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Key Races & Bets for Saturday November 25th, 2023

City of Laurel Stakes – Race 6 at Laurel – Post Time 3 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Let It Ride, Post Time, Giant Mischief
Next tier: (in case of scratches and for exactas) Ninetyprcentmaddie, Super Accelerate, Coffeewithchris

Note: Super Accelerate and Giant Mischief are cross-entered in other races this week and may not run here.

Let It Ride ships in from New York on the heels off a five length win from which he was geared down, suggesting he has a lot of gas left in the tank for this race. He had been off seven months before that race just three weeks ago and Eric Cancel comes in from New York to ride him as he did last month. The three year old has improved in each start, from a 90 Equibase speed figure, to 93, to 95 and should take another step forward.

Post Time is a step or two further along as compared to Let It Ride, as he’s run five times. He won his first three in a row from October through December of last year, then took 10 months off and won in September. Although suffering his first defeat last month, Post Time improved to a new career-best 104 figure and did so against some tough three year old sprinters in the Perryville Stakes. If Let It Ride does not take another step forward, then Post Time can win just by repeating that effort.

Giant Mischief finished second in the important Springboard Mile Stakes last December in his third career start, after winning the first two. He then stepped up onto the Road to the Derby in the Rebel Stakes and was sent to post highly regarded at 2 to 1, moving up to second in the stretch but ending up sixth. Given another seven months off he returned in September and won easily. He’s won at this seven furlong trip and he’s won off a layoff so likely to improve off a 97 figure effort two months ago he rounds out the win contenders.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Consider Let It Ride and Post Time at odds of 2 to 1 or more. Personally I will bet the one of the pair which has the higher odds with about 10 minutes to post time. Giant Mischief also has similar minimum odds but is likely to be favored if he runs and in that case we can make a profit if he wins from exacta wagers.

Exacta: Box Let It Ride, Post Time, Giant Mischief
Let It Ride, Post Time, Giant Mischief over Let It Ride, Post Time, Giant Mischief, Ninetyprcentmaddie, Super Accelerate, Coffeewithchris

Double:
Race 6: Let It Ride, Post Time, Giant Mischief
Race 7: Howl

Pick 3:
Race 6: Let It Ride, Post Time, Giant Mischief
Race 7: Howl
Race 8: King Kumbalay, Market Maven

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Race 8 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:15 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Comparative, Bustin Bay, Into Happiness
Next tier & for exactas: Toned Up

Analysis:
Comparitive returns off a six month layoff, last seen in the much tougher Black Eyed Susan Stakes. She won two in a row prior to that including at the one lower NW1X allowance condition, and she’s got a good stalking style which puts her in second early behind need-the-lead type Missy Greer, enabling her to run as well as she did in the spring.

Bustin Bay is an 11 time winner amazingly still eligible for this allowance level as her wins at the condition have been when in for the optional claiming price. She won under identical conditions in September and she actually won at this level when last seen four weeks ago but was disqualified for breaking through the gate just prior to the start. If she has one knock its she will be the odds-on favorite as she’s been in two of her last three races so has no value for win bets.

Into Happiness won two in a row, in July and in August, right off the Hennig claim out of a 12 length win in June. She finished third after that then third in a stakes and now returns to allowance company, reunited with John Velazquez, who rode her to those two wins this past summer. She likes the one-turn mile and could rebound to the winning form shown just a few months back.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Comparative and Into Happiness should be considered for win bets at 2 to 1 or more. Bustin Bay will be below that threshold so we can try to profit from her winning in other pools like the exacta.

Exacta:
Box Comparative, Into Happiness, Bustin Bay
Comparative, Into Happiness, Bustin Bay over Comparative, Into Happiness, Bustin Bay, Toned Up

Double:
Race 8: Comparative, Into Happiness, Bustin Bay
Race 9: Defining Purpose, Raging Sea, Honor D Lady

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Safely Kept Stakes – Race 7 at Laurel – Post Time 3:31 PM Eastern

Analysis:
There’s a standout here in Howl, and it may be the best (Only?) way to profit from her winning is with double and pick 3 tickets started in race 6. She has only run once, and that’s fine, because most of the rest may have three or more wins, but a number of poor races as well. Howl was visually impressive in her one and only start, at Keeneland on October 28, where in a full field of 12 she maturely raced in third to fifth in the early stages, made a quick move to get to the front by two lengths early in the stretch, and accelerated away to win by nearly eight lengths while NEVER being asked to run hard. Trainer Brad Cox continues to show his talent and ability to know where his horses belong and I’m not concerned about moving from the maiden ranks to this stakes for three year olds only. Cox has done this 14 times over the past few years and won with SEVEN (50%) of those horses he’s stepped up into stakes off a maiden win, which should be eight after this race is concluded.
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Handicapper Picks

Win: Howl to win at even money or more, a true low odds overlay win bet.

