Friday, 26 October 2018 09:30

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, October 27

 

Overskate Stakes – Race 8 at Woodbine - Post Time 4:47 PM ET

 

Not So Quiet is an up-and-coming star while some of the others in this race, already proven, are contenders as well but open at much lower than the 5 to 1 he opens at. Not So Quiet is three-for-four in his career, with all three wins earned in dominating fashion leading from start to finish. Hernandez was up for all three wins and rides today and there is little doubt the strategy will be to SEND the horse to the lead form the start and control things on the front end once more. The 114 Equibase figure from the most recent win, on 9/22, is better than ALL BUT ONE of the career Equibase figures likely heavy favorite Pink Lloyd has earned in his 16 wins and better (by one point) than the 113 figure Kingsport (who opens at 5 to 2) earned winning the Bounty Law Stakes 19 days ago. One of three 3-year-olds in the field, Not So Quiet has defeated older in all three wins and with a pair of scintillating five furlong drills (best of 58 and best of 50) coming into the race could be very tough to beat.

 

Kingsport, who has won 10 of 29 career starts and who has finished second in another seven, certainly is a contender, as is Pink Lloyd, as well as Thor's Rocket, who led late in the Bounty Law and was a neck short of victory on the wire.

 

Bets: Not So Quiet to win at 8 to 5 or higher, a true low odds overlay Key Bet.

 

Exacta: Not So Quiet over Kingsport, Pink Lloyd and Thor's Rocket.

 

Trifectas (which have a $0.20 minimum): Box Not So Quiet, Kingsport, Pink Lloyd and Thor's Rocket.

Not So Quiet over Thor's Rocket over ALL.

Not So Quiet over ALL over Thor's Rocket.

 

Race 8 at Keeneland - Post Time 4:57 PM Eastern

 

Amiral may be something special based on the way he won last month in his career debut at Churchill Downs. In spite of being bothered by another horse at the start, resulting in breaking last of seven, Amiral made a bold move on the turn and drew off to win by four widening lengths. The 99 Equibase figure is more than average for winning at this first allowance level and the win came at this seven furlong trip, which is very difficult to win at first time out so there are no questions about the distance. After taking two weeks off, his first official workout was a sensational 46.8 for four furlongs which was the best of 82 on the day so there's little doubt he's holding his condition and in spite of this race having a big field there are very few other horses that an win.

 

One of those is Midnight Pleasure, who is a three time winner still eligible for the level as one of the wins came in a claiming race and another came in a starter allowance race. Since returning from six weeks off in August, he's run two "A" races in a row to earn 95 and 94 figures, both when rallying from far back and in both drawing off nicely. Landeros rode him last out in victory at this seven furlong trip and another big effort is very likely.

 

For exactas, we'll also use Ballard High (2nd by a nose in a one turn mile at the level last time out) and Mac Jagger (adding blinkers and getting Jose Ortiz off a 4th place effort at the distance and level in New York last month).

 

Bets: Amiral and Midnight Pleasure to win at 2 to 1 or higher.

 

As always, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

 

Exacta: Amiral and Midnight Pleasure over Amiral, Midnight Pleasure, Ballard High and Mac Jagger.

 

For half the amount of the above exacta, play the reverse of the exacta, which is: Amiral, Midnight Pleasure, Ballard High and Mac Jagger over Amiral and Midnight Pleasure.

 

Double: Amiral and Midnight Pleasure in Race 8 with Nice Not Nice and Leofric in Race 9.

