Race 7 at Woodbine – Post Time 4:23 PM Eastern
Town Classic, a very consistent gelding with 11 first or second place finishes in 21 races on dirt or all-weather, opens at 12/1 odds which are impossible to ignore and so the horse becomes the key to profit in this excellent betting race. First or second in his last four races at Hawthorne and Mahoning Valley, to most of the public it’s an unknown how he’ll take to the Tapeta all-weather surface but looking at his lifetime PPs I believe it won’t be an issue, something trainer Santangelo (who wins nearly 25% of his races on all-weather) likely noticed when deciding to ship him to Woodbine from Ohio. Town Classic broke his maiden and finished second at the NW1X allowance condition at Woodbine in 2016, with the runner-up effort coming at this seven furlong trip, so the return to Woodbine helps his chances of running competitively again. Cutting back from two-turns to one-turn today off a big effort when beaten a head on the wire helps as well by giving him some extra later energy, and the gelding put in a workout on the all-weather at Presque Isle Downs before shipping up so is ready for another big effort.
Cooler Mike has been first or second in five of eight career races at Woodbine. He comes back from nine months off but finished second, beaten just a half-length, in his 2018 comeback and he broke his maiden first time out so he could fire nicely here for a piece at the least. Sweet Little Man has 16 career runner-up finishes to go along with eight wins. He too makes his 2019 debut and he ran well in his 2018 debut when winning. Fire for Effect ran poorly on conventional dirt at Oaklawn but won last November and August at Woodbine so the return to the all-weather should help him run back to competitive form as well.
For the most part, I’m taking a stand against morning line favorite Shakhimat, who has a record of 0-1-1 in 9 races this year and last and who is very fast early but has been found wanting in the late stages many times and who hasn’t won on the all-weather surface since 2015.
Win Bet: Town Classic to win at odds of 3 to 1, adding a place bet at 6 to 1 or higher.
Exacta: Town Classic over ALL and then the opposite, which is ALL over Town Classic.
Exacta: Box Town Classic, Cooler Mike, Sweet Little Man and Fire for Effect.
Note: The analysis of race 8, the Woodstock Stakes, can be found on the Woodbine web site here so I don’t want to double up. However, because there are value in both that race and the seventh race above, I feel playing doubles between the two races offers a very strong profit possibility.
Doubles: Town Classic, Cooler Mike, Sweet Little Man and Fire for Effect in Race 7 with Powell, Yes I Am Free and Tiz Breathtaking in Race 8.
Elusive Quality Stakes – Race 9 at Belmont – Post Time 5:51 PM Eastern
Big Handsome proved to be a very talented colt in his three year old season in 2017, breaking his maiden in March by four lengths at Gulfstream then winning at the first allowance level on the Belmont turf and then taking the Paradise Creek Stakes in May of 2017 at this seven furlong trip on this turf course. He missed by inches in the Manila Stakes in July then led late and was beaten under a length in the Grade 2 Hall of Fame Stakes. In both those races the horse that won, Bricks and Mortar, has become a superstar on the turf, taking the Pegasus World Cup Turf earlier this year, so the fact Big Handsome was so close to Bricks and Mortar really shows his class. After another neck defeat in a stake race, in the summer of 2017, apparently he had issues as he was away from October to April then another two months, then off from June of last year to March of this year. The comeback last month was superb as he rallied from six back to be beaten just three-quarters of a length and so in his second start bac off the rest, with red hot Franco riding, and proven capable of winning stakes races at this distance on the course, Big Handsome may be very tough to beat.
The other horse with the bulk of the probability to win appears to be Emmaus, who is making his U.S. debut after importing from Ireland and becoming acclimated to U.S. racing. He’s been in training in Kentucky and gets Jose Ortiz for the race, a very good sign, and his last effort before the rest in Ireland was a second of 11 finish, beaten a nose, at this seven furlong trip on grass. As such, if he picks up where he left off as it appears he can, he should be first or second, particularly as his late kick as well as that of Big Handsome, should benefit from a likely hot early pace battle between Abiding Star and Fixed Point, who are next to each other in the gate.
Win Bet: Big Handsome to win at odds of 8 to 5 or higher.
For a slightly smaller amount, Emmaus to win at odds of 5 to 2 or more.
Exacta: Box Big Handsome and Emmaus.
Trifecta: Big Handsome and Emmaus over ALL over Big Handsome and Emmaus.
(playing the trifecta and exacta in this way means we cash the bet if the two horses finish first and second, or first and third)
Powder Break Stakes – Race 11 at Gulfstream Park – Post Time 6:04 PM Eastern
Quebec gets slight preference among three win contenders and keys to exotic wagering profit, as she opens at 10/1 odds. The mare has won five of 20 career starts on grass, finishing second in five others, and she makes her second local start after shipping out from California and joining the Dibona barn. In her local debut, in the similar Sand Springs Stakes, Quebec ran evenly for the last three-eighths of a mile as she was two lengths behind the leader the entire time. Blinkers go on and she shows a strong blinkers on/fast workout pattern with a 46.8 half mile drill on 4/12 which was the best of 19 followed by an even better 48.2 workout which was the sixth best of 71. She has not worn blinkers for her last three races, all so-so efforts BUT she did wear blinkers for her last two wins, the best of which was last August at Del Mar when she rallied from fifth to win a second level allowance race at 3 to 1 odds with a 106 Equibase figure which is one of the best in the field. As such, if the blinkers help her to run back to that race, she can post the upset.
