Friday, 06 December 2019 12:09

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, December 7

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Winter Memories Stakes - Race 2 at Aqueduct - Post Time 12 Noon Eastern

Tuned showed her cards as being something special in her U.S. debut in October at Keeneland when she rallied from eighth of 11, still seventh with a quarter mile to go, then easily drove past six horses to draw off late. She had been off for six months prior to that but was well regarded at 5 to 2 in a stakes in France in March after breaking her maiden at first asking in a 15 horse field last October. Castellano rode her in her win and rides back and she beat older in that race so although stepping up to stakes she moves to three year olds only here so it's not really a hike in class. The 100 Equibase figure earned is not only the best last race figure in the field but the best figure in the field, so with logical improvement second off the layoff she should be tough to deny here.

Feel Glorious appears to be the main contender, particularly as she won the identical Memories of Silver Stakes in April in her second U.S. start (after winning an allowance race in her stateside debut the same as Tuned). That win came on this course and although she hasn't won in five starts since she enters this race off her best race since the win, a runner-up effort in the Grade 2 Sands Point under Alvarado, up for the first time that day and back again. With the rail this gal has a big shot to save ground and make a bold rally to be right there at the wire.

For exotics we'll also use Atomic Blonde and Sorrentina Lemon, the latter the 3/1 morning line favorite. Atomic Blonde has done little wrong in three starts with two wins and a second place effort but the first two were at Monmouth for Pletcher meaning she's a second string horse in his opinion. She shipped to Belmont for a first level allowance win on 10/5, a few days earlier than Tuned won at Keeneland, and ran well to earn a 94 figure and she too moves from three year olds and upward to straight three year olds. Sorrentina Lemon is two-for-two, winning in January then in September. She's had layoffs after each win so that's a slight concern, but it must be noted the horse she beat last out in that first level allowance (Nay Lady Nay) has won two stakes since including the Mrs. Revere Stakes last weekend at Churchill Downs. For smaller tickets we'll toss in Jubuticaba, Shelter Island, Tass and On the Town.

Win Bets: Tuned to win at 9 to 5 or higher, a low odds overlay win bet.
Feel Glorious to win at 5 to 2 or higher.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Tuned and Feel Glorious over Tuned, Feel Glorious, Atomic Blonde and Sorrentina Lemon
Tuned and Feel Glorious over Tuned, Feel Glorious, Atomic Blonde, Sorrentina Lemon, Jubuticaba, Shelter Island, Tass and On the Town

Trifecta: Tuned and Feel Glorious over Tuned, Feel Glorious, Atomic Blonde and Sorrentina Lemon over ALL

Go For Wand Handicap - Race 6 at Aqueduct - Post Time 2:09 PM Eastern

I was going to skip this six horse race with a 3 to 5 favorite in Spiced Perfection but upon closer examination I found it to be a VERY playable race because the favorite has no edge over a couple of other contenders. Spiced Perfection has never run a one turn mile and the only time she ran a mile or more was 18 months ago when second in a Cal-Bred stakes race. She's a late running sprinter with talent, having won the Grade 1 Madison in the spring and the Grade 2 TCA Stakes in the fall, BUT she was off five months after a dismal effort at 7 to 2 with no excuse in the Humana Distaff at seven furlongs in May and she had no excuse (at least for not finishing second) when fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint behind Covfefe particularly as she was second at the eighth pole. I'll look elsewhere particularly as she's never run at Aqueduct and has been training at Churchill Downs.

Saguaro Row won her only start over the track, four weeks ago in the Pumpkin Pie Stakes at seven furlongs, rallying from last of seven to win by four easy lengths and not as the favorite. Rosario rides back and has been up for ALL three wins since she moved to the Stidham barn and the 104 Equibase figure earned last out is just one point shy of the best figure by any horse in the field.

That belongs to Another Broad, the other horse with the bulk of the probability to win in my opinion. She ran poorly in the Beldame (Grade 2) in September after two and one-half months off but rallied for second in the similar Grade 3 Turnback the Alarm Stakes over the track five weeks ago. The cut back from nine to eight furlongs doesn't hurt as she's won at the trip and she won the $200K Top Flight Invitational in April over the track so this race, even though at Grade 3, which carries at $250K purse, is the same in my opinion. Her last race 105 figure is faster than the best (100) figure heavy morning line favorite Spiced Perfection has earned, so she's a definite to play here as well.

Win Bets: Saguaro Row and Another Broad to win at odds of 2/1

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Saguaro Row and Another Broad

Trifecta: Box Saguaro Row, Another Broad and Spiced Perfection.

Remsen Stakes - Race 9 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:43 PM Eastern

Forza Di Oro appears to be a stone cold runner for Mott, who is usually conservative except when he knows he's got a horse which can make the leap from maiden to stakes. With young horses, Mott is superb at this kind of judgment, using Country House (second in last year's Risen Star) and Hofburg (second in last year's Florida Derby) as just two examples. Forza Di Oro ran second to Ajaweed in his debut in September then improved considerably at 8 1/2 furlongs (one turn) last month at Belmont, earning an 86 Equibase figure bound to be improved upon in his third career start. He put in a strong workout on 11/27 prepping for the races and gest a good post to save ground just like he did from the rail last out. The only other foal of the dam, Silver Dust, is a multiple stakes winner (over $600K banked) and this colt found a fairly weak field but shouldn't be pounded at the windows, opening as the luke warm 3 to 1 favorite.

Informative and Amends interest me a lot more than lower odds horses like Ajaweed, who bombed with no excuse in the Breeders' Futurity off his maiden win and who hasn't been seen in two months, or like Chase Tracker, who won powerfully first out then had no excuse for finishing third in the Nashua, and who now adds blinkers. Alpha Sixty Six shows the same pattern, having broken his maiden in September but with a lackluster fifth in the Champagne after that, now taking blinkers off. The latter two are trained by Pletcher and when a top trainer is "trying" to change a horse's form in a stakes, I am very wary. On the other hand, Informative missed by a nose in the James F. Lewis Stakes at Laurel last month and earned the best last race figure in the field (97). He's going to be a big price here. Amends won as he pleased at the same trip at Belmont at Forza Di Oro won at, and with a decent 84 figure. For a horse with tremendous breeding to run farther (Uncle Mo out of a Medaglia d'Oro mare) and trained by McGaughey, I can't imagine why he (like Informative) opens at 12/1.

Win Bets: Forza Di Oro at odds of 9 to 5 or higher.
Small win bets can be considered on Informative and on Amends at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Box Forza Di Oro, Informative and Amends
Forza Di Oro over Informative and Amends.

Forza Di Oro over Informative and Amends over ALL
Forza Di Oro over ALL over Informative and Amends

Doubles: Forza Di Oro in race 9 with Spun to Run in race 10 (personally, this will be a very large bet for me)

Forza Di Oro in race 9 with Spun to Run, Maximum Security, Pat On the Back, Network Effect, Looking at Bikinis and Tale of Silence in race 10.

ALL in race 9 with Spun to Run, Maximum Security, Pat On the Back, Network Effect, Looking at Bikinis and Tale of Silence in race 10.

