Ellis Starr's Blog - AmWager

  • 07
    DEC

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 8

    Race 4 at Aqueduct - Post Time 1:47 PM Eastern

    In a one-turn mile maiden race for New York breds, I'm going to take a shot with Overland, who opens at 10/1. When I see a horse in the top four in a previous race with a huge margin of defeat such as the 13 3/4 length margin behind the winner Overland was first time out, I take a quick look at the company line because once in a while that margin is deceiving if the winner or winner and runner-up dominated by many lengths. That is the case with Overland's debut on 10/20 at Belmont at the level, because the winner won by almost seven lengths and there was another four length gap to the third horse. In reality, Overland actually ran okay, passing horses from 10th to 4th over the course of the race. He's been gelded since then, gets a good outside post to stalk the pacesetters, and best of all the race has turned out to be a KEY RACE from which the 2nd and 3rd horses both came back from to win. Overland is the 4th foal of his dam and the other three all turned out very nicely as one was a first out winner and the other two won 2nd time out. Brad Cox is having a career best year and has won with 25% of over 100 2nd time starters in the past two years so there is a lot of improving this gelding can do.

     

    Bets: Overland to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 odds or higher.

     

    Double: Overland in Race 4 with Yorkiepoo Princess, Sower and Vertical Oak in Race 5.

     

    Optionally play Overland in Race 4 with ALL (five horses) in Race 5.

    Maryland Juvenile Futurity – Race 4 at Laurel - Post Time 2 PM Eastern

    Alwaysmining ran a "Breakout" kind of race in his most recent start on 10/27 at Laurel, dominating by 10 lengths. That was his first dirt start since changing trainers to Rubley and changing jockeys to Centeno and I feel strongly the same "go to the front and widen" tactics will be used here. That last race was a one-turn mile and this is seven furlongs so there are no issues regarding the distance and he may actually have a little more to give in the stretch running a furlong less.

     

    Our Braintrust is undefeated in two starts including the Tremont Stakes in June and therein lies the main concern. He won his debut on May 3 then the Tremont and something put him on the sidelines since then. He's worked very well and could come back running but may be tough to bet (to win at least) at low odds with the question of what happened this summer over his head. Scrap Copper ran badly just once, in the similar Maryland Millions Nursery Stakes, but we can completely draw a line through the race as he stumbled badly at the start. Otherwise, he's nearly perfect, with two wins and a nose defeat. Scrap Copper is working well, comes off a stakes win with a 91 figure three points better than the 88 Alwaysmining earned in recent win, and McCarthy rides him back. Scrap Copper is a strong contender but like Our Braintrust not nearly as good a win bet as he opens at 2 to 1 compared to 5/1 for Alwaysmining.

     

    V.I.P Ticket and Sky Magician just finished 2nd and 1st, respectively, in a maiden race run much more slowly than the most recent efforts of Alwaysmining and Our Braintrust as they Sky Magician earned a 79 figure, V.I.P. Ticket as 73 figure. However, two year olds can improve a lot from one race to the next so I will consider them for 2nd on exacta tickets and for 3rd on trifecta tickets.

     

    Bets: Alwaysmining to win at 2 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Exacta: Alwaysmining over Our Braintrust, Scrap Copper, V.I.P. Ticket and Sky Magician.

    Trifecta: Alwaysmining over Our Braintrust, Scrap Copper, V.I.P. Ticket and Sky Magician over Our Braintrust, Scrap Copper, V.I.P. Ticket and Sky Magician.

    Garland of Roses Stakes  - Race 5 at Aqueduct - Post Time 2:17 PM Eastern

    Sower is very likely to be the "lone front runner" in this short field and that gives her an edge. Winner of the similar Pumpkin Pie Stakes when last seen on 10/28, she was entered in the tougher Grade 3 Go For Wand Stakes last weekend then scratched to run here by Rice. Sower also won the Jersey Girl Stakes by almost five lengths in June. Rice has a very nice record with horses coming off a win over the past two years, winning nearly 25% of the time and with those starters finishing 1st or 2nd 46% of the time.

     

    Yorkiepoo Princess had a "breakout" effort last out on 11/25 over the track in the Autumn Days Stakes, dominating seven other horses by nearly six lengths. That was the margin of victory in her previous race and she improved to a career best 107 Equibase figure, as good as any winning figure earned by even money favorite Vertical Oak, who is running at Aqueduct for the first time with Cancel riding for the first time as well, making her tough to be to win as the prohibitive favorite. On the other hand, Yorkiepoo Princess opens at 5/1 and is very playable with a 2 for 3 career record over the track.

     

    Bets: Sower and Yorkiepoo Princess to win at odds of 2 to1 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.

    Howard and Sondra Bender Memorial Stakes - Race 7 at Laurel Park - Post Time 3:30 PM ET

    Rockinn On Bye opens at 7/2 even though he just beat the 8/5 morning line favorite Lewisfield when Rockinn On Bye was 2nd and Lewisfield 3rd in the Fabulous Strike Stakes last month. Lewisfield had no excuse for being out finished by Rockinn On Bye, who we can expect to run even better 2nd off the sharp claim by Gonzalez and sharp placement here as the horse moves from "open" (non-restricted) stakes to this stakes for Maryland breds or sired only. Carrasco, who wins nearly 1/3 of the time for the trainer, gets back on after getting familiar with the gelding, whose 100 last race figure is tied with Laki (out of a similar runner-up effort in a stakes) for the best last figure in the field. Rockinn On Bye may have three times as many runner-up finishes (21) as wins in his career but that could start to turn around in his new trainer's care.

    Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired all have a shot to run second behind the top pick.

    Bets: Rockinn On Bye to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

     

    Exacta: Rockinn On Bye over Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired.

    For about half the amount you play the above exacta, play the reverse, which is Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired over Rockinn On Bye.

     

    Trifecta: Rockinn On Bye over Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired over Lewisfield, Laki and Sonny Inspired.

     

    Los Alamitos Cash Call Futurity  - Race 5 at Los Alamitos - Post Time 5:28 PM Eastern

    Extra Hope took four races to finally break through but he did so in a big way when blinkers were added, coasting home to nearly a nine length win in October when trying the distance of the Cash Call Futurity for the first time. That effort earned a 101 Equibase Speed Figure, the best figure earned by any horse in the field. Cutting back to seven furlongs for the Bob Hope Stakes last month, Extra Hope ran pretty evenly around the track when fifth after a quarter mile and fourth at the wire, proving no match for winner Mucho Gusto and runner-up Savagery. However, the return to two-turns, particularly as only one other horse in the field (Dueling) has run two-turns on dirt, could signal a return to the form shown in October.  That effort is better than the rest of the field and as such if Extra Hope can repeat it, he should win.

