I always thought the great equalizer between sports betting and horse racing was value. With horses, you can go after wagers that return multiple times on the dollar. In sports, you are usually looking at close to even money unless you go after underdog money lines which coincidentally is my preference.

Lately, it is becoming more and more difficult to find value in horse racing. You are lucky to get over the parlay on multi-race wagers when it used to be a given. Three or four times the parlay was the norm. That made those bets worthwhile. Today, between the syndicates, sharks, and low denominations you are up against it. It’s a lousy feeling hitting a pick 4 or 5 that should pay 4K and it comes back $950. We see this more and more and it is not likely to change soon.

Adjusting and adapting is absolutely a prerequisite to beating this game or at the least surviving it. I have been reverting back to some basics. The often-overlooked win bet. I don’t exactly bet win like most people do. I’ll bet win, and also put my win horse on top of one or two exactas without reversing, boxing or anything like that. I go for the kill.

The past post odds changes are always frustrating but not quite as dramatic as the multi-race bet you sweat out over several races only to get one-quarter of what you should. The other day at Gulfstream I bet a horse off the Saffie Joseph claim at 5-2 going in the gate in a 6 horse field. I was happy with the play and pretty confident the horse would win. By the time they hit the first turn the horse was co favored at even money. I’d have probably passed the race at that price. I had no such option now. Fortunately, the horse won.

Even with that the win and kill shot exacta is a nice way to go in today’s game. You have a good idea of the win price and the exacta price. Sure, you may get cannibalized at times, but you have two shots to escape it. The win and the exacta. If you stay off the syndicate horses and obvious overlays, and any sheet standouts (which are rare today) you have a fighting chance.

Cashing fewer tickets but risking less money and showing bigger profits is the formula I prefer in today’s racing market. ADW’s and racing shows and so-called pundits push the multi-race wagers. Who knows or even cares why at this point. You have to adapt to what gives you an edge and your best shot. Those bets are not it today. They once were, but that was then this is now.

I look at it as getting back to basics. Sure it is not gonna yield those six-figure scores we all love and live for. But those opportunities will come along and approaching things this way just may put you in a better position to capitalize on them when they do.

The bottom line is coming out ahead. You have to find what works for you and stay with that. Then you need to adjust as the game changes and evolves. I went from primarily a pick 6 bettor to whatever works today. The pick 6 is all but extinct.

AmWager offers a great set of tools that can help you find value in your wagers. You have all to gain by trying it. Click here to learn more about AmWager's features.

Tracking Trips can help you find those horses worth a win bet. Again, all to gain by trying it out. Click here to learn more about Tracking Trips.  

The players and the playing field has changed. We have to as well.

Sunshine Millions Turf Stakes - Race 10 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4:06 PM Eastern

I think four horses combined have the bulk of the probability to win this race. Put another way if this race was run 100 times, one of these four would win about 90 times in 100 in my opinion. The four are Muggsmatic, Second Mate, Curlin’s Honor and March to the Arch. Of the quartet, preference should go to Muggsmatic because he’s the only one of the group to have run in December, the rest coming back from two or three month layoffs. Muggsmatic won that last start, the Claiming Crown Emerald Stakes, at this distance on this course, and he not only did so with a career best 108 Equibase figure and Lopez up then as now, but he also earned the win right off the claim by Jason Servis. The gelding has now won three in a row, all on turf, bringing his career turf record to 8 for 21. He closed from 16 lengths back to win one before last and from a few lengths back last out. If both Max K.O. and Class and Cash both run, they are very likely to get into a hefty pace duel which benefits Muggsmatic even more, so he gets top billing among the four win contenders.

Second Mate finished second in this race last year, with Jose Ortiz in the saddle and earning a 113 figure. Ortiz has only ridden him once since in nine races (a poor eighth place effort at Kentucky Downs going seven furlongs) but gets back on today and the gelding ran very well when last seen, missing the win in the Sunshine Millions Preview Stakes by a head and a neck on the wire. He too will benefit from the early pace scenario and as he opens at the highest odds of the group, at 10/1, he deserves a good deal of respect.

Next we have two of the three entrants in the race trained by Mark Casse, the other being Souper Scat Daddy. Curlin’s Honor won the Artie Schiller stakes with a nearly last-to-first rally when last seen in November, his second straight win, and fits on all counts off that 116 figure effort. March to the Arch won the somewhat similar Turf Classic for statebreds last March at Tampa off a four and one-half month layoff so there’s little concern about his running well off the four and one-half month layoff today. He lost four straight graded stakes after winning the Wise Dan Stakes last June but he’s facing much easier and has won over the course previously.

Bets

Win: Muggsmatic to win at odds of 5/2 or higher.
A second win bet is warranted on Second Mate at odds of 7 to 2 or higher.
Rounding out the group of contenders, Curlin’s Honor and March to the Arch have 7 to 2 minimum odds for win bets as well but I would only consider win bets if they are significantly higher odds than those minimums.

.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 Muggsmatic, Second Mate, Curlin’s Honor and March to the Arch.


Trifecta: Box Muggsmatic, Second Mate, Curlin’s Honor and March to the Arch.


Unusual Heat Turf Classic Stakes - Race 6 at Santa Anita - Post Time 6:07 PM Eastern

Wound Tight appears to be the “Lone Frontrunner” in this nine furlong turf race, having proven very game in his most recent race at a mile when leading from the start, relinquishing the lead at the top of the stretch by a head, then reengaging to win by a nose on the wire. The key was Abel Cedillo, red hot since moving his tack to Southern California last year and riding the horse for the first time. Prior to that, Wound Tight ran two big races as well, losing by a nose and a neck, respectively. Those three races earned very strong, and consistent, Equibase figures of 114, 106 and 108 which, for perspective, are right there with the 114 figure Ward n’ Jerry earned when missing by a neck and a head in the much tougher Grade 2 Hollywood Turf Cup on the same day as Wound Tight won.

The Hunted, and the aforementioned Ward n’ Jerry, both are strong contenders but don’t offer the same value for win bets as Wound Tight, who opens at 5 to 1, as they open at 9 to 5 and 5 to 2, respectively. Ward N Jerry won last August before the three month layoff he was coming back from when nearly posting the 23 to 1 upset in the Turf Cup, and he gets the rail as well. The Hunted won his most recent start, on turf, as well as won a Cal-Bred stakes (The Crystal Water) last April so he fits fine here as well for any and all exotic wagers we make involving this race.