Cigar Mile Stakes - Race 10 at Aqueduct - Post Time 4:16 PM Eastern

Spun to Run possesses a double advantage in the speed figure category, historically a very significant marker for success. Two races back in October, Spun to Run won the M.P. Ballezzi Appreciation Mile Stakes powerfully by six and three-quarter lengths in hand and earned a career-best 119 Equibase Figure. Returning three weeks later, Spun to Run proved that effort to be no fluke when controlling the pace in front and easily winning the Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile by two and three-quarter lengths, earning a similar 117 figure. The double advantage comes from the fact those two figures of 119 and 117 are higher than the last two figures of any other horse in the Cigar Mile field, because it would be very difficult for another horse to jump up to that level or for Spun to Run to regress significantly. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr., who leads all jockeys in North America in earnings in 2019, takes the return engagement on Spun to Run after being in the saddle for the first time in the Dirt Mile. With two very strong workouts since the Breeders' Cup, Spun to Run is showing all signs of holding his top form and as the Cigar Mile is at the same distance of his last two wins, he will be very tough to beat in this race.

Pat On the Back and Maximum Security both warrant strong consideration as contenders as well, with Pat On the Back likely to be higher odds near post time. Pat On the Back has won nine of 26 dirt races in his career and perhaps more importantly has won the last two times he's raced at this one-turn mile trip. Pat On the Back won the Commentator Stakes in May with a 110 figure then after a layoff and sprint prep stretched out to the mile for the Kelso Handicap, winning with a 106 figure. Following the Kelso, Pat On the Back finished third at the distance of nine furlongs, also with a 106 figure, so the cut back to a mile may suit him nicely to run very competitively in the Cigar Mile.

Maximum Security needs no talking up, with six wins in eight races. One of the losses came in this year's Kentucky Derby when he crossed the finish line in front but was disqualified. Following a defeat as the prohibitive favorite in the Pegasus Stakes in June, Maximum Security nearly duplicated the 111 figure earned in the Derby with a 109 figure, then improved back to the 111 level winning the Bold Ruler Handicap at the end of October. Considering the Cigar Mile will be his second start following three months off, Maximum Security could run even better, but so too can Spun to Run. If both do improve as I expect they will, we could be watching a race to remember.

Network Effect and Looking at Bikinis are an uncoupled entry from the Brown barn, both three year olds facing older, thought the former just beat older on 11/10 following 11 months off. That was just an allowance race but the effort earned a 106 figure just a few points what I believe the top three are capable of. Network Effect finished second in the Remsen on this day last year in his third career start and won the comeback last month at this one turn mile trip so may be worth using on exotic tickets, as may Looking at Bikinis, who is three for three in one turn races. Tale of Silence finished okay from fifth to second behind Maximum Security in the Bold Ruler and might be good for a piece as well.

Win Bets: Spun to Run to win at 9 to 5 or higher, a very solid low odds overlay win bet.
A smaller win bet on Pat On the Back at odds of 3/1 may be called for too.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Spun to Run over Maximum Security and Pat On the Back

Spun to Run over Maximum Security, Pat On the Back, Network Effect, Looking at Bikinis and Tale of Silence

Spun to Run, Maximum Security and Pat On the Back over Spun to Run, Maximum Security, Pat On the Back, Network Effect, Looking at Bikinis and Tale of Silence

Spun to Run over Maximum Security, Pat On the Back, Network Effect, Looking at Bikinis and Tale of Silence over Maximum Security, Pat On the Back, Network Effect, Looking at Bikinis and Tale of Silence

Thursday, 05 December 2019 17:11

A Look at the Remsen

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December 5, 2019

A Look at the Remsen

By: Jonathan Stettin

The Remsen has not exactly been a Kentucky Derby winner factory lately. Nonetheless, whoever emerges victorious on Saturday will be cast into the early Run for the Roses conversation. Given that and all the excitement generated by the top tier two-year-olds around this time, we’ll take a look at the race and run it down. Hopefully, we can find the winner.

The Grade 2 Remsen drew a field of 9 going a mile and an eighth around two turns at Aqueduct.

On the rail is Chase Tracker, a Verrazano colt for Todd Pletcher. He ran well first out at Parx breaking his maiden in his debut from just off the pace. The race was fast enough but he regressed a tad in his next start, the Grade 3 Nashua. He adds blinkers looking to wake him back up. I’m not sold on him.

Forza Di Oro breaks from the 2 post. This looks like a very talented colt to me. He went a mile in his debut at Belmont and fell far back and made a nice run. He came back to break his maiden next out. He stretches out and gets two turns to work with here and I think he will like that. Mott is patient and it looks to me like this colt is sitting on a nice forward move. He is one of my top two choices.

The #3 Cleon Jones is pretty honest going one turn against NY Breds. Can he bring that game to open company at a longer distance? I’m willing to gamble no. I don’t see him having the same punch at this distance.

Alaaweed is the other horse I like in here. I see nothing but talent and potential here. His debut at Saratoga was decent but in a key race he needed. He stretched out to win his next start. He made up some ground while wide in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He gets a little more ground to work with and moves to his fourth track in as many starts. I think he will be close enough to launch a rally that counts and will be full of run in the stretch.

#5 Informative is a sprinter so far and stretches out here. He has some bottom to him with 6 starts but is still a maiden. I have to pass on him I’m here.

Shotski is an interesting alternative in here. I like the other two I mentioned better but this Blame colt is far from hopeless. He comes out of the key Street Sense, and looks like he will appreciate the added ground he will get in here. If I was going deeper I’d get to him but I’m not.

Prince James adds blinkers. He has two good races against lesser company under his belt. I don’t see blinkers moving him up enough to win in here.

Todd Pletcher’s second entry takes blinkers off. His debut was excellent and his follow up in the Champagne was good. That was a good field and he is dangerous in here. I think he will be shorter on the board than the two I lean to, and he is the next one I’d throw in if I were spreading more than two deep.

On the outside we have Amends. If that last win wasn’t in the slop I might like him more. I think he has talent, and we may hear from him later at Gulfstream or Oaklawn but not for me on Saturday.

I’ll be using Forza di Oro and Ajaaweed in multi-race wagers. If the price is high enough I’ll also use them both on top in some exactas. It should be an interesting Remsen and bring some new names onto the early Kentucky Derby radar screen.

Thursday, 14 November 2019 20:00

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 16

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James F. Lewis III Stakes - Race 6 at Laurel - Post Time 2:51 PM Eastern

The bulk of the probability to win lies with Raging Whiskey and Newstome, with morning line favorite Tuggle vulnerable on two counts. Tuggle won his debut at five furlongs leading from start to finish in June then finished third in the Saratoga Special after leading early, before two routes. So, either he's a need the lead type but won't get the lead as Raging Whiskey is faster early and inside of him in the gate, or the routes dulled his early speed, which will allow Raging Whiskey an easy early lead as none of the three horses inside him in the gate are faster. Raging Whiskey ships out from California after his second poor try on grass in his last three races. In between those came a HUGE effort on dirt when he lead through fast fractions and won by eight in the Capote Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs. This six furlong trip is no issue and since coming to Laurel he put in a very sharp workout for a half-mile which was the second fastest of 42 on the day so he's showing all signs he's fit and has all his speed.

Newstome relaxed in third and drew off late by three lengths in a statebred stakes at Presque Isle Downs on the all-weather last month, two before that winning on conventional dirt at Parx powerfully as well. In between came an irrelevant turf race. McCarthy rides and the 89 last race Equibase figure is second only to the 94 Raging Whiskey earned in his Capote Stakes win so Newstome has a strong chance to win if Raging Whiskey can't go all the way on the front end.

Bets: Win bets on BOTH Raging Whiskey and Newstome at 2 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Raging Whiskey and Newstome over ALL.

