Gene McLean's Picks

August 19, 2022


1st: 6-(9)-5/2-4/3-8/1…Markitoff (6) gets the nod in the ole’ lid-lifter at the “Pea Patch” this Friday. This 8YO veteran has made the post 42 times already and has netted 6 wins, 6 seconds and 3 thirds. Two wins have come in a row in the last two efforts. Both of those over the grass and the last one here on July 15. Has speed and likes to use it. New rider has found success in or close to the front end. Trainer is having a very nice meet here. Could pop again. Go for Sherrie (9) would rate a big shot if he gets in, but if he draws into this fray it will be a conversion to the main track. Entered as a MTO. Won the last time out at Horseshoe Indianapolis for a trainer having another solid year. Sharp work on Aug. 10. Looks well spotted, if the rains come. Tiz Light the Way (5) ran a good one over this sod last time out. Was 2nd to our top pick. Could make up ground late, but needs some early speed to materialize. I bet the 6-5 across the board and then box these two in the exactas, if the 9 does not draw in. I will key the 6-5 over/under the 2-4-3-8 in two smaller units.

2nd: 6/5-1-4/2/3…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes here with Fashion Idol (6). This 2YO daughter of Into Mischief ran OK before tiring in the career debut here on July 22. Was beaten by a pretty darn good filly in that one. That gal just came back on Sunday to win the Ellis Park Debutante — in ease. Looks like this one could pop here, too. Barn wins with .30% when routing for the first time and with .27% on the 2nd career race. Look out. I bet the 6 to win/place and double down on the win wager. I will key the 6 over/under the 5-1-4-2-3 in the exactas. More with the 5-1-4 than the rest.

3rd: 1-4-3/2/5-6-8-9/7-10…This is the 2nd of 5 turf races carded on the day and this one will be contested at the flat, 1-mile distance. I saddle up with the rail bird — Forward Curve (1). This son of Tiznow won the last time out in Chicago and has the speed to control the interest from the inside. Has never run over this sod, but gets a solid rider and the barn is winning at a whopping .34% rate this year after 192 starts. Legit. Eye of the Cat (4) needs to pick up his hooves a bit earlier in the proceedings and will get a new rider to help motivate that change. Could pick up a piece in the lane. My Brother Cam (3) broke the maiden here last time out when running at the 11/16-mile disntance. Barn wins with .36% of those moving up to face winners for the first time and the trainer is winning at a .38% rate here this meet. Another speed ball could help “The Cat.” I bet the 1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2 in two smaller units.

4th: 3-1-2/5/4/6…Amaryllis Kiss (3) ran well here last time out on July 30. Lost a little steam in the late going, but pressed the get-go hard, too. Daughter of Speightstown cost a whopping $600,000 in 2020. Connections must have liked something, right? Rider is 6-2-3 in the last 22 mounts. Hot times. Indigo Miss (1) ran 2nd at Horseshoe Indianapolis last time out and that was the 2nd good start in the first 3 outings. Returns here as a beaten favorite and the barn wins with .36% of the last 25 to try that angle. Rider has won with .40% for this barn at this meet. Chance. Respectful (2) is a first time starter, but this daughter of Frosted cost $270,000 at the 2020 KEE September Yearling Sale and the dam has 8 winners from 11 starters. Three have become Stakes winners. Pedigree strong. I bet the 3-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 5 in two smaller units.

5th: 6-(14)-5/8-(12)-2/3-4-7-9/10…Sailor’s Chance (6) could be a standout here. This one ran well to be 2nd in the first grass outing last time out. Barn wins with .17% on the 2nd sod race and the new rider could help the gate performance. Mendeavour (14) would be a salty contender if he was able to make the gate. Works are spot on. Spot. On. But needs a lot of luck to just make the race. The Bookkeeper (5) could be the first upset of the day. This 2YO son of Frosted ran OK on debut. Got off to a horrendous start and made up some ground late. Barn wins with .29% this meet and with .19% on the year. Could improve a lot here. I bet the 6 across the board. I will box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 6 over/under the 14-5-8-12-2 in two smaller units. 

6th: 6-5/4/2/3-1…Cant Be Touched (6) looks the best on paper. This 3YO daughter of Sky Mesa may be cut out for the AW, but the last race was better than it looks. That was in March, though, and will have to come off the bench fresh here. Barn does win with .18% when away this long and with .36% in the 2nd start off a claim purchase. One to beat, IMO. Sweet Confusion (5) ran well to be 2nd here last time out. Has hit the board in three of the last four outings and the rider has won with .27% of the last 11 for this barn. Chance. I bet the 6 across the board and then box the 6-5 sternly in the exactas. I will key the 6-5 over (only) the 4-2-3-1 in a smaller unit. 

7th: 9-6-1/4-7/2/5-8/3…This 5.5-furlong sprint over the sod may be one of the toughest races that I have handicapped this year. Hard to pick one. Hard to make a convincing argument for just one. I will go to the far outside and line up with Hope and Dreams (9). It may take both of those things to push this 3YO daughter of American Freedom across the finish line first. Won to break the maiden last time out at Churchill Downs. But that was on July 1. Has worked well gearing back up for this one. Gets a top rider, who is winning at a .21% clip here this meet. Barn does win with .13% when going from the dirt to the sod, and with .22% when moving up to face winners for the first time. OK. My pick. I bet the 9 across the board and then box the 9-6-1 in the exactas. I will key the 9 over/under the 6-1-4-7-2-5-8 in two smaller units. 

8th: 12-7-9/8-(14)/6-10/5-11/4…The day’s finale may be just as tough as the last race. Another head scratcher. I give the edge to the outside horse, Keep On (12), in my “Upset Special of the Day.” This 3YO son of Keep Up spit the bit totally last time out. But that was over a muddy track (again) and the two times on that stuff? This one could not stand up. Toss those two and look at the sod race two back. Now, that’s what I am talking about. That performance wins here. So, I go here. I bet the 12 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 12 over/under the 7-9-8-14-6-10-5 in two smaller units.

Pick 5 — (Races 4-5-6-7-8):

3-1-2 x 6-14-5 x 6-5 x 9-6-1 x 12-7-9 = $81 for .50-cent ticket

All Turf Pick 3 — (Races 5-7-8):

6-14-5-8 x 9 x 12-7-9-8-14 = $60 for $3 ticket