Bets

Win: Wound Tight to win at 9 to 5 or more.

Exacta: There’s no value in playing an exacta involving the favorites to run first and second so we’ll split them with Wound Tight and play these two exactas: Box Wound Tight and Ward n’ Jerry, and, Box Wound Tight and The Hunted.

Pick 3
Race 6: Wound Tight, Ward n’ Jerry, The Hunted
Race 7: Summer Fire, Club Aspen, Indian Peak
Race 8: Almost a Factor, Wise Rachel, Bulletproof One, Warren’s Showtime, California Kook

Double:
Race 6: Wound Tight, Ward n’ Jerry, The Hunted
Race 7: Summer Fire, Club Aspen, Indian Peak

California Cup Derby – Race 7 at Santa Anita - Post Time 6:37 PM Eastern

Indian Peak ships in from Golden Gate off a win at a mile on the all-weather surface and two before that notched a win at a mile on turf. The versatile colt didn't run well in the Gold Rush Stakes in between the two wins but turned a corner last out with a 92 Equibase figure just one point shy of the 93 figure Club Aspen earned winning the nearly identical King Glorious Stakes last month at Los Alamitos at a mile against Cal-Breds. Northern Cal leading jockey Juan Hernandez was up for the first time in Indian Peak's win on 12/27 and takes the trip south today for a return engagement. Both his maiden win and the win last out in allowance company came against "Open" (not restricted) foes so this move to Cal-bred stakes isn't really a step up in class. With Bettor Trip Nick being a need-the-lead types (last three wins wire to wire) and with Fast Enough coming back from eight months and stretching out to a route, as well as with Rookie Mistake and Sacred Rider two more horses which could want the lead from the start, the hot and contested early pace scenario really benefits Indian Peak nicely so he gets slight preference among three which stand out against the rest.

Club Aspen won the similar King Glorious Stakes after stalking in second early and in spite of the jockey losing the crop at the top of the stretch. That was his first dirt route so we can expect the same or better off the experience of a race. He rallied from fifth to second sprinting before that so may be able to drop back to mid-pack early off the hot pace and come on strongly for the win or to complete the exacta.

Summer Fire also has the right style for the pace of this race, having rallied for second one before last with a 92 figure then rallying from fifth of 12 to win going away last out with a 90 figure. Flattered when the runner-up came right back to win, he's bred to handle the stretch out to two turns and Smith takes the call which is a big sign considering how sparingly the jockey rides these days, making the most of his mounts with the same or better overall win percentage as jockeys with four to five times the number of rides in 2019.

Bets

Win Bets: Bet two of these three horses at odds of 2 to 1 or more, opting for the two at the highest odds near post time: Indian Peak, Club Aspen, Summer Fire.

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:
Box Summer Fire, Club Aspen and Indian Peak

Optional Double: (not necessary if the first leg of the pick 3 won in race 6)
Race 7: Summer Fire, Club Aspen, Indian Peak
Race 8: Almost a Factor, Wise Rachel, Bulletproof One, Warren’s Showtime, California Kook

California Cup Oaks – Race 8 at Santa Anita - Post Time 7:07 PM Eastern

I’ll give Bulletproof One slight preference but will be clear in saying this race is so wide open five horses have some decent chance to win. Bulletproof One opens at 8 to 1 although she’s won at Cal-Bred stakes like this one, albeit a sprint. Actually, she won twice, first by nine in the Nevin Stakes last July then by six in the CTBA Stakes in July. She ran badly in her next start at the end of August then ran BIG when trying turf for the first time, again in a sprint, but an OPEN (not restricted to statebreds) stakes, the Speakeasy, rallying from fifth of 10 early to miss by a head on the wire. After a poor effort in November, Bulletproof One took some time off and she’s been working great for her return. She’s one of two from the SIZZLING hot Miller barn (10 for 24 since the meeting started) and with an inside post and stretching out I believe the instructions given to Fuentes will be to get the lead and the rail after the start, which should be easy as the two horses inside her in the gate have no early speed.

“IF” Bulletproof One goes too fast, the other half of the uncoupled Miller entry, California Kook, can get up in time. She only ran well in one of three races to date, but the first was her debut, at a mile on grass, a very tough question, and her last was just an odd effort where she didn’t engage at all and was beaten 33 lengths. Miller takes blinkers off and gets Van Dyke to ride, with Van Dyke as hot as Miller at the meeting (10 for 28) and a dynamo on grass. Considering California Kook closed from last to win at a mile on dirt in her best effort, if that form is transferred to turf she can outrun her high odds, staring at 10/1. She is bred for turf by the way as her dam has produced a turf route winner and her sire is by Distorted Humor.

Warren’s Showtime is already proven at the level, having won the Surfer Girl Stakes, an “Open” stakes at this mile turf trip, the last time she raced on grass. Similarly, Wise Rachel won the Pike Place Dancer Stakes, an open stakes, one before last and before being overmatched in the G3 Jimmy Durante. Almost a Factor broke her maiden with a very mature rally in her second career start, first on turf, at this mile trip. Her two tries on dirt after that aren’t really relevant and with Prat and the rail she’s got a look as well.

I’m going to use Smiling Shirlee in the second spot on exacta tickets as she’s got the right running style to pass many of these in the stretch.

Bets

Win: Bulletproof One is the one I’ll look to make a win bet on before considering any others, and at 3 to 1 or more.
Wise Rachel (who opens at 10/1) and Warren’s Showtime are the two I’ll consider next, at odds of 7/2 or more.
Almost a Factor has fair odds of 9/2 and California Kook has minimum odds for a win bet at 9/2.

Note: After betting Bulletproof One, I’ll most likely make a win bet on California Kook in addition to one of the other three because of the uncoupled entry (both Miller trainees) and pace one-two punch angle.

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: Almost a Factor, Wise Rachel, Bulletproof One, Warren’s Showtime and California Kook over Almost a Factor, Wise Rachel, Bulletproof One, Warren’s Showtime, California Kook and Smiling Shirlee.