Race 6 – Raging Whiskey, Newstome
Race 7 – Cofactor, Still Alive and Lucky Trinity

Key Cents Stakes - Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:20 PM Eastern

My Sassy Sarah makes a number of changes which are all positive and should help her run well enough to win in this stakes race for NY breds. She debuted on turf at Saratoga in a sprint and ran big to rally from fourth and lead late but was run down and lost the win by a length and the runner-up spot by a head. Improving markedly off that effort, My Sassy Sarah won as she pleased by four lengths at six furlongs, on turf, before stretching out to two-turns and being raised in class significantly to run in the open (non-restricted to just NY Breds) Grade 2 Miss Grillo Stakes. Rallying from sixth of eight early, she got almost even with the leaders at the eighth pole before tiring a bit to sixth, but beaten just three lengths. Today she cuts back to a sprint, moves back into statebred only competition, and drops in class, so if able to handle the dirt should take some beating. To that end, red hot Rosario gets on and trainer Nevin has a very strong record of 4-2-0 from 13 races in the last two years where her horses have moved from turf to dirt and route to sprint. The 92 Equibase figure My Sassy Sarah earned in her win is the best figure any horse in the field has earned so if able to run back to that effort she's the one to beat.

Playtone, Single Verse and Time Limit all have a shot to be part of the exacta, but except for Single Verse, who opens at 5/1, none would offer enough value for win bets. Playtone broke her maiden by six last month in her third career start and fits nicely "IF" she can relax off the pace early and not try to lead from start to finish as she did last month. That's because Time Limit is a need-the-lead type and since that's her only advantage will be sent to the front, possibly holding second as she did last month in the Grade 3 Matron Stakes (on turf). Single Verse rallied from third to win going away on a muddy track at Belmont on 10/4 then 17 days later ran second from start to finish in a stakes at Finger Lakes. She's never been worse than second in five races and that number could be six when all is said and done today.

Miss Sassy Sarah to win at odds of 9 to 5 or more, a low odds overlay win bet.

Exacta: Miss Sassy Sarah over Playtone, Single Verse and Time Limit

Warrior's Reward Smart Halo Stakes - Race 7 at Laurel - Post Time 3:20 PM Eastern

A hot and contested early pace scenario is highly likely here, starting with Letsstaypositive, who has led from the start in both her career starts and who has to GO, GO, GO from the rail to not get covered up. The problem is Cruise and Danze wired the field in her only win, as did Summer Fortune (who is suspect as the 2 to 1 morning line favorite ) and Ilchester Cheetah, who has earned all three wins leading from the opening bell.

Cofactor, Still Alive and Lucky Trinity just need to relax as they've done in the past to get the major shares of the purse, with Cofactor getting preference because she has won two in row. After improving off her third place debut in August to win one month later, she went from Monmouth to Keeneland and rallied from fifth to win by a head after a tough battle in the stretch. Bravo was up for both wins and rides back and since shipping to Laurel the filly put in a very sharp 47.2 four furlong workout which was the second best of 27 on the day and which signals she can take another step forward and earn a stakes win in this situation.

Still Alive opens at odds too high to ignore for a horse with some decent probability to win, 10/1. She showed she could rate one before last when second in the opening quarter mile, like Cofactor winning at the first allowance level. Next she was overmatched and perhaps found seven furlongs too far in the Parx Juvenile Fillies. Cutting back to the six furlong trip of the win, she could be in a great spot in the early stages behind the dueling pacesetters and has potential to be there at the wire if not possibly to post the upset win.

Lucky Trinity showed a lot of maturity, and ability, winning first time out 13 days ago over the track. Sixth of nine early, she made a big move on the turn to go from three back to a length in front at the eighth pole then drew off comfortably. Considering the effort earned a 77 Equibase figure very similar to the 77 Still Alive earned in her allowance win on 10/20 and the 79 figure Cofactor earned in her allowance win at Keeneland, if Lucky Trinity takes a step forward she has potential to post the mild upset, opening at 6 to 1.

Win Bets: Cofactor to win at 9 to 5 odds or higher.
For slightly smaller amounts, Still Alive and Lucky Trinity can be bet to win at 7 to 2 odds or higher.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Cofactor, Still Alive and Lucky Trinity.

Trifecta: Cofactor, Still Alive and Lucky Trinity over Cofactor, Still Alive and Lucky Trinity over ALL.

Delta Mile Stakes - Race 8 at Delta Downs - Post Time 9:11 PM Eastern

Favorite Forevamo is vulnerable here opening at 3/1 which makes the race very playable. Stephen's Answer gets the two post and appears to be a "Lone Frontrunner" with good position in this two turn mile. He was claimed by high percentage trainer Diodoro for a measly $7,500 three back out of a turf race and has won easily twice since by an average of six lengths, leading from start to finish both times at Delta, at seven furlongs (also around two-turns) and with Hamilton riding as today. The 94 and 97 figures, both in allowance races, are as good as ANY of the best in here including the recent 96 Foravamo earned when fourth in the Downs at Albuquerque in August (which is another knock on the favorite coming back from three months off). Coming into the race Stephen's Answer put in a strong half-mile and although I don't expect the 10/1 morning line to hold up I do expect the horse to go to post at higher odds than his strong probability to win suggests for a trainer who has won with 25% of over 900 starters on the year.

Trevilion fits here off a win in the statebred Gold Cup Stakes at the distance over the track last month with a 100 figure. He doesn't need the lead and should be tracking Stephen's Answer from the start so if that one can't lead all the way Trevilion can get up and win his second stakes in a row. Late Night Mischief is three for six at Delta and won a seven furlong allowance race last month with a competitive 94 figure so is another key contender here.

Win Bets: Stephen's Answer to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
Trevilion and Late Nite Mischief to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Stephen's Answer, Trevilion and Late Nite Mischief.

Also, Stephen's Answer, Trevilion and Late Nite Mischief over Stephen's Answer, Trevilion, Late Nite Mischief, McFeely, Harlan Selection, Extirpator and Forevamo.

Thursday, 14 November 2019 19:54

Apples and Oranges

Past the Wire    Tracking Tips Logo


November 14, 2019

Apples and Oranges

By: Jonathan Stettin

The recently concluded Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge provided a nice example of how different tournament play is from actual play, even in a cash style tournament.
I have thought for a while there is a Breeders’ Cup Betting Challenge with my name on it. I still think that today, but I’ll actually have to play in one to find out. I almost did this year but passed it up primarily because of the uncertainties surrounding the Santa Anita main track and horses who shipped in to run over it. Make no mistake, when I finally pull that trigger I intend to win and this didn’t seem like the opportune year.
I am also going to have to buy my way in. I don’t play in qualifiers. They are not my style. I’ve had several offers to have someone put up the big in and play as partners. I doubt I’d do that. I have passed on every offer. Why share the winnings? It’s just bad math in my opinion.
The only tournament I really played in was last August’s “Handicapping for Horses.” It was a mythical $20 win and place wager on the horse of your choice in the race of your choice. You were required to make one of those bets each day of the entire Saratoga meet. In that format I did not think I could lose. No chance. Not over the course of a meet, especially that one. I just about went Wire to Wire and never really felt threatened even when another player mounted a challenge the last few days.
In that type of format it is principally skill. In most tournaments luck is a bigger factor and we know how fickle she can be.
I take nothing away from savvy tournament play. I think the BCBC winner this year played it well. He did however do something I would have a hard time doing. It might even cost me in that format. This is why I say apples and oranges comparing actual play to tournaments.
I read where going into the Classic, the last race, the pay race he liked McKinzie. He saw the price on McKinzie drop to where if he risked his bankroll on at 5-2 it would not return enough for him to catch the leader. He bet Vino Rosso instead at 9-2. Vino Rosso won as we all know at 9-2. Smart play. Savvy play. Lucky play. Well played. Great handicapping, well not so much.
I have had much of my success playing the horses taking down pick 6’s. This requires taking a stand, often in advance, and sticking and committing to your opinion. I didn’t have the luxury of changing a single because a speed horse scratched, the track had a bias, or I didn’t like the odds. Often I wished I could have especially when late scratches or surface changes occurred. I would probably be a richer man today.
I have long employed the philosophy that I don’t bet against my own opinion. If I was faced with the BCBC winners dilemma I likely would have gone another route. Though more risky, I couldn’t in good conscience bet against who I thought would win. If that was McKinzie regardless of his odds I’d have stuck. I would not have bet win, but I would have bet a very large cold exacta, and two big triples that would require hitting that big exacta also to have a chance. That may not be the best tournament approach. After I play in a few my “tournament approach” may change. That remains to be seen.
It was very interesting to view the bets the participants made. Of interest is how many really have little chance to win based on how they play. I can’t understand how some qualified at all. I get the impression some of those who “qualify” don’t really feel the bank roll is live money. Maybe I’m wrong but some of the bets were almost elimination bets.
If you play contests, I think it takes a different type of game. When I play in that BCBC eventually I am sure I’ll have to adapt. Maybe not. If I pick enough decent winner and bet them hard, maybe I can luck out.

