Friday, 10 November 2017 12:45

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




Friday, 03 November 2017 12:32

Key Bets & Races for Saturday, November 4

Juvenile Turf Sprint – Race 3 at Del Mar – Post time 11:20 AM Pacific Time, 2:20 PM Eastern Time


I probably could go on and on with listing contenders in this full field of 12 two year olds horse going 5 furlongs on turf, every one having run in a stakes race in North America or Europe. However, I will have to give Sound and Silence a bit of an edge here based on the number of races he's run (8), his record (4 for 8) and the fact he won the Group 3 Prix Eclipse Stakes in September, with a runner-up effort I a stakes prior to that and after that. With class in his favor and having run four "A" races in a row, three at this 5 furlong trip, Sound and Silence could have what it takes to win this year's Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint. Next in terms of probability there are a slew that could jump up and run well, so we should be mindful to bet the ones going to post at the highest odds to take advantage of any mistakes made by the public at large. Elizabeth Darcy opens at 20/1 and fits on all counts, one of three from the potent Wesley Ward barn but the only one ridden by North American leading jockey Jose Ortiz The filly won by an amazing 7 3/4 lengths (for a 5 furlong sprint) in her May debut then two later missed by less than a length in the Prix du Bois Stakes in France. She ran badly in August but comes back to the states and put in a sparkling 47 and change workout a few days ago. Treasuring and Out of the Flames are both owned by Qatar Racing but have different trainers. Nevertheless if we bet on one we should be on the other as they both open at double digit odds. Treasuring won the grade 3 Curragh Stakes in Ireland in August before a poor effort in a group 1 stakes and she has a big shot to rebound against these and with first time Lasix. Out of the Flames missed by less than a length in a stakes with a 90K purse in England when last seen and also adds Lasix for the first time. March X Press is the best of the U.S. contingent, having won the Bolton Landing Stakes at 5 1/2 furlongs on grass in her 2nd career start, in August at Saratoga. She ran okay when 4th of 9 at a mile in the Natalma at Woodbine (in Canada) and on the cut back to a sprint where she's a perfect 2 for 2 she deserves express. We can't forget about Fairyland either as she was just a half-length behind March X Press in the Bolton Landing after leading from the start, and she put in a big half-mile workout locally on the turf in preparation for this race so could run as well or better here.


Bet Sound and Silence to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.


Consider win bets (at a smaller amount than on Sound and Silence) on any of the following horses, particularly if they go to post anywhere near double digit odds:

Elizabeth Darcy – Fair odds 5/1

Treasuring – Fair odds 7/1

Out of the Flames – Fair odds 7/1

March X Press – Fair odds 7/1

Fairyland – Fair odds 7/1


Labeeb Stakes – Race 6 at Woodbine – Post time 3:49 PM ET


Perhaps some people will pass this race as only six are entered but there's a lot of value to be had betting Field of Courage to win, opening at 6/1, so rest assured I'll be betting this race. Additionally, the 2nd choice, Tower of Texas (morning line 2/1) is false if not vulnerable, with a 1 for 10 record this year and last and two bad races in a row, albeit to tougher but never showing any spark. Field of Courage tried turf twice before his most recent effort on the course on 10/15 and he was a whole different horse this time around posting the upset at 40/1 in the Grade 2 Nearctic Stakes. Field of Courage gets Hernandez to ride with Contreras out of town and that's just fine as the jockey has won at a very high 33% clip for Casse over the past 2 years. Considering his last race 113 Equibase figure, over the same course, is by FAR not only the best last race effort/figure in the field, BUT better than the 106 Glenville Gardens earned winning the Grade 2 Connaught Cup in June and the career best 104 figure 8/5 morning line favorite Shakhimat earned winning a classified allowance race near the end of September, Field of Courage is going to be a great win bet and key on any exacta wagers we make in this race.


Bet Field of Courage to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Play an exacta box between Field of Courage and Glenville Gardens

Play an exacta box between Field of Courage and Shakhimat


Chelsey Flower Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post time 4:36 PM ET


The Chelsey Flower Stakes is a turf race run at a mile for two year old fillies and four of these come out of races won by fillies that ran in Friday's Breeders' Juvenile Fillies Turf so the race isn't to be taken very lightly, particularly with a field of 12 signed on and no heavy favorite. I'll start the contender list with Mrs. Ramona G, who won in her debut at 6 furlongs on turf at Belmont at the end of September while showing a lot of maturity rallying from 8th in the early stages to win going away. She cost a quarter million at auction in March and may worth that in short order if she improves off what is ALREADY the best last race in the field, with a field high last race 89 Equibase figure. Angel Cruz may not be known to a lot of bettors, which could keep her odds near the 6/1 she opens at on the morning line, but make no mistake this jock can ride as he is used by Graham Motion and did win a graded stakes at Keeneland for that top trainer. With so many big names in California this is a fine choice of jockey in my opinion. Wise Gal is a stakes winner already but opens at what may be ridiculous 10/1 odds if they hold up. She is 2 for 2, both wins coming in turf sprints, but like Mrs. Ramona G she is bred to handle the longer distance just fine as a daughter of Einstein and she too showed a lot of maturity winning the Selima Stakes in mid-September rallying from 7th of 8 in the early stages. Brattata shouldn't won to break her maiden last out on 10/7, in the race won by Night Time Lady, but was completely boxed in until too late, still closing fast from 5th to 3rd, beaten under a length at the end. She opens a bit low for a win bet at 7/2 given how deep the field is and as she gets a potentially disadvantageous post but she's a contender nonetheless, one of two trained by Chad Brown (the other Night Time Lady). Radiant Beauty gets the ground saving rail and has shown the ability to win on the lead or from off the pace, breaking her maiden last month in career start #4 wire-to-wire at Belmont at a mile and one-sixteenth, so this mile trip will be no problem. The 88 figure earned is right there with Mrs. Ramona G's last race 89 figure so she rounds out the main group of contenders. For exactas we should also include Golden Orb, who exits a KEY race from which the runner-up and third place finishers both came back from to win stakes.


Make win bets on the contenders at these odds or higher:

Mrs. Ramona G – 5/2

Wise Gal3/1

Brattata – 7/2 (which is unlikely)

Radiant Beauty – 4/1 (also unlikely)


Play an exacta consisting of Mrs. Ramona G, Wise Gal, Brattata and Radiant Beauty over Mrs. Ramona G, Wise Gal, Brattata, Radiant Beauty, Night Time Lady and Golden Orb





Thursday, 02 November 2017 14:11

Key Bets & Races for Friday, November 3

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf – Race 6 at Del Mar – Post time 2:25 Pacific, 5:25 Eastern


September, one of two fillies from the potent barn of Aiden O'Brien, ran the best race of any horse in this field last month in England when a nose shy of victory in the Group 1 Bet365 Mile Stakes. She improved significantly off her 3rd place effort behind Happily one month earlier in another Group 1 stakes, that one at 7 furlongs, so the mile appears to be her better trip. In the Bet365 Mile, September was making up ground by leaps and bounds after waiting for room with about a furlong out and jockey Heffernan should have her motoring past most if not all of these in the stretch today.


Rushing Fall is the North American filly with as big of a late kick as September but she's only run twice compared to five times for September, which may give September an edge. However, make no mistake, Rushing Fall can win this race with a repeat of her effort last month in the J.P. Morgan Chase Jessamine Stakes at Keeneland, when seemingly in an instant she went from 9th to 4th and then from 4th to 1st. That was on soft ground, but Rushing Fall broke her maiden on firm turf so the condition of the course won't be an issue. The only issue for Rushing Fall and jockey Castellano, up for both her races to date, is to make sure she gets a clear path to run in the stretch because it's likely September will be closer up than she is when the field turns for home and there may be a lot of traffic in this full field even on the Del Mar turf course which was widened in anticipation of big Breeders' Cup fields.


Happily just beat males in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere in France, her second Group 1 stakes win in a row, the first when beating September in the Moyglare Stud Stakes in Ireland in September. Happily has done little wrong in her career, winning four of five since a poor 7th place debut in June, and she is owned by the same high profile connections (Magnier, Tabor and Smith) as September, calling the top Aiden O'Brien barn home as well. Moving back to her own gender after trouncing the boys last month, Happily would absolutely be no surprise if posing for pictures in the winner's circle after this race.


Make win bets on the contenders at these odds or higher:

September 2/1

Rushing Fall 5/2

Happily 7/2


Two other horses, although having less probability to win than the three main win contenders above, can be considered for wagers at 6 to 1 or higher. They are Capla Temptress and Juliet Capulet


Play an exacta box consisting of September, Rushing Fall, Happily, Capla Temptress and Juliet Capulet

Play an additional exacta box consisting of September, Rushing Fall and Happily

Play an exacta consisting of September, Rushing Fall and Happily over September, Rushing Fall, Happily, Capla Temptress and Juliet Capulet

Play an exacta consisting of September, Rushing Fall, Happily, Capla Temptress and Juliet Capulet over September, Rushing Fall and Happily

Friday, 27 October 2017 11:52

Key Bets & Races for Saturday, October 28

For more races this weekend, including the Awad Stakes (Race 10 on Saturday) at Belmont and some pick 3/pick 4 strategies, plus a couple of races on Sunday, October 29, listen to the Key Races & Bets Podcast at or download the Podbean app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store for Android.


 Athenia Stakes – Race 7 at Belmont – Post time 3:43 PM ET


Thundering Sky opens at ridiculously high 15/1 odds given she just won a $100K stakes, albeit restricted and more importantly won the $200K Pebbles Stakes last year. That win last time out came in her 4th start of the year and now that she's rediscovered winning form she has every right to run big again. Behind her in that last race were multiple stakes winner Bar of Gold, who won her next start taking the Presque Isle Downs Masters Stakes, and the eighth place finisher also came back to win, creating a KEY RACE situation suggesting the race was productive. When winning the 2016 Pebbles Stakes, Thundering Sky earned a 108 Equibase Figure and in her De La Rose Stakes win at Saratoga in August this year she earned a 110 figure, as good as ANY horse in the field including those at much lower morning line odds. My Impression gets co-top billing for overlay win betting purposes, opening at 8/1. She also just won a restricted stakes, the One Dreamer, at Kentucky Downs, a powerful effort with a 109 figure. She's worked exceptionally well since shipping back to New York and Jose Ortiz (not only the #1 jockey in the country in earnings right now but also up for her three wins before that last one) takes the call so she's got a big shot of winning for the 7th time in her 16th career turf start. Elysea's World, Decked Out, Off Limits and Penjade are horses we will use on exacta tickets played, with Off Limits the 2/1 morning line favorite off a Grade 3 win over the course last month and one of three from the Chad Brown barn (the other two Penjade and Elysea's World) but no standout as her best effort yielded a 108 figure just as good (but no better than) any number of other horse's best efforts in similar races.



Bets: Play both Thundering Sky and My Impression to win at 3 to 1 or higher and then add place bets if they are 5 to 1 or more. Figuring out how much to bet to insure the same profit, called "Dutching," is the best way to play two horses to win and if you are an Amwager member that tool is offered for free so I recommend using it.


Play exactas of Thundering Sky and My Impression over Thundering Sky, My Impression, Elysea's World, Off Limits and Penjade and Decked Out.

Play the above exacta in reverse as well.



Turnback the Alarm Stakes - Race #8 at Belmont – Post Time 4:16 PM ET


A Place to Shine opens at 15/1 and that doesn't make any sense as the horse is 5 for 11 on dirt and was stakes placed last year when 2nd in the Delaware Oaks. She was off from December of last year until her return on September 3 and she won easily by 4 lengths in that comeback around two turns (1 mile and 70 yards) so this one turn mile and one-sixteenth trip will be no issue. She proved she's holding form with a 59.6, best of 22, five furlong drill at Monmouth seven days ago and Joe Bravo rides, having a great Belmont meeting with 13 wins to date. As such, there is absolutely no reason she can't win with a lot of improving she can do off her 95 Equibase Speed Figure effort 2nd off the long layoff. Miss Sky Warrior opens as the 8 to 5 favorite and is not a suspect favorite but she can be beaten just the same. Last seen finishing 8th in the very sloppy running of the Kentucky Oaks in May, she's been rested since and returns to one turn where she has a three-for-four record including a sharp win in the Davona Dale Stakes off a three month layoff in March. Like A Place to Shine, Miss Sky Warrior put in a strong workout coming into the race and certainly the presence of Javier Castellano in the saddle for the first time enhances her chances to run back to her Davona Dale effort. However, she only earned a 92 figure in that race and even accounting for her being more mature eight months later she's not a standout. Tejana is the one both A Place to Shine and Miss Sky Warrior have to run down to win, a likely lone front runner with Jose Ortiz in the saddle just as he was on 9/28 when winning easily over the track in a one turn mile race with an 89 figure. Still with improving to do, she may successfully play "come catch me" from the start.


Bets: Play A Place to Shine to win at odds of 3 to 1 and add a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

Consider a win bet on Tejana at odds of 4 to 1 or more.


Play an exacta box consisting of A Place to Shine, Tejana and Miss Sky Warrior



Bold Ruler Handicap - Race 9 at Belmont – Post Time 4:49 PM ET



Beasley and Divining Rod appear to be the top contenders, both set up by a sizzling early pace battle between two to four of the other nine entrants. If the race goes as drawn, favorite Seymourdini will have his hands full with other "early pace" types like Awesome Banner, Green Gratto and Mr. Crow, and that contested early pace scenario could make the stalkers and closers look very good in the last eighth of a mile. Beasley, opening at 20/1, is very intriguing as a lightly raced three year old with three wins and two runner-up finishes in six races. His worse two efforts came around two turns and his absolute best came last month here at Belmont at this 7 furlong trip when he got up by a head with a career best 106 Equibase figure. His last three efforts produced 96, 98 and 106 figures so he's on a nice pattern and his best of 32 half-mile workout coming into the race is another sign. Junior Alvarado rode him for the first time two back so is 2 for 2 when in the saddle and as a three year old facing older this time of year in a graded stakes he's not outgunned by any means. Divining Rod is the real pro in the field, with 9 first or second place finishes and $875K in earnings. He finished 2nd to speedball Sharp Azteca in the Kelso Handicap in his most recent start with a 107 figure and should be stalking the speed nicely on the outside today before getting into the picture at the end. Any number of horses can run well, particularly multiple stakes winner Stallwalkin' Dude, who won the 2016 Bold Ruler, but I'm sticking with the two above as win contenders.

Bets: Play Beasley to win at odds of 3 to 1 and add a place bet if 5 to 1 or more.

Bet Divining Rod to win at odds of 2/1. He opens at 7/2 so that is entirely possible


Play an exacta of Beasley and Divining Rod over ALL. Play an additional exacta of Divining Rod over ALL because he will go to post at lower odds so we would want to have that exacta a second time if he wins. 



Friday, 20 October 2017 13:11

Key Bets & Races for Saturday, October 21


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

This weekend's podcast will be published on Saturday morning and contain some of these races and in addition I will be tackling a couple of race on Sunday so please listen in. 


Ticonderoga Stakes – Race 4 at Belmont – Post time 2:01 PM ET


Broken Border and Feeling Bossy are both trained by very high percentage (nearly 30% wins in 2017) Jason Servis, and if a top conditioner like Servis thinks both can win I won't argue so although they are not coupled for betting purposes (having different owners) I will consider them as an entry and bet them both. Broken Border just won at 7 furlongs on the Belmont turf course, her THIRD STRAIGHT win on the course, with just a loss on the Saratoga turf since coming back from a year on the bench in May in her other start this year. Manny Franco has ridden her to all 3 wins and rides back and the mare has a mean kick so should be very tough in this situation again. Her stablemate, Feeling Bossy, just won at 10 furlongs on the Belmont turf in October. Although 5 for 11 on grass going into that race, she was risked for a $62,500 claiming price and, lo and behold, someone claimed her. This 4 year old filly loves to win races and is 4 for 7 on the Belmont Sod so fits perfectly here even though her two tries in similar state bred stakes ended up with 6th and 5th place efforts. Claiming a horse with a stakes race in mind is a very strong play in my opinion and considering Servis is 20 for 41 off the claim this year and last as it is that gives this gal a strong chance in my opinion. Considering Broken Border opens at 12/1 and Feeling Bossy opens at 10/1 this could be an exceptionally profitable race.


Bets: Play both Broken Border and Feeling Bossy to win at 3 to 1 or higher and then add place bets if they are 5 to 1 or more. Figuring out how much to bet to insure the same profit, called "Dutching," is the best way to play two horses to win and if you are an Amwager member that tool is offered for free so I recommend using it.



Sleepy Hollow Stakes - Race #6 at Belmont – Post Time 3:07 PM ET


We Should Talk showed a lot of maturity with a rallying finish in his career debut on 9/27, coming from fifth, seven lengths back, to win by nearly 3 lengths at the end. From the red hot barn of Sagamore private trainer DePaz, who has won with nearly 30% of his 100 plus starters this year, we can expect both physical and mental improvement off the experience of a race. As such, the 91 Equibase figure, which is just slightly lower than the 94 favorite Stoney Bennett earned in his debut win last month, and the 96 Battle Station earned winning the similar Bongard Stakes last month, can likely be counted on to be improved upon significantly, leading to a slight upset win for We Should Talk, who opens at 5/1. Both Stoney Bennett and Battle Station earned their wins leading from start to finish and not only are they drawn inside here, in the 1 and 2 posts respectively, they are next to each other in the gate, which should cause both to go a bit too hard for the lead than is good for their chances to hold off We Should Talk late. Analyze the Odds finished well from 6th to win the similar New York Breeders' Futurity last month and is another likely to benefit from a hot early pace, as should be Evaluator, who is trying dirt for the first time after three turf races to start his career but as a son of Overanalyze and out of a dirt route winning producing mare the switch in surface should not pose a problem. Inalienable Rights is another closer, as he finished well for 2nd to nine length winner Battle Station in the Bongard last month and with Battle Station likely to be softened up by a pace battle with Stoney Bennett today he could run as well or better.


Bets: Play We Should Talk to win at odds of 2 to 1.

Consider win bets (at a smaller amount than for We Should Talk) on Analyze The Odds, Evaluator and Inalienable Rights at odds of 5/1 or more, adding place bets at 8 to 1 or higher odds.


Play an exacta consisting of We Should Talk over Analyze the Odds, Evaluator, Inalienable Rights and Battle Station. Play the reverse of that exacta as well.

For the minimum $1, play an exacta box consisting of We Should Talk, Analyze the Odds, Evaluator, Inalienable Rights and Battle Station



Hudson Handicap - Race 8 at Belmont – Post Time 4:13 PM ET



Bust Another has hidden form that makes him a great play, opening at 10/1. He's been facing "open" company and moves into the state bred stakes ranks with his to most recent tries to similar, in February of this year and November of last year, poor efforts in which he finished sixth and seventh, respectively. However, he ships in from Pennsylvania off a deceptively good effort, nearly a career best (109 Equibase figure) when he stalked in 2nd most of the race, led at the eighth pole, then was third and beaten a nose for second and a length for the win. In the summer of 2016, Bust Another won the similar Mike Lee Stakes here at Belmont at odds of 19/1 and that's the kind of effort he's capable of and that I hope he can put forth here. Celtic Chaos won two state bred stakes in a row in April and Mau, the first of the two at Belmont and both with Cancel in the saddle as today. He was completely overmatched in his most recent start, in the Grade 1 Vosburgh, and so back with his friends can perk back up to competitive form. Sudden Surprise LOVES to win races, with a 10 for 17 record on dirt. Claimed for a measly 25K one before last out of a win at Saratoga by a top trainer in Brad Cox, he won a state bred allowance race by a nose over the track at this distance last month and is in line to win his fourth race in a row, having won the NY Stallion Series Stakes in the spring of 2016 to show he fits with these. T Loves a Fight won the similar Mike Lee Stakes in June when well regarded at 9 to 5 odds and enters this race off an allowance win at Saratoga in August so is another deserving of our respect when considering wagers made in this race. Weekend Hideaway and Ostrolenka have been competitive versus similar but open at lower odds so I will try to beat them on the win end but will use them in the second position on exacta tickets in one of my exacta recommendations below.

Bets: Make a win bet on Bust Another at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Consider win bets on Celtic Chaos, Sudden Surprise and T Loves a Fight at odds of 4 to 1 or more

Play an exacta box consisting of Bust Another, Celtic Chaos, Sudden Surprise and T Loves a Fight


Play an exacta consisting of Bust Another, Celtic Chaos, Sudden Surprise and T Loves a Fight over Bust Another, Celtic Chaos, Sudden Surprise, T Loves a Fight, Weekend Hideaway and Ostrolenka



Lexus Raven Run Stakes- Race #9 at Keeneland– Post Time 5:30 PM ET


Before her win in the Cerf Stakes on September 4, Miss Sunset had earned all five of her career wins (from 9 starts) when leading from the start. In the Cerf Stakes, Miss Sunset relaxed nicely when in second position in the early stages before drawing off to win late by nearly two lengths. That victory last month not only earned Miss Sunset a career best 104 Equibase Speed Figure, but the effort came in her first try against three year olds and upward. Prior to that, Miss Sunset won the Fleet Treat Stakes at the distance of the Raven Run and powerfully by five lengths in a field of eight. Scratched out of last weekend's California Distaff Stakes to run in the Raven Run and back in against her own age group in, Miss Sunset gets the services of leading rider Leparoux aboard as well as a good outside post that will allow her to stalk whoever leads early just as she did in the Cerf Stakes. As such, Miss Sunset looks very capable of winning for the seventh time in her 11th career start. Nonna Mela also enters the Raven Run off a career best effort, albeit not a winning one, in the Prioress Stakes. Clearly second the entire length of the stretch to winner Vertical Oak, Nonna Mela improved to a 104 figure as good as the figure Miss Sunset earned winning a stakes around the same time. Prior to that, Nonna Mela beat older fillies and mares at Saratoga at the seven furlong distance of the Raven Run including next out winner Malibu Stacy. With North American leading trainer Todd Pletcher's #1 & #2 jockeys Velazquez and Castellano remaining in New York, journeyman Chris DeCarlo takes the call and that is fine as the jockey and trainer have a fine record of four wins in seven races in the last year. Also with good tactical speed, we can expect Nonna Mela to be on or near the lead from start to finish. Chalon, Happy Mesa and Classy Tune all warrant respect but in my opinion their probabilities of winning aren't nearly as high as either Miss Sunset or Nonna Mela. Chalon just ran two weeks ago here at Keeneland when second to Finley'sluckycharm in the Thoroughbred Club of America Stakes, the winner now with nine victories in 12 races so Chalon's runner-up finish no disgrace at all. Although the effort earned her a career best and field high 107 figure, Chalon has failed to gain significant ground in the stretch in her last three starts and therefore may be a "need the lead" type who can run well but who may also get discouraged when both Nonna Mela and Miss Sunset prove faster than her in the opening stages. Happy Mesa will be rolling from far back, perhaps last, as she did last month on grass when second in the Kentucky Downs Ladies Sprint, from which third place finisher Morticia came back to win the Buffalo Trace Franklin County Stakes earlier in the Keeneland meeting. Happy Mesa won the only time she raced on dirt, in her first career start back in the summer of 2016, so she could run as well on the main track as she ran on turf last time out when earning a 102 figure and as such must be considered for exacta tickets we bet at the minimum. Classy Tune earned a career best 103 figure one before last when winning easily in August in California in an allowance level race. In her first stakes try last month, she was sent to post as the even money favorite but easily beaten by Miss Sunset so although she may run well I don't see her reversing positions with the horse that beat her and so she too is a horse we can consider for exacta tickets but perhaps not as a win contender.

Bets: Play Miss Sunset to win at 2 to 1 or more.

Consider a second win bet on Nonna Mela at 5 to 2 or more. You can also use the Dutching Tool at Amwager to insure a fair return on a win bet on both horses.


Bet an exacta consisting of Miss Sunset and Nonna Mela over Miss Sunset and Nonna Mela, Happy Mesa, Chalon and Classy Tune



Friday, 13 October 2017 12:28

Key Bets & Races for Saturday, October 14


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

Race 8 – Barry Lee

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


Race 8 – ALL six horses

Race 9 – Adorable Miss, Bellavais



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


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


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


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


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


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



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


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

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


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



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


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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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