Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 30
Via Borghese Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park– Post 4:37 PM Eastern Time
Martini Glass has done little wrong this year, winning four of nine races and finishing second in another four. Two of the second place finishes came in grade 1 stakes on dirt behind Songbird and behind Romantic Vision and when moved back to grass four weeks ago she got up by a nose over the course to win the Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes under Paco Lopez, who rides back. Normally we could expect a horse like this to be the heavy favorite but in a 12 horse field Martini Glass opens at 6 to 1 odds and particularly as she worked very sharply on 12/22 coming into the race and gets a great inside post, she’s the one to beat and a great bet to kick off a series of good betting races. Beauly has finished fourth in three straight races, all graded stakes. Beauly won four back in a non-graded stakes like this and she drops from grade 1 into this race the same way Martini Glass dropped in class from grade 1 to non-graded to win earlier this month so Beauly must be taken very seriously as a contender. Involuntary has four wins and three second place finishes in 11 career turf races including a neck defeat the only time she previously raced on the Gulfstream Park turf last March. On a very similar pattern to Martini Glass, Involuntary won a non-graded stakes on turf three back and returns to the level after two graded stakes tries so there are reasons to expect her to perk back up to a top effort good enough to win. Opening at 12 to 1 she’s very playable as well.
Bet Martini Glass to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.
Make win bets on Beauly and Involuntary at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet on Involuntary at 6 to 1 or higher. Although my win bets on Beauly and Involuntary will be for a smaller amount than Martini Glass, I might also use a dutching tool like the one at Amwager, to apportion my bets based on the odds to insure a strong profit.
Play an exacta key box consisting of Martini Glass, Beauly and Involuntary.
Double: Use Martini Glass, Beauly and Involuntary in race 10 with Durocher, Profiteer, Small Bear and Funtastic in race 11.
Tropical Park Derby – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 5:08 Eastern Time
Small Bear and Funtastic just finished one-two in the Gio Ponti Stakes at Aqueduct, a nearly identical non-graded stakes to the Tropical Park Derby. Funtastic rallied from farther back than Small Bear, made the lead just inside the sixteenth pole then was nailed on the wire. Both horses ran huge races to earn strong 106 Equibase figures, bettered only by the 107 last race figure Durocher earned when third in the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes. Small Bear may get the slightest, and I mean slightest, of preference here because he opens at 6 to 1 compared to 5 to 1 for Funtastic, who is drawn one post outside of Small Bear, but both horses are making their second starts off short layoffs and can run as well or better than last time out in this situation. Profiteer opens as the lukewarm favorite at 7 to 2 based on his drop out of graded stakes. He finished third in the Commonwealth Derby on 9/30 then fifth at the end of October in the Twilight Derby. We can ignore the Twilight Derby effort as he was put on the lead and dueled, something he had never done before and likely will never do again with the jockey change back to Velazquez, who rode him to an off the pace win in August with a 111 figure that is good enough to win here. Durocher opens at a ridiculous 20/1 considering he earned a 107 figure last out and a 105 figure two before that, both in stakes on this course. In the Claiming Crown Emerald four weeks ago, Durocher got the “deathly” 13 post yet finished well from 12th to 3rd in the last quarter mile. With Lopez getting on for the first time and with the rail to save ground, it is conceivable the colt’s 20/1 starting odds could look like a gift even if he only competes the exacta or trifecta.
Because there is so much opportunity for profit in this race, I am going to go deep in second in the exacta and in addition to the win contenders above also consider Somekindofmagician, General McGooby, Gorgeous Kitten and Secretary At War.
Bet Small Bear and Funtastic to win at 2 to 1 or more.
Bet Durocher to win at 6 to 1 or more and add a place bet at 8 to 1 or more.
Play an exacta box consisting of Small Bear, Funtastic, Profiteer and Durocher.
Play an exacta consisting of Small Bear, Funtastic, Profiteer and Durocher over Small Bear, Funtastic, Profiteer, Durocher, Somekindofmagician, General McGooby, Gorgeous Kitten and Secretary At War
American Oaks – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post time 6:30 Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific Time)
Coachwhip is the most lightly raced filly in the group with just three races under her belt but she improved markedly in both the second and third starts of her career and should improve again. After winning around two turns on grass in her debut, Coachwhip improved to a 93 Equibase figure with a strong rally to win at the first allowance condition. In her subsequent start, just three weeks ago, Coachwhip rallied from 11th of 14 and five paths wide on the turn to finish second behind the much more experienced Kathy’s Song in the Miss America Stakes, improving to earn a 101 figure. Moved to the barn of Hall-of-Fame trainer Richard Mandella, Coachwhip can take another step forward and there’s no question Coachwhip can get the 10 furlong trip as she is a daughter of So You Think, winner of more than $8.6 million and 10 time winner at this distance on grass. Rymska and New Money Honey both ship in from New York for Chad Brown. Rymska is a perfect three-for-three in 2017, with well-spaced wins in February, September and November. Her best effort among the three came with a 104 figure winning the Commonwealth Oaks at nine furlongs in September and in each of her last three wins, Rymska has put in a big late kick from five or six lengths back on the turn so we can expect her to be passing many if not all of these again in this race. New Money Honey is one of only two fillies in the field to have won at this distance (the other being Daddys Lil Darling) – that win having come in the Belmont Oaks Invitational in July with a career best 109 figure. She has run poorly in her two races since, but one of those (in the Alabama Stakes) was on dirt so can be ignored. However, as the favorite in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October, New Money Honey faded to sixth after being up close in second in the early stages with no apparent excuse. Earlier this year, New Money Honey won the Wonder Again Stakes following a sixth-place finish prior to that so there is hope she can return to the form shown at the distance in the spring to win her second grade 1 stakes of the year.
