Papo's Post (42)
24MARFirst run in 1972, the Spiral Stakes has been the spring fixture for Turfway Park, located in Florence Kentucky. First run at the one mile distance, the race was elongated to a mile and an eighth in 1988 and has been run at that distance since. Notable winners of the Spiral include Broad Brush (1986), Summer Squall (1990), Hansel (1991), Lil E. Tee (1992), Hardspun - a personal favorite (2007), and Animal Kingdom (2011) who was the last Spiral Winner to go on to capture the Run for the Roses. While Animal Kingdom was able to translate his polytrack form over to the dirt, Spiral winners tend to be horses more geared to the turf and less so to classic dirt tracks. The race, however, does offer 85 qualifying points for the Derby, with 50 points going to the winner in case those getting their picture made in the winner’s circle catch Derby fever.This year the Spiral has a full field of 12 three-year-olds looking to pick up the winner’s share of the $500k purse. Morning line favoritism lands on Kitten’s Point (4-1) for trainer Joe Sharp. The son of Kitten’s Joy has been a stellar turf performer winning three of his seven turf starts. In his last race, he ran a good second in the Grade 3 Palm Beach Stakes at Gulfstream Park. He should be sitting a pressing or stalking trip behind the early speed of Fast and Accurate (15-1) and En Hanse (15-1). He is a deserving favorite and a must use for your multi-race bets. However, I believe his odds will float down from the morning line and there are others in this race that entice more.There are four other entries in this race that offer a bit more value and have an opportunity to cross the wire first. Soglio (6-1) ships in from Santa Anita for trainer Graham Motion. The Scat Daddy colt has hit the board in five of his six career starts. He broke his maiden at Del Mar in December overcoming the far outside post while beating a field of 12. In his last two races, he finished third and second respectively and was closing in at the wire to only run out of real estate. He gets more ground to work with today stretching out to a mile and an eighth, a distance that suits his pedigree being out of the Seattle Slew mare, Sea of Showers. Motion flies in Trevor McCarthy to take the reins.Giant Payday (8-1), a son of Giant’s Causeway is interesting in this race. The Ian Wilkes trainee may get a bit lost on the tote board in this highly competitive race. Giant Payday finished off-the-board in the Palm Beach Stakes but was swung four wide coming off the final turn and was closing down the stretch. If you watch the gallop out after that race he stretched out nicely, indicating he may have needed more ground to work with. His best races have come on turf yet he did not disgrace himself in his two dirt tries finishing second in both. This will be his third start off the layoff and I expect him to improve in this race.Parlor (5-1) is a lightly raced Lonhro colt with only three career starts. He came off a five-month layoff in February to win going away, while under wraps, in an allowance race at Tampa. He broke his maiden at Ellis Park beating the morning line favorite in this race. He could easily be undefeated as he just came up a neck short in his second career race at Kentucky Downs. The sky is the limit for Parlor and he looks extremely live in this race.The last horse of mention and the one I may end up keying in my vertical wagers is King and His Court (5-1) for trainer Mark Casse. By Court Vision, the three-year-old gelding sold for a bargain price of $2,500 (yes read that again) yet has earned nearly a quarter of a million dollars. Toss his last race at Tampa where he obviously hated the dirt track and you have a horse that loves synthetic surfaces, winning three of seven on this surface and finishing in the money in six of those starts. He is the only horse in the race to already win at today’s race distance which adds to the appeal. The price will be right and in a race where you have to guess which horses are going to like the synthetic surface, I’ll go with the one who is already proven on it.A great betting race and plenty of value to be had in the pinnacle race of the Turfway Park meet.
Oaklawn Park Race 10 Rebel Stakes
All eyes this weekend will be on Oaklawn Park for the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, the second leg of Oaklawn’s three-year-old Kentucky Derby prep races. First run in 1961 and won by Bass Clef, the Rebel Stakes has been a popular prep for horses with Derby dreams. This year's edition has drawn a strong field of 11. On paper, this race has a ton of early speed. Those horses that like to lay the heat on the front end include Silver Bullion (30-1), Uncontested (10-1), Malagacy (4-1), and Royal Mo (9-2). If they all blast away from the gate, the early fractions could be blazing which should set the race up for a horse from off the pace. That is not to say Uncontested and/or Malagacy could not wire the field but I think the pace may be too hot early for one of them to hold one for win honors.
Morning-line favoritism in this race falls on American Anthem(2-1) for Mr. Rebel himself, Bob Baffert. Baffert has an incredible record in the Rebel Stakes winning it six of the last seven years. His winning Rebel resume looks like this:
2010 – Lookin at Lucky
2011 – The Factor
2012 – Secret Circle
2014 – Hoppertunity
2015 – American Pharoah
2016 – Cupid
While not all these horses went on to be classic winners, it is obvious that Baffert knows what type of horse will excel at Oaklawn Park going 1 1/16th miles. This year he ships in the lightly raced American Anthem. The three-year-old colt by Bodemeister broke his maiden at six furlongs in his first start at Delmar in December. It was an impressive maiden win as he was marooned out in post 11 and showed maturity, being able to establish a stalking position before going on to win by a neck.
