Another wonderful day to go racing.  And, what better venue than the one nestled right here on the highest point of Fayette County in beautiful Central Kentucky? The green, green grass of Keeneland.  Here is a closer look at today’s card:

1st: 3-1-2-5…It’s The Truth (3) is a New Jersey-bred and that normally would disqualify her immediately in an Open Company race, for me. But she has raced plenty of times against others than strictly NJ-breds and has done quite well for herself, having hit the board in 10 of 16 lifetime starts. Comes into this claiming event off a stakes outing at Charles Town.  Should appreciate the class relief. Should be a forward presence and gets a nice rider to stick and has 4 wins out of 6 starts at this 11/16-mile distance. C Islandsurprise (1) goes for a trainer who won one here on Wednesday. Throw out the last on the grass and this 5YO mare has 3 top two finishes in the last 4 outs. Will press the pace, too, and has 3 ITM finishes out of 5 starts at this distance. Princess Drossie (2) had a rough go of it on the yielding turf of KY Downs last time out, but before that had a win and two seconds in the three previous starts. Worth another shot. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top three choices in the Exacta.

2nd: 6-3-4-1-2…Little Code (6) came running with a fury at KY Downs in her last out and the winner of that one was super impressive here on Sunday. This one switches over to the dirt today, but if she can run anything, anything close to the race she did against Last Promise Kept (who could be a real good one), then she can dust this field. Marlinspike (3) ships in from Canada and the synthetic surface for a try on the dirt. Looked like a winner in that one until the final 1/16th.  Now, stretches out and should benefit from that firs race.  A daughter of the great Tapit, who is still owned by Gainesway Farm.  Watch out. Auntie’s the One (4) has been training well for Ken McPeek. Gets back to the dirt for the first time since the debut. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 picks solidly in one Exacta and key those 2 soft over the other three numbers.

3rd: 1-2-7-9-8-3…Peter Marwick (1) is a must-use for me. If you throw out the two turf tries, this guy has been right there with 3 ITM finishes out of 4.  Gets the blinkers off after two tries with them, but has trained well, too. Meilleur (2) goes for a hot trainer, and looked to be making a winning move when bumped at the top of the stretch in the last.  Black Stetson (7) is working well for a trainer that does very well with a limited number of runners. Don’t dismiss. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one Exacta.

4th: 3-7-10-5-6-8-2-1…Miss Katie Bug (3) ran a real good one before tiring late in her debut. Came back to train a bullet at Churchill Downs on Oct. 16.  Runner-up in that last race already has come back to win and it is now time for the show horse to do the same. Solid pick here. Subtle Step (7) goes for a HOF trainer who normally doesn’t crank them up for a first out. But this daughter of Smart Strike may be exceptional.  Long list of steady works and the trainer’s marks on “first grass” are two times better than “first out.” I use. Mahvelous Kitten (10) is a first timer for another trainer who normally takes his time.  But Mike Maker is red hot this meet and this one is training very well, too. Can’t dismiss. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key over the rest in another. I would keep an eye on Prairie Citizen (5), at some real odds, too. This trainer is sneaky good with grass runners. I use a little across the board on the 5.

5th: 1-4-9-7-8-3…No Richie (1) is a first time gelding for a top barn outfit. Will face tougher today on the second go around, but the winner of the last has already returned to the winner’s circle and that bodes well for this one. Tiz That (4) may be some nice odds today, and I will try to take advantage. Buff Bradley can train, and he drops this one down into some nicer company today. Watch out. Neapolitan (9) is a first timer for a barn that does crank them up early. Gets a top rider, who is due for a big day here. I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then key the 1 over/under all the others listed.

6th: 10-11-5-9-8-3-2…Wide open grass race, but I look to the outside for the top choices in here. Gio’s Calling (10) is coming off 5 nice runs in a row, with three ITM finishes. Gets a nice jock switch to Robby Albarado and this true closer loves, loves Keeneland — with 2 wins and a second in 3 starts over this grass. Horses that have run well over this course in the past normally do well upon a return visit. Turf Titan (11) had a tough, wide trip in the last and gets a huge rider switch today.  In the previous three, he had faced some good ones and performed well. Return to form today. Bombs Away (5) and Fifth Title (9) are both capable of a win in this spot, too. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the 10-11-5 in one Exacta and then 10-11-9 in another.

7th: 5-6-4-3-1-2…Oskar Blues (5) goes for McPeek in this spot and this barn ( who has but one win in 23 starts this meet, but 8 other seconds and thirds) could have a good day. This one chased some real good ones in the last, a G1 Stakes at Saratoga. Free Drop Billy came back to win impressively in the Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity here on the opening weekend. This one could fire huge. Tres Equis (6) had trouble in the G3 Iroquois in his last, but ran a huge one before at Indy. Could pop back up today. Quip (4) was impressive on debut for a barn that has struggled mightily all year, despite stocked to the gills with some good ones. I bet the 5 to win/place/show and then key that one over/under all the rest listed.

8th: 13-3-11-1-2-6-9-12…The G3 Sycamore Stakes…This is an endurance test at 11/2 miles over the grass course, which is holding some moisture due to the cool nights these days. I go to the far outside, which is not the most ideal post, with Manitoulin (13). Should have plenty of time to find a nice stalking position from Versailles post position, though, and have a nice run as a true closer. Picks up a hot jock and is really good right now, with 5 ITM finishes in last 6 tries. Canessar (3) is a French-bred gelding who made his NA debut at Laurel on Sept. 16 a winning one for trainer Arnaud Delacour. This one is a dead closer, who has a punch to his kick. Will be tough in the deep stretch. My main man, Tom Proctor, sends out Big Bend (11) for the first time after winning the Dueling Grounds Derby at KY Downs in impressive fashion in his last.  This one wants to be near the front, though, and there is a group of front-runners in here, surprisingly. May get compromised on the lead if not careful, but Drayden Van Dyke flys in to ride, again. I bet the 13 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 choices in one exacta and then key them over the rest in a smaller version.

9th: 9-10-1-2-4-7…Make It Work (9) is another McPeek pupil that will try to dent the winner’s circle today. Has faded in each of the last two after being a forward presence. The drop in class today may help this one’s determination and stamina. Charm Offensive (10) goes for the first time after a real nice work here on Oct. 6. Trainer knows how to win races. Spinning Serve (1) gets Lasix for the first time after a nice closing run at Churchill Downs. Could move up today. I bet the 9-1 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in one exacta and then key them over the rest in another.

Good luck &

All the Best/Gene