Gene McLean's Picks

Sunday, August 14, 2022


1st: 4-3-7/9-8/1/6-5/2-10...What an Honor (4) gets the nod in the ole' lid-lifter at the "Pea Patch" on this "Sunday Funday." This 2YO daughter of Honor Code ran very well to be 2nd in the career debut here on July 15.  Got off to a horrendously slow start in that run. Came with a rush midway through the race and made a strong presence at the end. Barn wins with .20% on the 2nd career race and should have learned a lot in that debut. Look out with a better break here. Flashy Gem (3) comes from the Brad Cox barn, and it has won with .23% of the first 26 starters here this meet. This one was behind our top pick last time out, too. Stalked in that one and just ran out of gas. Barn wins with .29% in the 2nd start over the sod. Beck and Call (7) goes for a barn that has won with .19% this meet and will make the career debut here. Working well and has the pedigree to be solid in this spot. Dam has a turf winner from the first three starters. Rider is having a very good meet. I bet the 4-3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 4 over/under the 3-7-9-8-1 in two smaller units. 

2nd: 2-7/3/1-6/5/4...Spankster (2) is my first "Upset Special of the Day." This one is 6-1 in the ML and broke the maiden just two starts ago in impressive fashion. The runner-up from that race came right back to win the next outing. This one ran much better than it looks on paper in the first try against winners. The "Show" horse that day came right back to win the next outing, as well. Barn puts a veteran up here and this one trained very well on Aug. 3. Nice shot at a solid price. Glacial (7) gets the blinkers off for this try and the barn wins with .25% when tossing the shades. Ran very well in a G3 last year and has the ability. May rediscover it here. I bet the 2 across the board and then box the 2-7 in the exactas. I will key the 2-7 over/under the 3 in two smaller units. 

3rd: 5-1-8/4-9-11/10/2-7-6/3...Chop Chop (5) is another from the Brad Cox barn and this 2YO filly is a daughter of what could be the next best sire in the land -- City of Light. Has been working spot on for the debut here and love the rider choice. Look out guys and gals. Just got a feeling this one may pop. Big time. Navy Fleet (1) is another who will make the first career start here. Has trained well and the trainer wins with .14% on first ask. Rail is not ideal for the youngsters, but will be going 1 mile on the sod. Hmmm. Aha Moment (8) is another first timer and this one looks the part. Connections paid $410,000 for this one at the 2021 KEE September Yearling Sale and the daughter of the KY Derby winner Nyquist looks to be on top of the game going in. Chance. I bet the 5-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 4-9 in two smaller units. 

4th: 7-1/5-8-10-(14)/2-9/6-11/3...This is another turf event and will be contested at the distance of 11/16-miles. I go with Spare Cash (7), who could propel the Cox barn to a big, big day. This one has not found the circle after the first 8 starts, but toss the last race (on the dirt) and this one has 4 runner-up finishes in a row. And, that's on the heels of a sparkling 3rd. Could be the day. I'm in. Signadora (1) looks well-spotted here after running 2nd here on July 8. Daughter of Ghostzapper comes from a Stakes-placed dam, who has thrown 4 turf winners. Pedigree is strong. Rider is hot. Adds up to contender. I bet the 7-1 across the board and then box these two in the exactas. I will key the 7-1 over/under the 5-8-10-14 in two smaller units. 

5th: 5-2/6/3-4/1...Runhappy Ellis Park Juvenile Stakes...This is a 7-furlong test for the 2YOs, and I will line up with Frosted Departure (5). This son of Frosted ran a huge one here at this same distance last time out. Ran off to win by nearly 4 lengths. Gets the same solid hand back on the reins here and this one has the ability to be a tough out. First race winner may be a monster and is up at Saratoga for a big race in the G2 Saratoga Special this weekend. Curly Jack (2) is a son of Good Magic and goes for a barn that has won with .21% of its 326 starters this year. Has gone 1-1-1 in 5 starts here this summer. This one won easily at Churchill Downs before shipping up to Saratoga to try the G3 Sanford Stakes last time out. Ran them off their feet early, but spit the bit there. I like in this spot. I bet the 5-2 across the board and then box those two in the exactas. I will key the 5-2 over/under the 6-3-4-1 in two smaller units.

