Key Races & Bets for Saturday May 21st, 2022

Dinner Party Stakes – Race 8 at Pimlico – Post Time 2:49 PM Eastern

This appears to be a great betting race because the two top morning line favorites, Set Piece (8 to 5) and Atone (5 to 2), are both vulnerable and can be beaten. Set Piece returned from seven months off last month and was 8 to 1 in the Maker’s Mark Mile, ending up seventh of eight. Aside from winning the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes last June, the rest of his wins have either come in allowance or non-graded stakes and his recent effort does not portend to a grade 2 winning effort here. Similarly, Atone has won four of 12 on the turf but the last win came last November in a second level allowance. He was fourth in the Maker’s Mark Mile last month but I was not impressed and there are others that can run better in this situation.

The first of those is Beacon Hill, who opens at 9 to 2. He came back from six months off and ran a few days after the Maker’s Mark Mile, also on the Keeneland turf last month, but his effort was MUCH better than either Set Piece’s or Atone’s. He rallied from ninth of 10 and just missed by a nose in a head bob. Rosario was up for the first time and rides back and with second off the layoff improvement looming he should run even better and certainly good enough to win.

Tango Tango Tango opens at very hard to ignore 10 to 1 odds and has run big in two races this year, in March and on May 1, both off a six month layoff. He won the first of the two at Gulfstream then easily won again at Belmont, and that last win earned a career best and FIELD high last race 110 figure to boot. He cuts back from 10 furlongs which makes him even tougher in the late stages and Gaffalione, who was up for the 1st of the 2 wins, gets back on as Prat (who rode him to his last win) is on suspension this weekend.

For second on exacta tickets, in addition to Set Piece and Atone, both who have a shot to finish second, I’ll add Novo Sol, who imported from Brazil over the winter and won his first U.S. start (an allowance race) then who finished third in the Grade 2 Pan American Stakes last month after getting to second in the stretch. He should improve and could run second at decent odds.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: EITHER or BOTH Beacon Hill and Tango Tango Tango at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

The best way to capitalize on betting two horses to win, especially when their odds may be as different as these two win contenders, with the goal of maximizing our profit, is to “Dutch” the bet, which means to prorate it based on the odds. has a free and easy to use Dutching Tool available where you can set the amount you want to bet, or the amount you want to win, and the math is done for you. This is just one of many tools, and perks, available to the bettor at

Beacon Hill and Tango Tango Tango over Beacon Hill, Tango Tango Tango, Novo Sol, Set Piece and Atone.

Daily Doubles:
Race 8: Beacon Hill, Tango Tango Tango
Race 9: Whelen Springs

Pick 3:
Race 8: Beacon Hill, Tango Tango Tango
Race 9: Whelen Springs
Race 10: Joe

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Chick Lang Stakes – Race 9 at Pimlico – Post Time 3:31 PM Eastern

This is another race with vulnerable morning line favorites. The top morning line favorite here is Old Homestead (2 to 1), who won the Lafayette Stakes last month at Keeneland when leading wire-to-wire to bring his record to a perfect three-for-three. The second morning line favorite is Cogburn (5 to 2), who won in March off a six month layoff then missed by a neck in the Bachelor Stakes last month. The problem is BOTH of these colts have only won leading from start to finish. With Cogburn getting the rail and forced to go fast, and with another need-the-lead type in Doctor Jeff in the field, all three horses are going to be susceptible to being passed late.

Whelen Springs is the horse to do that passing, and he just beat Cogburn in the Bachelor Stakes but opens at 5 to 1 here. He’s going for his fourth straight win and gets Irad Ortiz, Jr. for the first time, with a last race 108 Equibase Figure that is not only TOP in the field but logically can be improved upon as he’s improved in three straight already. He closed from fifth to win by five lengths on 4/9 then three weeks later stalked in second before getting up by a neck so he can sit third or fourth here and pounce for his second stakes win in a row.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Whelen Springs at odds of even money or higher, a true low odds overlay win bet.

Race 9: Whelen Springs
Race 10: Joe

All-Stakes Pick 5. Because in my opinion there is only one horse to use in the first two legs of this bet which ends in the Preakness, I think this is a fine shot to take:

Race 9: Whelen Springs
Race 10: Joe
Race 11: B Dawk, Mr Jefferson, Unikee
Race 12: Carotari, Seven Scents, Mr. Hustle, Hollis
Race 13: Simplification, Creative Minister, Secret Oath, Early Voting, Epicenter
At the $0.50 minimum this bet has a cost of $30

NOTE: You can read my Preakness analysis by clicking here to go to

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James W. Murphy Stakes – Race 10 at Pimlico – Post Time 4:12 PM Eastern

This is another race with a SINGLE (only one contender) and that is Joe, who just won the Federico Tesio at nine furlongs on dirt. He’s won four of five races on dirt and finished second in the other. Although he debuted on turf and finished fifth, that was a sprint so irrelevant. The only other foal of his dam (by superb grass sire Arch) is a multiple winner of turf routes, and he’s by Declaration of War (by War Front) so has a very strong turf pedigree. As such, I expect Joe to transfer his top dirt form to the turf and win his second stakes race in a row.

For exacta and trifecta plays, in the second and third positions, I’m going to use Wow Whata Summer, who opens at 15 to 1. He returned from five months off to rally from 12th to third in a turf sprint and stretches out with John Velazquez aboard so could be passing many of these late. I’m also using the 5 to 2 morning line favorite Ready to Purrform. This colt won a turf route last September in his debut then won the Laurel Futurity one month later before a poor seventh place finish in another stakes at Del Mar. Cox has only so-so numbers with horses coming back from this much time off (180 days plus) in turf routes but the colt is talented and could also be passing many of these late. Last, Riot House will be used as he has won two in a row, both turf routes. He earned the same 91 Equibase figure in both compared to Joe with a 100 figure so it appears Riot House should be confined to a minor award.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: Joe at odds of 6 to 5 or more, a true low odds overlay win bet.

Joe over Wow Whata Summer, Ready to Purrform and Riot House

Joe over ALL over Wow Whata Summer, Ready to Purrform and Riot House
Between the two bets, if Joe wins then if any two of the other three finish second and third we win both bets, or if another horse finishes second and one of the three finishes third we win the trifecta.

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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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