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Handicapping - AmWager

  • 08

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 9

    Don't forget to check the very bottom of this blog for a "BONUS" race, with a big longshot, that has a post time of 2:26 PM Eastern Time

    Willa on the Move Stakes – Race 6 at Laurel – Post time 3:00 PM Eastern Time

    It is rumored Absatootly is going to pass this race to run in a stakes in New York so I am not including her as a contender. If that is not the case and Absatootly runs in this race, she would be my top pick. However, as it is Ms Locust Point appears very tough to beat. Except for her debut, in which she finished 2nd, and when overmatched when 5th in the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes, Ms Locust Point has urn big, winning by an average of four lengths. She gets a great outside post to stalk the pace and if no other horse wants the lead she's capable of controlling the pace on the front end and never looking back just as happened the ONLY other time she ventured from trainer Servis' base at Parx to Laurel, winning the Gin Talking Stakes in December. She won last month following 9 months off and is on the improve so should be very tough to beat. My Magician has won 3 of five since joining the Gonzalez barn, the last win coming in her most recent start, here at Laurel. With strong Equibase figures of 100, 98 and 94 in three of her last 5 stacking up nicely with the 97 and 92 best figures Ms Locust Point earned in her two best races, and opening at 8 to 1 (whereas Ms Locust Point opens at 5/1), My Magician offers us another great win bet opportunity. Shimmering Aspen won the Twixt Stakes in August here at Laurel, against older, so moving from 3 year olds to older here is of no concern, She did run poorly when 3rd at 7 to 5 last month but she's moves back to 6 furlongs where she's 1 for 1 and with a 5 for 9 career record discounting her chances would be at our peril. Likely favorite Ivy Bell should be used on exacta tickets but I think she's a but suspect as the favorite. She's been consistent with 9 first or second place finishes in 14 races but she has finished second five times and is beatable.

    Bet Ms Locust Point AND My Magician to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher

    Play an exacta consisting of Ms Locust Point, My Magician and Shimmering Again over Ms Locust Point, My Magician, Shimmering Again and Ivy Bell.


    Carribbean Classic Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park– Post time 4:45 PM Eastern Time

    This, as well as most of the races on the Saturday card at Gulfstream, is restricted to horses representing countries in the Carribbean. As such, it may be many American bettors might be flummoxed  by trying to handicap a field of horses, all without traditional running lines. Using the same handicapping methodology I would use if the entrants were from Europe or Asia, similar to a Breeders' Cup race, the top contenders can be isolated pretty easily. El Cubita won his debut and has finished second in all three starts since then, ALL Group 1 races. He's earned nearly $350K with just a maiden win to his credit, and finished 2nd in fields of 14 and 11 in his two most recent starts. He's won from 6 furlongs to a mile and one-half to this 9 furlong trip is no issue. However, he does open at 3 to 1 so may be the favorite at post time. La De  Horacio has earned $1 million in HER career of 11 races and beat males at this 9 furlong trip in August in a Group 3 stakes before a runner-up effort in a Group 1 race at 10 furlongs in September. Recently 4th of 14 in a Group 1 stakes worth nearly $1 million, in which El Cubita finished 2nd, La De Horacio gets John Velazquez and appears to be a strong contender yet opens at 8 to 1. Immenso opens at 12/1 odds, odd considering he's 8 for 8 this year. I have no idea who he's been running against in the Dominican Republic but he's crushed the field more than once and Joel Rosario riding is a good sign. Equibase has a way to create speed figures for foreign races on the same scale as North American races and this colt has earned 104 figures in 3 of his last four starts which stacks up against the best figures earned by La De Horacio and by El Cubita so we will round out a trio of contenders with him.


    Bet El Cubita to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Bet La De Horacio to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

    Bet Immenso to win at 4 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta box consisting of El Cubita, La De Horacio and Immenso.


    Cash Call Futurity – Race 3 at Los Alamitos Race Course – Post time 4:58 Eastern Time (1:58 Pacific Time)

    Runaway Ghost appears to be the controlling speed and in a short field that can be very dangerous. He dominated from start to finish in the Golden Nugget stakes at Golden Gate Fields last month with a career-best 102 Equibase figure, and he can improve a ton going long for the first time as well as making his 2nd start following five months off. Sons and daughters of Ghostzapper have won 24 of 99 dirt route graded stakes races in the last five years (with last year's top two-year-old McCraken one of them) and the dam of Runaway Ghost (Rose's Desert) won 10 of 15 career races, finishing second in the other five, earning over $600,000. Hopefully, Talamo gets out to an easy lead on slower fractions than the colt has had to run to date in his sprints, gets Runaway Ghost into a strong rhythm, and plays "come catch me" with the rest of the field. Opening at 8/1, Runaway Ghost is a KEY bet in this race and among the races available for betting today.

