Gene McLean's Picks


Friday, July 29, 2022


1st: 3-4-7/8/6-2/1-5…The lid-lifter at the ole’ “Pea Patch” on Friday will be a turf event that will bet contested at the flat, 1-mile distance and I line up with Pistol (3). This 3YO daughter of Gun Runner was claimed just two starts ago by the current connections and it may be the best buy of the year. This gal won that day for the second time in a row and immediately was jumped up in class for the first outing for the new barn. Nearly won that one for $50,000. Now, she shows up here in a starter allowance and is very well spotted by a trainer who is winning at a .215 rate this year and can teach. Like the apprentice rider and the weight allowance. Look out here. Believing (4) is a 4YO filly and gets the age advantage over our top pick. This one was claimed just two starts ago, as well, and nearly beat our top pick in that one. Lost by a head. New rider is a turf expert and that could help here. Barn wins with .50% of the last 4 to make the 2nd start off the purchase for this trainer. Gardenly (7) moves to the grass for the first time and the top trainer wins with .15% of the last 34 to do that. Ran off to win by 10 to break the MSW last time out. Nearly won the debut at Churchill Downs and that winner came right back to take the next outing, too. This one comes from a mare who has thrown 2 turf winners already. Pedigree is there. I bet the 3 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 8 in two smaller units.

2nd: 4-3-6/5/1-2…McMansion (4) is not the house that Ray Kroc (originally owner of McDonald’s) built back in the day. It is a 4YO filly who comes into this one off a near-miss 2nd at this same level last time out. If she can duplicate that version here? Look out. Barn wins with .11% in the MCL ranks. Stupendous (3) was 2nd at this level last time out, too, and that was here on July 15 — less than 2 weeks ago. But? Barn is having a tough year and is 0-for-7 here so far this meet. Hmmm. Coastal Charm (6) is a daughter of Ghostzapper and out of a Distorted Humor mare. Breeding says “go.” but the first race on April 15 at Oaklawn Park was less than inspiring. Gets the big drop here and the barn wins with .24% in the 2nd career race. Trainer/Jockey combo has gone 5-for-8 in the last two weeks. I bet the 4-6 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.

3rd: (12)-1/(13)-8/4-10-(11)/3-5/2-7…This is the 2nd of 5 grass races carded on the day, and this one will be contested at the 1-mile route, too. If King of Sting (12) draws in from the AE List, this son of Jimmy Creed gets my top push. Has been facing much tougher and the barn has had a terrific Summer, so far. Looks to be well spotted for this one, if he gets in. If not? I revert to the rail and go heavily with Blunder (1). This one was facing much, much, much tougher all Spring and last Fall. Gets the huge drop in class here and the blinkers for the first time. Barn wins with .19% of the last 21 to get the shades added. Will put the “bug boy” in the irons and the weight allowance cannot hurt, either. Look out here. I bet the 12 if he gets in and will share the love across the board. If he does not draw in, I will do the same with 1. If they both run? I bet them both across and then box in the exactas. I will key either or both the 12-1 over/under the 13-8-4-10-11-3-5 in the exactas. 

4th: 4-1-5/3/7/2-6-8…Joy Enamorada (4) is a 3YO Carpe Diem filly who won the last time out and has won two of the last three races. Fits perfectly here, too, and the trainer/jockey, wife/husband team have been tearing it up at this meet. After 12 starts, they have gone 6-2-2. Has speed. Can burn. My solid choice. Estardo (1) has hit the board in each of the last 5 outings and has two easy wins in that mix. Has not been out since last September — nearly a year ago. But has been working well and the barn can get them ready off the bench. If set? Watch out. Marcie’s Candy (5) won two starts ago and is back with the trainer who coached and urged that victory Barn wins with .13% of the last 136 in the claiming ranks. Chance here with the new rider, who is having a nice meet so far. I bet the 4-1 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 3 in two smaller units.

5th: 5-1A-4/3-7-8-1/6/2…High Deff (5) has not run well in any of the last three offerings, but here’s hoping that he finds a gear that he used to have not so long ago. Barn has gone 1-2-0 in 3 starts here this meet. Nice. Rider broke the maiden here this meet. Dam of this one has 3 turf winners from 4 starters. Looks like a chance at a solid price here. Cosme (1A) is my first “Upset Special of the Day.” This one is 10-1 in the ML and could drift higher on the board. Gets a top rider, who is winning at a .27% clip here this meet. Won the debut by an easy 4 lengths and may be better than anyone knows. Chisholm Trail (4) ran a much-better-than-looks 5th last time out. Beaten less than 3 and had traffic issues in the mud. First time grass here and that could help, especially considering that the dam of this one has produced a turf winner already. I bet the 1A-4 — take note — across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 3-7 in two smaller units. I will also key the 1A-4 over/under the 5-3-7-8-1 in two smaller units.

6th: (12)-(11)/8-3-10/7-5-(13)-(14)/6-9…This is another 1-mile turf event and I will go to the AE List for my top two selections, if they draw in. Southlawn (12) is a 2Yo daughter of Pioneerof the Nile and she will get the blinkers and a new rider for the first time. Ran OK in the debut and the winner of that one came right back to win the next outing impressively, as well. This one was heavily bet in the inaugural effort and may be sitting on a  big go here. Cotton Candy Annie (11) goes from dirt to turf and the barn wins with .05% of those, but this one has run up against some good ones in the past. Sharp work on July 23. Maybe? If they do not draw in from the AE List, I will go with Bonita d’Oro (8) — who will be making the career debut here. Daughter of one of the hottest freshmen sires in the world right now, and the trainer is having a super year. Weehawken (3) has been working lights out for the debut race here. If this one runs to the work pattern? Look out. I bet the 12-11 across the board, if they draw in. If not, I will bet the 8-3 across the board and box the top 3 in the exactas. 

7th: 8-5-9/7-6-1/3/2-10…B Dawk (8) gets the nod here in this 7-furlong featured race over the main track. This 3YO son of Gormley ran a huge one two races ago to be 2nd in the Sir Barton Stakes at Pimlico. Winner of that one was Ethereal Road. Didn’t fire as the even-money favorite the next time out at Churchill Downs. Or the fire didn’t burn long enough. The cutback in distance should help here and the barn wins with .19% of those returning as a beaten favorite. Open Road (5) is a 3YO son of Quality Road and is trained by Brad Cox, who is winning at a .25% rate here this meet, so far. This one was impressive in the career debut, but was handled easily by Happy Jack the next time out. The latter should have won at Ellis over the weekend. Could pop here, too. I bet the 8-5 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 8-5 over/under the 9-7-6-1-3 in two smaller units.

8th: 6-2/1-10/4-7-9/8-(11)…Spare Cash (6) ran poorly in the last outing at Churchill Downs. But that was over the main track and this daughter of Quality Road simply didn’t like the surface switch. Now, she is back on the turf and she should relish a return to the green. Ran 4 straight 2nds on the lawn going into the last one. Gets a solid rider who has two 2nds on top of this one at Turfway Park in the Winter/Spring. Look out here. My “Key Play of the Day.” I will? I will bet the 6 across the board and then key the 6 over/under the 2-1-10-4-7-9 in the exactas. 


Pick 5 Ticket: 4-1-5-3 5-1A-4-3-7-8 (12)-(11)-8 or 8-3-10 8-5 6

All Grass Pick 3: 5-1A-4-3-7-8 x (12)-(11)-8 or 8-3-10 x 6