Friday, 19 August 2016 04:59

Papo picks the Fourstardave at the Spa

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saratogaBy Papo Morales, AmWager

NOTE: Papo picked this race last week, and made some of his decisions based on the rain that ultimately washed out the day. While he still likes Force the Pass as his key horse, please follow his twitter feed at for updates and thoughts. Additionally, listen to his analysis of this race plus other Saratoga and Del Mar Stakes on IHeart Radio at 10-11am ET.

Race 10 Fourstardave Handicap:

A contentious field of 10 (one entered as main track only) older horses looking for grade one honors in the this one mile turf race. The handicapping puzzle begins with the weather report which is calling for a 60% chance of rain. With the likely threat of thunderstorms I am handicapping this race as if it is going to be run on good to soft ground which improves some horses chances while diluting others.

Friday, 05 August 2016 04:56

Papo picks the West Virginia Derby

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westvirginiaderbyBy Papo Morales, AmWager

Race 8 Grade 2 West Virginia Derby 1 1/8th Miles

A field of 11 three-year-old’s looking to pick up a Derby win by crossing the wire first in Mountaineer’s biggest race, the West Virginia Derby.

Morning line favoritism falls on Cupid (3-1), for trainer Bob Baffert, who is coming into the race off an outstanding win in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby. In that race, Cupid showed his mettle by setting a fast pace and then turning back all challengers down the stretch.

Thursday, 04 August 2016 04:43

Profiles of the West Virginia Derby field

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westvirginiaderbyFrom Mountaineer Park

Gray/Roan colt 122
3-1 Morning Line
Career record: 7-3-1-0, $880,553
Kentucky-bred: Tapit – Pretty ‘n Smart (Beau Genius)
Foaled: May 19, 2013
Jockey: Rafael Bejarano
Trainer: Bob Baffert
Co-owners: Michael B. Tabor, Mrs. John Magnier, and Derrick Smith

Thursday, 28 July 2016 04:41

Belmont Stakes, Creator and Destin reunion

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saratogaBy Dave Litfin, NYRA

Seven weeks after Creator scored a narrow win against Destin in the final U.S. classic of the season, those two are set for a rematch in the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes (gr. II) July 30 at Saratoga Race Course.

Creator and Destin, who were separated by inches at the end of a grueling 12 furlongs in the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, hook up again at Saratoga Race Course in Saturday's Grade 2, $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes - the key local stepping-stone to the Grade 1, $1.25 million Travers Stakes August 27.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016 04:39

Graded Stakes this weekend

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sandiegohandicapFrom DRF

DEL MAR, Calif. - California Chrome and jockey Victor Espinoza were in a familiar place on the turn of Saturday’s $200,000 San Diego Handicap at Del Mar. With three furlongs to go, California Chrome was running alongside the pacesetter and giving Espinoza positive vibes for the stretch run.

Back in March, in the $10 million Dubai World Cup in the United Arab Emirates, Espinoza was in a similar spot and chose a point in early stretch to urge California Chrome to the front. California Chrome drew off to win that race by 3 3/4 lengths.

kentuckyderbynyquistOceanport, N.J. – The connections of Nyquist, winner of the Kentucky Derby, confirmed they will run their champion next in Monmouth Park’s $1 million Haskell Invitational on Sunday, July 31.

“We’re headed to New Jersey,” said Doug O’Neill, trainer of Nyquist. “He very much impressed us this morning with his work. Mario (Gutierrez) was aboard and he looked really solid. We’re pumped up and can’t wait to get to New Jersey.”

That work was a snappy :59 flat over the Santa Anita Racetrack, best of 23 that went five furlongs this morning.

“He’ll ship down to Del Mar and train there,” O’Neill said. “We don’t have specific shipping plans just yet, but we’ll work that out over the next week or so.”

A colt by Uncle Mo, Nyquist won his first eight career starts for Reddam Racing LLC before finishing second last out over a sloppy track in the Preakness on May 21. He secured champion 2-year-old honors with his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and this year sports wins in the San Vicente Stakes, Florida Derby and Kentucky Derby. The Haskell will mark his tenth trip to the post and fifth in 2016.

Friday, 15 July 2016 04:27

Papo analyzes the G2 Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar

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delmarBy Papo Morales, AmWager

Race 9 Yellow Ribbon Handicap

It’s opening weekend at Del Mar which is Spanish for by the sea. Located just a stones throw from the Pacific Ocean, Del Mar’s slogan of “Where the Turf Meets the Surf” could not be more appropriate. California’s summer racetrack has been a magnet for Hollywood’s elite since it was first built in the late 1930’s by a partnership of investors including actor/singer Bing Crosby. In fact, Crosby met fans at the gate on opening day back in 1937 and was a regular attendee of the races. The summer playground for California’s elite, Del Mar has continued to draw crowds over the years and opening weekend is always popular with the stands full of beautiful people and the starting gate overflowing with entries.

sixgradedstakes1mAmWager's resident handicapper Papo Morales hits exacta & trifecta in all the Belmont Stars & Stripes races that were previewed on Saturday's Down the Stretch radio show. Papo also provide his recommended Pick 4 and hit that, too.

Be sure to follow Papo on the Down the Stretch radio show each Saturday, via his twitter feed @papocore1, or via this blog every week.