Friday, 08 November 2019 12:26

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, November 9

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Pumpkin Pie Stakes - Race 7 at Aqueduct - Post Time 2:50 PM Eastern

Honor Way is a bit of an in-and-out type but with six wins in 20 career dirt races, some of her best races could win here and give her a mild upset at 6/1 on the morning line. Two of those six career wins on dirt have come at seven furlongs, including last month at Belmont. Although it was in a starter allowance race, the mare ran third in the Interborough Stakes at Aqueduct in January to Dawn the Destroyer, who ran big in the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last week, and she enters the race off a that strong win with a 96 Equibase figure which best is the figure among ALL in this field except Majestic Reason, who I think is vulnerable. Excellent trainer Baker took her from Rice for $62,500 three back in July and she could get the connections even and then some with a win here in her current form.

Saguaro Row put back-to-back wins together in April and May following over a year on the shelf, both under Rosario, then ran badly when overmatched in a grade 2 stakes, then rebounded to run second in a nearly identical (to this race) seven furlong stakes at Saratoga. Again overmatched in a grade 2 stakes, Saguaro Row was beaten a neck for second last time out at seven furlongs in Maryland and the key to a return to top form good enough to win is the fact Rosario is getting back on because in the race he rode her to victory in May she earned 100 figure.

Philanthropic is the only one of the top three morning line choices I can endorse for a win bet. She's two for two since joining the Servis barn in June and returning from a seven month layoff and Servis keeps his horses in form to the tune of winning 34% of the time back to back in dirt sprints over the last FIVE years. The 95 figure earned in victory last out is strong and if she can improve third off the layoff she can win again, but she's no sure thing.

Last True Love has two wins in nine starts this year and both came in March. Still, opening at 12/1 she's got a small shot as she can lead early, stalk in second, third or fourth early, or come from far back. She won in March at this seven furlong trip after stalking early and if Philanthropic goes early she could get a great trip in the same early position so with those two wins early this year having earned her 104 and 96 figures, she rounds out the win contenders.

Second morning line favorite Majestic Reason is suspect as she did not make up any ground at this seven furlong trip in the stretch one before last at low odds then even though overmatched by the winner in the Gallant Bloom Stakes last out she was no match for the runner-up or third finishers.

Honor Way and Saguaro Row to win at odds of 5/2 or more.
A small win/place bet on Last True Love may be justified at 6 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Honor Way, Saguaro Row, Philanthropic and Last True Love.
Trifecta: Box Honor Way, Saguaro Row, Philanthropic and Last True Love.

I’m going to play the Double from race 7 to race 8 and the Pick 3 for races 7, 8 and 9 as follows:
Race 7 – Honor Way, Saguaro Row, Philanthropic, Last True Love
Race 8 – Frontier Market, Curlin's Honor, Caribou Club, Dr. Edgar
Race 9 – Freewheeler, Turned Aside, Embolden, Fly Fly Away, Mystic Lancelot
The cost of the pick 3 at the $1 minimum level is $80
The cost of the double at the $1 minimum level is $16

Note: If you feel bold, or if one of the horses in race nine scratches, consider these horses in race 9 as well:
Jack and Noah, Axiomo

Artie Schiller Stakes - Race 8 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:20 PM Eastern

With Gidu, Voodoo Song and Abiding Star all absolutely NEED-the-LEAD types, as long as two or more of the three run, the race sets up for the closers. On one hand, two of the four closers are favorites and fairly legitimate, but there are two others to consider which make this race playable in and of itself, as well as part of the pick 3 and the doubles from the previous race and to the next race.

Dr. Edgar showed he could rate in second four times in his last 10 races, winning three and missing by a neck in the other. ALL of those last 10 races, including the three wins, were on turf, including the Grade 3 Appleton Stakes, Grade 3 Fort Marcy Stakes, Grade 3 Poker Stakes and Grade 2 Knickerbocker Stakes. STILL, he opens at 6/1 and I don't get it. He led into the stretch last month in the Knickerbocker, won by Lucullan, who ran pretty well in the Breeders' Cup Mile last weekend, and Davis has piloted him to three of his last five wins so all signs are GO for a big effort.

Curlin's Honor opens at even higher odds, 10/1, though six of his last eight races were in graded stakes as well. He didn't win any of them BUT he was only worse than third in one of those eight races and particularly his runner-up effort behind Synchrony in the Grade 2 King Edward Stakes at this mile trip in June is good enough to win here if he can repeat the effort, which is appears he can as he got a confidence building win in last month in a classified allowance race at Woodbine.

Frontier Market and Caribou Club are the legitimate favorites and we can only hope to split them in the exacta with one of the higher odds contenders. Frontier Market has been first or second in his last 10 races, all on turf, the best of which on 8/24, one before last, earned a 110 figure on par with the 109 Curlin's Honor earned in August and the 110 Dr. Edgar earned in the Poker in June. He gets the rail and Irad Ortiz, Jr so there are no knocks EXCEPT perhaps as indicated by his career record of 3-7-0 in 11 races. Caribou Club was an also-eligible for the Breeders' Cup Mile and would have drawn in after scratched but left California by the time the late scratches were announced. He has run two "A" races in a row, the most recent with a 109 figure winning the Grade 3 Baltimore Washington Turf Cup Stakes at the end of September. He's a very competitive horse and would be no surprise if winning.

Bets: Win bets on BOTH Dr. Edgar and Curlin's Honor are warranted at 7 to 2 or higher

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Frontier Market, Curlin's Honor, Caribou Club, Dr. Edgar over Frontier Market, Curlin's Honor, Caribou Club, Dr. Edgar, Gidu, Voodoo Song and Abiding Star. (Because there's always a chance one of the early front runners can hang on for second).

If you played the pick 3 starting in race 7 and none of the contenders won that leg, you can consider doubles using the contenders from that pick 3 in this race and the next race as follows:

Race 8 – Frontier Market, Curlin's Honor, Caribou Club, Dr. Edgar
Race 9 – Freewheeler, Turned Aside, Embolden, Fly Fly Away, Mystic Lancelot

I would even go so far as to recommend doubles with the same four horses in race eight and adding Jack and Noah and Axiomo in race nine.

Atlantic Beach Stakes - Race 9 at Aqueduct - Post Time 3:50 PM Eastern

Mystic Lancelot won his debut, in August at Saratoga, a turf sprint, like a good thing by powering off by three lengths in a nine horse field at 9 to 5 odds. Stretched out to two turns and shipped to Canada to run in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes, around two turns, on a soggy turf course, he was sent to post as the 2 to 1 favorite in a field of 10 but could only manage a ninth race finish. Shipped to Keeneland Indian Summer Stakes, Mystic Lancelot ended up fourth of nine, a nose from third place finisher Axiomo (who is entered here) and two lengths behind sensational Kimari, who ran big in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint last week. Facing easier here and back in New York, Mystic Lancelot is reunited with John Velazquez, up for the debut win, which earned a very strong (for a two year old) 98 Equibase figure so with a repeat of that effort, or even more logically, improvement off the effort, he can win.

Turned Aside finished third in his debut in a turf sprint at Belmont in September, then second at the end of the same month (behind Jack and Noah, who is in this race) then he won powerfully by four lengths when the light bulb went on. A two year old going from a maiden race to stakes is no big deal and the 94 figure he earned is the BEST last race figure in the field. Assuming he can take another step forward, Turned Aside can win, particularly with Lezcano riding back and picking over Rice's other charge, Montauk Daddy, who he rode in all three career races. Rice wins 25% back-to-back and this colt could add to those numbers.

Freewheeler and Embolden finished second and third, respectively, in the Futurity Stakes last month at Belmont on the grass. The race was won by Four Wheel Drive, who duplicated the effort to win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint last weekend. Freewheeler adds blinkers to improve off his fast finish for second and run back to the effort which saw him win by five in his only other race. However, the 91 figure last out is a bit (just slightly) behind the first two mentioned contenders best figures. Embolden earned a 96 figure winning by 10 lengths in his second career start and first on turf, then 90 when winning a stakes for Virginia Breds only at Colonial in September then repeated that 90 when a half-length behind Freewheeler in the Futurity. Blinkers go on this colt as well and Rosario stays aboard.

Last mentioned of a quintet of contenders, but not least, Fly Fly Away may be a New York bred but that's meaningless given his pedigree as he's a half-brother to multiple turf sprint stakes winner Disco Partner, who has won his share in open (not restricted) stakes. Fly Fly Away won his second start, first on turf, gamely by a nose in August then stretched out to two runs and finished fifth, an irrelevant effort when assessing his chances in this sprint. Castellano gets on and trainer Clement, who has conditioned many horses for this owner/breeder including Disco Partner, knows he's got a very good horse here so opening at 12/1 I would not leave this colt out as a contender for a second.

Win Bets: Mystic Lancelot to win at 3 to 1 or more.
Consider smaller win bets at 9 to 2 or more on Turned Aside, Embolden and Freewheeler, the latter two unlikely to make that threshold.

THEN, I am betting a few dollars to win and to place on Fly Fly Away at odds of 5 to 1 or more.

Exacta & Trifecta: Box Mystic Lancelot, Turned Aside, Fly Fly Away, Embolden and Freewheeler.

This week's blog features special daily double wagers tying the Juvenile Fillies on Friday to the Distaff on Saturday and tying the Juvenile on Friday to the Classic on Saturday.

Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies - Race 7 at Santa Anita on Friday 11/1 - Post Time 5:32 PM Eastern/2:32 Pacific

It appears my choice of win contenders matches up with what the public is going to do as my two win contenders are Donna Veloce and British Idiom. Still, I wouldn’t argue with anyone who considered #6 Bast, #9 Comical or #7 Wicked Whisper contenders coming out of excellent preps for this race, but I will stop with the top two who I feel stick out against the other seven. The benefit of this race having only a couple of selections, with three back-ups, is it gives us a little value for the special daily double tying the Juvenile Fillies on Friday with the Distaff on Saturday.

Although just a maiden winner, Donna Veloce could be the real deal and make it so the rest are running for second if she run as she did in her debut over the track on 9/28. Although that was just a six furlong sprint, this filly ran a STAKES QUALITY race, with a 109 Equibase figure, powering home by nine lengths in handy fashion with gas left in the tank. Trainer Simon Callaghan has had his share of good horses and this daughter of Uncle Mo shows all the signs of being able to stretch out and win again, even in this grade 1 field.

British Idiom was spectacular winning the Grade 1 Alcibiades Stakes at Keeneland last month. She had won her debut pretty easily at six furlongs (like Donna Veloce) in August, then off a short rest and stretching out to two turns, she blew by the field on the turn to open up by a couple of lengths before coasting to a six length win. Although the Equibase figure was 91, she too had gas left in the tank and so with another big improvement likely in her third career start, she has a big shot to succeed, particularly if Donna Veloce regresses in any way off her debut win.

Win Bets: Donna Veloce to win at 5 to 2 or more. British Idiom to win at 7 to 2 or more.
When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Special Daily Double Ticket 1
Juvenile: Donna Veloce
, British Idiom
Distaff: Midnight Bisou

Ticket 2
Juvenile: Donna Veloce, British Idiom, Bast, Comical, Wicked Whisper
Distaff: Midnight Bisou

Breeders' Cup Distaff - Race 10 at Santa Anita on Saturday 11/2 - Post Time 7 PM Eastern/ 4 PM Pacific

It’s nice to have a race with a “Single,” the only horse to use on multi-race tickets like the pick 3 and 4, and Midnight Bisou fits the bill for turning pick 3 tickets into the equivalent of a daily double and pick 4 tickets into the equivalent of a pick 3. I hesitate to use throw around the word “Amazon” too much, and admit you’ll see it again referring to Elate in the classic, so perhaps I’ll use the word “Alpha” instead to describe Midnight Bisou’s attitude when on the track. She just refuses to lose, and if she’s in the mood she’ll eye an opponent and beat them by a nose whereas other times she just blows by them. Smith is six for six on her this year and it would be seven for seven if he didn’t have another commitment when she won the Beldame in September. With back-to-back 115 Equibase figure efforts in grade 1 races at this nine furlong trip, by far the best in the field, it would take a big jump up in form for any of the 10 fillies and mares to beat Midnight Bisou today and while there is no such thing as a sure thing, she should win this year’s Distaff.

: Midnight Bisou at even money or more, a low odds overlay win bet. (Hopefully it won't be necessary to bet her to win if we are live in the special daily double from the Juvenile Fillies on Friday).

Breeders' Cup Juvenile - Race 9 at Santa Anita on Friday, 11/1 - Post Time 7:03 PM Eastern/ 4:03 Pacific

Dennis’ Moment is a legitimate favorite based on impressive wins in his last two starts after losing the jockey in his debut. He demolished the field by nearly 20 lengths at seven furlongs then once again made short work of the field, this time nine other horses in the Grade 3 Iroquois Stakes last month at this distance. His works at Churchill Downs then Santa Anita have been scorching and show he’s in top form. He doesn’t need the lead to win but these are the deepest waters he’s been in so although he looks very logical, based on his 98 Figure last out which isn’t any better than Eight Rings, Dennis’ Moment can win but doesn’t have to.

Eight Rings rebounded from dropping the jockey in the Del Mar Futurity to win the American Pharoah Stakes, his first two-turn rest, at the end of September with a strong 103 figure, dominating by six lengths. Blinkers were added to help him focus and not take a left turn as he did in the Futurity, and the equipment changes worked. He is likely to use his early speed to best advantage and be the one the rest have to catch to win, and since Baffert is deadly in these two year old stakes Eight Rings may prove all the hype to date is correct and win easily again. Still, there’s a lot that can happen in a race for two year olds who can improve by leaps and bounds from race to race, or by the same token regress.

Win Bets: Dennis' Moment at 8 to 5 or higher.
Consider Eight Rings for a win bet at 2 to 1 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Dennis' Moment and Eight Rings over Dennis' Moment, Eight Rings, Scabbard and Full Flat.

Trifecta: Dennis' Moment and Eight Rings over Dennis' Moment, Eight Rings, Scabbard and Full Flat over Dennis' Moment, Eight Rings, Scabbard and Full Flat.

Special Daily Double Ticket 1
Juvenile: Dennis' Moment, Eight Rings
Classic: Vino Rosso, Code of Honor, Elate

Ticket 2
: Dennis' Moment, Eight Rings
Classic: ALL

Ticket 3
Juvenile: ALL
Classic: Vino Rosso, Code of Honor, Elate

Breeders' Cup Classic - Race 12 at Santa Anita on Saturday, 11/2 - Post Time 8:44 PM Eastern/ 5:44 Pacific

The rematch between Code of Honor and Vino Rosso is the number one story in this year’s Classic in my opinion and I will give slight preference to Vino Rosso in this case. His four year old campaign has been all about pointing to this year’s Classic and I think he’s on a pattern to run the best race of his career and win. Returning from six months off in March, Vino Rosso earned a new career-best 114 Equibase Speed Figure winning the Stymie Stakes, a one-turn mile race, before facing one of the best sprinters in the country (World of Trouble) in the Carter Handicap one month later, finishing fourth without showing any late kick at all. A brilliant move on the part of trainer Todd Pletcher was sending Vino Rosso west for the Gold Cup at Santa Anita in May at the Classic distance and the colt proved resilient in tying the 114 figure with a powerful effort as he rallied from fourth to lead in the stretch and gamely held that lead to the wire. Given two months off, Vino Rosso returned in the Whitney and, just as in the Carter, he ran evenly throughout, never threatening to win. Stretched out to a mile and one-quarter again for the Jockey Gold Cup Stakes at Belmont, Vino Rosso once again showed a lot of mental toughness in not only leading from the start, but battling with a number of horses in the late stages, prevailing by a nose on the wire over Code of Honor. Unfortunately, he had bumped his rival late in the race and the stewards felt that warranted a disqualification to second. Making his third start off a layoff in the Classic and on an improving pattern of figures (108, 112), I feel the previous race at Santa Anita may give Vino Rosso the slightest edge in experience which can help him to earn the glory of a Breeders’ Cup Classic victory.

Code of Honor is also on a solid pattern for improvement. Following his third place finish in the Kentucky Derby (moved up to second via the disqualification of Maximum Security), Code of Honor took two months off. That freshening did him a world of good as he won the Dwyer Stakes in July, the Travers Stakes in August and the Jockey Club Gold Cup (via disqualification of Vino Rosso) in September. Going from a 101 figure effort, to 108, to 112, is a pattern we might expect of a still improving three year old in the summer and fall, with further improvement to come. Furthermore, having run three times at the distance of the Classic, winning twice and finishing second in the other start, there’s little doubt Code of Honor has what it takes to succeed in this race.

Elate is an amazon of a mare and deserves to face off against males in this year’s Classic. She’s also a perfect three-for-three at the mile and one-quarter trip of this race. Although beaten a nose one race before last in the Personal Ensign Stakes at Saratoga, the same race she lost by a neck the previous year, Elate earned a 115 figure as good or better than any of the males in this year’s Classic field. Tough as nails in the stretch in nearly every one of her 18 career starts, Elate has finished second seven times to match her win total. Trainer Bill Mott (who also saddles Yoshida) has given Elate a pair of three furlong “blowout” workouts coming into the race, a superb strategy to have her on edge for her best, which is good enough to post the mild upset in this year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

About the rest:
There is little doubt most of the other eight entrants in this race can run well enough to win and I would not argue with a single person who felt a win bet on any of them is warranted. However, there are little chinks in the armor on all of the rest in my opinion so personally although I will be considering them all for second place on exacta tickets and third place on trifecta tickets, I will confine my win bets to the three contenders above.

I’ll start with McKinzie, who has only finished lower than second one time in 13 races. His two tries at the Classic distance were below par in my opinion as he missed by a nose while having every chance to win the Santa Anita Handicap in April and was 12th in last year’s Classic at 7 to 2 odds. Although the 123 figure earned in his most recent start in the Awesome Again is the second best figure in the field, he seemed to be running in place throughout the race and although the jockey change to Rosario may help, I would prefer a jockey familiar with the horse but Rosario is riding McKinzie for the first time. Mongolian Groom led from start to finish in the Awesome Again and earned a field high 123 figure in the process. He has two third place finishes at this distance in his career and I don’t feel his last effort is repeatable at this distance or in this field. Owendale faces older for the first time, which isn’t an impediment in the fall, but the 110 figure earned in the Oklahoma Derby last month won’t be good enough to win if repeated and he too is winless in two tries at the Classic distance. Similarly, Preakness winner War of Will could not threaten in the Pennsylvania Derby and the 107 figure earned at nearly the distance in the Preakness is another effort which, even if repeated, is not likely to win this race. Yoshida closes from far back in nearly every start and rarely gets up in time, but should be in the top three or four at the end of able to run as he did in the Whitney in August when second with a 115 figure. Higher Power posted the upset in the Pacific Classic this summer with a 112 figure which appears to be an aberration as he was a non-threatening third in the Awesome Again following that win. Math Wizard was a great story for trainer Saffie Joseph, with a 113 figure which equaled the effort he put forth when second to Owendale in the Ohio Derby in June. Math Wizard is also facing older for the first time, as well as trying the distance of the Classic for the first time and those two hurdles may be too many to overcome. Seeking the Soul has had a brilliant career, winning over $3 million to date, but as he enters the race off seventh and fourth place finishes, particularly with most of the others in much better recent form, he is had to endorse.

Win Bets
: Vino Rosso and Code of Honor to win at odds of 5/2 or more.
Elate to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Win bets may not be necessary if we are live in the special daily double from the Juvenile on Friday but it's a matter of personal preference if you want even more profit if we’re right.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Vino Rosso, Code of Honor and Elate over ALL

Trifectas: Vino Rosso, Code of Honor and Elate over ALL over Vino Rosso, Code of Honor and Elate.
Vino Rosso, Code of Honor and Elate over Vino Rosso, Code of Honor and Elate over ALL
(These two trifecta tickets played together help us win if any two of the three contenders finish 1st & 2nd or 1st & 3rd).