    Solomini has come up second best in two of the biggest races for two year olds in North America, in the FrontRunner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in the latter earning a career-best 107 figure. In the Futurity, perhaps Solomini will be the one to dominate and certainly on paper he appears to be a strong contender, but he should have to run down Runaway Ghost in the stretch to win. McKinzie wasn't a typical Bob Baffert first time starter when he entered the gate for his career debut on October 28 as there wasn't a lot of buzz about his ability and he went to post at 7 to 2. However, that all changed following his dominant five and one-half length win with a field high and stakes quality 116 figure. Flattered when both the third and fifth place finishers from that race returned to win their next starts, McKinzie is bred to stretch out fine and with Smith back in the saddle it is certainly possible the colt will win easily once again and in doing so stamp himself as a horse to reckon with on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in 2018.


    Bet Runaway Ghost to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Instead of a place bet, play an exacta consisting of Solomini and McKinzie over Runaway Ghost

    Play a double using Runaway Ghost in race 3 with ALL (5 horses) in race 4.

    Play an addition double using Runaway Ghost in race 3 and using Piedi Bianchi, Dream Tree and War Heroine in race 4.

    If you play the pick 3 or any other multi-race tickets, use Runaway Ghost on main tickets and use Solomini and McKinzie on backup tickets.


    Starlet Stakes – Race 4 at Los Alamitos Race Course – Post time 5:28 Eastern Time (2:28 Pacific Time)

    Although War Heroine opens at 9 to 5, it is likely she will go to post as the second choice as Baffert's Dream Tree, who opens at 8/5, went to post at 4 to 5 and even money in her two starts. War Heroine is not just a better bet than the likely favorite, she's more likely to win. When Dream Tree won in his debut on 10/7 at Santa Anita he won by a nose with a 93 Equibase figure then he improved to a 101 figure winning the Desi Arnaz Stakes by a nose. When War Heroine broke her maiden at first asking on 11/12 she won by 6 3/4 in ridden out fashion with a tank of gas left and with a 94 figure so if she moves forward in start #2 the way Dream Tree did in her 2nd start, War Heroine should win. There are no issues about going long and Miller's starters win nearly 1/3 of the time back-to-back. Other than Dream Tree, Piedi Bianchi is the other win contender but opens at 5 to 2. She finished 5th of 13 in the BC Juvenile Fillies and was a neck from 2nd in the Grade 1 Chandelier before that, her only two turn starts to date. That two turn experience, that Dream Tree lacks, gives Piedi Bianchi more probability to win than Dream Tree.

    Bet War Heroine to win at 1 to 1 (even money) or more.

    If you play any pick 3 or other multi-race tickets, use all three horses listed above.


    Bonus Race – Race 4 at Woodbine – Post Time 2:26 Eastern Time

    I am going to take a flyer on Dante's Blu Grass in this race, opening at 30/1. This is a maiden race with no standouts and this filly made her debut last month in a route like this one, without a prep, a very tough question to ask a 2 year old particularly on all-weather. She didn't run a lick, finishing 8th of 10, but that's not a concern. The ONLY other foal of the dam went 6 for 25 and earned over $200K, better still winning in its 2nd start for the same owner and trainer after a dreadful debut just like the filly put in last month, here at Woodbine. The dam herself went 3-3-2 in 14 races and broke her maiden in her 2nd career start as well. Trainer Scott Fairlie has won with 3 of 12 second time starters in the past year and 2 of 6 who add Lasix for the first time, both which apply to this filly. As such, I am personally a going to Bet Dante's Blu Grass to win, place and show and recommend the same wager to all of you.

  • 01

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 2

    Go For Wand Stakes – Race 6 at Aqueduct – Post time 2:06 PM Eastern Time

    Verve's Tale ran the best race of her career to date last time out (with a field high last race 109 Equibase figure) when leading late and ending up a head short of winning the similar Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Stakes at Belmont. Even though that was a one turn route like this, the cut back in distance a 16th of a mile really helps as she led in that race at the point this one-turn mile race ends and she was 4 1/2 lengths clear of the next horse. Verve's Tale is a winner at the level over the track, having won the Comely Stakes about this time last year and she should get a great trip off the hot pace likely to be set by Lucy N Ethel. Jamyson 'n Ginger was privately sold to Juddmonte following her runner-up effort in June, which followed six months off. She ran 2nd in the 2016 Demoiselle on this day last year and has won both starts since moved to the Brown barn, Castellano aboard for both victories and riding today. Jamyson 'n Ginger is on an upward pattern with a 93 figure two back and a 103 figure last out and could get to the 109 range Verve's Tale is a capable of repeating from her last start but at 9/5 starting odds compared to 5/1 for Verve's Tale, Jamyson 'n Ginger isn't a good win bet although she is an absolute must to use for multi-race bets (like the double and pick 3) we can start in this race. Highway Star is a perfect 4 for 4 at this one mile trip and 3 for 3 at Aqueduct. She ran poorly in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and if that was the result of a hard campaign she is likely to run poorly again. I am taking the stand that she didn't enjoy traveling to California and back in New York, where all of her wins have come, she can return to the form shown one before last when winning the Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont with a 108 figure comparable to Verve's Tale's best and to Jamyson 'n Ginger's best.

