Day Results 8/2-3-3
2019 Overall 1,553 1,553/539-559-688
Win % of Top Pick 34.71%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.33%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –1,007 of 1,553 64.84%
Top Selection ITM / TP Holiday 60-112 53.57%
Top Selection Win / TP Holiday 36-112 32.14%
“Key Horses” @ TP Holiday 11-6-1-0 54.55%
“Key Horses” in 2019 226-89-44-22 39.38%

It was slim pickings at Turfway Park on Friday night. We had a couple of winners. We had a couple of modest exactas. But nothing to jump and shout about. Guess we may be saving that for the big celebration to come next week.

But we are hoping to warm up for NYE with a big splash on Saturday. This is Playoff Saturday. This is UK-U of L Saturday. Might as well be Turfway Saturday, too.

Let’s roll.

Here’s a look at today’s picks:

1st: 6-8/1-5/2-11-4/3…My Maiko (6) gets the drop in class for this effort today, and will get the saddle from one of Rusty Arnold’s previous Assistants. If this 3YO Magician filly can duplicate some of her previous efforts, she should fit strongly with this group. New operator has a 2-1-0 mark in the first 5 career starts with the Arnold “Northern Contingency.” Look for another one to be a tough out here. Starvana (8) ran third here in the first try over the poly. Some times it takes a trip or two over the AW to adapt. Should benefit from that last race experience. Gets a new rider for this one today. Interesting choice. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then key the 6 over/under all the other numbers listed in the exactas.

2nd: 3-12-5/7/6-1/9-10-11…Hickory Hill (3) moves to the AW from the dirt, and this barn hits with .14% of those switching this surface. Won at Churchill Downs two back against much tougher. That was part of a 4-race stretch where the 7YO gelding hit the board. In too tough last time out. Gets a new rider, who has been super hot — winning with 3 of the last 9 going into Friday night. Should be coming late. Two Putt (12) goes for a barn operation that has won .20% of 522 starts this year. That’s a good year. This one comes off a 2nd here on Dec. 4. Barn hits with .22% of those returning with a beaten favorite. New rider up, too. Zander (5) has a shot here, too. This one comes out of Florida and returns to the level where he can be most competitive. Has a win in only previous try over the AW. Meet’s top rider takes the reins. Bears watching here. I bet the 3-12 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I key the top 3 over/under the 7 in two smaller versions.

3rd: 1-7-2/8/5-4…Skatingonthinice (1) comes into this one off an impressive late-run showing against much, much tougher at Churchill Downs on Oct. 30. Bothered and steadied at the start of that one, or the 2YO son of Ice Box may have won on debut. Came with a flurry late to be third. Beaten less than 3, too. Could be tough with a clean break in this one today, but there are things to be concerned about, too. Draws the rail in this 5.5-furlong sprint. A bad break tonight? Done. So, the start is imperative. Gets a heady jock who knows how to get out of the gate. That should help. Boo Reid (7) and Uncle Earl (2) both come from the barn of Wesley Ward — who has a 6-3-3 record in the first 19 starts here this meet. That figures out to a win percentage of nearly .33%. The latter is a first time starter for Bret Jones — the son of Gov. B.C. Jones and a shinning, rising star in the Thoro biz. Working very well. The former has run once before and drops all the way from the MSW ranks to this level. Runner-up in that event came right back to win the next outing. Works good, too. Gets the meet’s top rider up. Both are real threats. I bet the 1-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 8 in two smaller versions.

4th: 2-5-10/8-9-1/4-11-12-6…My first Upset Special of the Night will come here with Skip and a Hop (2), who has been posted at odds of 6-1 in the ML. May slip up the odds board before the PT, too. I like the first race over the AW, and this one could really be tough with a tad of improvement in this one. Look at the are at KEE back in Oct. Ran 2nd by a nose in that one. If this 3YO Uh Oh Bango (who?) filly can duplicate that effort? Look out at a nice price. Rider is better than the current record. Should get a little more luck soon. Social Circle (5) drops a lot off a credible effort in the last. Barn hits with .30% of those that get this kind of class relief, and that is with 54 sample size. Barn also hits with .23% of those making the second start off a layup. One to beat. For sure. You People (10) gets a nice class drop here, too. Barn may be one of the most over-rated in the Commonwealth. But this one gets a huge drop in class and should contend at this level. I bet the 2-5 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 2-5 over/under the 10-8-9-1-4-11 in two smaller versions.

