Key Bets & Races for Saturday, October 14


Get more analysis and recommended wagers for other races this weekend on my Key Races & Bets Podcast


Futurity Stakes – Race 8 at Belmont – Post time 4:46 PM ET


Barry Lee and Happy Like a Fool are the two main contenders in my opinion, both with about a 33% probability to win, which equates to 2 to 1 odds. Considering Barry Lee opens at 5/1 compared to 5/2 for Happy Like a Fool, I’ll start with him. Barry Lee won like a good thing in his career debut on 7/14 then folded like a cheap tent in the Saratoga Special one month later. However, he showed the poor effort at Saratoga to be a fluke when winning the Arlington Washington Futurity on 9/9 with a mature rally from fifth of seven in the early stages. He adds blinkers for the Futurity but I think that is much more for focus as it is for early speed and with Joel Rosario getting aboard, for the very barn of Sagamore private trainer DePaz, which is winning nearly 30% of the time this year, Barry Lee could post the mild upset here as he is the ONLY previous stakes winner in the field.


Happy Like a Fool is a filly facing colts, which is okay with two year olds and even more okay when the trainer is Wesley Ward, who often takes advantage of the slight break in weight for females against males, in this case five pounds. Happy Like a Fool broke her maiden on dirt and at first asking in April at Keeneland with an easy four length win, then went to Europe to try to duplicate the success of Ward’s Lady Aurelia one year earlier. She finished second in the Queen Mary Stakes in a field of 23 then ran poorly when sixth in the Lowther Stakes in August. Back in the states and returning to her regular training grounds at Keeneland, Happy Like a Fool ships in with blinkers off and Gaffalione on and in this short field may be sent to the front, from where she may not be caught as was the case in her only other start on dirt.


Red Peril won with a lot of maturity in his debut in August in Florida and gets no respect opening at 12/1 although his trainer is very competent, while favorite Engage is certainly a nice horse coming off a maiden score in his second career start but is no standout and will be overbet as many of Brown’s starters are.


Bets: Play Barry Lee  to win at odds of 2/1 or more or use the Dutching Tool at Amwager to bet both Barry Lee  and Happy Like a Fool, who also has fair odds of 2/1 but who opens at lower odds (5/2) than Barry Lee.


Play two exacta boxes, the first consisting of Barry Lee, Happy Like a Fool and Red Peril  and the second consisting of Barry Lee, Happy Like a Fool and Engage.


Doubles: I am not writing analysis of race 9, the Pebbles Stakes, for this blog BUT here are some doubles you can consider:

Race 8 – Barry Lee

Race 9 – Adorable Miss, Rubilinda, Thais, Party BoatBellavais and Scheme


Race 8 – ALL six horses

Race 9 – Adorable Miss, Bellavais



Victorian Queen Stakes – Race #8 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:54 PM ET


Line of Vision won her debut like a special horse in August, rallying maturely from fifth to draw off powerfully with a strong 80 Equibase figure. To put that figure in perspective, Rosemere earned an 84 figure in her debut, but in a stakes race. Line of Vision subsequently came back in the Muskoka Stakes 19 days after her maiden win, finding herself 10th of 11 early but passing most of the field to be 3rd at the end. That race turned out to be a HIDDEN KEY RACE, with both the 5th and 7th finishers having come back to win since, and this filly also happens to be a half-sister to a horse that won the Kingvarie Stakes here at Woodbine as a two year old a few years back. With a BIG jockey change to leading rider DaSilva and having improved to a FIELD HIGH 86 figure last time, Line of Vision is likely to take another nice step forward and post the mild upset opening at 6/1. She’s the Berries missed by a head in her debut, at Belmont, in June before finishing fourth in the Nandi Stakes, the race Rosemere finished 2nd in. She’s the Berries then dropped back into the maiden ranks and won by a nose with a decent 78 figure and should be closing strongly again. Likewise, Rosemere has finished 2nd in both starts, as she went back to the maiden ranks after her Nandi Stakes runner-up effort and finished 2nd again. However, she adds Lasix for the first time and gets a great outside post for the red hot Casse barn so although not a good win bet opening at 3/1 she certainly should be considered a win contender.


Bets: Play Line of Vision to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.


