Key Races & Bets for Saturday January 28th, 2023
Handicap – Race 7 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 1:50 PM Eastern
I chose this race to kick off three of the big races on the Pegasus day card at Gulfstream because it should be a great betting race, with a 12 horse field and no strong favorite, given the lowest odds horse on the morning line is 4 to 1. The key contenders are Ramsey Solution, Greyes Creek, King Cause and California Frolic, with slightly lesser chances given to Summer Assault and Skyro. Considering a couple of these could go to post at 10 to 1 or more, there is lot of reward potential for the risk.
The pace in this race is likely to be swift and contested if it goes as drawn, with Wolfie’s Dynaghost and Into the Sunrise both need-the-lead types, and with Skyro and Steady On likely to press close up, and maybe Like the King if he draws into the race. That sets it up nicely for Ramsey Solution to repeat his ONE AND ONLY effort under identical conditions, last June in a similar handicap on the Tapeta surface where he closed from 11 lengths back to win by four. Gaffalione gets on and that’s another really positive sign the horse can run back to that race, which came off an 11 month layoff, and considering he’s coming back from a five month layoff here.
Greyes Creek ran similarly well in his last start on 12/1 on the Tapeta at Turfway Park, his FIRST EVER race on the surface and the reason trainer Lobo ships him in from Kentucky. He won two before that on grass and won three in a row in 2020 so can hold top form.
King Cause gets the rail and is part of an uncoupled entry with Summer Assault from the Maker barn. He has run on the surface twice, winning once and finishing second in the other so he definitely likes it. One of those wins came in the $250K Kentucky Cup Classic last April and he drops from grade 2 to non-graded stakes, having also won the G3 Knickerbocker Stakes on turf last fall.
California Frolic can make us a lot of money if he runs well, opening at 20 to 1. He also really loves the surface, having a record of 3-1-1 in five tries, all at Gulfstream including a 75K stakes race last June. Perez has been aboard for his last four starts with a 2-1-1 record and when last seen the colt was second in the G3 Virginia Derby so his odds are out of line with his probability to compete here.
Summer Assault finished second to Skyro in a classified allowance over the surface last month and won by a nose before that, both “A” efforts coming right after he joined the Maker barn. Rosario rides and he’s another which could be closing very fast in the late stages. Skyro was trying the surface for the first time in that race and won by two lengths after stalking the pace under Jose Ortiz, who rides back. There is no reason to believe he’ll run any less better today.
This is where it gets very interesting. I think Ramsey Solution is a bit more probable than the others, BUT the goal is to make a profit so here’s how we can do that:
Win: Ramsey Solution at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
Greyes Creek and King Cause can be considered at odds of 3 to 1 or more, or just consider the one with the higher odds of the pair at 3 to 1 or more.
California Frolic at odds of 5 to 1 or more.
The BEST way to maximize profit when wagering to win on multiple horses is to use a “Dutching” tool, which allocates wagers based on the odds. Amwager.com has a great and easy to use dutching tool which allows you to set the amount of money you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, then does the math for you. It’s just one of many great tools, and perks, available at Amwager.com
King Cause, Ramsey Solution, Greyes Creek, California Frolic over King Cause, Ramsey Solution, Greyes Creek, California Frolic, Summer Assault, Skyro
King Cause, Ramsey Solution, Greyes Creek, California Frolic, Summer Assault, Skyro over King Cause, Ramsey Solution, Greyes Creek, California Frolic
This way if the four top contenders finish 1st and 2nd we win twice.
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Fred W. Hooper Stakes – Race 10 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 3:34 PM Eastern
This could turn out to be another exceptional betting race, with a 13 horse field and a luke warm 3 to 1 starting favorite. Black Belt, Noble Drama, Endorsed and (favorite) Miles D are the main contenders, with Dean Delivers and Twelve Volt Man good for a piece.
Black Belt has won five of 13, including three in a row since joining the Walder barn in September. He was off two months then came back on 12/23 and won by four with Irad Ortiz, Jr. up for the first time and riding back. He’s going to run even better second off the layoff and can either lead from the start of sit off the pace and that makes him very tough in this one turn mile the same as the distance of his last two wins.
Noble Drama should not be 20/1 on the morning line as he is, because he’s won 10 races in his career, NINE here at GP including seven at this one turn mile trip. One of those was one before last in a classified allowance where he rallied from last of 10 to win under Jaramillo, who did not ride when he shipped to Tampa last month for a fourth place finish but gets back on today. Jaramillo also rode Noble Drama to a win last July in a handicap at the distance where he was 5 to 2, another reason his 20/1 odds mean we should absolutely be considering this hard knocking gelding (17 for 35 first or second in his career) for any and all wagers we make in this race.
Endorsed has banked three-quarters of a million in his career, tops in the field, and he won his most recent start, at Gulfstream at seven furlongs. He’s never won at a mile but there’s no reason he can’t. Saez gets on and that’s a big sign and the horse is another who should get a hot pace to run into courtesy of need-the-lead types Picking Up Pennies and Doc Amster, plus others who may press the pace.
Miles D opens as the 3/1 starting favorite and in spite of having races in the past which can win this has a couple of question marks as well. He won at this trip in June, 2021, in the second start of his career then in the fall of the year won the Discovery Stakes, beating multiple stakes winner Speaker’s Corner in the process. He returned last February and finished third but hasn’t been seen since. In this 13 horse field the rail may not be the best place but he should still get a good trip. His best effort resulted in a 106 Equibase Figure but that’s not dominant, as Noble Drama has 109 and 112 figures, Endorsed a 109 figure, and Black Belt a 105 figure he should improve upon second off the layoff. I won’t bet him to win as others offer better value but he must be used on exacta tickets at the very least.
Dean Delivers and Twelve Volt Man will be used on exacta tickets, the former having finished second in three straight including the Mr. Prospector Stakes last month, and the latter having finished second to Picking Up Pennies last month in a similar race to this one when Picking Up Pennies led from start to finish. This time Twelve Volt Man may have a better shot of because Picking Up Pennies won’t have an easy early lead.
Black Belt and Endorsed should be considered at 5 to 2 or higher.
There’s little doubt no matter what minimum odds I set on Noble Drama (which could be around 4 to 1), he’s going to be a good win bet.
This is another race where we can, and should, bet two (or even three) horses to win using a Dutching tool like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager.com and allows us to prorate our wagering dollars for the best advantage possible.
Black Belt, Noble Drama, Endorsed, Miles D over Black Belt, Noble Drama, Endorsed, Miles D, Dean Delivers, Twelve Volt Man
Black Belt, Noble Drama, Endorsed, Miles D, Dean Delivers, Twelve Volt Man over Black Belt, Noble Drama, Endorsed, Miles D
Similar to race 7, the strategy is to use a couple of others with the four main contenders and then if any of the four main contenders finish 1st & 2nd we win twice.
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Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes – Race 13 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 5:40 PM Eastern
The top contenders to win this race are Defunded, White Abarrio, Skippylongstocking and Cyberknife, the latter opening at 5 to 2 odds that are too low to consider for a win bet as he’s no standout. Proxy will also be considered for some wagers given his consistency.
Defunded hasn’t been seen in two months, but has been in steady training in California for Bob Baffert, with recent workouts which suggest he is in tip-top shape. That’s notable because in each of his last six races, Defunded has been first or second after a quarter mile has been run. His two best efforts came in his final two races of 2022, when winning the Awesome Again Stakes in October and the Native Diver Stakes, both at the mile and one-eighth distance of the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes. An old saying goes “Early speed is the ultimate bias” and it is no more true in this race where many of the recent winners were on the lead, or within a length of the lead, from the start. Baffert engages the services of 2022 North American leading jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and interestingly enough these two have teamed up just one time in a graded stakes in the last five years. That was in the 2020 Pegasus, in which they were victorious with Mucho Gusto. Although the 107 Equibase Speed Figures Defunded has earned aren’t the highest among the field in this race in similar circumstances, considering the possible early advantage Defunded may have in this field, he is very likely to be the one to catch, and therefor to beat.
In spite of everything written above about Defunded, I have no doubt White Abarrio has the potential to upset the field. Early in 2022 as a three year old, the colt proved to be top notch when winning the Holy Bull Stakes and Florida Derby in succession, earning a then career-best 100 speed figure in the process. After a very poor trip in the Kentucky Derby when checking in 16th, White Abarrio seemed to get back on track with a runner-up effort (and 106 figure) in the Ohio Derby. But his final two races of 2022 resulted in poor seventh and fifth place efforts. Given a couple of months to mature, White Abarrio returned for his final start as a three year old and ran a big race in his first start against older. In that race, the Cigar Mile Stakes, he was beaten just a half-length for the win, earning a new career-best 109 figure. What’s important to note is that was a one-turn mile and White Abarrio had proven last year he was much better around two turns. Returning to the distance of his Florida Derby triumph and making his second start off a layoff and first as a more mature four year old, White Abarrio could certainly take another step forward and run well enough to win this year’s Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes.
Skippylongstocking is another recently turned four year old and another with positive experience over the track and at the distance He showed some promise last March at Gulfstream and at the nine furlong trip of the Pegasus when winning by nearly four lengths with a then career-best 102 figure. After skipping the Derby for lack of qualifying points he finished fifth in the Preakness and third in the Belmont Stakes then won the West Virginia Derby (at nine furlongs) with a respectable 101 figure. Next came a really poor effort in the Pennsylvania Derby followed by a three month layoff. Facing older horses for the first time in his career in the Harlan’s Holiday Stakes on New Year’s eve, Skippylongstocking won fairly easily and earned a new career-best 107 figure. Similar to White Abarrio, as a newly turned four year old there is the likelihood for physical improvement. If that improvement comes, this colt too has a shot to run well enough to win in this situation.
Cyberknife may be the most accomplished of the new four year olds, having won $2 million last year while victorious in four of nine races. After winning the Arkansas Derby (with a mediocre 95 figure), Cyberknife only managed 18th in the Kentucky Derby but rebounded to win the Matt Winn Stakes and Haskell Stakes in succession, earning 114 and 104 figures, respectively. Although winless in his last three starts of 2022, Cyberknife ran more than respectively well, first when second to Epicenter in the Travers, then when third to Taiba in the Pennsylvania Derby and finally, when beaten a head after leading late in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, after leading in the final yards before being caught by Cody’s Wish. That effort was his first against older, and with a 108 figure to improve upon in his first start as a four year old, Cyberknife has a strong chance of winning. Then again, it is likely he will go to post as the betting favorite and as I feel any of the aforementioned three horses have as much probability to win as he does, it is likely they will be better bets to win this year’s Pegasus.
Proxy has finished first or second in nine and 13 and that’s reason enough to use him on some tickets as well. He won the G1 Clark at the trip in November after nearly five months off so coming back from three months off is of no concern, and Rosario rides back. His 112 figure from the Clark stands up well against what I think will be what it takes to win or finish second in this race.
Win: Defunded has minimum odds of 2 to 1 for a bet.
White Abarrio and Skippylongstocking can be considered at 7 to 2 or higher. Given White Abarrio opens at 10/1 it is highly likely he will be the better bet of the two.
Once again, dutching win bets is called for as a strategy to maximize short term and long term profit.
Defunded over Proxy, White Abarrio, Skippylongstocking and Cyberknife
For half the best as above (for example $10 on the above, so $5 on these), the opposite, which is Proxy, White Abarrio, Skippylongstocking and Cyberknife over Defunded
Now we can throw in a couple of others, as follows:
Defunded over Proxy, Ridin With Biden, White Abarrio, Art Collector, Skippylongstocking, Get Her Number, Cyberknife
I would also consider these exactas, for smaller amounts than using Defunded as above:
White Abarrio and Skippylongstocking over Proxy, Ridin With Biden, White Abarrio, Defunded, Art Collector, Skippylongstocking, Get Her Number, Cyberknife