Hagyard Fayette Stakes - Race 9 at Keeneland - Post Time 5:30 PM ET

 

Nice Not Nice may not be a standout, but he has a much better shot to win then his 10/1 morning line odds suggest. This is because two of the three morning line choices are vulnerable, potentially FALSE, favorites. Prime Attraction (who opens at 2/1) ships in from California and will be bet dropping from grade 1 to grade 3 and facing the likes of Accelerate but his last win came 11 months ago and he beat nothing the process. Hofburg is facing older for the first time off a poor 4th in the Pennsylvania Derby and in his win before that in the Curlin (a restricted stakes) he beat nothing of consequence as well. On the other hand, Nice Not Nice just ran the best race of his career when 2nd in the Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs last month and the horses which finished ahead and just behind him are significant. Winner Seeking the Soul has earned $1.4 million while the horse Nice Not Nice beat by a nose for second, Giant Expectations, has earned $1 million. Gabriel Saez has the key to this horse as he's been aboard five times, earning three wins and two second place finishes, the only poor effort in a very tough field on turf at Kentucky Downs. With excellent tactical speed, Nice Not Nice could be up close early and in the photo on the wire at decent odds.

 

Leofric is the other win contender in my opinion, coming off a third in the Woodward, beaten a nose for 2nd by Gunnevera. Both the winner Yoshida and runner-up are Breeders' Cup Classic bound and since Leofric won two in a row before that, with his Woodward effort and the one before it earning 110 Equibase figures, he is the one to beat in spite of likely being the 2nd or 3rd betting choice at post time.

 

Bets: Nice Not Nice to win at 3 to 1 or more. Leofric to win at 8 to 5 or higher.

 

As always, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

 

Exactas: Nice Not Nice over ALL and also (the reverse) All over Nice Not Nice.

 

Box Nice Not Nice and Leofric (even though contained in the bet above I think this is worth playing twice).

 

Leofric over Nice Not Nice, Hence and Rated R Superstar. (I have no interest in exactas with the favorites to finish first and second.)

 

Race 7 at Santa Anita - Post Time 6:10 PM ET (3:10 PM PT)

 

Zusha was best in her most recent race, a sprint at this level and similar distance on 9/29, but she ran into a wall of horses nearing the eighth pole and her jockey could not extricate her to find a path until too late. She gets a jockey change here in a field of horses who not only will set up her late kick nicely but also really are as content finishing 2nd or 3rd as winning.

 

Bets: Zusha to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

 

Exacta: Zusha over Sheza Chattycat, Conquest Flatterme, Hot Autumn and Cute Knows Cute.

For a smaller amount (about half of what you bet on the exacta above), play the reverse of that exacta which is Sheza Chattycat, Conquest Flatterme, Hot Autumn and Cute Knows Cute over Zusha.

Published in Ellis Starr's Blog
Friday, 05 October 2018 11:44

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, October 6

 

Hill Prince Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont Park - Post Time 5:00 PM Eastern

 

Have At It and Prioritize just finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, in the Better Talk Now Stakes at Saratoga, separated by a neck at odds of 7/1 and 9/1. In spite of running very well in a similar stakes, they open at 8/1 and, even more out of line, 15/1, because of the nature of how heavily Chad Brown's Raging Bull will be bet, opening at 6/5. However, these are ALL three year olds and when comparing the 98 Equibase Figure Raging Bull earned winning the Saranac Stakes to the 102 and 100 figures Have At It and Prioritize earned just five days earlier, the keys to profit in this race are obvious. Add to the mix Ride a Comet, who finished third behind Raging Bull in the Hall of Fame Stakes on August 3 then flattered that one by shipping to California to win the Del Mar Derby, with a field high and career best 113 figure on par with the 113 Raging Bull earned in the Hall of Fame. Both those figures would be dominant if repeated but with Raging Bull earning a 95 figure when second in the Manila before the Hall of Fame, the 113 figure effort looks to be an outlier. I'm not sure about the big effort Ride a Comet put in last out, but then again comparing his 3/1 starting odds to the odds offered on both Have At It and Prioritize, I'll still be happy keying on the two higher odds horses on exactas, with a very specific trifecta strategy below to cover the favorites running well.

 

Win & Place Bets: Have At It to win at 5/2 or more, adding a place bet at 5/1, a KEY BET on the day.

For a smaller amount, Prioritize to win at 7/2 or higher, adding a place bet at 5/1 or more.

 

As always, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

 

Exacta bets: We will split the favorites as there's no value in them finishing first and second, as follows:

Box Have At It, Prioritize and Raging Bull. Box Have At It, Prioritize and Ride a Comet.

 

Trifecta: Raging Bull and Ride a Comet over Have At It and Prioritize over Raging Bull, Ride a Comet, Have At It and Prioritize.

 

Doubles: ALL in Race 9 with Trophy Chaser in Race 10

Have At It and Prioritize in Race 9 with ALL in Race 10

Raging Bull, Ride a Comet, Have At It and Prioritize in Race 9 with Trophy Chaser in Race 10

Have At It and Prioritize in Race 9 with Endorsed, Trophy Chaser, Complexity, Call Paul and Aurelius Maximus in Race 10.

 

Speakeasy Stakes – Race 4 at Santa Anita - Post Time 5:05 PM ET (2:05 PM PT)

 

Mae Never No is a standout in this "Win & You're In" to the new Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint. Trained by Wesley Ward, who rarely ships to California, she's a filly facing males, which Ward does an incredible job with in spotting where his young fillies can beat boys. Although Keeneland, Ward's home base, is running the Indian Summer Stakes, another BC Juvenile Turf Sprint prep, Ward ships because he also has a very strong contender in that race, the filly Chelsea Cloisters. Mae Never No has won two of three, the most recent a stakes race when leading start to finish, the other in May in her debut from off the pace under Stevens, who gets the call here.

 

For some doubles and pick 3's we will also use Hartel and Owning, who don't look as fast as Mae Never Know, but who appear so far superior to the other four that for the purposes of multi-race bets have to be considered, particularly as I am taking a shot for the upset in race 5.

 

Bets: Mae Never Know to win at 8 to 5 or more, a low odds overlay KEY BET.

 

Doubles: Mae Never Know in Race 4 with All in Race 5.

ALL in Race 4 with Distinctive B in Race 5

Mae Never Know, Hartel and Owning in Race 4 with Distinctive B in Race 5.

 

Pick 3: (3 options:

Race 4 – Mae Never Know, Hartel, Owning

Race 5 – Roy H, Distinctive B, Ransom the Moon

Race 6 – Miss Southern Miss, Fizzy Friday, Poster Girl, Rubilinda

Race 4 – Mae Never Know

Race 5 – Roy H, Distinctive B, Ransom the Moon

Race 6 – Miss Southern Miss, Fizzy Friday, Poster Girl, Rubilinda

 

Race 4 – Mae Never Know, Hartel, Owning

Race 5 – Distinctive B

Race 6 – Miss Southern Miss, Fizzy Friday, Poster Girl, Rubilinda

 

Champagne Stakes – Race 10 at Belmont Park - Post Time 5:35 PM ET

 

The principal "Occam's Razor" suggests when there are two solutions, the simpler (or more obvious) is usually correct. When applied to handicapping, it means if a horse looks like the best horse, in the absence of contrary evidence, it usually is. Of course, applying the principal all the time just puts us on the same horse as most of the public (the favorite) and that's no fun. However, in this year's Champagne Stakes, the obvious horse, Trophy Chaser, opens at 10/1 and that has to be taken advantage of. Trophy Chaser, like most of the others in this race, broke his maiden in his most recent race. That was a six furlong sprint at Gulfstream Park. Not only did he win by 15 3/4 lengths, he earned a 115 Equibase figure, normally higher than the figure earned by the winner of the Breeders' Cup Juvenile next month on a historical basis. The effort and figure do not appear to be inflated, as other speed figure makers have his figure the best in the field as well, and the figure wasn't earned leading from start to finish, rather the colts showed maturity sitting in 2nd in the early stages. With a strong workout coming into the race and a solid local jockey in Junior Alvarado riding, if this colt goes off anywhere near double digit odds it could prove to be a gift not only because of everything mentioned previously but also because the runner-up came back to win and the 3rd finisher improved to finish 2nd in his next start.

