Friday, 16 October 2020 12:49

Belmont, Woodbine & Santa Anita Horse Racing Picks for October 17 & 18, 2020

Written by Ellis Starr

Key Races & Bets for Saturday October 17 AND Sunday October 18, 2020

Saturday October 17

Floral Park Stakes - Race 9 at Belmont - Post Time 4:47 PM Eastern

I’llhandalthecash can bounce back off a horrible 12th place finish in the Grade 3 Ladies Sprint at Kentucky downs in which she was never a factor. She may also not have liked Saratoga when sixth in the Caress Stakes before that. The key is the last time she ran on the inner course at Belmont, which was three races back on 7/3. She sat off the pace from the four post in that race and took over about the half-mile mark holding off all challengers to the end, then flattered when the third horse came back to win. That effort earned a 107 Equibase figure which is more than good enough to win here if repeated and opening at 10/1 is well worth the risk for a win bet.

Lead Guitar also ran the best race of her career over this inner turf course, last time out on 9/20. That was her first start since moving to the Weaver barn and first with Saez, who rides back. She’s four-for-nine in her career and as a four year old has improving to do. She has won on the lead and from off the pace so there are no issues regarding the pace scenario. Opening at 7 to 2 she doesn’t offer the same return as the top pick but just the same she’s got the same probability to win and must be used on any and all tickets we play involving this race.

Mitchell Road is a superbly consistent mare, with 13 first or second place finishes from 17 races. She battled head-and-head the last eighth of a mile in the Ladies Sprint before coming up a neck short but it was a near career-best effort with a 105 figure. She has run on eight different turf courses in the past two years so running at Belmont for the first time is no concern. Similar to Lead Guitar, she opens at lower odds (3/1 vs 10/1) than I’llhandalthecash so isn’t as good a win bet in terms of risk:reward but is a strong contender as well.

Bets:
Win: I’llhandalthecash at 5 to 2 or more
IF” either of the other two contenders is 5 to 2 or higher near post time they can be bet to win as well.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas:
Box I’llhandalthecash, Mitchell Road and Lead Guitar
I’llhandalthecash, Mitchell Road and Lead Guitar over I’llhandalthecash, Mitchell Road, Lead Guitar, Xanthique, Elle’s Town and Rose Flower

Doubles:
Race 9: I’llhandalthecash, Mitchell Road and Lead Guitar
Race 10: Archumybaby, Jewel of Arabia

Race 10 at Belmont - Post Time 5:20 PM Eastern

Archumybaby is a mare who has won FOURTEEN times in 42 main track races, quite an accomplishment. Better still, she’s five for 12 at Belmont and four for seven at this seven furlong trip. YET, she’s still eligible for this “non-winners of 2 other than” allowance level for NY breds. Trainer Rudy Rodriguez noticed that when claiming her for 25K one before last out of a win at Saratoga in August. Off the claim, she finished fourth at the end of the month. Maybe she was coming back too soon and maybe she didn’t like the sloppy track but she had won three of eight on off tracks previously. Whatever the reason, Saez, who was up for wins for her last trainer in June and in August, rides back and either of those efforts repeated here should be good enough for her to earn career win #15.

Jewel of Arabia broke her maiden handily by seven lengths on 7/10 then won almost as easily three weeks later at the one lower NW1X allowance level. She didn’t really threaten as the favorite at this level off the win on 9/18 but with Rosario getting back on, having ridden her to her NW1X win and not in defeat last time, she could rebound to winning form.

Bets:
Win: Archumybaby to win at 9 to 5 or more
Jewel of Arabia to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more

This is the kind of race where a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager really comes in handy as it proportions your bets based on the odds so you don’t have to do the math for yourself.

Exacta: Box Archumybaby and Jewel of Arabia

Sunday October 18

Nearctic Stakes - Race 9 at Woodbine - Post Time 5:45 PM Eastern 

Kanthaka returned from a hefty 13 months off on June 20, in the Grade 1 Jaipur Stakes, following changing trainers to Graham Motion, and nearly pulled off the upset at 16/1. He battled head-and-head the entire length of the stretch before coming up a neck short to Oleksandra in a big effort. Rested for almost three months so as not to regress, Kanthaka only managed fifth of 10 in the Turf Sprint Stakes at Kentucky Downs but still was beaten just two lengths for the win after passing half the field. With Silent Poet usually very fast early and likely to be pressed hard by City Boy from the start, Kanthaka should be able to run as well as he did in the Jaipur with a 108 Equibase figure and win this year’s Nearctic Stakes.

Silent Poet doesn’t need the lead to win which means he and Justin Stein have a lot of options. The race isn’t loaded with “early” pace types so he could go just as he did last month in a 100K classified allowance in which he won easily to earn a 103 figure, or he could sit back as he did last August as he did when fourth early before rallying to win the Play the King Stakes. With eight wins in 13 races on the Woodbine turf and a grade two stakes winner just like Kanthaka, Silent Poet is the other horse with the bulk of the probability to win this race.

Bets:
Win: Kanthaka and Silent Poet to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Kanthaka and Silent Poet over ALL
Kanthaka and Silent Poet over Kanthaka, Silent Poet, Guildsman and Lady Grace

Twilight Derby - Race 9 at Santa Anita- Post Time 8 PM Eastern/5 PM Pacific

Express Train earned the same field high last race 112 Equibase Figure in his most recent race when finishing second in a dirt route as Margot’s Boy did nearly pulling off the 12/1 upset in the Del Mar Derby. He was off from September of last year until August of this year and won his comeback, in a sprint, then stretched out and although second ran a stakes quality race. He’s likely to take a big step forward third off the layoff, gets a good inside post (2) and Smith rides back and he’s bred to ADORE the turf but since he’s trying it for the first time he’s likely to not be as heavily bet as others so he gets slight preference.

Margot’s Boy took blinkers off for the Del Mar Derby and that was the key to the best race of his career, by far. That effort came at the same nine furlong turf trip as this and there is no reason to believe it was a fluke so he deserves a lot of respect right back.

Field Pass ships in from Kentucky for excellent trainer Mike Maker off a bang-up effort in the American Turf Stakes on Kentucky Derby day in which he rallied from fourth, six lengths back, to make the lead in the stretch before being beaten by a length and three-quarters when third. That was at a mile and one-sixteenth but he’s proven to like this nine furlong trip even ore as he won the Audubon Stakes in June leading from start to finish and won the Jeff Ruby Steaks (formerly Jim Beam/Spiral Stakes) on all-weather in March, that win coming after stalking in third and finishing powerfully. Because of his versatile running style and because of the long run to the first turn, I’m not concerned about his nine post and he could easily bounce back to graded stakes winning form in this situation.

Smooth Like Strait rounds out a strong quartet who have an edge on the rest. He ships back in from Kentucky off a fourth in the American Turf as the 6 to 5 favorite and won the La Jolla Stakes at Del Mar before that. He’s won on the Santa Anita turf as well and Rispoli, who rode him just once, to victory in the La Jolla, gets back on. As such, Smooth Like Strait would be no surprise if running back to his La Jolla effort and winning.

Bets:
Win: Express Train and Margot’s Boy to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
For reference, fair odds on both Field Pass and Smooth Like Strait are 7 to 2

This is the kind of race where a “Dutching” tool like the free one at Amwager really comes in handy as it proportions your bets based on the odds so you don’t have to do the math for yourself.

Exacta and Trifecta: Box Express Train, Margot’s Boy, Smooth Like Strait, Field Pass