Key Races & Bets for Saturday, September 28

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This week’s blog is going to concentrate on making money in Pick – 3 wagers by taking advantage of some horses which have a very high probability to win but along with some suspect favorites as well. In addition there are a couple of races which are very playable in and of themselves. Good Luck

Beldame Stakes -Race 8 at Belmont -Post Time 4:43 pm Eastern

We start with a race with one of those very high probability horses, Midnight Bisou, whose next stop will be the Breeders’ Cup Distaff. With Smith in California to ride McKinzie in the prep for the Classic, the Awesome Again Stakes, John Velazquez takes over and his job will mostly be to not mess up in this six horse field in which the others, including bad 5/2 morning line second choice Wow Cat (who has not gotten close to her form of last year when winning this race and finishing second in the Distaff), are running for second.

So we will try to turn likely 1 to 5 odds into a 2/1 or perhaps 3/1 return on our investment. We might get that considering the middle leg is pretty wide open. We can definitely get 3/1 or more if we play the pick 4 because the last leg (race 11) is also wide open.


Pick 3
Race 8 – Midnight Bisou
Race 9 – No Word, Maxwell Esquire, Our Country, Structor, Famished
Race 10 – Code of Honor, Preservationist
The cost of this bet at $1 is $10 so we could play it a couple of times.

Pick 4
Race 8 – Midnight Bisou
Race 9 – No Word, Maxwell Esquire, Our Country, Structor, Famished
Race 10 – Code of Honor, Preservationist
Race 11 – ALL (except for Going For Gold)
The cost of this bet at the $0.50 level is $45

Pilgrim Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont – Post Time 5:16 PM Eastern

Maxwell Esquire opens at 8/1 in a deep nine horse field in which five can win. The reason he opens at 8/1 is because he’s a New York bred and there’s a perceived bias in an open (not restricted) stakes like this one. Considering Clement trainers and the dam has produced a slew of multiple turf route winners, in open as well as state-bred company, I think he’s a good bet. He debuted at Saratoga in a turf route and finished 2nd of 10 then improved to win in a hand ride second time out. He could take a big step forward here and is no less likely to win than any number of others here but has higher odds. No Word won in his career debut at the end of August, in a turf route at Saratoga, rallying nicely from third to draw off like a horse who had already run once or twice. He’s a FULL brother to multiple turf route stakes winner Silentio, who earned over $700K and could be any kind for Pletcher. Our Country broke his maiden in a route at Saratoga by an impressive six length margin then had traffic trouble in the With Anticipation Stakes last month, ending up fourth of six. He was scratched out of a stakes at Kentucky Downs to stay in New York for underrated trainer Weaver and if he improves off the debut as I think he can, and if he doesn’t stumble at the start like last time, he may be playable for profit, opening at 4/1. Famished is trying turf and two-turns for the first time which could put him at a disadvantage to the other contenders. Still, he’s my “scare horse” as Rosario rides back and he’s bred to run as well on turf as he did on dirt last out when rallying from fifth with a nice kick which would play well on turf today. Structor was the 6/5 favorite in his debut in a turf route at Saratoga last month, owing to the name Brown on his pps. He ran well to be sure but the figure was nothing special. Ortiz rides back and the colt fits on all counts but I don’t think he’s playable as a win bet opening at 5/2.

Win Bets: Maxwell Esquire at odds of 3 to 1 or higher.
Consider a second win bet on either No Word or Our Country at 3 to 1 or more as well.

When making multiple win bets, use a “Dutching” tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Maxwell Esquire and No Word over Maxwell Esquire, No Word, Our Country, Famished and Structor.

Also Maxwell Esquire, No Word, Our Country, Famished and Structor over Maxwell Esquire and No Word.

Jockey Club Gold Cup – Race 10 at Belmont Park – Post Time 5:49 PM Eastern

Preservationist and Code of Honor stand out over Tacitus and Vino Rosso. Olympic Village is likely running for fourth or fifth. Preservationist has a big tactical edge as the only “early” speed horse in the field and with a late kick as well shown when rallying from fourth in the Woodward. Code of Honor has won two in a row for the first time in his career and his only slight knocks are facing older for the first time and the potential to have a fresh horse in front of him in the stretch who is not going to stop. Code of Honor earned a 108 figure, tying his previous career-best, in the Travers while Preservationist earned a 110 figure under identical conditions winning the Suburban in July and again last month winning the Woodward.

There’s little value in betting this race but hopefully we cash a Pick 3 ticket and are alive to finish in the wide open 11th race. Also, this will be a good race to watch and help decide either of these two have a shot in the Breeders’ Cup Classic in five weeks.

Rodeo Drive Stakes – Race 9 at Santa Anita – Post Time 7:41 PM Eastern/4:41 Pacific

Time to start another pick 3 here and treat is like a daily double with a pair of horses in the second leg to cut down the cost of the ticket. However, instead of picking chalk here I think we have a nice shot to start without either of the two favorites – Beau Recall and Paved, who I have ABSOLUTELY no interest in and feel both are VULNERABLE. Beau Recall won the Yellow Ribbon last month and is a multiple graded stakes winner BUT she has NEVER hit the board at 10 furlongs on turf and only managed fourth the last time she ran farther than a mile and one-sixteenth. She was scratched from this race in 2017 and finished fourth at 24/1 last year. She can win on figures but I don’t think she can win at the distance. Similarly, Paved is a poor second choice (5/2) on the morning line as she’s just OFF FORM. Her last win came 15 months ago, at nine furlongs, and although she did run second once in three tries at 10 furlongs on turf she wasn’t even close in the other two. I can’t make excuses for either of her two races since returning from seven months off either.

Siberian Iris and Mirth are the two we’ll use on pick 3 tickets AND bet to win, and key on exacta tickets. Siberian Iris cuts back an eighth of a mile off a win at 11 furlongs last month and ran huge two other times she ran 10 or 11 furlongs. That last effort earned a career-best 114 figure which is ACTUALLY better than Beau Recall earned (107) winning the Yellow Ribbon. I looked at Mirth over and over here trying to figure out why a superb trainer like D’Amato is entering this filly who is still eligible for the second allowance level. After a minute it became very obvious on two counts – She can get the 10 furlong trip and she could be a “lone front runner.” Mirth gets Smith and the rail and was second, only a head behind Siberian Iris, at the top of the stretch in that 11 furlong race last month then tired. The reason she tired was she ran the opening half mile in a ridiculous 46.8. The jock change and rail will really help her and she nearly won at 10 furlongs on turf at SA two before that in June.

Beau Recall could get a piece, as could Excellent Sunset, so I’ll use both on exacta tickets.

Win Bets: Siberian Iris and Mirth to win at odds of 3 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. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Siberian Iris and Mirth.
Siberian Iris and Mirth over Siberian Iris, Mirth, Beau Recall and Excellent Sunset.

Pick 3
Race 9 – Siberian Iris, Mirth
Race 10 – Mckinzie, Higher Power
Race 11 – Apache Princess, Don’t Sell, Fantasy Heat, Holly Hundy, Mischiffie
The cost at $1 is $20

Awesome Again Stakes – Race 10 at Santa Anita – Post Time 8:13 PM Eastern/5:13 Pacific

Similar to the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the race in and of itself is not playable. We will get a sense if the win by Higher Power in the Pacific Classic was legitimate or not, as well as if McKinzie can actually win two races in a row which he’s failed to do except before and after his layoff from March to September of last year when winning the San Felipe (although DQ’d to second) in the spring and Pennsylvania Derby in the fall. He didn’t have the winning instinct in the Santa Anita Handicap nor in the Met Mile but repeating any of his last five efforts, with 115 to 121 figures, is good enough to win if Higher Power doesn’t improve off his 112 Pacific Classic effort. I don’t think the other four have much of a chance to win.

Unzip Me Stakes – Race 11 at Santa Anita – Post Time 8:46 PM Eastern/5:46 Pacific

There’s going to be a sizzling hot and contest pace here with FIVE need-the-lead types. When the dust settles, Don’t Sell, Mischiffie, Fantasy Heat and Holly Hundy should be in the picture, and I give a slight chance to Apache Princess, although she’s facing older for the first time and has never run at this distance (her only two previous turf sprints were down the hillside course which isn’t being used right now).

This is also my free race of the day on the Santa Anita site so although I won’t send you there for the “Betting” portion of this analysis, if you want to read why I like the four horse above in more detail, you can click on this link. The analysis is free.

Bets: Bet Don’t Sell and Mischiffie to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
Consider smaller win bets on Fantasy Heat and on Holly Hundy at odds of 4 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. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Box Don’t Sell, Mischiffie, Fantasy Heat and Holly Hundy.
Box Don’t Sell, Mischiffie, Apache Princess, Fantasy Heat and Holly Hundy.
Play Don’t Sell, Mischiffie, Fantasy Heat and Holly Hundy over Don’t Sell, Mischiffie, Fantasy Heat, Holly Hundy, Miss Hot Legs and Stealthediamonds.

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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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