Monday, 28 October 2019 19:44

Drawing It Up

Past the Wire    Tracking Tips Logo


October 28, 2019

Drawing It Up

By: Jonathan Stettin

There is more than one school of thought on post position draws. After all, you see people voicing selections on social media before races are even drawn. I am not one of those. Post position is indeed a factor in my opinion and I think it is important to know where horses are lining up, and who they are next to before making a wager.
The importance of the draw varies from racetrack to racetrack and also at different distances. We all are quite familiar with the dreaded rail draw for the Kentucky Derby. That might just be the most watched and well known draw of them all.
The draw in the Breeders’ Cup is very important and especially so at Santa Anita and at some specific distances. It can have a major impact on how a race is run and who wins and loses.
Breeders’ Cup races usually have larger fields and that makes the draw all the more key to deciphering how a race will be run.
The Breeders’ Cup Mile is a two turn race at Santa Anita. There is a short run to that first turn and it is pretty easy to get hung out wide losing crucial ground. Once you are say outside the 8 post, you have to be very careful. It is going to be tough to save ground. If you wind up wide into that first turn, and don’t make that up into the second turn, your chance of winning becomes pretty slim, especially in a competitive race like the Breeders’ Cup Mile. A good ride and a sharp jockey can make all the difference but generally, outside horses are up against it. Speed helps as if you can clear, or get out fast, you can save some ground. The rail or extreme inside posts can be troublesome also. If a horse doesn’t have speed from the inside at a mile at Santa Anita, or isn’t a good gate horse, they can easily wind up bottled up, and with an expected fast pace for the distance that can spell trouble.
Things don’t get much better in the Turf Mile. Not every horse is Lure and not every rider is Mike Smith. It takes a special horse, and a very fortunate trip to win the Breeders’ Cup Turf Mile at Santa Anita from the outside. All the same, issues exist as on the main track, but the run to the turn is a little shorter, and those turns are a little tighter. The inside in this race tends to get congested into that first turn as well.
When betting these two races I focus a good deal on the pace scenario. I see who breaks well and who doesn’t and also try and anticipate what riders will be aggressive and who will be patient. This helps me decide if I can confidently use a horse I don’t feel is drawn well. A bad draw is not an automatic toss, but it is cause for pause.
The Breeders’ Cup Sprint is a fast paced race. I remember a few years back I loved a horse named Jimmy Creed in the race. He was drawn inside. When I projected the pace all I could envision was him being all bottled up. Sure he could have lucked out and got out, but in a fast heat like that with everybody hustling and holding their position, it was unlikely. Even with Garett Gomez, one of the best, I had to pass on a horse I loved. He got stuck inside, never got out and lost. He came back to win the Malibu drawing away I believe convincing me he could have won the Sprint with a better draw. I prefer outside the 5 post in the sprint, but not as far out as say 11 or 12.
The turf sprints in the Breeders’ Cup are also faster than average races. Outside horses have little time to make up ground. They need a perfect set up and trip or have to be significantly best to win.
Things start to even out as the races get longer. The Juvenile races at a mile and a sixteenth show how important that extra sixteenth can be. The draw is not nearly as vital as in the Mile.
The Breeders’ Cup Classic at a mile and a quarter almost negates the draw altogether. Sure it is the same distance as the Derby but the draw doesn’t matter nearly as much. There is no dreaded rail due to no oversized field or auxiliary gate. Even with a full 14 you get a long straight run into that first turn and the riders have plenty of time to adjust. The pace is also not as blistering as in the shorter races again making it easier to adjust.
This weekend with the exception of the first Saturday in May, could very well be when the draw can make or break someone. It is something I will be paying attention to. When you log into your AmWager account to play the Breeders’ Cup you want every edge and advantage you can get. Analyzing the post positions can help you get just that. Remember all those people making selections prior to the draw? This is your chance to eat them for breakfast.
For a lot more Breeders’ Cup coverage visit
You’ll be glad you did!

Past the Wire    Tracking Tips Logo


October 25, 2019

Things to Come: A Look at the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

By: Jonathan Stettin

 While true that the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile hasn’t been a Kentucky Derby winner factory, it still gets me enthused to peruse the past performances and think of things to come. With that in mind, I’ll look at some horses who have caught my attention so far for either good or bad reasons. We’ll see how they do in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and how they progress or if they progress to the oh-so desired Derby Trail.
Remember it was right here some weeks back I wrote Code of Honor was most likely to assert himself to the top of the three year old division and I think he has done that.
You don’t expect Blaine Wright to have an early Kentucky Derby contender, especially one with only one grass start under his belt. Anneau d’ Or comes to Santa Anita with a route win on the grass at Golden Gate in his debut. It wasn’t particularly fast, but he did it like a horse with talent and he cost $480,000 in Ocala so someone saw something they liked. He is by Medaglia d’ Oro out of a Tapit mare. If he handles the dirt and runs ok being thrown in with the wolves, he has quality. Real quality. I’ll be watching with interest and maybe using him if I like his looks.
Dennis’ Moment brings a ton of hype with him. Dale Romans has a tendency to get very high on some of his horses. Everyone loved his last workout and is raving about it. It looked good to me, but not as outstanding everyone else seems to think it was. His Iroquois was a nice race, and I expect he should run well, but he will be a possible underlay and I have a suspicion he is overrated.
King Neptune is a sneaky horse to me. He has only sprinted primarily on grass with one synthetic start. He is never far back but seldom wins at just 1 for 9. He stretches out on dirt, for connections as sharp as a new razor, who are also Derby hungry. Danzig influence on top, Speightstown on the bottom. As I said, sneaky.
Maxfield looks legit and checks every box for me for the Juvenile and as an early Kentucky Derby watch horse. He could very well be Godolphin’s best Derby shot yet. If he doesn’t bounce off the big list race I think he’s the horse to beat.
Scabbard is another with a lot of hype. He has the ability for sure and comes off a troubled trip second to Dennis’ Moment. I won’t be surprised if he turns the tables.
Eight Rings is trained by Bob Baffert and that just about makes him an automatic. He was authoritative against softer last time. He’s got plenty of speed and I see no reason to think he’s not this good.
Wrecking Crew is interesting also. Bred to run all day, he has sprinted somewhat evenly three times at Del Mar. He moves to Santa Anita and stretches out here. He was another lofty purchase and was bet strongly in his debut. I think we can see a forward move here right into the picture.
American Theorem is by the hot American Pharoah. I believe in the sire, but not so much in this guy despite his two good starts to date.
Billy Bats has been on turf in all his starts to date. I’d leave him there.
Full Flat barley won in Japan. He will be a huge long shot and probably over bet at 100-1.
Shoplifted has disappointed since a nice win first out. The Juvenile is a tough spot to turn things around. Not impossible but very tough. If anyone can do it, that might just be Steve Asmussen. He’s an Into Mischief and we all know they come to run.
Storm the Court doesn’t look like he can catch Eight Rings.
Maxfield and King Neptune interest me the most as Derby type horses. King Neptune is eligible to make a fool out of me but he will get no prize for that as he won’t be the first or last horse to do so. Both of these guys are from foreign connections who have been such in all their racing endeavors except the Run For The Roses. Maybe it is one of their times.

Friday, 25 October 2019 11:59

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, October 26

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Race 7 at Belmont - Post Time 4:07 pm Eastern

Magic Star made my small “horses to watch” list off her maiden win on August 24. Horses rarely go on my list off a win because in my opinion the purpose of such a list is to note horses who had trouble and may finish better in a subsequent start. However, occasionally a horse runs so well in a race I want to follow it. Magic Star is such a horse, as her turf route win in her career debut was not only visually impressive but fast as well. Bumped at the start to begin 10th of 12, she rallied steadily from 10 lengths back, to seven, to three, to power off by two lengths and in spite of encountering traffic at the quarter pole. Jose Ortiz rides back and this filly should win a stakes before too long so should move through this first allowance level quickly. She is likely to be a POOR win bet as she opens at 6 to 5 but she’s a great single to start the pick 3, which turns it into the equivalent of a daily double.

Pick 3:
Race 7: Magic Star
Race 8: Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky, Maximum Security, True Timber
Race 9: Irish Mias, Don Juan Kitten, Buy Land and See, Tiesto, Get Smokin
The cost of this wager at the $1 level is $20

Optional Pick 3:
Race 7: Magic Star
Race 8: Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky
Race 9: ALL (11)
The cost of this wager at the $1 level is $22. We’re leaving Maximum Security off the ticket to maximize profit.

