Race 7 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:25 PM Eastern

We start off a four race sequence where we can play the late Pick 4 and a couple of Pick 3s. The first leg is a six furlong maiden special weight (maiden allowance) race with a nearly full field of 11 newly turned three year old fillies. There are three strong win contenders plus two more to add to the multi-race bets. The top trio consists of Belle of the Ball, Laugh and Play and Quality and the other two are Summer of Mischief and Illogical Love.

Belle of the Ball is a first time starter, as are Laugh and Play and Quality. The filly was bred by and is owned by WinStar Farm and ships over from the other side of the state where she’s been working off a decent series of workouts. She’s got good breeding as a daughter of Flatter out of a Distorted Humor mare and more importantly the dam’s ONLY other foal won first time out, last fall at Belmont in a straight maiden race like this one.

Laugh and Play is another with strong breeding, by Into Mischief out of a Distorted Humor mare whose only other foal hit the board in the first five races before winning. Clement has an exceptional 10 for 35 record with first time starters in dirt sprints the past two years and like Belle of the Ball, Laugh and Play has been working at Payson Park.

Quality has been working locally and her most recent workout was four furlongs in 48.8 which was the fifth best of 57 on the day. Delacour wins his share with first timers and the dam’s other two foals ran well early in their careers, one finishing third then winning and the other seventh then winning.

Summer of Mischief finished second to runaway winner Platinum Game in her debut and that winner ran earlier today in the Gasparilla Stakes. She should improve nicely second time out but will be bet more heavily than the first time starters. Illogical Love has finished second in both starts, losing ground in the last eighth of a mile in both but still running well enough to be considered a contender as she improved her figure nicely in the second start.

Handicapper Picks

Win bet: Minimum odds for a win bet on any of the three first time starters – Belle of the Ball, Laugh and Play and Quality is 4 to 1 so the plan should be to bet two of the three which are the highest odds near post time at 4 to 1 or more.

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These are the Pick 3 and Pick 4 plays starting in this race. You can play doubles as well using the horses in this race with those in the next race:

Race 7: Belle of the Ball, Laugh and Play, Quality, Summer of Mischief, Illogical Love

Race 8: Kuramata, Patriot Drive, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo, A Rose for Raven

Race 9: Nantucket Red, All Good Times, Striking Chrome

Race 10: Investmentstrategy, Fantastic Rafaela, Silver Sea, Weezy Does It

Strategy notes:

If all the horses in each leg run, the cost of the pick 4 is $150 at the $0.50 level. The reason for this wager is in the third leg (race 9) the contender’s morning line odds are 10/1, 20/1 and 10/1. I am taking a stand against the favorites in that race and if right, the $150 investment will pay off many times over although there are some favorites in the other legs.

“IF” you want to cut the cost of the ticket, you can single Investmentstrategy in race 10 as she will likely be the heavy favorite and does have a high probability to win. In that case the cost of the Pick 4 ticket (at $0.50 is $37.50

The pick 3 bet in races 7 through 9 (at $0.50) has a cost of $37.50. I would only play the pick 3 starting in race eight if none of the contenders won the seventh race and the ticket went dead.

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Race 8 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 3:55 PM Eastern

Kuramata, Patriot Drive, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo and A Rose for Raven are the win contenders.

Kuramata opens as the 2 to 1 favorite but I suspect he will go to post at lower odds as he was the 4 to 5 favorite winning 11 months ago on the Tampa Turf when breaking his maiden and he was the 3 to 5 favorite last April when winning at the first allowance level at Aqueduct. Chad Brown ships him here for an easier field (and possibly to keep company with other horses he is racing today) off an eight month rest but for Brown that’s like yesterday as he wins about 25% of the time in these situations. Using Camacho is another strong indicator Kuramata can win off the bench as he did off a 14 month layoff last February, as they are 5 for 11 when teaming up in the last two years.

If Kuramata doesn’t fire there are four horses, all likely to go to post at decent odds, with a shot. Patriot Drive is one of them as he comes into the race off probably the best effort of his life on turf when second in a very highly rated race at Tampa on 12/26. He’s won EIGHT races in his career including at this allowance condition so is in for the optional claiming price and Alvarado rides back. The 99 Figure earned in that las trace is only just lower than the 104 Kuramata earned in his win last April so Patriot Drive certainly has a shot.

Shirl’s Speight returned from 11 months off last month in a race taken off grass and he stayed in the race only because he needed to get into shape. He moves back to turf where he broke his maiden before winning a grade 3 stakes as a two year old and Gallardo getting on is a good sign. Shirl’s Speight’s best effort yielded the same 104 figure as Kuramata’s best effort so he fits.

Kygo adds lasix for his second U.S. start and second after three months off and should improve particularly as his stateside debut was in a stakes at Aqueduct and he’ll find this level much easier. Before he imported, Kygo ran two “A” races in a row on grass in France with 101 and 97 figures so he’s another who must be respected.

The best value among the contenders lies with A Rose for Raven, who opens at 15/1. A lightly raced gelding that has a 2-1-2 record in eight races, with both wins on grass, he’s making his third start off a layoff on a pattern of improving figures (90 then 97) and absolutely fits with these.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bet: Kuramata would be a win bet at 2 to 1 or more but that’s not going to happen and some of the others are worth betting at decent odds so this is what I plan to do: Patriot Drive to win at 4 to 1 and A Rose for Raven at 6 to 1.