Race 7 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3:03 PM Eastern

I think four horses can win this race – Masterday, Moon Over Miami, Tiz Rye Time and Sounion. The first and third of the quartet open at double digit odds and both have chances to succeed much greater than those odds suggest. Masterday won as he pleased in his debut in November in a field of 12 and decently regarded at 6 to 1. Sent to post at 9 to 2 in a first level allowance like this one, at a mile, in December he was moving up fantastically on the inside when steadied so hard he had to go back to last of eight, losing all chance. It wasn’t Luis Saez’ fault, but nevertheless today Masterday gets a jockey change to Lopez which can’t hurt. As a son of New Year’s Day, a hot sire in 2019, Masterday should have no problem with two turns today and can save ground mid-pack from the two post, just needing for Lopez to shift him out and find a path to run in the stretch to post the upset, opening at 12/1.

Moon Over Miami improved a ton to break his maiden last out in a one turn mile race at Aqueduct and fits perfectly at this first allowance level for Mott, getting John Velazquez to ride and getting an outside post which enables Velazquez to get into a mid-pack position before the first turn. Having earned the best last race Equibase figure (93) in the field and likely to improve again in his third career start this son of Malibu Moon is a horse we could be talking about as having Derby potential after this race.

Tiz Rye Time didn’t do anything wrong last out winning second time out and in a one turn mile the same as Moon Over Miami, but he opens at 10/1 compared to 3/1 for Moon over Miami. The win came over the track and Leparoux, who rode both this colt and Sounion, opts for this well-bred son of Tiznow. Wilkes is known for taking his time so for this colt to have won second time out may be a testament to his ability, and it must be noted Wilkes has a very strong 6 for 28 record with last out maiden winners in allowance dirt routes over the past few years.

Sounion has one edge over the other three in that he’s run two turns, having missed by a neck in his second career start at the end of October. Running in a one turn mile at the end of November, the colt won nicely and earned a 92 figure nearly identical to top figure earner Moon Over Miami. Although losing Leparoux to Tiz Rye Time, Sounion picks up Irad Ortiz, Jr. so there are really no concerns about him running another big race.

Bets

 Win: Masterday to win at odds of 3/1.
“IF” Moon over Miami is near 3/1 at post time he is playable as well.

I might consider a smaller win bet on Tiz Rye Time at 5 to 1 or more.
For the record, Sounion has minimum win betting odds of 4/1 but is unlikely to go to post at those 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 Masterday Moon, Over Miami, Tiz Rye Time and Sounion


Pick 3 -
Race 7: Masterday, Moon Over Miami, Tiz Rye Time, Sounion
Race 8: Andina Del Sur, Munchkin Money
Race 9: Squeezadios, Yes I See, McErin, Cutting Humor

Double:
Race 7: Masterday, Moon Over Miami, Tiz Rye Time, Sounion

Race 8: Andina Del Sur, Munchkin Money

Marshua’s River Stakes - Race 8 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3:34 PM Eastern

The contention in the race boils down to two of the three starting favorites, Andina Del Sur and Munchkin Money, but not Sweet Bye and Bye because although third behind Andina Del Sur in the Forever Together Stakes when last seen (November 29) she was no match and the beaten favorite at 3 to 2. She won a second level allowance two before that and the winning effort isn’t going to get it done here if repeated.

Munchkin Money opens at a fairly playable 7 to 2, the mare coming around and making her second start at the meeting after an eighth to third rally last month in the pretty similar My Charmer Stakes. She missed second by a head with a strong 107 figure which stacks up well with the 106 figure Andina Del Sur earned winning the Forever Together Stakes and whereas Andina Del Sur has a record of 0-1-3 in five starts on the Gulfstream Park turf course, Munchkin Money won twice last season (January and March 2019) with 104 and 106 figure efforts.

Andina Del Sur had Castellano up for the first time in the win in New York last time out, and she won the similar Violet Stakes at Monmouth two races before that. She doesn’t really love to win, but with either of those efforts repeated here, if Munchkin Money doesn’t run her best race, Andina Del Sur is likely to win her second stakes race in a row.

Bets

Win: Munchkin Money to win at 8 to 5 or more, a low odds overlay win bet.

Exacta: Munchkin Money and Andina Del Sur over Munchkin Money, Andina Del Sur and Sweet Bye and Bye

Pick 3 (two plays to maximize value) -
Race 8: Andina Del Sur, Munchkin Money
Race 9: Squeezadios, Yes I See, McErin, Cutting Humor

Race 10: ALL

Race 8: Andina Del Sur, Munchkin Money
Race 9:
ALL
Race 10: Exulting

Double:
Race 8: Andina Del Sur, Munchkin Money
Race 9: Squeezadios, Yes I See, McErin, Cutting Humor


Race 9 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4:06 PM Eastern

Yes I See as a veteran nine year old who hasn’t slowed down a bit, having won three of nine races last year including the Claiming Crown Iron Horse Stakes at this trip over the track last month at whopping odds of 66/1. He won at this second allowance level long ago so he’s in for the optional claiming price but that $62,500 tag is not an issue and as he won back to back in April and June of last year I see no reason he can’t win again here, still at decent enough odds, opening at 10/1. The 106 Equibase figure earned last month was no fluke and the race has turned out to be a KEY RACE to boot, with the runner-up not having run back yet but with the third horse finishing second as well as the fifth and six finishers improving to win.

Cutting Humor might go favored, opening at 7/2, and he has a much higher probability to win than 9/5 morning line favorite Endorsed, who is returning from four months off and is logically prepping for longer. On the other hand, with Cutting Humor in the Pletcher barn and with Pletcher having an amazing 41% win rate with horses coming back from these types of layoffs (since May) the colt who was last seen finishing 11th in last year’s Derby could be much bigger and stronger as a four year old and win off the long layoff.

With a vulnerable morning line favorite in Endorsed, I would also consider McErin and Squeezadios as contenders, opening at 10/1 and 20/1, respectively. McErin is also a Pletcher trainee and could get into a battle early with Brasstown, but he has rated second before and he may not be sent to the lead early as he was on grass for Servis and Ward. He’s certainly good for a share if he either gets an easy lead or relaxes off Brasstown. Squeezadios might seem a little cheap as he’s been running in mostly Florida bred only races, but he doesn’t really know how to run badly with a 3-4-2 record in 10 career races here at Gulfstream. His best ever came last out on 12/22 when he won by three in open company at 4 to 1 with a 100 figure, so at the least he MUST be used on any exacta or trifecta tickets played.

Bets

Win Bets: Yes I See and Cutting Humor 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.

Exactas:
Box Yes I See, Cutting Humor, McErin and Squeezadios


Glitter Woman Stakes - Race 8 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3:30 PM Eastern

Tale of Success, Sound Machine and Spanish Point comprise the top three contenders to win this six and one-half furlong sprint for three year old fillies. Of the trio, Tale of Success is the ONLY one playable to win if her morning line odds of 8/1 hold up (or anything close), compared to 3 to 1 and 5 to 2 for the other two. Tale of Success showed a ton of maturity winning her only start on 11/29, relaxing in fourth/fifth early then moving up to lead by a length at the eighth pole before coasting to the wire on top. She’s a half-sister to stakes winner C Z Rocket so there’s no doubt she’s got the quality to run well, improving nicely off the experience of a race and getting John Velazquez to ride as well.

Sound Machine and Spanish Point finished second and first, respectively, in the somewhat similar House Party Stakes one day following the day Tale of Success earned her maiden win. It was the second career start for Spanish Point, who had won her debut, which is pretty analogous to Tale of Success, and it was the second start off a layoff for Sound Machine. Both can improve and would be no surprise but whereas the House Party was run at six furlongs, Tale of Success, by virtue of winning already at this 6 ½ furlong trip, may have an edge in the familiarity department.

Bets

Win: Tale of Success at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
If either Sound Machine or Spanish Point is near 5 to 2 at post time, consider win bet on the one at the higher odds of the pair as well.
 
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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 Tale of Success, Sound Machine and Spanish Point.

Pick 3 (Ticket A)-
Race 8
: Tale of Success, Sound Machine and Spanish Point.
Race 9: ALL 10
Race 10: Chance It, As Seen on TV, Sole Volante
(At the $0.50 minimum, the cost of this bet is $45)

Pick 3 (Ticket B)-
Race 8: Tale of Success, Sound Machine and Spanish Point.
Race 9: Sunset Promise, She’s My Type
Race 10: ALL 7
(At the $0.50 minimum, the cost of this bet is $21)

Ginger Brew Stakes - Race 9 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4 PM Eastern

Cheermeister has only one way to go- to the front as hard and fast as she can, and gets the rail. Hear My Prayer has only one way to go, and MUST get over from the nine post to the inside as quickly as possible, which isn’t much of a problem as she stretches out from five furlongs to a two-turn race. Queen of God is likely to be close up early on fast fractions, leading to a very hot early pace none of the pacesetters and pressers are likely to survive from.

The two horses set up the best by this pace scenario both open at quite nice odds and can be played. They are Sunset Promise and She’s My Type, the latter getting the 12 post but that not being an issue as she dropped back to 10th of 12 last time out when winning in her debut, at a similar mile turf trip, and can drop back and circle the field late again. Gaffalione rode last month in that win and rides back and the filly has tons of improving to do, physically and mentally, off the experience of a race as well as already possesses the second best last race Equibase figure (93) in the field, that being second to likely heavy favorite Abscond, who earned a 101 figure winning the Natalma and duplicated it with a 100 figure when a poor seventh in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf. She’s My Type is in the very fine Clement barn, and she adds Lasix to boot even though she won last out, more of a “level playing field” move. Opening at 12/1 she’s very playable in this situation.

Sunset Promise finished second in the similar Wait a While Stakes on the course at the end of November, at three to one odds. Although she gets a big jockey change (Rendon to Jose Ortiz), she opens at 8/1 here. She also finished second in the Selima Stakes in September, to eventual Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Sharing, so she really has no knocks and as she finished fast in the last eighth in the Wait a While, this gal is another likely to be flying into contention in the late stages.

A number of horses can finish second, and considering the odds on the two main contenders I’ll play the exacta for those two to win, or finish second, as well as play one of the two pick 3 tickets starting in the eighth race using all 12 entrants here.

Bets

Bets:
Win: Sunset Promise and She’s My Type to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet on either or both at 6 to 1 or higher.

Exacta: Sunset Promise and She’s My Type over Sunset Promise, She’s My Type, Cheermeister, American Giant, Moral Reasoning, Abscond, Our Little Jewel and Runway Dreamer.

Then, reverse the exacta and play Sunset Promise and She’s My Type in the second position.

Mucho Macho Man Stakes - Race 10 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4:30 PM Eastern

This race is very similar to the eighth race in that there are three contenders, but the likely high odds on one of the three squarely tips the scales in favor of that one for win bets. The three contenders are Chance It (9/5 morning line), As Seen on TV (5/2) and Sole Volante (8/1). Sole Volante opens at much higher odds although a stakes winner like Chance It because the win came on turf, where he’s two for two. He’s moving to dirt for the first time, but the pedigree on the dam’s side SCREAMS okay. The ONLY other foal of the dam has a record of 6-4-2 in 12 dirt races, so although the sire is Breeders’ Cup Mile winner Karakontie I’m not concerned a bit. Trainer Biancone is especially strong moving his horses from turf to dirt, with a 8 for 22 record in the past two years, and although it’s likely Sole Volante may be last in the early stages, there’s a lot of early pace to set up his late kick as Chance It, Smash Factor and As Seen on TV all have “early/presser” running styles.

Chance It has won three of five and finished second in the other two. Three were stakes, however all five were restricted to Florida breds only and he is facing open company for the first time. His figures of 106 and 102 in his last two races say he can handle open company fine and run big again, but I must point out Sole Volante earned a very similar 105 figure winning the Pulpit Stakes on grass and if able to run similarly well on turf is just as likely to win at Chance It. As Seen on TV has improved in both starts since winning his debut in August, first when finishing second in the Smoke Glacken Stakes in September with an 84 figure then improving big to win the Juvenile Sprint Stakes at Gulfstream Park West (Calder) with a 103 figure. However, just as with Chance It, that last stakes was restricted to Florida Breds, which isn’t a knock per se, but must be noted.


Bets

Win Bets: Sole Volante at 5 to 2 or higher adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

Exactas:
Box Sole Volante, Chance It and As Seen on TV.
Sole Volante, Chance It and As Seen on TV over ALL.

It is the time of year for fans of the Sport of Kings to turn their attention to the Kentucky Derby, and the top three-year-old horses. Generally, I like to start fresh, and I overlook or take with a grain of salt much of the two-year-old form. It doesn’t mean much now, and it will probably mean less come the first Saturday in May.

Over at Aqueduct the other day we got to watch Independence Hall win the one turn Jerome going a mile in 1:37.2. He left some of his race in the paddock, still won easily, and made the Derby radar of some watchers. Not mine. Nothing about him looks like a Kentucky Derby horse to me. A nice horse, sure, a derby winner, I highly doubt it. 

We’ll see some other three-year-olds try and make the Derby radar screen Saturday at Gulfstream Park and also at Santa Anita. Bob Baffert has two of the six entrants at Santa Anita and that alone means there is a better chance a Derby runner is racing in Arcadia as opposed to Hallandale Beach on Saturday. We’ll take a quick look at both races, not so much for the winner, but for who has the look of someone who might go on to make some noise on the first Saturday in May. We have a pretty good track record with these columns that run the risk of aging poorly so why not keep swinging?

Let’s start out west. 

Baffert’s first horse Authentic, is an Into Mischief out of a Mr. Greely mare who could be a really nice one. He definitely looks like he can win Saturday. He doesn’t scream a mile and a quarter in the pedigree department. He’d need a really good set up to get that distance I would imagine, but in Bob’s hands, it may not matter. He knows how to get them peaking when they are supposed to. 
Zimba Warrior is by an interesting pretty new sire, who had a ton of potential, but he does not look top tier to me. 


Uncaptured Hero already ran for a tag, albeit 100k, and you can’t run for a tag and win the Kentucky Derby right? Oh yeah, Maximum Security did that, sort of. Uncaptured Hero is not Maximum Security. 

Azul Coast is the next one from Mr. Baffert. He was good enough to win at a mile first out. That suggests he likes distance and he is by Super Saver, a sloppy Derby winner. I am not sold here. I want to watch one more. 

Scoring looks like a sprinter, and Taishan does not look top tier. 

Baffert may run one-two in here. The winner is likely on everybody’s Derby radar after the race. I suspect Bob has better in the barn, and the winner of the Derby is not in here. 


Well, maybe it turns out the Baffert factor can be overcome. On the east coast, we will see South Bend back on a fast track hopefully. He has never lost on one. His only blemish was in the slop. He is improving and being brought along the right way in my opinion. I think he is definitely the type to make the gate in May. 

Chance It looks like he is already pushing his limits distance wise. I do not see him being a factor at a mile and a quarter in May. I would say the same about Smash Factor. 

As Seen On TV looks like he may be a decent horse. He is learning and improving. If he takes another step forward, which he can do even without winning, he can make my radar. 
Ashaar fell apart in the Nashua. I do not know why. Before that, he had a good look to him. I will need to see some serious redemption before considering him.


Solo Volante is a runner. If he likes dirt, lookout. Patrick Biancone does know his way around nice horses. Definitely, the type to make my radar if he handles the surface switch. 

Inter Miami looks like a sprinter. 

South Bend, As Seen On TV, Sole Volante, Authentic, and Azul Coast are the ones I will be looking at as possible Derby contenders. I also think the winner of both races Saturday will be in that group. Let us see how this one ages. 

For me, a lot goes into choosing the right single in any multi-race bet. With the exception of a 20-cent jackpot bet, I always like to have at least one single. Obviously, the most important thing about a single is that it wins. If it doesn’t, all else fails. 

Most multi-race bettors look for their separation or edge in races where they go deep or spread or even use all. I seldom use all. I always look for at least a few horses I can eliminate. Have I been burned, of course, but who hasn’t? In the long run, it helps make scores and have tickets more than once. Eliminating as many losing bets as possible is crucial to the P and L statement at year or meets end. 

It is easy to see the logic in creating separation or trying to create separation in a leg where you spread or use all. You are hoping for an upset, a long price upset. That makes sense for some, but I have a different approach and philosophy. 

One of my favorite multi-race angles is when I see a horse, usually a short price favorite, that I think is vulnerable or will outright lose. I look for these opportunities. Those are the races I like to find a single in. The majority of bettors who single will land on that horse. If I can beat that horse with my single, I have already created separation and an edge. I also have other legs which I now have the chance to spread to create even more separation. This is a strong hand, you just have to be right about your single, and also the horse you see as vulnerable. 

This all plays into my outlook on the game. You can’t be afraid to lose a bet, and you have to be willing to cash fewer tickets but win more money. Some players never understand that concept, and those players will never beat this game consistently. 

There is almost always a vulnerable short priced horse in a multi-race sequence. You have to train yourself against the norm to look for them, as opposed to looking for the short priced single. It goes a little against the grain at first, but once you get it, and hit a few it becomes second nature. When that happens, you know you have elevated your game. 

The next question becomes do you use the short price you are trying to beat defensively. The right and smart answer is no, but there is an exception. If your bankroll is short, and you can’t afford the risk, you probably should be sitting it out, but if not and you use a horse defensively, I get it. I think it is a mistake long term, but I have done it myself. Sometimes we do what we have to and break our own rules. I try never to get personal with my wagers, but there have been times, and I am sure will be again, that I just do not want to let a certain horse knock me out for whatever reason. Maybe I liked or bet them last time. Maybe they were a Tracking Trips horse. There could be a number of reasons. 

Using the short priced single that everyone has is clearly a safer approach. Does that make it better? I think not. You are playing against the other bettors in the pool. In my scenario and approach, you give yourself the chance to get a big edge on them. You are also doing it based on your solid opinion as opposed to spreading and hoping. I can argue that is an edge right there. 

When the favorite I am trying to beat is in the first leg I almost always increase my wager. I have found, without any firm study, that when you beat a favorite in leg 1, the payoffs seem healthier. It is just a personal observation, no science, but I like it. 

There are so many things to look for when trying to find an upset single. It would be impossible to list them all. We all have things and angles we favor, and that work for us. I am suggesting using those with the above-outlined thought process. In the next few weeks, I will be doing a series of videos on Past the Wire TV talking about handicapping techniques on every level. We will go over how to read the past performances correctly and how to use the sheets (Thoro-Graph). You’ll be logging into AmWager and using their tools and platform to up your play big time. We have many topics scheduled, and we welcome any requests for specific handicapping subjects. Stay tuned. You will be glad you did. 






San Antonio Stakes - Race 5 at Santa Anita - Post Time 4 PM Eastern, 1 PM Pacific

Midcourt appears highly probable to win his third straight stakes race, second graded stakes, following his return from two months off at the end of October. He’s won four in a row, starting in June, the last win on 11/23 his best effort yet when dominating by almost six lengths in the Native Diver Stakes five weeks ago. He’s earned back-to-back 114 Equibase figures, which gives him a “Double Advantage” because those two are better than the last two of any horse in the field. He can win on the lead (as he did in the Native Diver) or he can win from off the pace as he did when rallying from seven lengths back to win the Comma to the Top Stakes in October, so there are no concerns dependent upon various pace scenarios either.

Gift Box is the biggest challenger to Midcourt in my opinion. He’s on a pattern for a big effort, coming back off a six month layoff, considering he came back from a nine month layoff to win this race last year. That followed the trainer change to Sadler (from Chad Brown of all people) and the first time Rosario was in the saddle. Following that big effort with a 117 figure, Gift Box won the Santa Anita Handicap in April, again off a layoff (this time of three months), then he missed by less than a length to eventual Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Vino Rosso. After a poor effort out of his home base in California, when fourth in the Foster in Kentucky in June, Gift Box has been rested again and with Rosario aboard he could be very tough down to the wire.

Gray Magician deserves honorable mention, although I think he’s not as good as the top two, He’s run four “A” races in a row, including a head defeat to eventual Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Spun to Run, the best with a 113 figure. On the other hand, he’s facing older for the first time and I think he’s going to have to step up to a career best effort to beat either Midcourt or Gift Box.
 

Bets

Win: Midcourt at odds of 8 to 5 or more, low odds overlay win bet.
Consider a bet on Gift Box at 9 to 5 or more as well.
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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: Midcourt and Gift Box over Midcourt, Gift Box and Gray Magician.

Trifectas:
Midcourt
and Gift Box over Midcourt, Gift Box and Gray Magician over ALL.
Midcourt and Gift Box over Midcourt, Gift Box and Gray Magician over Midcourt, Gift Box and Gray Magician.

Pick 3:
Race 5: Midcourt, Gift Box
Race 6: Apache Princess, Mucho Unusual, Lady Prancealot, Giza Goddess
Race 7: First Star, Bellafina, Bell’s The One
Note: You can play the horses above in doubles as well, from race 5 to 6 and from race 6 to 7.

American Oaks Stakes - Race 6 at Santa Anita - Post Time 4:30 PM Eastern, 1:30 PM Pacific

Apache Princess ran the best race of her career off a short rest this past July when rallying from ninth of 10 early, gaining the lead and opening up by a length and one-half at the top of the stretch in the San Clemente Stakes, before gamely fighting to the wire to come up a neck short behind Mucho Unusual. That effort earned a strong 103 Equibase figure, which she nearly duplicated in her most recent race. That was 14 days ago in the Bear Fan Stakes, a sprint, in which she closed strongly from fifth of six to miss by a half-length. Stretching back out to two-turns, Apache Princess gets the services of Javier Castellano, who is in Southern California for the big stakes races on the card. With So Much Happy likely to set a solid pace, Apache Princess may have what it takes to get up in time and win the American Oaks.

Lady Prancealot (IRE) has proven to be a top turf runner in the division many times this year and last. In the fall of 2018 as a two year old, Lady Prancealot (IRE) finished second in a pair of stakes, one of those the Surfer Girl Stakes on the Santa Anita turf course. This year, Lady Prancealot (IRE) has won three of seven races, two of those stakes including the Valley View Stakes at Keeneland when last seen on October 18. That effort earned a career-best 106 figure which is the best last race figure in the field. Joe Bravo, who rode Lady Prancealot (IRE) to her last win when in the saddle for the first time, has the return engagement and we can expect a top effort good enough to win from this very versatile filly.

Giza Goddess comes into the American Oaks off a disappointing eighth place effort in the tougher Matriarch Stakes, in which Mucho Unusual finished ninth. Both fillies ran well enough prior to that to be a strong factor in the American Oaks if they rebound to that kind of form. Giza Goddess earned a 106 figure when second in the Autumn Miss Stakes at Santa Anita in late October and she has a tactical style which likely puts her in second place in the early stages behind likely leader So Much Happy. As such, Giza Goddess could get the lead in the stretch before the closers like Apache Princess and Lady Prancealot (IRE) get into high gear.

Mucho Unusual was the five-to-two favorite when winning the San Clemente Stakes in July with a 104 figure, rallying from last of 10 in the field and still sixth with an eighth of a mile to go. She hasn’t run nearly as well in three races since including when beaten for second by Giza Goddess with no excuse in the Autumn Miss. However, Mucho Unusual gets a change in jockey to Joel Rosario, who has been aboard for her last two victories including in the San Clemente, and who has not ridden her in three defeats since then.

Bets

Win: Apache Princess at odds of 5 to 2 or more, adding a place bet at 4 to 1 or higher.
Lady Prancealot at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
For perspective, Mucho Unusual and Giza Goddess have minimum odds for win bets of 7 to 2.

Exacta: Apache Princess over ALL, then also the opposite, which is ALL over Apache Princess.

Trifectas:
Apache Princess
and Lady Prancealot over Apache Princess, Lady Prancealot, Mucho Unusual and Giza Goddess over So Much Happy, Apache Princess, Lady Prancealot, Mucho Unusual, Giza Goddess and Vibrance.

Optionally: Apache Princess and Lady Prancealot over Apache Princess and Lady Prancealot over ALL, then also Apache Princess and Lady Prancealot over ALL over Apache Princess and Lady Prancealot.

Pick 3: (very optional)
Race 6: Apache Princess, Lady Prancealot, Mucho Unusual, Giza Goddess
Race 7: First Star, Bellafina, Bell’s The One
Race 8: All (eight horses)

You can also play a double from race six to seven with the horses from the pick 3 above.

La Brea Handicap - Race 7 at Santa Anita - Post Time 5 PM Eastern, 2 PM Pacific

Bell’s the One ran the equivalent of a winning race when second to eventual Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint winner Covfefe in the Dogwood Stakes in September then followed that up with a very strong win in the Raven Run Stakes in October when rallying from last of 10 to draw off. Rested since then, she could follow in the footsteps of just a couple of the horses to come out of that race who won their next starts and she shipped into Santa Anita for a local workout, as well as gets Castellano to ride. She gets pace to run at and is on top of her game so could be very tough to beat.

Similar to Bell’s the One, Bellafina ran the equivalent of a winning race when second to Covfefe in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint last month, missing by three-quarters of a length while seven and three-quarter lengths clear of the next horse. She moves back from older to just three year olds and really likes this track where previous to the Breeders’ Cup was a perfect four-for-four. She will be the lower odds of the two evenly matched win contenders and may be a poor win bet but is a MUST to use on any other bets we make involving this race.

First Star gets a slight look here as well as she ran a big race in the Raven Run when last seen, rallying from fourth and although out finished by Bell’s the One clearly second. That was only the third start of her career and she’s improved nicely in each start since the debut. As with Bell’s the One, the race First Star comes out of was a KEY RACE. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd horses have not run, but the 4th and 7th have come back and won since, the latter in a stakes race.
.

Bets

Win Bets: Bell’s the One at 9 to 5 or higher.
Minimum odds on Bellafina are the same 9 to 5 but it’s unlikely she will go to post at those odds or higher.

Exacta: Box Bell’s the One, Bellafina and First Star.

Trifecta: Bell’s the One, Bellafina and First Star over Bell’s the One, Bellafina and First Star over ALL.
 

Today is the day. You proudly strut yourself to your favorite racetrack. You know your stuff and you’re sure of your picks. You know the odds and place your bets with confidence. The race begins, the anticipation builds, the finish line roars and you are congratulated by your friends when you walk out with cash in your pocket.

Everyone wants to be a winner, but the reality is that most of us do not fully understand the intricacies of horse racing odds. Sure, placing a bet is easy enough but that is why most race goers walk out with less money than they came in with. Are you one of them? 

As a horseplayer you have to look out for number 1. That’s you. Believe me nobody else is going to do it.

Amidst all the reform we hear about today, granted all of it needed and long overdue, you don’t hear much about helping the bettor. The bettor true to past performances will be the first to get put on the back burner or worse swept under the rug.

Beating this game as a horseplayer has always been hard. It is harder today than ever before. All the reform in the world won’t save the sport if nothing is done to help the current bettors, and attract some new ones.

How does a bettor look out for number 1? There are several ways we can do this.

Be selective and pick your spots. Remember you are not obligated to bet every day, every race at every track. Bet the races you feel strong about, in the larger fields, with the lower takeout. If you apply this to your handicapped routine in the long run it can do nothing but help.

Do your homework and be prepared. It is better to study one track thoroughly than to study a few tracks hap hazard or rushed. Not everyone will be doing that so you will have a leg up on all those players.

Unless you are part of a syndicate or betting big money rebates are minimal. They won’t carry you like they do the teams and syndicates. Find a platform like AmWager’s that is user friendly, makes things easy for you, and has tools like some of theirs that help you identify values

There are a lot of experts out there. Most self proclaimed, and most full of you know what. Be careful who you listen to. There are alot more bad opinions out there than good ones. The best opinion is yours. No matter what you hear, or anybody says there is only one benchmark by which all players in this game are measured. Do you beat the game or not? That’s it. Everything else means nothing.

Use good products. Quality past performances are a must. So are real speed figures not raw ones. I use Formulator and Thorograph and also make my own figures, 10- Figs which I post on Tracking Trips which is my trip note service.

You have to look out for you and give yourself every edge and shot you can. With all the safety reform being discussed you can bank on no take out reductions. No free quality data. No substantial rebates for the everyday player. Nothing to level the playing field so that old fashioned handicapping and money management give you a fair shot. Today you have to factor drugs, cheating, and even stewards. It all points to picking your spots.

California has now changed the rules regarding the riding crop. Now again safety should always come first. I advocate for that daily. That said this is a gaming sport we are expected to put or invest money into. Anybody ask you about any changes to the whip rules, or how it can affect a wager or race from a bettors perspectives? Me either.

I guess the new rules will affect anyone who chooses to continue to play California races both ways at times. There will be times your horse needed some urging they did not get. And there will be times another horse doesn’t beat you for that same reason. Maybe it will even out, maybe not. I don’t want to chance it on the day I am alive to a big score. That’s just me.

My Charmer Stakes - Race 7 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3 PM Eastern

Take These Chains can post the upset, opening at 12/1. She won four of her first eight races through November 2018 and is winless in four since BUT two of those were grade 3 stakes and the other was a comeback turf sprint in October. There a few keys to her returning to form good enough to win, the first being that trainer Colebrook does very well with horses coming back from two to six months off as she is and another is Colebrook uses Saez sparingly but they do very well together. The rest appears to have done her a lot of good as she put in a sharp half mile (47.4) workout coming into the race, and her best effort, when fourth of nine and beaten a few lengths to Vasilika in the Grade 2 Buena Vista this past winter, could be good enough to win here.

Munchkin Money ships in from New York just as she did in January and when she did it 11 months ago she won two in a row. Castellano was up for both and has not ridden her since but gets on today and off a fourth place finish in a stakes at Belmont from which the third finisher came back from to win this mare who has earned over $400K could find herself back in the winner’s circle.

Altea was winless in nine races since coming to the U.S in March, 2018 but that streak ended with a strong win on the Aqueduct turf last month under Irad Ortiz, Jr., who rides back. She finished third and second in some stakes last year and now that she’s recovered top form has to be respected as a contender at least for exotics, but as for a win bet she’s not really playable opening at 3 to 1. Mitchell Road is another contender for exotics but unplayable to win, opening at 9 to 5. She won four in a row from last December through the Gallorette Stakes on Preakness weekend but is winless in three since. Two of those were tougher grade 1 stakes but she really had no excuse when third at 6 to 5 in the Ladies Turf in September so she’s no standout. For trifecta tickets we will toss in Na Pali Spirit, who has been in the money in 21 of 31 career races including a few stakes.

Bets

Take These Chains to win at odds of 7/2, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more
Munchkin Money to win at odds of 7 to 2.

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: Munchkin Money and Take These Chains over Mitchell Road, Na Pali Spirit, Altea, Munchkin Money and Take These Chains.

Mitchell Road, Na Pali Spirit, Altea, Munchkin Money and Take These Chains over Munchkin Money and Take These Chains.
The two exactas above represent plays trying to maximize profit while leaving out the lowest paying combination consisting of the two likely favorites Mitchell Road and Altea.

Trifecta: Box Mitchell Road, Na Pali Spirit, Altea, Munchkin Money and Take These Chains

Rampart Stakes – Race 8 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 3:30 PM Eastern

Pink Sands finished well but too late when rallying from seventh to third in the Pumpkin Pie Stakes last month in New York. The race turned out to be a KEY race from which a couple of horses came back from to win, and from which winner Saguaro Row returned from to finish a fine second in the Go For Wand Stakes. Jose Ortiz rides back and last year when Pink Sands shipped to Gulfstream off a similar effort at Aqueduct, she won TWO in a row under Ortiz, both strong wins which if repeated here could give her the upset victory, opening at 8/1.

