Spot plays and Pick 3 for Ellis Park, including the Fleur de Lis and Wise Dan
The Grade 2 Fleur de Lis for fillies and mares and the Grade 3 Wise Dan are two of six stakes on tap at Ellis Park for Stephen Foster Day on Saturday, July 1.
Below we offer spot plays for the aforementioned pair of stakes along with a competitive seven-furlong allowance optional claimer and provide a Pick 3 ticket combining the three races.
$1 Pick 3: 3, 10, 11 with 3, 6 with 8, 10 ($12)
Race 7: Allowance optional claimer, seven furlongs, 3yo and up
#6 Hoist the Gold (1-1) has faced graded stakes company in his last five, compiling a 5-0-2-1 record with a neck second three back in the seven-furlong Commonwealth at Keeneland on April 23.
The Mineshaft four-year-old will drop in class here for trainer Dallas Stewart, a 13% winner at the allowance level and a 14% winner with horses going from a sprint to a route. But Hoist the Gold is 0-for-5 from today's distance and has not reached the winner's circle since Feb. 12, 2022, 14 races back. On the plus side, jockey Luis Saez is winning at a 23% clip this meet, and Hoist the Gold posted triple-digit E1 and E2 Brisnet Speed figures before fading to finish far back in eighth last out when racing a mile.
However, we'll come out swinging in Leg 1 of our Pick 3 and stand against the heavy favorite while backing longshot #3 The Queens Jules (20-1), who finished a one-length second and far back in ninth in his last two when racing a mile on all-weather. A return to dirt can trigger improvement for the Scat Daddy son, who owns a 4-2-1-1 record from today's distance on dirt. The eight-year-old will also regain rider Florent Geroux, who went 4-2-1-1 aboard the bay in 2022.
Four back, Geroux guided the Thomas Van Berg pupil to a win in a seven-furlong restricted allowance at Churchill over a sloppy track, while The Queens Jules posted a career-best 102 BRIS figure when winning by a nose. With thunderstorms in the forecast for Saturday, the gelding may get similar track conditions at Ellis.
Moreover, Van Berg is a 32% winner with horses going from all-weather to dirt and a 23% winner when returning from a layoff of 90 days or more. Geroux also strikes at a 26% rate in sprint distances and is winning at a 22% clip this meet.
We'll spread a bit deeper in the first leg of our Pick 3 ticket with #10 Gulfstream Way (12-1), who makes his first start off the claim for Norm Casse, a 33% winner this meet, and will get hot jockey Ricardo Santana Jr., a 29% winner at Ellis.
We'll also play #11 Bron and Brow (4-1), who is trained by Norm's dad Mark Casse (15% winner at the allowance level) and posted a 93 BRIS figure when a length third in a six-furlong allowance optional claimer last out at Churchill on May 14.
Race 8: Fleur de Lis (G2), 1 1/8 miles, 4yo and up fillies and mares
#6 A Mo Reay (8-5) has been red hot since joining the barn of Brad Cox late last year. The Uncle Mo filly won three straight, including the Grade 3 Bayakoa and Grade 1 Beholder Mile, before finishing fourth by 2 1/4 lengths last out in the La Troienne (G1) at Churchill on May 5.
The four-year-old will stretch out to 1 1/8 miles for the first time and showed good late kick, recording a 101 Late Pace figure, in her last start, and she's put in a number of solid works ahead of this event.
Flavien Prat, who won with the filly in the Beholder Mile, will regain the mount, and Cox is a 26% winner in graded stakes as well as routes.
Along with A Mo Reay in the second leg of the Pick 3, we'll include #3 Royal Take Charge (6-1), who moves up in class after romping to a 6 3/4-length victory at today's distance in an allowance optional claimer at Churchill on May 27. Trainer Al Stall Jr. is a 19% winner in graded stakes and a 35% winner third start off a layoff. Cristian Torres, a 23% winner this meet, will pick up the mount.
Race 9: Wise Dan (G2), 1 1/16 miles (turf), 4yo and up
#8 Set Piece (4-5) is the one to beat in the Wise Dan after the seven-year-old beat a number of today's race rivals in the Arlington (G3) at Churchill on June 3. The gelding will keep rider Florent Geroux, and trainer Brad Cox is a 30% winner with horses that won their last race.
Set Piece is a viable single if the race stays on the turf, but if weather forces a move to the main track, we'll also play #10 Hozier (15-1), who won four back when wiring the 1 1/8-mile River City H. at Churchill in an event taken off the turf. The Pioneerof the Nile five-year-old flashed a 96 BRIS figure in the process and will get the services of the same rider who guided him to that win, Julien Leparoux.