Key Races & Bets for Saturday February 19, 2022

Lightning City Stakes – Race 8 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:48 PM Eastern

Mamba Wamba is a standout even in this 12 horse field. She is the only horse which ships across the state from Gulfstream Park off a win and Julien Leparoux takes off an entire day of mounts at Gulfstream to ride. She imported from Europe between last August and her North American debut on December 23 and her last race in England, at Royal Ascot, was fantastic effort where she finished two necks and a nose from the winner in a race versus males. In her local debut, Mamba Wamba was dead last of nine until the three-sixteenths to go mark when she launched a bold rally. Still seventh at the eighth pole in the stretch, the filly exploded to win by a half-length. That kind of kick had no response and should have no response here as she ran the last eighth in about 11 seconds flat. She has worked well since, with five workouts since January 9, two being sensational – 46.4 for a half-mile around the cones and then 59 flat for five furlongs also around the cones. Set up by a very hot pace duel between Senora Roma (on the rail forcing her hand) and Beachside Bunny, plus possibly the outside duo of Payntdembluesaway and Beautiful Grace, both who have to scoot early to gain position before the turn, Mamba Wamba should be able to circle the field once more for the win and earn her first U.S. stakes victory.

Handicapper Picks

Win betMamba Wamba at 8 to 5 or more.

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Barbara Fritchie Stakes – Race 8 at Laurel – Post Time 3:55 PM Eastern

Regal Retort and Glass Ceiling are the top win contenders in this race.

Regal Retort has earned five wins in her career but the most significant part of that record is four of those came at this seven furlong trip, in six tries. The most recent one of those was a devastating 12 length win in November in third level allowance company, just short of stakes level. She returned from two months off just three weeks ago and ran at Laurel for the first time but only managed fifth of 12 in the What a Summer Stakes at six furlongs. Ruiz got to know her for that start and rides back as the mare returns to her best distance, also having shipped down from Belmont for that race, back up after the race, and back down for this for the strong Asmussen barn which has a VERY strong record of 6 wins and 3 runner-up finishes from 16 races over the last five years at Laurel. The 114 Equibase Figure Regal Retort earned in that seven furlong win last fall is by far the best in the field so repeating that effort makes her the one to beat.

Glass Ceiling has almost the same credentials as Regal Retort, with a 3-2-1 record in eight races at this seven furlong trip. Like Regal Retort’s race one before last, Glass Ceiling’s most recent race was her best yet, earning a 108 figure at this distance at Belmont at the same non-winners of 3 allowance level. Dylan Davis takes off a day at Aqueduct to ride this mare again and they have a very strong record of 3-1-0 in four tries, with the loss coming by a head at this distance in a stakes race in October. If both Glass Ceiling and Regal Retort both run as expected, this is going to be a fantastic race to watch.

Handicapper Picks

Win BetsRegal Retort to win at 8 to 5 or more.

Glass Ceiling has minimum odds for a win bet of 9 to 5 but if both are lower than 3 to 1 I’ll just bet Regal Retort.

Exacta:

Box Regal Retort and Glass Ceiling

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Turf Dash Stakes – Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:53 PM Eastern

Bad Beat Brian is the horse to beat in this race. The ConnectorDiamond Oops and Xy Speed are horses to consider for exactas with Bad Beat Brian.

Bad Beat Brian was in the Maker barn starting in October, 2020, when claimed for 35K off Pletcher. After a poor turf route, Maker shortened him up to turf sprinting and won three of seven including three in a row, losing another by inches. Claimed from Maker last June, Maker IMMEDIATELY claimed the gelding back in July and he has not been in a claiming race since. He finished second in a highly rated turf sprint at Kentucky Downs last summer, then second in a stakes quality classified allowance at Keeneland. Next Bad Beat Brian won the Claiming Crown Canterbury Turf Starter Stakes (with a purse similar to this race) in a field of 11 with a strong kick from eighth to pull away late. Shipping from Florida to Texas three weeks ago, Bad Beat Brian rallied from sixth of seven to get second in another $100K turf sprint stakes. His last three Equibase figures of 111, 109 and 108 are tops in the field by far, he gets Centeno (4 for 10 for Maker in the past year) to ride and it will be very tough to deny this excellent turf sprinter from winning.

Handicapper Picks

Win betsBad Beat Brian at odds of 8 to 5 or more

Exactas:

Bad Beat Brian over The ConnectorDiamond Oops and Xy Speed

For half the amount you play the exacta above, play the opposite which is:

The ConnectorDiamond Oops and Xy Speed over Bad Beat Brian

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Ellis Starr

Ellis is a well respected handicapper and contributor of AmWager. He has been a public handicapper for more than twenty years, educating racing fans of all skill levels with detailed commentary few other handicappers provide.

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