Baffert thought well enough of him after that start to run him in the Grade 2 Sham Stakes a month later. In the Sham, he was sent from the rail over a muddy track and came up a head short to Gormly at the wire. While he did not win the race, the tenacity he showed battling down to the wire against a horse that had a lot more experience should pay dividends in this race. It was a educational loss and it must not have taken a lot out of him, as he returned to the work tab just 10 days later working four furlongs in 48.3. He has maintained a strong workout pattern since and looks to be coming into this race in top form. I expect Mike Smith to set up shop right behind the early speed and make his move turning for home. While the morning line is short on value (and I don’t even know if we’ll get 2-1), American Anthem looks primed to keep the Baffert winning streak alive in the Rebel.
So how do make money playing with a short-priced favorite? Let’s try to key and wheel American Anthem with two horses who should also be sitting off the early speed. Petrov (9 -2) and Untrapped (8-1) both have running styles that fit the pace dynamics of this race. Petrov, trained by Ron Moquett, has been the bridesmaid his last three races running second to One Liner, Uncontested, and Even Thunder. In those races, he did a bit of the dirty work keeping the pace horses honest throughout the race. With other speed signed on in this race, Petrov should be able to run his own race. His speed figures have improved with every start and being by Flatter, should only to get better with each and every race. Moquett put a sharp work into him on March 4th when he went five furlongs in 59.3, signaling all systems go.
Untrapped ships into this race from Fair Grounds for trainer Steve Asmussen after running second in two consecutive Derby prep races, the Grade 3 Lecomte and Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes. He too, has increased his speed figures in every start and always seems to be running on strong at the end of his races. You get a jockey change to Irad Ortiz Jr. and I like the confidence Asmussen shows shipping him over off only three weeks rest. While I’m not sold Untrapped will be a classic distance horse, being by Trappe Shot, the 1 1/16th miles of this race is well within his scope.
If playing trifectas and supers you may want to include Silver Dust and Lookin At Lee both at (15-1) on the bottom of your tickets. Another outstanding Derby prep race and the best of luck to all.
Below is my selection grid for Saturday's card at Gulfstream Park. It's a great day of racing and best of luck to all.
Race A's B's C's Comment R4-Herecomesthebride #1 Dream Dancing #4 Coasted Top 2 Look Tough R5 Fred W. Hooper #3 Realm, #4 Birdsong #3 War Story Playing against Pletcher may come back to bite me R6 Sands Spring #5 Catch a Glipmse #8 Celestine Shocked if one of these ladies does not win it R7 The Very One Stakes #1 Olorda #3 Suffused #5 Try Your Luck, #4 Earring Olorda has pace advantage; intrigued with Earring R9 Palm Beach Stakes #4 Kitten's Cat #5 Snap Decision #9Ticonderoga #6 Channel Maker Spread Race R10 Davona Dale #9 Eloquent Riddle #12 Pretty City Dancer #7 Miss Sky Warrior Post 12 not ideal for top choice but pace dynamics may set up for R11 Canadian Turf #3 Heart to Heart #5 Conquest Panthera #2 Projected #4Bondurant Heart to Heart could wire the field, Conquest Panthera has explosive turn of foot R12 Mac Diarmida #5 Charming Kitten #9 Taghleeb #12 Patterson Cross #4 Wake Forest #7 Bigger Picture Great betting Race R13 Foutnain of Youth #2 Gunnevera #8 Irish War Cry #9 Made You Look Good race to watch, not necessarily one to betTagged under
By Papo Morales
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What is a horseplayer? By definition it is a person who gambles on horse racing. That is a simplistic definition and one that does not do us players service. We are the lifeblood of the racing industry. Without our wagering dollars, our great athletes would essentially be running for ribbons. While I would still love racing even without gambling, it is the money generated from wagering that drives the sport. Gambling on horses is unique from other forms of gambling as it is not a game where the final outcome is generated by a random event on a computer, but rather the results of great athletes, the horses, and the efforts they give in each race.
Many things can drive someone to become a horseplayer. For some of us it is a passion for the horses; for others it is strictly a numbers game where the most likely winner is determined from an advanced algorithm. We all come to this game for different reasons. Betting on racing is different from other forms of gambling in that all the money in the wagering pools is a direct reflection of each person’s particular opinion on the horses in the race.
Have you ever had a horse that you absolutely love? You know, one that for some reason or another you got attached to. Maybe it was a winning horse that enabled you to cash a big winning ticket. Or, a horse that came from a sire or dam that you were absolutely crazy about.
How about a gray…everybody loves gray horses right? We have all been there, latching onto a horse for this reason or that. It’s rather common. Developing a feeling of attachment to a horse is no different than having a favorite football, basketball, or baseball player. No matter horse or human, we want to see our favorite athlete do well. Know the difference, though, between pulling for your favorite horse and betting on it.
Every horse race is an individual and unique event. If your favorite horse won its last race, it’s because of the conditions and dynamics of that race on that particular day. How was the track playing? What was the pace scenario? What post did your horse break from? What was the distance of the race? All are factors that played a role in your horse’s win.