Jimmy Durante Stakes – Race 7 at Del Mar – Post Time 6:30 PM Eastern (3:30 Pacific)

Similar to Breeders’ Cup turf races, when Europeans show up for U.S. takes we need to take a hard look because usually they are further along by this time of year as compared to their American counterparts. Such is the case here, with Tezzaray proving a very strong winner in her U.S. debut 23 days ago at this mile trip on the Del Mar Turf, and Helen Wells having won in her U.S. debut back in August. That being said there are two new European imports in this race and one of them, Virulente, could be the real deal. The other, Reem Zabeel, broke her maiden at six furlongs on all-weather so does not have the turf experience the other three had, or have, coming into the race. I was able to pull up the video of Virulente winning in her debut on 8/22 in France, at seven furlongs on grass, on a left handed (like the U.S.) course. She rallied strongly to win by a head in a field of 10. The 93 Equibase Speed Figure is very strong, compared to the 102 figure Helen Wells earned when eighth but beaten just over two lengths in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf earlier this month. It’s better than the winning figures Liam’s Dove earned winning the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar this summer and the 86 figure Helen Wells earned when second in the Surfer Girl Stakes last month at Santa Anita. Virulente has been in the capable hands of Phil D’Amato since October and has put in five workouts, the last three on turf, so she should be fit. When looking at Tezzaray, who improved from an 87 figure when third in her final European start, to 93 winning three weeks ago, we can assume Virulente will improve nicely in her second career start and that makes her a very tough contender in this year’s Jimmy Durante Stakes.

Helen Wells and Tezzaray both have some probability to win as well and we make bets considering their prospects. Helen Wells comes from far back and might have traffic issues but has done really nothing wrong in four U.S. races, first breaking her maiden in August then finishing second in two similar stakes before that eighth of 14 finish in the Breeders’ Cup. Rispoli rode her to the maiden win and last out and these will be much easier. Tezzaray was ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. on Breeders’ Cup week in her maiden win and Ortiz is in to ride the big stakes this weekend so takes the return call. She showed a big late kick in that race and with the same 93 figure as Virulente to improve upon would be no surprise.

Sparkle Blue, Miss Bellatrix and Liam’s Dove have chances to fill out the exacta or trifecta.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets:

Virulente at 5 to 2 odds or higher.

Exactas: (We will play a number of exacta boxes keying on the top two contenders Virulente and Tezzaray and using one additional horse on each ticket so if the top two finish first and second we win multiple times)

Box Virulente, Tezzaray and Helen Wells

Box Virulnete, Tezzaray and Sparkle Blue

Box Virulente, Tezzaray and Miss Bellatrix

Box Virulnete, Tezzaray and Liam’s Dove

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Race at Del Mar – Post Time 7 PM Eastern (4 Pacific)

This is a very deep first level allowance/optional claiming field and a great race to pack between two stakes. With Took Charge a need-the-lead type it’s only going to take one other horse to go with him through a 44 second half mile and set up the stalkers and closers and I think Sumo (on the outside) is that horse as he’s been first or second early in all three career starts, plus wears blinkers like Took Charge. Of the stalkers and closers, and there’s a bunch, the main group which can win consists of Escape Route, Next Revolt, California Street and Letsgetlucky.

Escape Route gets slight preference because he must missed by a neck at this allowance condition last time out on 10/16, at seven furlongs, after stalking in fourth-fifth early. The cut back from seven to six and one-half furlongs, plus the jockey change to Irad Ortiz, Jr., plus having one of the best last race Equibase Speed Figures (100) in the field, give him a big shot to be first or second.

That being said, Next Revolt may be a better win bet as he is likely to go to post at higher odds. Even though he won very nicely by almost four lengths at the distance in his most recent start on 11/3 that win came in a claiming race so he may get less respect as compared to others. He rallied from fourth to win and earned 101 figure which tells me he fits and two before that, at a mile, he also rallied from fourth to win, but was disqualified. His other win this year came in March at seven furlongs so this trip, this track and the pace give him a solid shot.