    Bet Verve's Tale to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box between Verve's Tale and Jamyson 'n Ginger. Play another exacta box, this one consisting of Verve's Tale and Highway Star. There's no benefit to playing an exacta box with the two favorites Highway Star and Jamyson 'n Ginger.


    Demoiselle Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:12 PM Eastern Time

    Similar to last weekend's Turf Sprint Championship Stakes, where Jason Servis had an uncoupled entry and we bet both, cashing at $15.60 with Rainbow Heir, in this year's Demoiselle Stakes John Servis (Jason's brother) send out both Daisy and Maurer Power, the latter the much better bet of the two not only because Maurer Power opens at 4 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for Daisy but also because Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides Maurer Power. Before I discuss why that's important, let's talk about the filly. Maurer Power is 2-for-2 in her career, her most recent effort a sharp win at Parx with an 81 figure which is comparable to the last race figures of most of these. She' going to love the two-turn trip she's trying for the first time because she's a daughter of Violence (who is by Medaglia d'Oro) and more importantly because her dam's other 7 foals have 14 wins in 100 starts in dirt routes. The runner-up from her 10/21 win came back to win and the ONLY time Ortiz and Servis teamed up in the last year or so was for a big win by Mo Green this spring in the Top Flight Handicap. Daisy can't be ignored, at least not when considering exotic bets in this race. She gets the ground saving rail and won the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes last month in only the 2nd start of her career. She's also a perfect 2-for-2 and on an improving pattern with an 83 figure last out. Layla Noor helps make the exotics profitable if she runs as expected, opening at 12/1. She ran in her first dirt route last month in a race scheduled for turf and rallied from 8th of 10 to draw off and so it makes perfect sense high percentage trainer Delacour is giving her a shot here. Before that last win, Layla Noor finished fast from 12th to 4th in a KEY race on grass won by Rushing Fall, who came back to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in her subsequent start. Held Accountable opens at 8 to 1 even though she's already a stakes winner, because she's a New York bred facing open company. She's improved in both starts since her debut and her runner-up finish last out at a mile suggests this 9 furlong trip won't be an issue, not to mention the horse that finished 6th in that race has already come back to win. The race is very playable because the 2/1 favorite is Wonder Gadot¸ who is going to be bet based on the fact she's dropping off a 4th place effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, which was her first try on dirt. She had trouble in that race while rallying and that's another reason bettors will flock to her but she hasn't won on dirt and I'm not going to take a short price because of that. She should be considered for exotic wagers, however, as should Indy Union, who won a maiden race by 7 but it was a one turn mile. Her previous two dirt starts were not that great but she's another to consider for exotics.

    Bet Maurer Power to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Consider a win bet on Daisy at 2 to 1 or more as well. To determine the best way to wager for profit, use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager which helps you figure out how much to bet on two or more horses to get the same return.

    Also, a small win wager on Layla Noor at 5 to 1 or more is something to consider.

    Play an exacta of Maurer Power, Daisy, Layla Noor and Held Accountable over Maurer Power, Daisy, Layla Noor, Held Accountable, Wonder Gadot and Indy Union.

    Consider playing the same wager above as a trifecta by using the same horses in second for the exacta in third for the trifecta .


    Display Stakes – Race 6 at Woodbine – Post time 3:36 PM Eastern Time

    Although I was disappointed Archaggelos didn't make the trip to California for the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile or Juvenile Turf), I am pleased he is making one more start this year. Archaggelos finished 2nd in his career debut in July in a two-turn race on turf, then broke his maiden in a race which turned out to be a KEY race. Third place finisher Quail Hunt demolished a full field by open lengths in his next start and Archaggelos won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine and at this distance on 10/1. Archaggelos continues to improve with every start and as he's already proven on turf and all-weather, could be a force to be reckoned with on both surfaces, as well as on dirt, because he's a half-brother to Big Brown. Although Archaggelos is my top pick and a low odds overlay anywhere near his 3/1 starting odds, Pipers Warrior is a horse I can't ignore either because he opens at 12/1. Pipers Warrior ran in his 1st two-turn race last month, his 3rd career starts, and powered off by four lengths with a career best 85 Equibase figure on par with the 88 figure Archaggelos earned winning the Grey Stakes a few weeks earlier. Pipers Warrior is cut out to be a good one going long, as his dam's other foals are 11 for 42 in routes, including 400K winner Niigon's Glory. As such, we may be able to extract a lot of profit from this race if Pipers Warrior runs well.

