Day Results 8/3-1-2
2020 Overall 48 48/14-14-18
Win % of Top Pick 29.17%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 31.95%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –33-48 68.75%
Top Selection ITM / TP Winter-Sprng 33-48 68.75%
Top Selection Win / TP Winter-Spring 14-48 29.17%
“Key Horses” @ TP Winter-Spring 7-1-3-3 14.29% Win / 100% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 7-1-3-3 14.29% Win / 100% ITM

Well, we were better on Friday night. Not what we expect. Not where we want to be. Not there — yet. But we were better.

On the heels of a 1-win night on Thursday, we managed to boot home 3 winners on the 8 race card on Friday night and our top pick hit the board in 6 of the 8 races.

So?

Improvement.

And, we will take it. We will continue to fiddle with our formulas and tinker with our numbers as we attempt to hone in on what makes us better over the all-weather surface at Turfway Park. But I saw some encouraging things on Friday night. Things we modified actually seemed to help. So did some of the horses.

Here’s hoping that we continue our climb.

And, here’s our selections for tonight, although we are still sticking with our Iceland photos until we get our percentages above the Mason-Dixon Line.

(While they do not need one in Iceland, we are hoping for a warming trend with our handicapping here back home)

1st: 4-3-5/6-1A/8-2…Nook (4) had a rather disappointing 2019 for a barn that won with .31% of the 424 horses that started for the barn. The 8YO, Illinois-bred mare had only 1 win in 15 starts. But did have 7 thirds. So, still trying her best. In 19 starts over the all-weather, she has a 3-4-8 mark. That 15 of 19 ITM. That’s a percentage of 78.95% hitting the board. She may not be the winner in this group, which is fairly comparable. But she is the most consistent and the most likely to hit the board, for me. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under all the numbers listed.

2nd: 1A-7-2/3-1-5/8…Trainer Genaro Garcia has entered two for this event, but has named the same rider on both — meaning that one is likely to be scratched prior to post. If the 1A — The Moment Is Now (1A) — sticks? And, races? Then, the 5YO son of Tiznow is my top choice. The barn is having a very solid meet with the first 33 runners — hitting the board with 17 of them. This one went right to the front and nearly held on last time out going 11/16-miles. Good thing is that he backs up to a flat mile in this one and despite the awful post of #10, he should be able to clear much of this field. The bad thing? Is there is speed to his inside in the form of Eyes On (2) — who won the last time out and moves up a notch in conditions for this one. The 5YO son of Macho Uno will undoubtedly move to ward the front of this pack and be a handful on or near the lead, too. So? It could set up perfectly for a closer. And, the best of those seems to be Rio Bueno (7) — who came with a furious rush to get up at the wire here on Dec. 20. That was the first start off the claim and the only winner this meet for the trainer, too. This one moves up a notch in the conditions book, as well. I bet the 1A-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 1A over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller versions. Hedge.

3rd: 9-10-4/(13)/2-12-5-7/1-8-6…This is a race that I will definitely tread lightly. Too many questions. Too few answers. Wide open affair. I will give the slight edge to Great Harbour Clay (9) in this spot. The 8YO, Florida-bred did run a nice one over this strip on Dec. 19. Tired in that one late after pushing the pace from the get-go. But over the last 13 starts, has only 1 win. Two seconds. Six thirds. Underneath play, more than likely. I will also use Cairn (10) a tad in this spot. The trainer has hit the board with half of his 8 starters to date. This one has been running against much better, and the last win on the resume came here last February. In 6 starts over this track, has a 2-1-1 record and has a 4-4-1 mark in 16 starts over the AW. I bet the 9-10 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 9-10 over/under the 4-13-2-12-5-7 in two very small increments. 

4th: 2-9-1/4-10-3-(13)-8/7-5…Barin (2) has not raced since last October and will switch barns to a new trainer for the first time tonight. The new barn hits with .17% of those making the debut, and just .09% of those that have been away from the races this long. Questionmarks. But this 6YO son of Pioneerof the Nile is coming off a Maryland-bred Stakes race at Laurel, and only lost that one by less than 2 when running over the sod. Will shift to the AW for the first time, but the sire line does well with the plastic, and the works here are good enough. If he can run back to the last race? I think he is solid at this level and at ML odds of 10-1? That makes him the Upset Special of the Night. A horse that I really liked last time out, and he faded in the stretch, was Hyndford (9). Nearly won at this level two starts back. Now, drops seriously in class for a trainer that hits with .29% of those making this kind of plunge. Also returns as a beaten favorite, and the barn hits with .22% of them. Must use for me. Purr Cat (1) goes for a highly under-rated conditioner, who has won with 2 of 7 here so far this meet. This one nearly one last time out at this level and was beaten by a horse that we really like in the 2nd tonight. If Rio Bueno runs well in the 2nd, got to like this one here. Right? Keep an eye on the 2nd race for a hint. I bet the 2-9 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 2-9 over/under the 1-4-10-3-13-8 in two smaller versions. May move the 1 up if the 2nd race looks to be a “key.”

