Full field for Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course – Stakes Analysis with suggested Plays


January 19, 2019: #8 War of Will ridden by Tyler Gaffalione wins the Lecomte Stakes at the Fair Grounds Race Course on January 19, 2019 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Parker Waters/EclipseSportswire/CSM

Don’t look now but we’re just 79 days away from the 2019 Kentucky Derby and that means the stakes are rising!  Saturday’s Grade 3 Risen Star will be the first Kentucky Derby prep race of the year to offer 50 points to the winner, which we all know basically guarantees a spot in the gate come May.  This year’s Risen Star has drawn a full field of 14 with an additional horse on the Also Eligible list. LeComte winner War of Will is the no doubt about it favorite, but he’s up against it after drawing the extreme outside.  Bob Baffert’s has announced Kingly will scratch so Gun It should draw in.

The Risen Star hasn’t produced much as far as the Kentucky Derby goes, with War Emblem (9th 2002 Risen Star) being its only graduate to go on to Derby glory.  The race has however, seen two future Breeders’ Cup Classic winners come through its gate.  Gun Runner took the 2016 edition and Mucho Macho Man was victorious in 2011.  Perhaps there are a couple future stars in this year’s field.

Race 12 – Risen Star Stakes (G2) Post Time – 6:02 PM
Purse $400,000. For Three-Year Olds. One and One Sixteenth Miles.
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Plus Que Parfait (KY) 3/R L J R Leparoux 122 B P Walsh 10/1
2 Roiland (KY) 3/C L J Graham 122 T M Amoss 20/1
3 Mr. Money (KY) 3/C L G Saez 122 W B Calhoun 12/1
4 Chase the Ghost (KY) 3/C L M Murrill 122 D Stewart 30/1
5 Henley’s Joy (KY) 3/C L M Franco 122 M J Maker 10/1
6 Hog Creek Hustle (KY) 3/C L F Geroux 122 V L Foley 8/1
7 Manny Wah (KY) 3/C L C Hill 122 W M Catalano 12/1
8 Owendale (KY) 3/C L S Bridgmohan 122 B H Cox 6/1
9 Country House (KY)  3/C L L Saez 122 W I Mott 20/1
10 Limonite (KY) 3/C L B J Hernandez, Jr. 122 S M Asmussen 10/1
11 Dunph (KY) 3/G L J L Ortiz 122 M J Maker 20/1
12 Frolic More (KY) 3/C L C J Lanerie 122 D Stewart 10/1
13 Kingly (KY) 3/C L D Van Dyke 122 B Baffert SCR
14 War of Will (KY) 3/C L T Gaffalione 122 M E Casse 5/2
Also Eligibles:
15 Gun It (KY) 3/C L R Santana, Jr. 122 S M Asmussen 10/1

If you can connect in this race you are likely to be handsomely rewarded. I plan to be rewarded with my top play in here which is the #9 Country House who is 20/1 on the morning-line, but I do expect he will take some money. This son of Lookin At Lucky debuted on the grass at Belmont back in October and has made steady improvement in each of his last two starts since.  I feel if he’s able to take another step forward he will be very dangerous in here.  He was a close 2nd two back at Aqueduct to Kentucky Wildcat who ran 2nd himself in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis last weekend.  The Bill Mott trainee then broke his maiden at Gulfstream last out after absolutely missing the break and spotting the field at least eight or nine lengths.  I’m not sure he beat much in his last outing, but I was very impressed with the way he did it.  Let’s hope he’s better out of the gate this time around and make some money!  Luis Saez retains the mount.

I just can’t bring myself to put #14 War of Will on top here at such a short price.  I think this horse could be a star, but he’s going to have to break well and establish solid early positioning in order to win.  We’ll see what kind of trip Tyler Gaffalione can work out aboard the Grade 3 LeComte winner.  I’ll still plan on using on my horizontal plays, but there is better value to be had in this big field.

I thought the Brendan Walsh trained #1 Plus Que Parfait ran a pretty good race last out after stumbling slightly at the break and then getting caught wide into the first turn of the Grade 3 LeComte.  The son of Point of Entry seems to enjoy this distance and I would expect Julien Leparoux will have him more forwardly placed breaking from the rail.  Strictly using on my vertical tickets.

#3 Mr. Money makes his first start since finishing 4th in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile back in November.  He was slated to run in last month’s Grade 3 LeComte, but his connections decided to scratch.  I like the recent works from this son of Goldencents and I think the time off should do him good.  Will probably need a career best outing to win here.  Gabe Saez rides for Bret Calhoun who just got his 3,000th training victory this past Sunday.

Another horse I want to add in on my vertical play’s is #15 Gun It who is a well-bred son of Tapit and the first foal out of Miss Besilu.  The Steve Asmussen trainee is a former $2.6 million Keeneland September Yearling purchase that has yet to prove his worth.  He broke his maiden over this track back in December and returned to run 3rd in an allowance contest last month over a wet track.  I’m willing to forgive his last outing as he never looked completely comfortable and did not seem to love the track that day.

Suggested Plays

 Race 12

$4 Win

#9 Country House

$5 Exacta Box

 9,14 = $10

$1 Trifecta Keys

 9 w 1,3,14,15 w 1,3,14,15 = $12

1,3,14,15 w 9 w 1,3,14,15 = $12

1,3,14,15 w 1,3,14,15 w 9 = $12

Bonus Play: $200,000 Guaranteed All Stakes Pick 4 (Races 9-12)

2,5,6 w 5,6,7,9 w 4,8 w 9,14 = $24

Good luck!

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Sam F. Davis Stakes Highlights Festival Preview Day at Tampa Bay– Stakes Analysis with suggested Plays


TAMPA, FL. MARCH 13 – running at Tampa Bay Downs in Tampa, Florida.

Just like last weekend’s Kentucky Derby preps, this Saturday’s Sam F. Davis Stakes will offer a total of 17 Kentucky Derby points. More importantly we as handicappers will be gain another piece of the giant puzzle that is the Kentucky Derby prep season.  Saturday’s winner will become the early favorite for the Tampa Bay Derby on March 9th however, no Sam. F Davis winner has ever gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.  It looks like we may finally kick the trend of rain on big race days as the chance of precipitation for tomorrow is just 20%.

Race 11 – Sam F. Davis Stakes (G3) Post Time – 5:25 PM
Purse $250,000. For Three-Year Olds. One and One Sixteenth Miles.
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Counter Offer (KY) 3/C L A A Gallardo 118 I R Wilkes 12/1
2 Going for Gold (KY) 3/G L J A Bracho 118 R B Hess, Jr. 20/1
3 Knicks Go (MD) 3/C L A Jimenez 124 B Colebrook 5/2
4 Cave Run (KY) 3/C L J L Castanon 118 E G Harty 6/1
5 Moonster (KY) 3/C L S Camacho 118 D L Romans 30/1
6 Kentucky Wildcat (KY) 3/C L J Bravo 118 T Albertrani 9/2
7 Five Star General (KY) 3/C L J L Ortiz 118 A Delacour 4/1
8 So Alive (KY) 3/C L J Castellano 118 T A Pletcher 5/1
9 Well Defined (FL) 3/G L P Morales 122 K O’Connell 8/1
10 Still Dreaming (KY) 3/C L J A Vargas, Jr. 118 H G Motion 15/1


#6 Kentucky Wildcat is a very well-bred son of Tapit, out of MG1W dam Better Lucky. He is trained by Thomas Albertrani who also trained his dam.  This colt broke his maiden in his 3rd start last out on Cigar Mile Day at Aqueduct.  He has improved in each start and if he is able to again, he’s a definite win candidate.  I expect a money ride from Joe Bravo who has been aboard for all three starts and retains the mount for this one.  He’s my top pick today.

Two-time Kentucky Derby winning trainer Todd Pletcher does not look to have the stock this year like he has had in recent years. With that said, #8 So Alive may be the most talented of what he does have in the barn and the Super Saver Colt is a half-brother to GSW Vino Rosso.  This horse showed what he was made of coming from way off the pace to win his debut at Keeneland last fall.  He followed up that performance with a dud after breaking poorly on an off-track at Churchill Downs.  Pletcher added blinkers last out and they seemed to make the difference as the colt was victorious over the Tampa Bay track.  I would expect this one to improve again and he’ll need to do just that as he makes his stakes debut.  He comes in off a bullet work at Palm Beach Downs last week.

#7 Five Star General comes in fresh for trainer Arnaud Delacour and he’ll be your likely pacesetter for this contest. He took the Central Park Stakes in front running fashion back in November.  This is the same ownership group as Justify, who may know a thing or two about spotting nice horses.  Jose Ortiz will be aboard this son of Distorted Humor and I trust the eclipse award finalist for top jockey will give him the trip he needs to finish on the board.

By far the most accomplished of this group is #3 Knicks Go who took the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland back in the fall.  He followed that up with another good showing, running 2nd to Eclipse Award winning Juvenile Game Winner in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.  The son of Paynter then returned on three-weeks rest in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes back in November where he sat just off very hot fractions over sloppy track and was not able to sustain his bid.  Trainer Ben Colebrook finally got him a bit of a breather after a tough two-year-old campaign and he returns here.  He’s clearly a win contender but I’ll play against at a short price.

Suggested Plays

Race 11

$5 WP

#6 Kentucky Wildcat

$10 Exacta Key Box

6 w 7,8 = $40

Bonus Play: Late Pick 4 (Races 9-12)

4,7,9 w 2,6,7 w 6,7,8 w 1,3,6,10 = $54

Good luck!

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Visiting with the Super Stallions at Gainesway Farm


The recent polar vortex here in the Midwest has left us all bundled up tightly, just determined to stay inside for as long as we can.  Before this chilly weather set in it was a balmy 47 degrees here in Kentucky, so it was a perfect time to do some stallion farm visits before the start of the 2019 breeding season.