    Bet Archaggelos to win at odds of 3 to 2 or higher.

    Make a win bet, for a smaller amount, on Pipers Warrior at 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 10/1 or more.

    Play an exacta of Archaggelos over ALL (as any of the other eight have a short to finish second).

    Play another exacta consisting of Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over all. (this covers the possibility that Pipers Warrior runs first and Archaggelos runs second).

    Play trifecta's (they are only $0.20 at Woodbine) as follows: Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over ALL over ALL. (The cost of this bet at $0.20 is $22.40).

    Play additional trifectas of Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over ALL over Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior.


    Cigar Mile Handicap – Race 10 at Aqueduct – Post time 4:16 PM Eastern Time

    Tom's Ready has earned all five of his wins at a mile or at seven furlongs, including a huge effort in the Bold Ruler Handicap last month at Belmont Park in which he earned a career best 122 Equibase figure. He was visually impressive in the Bold Ruler as he rallied from last of nine (eight wide) to drive past the field. Flattered since then when Bold Ruler runner-up Stallwalkin' Dude won the Fall Highweight Stakes a little over a week ago and benefiting from a hot pace battle between Sharp Azteca and Seymourdini, the icing on the cake is that jockey Mike Smith comes in from California to ride Tom's Ready for the first time and there is a Stats Race Lens angle just for this situation, which shows when there is a jockey change to Smith in a graded stakes in the last year, betting to win produces a 28% profit ($2.56 returned for every $2 bet). Americanize ships in from California on the heels of a pair of very strong wins since adding blinkers. His most recent victory came on the undercard on Breeders' Cup Friday (November 3) in the Damascus Stakes in which he earned a career best 123 figure which matches up nicely with Tom's Ready if repeated. Jockey Rafael Bejarano was aboard for the horse's last two wins and comes in from California to ride so we should expect another top effort good enough to win the Cigar Mile Handicap. Beasley finished third in the Bold Ruler last month, just three-quarters of a length behind Tom's Ready. Although he was fifth in the early stages while Tom's Ready was ninth and was out finished by the winner, Beasley ran the best race of his career, earning a 121 figure. Considering he is just a three year old, Beasley has more improving to do and he should get a great trip stalking the pacesetters in the Cigar so we must respect his chances to be in the thick of the action at the end.


    About some of the others: Although Practical Joke won the H. Allen Jerkens in August, that was against three year olds only and although his only start against tougher was when fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last month (121 figure), the 112 best figure he put forth this year isn't enough to threaten the top contenders here if repeated. Mind Your Biscuits is a top sprinter but has run this far only once, in a maiden race early in his career. His career best effort came last December winning the Malibu Stakes with a 122 figure, but that was against his own age group and considering the main contenders in the Cigar Mile have run a mile or farther and won, Mind Your Biscuits may have his work cut out for him in terms of winning even though he definitely should be considered for the runner-up and third place spots on exacta and trifecta tickets we may play. Seymourdini and Sharp Azteca are both very good horses, with Seymourdini having earned a 119 figure when fourth in the Bold Ruler and Sharp Azteca having earned a career best 129 figure when second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. However, both have the same running style and will want to be in front from the start, so it is likely they will tire each other out just enough to be vulnerable to being passed by any number of stalkers and closers.


    Considering all three win contenders are likely to go to post at odds for a profit (as Tom's Ready opens at 8/1, Americanize opens at 12/1 and Beasley opens at 12/1), we should find a way to make a profit no matter which wins.  


    Bet Tom's Ready to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

    Bet Americanize to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

    Bet Beasley to win at 7 to 2 or higher.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Tom's Ready, Americanize and Beasley

    Play a trifecta in case they come in 1st and 3rd, which is: Tom's Ready, Americanize and Beasley over Tom's Ready, Americanize, Beasley, Mind Your Biscuits, Seymourdini, Sharp Azteca, Practical Joke and Summer Revolution over Tom's Ready, Americanize and Beasley.


  • 24

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, November 25

    Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:20 PM Eastern Time

    High percentage trainer Jason Servis saddles a pair of very tough runners in Rainbow Heir and Summation Time, opening at 10/1 and 12/1, respectfully, and I'll play them as if they were a coupled entry and bet them both. Rainbow Heir is 12 for 29 in his career but has run on turf just eight times. Seven of those came since Servis took over his training in July of last year. Since then, Rainbow Heir has won five of 10 races, missing by inches in three others. He comes back off a short layoff and won a stakes on turf like this one the last time he took a bit of time off. It's a BIG sign Irad Ortiz, Jr. takes the call because Ortiz rode the horse just one before, when he was defeated a head in the 2016 Troy Stakes at Saratoga. Summation Time moved privately from Clement to Servis for his first start in seven months in October, dominating by three lengths at the end at this distance on grass. He's been first or second in 10 of 18 turf races and although Ortiz appears to have had his choice of mounts, moving to Rainbow Heir, Manny Franco is no slouch and gives Summation Time a big shot to win his 2nd in a row. White Flag, Snowday and Bucchero are three more to use on exotic tickets played like the exacta and multi-race wagers, perhaps bet to win if the odds are right. White Flag won the similar Allied Forces Stakes in September on firm turf before a poorer effort on soft grass in Canada and can rebound. Snowday has earned over $400K on turf in his career including a turf sprint stakes, the Laurel Dash, in September. Bucchero finished 4th, beaten just a length, in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint three weeks ago after pulling off the 26/1 upset in the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland and is another who likes to win (10 for 23) and is in good form.

