Saturday, August 20, 2022

Gene McLean's Handicapping Picks

Ellis Park



Here's our looks for the "Pea Patch" on this Saturday in "Hotsville:"


1st: (7)/5-4-(8)/3/2/1-6...The ole' lid-lifter at the "Pea Patch" on this Saturday is a 1-mile event over the sod (next to the peas), and I will go with a "Main Track Only" selection in Saqeel (7), if this bad boy comes off the green, green grass of home. This 4YO son of Daaher comes into this one off a nice run going 11/4-miles over a sloppy track. Before that, was 2nd up at "The Shoe," in Indy. Has two thirds in as many tries over an off-track. But that's if it rains and the race comes off the sod. If it stays on? I will line up with Absam (5). This one ran a huge 3rd and closing fast here on July 30. May be a bit closer in this group, but the rider is tough on the sod and the race two back was against a tougher group. Chance. Highestdistinction (4) has never hit the board in 3 previous tries over this grass course, and thus appears to be a bit vulnerable in this spot at low odds. Does have some stalking speed and gets a top rider for the occasion. I bet the 7 if it comes off the sod. If it stays on, I bet the 5 across the board. I will box the top 3 numbers who make the gate and spread out a bit in the horizontals. 

2nd: 4/1a-3/6-5-1/2...The first "Key Play of the Day" comes here with Boxster (4). This 2YO son of West Coast ran a very nice 2nd in the debut race at Churchill Downs on June 2. Winner that day is pretty darn good. Last time out, this one tired a bit as the heavy PT favorite. Barn wins with .27% of those returning as a beaten favorite and with .11% getting the blinkers for the first time. Also, the trainer wins with .27% of the last 52 when stretching out to the route distance for the first time. I like this one. A lot. I bet the 4 across the board and then key the 4 over/under the 1A-3-6-5-1-2 in the exactas. More with the entry and the 3 than the rest. 

3rd: 4-1-8/2/3/6-7-5...Ball Gown (4) ran a much-improved 2nd last time out when catching the sod here on July 16. Will come late in the game, and will need some racing luck. But the veteran rider is having a solid meet and is back riding #1 saddle for this barn. Barn wins with .12% in the 3rd start off the layoff. Merci Road (1) is another from the barn of trainer Eddie Kenneally and this one should improve with the move to the sod. Dam was a Stakes winner and has thrown a grass winner now as a mom. Barn wins with .14% in first try over the sod. Like this one. Lady Pele (8) gets the blinkers for the first time and the barn wins with .10% of the last 20 to get the shades. Trainer is very good at going from a sprint race to a route distance and then back to a sprint. Wins with .29% of those. This one fits. I bet the 4-1 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 2 in two smaller units.

4th: 6-3/4-1-2/5...Creed (6) ships in from Saratoga for the barn of a HOFer and should relish the class drop here. Last won in July of 2020. Long time between drinks of water. But the works are OK and this one cost $650,000 at the 2018 KEE September Yearling Sale. Has won nearly $100,000 of that back. But a long way to go and a short time to get there. Search Engine (3) just may pull the upset here. Ran 5th against some salty characters in the Stakes last time out. Before that ran three huge ones in a row. Works are great coming in. Look out. I bet the 3 -- take note -- across the board and then box the 6-3 in the exactas. I will key the 6-3 over/under the 4-1-2-5 in two smaller units.

5th: 7-3/(9)/1-5/6/2-4...Nip N Tuck (7) ships in from Hoosier Land for this one and the barn is looking for the first win of the meet. In 6 starts, though, trainer has 3 seconds and 2 thirds. Nipping at the win column. This one has never run here before, but comes in off three good performances in a row. Rider switches to this one. Interesting. Dynablue (3) won here on July 30, but rider takes off to ride the top selection. Hmmm. I bet the 7 across the board and then box the 7-3 in the exactas. I will key the 7-3 over/under the 9-1-5-6 in two smaller units. 

6th: 8-5-3/9-6-10-1/7-(12)-(13)-(15)...Mystify (8) is a first timer for a Chicago-based operation, but comes into this one off a series of nice works. Dam of this one has thrown 3 turf winners and a Stakes winner. Nice pedigree and the trainer wins with .15% of the last 13 to debut on the sod. Like. A lot. My first "Upset Special of the Day." The next pick goes to Collected Glory (5), who has the experience edge. Ran 2nd here in an "off-the-turf" event over the mud on July 31. Ran well to be 2nd and closed late. Barn is 0-for-32 when trying the sod for the first time, though. Ugh. Storm Rate (3) ran better than it looks in the debut. Set the fractions early and was caught in-between horses, too. Moves to the sod and this dam has thrown 2 grass winners and a Stakes winner, as well. Should love this surface switch. I bet the 8-3 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 8-3 over/under the 5-9-6-10-1-7 in two smaller units. 

7th: 1-4-9/5-7/2-6/3-8/10...Dr. Perry (1). Calling Dr. Perry. This 3YO son of Into Mischief has not race since last October. Spit the bit in that allowance affair at Churchill Downs and to the sidelines. But the 2nd race of the career was spectacular and the first race was against the likes of Jack Christopher. Works are nice coming in here. Gets Lasix for the first time. If he is ready? Look out. Gone. Long. Gone. My second "Key Play of the Day." I will? I will bet the 1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 1 over/under the 4-9-5-7-2-6 in two smaller units.

8th: 4-8-3/1-6/7/5-9/2/(10)...The finale is a 1-mile turf event and I will line up with Treaty of Paris (4). This 5YO mare picks up a nice grass rider for the fist time and comes in off a very nice 2nd over the dirt at Sam Houston. HOF trainer wins with .19% when shipping and with .18% when off this long. Could be a surprise here, too. Social Engagement (8) is my next "Upset Special of the Day." This one is 12-1 in the ML and rates a chance, coming off a win here over this grass course last time out. that was the first try at the sod. Worked out well. Faces tougher here but the barn wins with .16% when it captured the last race. Legality (3) is not a grass expert. Yet. Ran poorly in only previous attempt. But the dam has thrown 3 grass winners and this one could improve with the 2nd chance. Won just two starts ago at Churchill Downs. Gets a new rider. But a chance. I bet the 4-8 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 4-8 over/under the 3-1-6-7-5 in two smaller units.


Pick 5 -- Races 4-5-6-7-8:

6-3 x 7-3-1-5 x 8-5-3 x 1 x 4-8-3-1-6 = $60 for .50-cent ticket


All Turf Pick 3 -- Races 5-6-8:

7-3 x 8-5-3-9-6-10 x 4-8 = $72 for $3 ticket