My list of farm visits included stops at Three Chimneys Farm, Lane’s End, WinStar, Hill ‘n Dale, Taylor Made Stallions, and (most anticipated) Gainesway Farm–where I planned to take full advantage of my time seeing their prized white stallion, Tapit.

A son of Pulpit from the Unbridled mare Tap Your Heels, Tapit sold as a yearling at the 2002 Keeneland September Yearling sale, where he was consigned by Fred Seitz, agent.  David Fiske picked up this grey colt for his clients (Winchell Thoroughbreds) for the sale price of $625,000.  One year later, he broke his maiden first time out in Maiden Special Weight company at Delaware Park.  Tapit came back less than a month later in the Grade 3 Laurel Futurity, where he made a bold move in the stretch and won by over four lengths.  He also earned a career high of 106 Equibase speed figure rating.

After a flat sixth place effort in the Grade 1 Florida Derby, Tapit came back to win the Grade 1 Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct–which set in stone his path to the Kentucky Derby.  A slow break from the gate and the traffic of the field cost him the Kentucky Derby, which went to eventual Preakness Stakes winner Smarty Jones.  After another flat effort a few months later in the Grade 2 Pennsylvania Derby, Tapit was retired with a (3-0-0) record from six lifetime starts and earnings of $557,300.

What he lacked at the racetrack, he made up for in the breeding shed.  Tapit has been a record-setting leading sire three times in North America, with combined worldwide earnings over $140 million.  He currently commands a stud fee of $225,000, which may not sound so steep since he has been America’s No. 1 Yearling Sire for five-straight years, with almost $30 million in yearlings sold.  Tapit’s command of the sale ring has put his offspring in the capable hands of top owners and trainers that have campaigned champions such as UNTAPABLE (champion 3-year-old filly), STARDOM BOUND (champion 2-year-old filly), HANSEN (champion 2-year-old colt), UNIQUE BELLA (champion female sprinter) and over 100 other stakes winners.  His combined sale and progeny earnings over $447 million.

Tapit is not the only grey shinning star at Gainesway Farm.  This year also starts the breeding career of one of Tapit’s top sons, classic winner and stakes-record setter – TAPWRIT ($1.3 million).

A $1.2 millionr yearling out of a Grade 1-winning Successful Appeal daughter named Appealing Zophie, Tapwrit headed right to the barn of top trainer Todd Pletcher for his new connections.

A winner in his second race at 2-years-old, Tapwrit finished off 2016 with a win the Pulpit Stakes at Gulfstream Park.  He came back in February of his 3-year-old year with a second place finish in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs to multiple graded stakes winner McCraken ($869,728). Tapwrit was Derby Trail-bound and followed that with a win in the Grade 2 Lambholm South Tampa Bay Derby, where also posted a career best 111 Equibase speed rating.  A steadied sixth place effort in the Kentucky Derby’s field of 20 was followed by two-length win in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes over a tiring Irish War Cry.  After the Belmont Stakes, Tapwrit never found his way back to the winner’s circle.  He ran an even fourth in the Grade 1 Travers Stakes at Saratoga later that summer, defeating Derby winner Always Dreaming and previous winner McCraken.

Celebrating his 19th Birthday this year is the world traveler, Empire Maker.  A homebred son of Unbridled from Juddmonte Farm, this royally-bred colt is out of 2002 Broodmare of The Year, Toussaud–another Juddmonte homebred, who is the dam of five Grade 1 winners.  Empire Maker was a winner in his first start for trainer Robert Frankel and soon followed up that win with a victory in the Grade 1 Florida Derby.  From Florida to New York, he won back-to-back starts with a win the Grade 1 Wood Memorial before running second in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby to fan favorite Funny Cide.  Empire Maker later made it known he was the king with a win in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, thus ending the Triple Crown bid for Funny Cide and also posting a career high 115 Equibase Speed Figure.

Juddmonte Farm got his stud career rolling but shocked breeders in 2010 with the announcement that Empire Maker had been sold for stud duties to Japan.

With the success of offspring such a Pioneerof the Nile, three-time champion Royal Delta, and sire Bodemeister, it was an easy decision for the owners of Gainesway Farm and partner Don Alberto Stud to partner 50/50 to purchase the stallion and ship him back to the United States.  He became a valuable addition to their stallion roster with the success of Triple Crown champion American Pharoah (the son of Pioneerof The Nile), who had retired to stud down the road at Coolmore.

*Photos by Crystal Conway

LeComte Stakes Brings on Derby Fever – Stakes Analysis with suggested Plays


 Fairgrounds Race Course in New Orleans, LA. Scott Serio/ESW/CSM


This Saturday’s LeComte Stakes at the Fair Grounds will offer a total of 17 Kentucky Derby points, ten of which will go to the winner. The winner will likely become the early favorite next month’s Risen Star which offers a combined total of 85 Kentucky Derby Points and pretty much guarantees the winner a spot in the starting gate come the first Saturday in May.  This year’s edition sets up to be an excellent betting race with a full field of 14 entered to run.

Race 12 – (Fair Grounds) LeComte Stakes (G3) Post Time – 6:49 PM EST
Purse $200,000. For Three-Year Olds. One Mile and Seventy Yards
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Wicked Indeed (KY) 3/C L B J Hernandez, Jr. 122 S M Asmussen 12/1
2 Malpais (KY) 3/C L A Beschizza 122 J Sharp 12/1
3 Tackett (WV) 3/G L J Bravo 122 M Stidham 6/1
4 Mr. Money (KY) 3/C L G Saez 122 W B Calhoun 5/1
5 Night Ops (KY)  3/C L E Morales 122 J K Desormeaux 30/1
6 Hog Creek Hustle (KY) 3/C L F Geroux 122 V L Foley 12/1
7 Roiland (KY) 3/C L J Graham 122 T M Amoss 12/1
8 War of Will (KY) 3/C L T Gaffalione 122 M E Casse 6/1
9 Mo Speed (KY) 3/C L J Lermyte 122 M E Casse 20/1
10 Chase the Ghost (KY) 3/C L C J Lanerie 122 D Stewart 12/1
11 Tight Ten (KY) 3/C L R Santana, Jr. 122 S M Asmussen 8/1
12 Plus Que Parfait (KY) 3/R L J R Leparoux 122 B P Walsh 9/2
13 Manny Wah (KY) 3/C L C Hill 122 W M Catalano 10/1
14 Admire (KY) 3/C L R Albarado 122 D L Romans 20/1
Also Eligibles:
15 West Texas (KY) 3/G L M Pedroza 122 B S Flint 20/1

 Don’t get me wrong, this race is wide open, and a poor trip will be costly to some. I do feel however that the horse to beat in here is #8 War of Will. The Mark Casse trainee has been training locally since his maiden breaking performance at Churchill Downs in late November. That race was his first on dirt after contesting multiple Grades Stakes on turf, including the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.  While his efforts on grass were nothing to be ashamed of, the surface change did seem to flip a switch.  Tyler Gaffalione should find good early positioning from the eight post and I would expect a solid effort from this one.  He’s my top pick.

Dale Romans always wakes up with one or two good ones come Derby season and he’s been particularly good with these connections over the past few years. I’m going to give #14 Admire some love on my tickets at a big morning-line price of 20/1. I don’t love his post and Robby Albarado will need to will need to work out a trip from the far outside.  The son of Cairo Prince does have some early speed and should be somewhat forwardly placed.  I really like the fact that his maiden win came at one and one eighth miles.

#4 Mr. Money will have to rebound after his poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and it looks like his connection have given him ample time to do just so. The son of Goldencents has posted some solid workouts in recent weeks over the Fair Grounds surface and I expect Bret Calhoun to have this one ready to go.

Joe Sharp missed out on the Derby last year after arriving on the scene with Girvin in 2017. Perhaps the young trainer can find his way back with #2 Malpais who stretches out to two turns for the first time. The homebred colt is out of Hard Spun who won the LeComte himself back in 2007 and was also 2nd in the Kentucky Derby that year.  I’ll believe this one could excel with the stretch out which is why I’ll be using on my tickets.

#3 Tackett is one of only five horses in this field to have beaten winner and he has posted the 2nd best beyer speed figure of all the runners.  Joe Bravo will ride the Michael Stidham trainee for the 2nd time.  I would expect this one to establish early positioning on the front end.

Suggested Plays

Race 12

$1 Exacta Box

2,3,4,8,14 = $20

$.10 Superfecta’s

8 w 2,3,4,14 w 2,3,4,14 w ALL = $13.20

8 w 2,3,4,14 w ALL w 2,3,4,14 = $13.20

Bonus Play: All-stakes Pick 4 (Races 9-12)

1,3,4,7 w 8 w 3,4,5,7 w 2,4,8,14 = $32

Good luck!

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Eclipse Award Finalist – Which Equine Stars and Connections Will Take Top Honors?


The general public often begins the debate on who they feel the rightful Eclipse Champions should be well before the midway point of the year. While the Facebook and Twitter banter can be playful and even sometimes hostile, it is often meaningless until we are able to step back and view the full body of work for each horse.  2018 has ended and what a year of racing it was.

While each category brings a different level of excitement, most eyes will be on who takes home the Eclipse Award for Horse of the Year.

Justify broke the Apollo curse and became the 13th Triple Crown Winner.

Accelerate won six of seven races including five Grade 1’s, highlighted by the Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Monomoy Girl also won six of seven races including five Grade 1’s, capped off by a win in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. The Brad Cox trained filly’s only defeat came via a disqualification in the Grade 1 Cotillion Stakes at Parx.

Earlier this week three finalist were announced from each category after 249 ballots were received from the 271 eligible voters. Winners from each of the 17 categories will be revealed during the live awards show on Thursday, January 25th in South Florida.

Derek Kirchner and I give you our selections for each category along with our reasoning behind it.



  • Steve Asmussen
  • Bob Baffert
  • Chad Brown

Josh’s Pick: Chad Brown With a total of 47 GSW and 20 of the Grade 1 variety, no one else comes close to the year Brown had.  Brown, who runs the bulk of his operation out of New York also led all trainers in earnings with a total of $27,546,057.  Brown was also victorious in two Breeders’ Cup races with Sistercharlie (BC F&M Turf) and Newspaperofrecord (BC Juvenile Fillies Turf).

Derek’s Pick: Bob BaffertHe received this honor in 2015 when he conditioned Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, and he’d get my vote again this year. In addition to his second Triple Crown, he captured the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile with Game Winner, saw West Coast run second in both the Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup, and conditioned Abel Tasman to two Grade 1 victories.

Elmont, NY – JUNE 09: Trainer Bob Baffert greets the newly crowned #1, Justify, in the Winners Circle after the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 9, 2018 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Carson Dennis/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)


  • Irad Ortiz
  • Jose Ortiz
  • Mike Smith

Josh’s Pick: Jose OrtizIt’s been amazing watching the rise of the Ortiz brothers in just a few short years.  I think it’s safe to assume each of them will win their fair share of these, but this year I’m giving Jose the nod by a slim margin.  While Jose trails his brother in wins and earnings, he won five more Graded Stakes than Irad with a total of 35.  Jose also won Grade 1 races aboard nine different horses, compared to Irad’s six.  I find Jose to be much more versatile, winning for a handful of different trainers and owners, while Irad’s main business comes from solely Chad Brown.  Stand out wins for Jose included Good Magic (Haskell), Patternrecognition (Cigar Mile), Oscar Performance (Woodbine Mile), and Eskimo Kisses (Alabama).  Mike Smith had a big year with his Triple Crown aboard Justify, but the full body of work is not enough for me with only 246 starts.

Derek’s Pick: Irad Ortiz Jr. – Tough call between him and Triple Crown-winner Mike Smith. Irad ranked #1 in both wins and earnings for 2018 (although in fairness he did have nearly eight times as many starts as Smith), so his daily grind on multiple circuits gets the nod from me. He was also able to snag two Breeders’ Cup victories (Filly & Mare Sprint with Shamrock Rose and Juvenile Fillies Turf with Newspaperofrecord), while his fellow Eclipse finalists were shut out of the winner’s circle at Churchill Downs.

HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Photo of Irad Ortiz, Jr. taken March 29, 2018 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, FL. (Photo by Bob Aaron/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

Apprentice Jockey

  • Reylu Gutierrez
  • Weston Hamilton
  • Edgar Morales

Josh’s Pick: To Close to Call! –  Are you kidding me?  These three guys all had a phenomenal year and are nearly identical statistically.  I think the fact that Reylu Gutierrez rides on the NYRA circuit may enhance his chances a bit, so I would say he is your likeliest winner.

Derek’s’ Pick: Reylu Gutierrez – All three finalists posted similar win and ITM percentages for 2018. With no graded stakes or marquee rides under their belts, Gutierrez gets my vote based off his better track record in stakes (2-2-2- from 15 starts).


  • Peter Brant
  • Hronis Racing LLC
  • Team Justify

Josh’s Pick: Team JustifyThis is such a tough category to judge as the body of work for each ownership varies greatly.  While in any other year Hronis Racing LLC and Peter Brant would be deserving winners, campaigning a Triple Crown winner kind of trumps all else.  Team Justify is made up of China Horse Club, Head of Plains Partners LLC, Starlight Racing, and Winstar Farm.  These same connections also campaigned Florida Derby winner Audible.

Derek’s Pick: Hronis Racing LLC – Accelerate carried the banner all year for 2018’s top-earning owner, who also ranked 47th in wins, culminating with their first Breeders’ Cup victory. The group also captured multiple Grade 2 races with Gift Box and Catalina Cruiser, plus a Grade 3 with Yuvetsi.

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY, MAY 05: Justify, #7, ridden by Mike Smith, wins the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 5, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Sue Kawczynski/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)


  • Mike Abraham
  • John D Gunther
  • Winstar Farm LLC

Josh’s Pick: John D GuntherJohn along with his daughter Tanya have built quite the breeding operation over the years under their Glennwood Farm banner.  Not only did Mr. Gunther breed Triple Crown winner Justify, he also bred his dam Stage Magic.  2018 G2 Wood Memorial winner, Vino Rosso was also a product of a Gunther mating.

Derek’s Pick: John D GuntherNot only did he breed the sport’s 13th Triple Crown champion in Justify, he was a victor at Royal Ascot when Without Parole rolled to victory in the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes. A Triple Crown win AND Royal Ascot win? Most breeders would take one. Gunther got both.


  • Jury Duty (IRE)
  • Optimus Prime (FR)
  • Zanjabeel (GB)

Josh’s Pick: Optimus Prime (FR)What Derek said…

Derek’s Pick: Optimus Prime (FR)The top ranked runner in 2018 with a 157 rating and won the Grade 2 Ferguson Memorial by over 18 lengths. He also captured the prestigious Grade 1 New York Turf Writers Cup Handicap at Saratoga. His three-start campaign included a third-place finish to Zanjabeel in the Grade 1 Lonesome Glory Handicap at Belmont Park.

Optimus Prime (no. 2) wins the NY Turf Writers Cup Handicap (Grade I), Aug. 23, 2018 at the Saratoga Race Course, Saratoga Springs, NY. Ridden by Ross Geraghty for his 100th win, and trained by Richard Hendriks, Optimus Prime finished 1 1/4 lengths in front of New Member (no. 6). (Bruce Dudek/Eclipse Sportswire)

Older Dirt Female

  • Abel Tasman
  • Marley’s Freedom
  • Unique Bella

Josh’s Pick: Unique Bella – This must be one of the more disappointing categories this year.  Abel Tasman completely tailed off at the end of the year and Unique Bella was unable to make it through the whole year before being retired.  Marley’s Freedom had a solid campaign but mostly sprinting.  She did not win past a mile.  Unique Bella may have only run four-times, but she was 100% in the money and victorious in two Grade 1 races.  Abel Tasman also had two Grade 1 wins, but she was off the board in her other three starts.  I give Unique Bella a slight edge over the other two candidates.

Derek’s Pick: Marley’s Freedom – Unique Bella may have gotten the nod from me had her season continued past the Clement Hirsch in July. Marley’s Freedom posted just two off-the-board finishes in 2018, one being her fourth-place finish in a near four-horse photo in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.

ARCADIA, CA – FEBRUARY 10: Unique Bella at Santa Anita Park on February 10, 2018 in Arcadia, California. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

Older Dirt Male

  • Accelerate
  • City of Light
  • Gun Runner

Josh’s Pick: Accelerate – Um ok, maybe we need to start adding some prerequisites in order to become an Eclipse Award candidate.  I’m sorry Gun Runner, but you got yours last year.  One start on the year in late January should not make you a finalist in any category no matter how weak the division may be.  Accelerate had a phenomenal campaign winning five Grade 1’s and then capped it off with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  He’s a runaway winner in my eyes.

Derek’s Pick: Accelerate – Six victories, all graded stakes including five Grade 1’s. He dominated the west coast circuit all year and took on all comers in Louisville for a one-length Breeders’ Cup Classic score from the far outside post.

Female Turf Horse

  • A Raving Beauty (GER)
  • Enable (GB)
  • Sistercharlie (IRE)

Josh’s Pick: Sistercharlie (IRE) – If we’re talking about the best Female Turf Horse in “North America” then this is an easy pick.  Enable (GB) obviously pulled off a remarkable double in winning the Arc de Triomphe and the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but I don’t think her Breeders’ Cup win alone is enough to overtake Sistercharlie (GB).  The Chad Brown trainee won four of five races on the year, all were Grade 1’s and all were at different racetracks.  She finished her campaign by winning the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Churchill Downs.

Derek’s Pick: Sistercharlie (IRE) – While what Enable accomplished with her unprecedented Arc de Triomphe/Breeders’ Cup Turf is remarkable, I can’t ignore how Sistercharlie dominated the female turf division in this country all year long. Four Grade 1 victories in some of the division’s biggest races (Diana Stakes, Jenny Wiley, Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf) are the trump card for me.

LEXINGTON, KY – April 14, 2018. #7 Sistercharlie (IRE) and jockey John Velazquez win the 30th running of The Coolmore Jenny Wiley Grade 1 $350,000 for owner Peter Brant and trainer Chad Brown at Keeneland Race Course. Lexington, Kentucky. (Photo by Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

Male Turf Horse

  • Expert Eye (GB)
  • Glorious Empire (IRE)
  • Stormy Liberal

Josh’s Pick: Glorious Empire (IRE) – This is another tough category to judge.  I can’t take Expert Eye for the same reason I couldn’t land on Enable.  That leaves me with two horses that couldn’t be anymore different.  Ultimately, I gave the nod to the former claiming horse.  He was extremely impressive this summer at Saratoga for trainer James Lawrence II, with a dead heat victory in the Grade 2 Bowling Green and then a dominant win in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer.  I can excuse his poor performance in the Breeders’ Cup Turf as I don’t think he wanted any part of that distance and I loved the way he rebounded back to win the Grade 2 Fort Lauderdale last month.  I applaud the season Stormy Liberal had and he showed up big to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, but at the end of the day he only won two Graded Stakes.  I felt the level of competition was not there compared to his counterpart.

Derek’s Pick: Stormy Liberal – Posted his second straight win in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in the penultimate race of another strong season which saw him post four victories, two runner-up finishes in graded stakes, and a very respectable second-place finish in the Group 1 Al Quoz Sprint on Dubai World Cup day.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – AUGUST 25: Glorious Empire #1, ridden by jockey Julien Leparoux, wins the Sword Dancer Srakes on Travers Stakes Day at Saratoga Race Course on August 25, 2018 in Saratoga Springs, New York. (Photo by Rob Simmons/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

Female Sprinter

  • Finley’sluckycharm
  • Marley’s Freedom
  • Shamrock Rose

Josh’s Pick: Shamrock Rose – You can obviously make a case for Marley’s Freedom here, but what it comes down to for me is the head-to-head matchup in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint.  Shamrock Rose finished the year strong winning four in a row, which was capped off with the Breeders’ Cup win.  Marley’s Freedom had a total of four Graded Stakes scores, but two of them came in five-horse fields against questionable competition.  Both of Shamrock Roses Graded Stakes wins came against 14-horse fields!  Mic drop!

Derek’s Pick: Marley’s Freedom – She cruised in the Grade 1 Ballerina and crushed fellow finalist Finley’sluckycharm in the process. Five wins, four of them graded, and a runner-up finish make up for her fourth place Breeders’ Cup effort. And she has something most Eclipse finalists lack: a post-BC win (Grade 3 Go for Wand Handicap).

November 3, 2018: Shamrock Rose #14, ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr., wins the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on Breeders’ Cup World Championship Saturday at Churchill Downs on November 3, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. Candice Chavez/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

Male Sprinter

  • Imperial Hint
  • Roy H
  • Stormy Liberal

Josh’s Pick: Roy H – At the end of the day Roy H benefited from the four-month layoff he took after Dubai and because of that was able to close out a consistent campaign on a high note. The Peter Miller trainee finished the year with a win in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint, to give him back-to-back Grade 1’s to close out the year.  Imperial Hint was fantastic during his three-race win streak that included wins in the Grade 1 Vanderbilt and Grade 1 Vosburgh.  Unfortunately, he was not able to beat Roy H in the Breeders’ Cup where he finished a respectable third.

Derek’s Pick: Roy H – Imperial Hint captured two of the “classic” Grade 1 races in the division (Vanderbilt and Vosburgh) but was a disappointing sixth in the Churchill Downs Sprint. It’s a tough call, but Roy H owns the head-to-head in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint and fared well in Dubai in the Group 1 Golden Shaheen.

November 3, 2018: Roy H #9, ridden by Paco Lopez, wins the Twinspires Breeders’ Cup Sprint on Breeders’ Cup World Championship Saturday at Churchill Downs on November 3, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. Scott Serio/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

2-Year-Old Female

  • Bellafina
  • Jaywalk
  • Newspaperofrecord (IRE)

Josh’s Pick: Jaywalk – If I were to pick who has the brighter career ahead of them out of this group, I am 100% going to pick Newspaperofrecord (IRE).  That is not the case however and as their current resume stands, I believe Jaywalk is deserving of the Eclipse.  The daughter of 2018’s #1 Freshman sire Cross Traffic won four of five races on her juvenile campaign.  That campaign concluded with wins in the Grade 1 Frizette and a runaway win in the Breeder’s Cup Juvenile Fillies.  Newspaper of record won all three of her starts, including an eye-popping display in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.  I’m very much looking forward to both fillies three-year-old campaigns.

Derek’s Pick: Jaywalk – Tough call against Bellafina, who was a beast in California. Both were two-time Grade 1 winners in the fall, but Jaywalk’s head-to-head win in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies propels her over the other two.

Jaywalk (#7, Cross Traffic), Joel Rosario up, wins the Juvenile Fillies at Churchill Downs 11.02.18. John Servis trainer, D. J. Stable LLC and Cash is King LLC owners.

2-Year-Old Male

  • Game Winner
  • Improbable
  • Knicks Go

Josh’s Pick: Game Winner – You can’t argue against three Grade 1 victories in just over a four-month span.  The son of Candy Ride took the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity, Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes, and Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in consecutive outings.  From what I saw last year Improbable has the brighter future is the likely Kentucky Derby favorite, but he didn’t debut until late September.  Game Winner was making his third career start the same day Improbable debuted.  Game Winner is a lock for the Eclipse, but my money is on the “Other Baffert” for next year.

Derek’s Pick: Game Winner – Four-for-four in three months of work, with three Grade 1 victories to cap off the year after breaking his maiden in August. Wins in the Del Mar Futurity and American Pharoah Stakes, along with a comfortable victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, trump the competition for year-end honors.

November 2, 2018: Game Winner #9, ridden by Joel Rosario, wins the Sentient Jet Juvenile on Breeders’ Cup World Championship Friday at Churchill Downs on November 2, 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky. Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/CSM

3-Year-Old Female

  • Midnight Bisou
  • Monomoy Girl
  • Rushing Fall

Josh’s Pick: Monomoy Girl – These connections better give one hell of an acceptance speech because they’ve had months to prepare it.  The Brad Cox trained filly didn’t miss a beat all year long and was a very questionable DQ away from a perfect campaign.  Of her six wins, five were Grade 1’s and she finished off the year by beating older horses in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.  Questionably her two toughest races, she was forced to win the Kentucky Oaks and Distaff from the 11-hole.

Derek’s Pick: Monomoy Girl – A horrendous disqualification in the Grade 1 Cotillion prevented her from a seven-for-seven campaign. But six-of-seven with five Grade 1 victories is pretty good in and of itself. She turned in one of the best performances of the weekend in winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in her first try against older.

Monomoy Girl (no. 4) wins the Coaching Club American Oaks for three year old fillies at Saratoga Racecourse. The winner, ridden by Florent Geroux and trained by Brad Cox, led from the start, drew away from Midnight Bisou (no. 2) in the homestretch and finished under a hand ride. (Bruce Dudek/Eclipse Sportswire)

3-Year-Old Male

  • Catholic Boy
  • Justify
  • McKinzie

Josh’s Pick: Justify –While the other two candidates showed moments of brilliance, Justify had perhaps the greatest 111-day campaign of all-time and became the 13th Triple Crown winner in history.  The son of the late Scat Daddy started off his campaign in mid-February, going three for three at his home base of Santa Anita under the care of Bob Baffert.  After a three-length score in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby, he went on to sweep the Kentucky Derby, Preakness, and Belmont Stakes.  Justify was the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby after going unraced as a two-year-old since Apollo in 1882.

Derek’s Pick: Justify – JUSTIFY. Undefeated. Triple Crown winner. Enough said.

 Horse of the Year

  • Accelerate
  • Justify
  • Monomoy Girl

Josh’s Pick: Monomoy Girl – A little against the grain here I suppose, but I truly think she deserves it.  The Tapizar filly but together a complete campaign and ran at six different race tracks.  She was consistent for the entire year.  No knocks on what the other two accomplished, but what this filly did was spectacular.

Derek’s Pick: Justify – Without a doubt the toughest decision for me to make among these selections. A solid argument could be made for any of the three finalists. Each horse posted six victories from twenty combined starts (Accelerate and Monomoy Girl each had a runner-up finish). What Justify was able to do in such a short period of time, without racing at all as a two-year-old, makes his 2018 campaign one of the more impressive feats this sport has seen.

ELMONT, NY – JUNE 09: – Justify #1 with Mike Smith wins the 150th Belmont Stakes, becoming the 13 Triple Crown champion at Belmont Park on June 09, 2018 in Elmont, New York. (Photo by Alex Evers/Eclipse Sportswire/Getty Images)

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Breeders’ Cup Classic Spotlight – Contenders and Pretenders


It’s officially Breeders’ Cup week and after tonight’s Post Position draw at Equestricon in downtown Louisville, we can finally start to truly handicap the race. Let’s find out what makes each entrant a contender and what makes them a pretender in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Classic.


Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

Trainer: Saeed bin Suroor

Owner: Godolphin Racing LLC

Contender: Has never been worst than 2nd over fast dirt and ran a bang-up race last out in the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup.

Pretender:  Everyone remembers his rodeo display in his lone start at Churchill Downs in last year’s Kentucky Derby over a sloppy track.  We could see similar conditions again.


Jockey: Oisin Murphy

Trainer: John Gosden

Owner: Qatar Racing Limited

Contender:  By Kitten’s Joy and out of a Street Sense mare, he should love the distance if he takes to the surface.

Pretender: The obvious stand out. Never raced over the dirt or outside of Europe.


Jockey: Javier Castellano

Trainer: Jonathan Thomas

Owner: Robert LaPenta, Madaket Stables LLC, Siena Farm LLC, Twin Creeks Racing Stables LLC

Contender: Has brought his “A” game in every start except the Florida Derby earlier this year, proving reliable with G1 wins on turf and dirt.

Pretender:  First start against older and first start at Churchill Downs.


Jockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.

Trainer: Antonio Sano

Owner: Margoth

Contender: Very lightly raced this year. Finished 2nd in the G1 Woodward last out even after being extremely wide.  Could peak at the right time.

Pretender: 0 for 9 at the G1 level.


Jockey: James Graham

Trainer: Thomas Amoss

Owner: G M B Racing

Contender: Late running style could benefit him if we see a hot pace.

Pretender: Has never faced older horses and has especially never seen a field of this magnitude. Only two lifetime wins and has never recorded a beyer speed figure over 95.


Jockey: Mike Smith

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owner: Karl Watson, Michael Pegram, and Paul Weitman

Contender: Baffert’s three wins in the Classic have all been with three-year-olds. Showed he did not miss a beat in his G1 Pennsylvania Derby win last out, his first start off a six-month layoff.

Pretender: With only five lifetime starts, he is the most lightly seasoned entrant in this field.


Jockey: John Velazquez

Trainer: Bob Baffert

Owner: Gary and Mary West

Contender: This will be his 2nd start off a six-month layoff and he is very likely to improve.  Doesn’t have to face Gun Runner this year!

Pretender: Has played bridesmaid in all three of his 2018 starts.


Jockey: Mario Gutierrez

Trainer: Doug O’Neill

Owner: Reddam Racing LLC

Contender: Seemed to love the surface when winning the G1 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs back in June. After a grueling 3-year-old campaign last year, the Doug O’Neill trainee should come in fresh having run just three races in the past 7 months.

Pretender: Has been beaten by the favorite Accelerate three times. What changes today?


Jockey: Ryan Moore

Trainer: Aidan O’Brien

Owner: Michael Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, Derrick Smith

Contender: He’s finally bringing it all together! Last two dirt starts have been very impressive, although in defeat.  The fact that trainer Aidan O’Brien was so adamant on getting him to this race should be a great sign for his backers.

Pretender:  Dreadful in his lone start at Churchill Downs, finishing last in this year’s Kentucky Derby.

10) YOSHIDA (Jpn)

Jockey: Jose Ortiz

Trainer: William Mott

Owner: WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International Ltd, SF Racing LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC

Contender: 1 for 1 lifetime on the dirt after taking the G1 Woodward last out at Saratoga. Could be even better going 1 ¼ miles.

Pretender:  Lone dirt win was against a questionable field, although Leofric came back to flatter him this past weekend at Keeneland.


Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione

Trainer: Chad Summers

Owner: Shadai Farm, J Stables LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC, M. Scott Summers, Daniel Summers, Chad Summers, and Michael Kisber

Contender: The winningest New York bred of all-time hand handled just about everything that’s been thrown his way. Only off the board 3 times in 24 lifetime starts.  Easily handled the field when winning the G3 Lukas Classic in his lone start at Churchill Downs back in late September.

Pretender: Thought of as a sprinter for most of his career, he’s only seen two-turns twice now. This will be his first time going 1 ¼ miles.


Jockey: Joe Bravo

Trainer: Michael McCarthy

Owner: Phoenix Thoroughbred III and Slam Dunk Racing

Contender: Phoenix Thoroughbred’s saw enough potential in this colt to buy a majority interest. Trainer Michael McCarthy has had a break out year.

Pretender: Faded against McKinzie last out in the G1 Pennsylvania Derby going 1 1/8 miles for the first time. Distance is a question mark as he now tries 1 ¼ for the first time.


Jockey: Manuel Franco

Trainer: Uriah St. Louis

Owner: Uriah St. Louis

Contender: War Horse! By far the most experienced of the bunch with 44 lifetime starts.

Pretender: Likely needs to run a career best race for the 2nd straight time after shocking the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup last out.  Will also need very fast early fractions to have a chance.


Jockey: Joel Rosario

Trainer: John Sadler

Owner: Hronis Racing LLC

Contender: Has improved tremendously during his 5-year-old campaign and rides a three-race win streak in the Classic, all at the G1 level.

Pretender: Has only shipped outside of California one time, which resulted in a 2nd place finish in this year’s Oaklawn Handicap.  Trainer John Sadler is 0 for 41 in the Breeders’ Cup.

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Keeneland/Woodbine All-Turf Pick 4 – Analysis with suggested plays



Keeneland and Woodbine have teamed up to offer a unique Pick 4 tomorrow, October 13th featuring three Grade 1 events and an Allowance race, all of which will be ran over turf.  Hopefully this fun wager will attract a sizeable pool, considering the irregularity of it, along with decent field sizes.  With how crazy Keeneland has been so far this meet, it will be a breath of fresh air only having to handicap two races for the sequence rather than a full four.  Very much looking forward to these world class races.

Race 9 – (Keeneland) The Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (G1) Post Time – 5:30 PM
Purse $500,000. For Fillies, Three Years Old. By invitation only. One and One Eighth Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Nyaleti (IRE) 3/F C J Lanerie 121 M Johnston 5/1
2 Princess Warrior (KY) 3/F B J Hernandez, Jr. 121 K G McPeek 15/1
3 Fatale Bere (FR) 3/F L K J Desormeaux 121 L Powell 5/1
4 Daddy Is a Legend (PA) 3/F L R Albarado 121 G Weaver 6/1
5 Mission Impassible (IRE) 3/F F Geroux 121 J Rouget 6/1
6 Secret Message (KY) 3/F L J L Vargas, Jr. 121 H G Motion 12/1
7 Capla Temptress (IRE) 3/F J R Leparoux 121 W I Mott 8/1
8 Rushing Fall (KY)  3/F L J Castellano 121 C C Brown 7/5


Many players will be singling in this leg, using the deserving favorite #8 Rushing Fall.  As much as I’d like to play against her, I don’t see many scenarios where last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Filly Turf champ doesn’t win this race.  She’s had two months off since her win in the Grade 2 Lake Placid.  Her goal is obviously next month’s Breeders’ Cup at Churchill Downs, but I still believe trainer Chad Brown has her completely ready to go to tackle this one.  She’ll be my single as well.

I think #2 Princess Warrior is the price horse you need to try to slip into your exotics.  After running on dirt in 8 of her first 9 starts, it looks like the connections finally figured out the Midshipman filly prefers the turf.  She hasn’t missed the board in her last three, all on the green stuff.  She ran 2nd last out at Kentucky Downs to a nice filly in Osare, who is a half sister to Arrogate.  Last two works have been sharp.

In my eyes the rest of the field looks to be evenly matched. #1 Nyaleti (IRE) is a multiple Graded Stakes Winner in Europe but has not been able to breakthrough at the Grade 1 level.  Its possible she is classier than the rest, but she gets an ice-cold rider in Corey Lanerie, who has not won a race yet this meet.  She is also making her second trip across the pond in two months time.  That travel could catch up to her.

Race 9 – (Woodbine) The Pattison Canadian International Stakes (G1) Post Time – 5:41 PM
Purse $800,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Half Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Markitoff (KY) 4/C L I Ortiz, Jr. 126 M J Maker 20/1
2 Thundering Blue (KY) 5/G F Berry 126 D Menuisier 2/1
3 Khan (GER) 4/C C Lecoeuvre 126 H Grewe 10/1
4 Funtastic (KY) 4/C L J R Velazquez 126 C C Brown 8/1
5 Tiz a Slam (ON) 4/C L S R Bahen 126 R L Attfield 20/1
6 Spring Quality (PA) 6/G L E S Prado 126 H G Motion 4/1
7 English Illusion (ON) 5/G L R M Hernandez 126 S Pion 15/1
8 Bandua (KY) 3/C L A Beschizza 121 J Sisterson 20/1
9 Johnny Bear (ON) 7/G L L Contreras 126 A Brnjas 8/1
10 Desert Encounter (IRE) 6/G L1 A Atzeni 126 D Simcock 6/1
11 Focus Group (KY) 4/C L J L Ortiz 126 C C Brown 10/1


The second leg of this sequence brings us north of the border to Woodbine. You may remember last year’s Pattison when Bullards Alley drew off to win by an astonishing 10-lengths.  I doubt we’ll see another performance like that anytime soon, but this year’s field should put on a show.

It’s quite possible the European favorite is just better than this group and he’ll be on some of my tickets, but there are a couple others I’m interested in more. #11 Focus Group takes a big time step up in class and I really love the confidence from trainer Chad Brown.  The son of Kitten’s Joy was a winner in his Stakes debut last out at Saratoga.  I believe this horse is getting better with age and he seems to relish the long distance.  I’ll look for him and Jose Ortiz to pop at a nice price.

This race very well could end up being a jockey’s race and if that’s the case there is nobody I’d rather have than Johnny V. #4 Funtastic also goes out for trainer Chad Brown.  The son of More Than Ready was able to steal one on the front end in the United Nations at Monmouth in the start of the summer.  He could get pressed by #3 Khan (GER), but if not, I think he’s a candidate to steal it on the front end.

The flashy grey #2 Thundering Blue will be coming from the back of the pack and has a very good late turn of foot.  He comes in in very good form, not missing the board in his last four outings.  I’m not fond of taking closers at a short price, especially at this distance.  I’ll likely try to beat him in verticals while still using in my Pick 4’s.


Race 10 – (Keeneland) Allowance N3X Post Time – 6:03 PM
Purse $73,000. For Fillies and Mares, Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Sixteenth Miles. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Youngest Daughter (KY) 4/F L E Morales 1165 V H Oliver 5/1
2 Mo Knows (KY) 5/M L K J Desormeaux 121 W A Ward 6/1
3 Dynatail (KY) 4/F L J Castellano 121 M Dini 4/1
4 Blue Collar (KY) 4/F L B J Hernandez, Jr. 121 E Kenneally 20/1
5 Now Power (KY) 6/M L J R Leparoux 121 R Brisset 9/2
6 You Cheated (KY) 5/M L R Albarado 123 J A Ortiz 5/1
7 Na Pali Spirit (KY) 4/F L D Cannon 121 I Correas, IV 8/1
8 Vagabond Princess (KY) 5/M L J Gilligan 121 J L Sanchez 6/1
9 Dutch Parrot (AR) 4/F L R Santana, Jr. 123 W B Van Meter 20/1
10 Smart Emma (KY) 5/M L J Graham 121 D C Peitz 6/1
11 Crafty’s Way (IL) 5/M L C Landeros 123 B Williamson 20/1
12 Dagney’s Warrior (FL) 3/F L J Rocco, Jr. 118 M A Tomlinson 6/1
Also Eligibles:
1A Valentine Wish (KY) 4/F L S Camacho, Jr. 123 V H Oliver 5/1
13 Last Promise Kept (KY) 4/F L J A Vargas, Jr. 121 T F Proctor 3/1


This N3X Allowance looks to be very competitive and it could come down to whoever sits the best trip. While I’m not on any big prices in this race, Keeneland has been madness so far this meet and sometimes when you zig, they zag.  If #13 Last Promise Kept draws in, she’s surely the horse to beat.  We’ll have to wait and see if that happens.  Of the main entrants my top pick would have to be #5 Now Power. Trainer Rudolphe Brisset looks to get off the duck with this daughter of Tiznow.  I’d expect Julien Leparoux to have her on or near the lead where she likes to be.

#8 Vagabond Princess gets some much-needed class relief and that may be enough to get her picture taken.  Her beyer figures put her in the top tier of this field and you get a fair price of 6/1.  My only worry would be her rider Jack Gilligan is historically bad at Keeneland and he also looks to get off the duck for the meet.

#3 Dynatail is a luke warm morning-line favorite and my guess is she will also be the post-time favorite.  This one has also been facing much better and has been competitive in those races.  Mike Dini doesn’t typically run many at Keeneland and I doubt he would ship if he wasn’t extremely live.  She’ll have to prove she can win at today’s distance, which she has yet to do in her lifetime.

Race 10 – (Woodbine) E.P. Taylor Stakes (G1) Post Time – 6:18 PM
Purse $500,000. For Fillies and Mares, Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Fourth Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Sky Full of Stars (GER) 4/F A Beschizza 124 H Grewe 15/1
2 Santa Monica (GB) 5/M L J L Ortiz 124 C C Brown 5/2
3 Pollara (IRE) 3/F L1 I Ortiz, Jr. 120 C C Brown 6/1
4 Sheikha Reika (FR) 3/F A Atzeni 120 R Varian 12/1
5 Golden Legend (FR) 4/F A Badel 124 H F Devin 4/1
6 Summer Luck (KY) 4/F L E R Da Silva 124 M E Casse 20/1
7 Starship Jubilee (FL) 5/M L L Contreras 124 K Attard 8/1
8 Elysea’s World (IRE) 5/M L J Bravo 124 C C Brown 7/2
9 Proctor’s Ledge (KY) 4/F L J R Velazquez 124 B P Walsh 8/1


Chad Brown once again has another strong presence, sending out three horses in this one. I like his longest shot of the three, #3 Pollara (IRE). This filly is very lightly raced and makes her North American debut in here.  Brown is very good with these types and she gets Lasix for the first time.

#2 Santa Monica (GB) was compromised by slow fractions when finishing 2nd last out in the Grade 2 Glen Falls at Saratoga. While I don’t feel they will be flying in here I think they go fast enough for her to have a shot to run them down late.  She was a winner over this course two back at today’s distance.

#7 Starship Jubilee put on a big-time performance last out in the Grade 2 Canadian. This mare trains locally and loves the track, which makes it hard to leave her off your tickets.  If she can duplicate her last outing, she’s very live in here.  I don’t expect the 8/1 morning line price to hold.

Suggested Plays: Keeneland/Woodbine All-Turf Pick 4

8 w 1,2,3,4,10,11 w 3,5,8 w 1,2,3,5,6,7 = $54

8 w 2,4,11 w 3,5,8,9,10,12 w 2,3,7 = $27

(Add #13 in 3rd leg if she draws into main body of field)


Good luck!

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Iowa Greyhound Park Track Profile

By Jason Michael

Iowa Greyhound Park

1899 Greyhound Park Drive

Dubuque, Iowa 52001

(563) 231-3100


Live racing from May until November!

Greyhound racing in the heart of America.  The Iowa Greyhound Park has been entertaining fans and running many of the fastest dogs in the country for over three decades.

Located on the Mighty Mississippi in beautiful Dubuque, Iowa!

Here’s our track profile for one of our favorite greyhound tracks around:

Date Opened

Iowa Greyhound Park opened up on June 1st, 1985.  Iowa was the first parimutal racetrack in the country that was non-profit and was opened to the delight of thousands of fans in attendance who couldn’t wait to see the hounds running in the Hawkeye State for the very first time.

Track Records

3/16ths -Super Sprint (Three Way Tie)  

17.39 secs

Superior MegRyan ~Superior Kennel – Year 1990

Rf Nix ~ Superior Kennel -Year 2017

Rf Furious  ~ Superior Kennel -Year 2017

5/16ths (Sprint Course) ~ 29.83 secs

Smiley Sylvia  ~ Oxbow-Trow Kennel -Year 2000

3/8ths (Distance Course) ~ 37.77 secs

Okie Bootsy ~ Dog Patch Kennel – Year 2000

7/16ths (Marathon Course) ~ 42.78 secs

Pk’s Maddox  ~ Black Kennel  – Year 2004

9/16ths  (Super Marathon Course) ~58.83 secs

Jimbo Rosey ~ Dog Patch Kennel – Year 1996

Stakes Schedule

$500 IGP Inaugural – May

$500 Maiden Debut – May

$500 Memorial Sprint – May

$30,000 King & Queen Stakes – July 4th

$30,000 Dubuque Course Classic – September

$30,000 Future Star Stakes – September

Iowa Breeders Cup – October

$7500 Iowa Bred Consolation – October

$500 Secretarys Choice – November

Starting in 2018, this race also carries an automatic birth to the National Championship race to the winner. The National Championship is held in Naples, Florida in January.

$500 IGP Au Revoir -November

This is the last race of the season annually.

Most Wins In A Row

Noble Bahama ~ Hotchkin Kennel 

13 Wins In A Row in 1991

Most Greyhound Wins In A Season (25 Wins)

Superior Product ~ Superior Kennel ~Year 2013

Hart Burn  ~ Copper Kettle Kennel ~ Year 1999

Kennel – Most Wins In A Season

River Bluffs Kennel ~ 328 Victories ~ Year 1991

Attendance Records

Top Performance – July 30th, 1985 – 6,539

Top Day (Matinee & Evening) – September 1st, 1985 – 9,956

Mutual Handle Records

Top Performance – November 2nd, 1986 – $752,697

Top Day – September 3rd, 1989 – Total $948,031

Perfect Adoption Rate

For the last 20 plus years, The Iowa Greyhound Park has adopted out 100% of its greyhounds. This goes right along nationally with the high rate these retired athletes are going for after their careers are finished.

The facility supports its own adoption center and is open during live race days.  Phone number is 563-231-3100 X 103 for more details.

More information can be found on Iowa’s statistics page: https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/7031b5_fb9cc5053ad94b52a411610f1b2d2bae.pdf

*Photo credits to The Iowa Greyhound Park, Steve Schiferl, Gary Dura, Allies for Greyhounds.

Belmont Super Saturday – Stakes Analysis with suggested plays



Super Saturday at Belmont Park features an eleven-race card and four Graded Stake events, which will serve as a final prep for most before the year end Breeders’ Cup Championships. Diversify looks to join an elite list by becoming the 7th repeat winner of the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  That feat was last accomplished by Tonalist in 2014 and 2015.  Mendelssohn finally put together a solid dirt performance last out in the Travers Stakes, but now he’ll have to prove he’s also capable versus older horses.  This year’s Dubai World Cup winner Thunder Snow also looks to prove he can compete over the dirt on this side of the pond.  We should see some big pools this weekend as many gamblers return from their post Saratoga vacations.  Let’s try to make some money!

Race 7 -Vosburgh Stakes (G1) Post Time – 4:09 PM
Purse $350,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. Six Furlongs.
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Sightforsoreeyes (KY) 5/G L D Cohen 124 A T Quartarolo 30/1
2 Maniacal (KY) 5/G L J R Velazquez 124 M J Maker 30/1
3 Forge (KY) 4/C L M Franco 124 D Magner 20/1
4 Mr. Crow (KY) 4/C L L Saez 124 B Colebrook 5/1
5 Silver Ride (KY) 6/G L J L Ortiz 124 B A Lynch 8/1
6 Imperial Hint (FL) 5/H L J Castellano 124 L Carvajal, Jr. 1/5
7 Still Krz (ON) 6/G L I Ortiz, Jr. 124 R Handal 15/1


I’d be shocked if #6 Imperial Hint got beat by this group.  He just towers over this field from a number’s standpoint.  He was fantastic winning the Grade 1 Vanderbilt last out at Saratoga and anything remotely close to that performance crushes the competition here.

I do want to take a shot with a bit of a price underneath here. #3 Forge makes his first start off the claim for trainer Dermot Magner.  Magner is still an unknown to many, but he worked for the likes of Todd Pletcher and Chad Brown before going out on his own.  He’s gotten off to a solid start with 2 wins and 4 seconds from just an 8 start sample.  This will be Magner’s first shot at a Graded Stake, so I expect all the nuts and bolts to be tightened.  The Irish born trainer also adds blinkers here, his first time doing that.  Manny Franco gets the leg up.

Interesting to see that Saez and Jose Ortiz flip flop mounts in here. I give the edge to Ortiz and #5 Silver Ride over #4 Mr. Crow and you pick up just a bit more value on your vertical plays.  Both horses exit the Tale of the Cat Stakes at Saratoga, with neither running very well in that contest.  I’d expect both to improve today off seven weeks rest.

Race 8 – Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Stakes (G1) Post Time – 4:42 PM
Purse $500,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Half Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Robert Bruce (CHI) 4/C L I Ortiz, Jr. 126 C C Brown 2/1
2 Hi Happy (ARG) 6/H L L Saez 126 T A Pletcher 6/1
3 Sadler’s Joy (KY) 5/H L J Castellano 126 T Albertrani 5/1
4 Carrick (KY) 3/C L J R Velazquez 121 T Morley 8/1
5 Teodoro (IRE) 4/G L1 R L Moore 126 T Dascombe 15/1
6 Spring Quality (PA) 6/G L E S Prado 126 H G Motion 4/1
7 Highland Sky (KY) 5/G L M Franco 126 B Tagg 12/1
8 Channel Maker (ON) 4/G L J L Ortiz 126 W I Mott 9/2


Really hate to eat chalk but #1 Robert Bruce looks very good in this spot.  The Chilean bred, trained by Chad Brown exits an impressive win in the Grade 1 Arlington Million last out.  He won’t face any horses from that contest today, but he does meet 5 horses exiting the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at Saratoga.  The difference is he will be stretching out while they will not.  I don’t see that being an issue for him and he does have a win in his only try at this distance.