5th: 10-1-9/(13)-4-5-11/12-7-6…Hail to the Chief (10) really ran a good one in the last outing at Churchill Downs on Nov. 23. Had to weave his way through traffic and took a rather curious route at time (watch the video if you can; better than on paper). Barn is off to a terrific start here, and the rider has hit with 4 of 10 for this barn. Barn also converts on .34% when moving from the dirt to the AW. Work here on Dec. 14 was spot on. Should fit well with these. Subliminalcriminal (1) sounds like a horse named by the “super pardon” ex-governor. This one may be the best of this group, though. Love the race two back at Ellis Park. Ran OK in the first try over the sod at KEE. Now moves to the AW for a barn that does well over these parts — with a .29% mark so far this meet after 14 starts. Take note here. Gold Endeavor (9) ran a huge one at Churchill Downs two races ago. Watch the odds board here. May get over-looked at PT. Can dismiss the last one when he ran over the slop. Take note here, too. I bet the 10-9 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 10-9 over/under the 13-4-5-11-12 in two smaller versions.

6th: (14)-11-9/7-4-(13)/8-2-3…Kitty Zip (14) is on the AE List and will need some help to get in this one tonight. But if the 4YO City Zip filly makes the gate, she will immediately become my top selection — despite the awful post position. This one will be making her first start for a new barn operator, who hits with .16% of those newcomers joining the outfit. Has worked over this surface since November. Gets a rider who is doing well. Love the win at Laurel back in October. Interesting one here. Green Garnet (11) drops considerably in class for this one and should figure against the likes of these. Has a 1-2-1 record in 10 starts and has not done well over the AW before. But…Like the work pattern and the barn gives her a shot with this drop. Bivian (9) is the ML favorite, and should be. Returns to the same barn that I have already commented on. Trainer has won with .09% of the 93 starters this year. Not for me. I bet against or use under-only. I bet the 14 if he gets in. If not, I will go with the 11. I box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the 14 in the exactas, if in, too.

7th: 9-10-5/8-4-2/1-12/7-6…Torazo (9) goes for a hot barn operation, which has won with .22% of the first 27 starters here this meet. Sharp work over this track. Rider has won with .25% of the last 24 mounts for this trainer, too. Love the last race, moving good late. Race before? Marquee Prince is a good one, and the workmate for Monomoy Girl. Adds up for me. Animus (10) goes for a trainer who does extremely well here. Has a 1-1-1 mark in the first 4 starters here this Holiday meet. Blinkers go back on, and the barn hits with .50% of those. Watch out here. Interesting equip change. Ucanthankmelater (5) is my next Upset Play of the Night. Don’t dismiss this one too lightly. At 8-1 ML odds, this one could surprise. Ran against much tougher last time out. Has hit the board in about half of the 49 career races. Trainer has won with .22% of 104 starters this year. I use. I bet the 9-5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 8-4 in two smaller versions.

8th: 9-(14)/2-12-3-6/4-1-10-(13)…Aspens Little Zip (9) drops in class after nearly winning here on Dec. 18. Came with a nice run as the PT favorite in that one. This barn wins with .22% of those that return as a beaten favorite, and with .23% of those making the 2nd start after a claim purchase. Looks solid here. Patsy J (14) would need a couple of scratches to make the gate, but if this 3YO Morning Line filly gets the nod? I def use. Drops off the last few outings to a bargain basement price today. Gets the meet’s top rider up. And, this Illinois-bred has a few races on the resume that are simply much better than the rest of these. I bet the 9-14 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta, if the #14 gets in. If not, I bet the 9 and key the 9 over/under the rest of the numbers. 

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene