Key Races & Bets for Saturday July 22nd, 2023

Molly Pitcher Stakes – Race 10 at Monmouth – Post Time 4:38 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
Search Results, who opens as the 8 to 5 favorite, is a nice mare who has banked $1.6 million while winning six of 14. On the other hand, she has lost ground in the last eighth of a mile in her two starts this year and doesn’t seem as good (just slightly) as a five year old as compared to when she won this race last year as a four year old. She’s on the same pattern though, having hit the board without winning in the Phipps Stakes last month, and aside from her poor sixth place effort to close out her 2022 campaign in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff she’s been competitive, and should continue to be so we must use her on exacta, double and pick 3 tickets.

That being said, BOTH Loved and Le Da Vida can post the mild upset, opening at 5 to 1. I’ll start with the more lightly raced Loved, who is a four year old as Search Results was when winning this race last year. Loved is a half-sister to multiple graded stakes winner Maxfield, who earned $2 million, and by the time her career is over she may be just as good. She stretched out for the first time in April, after being away for 13 months, and DESTROYED the field by 11 lengths with a STAKES QUALITY 102 Equibase Sped Figure. To put that in perspective, Search Results earned a 104 figure when third in the Grade 1 La Troienne Stakes in May. Next, Loved won by 4 lengths, then by 12, and didn’t give any of the 12 other horses a chance to run in those two races by being in front at the top of the stretch by multiple lengths and widening from there. This is one talented filly and the 108 last race figure is as good as the 107 figure Search Results earned winning the 2022 Molly Pitcher.

Le Da Vida ran the best race of her career last month winning the 250,000 Lady Jacqueline Stakes with a 111 figure better than ANY horse in this field has every earned. She had earned 104 figures in her two races prior to that and making her third start off a two month March to May layoff may improve again.

Handicapper Picks

Win: With Search Results no standout, I will bet BOTH Loved and Le Da Vida at 2 to 1 or more.

As we may be considering win bets on more than one horse, this is a great race to take advantage of the mathematical edge provided by a “Dutching” tool, which prorates wagers for the best value. There’s a free dutching tool at, where you can set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you to help achieve the best edge. This is just one of many tools, and perks, for bettors at

Exactas: I want to forego exactas here in lieu of win bets, doubles and pick 3’s.

Doubles: (Note we will try to maximize profit by avoiding the lowest paying double consisting of the favorites in this race and the next race).

Race 10: Search Results, Le Da Vida, Loved
Race 11: Therapist, Catnip

Race 10: Le Da Vida, Loved
Race 11: Red Knight

Pick 3:
Race 10: Search Results, Le Da Vida, Loved
Race 11: Therapist, Catnip, Red Knight
Race 12: Geaux Rocket Ride, Salute the Stars, Extra Anejo

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United Nations Stakes – Race 11 at Monmouth – Post Time 5:06 PM Eastern

Analysis and Contenders:
Red Knight is a grade 1 stakes winner in a grade 1 race but is one of three from the barn of Mike Maker, and opens at 5 to 2 while another Maker trainee, Therapist, opens at much higher to ignore odds of 6 to 1. Catnip is the other main win contender in a race in which any of those three as well as four others might fill out the exacta or trifecta.

Therapist missed by a head in a 10 furlong stakes race in Kentucky last month and two earlier won the very similar Grade 2 Pan American Stakes at Gulfstream Park. Trained by Clement for most of his career, as a seven year old Therapist was claimed for 80K by George Weaver last September, then for 25K by Martin Drexler, then for $50K by Maker in January. He’s banked just shy of $1 million, almost all on turf, and he’s as fit and competitive at eight as he was as a younger horse. Although Gaffalione, who rode him for the first time last month, gets off for Red Knight, the jockey change to Castellano is even better as Castellano has only ridden Therapist twice in the past year, BOTH to wins, in December and in February. Getting the rail and with a mid-pack running style, this veteran could win for the 13th time.

Catnip is a four year old with a four-for-seven record, all on grass, and who is improving by leaps and bounds. He came back from six months off in April to win a first level allowance, won one month later at the NW2X condition, then won the Grade 3 Monmouth Stakes on the course last month. Rosario was up for the win and although the horse is stretching out to 11 furlongs for the first time there are no concerns about him loving the distance as a son of Kitten’s Joy. His last two Equibase figures of 102 then 106 portend another career-best effort and stack up just fine against the 104 and 105 figures Therapist earned in two of his last three starts.

Red Knight doesn’t need a lot of talking up as he won the Grade 1 Man o’ War at this distance one before last in May. He didn’t run nearly as well when rallying from 10th to fourth in the Grade 1 Manhattan but that was at 10 furlongs, and so stretching back out to what appears to be his favorite trip (11 to 12 furlongs) bodes very well for a return to top form, the kind which has seen him finish first or second in five of his last eight races.

Limited Liability, Planetario, Yamato (also from the Maker barn, and opening at 15/1) and Foreign Relations all could be competitive but I think the top three have an edge so will only use them in second on some exacta tickets.

Handicapper Picks

Win: I think Therapist, Catnip and Red Knight all have about the same probability to win and so will let the public at large help me decide who to bet. At odds of 5 to 2 or more, I will bet two of the three horses.

This is also a race in which a dutching tool like the one at Amwager which is free and easy to use, to allocate our wagers based on the odds of the horses we are betting to win, will prove to be a big advantage.

Box Therapist, Catnip and Red Knight
Therapist, Catnip and Red Knight over Therapist, Catnip, Red Knight, Limited Liability, Planetario, Yamato and Foreign Relations

Race 11: Therapist, Catnip, Red Knight
Race 12: Geaux Rocket Ride, Salute the Stars, Extra Anejo

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Haskell Stakes – Race 12 at Monmouth – Post Time 5:45 PM Eastern

Analysis and main contenders:
Although many of the eight entrants in this year’s Haskell Stakes have proven competitive at the level, I think Extra Anejo, who has yet to run in a stakes race, is good enough to take his first step into top company and win. After winning his debut last fall by nearly 10 lengths with speed to spare, and with a very strong 99 Equibase Speed Figure for a two year old, Extra Anejo was away from the races for nearly seven months. Returning in a sprint in May, he finished second with an 89 figure but in his second starts back he was a much better horse. That was his first try in a route, run at a mile, on June 10. Not only did he improve a lot to earn a 100 figure, Extra Anejo showed the maturity of a horse which had run many times as he relaxed in second about four lengths off the early leader then went by in a flash to open up by six lengths in handy fashion. As a son of Into Mischief, I have no doubt Extra Anejo can succeed at this mile and one-eighth distance as two of the last three editions of the Haskell were won by sons of Into Mischief – Authentic in 2020 and Mandaloun in 2021. Likely to continue his pattern of improvement in his third start and second route off the layoff, Extra Anejo may be in stalking range behind likely early leader Arabian Knight and go by late for the slight upset.

Geaux Rocket Ride has run three times in his career the same as Extra Anejo, and he too is on a pattern for improvement. Geaux Rocket Ride won his sprint debut in January easily by nearly six lengths, earning a strong 101 figure. Five weeks later he went right into the big leagues, finishing second around two turns in the San Felipe Stakes and improving to a 104 figure. Given two months off, Geaux Rocket Ride returned last month in the Affirmed Stakes and in that race he ran very similarly to the way Extra Anejo did in his recent win, stalking in third position for the first three quarters of a mile then moving up quickly to lead before being unchallenged the length of the stretch. That effort earned a 95 figure, but considering Geaux Rocket Ride is making his second start off a layoff, and considering the 104 figure effort prior to the rest, much better is expected. Hall-of-Fame trainer Dick Mandella rarely ships out of California but does very well when he does. Per a Race Lens query, Mandella has only started five horses in graded stakes routes on dirt when shipping outside of California in the past five years, winning with two of those including Omaha Beach in the 2019 Rebel Stakes and Soothsay in the 2021 Indiana Oaks, both races for three year olds. With Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith coming in from California for the mount, Geaux Rocket Ride must be taken very seriously as a contender.

Arabian Knight might be my top choice if not for the fact he is returning from nearly six months off, running two turns without a prep race and facing some serious talent. After winning his debut last fall with a 98 figure (similar to Extra Anejo and Geaux Rocket Ride), Arabian Knight was off for nearly three months but not only returned a winner, he did so in a two-turn race, the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn. Unfortunately something has kept him away from the races since then, but he’s been working very fast in California for Bob Baffert and likely can fire his best shot, which would be a repeat of the 106 figure effort in the Southwest.

Honorable mention goes to Mage, Salute the Stars and Tapit Trice, who are all top three year olds but who I feel are a bit less probable to win this race than Extra Anejo, Geaux Rocket Ride or Arabian Knight. Mage earned a career-best 104 figure winning the Kentucky Derby following a 102 figure when making the lead in the Florida Derby before being passed by Forte late in the race. In his only race since the Derby, Mage had little chance in the Preakness in May as his late kick was disadvantaged by the slow pace set by winner National Treasure. Salute the Stars won the local prep for this race, the Pegasus Stakes, last month with a 104 figure competitive in this field if repeated, and an improvement from the 98 figure earned one month earlier. Tapit Trice ran the best race of his career when winning the Blue Grass Stakes in April, earning a 103 figure, before a disappointing seventh in the Derby (91 figure) and a third place effort in the Belmont Stakes with a 99 figure.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Extra Anejo and Geaux Rocket Ride have minimum odds of 3 to 1 and I would not hesitate betting both if above those odds.

Box Geaux Rocket Ride, Salute the Stars, Extra Anejo
Geaux Rocket Ride, Salute the Stars and Extra Anejo over Geaux Rocket Ride, Salute the Stars, Extra Anejo, Mage, Tapit Trice, Arabian Knight

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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