Day Results 10 / 2-4-1
2020 Overall 1140 1140 / 409-373-465
Win % of Top Pick 35.88%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 36.46%
2020 Top Pick in the Money –745-1,140 65.35%
Top Selection ITM / CD 47-65 72.31%
Top Selections Win / CD 24-65 36.92%
Top Selection ITM / KY Downs 18-31 58.06%
Top Selections Win / KY Downs — 10-31 32.26%
“Key Horses” @ CD 10-3-3-2 30.00% Win / 80.00% ITM
“Key Horses” @ KY Downs 6-3-2-1 50.00% Win / 100.00% ITM
“Key Horses” in 2020 155-53-37-22 34.19% Win / 72.26% ITM

Managed a couple of winners on Thursday’s card at Kentucky Downs. That came in 10 races, and you might think that is a bit weak.

But have you been handicapping and watching this meet so far — which is halfway through its’ designated dates?

It’s is tough.

Darn tough.

We had 4 “Key Plays of the Day” on Thursday and we managed a win, two seconds and a third. And, I felt good. Wow.

We had 5 exactas out of the10 races on Thursday. And, I felt good. Wow II.

So, we get the day off on Friday, but here’s an early look at our Saturday picks. We will add comments soon.

1st: 4-3/6-2/8-7-1/9…Keep Your Distance (4) will be making her first start for a new barn operator, who has suddenly emerged as a superstar in the claiming game. Has won with .23% of 903 starters this year. This one nearly won last time out at Saratoga. Must move to the turf today, and the barn wins with .16% when adapting this surface switch. Barn’s go-to rider comes aboard. Talent on dirt. Turf? French Rose (3) has been running against much better for a trainer having a solid year, per usual. In 4 starts on the turf in her career, though, she is 0-0-0. Rider choice is a bit suspect in this group. But the last three tries on dirt are spot on. Can she adapt? Heaven Escape (6) has 1 win in 13 tries on turf. But it is a win. Has been close in the last 3. Gets a top-class rider up and some square pricing. Chance in this group. I bet the 4-6 — take note — across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 4-6 over/under all the other numbers listed in two smaller units.

2nd: 4-1A-8/6-1-10/3-5-7/2…Summer Place (4) has run two good ones over the turf since moving to NA. Gets a top jockey up for today’s assignment and will be racing as a gelding for the first time, too. Has speed. Has talent. Could be his day. Rochambeau (1A) has 3 seconds and a third in the first 7 career starts and has faced some good ones — like Valid Point — in the past. Working well for this one. Top rider takes the reins. Chance. Casanova Kitten (8) goes for a red-hot trainer. Spot on here on Thursday. This 3YO son of Kitten’s Joy ran huge on the AW in December. Came back in June and had all kinds of issues. Can toss that one and look for much more today at a price. Look at the Aug. 12 work at KEE. Ready and my first Upset Special of the DayI bet the 4-8 across the board and then box the top 3 in one exacta. I will key the 4-8 over/under the entry-6-10-3 in two smaller units.

3rd: 11-1-7/8-9/6-5/3-12/2…Bayou Prospector (11) is my second Upset Special of the Day. This 3YO son of Line of David comes from a Stakes-placed mare who has 2 turf winners from the first 4 starters. Since moving to 2020, this one has a win, a third and two close 4ths. Could be lined up perfectly for this one and love the rider assignment. Look out here. Sharecropper (1) was nominated to the Triple Crown and that usually is an indication that the connections liked this one’s ability early on. Ran up against Necker Island, Wells Bayou and others, but I like the first try on the grass last time out. Nearly pulled off the upset gate-to-wire. Barn wins with .36% of those making the 2nd career start on the grass. This is it. Bourbon In May (7) is a heavy favorite in the ML, and could be a tough out — especially considering that he has two wins in a row. In 15 lifetime tries over the sod, he has a 5-5-1 mark. And, the trainer is unloading the barn for this meet. So, adds up. I’m still a little suspect. Will face tougher today. I bet the 11-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 11-1 over/under the 7-8-9-6-5-3 in two smaller units.

