McLean’s Top Bet on Friday July 13: Ellis Park Race #3

Last Day Results (7-11-18) @ Belmont Park0-1-1
2018 Overall 959357-359-423
Win % of Top Pick37.30%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall39.50%

After the conclusion of the Churchill Downs’ Spring/Summer meet, we are now taking a few days off of full-card handicapping. But we are looking at some individual races around the country that may peak some interest. Today’s top event, at least for us, is the 3rd at Ellis Park.

This is a 1 mile, Maiden Special Weight event for Fillies & Mares 3YOs & Up over the main dirt track. Here is a closer look at the field:

  1. Ipanema Beach (4): This is a 3YO filly by Candy Ride who has already run in two Graded Stakes events in her first 6 career starts for trainer Rusty Arnold. Although she didn’t place in either one of those events, and was beaten pretty badly, the connections must think a lot of this one — who does have three solid second place finishes on her resume already. I can toss out the two Graded Stakes tries (where she did happen to run behind the world’s best filly right now in Monomoy Girl), and it was pretty obvious that despite being made a solid favorite in her last out, she didn’t care for the turf at Churchill Downs, either. Eliminate those three races, and she has there seconds — where she has been beaten about a length in each. The race two back at Churchill Downs came at this same mile distance and was she in the 5 path in that one. That tempered her late run, some, for sure. If she can get a better spot to make her later run and she can run anything close to the race two back, she is definitely the one to beat. Gets the same rider back that had two of those runner-up finishes.
  2. Saracosa (6): This well-bred, 3YO filly by Bernardini and out of a Medaglia d’Oro mare has raced twice to date this year, with a couple of thirds to show for her efforts. In the last, she was third to two horses whom have both returned to win again. So, that is an obvious “key” race. She has not been out in the afternoons since that May 27 run, though, and the trainer hits with .16% of those away from the races that long. Trainer has only one win in the first 9 starts here this meet, but does have 4 thirds, to boot. The work at Churchill Downs on June 26 is refreshing, and gives these connections hope that she is sitting on a good one. Corey Lanerie gets back in the saddle. Welcome home, Corey.
  3. Straightouttapopcorn (1): This is the value play of the race, and don’t be surprised if this one shows a lot more the second time around than she did in the debut effort when she was 7th and beaten 9 lengths. This one gets Lasix for the first time today, and may not be as green as she was in the debut run on June 24. The fact that she wheels right back in 19 days is assurance enough that she is doing quite well in the morning moves. The work at Ashwood Training Center in Lexington on May 30 is a real good one over that track, and this daughter of Morning Line is a real looker, to boot. My Upset Special for today.

I bet the 1 to win/place/show and then box the 1-6-4 in the exactas. I box the 1-6 in another two exactas, and then I key the 1 over/under the all button in two more. All in on the #1 in this spot.

Good Luck & All the Best/Gene

We saw something really great. That’s greatness right there. When he won his second race we were in (American) Pharoah territory.”

On Solomini: “I knew he was up against it, especially since we were going to try something different with him. You have to take a chance. He earned his way and he ran 10th and there were some good horses behind him.”

Bob Baffert, Trainer of Justify (1st), Solomini (10th)
  • 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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