Friday, 28 June 2019 14:29

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, June 29

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King Edward Stakes - Race 6 at Woodbine - Post Time 2:53 PM Eastern

There are five horses that have some chance to win this year’s King Edward, but the best value comes in the form of Savage Battle, who opens at 20/1. I may admit to being a bit less objective than I should be, having picked him to run well in the Connaught Cup on June 1, but from that race he made my horses-to-watch list with the comment “Loaded at 14/1 and NOWHERE TO RUN FINAL 8th.” When I got email earlier this week he was entered in this race, I went back to watch the replay to insure I saw the same thing I saw weeks ago, and I did. The head-on is excruciating to watch, as he was bottled up with a wall of horses in front of him. I think the jockey hoped one of the horses would come off the rail, which never happened, and so instead of wheeling Savage Battle out and losing ground there was nothing he could do. In the final yards the jockey took him outside and he passed three horses for fourth in a few strides before the race was over. He gets Hernandez to ride and if the jockey keeps him a path or two off the rail and pulls him outside for the stretch, he can post the upset. Here’s the part of what I wrote a few weeks ago which still applies:

Savage Battle is a lightly raced five year old with just 16 races under his belt, 10 of those turf sprints. He has a fantastic record of 4-1-2 in those 10 races, including a runner-up effort in the Colonel Power Stakes at Fair Grounds in February. He earned a strong 108 Equibase figure winning a turf sprint in January before earning a 106 figure in the stakes in February, with those figures competitive with the best in here.

Synchrony opens as the 7/5 favorite on the strength of a neck defeat in the G2 Monmouth Stakes last month at 9 furlongs but his 1-2-0 record at the mile on turf compared to his 5-1-4 record in 11 turf races at longer distances suggests this may not be his best trip. I won’t leave him off exacta, double or pick 3 tickets but I am hoping one of the other contenders wins, if Savage Battle does not.

Those other contenders are Say the Word, Mr Ritz, Curlin’s Honor and Emmaus.

Bets:
Savage Battle to win and place at 3 to 1 or more, a true KEY BET on the day.

Exactas: Box Savage Battle and Synchrony
Then, for a smaller amount box Savage Battle and Say the Word, Savage Battle and Mr Ritz, Savage Battle and Curlin’s Honor and top it off by boxing Savage Battle and Emmaus.

Doubles:
Savage Battle in race 6 with ALL in race 7.
Savage Battle in race 6 with Meyer, Another Breeze, Zoological, Money Matters, Scocciatore and Proven Strategies in race 7.
Savage Battle, Say the Word, Mr Ritz, Curlin’s Honor and Emmaus in race 6 with Another Breeze, Zoological and Scocciatore in race 7.

Pick 3 (which has a $0.20 minimum so we can make these two plays cheaply)-
Race 6 – Savage Battle
Race 7 – Meyer, Another Breeze, Zoological, Money Matters, Scocciatore and Proven Strategies
Race 8 – Holy Helena, Art of Almost, Starship Jubilee, Lift Up, Rock my Love

Race 6 – Savage Battle, Say the Word, Mr Ritz, Curlin’s Honor and Emmaus
Race 7 – Another Breeze, Zoological and Scocciatore
Race 8 – Starship Jubilee, Rock my Love

Race 7 at Woodbine - Post Time 3:28 PM Eastern


This maiden race is very interesting so in addition to using it as part of doubles and pick 3s started in the sixth there may be a play or two here. Scocciatore and Zoological both come from the Biamonte barn, both either owned in whole or in part by the trainer’s relative (wife or sister I assume). They’ve been working in company for over a month as the dates, distances and times are identical for both horses. Since both are bred to run well early, since the workouts for both are above average and signal the horses have talent, and since they are ridden by Contreras and Husbands, respectively, we must use both. Another Breeze is used because his 20/1 morning line is wacky considering he’s a half-brother to Gigantic Breeze, who won first out at Woodbine and who went on to win over $450K. The breeding is fine on the sire’s side of the family tree as well and it must be noted Gigantic Breeze had the same breeder, owner, trainer and jockey when winning first out a couple of years back. Proven Strategies and Meyer both come from the Casse barn, the former with a decent post and workouts for his debut and the latter, although getting the rail which might be intimidating, ran on from eighth to fourth in his debut four weeks ago as the favorite and can improve.

Bets: Scocciatore and Zoological at odds of 3/1. (Note: The win bet may not be necessary if the daily doubles are live and paying well).

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.

Another Breeze to win and place at 6 to 1 or more.

If you played the pick 3 starting in race 6 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.

Dance Smartly Stakes - Race 8 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:18 PM Eastern

Rock my Love makes her U.S. debut, adding Lasix after what appears to be a race warranting the addition because she finished eighth of nine and never ran a lick. That was a group 2 race in France last October and prior to that Rock my Love finished second, beaten just three-quarters of a length, in another group 2 stakes race. That race was run at the same 10 furlongs on turf as this one, and she had been in training at Belmont before shipping up to put in a five furlong workout on the Woodbine turf, a very sharp move. Her trainer, Jonathan Thomas, is rock solid as he’s the trainer of top turf star Catholic Boy, and Flavien Prat (the leading jockey in Southern California) takes the call.

Starship Jubilee is 12 for 26 on turf in her career, including four wins on the Woodbine turf. One of those came in this race in 2017, but last year she could only manage a sixth place finish. She’s been an in-and-out type since then, winning a pair of races including the Canadian Stakes in September, before a fourth place finish in the E.P. Taylor at this distance. She won a restricted stakes race in January then led by three before being passed and settling for second in the Nassau over the course last month. She won the Nassau in 2017 before winning the Dance Smartly and it’s likely she will be competitive to the wire but opening at 2/1 she’s a poor win bet.

Art of Almost will be the profit key for exotics, opening at 20/1. Trained by excellent trainer Attfield, this lightly raced three year old filly won her last two starts, both on the all-weather here at Woodbine, in ridden out fashion. As a daughter of Dansili, she can run all day so I have no concern about getting 10 furlongs either. Her best Equibase figure to date is 93, far short of the 107 Starship Jubilee earned winning this race in 2017 and the 111 figure Rock my Love earned in her group two runner-up effort last summer, but the pattern (74, 86, 93) and the fact she’s just three years old suggests she can run much better, perhaps outrunning her high odds to be in the mix at the end.

Holy Helena (9/5 morning line) is a nice mare but she’s never run better than when earning a 103 figure in the Very One Stakes in March and she finished a dismal third last year in this race as the favorite. Lift Up was scratched twice recently, maybe to run here, maybe not, and is making her first start off an eight month layoff. That’s not a concern considering who her trainer is (Dickinson, a genius at getting a horse fit off a layoff) but she’s never run this far and with four career runner-up finishes to go along with five wins, I’ll just use her in exactas. However it must be noted the distance is no issue as she missed by a neck in the Maple Leaf Stakes at this distance on the main track before going on the bench.

Bets: Rock my Love to win at 2 to 1 or more.
At least a minimum $2 or $5 win, place and show bet on Art of Almost at odds of 5 to 1 or more.

Exacta: Rock my Love over Holy Helena, Art of Almost, Starship Jubilee and Lift Up.
For $1 - Art of Almost over ALL, then the opposite, which is ALL over Art of Almost.
For $1 Art of Almost over Holy Helena, Starship Jubilee, Lift Up and Rock My Love, then the opposite, which is Holy Helena, Starship Jubilee, Lift Up and Rock My Love over Art of Almost.

Trifecta: Rock my Love over Holy Helena, Art of Almost, Starship Jubilee and Lift Up over Holy Helena, Art of Almost, Starship Jubilee and Lift Up.

Doubles: Rock my Love in race 8 with Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag and Caribou Club in race 9.

Art of Almost, Holy Helena, Starship Jubilee, Lift Up and Rock My Love in race 8 with Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag and Caribou Club in race 9.

Highlander Stakes - Race 9 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:51 PM Eastern

Wet Your Whistle gets slight preference among a quartet that appear most probable to win, if for no other reason than he is likely to go to post at the highest odds of the four. He won two of eight races last year and it took him six tries to earn his second career win which came in December, five months after he won his first career start. Nevertheless, only one of his eight races last year was a turf sprint. Starting off his four year old campaign in April and following four months off, Wet Your Whistle won a turf sprint rather easily when going from sixth, nearly five lengths back on the turn, to the lead and before drawing off by three lengths. Next time out on May 19, Wet Your Whistle won just as easily to take the Get Serious Stakes on the turf at Monmouth, improving to a career-best 117 Equibase Figure. To put that figure in perspective, when El Tormenta won the Connaught Cup Stakes last month over the Woodbine turf, he earned a 106 figure, and the winners of the last four editions of the Highlander earned 116, 105, 121 and 103 figures. As such, with logical improvement in his third start of the year, Wet Your Whistle could post the upset in this race.

Extravagant Kid also enters the Highlander off a stakes win, having won the Mighty Beau Stakes at Churchill Downs four weeks ago. The 116 figure earned was a career-best and as good as the figure Wet Your Whistle earned in his most recent race so there's little doubt Extravagant Kid can run well enough to win. He's also an extremely consistent horse as he's finished no worse than second in seven of his last eight races, all but one of those stakes races. Interestingly enough, although based in Kentucky with trainer Brendan Walsh, Wet Your Whistle shipped to Woodbine for the Jacques Cartier Stakes on the all-weather track in May and he wasn't disgraced one bit when second to the incomparable Pink Lloyd that day. Walsh knows how to keep his horses, particularly this one, happy and healthy as the trainer's record with back-to-back winners in similar situations is very good. Per a STATS Race Lens individual research query, over the last five years, Walsh has won with six of 19 horses in turf sprints which won their previous start. Getting local top jockey Hernandez is another sign Extravagant Kid has every chance to win this year's Highlander Stakes.

White Flag is pretty accomplished as well, with five wins in 13 career turf starts including the Aqueduct Turf Sprint Championship last fall at this six furlong turf trip. He stretched out to a mile for the Tropical Turf Stakes in January and faded to fourth after leading from the start, but the cut back to six furlongs suits him perfectly. Having earned 113 figures in three straight races before the Tropical Turf, White Flag would need only the slightest improvement to run as well as Wet Your Whistle and Extravagant Kid have run in their best races and be very competitive in this spot.

Caribou Club has the second highest career earnings in the field at $504,744. He's raced exclusively on grass in his career, winning seven of 18 races. The most relevant of those wins came last year at Woodbine when the won the Connaught Cup, earning a career-best 112 figure. Caribou Club duplicated that effort and the same figure twice since, winning the Seabiscuit Stakes in November around two turns then winning the Joe Hernandez Stakes in January down the hillside turf course at Santa Anita. Then, shipping half-way across the world for his next start on March 30 in the Al Quoz Sprint in Dubai, Caribou Club trailed throughout and finished last of 13. He's come back to work well and if he can rebound to the form shown last year or in January, he certainly can run well enough to win. On the other hand, those 112 figure efforts aren't as good as the effort Wet Your Whistle put forth in his most recent race nor the effort Extravagant Kid put forth in his most recent race, so it might be hard to consider a win bet on Caribou Club at low odds.

El Tormenta appears to be a cut below the four main contenders but is not completely without a chance. He's a four year old who may have improving to do and enters the race off a win in the Connaught Cup Stakes over the course four weeks ago. The effort earned a decent 106 figure, which was a big improvement off the 94 figure earned in April in his first start of the year and following six months off. Considering potential improvement, El Tormenta does have a shot to run competitively in the Highlander Stakes.

Bets: Wet Your Whistle and Extravagant Kid 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: Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag and Caribou Club over Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag, Caribou Club and El Tormenta.

Trifectas: Wet Your Whistle and Extravagant Kid over Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag, Caribou Club, and El Tormenta over Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag, Caribou Club and El Tormenta.

Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag, Caribou Club and El Tormenta over Wet Your Whistle and Extravagant Kid over Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag, Caribou Club and El Tormenta.

Doubles to race 10, the Queen’s Plate Stakes:
Wet Your Whistle, Extravagant Kid, White Flag and Caribou Club in race 9 with Desert Ride, Pay for Peace, Skywire and Avie’s Flatter in race 10.

You can get my analysis for race 10 at Woodbine, the Queen’s Plate Stakes (also free) at the website of Woodbine Race Course.