4th: 6-7-1/5-9/10-8-4/3-2…One Fast Orb (6) has run 2 seconds in a row to start the career and looks perfectly placed for this effort today. Gets a top rider up and the blinkers for the first time. The barn wins with .10% of those getting the shades added to the equipment list. Returns as a beaten favorite, as well. Trainer wins with .20% of those. One to beat. Magic Solution (7) came with a burst at the end of the debut run. Now, stretches out to the route distance for the first time and the barn wins with .18% of those. Could be right there at the wire. Scarabea  (1) comes from the barn of Jack Sisterson, who is having a very nice year for the homebred of Calumet Farm. This is another one of those and ran well on debut at Ellis Park on Aug. 23. Went extremely wide in that one and could make up a lot of ground with the conversion to the grass course today. Barn wins with .17% of those making the 2nd career start. I bet the 6 to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 6 over/under all the numbers listed in two smaller units.

5th: 9-6-12/10/5-2-3-11/8-1…Tide of the Sea (9) is another pupil of trainer Mike Maker. He has been a busy man at the European-styled course since the gates popped. This one has hit the board in each of the last 5 outings and has a 1-3-1 record in 6 starts. Game’s top rider up. Has speed. Will use it. Dangerous in this spot, to be sure. Buy Me Candy (6) has hit the board in two of the last 3 outings and returns as a beaten favorite here. Barn wins with only .09% of those, and that’s troubling. But in 6 career starts, this one has a 1-2-1 mark and gets a nice rider up, who was 2nd on this one three starts ago. Hail to the Chief (12) is the third Upset Special of the Day candidate. This 3YO son of Danza will shift to the sod for the first time, but the barn wins with .20% of those. Gets blinkers for the first time, too, and the trainer wins with .17% of them. Has 2 wins, which I like in this condition. And, the trainer is red-hot for both the year and the last few days of this meet. Looks ready for a blowout effort here. I bet the 9-12 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I key the 9-12 over/under the 6-10-5-2-3-11-8-1 in two smaller units.

6th: 4-1-2/8-6/7-12-1A/3-(13)-11-5-9…Private Island (4) is a 2YO son of Bodemeister and comes from a dam who has produced 2 turf winners from the first 6 starters. Ran huge in the first grass test on July 25 at Ellis Park. Training well since. My pick. Solid. Bluegrass Pharoah (1) zipped through some early fractions in the career debut at Ellis Park. Came up a bit short at the wire and now stretches out to a route for the first time. Barn wins with .16% of those. But wins with .21% making the 2nd career start. Gets the barn’s go-to rider up for this one and the works are solid. Dam has 2 winners from 6 starters and a turf winner, to boot. Look for more out of this one today. Can he last? Incitatus (2) is another from the barn of Ian Wilkes. Has raced twice at KEE and Saratoga. Ran better than it looks on paper in each, and the barn normally takes it’s time with the babies. Dam of this one has 5 turf winners from 8 starters. This one will join that group soon. Maybe today at a nice price. I bet the 4-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 4-2 over/under the 1-8-6-7-12-3 in two smaller units.

7th: 6-3-8/7-1/2-5/4…G3 KY Downs Ladies Turf…Regal Glory (6) comes from the barn of Chad Brown, and that’s an automatic qualifier when you start handicapping grass races. This 4YO filly has a 5-3-0 mark in 10 tries over the sod to date, and will be coming out of 6 straight Graded Stakes to settle into this company today. Of the last 3 outs, 2 were in G1 races. Should fit nicely here and the works indicate that she may be ready to pop a big one. Tapit Today (3) is another from the Chad Brown barn. Has a 3-1-1 mark in 7 grass races and has hit the board in 6 of the last 7 races. Only miss? A 4th last time out against a winner who came right back to win the next outing. Must use for me, too. Secret Message (8) is a deep closer and those types do OK on this tough, hilly course. Work on Sept. 5 was spot on. Looks ready for a big one. I bet the 6-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 6-3 over/under the 8-7-1-2-5 in two smaller units.