Supercommittee finished third in her most recent start, a stakes on the turf at Tampa, behind winner Crown and Sugar and runner-up Bitacora. I think she can turn the tables on those two back at Gulfstream, where she won two in a row prior to that, because she gets a much better post (4) than Crown and Sugar (12) and because she gets a jockey change to Jaramillo while Bitacora gets a jockey change to Rendon, who isn’t as good as Jaramillo, particularly on turf. Supercommittee has a very consistent 3-2-2 record in nine career races on grass and put in a very sharp 47.4 turf workout at Palm Meadows coming into this race which suggests she could run an “A” race good enough to win.
Crown and Sugar loves to win races, with 11 wins in 23 starts including a five for 10 record on grass. However, this is her first start on the Gulfstream Turf, while the previously mentioned horses have won five or 12 on the course combined. Still, Crown and Sugar has won five in a row and in each was in front at the eighth pole and unchallenged the rest of the way, as well as gets her regular jockey Gallardo in from Tampa to ride.
Win bets: Quebec to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more.
Supercommittee to win at 7 to 2 or more.
Crown and Sugar to win at 7 to 2 or more.
Note: This is a race we can, and should, bet at least two of the horses above to win, and 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: Quebec, Supercommittee and Crown and Sugar over ALL
Quebec, Supercommittee and Crown and Sugar over Quebec, Supercommittee and Crown and Sugar over ALL.
Quebec, Supercommittee and Crown and Sugar over ALL over Quebec, Supercommittee and Crown and Sugar.
BONUS Race- Sunday, April 28
Steve Sexton Mile Stakes – Race 7 at Lone Star Park – Post Time 6:40 PM Eastern
Minister of Soul will get slight preference among four horses I feel have the bulk of the probability to win this year’s Steve Sexton Mile Stakes. Disregarding his two career starts on grass as irrelevant, Minster of Soul has a six-for11 record on dirt, including four wins last year and two in 2019 to date. Primarily based at Turf Paradise in Arizona, the gelding has won at Lone Star Park, Albuquerque Downs and Turf Paradise. Minister of Soul earned his biggest wins this year, taking the Hank Mills, Sr. Stakes in January with a career-best 114 Equibase figure effort, then following that up with an easy three length win in the Phoenix Gold Cup Stakes. Although he has never run around two turns as he is doing in the Steve Sexton Mile, Minister of Soul is bred to run as well or better at the distance as he’s done sprinting, because according to a STATS Race Lens pedigree search, his dam has produced multiple dirt route winners Image of Joplin ($283K earned) and Raised a Secret ($492K earned). With a sharp five furlong workout over the track on April 21 since shipping in from Arizona, another positive factor for Minister of Soul is that he gets the services of top jockey Lindey Wade as well. Wade’s record on the Texas circuit of Lone Star and Sam Houston (via a STATS Race Lens query) is excellent, with 15 wins in 58 races in the past year and a +33% profit on win bets on those starters. As such, I think Minister of Soul can post the mild upset to win this race.
Mocito Rojo loves to win races, evidenced by a 13-for-21 overall record including a 12-for-16 record on dirt. Mocito Rojo shows up and gives his best nearly every time he runs as he has won or been beaten less than a length in his last seven races including four stakes. The best of those came when winning the Delta Mile Stakes at this distance in November with a career-best 115 figure which could make him very tough to beat in this race if repeated. Jockey Filemon Rodriguez has been aboard for 12 of Mocito Rojo’s 13 wins and certainly has shown an affinity for getting the horse to run his best, which makes Mocito Rojo a definite win contender in the Steve Sexton Mile.
King Abner is an excellent dirt miler, having won twice and coming up a half-length short of victory the other time. He has won five of 15 races on dirt and his most recent race was the best of his career. In the Tiznow Stakes last month at Santa Anita, King Abner pressed the pacesetter for most of the race, took over to lead by a head with an eighth of a mile to go and was beaten just a half-length on the wire, earning a 118 figure. The horse which beat him, Edwards Going Left, had earned over a half-million dollars going in and was a multiple stakes winner so King Abner’s runner-up effort was no disgrace. Jockey Tyler Baze comes in from California to ride the gelding, who has excellent tactical speed and who may find himself just behind the stretching out
Minister of Soul in the early stages. From there, he has every right to run well enough to win.
Title Ready may not possess the record of success of the other three and as a matter of fact has more runner-up finishes (five) than wins (three) in his career. Still, Title Ready can win the race if he repeats or improves upon his most recent effort when second, beaten three-quarters of a length, in the Stymie Stakes at Aqueduct. That effort earned a career-best 113 figure and as a four year old Title Ready may not have run his best race yet. Likely to be sent to post as the favorite, Title Ready may not offer the return for a win bet any of the other three win contenders might offer, but as he has been first or second combined in eight of 16 races, he must be respected when considering exacta wagers in this race.
Win bets: Minister of Soul to win at odds of 3 to 1 or more
Mocito Rojo to win at odds of 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.
Exacta: Box Minister of Soul, Mocito Rojo, King Abner and Title Ready.
Trifecta: Box Minister of Soul, Mocito Rojo, King Abner and Title Ready.