Others for exotics: Madam Dancealot finished third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and although no threat to the winner, or even runner-up Daddys Lil Darling, earned a strong 108 figure for the effort. Prior to that, Madame Dancealot earned back-to-back 111 figures, including a win in the San Clemente Stakes, and as such she might be counted on for a furious finish to get into the thick of the action near the wire. Daddys Lil Darling won the Dueling Ground Oaks in September at the distance of a mile and five-sixteenths, a sixteenth of a mile farther than this American Oaks. Daddys Lil Darling then earned a career best 113 figure when second in the Queen Elizabeth II before another close defeat when third, beaten under a length, in the Mrs. Revere Stakes. She is another to be respected as a contender for a piece of the purse. Beau Recall missed by a nose in the Del Mar Oaks in August with a career best 111 figure, and although she has finished second four times, winning only once in seven races this year, Beau Recall may be another to consider, at least for exacta and trifecta wagers in this race. Kathy’s Song won the Miss America Stakes a few weeks back with a 107 figure and although her only try in a graded stakes resulted in a non-threatening fifth place finish she might rally for a share as well.
Bet Coachwhip to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more and add a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.
Bet Rymska at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.
Bet Madam Dancealot to win at 7 to 2 or higher.
Consider a win bet on New Money Honey at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
To find the best way to profit making multiple win bets, use a dutching tool like the one at Amwager.
Play an exacta consisting of Coachwhip, Rymska, New Money Honey and Madam Dancealot over Coachwhip, Rymska, New Money Honey and Madam Dancealot, Daddys Lil Darling, Kathy’s Song and Beau Recall
Double: Coachwhip, Rymska, New Money Honey and Madam Dancealot in race 7 with Ike Walker, Americanize and Tough Sunday in race 8.
Midnight Lute Stakes – Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post time 7 PM Eastern Time (4 PM Pacific)
Ike Walker has a big shot to post the upset here because two of the morning line favorites (Masochistic, Silent Bird) are vulnerable and the other (Americanize) is no standout. Ike Walker has won 10 of 32 career main track races including his most recent with a near career best 107 Equibase figure. To put that into perspective, likely favorite Americanize, aside from the flukish 123 figure effort put forth in the Damascus Stakes, earned a 108 in his best effort and one of the other two favorites, Silent Bird, earned a 111 figure back in February at the same distance Ike Walker won at last month. Ike Walker cuts back from a mile to 6 1/2 furlongs which gives him some great stamina and kick in the late stages and in this race with Masochistic likely to zip out early on sizzling fractions as usual, with possibly Smokey Image and Americanize right on his heels, the faster the pace the better for Ike Walker, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in to ride today for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who knows where his horses belong for top efforts. Tough Sunday finished third in this race last year, on a sloppy track, following a six length win and career best 109 figure. He was off for 11 months after that, returning on November 16 as if he had never been away to win strongly with a 111 figure he has every right to improve upon 2nd off a layoff. Americanize was out of his league in the Cigar Mile Stakes four weeks ago in New York but returns to California and to a level he fits much better at, having won two in a row before the trip to New York, one of those wins at this distance with a 108 figure. However, for his best effort Americanize and Bejarano will have to relax in second or third and let Masochistic do his thing or he will have little left to hold off the stalker Tough Sunday or the closer Ike Walker.
As to the other favorites and why I’m taking a stand against them as win contenders, Silent Bird threw in two clunkers in a row following five straight wins including the 2016 Damascus (that Americanize won this year). He’s been freshened four months but his trainer is trying blinkers for the first time which to me is a sign he doesn’t really have a handle on how to get the horse back into top form and certainly as a horse that has started a total of eight times in his career (as a five year old) he has issues. Masochistic is a seven year old with 16 starts and in the same boat as Silent Bird. He’s admittedly had issues keeping weight on and after Ron Ellis was suspended recently the horse was transferred to Baffert so there’s really no way to know if he can reproduce his form from 2016 when he won the Grade 2 Pat O’Brien Stakes with a 116 figure. His two races after that, when leading early and giving it up for second both times, before a 13th place finish this past May, make it so I really don’t want any part of him today but I will use him in 2nd on exacta tickets.
For second in the exacta I’ll add Solid Wager, who won this race last year in the slop and in a five horse field, and Calculator, who finished second behind recent San Antonio Stakes winner Giant Expectations in the Pat O’Brien Stakes this past summer.
Bet Ike Walker and Tough Sunday to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.
Play an exacta box consisting of Ike Walker, Tough Sunday and Americanize.
Play an exacta consisting of Ike Walker, Tough Sunday and Americanize over Ike Walker, Tough Sunday, Americanize, Silent Bird, Masochistic, Solid Wager and Calculator.