Friday, 09 August 2019 11:15

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, August 10

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Saratoga Special Stakes - Race 8 at Saratoga- Post Time 5:11 PM Eastern

This is a salty group of two year olds with seven of eight having won their most recent start. However, the horse that didn’t win, King Snake, is the most interesting. He was beaten a nose on the wire by Peruvian Boy after opening up by two and one-half lengths in the stretch. That was after he made the lead in a 12 horse field, got headed then drew off. That was also on the polytrack at Arlington Park so that 22.2 first quarter fraction projects as tops in this field. He’s come back to put in a pair of sensational half-mile workouts and he gets leading rider Jose Ortiz. Another reason he may have been beaten last out was he was making his career debut while the winner had a race under his belt to this time around with improvement off the experience, King Snake can win.

Zyramid showed good maturity, also improving off his debut, coming from just off the pace in second early to win last month at Saratoga. Santana rides for Asmussen and this well bred colt has every right to improve and win again. Green Light Go opens as the favorite off a three length win in his debut at Belmont last month. He was flattered when the runner-up came back to win and he put in a sizzling half-mile workout at Saratoga four days ago. He did earn his win leading from start to finish and it appears he won’t be able to get the lead over King Snake here but if he can rate this talented colt will be there at the wire.

Bets: King Snake and Zyramid to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

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

Exacta Box: King Snake, Zyramid and Green Light Go

Doubles: King Snake, Zyramid and Green Light Go in race 8 with Got Stormy and Uni in race 9.

Fourstardave Handicap – Race 9 at Saratoga - Post Time 5:46 PM Eastern

The two females in this group of 10 appear to have a slight edge, not because they get a little break in the weight versus the males, but because they are the best closers in the field and they are the best MILERS in the group. Uni is a perfect 5 for 5 at the trip and Got Stormy is 6 for 10. Got Stormy comes back on six days rest after winning a restricted stakes race at this trip last Saturday. She had been off three months so I’m not concerned about the short turnaround and she won three mile turf stakes in a row last spring and summer, one on three weeks rest and the other on four weeks rest. Casse knows his fillies as trained the phenomenal Tepin so I have little concerns about this gal putting in anything other than an “A” race again and getting the last quarter mile in 22 and change like she did one week ago. She opens at 6 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for Uni so gets slight preference from a betting perspective.

That being said, Uni ran a sub-22 last quarter in the Perfect Sting Stakes at Belmont last time out at the end of June. That was her fifth straight win, including last year’s De La Rose, the same race Got Stormy won last week. Rosario has been aboard just three times, accounting for her last three starts. One of three from the Brown barn, this mare has done little except win and may do so again in this situation.

March to the Arch proved to some extent his upset win in the Wise Dan Stakes in June was no fluke when rallying fast in the last eighth of a mile in the Forbidden Apple Stakes last month, missing by just over a length with traffic trouble to boot. Opening at 10/1 he makes a nice companion horse to use on exacta and trifecta tickets. Raging Bull does as well but opens at 3 to 1. He added blinkers for the first time when last seen in the Manhattan Stakes on Belmont day but those didn’t help much as he ran evenly in the stretch to end up third. Perhaps the mile and one-quarter was too far and he has won two of four at this mile trip so he deserves some respect. I’ll toss in Hembree and Made You Look for exotics as well, as they finished second and fourth in the Forbidden Apple Stakes last month.

Bets: Got Stormy to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more. “IF” Uni is 2 to 1 or higher near post time she can be bet as well.
I wouldn’t rule out a small win bet on March to the Arch at 5 to 1 or higher.

Exactas: Uni and Got Stormy over Uni, Got Stormy, Raging Bull and March to the Arch
Uni and Got Stormy over Uni, Got Stormy, Hembree, Made You Look, Raging Bull and March to the Arch

Best Pal Stakes - Race 8 at Del Mar - Post Time 8:30 PM Eastern

Similar to the Saratoga Special, this is a very strong group of maturing two year olds but I think one of the favorites is vulnerable if not false and that opens the race up for making profit. The vulnerable favorite is Fore Left, who opens at 5 to 2. He won the Tremont at Belmont two months ago, in wire to wire fashion, and from an outside post it’s not impossible he can do the same thing. Still, I think a few others will leap frog over him in terms of form and certainly if another horse like Thanks Mr. Eidson or We’re Still Here, both wearing blinkers, show early speed, Fore Left may be in a situation he’s not used to.

That’s why I’ll start with Collusion Illusion, who opens at 8 to 1. He showed a ton of maturity in his debut three weeks ago at Del Mar, rallying from fourth in the last eighth of a mile to win by a half-length. The 91 Equibase figure is as good as Fore Left and tied for the best in the field, and as he’s only raced once there’s a lot of room for improvement. Prat gets off him, as well as Wrecking Crew, to stay with Schrodinger, who is a win contender as well, but because of that, even though Talamo is winning at a strong 20% clip at the meeting, this colt could be ignored in the wagering for our benefit.

Wrecking Crew loses Prat but gets Smith and that’s more than fine with me. This horse also showed the maturity of a horse who had raced even though it was his debut as he won his only start, two weeks ago, rallying from third in the early stages. His 82 figure needs improvement but with red hot Miller in his corner and logical second start improvement, particularly opening at 4 to 1, Wrecking Crew must be strongly considered as a win contender.

Schrodinger opens as the 2 to 1 favorite and is fairly legitimate as he too didn’t win leading from start to finish in his maiden breaker at the end of June, his only start. Prat rode him then as now and the 87 figure was solid so he will round out a trio that can win.

Bets: Collusion Illusion and Wrecking Crew to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

Exacta: Box Collusion Illusion, Wrecking Crew and Schrodinger.

Doubles: Collusion Illusion, Wrecking Crew and Schrodinger in race 8 with Rockin Ready, Miss Hot Legs, Hello Bubbles and Flower Point in race 9.

Race 9 at Del Mar - Post Time 9 PM Eastern

We will wrap up this week’s blog with the second half of what could be a profitable double, but the race is playable in and of itself too as it’s a turf sprint with a fairly full field. Flower Point did what is pretty difficult to do and that is win at first asking in a turf sprint, particularly at 5 furlongs. In that debut in April at Santa Anita, she rallied from ninth of 10, still fifth at the top of the stretch, and won by a half-length. She was no secret that day as she went to post as the favorite. Stretching out to a mile, Flower Point bombed badly next time out as she finished a poor seventh, beaten nearly twenty lengths. Then, returning to this sprint trip, she rallied from 11th to miss third by a neck and the win by another length. Now, Smith gets on for the first time and this field is so heavily laden with “early” pace types she should be able to repeat her debut win.

Also likely to benefit from a speed duel between as many as five of the others, Miss Hot Legs rallied for second in her debut in a turf sprint at this distance then won at the trip one month later. At this allowance level last month off the win, she made a middle move from fifth to second then ran evenly and ended up third. With the pace hotter than in her last start, Miss Hot Legs will find herself farther back than in any of her three races to date, but that may be to her benefit as she can begin picking tiring horse off one-by-one to get into the thick of the action late.

Rockin Ready, or her connections, don’t know whether she likes two turns or one turn, as she’s raced in four routes and four sprints to date. Her sprints have been excellent although she’s winless, but she did miss by a nose in two of them and with Prat getting on for the first time she could be there at the wire with the other contenders. Hello Bubbles also has eight career starts, her best effort coming in a downhill sprint on the turf at Santa Anita in March in which she made up three lengths in the last three-sixteenths of a mile. Van Dyke gets on for the first time and the jockey is holding a sizzling hand at the meet, particularly on turf. Coming into the week Van Dyke was tied with Prat for leading jockey so this gal will round out a quartet which can win or complete the exacta.

Bets: In a race with three of four legitimate win contenders, we can let the odds decide our wagers, betting to win on two of the group which go to post at the highest odds among the four, as follows:
Flower Point and/or Miss Hot Legs at 3 to 1 or more.
Rockin Ready and/or Hello Bubbles at 7 to 2 or more.

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

Exacta Box, Optional Trifecta Box: Flower Point, Miss Hot Legs, Rockin Ready, Hello Bubbles
.

Friday, 02 August 2019 12:33

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, August 3

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Fasig -Tipton Lure Stakes - Race 7 at Saratoga- Post Time 4:31 PM Eastern

Lukewarm morning line favorite Lucullan (3/1) could be very tough here as he returned from a 14 month layoff last month to win a turf route as if he’d never been away, beating graded stakes winner Noble Indy pretty easily. Saez was up for the first time for the win and we can expect even better second off the layoff for this lightly raced five year old who is four for eight on grass and who missed by a neck to Yoshida (seen later today in the Whitney Stakes) in the fall of 2017 in a stakes on turf at Belmont. The 113 Equibase figure is the best ANY horse in the field has earned, ever, so repeating or improving upon the effort, particularly if no other horse improves markedly, means Lucullan is going to be tough to beat.

That doesn’t make the race unplayable, because for exactas, as well as for a small win bet at decent odds, we have Say the Word, who is an improving four year old dropping out of the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at the end of June where he ran a respectable third behind Synchrony. Prior to that, Say the Word took blinkers off for the first time and that resulted in a very nice seventh to first rallying win on the Belmont turf. Alvarado was up for both races and rides back. The 106 figure Say the Word earned last out was a career-best and although short of the 113 effort Lucullan put forth there’s potential for it to be improved upon as the horse is in the best form of his life. Considering he opens at 12/1 he has potential to help make a profit.

Projected and Ticonderoga are horses to use on a “b” pick 3 ticket we can start here, as well as in exactas as they do have some chance to run well. Projected finished second in this race last year as the 2 to 1 favorite and drops from Grade 2 stakes. Before that he missed by a head in a stakes similar to this one. Ticonderoga won in March following seven months off then was overmatched in the Grade 1 Turf Classic. Last time out in the Poker Stakes at Belmont he lost nearly all chance at the start when he stumbled but was closing fast late and was beaten under two lengths by the winner.

Bets: Lucullan to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
For a smaller amount, Say the Word to win at odds of 7 to 2 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

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

Exactas:
Lucullan over Say the Word, Projected and Ticonderoga.
For $1 box Say the Word, Projected and Ticonderoga.
For $1 also play Say the Word, Projected and Ticonderoga over Lucullan.

Pick 3: (two tickets)
Race 7 Lucullan
Race 8 ALL seven horses
Race 9 Vino Rosso, McKinzie, Yoshida


Race 7 Lucullan, Say the Word, Projected and Ticonderoga.
Race 8 Covfefe
Race 9 Vino Rosso, McKinzie, Yoshida


West Virginia Governor’s Stakes – Race 7 at Mountaineer - Post Time 4:55 PM Eastern

Although drawing 12 horses, this race quickly boils down to two win contenders in my opinion – Sir Anthony and Silver Dust. Sir Anthony opens at higher odds (5/1) so I’ll start with this tough knocking colt who won four of nine last year including the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes at this distance last December. He was zero for three this year before taking the Grade 3 Cornhusker Stakes last month in a career- best tying effort with a 107 Equibase Figure. Cotto was the key as he got back on after four races with other jockeys and had ridden Sir Anthony to a win last November, the only other time he was in the saddle. Sir Anthony does come from far back so will need to avoid trouble but Cotto took him four wide last out and in spite of that the horse did his thing, as he can again today to earn his sixth career win on conventional dirt in his 11th start on the surface.

Silver Dust battled head-and-head the entire length of the stretch last month, coming up a head short of the very tough Pioneer Spirit in a non-graded stakes at Indiana Grand. Earlier this year the gelding proved he belonged in graded stakes by winning the Grade 3 Mineshaft Handicap and coming up three-quarters of a length short when second in the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap. He went off form for one race but the rebound last out shows he will be as tough as nails here and as he’s been first or second in 10 of 21 career races he’s almost a shoe-in for the exacta if he doesn’t win. Note also he worked four furlongs at Churchill Downs on July 26 in preparation for the race, the same date and distance West Virginia Derby favorite Mr. Money worked, who is also trained by Bret Calhoun. It’s pretty likely they worked in company and so Calhoun has potential to get a stakes double on the card.

Bets: Sir Anthony to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more. “IF” Silver Dust is 2 to 1 or higher near post time he can be bet as well.

Since Mr. Money in the West Virginia Derby (Race 8) is a free square in my opinion, we can play a very inexpensive double to make some money.

Double: Sir Anthony and Silver Dust in race 7 with Mr. Money in race 8.

Longines Test Stakes - Race 8 at Saratoga - Post Time 5:06 PM Eastern


Covfefe is the fastest horse in the field on many levels, having zipped 107.6 for six furlongs at Pimlico on Preakness weekend while destroying a good field by eight lengths with gas left in the tank. She faced OLDER fillies last time out and was beaten three-quarters of a length and now returns to her own age group ready to rumble with a scintillating 1:11 six furlong workout on 7/19 followed by a half-mile in 47.8. She has earned all three wins leading from start to finish, the same as the last four wins for Serengeti Empress, who is drawn inside, and the same for Please Flatter Me, but Please Flatter Me was the one eight lengths behind Covfefe in the Miss Preakness Stakes in May and with Serengeti Empress coming out of longer races, even with fast workouts, I think it’s pretty probable Covfefe runs the rest off their feet early and duplicates her big win.

With that in mind and with Covfefe opening at 5 to 2 the question is how to make money in the race. The morning line favorite is Bellafina, not seen since finishing fifth in the Kentucky Oaks. She has won at seven furlongs, that win coming in January with a 102 figure which wouldn’t hold a candle to Covfefe if both repeated their best efforts to date, and she may be prepping for two turns where she won the Santa Anita Oaks in April so may not be asked 100% if push comes to shove. If Bellafina ends up as the favorite, then a win bet on Covfefe at her 5 to 2 morning line odds is an overlay win bet in my opinion. Otherwise, we have the pick 3’s we started in the last race and the pick 3 we can start here to make some profit with her winning, and in case she doesn’t win, if Lucullan won the last race we can sit back and root for the longest shot on the board to win since we played “ALL” on one ticket in this leg of the pick 3.

Bets: Covfefe to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Pick 3:
Race 8 Covfefe
Race 9 Vino Rosso, McKinzie, Yoshida
Race 10 Desert Isle, Got Stormy, Capla Temptress
(Optionally, use “ALL” in the 10th race)

Whitney Stakes - Race 9 at Saratoga - Post Time 5:46 PM Eastern

I think Yoshida (JPN) can post the upset win just as he did last year when victorious in the Woodward Stakes over the track. That was his first start on dirt in his 11th career start and it was a thing of beauty as he rallied from 10th of 15 to earn a career-best 116 Equibase figure. Two months later in the Breeders' Cup Classic, Yoshida put in another big rally as he was 13th of 14 with a quarter mile to go, but the rally fell just a bit short as he finished fourth, a neck from Thunder Snow and two lengths from the winner. The key here is the jockey change to Joel Rosario, who had never ridden the horse prior to the Woodward last year and who has not ridden the horse in four races since then. Mott has the horse ready to run big in my opinion and in his second start off the return from Dubai I feel Yoshida can repeat his effort at Saratoga last year and earn a trip to the Classic for the second year in a row.

McKinzie is a tough competitor who has only finished worse than second one time in 11 races, that poor effort coming in last year's Breeders' Cup Classic. Since then, McKinzie has won the Malibu Stakes and the Alysheba Stakes while placing in three other graded stakes, most recently in the Metropolitan Mile with a 117 figure. That effort in the Met Mile came in spite of traffic trouble and I believe he might have won without the issues he encountered. Smith usually doesn’t make the same mistake twice so McKinzie should be considered a very strong contender to win the Whitney, albeit at short odds.

Vino Rosso is an improving four year old who tied his career-best 114 figure winning the Gold Cup at Santa Anita at the end of May. Not seen since then, Vino Rosso has been in steady training for this race at Saratoga. Winner of the 2018 Wood Memorial Stakes at the distance of the Whitney, Vino Rosso may only need to step up his game the slightest bit to be very competitive in this race, which is certainly possible as he's a four year old and still not fully mature.

Thunder Snow does not have the probability to win, in my opinion, of the three previously mentioned horses, but he could easily run well enough to be part of the exacta or trifecta as he's been in his last five races. Thunder Snow missed by a head last fall in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and in his most recent race, following this year's World Cup win, he finished third in the Met Mile, beaten a neck by McKinzie with the same 117 figure.

For the exacta I’ll throw in Monongahela for second as an improving type coming off one of the best efforts of his career when winning the Iselin Stakes at Monmouth in June. I’ll take a stand against Preservationist, who I adored last time out, because this is a much tougher group and his career best 110 figure doesn’t figure to be improved upon and isn’t good enough to beat either of the three win contenders.

Bets: Yoshida to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.
A smaller win bet on Vino Rosso is warranted at 7 to 2 or more.

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

Exacta: Yoshida, McKinzie and Vino Rosso over Yoshida, McKinzie, Vino Rosso, Thunder Snow and Monongahela.


Friday, 26 July 2019 11:56

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 27

Race 8 at Saratoga- Post Time 5:09 PM Eastern

Before three straight stakes races there’s the interesting six furlong allowance sprint, which kicks off the Grand Slam. If you’ve never played it, it’s a fun bet where you win by having a horse hit the top three in the first three legs and pick the winner in the last leg. The basic strategy is to try to beat favorites in the first three legs and go shallow then pick a few win contenders in the last leg. Unfortunately, the last leg is the Jim Dandy Stakes which, unless we’re lucky is likely to be won by a favorite.

In this race the contenders are Fortune’s Fool, Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy and Overdeliver. Before I get into why they may have a shot to win or be in the exacta, the most important thing to note is only Morning Breez (6/1 morning line) and Dark N Cloudy (10/1) are usable in the Grand Slam in my opinion, as the other two open at odds of 2/1 and 3/1. We could use all four, because we can win the bet multiple times, but I’d rather take a shot at a better payoff.

Morning Breez gets blinkers AND Irad Ortiz, Jr, both pretty good signs for improvement off his last start which is irrelevant as it was on turf. He finished second twice in a row on dirt at the level before that and repeating either of those efforts may get him the win. Dark N Cloudy also adds blinkers. He finished behind Morning Breez in third in both his last two starts and won easily before that. He shows a strong “blinkers on/fast workout” pattern as he put in the 9th best of 127 works coming into the race, here at Saratoga. Overdeliver ran a non-threatening fourth last out at the level and was second at the condition before that. He’s got a shot but is no standout. Fortune’s Fool broke his maiden one before last then led late but was no match for the winner in the last 50 yards or so.

Bets:
Exactas:
Morning Breez and Dark N Cloudy over Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy, Fortune’s Fool and Overdeliver.

Also, Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy, Fortune’s Fool and Overdeliver over Morning Breez and Dark N Cloudy.

Grand Slam:
Race 8 Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy
Race 9 Mitole, Imperial Hint
Race 10 Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker
Race 11 Laughing Fox, Tacitus, Global Campaign

Pick 3:
Race 8 Morning Breez, Dark N Cloudy, Fortune’s Fool and Overdeliver
Race 9 Mitole, Imperial Hint, Firenze Fire, Do Share
Race 10 Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker


You’ll note the Pick 3 has some different horses from the Grand Slam. That’s because we are NOT trying to beat the favorites in the pick 3 because we need winners, like we are in the grand slam where we just need horses to finish in the top 3 in the first three legs.

Vanderbilt Stakes - Race 9 at Saratoga - Post Time 5:44 PM Eastern


Do Share is the interesting horse here and the one we will need to win or finish second to make any kind of profit involving this race. Opening at 15/1, Do Share fits here as he’s earned nearly $600K in his career winning six of 12 at the basic six furlong trip. He finished second in the 2018 Tom Fool Stakes at the trip to a very fast horse in Skyler’s Skramjet and he won this year’s Tom Fool in the sizzling time of 1:08.6. That was a legitimate time as the effort earned a Grade 1 type Equibase figure of 127. He has run badly in two since but both were seven furlongs, not the six furlong trip he returns to today, and in the first of the two, when sent to post at 6 to 1 in the Grade 1 Churchill Downs Stakes, he was bumped at the start and began 10th of 11 then was very wide on the far turn. I like Saez taking over and “If” the gelding can run back to his Tom Fool effort, he can win in an upset.

Mitole will be the prohibitive favorite as he’s going for his eighth straight win and fits on all counts. He doesn’t need me to talk him up but his last three Equibase figures of 118, 119 and 118 aren’t that much superior to others and NOT to the 127 Do Share earned last March. Firenze Fire, like Do Share, returns to the six furlong trip of his best effort, when winning the Runhappy Stakes in May by almost five lengths with a 119 figure. Imperial Hint hasn’t been seen since a third place effort in the Dubai Golden Shaheen in March but won this race last year and has been working tremendously in the morning so could be the repeat winner of this race.

Bets: Win and place bet on Do Share at odds of 4 to 1 or more, OR exactas of Do Share over Mitole, Imperial Hint and Firenze Fire then the also opposite, which is Mitole, Imperial Hint and Firenze Fire over Do Share. You can make all three bets but I feel the win/place bet is the equivalent of the exacta bet, and vice-versa.

Pick 3:
Race 9 Mitole, Imperial Hint, Firenze Fire, Do Share
Race 10 Arklow, Sadler’s Joy, Channel Maker
Race 11 Laughing Fox, Tacitus, Global Campaign

Bowling Green Stakes - Race 10 at Saratoga - Post Time 6:18 PM Eastern

Arklow has had some very tough luck in all three starts this year. First, he wasn’t ready for the start and lost the jockey in his April comeback, then he came up a neck short in both the Man o’War and the Belmont Gold Cup. With the exception of last fall’s Breeders’ Cup turf and the race in which he lost the jockey, Arklow has shown up in five straight races at the level and today, from the rail, he should be able to sit in second or third behind likely early leader Argonne and get his first grade 2 win in two years.

Still, Channel Cat and Sadler’s Joy may have something to say about Arklow winning. Channel Cat won this race in a dead heat last year then ran two more huge races finishing second in the Sword Dancer over the course before winning the Turf Classic Invitational. After finishing well back in 11th in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, he returned to run poorly in two straight but rebounded big time to win the Man o’War over Arklow by a neck. Next came another disappointing effort when fourth in the Manhattan after getting to within a head of the lead at the eighth pole. Still, the pattern is unmistakable as he won this race last year off an eighth place finish in the Manhattan, so the drop from grade 1 to grade 2 may to the trick in getting this hard knocking horse approaching the $2 million mark in earnings into the winner’s circle. Sadler’s Joy comes from far back and that can be problematic in full field races like this one as he rarely finds the winner’s circle these days. He won two of eight in 2017 and just one of eight last year but not for lack of trying. He was flying from last of 13 in last year’s Manhattan and came up a neck short and lost by just a few inches more in last year’s running of this race. He also missed by a pair of necks in this race two years ago. Returning from eight months off is not a concern in a marathon like this and he proved capable of winning fresh when taking the Mac Diarmida in March, 2018, a similar grade 2 stakes, so perhaps with a little racing luck and considering his best race is good enough to win, and considering he’s two for six on the Saratoga grass, he rounds out a trio to get the job done here.

Bets: Arklow to win at odds of 2 to 1.
For a slightly smaller amount, Sadler’s Joy to win at 7 to 2 or higher.
Channel Maker can be bet at 7 to 2 or more as well but I feel like he is going to go to post at lower odds.

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

Exacta: Box Arklow, Channel Maker and Sadler’s Joy.

Jim Dandy Stakes – Race 11 at Saratoga - Post Time 6:51 PM Eastern

A lot of people are looking forward to this year’s Jim Dandy but I’m not one of them. Sure, War of Will, Tacitus and Tax all ran against each other in the Derby and are meeting again, but since I didn’t think too highly of Tax going in and wasn’t a huge fan of the other two, although they were on my list of six win contenders, I’m not over the moon about their meeting, not to mention there’s no value as Tacitus opens at 7 to 5 and War of Will at 2 to 1.

What is interesting is Global Campaign, who did post the ever-so-slight upset in the Peter Pan. I was hoping he’d run in the Belmont but had no complaints when Peter Pan runner-up Sir Winston ended up there and made us a lot of money. Perhaps Global Campaign was pointing to this all along, or perhaps he had a slight issue. Nevertheless, in this field he’s likely the LONE FRONTRUNNER and will be tough to catch if allowed an easy lead. Other than that, he has no edge and so that’s why I’m taking a shot with Laughing Fox over the track labeled the “graveyard of champions.” Laughing Fox opens at 15/1 and has every right to win. He does come from far back so he and Tacitus will be fighting each other to see who is farther back early but I believe Santana may have different plans because the jockey had him in fourth of 12 in January in his third career start, first route, a race he won by a neck. Three later he won the Oaklawn Park Invitational with a strong rally from ninth of 11 early, earning a 99 figure he bettered although just fifth of 13 in the Preakness. He won’t have to run into a 46 second half mile here so that’s another reason he could be close up early and get into top gear well before Tacitus does. At 15/1 on the morning line I can take a chance of that happening.

There’s no doubt Tacitus can win as he’s run four similar races earning 105, 106, 107 and 103 figures, the best of the bunch coming at this distance when winning the Wood Memorial in April. War of Will can also win, “IF” and only if he runs as he did in the Preakness, perhaps in about the same spot in third or fourth in the early stages as he was that day. I’m taking a stand he won’t so that’s why I didn’t use him on pick 3 and grand slam tickets started in earlier races.

Bets: Laughing Fox to win and place at odds of 5 to 1 or more.
Hopefully, we’re alive in the pick 3 and grand slam to don’t even have to consider win bets on Global Campaign, or Tacitus, neither likely to go to post at odds which make a win bet a decent proposition.

Exacta: Box Laughing Fox and Tacitus.
For a smaller amount box Laughing Fox and Global Campaign and box Laughing Fox and War of Will.

Friday, 19 July 2019 13:51

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 20

Molly Pitcher Stakes - Race 8 at Monmouth Park - Post Time 3:27 PM Eastern

There’s really no analysis here. Midnight Bisou is likely to have a paid workout as she prepares for bigger races and she’s a “Free Square” for the pick 3 starting in this race. She won the Phipps last month about as easily as a horse can win and she’s likely banging down the stall doors with energy so Asmussen figures it’s better to race her than to give her a morning workout.

Pick 3
Race 8 Midnight Bisou
Race 9 Fig Jelly, Justaholic, Mai Ty One On
Race 10 Lemonade Thursday, Coal Front, Monongahela

Wolf Hill Stakes - Race 9 at Monmouth Park - Post Time 3:56 PM Eastern


Justaholic returned to the races last month following a year off and ran a big race in his very first turf sprint, easily winning in a 10 horse field to earn a career best and last race best in the field 107 Equibase figure. Only better is logically forthcoming second off the layoff and sprinting over the course again. Trainer Clark took a few years off and this was his first starter and first winner since 2016, with more to come from this 20% career winning trainer.

Fig Jelly is still eligible for the NW2X allowance level but opens at 2 to 1 compared to Justaholic, who opens at 9 to 2 after winning at that level. The reason for the lower odds is likely the fact he calls the Servis barn home and Saez is riding. The gelding has six career runner-up finishes to go along with just two wins but one of those came in a stakes 11 months ago at Saratoga so his best effort may be good enough to win.

Mai Ty One On ran poorly when fifth of six in a turf sprint at Belmont but that was a classified allowance and possibly a tougher field. He finished second sprinting on turf before that and won four of nine last year, all but one a turf sprint. He gets a good post to stalk whoever leads early and with Lopez taking over could be up in time.

Bets: Win bet on Justaholic at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Justaholic, Fig Jelly and Mai Ty One On.

Monmouth Cup - Race 10 at Monmouth Park - Post Time 4:29 PM Eastern

Lemonade Thursday returned from eight months off last month and destroyed a short field of six to win by eight lengths. Lopez rides back and the colt is one of only two four year olds in the field (the other Bal Harbor) so not only hasn’t run his best yet he should improve second off the layoff. Trainer Delacour likely had this race in mind when he entered the race last month and since the win Lemonade Thursday returned to the trainer’s base at Fair Hills to put in a very sharp 59.2 five furlong drill to put him on edge for another top effort, particularly as that last race earned a 110 Equibase figure, a level favorite Coal Front has exceeded just once, in September of 2017.

Monangahela is another horse with a sharp local win, and an even better figure (114) which is better than all but one of Coal Front’s seven winning figures. Since joining the Servis barn the horse has been first or second in all three races from 1 1/16 to 1 1/8 miles and Lezcano rides back after being up for the win in the Iselin Stakes last month so we can easily expect another “A” race good enough to win.

Coal Front can win but doesn’t have to. He’s 7 for 10 in his career but only two of those were around two turns. One was in February in the Razorback Handicap with a 105 figure and the other came in March in the Godolphin Mile in Dubai. He ran one of the worst races of his career after that last month in the Met Mile, where he wasn’t that well regarded at 10/1 in spite of his record, and so I’ll use him defensively but am hoping either Lemonade Thursday or Monangahela gets the win.


Bets: Lemonade Thursday to win at 2 to 1 or more and Monangahela to win at 3 to 1 or more.

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

Exacta: Box Lemonade Thursday, Monangahela and Coal Front.

Daisycutter Stakes - Race 6 at Del Mar - Post Time 7:30 PM Eastern

Trainer Phil D’Amato has a pair of runners in here for owner Nick Alexander, running as an uncoupled entry. Both are by Alexander’s top sire Grazen. The proven runner is S Y Sky, opening at 7 to 2, with a fantastic record of 7-5-1 in 13 races including 3-1-0 in four starts on turf, all sprints. Four of her seven wins came in stakes. Just Grazed Me is the other, opening at sweet 8 to 1 odds. She has been first or second in all six starts with three wins each and returns from a seven month layoff, trying turf for the first time. If D’Amato has Just Grazed Me in this stakes, you can be assured he thinks she can handle the turf and at the higher odds she’s a great bet. Grazen’s three previous foals are all turf winners and if you take away what S Y Sky has done, the other foals have three wins and a second place finish in eight races so that’s another reason to bet both but hope Just Grazed Me posts the upset.

Painting Corners and A Little Bit Me are the other contenders here, the former a stakes winner at this five furlong trip in April who can win on the lead or from just off the pace and the latter a stakes winner in Kentucky in May in a short turf sprint like this one.

Bets: Just Grazed Me and S Y Sky to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

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

Exacta and Trifecta box: Just Grazed Me, S Y Sky, Painting Corners and A Little Bit Me.

San Clemente Stakes - Race 8 at Del Mar - Post Time 8:30 PM Eastern

Keeper ofthe Stars
broke a 17 year track record for 1 1/16 miles on grass at Golden Gate last month, her third straight win, and gets the rail. She earned all three wins leading from start to finish but doesn’t need the lead. Formerly a Hollendorfer trainee, she’s now in the hands of very high percentage trainer Jonathan Wong and Bejarano gets on. That effort was no fluke as the 103 Equibase figure is the best last race figure in the field, even better than horses coming out of stakes, and at 12/1 on the morning line this gal is very playable.

Playable to a lesser extent, I keep coming back to Kalliniki, who opens at 20/1. The reason is a simple one. The top turf jockey on the circuit, and probably the top jockey on the circuit, Flavien Prat, gets on this longshot who has only run twice. The second of the two races was her only turf route, at this mile trip. She handled it like a champ leading from start to finish on decent fractions, gamely hanging on by a head at 54 to 1 at the end of May. That win came after EIGHT months off, with NO prep first, so she’s got to be even more fit for this. Prat and his agent are nobody’s fool and if they took this mount is could be for a very good reason.

Bets: Keeper ofthe Stars to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.
For a smaller amount, Kalliniki to win at odds of 7 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 10 to 1 or more.

For my analysis of the Haskell Stakes, go here to the Equibase web site.
My top pick is King for a Day, with win betting minimum odds of 2 to 1. I am playing him in exactas with Everfast, Mucho Gusto and defensively with Maximum Security, who I think gets worn down again, this time because of an early pace battle with Joevia and Bethlehem Road.

Friday, 12 July 2019 12:30

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 13

Hockessin Stakes - Race 6 at Delaware Park - Post Time 4:13 PM Eastern

For the purposes of the pick 3 ending in the Delaware Handicap, race 8, we should use all five particularly as there are horses in each of the next two races at decent odds, so if one of the favorites wins here the bet should still be worth the risk. All five of these sprinters can win, even Arthur’s Hope, who opens at the highest odds of the quintet at 8 to 1. He earned a 112 Equibase Figure winning a classified allowance last month over stakes winner Life in Shambles, for his 11th career win in 22 starts. That 112 figure is the second best last race figure in the field, with only Always Sunshine’s 117 figure better. Altissimo, who opens as the second highest price in the field at 9 to 2, has nearly won five in a row, all stakes, four of them for Ohio breds only. However, in the one defeat, he missed by a head to Colonel Sharp, who opens at 3 to 1 so Altissimo’s 9 to 2 odds are a bit higher than they should be as both horses have the same probability. There are no knocks on 8 to 5 favorite No Dozing but he’s no standout either. He won a classified allowance last July and the Bold Ruler in November then took seven months off. His comeback was poor as he faded from second early to seventh and he is NOT dropping in class.

Bets: Win bet on Arthur’s Hope and Altissimo at odds of 3 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.

Pick 3’s (two tickets)
Race 6 ALL five
Race 7 Completed Pass, Parlor, O Dionysus, Just Howard
Race 8 Gotham Gala, Escape Clause

Race 6 ALL five
Race 7 Completed Pass
Race 8 Gotham Gala, Escape Clause, Elate, Blue Prize

Glasgow Stakes - Race 7 at Delaware Park - Post Time 4:49 PM Eastern


This race is a lot more wide open than the morning line odds would make you believe. The 3 to 2 starting odds on Parlor are as much based on the fact he’s dropping out of the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes as anything else. However, he was 33 to 1 that day, and his last win came in a NW3X allowance race 14 months ago. He can win but he’s no standout, not even a little. Just Howard is winless in three races this year and like Parlor, earned his last win, 11 months ago, in an allowance race. His morning line odds are 5/2 and that’s just ridiculous as he has about a 20% chance to win at the most so they should be about 4 to 1 .O Dionysus, who won the 12 furlong Cape Henlopen Stakes on this turf course last year but who is winless since including a third place finish in that same race one week ago, opens at 9 to 2. They all have a chance but aren’t really playable except in pick 3 and double tickets.

On the other hand, Completed Pass is a superb bet anywhere near his 12/1 starting odds. This is one competitive horse as evidenced by six wins and three second place finishes in 11 races. He tried turf for the first time four races back in April and except for a fifth place effort in a grade 3 stakes on soft turf last out ran huge in all three races, winning one and missing by a neck in the other two. ALL THRE were 100K stakes races just like this one so the only question is whether he can run two turns as all three were five or five and one-half furlongs. Being as he’s only raced 11 times, there’s no reason he can’t get the distance and run as well, and certainly his Equibase figures are every bit as good as the three previously mentioned horses opening at much lower odds.

Bets: Win bet on Completed Pass at odds of 2 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

Exactas: Box Completed Pass and Parlor. Box Completed Pass and Just Howard. Box Completed Pass and O Dionysus.

If you did not play the pick 3 starting in race 6, or if none of the horses won that leg, or if you just want to press for more profit, here are some Doubles:

Completed Pass in race 7 with ALL in race 8.
Completed Pass in race 7 with Gotham Gala, Escape Clause, Elate, Blue Prize in race 8.
Completed Pass, Parlor, Just Howard and O Dionysus in race 7 with Gotham Gala, Escape Clause, Elate, Blue Prize in race 8.
ALL in race 7 with Gotham Gala and Escape Clause in race 8.

Delaware Handicap - Race 8 at Delaware Park - Post Time 5:25 PM Eastern

Gotham Gala has good upset potential in this race. She started her career on turf, went zero for two, then moved to dirt, where she won by 12 lengths last September. Two races later she won again, followed by a poorer effort which led to a six month layoff. After a third place finish in a two-turn race in May without a sprint prep first, Gotham Gala was entered in the Obeah Stakes where she cruised in front from start to finish, earning a career-best 94 Equibase Speed Figure which was an eight point improvement off her previous effort. Gotham Gala has the breeding to handle the 10 furlong trip of the Delaware Handicap as a daughter of Smart Strike so there are no concerns there. Although she led from start to finish in the Obeah, Gotham Gala proved last year she can come from off the pace to win. Jockey Danny Centeno has been aboard for all three of her career wins and rides today so from an inside post can take the early lead if no other horse wants it or can sit off the pace and rally in the stretch. Considering favorite Elate earned a 99 figure winning the Fleur de Lis last month, with logical improvement off the 94 figure effort Gotham Gala put forth last month, she can run as well or better than the favorite to win this year's Delaware Handicap.

Escape Clause is another upset possibility, if she can repeat the effort she put forth in the Apple Blossom Handicap in April. In that race, Escape Clause stalked in second, took the lead on the far turn and held it to just near the wire, coming up a nose short to Midnight Bisou, who returned to win the Ogden Phipps Stakes last month, a race in which Escape Clause was a well-beaten fourth. The 115 figure Escape Clause earned in the Apple Blossom is nearly as good as the 119 figure Elate earned winning the Personal Ensign Stakes last summer and the 117 figure Blue Prize (ARG) earned winning the Falls City Handicap in the fall of 2017 and the longer distance could help Escape Clause run back to her Apple Blossom effort, as she finished third, beaten only one length, in the 11 furlong Red Carpet Handicap on turf last fall. Having put in two workouts at Delaware Park, the first of which was a rock solid second best of 70 on the day at the distance of four furlongs, Escape Clause must be strongly considered a contender in this race.

Elate would go over the $2 million mark in career earnings with a win in the Delaware Handicap, having banked $1.69 million to date while winning six of 15 races and finishing second in five others. She won the 2018 edition of this race following eight months off and earning a 110 figure. She could run even better this year as she has had three races, most recently winning the Fleur De Lis Handicap last month with a 99 figure. She earned higher 105 and 111 figures, respectively, in the Azeri Stakes and Apple Blossom, although she was no threat to win either. However, back in winning form and having won back-to-back grade 1 stakes in the summer of 2017, Elate could be formidable in this situation.

Blue Prize (ARG) is a tough competitor who has been first or second in 15 of 19 races, earning $1.1 million in the process. She put together three straight graded stakes wins last year, including the Fleur de Lis, before a fourth place effort in the Breeders' Cup Distaff. Her two races this year have been okay but not great, first finishing third in the La Troienne Stakes in May with a 99 figure, then regressing slightly to a 97 figure when beaten a length and one-half by Elate in this year's Fleur De Lis. As such, I think Blue Prize (ARG) can be a contender for a minor award and should be considered for exacta and trifecta tickets in this race, but it may be difficult for her to beat any of the three previously mentioned contenders.

Bets: Gotham Gala and Escape Clause to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

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

Trifecta: Box Gotham Gala, Escape Clause, Elate and Blue Prize.

Diana Stakes - Race 9 at Saratoga - Post Time 5:46 PM Eastern

Don’t let the fact this year’s Diana Stakes drew six horses, or the fact four are trained by Chad Brown, keep you from playing the race. ALL SIX can win, even Thais, who opens at 15/1. Highly regarded since coming to the U.S. two summers ago, she has won just once in eight races, BUT she is adding blinkers while making her second start after five months off. Brown’s record when adding blinkers in a turf route stakes race is amazing. I looked up the details of this and he’s only done it five times. I usually hate it when a trainer makes a blinker change for a stakes as it suggests the trainer doesn’t know that to do and is just trying something, but NOT CHAD BROWN, who has done this 12 times, with four of the horses winning and 11 hitting the board. Considering Thais pressed the pace in second from the start and was two lengths behind the leader from start to finish, perhaps the focus with blinkers will get her to run a big race. Mitchell Road, who opens at 8/1, is another potential win bet in spite of the Brown powerhouse of Rushing Fall, Sistercharlie and Homerique. Mitchell Road has done absolutely everything right in seven races for Bill Mott, winning five and finishing second in the other two. The 111 and 107 figures she earned in her last two stack up with the best in here (Rushing Fall 113, Sistercharlie 116 last fall and Homerique just 93 last month) so I must consider Mitchell Road a win contender in the same breath as the rest.

Bets: Thais and Mitchell Road to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

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

Doubles: ALL in Race 9 with Payne in Race 10.

Friday, 05 July 2019 02:08

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, July 6

Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes - Race 7 at Belmont - Post Time 4:30 PM Eastern
 
Olendon appears to have the goods here, even over very good distaff turf stakes winners like Newspaperofrecord, Concrete Rose and Cambier Parc, the latter two having posted upset wins over Newspaperofrecord in May and June. Olendon ships in off a bang-up second of 11 finish in the Group 1 Prix Saint Alary on May 26, at the 10 furlong trip of the Belmont Oaks. Only one other filly in the race (Jodie, shipping in from Japan) has run the distance, and Olendon did it against some of the best fillies in Europe, if not the world. With world-renowned trainer Pascal Bary still listed as her trainer, with John Velazquez set to ride, with the ground saving rail and with by far the highest last race Equibase figure in the field (116), Olendon should be tough to beat and easy to bet, as she opens at 9 to 2.
 
Cambier Parc stretched out to nine furlongs on turf last month when winning the Wonder Again Stakes over this course and she did so in a way that suggests the additional furlong won’t be an issue. She ran poorly with no excuse before that in the Edgewood Stakes at Churchill Downs on Derby weekend, that race won by Concrete Rose, with Newspaperofrecord second, but she won a stakes at Gulfstream before that and the way she rebounded in the Wonder Again suggests those two “A” races are what she’s capable of here. She’s one of three from the Brown barn but opens at 4 to 1 with Jose Ortiz aboard, who has been in the saddle for all three career wins to date. The 100 figures earned in the two wins don’t hold a candle to Olendon’s last race figure but it’s on par with Newspaperofrecord’s best (100) and better than the 93 Concrete Rose earned in the Edgewood so just repeating her last race could be good enough to get second and to win if I’m wrong about Olendon.
 
For exactas we will also use the Aiden O’Brien pair of Just Wonderful and Coral Beach, the former a fast closing fourth in her only previous U.S. start last fall in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and the latter having closed from last of 27 to get fourth a couple of weeks ago in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot. We will also use Jodie, the Japanese shipper, who finished third of 18 (beaten just a half-length) at this 10 furlong trip one race before last.
 
Bets:
Olendon to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
Cambier Parc to win at odds of 3 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.

 
Exactas: Olendon and Cambier Parc over Olendon, Cambier Parc, Just Wonderful, Coral Beach and Jodie.
For about half whatever amount you play the exacta above, play the reverse, which is Olendon, Cambier Parc, Just Wonderful, Coral Beach and Jodie over Olendon and Cambier Parc.
 

My Dear Stakes - Race 8 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:45 PM Eastern
 
I assume a decent percentage of bettors at Woodbine know who Brad Cox is and what an amazing past couple of years he’s had. Still, considering Bayerly Seen opens at 6 to 1, I can only hope bettors of Woodbine races don’t pay attention to one of the top up-and-coming trainers in North America. Bayerly Seen won her only start by 12 lengths, geared down, at Indiana Grand (perhaps another reason for some bettors disregarding the filly) last month. Not only was the effort visually impressive, there was no doubt the filly wasn’t fully extended and has much more to show. She earned the win wire-to-wire and because she doesn’t wear blinkers I don’t think she’s a need the lead type so can sit off likely early leader Fast Scene and take over as needed. Before leaving her home base the filly put in a sharp half-mile workout which was the third fastest of 60 on the day, many of those older and more established runners. Cox gets local jockey Campbell to ride, which is good, and the trainer’s starters win back-to-back nearly 30% of the time, evidence Cox keeps his horses happy and healthy between races. 
 
Fast Scene may be the one to beat on paper with a sharp wire-to-wire score in her debut over the track last month. She ran fast from start to finish and then shipped back to trainer Hamm’s base at Presque Isle to put in a sharp half-mile workout before coming back up. Hernandez rode first time out and rides back and the trainer won this race in 2016 with Velvet Mood so knows what he’s doing. The only knock is she opens at 2 to 1.
 
Justleavitalone will be left alone by bettors as she’s a first timer in a stakes. She opens at 12/1 but appears to have a bit of talent as she worked a strong 46.4 half-mile on 6/26 which was the best of 32 at the distance on the day. Lest there be a doubt trainer Gonzalez is overreaching, he won this race in 2015 with a first time starter at 18/1. 
 
Bets: Bayerly Seen to win at odds of 2/1.
Minimum odds for a win bet on Fast Scene are 2/1 but she’s likely to go to post at lower odds.

For a smaller amount than on Bayerly Seen, bet Justleaveitalone to win at 5 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 7 to 1 or more.  

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

Exactas: Box Bayerly Seen and Fast Scene.
Box Bayerly Seen, Fast Scene and Justleaveitalone

Trifecta: Bayerly Seen and Fast Scene over Bayerly Seen and Fast Scene over ALL.

 

Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes - Race 9 at Belmont - Post Time 5:44 PM Eastern
 

Cape of Good Hope can give world class trainer Aiden O’Brien his second win in this race. O’Brien shipped Deauville to win the 2016 edition of the Belmont Derby Invitational as well as saddled runner-up Adelaide in 2014. He also saddled Athena to win the 2018 Belmont Oaks Invitational so when he brings a horse from across the pond we can expect good things. Cape of Good Hope is one of only two horses in the field to have won at this mile and one-quarter turf trip, the win coming in the Blue Riband Trial Stakes in April. Sent to post at odds of 16/1 in the Prix du Jockey Club in June following the Trial, the colt had the benefit of stablemate Blenheim Palace to set the early pace and did rally from nearly last but could only manage fourth in the 15 horse field. However, that effort earned him a 116 Equibase Speed Figure, which is the top figure earned by any horse in this field. Dropped in class a bit for the Hampton Court Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, Cape of Good Hope apparently didn’t like the soft turf and finished 10th. Not only is Cape of Good Hope proven at the distance and is in the hands of a trainer who has won the race previously with a horse shipping in from Europe, he is a full brother to champion Highland Reel, who won over $10 million including the Breeders’ Cup Turf, and he’s a full brother to Idaho, winner of over $1.6 million. As such, Cape of Good Hope is my top choice to win this year’s Belmont Derby Invitational Stakes.  

Rockemperor, one of four trained by Chad Brown, showed he fit at the top level when second, beaten a neck, in the Prix la Force Stakes in April. That effort earned a 108 Figure. Prior to that, Rockemperor won an allowance race at the mile and one-quarter distance of the Belmont Derby on an all-weather surface. Although sixth in the Prix du Jockey Club in his most recent race, Rockemperor improved to a career-best 111 figure. Trainer Brown is currently second in the trainer division on the North American Racing Leaders list with $12.8 million earned this year, but of that number $9.8 million has been earned by his starters on turf, where he excels, particularly with horses importing to the U.S. According to a STATS Race Lens query, Brown has won 25% of the time with foreign shippers in their first U.S. starts over the last five years, with 53% of those finishing in the top three. With Rockemperor having shown he belongs in top company and can handle the 10 furlong trip, I think he could be quite competitive in this race. 

Seismic Wave and Demarchelier finished second and first, respectively, in last month’s Pennine Ridge Stakes and could be close at hand in the Belmont Derby with similar efforts. Seismic Wave has done little wrong in six races, winning two and finishing second or third in three of the other four. In the American Turf Stakes on Derby day, Seismic Wave was eight paths wide turning for home and flew from 10th to fourth but was too late to catch winner Digital Age. That effort earned a career-best 100 figure and although he regressed to a 94 figure effort in the Pennine Ridge, the fact that race came over this inner turf course at Belmont may help him to run even better. Demarchelier is a perfect three-for-three in his career to date. Castellano has been in the saddle for all three and the colt continues to improve with each effort, earning a career best 95 figure in the Pennine Ridge. As such, I expect a good showing in the Belmont Derby but it is likely he will have to have another career-best effort to be competitive in this very deep and talented field. 

I can’t completely ignore Blenheim Palace although I suspect the reason he was entered was to insure a good early pace for his stablemate Cape of Good Hope as was the case in the Prix du Jockey Club. Blenheim Palace is the only other horse, besides his stablemate, to have won at this 10 furlong turf trip. He earned that win in April in a field of 16. Although he faded to 14thafter setting the pace in the Jockey Club, Blenheim Palace showed he can run well on his own when second thereafter in the Intern Stakes just one week ago. Blinkers are added for the Belmont Derby, strongly suggesting the tactic will be to go to the front and hold it for as long as he can. Noting that was the same tactic used by trainer O’Brien’s Hunting Horn in the Man o’War Stakes here at Belmont last month, and that one nearly pulled off the upset before fading to fourth very late in the race, there is reason to think Blenheim Palace could get brave on the lead and be in the hunt to the wire in this race.  
 

Bets: Cape of Good Hope to win at 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.  

Rockemperor to win at odds of 7 to 2 or more, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

For smaller amounts than on Cape of Good Hope and Rockemperor, Seismic Wave and Demarchelier to win at odds of 9 to 2 or more.

Then, a minimum ($2 to $5) to win, place and show on Blenheim Palace at odds of 8 to 1 or more.

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

 Doubles: Cape of Good Hope, Rockemperor, Seismic Wave, Demarchelier and Blenheim Palace in Race 9 with Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi and Cordmaker in race 10. 

Then add a few horses in race 9 with my top pick in race 10 as follows:

Moon Colony, Standard Deviation, English Bee, Digital Age and He’s No Lemon in Race 9 with Preservationist in Race 10.

 

Suburban Stakes - Race 10 at Belmont - Post Time 6:18 PM Eastern
 

Preservationist never started as a two year old and only ran once as a three year old, finishing second, before going on the sidelines for almost all of his four year old year, finishing third in December, 2017. He won his first two starts as a five year old then went on the shelf again, this time for 11 months. After a sprint prep in which he finished third to start his five year old year he won, then lo and behold went on the sidelines again, this time for 15 months. His connections must think he’s supremely talented because off a comeback win in May over the track at the third allowance condition they are putting him in this grade 2 race. I AGREE with this as the 111 Equibase figure earned in that win over the track last month suggest he can post the mild upset here. Not only was that the BEST figure in the field earned by any horse last out, including those earned in stakes races by others, the ONLY two horses who have come back to run out of that race won their next starts. Trainer Jerkens, who also saddles Rocketry for the same owner, is a solid trainer and as this horse is making his second start off the long layoff he’s likely to improve, which makes him tough to beat. 

Catholic Boy has no knocks except that he’s likely to go to post as the heavy favorite. Proven in top company on turf and dirt, he began his four year old campaign off a six month layoff in May with a win on grass and he won the Travers last year at this distance on dirt off a turf win so putting in another “A” effort good enough to win is certainly within reach.

 Cordmaker may not be this good in terms of class but he doesn’t know it. Winner of six of 13 dirt races in his career, his 10th to third finish in the similar Pimlico Special one race before last suggests he fits with these. Carrasco rides him very well and the 110 and 107 figures from his last two wins also suggest it would be a mistake to keep him out of our exacta tickets at the very least, particularly as he opens at 12/1.

 Marconi has found a new lease on life in classic and marathon races, winning three straight stakes from 1 3/16 to 1 ½ miles, the most recent at Belmont in the grade 2 Brooklyn Invitational last month, a race like this one. Lezcano rode him marvelously in the Brooklyn, leading from start to finish, but Marconi has proven he doesn’t need the lead to win. With 108, 108 and 110 figures from those three wins, Marconi must be considered as a strong win contender.

 For a few exactas, I’ll use Rocketry (second to Marconi in the Brooklyn), Lone Sailor (who can put in a late kick on occasion), Wooderson (a half-brother to Rachel Alexandra who may improve off an allowance win) and Realm (a head behind Rocketry in the Brooklyn).

 
Bets: Preservationist to win at odds of 9 to 5.

For a smaller amount, Cordmaker and Marconi to win at odds of 9 to 2 or more.

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

 Exacta: Box Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi and Cordmaker

Then, Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi and Cordmaker over Catholic Boy, Preservationist, Marconi, Cordmaker, Rocketry, Lone Sailor, Realm and Wooderson.