     

    Dueling is the other horse to have won a two-turn race on dirt. He did so in his third career start, first route, at the end of September, earning a 100 figure in the process under jockey Mike Smith. Smith did not ride Dueling in his next start when a well beaten sixth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile but returns to the saddle for this race. Although the Juvenile and this Cash Call Futurity both carry a grade 1 ranking, this is an easier spot compared to the Juvenile. Dueling has a very nice chance to repeat, or improve upon, his route effort one before last and if he does either he would be very competitive in this field.

     

    Improbable and Mucho Gusto are saddled by Baffert, who continues to dominate this race. Baffert has trained the winner of this race four years in a row and, perhaps even more impressively, in seven of the last 10 editions of the race. Improbable broke his maiden at the end of September in his debut at the distance of six furlongs with a strong 94 figure then ventured to Kentucky to win the non-graded Street Sense Stakes by seven lengths with a 100 figure. Improbable is an improving type but is trying two-turns for the first time so is giving experience away to both Dueling and Extra Hope in that regard. Mucho Gusto won the Bob Hope Stakes last month with a 100 figure after a 96 figure effort in his debut. He made that improvement going from six furlongs to seven furlongs and can certainly improve once again, but like his stablemate, Mucho Gusto is trying two-turns for the first time. Of the pair, I might give a slight probability edge to Improbable based on his rail draw but overall both should be counted as contenders to win this race.

     

    Bets: Extra Hope to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher. For a smaller amount, Dueling to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher.

    Don't forget, 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: Extra Hope and Dueling over Extra Hope, Dueling, Improbable and Mucho Gusto.

     

    Starlet Stakes  - Race 7 at Los Alamitos - Post Time 6:28 PM Eastern

    Oxy Lady might be four-for-four if not for a neck defeat first out in August and a head defeat one before last in October. She shipped from Kentucky to New York for the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes and added blinkers to post a career-best 96 Equibase figure and the 36 to 1 upset last month and has been working fantastically since. She ships from trainer Sisterson's Kentucky base to California and brings along jockey Cannon, up for her dominating win last month. Sisterson was a former O'Neill assistant before going out on his own and has many of the fine Calumet Farm runners like this filly by Oxbow who could be any kind and who has a big shot to post the mild upset, opening at 5/1 particularly as she has run two-turns twice, winning once, whereas the heavy favorite is trying two turns for the first time.

     

    Chasing Yesterday is that heavy favorite, with a 3 for 4 career record including two stakes wins, both in listed stakes and short fields of 5 and 3. She's a half-sister to Triple Crown winner American Pharoah and much is expected of her but the hype is big and she will be the odds-on favorite again so offers no value for a win bet. On the other hand, besides Oxy Lady, Chasing Yesterday is really the only other horse with the bulk of the probability to win.

     

    Bets: Oxy Lady to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

     

    Exacta: Oxy Lady and Chasing Yesterday over Oxy Lady, Chasing Yesterday, Vibrance, Mother Mother and Sold It.

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  • 30
    NOV

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 1

    Remsen Stakes - Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:12 PM Eastern

    Jungle Warrior, Network Effect and Maximus Mischief comprise the bulk of the probability to win this year's Remsen, but only one of the three is a good win bet and that is Jungle Warrior, who opens at 8/1 compared to 7/5 for Network Effect and 6/5 for Maximus Mischief. The key to those decent odds holding up is this colt is running on dirt for the first time after two turf races to start his career. He debuted in August with a big effort when rallying from last of 11 to win by a head then he ran okay when finishing 5th after being 12th early in the Grade 2 Natalma Stakes on the turf at a mile. He did improve his Equibase figure even though 5th in the Natalma, to 87, a far cry from the 99 to 106 figures the two favorites have earned in their four starts combined to date, BUT this colt could be a whole different horse not only on dirt but also now in the care of Jimmy Jerkens, who is having a banner year. Jose Ortiz getting on is the first sign the colt can do and although sire Animal Kingdom is known for turf and all-weather, the dam (Harissa) won 6 of 13 on dirt INCLUDING the Barbara Fritchie around one turn and the Sunland Park Oaks around two turns. With Maximus Mischief having earned both wins leading from start to finish and with Chinomado, Gladiator King and Tax all likely to  be close up early pushing the pacesetter, and PARTICULARLY with NONE having run this far, there is every reason to believe Jungle Warrior may be able to get a perfect trip and post the upset.

     

    For multi-race tickets like the pick 3 (with a recommendation below), I will use both Network Effect and Maximus Mischief. Network Effect should get a great trip like Jungle Warrior and although beaten nearly two lengths last out in the Nashua he was seven clear of the third horse in a big effort with a field high 106 Equibase Figure. Its possible Maximus Mischief clears early and never looks back and I like the stretch out from seven to nine furlongs but he did regress from a 102 debut figure to 99 and it was at Parx so he's got a few hurdles to overcome.

     

    Bets: Jungle Warrior to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

     

    Pick 3 (two tickets):

    Race 8 – Jungle Warrior, Network Effect and Maximus Mischief

    Race 9 – Sunny Ridge, Pat On the Back, Copper Town and Patternrecognition

    Race 10 – Quest for Fire

     

    Race 8 – Jungle Warrior

    Race 9 – ALL

    Race 10 – Quest for Fire

     

    Cigar Mile Handicap – Race 9 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:45 PM Eastern

    Copper Town has tremendous upside and that's why he appears to have the highest probability to win this year's Cigar Mile Handicap. Making his career debut in a five and one-half furlong sprint in February 2017, Copper Town got the experience of a race out of the way then blew away his competition following six months off last September with a three and three-quarter length win in easy fashion. Bettering that effort less than one month later, Copper Town won by six lengths, beating favored Patternrecognition easily to earn a then career-best 103Equibase Speed Figure. Put on the sidelines after that race, Copper Town came back after a year off and ran as if he had never been away, easily winning by five lengths and earning a new career-best 108 figure. Todd Pletcher has had excellent success with back-to-back winners in dirt routes when the horse's last start was a sprint, as the STATS Race Lens statistic reveals a 15 for 50 (30%) win rate over the last two years in this situation.  With his two prior wins coming in one-turn route races like the Cigar Mile and with a lot of improving to do physically in his second start back from a year on the bench, Copper Town could put his name in the hat to be one of the premier handicap division horses for 2019 with a win in this race.

     

    Sunny Ridge entered the stretch one and one-half lengths behind Patternrecognition in the Kelso Handicap in September and crossed the wire one length behind so was no match for Patternrecognition that day. However, Patternrecognition was allowed to lead easily by a length from the start and to establish a steady rhythm, which is unlikely to happen in the Cigar because of Mendelssohn's predisposition to lead from the start. As it appears likely Mendelssohn will once again lead from the start, with Patternrecognition pressing the pacesetter in second, Sunny Ridge may be in a great stalking spot in third in the early stages, much like he was three races back in July when rallying to win the State Dinner Stakes by three lengths with a career-best 114 figure, an effort which if repeated here may help him to gain the upset win.

     

    Patternrecognition earned a 111 figure in the Kelso, which followed a career-best 113 figure effort in August following two months away. Patternrecognition shows up every time, as evidenced by a first or second place finish in nine of his 10 career races. Likely to be in the second position early if Mendelssohn goes to the lead as expected, Patternrecognition has the ability to take over before the other stalkers and closers get into high gear and therefore could win his second graded stakes race in a row.

     

    Pat On the Back has been very competitive versus NY Breds of late, winning two of his last four starts and losing by inches in the other two. The best of the four was a one-turn route like this race, on July 13, in which he earned a 113 figure which if repeated gives him a shot to be very competitive at high odds, opening at 15/1.

     

    Bets: Copper Town to win at 9 to 5 or higher. Sunny Ridge to win at 3 to 1 or higher. Patternrecognition at odds of 3 to 1 or more (although I don't anticipate him going post at those odds).

    Don't forget, 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 Copper Town, Sunny Ridge and Pattern Recognition, then also box Copper Town, Sunny Ridge, Pat On The Back and Pattern Recognition

    Trifectas: Copper Town over Sunny Ridge, Pat On The Back and Pattern Recognition over ALL.

    "IF" the pick 3 bet started in race 8 is dead (meaning neither Jungle Warrior, Network Effect or Maximus Mischief won), then play a double of Sunny Ridge, Pat On the Back, Copper Town and Patternrecognition in Race 8 with Quest for Fire in Race 9.

     

    Race 10 at Aqueduct - Post Time 4:16 PM Eastern

    Quest for Fire has only run once, winning his debut in March over the track at six furlongs. He  fired big fresh that day and appears capable of firing fresh again to move through this first allowance level for NY Breds in a field of 12 with a good post and Franco (up for the debut) riding back for the strong Baker Barn.

    Wrong Ben is 4 for 11 but is still eligible for the level because although he broke his maiden at the same NY Bred straight maiden level as Quest For Fire, his other three wins came in claiming races. He does appear to be a need-the-lead type and there is other early speed in the race but he could be in the money at the least. Smokin Platinum lost by a nose and a head at the level over the track last month after breaking his maiden and is the other with a slight shot to win and a big shot to hit the board.

    Bets: Quest for Fire to win at odds of 8 to 5 or more. (Note: If alive in the pick 3 to Quest For Fire, a win bet may not be necessary).

    Trifecta: Quest for Fire over Wrong Ben and Smokin Platinum over ALL.

    Exacta (to cover Quest for Fire finishing second): Wrong Ben and Smokin Platinum over Quest For Fire.

    Hollywood Derby - Race 7 at Del Mar - Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern / 3:30 Pacific

    Raging Bull is one of two horses shipped from the east coast base of Chad Brown, the other being Instilled Regard who is trying turf for the first time and who is not a win contender in my opinion. Raging Bull brings along Joel Rosario, taking off a full day at Aqueduct where four graded stakes are being run, a big sign about how the jockey and his agent feel about this colt. Raging Bull won four of his first five races, all on turf, including the very similar Hall of Fame and Saranac Stakes this summer at Saratoga, in the latter finishing fast from 6th with a quarter mile to go and racing the last eighth of a mile in 11.5 seconds which is fast by any standards. He was beaten when a no-excuse fifth as the favorite in the Hill Prince Stakes two months ago but Brown didn't ship just for the San Diego weather and if the colt is back in his summer form he's going to be tough to beat.

    River Boyne is the top three year old turf star, having won both the La Jolla in August and the Twilight Derby last month. Like Raging Bull, River Boyne also ran poorly as the favorite in one of his last three races, this one when third in the Del Mar Derby in September. His best is good enough to be there at the wire but he's no standout.

    Have At It beat Raging Bull when victorious in the Hill Prince in October then shipped west and missed by a half-length to River Boyne in the Twilight Derby. Shipped back to trainer Clement's east coast base, Have At It is back in California and reunited with David Cohen, who was in the saddle for the Hill Prince win in his only start with the colt. Kazan ran poorly in the Twilight Derby but we can ignore the effort as the jockey lost the whip. He ran 2nd in the Del Mar Derby at 50/1 before that, finishing in front of River Boyne, and that may not have been a fluke as he won two in a row prior to that. Risky Proposition and Desert Stone round out the contenders for either win bets or inclusion on exacta tickets. Risky Proposition won the restricted Let It Ride stakes a few weeks back so has to improve to run as well at this grade 1 level BUT the win came over the course and the 113 figure is in range of the effort it's going to take to run competitively here. Desert Stone was a nose behind Have At It and another half-length shy of River Boyne in the Twilight derby and can't be ruled out with a similar effort.

     

    Bets: Raging Bull to win at odds of 8 to 5 or more. River Boyne to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more Have At It to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

     

    Don't forget, 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: Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne and Raging Bull over Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne, Raging Bull, Risky Proposition and Desert Stone.

     

     

    Also turn that exacta above around as follows: Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne, Raging Bull, Risky Proposition and Desert Stone over Have At It, Kazan, River Boyne and Raging Bull.

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  • 23
    NOV

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 24

    Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship - Race 7 at Aqueduct - Post Time 2:50 PM Eastern

    Dubini is the KEY to a big profit in the race, opening at 15/1, if he runs as he did in this race last year when 2nd, beaten 3/4 of a length, at 59 to 1. He's in fine form off a pair of runner-up finishes in Turf Sprints, last out to a very tough horse in Smokin' Nitro, who might have won a stakes last week if half the gate didn't open when it sprung for the rest of the field. First or second in 8 of 13 career races, all turf sprints, the 122 figure Dubini earned in this race last year is as good as heavy favorite Disco Partner (even money on the morning line) earned in his two best efforts this year, with the rest of the field FAR SLOWER, and from a much better post (2) than the favorite (9), Dubini could be in the thick of the action from start to finish once again.

     

    Hembree is another potential overlay, opening at 8/1, because he ran two "A" races in a row before his last when 10th in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint when over his head and on a soggy course he did not care for. Jose Ortiz gets back on, having ridden him just once in the past year, to a win at Kentucky Downs in a turf sprint in September. Those allowance races at Kentucky Downs carried stake purses and fields and that 106 Equibase figure effort was improved upon to 116 when Hembree won the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes at Woodbine in October. If the Nearctic was his most recent race there's no way he would be opening at 8/1 and I have no problem ignoring the BC effort so he's got a shot to outrun high odds as well.

     

    There are no particular knocks on Disco Partner, whose best effort has him in the photo on the wire, but except for his Jaipur effort in June and his Belmont Turf Sprint effort in October, he's just average this year and that accounts for FOUR of his six races this year. Blind Ambition was 2nd to Disco Partner in the Belmont Turf Sprint and won a similar stakes (the Elusive Quality) in April but he too has run just so-so at best in five races this year so he's a poor win bet opening at 3/1.

     

    Bets: Dubini to win and place at 7 to 2 or more (and/or the exacta below which can be played instead of a win/place bet). For a smaller amount, Hembree to win at 4 to 1 or more.

     

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

     

    Exacta: (which can be played instead of, or in addition to, a win/place bet on Dubini): Dubini over All and then All over Dubini. Then come back and play an exacta box of Dubini and Disco Partner and Dubini and Blind Ambition.

    Trifecta: Box Dubini, Hembree, Disco Partner and Blind Ambition.

    Long Island Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:50 PM Eastern

    Tricky Escape has proved competitive in marathons on turf like this one, first winning the Grade 2 Robert G. Dick Memorial Stakes in July then two later taking the Ramsey Farm Stakes at Kentucky Downs, which in spite of not having a grade was a grade 3 or grade 2 level race carrying a $360K purse similar to the $400K on the line here. Those two wins bookended a three race streak since rejoining the Ashby barn, before she was overmatched in the G1 Flower Bowl last month. The 106 and 104 best figures earned in two of the three recent wins are BEST in the field yet the mare opens at 8/1 so she must get top billing.

    Violet Blue opens at 2 1/2 times the odds of Tricky Escape, 20/1, which will really help us make a profit if she runs well. There is really only one race in her recent history to be competitive here, three back on 8/10 at Saratoga when beaten a half-length in a tough allowance field at 9/2, with a 105 figure as good as any in here. Alvarado gets on for the first time, for the very solid Toner barn, and considering she didn't care one bit for the soggy turf last month in the Zagora Stakes and was 6th in the same Ramsey Farm Stakes which Tricky Escape won, Violet Blue doesn’t have 3 times less of a chance to run well as Tricky Escape so we must consider her for all wagers we make in this race.

    Lady Montdore won the similar Glens Falls Stakes in September at Saratoga at this 11 furlong trip, leading from start to finish, but she also won in her U.S. debut one month earlier when rallying from 4th in the early stages. She too was overmatched in the Flower Bowl but wasn't disgraced when 3rd of 7 and so returning to the distance of her last two wins and with a great inside post to use her tactical speed to its best advantage, she is another contender to consider although not nearly as good a win bet at the first two, as she opens at 7/2.

    Lady Paname is one of three from the Brown barn, and she's got a decent upside off a strong win at 10 furlong last month in her U.S. debut. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rode her then as today and she should improve as she was off for 13 months before that start. She was 4th in a strong group 2 race against males (won by The Queen's Call to Mind) before the layoff so she's got a bit of class. Brown has won with nearly 20% of his allowance to graded stakes starters in turf routes over the last 5 years, with over 40% finishing 1st or 2nd, so I would not discount this filly's chances for even a second.

    Bets: Tricky Escape to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    For a much smaller amount (about 1/3 to 1/2 of that bet on Tricky Escape), Violet Blue to win and place at 4 to 1 or more.

    Exactas: Tricky Escape over ALL.

    Box Tricky Escape, Violet Blue, Lady Montdore and Lady Paname.

    Jimmy Durante Stakes – Race 5 at Del Mar - Post Time 5:30 PM Eastern / 2:30 PM Pacific

    Lakerball is a two year old filly like all the rest here, but she's a DOUBLE STAKES winner, a claim none of the rest can make. As a matter of fact, only three of the other 12 are stakes winners, two in Europe and the other in dirt sprint whereas Lakerball earned both her wins at a mile on turf just like this race. With improving figures of 91 and 96, a great inside post and good tactical speed, she's the one to beat in spite of opening as the third choice at 9 to 2.

    Elsa is the horse we want to be in the picture at the end for a big profit as she opens at 20/1. The reason is in her most recent race she finished 7th of 11 and was well beaten. HOWEVER, not only was that race contested on a soggy turf course, compared to the firm grass at Del Mar, she was sent to post as the even money favorite in that big field, the reason being she was third as the favorite with traffic trouble in the Bolton Landing Stakes at Saratoga prior to that. She won her only other start, her debut, on turf in July and she's adding Lasix today. She put in a spectacular workout at Fair Grounds for Stidham before venturing west, the best of 101 on the day, and the barn's #1 jockey, Joe Bravo, takes the call so she's very live and appears capable of running a lot better than many will suspect.

    Monette ran very well in her U.S. debut last month in New York when rallying from last of 11 to miss by just a head in the Grade 3 Matron Stakes on the turf at six furlongs. She won a stakes in France in July against males and has only been worse than 2nd once in seven career starts so must be respected as a contender.

    Pivottina and Posh Holly are two horses to consider for exotics, the former a bit overbet (opening at 7/2) off a troubled fourth in the Natalma Stakes in September, her U.S. debut, as the trouble wasn't that bad. However, she has some talent. Posh Holly won in her 2nd U.S. start last month at this mile trip and although she's facing much tougher she might have a say in the outcome.

    Bets: Lakerball to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more, a true low odds overlay key bet.

    For a smaller amount, Elsa to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher.

    To finish off the three win contenders, Monette can be bet to win at 4 to 1 or higher.

    Don't forget, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge.

    Exactas: Lakerball over ALL.

    Lakerball¸ Elsa and Monette over ALL.

    Lakerball, Elsa and Monette over Lakerball, Elsa, Monette, Pivottina and Posh Holly.

    Consider playing the reverse of that exacta as well.

    Seabiscuit Handicap - Race 7 at Del Mar - Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern / 3:30 Pacific

    Synchrony has won four of seven races this year, starting with the Fair Grounds Handicap in February following seven months. After finishing third in the Turf Classic Stakes on Derby weekend and third again in the Arlington Handicap, he shortened up to the distance of the Seabiscuit for the Oceanport Stakes and won, followed by a similar win in the Red Bank Stakes in September, with a strong 111 Equibase Figure similar to the 112 figure effort put for in the Muniz earlier in the year. Overmatched in the Shadwell Turf Mile following the Red Bank, Synchrony is reunited with jockey Joe Bravo for the Seabiscuit, who was in the saddle for all four wins this year. Before leaving trainer Stidham's base in Louisiana, Synchrony put in a very strong five furlong workout (58.4) which was the best of 39 on the day, followed by another excellent half-mile drill, so he enters the race ready to put forth his best effort, which should be good enough to win.

    Although Synchrony has a much higher probability to win than some others, there are three more we can consider for wagers made involving this race. He Will gets the extreme outside post in this 12 horse field, but that may not be an impediment as he likes to run fairly far back, as when he rallied from eighth of nine to win the Lure Stakes last fall. Following the Lure, He Will put in a strong late run to come up a nose shy of victory last year's Seabiscuit. After seventh and fourth place finishes, He Will was given time off, eight months to be exact, returning in nothing more than sprint prep for this year's Seabiscuit in the fall when eighth in the Eddie D. Stakes. Having earned a 116 figure in the Lure followed by a 119 figure in this race last year, He Will has potential to post the upset or at least outrun what may be high odds. Caribou Club showed he could compete at the level, albeit at a shorter distance, when victorious in the Connaught Cup Stakes in June at seven furlongs on turf. Fourth and seventh with no excuse in two stakes following the win, Caribou Club prepped for the Seabiscuit in the Eddie D. Stakes in similar fashion to He Will. In the Eddie D, Caribou Club broke a bit slowly to be eighth of nine in the early stages but put in a strong late run to finish third, just three-quarters of a length from the runner-up. That race has since become a "Key Race" by virtue of winner Stormy Liberal returning to win the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint and with the fourth place finisher winning his next race as well. Considering Caribou Club earned a career best 112 figure in the race, with similar improvement he certainly has a right to run well enough to win the Seabiscuit. Pincheck (IRE) will round out a quartet of win contenders in this race, making his U.S. debut and having the Desmond Stakes in August in his native Ireland, rather easily by three lengths, earning a 110 figure in the process. Third in a tougher field in September, Pincheck (IRE) gets the services of Mike Smith, who continues to win at a high percentage (23%) on the year in spite of riding in about one-fourth of the number of races of the other jockeys in the top 10 in North America. Being just a four year old, Pincheck (IRE) may not have run his best to date and must be respected when considering wagers involving the Seabiscuit Handicap.

    Bets: Synchrony to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher, a true Low Odds Overlay Win Bet.

    Exactas: Synchrony over He Will, Caribou Club and Pincheck, then also the reverse which is He Will, Caribou Club and Pincheck over Synchrony

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  • 16
    NOV

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 17

    Race 7 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:17 PM Eastern

    This could get a little complicated because of the snow and rain that fell Thursday through Thursday night but with a day and one-half of fair weather, I'm hoping the race stays on the turf as scheduled. Greek Alphabet gets preference because in a field in which at least five horses have a decent probability to win, he opens at ridiculously high 15/1 morning line odds. Like most, Greek Alphabet won a maiden special weight and NW1X allowance level race to belong at this NW2X condition and like many, one of his wins came on grass. That was his maiden win and it was his ONLY turf start to date among five career races, in July at Belmont and in that race Greek Alphabet ran professionally, leading from start to finish on solid fractions in a field of six with Maragh aboard. He won next out in an off-turf race by 5 lengths with Maragh up then ran last of 9 in September before taking two months off. The turf win in July came off a layoff since the previous September so this two month rest is of no concern, and this royally bred son of Medaglia d'Oro who cost $875K at auction and who is handled by very good trainer McLaughlin has every right to run a winning race today.

     

     

    Gucci Factor and Dr. Edgar finished 2nd and 1st, respectively, on July 11 at this distance on grass at the one lower NW1X allowance level a big effort for both. Dr. Edgar came out of that race to win on 8/26 only to be disqualified to 2nd then won powerfully and without being dq'd on 9/16. Meanwhile, Gucci Factor moved into New York bred stakes company for the Cole Stakes on 9/23 and closed well for 3rd, beaten a half-length by next out winner Offering Plan. With Gucci Factor dropping from stakes back to allowance company and having won three of his last four non-stakes races in a row on turf and with Dr. Edgar having won three of his last four (not counting the DQ), these two could have a big say in the outcome here.

     

    Clyde's Image returned from a lengthy 20 month layoff last month to win as if he had never been away, at the one lower NW1X allowance level at this trip on turf by a nose. He had finished 1st or 2nd in three straight before the rest and as he should be stronger physically in his 2nd start off the layoff, he must be given a lot of respect as his 8/1 morning line odds are a bit high given his probability. Adonis Creed also opens a bit too high to ignore at 8/1. Even though he just won a non-winners of 3 lifetime claiming race rather than an allowance race, Adonis Creed did so with authority.

     

    "IF" this race gets taken off turf, without doubt Greek Alphabet and Gucci Factor are win contenders as both have excellent form on dirt. In addition, Lunaire would be a contender off a win in an off-turf race last month.

     

    Bets: Greek Alphabet to win at 7 to 2 or higher odds, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

    Consider win bets on Clyde's Image and Adonis Creed at 9 to 2 or more.

    It's unlikely either Gucci Factor or Dr. Edgar will reach the odds necessary for a win bet worth the risk in this field, but if either happens to be 7 to 2 odds or higher near post time, they can be bet to win as well.

    For dirt, Lunaire is playable as win bet at odds of 4 to 1 or higher.

     

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

    Personally, I will be passing exacta bets in favor of doubles to race 9. You are certainly able to play them but I feel there are a lot of "ifs" about this race and would rather play doubles.

     

    Doubles: Greek Alphabet, Clyde's Image, Adonis Creed, Gucci Factor and Dr. Edgar in Race 8 with Zulu Alpha, Soglio and Bigger Picture in Race 9.

     

    "IF" race 8 moves to dirt due to weather, add Lunaire to the horses to use in doubles with the contenders in race 9.

    Red Smith Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:47 PM Eastern

    Zulu Alpha won three of the first 16 races of his career through May of this year. However, starting in August when blinkers were removed, he has become a different horse entirely winning three of four races and missing by a neck in the other. Along the way, trainer Michael Maker claimed the horse for $80,000 in September and immediately rewarded new owner Michael Hui with $60,000 of that claim price with a win in the Sycamore Stakes at a mile and one-half, earning a 111 Equibase Figure in the process. Cutting back to a mile and three-eighths is not an issue, and considering Zulu Alpha earned career-best 116  figure when winning in September just before the Sycamore, he fits here perfectly as last year's Red Smith winner (Spring Quality) earned a 109 figure in victory. Additionally, having beaten the 2016 Red Smith winner Bigger Picture in the Sycamore, Zulu Alpha has already proven capable of performing well enough to win at this level.

    Bigger Picture is a pro, having won 10 of 31 career starts on the grass and having earned $1.3 million in the process. On the other hand, he is winless in seven starts since taking the John B. Connally Stakes in January and he was no match for Zulu Alpha in the Sycamore last month when checking in a non-threatening third. One race before that, Bigger Picture missed by a half-length in the Kentucky Turf Cup Stakes, earning a strong 118 figure and finishing a neck ahead of Soglio, who came back to win one month later. In 2016, Bigger Picture missed by a nose in the Sycamore before winning the Red Smith and so it would be no surprise if he steps up with his biggest effort of the year in this situation.

    Soglio has won three of nine races this year and although none were stakes, he's proven to be very tough in his four year old season. He won at this 11 furlong turf trip in May with a 118 figure that is good enough to win if repeated and he's run very consistently since then. Following the win in May, Soglio finished third in three straight races, two of those stakes including when just a neck behind Bigger Picture in the Kentucky Turf Cup.  His figures for those efforts of 120, 113 and 118 are all strong enough to have him in the thick of the action on the finish line if repeated.

    Three more horses deserve honorable mention and should at the least be considered for exacta tickets as they can finish second if they run their best. Call Provision has been first or second in 11 of 19 career races including seven of eight at this 11 furlong turf trip. He rallied from eighth to finish second in last year's Red Smith to earn a 108 figure and he's earned 121 and 118 figures since then, the latter when beaten a nose on the wire by Focus Group in the John's Call Stakes in August. Postulation was a dual stakes winner last year when victorious in the Cape Henlopen and American St. Leger then went off form.  However, since changing trainers to Michael Matz he has put in two good efforts, especially his most recent when second in the Point of Entry Stakes at a mile and one-half with a career best 118 figure. Focus Group won the John's Call Stakes at one mile and five-eighths in August with a 118 figure, then wasn't disgraced a bit when third of 11 in the Canadian International last month so rounds out this trio of potential contenders for the exotics.

    Bets: Win bets on whichever two of these three have the highest odds near post time, of at least 5 to 2 or more:

    Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture, Soglio.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

    Exactas: Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture and Soglio over Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture, Soglio, Call Provision, Postulation and Focus Group.

    Then also play the reverse of the above exacta to cover the three main contenders finishing 2nd. We also win twice of two of the three main contenders finish 1st & 2nd: Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture, Soglio, Call Provision, Postulation and Focus Group over Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture and Soglio.

    Optionally, you can play the first exacta as a trifecta as well, because at the $0.50 minimum it has a cost of $18. That bet is Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture and Soglio over Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture, Soglio, Call Provision, Postulation and Focus Group over Zulu Alpha, Bigger Picture, Soglio, Call Provision, Postulation and Focus Group.

    Bob Hope Stakes – Race 8 at Del Mar - Post Time 7 PM Eastern / 4 PM Pacific

    Sparky Ville is already a stakes winner, having won the Sunny Slope Stakes at Santa Anita last month at 6 1/2 furlongs. This seven furlong trip is insignificantly longer and in the Sunny Slope he ran a very mature race when sitting in fourth early before rallying to draw off. In this race, Sparky Ville will also be able to rally nicely as I don't see any other early pace scenario except one wherein Mucho Gusto and Savagery (both who earned their only wins leading from start to finish and both who wear blinkers) duel on fast early fractions. The 96 Equibase figure is the second best last race figure in the field, with Extra Hope having the best (101) but earned against maidens and not winners as Sparky Ville earned his against. So with improving to do and with Stevens riding back after being up for the stakes win last month, Sparky Ville gets top billing in this year's Bob Hope Stakes.

    Sueno may look overmatched on paper and as he opens at 15/1 but he has a shot to upset here. Not only does he have a stalking style that should benefit from the pace scenario, as well as a good post to sit and watch the other six jostle for position, he gets a jockey change Kent Desormeaux for his brother Keith and that is a very sneaky angle that has paid well in the past.

    Metropol is one of two from the Baffert barn, the other being morning line favorite Mucho Gusto, whose chances may be compromised by the pace battle with Savagery. Metropol closed from 2nd early to win in his debut last month with a 93 figure which can be improved upon and Baffert won this race last year with Mastery off a debut maiden win so perhaps the only thing that needs to happen for Metropol to give Baffert another win in this race is to break well and establish position. The rail may not offer the best opportunity for that so that's why  he's rated as third most probable, but he can't be discounted as a win contender.

    Extra Hope can be included in the exacta, which will use Sparky Ville as a key in first and second position.

    Bets: Sparky Ville to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more, a true low odds overlay key bet.

    For a smaller amount, Sueno to win at odds of 5 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 7 to 1 or higher.

    To finish off the three win contenders, Metropol can be bet to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

    Don't forget, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge.

    Exactas: Sparky Ville over Metropol, Sueno and Extra Hope. Play the reverse of that wager as well, which is Metropol, Sueno and Extra Hope over Sparky Ville.

    Doubles: Sparky Ville, Metropol and Sueno in Race 8 with Go Ghetto and Baby Bear's Soup in Race 9.

    Race 9 at Del Mar - Post Time 7:30 PM Eastern / 4:30 Pacific

    This may be just an $8K claiming race but there are two vulnerable, if not false, favorites in Matriculate and Vending Machine, which makes the race playable. Matriculate comes back from six months off after finishing second and being claimed but with the claim being voided, likely because of an issue. He has won 2 of his last 8, gets the rail which isn't great for this distance, and may be overbet. Vending Machine was claimed for $40K in June, finishing 12th, 8th and 6th in three starts since then, most recently at the $32K claiming level just 23 days ago. He's dropped to the bottom 8K level, suggesting even a trainer like Mullins doesn't know what to do to get him to run well and just wants someone to claim him.

     

    On the other hand, Baby Bear's Soup is the likely "lone frontrunner" in this otherwise paceless race and with seven pound apprentice jockey Fuentes riding can lead this weak group from start to finish. Off for 2 1/2 months from August to three weeks ago, Baby Bear's Soup showed speed for the first five furlongs through 21.6 and 44.8 fractions before tiring and in his 2nd start off the rest and with the apprentice aboard he may get an easy lead and never stop. If he does stop, Go Ghetto is the one to run him down, just as the horse did three back on 8/15 here at Del Mar when rallying from 5th and missing by a neck on the wire, at this identical 8K claiming level and with jockey Payeras riding as today. Go Ghetto won at 7 furlongs in January so this 6 1/2 furlong trip is of no concern, and the horse put in a sharp 47.6 workout in preparation for this race for a trainer (Clark) who also owns the horse and who has won nearly 25% of his claiming races in the past year.

     

    For the exacta, I'll throw in Louden's Gray, who finished second under similar conditions last month but who I think has distance limitations as his two wins this year came at the shorter distance of 5 1/2 furlongs.

     

    Bets: Baby Bear's Soup and Go Ghetto (either or both) to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

    Of course, if you played the doubles to these two in race 8 and are live you can skip the bets.

     

    Exactas: Box Baby Bear's Soup, Go Ghetto and Louden's Gray

    Read more...
  • 09
    NOV

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 10

    Juvenile Fillies Sprint Stakes – Race 5 at Gulfstream Park West- Post Time 2 PM Eastern

    Lovesick opens at 9 to 2 odds and if those odds hold up, or even if she drifts down to about 2 to 1, the odds could prove to be a gift as I think she's an absolute standout in this eight horse field of Florida breds. In her debut on August 19, Lovesick made short work of a similar field when leading but lapped-on in the early stages and continuing powerfully to the wire in front by a length and one-half. The 80 Equibase Figure doesn't do justice to how well she ran and now three months later, more mature physically and mentally, she's not facing much tougher than she did over the summer as she beat "open" (not restricted) company that day and is facing statebreds here. This gal is bred to be a good one, as three of her siblings on the dam's side are winners, two of them stakes winners, including her full brother Patternrecognition (4 for 10) who won the G1 Kelso Stakes this year. With Lopez riding and little if any other early pace in the race, Lovesick should blast out on top and never look back.

    Bets: Lovesick to win at 3 to 2 or higher odds, a true low odds overlay win bet.

     

    Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes – Race 8 at Gulfstream Park West - Post Time 3:36 PM Eastern

    Decorated Ace is already a stakes winner, on grass, at a mile, which are the identical conditions to this race, with one exception. The exception is the stakes race Decorated Ace won, the Sorority Stakes at Monmouth on September 1, was an "Open" race and this is a race restricted to Florida breds. She ran poorly in her only start following that win, when overmatched in the Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes (won by eventual Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf winner Newspaperofrecord), so facing much easier and having proven herself capable under all these conditions, Decorated Ace has a nice shot to win, and to make us a profit as she opens at 6 to 1.

    Likewise, Vow to Recover, who starts at 10 to 1 odds, is another to be greatly respected here. As with Decorated Ace, Vow to Recover will benefit nicely from a hot early pace battle between Lovely Luvy and Jolie Bay, who open as the two favorites at 3 to 1 and 5 to 2, respectively, and who are vulnerable favorites because of the likelihood neither will get the front to themselves in the early stages. Vow to Recover tried turf and two-turns for the very first time one month ago and took to the grass like a duck takes to water, rallying from seventh to draw off late over this course at Gulfstream Park West under Paco Lopez, who rides right back. The filly has room to improve in her second start on turf and should be flying late.

    Bets: Decorated Ace and Vow to Recover to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

    Trifectas (instead of exactas): Vow to Recover and Decorated Ace over Vow to Recover and Decorated Ace over ALL

    Then play the two contenders in case they come in fist and third (since the above bet covers them coming in first and second): Vow to Recover and Decorated Ace over ALL over Vow to Recover and Decorated Ace.

    Doubles: Vow to Recover and Decorated Ace in Race 8 with Yes I'll Go, Shanghai Starlet, Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak in Race 9.

    Also Vow to Recover and Decorated Ace in Race 8 with Yes I'll Go and Shanghai Starlet in Race 9.

    Millions Distaff Stakes – Race 9 at Gulfstream Park West - Post Time 4:06 PM Eastern

     

    Yes I'll Go is one of five contenders, in a 10 horse field, but with no strong favorite it can be a profitable race for betting purposes. Yes I'll Go opens at the second highest odds (10/1) of the quintet and that doesn't make sense because we can easily draw a line through her last three past performances and look to her fourth back as the race she can run today to win. Her last race was on turf and therefor irrelevant. Her second race back was irrelevant because a horse fell in front of her and she was steadied hard to avoid falling herself. Her third race back was irrelevant as she was ridden badly, dueling for the lead, and tired late against multiple stakes winner Curlin's Approval, who would be the odds-on favorite if running in this race. FOUR races back, on July 12, Yes I'll Go stalked in third early and won going away, at this seven furlong trip. She did the same three races before that in April and she won on this course at Gulfstream Park West previously. The key to a big effort is leading jockey Lopez taking over and a strong quartet of workouts over the track in preparation for the race.

    Shanghai Starlet opens at 9 to 2 odds and although much lower than 10/1 on Yes I'll Go they are HUGE for this horse trained by Todd Pletcher. She won three of five races on dirt after her turf debut in March, including a win in the Panama City Stakes, a race nearly identical to this. Zayas was up for that win and the win that preceded it, both at the distance of a mile around one turn, so she'll love this seven furlong trip. She ran poorly in her most recent start but that was completely irrelevant as it was on grass. Back on dirt, with pace to chase as Heavens Pulpit goes way too fast for her own good, Shanghai Starlet can repeat her Panama City effort for the win here.

    Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak are four other win contenders and none of them should be a surprise if victorious, even Ms Meshak (who opens at 12/1). Oola Gal finished second in the restricted Barely Even Stakes in August before a fourth of 10 finish in the similar Sheer Drama Stakes in September, but it was her winning effort one before the Barely Even when drawing off to win by a couple lengths that gives her a shot to be competitive here if repeated. Starship Bonita was third behind Shanghai Starlet in the Panama City but won the Sheer Drama next time out on September 8, with Ms Meshak clearly second in that 10 horse field. Heiressall is going for her fourth straight win, the most recent over the track. She's never raced this far but won at 6 1/2 furlongs so should get the trip and she's a talented filly. As previously pointed out, Ms Meshak finished second in an identical stakes race last out and as she was first and second in her two starts prior to that her 12/1 starting odds are out of line.

    Bets: Yes I'll Go and Shanghai Starlet to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

    Consider an additional win bet, for a smaller amount than on Yes I'll Go and Shanghai Starlet, on any of the other four – Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak, preferably just the one that goes to post at the highest odds, at 4 to 1 odds or higher.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

    Exacta: Yes I'll Go and Shanghai Starlet over Yes I'll Go, Shanghai Starlet, Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak.

    Optionally, play the reverse of that exacta, which is Yes I'll Go, Shanghai Starlet, Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak over Yes I'll Go and Shanghai Starlet.

    Doubles: Yes I'll Go, Shanghai Starlet, Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak in Race 9 with He'll Do, Mega Bucks, Lucky Mike and Stirling Drive in Race 10.

    Also Yes I'll Go, Shanghai Starlet, Oola Gal, Starship Bonita, Heiressall and Ms Meshak in Race 9 with He'll Do and Mega Bucks in Race 10.

    Juvenile Turf Stakes - Race 10 at Gulfstream Park West - Post Time 4:36 PM Eastern

    He'll Do took to turf like a duck takes to water last month when trying grass for the first time in his second career start. He led from start to finish because no one wanted the lead but the slow fractions and pace figures, particularly his final quarter, tell me he can run just as well from off the pace. Keibar Coa rode him last out and rides back for the Proctor Stable and the colt goes from "Open" (not restricted) company to Florida breds only so it's really not a raise in class as this nine horse field is composed of FOUR horses which are still maidens and three others who have won just once the same as he has. Likely to improve nicely off his second career start, first on turf and first around two turns, He'll Do will do nicely as a win bet as he opens at 4 to 1.

    Mega Bucks is the other horse with the bulk of the probability to win, opening at 3 to1 but NOT the favorite as that will be Stirling Drive. Mega Bucks, like He'll Do, ran awful in his debut on dirt but ran HUGE when trying turf for the first time as he missed by a neck on the wire. Rested seven weeks, Mega Bucks returned on 10/27 and rallied from 8th in a very mature fashion to win by a neck on the wire. With the rail to save ground and with Zayas riding back after being up for the first time in victory last month, over this course, Mega Bucks just needs to find a place to run in the stretch and he may be passing them all for the score.

    Lucky Mike (12/1 morning line) and Stirling Drive (2/1 morning line) are the other horses which can win or finish second. Lucky Mike finished fast from 10th to 4th, beaten just a length and one-half, in the race Mega Bucks won on 10/27. Although he's a maiden facing winners he should be good for a share at the least so has to be used on exacta tickets we play and we must bet at least a couple of bucks on him to win so we don't kick ourselves later should he post the upset. Stirling Drive can win but shouldn't open at 2 to 1. He ran exactly the same, no better, than He'll Do and Mega Bucks when winning his 2nd career start, first on grass, in September, then he finished third in an "open" stakes race at the end of the same month. However, although he did have some traffic trouble early in an allowance race over the course on 10/25, there was still no excuse for his 4th place finish and there's no telling if he will improve or regress in this situation.

    Bets: He'll Do and Mega Bucks to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

    Exactas: Box He'll Do, Mega Bucks, Lucky Mike and Stirling Drive. 

    Read more...
  • 02
    NOV

    Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 3

    Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile - Race 5 at Churchill Downs- Post Time 1:16 PM Eastern Time

    The problem with horses which are undefeated, such as Catalina Cruiser, is must of the public bets them as much based on hype as on form, which pushes down their odds. That situation makes it difficult to bet them to win unless they are standouts, which Catalina Cruiser is NOT in this field, but he is definitely one of four that can win. The good part of undefeated horses being bet down is other horses, who normally would go to post at low odds, will offer value for the risk.

     

    Firenze Fire is such a horse, opening at ridiculous 6 to 1 odds in my opinion where he was 5 to 2 winning the Dwyer Stakes by nine lengths in July and was 7 to 5 winning the Gallant Bob Stakes near the end of September. He had some traffic trouble and got a less than optimal ride when third in the H. Allen Jerkens Stakes between the two wins but redeemed himself in the Gallant Bob not only with a career best 109 figure but battling head-and-head for the ENTIRE last four furlongs and when his foe to the right tries to bite him in the stretch. Firenze Fire loves this mile trip, as his Dwyer win came at the distance, as did his win in the Jerome Stakes in January and last year in the Champagne as a two year old. Recalling how three year olds have fared in Breeders' Cup races against their elders, specifically how Goldencents destroyed the field in this race a few years back, Firenze Fire gets top billing in this year's Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile.

     

    Seeking the Soul is the other potential overlay in the field, because although he may have the same probability to win as the other three contenders, he's likely to go to post at the highest odds of the quartet, opening at 5 to 1. Having won at distances ranging from seven to nine furlongs, this mile trip is not an issue particularly as he prepped for this race by winning the Ack Ack Stakes at the distance over the track in September. He won the Grade 1 Clark Handicap last November with a career best 117 figure and this being his third race off a layoff a similar effort could be forthcoming.

     

    City of Light was good enough to win this kind of race last December and through the spring but there's a slight question of whether he is this good now. Only worse than second one time in nine career races, he won the Grade 1 Malibu and Grade 1 Triple Bend in December and March at 7 furlongs then stretched out to win the nine furlong Oaklawn Handicap in April with a career best 117 figure. Third behind Classic bound Accelerate in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May, he took three months off then finished 2nd to Whitmore in the shorter Forego Stakes with a 105 figure and as he's been working up a storm in the morning he could be back to his early 2018 form which might make him a formidable foe in this race.

     

    Catalina Cruiser is undefeated in four starts, each better than the rest, starting with his debut last October then his comeback after seven months off in May. His last two efforts were his best yet, with 118 then 125 figures which, if repeated, would make it very difficult to beat him. However, the quality of those fields wasn't that great and it could be he is a need-the-lead type as he was just a head from the lead at the start in his most recent race, as well as the only reason he closed from sixth to win his debut was he broke slowly. However, he's got a great attitude and he's not the type of favorite I could label suspect so he will be used as a win contender on any exotic bets I make involving this race. However, I'd be dishonest if I didn't say I would much rather any of the other three emerge the winner for a better profit.

     

    Win Bets: Firenze Fire to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    For a smaller amount, Seeking the Soul to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

     

    Exactas: Firenze Fire and Seeking the Soul over ALL

    Box Firenze Fire, Seeking the Soul, City of Light and Catalina Cruiser

    Trifecta: Box Firenze Fire, Seeking the Soul, City of Light and Catalina Cruiser

     

    Senator Ken Maddy Stakes - Race 8 at Santa Anita- Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern, 3:30 Pacific

     

    Miss Southern Miss, who opens at 15/1, has the same credentials as lower odds horses like Storm the Hill (7/2 opening odds) and Painting Corners (4/1 opening odds) but has to the first of the trio of win contenders to be considered for wagers in this race. As a two year old in the summer of 2016, Miss Southern Miss finished 2nd in the Landaluce Stakes in her second career start, then second in the Grade 2 Sorrento Stakes before a poor effort in the Del Mar Debutante. Showing an affinity for turf in her grass debut, she won the Surfer Girl Stakes in her final start at two before taking a break. After a poor effort trying to get on the Road to the Kentucky Oaks in the Las Virgenes stakes to start her three year old campaign, Miss Southern Miss went back to turf and hasn't been of the stuff since. She ran poorly in her three starts last fall and winter but when returning as a four year old in January she won down this sometimes tricky downhill turf course with a career best effort and career best 108 Equibase figure to boot. She ran fourth in a stakes one month later but something went amiss and she was on the sidelines for seven months. Returning in a tough classified allowance race last month, won by Painting Corners (who was 13/1 that day), Miss Southern Miss finished with interest from ninth of 10 to get sixth late and in her second start off the rest she has potential to return to the form shown this past January, an effort good enough to win here. Trainer Keith Desormeaux has a sneaky good record down the hill at Santa Anita – 6 for 26 in the past two years, so I'll give this gal a long look to help make a big profit in this race at double digit odds.

    Storm the Hill is a grade 3 winner in a grade 3 race so there are no issues there. She won the Wilshire Stakes at a mile in June on this course with Bejarano up and with a strong 111 figure. Bejarano gets back on after Leparoux rode her for her trip to Kentucky in September when a decent fourth of eight in a tough stakes at Kentucky Downs. She was overmatched in between those two races when fifth to Cambodia in the Grade 2 Yellow Ribbon but in this grade three race and having won two of three career starts at this trip at Santa Anita, as well as reunited with Bejarano, this filly has every right to return to stakes winning form.

    As stated previously, Painting Corners was 13/1 when winning the classified allowance last month down the hill, bringing her record to 3 for 6 at the trip. That was her 2nd win in a row since adding blinkers, both turf sprints, and the jockey change to Roman (with Van Dyke out of town) is no issue as Roman rode her to a victory one year ago in a turf sprint at Del Mar. The 109 figure earned last out matches well with the 111 Storm the Hill earned in her best recent effort and the 108 Miss Southern Miss earned at the trip in January and her 4/1 starting odds, as well as the 7/2 starting odds on Storm The Hill, are well above what I think is reasonable given her 25% probability to win.

    Win Bets: Miss Southern Miss to win at odds of 3/1 or more, adding a place bet to be sure at 6/1 or more.

    Bet either Storm the Hill or Painting Corners, whichever is the higher odds of the pair, at 3 to 1 or more.

    Exacta: Box Miss Southern Miss, Storm the Hill and Painting Corners.

    Exacta: Miss Southern Miss, Storm the Hill and Painting Corners over ALL.

    You can get my detailed Breeders' Cup Classic analysis free at this link to Equibase and you can get my full card detailed analysis for both days of Breeders' Cup in the selections section on Equibase web site as well. 

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