There are three Kentucky Derby points races on Saturday. The Gotham, The Tampa Bay Derby, and The San Felipe all offer hope and the ever-important points to get into the gate on the First Saturday in May. Sure, these races are fun to wager on, but for me, that is not the only enjoyment I derive from them. I enjoy trying to spot that horse that will peak in the big dance, and not before it. With the inception of the point process a few years back, the option of training your horse up to the Derby was all but taken away. You have to have your horse ready to fire an A race at least once before the goal. For example, Mack Miller did not have to worry about that when his Sea Hero won. Now, your hand will be tipped, but it is still fun, and potentially rewarding, to…
On Saturday before we get to see some Derby hopefuls at Gulfstream we’ll get to see the inaugural Saudi Cup, as of today the richest horse race in the world.The USA has both a strong presence and a big shot to win. For a $20 million purse, you’ll always have horses show up, so it is not any surprise to me that the race has a strong field.I really didn’t plan on betting the Saudi Cup, but I have changed my mind. Sometimes you just see something you can’t pass up.The race will be run mediation free. That means no Lasix among other things. I think this may factor in on how things unfold.Generally speaking, I think when horses are used to racing on Lasix, and then run without it they are at a disadvantage. I would guess this is especially true when shipping far away to race in the…
Last week we saw two pretty good reasons to keep playing this game. I’ll be the first to say the sport has changed, beating it is tougher than ever, and we all know we have many issues to fix, but difference-making scores remain a reality. For me, this makes the Sport of Kings worth playing.We saw a pick 6 get taken down for a cool mil, and we saw a pick 5 go for around 500k. The pick 6 wager was around $50 and the pick 5 around $1000. Both tickets required some luck, but even in skill gambling games luck always helps.As someone who has played professionally for years, I am of the opinion the only way to have a chance to beat the game today is to go for these types of scores. My philosophy is to make every bet you make a potential big score. If you…
One of the most common mistakes I see handicappers make is assuming a horse will run similar or even exactly how they ran in their last start.Horses are not machines, and they don’t run the same every time they race. All too often people look at the past performances or the replay of a horse's last start and conclude that’s what they will see again.I will be the first to agree horses, in general, are more consistent today than in the past. I believe drugs, legal and otherwise are a large part of that but even given that they don’t repeat every performance.Handicapping comes down to predictably and being to see in advance what will or at least will likely happen. If it was as easy as looking at the entrants' last race we would all win a lot more often.Pace changes. Class changes. Competition changes. Conditions change. Distances change.…
A stab to me is not a shot in the dark or a play without some logic and reasoning behind it. It is when I go for one horse over some others I like because of a feeling, or something less scientific than just hard-core handicapping. In some races and instances, I can’t separate the contenders. At times I will use them all in multi-race bets. Other times I will come up with an angle that favors one over the others. Sometimes I will take a stab. At Tampa in the Sam Davis I will be taking a stab. I think the favorite, Independence Hall, who many will have their eyes on as a possible Kentucky Derby horse, is talented and does not absolutely need the lead to win. That said, his best and most recent races have come with him on the engine, and I think he is close to or…
With the Derby preps in full swing, many of us are asking where is this year’s winner? The obvious answer is probably somewhere in Bob Baffert’s barn at Santa Anita. This is horse racing however and things are never that obvious. Or are they? On Saturday we get to see the Holy Bull and Swale at Gulfstream. We also will see the Withers at Aqueduct and the Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. Is the 2020 Kentucky Derby winner running tomorrow? It certainly is possible, and it doesn’t even have to be in one of the races mentioned. That is what is so great about this game. Stars can come from so many different places, and you never know when one may emerge. It would not shock me if a horse in the Dania Beach on the grass transfers to dirt down the line and becomes a consideration for the first Saturday…
With the rather late scratches of the first two choices in the Pegasus, Omaha Beach and Spun to Run, we are left with somewhat of a handicapping puzzle. This is further complicated by the horses running without medications they are used to racing with. Lasix is the obvious drug that stands out, but there are others. Just look at Spun to Run. Had it not been for the ban on medications, he probably would have been treated for his skin breakout and been in the gate Saturday afternoon. We are going to keep this short and sweet today. I thought Omaha Beach would be a tough short-priced favorite to beat in the Pegasus. I did not like Spin to Run, especially with the late choice of Castellano to ride. I did not think he fit the horse all that well. I think Spun to Run needs to be hustled to the…
I always thought the great equalizer between sports betting and horse racing was value. With horses, you can go after wagers that return multiple times on the dollar. In sports, you are usually looking at close to even money unless you go after underdog money lines which coincidentally is my preference.Lately, it is becoming more and more difficult to find value in horse racing. You are lucky to get over the parlay on multi-race wagers when it used to be a given. Three or four times the parlay was the norm. That made those bets worthwhile. Today, between the syndicates, sharks, and low denominations you are up against it. It’s a lousy feeling hitting a pick 4 or 5 that should pay 4K and it comes back $950. We see this more and more and it is not likely to change soon.Adjusting and adapting is absolutely a prerequisite to beating…
It is the time of year for fans of the Sport of Kings to turn their attention to the Kentucky Derby, and the top three-year-old horses. Generally, I like to start fresh, and I overlook or take with a grain of salt much of the two-year-old form. It doesn’t mean much now, and it will probably mean less come the first Saturday in May.Over at Aqueduct the other day we got to watch Independence Hall win the one turn Jerome going a mile in 1:37.2. He left some of his race in the paddock, still won easily, and made the Derby radar of some watchers. Not mine. Nothing about him looks like a Kentucky Derby horse to me. A nice horse, sure, a derby winner, I highly doubt it. We’ll see some other three-year-olds try and make the Derby radar screen Saturday at Gulfstream Park and also at Santa Anita. Bob…
For me, a lot goes into choosing the right single in any multi-race bet. With the exception of a 20-cent jackpot bet, I always like to have at least one single. Obviously, the most important thing about a single is that it wins. If it doesn’t, all else fails. Most multi-race bettors look for their separation or edge in races where they go deep or spread or even use all. I seldom use all. I always look for at least a few horses I can eliminate. Have I been burned, of course, but who hasn’t? In the long run, it helps make scores and have tickets more than once. Eliminating as many losing bets as possible is crucial to the P and L statement at year or meets end. It is easy to see the logic in creating separation or trying to create separation in a leg where you spread or use…