5th: 2-7/10-1/8-5/9-4…Estill (2) is a 4YO daughter of Bernardini and out of a Stakes-winning mare by Harlan. Breeding is there for this one to become a broodmare, and it looks like that the connections are searching for that elusive first win. Ran super here on Dec. 20 in the first try over the AW for one of my most favorite young trainers in the game. Won with .24% of the 141 starters a year ago, and despite the lone win in 10 tries this meet, he normally does very well in this venue. Has hit the board with 5 of the 10, too. If she can flash the same late move here? Will be tough to beat. Miss Mosaic (7) really ran well last time out here when getting Lasix for the first time. Now, the 4YO daughter of Verrazano wheels right back with the meet’s top rider taking the reins for the first time. He can make a difference, and normally does in these parts. Like the work on Dec. 31 at KEE. Has the stalking speed and likely to get the first jump. I bet the 2-7 across the board and then box those two solidly in one exacta. I will key the 2-7 over (only) the 10-1-8-5 in a smaller version.

6th: 9/2-3/1-5/6-7-8…My first Key Play of the Night comes here with Fort Marsh (9). This 7YO Fort Prado mare has only 1 third in 5 previous runs over the AW surface, and will be making her first start for a new barn and first start since September. All negatives if you look at the numerical. Barn hits with only .09% of first timers. Barn hits with .00% of those away from the races this long. And, the AW record is not good either. But? But this one is dropping in class and will start for the lowest price tag in her history. Working good. Gets a top rider who has a 5-3-4 mark in the last 20 starts, and the barn has been on fire here with limited runners. If this one can find the same kind of run she flashed at Arlington Park back in August for a top barn? Watch out. I think she can. I bet the Illinois-bred to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under the rest of the numbers. I will box the 9-2-3 in one “saver” exacta, but at a lesser number.

7th: 11-(14)-(13)/9-12-5-10/2…Ramsey Solution (11) is even-money in the ML; has not been out since November; and is moving up to face winners for the first time. Those are never attractive numbers when trying to find a winner in a haystack. But…This 4YO gelded son of Real Solution ran off to break the maiden at Churchill Downs by over 6 lengths and returns for a barn that is winning at a .32% clip here this meet — with 34 runners. Wow numbers. Barn hits with .33% of those switching from the turf to the AW, and with .22% of those moving up to face winners for the first time. Sharp work here on Jan. 6 indicates that he is ready, too. If the two on the AE List do not draw into this race? This one is my second Key Play of the Day. If they do draw in, then I still use on top — just not as bullish. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the 11-14-13 if the AE List horses get in. If not, I key the 11 over/under the 9-12-5-10-2.

8th: 4-5-1/3-10-2/11-12…Matzo Bella (4) will make her first start since November, and make her first start for the new barn operator, as well. But the NY-bred is dropping all the way from a $30,000 tag to the bargain bin tonight. Two races ago, against open company and in for a $7,500 price level, she nearly won at odds-on. Back where she belongs? Maybe. Will try the AW for the first time. New barn is having a super meet so far, winning at a .28% clip for the first 40 starts. Gets the meet’s top rider. One to beat. For sure. Liner (5) ran well at a rung higher than this last time out. Will make the second start for the new barn operation tonight, an they hit with .20% of these. Gets a new rider, and I like the switch. May be tough closing off the pace. Green Garnett (1) is 10-1 in the ML, and I think warrants a serious look here. Ran OK here last time out when dropping to the bottom ranks. Had some issues with the start. Gets a rider who has won with 2 of the last 5 for this barn. May spice up the rack a little. Can throw in a good race every now and then. I’m trying. I bet the 4 to win/place/show and then key the 4 over/under the rest of the numbers. Will use a 4-5-1 box “saver” in case of the upset.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene