Smart Halo Stakes – Race 5 at Laurel – Post time 2 PM Eastern Time
We start a sequence of some very good betting races with a sprint for 2 year old fillies. The win contenders are Jehozacat, Pacific Gale and Take Charge Paula and we’ll be playing doubles and pick 3 tickets using all three. Jehozacat cuts back from 7 furlongs to 6 furlongs after leading at the 6 furlong mark then settling for 2nd at the longer trip last month. That race is already a KEY RACE as the winner won back when victorious in a stakes and the 6th place finisher came back to win as well so if this filly can run the same race to 6 furlongs as she did to the six furlong mark last month she can win. Pacific Gale won the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth at this trip in September then was badly beaten when trying two turns in the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes. Back to one turn and facing easier she’s got a fine shot to get back into the winner’s circle. Take Charge Paula opens at the lowest odds of the trio (3/1), entering the race off a 2nd place finish in the Matron Stakes at Belmont. She won both her sprints prior to that and like Pacific Gale ran poorly in a two-turn stakes which is irrelevant when assessing her chances in today’s sprint. Frigid Sister and Caught Dream’n aren’t as good as the three win contenders but could get into the exacta.
Bet Jehozacat and Pacific Gale to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.
Play an exacta consisting of Jehozacat, Pacific Gale and Take Charge Paula over Jehozacat, Pacific Gale, Take Charge Paula, Frigid Sister and Caught Dream’n
Play a double using Jehozacat, Pacific Gale and Take Charge Paula in race 5 and using Honor the Fleet, No Dozing and Prince of Hempt in race 6
Play a pick 3 using Jehozacat, Pacific Gale and Take Charge Paula in race 5, using Honor the Fleet, No Dozing and Prince of Hempt in race 6 and using Dawn the Destroyer, You Know Too, Ms Locust Point, Shimmering Aspen and Your Love in race 7.
City of Laurel Stakes – Race 6 at Laurel – Post time 2:30 PM Eastern Time
Honor the Fleet won as easily as a horse can win when romping home by 6 3/4 lengths last month at Laurel and at this 7 furlong trip. The 106 figure was tops in the field by a big margin and he moves from 3 year olds and upward to just 3 year olds so looks very tough to beat in this situation, making him particularly playable as a win bet as he opens at 8 to 1 odds. Still, No Dozing and Prince of Hempt are also contenders to win. No Dozing moves back to dirt after a poor effort in his first career try on turf and won the similar Concern Stakes at Laurel at this distance two before that with Centeno aboard as today. Prince of Hempt opens at a ridiculous 15/1 for a horse that is unbeaten in 3 races and basically untested, with an average margin of victory of 5 lengths. Sure, two of those were against Pennsylvania breds but Kreiser is a sharp trainer and the gelding has improved his figure in every race, to a 99 last out in range of the top two contenders. For exotics in 2nd and 3rd we should use Tale of Silence (3/1 on the morning line but 1 for 7 this year), Al Areeb (a bad morning line favorite at 2/1 based on his four wins earlier this year but coming back off 8 months on the bench), Two Charley’s (who beat older last out over the track but in July) and Indian Lover (the possible early pacesetter).
Bet Honor the Fleet to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
Consider a win bet, at a smaller amount, on Prince of Hempt at 3 to 1 or more.
Play an exacta consisting of Honor the Fleet, No Dozing and Prince of Hempt over Honor the Fleet, No Dozing, Prince of Hempt, Tale of Silence, Al Areeb, Two Charley’s and Indian Lover.
If you didn’t start the pick 3 in the 5th race, if none of the horses on that pick 3 ticket won or just if you want to play another pick 3, play a pick 3 consisting of Honor the Fleet, No Dozing and Prince of Hempt in race 6, using Dawn the Destroyer, You Know Too, Ms Locust Point, Shimmering Aspen and Your Love in race 7 and using Whereshetoldmetogo, Barry Lee, A Different Style and Kowboy Karma in race 8.
Safely Kept Stakes – Race 7 at Laurel – Post time 3 PM Eastern Time
You Know Too gets slight preference among five win contenders, three of which may go to post at odds worth betting to win, mostly because her 15/1 starting odds are way out of whack with reality. You Know Too drops out of the Grade 1 Spinster Stakes, and also faces 3 year olds only after facing older in two straight. She won the 2nd race back, around two turns, and cuts back from 9 furlongs to 7 which should benefit her nicely with some extra energy or stamina in the late stages. Although 5th in the Spinster, she ranged up to those much tougher foes to get within a length after six furlongs and that has turned out to be a KEY RACE, from which two horses have come back from to win, including 60 to 1 shot Bar of Gold in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Shimmering Aspen opens as the 2nd choice in the wagering at 3/1 as she drops from graded stakes but her drop is from the Grade 3 Charles Town Oaks, in which she finished 6th. However, she won the similar Twixt Stakes at this 7 furlong trip prior to that off a short rest like the one she’s coming back from today so if the pattern holds we can expect a top effort. Ms Locust Point won the identical Gin Talking Stakes in December then ran poorly and was given 9 months off. She has been working well and if she runs as she did last winter she could have a say in the outcome, particularly is Vargas puts her on the lead from the start where she likes to be. Dawn the Destroyer drops from the G2 Prioress Stakes and won at 7 furlongs before that with a good effort that would make her competitive here if repeated, while Your Love has a nice shot but opens at 2/1 because she ships from New York for Chad Brown and she’s 0 for 1 at the 7 furlong trip, although that effort came when overmatched in the Grade 1 Test Stakes in August.
Make win bets on the contenders at these odds or higher:
You Know Too – 4/1
Ms Locust Point – 5/1
Dawn the Destroyer – 5/1
Play an exacta box using You Know Too, Ms Locust Point, Dawn the Destroyer, Shimmering Aspen and Your Love.
If you didn’t start the pick 3 in the 6th race, if none of the horses on that pick 3 ticket won play a double consisting of Dawn the Destroyer, You Know Too, Ms Locust Point, Shimmering Aspen and Your Love in race 7 with Whereshetoldmetogo, Barry Lee, A Different Style and Kowboy Karma in race 8.
James F. Lewis III Stakes – Race 8 at Laurel – Post time 3:30 PM Eastern Time
Whereshetoldmetogo is the key to profit within this race itself, opening at 10/1. Although Barry Lee, A Different Style and Kowboy Karma are all contenders to win and should be used on pick 3 and double tickets played, Whereshetoldmetogo opens at 10/1 compared to odds of 5/2, 3/1 and even money for the other three, respectively. Whereshetoldmetogo just won a restricted stakes at Delaware Park but did so with a lot of maturity rallying from 4th, Lebron up for the first time and riding back. That race is now a KEY race as two horses came back to win and improved markedly in doing so. The 92 Equibase figure is the BEST last race figure in the field, better than the 86 Barry Lee earned when 2nd in the Futurity and better than the 88 Kowboy Karma earned when 2nd in the Sapling in September. With room to improve 3rd off the layoff and already appearing to be the fastest in the race, Whereshetoldmetogo offers some nice profit opportunity here.
Bet Whereshetoldmetogo to win at 3 to 1 or more.
Play exactas consisting of Whereshetoldmetogo over Barry Lee, A Different Style and Kowboy Karma then also play the opposite of those exactas putting Whereshetoldmetogo in the 2nd position.
Richard W. Small Stakes – Race 9 at Laurel – Post time 4:00 PM Eastern Time
This race is very deep in contenders, with SEVEN of the TWELVE capable of winning. However, I’m going to concentrate on three of them but mainly two. Watershed won the Grade 3 Ben Ali Stakes in April at Keeneland at this 9 furlong trip, ran 5th in the Pimlico Special and 4th in the Suburban, and then took 4 months off. Working easily over the all-weather training track for two months, he shipped into McLaughlin’s Belmont barn recently and put in a very strong best of 41 five furlong drill that sets him up to run as well as he did in the spring, which is good enough to win. Securitiz won the restricted Seattle Slew Stakes when last seen 2 months ago at Belmont, at this trip, and earned a sparkling 107 figure for a non-graded stakes, nearly a career best. Bravo takes the call for the always dangerous Jerkens barn and the 8/1 starting odds give us a 2nd win bet to make in this race as Watershed opens at 9 to 2 odds. Afleet Willy is another with some probability to win but not as much as the other two. The ONLY time he ran at this trip was in March in the Johnson Memorial, a race in which he led late and came up a head short on the wire in a big effort behind Matt King Coal. He enters this race in top form off a 5 3/4 length win and puts wins together so must be respected. Page McKenney won this race in 2015 as one of his 20 career wins and enters this year’s race off a pair of wins but his 101 and 104 recent Equibase figures are low compared to the 110 to 117 figures he earned last year in his best efforts and at the age of 7, although he’s all heart, I am going to try to keep him confined to 2nd on exacta tickets and take a stand against him as a win contender. Besides Page McKenney, for second and third on exacta tickets we can afford to go deep as in this 12 horse field I think the return will be worth the risk. The other horses we can use for 2nd and 3rd are Doctor Mounty, No Distortion and All Out of Aces.
Bet Watershed and Securitiz to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
Play an exacta consisting of Watershed, Securitiz and Afleet Willy over Watershed, Securitiz, Afleet Willy, Doctor Mounty, No Distortion, Page McKenney and All Out of Aces