Day Results 11 / 6-2-5
2020 Overall 1668 1668 / 591-575-733
Win % of Top Pick 35.43%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 37.95%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –1,080-1,668 64.75%
Top Selection ITM / CD 127–199 63.82%
Top Selections Win / CD 66-199 33.17%
“Key Horses” @ CD 32-15-3-5 46.88% Win / 71.88% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 231-84-48-32 36.37% Win / 71.00% ITM

I have to admit one thing right up front. I have never handicapped a track that had the AW surface of Tapeta. Not that I know of or remember, any way. So, if that is an excuse or a disclaimer? So be it.

But I will attempt my best and we will adjust as we go. Last year, I admitted that I was not very good over the AW surfaces of polytrack. Didn’t like it. Didn’t want it. Didn’t like handicapping it, either.

After a couple of weeks of dismal results, I started to right the ship — using my nautical terms of Key West. I adjusted some of my numbers to give more importance to the late closing fractions than I normally do on other more traditional tracks and track bias.



Turfway Park, a year ago, was one of my better tracks for the year.

I don’t know what to expect going in with the new surface, but unlike a year ago, I am looking forward to it and looking forward to learning how to handicap it, too. Thanks to Michael Dickinson for its’ invention, and we shall see.

Here’s my looks at Wednesday night’s card:

1st: 1-2-8/4-1A/9-7-3…The new and soon-to-be improved Turfway Park will kick start the new meet and the new track surface with a 11/4-mile event over the Tapeta at 6:15 p.m. ET. Makes sense to start the new venture with a 11/4-mile race. After all, Churchill Downs now owns the track. And the biggest race at the Louisville oval is 11/4-miles in duration. Nice touch. I will go with Per Diem (1). This 3YO son of Carpe Diem is coming off a nice 2nd last time out, although that was back in July at Colonial Downs in Virginia. Barn wins with .18% that are away this long and has some speed to utilize in this event. Connections paid $180,000 for this one and the works of late are good enough. Ahnaf (2) was claimed just two starts ago for $40,000 and will make the 2nd start for the new connections. Barn wins with .26% of those kind. Makes the 3rd start off the layup, too, and trainer wins with .13% of those. Will coming running late, and those prefer this type of surface, IMO. All Revved Up (8) has a chance here, too. Ran a solid 4th over an AW surface at Presque Isle last time out and that was in October. Barn wins with a nice .24% over the AW tracks. Hmmm. I bet the 1-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the next two in two smaller units.

2nd: 7/9-12/2-1-10/5-11/8-3-4…The first Key Play of the Day/Meet comes here with Mr. Everything (7). Love the #7. Don’t you? This 3YO gelded son of Mr Speaker nearly won at Turfway Park back in January. Off until June and now off since July. Hmmm. But the barn is winning at a .26% clip this year and wins with .33% of those going from the turf to the AW surface. Works are spot on and the rider has won with .30% of the last 37 mounts for this barn operation. My pick. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then key the 7 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. More with the 9-12-2-1-10. 

3rd: 6-2-5/3-8/9-1A-4/1…Whispurring Kitten (6) is wonderfully named and well-placed in his spot. The 4YO daughter of Discreet Cat will make the first career start for the new barn operation, who wins with .14% of the newbies. Drops to a career low price tag tonight. And, this one may prefer the shorter distance offered up here, too. Mayan Queen (2) is our first Longshot Special of the Day. This one goes to a new barn operation, too, and this one wins with a whopping .29% on first ask. Works are nice coming in and the barn has won with .18% of 275 starters this year, too. Knows the way to the circle. Veteran rider knows how to win. Just look at those career numbers. Orbette (5) could be a square price, as well. This 3YO daughter of Orb won the last time out at Laurel by an easy 4 lengths. Now, must face winners for the first time and the new trainer wins with .24% of those moving up. Wins with .18% of the newcomers. Big shot here. I bet the top 3 across the board and then box them in the exacta. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 3-8 in two smaller units.