California Street rallied from last of five to win last time out on 10/23 and from last of six to win before that three weeks earlier, drawing off by eight lengths. That win came in a claiming race so it shows Next Revolt can make the jump because the second of California Street’s wins came in a starter allowance. Rispoli was up for both wins and rides back and the 104 and 96 figures earned strongly state this horse fits as a win contender here.

Letsgetlucky rounds out the quartet of main contenders, never off the board in six races, five of them dirt sprints. He powered away to win by three lengths on 10/30 in a Cal-Bred allowance race under Van Dyke, who rides back, and he gets a good outside post to watch the speed duel unfold and stay out of traffic trouble before rallying. The 101 figure lines up here and could be improved upon in the horse’s second start off a layoff.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: We need to let the tote board help us decide here and the strategy should be to bet TWO of the four below, those at the highest odds, near post time.

Escape Route at 2 to 1 or more.

Next Revolt at 3 to 1 or more.

California Street at 7 to 2 or more.

Letsgetlucky at 7 to 2 or more.

When we consider wagers on two or more overlays from fair (minimum odds), we can and should adjust our bets accordingly in order to maximize our profit both in the short term and in the long term. That 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.


Box Escape Route, Next Revolt, California Street and Letsgetlucky

Optionally, also play Escape Route, Next Revolt, California Street and Letsgetlucky over Escape Route, Next Revolt, California Street, Letsgetlucky, Took Charge and Sumo (the early leaders who can hang on for second).

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Hollywood Derby – Race 9 at Del Mar – Post Time 7:30 PM Eastern (4:30 pacific)

Team Merchants, Public Sector, Camp Hope and Subconscious are the main win contenders. We will also consider Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Santin, all likely to go to post at high odds in a 14 horse field.

Team Merchants won the Let It Ride stakes three weeks ago in his turf route debut, at Del Mar. It was a mile but there’s little doubt he can run well at this nine furlong trip as a son of Nyquist. That was a breakout race due to adding blinkers and the 109 Equibase Speed Figure is one of the best in the field. Opening at 15/1 he must get top billing in a very deep field as that effort repeated here is good enough to win.

Camp Hope also won a stakes in his most recent start, at a mile on grass at Keeneland. That was his second win in a row and the one previous to that came at this nine furlong trip so he fits on all counts for another “A” race for the top barn of Ken McPeek not well known in California, so his 5/1 starting odd may hold up. The 102, 103 and 103 figures are consistent and among the top in the field save Team Merchants last figure.

Subconscious goes for his fourth straight win, the most recent in the nearly identical Twilight Derby at the end of October. He can win on the lead or from off the pace and has been in front at the top of the stretch by a length to a length and one-half in all three races, unchallenged to the wire in all three in spite of facing fields of 11, 11 and 9 other horses. He earned 104 and 102 figures in those two races so fits with these particularly if Team Merchants does not run the same as he did in his last start. He may go to post at or lower than his 4/1 starting odds so is not a good win bet at Team Merchants but is still a very strong win contender which we can use on exacta tickets to make a profit if his odds are lower than are reasonable.

Public Sector opens as the 5 to 2 favorite and definitely is not a good win bet at those odds although he is a contender based on his career best and competitive 104 figure earned winning the similar Grade 2 Hill Prince Stakes at Belmont last month. He would be going for his sixth win in a row if not for a head defeat in July in the Manila Stakes and he is the reason Irad Ortiz, Jr. is at Del Mar today to ride. He’s not unbeatable, however, although his 5-3-0 career record in 9 races is certainly evidence of his talent.

Handicapper Picks

Win bets: Team Merchants to win at odds of 3 to 1. If Camp Hope is 3 to 1 or more near post time he can be bet to win as well. Subconscious can be considered for a win bet at the same odds.

This is precisely the race to use a DUTCHING TOOL like the one at Amwager which is free and easy to use.


The main bet is an exacta box of Team Merchants, Camp Hope, Subconscious and Public Sector

For smaller amounts, for example $1:

Team Merchants over Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Sanitn

Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Santin over Team Merchants.

Camp Hope over Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Santin

Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Santin over Camp Hope

Subconscious over Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Santin

Dicey Mo Chara, Cathkin Peak and Santin over Subconscious