This is a great race in which to proportion our bets accordingly for the best mathematical edge. This can be best accomplished by using a “Dutching Tool” like the one which is free and easy to use at Amwager.com. A Dutching tool lets you set the amount you want to bet or the amount you want to win, then based on the odds your bets are proportioned accordingly. Amwager has a great dutching tool available, among many other great features.


Patriot Drive has a high probability to finish first, or second, so the plays are

Patriot Drive over Kuramata, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo and A Rose for Raven

Kuramata, Shirl’s Speight, Kygo and A Rose for Raven over Patriot Drive

Pick 3: Refer to the Pick 4 in race 7 for the pick 3 play in races 8, 9 and 10 (if you played the pick 4 in race 7 and none of the five contenders won the race)

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Wayward Lass Stakes – Race 9 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:25 PM Eastern

This is where we “go big or go home” with Nantucket Red, All Good Times and Striking Chrome as the contenders.

The favorite is Allworthy, who finished third off a layoff last month in the Rampart Stakes, and the second choice is Don’t Get Khozy, who finished second in the Rampart. The Rampart was a mile BUT it was a one-turn mile, and Allworthy finished fourth and eighth in her two tries around two turns while Don’t Get Khozy has run 36 times around one turn but NEVER around turns. That’s enough lack of experience to take a stand against them at low odds especially when the three win contenders ALL have two-turn wins.

Nantucket Red and All Good Times both draw very well and both have tactical speed but don’t need the lead to win so can establish the top two positions, on slow fractions, from the start. Nantucket Red changed trainers to Wright before her 12/17 race which was a CAREER BEST, earning a 97 figure which is better than the 93 figure Allworthy earned in the Rampart and on par with the 97 figure Don’t Get Khozy earned. Since the race, Nantucket Red put in a sparkling 2nd best of 43 half-mile workout and looks very capable of repeating that last effort.

All Good Times has won or placed in 24 races in her 55 race career and earned $277K, which is second only to Don’t Get Khozy. She was off for three months from September until last month and the six furlong race she was entered in was nothing more than a prep. The last time she stretched out, last June at Delaware Park in a classified allowance race, she won by six and earned a 93 figure and the reason she opens at 20/1 is because her last effort was a fifth place finish and the one before the layoff was a sixth place finish, but I’m ignoring both because I feel she’s capable of winning here. It MUST be noted Danny Centeno rode Nantucket Red to victory on 12/17 and rode All Good Times to that fifth place finish on 12/6 but opts for this filly today, and he was aboard for the six length win last June.

Striking Chrome was closing fast late behind Nantucket Red and missed by a neck at the wire at 4 to 1 odds. She opens at 10/1 here and that’s out of line especially for a filly with a very fine 4-6-1 record in 14 starts. Two before last she stalked in second and got up so I expect her to be in a striking position from the start today and coming off a 95 figure effort she could post the upset as well.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bet: Nantucket Red, All Good Times and Striking Chrome should ALL be considered for win bets at 4 to 1 or more.

If more than one is above 4 to 1 odds near post time, the DUTCHING TOOL at Amwager will really help proportion our bets for the best profit.

Exacta: Box Nantucket Red, All Good Times and Striking Chrome

Trifecta: Nantucket Red, All Good Times and Striking Chrome over ALL over Nantucket Red, All Good Times and Striking Chrome (these two bets in combination cover any two of these three coming in first and second, or first and third)

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Race 10 at Tampa Bay Downs – Post Time 4:55 PM Eastern

Similar to the eighth race, Chad Brown saddles the likely favorite in Investment Strategy, who opens at 2/1. However, first time starters Fantastic Rafaela and Silver Sea, as well as another second time starter in Weezy Does It, all have good chances to succeed.

Investmentstrategy finished second to a four length winner in her debut on the Belmont Turf in November and was clearly second best. The 90 Equibase Figure wins here if repeated unless one of the first timers is something special and Brown gets a very strong 25% of his maiden second time starters to win.

Fantastic Rafaela is the second foal of her dam, who is by turf specialist Elusive Quality. The ONLY Other foal out of this mare ran on 12/10/21 in a two turn turf race identical to this one, and she won. Trainer Hamm is okay with first time starters and the workouts are fine so at 12/1 if this gal runs just like her sister she might post the upset.

Silver Sea is a Clement first time starter in a turf route and the trainer is exceptional at getting his horses ready without needing experience of a race. The dam has had four foals and they are ALL turf runners, with three of them finishing second in their debuts and the other fourth then winning second time out. This exceptionally well bred filly is another who could fire a winning shot at first asking.

Weezy Does It, like Investment Strategy, debuted in a turf route last month, and ran very well. She lagged in sixth of seven early then rallied to make the lead in the stretch, before settling for second to a horse which had already run. This time she’s the one which has already run, and with Gallardo staying aboard and with just modest physical and mental improvement off her debut she might be the one getting her picture taken after the race.

Handicapper Picks

Win Bets: Fantastic Rafaela, Silver Sea and Weezy Does It at odds of 4 to 1 or more.

Hopefully the pick 4 is live and paying well so betting any of the above to win isn’t necessary.

This is another race where, when wagering on two horses(or more) for the best mathematical edge, a DUTCHING tool like the one at Amwager, really helps us maximize the value for our win bets.

Trifecta: Box Investment Strategy, Fantastic Rafaela, Silver Sea and Weezy Does It