Bold Ruler Handicap - Race 8 at Belmont - Post Time 4:40 PM Eastern

Killybegs Captain rallied from nine lengths back in the early stages of the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash last month and was in front by the time the field hit the top of the stretch in a visually impressive performance. Earning his first graded stakes win with that effort, it must be noted that he had lost six races in a row prior to that and since his last win. However, it must also be noted that the previous win, in the Pelican Stakes in February of this year, was his second win in a row. Now that Killybegs Captain has rediscovered the winner's circle, I think he can do it again because the 109 Equibase Speed Figure he earned in that race is tied for the best last race figure in the field with likely heavy favorite Maximum Security. Additionally, because Killybegs Captain is going to have a fast pace to run at, courtesy of Knicks Go and Diamond King, jockey Eric Cancel (who rode Killybegs Captain perfectly in the De Francis) should be able to get the same kind of effort once again which could lead to the upset victory in this race.

Prince Lucky likes to win races, having won seven of 14 career starts. After taking back-to-back graded stakes in the winter and spring including a career-best 112 figure effort in the Hal's Hope Stakes in February, Prince Lucky went off form and ran badly in two straight races. Returning to the winner's circle in the State Dinner Stakes in July at Belmont, Prince Lucky ran an exceptional race last month in the Kelso Handicap when he led mid-race then battled head-and-head the rest of the way. Although beaten a half-length at the wire, Prince Lucky was three lengths clear of True Timber and the rest of the field and earned a 105 figure. Prince Lucky won his only start at this seven furlong trip and jockey John Velazquez, who has been in the saddle for the horse's last four wins, rides again today. From a good outside post, Prince Lucky will get a great view of the pacesetter and could return to the form with a repeat of his Hal's Hope Stakes effort in February.

After being disqualified from first in the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby, Maximum Security returned six weeks later with a disappointing second place finish in the Pegasus Stakes before winning the Grade 1 Haskell Invitational. Scheduled to run next in the Grade 1 Pennsylvania Derby on September 21, Maximum Security was scratched from that race so there are certainly questions about his ability to maintain top form. However, as he has proven in all seven career starts, when Maximum Security steps foot on the track he is a fantastic athlete, having won six of seven races (disqualified in one of those victories) and having finished second in the other. With figures of 111, 116 and 109 in his last three efforts, Maximum Security should be even more mature towards the end of his three year old season and we can expect another "A" race good enough to win. However, he will likely be the prohibitive favorite.

Win Bets: Killybegs Captain and Prince Lucky to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.
When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exactas: Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky and Maximum Security over Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky, Maximum Security and True Timber.

Trifecta: Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky and Maximum Security over Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky, Maximum Security and True Timber over Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky, Maximum Security and True Timber.

If Magic Star did not win race 7 here’s a double play for the eighth and ninth.
Race 8: Killybegs Captain, Prince Lucky, Maximum Security, True Timber
Race 9: Irish Mias, Don Juan Kitten, Buy Land and See, Tiesto, Get Smokin

Awad Stakes - Race 9 at Belmont - Post Time 5:13 PM Eastern

Irish Mias is an exceptionally well bred two year old who finished second in his first two starts, on dirt (although the first was scheduled for grass) before stretching out to two turns on turf in the $200K Laurel Futurity last month. He won gamely by a head and has only upside as the only other sibling (on the dam’s side) was bred by the owner and trained by Motion as he is, winning the Laurel Futurity in 2018 and a turf route winner. From the two post and with Franco riding back, Irish Mias gets slight preference in a fairly wide open field of improving and quality two year olds on the grass with starting odds of 6 to 1.

Don Juan Kitten also opens at 6/1, a homebred by Ramsey Farm from solid turf sire Kitten’s Joy. Although he led from start to finish in his debut he did it on slow fractions, which is all the more impressive when you consider he ran the last quarter mile in under 23 seconds, which is a closer’s style. Franco rode him first out and moves to Irish Mias but Carmouche is competent and trainer Gargan is having a huge Belmont fall meeting so far (9 for 25).

Buy Land and See won as he pleased by eight lengths last month in his first two turn race on turf and second career start, a big improvement off his debut. He rallied from ninth to third in that debut then led from nearly start to finish last time out but may not be a need the lead type. Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides back and further improvement in his third career start is possible. He opens at a square price of 9/2 so is another to consider for all wagers we make involving this race.

Tiesto opens as the morning line favorite at 7 to 2, not poor odds but not what they should be in my opinion as he has about the same probability to win as many others. In his debut last month, Teisto rallied from fourth to win going away and as a Mott trainee it’s pretty rare to win first out. He’s certainly got talent and having won on the Belmont turf is a positive factor as well.

Get Smokin shows the same pattern is Buy Land and See as he ran third in a turf sprint in his debut then won second time out in his first turf route. The runner-up flattered him by winning off that race and although he loses Castellano to Talking, Saez takes over and that’s not an issue. What may be an issue, and the reason he’s rated below the other four win contenders, is the race he won as restricted and not open (not restricted) so he may find these a bit tougher than some of the others who won in open company.


Win Bets: Irish Mias and Don Juan Kitten to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Consider a win bet on Buy Land and See at 7 to 2 odds or higher.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Irish Mias, Don Juan Kitten, Buy Land and See, Tiesto and Get Smokin.

Autumn Miss Stakes - Race 7 at Santa Anita - Post Time 6:45 PM Eastern/3:45 Pacific

Great Sister Diane ships in from Florida, Gulfstream Park to be exact, having won three of her last four starts, two of the wins coming off the claim by Crichton. No matter she was a former claimer, Great Sister Diane is stakes quality having just won at $75K stakes in a field of 14 by rallying from fourth and leading the entire last eighth of a mile. Actually, she drew off in that race and the 108 Equibase Figure she earned is the best in this field. That explains why she ships cross country and brings along South Florida jockey Sanchez as well. Another factor of note is Great Sister Dane won that stakes against three year olds and upward but faces just three year olds today, another reason to expect another “A” effort good enough to win, opening at 6/1.

Keeper Ofthe Stars was nearly equally impressive winning an allowance race versus older at Golden Gate on the turf last month with a 106 figure. She’s four for nine now overall and two for four on grass. She likes to lead early but draws the five position and only one of the four horse inside of her in the gate appear to have any interest in leading so Cedillo may be able to put her on the lead or at the worst take up a catbird seat position. Opening at 5 to 1 she’s another with a big shot to win.

Mucho Unusual and Hidden Message round out a quartet with the bulk of the probability to win. Mucho Unusual comes back off a short freshening after a seventh place effort in the Del Mar Oaks, after pressing the pace in third. Winner Cambier Parc came back to win the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes and before that race Mucho Unusual won the Grade 2 San Clemente Stakes in a field of 10 and as the 5 to 2 favorite so her 6 to 1 starting odds are out of line particularly if the freshening did her good as it appears to have done. Hidden Message opens as the 5 to 2 favorite and can win but I’d prefer one of the other three to do so. She made her U.S. debut in the Del Mar Oaks ad finished second of 13 at nine to one odds. Since that was a KEY RACE from which three horses came back from to win, including Cambier Parc, she can certainly improve in her second start in the U.S. but she’s no standout.

For second on some exacta tickets in this big field I’ll throw in Apache Princess, K P Slickem and Strike at Dawn.

Win Bets: Great Sister Diane and Keeper Ofthe Stars at 2 to 1 or more.
Consider a smaller win bet on Mucho Unusual at 7 to 2 or more.

When making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool to do the work of allocating your wagering dollars for the best edge. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.

Exacta: Box Great Sister Diane, Keeper Ofthe Stars, Mucho Unusual and Hidden Message.

Exacta: Great Sister Diane, Keeper Ofthe Stars, Mucho Unusual and Hidden Message over Great Sister Diane, Keeper Ofthe Stars, Mucho Unusual, Hidden Message, Apache Princess, K P Slickem and Strike at Dawn.