Day Results 8/2-2-1
2019 Overall 1,497 1,497/521-542-659
Win % of Top Pick 34.80%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.34%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –978 of 1,497 65.33%
Top Selection ITM / TP Holiday 31-56 55.36%
Top Selection Win / TP Holiday 18-56 32.14%
“Key Horses” @ TP Holiday 3-1-0-0 33.33%
“Key Horses” in 2019 218-84-43-22 38.53% Win / 68.35% ITM

Not a good day at the ole’ ball yard on Friday night.

Had a couple of late winners. Did manage three exactas that returned good enough to get me some return on the day’s work.

But…Not a good night gambling wise.

I have to admit, though, that I have never been able to truly figure out the handicapping angles for the all-weather tracks. Especially the races over polytrack. And, since we are being truly honest, I detest the stuff.

Never thought the world would ever come to running over bits of chopped-up plastic with some silly grease applied to it. Always thought that God’s own mixture of dirt and/or sod would and should be the preferred surfaces for God’s own creatures of Thoroughbred flesh and bone.

But, I have to admit, that I see some uses for the artificial stuff when it comes to winter racing. The snows, and the freezes can make track maintenance a true challenge over traditional race bedding. So, I have come so far as to think that in limited cases that the stuff has a functionality.

That being written, I also think that the purchase of Turfway Park by Churchill Downs has certainly helped the overall maintenance, ingredients and make-up of both the facility and the track surface in Northern Kentucky. And, unquestionably, it is going to get better.

Say or think what you want, there is no better racetrack maintenance team in the world than those that occupy those jobs at Churchill Downs and its’ affiliated racetracks around the country.

None.

Zero.

So, here we go on a Saturday evening. Challenging for me, yes. But up for it?

We shall see. Proof always in the pudding.

1st: 8-5-6/3-4…Warrant Officer (8) drops a couple of classes today after running 4th last time out against tougher. Two races back, at this level, nearly won. Rider has hit with 1-of-3 for this barn and the work on Dec. 7 was solid at KEE. Should be a tough out in this spot. Golden Rule Haven (5) goes for a top barn operation, which has won with .17 of the 174 runners this year. Has a win and a third in two previous tries here this meet. One of the top riders on the premises. Has a right to improve with this distance and the barn hits with .19% of those making the second start. Well supported at the windows on debut. Kitten’s World (6) goes for a top barn operation, which ahas a 3-1-1 mark here in the first 8 starts. First time out for this one, who is out of a dam that has 2 winners from 3 starters. Barn hits with .28% of those on debut, and a good work to prep for this one. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 8-6 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over (only) the 3-4 in a smaller version.

2nd: 3-5/1-10-2/7-11-4…Purely Boy (3) drops from the $10,000 tag to the bargain bin for this one. Barn hits with .29% of those that get this much of a drop. Will be coming very deep in the stretch, but does have a 11-4-2 record in 25 races over the all-weather. Veteran of the plastic. I use on top. Ted W (5) goes for a barn that hits with .25% when moving from the dirt to the all-weather surface. The race two back, against tougher, was solid and was the final leg of 5 races in a row on the board. In 26 tries over the all-weather, he has a 6-4-3 mark. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the 3-5 in the exacta. I will key the 3-5 over/under the 1-10-2-7-11-4 in two smaller versions.

3rd: 6-1/2-8-5/7-4…Swanage (6) is the ML favorite in this one and figures to be the one to catch on the lead. I can toss the last one, when the 2YO daughter of English Channel was bumped up to face the likes of G2 company in the Jessamine Stakes. Ran competitively for half of that one, too. If she can get back to the lead, again, she will be salty in this one. Misty Blue (1) broke the maiden impressively three starts ago. Has caught some really tough ones in the last two outs. Another who may try to be closer to the pace tonight. Like the move here on Dec. 7 and the barn will fire with both barrels here. I bet the 6-1 across the board and then box those two strongly in this spot. I will key the 6-1 over (only) the rest of the numbers in a smaller version.

4th: 7-2-8/5-(13)-9-11/4-6-10…Dance Proposal (7) has been away since October, but there barn can score off the bench. Has faced some better ones — especially at Oaklawn Park back in the Spring. If she can rediscover that back form, she will be tough here. Honor With Pride (2) ran on Nov. 22 at Churchill Downs, coming off a long layup. Barn hits with .07 % of those making the second start in the comeback. Ran better against much tougher last year, and the last work suggests that she may be better tonight. I can use at a nice price in the odds. Champagne Bling (8) is another that could surprise in this spot. Was claimed last time out and the new barn hits with .12% of the newcomers. Barn off to a good start to this Holiday Meet, and the work here on Dec. 7 is solid. New rider has won with .17% of the last 6 rides for this barn, too. Chance, if can rally clean. I bet the 2 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I leave it at that, in a wide open affair.

5th: (13)-7-1-10/8-11/5-9-4-(14)…New Frontier (13) is on the AE List and must draw into the body of the race, if there is a scratch. If he gets in, I definitely use. This one has hit the board in 7 of the first 10 starts. Now, looks to have the speed to dictate the early footing in this one . Gets a top speed rider in the irons, too. Barn hits with .23% of those returning as a beaten favorite, as well. Look out if he gets in. Bobby Axelrod (7) goes for the barn of Peter Miller, who caught absolute lightning at the recent Churchill Downs meet. This one ran a solid 4th in the last one under the Twin Spires. Barn hits with .24% of those making the second start off a layup, and the work at Churchill on Dec. 7 was really quick. Take note. Propensity (10) has not been out since December of 2018. A year ago. But has experience over the all-weather and that was good experience, too. Has worked well for the return. If condition is good, he could be really tough in this spot at a price. I bet the 13 to win/place/show if he gets in. If not, I will be the 7-10 across the board and then box those horses in the exacta. I will key them over/under the 8-11 in two smaller versions, as well.

6th: 4/1-2/8-6/3…My first Key Play of the Day comes here with Whoa Nellie (4). This 3YO daughter of Orb should relish the move to the all-weather, and has the ability to stalk and close with some really good ones. Barn hits with .15% of those making the 3rd start off a layup, but, better yet, hits with .29% of those returning as a beaten favorite. Love the work at Churchill Downs on Dec. 9. Super quick move. Looks ready to roll. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the rest of the numbers in the exactas.

7th: 4/1-9/6-10-7/(13)-8-2-11…My second Key Play of the Day comes in this one with the same number — Moon Over Montana (4). This 5YO horse is trained by Larry Rivelli, who has won with .31% of the 407 runners that have started under his name this year. I can toss the last one, and the previous 3 were spot on. In 20 lifetime starts, he has a 6-7-3 record. Numbers get better on the all-weather, with a 3-4-1 mark in 8 starts over the poly. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers in the exacta.

8th: 3-9-12/4-7/(13)-5-6-1…The last race tonight is one difficult to decipher, but I will give the slight edge to Detour (3). This one has not run well at all in the last two outs. Checked hard in the last one, though. Can toss. Had lots of trouble in the race two back, too. Can toss II. Go back from there and this one has been very competitive and should relish this group tonight. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 3 over/under the 9-12-4-7-13-6-6-1 in two smaller versions.

Good Luck & All the Best /Gene