Cairenn is equally likely to run well in my opinion, and also opens at 8/1. She set a fast pace in a similar one-turn mile takes at Churchill Downs last month, finally settling for third behind multiple stakes winner Sally’s Curlin. Runner-up Mylady Curlin returned to win a stakes a couple of weeks later and this gal who loves long one turn sprints like this has a big shot to pass a lot of horses late like she did one before last in a 75K stakes race at Colonial.

Baccarat Fashion is a very competitive filly who has been first or second in 10 of 12 career races on dirt, including a win at Gulfstream in September. She’s two for three since moving to the Walder barn and her 58.6 five furlong drill since raced as well as the fact Alvarado rides back following being up for both wins (the only two times he’s been aboard) all signal another “A” effort.

Other horses we may use for second on exacta tickets are Molto Bella, Tweeting and Cookie Dough, none of which I think are good enough to win.

Bets

Win Bet: Pink Sands and Cairenn to win at odds of 5 to 2.
Although unlikely, if Baccarat Fashion goes to post at 5 to 2 or more, she can be bet to win as 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.

Exacta: Pink Sands, Cairenn and Baccarat Fashion over Pink Sands, Cairenn, Baccarat Fashion, Molto Bella, Tweeting and Cookie Dough.

Ft. Lauderdale Stakes - Race 9 at Gulfstream Park - Post Time 4 PM Eastern

Marzo is reunited with Ricardo Santana, who rode him just once previously, when posting the 14 to 1 upset in the Grade 3 Sycamore Stakes one race before last in October. Claimed by Mike Maker two races prior to that, Marzo tipped his hand with a head defeat in a highly rated race at a mile and so this nine furlong trip should not pose the slightest problem to this gelding returning to stakes winning form.

Instilled Regard stays on turf off a fine finish from seventh to be beaten a half-length for the win last month. That followed six months off so he has improving to do and with Irad Ortiz, Jr. riding back this colt who has found a home on turf has every right to win.

Admission Office has missed the board just once in nine career races, all on turf. He closed late but very fast to miss by a pair of necks in the Grade 3 River City Stakes at this distance on turf last month, Jose Ortiz up then as now and in the saddle for both of the horse’s wins. He missed by a half-length in the Grade 2 Wise Dan Stakes in June so fits on all counts.

Up the Ante is another likely contender in this deep field, with four wins and three runner-up finishes in 10 career races on turf. Last year as a three year old, Up the Ante led late and settled for second in the Saranac Stakes at this distance at Saratoga. He returned from three months off in August and won a classified allowance race, then was beaten a head, neck and half-length for the win in the Grade 3 Baltimore Washington Turf Cup. Red hot Paco Lopez gets on and the 6 to 1 odds offer more than enough value for a win bet if they hold up.

Cross Border is very tough to leave off any contender list, with four wins from his last five turf routes, the only poor effort in his last five races coming in the Grade 1 Turf Classic at 12 furlongs. He doesn’t have any other stakes experience so this is a step up but in his current form he must be used on any exacta and trifecta tickets played at the very least.

Regarding the morning line favorite, Channel Cat, I think he’s totally vulnerable even though he’s dropping from three straight grade 1 races. All were at 12 furlongs and he’s run twice at this nine furlong trip with only a third place finish to his credit. I think the distance is too short for him particularly as the last time he ran at the distance, in May, in a similar race, he finished a poor fourth of eight.

Bets

 Win Bets: Marzo and Instilled Regard to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 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 and Trifecta: Box Marzo, Instilled Regard, Admission Office, Up the Ante and Cross Border.

BONUS RACE

Remington Springboard Mile Stakes - Race 12 at Remington Park - Post Time 9:19 PM Eastern, 8:19 Central

Choosing between the two recent stakes winners from the Asmussen barn is a fairly difficult as both were impressive recently, but I'll opt for Jungle Runner as he won the non-restricted Clever Trevor Stakes whereas Rowdy Yates defeated Oklahoma breds only in the Don C. McNeil. Not only that, but last year's Springboard Mile winner Long Range Toddy had won the Clever Trevor six weeks earlier. It's not coincidental Steve Asmussen trains both, and knows Jungle Runner is an improving type. Previous to the Clever Trevor, which was contested at seven furlongs, Jungle Runner broke his maiden at the same mile trip as the Springboard Mile so there are no questions about his ability to get the distance. Even though the career-best 80 Equibase Speed Figure earned in the Clever Trevor is only sixth highest last race figure in the field, considering Long Range Toddy improved by 10 points on this date last year I believe Jungle Runner is the one to beat. This is particularly true looking at the record his sire's progeny in similar races using STATS Race Lens, which reveals sons and daughters of Candy Ride have won six of 18 two year old dirt route stakes races in the last five years, including Game Winner (Breeders' Cup Juvenile) and Mastery (Los Alamitos Futurity).

Embolden moves from turf to dirt and from a sprint to a route but I have no doubt he can handle both and run well. In his career debut in July, Embolden finished second to a six length winner (who repeated shortly thereafter). Breaking his maiden by 10 lengths in his second start with a sensational 96 figure, Embolden then won the Jamestown Stakes before a runner-up effort in the Futurity Stakes at Belmont. Adding blinkers for the Atlantic Beach Stakes last month, Embolden earned a new career-best figure, 98, while closing strongly from seventh to second. As a son of The Factor, racing well around two turns on dirt should be no problem so we can expect another competitive effort in the Springboard Mile.

Answer In is a recent maiden winner who interests me as a strong contender. In his debut in September, Answer In rallied from seventh of 12 early and drew off early in the stretch only to be run down and beaten a nose on the wire. The winner of that race, South Bend, proved to be a quality horse when winning the Street Sense Stakes in his next start. Answer In took a similar step forward to win by five lengths in "ridden out" fashion at the end of October, earning a career-best and field high 103 figure. Answer In gets top jockey Javier Castellano to ride and is in the hands of excellent trainer Brad Cox, who has won with four of just 13 horses he's stretched out off a maiden win in a sprint and into stakes competition in the last three years. As such, I think Answer In should be considered a strong contender in this field.

Bets

Win Bets: Jungle Fighter to win and place at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Consider a win bet on Embolden at 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.

Exactas: Box Jungle Fighter, Embolden and Answer In.
Jungle Fighter, Embolden and Answer In over ALL.