McLean’s “Spot Plays” For Ellis / Saratoga Were “Spot On” This Sunday

Editor’s Note:

After a fruitful Saturday across the country, we treaded back into the waters on Sunday with some “Spot Plays” for both Ellis Park and Saratoga.

Our “Spot Plays” were “Spot On.”

In 8 races that we handicapped below, we ended up with the following:

5 winners

1 second

1 third

1 fourth

And, we turned a tidy little till of $30 into over $203 at the end of the day. 

Not a bad day.

See you later this week.

All the Best/Gene

 

My great friend Ryan Dickey didn’t find anything he truly liked at “The Spa” today, so he is bypassing the betting windows for a “Day of Rest.” I, on the other hand, enjoyed a profitable day at both Saratoga and Indy Grand last night. Oh, what a night.

Street Band and Mr. Money — both stabled at the friendly confines of Churchill Downs — both put on powerful shows up in Indy last night, and now looked poised for bigger and better things this Summer. I happened to like both of those chaps, and was sitting pretty when the racing was all said and done.

Here’s my “Spot Plays” for today, Sunday, July 14:

Ellis Park:

Race 3: I like Harbor Lights (7), who I think has a chance to win on the cut back to the sprint distance, but also a possible claim candidate. In 4 starts this year, she has only one third, and that came in the last out at Churchill Downs on June 16. Ran over a good track that day and made much of the early pace push before tiring going a mile. Look back at the last time she ran 6.5 furlongs. That came at Ellis Park in August of 2017. Won easily that day to break the maiden. Jumped into a G2 Stakes off that win. Wow. Ran in two Graded Stakes events last year. Now, goes for the lowest price tag ever. My good friends up in Pennsylvania who just love the daughter of Shackleford, may want to take a good long look at this one today. Rider won two Stakes at Indy Grand last night. Top jock. My pick.

Race 5: A 6-furlong sprint for the 2YO fillies, and what a nice field has been assembled for this MSW event. American Legend (2) is a daughter of American Pharoah, and will get the saddle from Bernie Flint. Dam has 3 winners from 4 starters and 1 SW, already. Training solidly at Churchill Downs. Sensing Mischief (3) is a daughter of Into Mischief and trained by Brad Cox, who has 6 wins in the first 14 starters here this meet. Wow. Training sharply, too. How do you leave this one out? Empire Angel (8) is a first timer for the barn of Mark Casse. This daughter of Empire Maker cost $450,000 at the OBS April Sale this Spring. Had a super work at KEE on June 20. Dam has 2 winners from 2 starters, and the barn has won with 2 of 5 to start the meet here. But my money will go on a pair from the barn of Steve Asmussen: Collude (9), who has run two straight seconds to begin the career; and Green Destiny (7), who lost all chance when she was checked hard into the turn in her lone start at Churchill Downs on June 21. Take a look at that race replay. Wow. Works for this one have been eye-catching at KEE, and she could take a giant step forward with a clean trip. The former loves the speed and front end. Can she hold on at the stretch out distance? Jockey is red hot. I will take a shot with Green Destiny and use with the others.

Race 6: Whoa Nellie (3) is not much of a price, at 2-1 in the ML, but she looks awfully good on paper. The J. Larry Jones barn has to be touching down right about now, after winning the Indy Oaks last night with Street Band. This 3YO Orb filly has a lot of talent too, and will be running late. First time at a route, and it will be interesting to see if the extra distance helps. Barn hits with .28% of those returning as a beaten favorite.

Race 7: U.S. Currency (6) drops to a career low price tag and worth a look as a claim prospect. Has raced 9 times in the career, with 3 seconds and 3 thirds. On the grass, though? Five races. Two seconds. Two Thirds. Could win today, but if she does not? You can turn around and make a nice little run of it with this daughter of Exchange Rate. Has run well twice at KY Downs. And, that meet is coming up. I might team this one up with Lady Warbucks (10) in the exacta. Latter one should improve in the second career start for a barn having a really good year.