6th: 9-1-12/(13)-10-6-3/2-4-8-11/5...Runhappy Ellis Park Debutante Stakes...This is the filly version of the previous race and I will saddle up with Empire of My Own (9). This 2YO daughter of Classic Empire ran well in the Debutante Stakes at Churchill Downs last time out. Just tired at the end as the PT favorite. Barn wins with a whopping .26% with a beaten favorite. Has speed. Can turn it out and could be on the muscle here. Shoplifter (1) won easily last time out at Churchill Downs. The runner-up came right back to win the next time out, too. Barn wins with .19% when moving up to face winners for the first time and this one is training lights out. Could press the "go button" early, too. Justa Warrior (12) will break from the far outside, but that should not be an issue in this one-turn event. Sharp work on Aug. 7 and the win here on July 22 was impressive. Trainer is having a super meet and the rider has won with .29% of the last 34 mounts for this barn. Big threat here. Big. I bet the 9-12 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 over/under the 13-10-6 in two smaller units.

7th: 8-7-5/3-4/6-2-10/9...Runhappy Audubon Oaks Stakes...This is a 7-furlong event over the main dirt track for the 3YO fillies and I give the edge to Patna (8). This 3YO daughter of Into Mischief set all the early fractions in the G3 Indiana Oaks last time out, but she was just setting it up for her stablemate, Interstatedaydream. This time, Patna may be the one to beat. She has speed and class, too. Look out here -- especially if she gets a soft lead. Gunning (7) will be coming late and has the best kick in the lane. Could be surging if there is a speed battle. Last Leaf (5) is a stalker, and may have the first chance to run at the speedsters. Comes in off two straight Stakes wins in Florida. This daughter of Not This Time could be a real roll. Don't dismiss this one. I bet the 8-7 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 3-4 in two smaller units. 

8th: 2-8/1-5-10/3/4-7-11/6-9...Groupie Doll Stakes...Super Quick (2) is just that. Super. Quick. Will take off as soon as the gates open and will play a little game of "come catch me if you can." Ran super to be 2nd in the G2 Fleur de Lis Stakes last time out against the grand Shedaresthedevil. If she can duplicate that run? Watch out. Li'l Tootsie (8) got back to winning ways last time out in a Stakes event at Churchill Downs. That one was over a muddy track and she is now 2-1-0 in 3 tries over an off surface. If it rans? Look out. If it doesn't? Well, she may just run well any way. I bet the 2 across the board and then box the 2-8 in the exactas. I will key the 2 over/under the 8-1-5-10-3-4 in two smaller units. 

9th: 3-8-2/1-6-9/5/4-7...Runahppy Ellis Park Derby...This is the big event of the summer at the ole' "Pea Patch," and I will go with Top of the Charts (3). This son of Maclean's Music comes in off two straight wins to start the career. Has plenty of speed and the works coming in are spot on. Like the rider, who will get a chance on this one for the first time. Can they catch him? Can he win at a route for the first time? Trainer wins with .28% in non-Graded Stakes events. Steal Sunshine (8) ships in from Florida and this one has won two in a row. Captured the Carry Back Stakes on July 9 and did that without the benefit of Lasix. Brings his regular rider with him. Look out here. Will be running at the end. Strava (2) just may be the horse to beat. Won last time out at Churchill Downs by 6 easy lengths. Has experience against the likes of Cyberknife and Tawny Port. Gets a top rider for the assignment, too. I bet the 3-2 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 3-2 over/under the 8-1-6-9-5 in two smaller units. 

Pick 5 (Races 1-2-3-4-5):

4-3-7-9-8 x 2-7 x 5-1-8 x 7-1 x 5-2

All Grass Pick 3 (Races 1-3-4):

4-3-7-9 x 5-1-8 x 7-1

All Stakes Pick 5 (Races 5-6-7-8-9):

5-2-6 x 9-1-12 x 8-7-5 x 2-8 x 3-8-2

Good Luck & All the Best / Gene