    Bet BOTH Rainbow Heir and Summation Time to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Consider adding place bets at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Consider a small win bet on Snowday at odds of 6 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Rainbow Heir, Summation Time, White Flag, Snowday and Bucchero

    Hollywood Derby – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post time 6:30 PM Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific Time)

    Mo Town was highly regarded as a two year old, winning his second career start in September 2016 by seven lengths then winning the prestigious Remsen Stakes easily by two and one-half lengths. After poor efforts to start his three-year-old campaign in the Risen Star Stakes (fifth) and in the Wood Memorial Stakes (seventh), Mo Town was given four months off to mature. Returning in August, he finished fourth, then third before trying turf for the first time last month, taking to turf like a duck takes to water with a strong six and one-half length victory. Not only did that win earn Mo Town a career best 113 Equibase Figure, that was a stakes quality effort as that figure equaled the career best effort Sharp Samurai put forth to win the Twilight Derby. With a very visually impressive turn of foot shown on the far turn, going from three lengths back to three lengths in front by the time the field straightened for home, and against a slow early pace, Mo Town demonstrated enough ability to win a stakes like this one on the grass. He has the added benefit, albeit a small one, of facing just three year olds after beating three year olds and upward last month. Souper Tapit, like Mo Town and Sharp Samurai, is also a stakes winner. He won the Marine Stakes in May on the all-weather surface at Woodbine. That was his first try on that surface, and he's only raced on turf since. In both those grass starts, Souper Tapit had significant traffic trouble, but it was the trouble in his most recent race that was highly notable. In his most recent race on November 11, Souper Tapit was in a perfect position on the far turn but was completely surrounded and had no place to go as other horses around him accelerated. Even when the field turned into the stretch, Souper Tapit and jockey Jose Lezcano could do nothing to find a path to run as he was completely boxed in. Finally getting a clear path to run in the final yards, Souper Tapit stretched his legs and rallied from sixth to third. Having earned a 106 figure in the Marine, it might be assumed, if not for trouble in two starts since, Souper Tapit may have improved to the same 113 figure level of Mo Town and Sharp Samurai. As such, with a clean trip Souper Tapit could very well post the upset in the Hollywood Derby. It is indisputably tough to take a horse on a four race winning streak like Sharp Samurai is and to list him as the third win contender in this year's Hollywood Derby. Coming off a career best 113 figure and having won three similar graded stakes on turf for three year olds in a row, Sharp Samurai has proven to be a very tough foe. Sharp Samurai beat five of the other eight entrants in this race when victorious in the Twilight Derby and there's no reason to think any of those can turn the tables on him in this situation. Only the two horses that have never faced him, Mo Town and Souper Tapit, who have won with figures that are either competitive with Sharp Samurai (in the case of Mo Town) or that project to be competitive with Sharp Samurai without traffic trouble (in the case of Souper Tapit), appear to have a legitimate shot to beat him if he repeats his Twilight Derby effort (or improves upon it). We should use Big Score in the second position on any exacta tickets we play as he's finished second behind Sharp Samurai in two straight races.

    Bet Mo Town to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Make a win bet on Souper Tapit at 3 to 1 or higher and add a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta consisting of Mo Town, Souper Tapit and Sharp Samurai over Mo Town, Souper Tapit, Sharp Samurai and Big Score

    Berkeley Handicap – Race 7 at Golden Gate – Post time 6:45 PM Eastern Time (3:45 Pacific Time)

    This year's Berkeley Handicap drew a huge field of 14 and so the race is very playable with horses coming in from Southern California as well as Canada to run. However, the horse to beat is a local horse in Force, who began his career in England before making his U.S. debut this past February at Santa Anita. He's not a dirt horse at all but he needed a race after a long layoff and stayed in even after the race moved from turf to dirt. After three more races, all very poor efforts, he was privately moved to the barn of John Martin and shipped to Northern California, where he's found a home and then some, winning four of seven including both of his starts on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate. He won a minor stakes on the grass in September before an irrelevant try on dirt then ran one of the best races of his career last month when moving from 10 lengths back early to win going away. With Hernandez riding back and having been up for his last two wins as well as picking Force to ride over Rye, who Hernandez rode to his most recent win, Force appears to have more improving to do for a barn that wins about 1/3 of its starts on the circuit. Rye and Camino Del Paraiso were separated by a neck when 1st and 2nd, respectively, on the grass in their most recent races and both have run well enough on the all-weather surface in the past to be considered contenders as well. The same can be said for Seattle Serenade and Street Moxie, who were separated by a nose when 1st and 2nd, respectively, in a minor stakes on dirt last month. The last horse we must consider is Hard Aces, tough to bet to win as he opens as the 3 to 1 favorite based on the fact he's dropping in class after finishing 3rd in the Grade 2 Marathon Stakes on Breeders' Cup Weekend. He can win but with a 2 for 15 record this year and last he's tough to consider for anything other than inclusion on exacta tickets.

    Bet Force to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta of Force over Rye, Camino Del Paraiso, Seattle Serenade, Street Moxie and Hard Aces.

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well.

    Jimmy Durante Stakes – Race 9 at Del Mar – Post time 7:30 PM Eastern Time (4:30 Pacific Time)

    Even in a deep field of two year olds on the grass, many who can improve significantly from one race to another, I see a standout here in Daddy Is a Legend, who finished 5th in her career debut in August in a turf route, improved to finish 2nd in her next start, and who won powerfully third time out last month. In that 2nd start, Daddy Is a Legend was second behind next out Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Rushing Fall, and then in her 10/27 start Daddy Is a Legend made a quick move on the turn to go from fourth, 1 1/2 lengths back, to be in front by 5 at the eighth pole before coasting to a two ad 3/ 4 length win. Joe Bravo follows the filly west and with logical continuation of her pattern of improvement, Daddy Is a Legend should earn her first stakes win in this situation. Other contenders, mostly for exacta bets, are Raucous, Ever So True, Fatale Bere and Lexington Grace. Raucous won the Chelsey Flower Stakes at Belmont three weeks ago for her 2nd straight win on grass and gets leading jockey Prat. Ever So True close fast for 2nd in her 2nd career start, first turf route, and gets John Velazquez for the red hot Miller barn. Fatale Bere made a big move from 9th to 3rd in the BC Juvenile Turf then hung and ended up 5th but she was 7 wide into the stretch so that was a pretty good effort. Lexington Grace just ran in England on 10/25, wining a race in a field of 20. Stevens rides and she has the most wins (4) of any horse in the field so may have an experience edge on some of these.

    Bet Daddy Is a Legend to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta consisting of Daddy Is a Legend over Raucous, Ever So True, Fatale Bere and Lexington Grace

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well.

    Play an exacta box consisting of all five horses, which is an investment worth the risk in a 13 horse field like this one. 

  • 24

    Key Bets & Races for Friday, November 24

    Gio Ponti Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:20 PM Eastern Time

    On the heels of a nice profit last week on the turf at Aqueduct on this blog with Fire Away winning and Monster Bea finishing second, this stakes caught my attention because Fuel the Bern opens at 12/1. Racing for the tough Clement stable to start his career, he finished fast while green from 10th to 3rd in his career debut in October 2016, on the turf, then ran on dirt in November and went on the bench. Returning in September, Fuel the Bern ran poorly on dirt when nearly not finishing so was dropped into a 40K maiden claimer on turf. He won that race with authority by three and one-half lengths in a field of 11 and was immediately snatched up by solid trainer Gargan, perhaps with this turf stakes restricted to just three year olds in mind. Sure, the colt may have problems, but he just won convincingly on turf and is making his 3rd start off a very long layoff, often a peak effort in a horse's form cycle. Gargan is having a very successful Aqueduct meeting, with a 4-4-1 record in 13 starts, and his main jockey (Carmouche) gets on, this jockey/trainer team wining nearly 1/3 of their starts. As such, all signs are GO for an odds beating effort. Small Bear and Hieroglyphics finished 2nd and 1st, respectively, in the similar non-graded Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga on 8/28. Both ran poorly in the Grade 3 Hill Prince Stakes after that but on the drop back out of graded stakes both their 8/28 efforts could be repeated and if they are these two could be right in the thick of the action on the wire.

    Bet Fuel the Bern to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more and add a place bet if 5 to 1 or higher. Consider additional win bets on either Small Bear, Hieroglyphics, or both, at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager to determine the proper amounts to be in order to maximize profit.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Fuel the Bern, Small Bear and Hieroglyphics.

    Hollywood Turf Cup – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post time 6:30 PM Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific Time)

    Prime Attraction is the ONLY horse in the field who has any desire to lead early and will be able go as slow as he wants in the early stages. He nearly pulled off the 7 to 1 upset in the similar John Henry Turf Cup in October, beaten a head on the wire by multiple graded stakes winner Itsinthepost, and today he should not be caught. If Prime Attraction is to be caught, either Chicago Style or Prince of Arabia will do the catching. Chicago Style won a pair of races over the Del Mar turf at 11 furlongs in July and August under Van Dyke, who rides here, so this 12 furlong trip shouldn't be an issue although it must be noted in the John Henry he finished a non-threating fifth, the only reason to believe a form reversal may be coming is the switch from Santa Anita back to Del Mar. Prince of Arabia is trained by Cassidy same as Prime Attraction and won at this 12 furlong trip in April with a rally from 7th of 8 so may be passing many of these and it's not out of the question he could pass them all for the upset.

    Bet Prime Attraction to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

    Consider win bets on Chicago Style and Prince of Arabia at odds of 7 to 2 or more. If you are an Amwager member use the dutching tool to allocate your win bet appropriately in order to achieve the best profit.

    Play an exacta box between Prime Attraction, Chicago Style and Prince of Arabia.


  • 17

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, November 18

    Artie Schiller Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:47 PM Eastern Time

    Monster Bea ran big last time out on 10/13 at Belmont, better than his 4th place finish makes it appear. He had to wait for room at a critical stage and when clear was closing fast but it was too late. His race before that was a graded stakes in California at a distance (1 3/8 miles) way too far but he’s running at a mile for the 2nd time in a row and three before last at Belmont he missed by a neck in an allowance race with a stakes quality 109 Equibase figure he bettered last out to 112. Last summer, Monster Bea posted the 12/1 upset in the Oceanside Stakes at Del Mar and I think he’s sitting on the same kind of effort here. Fire Away finished in front of Monster Bea in that allowance race last month at Belmont, missing the win by a half-length and also showing a lot of interest and late kick in the final yards. John V sticks with him, getting off Delta Prince to do so, and rode the horse to a sharp win last November over this course with a 106 figure. Like Monster Bea, Fire Away earned a career best figure (115) in his most recent race and could be sitting on another top effort. A Lot comes out of the same race as the other two contenders, having finished 6th, beaten 3 lengths. Not only was A Lot coming back from nearly a year on the bench but he stumbled at the start and lost at least two lengths. A Lot won the very similar Elusive Quality Stakes on the Belmont Turf last spring (2016) and two years ago as a three year old won the Paradise Creek Stakes, also on the turf, so likely to improve physically in his 2nd start off the long layoff, if he get a better break, A Lot can make some significant (I didn’t want to say “A Lot of”) noise in this race. Delta Prince is hard to ignore as a contender but in truth he’s got a shot but is no standout. He opens as the 5/2 favorite based on dropping from a 3rd place finish in a grade 2 stakes when last seen on 9/4 at Saratoga. Before that, Delta Prince just won a NW2X allowance race, something the other three contenders did much earlier in their careers. On the other hand, Delta Prince has never been off the board in seven races and his four efforts this year earned 110, 117, 116 & 113 figures so he certainly fits with these. In addition to these four win contenders, we should consider Night Prowler (3rd in this race last year) and Blacktype (2nd in this race last year and riding a two race winning streak) as contenders, but in watching the Grade 2 Knickerbocker Stakes Blacktype won last month, I wasn’t very impressed with either of their late kicks.

    Bet Monster Bea to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

    Bet Fire Away to win as well, also at odds of 4 to1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more. Use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager to help allocate the bets for the best profit.

    Play an exacta of Monster Bea, Fire Away, A Lot and Delta Prince over Monster Bea, Fire Away, A Lot, Delta Prince, Night Prowler and Blacktype

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well, which is Monster Bea, Fire Away, A Lot, Delta Prince, Night Prowler and Blacktype over Monster Bea, Fire Away, A Lot and Delta Prince

    Frost King Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine – Post time 4:38 PM Eastern Time

    Smooth Talk and Silent Sting stick out a bit in this stakes for two year olds, with Silent Sting getting preference insofar as betting is concerned as he opens at 9 to 2 compared to 5 to 2 for Smooth Talk. Silent Sting finished 2nd after leading late in his debut in September then five weeks later improved markedly to win with something left in ridden out fashion, at this 7 furlong trip. Flattered when the runner-up (Beer Pressure, who is also entered here) came back to win, Luis Contreras rides Silent Sting back and appears to have chosen this colt over both Royal Laser, who Contreras rode to his maiden win and a 4th place finish in a stakes. One of just two h9orses in the field to have won at this 7 furlong trip and on an improving pattern of Equibase figure, Silent Sting appears very capable of earning a stakes win in his 3rd career start. Smooth Talk has a similar pattern to Silent Sting, having finished 3rd in his debut then winning easily. He too was flattered when the runner-up from his win came back to win, and like Contreras, Smooth Talk’s jockey, DaSilva, appears to have chosen him to ride as DaSilva rode both Handsome Like Me and favorite Be Vewy Vewy Quiet in their most recent races, the latter in a stakes. It must also be noted that when DaSilva teams up with trainer Day-Phillips, they win at a very strong rate, with 55 victories from 147 races going back five years. Beer Pressure and Be Vewy Vewy Quiet are both consistent horses in form, with a combined record of 3-4-1 in 8 races, so we must use them on exacta and trifecta tickets played.

    Bet Silent Sting and Smooth Talk to win at odds of 9 to 5 or higher. If you are an Amwager member use the dutching tool to allocate your win bet appropriately in order to achieve the best profit.

    Play an exacta consisting of Silent Sting, Smooth Talk over Silent Sting, Smooth Talk, Beer Pressure and Be Vewy Vewy Quiet

    Play an exacta consisting of Silent Sting, Smooth Talk, Beer Pressure and Be Vewy Vewy Quiet over Silent Sting and Smooth Talk

    Play a trifecta box consisting of Silent Sting, Smooth Talk, Beer Pressure and Be Vewy Vewy Quiet

    Play two more trifectas:

    Silent Sting and Smooth Talk over Silent Sting and Smooth Talk over ALL

    Silent Sting and Smooth Talk over ALL over Silent Sting and Smooth Talk

    Desi Arnaz Stakes – Race 5 at Del Mar – Post time 5:30 PM Eastern Time (2:30 Pacific Time)

    The obvious contenders have the bulk of the probability to win in this year's Desi Arnaz Stakes but there's still a play on a low odds overlay with Ms Bad Behavior, who opens at 5 to 2. Ms Bad Behavior is the one to beat based on her very strong 3 1/2 length winning effort last out at 6 1/2 furlongs under Pereira, who rides back. That effort yielded a career best and field high 101 Equibase figure that will be tough to beat particularly if it is improved upon as it should be. Midnight Beau missed by a nose to Dream Tree last month, both making their career debuts, with decent 93 figures that logically should be improved upon off the experience of a race, but they would need to improve significantly to beat Ms Bad Behavior is they are to win this race as long as she improves even a little off her last start. 


    Bet Ms Bad Behavior to win at 6 to 5 or higher, a low odds overlay


    Play doubles using Ms Bad BehaviorMidnight Beau and Dream True in race 5 with YuvetsiGo ArgentoSnow CloudPainting CornersZero Zee and Not Too Shiny in race 6

    Play additional doubles using Ms Bad Behavior in race 5 with YuvetsiGo ArgentoSnow CloudPainting CornersZero Zee and Not Too Shiny in race 6


    Race 6 at Del Mar – Post time 6 PM Eastern Time (3 PM Pacific Time)

    With Lajatico and Red Livy, and possibly Bowie, all insisting on the lead at any cost from the moment the gate opens, the three listed contenders should all be rallying strongly past the tiring leaders in the stretch. Yuvetsi ran very well in her first two career starts, last fall, both down the hillside course at Santa Anita. Returning at a mile in her 2017 debut in January she set a fast pace then tired then returning 3 months later down the hill she didn't show any spark at all. However, with a nice workout pattern including a six furlong work as her most recent, reunited with Van Dyke (up for the first two races and not the two since) and with a good outside post to stalk the speed and stay out of traffic trouble, she could fire a big shot off the 7 1/2 month layoff she's returning from. Go Argento should also appreciate the fast and contented pace scenario. When last seen in March, she took blinkers off worn for all her previous races and the result was a strong rally to win. Pedroza rides back so the filly has a shot to pick up where she left off earlier this year, with a turf sprint win. Snow Cloud gets a big look if she draws into the race from the also-eligible list, as she's won 3 times at this 5 furlong turf trip at Del Mar. The most recent of those wins came in July at the higher NW2X level and as she's won at that level and at this NW1X allowance level she's eligible to run here if she's in for the optional 40K claiming price, which she is. Fuentes rode her to that 7/20 win at 11/1 under tougher conditions from an outside post so we can expect the mare to be coming on strongly if she runs. Painting Corners missed by just a half-length last time out under these conditions so should be considered for multi-race bets at the least. Zero Zee was coming back from nine months off in the same race as Painting Corners and can improve off his fifth place finish. Not Too Shiny has a win at the trip but his last two races were poor efforts. Just the same, it's not a bad idea to go deep in this turf sprint for multi-race bets.


    Bet Yuvetsi and Go Argento to win and place at odds of 5 to 2 or higher. Since both open at 12/1, both can be played. Use a ditching tool like the one at to help earn the best profit betting two horses in this situation and others like it. 


  • 10

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, November 11

    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

    Turn that exacta around and play the opposite which is Watershed, Securitiz, Afleet Willy, Doctor Mounty, No Distortion, Page McKenney and All Out of Aces over Watershed, Securitiz and Afleet Willy.

    Additionally, for my analysis and selections for the Red Smith Handicap, Race 8 at Aqueduct (Post Time 3:47 Eastern Time), go to the Equibase Weekly Feature Race page