(Updated Stats to Come Later)
The new era for Turfway Park — now owned completely by Churchill Downs and bound for new horizons that will include a new complex soon — begins tonight. Race card begins at 6:15 p.m. ET.
Purses are up.
Horse population is up.
Optimism is up.
Energy is up.
And, now it is time to race.
Here’s a look at our selections for tonight:
1st: 8-3/4-2-5/6-1…King of Fortune (8) is a 3YO son of Midnight Lute, who is coming off a nice 4th at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3, when running over the turf. Although he has never been on the all-weather, he should adapt just fine. Work on Nov. 30 was right here and was clever. Gets a top rider in the irons. Should be tough to handle, coming late in this endurance test. Looks the best on paper. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-3 in one exacta. I will key the 8-3 over/under the 4-2-5-6-1 in two smaller versions.
2nd: 8-9/11-1/14-7-4-3…I go right back to the # 8 hole in the second event of the night and with Lucky Looking (8). This one is has been working at the Training Center in Lexington and doing very well in the a.m. Has been off since running third against tougher at Colonial Downs in VA. In 6 lifetime starts to date, this one has a 1-1-3 mark. Should be able to adapt to the all-weather for the first time, too. Looks solid in this spot. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then box the 8-9 in one solid exacta. I key the 8-9 over/under the 11-1-14-7-4-3 in two smaller versions.
3rd: 7-4/6-10-8-2/3-1-9…Alpha Boy (7) will drop from the optional-claimer ranks to the bottom level of the claiming tag tonight. Go back to the all-weather performance two races back. Solid third. In 12 starts over the synthetic, has 2 wins. Gets a rider who held own at Churchill Downs. Looks well-spotted here. I bet the 7 to win/place/show and then box the 7-4 in one exacta. I will key the 7-4 over/under the 6-10-8-2-3 in two smaller versions.
4th: 3-1-5/9-7-(13)/10-4/2-6…Love to Learn (3) was claimed last time out for $20,000 and now drops into the ranks for a $15,000 tag. Barn hits with .22% of those on the first race after the purchase, and with .29% of those dropping for the debut run. Three races back this one was spot on, and has a win in 5 previous runs over the poly. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 3 over/under the 1-5-9-7-(13)-10 in two smaller versions.
5th: 11-14-2/10-7-9-(13)/12-8-5-6…This is a very nice MSW event and I will go strong with Invader (11), who hails from the barn of Wesley Ward. This 2YO son of War Front should relish the surface and comes in off a couple of nice runs to date. Should be ready for this test. I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the 11-14-2 in one exacta. I will key the 11 over/under the 14-2-10–7-9-(13)-12 in two smaller versions.
6th: 6-10-3/4/1-12-11/7-8…Two Putt (6) is always a good thing. Right? This 7YO gelded son of Tale of the Cat comes in off some pretty impressive performances of late. Won by over 5 last time out. Has hit the board in 4 of the last 5 and 5 of the last 7. Two wins in that mix. Has more seconds than wins, but the barn hits with .27% of those trying to repeat at the claiming ranks. Good right now. Get Tough (10) drops from the $15,000 level all the way to the $5,000 mark today. Has raced here 5 previous times. Has 3 wins. Solid rider. This one figures here and got to love the 10-1 ML odds. Upset Special of the Day, right here. Another horse that figures in this batch, too, is Buster Brown Boy (3). Could get some decent odds here, too. Has raced here 4 times before. Has 3 wins. Seems to love the all-weather surface. I bet the 6-10 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4 in two smaller versions.
7th: 6-5-2/11-4/3-10/8-7-9-1-12…Ruby Trust (6) will make the first career start for a new barn operation tonight. Trainer hits with only .08% of the newcomers. But does hit with a nice .19% of those coming off this kind of a layup. Works have been solid of late. Gets a top rider here. And, ran a super 3rd against much tougher last time out. If she can duplicate the last two runs? Watch out. Bossy Bride (5) ran a nice 3rd last time out. That was on the heels of a win two back. Since the addition of blinkers three races ago, this 3YO Malibu Moon filly has been much better. Barn hits with .20% of those making the second start off a layup, too. Love My Honey (2) was claimed last time out. Barn hits with .08% of those. Gets the blinkers for the first time tonight, and the barn hits with .22% of those. Ran against Stakes company earlier this year. Will try the all-weather for the first time tonight. Watch out here. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in one exacta. I will key the top 3 over/under the 11-4 in two smaller versions.
8th: 11-8-3/(13)-(14)-12-7/6-5-10…I Saw Her First (11) will break from the outside, but this 3YO daughter of Stroll could, er, stroll against the likes of these tonight. Last time out, against much, much better, she got off to a rather bleak beginning, but came running nicely at the end of a 1-mile turf event at Laurel Park. Moves here for the first try over the all-weather. Ownership connections do very well with limited runners. Watch out for this one tonight. My first Key Play of the Day. There are others that could contend, though. Magna G Force (8) drops another rung on the claiming ladder and ran two nice seconds over the grass at Ellis Park this summer. In 14 tries, does have 2 seconds and 3 thirds. Could push the pace. Detour (3) drops to the bottom after facing much tougher. Gets a new trainer today, as well. The Illinois-bred has raced over the all-weather in Chicago on 4 occasions. Against tougher. Has a third on the resume. Could add to the intrigue. I bet the 11-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 11-3 over/under the 8-13-14-12-7 in two smaller versions.
Good Luck & All the Best / Gene