 

The uncoupled Brown entry of Complexity and Aurelius Maximus are talented colts who win by 4 1/4 and 7 3/4 lengths, respectively, last out, with 104 and 95 figures to improve upon. Endorsed was very impressive rallying to get up by a neck with a 106 figure, and Call Paul won the Saratoga Special with a mediocre 88 figure but earned a 102 figure in his debut and is another talented colt. However, none of them offer the value Trophy Chaser offers.

 

Bets: Trophy Chaser to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more, adding a place bet at 4 to 1 or more.

 

Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes – Race 5 at Santa Anita - Post Time 5:38 PM ET, (2:38 PM PT)

 

In spite of the class of both Roy H and Ransom the Moon, I am going to take a shot with Distinctive B, who may be all alone on an easy early lead in this short field. Horses often outrun their own ability when on an easy early lead and can gain a confidence sometimes seen never before or after those kinds of efforts. Distinctive B earned a career-best 115 Equibase Speed Figure in his most recent start, on August 26, when coasting to an easy four and one-half length win, so it is presumed he could have run even faster. Last year, Roy H earned a 117 figure when second to Ransom the Moon in the Bing Crosby Stakes before winning the Santa Anita Sprint Championship and that is the kind of effort Distinctive B may be capable of that could propel him to the upset win.

 

 

Ransom the Moon and Roy H don't need any talking up, each having won two of four meetings versus the other, with the former having won the Bing Crosby recently and the latter having won this race last year before winning the Breeders' Cup Sprint.

 

Bets: Distinctive B to win at 2 to 1 or more.

(note: If we are alive in doubles we don't need to make a win bet)

 

Exactas: Box Distinctive B and Roy H. Box Distinctive B and Ransom the Moon

Published in Ellis Starr's Blog
Friday, 28 September 2018 08:34

Key Races & Bets for Saturday, September 29

 

Pilgrim Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont Park - Post Time 5:16 PM Eastern

 

Vineyard Sound is impossible to ignore, opening at 12/1. Sent to post at 15/1 in his debut last month at Saratoga in a turf sprint (7 furlongs), the race was moved to dirt. Sent to the front shortly after the start, Vineyard Sound led set fast fractions on the lead into the stretch before settling for 2nd in a big effort while earning an 81 Equibase figure in the process. To put that in perspective, favorite Opry made his career debut one week earlier in an off-turf 7 furlong dirt sprint, finishing a close-up third with a 75 figure before breaking his maiden in the With Anticipation Stakes by improving markedly to a 92 figure running in his first turf route. There is every reason to believe Vineyard Sound can repeat that same feat as Opry did in the With Anticipation by breaking his maiden in the Pilgrim Stakes, particularly as he's bred to adore the turf. Vineyard Sound is a full brother to multiple turf route stakes winner Bittel Road, who won as a 2 year old, and two of his other three siblings on the dam's side are also turf route winners. Veteran jockey Edgar Prado takes the call and Vineyard Sound has put in three recent workouts on turf coming into the race so be familiar with the surface.

 

Forty Under tried turf and two turns last month in his 2nd career start and showed a lot of maturity sitting off the pace in 2nd in the early stages before showing a nice kick to win. He's improving, gets a good inside post and the 93 Equibase figure earned is on par with the 92 Opry earned in winning the With Anticipation stakes, so likely to improve in his 3rd career start and 2nd route, Forty Under is another to be respected, particularly as his starting odds are 6/1.

 

Opry rounds out the main trio of contenders, already a stakes winner and with improving to do in his 3rd career start. The only knocks are his 9/5 starting odds.

 

There are a trio of horses who we can consider for the runner-up spot, starting with Social Paranoia, who finished 2nd to Forty Under last time out and who, like Vineyard Sound, is trying to break his maiden in a stakes race. Somelikeithotbrown finished 2nd to Opry in the With Anticipation Stakes and can improve, having broken his maiden by eight lengths before that, which helped make him the 6 to 5 favorite in the With Anticipation. Spirit Animal ran fourth in an off-turf race in his debut then improved nicely to break his maiden in a turf route in his second start. His 87 Equibase figure is lower than the other contenders and lower than the figure Vineyard Sound may improve to, but Spirit Animal has improving to do and can't be discounted as a contender.

 

Win or win/place bets: Vineyard Sound to win and place at 3 to 1 or more.

Consider a second win bet, on Forty Under, at 7 to 2 or higher, adding a place bet at 5 to 1 or more.

 

As always, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

 

Exacta bets: Vineyard Sound, Forty Under and Opry over Vineyard Sound, Forty Under, Opry, Somelikeitbrown, Social Paranoia and Spirit Animal.

 

Doubles: Vineyard Sound, Forty Under and Opry in Race 9 with Diversify and Thunder Snow in Race 10.

Jockey Club Gold Cup – Race 10 at Belmont - Post Time 5:50 PM ET

 

If Mendelssohn puts pressure on Diversify early, Thunder Snow can win. Although Thunder Snow won the Dubai World Cup on the lead from start to finish, I doubt those tactics will be used in the Jockey Club Gold Cup because Diversify is a horse with a high cruising speed and a very strong desire to lead from the start. More likely, it will Mendelssohn who will be attending the pace early to keep the Diversify honest and insure he does not control the pace as he did when winning the 2017 Jockey Club Gold Cup. The reason Thunder Snow went to the lead at the start in the World Cup was it had been shown earlier on the card that running style was beneficial compared to others, particularly as Mendelssohn had led from start to finish in winning the U.A.E. Derby by 18 lengths. Prior to the World Cup, Thunder Snow proved to be capable of tracking the pacesetter and running well, such as when winning the Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 in February. The Al Maktoum Challenge Round 2 was the second of three successive big efforts in which Thunder Snow earned 106, 111 and then 116 Equibase Speed Figures, before a tremendous 142 figure earned winning the World Cup. Since arriving at Belmont and coming out of quarantine, Thunder Snow put in a half-mile workout over the main track and moves back to dirt after a poor effort on turf last month and that could be the key to repeating his World Cup effort and collaring Diversify in the stretch to win the Gold Cup.

 

That being said, Diversify has proven time and again to be one of the toughest horses in the handicap division to pass in the late stages of a race. The first time Diversify ran the distance of one mile and one-quarter was in last year's Gold Cup, a breakout performance with a 119 figure and his second such figure in a row. After a pair of poor efforts last fall and this spring, Diversify recovered that form in April with a win in the Commentator Stakes with a 104 figure, improving to 114 winning the Suburban Stakes at the distance in July and then to a 118 figure easily winning the Whitney Stakes last month at Saratoga. Diversify has shown an incredible liking for the main track at Belmont, with six wins and two runner-up finishes in eight races, which helps make him the other horse with a high probability to win this race.

 

Any of the other six can finish third. With the exception of likely early pace presser Mendelssohn five of those six likely to be coming from far back in the early stages and hoping to rally past most of the rest.

 

Bets: Thunder Snow to win at odds of 2 to 1 or more.

 

Exacta: Box Diversify and Thunder Snow.

 

Trifecta: Diversify and Thunder Snow over Diversify and Thunder Snow over Carlino, Patch, Uno Mas Modelo and Discreet Lover.

 

The reason for the strategy based on the fact I have no interest in either Mendelssohn or Gronkowski finishing second. If Diversify wins, the trifecta turns a few bucks into a higher return than a win bet on Diversify. Of course, if Thunder Snow wins then the trifecta may pay handsomely.

 

Chandelier Stakes – Race 9 at Santa Anita - Post Time 7:07 ET, 4:07 PT

 

Der Lu won as she pleased in her career debut last month in a sprint and as a daughter of Orb should stretch out and run even better. The 99 Figure is the best last race figure in the field and she's trained by Baffert (who also saddles Mother Mother) with Van Dyke riding back after being up in the debut, in which she ran very maturely as she stalked in 2nd early before drawing off. The only other horse with a better figure in any race is her stablemate, who regressed badly when second in the Del Mar Debutante four weeks ago, won by Bellafina, with Brill fourth. Bellafina, who opens at 9/5, regressed badly off the 101 figure earned in the Sorrento one month earlier, as did Brill and Mother Mother, which is of big concern as 2 year olds should be improving from race to race, not declining. As such, Der Lu has a big shot to post the mild upset here, opening at 4 to 1.

 

Del Mar May is the other horse we can consider as a win contender and bet as such. She led late then finished 2nd in her debut in July with an 85 figure then went into the Sorrento Stakes as a maiden. Although 2nd to Bellafina, Del Mar May improved to a 92 figure but unlike Bellafina, Del Mar May did not go in the Del Mar Debutante and so enters the race fresh and on an improving pattern.

 

Bets: Der Lu to win at 9 to 5 or more AND Del Mar May to win at odds of 2 to 1 or higher.

As always, when making multiple win bets, use a "Dutching" tool with which you can enter the amount you want to spend or the amount you want to win and the calculation of how much to bet will be done for you. Amwager provides a free "Dutching" tool, among other great benefits for the handicapper and bettor.

 

Doubles: Der Lu and Del Mar May in Race 9 with Queen Blossom, Vasilika and Cambodia in Race 10.

Also, ALL in race 9 with Queen Blossom in Race 10.

 

Pick 3: (Two Tickets)

Race 9 – Der Lu and Del Mar May

Race 10 – Queen Blossom, Vasilika and Cambodia

Race 11 – West Coast and Accelerate

 

Race 9 – Der Lu and Del Mar May

Race 10 – Queen Blossom

Race 11 – West Coast and Accelerate

 

 

Rodeo Drive Stakes – Race 10 at Santa Anita - Post Time 7:41 PM ET, 4:41 PT

 

Queen Blossom, who opens at 8 to 1 odds, has as much probability to win as either of the two favorites, Vasilika and Cambodia, who open at much lower odds. Better still perhaps, Queen Blossom has run this 10 furlong turf trip, and further, previously, winning the Santa Barbara Stakes in April over the course at 12 furlongs and finishing 2nd in a pair of stakes since then at 10 and 11 furlongs, respectively. Prat rode her in all three recent "A" efforts, and he moves to Vasilika, but Geroux comes in to ride to there are no issues. With a career best Equibase figure of 112 earned one before last not far from the 115 and 113 figures Vasilika and Cambodia earned when finishing first and second, respectively, in their most recent race, with out of line odds and experience at the trip the favorites lack, Queen Blossom has every right to post the upset.

 

Vasilika goes for her seventh straight win, including her first graded stakes win four weeks ago in the John C Mabee Stakes. She loves to win and except for never having run this 10 furlong trip would be no surprise. Cambodia won the Yellow Ribbon Stakes in August before rallying from 9th to 2nd in the Mabee behind Vasilika. Another horse who loves to win and is immensely talented, she must be considered a win contender for any double and pick 3 tickets played but with such great value offered on Queen Blossom, Cambodia is a poor win bet.

 

Bets: Queen Blossom to win and place at odds of 5 to 2 or more.

 

Exactas: Box Queen Blossom and Vasilika. Box Queen Blossom and Cambodia.

 

Optional Double (particularly if live in the pick 3 with one of the two contenders in the ninth race winning):

Queen Blossom in Race 10 with West Coast and Accelerate in Race 11.

 

Note about race 11, the Awesome Again Stakes: There's no reason to bet that race in and of itself because a short six horse field is assembled and it would be a shock if either West Coast or Accelerate did not win. Value on one of these two winning the race comes solely in playing the doubles or pick 3.

Published in Ellis Starr's Blog