McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Wednesday, Nov. 20 – The Pressbox

McLean’s Selections for Churchill Downs on Wednesday, Nov. 20  The Pressbox

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Day Results 10/4-3-2
2019 Overall 1,344 1,344/469-487-604
Win % of Top Pick 34.90%
Payoff % of Top 3 Picks Overall 38.69%
2019 Top Pick in the Money –884 of 1,344 65.77%
Top Selection ITM / CD Nov 101-153 66.01%
Top Selection Win / CD Nov 54-153 35.29%
“Key Horses” @ CD Nov 19/8-5-0 42.11%
“Key Horses” in 2019 208-80-42-22 38.46%

What about today gals and guys. Are your ready for some foot.., er, horse racing? Sorry. My Hank Jr. kicked in there for a second.

Huge carryover in the Pick 6, the late Pick 5, and the late Super High 5.

No rain in the forecast.

Handicapping options galore.

Just what the racing doctor (is that a vet?) ordered.

Here’s a closer look at today’s card at Churchill Downs:

1st: 9-2-10/6/4-3-5…Indian Cross (9) drops from the $30,000 price category to the lower shelf of $15,000 today, and this 2YO son of Cross Traffic should be a hand full if he can find the same form he splashed over the slop at Saratoga back in August. Was DQ’d and placed second that day, after getting up to win by a nose. Has not been the same since then, but has never started for this low a price tag, either. Barn hits with .23% of those getting this type of a drop, and the barn does even better, at .29%, when going from a sprint race to a route race and then back to a sprint distance. My pick. Majestic Corridor (2) is a first time starter from the barn of Brad Cox, who is battling the trainer of our top selection for this Fall’s Trainer’s Title. This 2YO son of Majesticperfection has been working at the Thoroughbred Training Center in Lexington for the outfit. Barn is having a terrific meet — winning at a .28% clip — but this classification is not the best. Trainer wins with .18% of those that debut in the MCL ranks. Interesting note. Axix (10) ran OK on debut at KEE on Oct. 16. Got off to a horrific start, but closed some in the stretch to be sixth. Barn hits with .33% of those getting this kind of class drop, too. I’d watch out here. Dangerous. I bet the 9 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 9-10 over/under the 2-6-4-3-5 in two smaller versions.

2nd: 3/5-8/2-9/4-6…The day’s first Key Play of the Day comes here with Highland Lass (3). This one was plucked up out of a $40,000 claiming race two starts back by a top barn operation that has won with .25% of the 925 starts it has made this year. Now, this one shows up for a $16,000 tag after winning for $30,000 last time out at KEE on Oct. 26. Wow. Trainer wins with .32% of those that are dropping after a win. Perplexing to see, but this is a 4YO daughter of Quality Road and she has already won nearly $150,000. Breeding season is coming up and this could be a good $16,000 purchase. I bet the 3 to win/place/show and then key the 3 over/under the other numbers listed in the exactas.

3rd: 2-4/6-8-3/5-9-7…Promised (2) drops to the $10,000 level today after running a 4th at Belterra on Sept. 22 for trainer Tracey Young. Will get the Lasix for only the second time today, and the barn hits with 100% of those kind. Clever rider sticks on the mount. And, the works of late are good, too. Trainer also hits with .27% of those away from the races this long. Could be an early factor. Tactical Quality (4) gets the drop today for a barn that wins with .18% when dropping this much in one swoop. Has not won this year, but does have a second and a third against tougher in the 7 previous runs in 2019. This is the third start off a layup, and could improve, too. I bet the 2-4 across the board and then box those two in the exacta. I will key the 2-4 over/under the 6-8-3-5 in two smaller versions.

4th: 8/(15)-(16)-11-4-6-3/1-12/10-9-5…My second Key Play of the Day comes here with Martial Eagle (8). This 3YO gelded son of Curlin ran for $40,000 last time out and was a serious contender until the final 1/8th of a mile, when he tired a bit. That was the first start in nearly 4 months, though, and the exercise should have helped. Will be dropping today all the way to the $15,000 category. Barn hits with .30% of those getting this type of class relief, and the barn’s go-to rider takes the reins. Trainer also hits with .21% of those making the second start off a layup. Should improve for this one. I bet the 8 to win/place/show and then key the 8 over/under the 11-4-6-3-1-12 in two smaller versions.

5th: 12-3/4/6-7/5-8-11…C Islandsurprise (12) gets hung out wide at the start of this one, but if the 7YO mare can spring from the gate, she has enough speed to clear many — if not all — out these in the early strides. Gets a solid rider in the irons, and the record here at Churchill Downs is certainly impressive. In 16 starts here, she has a mark of 5-3-4. Could add to that total with a good trip today. Barn hits with .23% of those making the second start off a layup, and with .30% of those returning as a beaten favorite. My solid choice. Bella Kristina (3) gets another drop in class for this one today. Just two starts back, she was in for $20,000. Today, she’s offered up for the $7,500 tag. Barn hits with .22% of those in the claiming ranks. Has done her best running over the all-weather surfaces. May be a fun project for those sticking around for Turfway Park this winter. Just saying. I bet the 12 to win/place/show and then key the 12 over/under the 3-4-6-7-5 in two smaller versions.