4th: 2/7-8/(16)-5-12/4-3-1/11-6…The second Key Play of the Day comes here with Drink (2). This one will drop to the bargain bin tonight after nearly winning against tougher two starts ago at Churchill Downs. Barn wins with .23% when dropping this much at once and that is with 44 previous runners. Gets a known rider in these here parts, and this one has a 1-3-0 record at this distance. My pick. I bet the 2 to win/place/show and then key the 2 over/under all the numbers listed in the exactas. More with the 7-8-16-5-12.

5th: 7-9/2-3-4-8/11-12/5-10/6…Yaba Daba Diva (7) nearly won last time out when racing at Churchill Downs on Oct. 25. Lost by a neck inside the shadow of the wire. Tough beat. Faced Royal Approval in the first start of the career and was not embarrassed there, either. Rider has won with 1 of 2 for this barn and should fit this one nicely. Shastaloo (9) should be the one to beat. Ran a tiring — but better than looks — 6th last time out at Churchill Downs. Faced a good one in Army Wife in that one and the “Show” horse came right back to win the next out. Barn wins with .30% of those that return as a beaten favorite and with .24% when adding shades for the first time. Could be a tough out. Rider has won with .24% of the last 33 mounts for this barn — mostly at Indy Grand. I bet the 7-9 across the board and then box those two sternly in the exacta. I will key the 7-9 over/under the 2-3-4-8-11-12 in two smaller units.

6th: 5-7/1-6-10/3-8/9-4/11…First Wave (5) will get the halter for the first time today for trainer Neil Howard — one of the best people in the entire sport and world, for that matter. Has hit the board in 3 of the last 5 outings and will be getting some class relief in this spot, to be sure. Will be coming from behind, so needs a good spot and a free run. Ununderstandable (7) ran 2nd last time out and tired at the wire. Goes from a sprint to a route and back to a sprint here, and the barn wins with a whopping .29% of those kind. Route to a sprint? Wins at .10%. Sharp work on Nov. 25. Barn has won with .21% of 126 runners this year. Worth a shot. I bet the 5-7 across the board here and then box those two sternly in the exacta. I will key the 5-7 over/under the 1-6-10-3-8-9 in two smaller units.

7th: 10-12/1-7/5-(13)-8-3/2-9/11-4-6…Catch a Cab (10) figures to be the one to beat here and is the ML favorite to do so. Comes from the red-hot barn of Mike Maker, who just tore up and won the Trainer’s Title at Churchill Downs. This one drops two classes for this one and the barn wins with .24% of those — and that’s with a sample size of 70 runners. Will come from the clouds. Will need racing luck and room. Over the last two weeks? Barn has gone 10-7-1 in 29 starts. Wow. Christians City (12) drops in class for this one, too, and that is off a win over in Cincy. Has hit the board in each of the last 5 and 7 of the last 8. Three wins in that mix. Have to consider. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and bet rather sternly to do so. I will box the 10-12 in the exacta, and then key the 10 over/under all the numbers in two smaller units.

8th: 3-9-8/(1A)-1/7-3-12-4/(13)-6/5…The last race of the day is a 1-mile event for the MSW likes in the 2YO filly division. Nice field sets up here. I will give the edge to Picasso Collection (3), who came from last to lose by just a neck in the career debut at KEE in October. Gets a new rider for this one today, and should be far less than the near 50-to-1 odds she got in the first start. Still, with a better beginning, she should have a better ending here. Demeter (9) is a homebred for the Godolphin Stables and is trained by Brad Cox. Ran a huge 3rd last time out when getting blinkers for the first time. Could improve off that and be a tough out on the lead here. One to catch. Ship It (8) has run two solid 4ths in a row for trainer Ken McPeek. Could improve with the move to the AW. Trainer wins with .17% on this surface switch and with .14% overall on the AW. Coming off the pace, and love this rider choice here. I bet the 3-9 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 3-9 over/under the 8-entry-7-3-12-4 in two smaller units.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene