By 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 https://twitter.com/papocore1 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.
By 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.
From 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
By 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.
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.
Oceanport, N.J. – The connections of Nyquist, winner of the Kentucky Derby, confirmed they will run their champion next in Monmouth Park’s $1 million betfair.com 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 betfair.com Haskell will mark his tenth trip to the post and fifth in 2016.
By 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.
AmWager'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.
By Papo Morales, AmWager
Race 8 Grade 1 Belmont Derby
A full field of 13 three-year-olds running for grade one honors and the winner’s share of the $1.25 million dollar purse in a firecracker of a race the Belmont Derby.
Brexit has not tempered the Euros from shipping over three horses including the morning-line favorite Long Island Sound (7-2). From the stable of trainer Aiden O’Brien, Long Island Sound makes his US debut after running third in a Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes at Ascot. That was his first race going a route distance as his three prior races were winning ones at the flat mile. By War Front, out of a Pulpit mare, I can see why O’Brien stretched him out in distance.
By Papo Morales, AmWest Entertainment
Race 10 Queen’s Plate Stakes 1 1/4th Miles
The highlight of Sunday’s racing takes us north to Woodbine for the 157th running of the Queen’s Plate Stakes. The race was first run in 1860 and was comprised of three one-mile heats. The inaugural winner was a horse by the name of Don Juan, who won two of the three races that day. There are no “heat” races for the modern day Queen’s Plate Stakes that it is now run at the classic distance of mile and a quarter. The pageantry and excitement remains and this rendition of the race has a contentious field of 13 three-year-olds looking to have their name engraved in history.
I can see one of four horses winning the 2016 Queen’s Plate and will include all of them in my multi-race bets. My “A”’s in the race are Ami’s Gizmo (3-1) and Shakhimat (5-1). Ami’s Gizmo has done little wrong in his career winning five of six lifetime starts. The Giant Gizmo colt is coming off a very impressive win in the Plate Trial Stakes where he stalked the early pace and then powered down the stretch to win going away. That race was at 1 1/8th miles but the added distance should not be an issue as his grandsire is Giant’s Causeway and he is out of a Victory Gallop mare. It’s worth noting that Luis Contreras chose Ami’s Gizmo over the other Carroll entry in Gamble’s Ghost.
Mo Tom finally had clean trip in winning the $500K Ohio Derby Stakes at JACK ThistleDown Racino.
Jockey Javier Castellano did a great job, sitting back early in ninth ofthe 10-horse field early in the 1 1/8-mile contest. He then moved Mo Tom wide and won going away by 3 lengths.
Adventist finished 2nd.
Papo Morales' pre-race analysis.
A full field of 10 three-year-olds looking for a Derby win, no not that Derby but rather the Ohio Derby with a $500k purse.
The morning-line favorite is Mo Tom (5-2) for trainer Tom Amoss. The Uncle Mo colt’s early career can be described by one phrase “troubled trips." After winning the Grade 3 LeComte in January, Mo Tom has raced three times and finished no better than third due to several less than ideal trips. When you see “checked sharply”, “checked badly”, and “steadied; fanned 7 wide” you know the horse is due some racing luck.
From Woodbine Entertainment
CAMPBELLVILLE, June 18…Betting Line, driven by Dave Miller, demonstrated his off-the-pace talent by flying from fifth to first to win the $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the richest pacing event in the world, Saturday at Mohawk Racetrack, by one length in a stakes, track and Canadian record equalling score of 1:47.4.
The stakes record was originally lowered at Mohawk by Thinking Out Loud in 2012. Betting Line’s win in the 33rd edition of the Cup is also 19th time that an elimination winner has also won the final.