Gene McLean's Picks


Saturday, July 30, 2022


Image removed.1st: 4/2-1/3-5/(6)…The ole’ lid-lifter at the “Pea Patch” on Saturday is a 11/16-mile turf event and I will ante up with Red Run (4) in this spot. The 3YO son of Gun Runner goes for red, sizzling, blazing hot HOF trainer, who is winning at a .35% rate here after the first 17 starts this meet. The rider has won with .20% of the last 44 mounts for the barn, too. Drops into the allowance ranks for the first time since, well, Nov. 27 of last year. That was on the dirt and he nearly won with a solid 2nd. Since then, 5 Stakes races and two of them were Graded events. Should appreciate this spot for a top ownership team. Look out and is my first “Key Play of the Day.” Play Action Pass (2) drops from a Stakes event back into the allowance ranks, as well. This one ran 4th in the Audubon Stakes at Churchill Downs. Solid effort. Out of a Stakes-placed mare, who has thrown 4 turf winners. Love the race two back. Won that day over the new grass at “The Downs.” American Hero (1) could be a spoiler here, too. This won rallied late here on July 15 to win the 2nd career race. Clever grass rider is back for more. In 9 career starts, to date, this one has hit the board 6 times. Chance.  I bet the 4 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the 4 over/under the 2-1-3-5-6 in two smaller units.

2nd: 1-7/3/2-4/5-6…Top Note (1) will be making the career debut and this one, like our pick in the first, comes from the same HOF trainer. The 2YO son of Carpe Diem ships in from Lone Star for the action and catches a field that he may be able to handle. Normally, I dread the rail with first time starters, and especially with the rookie 2YOs. But if he can pop and go? Look out. Connect Me (7) will break from the far outside in the gate and that presents its’ own set of issues. Will need to break straight and stay “connected” to the field. Gets a fine rider for this first outing. Trainer can get them to gas early. Maybe he goes and they can’t find him at the end. I bet the 1-7 across the board and then box those two in the exactas. I will key the 1-7 over/under the 3 in two smaller units.

3rd: (11)-(1A)/2-6-8/9-1/3-4-10/7…My top two picks will need some serious good fortune before the race ever begins. Both of them are parked on the AE List as of entry time. Retained (11) comes into this one off a very nice 3rd here on July 8. Was a threat from the get-go and just could not finish the job. If he improves at all off that exercise and gets into the race? Look out. Sundance (1A) would be making his first time start for a solid barn operation. This son of Quality Road has been working well for the debut and is a MTO entry only, meaning that the rains must come. If neither of these get in? I go to Urgent Fury (2), who will make the inaugural start for a red-hot trainer. Barn has gone 7-1-1 in the first 15 starts and the rider has gone 7-1-4 in the first 24 mounts. This one looks like he could burn early, coming off an impressive work here on July 11. Ironsides (6) faltered late in the career debut at Churchill Downs, but did flash some nice action early on. Gets a solid gate rider back in the irons. Chance. Fitzea (8) is a first timer for the barn of Tommy Drury, who just happens to be one of the best young trainers in the game today. This one could pop at a price. I bet the 11-1A if they get in. If not, I will go solidly behind the 2 across the board. I will box the top 3 numbers and then key the 2-6-8 over/under the 9-1 in two smaller units.

4th: 7-6/5/4-8/3/1/2…Mr Sippi (7) comes into this one off a nice win at Churchill Downs on the Fourth of July. Ran off at the end to distance a nice field in a game Starter Allowance bracket. Has hit the board in each of the last four outings and looks well-spotted here, as well. Barn has gone 2-4-0 in the first 9 outs. Let My People Go (6) comes in off two very nice efforts, too. This 3YO gelded son of Pioneerof the Nile broke the maiden two starts ago and then nearly won the next outing, too, at a huge price. Work at KEE on July 15 was spot on. Look out here. I bet the 7-6 across the board and then box these two solidly and sternly in the exactas. I will key the 7-6 over/under the 5 in two smaller units.

5th: 1-3/4-5/2-6-7-8…Bullseye Bun (1) gets the nod in this two-turn turf route. Won in May of 2021 and then was off for 13 months. Came back with a solid effort up at Horseshoe Indianapolis. If he improves at all off that effort? Could hit here in a wide, wide, wide open affair. A serious spread race here in the horizontal plays. Absam (3) did run a better-than-looks 5th last time out. Gets a new rider who is best on the sod. Work on June 29 was spot on and this one could be poised for a big effort. I bet the 1-3 across the board and then box these two in the exactas. I will key the 1-3 over/under the 4-5-2-6 in two smaller units.

6th: 3-4/5-9-11-12/2-6-8-10/1…My first “Upset Special of the Day” comes here with Missed Opportunity (3) — who is listed at 6-1 in the ML. This 3YO daughter of Tiznow ran a huge one last out at Churchill Downs on June 19. Nearly won that one and the winner came back to do well the next time out, too. Could be ready here in the third career start. Dreamalot (4) ran well here last year, but was off for 11 months. When she did return it was a mystery and tiring performance. Daughter of Ghostzapper is bred well and should be prime here in the 2nd start off the layup. I bet the 3-4 across the board and then box those two in the exactas. I will key the 3-4 over/under the 5-9-11-12 in two smaller units. 

7th: 7-(13)-10/5/2-1-6-(12)/8-11/3-4…Anglophile (7) gets the nod here for one of the best, hard-working trainers in the game today. Has gone 1-1-1 in the first 7 starts here and this 2YO son of English Channel should be perfectly made for this grass event. Ran huge last time out when moved off the sod. Like the rider. The winner of the first race? Just won a Graded Stakes at Saratoga. Look out here. Look. Out. Rungius (13) could be a huge threat if it is moved off the sod and the 2YO draws in for the MTO. Like the first effort. Should improve. Paddock Boss (10) is the 2nd entered from the barn of trainer Rodolphe Brisset. Most of the action could come on the “other one” in the mix. But this one had the better work on the same day at KEE and looks a little further along in the progression. I’m in here, too. I bet the 7-10 across the board and then box the top 3 in the exactas. I will key the 7-10 over/under the 5 in two smaller units.

8th: 2/5-1/9-4/8/3-6-7…The first “Key Play of the Day” comes in the featured 8th and the 6.5-furlong sprint over the main dirt track. I go with Famed (2), who hails from the barn of Brad Cox and is a homebred for the Godolphin Stables. This 3YO daughter of Uncle Mo has missed the board in only one of her previous 5 starts and that was a 4th in a Graded Stakes event last year. Has run two straight 3rds to begin this year and looks to be the bet in here. Love the work at Churchill Downs on July 23. Gets a solid gate rider for the event. Just seems poised for a big effort. I bet the 2 across the board and then key the 2 over/under the 5-1-9-4-8 in the exactas. More with the 5-1 than the rest.

9th: 3-9/6-11/4-5/2-7-8-10…The day’s finale isa 1-mile turf event for the MCL fillies and mares. I go with No Comment (3) in here. This 3YO daughter of Kantharos drops from the MSW ranks at Lone Star to this MCL level for a solid barn operation that knows how to win races. Rider is just 1-for-23 to start the meet, but is better than those numbers suggest. Chance with the drop here. Maysville Miss (9) could be a longshot play here, too. This 3YO daughter of Fed Biz ran 2nd here in the mud last time out. Seems to have woken up a bit in the last two outings. Chance. Sure Wasn’t Me (6) has run three 4ths in a row and gets a class drop. Trainer is top notch horseman and I love the move to the apprentice here. Must use for me. I bet the 3-6 across the board and then box the top 3 numbers in the exactas. I will key the top 3 numbers over/under the 11 in two smaller units.



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

4 x 1-7-3-2-4 x (11)-(1a)-2-6-8 x 7-6 x 1-3-4-5-2


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

1-7-3 x (11)-(1a)-2-6-8 x 7  x 1-3-4-5-2


All Turf Pick 3 (Raes 5-7-9):

1-3-4-5-2 x 7-10-5 x 3-9


Late Pick 4: (Races 6-7-8-9):

3-4-5-9-11-12 x 7-10-5 x 2 x 3-9-6-11