Race 8: Send Me On My Way (1) is a first timer for the barn of Brad Cox. As mentioned earlier, Cox’s record this meet is 6-2-1 in first 14 starters. This one is training lights out, and top rider for the barn takes the reins. Zoom. Zoom. Sail On (3) ran third to With Dignity two starts back. That one didn’t fire last night in the Indy Oaks, but was bet way down to near favoritism. Nikki Beach (5) cost $410,000 at the 2017 KEE September Sale. Comes from a SW mare. Ran 3rd on debut, but that was a sprint moved off the grass. Training super. Arriva Diva (9) is a first time starter for the barn of W. Bret Calhoun. Another barn having a nice year, just winning the Indy Derby with Mr. Money last night. This daughter of Curlin has been working solidly for the debut and gets a top rider. Dam has a winner from 1 starter. Not without a chance at a price. I use the 1 with the others.

Race 9: Croque Monsieur (6) may be the most intriguing horse of the day. Will be making his first start in the U.S. for a trainer that hits with .30% of those making the first run for the barn and a trainer who scores with .25% of those making the first start in the U.S. Gets Lasix for the first time. Has never hit the board in 4 previous grass tries, but this will be a much more firm footing that what he has tried before. Works OK for the U.S. try. Sire is a son of the great Galileo and the dam was a SW. Interesting. High Crime (7) is a speedster who will be making the first grass start ever. Ran 4th in the G3 Swale earlier this year to Call Paul. I might take a shot with the 7.

Saratoga:

Race 8: Varenka (11) will have to negotiate her way around a couple of Chad Brown pupils and that is never easy to do in a grass event, but this 3YO daughter of Ghostzapper has the credentials to do so — at a price, too. Comes off a third in the G3 Regret at Churchill Downs in the last out. Won at Belmont Park before that. Has run twice OK races behind Newspaperofrecord in the past, as a maiden. Chance here. My pick.

Race 9: Break Even (4) is an absolute freak, having won all 5 of her previous races. But…Always a but, right? This will be her first try at the weeds. Barn does hit with .30% of those making the surface switch, and the dam does have 2 turf winners. Looks like she could prefer the sod, and make another Stakes win on her girth. A Bit of Both (5) comes form the barn of Jason Servis, and has a Stakes win at the distance and the grass. Has won 5 of 6 tries, with a second. That second was on the dirt. Florida bred has some speed, too. Speed duel set. My Galina (8) is another well-bred speedball. Has a win and a third in the most recent G3 Soaring Softly Stakes at Belmont Park. Gets a HOF rider for the first time. Can’t full dismiss, either. Interesting race. Right? Look for closer, if you can find one.

The horse broke well today,” Gaffalione said. “I had the horse inside, Dunph, going to the lead and then (Gun It) showed a little bit of speed. When I saw they were intent on going I just tried to get him back and got him to relax. He came back to me nicely and settled well down the backside. Got a little keen going into the far turn and wanted to move a little early. But I didn’t want to take too much away from him so I tried to sit as long as I could. He was waiting on horses down the lane but I kept him at task and there was plenty of horse there.”

“Mark (Casse, the trainer) and his team have done a great job,” Gaffalione said. “They’ve had a ton of confidence in this horse the whole way. It’s just an honor to be able to ride the horse. He’s just so professional, trains great and he’s a pleasure to be around.”

Tyler Gaffalione, Rode of War of Will to victory in the G2 Risen Star Stakes at the Fair Grounds
  • Gene McLean

    Gene McLean

    Gene McLean began his professional career in 1977 as a sportswriter and columnist for the Lexington Herald-Leader in Lexington, Ky., and was recognized as one of the state’s best writers, winning the prestigious “Sportswriter of the Year” honor in 1985. Now the President and Publisher of The Pressbox, McLean sets ...

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