Play an exacta box consisting of Line of Vision, She’s the Berries  and Rosemere and then play an exacta of those three over Mega Monster, who finished second in the Shady Well Stakes in her most recent race.


Play a trifecta consisting of Line of Vision, She’s the Berries, and Rosemere over Line of Vision, She’s the Berries, Rosemere and Mega Monser, over ALL.


Queen Elizabeth Challenge Cup Stakes – Race #9 at Keeneland – Post Time 5:30  PM ET



Wuheida has run six times in her career, winning twice and finishing no worse than fourth in any of her races against some of the best female turf stars in Europe, if not the world. After winning the Prix Marcel Boussac last year in her 2nd career start, she took nine months off and came back to finish 2nd to older filly Roly Poly in the Falmouth Stakes. After a third place finish in the German Oaks (Preis der Diana), Wuheida again took on older horses including the rock solid Hydrangea and was fourth in the Matron Stakes before again facing her elders just 13 days ago finishing a head and two necks from Rhododendron and Hydrangea in the Prix de l’Opera on this year’s Arc day. All of those fillies would be odds-on choices here and with jockey William Buick coming over from Europe to ride and having ridden Wuheida to victory in the Prix Marcel Boussac, Wuheida appears to be a standout on class even among this group. Dream Dancing may be the best among the U.S. based contingent, even though it may be by a narrow margin. She enters the race having beaten three other entrants in the Del Mar Oaks this summer in California, rallying from 9th with a quarter mile to go. Leparoux rides her once again and if he can get her outside of the field when they turn for home as he did in the Oaks, Dream Dancing will be seen passing many if not all of these in the late stages. Madam Dancelot and Beau Recall are both owned by Slam Dunk Racing but have different trainers and will race uncoupled in the wagering, so there could be value on one or both. Madame Dancelot won the San Clemente Stakes in July at Del Mar then was beaten a nose and a neck when third in the Del Mar Oaks. Beau Recall rallied from eighth to second in the Oaks and both fillies could easily have a big impact here.


Bets: Make a win bet on Wuheida  at odds of 9 to 5 or more.

Consider win bets on the other three at these odds or higher: Dream Dancing  3 to 1, Madame Dancelot  and Beau Recall  4 to 1.


All 11 of these fillies might be part of the exacta so I am not making any recommendations in a wide open race.



California Distaff Handicap- Race #6 at Santa Anita– Post Time 6:02 PM ET


Moonless Sky ran too good to lose when last seen on 8/11 in the Solana Beach Stakes at Del Mar, coming up a nose short on the wire with a strong 101 Equibase Figure. Two before that, at a mile on the turf at Santa Anita, Moonless Sky earned a 108 figure that would top these if repeated. Desormeaux rode her to both “A” efforts as well as to her wins in March and April on the grass and is riding with a lot of confidence at the meeting so Moonless Sky might be very tough to beat here.

Barbara Beatrice and Long Hot Summer both come from the competent barn of Phil D’Amato, with Barbara Beatrice the more intriguing of the pair as she opens at 6 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for Miss Sunset. Barbara Beatrice is 3 for 8 on grass and drops out of the grade 2 Bayakoa to this Cal-Bred Stakes level. She won the last time she ran down the unique hillside turf at Santa Anita, in October, at 10/1, and although we are unlikely to get as generous odds today she certainly has a chance to win with a repeat of that effort.

Long Hot Summer and Miss Sunset are both contenders but open at 5 to 2 and 2 to 1 odds, respectively, and don’t warrant wagering at those levels as neither stands out.

Bets: Play Moonless Sky to win at 2 to 1 or more and consider a second win bet on Barbara Beatrice  at 3 to 1 or more. You can also use the Dutching Tool at Amwager to insure a fair return on a win bet on both horses.

Bet an exacta consisting of Moonless Sky and Barbara Beatrice  over Moonless Sky, Barbara Beatrice, Miss Sunset  and Long Hot Summer.

Play a trifecta box consisting of those four horses as well.


In addition to this blog, you can get analysis and recommended wagers for other races this weekend on my Key Races & Bets Podcast at

This weekend’s podcast will contain some of these races and in addition I will be tackling a couple of the big stakes on Sunday at Woodbine including the Pattison Canadian International.



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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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