6th: 10-6/3/7-5-8/4-2-11…Believeinholidays (10) is a 5YO son of Harlan’s Holiday and will be converting back to the dirt after 3 previous runs over the sod. In 3 races over this main track, he has two seconds and a third. Was a beaten favorite at the $50,000 tag level here on June 28. That same race could land him in the winner’s circle here. Love the rider choice. Could be real salty in here today, and worth a chance at the claim box, too. Fra Mauro (6) picks up the meet’s leading rider in the saddle after being claimed last time out. Lost that one by a mere neck, and the new barn operation hits with .32% when starting the new acquisition for the first time. In 5 starts this year, this one has 3 seconds. Interesting. I bet the 10 to win/place/show and then box the 10-6 in one exacta. I will key the 10-6 over/under the 3-7-5-8-4 in two smaller versions.

7th: 8-(11)-(14)-6/2-1-(15)-(16)/3-7-4/9…The first turf race of the day will be contested at 11/16-miles, and I will go to Ask Bailey (8) in this spot. This 2YO daughter of Run Away and Hide is coming off a third place finish in the G2 Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland. Was 7 wide that day, and lost nearly all shot while toiling in near last for much of the race. That was over “good” ground. Should be on the “soft” side today, as well. If she can stick a little closer to the front-runners today, watch out. She can kick it on in the late-going. Wexx (6) is 10-1 in the ML and is my first Upset Special of the Day. This 2YO daughter of Declaration of War ran a huge one at long odds last time out at KEE on Oct. 25. Was right in the thick from the get-go. Stuck to the end, too. Mother was Stakes placed and has 5 turf winners to her credit. Look for this one to out-run her odds again today. If the 11 & 14 get in from the AE List, take a strong look. They figure, too. I bet the 8-6 to win/place/show and then box the top 2 in the exacta. I will key the 8-6 over/under the 2-1-3-7-4 in two more smaller versions. I use the AE List horses if they get in, too.

8th: 2-7-4/1-6-5/8…Dizzy Sight (2) is my second Upset Special of the Day. This one is 6-1 odds in the ML and may slide up the board, as well. The 3YO gelding by Twirling Candy comes from the barn of Rusty Arnold, and despite a cool meet so far, the operation is having a super year. This one ran poorly over the slop last time out at KEE. Likely to get a fast track again today, though, and you may see a performance that resembles the win at KEE on Oct. 11 instead. Love the work here on Nov. 11. Gets a new rider up today. Look for more out of this one  if he can lay a bit closer to the pace setters. Gun It (7) cost a cool $2.6 million as a 2017 grad of the KEE September Sales. Has won only $35,000 in purses to date. Has a long way to go to recover that payroll deduction. But the 3YO son of Tapit has the talent to really run, too. Ran 4th to Harvey Wallbanger when that one was tough last year. Beat By My Standards in a MSW race at the Fair Grounds in New Orleans back last December. That one, if you will remember, went on to win the Louisiana Derby. Talent is there. Works have been good. Look out, if ready off the bench. I bet the 2-7 to win/place/show — take note — and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 2-7 over/under the rest of the numbers in two smaller versions.

9th: 3-1-8/9-5-4/2-6-11…Done Deal (3) deserves to be the top choice in this spot today, coming off an impressive gate-to-wire victory last time out at KEE on Oct. 23. Was given a perfect ride by the jockey that day and in 4 starts here, the 6YO gelding has a win and two thirds on the resume. This one won 3 in a row way back in 2016 and then in 2018, after the long break. Looks like he is back to that old form. My third Upset Special of the Day, though, comes right here with Telekinesis (1) — who is 8-1 in the ML. This son of Ghostzapper will make the first career start for a new barn, who does not specialize in this category. Barn is 0-for-17 with newcomers, to date. But this one looked like he was headed to stardom as a 3YO. Nearly won the G3 Lexington Stakes. Came right back to win the Plate Trial at Woodbine. That was the end of an impressive 4 races in a row. Been off since April. But this one has the talent. Is he ready? I bet the 3-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exacta. I will key the 3-1 over/under the 8-9-5-4-2 in two smaller versions.

10th: 9-7-5/3-1-10-8/(13)-(12)-11/2-4…The final race of the day is a good one over the sod. I will go with Red Sorrell (9). This 3YO son of Red Rocks has not won in 9 career starts, but he does have 3 seconds and a third for trainer Mike Maker. Had a run of three 2nd place finishes in a row snapped last time out at KEE on Oct. 19. Stretched out to a whopping 13/16-miles that day. Tired late. Now, gets back to a distance where he has 2 of the 2nd place finishes. Best grass rider around these parts takes the reins for the first time. My solid pick here. I bet the 9 to win/place/show and then key the 9 over/under the 7-5-3-1-10-8. Keep an eye out on the AE List to see if any of those draw in. 

Late Pick 5 Ticket: 

Starts with Race 6: 3-6-7-8/1-2-6-8/2-4-7/1-3-8-9/9

Cost: for .50-cent ticket: $96

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene

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