#4 Carrick exits a win in the Grade 1 Secretariat at Arlington. This son of Giant’s Causeway has been remarkable in his short career and two of his wins have come over the Belmont turf.  He faces older horses for the first time, but I think some of these may be trending the wrong way, while he remains on the up and up.  Johnny Velazquez stays aboard for Tom Morley.  I think a similar trip to his last makes him competitive.

#8 Channel Maker was unable to catch winner when finishing 2nd in the Grade 1 Sword Dancer last out.  The Bill Mott trainee has fired 3 consecutive triple digit Beyers.  If he can improve again he has a significant shot in here.  Jose Ortiz takes the mount.

Race 9 – Pilgrim Stakes (G3) Post Time – 5:16 PM
Purse $200,000. For Two-Year Olds. One and One Sixteenth Miles (Turf).
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Rhythm With Soul (NY) 2/C L L Saez 118 J C Kimmel 15/1
2 Forty Under (KY) 2/C L M Franco 118 J C Englehart 6/1
3 Dashing Dan (NY) 2/G L C Hill 118 M Dilger 15/1
4 Vineyard Sound (KY) 2/R L E S Prado 116 M Dilger 12/1
5 Opry (KY) 2/C L J Castellano 122 T A Pletcher 9/5
6 Ole Mole (KY) 2/C L D Cohen 118 G Preciado 30/1
7 Somelikeithotbrown (NY) 2/C L I Ortiz, Jr. 118 M J Maker 7/2
8 Social Paranoia (KY) 2/C L J R Velazquez 116 T A Pletcher 10/1
9 Spirit Animal (KY) 2/C L J L Ortiz 118 C C Brown 4/1
10 Pipes (NY) 2/C L J Lezcano 118 G C Contessa 20/1
Also Eligibles:
11 Casa Creed (KY) (MTO) 2/C L Rider TBA 118 W I Mott 3/1

After looking over the Grade 3 Pilgrim I don’t think this is a race you need to be very deep in. I will have 3 horses on my tickets and no more than that.  In the top slot I want to take a shot with the “other” Pletcher. Pletcher has the confidence in his maiden #8 Social Paranoia to take a shot here just like he did with the With Anticipation winner Opry at Saratoga.  The son of Street Boss did not engage early on in his last outing and when he finally did respond to the urging of Johnny Velazquez he finished with solid run.  Pletcher puts on the Blinkers today, a high percentage angle for him.  I think if this horse is anywhere near the pace he has a big shot to upset this field at 10/1!

I was a big fan of #5 Opry before he broke his maiden in the Grade 3 With Anticipation last out and he’s the horse to beat today.  I think this horse has the potential to be a very nice turf horse moving forward, but he has seemed to have adopted a late running style which could make him vulnerable.  He’ll be on my tickets and I expect to see him and Castellano rolling late.

I expect #9 Spirit Animal to improve in this spot for trainer Chad Brown.  The son of Lemon Drop Kid broke his maiden last out in Saratoga at this distance.  While I do expect him to improve, I’m not sure it’ll be enough to beat the Pletcher pair.  I’ll use defensively in Pick 4’s and underneath in my vertical plays.

Race 10 – Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) Post Time – 5:50PM
Purse $750,000. For Three-Year Olds and Upward. One and One Fourth Miles.
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Carlino (KY) 4/G L J Lezcano 126 M A Hennig 30/1
2 Gronkowski (KY) 3/C L J L Ortiz 122 C C Brown 4/1
3 Mendelssohn (KY) 3/C L R L Moore 122 A P O’Brien 7/2
4 Patch (KY) 4/C L L Saez 126 T A Pletcher 20/1
5 Uno Mas Modelo (KY) 5/G L J Castellano 126 A T Quartarolo 30/1
6 Diversify (NY) 5/G L I Ortiz, Jr. 126 R A Violette, Jr. 4/5
7 Discreet Lover (FL) 5/H L M Franco 126 U St. Lewis 15/1
8 Thunder Snow (IRE) 4/C L C Soumillon 126 S bin Suroor 6/1


While I will be taking some small shots against him in my horizontal plays, there’s not denying the fact #6 Diversify is the horse to beat and he’s my top pick in here.  I do not believe there is anyone in this field that can keep up with the 5-year old Richard Violette gelding and he likely wins this in front running fashion, like he has in most of his victories.  The son of Bellamy Road has 6 wins and 2 seconds from 8 starts over the Belmont dirt.

I’ve been against #3 Mendelssohn for pretty much all his 3-year old campaign, but he finally proved himself in the Grade 1 Travers last out.  Aidan O’Brien seems dead set on getting this horse to the Classic and clearly believes in his ability.  He faces a new test versus older horses but an improvement off his last makes him a competitive option here.

I think a bomb is destined to pick up the show spot in here and I’m going with fan favorite #4 Patch to do the honors.  The one-eyed son of Union Rags likes the Belmont surface and I like him to pick off some competitors late to round out the trifecta.

Suggested Plays

Race 7

$5 Exacta

6 w 3,5 = $10

$1 Superfecta’s

6 w 3 w 4,5 w ALL = $8

6 w 4,5 w 3 w ALL = $8

Race 8

$5 Exacta Key Box

1 w 4,8 = $20

Race 9

$2 Exacta Key Box

8 w 5,9 = $8

$.50 Superfecta’s

8 w 5,9 w 5,9 w ALL = $7

5 w 8,9 w 8,9 w ALL = $7

5,8 w 5,8 w ALL w 9 = $7

Race 10

$1 Trifecta’s

6 w 3,4 w ALL = $12

6 w ALL w 3,4 = $12

Bonus Play’s: Late Pick 4 (Races 8-11)

1 w 5,8,9 w 3,6 w ALL = $30

ALL w 5,8 w 6 w 2,3,4,5,6,7 = $48

Good luck!

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Kentucky Downs – Saturday Stakes Analysis with suggested plays


We only get to enjoy the brilliant “European-Style” track that is Kentucky Downs for a handful of race days each September.   Due to its proximity to Nashville, Tennessee which is about forty miles south, Kentucky Downs has become a must visit track for many racing fans.  The track is a gamblers paradise.  The large purses bring full fields and that combined with turf only racing creates some large payouts on vertical and horizontal wagers.  Saturday’s ten race card is the signature race day of the meet highlighted by the Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup.

Race 6 – Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint Post Time – 3:55 PM
Purse $500,000. For Two-year Olds. Six and One-Half Furlongs. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Perfect Answer (FL) 2/C E E Prentice Jr. 121 C Davidson 20/1
2 Chattel (KY) 2/C L K Carmouche 123 B McFarlane 5/1
3 Faraway Kitten (KY) 2/C L T Gaffalione 121 M J Maker 12/1
4 Sovereign Impact (KY) 2/G L A Beschizza 121 W J Denzik Jr. 15/1
5 Carter Cat (KY) 2/C L R Santana, Jr. 121 S M Asmussen 8/1
6 Cardinal Coach Mac (KY) 2/C L J Rocco Jr. 121 J Sharp 15/1
7 Mine Inspector (KY) 2/C L J Graham 121 V L Foley 20/1
8 Life Mission (KY) 2/C L F Geroux 119 B Colebrook 4/1
9 Blame the Frog (KY) 2/F B J Hernandez, Jr. 118 B Colebrook 10/1
10 Moonlight Romance (KY) 2/F L J L Ortiz 118 W A Ward 3/1
11 Mae Never No 2/F L A Jimenez 118 W A Ward 5/1



The All Stakes Late Pick 5 begins with the Kentucky Downs Juvenile Turf Sprint.  Although not graded, this race offers a whopping $500,000 purse.


To nobody’s surprise Wesley Ward sends out two live horses in here and they both happen to be fillies.  The “other” Ward runner #11 Mae Never No (IRE) is the horse that I want to take a shot with in here.  This filly has been very competitive in her three previous starts, all on dirt.  Her dam was Grade 1 placed at Saratoga as a two-year-old and her sire No Nay Never was obviously a very nice turf horse.  Her connections decided to try the turf last out, but the race was moved to the main track that day.  Her future may very well be on the dirt, but I like this filly at a square price in here and her pedigree suggest she will like the turf.  She gets talented jock Albin Jimenez in the irons.


The second choice on the morning-line and a bit of an unknown is #8 Life Mission who last ran in a maiden event at Curragh (IRE) on August 25th for trainer John Murtagh under the Qatar Racing silks.  He is now with trainer Ben Colebrook and owned by Marc Detampel, so it looks like he was recently purchased privately and perhaps with this very race in mind.  I can’t play this horse to win at a short price, but I’m also not letting him beat me in horizontals. It should be noted that he finished 3rd out of 25 runners in his last outing, so he should have no issue with today’s field size.


#10 Moonlight Romance is the second of the two Ward fillies and she’s the 3/1 morning-line favorite.  She was a runner-up to eventual Norfolk Stakes winner Shang Shang Shang in her debut over the dirt at Keeneland back in April, then broke her maiden next out over the Belmont turf.  She was a no factor in the Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot in her last start and has been training at Keeneland since.  Ward takes the Blinkers off for this contest which is a 25% angle for him.



Race 7 – Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf Stakes (G3) Post Time – 4:26 PM
Purse $500,000. For Fillies and Mares Three-Years-Old and Upward. One Mile. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 I’m Betty G (MD) 4/F L T Gaffalione 125 M J Maker 7/2
2 Bonnie Arch (KY) 5/M L C Landeros 125 I R Wilkes 12/1
3 Storm the Hill (KY) 4/F L J R Leparoux 125 P D’Amato 4/1
4 Oh So Terrible (KY) 4/F L C Villasana 121 B S Ross 15/1
5 Valadorna (KY) 4/F L F Geroux 121 M E Casse 8/1
6 Pas de Soucis (IRE) 5/M L F Prat 121 J R Abreu 8/1
7 Hallie Belle (KY) 4/F L J Bravo 125 M Stidham 8/1
8 In the Lee (KY) 4/F L J L Ortiz 121 C R McGaughey III 5/1
9 Insta Erma (KY) 5/M L D Van Dyke 121 R Baltas 6/1
10 Dubara (GB) 4/F L A Beschizza 121 B P Walsh 15/1




The Grade 3 Ladies Turf Stakes looks like it could end up being one of the most competitive races on the card.  I think there is a handful of fillies and mares in here that could take the cake.  This race starts the Late Pick 4.


#8 In the Lee did not run at Saratoga so it’s possible they had this race circled on the calendar.  We last saw her in the Perfect Sting back in late June at Belmont Park where she was a hard closing 2nd behind La Sardane.  She had to circle the field that day, losing quite a bit of ground to the winner.  This filly is exceptionally bred, by Tapit and out of a Grade 3 winning mare on the grass.  Jose Ortiz rides for Shug McGaughey.


Joe Bravo has three mounts on the card, each for trainer Michael Stidham.  Of those three I think #7 Hallie Belle is his best shot at finding the Winner’s Circle.  This filly has been well tested in her previous starts and she gets back to her preferred distance of a mile.  I think if she can improve just the slightest, she’s live in here and at an excellent price of 8/1.


Mike Maker doesn’t mess around at Kentucky Downs.  He sends out luke warm morning-line favorite #1 I’m Betty G in here.  This filly has won her last three races, but I think the field she faces today is much better than what she has seen in any of those.  This daughter of Into Mischief likes to be on the front end and I think there is just enough pace pressure in here to wear her down.  She’s also untested over this course so she’s worth taking a shot against at a short price.



Race 8 – Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint Stakes (G3) Post Time – 4:57 PM
Purse $450,000. For Fillies and Mares Three-Years-Old and Upward. Six and One-Half Furlongs. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Brielle’s Appeal (KY) 4/F L S Bridgmohan 121 A M Stall, Jr. 5/1
2 Spellker (KY) 4/F L J A Garcia 121 W A Ward 10/1
3 Con Te Partiro (KY) 4/F L A Jimenez 121 W A Ward 6/1
4 Noted and Quoted (FL) 4/F L R Albarado 121 M Stidham 15/1
5 Ruby Notion (WV) 5/M L F Geroux 125 D Miller 3/1
6 Lull (KY) 4/F L B J Hernandez, Jr. 125 C Clement 2/1
7 Originator (KY) 3/F L J L Ortiz 118 I R Wilkes 12/1
8 Bixby Lou (KY) 4/F L E Morales 121 T Glover 20/1
9 Therighttobeararms (KY) 3/F L C Villasana 118 W R Helmbrecht 30/1
10 Mines and Magic (KY) 5/M L C Landeros 121 V H Oliver 12/1


If there is a potential single in this late sequence of races, one might say it’s #6 Lull.  The War Front filly is two for two at Kentucky Downs and the defending champ of this very race.  She reunites with jockey Brian Hernandez Jr. who was aboard for last year’s win.  I think she sits a few lengths off the pace and pounces late.


#7 Originator is the price horse I want out of this field.  One of two three-year-old’s in here, the daughter of Artie Schiller has played bridesmaid in four of her last five starts.  All six of this Ian Wilkes trainee’s lifetime starts have come this season and she’s been tested over five different racetracks.  Her Beyer figures seem to improve with each outing.  Let’s see if Jose Ortiz can help her get rid of the seconditis.


#1 Brielle’s Appeal is the only other horse in the field besides Lull who has a win over the course.  The English Channel filly broke her maiden here last year.  This filly will be on the front end and possibly could have the lead all to herself.  I’m tossing her last as it was effort, which came over a very wet turf course that she never seemed to get ahold of.




Race 9 – Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint Stakes (G3) Post Time – 5:29 PM
Purse $500,000. For Three-year Olds and Upward. Six and One-Half Furlongs. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Conquest Panthera (KY) 6/G L F Geroux 121 M E Casse 5/1
2 Proforma (KY) 4/G L J Bravo 121 M Stidham 20/1
3 Vici (KY) 6/G L J L Ortiz 121 M J Maker 15/1
4 Undrafted (KY) 8/G L J A Garcia 121 W A Ward 4/1
5 Blind Ambition (KY) 4/C L L Saez 125 T A Pletcher 9/2
6 Richiesinthehouse (IL) 4/G L T Gaffalione 121 L Rivelli 15/1
7 White Flag (KY) 4/C L J Rosario 121 C Clement 6/1
8 Jazzy Times (KY) 5/G L T Kennedy 125 W E Hawley 15/1
9 Little Chesney (KY) 4/G L J R Leparoux 125 C Vaccarezza 20/1
10 Maniacal (KY) 5/G L F Prat 121 M J Maker 15/1
11 Master Merion (KY) 4/G L A Jimenez 121 W A Ward SCR
12 Done Deal (KY) 5/G L C Landeros 121 I R Wilkes 8/1


This is the type of race where I feel you either go really short or really deep.  I am somewhat interested in the Todd Pletcher runner, #5 Blind Ambition.  Pletcher doesn’t ship very many into Kentucky Downs so I must believe this horse is training well for them to spot him here.  The Tapit colt ran a very nice 2nd last out in the Troy Stakes, and was the only horse to make up significant ground and speed favoring turf course.  What I do find baffling about this horse is the inconsistency in the distances he has been running at.  This will be his fifth distance change in as many starts.  If he can duplicate his last effort, he’s a live one.


#1 Conquest Panthera looks to be in decent form for trainer Mark Casse.  He may improve with the distance cut back, but the son of Kitten’s Joy hasn’t seen the winner’s circle since August.


Christophe Clemente runner #7 White Flag steps up in company after a win at the allowance level back in July.  This is another horse who passed on running at Saratoga so perhaps the connections were pointing here.  The War Front colt is one of Joel Rosario’s three scheduled mounts on the day.  Needs to improve to win.



Race 10 – Calumet Farm Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes Post Time – 5:59 PM
Purse $750,000. For Three-year Olds and Upward. One and One-Half Miles. (Turf)
PP Horse A/S Med Jockey Wgt Trainer ML
1 Bronson (KY) 4/C L R Santana, Jr. 121 M J Maker 30/1
2 Nessy (KY) 5/G L J R Leparoux 123 I R Wilkes 15/1
3 Manitoulin (KY) 5/G L J Graham 121 J J Toner 6/1
4 Bigger Picture (KY) 7/G L T Gaffalione 123 M J Maker 9/2
5 Multiplier (KY) 4/C L J Rosario 121 P Miller 5/1
6 Oscar Nominated (KY) 5/R L J L Ortiz 123 M J Maker 7/2
7 All Right (KY) 4/G L A Beschizza 121 K Gorder 30/1
8 Arklow (KY) 4/C L F Geroux 123 B H Cox 12/1
9 Soglio (KY) 4/G L L Saez 121 M J Maker 12/1
10 Some in Tieme (BRZ) 6/H L B J Hernandez, Jr. 121 K G McPeek 12/1
11 My Bariley (KY) 4/G L C Landeros 123 A J Granitz 20/1
12 Big Bend (KY) 4/C L D Van Dyke 121 T F Proctor 10/1
Also Eligibles:
13 Patterson Cross (KY) 5/H L J Alvarado 123 W I Mott 12/1
14 Markitoff (KY) 4/C L K Carmouche 121 M J Maker 15/1
15 Twenty Four Seven (KY) 5/G L F Geroux 121 R A Brueggemann 12/1
16 Bandua (KY) 3/C L A Beschizza 118 D K Weld 8/1


The Grade 3 Kentucky Turf Cup offers a $750,000 purse and closes out the card.  A lot of runners in here seem to be coming into this race off subpar outing, which makes this race that much more difficult to handicap.


Mike Maker’s #6 Oscar Nominated is surely the horse to beat if he runs back to his true form.  He had a less than ideal trip last out in the Grade 1 United Nations, getting shuffled back early and checking multiple times.  The winner that day went gate to wire and all hope was likely lost after the first ¼ mile.  I’ll trust that Maker has the son of Kitten’s Joy ready to go.  He’s two for two over the track and looking to defend his title in this race.  Reuniting with Jose Ortiz is also a huge plus.


#8 Arklow could be a live longshot in here for trainer Brad Cox.  The son of Arch exits a victory at Ellis Park and looks to be training well coming in.  In his only prior start at the distance he ran decent considering he lost a fair amount of ground in that outing.  Florent Geroux rides the son of Arch.


#9 Soglio is one of the five Mike Maker horses entered in the contest and although he exits lesser company I think he’s worth adding to your tickets at a fair price.  He was a beaten favorite at Saratoga last out, but I was impressed with his effort two back at this distance.



Suggested Plays ($25 Budget Per Race)

Race 6

$5 Win


$5 Exacta’s

11 w 8,10 = $10

8,10 w 11 = $10

Race 7

$5 Win $4 Place + Show


$2 Exacta’s

8 w 1,6,7 = $6

1,6,7 w 8 = $6


Race 8

$3 Win


$1 Exacta Box

1,6,7 = $6

$.50 Trifecta’s

6 w 1,7 w ALL = $8

6 w ALL w 1,7 = $8

Race 9

$2 Exacta

5 w ALL = $22

$1 Exacta

1,3,7 w 5 = $3

Race 10

$1 Exacta Box

6,8,9 = $6

$.50 Trifecta’s

6 w 8,9 w ALL = $10

6 w ALL w 8,9 = $10

Bonus Play: Late Pick 4 (Races 7-10)

6,7,8 w 1,6,7 w 5,7 w 3,6,8,9,12 = $45

Good luck!

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