8th: 11-8/9-7-(14)-(15)/10-6-5/3-2-12-1/4-(13)…G3 KY Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes…Kimari (11) is one of my most favorite horses on the track today. the 3YO daughter of Munnings knows how to finish a race. And, she knows how to win. In 7 starts, she has 4 triumphs and 2 seconds. Ran huge at Royal Ascot, and that should not surprise. She has a heart as big as the ocean in-between here and there. Working great. One of the barn’s surprise riders takes the reins. Will come with a flurry, and I love it. A personal favorite. Got Stormy (8) is a multiple G1 winner and has beaten the boys in one G1 and has nearly done it three other times. She will be cutting back from her normal 1-mile distance to this sprinter spot of 6.5 furlongs today. She has speed, but this is a different test. Interesting spot for a mare who has just 2 seconds in 5 starts this year. Shake up? I bet the 11 to win/place/show and then box the 11-8 in one exacta. I go stern here. I key the 11-8 over/under the 9-7-14-15-10-6-5-3 in two smaller units.

9th: 10-4-9/8/3-2-6…KY Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Stakes…Fauci (10) has run three good races and two of them on the turf coming in. No reason to expect that he can’t put up a 4th good effort here. Has the speed to be tough and will have to last a bit longer. That is the question. Can the son of Malibu Moon carry his speed a bit farther? Legit question. Answer soon. County Final (4) won impressively on the grass to start the career. Returned to run a good second to a freak-show 2YO in the G3 Bashford Manor on the dirt. Won the Tyro Stakes over a good track that was moved to the main surface off the turf. Versatile. Looks like he can and will carry his speed. Gets a big rider switch, too. Look out here. Big effort in the works. Outadore (9) won on debut at Saratoga for a guru of 2YOs. Has worked well since that win, too. No reason to think that he can’t put up another top performance, especially with the world’s top rider up. Interesting race, to be sure. I bet the 4-9 — take note — to win/place/show and then box the top 3 in the exacta. I will key the 4-9 over/under the 10-8-3-2-6 in two smaller units.

10th: 10/2-5/6-7-4-12-11/3-9…Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes…The first Key Play of the Day comes here with Zulu Alpha (10). This one offers little value in the odds market, but the 7YO gelding does have a win over this course and is 4-2-1 in 10 starts at this distance. Win in the G2 Elkhorn Stakes last time out at KEE on July 12 indicates that he has not lost a step due to the age, either. Comes in the favorite. May leave that way, too. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then key the 10 over/under the 2-5-6-7-4-12-11-3-9 in the exactas.

11th: 4-12-3/2-9-(14)-6/11-(16)-7-(13)/10-5/1-8…G3 Unhappy Turf Spring Stakes…Totally Boss (4) won this race a year ago and one of the toughest things to accomplish in this tough-butt sport is win the same Graded Stakes event two years in a row. So? Odds stacked against. But this one ran a huge one in the G2 Shakertown last time out. Loves this track, obviously. And, has been training well for the return to action. Rider has two wins in three tries on his back. Hmmm. Bound for Nowhere (12) is a 6YO who knows how to find the finish line and the winner’s circle. In 14 races to date, he has 6 wins, 2 seconds and 2 thirds. Will air it out early. You have to come catch. That may be a challenge, considering that the final furlong is up a demanding hill. But…this one has a win over this track too and that was in the 2018 Tourist Mile. Hmmm. Front Run the Fed (3) is from the barn of Chad Brown. Moves up to face Graded Stakes company for the first time. But the man wins with .24% in the Graded Stakes category and that is in the last 699 mounts. Has 4 wins in the last 6 races. Hmmm. Also? Stubbins (2) is a horse who I just have to use. Has a second here in only previous try at KY Downs. And can finish. With the speed in this race? I like a finisher. I bet the 4-3-2 — take note — to win/place/show. I box the 4-12-3-2 in one exacta and trifecta. I also key the 4-3-2 over/under the 12-9-6-11-7 in two smaller versions.

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene