Handicapping - AmWager

  • 29
    DEC

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 30

    Via Borghese Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park– Post 4:37 PM Eastern Time

    Martini Glass has done little wrong this year, winning four of nine races and finishing second in another four. Two of the second place finishes came in grade 1 stakes on dirt behind Songbird and behind Romantic Vision and when moved back to grass four weeks ago she got up by a nose over the course to win the Claiming Crown Tiara Stakes under Paco Lopez, who rides back. Normally we could expect a horse like this to be the heavy favorite but in a 12 horse field Martini Glass opens at 6 to 1 odds and particularly as she worked very sharply on 12/22 coming into the race and gets a great inside post, she's the one to beat and a great bet to kick off a series of good betting races. Beauly has finished fourth in three straight races, all graded stakes. Beauly won four back in a non-graded stakes like this and she drops from grade 1 into this race the same way Martini Glass dropped in class from grade 1 to non-graded to win earlier this month so Beauly must be taken very seriously as a contender. Involuntary has four wins and three second place finishes in 11 career turf races including a neck defeat the only time she previously raced on the Gulfstream Park turf last March. On a very similar pattern to Martini Glass, Involuntary won a non-graded stakes on turf three back and returns to the level after two graded stakes tries so there are reasons to expect her to perk back up to a top effort good enough to win. Opening at 12 to 1 she's very playable as well.

     

    Win Bets:

    Bet Martini Glass to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Make win bets on Beauly and Involuntary at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet on Involuntary at 6 to 1 or higher. Although my win bets on Beauly and Involuntary will be for a smaller amount than Martini Glass, I might also use a dutching tool like the one at Amwager, to apportion my bets based on the odds to insure a strong profit.

    Exacta:

    Play an exacta key box consisting of Martini Glass, Beauly and Involuntary.

    Double:  Use Martini Glass, Beauly and Involuntary in race 10 with Durocher, Profiteer, Small Bear and Funtastic in race 11.

    Tropical Park Derby – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 5:08 Eastern Time

    Small Bear and Funtastic just finished one-two in the Gio Ponti Stakes at Aqueduct, a nearly identical non-graded stakes to the Tropical Park Derby. Funtastic rallied from farther back than Small Bear, made the lead just inside the sixteenth pole then was nailed on the wire. Both horses ran huge races to earn strong 106 Equibase figures, bettered only by the 107 last race figure Durocher earned when third in the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes. Small Bear may get the slightest, and I mean slightest, of preference here because he opens at 6 to 1 compared to 5 to 1 for Funtastic, who is drawn one post outside of Small Bear, but both horses are making their second starts off short layoffs and can run as well or better than last time out in this situation. Profiteer opens as the lukewarm favorite at 7 to 2 based on his drop out of graded stakes. He finished third in the Commonwealth Derby on 9/30 then fifth at the end of October in the Twilight Derby. We can ignore the Twilight Derby effort as he was put on the lead and dueled, something he had never done before and likely will never do again with the jockey change back to Velazquez, who rode him to an off the pace win in August with a 111 figure that is good enough to win here.  Durocher opens at a ridiculous 20/1 considering he earned a 107 figure last out and a 105 figure two before that, both in stakes on this course. In the Claiming Crown Emerald four weeks ago, Durocher got the "deathly" 13 post yet finished well from 12th to 3rd in the last quarter mile. With Lopez getting on for the first time and with the rail to save ground, it is conceivable the colt's 20/1 starting odds could look like a gift even if he only competes the exacta or trifecta.

    Because there is so much opportunity for profit in this race, I am going to go deep in second in the exacta and in addition to the win contenders above also consider Somekindofmagician, General McGooby, Gorgeous Kitten and Secretary At War.

     

    Bet Small Bear and Funtastic to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Bet Durocher to win at 6 to 1 or more and add a place bet at 8 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Small Bear, Funtastic, Profiteer and Durocher.

    Play an exacta consisting of Small Bear, Funtastic, Profiteer and Durocher over Small Bear, Funtastic, Profiteer, Durocher, Somekindofmagician, General McGooby, Gorgeous Kitten and Secretary At War

    American Oaks – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post time 6:30 Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific Time)

    Coachwhip is the most lightly raced filly in the group with just three races under her belt but she improved markedly in both the second and third starts of her career and should improve again. After winning around two turns on grass in her debut, Coachwhip improved to a 93 Equibase figure with a strong rally to win at the first allowance condition. In her subsequent start, just three weeks ago, Coachwhip rallied from 11th of 14 and five paths wide on the turn to finish second behind the much more experienced Kathy's Song in the Miss America Stakes, improving to earn a 101 figure. Moved to the barn of Hall-of-Fame trainer Richard Mandella, Coachwhip can take another step forward and there's no question Coachwhip can get the 10 furlong trip as she is a daughter of So You Think, winner of more than $8.6 million and 10 time winner at this distance on grass. Rymska and New Money Honey both ship in from New York for Chad Brown. Rymska is a perfect three-for-three in 2017, with well-spaced wins in February, September and November. Her best effort among the three came with a 104 figure winning the Commonwealth Oaks at nine furlongs in September and in each of her last three wins, Rymska has put in a big late kick from five or six lengths back on the turn so we can expect her to be passing many if not all of these again in this race. New Money Honey is one of only two fillies in the field to have won at this distance (the other being Daddys Lil Darling) – that win having come in the Belmont Oaks Invitational in July with a career best 109 figure. She has run poorly in her two races since, but one of those (in the Alabama Stakes) was on dirt so can be ignored. However, as the favorite in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup in October, New Money Honey faded to sixth after being up close in second in the early stages with no apparent excuse. Earlier this year, New Money Honey won the Wonder Again Stakes following a sixth-place finish prior to that so there is hope she can return to the form shown at the distance in the spring to win her second grade 1 stakes of the year.

     

    Others for exotics: Madam Dancealot finished third in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup and although no threat to the winner, or even runner-up Daddys Lil Darling, earned a strong 108 figure for the effort. Prior to that, Madame Dancealot earned back-to-back 111 figures, including a win in the San Clemente Stakes, and as such she might be counted on for a furious finish to get into the thick of the action near the wire. Daddys Lil Darling won the Dueling Ground Oaks in September at the distance of a mile and five-sixteenths, a sixteenth of a mile farther than this American Oaks. Daddys Lil Darling then earned a career best 113 figure when second in the Queen Elizabeth II before another close defeat when third, beaten under a length, in the Mrs. Revere Stakes. She is another to be respected as a contender for a piece of the purse. Beau Recall missed by a nose in the Del Mar Oaks in August with a career best 111 figure, and although she has finished second four times, winning only once in seven races this year, Beau Recall may be another to consider, at least for exacta and trifecta wagers in this race. Kathy's Song won the Miss America Stakes a few weeks back with a 107 figure and although her only try in a graded stakes resulted in a non-threatening fifth place finish she might rally for a share as well.

     

    Bet Coachwhip to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more and add a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

    Bet Rymska at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Bet Madam Dancealot to win at 7 to 2 or higher.

    Consider a win bet on New Money Honey at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

    To find the best way to profit making multiple win bets, use a dutching tool like the one at Amwager.

    Play an exacta consisting of Coachwhip, Rymska, New Money Honey and Madam Dancealot over Coachwhip, Rymska, New Money Honey and Madam Dancealot, Daddys Lil Darling, Kathy's Song and Beau Recall

    Double: Coachwhip, Rymska, New Money Honey and Madam Dancealot in race 7 with Ike Walker, Americanize and Tough Sunday in race 8.

     

    Midnight Lute Stakes – Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post time 7 PM Eastern Time (4 PM Pacific)

    Ike Walker has a big shot to post the upset here because two of the morning line favorites (Masochistic, Silent Bird) are vulnerable and the other (Americanize) is no standout. Ike Walker has won 10 of 32 career main track races including his most recent with a near career best 107 Equibase figure. To put that into perspective, likely favorite Americanize, aside from the flukish 123 figure effort put forth in the Damascus Stakes, earned a 108 in his best effort and one of the other two favorites, Silent Bird, earned a 111 figure back in February at the same distance Ike Walker won at last month. Ike Walker cuts back from a mile to 6 1/2 furlongs which gives him some great stamina and kick in the late stages and in this race with Masochistic likely to zip out early on sizzling fractions as usual, with possibly Smokey Image and Americanize right on his heels, the faster the pace the better for Ike Walker, with Irad Ortiz, Jr. in to ride today for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer, who knows where his horses belong for top efforts. Tough Sunday finished third in this race last year, on a sloppy track, following a six length win and career best 109 figure. He was off for 11 months after that, returning on November 16 as if he had never been away to win strongly with a 111 figure he has every right to improve upon 2nd off a layoff. Americanize was out of his league in the Cigar Mile Stakes four weeks ago in New York but returns to California and to a level he fits much better at, having won two in a row before the trip to New York, one of those wins at this distance with a 108 figure. However, for his best effort Americanize and Bejarano will have to relax in second or third and let Masochistic do his thing or  he will have little left to hold off the stalker Tough Sunday or the closer Ike Walker.

    As to the other favorites and why I'm taking a stand against them as win contenders, Silent Bird threw in two clunkers in a row following five straight wins including the 2016 Damascus (that Americanize won this year). He's been freshened four months but his trainer is trying blinkers for the first time which to me is a sign he doesn't really have a handle on how to get the horse back into top form and certainly as a horse that has started a total of eight times in his career (as a five year old) he has issues. Masochistic is a seven year old with 16 starts and in the same boat as Silent Bird. He's admittedly had issues keeping weight on and after Ron Ellis was suspended recently the horse was transferred to Baffert so there's really no way to know if he can reproduce his form from 2016 when he won the Grade 2 Pat O'Brien Stakes with a 116 figure. His two races after that, when leading early and giving it up for second both times, before a 13th place finish this past May, make it so I really don't want any part of him today but I will use him in 2nd on exacta tickets.

    For second in the exacta I'll add Solid Wager, who won this race last year in the slop and in a five horse field, and Calculator, who finished second behind recent San Antonio Stakes winner Giant Expectations in the Pat O'Brien Stakes this past summer.

    Bet Ike Walker and Tough Sunday to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Ike Walker, Tough Sunday and Americanize.

    Play an exacta consisting of Ike Walker, Tough Sunday and Americanize over Ike Walker, Tough Sunday, Americanize, Silent Bird, Masochistic, Solid Wager and Calculator.

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  • 24
    DEC

    Key Bets & Races for Tuesday, December 26

    Mathis Brothers Mile Stakes – Race 6 at Santa Anita– Post 5:40 PM Eastern Time (2:40 PT)

    Kroy gets the rail for this mile trip, as well as Javier Castellano, for a relatively unknown trainer in California but one who is well known all over the east coast, with 50 wins in 250 races this year. Kroy won three in a row in July, August and September, before a 3/4 length defeat last month, the last 3 starts all in stakes and with 3 of the four earning him 106, 107 and 109 Equibase figures which are stakes quality, ALL coming since Blinkers were added. Kroy can run on the lead or from off the pace and with this top jock in the saddle is likely to be in the thick of the action from start to finish. Harbour Master is ready for these as 2 of his last 3 races have been the best of his career. He finished 4th to older three back, then 2nd, then first and although Desormeaux gets off to ride Bowies Hero, Espinoza getting on is not a negative one bit. B Squared is 2 for 3 on grass, the first of the two in April at this mile trip and the 2nd in a downhill sprint trip over the course in October. Both wins came in Cal-Bred stakes races but the last of the pair earned him a 116 Equibase figure and we can ignore his most recent race when completely overmatched and facing older in the BC Sprint. Back against 3 year olds and back on turf he deserves a great deal of respect as a win contender.

     

    Bet Kroy to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

    Bet Harbor Master and/or B Squared to win at odds of 3 to 1 or higher.

    (To make multiple win bets and insure the best profit, use a "dutching" tool like the one at Amwager to allocated the amount of win bets in the best way)

    Play an exacta key box consisting of Kroy with ALL. (This is the same as Kroy over ALL and then also ALL over Kroy)

    Pick 3:

    Race 6 – Kroy, Harbour Master, B Squared

    Race 7– Marley's Freedom, Faypien, Paradise Woods, Unique Bella

    Race 8 – Pavel, Favorable Outcome, Edwards Going Left, Irish Freedom

     

    La Brea Stakes – Race 7 at Santa Anita – Post time 6:15 Eastern Time (3:15 Pacific Time)

    We're getting 20/1 on Castellano on a horse on an improving pattern who hasn't peaked yet and I just can't pass that up, particularly noting the upsets in the BC races four of these come out of in which favorites disappointed badly. Marley's Freedom changed barns between her first two races, last fall, and her 9/4 start, which she won nicely, before a big effort when beaten a neck with a 107 Equibase figure and then a strong win last month by 4 1/2 lengths with a 110 figure. To put that into perspective, when Unique Bella won her comeback from 7 months off in October (the L.A. Woman Stakes) she earned a 110 figure and when Paradise Woods won the Zenyatta Stakes on 9/30 she earned a 111 figure. Unique Bella opens at 9/5 here and Paradise Woods opens at 8/5 here, both having run in Breeders' Cup Races in their most recent starts, but Marley's Freedom just won in a first level allowance so there is a perceived difference in class that explains the difference in odds. However, there is NO difference in how fast any of the three can run if they repeat their best efforts and so Marley's' Freedom is a key longshot bet on the card. Unique Bella and Paradise Woods can both win by repeating their efforts before the BC so have to be used on exotic wagers and multi-race wagers. Faypien opens very hard to ignore for a 2nd win bet, at 6/1, as she's been 1st or 2nd in five of six including winning the Summertime Oaks over the track in June and finished 2nd in the Test Stakes at Saratoga this summer. She runs well fresh, has been working great, and should be right there at the finish once again.

    Bet Marley's Freedom to win at 4 to 1 or more.

    Bet Faypien to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Marley's Freedom, Unique Bella, Paradise Woods and Faypien

    Malibu Stakes – Race 8 at Santa Anita – Post time 6:48 Eastern Time (3:48 Pacific Time)

    Pavel moves back to 3 year olds only off a big 3rd in the Jockey Club Gold Cup and a horrible effort in the BC Classic. He won his only sprint powerfully and should love the cut back in distance and change in company, with the 110 figure effort earned winning the Smarty Jones Stakes in September against his own age group good enough to win here if repeated. Favorable Outcome ships in from New York for the barn of North American leading trainer Brown, off a trio of improving efforts with 97, 104 and 115 figures. Castellano rides as he did for the colt's win in the Swale Stakes at this trip last winter and the colt appears capable of taking another step forward so could easily be formidable here. Edwards Going Left is a Cal-Bred who, with the exception of a 6th place finish on 10/7, has run three huge races in a row, all sprints, including a win in the Statebred restricted Cary Grant stakes last month with a career best 112 figure. He has a good late kick and should run a lot better than his 8 to 1 odds suggest he will. Irish Freedom is one of a pair from the Baffert barn, the other Dabster, this colt very likely to appreciate the cut back in distance from 9 furlongs to 7 furlongs. He finished well for 2nd in the Native Dancer Stakes last month and the jockey change to Smith certainly helps his chances to improve off that effort.

    Bet Pavel to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

    Consider a second win bet on Favorable Outcome, Edwards Going Left or Irish Freedom at 3 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box and a trifecta box consisting of Pavel, Favorable Outcome, Edwards Going Left and Irish Freedom

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  • 15
    DEC

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 16

    Rampart Stakes – Race 5 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 2:05 PM Eastern Time

    This race is a very good betting race by virtue of the fact the second and third morning line choices are suspect in my opinion. Lewis Bay, who opens at 7 to 2, comes back from a year on the bench and no matter how good Chad Brown is overall, his stats are not that great with this type of comeback (2 for 10 in dirt routes off six months or more over the past year). The filly is a stakes winner but she would need to be in tip-top shape off a year on the bench to compete here and I don't think she is. Nonna Mela, who opens at 5 to 2, failed to fire even the least bit when last seen in October at Keeneland and earned her most recent win in a 2nd level allowance race. Her stakes win came as a two year old and there's no proof she can be competitive at this level.

    With two suspect low odds horses out of the way, we're down to the favorite, Curlin's Approval and a very logical horse at high odds in Lirica. There's no need to talk up Curlin's Approval, because if you draw a line through her races outside of Gulfstream, she's won 4 of her last 5 including a grade 2 stakes around two turns and a grade 3 stakes like this one at 7 furlongs. This one turn mile trip is right up her alley and her recent 4 furlong work says she's in shape to run back to her best efforts. Lirica is a three year old with a rock-solid record of 5-4-2 in 14 starts at Gulfstream. She's earned over 200K so she's  no slouch which is why the 20/1 morning line can be taken advantage of. She earned her best Equibase Speed Figure (106) in her most recent race winning at 7 furlongs and that's to be expected of a 3 year old in the fall so she fits on all counts to be right there and at high odds. That 106 figure stacks up very nicely against Curlin's Approval as that one earned 104 and 110 figures in her two most recent wins.

    Bet Curlin's Approval to win, a KEY  BET, at odds of 1/1 (even money) or better if you can get it.

    ALSO, Bet Lirica to win at odds of 4 to 1 or more and bet her to place at 6 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta consisting of Curlin's Approval and Lirica.

    Play a trifecta consisting of Curlin's Approval and Lirica over ALL over Curlin's Approval and Lirica.

    (by playing both bets above we cover them coming in 1st & 2nd or 1st and 3rd).

    Sugar Swirl Stakes – Race 7 at Gulfstream Park– Post time 3:05 PM Eastern Time

    Similar to the Rampart, but with not nearly the value, we have two contenders here- the favorite Dearest (opening at 6/5), and Pretty Perfection (opening at 9/2). The early pace scenario in this race will be the key to being right, as it appears Stella Performance and Girls Know Best, at the least, will want the lead from the start at any cost. Throw True Romance into the mix and we have a barn burner from which NONE of the pacesetters or stalkers will have much left to hold off the closers. Pretty Perfection has run the two best races of her career in her two most recent races, incidentally both since moving from turf and all-weather to dirt. She won the first of the two by 4 1/2 lengths with a 102 Equibase figure and the 2nd of the two at Churchill Downs last month with a 104 figure, both good enough to win a grade 3 stakes like this one. Nik Juarez was up for both and rides Pretty Perfection right back, giving us more reasons to believe she can run another "A" race good enough to win. She does have to beat Dearest to do that, Dearest  having won the Sugar Swirl last year with a 103 figure when dropping from grade 2 stakes to this grade 3 level just as she's doing this year. She's been working well and loves the main track here as she's earned 4 of her 5 career wins in seven races at Gulfstream Park.

     

    Bet Pretty Perfection to win at odds of 8 to 5 or higher.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Pretty Perfection and Dearest.

    Harlan's Holiday Stakes – Race 9 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 4:06 PM Eastern Time

    I'll start with the best profit opportunity (among horses we might consider for win bets) among the contenders and that's Conquest Big E, who dominated in two races in a row in June and July here at Gulfstream, the latter a stakes with a 50K purse. Both were at the distance of a mile around one turn but in his 2nd career start, back in the fall of 2015, Conquest Big E won at a mile and one-sixteenth around two turns so I'm not concerned. He opens at double digit odds (15/1) because after the two wins he ran poorly (4th and 6th) BUT neither of those was at Gulfstream. The win on 7/23 came off a short rest like the one he's coming back from today and to get the early lead all to himself the way he likes it, Conquest Big E and jockey Batista only need to get over from Richard the Great in the first 50 yards to get the rail and relax, from where I'm hopeful the horse will get brave and win as he did last spring and summer. Mr. Jordan is really the one to beat here, opening at 4/1, not morning line favorite Destin, as Mr. Jordan just ran the one of the best races of his career with an 11 length win on 11/11 at this trip. Zayas was up for the very first time and rides back. He ran even better last year when he won the Millions Classic Preview with a 113 figure so he's capable of even better, as well as capable of running back to back winning races as he did last fall.

    Richard the Great finished a far flung 2nd (11 lengths back) to Mr. Jordan last month. He's won four times at Gulfstream, all at 7 furlongs or less, but could get a piece again today. Destin is a suspect favorite, bet mostly because people remember he  finished  2nd in the 2016 Belmont Stakes. Since then, he has an allowance win and a win at 1 3/4 miles to his credit in seven races. His best effort (that NW3X allowance win in August) earned a 103 figure which is about on par with the other contenders, but not enough to beat Mr. Jordan or Conquest Big E if they repeat their similar best efforts this year. Page McKenney through in a rare clunker last month when a non-threatening 5th and can be a factor, plus has a strong competitive instinct, but may need time off. Fear the Cowboy also ran a poor effort with no excuse in his most recent race on 11/22. I'll use the latter two in 2nd on exacta tickets and 2nd as well as 3rd on trifecta tickets but for the most part I am trying to beat them.

    Bet Conquest Big E to win at 3 to 1 or more. Add a place bet at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Bet Mr. Jordan at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Play exactas consisting of Conquest Big E and Mr. Jordan over Conquest Big E, Mr Jordan, Richard the Great, Destin, Page McKenney and Fear the Cowboy.

    Tropical Turf Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post time 4:37 PM Eastern Time

    Galton was claimed by Mike Maker in June for $62,500, after he had won 8 races following the claim by Tom Amoss a year or so earlier. Maker game him two months off and Galton finished 2nd in a stakes right off the claim, three later earning a strong win on 10/19 on the grass in a classified allowance race. Maker is very strong off a short layoff into a turf route with 20% wins on nearly 250 starts and 50% of those in the money. Considering Galton has won 8 times on grass and been 1st or 2nd in 15 of 28, for nearly $400K in earnings, the 10/1 starting odds suggest we may get a very nice return on this gelding if he runs back to any number of good races in the past year or so. You can, and should, draw a big line through the last race of All Included in his past performances, a good rule when a horse runs badly and that effort leads to a layoff. Before that he ran big in three straight including winning the similar Grade 3 Appleton Stakes on the Gulfstream Park turf in April. Castellano was up for the win and gest back on, a very good sign for the same kind of effort. Additionally, Pletcher is very adept at bringing horses back from this kind of layoff into a route, winning at a 27% clip. Western Reserve opens at double digit odds (12/1) similar to Galton and is also very playable. He too was claimed for $62,500 this spring, and he immediately won a 100K stakes on the grass off the claim. 5th and 3rd since then, he drops from grade 2 to grade 3 and picks up Lopez, who rides this course very well. Having missed by a neck in the similar Grade 3 Bradley Stakes last January at Fair Grounds, Western Reserve's 12/1 starting odds are undeservingly high but that's just fine for us to make a profit.

    Tower of Texas and Shakhimat are both from the barn of superb trainer Roger Attfield, having finished 3rd and 1st, respectively, last month in a 100K stakes on the grass at Woodbine at this mile trip. Both have credentials to run competitively here and worked in company in preparation for this race at Payson Park on 12/11. I just don't know what to do with 2/1 starting favorite Blacktype, because although his effort one before last winning the G2 Knickerbocker Stakes would be competitive here, he ran poorly when 4th at 7/5 last month with no excuse whatsoever in a non-graded stakes on the grass in New York. His best efforts yield 111-115 figures, still not good enough to beat All Included if that one repeats his efforts with 117 and 118 figures last winter at Gulfstream, but good enough to be competitive. I can't entirely discount Blacktype as a contender, but I certainly wouldn't mind if he through in another clunker.

    Bet to Galton and Western Reserve to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Bet either or both to place at 6 to 1 or higher.

    Consider a win bet on All Included at 2 to 1 or higher.

    To bet more than one horse and get the best profit, use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager, which helps allocate your bets to get about the same gross profit.

    Considering this is a decent size field and two of the three main contenders open at 10/1 or more, the risk-reward ratio may make it worth playing a decent size exacta. As such, play an exacta consisting of Galton, Western Reserve and All Included over Galton, Western Reserve, All Included, Tower of Texas, Shakhimat and Blacktype.

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well. 

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  • 08
    DEC

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 9

    Don't forget to check the very bottom of this blog for a "BONUS" race, with a big longshot, that has a post time of 2:26 PM Eastern Time

    Willa on the Move Stakes – Race 6 at Laurel – Post time 3:00 PM Eastern Time

    It is rumored Absatootly is going to pass this race to run in a stakes in New York so I am not including her as a contender. If that is not the case and Absatootly runs in this race, she would be my top pick. However, as it is Ms Locust Point appears very tough to beat. Except for her debut, in which she finished 2nd, and when overmatched when 5th in the Grade 2 Forward Gal Stakes, Ms Locust Point has urn big, winning by an average of four lengths. She gets a great outside post to stalk the pace and if no other horse wants the lead she's capable of controlling the pace on the front end and never looking back just as happened the ONLY other time she ventured from trainer Servis' base at Parx to Laurel, winning the Gin Talking Stakes in December. She won last month following 9 months off and is on the improve so should be very tough to beat. My Magician has won 3 of five since joining the Gonzalez barn, the last win coming in her most recent start, here at Laurel. With strong Equibase figures of 100, 98 and 94 in three of her last 5 stacking up nicely with the 97 and 92 best figures Ms Locust Point earned in her two best races, and opening at 8 to 1 (whereas Ms Locust Point opens at 5/1), My Magician offers us another great win bet opportunity. Shimmering Aspen won the Twixt Stakes in August here at Laurel, against older, so moving from 3 year olds to older here is of no concern, She did run poorly when 3rd at 7 to 5 last month but she's moves back to 6 furlongs where she's 1 for 1 and with a 5 for 9 career record discounting her chances would be at our peril. Likely favorite Ivy Bell should be used on exacta tickets but I think she's a but suspect as the favorite. She's been consistent with 9 first or second place finishes in 14 races but she has finished second five times and is beatable.

    Bet Ms Locust Point AND My Magician to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher

    Play an exacta consisting of Ms Locust Point, My Magician and Shimmering Again over Ms Locust Point, My Magician, Shimmering Again and Ivy Bell.

     

    Carribbean Classic Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park– Post time 4:45 PM Eastern Time

    This, as well as most of the races on the Saturday card at Gulfstream, is restricted to horses representing countries in the Carribbean. As such, it may be many American bettors might be flummoxed  by trying to handicap a field of horses, all without traditional running lines. Using the same handicapping methodology I would use if the entrants were from Europe or Asia, similar to a Breeders' Cup race, the top contenders can be isolated pretty easily. El Cubita won his debut and has finished second in all three starts since then, ALL Group 1 races. He's earned nearly $350K with just a maiden win to his credit, and finished 2nd in fields of 14 and 11 in his two most recent starts. He's won from 6 furlongs to a mile and one-half to this 9 furlong trip is no issue. However, he does open at 3 to 1 so may be the favorite at post time. La De  Horacio has earned $1 million in HER career of 11 races and beat males at this 9 furlong trip in August in a Group 3 stakes before a runner-up effort in a Group 1 race at 10 furlongs in September. Recently 4th of 14 in a Group 1 stakes worth nearly $1 million, in which El Cubita finished 2nd, La De Horacio gets John Velazquez and appears to be a strong contender yet opens at 8 to 1. Immenso opens at 12/1 odds, odd considering he's 8 for 8 this year. I have no idea who he's been running against in the Dominican Republic but he's crushed the field more than once and Joel Rosario riding is a good sign. Equibase has a way to create speed figures for foreign races on the same scale as North American races and this colt has earned 104 figures in 3 of his last four starts which stacks up against the best figures earned by La De Horacio and by El Cubita so we will round out a trio of contenders with him.

     

    Bet El Cubita to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Bet La De Horacio to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

    Bet Immenso to win at 4 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta box consisting of El Cubita, La De Horacio and Immenso.

     

    Cash Call Futurity – Race 3 at Los Alamitos Race Course – Post time 4:58 Eastern Time (1:58 Pacific Time)

    Runaway Ghost appears to be the controlling speed and in a short field that can be very dangerous. He dominated from start to finish in the Golden Nugget stakes at Golden Gate Fields last month with a career-best 102 Equibase figure, and he can improve a ton going long for the first time as well as making his 2nd start following five months off. Sons and daughters of Ghostzapper have won 24 of 99 dirt route graded stakes races in the last five years (with last year's top two-year-old McCraken one of them) and the dam of Runaway Ghost (Rose's Desert) won 10 of 15 career races, finishing second in the other five, earning over $600,000. Hopefully, Talamo gets out to an easy lead on slower fractions than the colt has had to run to date in his sprints, gets Runaway Ghost into a strong rhythm, and plays "come catch me" with the rest of the field. Opening at 8/1, Runaway Ghost is a KEY bet in this race and among the races available for betting today.

    Solomini has come up second best in two of the biggest races for two year olds in North America, in the FrontRunner and Breeders' Cup Juvenile, in the latter earning a career-best 107 figure. In the Futurity, perhaps Solomini will be the one to dominate and certainly on paper he appears to be a strong contender, but he should have to run down Runaway Ghost in the stretch to win. McKinzie wasn't a typical Bob Baffert first time starter when he entered the gate for his career debut on October 28 as there wasn't a lot of buzz about his ability and he went to post at 7 to 2. However, that all changed following his dominant five and one-half length win with a field high and stakes quality 116 figure. Flattered when both the third and fifth place finishers from that race returned to win their next starts, McKinzie is bred to stretch out fine and with Smith back in the saddle it is certainly possible the colt will win easily once again and in doing so stamp himself as a horse to reckon with on the Road to the Kentucky Derby in 2018.

     

    Bet Runaway Ghost to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Instead of a place bet, play an exacta consisting of Solomini and McKinzie over Runaway Ghost

    Play a double using Runaway Ghost in race 3 with ALL (5 horses) in race 4.

    Play an addition double using Runaway Ghost in race 3 and using Piedi Bianchi, Dream Tree and War Heroine in race 4.

    If you play the pick 3 or any other multi-race tickets, use Runaway Ghost on main tickets and use Solomini and McKinzie on backup tickets.

     

    Starlet Stakes – Race 4 at Los Alamitos Race Course – Post time 5:28 Eastern Time (2:28 Pacific Time)

    Although War Heroine opens at 9 to 5, it is likely she will go to post as the second choice as Baffert's Dream Tree, who opens at 8/5, went to post at 4 to 5 and even money in her two starts. War Heroine is not just a better bet than the likely favorite, she's more likely to win. When Dream Tree won in his debut on 10/7 at Santa Anita he won by a nose with a 93 Equibase figure then he improved to a 101 figure winning the Desi Arnaz Stakes by a nose. When War Heroine broke her maiden at first asking on 11/12 she won by 6 3/4 in ridden out fashion with a tank of gas left and with a 94 figure so if she moves forward in start #2 the way Dream Tree did in her 2nd start, War Heroine should win. There are no issues about going long and Miller's starters win nearly 1/3 of the time back-to-back. Other than Dream Tree, Piedi Bianchi is the other win contender but opens at 5 to 2. She finished 5th of 13 in the BC Juvenile Fillies and was a neck from 2nd in the Grade 1 Chandelier before that, her only two turn starts to date. That two turn experience, that Dream Tree lacks, gives Piedi Bianchi more probability to win than Dream Tree.

    Bet War Heroine to win at 1 to 1 (even money) or more.

    If you play any pick 3 or other multi-race tickets, use all three horses listed above.

     

    Bonus Race – Race 4 at Woodbine – Post Time 2:26 Eastern Time

    I am going to take a flyer on Dante's Blu Grass in this race, opening at 30/1. This is a maiden race with no standouts and this filly made her debut last month in a route like this one, without a prep, a very tough question to ask a 2 year old particularly on all-weather. She didn't run a lick, finishing 8th of 10, but that's not a concern. The ONLY other foal of the dam went 6 for 25 and earned over $200K, better still winning in its 2nd start for the same owner and trainer after a dreadful debut just like the filly put in last month, here at Woodbine. The dam herself went 3-3-2 in 14 races and broke her maiden in her 2nd career start as well. Trainer Scott Fairlie has won with 3 of 12 second time starters in the past year and 2 of 6 who add Lasix for the first time, both which apply to this filly. As such, I am personally a going to Bet Dante's Blu Grass to win, place and show and recommend the same wager to all of you.

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  • 01
    DEC

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, December 2

    Go For Wand Stakes – Race 6 at Aqueduct – Post time 2:06 PM Eastern Time

    Verve's Tale ran the best race of her career to date last time out (with a field high last race 109 Equibase figure) when leading late and ending up a head short of winning the similar Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Stakes at Belmont. Even though that was a one turn route like this, the cut back in distance a 16th of a mile really helps as she led in that race at the point this one-turn mile race ends and she was 4 1/2 lengths clear of the next horse. Verve's Tale is a winner at the level over the track, having won the Comely Stakes about this time last year and she should get a great trip off the hot pace likely to be set by Lucy N Ethel. Jamyson 'n Ginger was privately sold to Juddmonte following her runner-up effort in June, which followed six months off. She ran 2nd in the 2016 Demoiselle on this day last year and has won both starts since moved to the Brown barn, Castellano aboard for both victories and riding today. Jamyson 'n Ginger is on an upward pattern with a 93 figure two back and a 103 figure last out and could get to the 109 range Verve's Tale is a capable of repeating from her last start but at 9/5 starting odds compared to 5/1 for Verve's Tale, Jamyson 'n Ginger isn't a good win bet although she is an absolute must to use for multi-race bets (like the double and pick 3) we can start in this race. Highway Star is a perfect 4 for 4 at this one mile trip and 3 for 3 at Aqueduct. She ran poorly in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint and if that was the result of a hard campaign she is likely to run poorly again. I am taking the stand that she didn't enjoy traveling to California and back in New York, where all of her wins have come, she can return to the form shown one before last when winning the Gallant Bloom Handicap at Belmont with a 108 figure comparable to Verve's Tale's best and to Jamyson 'n Ginger's best.

    Bet Verve's Tale to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box between Verve's Tale and Jamyson 'n Ginger. Play another exacta box, this one consisting of Verve's Tale and Highway Star. There's no benefit to playing an exacta box with the two favorites Highway Star and Jamyson 'n Ginger.

     

    Demoiselle Stakes – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:12 PM Eastern Time

    Similar to last weekend's Turf Sprint Championship Stakes, where Jason Servis had an uncoupled entry and we bet both, cashing at $15.60 with Rainbow Heir, in this year's Demoiselle Stakes John Servis (Jason's brother) send out both Daisy and Maurer Power, the latter the much better bet of the two not only because Maurer Power opens at 4 to 1 compared to 5 to 2 for Daisy but also because Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides Maurer Power. Before I discuss why that's important, let's talk about the filly. Maurer Power is 2-for-2 in her career, her most recent effort a sharp win at Parx with an 81 figure which is comparable to the last race figures of most of these. She' going to love the two-turn trip she's trying for the first time because she's a daughter of Violence (who is by Medaglia d'Oro) and more importantly because her dam's other 7 foals have 14 wins in 100 starts in dirt routes. The runner-up from her 10/21 win came back to win and the ONLY time Ortiz and Servis teamed up in the last year or so was for a big win by Mo Green this spring in the Top Flight Handicap. Daisy can't be ignored, at least not when considering exotic bets in this race. She gets the ground saving rail and won the Grade 3 Tempted Stakes last month in only the 2nd start of her career. She's also a perfect 2-for-2 and on an improving pattern with an 83 figure last out. Layla Noor helps make the exotics profitable if she runs as expected, opening at 12/1. She ran in her first dirt route last month in a race scheduled for turf and rallied from 8th of 10 to draw off and so it makes perfect sense high percentage trainer Delacour is giving her a shot here. Before that last win, Layla Noor finished fast from 12th to 4th in a KEY race on grass won by Rushing Fall, who came back to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies in her subsequent start. Held Accountable opens at 8 to 1 even though she's already a stakes winner, because she's a New York bred facing open company. She's improved in both starts since her debut and her runner-up finish last out at a mile suggests this 9 furlong trip won't be an issue, not to mention the horse that finished 6th in that race has already come back to win. The race is very playable because the 2/1 favorite is Wonder Gadot¸ who is going to be bet based on the fact she's dropping off a 4th place effort in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies, which was her first try on dirt. She had trouble in that race while rallying and that's another reason bettors will flock to her but she hasn't won on dirt and I'm not going to take a short price because of that. She should be considered for exotic wagers, however, as should Indy Union, who won a maiden race by 7 but it was a one turn mile. Her previous two dirt starts were not that great but she's another to consider for exotics.

    Bet Maurer Power to win at 2 to 1 or more.

    Consider a win bet on Daisy at 2 to 1 or more as well. To determine the best way to wager for profit, use a ditching tool like the one at Amwager which helps you figure out how much to bet on two or more horses to get the same return.

    Also, a small win wager on Layla Noor at 5 to 1 or more is something to consider.

    Play an exacta of Maurer Power, Daisy, Layla Noor and Held Accountable over Maurer Power, Daisy, Layla Noor, Held Accountable, Wonder Gadot and Indy Union.

    Consider playing the same wager above as a trifecta by using the same horses in second for the exacta in third for the trifecta .

     

    Display Stakes – Race 6 at Woodbine – Post time 3:36 PM Eastern Time

    Although I was disappointed Archaggelos didn't make the trip to California for the Breeders' Cup (Juvenile or Juvenile Turf), I am pleased he is making one more start this year. Archaggelos finished 2nd in his career debut in July in a two-turn race on turf, then broke his maiden in a race which turned out to be a KEY race. Third place finisher Quail Hunt demolished a full field by open lengths in his next start and Archaggelos won the Grade 3 Grey Stakes at Woodbine and at this distance on 10/1. Archaggelos continues to improve with every start and as he's already proven on turf and all-weather, could be a force to be reckoned with on both surfaces, as well as on dirt, because he's a half-brother to Big Brown. Although Archaggelos is my top pick and a low odds overlay anywhere near his 3/1 starting odds, Pipers Warrior is a horse I can't ignore either because he opens at 12/1. Pipers Warrior ran in his 1st two-turn race last month, his 3rd career starts, and powered off by four lengths with a career best 85 Equibase figure on par with the 88 figure Archaggelos earned winning the Grey Stakes a few weeks earlier. Pipers Warrior is cut out to be a good one going long, as his dam's other foals are 11 for 42 in routes, including 400K winner Niigon's Glory. As such, we may be able to extract a lot of profit from this race if Pipers Warrior runs well.

    Bet Archaggelos to win at odds of 3 to 2 or higher.

    Make a win bet, for a smaller amount, on Pipers Warrior at 4 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 10/1 or more.

    Play an exacta of Archaggelos over ALL (as any of the other eight have a short to finish second).

    Play another exacta consisting of Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over all. (this covers the possibility that Pipers Warrior runs first and Archaggelos runs second).

    Play trifecta's (they are only $0.20 at Woodbine) as follows: Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over ALL over ALL. (The cost of this bet at $0.20 is $22.40).

    Play additional trifectas of Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior over ALL over Archaggelos and Pipers Warrior.

     

    Cigar Mile Handicap – Race 10 at Aqueduct – Post time 4:16 PM Eastern Time

    Tom's Ready has earned all five of his wins at a mile or at seven furlongs, including a huge effort in the Bold Ruler Handicap last month at Belmont Park in which he earned a career best 122 Equibase figure. He was visually impressive in the Bold Ruler as he rallied from last of nine (eight wide) to drive past the field. Flattered since then when Bold Ruler runner-up Stallwalkin' Dude won the Fall Highweight Stakes a little over a week ago and benefiting from a hot pace battle between Sharp Azteca and Seymourdini, the icing on the cake is that jockey Mike Smith comes in from California to ride Tom's Ready for the first time and there is a Stats Race Lens angle just for this situation, which shows when there is a jockey change to Smith in a graded stakes in the last year, betting to win produces a 28% profit ($2.56 returned for every $2 bet). Americanize ships in from California on the heels of a pair of very strong wins since adding blinkers. His most recent victory came on the undercard on Breeders' Cup Friday (November 3) in the Damascus Stakes in which he earned a career best 123 figure which matches up nicely with Tom's Ready if repeated. Jockey Rafael Bejarano was aboard for the horse's last two wins and comes in from California to ride so we should expect another top effort good enough to win the Cigar Mile Handicap. Beasley finished third in the Bold Ruler last month, just three-quarters of a length behind Tom's Ready. Although he was fifth in the early stages while Tom's Ready was ninth and was out finished by the winner, Beasley ran the best race of his career, earning a 121 figure. Considering he is just a three year old, Beasley has more improving to do and he should get a great trip stalking the pacesetters in the Cigar so we must respect his chances to be in the thick of the action at the end.

     

    About some of the others: Although Practical Joke won the H. Allen Jerkens in August, that was against three year olds only and although his only start against tougher was when fourth in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile last month (121 figure), the 112 best figure he put forth this year isn't enough to threaten the top contenders here if repeated. Mind Your Biscuits is a top sprinter but has run this far only once, in a maiden race early in his career. His career best effort came last December winning the Malibu Stakes with a 122 figure, but that was against his own age group and considering the main contenders in the Cigar Mile have run a mile or farther and won, Mind Your Biscuits may have his work cut out for him in terms of winning even though he definitely should be considered for the runner-up and third place spots on exacta and trifecta tickets we may play. Seymourdini and Sharp Azteca are both very good horses, with Seymourdini having earned a 119 figure when fourth in the Bold Ruler and Sharp Azteca having earned a career best 129 figure when second in the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile. However, both have the same running style and will want to be in front from the start, so it is likely they will tire each other out just enough to be vulnerable to being passed by any number of stalkers and closers.

     

    Considering all three win contenders are likely to go to post at odds for a profit (as Tom's Ready opens at 8/1, Americanize opens at 12/1 and Beasley opens at 12/1), we should find a way to make a profit no matter which wins.  

     

    Bet Tom's Ready to win at odds of 5 to 2 or higher.

    Bet Americanize to win at 3 to 1 or higher.

    Bet Beasley to win at 7 to 2 or higher.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Tom's Ready, Americanize and Beasley

    Play a trifecta in case they come in 1st and 3rd, which is: Tom's Ready, Americanize and Beasley over Tom's Ready, Americanize, Beasley, Mind Your Biscuits, Seymourdini, Sharp Azteca, Practical Joke and Summer Revolution over Tom's Ready, Americanize and Beasley.

     

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  • 24
    NOV

    Key Bets & Races for Saturday, November 25

    Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship – Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post time 3:20 PM Eastern Time

    High percentage trainer Jason Servis saddles a pair of very tough runners in Rainbow Heir and Summation Time, opening at 10/1 and 12/1, respectfully, and I'll play them as if they were a coupled entry and bet them both. Rainbow Heir is 12 for 29 in his career but has run on turf just eight times. Seven of those came since Servis took over his training in July of last year. Since then, Rainbow Heir has won five of 10 races, missing by inches in three others. He comes back off a short layoff and won a stakes on turf like this one the last time he took a bit of time off. It's a BIG sign Irad Ortiz, Jr. takes the call because Ortiz rode the horse just one before, when he was defeated a head in the 2016 Troy Stakes at Saratoga. Summation Time moved privately from Clement to Servis for his first start in seven months in October, dominating by three lengths at the end at this distance on grass. He's been first or second in 10 of 18 turf races and although Ortiz appears to have had his choice of mounts, moving to Rainbow Heir, Manny Franco is no slouch and gives Summation Time a big shot to win his 2nd in a row. White Flag, Snowday and Bucchero are three more to use on exotic tickets played like the exacta and multi-race wagers, perhaps bet to win if the odds are right. White Flag won the similar Allied Forces Stakes in September on firm turf before a poorer effort on soft grass in Canada and can rebound. Snowday has earned over $400K on turf in his career including a turf sprint stakes, the Laurel Dash, in September. Bucchero finished 4th, beaten just a length, in the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint three weeks ago after pulling off the 26/1 upset in the Woodford Stakes at Keeneland and is another who likes to win (10 for 23) and is in good form.

    Bet BOTH Rainbow Heir and Summation Time to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more. Consider adding place bets at 5 to 1 or higher.

    Consider a small win bet on Snowday at odds of 6 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta box consisting of Rainbow Heir, Summation Time, White Flag, Snowday and Bucchero

    Hollywood Derby – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post time 6:30 PM Eastern Time (3:30 Pacific Time)

    Mo Town was highly regarded as a two year old, winning his second career start in September 2016 by seven lengths then winning the prestigious Remsen Stakes easily by two and one-half lengths. After poor efforts to start his three-year-old campaign in the Risen Star Stakes (fifth) and in the Wood Memorial Stakes (seventh), Mo Town was given four months off to mature. Returning in August, he finished fourth, then third before trying turf for the first time last month, taking to turf like a duck takes to water with a strong six and one-half length victory. Not only did that win earn Mo Town a career best 113 Equibase Figure, that was a stakes quality effort as that figure equaled the career best effort Sharp Samurai put forth to win the Twilight Derby. With a very visually impressive turn of foot shown on the far turn, going from three lengths back to three lengths in front by the time the field straightened for home, and against a slow early pace, Mo Town demonstrated enough ability to win a stakes like this one on the grass. He has the added benefit, albeit a small one, of facing just three year olds after beating three year olds and upward last month. Souper Tapit, like Mo Town and Sharp Samurai, is also a stakes winner. He won the Marine Stakes in May on the all-weather surface at Woodbine. That was his first try on that surface, and he's only raced on turf since. In both those grass starts, Souper Tapit had significant traffic trouble, but it was the trouble in his most recent race that was highly notable. In his most recent race on November 11, Souper Tapit was in a perfect position on the far turn but was completely surrounded and had no place to go as other horses around him accelerated. Even when the field turned into the stretch, Souper Tapit and jockey Jose Lezcano could do nothing to find a path to run as he was completely boxed in. Finally getting a clear path to run in the final yards, Souper Tapit stretched his legs and rallied from sixth to third. Having earned a 106 figure in the Marine, it might be assumed, if not for trouble in two starts since, Souper Tapit may have improved to the same 113 figure level of Mo Town and Sharp Samurai. As such, with a clean trip Souper Tapit could very well post the upset in the Hollywood Derby. It is indisputably tough to take a horse on a four race winning streak like Sharp Samurai is and to list him as the third win contender in this year's Hollywood Derby. Coming off a career best 113 figure and having won three similar graded stakes on turf for three year olds in a row, Sharp Samurai has proven to be a very tough foe. Sharp Samurai beat five of the other eight entrants in this race when victorious in the Twilight Derby and there's no reason to think any of those can turn the tables on him in this situation. Only the two horses that have never faced him, Mo Town and Souper Tapit, who have won with figures that are either competitive with Sharp Samurai (in the case of Mo Town) or that project to be competitive with Sharp Samurai without traffic trouble (in the case of Souper Tapit), appear to have a legitimate shot to beat him if he repeats his Twilight Derby effort (or improves upon it). We should use Big Score in the second position on any exacta tickets we play as he's finished second behind Sharp Samurai in two straight races.

    Bet Mo Town to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Make a win bet on Souper Tapit at 3 to 1 or higher and add a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

    Play an exacta consisting of Mo Town, Souper Tapit and Sharp Samurai over Mo Town, Souper Tapit, Sharp Samurai and Big Score

    Berkeley Handicap – Race 7 at Golden Gate – Post time 6:45 PM Eastern Time (3:45 Pacific Time)

    This year's Berkeley Handicap drew a huge field of 14 and so the race is very playable with horses coming in from Southern California as well as Canada to run. However, the horse to beat is a local horse in Force, who began his career in England before making his U.S. debut this past February at Santa Anita. He's not a dirt horse at all but he needed a race after a long layoff and stayed in even after the race moved from turf to dirt. After three more races, all very poor efforts, he was privately moved to the barn of John Martin and shipped to Northern California, where he's found a home and then some, winning four of seven including both of his starts on the Tapeta surface at Golden Gate. He won a minor stakes on the grass in September before an irrelevant try on dirt then ran one of the best races of his career last month when moving from 10 lengths back early to win going away. With Hernandez riding back and having been up for his last two wins as well as picking Force to ride over Rye, who Hernandez rode to his most recent win, Force appears to have more improving to do for a barn that wins about 1/3 of its starts on the circuit. Rye and Camino Del Paraiso were separated by a neck when 1st and 2nd, respectively, on the grass in their most recent races and both have run well enough on the all-weather surface in the past to be considered contenders as well. The same can be said for Seattle Serenade and Street Moxie, who were separated by a nose when 1st and 2nd, respectively, in a minor stakes on dirt last month. The last horse we must consider is Hard Aces, tough to bet to win as he opens as the 3 to 1 favorite based on the fact he's dropping in class after finishing 3rd in the Grade 2 Marathon Stakes on Breeders' Cup Weekend. He can win but with a 2 for 15 record this year and last he's tough to consider for anything other than inclusion on exacta tickets.

    Bet Force to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta of Force over Rye, Camino Del Paraiso, Seattle Serenade, Street Moxie and Hard Aces.

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well.

    Jimmy Durante Stakes – Race 9 at Del Mar – Post time 7:30 PM Eastern Time (4:30 Pacific Time)

    Even in a deep field of two year olds on the grass, many who can improve significantly from one race to another, I see a standout here in Daddy Is a Legend, who finished 5th in her career debut in August in a turf route, improved to finish 2nd in her next start, and who won powerfully third time out last month. In that 2nd start, Daddy Is a Legend was second behind next out Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Rushing Fall, and then in her 10/27 start Daddy Is a Legend made a quick move on the turn to go from fourth, 1 1/2 lengths back, to be in front by 5 at the eighth pole before coasting to a two ad 3/ 4 length win. Joe Bravo follows the filly west and with logical continuation of her pattern of improvement, Daddy Is a Legend should earn her first stakes win in this situation. Other contenders, mostly for exacta bets, are Raucous, Ever So True, Fatale Bere and Lexington Grace. Raucous won the Chelsey Flower Stakes at Belmont three weeks ago for her 2nd straight win on grass and gets leading jockey Prat. Ever So True close fast for 2nd in her 2nd career start, first turf route, and gets John Velazquez for the red hot Miller barn. Fatale Bere made a big move from 9th to 3rd in the BC Juvenile Turf then hung and ended up 5th but she was 7 wide into the stretch so that was a pretty good effort. Lexington Grace just ran in England on 10/25, wining a race in a field of 20. Stevens rides and she has the most wins (4) of any horse in the field so may have an experience edge on some of these.

    Bet Daddy Is a Legend to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

    Play an exacta consisting of Daddy Is a Legend over Raucous, Ever So True, Fatale Bere and Lexington Grace

    Play the reverse of that exacta as well.

    Play an exacta box consisting of all five horses, which is an investment worth the risk in a 13 horse field like this one. 

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