Doubles:
Race 7: Howl
Race 8: ALL

Race 7: Howl
Race 8: King Kumbulay, Market Maven

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Comely Stakes – Race 9 at Aqueduct – Post Time 3:43 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: Defining Purpose, Raging Sea, Honor D Lady

Analysis:
There’s no real “early” pace type in the field, and that could leave Defining Purpose in the position of leading from the start, or at the least taking up a stalking position behind Ichiban (who draws the rail and has some early speed). Defining Purpose has won four of 12 and in most of her other races finished second or third to horses at the top of the division, such as Wet Paint, Randomized, Pretty Mischevious and Xigera. Particularly, finishing second to Xigera last month in the one level higher Mother Goose Stakes was the same as winning a race like this one, and so just repeating that effort should be good enough for victory today.

That being said, Raging Sea is an up and coming horse with a shot, the only Chad Brown trainee in the field. She finished second in her first try at this nine furlong trip one before last in September, then she won easily last month at the distance. She improved from an 84 figure three back, to 92, then to 98, and with Defining Purpose having earned a 100 figure on the same day (10/28), if Raging Sea continues that pattern and Defining Purposes does not improve once again, this filly can win.

Honor D Lady won the similar Grade 3 Remington Park Oaks when last seen in September, her first dirt race since her debut one year earlier. The rest were all on grass, and in a few of those she was not disgraced as when second in the Selene Stakes (on all-weather) and when winning the listed Honey Ryder Stakes (on turf). Like Raging Sea, Honor D Lady is on a pattern of improving figures, from 83 three back, to 87, to 95 last time out, so she too could take a step forward again and run as well or better than either Defining Purpose or Raging Sea.

Handicapper Picks

Win: Defining Purpose can be bet at 9 to 5 or higher, while Raging Sea should be considered for a win bet at 5 to 2 or more and Honor D Lady at 3 to 1 or more.

This is a good race for using a Dutching like the one at Amwager, to help us achieve the best edge. A Dutching tool allows you to set the amount you want to bet, and then the wagers are prorated for the optimal return.
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Exactas: Box Defining Purpose, Raging Sea and Honor D Lady

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Richard W. Small Stakes – Race 8 at Laurel – Post Time 4:02 PM Eastern

Top win contenders: King Kumbalay, Market Maven

Analysis:
The early pace in this field should be contested and faster than average, as Ain’t Da Beer Cold was sent hard for the lead last month in the Maryland Millions Classic at this distance with Toledo up as today and from an outside post those tactics are likely to be employed today. However, Outlier earned his last win four weeks ago when leading from the start and those will be his tactics from the rail today, as well a Movisitor¸ who has earned three of his four career wins leading from the start.

The beneficiaries of the fast early pace are King Kumbulay and Market Maven. King Kumbulay is in top form with four in-the-money finishes in a row, including a six length win in the Alphabet Soup Handicap in September, when rallying from fourth into a hot pace like the one in front of him today. Adorno rode him then as today, and for a runner-up effort in a stakes on October 17. Since then, King Kumbalay put in a sparkling half-mile workout which was the best of 52 on the day and which signals another “A” race good enough to win.

Market Maven has won just one race this year, but he finished first in two races, including the Maryland Millions Classic last month when he gamely fought head and head the length of the stretch, winning by a neck but disqualified to second for bumping his rival in the stretch. Market Maven races a bit closer up in the early stages as compared to King Kumbalay, so he’s likely to take up a stalking position behind the two or three potential early leaders and stalkers, then get first run on them as they tire, possibly holding off King Kumbalay to the wire.

Handicapper Picks

Win: King Kumbalay at 9 to 5 or more and Market Maven at 2 to 1 or more.

This is yet another race where using a Dutching tool like the one at Amwager, really helps gain an edge when wagering on multiple horses in a race.
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Exactas: Box King Kumbalay and Market Mavens

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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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