89-48-33 36.63% Win / 69.96% ITM

(Grandson Mac and his home-made binoculars. We get them started early in the McLean’s extended family. LOL.)

We had a rather good day up at the “new and improved” Turfway Park on Thursday night’s renewal of Kentucky Racing. Nailed three winners. Had a winner in one of our two “Key Plays of the Night,” with the other being scratched. And, we had exactas that returned $8.60, $23.50, $23.20 and $25.00 for each $1 played correctly.

Not bad.

We are back for more nighttime racing this evening with sugar plums dancing in our heads, and, we hope, some sugar plums dancing in our pocket books after the races are done, too.

Here’s our looks:

1st: 2-(2B)-(1A)/5/11-10/1-4-6/8-12…Goodtime Artie (2) came with a nice late run to get up for 2nd in a $15,000 MCL event at Churchill Downs last time out on Nov. 27. Didn’t muster much of a threat to the winner that day, but drops in class for this one and goes for a barn that wins with .29% when going from dirt to the AW surface. Barn is starting to heat up a bit here at the Holiday Meet, too, after winning the title at Churchill Downs in November. Looks to be the one to beat here. Hemp Heaven (2B) is on the AE List and must get some luck just to make the starting gate. If he does, it will be the first career start. Trainer is winning at a .31% clip here this meet and wins with .30% of those making the career debut. Works are good enough to spark interest. Oxfire (1A) comes form the barn of Jack Sisterson and he showed very little in the career debut at Churchill Downs on Nov. 22. That was over the slop, though, and that was against MSW company. Finds a much easier spot here, if he gets in from the AE List, too. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta (no matter who they are). I will key the 2 over/under the numbers listed in two smaller units.

2nd: 6/4-1/(13)-12-10/2-3/8…The first “Key Play of the Night” comes here with Lautrec (6). This 3YO son of Bernardini ran a good one last time out when facing the $15,000 MCL level at Churchill Downs. Spit the bit late in that one, but drops in class for this tilt tonight. Gets the blinkers for the first time from a HOF barn operation, which wins with .15% of those donning the shades. Barn wins with .24% when dropping this much in one swoop. And, has a work over this track on Dec. 9. Get a rider who has won with .25% of the last 8 mounts for the trainer, too. My solid choice here. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under the numbers listed. I will box the 6-4-1 in one other smaller unit.

3rd: 7-2/(14)-4-5-6-10/8-3-1/11-9…Onward (7) is a 3YO son of Street Sense that cost a hefty $600,000 as a 2018 yearling at the KEE September Sale. Now, this one will make the first career start for a new barn operation, and one of the finest young trainers in the game today. Drops to the bargain bin here for the first time in a fire sale and should have the ability to best these types. Good work up at Belmont Park in early November. Barn wins with .26% when getting a horse to the gate for the first time. Second off the layup, the trainer wins with .29% of the last 62. Pick. Jimmys Lifestyle (2) has not made a start since November. Of 2019. Has been training OK for the return and goes for a barn that wins with .21% when coming back off this kind of a layup Won by 14 at this track in March of 2019. Been a long time between drinks of water, though. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-2 in one exacta. I will key the 7-2 over/under the 14-4-5-6-10-8 in two smaller units, and I will key the 7 over/under the “all button,” in two more, as well.

4th: 2-4-11/8-6-(14)-(13)/3-10/7-12…Our Closure (2) gets the nods in this bargain bin buster. Drops down in class substantially after nearly winning against much tougher last time out. Barn wins with .26% of those dropping like this and that is with 82 runners. Rider has gone 2-0-1 in the last 4 mounts for this barn and this one has a 4-1-0 mark in 8 tries over an AW surface. Looks like the one to beat. Double Oaked (4) has hit the board in each of the last 4 tries and also gets a class drop for this one. Has been running against tougher at tougher locales. Gets a top rider for this venue and has a super work on the works on Nov. 12. Blinkers come off for this one and looks like she has a chance to run them down at the wire. Chance. I bet the 2-4 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 2-4 over/under the 11-8-6-14-13-3-10 in two smaller units.

5th: 7-4/10-1-11-12/6-9/2-3-8-5…Sequin (7) is my second “Key Play of the Night,” despite the fact that this is a very nice field of fillies assembled. This 3YO daughter of Bayern has compiled a very nice career record of 2-4-1 in 8 lifetime starts for a trainer that normally burns Turfway Park up. Has a .31% win rate for this Holiday Meet, too. Comes in off man impressive win at 5 furlongs at Churchill Downs. Has speed and will use it early and often. Barn wins with .34% when going from the dirt to the AW, too. Meet’s top rider takes the mount, and he has won with .35% of the last 31 rides for this barn. Adds up for me. Can she hold the lead late. I think so. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-4 sternly in one exacta. I will key the 7-4 over/under the 10-1-11-12-6-9 in two softer versions. I key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed in two more.

6th: 6-7/8-1/(14)-(13)-10/5-9-11-2-3…Orb of the Boro (6) ran a credible 3rd last time out at Indy Gand on Nov. 11. Pressed the pace in that one and tired late. Best race on the resume seems to be the near-miss 2nd at Ellis Park in August. The runner-up  that dead-heated with this one? Well…that one ran a huge one in the Ky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs to finish up the 2020 campaign and now is on the KY Derby trail. So? If this one can duplicate that effort? Look out. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the 6-7 sternly in the exacta. I will key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units — with more on the 8-1-14-13-10 than the rest.

7th: 6-2/11-8/10-3-7/9-4-1-5…What a nice allowance event for the 2YOs here. Nice one. Nice ones in it, too. I will give the edge to Pico d’Oro (6), who comes into this one off a 4th place finish to a very nice, highly-respected colt in Mandalone, from the barn of Brad Cox. That one was super impressive at Churchill Downs and now may be point to some major KY Derby preps down South. Pico, on the other hand, won the Ellis Park Juvenile in August, and beat some good ones. Fell off form a little bit, but the last race was a much “better-than-looks.” Medicine Tail (2) has been doing battle with our top pick for much of the year. Lost to him in the Juvenile back in August and has not been seen on the track since. Barn wins with .18% when away this long, and has been training well for the return. Gets a rider who is 0-for-6 for this barn, though. Hmmm. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 sternly in the exacta. I will key the 6-2 over/under the 11-8-10-3-7-9-4 in two smaller versions, and then I will key the 7 over/under the “all button.”

8th: 10-5-6/(13)/11-3/8-1-4-9/12…Miss Mess (10) ran much better than the final placing in the last outing at Indiana Grand. That was a sprint over the sod, and this one was eliminated when checked hard at the 3/8ths pole. No shot after that. Gets a veteran rider who has a win for this barn in recent days and the trainer wins with .26% when going from the MSW level to the MCL ranks for for the first time. Works over this track are solid. My pick. Ship’s Creek (5) did not run well as the heavy, odds-on favorite last time out. Never ran much in the entire affair. Before that, ran a decent second as the PT favorite, too. Been burning a lot of cash at the windows, but the barn does win with .20% with beaten favorites. Drop in class today should help. Shesalittle Edgy (6) goes for my great friend Buff Bradley, who has endured a lot of tough luck this year and at this meet. Has 3 seconds and a third in 9 starts this meet, and could have easily won all of those placings. This one drops in class of a nice 2nd last time out. Look for more here and the work on Dec. 11 was good enough. A shot here. I bet the 10-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 13, if this one draws in. If not? I will key the 10-5-6 over/under the 11-3 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene