A while back, I mentioned that recording results at most tracks on the same day of week for a month can help you get a better feel of what you can expect. This, in turn, can help you be more prepared and even have more confidence when a week approaches that you are waiting to capitalize on, whether that be betting the favorites or finding something that offers value that will eventually release some of the stress and nervousness that most experience just prior to placing their bets. While I usually do not or can not use this angle on short meets like Saratoga, Keeneland, or Del Mar, I find it very helpful on the tracks with longer meets. However, this year, I have tracked the results for every Saturday on the Saratoga meet thus far, just to see if the angle works on this track like the others and the results is very telling, at least to me. But I will let others make that decision for themshelves. Through five weekends, there have been 45 races contested on Saturdays. Favorites have won 17 of 45 races for a strike rate of 38%. 2nd choices have won 11 of 45 races for a strike rate of 24%. 3rd choices have won 8 of 45 races for a strike rate of 18%. 4th choices or longer have won 9 of 45 for a strike rate of 20%. Total 45 of 45 races = 100%. First Saturday, July 13th--- Favorite won 3 of 11 races for a strike rate of 27%, returning $15.50 to win and $22.50 to place, including the ones that did not win but ran 2nd. 2nd choices won 5 of 11 races for a strike rate of 45%, returning a total of $36.10 for a $2 win bet of each, and $27.10 total on place betting the favorite, including ones that did not win but ran 2nd., One 4th choice, one 5th choice, and one 7th choice won 3 of 11 races for a strike rate of 27%. No third choice won a race this Saturday. There were four $1 exacta boxes with the top two choices combined for a strike rate of 36%, with all second choices finishing on top of the favorite in each, resulting in a total return of $37.70. There were three .50 trifecta boxes involving the top three choices(all 3 with the 2nd choice, favorite and third choice in that order) for a strike rate of 27%, resulting in a total return of $56.52. Betting the minimum allowed throughout this day the result were as followed; Winning Favorites(3) returned 15.50 and 22.50 to place(6) for a total of $38 on $44 risked for a loss of $6. 2nd choices winners(5) returned $36.10 and $27.50 to place(6) for a total of $63.60 on $44 risked for a net profit of $19.60. As mentioned above the exactas returned $37.70 on $22 total risked for a net profit of $15.70 and trifecta, as also mentioned above, returned $56.52 on $33 risked for a net profit of $23.52. Total risked betting the minimum on each wager(with a realistic shot at cashing) was $143 and total returned was $195.82. Total profit was $52.82 or a ROI of 31%. All prices were taken off equibase results charts. 1st Race: 2nd choice @ 1.90-1 won, favorite finished 2nd @ 1.30-1, 4th choice finished 3rd @ 6.70-1. 2nd Race: 2nd choice @ 3.60-1, favorite @ 2.35-1, 5th choice @ 6.40-1. 3rd Race: Favorite @ 1.40-1, 4th choice @ 4.60-1, 3rd choice @ 3.35-1. Five horse field. 4th Race: Favorite @ 1.45-1, 7th choice(of 8) @ 19.10-1, 5th choice @ 9.70-1. 5th Race: Favorite @ 1.90-1, 3rd choice @ 4.80-1, 4th choice @ 5.40-1. 6th Race: 2nd choice @ 2.95-1, 3rd choice @ 5.30-1, favorite @ 2.35-1. 7th Race: 7th choice(of 9) @ 10.80-1, 2nd choice @ 3.35-1, favorite @ 2.20-1. 8th Race: 2nd choice @ 2.70-1, favorite @ 1.60-1, 3rd choice @ 3.85-1. 9th race: 2nd choice @ 1.90-1, favorite @ 1.60-1, 3rd choice @ 2.90-1. 10th Race: 5th choice @ 12.60-1, 6th choice @ 13.30-1, favorite @ .85-1. 11th Race: 4th choice @ 5.30-1, 7th choice @ 12.30-1, 3rd choice @ 4.70-1. On this Saturday, favorites ran in the money(1,2,3) in 10 of 11 races(3-4-3) or 90%. While that can be useful in exotic bets, you will need more to make your ROI on WP look decent. 2nd choices ran in the money 6 of 11 races(5-1-0) or 55%. Again reasonable but more is needed, at least for me. Third choices ran in the money a total of 6 of 11 races(0-2-4). An outsider(4th choice or longer) ran in the money 11 times(3-4-4) or 33% but only 8 of 11 different races or 73%, combining for 2 exactas, 2 trifectas with the heavy favorite 3rd in one and the third choice finishing third in the other. and a 7th choice on top of the second choice in second and favorite in third on another exacta/tri payoff. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd Saturday, July 20th--- Canceled due to heat wave and not included in results which would make this even more telling. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 3rd Saturday, July 27----- Favorites won 3 of 12 races for a winning rate of 25%, returning $15.50 to win and $24.50 to place(7 total) for a total return of $40 on $48 risked, a loss of $8. 2nd choices won 2 of 12 races for a strike rate of 17%, returning $20.40 to win and 28.20 to place(5) on $48 risked, a profit of .60. Four $1 exacta boxes combining the two favorites for a strike rate of 33% and returned S44.70 on $24 risked, returning a profit of $20.70. Two .50 trifecta boxes came thru with the three top choices, for a strike rate of 17%, returning a total of $37.65 on $36 risked , for a net profit of $1.65. Betting each wager resulted in a total of $156 risked and a return of $168.95, a profit of $12.95. On this weekend, favorites ran in the money 9 of 12 races(3-4-2) or 75%. 2nd choices finished 1,2,3, in 8 of 12 races(2-5-1) or 67%. Third choices finished in the money 6 of 12 races(3-0-3) or 50%. Outsiders finished in the money 10 of 12 different races or 83%,and a total of 13 placings(4-4-5) out of 36 possibilities or 36%. 1st Race: Favorite @ 2.05-1, 2nd choice @ 3.45-1, 10th choice @ 37.75-1. 2nd Race: 3rd Choice @ 3.30-1, favorite @ 2.70-1, 4th choice @ 5.10-1. 3rd Race: 4th choice @ 6.60-1, favorite @ 2.60-1, 5th choice @ 7.50-1. 4th Race: Favorite @ .70-1, 2nd choice @ 3.60-1, 3rd choice @ 5.40-1. 5th Race: 2nd choice @ 3.10-1, favorite @ 3.00-1, 3rd choice @ 3.25-1. 6th Race: 8th choice @ 22.70-1. 4th choice @ 5.80-1, 2nd choice @ 3.75-1. 7th Race: 2nd choice @ 5.10-1, 8th choice @ 13.50-1, favorite @ 2.40-1. 8th Race: 3rd choice @ 5.20-1, 4th choice @ 5.90-1, 6th choice @ 10.00-1. 9th Race: 3rd choice @ 5.80-1, 6th choice @ 29.75(longest shot), favorite @ .50-1. 10th Race: 6th choice @ 13.60-1, 2nd choice @ 3.60-1, 3rd choice @ 3.80-1. 11th Race: 4th choice @ 4.60-1, favorite @ 1.60-1, 2nd choice @ 2.70-1. 12th Race: favorite @ 2-1, 2nd choice @ 3.15-1, 9th choice @ 51.25-1. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 4th Saturday, August 3----- Favorites won 5 of 11 races or 45%, returning $30.90 to win and 21.30 to place(6) for a return of $52.20 on the risk of $44 for a profit of $8.20. 2nd choices won 2 races or 18%, returning 19.40 to win and 14.70 to place(3) for a return of 34.10, a loss of $9.90 on $44 risked. There were no exactas combining the two favorites that paid off and only one .50 trifecta with the first three choices boxed that returned $10.60 on a total $55 risked, thereby resulting in losses of $44.40 on the two exotic wagers. Total return of $97.90 on $143 risked would have resulted in a loss of $45.10, basically wiping out all your winnings for the first month of Saratoga's meet. On this Saturday, favorites ran in the money 8 of 11 races(5-1-2) or 73% and even though most that ran well won, the net ROI was below acceptable because their win % is much higher than the long term average. Second choices ran in the money 5 of 11 races(2-1-2) or 46% resulting in no exactas and only one trifecta box, which is extremely rare. 3rd choices ran in the money 5 of 11 races(2-3-0) or 46%. But all was bet heavier than a third choice normally can be expected. Outsiders hit the board 14 times out of 33 possibilities(42%) but finished on top 2 of 11 or 18%, so bet even those two right resulted in a net loss. This was a weekend that betting superfectas really paid off, but extremely difficult to find the winning combinations, that is the ones that paid well. 1st Race: Favorite @ 2.40-1, 6th choice @ 9.90-1, 4th choice @ 8.30-1. 2nd Race: Co-2nd choice @ 4.20-1, 6th choice @ 12.90-1, 4th choice @ 7.50-1. 3rd Race: 2nd choice @ 3.50-1, 6th choice @ 17.80-1, 10th choice(longest) @ 25.50-1. 4th Race: 3rd choice @ 5.60-1, 5th choice @ 8.60-1, 6th choice @ 8.70-1. 5th Race: 4th choice @ 5.50-1, 2nd choice @ 2.20-1, favorite @ 1.75-1. 6th Race: 5th choice @ 10.70-1, favorite @ 1-1, 8th choice @ 26.50-1. 7th Race: Favorite @ 1.95-1, 3rd choice @ 3.60-1, 4th choice @ 5.40-1. 8th Race: 3rd choice @ 3.25-1, 2nd choice @ 3.60-1, favorite @ 2.35-1. 9th Race: favorite @ .85-1, 4th choice @ 8.50-1, 2nd choice @ 4.60-1. 10th Race: favorite @ 2.20-1, 3rd choice @ 2.75-1, 2nd choice @ 2.60-1. 11th Race: favorite @ 3.05-1, 3rd choice @ 5.00-1, 5th choice @ 8-1. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Saturday, August 10------ Now we have cycled and begin the second and last month of Saratoga meet this year. Favorites won 6 of 11 races or 55% and returned $33.20 to win and $24.30 to place(7), resulting in a return of $57.50 on $44 risked and a net profit of $13.50. Second choice won 2 of 11 or 18% and returned 13.10 for the win and 19.10 for the place(5) for a net return of $32.20 and a loss of $11.80 on the $44 risked. There were 3 exactas or 27% with the first two choices that returned $25.40, for a net profit of $3.40. There were also 3 trifectas involving the top three choices or 27% that returned $55.76 on the risk of $33 for a net profit of $22.76. On this Saturday, favorites finished in the money 8 of 11 races(6-1-1) or 73%. Second choices finished in the money 6 of 11 races(2-3-1) or 55%. Third choice finished in the money 6 of 11 races(3-0-3) or 55 %. Outsiders(4th choice or higher) hit the board 13 out of 33 possibilities or 39% but did not finish on top in any race of the 11. 1st Race: 2nd choice @ 2.50-1, favorite @ 1.65-1, 3rd choice @ 4.10-1. 2nd Race: favorite @ 3.30-1, 5th choice @ 5.40-1, 6th choice @ 7,70-1. 3rd race: favorite @ 1.25-1, 2nd choice @ 2.50-1, 3rd choice @ 4.30-1. 4th Race: favorite @ 2.30-1, 7th choice @ 18.40-1, 3rd choice @ 4.60-1. 5th Race: 2nd choice @ 2.05-1, 7th choice @ 22.80-1, 5th choice @ 11.60-1. 6th race: 3rd choice @ 2.95-1, 5th choice @ 11.80-1, 4th choice @ 9.20-1. 7th Race: favorite @ .60-1, co-4th choice @ 7.50-1, 6th choice @ 10.70. 8th Race: favorite @ 1.55-1, 2nd choice @ 2.35-1, 5th choice @ 8.20-1. 9th Race: 3rd choice @ 5-1, 2nd choice @ 2.95-1, favorite @ 1.85-1. 10th Race: favorite @ 1.60-1, 7th choice @ 19.10-1, 4th choice @ 4.30-1. 11th Race: 3rd choice @ 4.90-1, 5th choice @ 6.40-1, 2nd choice @ 4.80-1. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Now, I can not tell you if this information will help you. But I can tell you it helps me immensely at the tracks I have used it on. But I know exactly what help I am looking for before charting. Not only does it point me to the weeks that I probably can find value, it also points me to weeks where value will be limited and that is what helps me the most. The rest is on me to find the value and using this information gives me a ideal of who to use with them. The last time I charted a track, I went on an exacta and trifecta hitting streak by matching up week of month to the day I charted, on a four week interval. The only problem I have had using this information is when there is a five week in a given month, which normally occurs every third month. Then I have to make a slight adjustment or risk getting thrown off my pattern. It works for me and has for years, when I take time out and do the research. This is only one of several gimmicks that I use that gives me an added edge over the unprepared bettor, which is usually all I need.
Welcome to Santa Anita! We had an outstanding beginning to kick off the meet last Friday, as our top selections went 3 of 9 including a$52.00 winnerin the last race! Our longshot of the day in race 8 ran 2ndat odds of 20-1, setting up for some excellent exacta and DD payouts! While the top pick got home in 3 of 9 races, playing all of the A horses would have given you 8 of 9 winners, with the sole loser being the race where I tried to single and my only B horse ended up winning. The bar has been set pretty high, so let’s keep the good times rolling this weekend! 2020WinterSanta Anita StatisticsLast Week:33%(3/9win,8/9ITM),$6.82ROI per $2 win bet($18wagered, $61.40returned)Santa AnitaWinter2020:33%(3/9 win, 8/9 ITM),$6.82ROI per $2 win bet($18 wagered, $61.40 returned) Race 1: [F]Mdn55k 5½ Furlongs (T) Picks:1,2 / 5 Despite conventional wisdom and historical trends, the 5.5-furlong turf sprints at Santa Anita have not played very kindly to speed lately, quite a change from the downhill 6.5-furlong races we used to see. None of the 8 turf sprints this meet have been won wire-to-wire, and the winner was on average 2.5-3 lengths off the pace at the first call. That does not bode well for early favorite #7Raneem. This Baffert trained filly is still a maiden after 6 starts, and it truly feels like the barn isn’t sure what to do with her at this point. They’ve tried dirt, then turf, and now back to turf; she debuted with blinkers, the hood came off after 2 races, and now she adds blinkers once again. There is a spotty race record with layoffs in between, and she wheels back on less than 10 days of rest, a move almost unheard of for the Baffert barn. There are enough question marks against her that I will be fading this favorite on a day where fields are short and prices might be hard to find. #1 Malibu Cat is my top selection. She ran a speed figure in her debut as a 2-year-old that would already make her competitive in this race, and she now makes her first start as a four-year-old off of an 11-month layoff. She appears to be working lights-out in the mornings, and Glatt is an average 13% with horses off 90+ day layoffs. Turf ace Prat climbs aboard, and I’m hopeful he will elect to rate her rather than send hard from the rail. With the right trip she is the one to beat. #2 Dance Costume is the lone debut runner in the field today. Mixed signals on the pedigree, as Union Rags offspring typically fare poorly on grass (3% first time turf winners) but the dam was a stakes winner sprinting on turf and has already produced 3 turf winners from 4 starters. Yakteen has strong numbers with debut turf runners, getting 29% winners over the past 3 years with a strong $5.47 ROI. Rosario sees fit to take the mount, which is always encouraging. #5 Lavender is the wildcard of the field. This lightly raced filly has run second in both of her starts to date in Ireland, and that was against fields of 14 and 15 horses, so she certainly won’t be intimidated by today’s group of 7. The major questions are that she hasn’t been seen for 15 months, and Matthew Chew has a terrible 0/40 record with horses coming off of 90+ day layoffs. If she’s fit she could surprise, but I’m inclined to watch one first. Race 2:[F]Clm16000n3L 6½ Furlongs Picks: 2 / 4,1 #2Busy Paynter appears to be the one to beat in the second race of the day. She dueled between horses last out against much better at Del Mar to finish a respectable fourth, beaten less than 2 lengths when in for open claiming company at $32,000. She gets a drop into nonwinners of 3 lifetime company and projects to be the one to catch on the front end. The #6 Winsinfashion is the other logical speed, but I believe Busy Paynter is quicker and classier and should be able to draw off late. #4 Leading Indicator is one of a few horses who will likely try to sit a stalking trip a length or two off the pace and make a move into the turn. Dean Pederson is a smaller barn, but he spots his horses well given his 24% strike rate throughout 2019. Toss the turf try where she didn’t care for the surface, and this looks like a 4-year-old who is peaking and heading the right direction in her form cycle while stepping up a bit in class. #1 Cimarron has been quite a hot commodity lately, having been through a number of decent barns across the country throughout 2019. She appeared to be inching forward late in 2019 but has since disappeared ever since the October race. She has a knack for breaking slowly, as she’s been “off slow” or “bobbled start” in her last 4 races, and missing the break is often even more detrimental for sprinters as she cuts back to 6.5 furlongs. She isn’t one I feel strongly about, but I struggle to find anyone I like beyond the top two picks in this spot. Race 3:[F}OC 40000n1x 1 Mile Picks:1,4 /2 Race 3 brings us a small but interesting field of older fillies and mares going a mile on the main track. This race is a unique handicapping puzzle as 4 of the 5 runners are listed as early/presser types, with the last runner an early speed need-the-lead sort. This race could very well set up with a nuclear pace up front, or if all the jockeys elect to rate we could see one horse steal it on the lead. That said, #1 Persepolis is the top selection. This lightly raced mare is 5-years-old but only raced 5 times, giving her every right to improve today. Expectations were clearly high for this one, as she sold for over $500k with a gorgeous turf pedigree and was sent to the Chad Brown barn. Pedigree aside, she appears to be better over the dirt, as she owns a win and two places in her 3 starts on the main track. She has early speed, but she also does not need the lead which gives Prat options in the irons. Her speed figures stack up favorably against most of this field, and her last try at a route was deceptively strong, as the winner freaked that day but Persepolis was still over 4 lengths clear of the show horse when sent off at odds of 4/5. The lukewarm top choice in a surprisingly tricky field. #4Amatara is an interesting player here and a major threat in an open race. While her form may appear inconsistent at first, you’ll notice both of her poorer efforts lately came at Los Alamitos, a unique bull ring track with tight turns that some horses struggle to handle. She was also 3-wide for the majority of the race in her last effort on a day when Los Al received an unusual amount of rain during the day, forcing them to seal the track midway through the card. If you forgive that effort, her lone start at Santa Anita produced a monstrous race when she destroyed an overmatched maiden field when routing for the first time. A return to form of her maiden score likely puts her in the winner’s circle again today. #2 Velvet Queen is the slight morning line favorite in this field, and she is one that I will likely use somewhere but ideally want to beat. She got away with a slow pace last out when trying dirt for the first time, and she managed to hold on late to win in a starter allowance field. She now has to tackle two turns on the dirt for the first time, and there’s enough other speed in here to keep her honest. However, we truly haven’t seen just how good she might be over the main track, and she has enough early speed to burn early if the rider chooses. A defensive use. Race 4:MC 50000 6½ Furlongs Picks:5,2 / 8 / 1,4 In what appears to be a continuation of short priced winners, I’m forced to take #5 Benny Chang on top in race 4. Peter Miller and Joel Rosario are perennially overbet on the west coast, but when they are winning at 38% together it makes them an awful dangerous combination to fade, regardless of the price. This son of Cross Traffic was a little wide when contesting an honest pace last out, and of the 3 horses fighting for the lead he was by far the best of the speeds, as the other leaders tired to finish 5th and 6th, including the 6/5 favorite. He has to negotiate an extra furlong today, but there doesn’t appear to be any other speeds entered today who can keep up with him on the front end. #2 Palace Prince is an interesting contender. This colt showed promise early, running third to Wrecking Crew and Tizamagician, both of whom are Derby hopefuls. Things haven’t gone quite as planned on the stretch out though, as he regressed significantly in his next 2 efforts when trying two turns. I think the cutback to sprinting distances, coupled with the barn switch, class drop, and first start as a gelding, can make this horse a contender in a bit of a weak field. No published works since December 20th is concerning, but Glatt has good numbers off of medium layoffs and I trust this one still has enough ability to get the job done. #8 Big Hoof Dynamite catches my attention purely due to the fact that top west coast jockey Prat climbs aboard for a relatively unknown trainer in Jay Nehf. I always take notice when top jockeys get up for small barns, and I have to think this horse is live for Prat to take the mount. There doesn’t appear to be any world-beaters in this spot, so this one doesn’t seem completely overmatched on speed figures if the trip fits. Race 5:[F][S]MC 50000 6 Furlongs Picks: 6,5 / / 3,7 Race 5 is a tough race, as I don’t like the early favorite but none of the first-time starters are very impressive either. While I'm not throwing the favorite out complete, I am going to use a different horse on top. Before getting into the rest of the field, let’s look at the early favorite, #5 Rickie Nine Toe’s. He ran a surprisingly strong race in debut going 5.5 furlongs at the generous price of 17-1, then looked every bit a winner in his next race when bet down to 4/5 favoritism only to get caught late by a 54-1 first time starter and ultimately fade to third. Note that race was at 6 furlongs and at maiden 30k vs the maiden 50k he faces today. Periban has poor stats with 1st off the claim (1/27) as well as first time blinkers (0/11). Factor in Bejarano’s cold start to the meet (0/20) and possible stamina issues, and this is a favorite who will be a short price and very vulnerable. My top selection is the #6Nikkileaks. Nikkileaks got a solid education in her debut, taking dirt and passing a few horses to get up for a nonthreatening third late. She flashed speed in her next race, contesting the pace before tiring late. I’m not sure there is a ton of quality in this field, and the addition of blinkers and jockey change to Maldonado signal to me that Glatt wants this horse to show more speed and will have her winging it early. Glatt is 20% with first time blinkers and does well with horses on moderate layoffs, so I think this one could get loose early and prove tough to run down. If Nikkileaks and Rickie Nine Toe’s go toe-to-toe on the lead, I’m interested in #3 H and R’s Girl to come running late. This one doesn’t seem to have much early speed in the AM, but she’s by precocious California sire Smiling Tiger (15% winners first out), out of Sassy Synner, who has already produced 10 winners from 12 starters, including 3 stakes winners. Don’t sleep on Rispoli Umberto, as this Italian invader has already proven he has talent when scoring a mild upset with a brilliant ride on Hootie in the nightcap last Sunday. #7 Smart Girl is the other half of the Krujac pair, and note that Efrain rides for Krujac occasionally and he lands here vs on H and R’s Girl. It sounds as if this one has been slightly outworking H and R’s Girl in the mornings, so she could be another with a shot in a race with bad favorites. Race 6:[F]Clm 32000 5½ Furlongs (T) Picks:4 / 2,5 / 6 #4Drift Away is the top selection in this turf sprint. We have already covered the developing track trends for turf sprints favoring late runners, so I’m looking for a horse with strong closing ability. There appears to be enough speed in here to keep the pace honest, and I think Drift Away is far and away the best closer in this field. She has won at this distance and over this surface before, and Andrew Lerner is a gaudy 44% when sending out horses second off the layoff. Toss the last race as it was on the wrong surface, and this mare has been competitive at and above the level she finds herself at today. #5 Bako Sweets is the second pick. While this 7-year-old mare has done her best work over the synthetic surface up north, she hasn’t embarrassed herself by any stretch while racing over the lawn. She was a decent fourth two-back when making her first start for Blake Heap off the heels of a 10-month layoff, and her last race was on dirt where she has never been at her best. Despite speed not holding particularly well so far, this one has better than average turn-time and should threaten early if she can improve at all from that October 18th effort. #2 Swirling is one who may get overlooked due to the barn change to low percentage trainer Perez, but don’t be too quick to throw her out. She is another who could sit a good stalking trip behind likely pacesetter Classy Atlantic, and her first race for the Perez barn was every bit as strong as her races for Sadler. Once again, ignore the clunker on the wrong surface in a race where she was in over her head and she could surprise at a generous price. Race 7:OC 62500n2x 6½ Furlongs Picks:1 / 4,5 Race 7 leads me to a top pick that I would normally fade in most situations, #1McKale. I am a firm believer in fading the non-superstar Baffert horses; those that don’t break their maiden in the first two tries, and generally whatever he sends out on the turf that didn’t debut on grass. This horse struggled mightily at n1x company for an extended period before being overmatched against graded stakes type Flagstaff and then flopping at the 3/2 favorite in September. However, the main reason I’m using him prominently here is the fact that he appears to be textbook lone speed. There is nobody in this field who can go with him early, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he was able to open up a multiple length lead by the first call. He hasn’t turned into the superstar we’ve come to expect from Baffert, but you still cannot afford to ignore a lone speed horse with a rail draw getting the best connections on the west coast, as Drayden and Baffert are clipping along at 54% together from 28 mounts. I’m hoping the layoff gave him a much-needed rest and he will come out sharp today. #4 Manhattan Up comes in with more back class than most of this field, as he spent most of his three-year-old season running against the likes of Mucho Gusto, Roadster (the good version), Extra Hope, Nolo Contesto, and other highly regarded colts. He ran decently in his two turf tries, but I think dirt is definitely his best game. If McKale is unable to take them all the way, Manhattan Up is the one I like most to run them down. #5 Royal Trump is another who makes sense in this spot, and his last race was super impressive when tracking a slow pace to explode late for the upset at 34-1. However, that effort represents a career best for him, and it’s fair to question if he is likely to repeat such a performance while moving up in class. Glatt clearly has this one sharp right now, but if you missed the coming out party at 34-1 against weaker it’s a little tough to love him here at 2-1. Race 8:[F][S]Mdn55k 5½ Furlongs (T) Picks: 2,7,10 // 3,6,8 The final race of the day is a bit of an oddly carded affair, as we get a field of only 8 with 5 also-eligibles waiting to draw in. #2 BellaVita appears to be the most interesting of all the first-time-starters. This miss turned heads at the Ocala Breeder’s Sale in April when Kaleem Shah purchased her for $400k. Freshman sire Bayern is turning out to be quite a prolific turf influence, as he is getting 16% first time turf winners in his first crop. There is plenty of turf pedigree on bottom as well, as the dam was a black type stakes winner on turf and synthetic and is by strong turf influence Storm Cat. Watch the tote to check for action in this race, but I wouldn’t be surprised if her 7/2 morning line is more like 9/5 at post. Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Reddam Racing Square Eddie homebreds sprinting on turf with Doug O’Neill and Mario Guitierrez are almost always dangerous. #7 Kissable U’s best effort came when sprinting on the turf against open company, and she now drops back into state-bred restricted company at her preferred distance and back on the grass. She is a major player in a wide-open race. Longshot of the day #10 Too Much Smoke is the AE who seems the biggest threat. While 5-1 may not scream longshot, I don’t believe we are going to see many double-digit odds winners today, so settling on a 5-1 horse as the 4th choice in an 8-horse field is as close as I can get. We already covered how dangerous Miller is at Santa Anita, and you can toss the debut effort where she missed the break and never picked up her feet on the dirt. She has a number of classy half-siblings, including graded stakes turf winner Marckie’s Water and promising allowance winner Opus Won. She will need to find a way to save a bit of ground, but I would expect a much better performance from her today than what we saw in the debut. I absolutely love Clubhouse Ride offspring debuting on turf, as this son of Candy Ride is producing first time turf winners at over 20% so far, so #3 Warren’s Empress is worth a look. While the connections haven’t had the strongest numbers at this meet or with debut runners, I’m willing to be forgiving when I’m getting 10-1 or better with excellent turf pedigree. Note that Velez’s lone win at Santa Anita so far this meet (via DQ) came aboard a Craig Lewis trainer horse, at incredible odds of 46-1. Worth a flier at a price
There was some interest in his picks, so I said I would post them. I am not a great redditor, so I may have posted them in a confusing way, so here are all of his picks. Again, not plugging sportsline, but for $100 a year it is worth it for sports, although they only have horse coverage for big races. Kentucky Derby: $5 exacta box 7,11,14 ($30) $1 exacta 14 over ALL ($19) $1 exacta 6,9,10 over 7,11,14 ($9) $0.50 trifecta 7,11,14 with 7,11,14 with ALL ($48) $0.50 trifecta 14 with 5,6,7,9,10,11,14,16,17,18 with 5,6,7,9,10,11,14,16,17,18 ($36) $1 superfecta 7,11,14 with 7,11,14 with 6,7,9,10,11,14 with 6,7,9,10,11,14 ($72) $1 superfecta 14 with 7,11 with 6,7,9,10,11,14 with ALL ($68) OAKS DOUBLE $2 Oaks-Derby double ALL (Oaks) with 14 (Derby) total ($28) $1 Oaks-Derby double 2,5,7,9,10,11,14 (Oaks) with 6,7,9,10,11,14 (Derby) total ($42) $1 Oaks-Derby double 10 (Oaks) with ALL (Derby) - total ($20) $1 Oaks-Derby double 7,14 (Oaks) with 5,6,7,9,10,11,14,16,17,18 (Derby) - total ($20) KENTUCKY OAKS $5 EXACTA BOX 7,10,14 ($30) $.50 TRIFECTA 7,10,14 with 7,10,14 with 2,4,5,7,9,10,11,13 ($18) $1 SUPERFECTA 7,10,14 with 7,10,14 with 2,7,10,14 with 2,4,5,7,9,10,11,13 ($60) $1 EXACTA 2 with ALL ($13) $5 EXACTA BOX 4-12 ($10)
Hello all, the flat season is effectively over and the proper racing has begun. Thus it makes sense to open a tipping competition. This week will be a trial to gauge interest levels and to assess if it is worth continuing with one or both of the proposed competitions. Competition 1, NAPs: Fairly straightforward, post ONE selection on any UK/IRE Saturday race before the off of the first race of the day. You can make your NAP any Tote bet, so win, place, trifecta, etc. All stakes will be recorded as ONE unit (0.5 units if going e/w) and returns will be settled on Tote returns. Please also consider writing a few sentences as to why this is your NAP. Competition 2, PoPs: A Pony on the Ponies. This competition gives you a total amount of £25 to stake each week on any Tote bets on Saturday in the UK/IRE. This means that in addition to win/place/exacta bets you could also put in placepot/jackpot/scoop 6, should you so desire. All selections must be given in whole pounds and returns will be settled on Tote returns. Please note that for ease of calculation of results this is a competition for single wagers, not multiples or combination bets. Include a write up if you would like to but there isn't any need to for this. Hopefully there is some interest for this. Good luck. EDIT: If mods could maybe sticky this to draw attention to it, thanks.
Can someone explain to me how the payout was so high on the Justify-Gronk Exacta? I can’t wrap my head around how a 4-5 favorite followed by a horse that paid 6.9-1 on place bets somehow combine to pay out roughly 45:1 on the exacta. I guess I always thought of exactas like a parlay in sports betting, but clearly that is not the case. Any insight? PS just now realizing Gronkowski paid 6.9-1 on place bets and can’t imagine how pumped the Gronkowski brothers are about that
by Lenny Moon Reprinted with permission, this article discusses the best exacta strategies in horse racing. The Exacta is many horseplayers first taste of exotic wagering. In horse racing the Exacta requires the bettor to correctly select the first two finishers in a race. There are many ways to play the Exacta but most horseplayers are taught to play the Exacta in the most inefficient way, thus foregoing the opportunity to maximize their returns. I was guilty of falling into the trap because it was the way everyone played the Exacta, in fact it was the way the racing program suggested to play. Lucky for you I am here to teach you how to maximize your returns when betting the Exacta but before we get to that let’s take a few minutes to discuss the wrong ways and why they should be avoided.
The most common way to bet the Exacta is by boxing two or more horses. This is the strategy referred to earlier. Boxing your horses means they can come in any order so long as they finish first and second. At first glance, and to a novice, this might look like a great strategy because it provides a little cushion in case you are not perfect in your handicapping. What it also does is minimize returns because you are giving each combination an equal chance of winning. While there may be a rare occasion when you think two horses have an equal chance of winning or running second that should be the exception not the rule. Betting an Exacta Box is not only inefficient it can also be costly depending on the number of horses you use. A two horse Exacta Box costs $2 (2 x 1 = 2) for each $1 bet, a three horse Exacta Box costs $6 (3 x 2 = 6) for each $1 bet, a four horse Exacta Box costs $12 (4 x 3 = 12) for each $1 bet and so on. It may seem like a good way to bet but the cost and the likely return suggests otherwise. For example suppose you bet a three horse Exacta Box for $1. Your investment would be $6. If two of your horses are favorites and run one-two you might make a few dollars or depending on how much was bet on the combination you could conceivably lose money. The only benefit of boxing an Exacta is it will produce a higher win rate, meaning you will cash more tickets. In return, however, you will be minimizing your profits.
The most efficient way to bet the Exacta is by weighting each combination.
The second most common way to bet the Exacta is a wheel. An Exacta Wheel involves picking one horse to win and “wheeling” it with the rest of the field. If your horse wins you win the Exacta but again you are not maximizing your returns. You are actually putting yourself in a position that adds more luck to the equation then necessary. Basically you are hoping your horse wins the race and the longest shot runs second. Unfortunately there is a much better chance one of the logical contenders will fill out the Exacta. That result will produce a much lower payout than if the longest shot ran second. Let’s say you find one horse you really like to win but you cannot figure out who will run second. The best option would be to bet the horse to Win and forego the Exacta. The more likely decision will be wheeling your horse in the Exacta and praying for a long shot to come in second. If the race had ten horses the Exacta wheel would cost $9 (1 x 9 = 9) for each $1 bet. In a ten horse field the Exacta will usually pay more than $9 for a $1 bet so if your horse wins you will most likely make a profit but at what cost? Let’s say your horse is 3/1 and wins. You bet a $1 Exacta Wheel which costs $9. A logical horse runs second and the Exacta returns $20 for a $1 bet. You excitedly make your way to the betting window to collect your $11 profit. What you fail to realize is you left money on the table. Had you bet that same $9 on your horse to Win you would have won $36 (9 x 3 + 9 = 36) for a profit of $27 (36 – 9 = 27). The Win bet would have made you a profit of $27 while the Exacta only netted you $11. There will be instances when a long shot finishes second and the Exacta returns more than the Win bet but more often than not one of the favorites will run second thus reducing the return.
Exacta Part Wheel
The Exacta Part Wheel is a step in the right direction. This bet involves wheeling your horse over a few other horses. This is a much better strategy than wheeling the entire field second because it costs less. In the same example from the previous section let’s say you decide three horses can run second behind your top pick. A $1 Exacta Part Wheel would cost $3 (1 x 3 = 3) for each $1 bet. Now you have shifted the odds in your favor. The $3 Win bet would only return $12 (3 x 3 + 3 = 12). The Exacta would return $20 for each $1 bet resulting in a profit of $17 (20 – 3 = 17). In this scenario the Exacta returned $5 more than the Win bet for each $1 bet. A more effective way to play the Exacta Part Wheel is to bet more than a dollar on the combinations. I used this strategy on Belmont day in the Easy Goer Stakes. I thought the favorite, Teeth of the Dog, was the most likely winner. He went to post at odds of 2/1, not very appealing for a Win bet. I decided there were two horses that were most likely to finish second, Skyring (6/1) and Fast Falcon (27/1). I gave both horses the same chance of running second so I bet a $5 Exacta Part Wheel with Teeth of the Dog over Skyring and Fast Falcon. As expected Teeth of the Dog outclassed the field and won 3 3/4 lengths. Skyring faded to last in the stretch but long shot Fast Falcon closed stoutly and just got up for second. The $5 Exacta returned $418.75. The $10 Win bet on 2/1 Teeth of the Dog would have returned a measly $30.50. In this situation the Exacta Part Wheel provided the maximum return. It also showed that you can make money betting favorites, if you do it the right way.
The most efficient way to bet the Exacta is by weighting each combination. In the previous example had I thought Fast Falcon was more likely to run second I could have spent the same $10 by betting a $7 Exacta of Teeth of the Dog over Fast Falcon and a $3 Exacta of Teeth of the Dog over Skyring. Weighting your Exacta combinations is the best way to maximize your returns long term. Instead of being lazy and boxing your horses or wheeling them you should take a few minutes to think about what chance each horse has of winning and/or running second and then bet accordingly. An alternate example of the Weighted Exacta would be if you like two horses that you think will run first and second. Let’s say the first horse is twice as likely to win as the second. For the same $10 you could bet a $7 Exacta with first horse over the second horse and a $3 combination reversing it. If your horses run one-two you win and if you are correct that the first horse is more likely to win then you will be rewarded accordingly with a better return.
The Exacta is a great way to make money betting on horses. Unfortunately most horseplayers are taught to bet the Exacta inefficiently by either Boxing it or Wheeling their horse. Smart horseplayers, which includes you since you just read this, will instead bet Exacta Part Wheels or Weighted Exacta’s. The former group may cash more tickets but the latter group will make larger profits. To recap here are the important points to remember:
Boxing an Exacta is both lazy and inefficient
Betting an Exacta Wheel is injecting more luck into the equation
Betting an Exacta Part Wheel is a step in the right direction
Weighting an Exacta is the most efficient way to bet the Exacta and will produce the greatest returns long term
The Exacta is sometimes a better alternative than a Win bet, especially if you like the favorite
A Win Bet is sometimes the better choice, particularly in cases when you have no opinion on who will finish second
I hope this helps you make more money betting the Exacta, it has done so for me. If you have others ways of betting the Exacta please share them in the comments below. If you found this post to be helpful please share it using the social media buttons below, and if you haven’t already done so, join the AGameofSkill.com monthly newsletter by leaving your email address in the form below.
The Angles I Use: Updated And Requested By A Few Others
1) Fourth Race Back After A Six Month Or Longer Break Or After Going Off Form. You will see a few horses win in their first start back after a long break, but the trainer has prepared the horse with a lot of works, either on track or on their private training track(which they do not have to report to any racing jurisdiction). All track requires all horses to have a race or a recorded workout within three months before they are allowed to run. Then you will see a few more horses win in their second start back after a six month break, but this indicates the trainer did all he could think would help to get the horse fit before racing, but the horse still needed a start. Same with their third start back, but maybe with a few lighter works. But their fourth start back after a six month or longer break, at least to me, is the best opportunity you will get to capitalize on a major score you will remember for years(and you will know it was not a guess but a well thought out plan). But I will emphasize that the trainer must at least give some indication that he knows a little about getting a horse to peak. 10% winning and 30% in the money(1,2,3) is the baseline I use. You will see many horses that looks like they are not improving after three starts and I would suggest waiting until they start showing some run before risking any money on them(I do when I am winning at the track, but not so much when I try to force them to run). But over 80% of them that wins or runs second in their fourth start back show some type of improvement in their third start back, but often not enough to get the masses to bet on them. Horses that have tailed off after being in form for a few races are much harder to dictate, mostly because it is more difficult to decide when they are going off form, either immediately after winning or tough race and/or a gradual descend into going off form. After years of struggling to find a way to tell if they are going off form or simply had a bad race, I feel I have learn enough to sometimes give me a clue to which one they are indicating. But there is no set angle that would help you that is explainable, so I can only suggest that you will pick up little tidbits at a time by learning to read the running lines of each horse that would help you immensely. Watching how fast they are running or the pace is will not tell you anything as far as conditioning is concerned. Only running lines can give you that information. Time and class is important after you decide if the horse is in peak form but the best horse will only take your money if he is not in shape and/or going off form. Also, most trainers realize when their horse is not in top form by the way they are acting and/or working. But a trainer makes the bulk of his disposable income by getting horses to win. The fees he charges an owner to train their horse is enough to support his family and make a decent living, but the extras from winning purses are what most seeks on a daily basis. Most of the top trainers knows what it will take to get their horse(s) back to top fitness but they also know it will take weeks or months of steady hard works and/or racing to move their charge back to top condition. Horses that had less than a five or six month break will usually not need four starts back after a brief freshening to regain his top form. Horses given a 2-3 month break between races on paper are often taken from the track to give a freshening, but the trainer, especially if he knows what he is trying to accomplish, will still work the horse on a private training track(usually his own) and these works are not required to be reported to race tracks because they are not recognized as official workouts. Trainers, however, are required to have at least one published workout and/or race within a three month period(used to be a 2 month period and maybe still is required at some tracks) before a horse is allowed to run again. Stewards are required to scratch any horse that does not meet this criteria and will fine trainers, if they believe he is intentionally negligent or trying to be deceitful. 2) Third Race After A Winning Effort Angle: This angle came from reading a book but was also mentioned in several seminars held by public handicappers and sportswriters in the 1980's. The idea was to help bettors become better handicappers and give them an angle that worked over and over. This angle suggested that horses would win in every third start while they are in form. The theory was the winning race would take enough out of them that it took 2 starts to regain their form. And while this angle seemed to produce over and over, the winning horses started losing their value because the more that learned about this angle, the less value it offered. But since the seminars was phrased out mostly because of a few deceitful public handicappers, this angle returned to producing good to solid returns. However, after I spent a couple of years charting this angle, I noticed there was more value in betting these types when the horse throws a bad race after winning, then runs an improved effort in his next start but finishing no better than third but no better than fourth is even more preferred. The odds are better because most will think the horse ran third or fourth because "someone had to run there". The opposite way, where the horse ran third or second after a winning effort, then throws a bad race is more likely an indication they have gone off form, from my research. Also, their odds will usually not be worth the value you should be seeking, if you want to win long term. Everybody has days where it best to stay away from the track because no matter what you do or believe in, your horse(s) will not perform up to your expectations. When a horse runs two poor races in his next 2 races after his winning effort, I will usually not consider him at all unless he is dropping below his winning level or took a steep step up(two or more classes) in class in those two starts. More likely, he has gone off form but when he has not, you can expect and will get box car odds. However, when he takes only a small step up in those two starts, then enters back in his winning class level in his third start back, I will make this type beat me. The reason is most trainers will not drop a horse back down if he feels he is still fit but even, if he does, the odds will be lower than what I want to risk money on. Also when I first charted this angle, it stipulated a horse had to win his third start back. But after watching several who ran a 2nd or 3rd in his third start back and winning that 3rd start and paying humongous odds, I decided to start considering these types of horses with this angle, though I have never seen it written or even implied it might be effective. And this is where I get many longshot type winners because most think his close 2nd or 3rd is the best he could do while in form, so what should be different today. Actually, the horse actually ran his best race in most occasions, but he was simply beaten that day. And he too could need 2 races to get back to his top fitness level. The whole idea of this angle is betting a horse while he is in form, but a hard race will usually take enough conditioning out of most horses that it takes two races to regain his top level of fitness(and even more if he is knocked off form or better known as tired and sluggish). 3) Third In Last Start When Beaten By 2 Lengths Or More By The Winner And Second Place Finishers. This angle was returning boxcar winners and place horses in their next start at GP in 2018. And I have not focused enough on GP this year to determine if this angle is still producing there. Most bettors in the know will consider this type of horse in their next start if the horse is beaten less than 4 lengths when third, but almost none will consider this type if he is beaten by more than 5 lengths. But I will and I do. Actually the best odds using this type of angles comes when the horse is beaten between 5-10 lengths by the winner, regardless of how far the 2nd place horse finishes behind the winner. The whole idea behind this angle is the jockey may realize that the winner will be almost impossible to catch, so he will ease up on his horse to save a little punch(energy) for his next race. While he will attempt to make it look like he is trying, due to many bettors who complains he is not even trying to win(which he isn't), he has to make an attempt to make it look like a hard try or face possible disciplinary action from the stewards of that track. While I have some other information or rules that would be helpful to understand this angle more, I will not go there due too many who believes the internet is the best source to get their facts, though it is spotted with half truths and/or simply wrong information. I am not about arguing who is right or wrong, I simply am out to make the most money possible with the least amount risked. 4)Speed To The Top Of The Stretch Before Fading In The Stretch Run Angle: This is an angle that I have used with a lot of success thru the years. It simply means as a horse is starting to peak into his best condition, he will tend to hang around longer than any of his most recent races. When I first posted this angle, there were several handicappers on this sub-reddit that asked if it was better betting a horse that faded slightly or did a steady fade in the stretch run. Since I have used both on occasions(but not in the same race), I really did not have an answer at that time. But when I was looking thru the angles that I had charted many years ago, I had written in my notes the type I preferred. As I have stated, I used both types, but the ones who did a steady fade after staying within two lengths of the lead until the top of the stretch is both more reliable and has higher odds in their next start. The reason a steady fade works better is simple. A jockey may realize his horse is finished trying for that day and will not persevere with trying to win that race, though he has to give a half-hearted effort or get blame for not trying to do his best(which he will be accused of regardless of effort given if horse is heavily bet). Horse that fades slightly are most often giving their maximum effort because the jockey still believes he can coax the horse into winning that day and will often take a little more condition out of that horse that will hurt the horse more than help it in its next start. Also, I will not bet a horse back that has a clear lead until the top of the stretch and then fades slightly or steadily. This type of horse is most likely a quitter and will stop on his own on most occasions, with or without early pressure. But most horses will face some type of pressure at some point in the race. And when I have previously decided to use this type, I am often left wondering why I thought a horse who faced a little pressure and faded would do better when he is facing even more early pressure. 5)Trip Handicapping. This is an important angle to consider. While I first read about this angle in several of Beyers books, it was the first thing I realized about racing that could be important and I used from day one of my handicapping career. But seeing it in print only confirmed what I believe was often the difference between winning and losing in a lot of races. Noting when a horse has to check and then rebuild speed, get caught behind a wall of horses and having to ease up to wait for running room, horses losing a lot of ground by having to go wide to keep his momentum, bumping and getting squeezed out of the gate, even jockeys trying to time the break and causing the horse to break flat footed(to regain balance) are all part of trip handicapping and can be the difference from a solid race or a ho-hum effort. Jockeys making the wrong split second decision whether to stay inside or try to circle the field also has a major effect on the outcome of races and even top jockeys are prone to making a mistake. And on the flip side, noticing when a horse got the perfect set up and won because he had a perfect trip(otherwise, he lets other do the hard work and picks up the pieces after the front runners tires) will give you opportunities to make a big score if you learn to recognize the situation. Horses rarely get two perfect type trips in a career, much less two races in a row 6) Bloodlines--- Bloodlines is probably the most mis-understood of all angles out there and that is because there is very few experts that had actually done any type of research, other than copy the sayings of a few earlier experts and passing them along. It requires more study than a five minute glance but for those willing to learn, it can make a world of difference to your bankroll. For example, experts have always consider that Eclipse of 1764 was the original carrier of the large heart gene. Sure, he won all 18 of his lifetime starts, but the biggest field he faced in those 18 races were 4 other horses twice(most of his other races had one challenger or none). But they are wrong and here is why. As a sire, the original Eclipse never finished as the top sire in any year he stood, finishing no better than second to Herod and his son Highflyer. Every one of his top runners had the Herod or Matchem in their dam families and they were the two stallions that combined to form the large heart gene(Match 'Em grandson & Herod's grand daughter(thru Highflyer) formed one line and then Highflyer was bred to Matchem's daughter to produce another daughter that form another line that displayed the large heart gene). Even then, only two of Eclipse sons made a lasting impression on the breed but it was not because of him but rather whom their sons or grandsons were bred to a couple of generations later(Herod/Matchem cross). From 1764 thru 1855, there were supposedly 22 horses that had the name of Eclipse when they first race but another name was added after their career began to help bettors separate one Eclipse from another. However, the Eclipse of 1855 held that name only throughout his racing career and stallion career. He won 5 of 9 starts on the race track but one of his son(Alarm) was responsible for the Domino sire line. This is also the Eclipse that a biopsy was performed on after his death and it was determined his heart was twice the size of a normal horse's heart. But this Eclipse's dam(Gaze) was inbred 5x5 to Penelope and Prunella(dam of Penelope) also showed up in her 5th generation. Penelope also showed up in the sire line of this Eclipse in the 5th generation, making it 4 crosses with a large heart gene carrier. I am adding all of this above to hopefully make you realize that experts can be wrong also, especially if they did not do research for them shelves and only copy old material that is often not accurate. A computer is only as smart as the person who puts the info into it. I use bloodlines several different ways. First, it helps me to determine which surface a horse will most likely prefer. If a sire made the bulk of his money(or even a better indicator is wins and in the money(1,2,3) on grass throughout his career and did little or nothing on dirt, then I will be reluctant to bet one of his foals until the trainer gets them on the right surface. Most horses will prefer one surface over another, though there are some who will run well on both. Even these types will tend to run slower on one surface over the other when you compare their style, pace and running times. Then I will take a look at the sire's best distance during his racing career. This is not necessarily the longest distance or the shortest distance the sire won at, but the distance where I feel he runs his top race. I also look for the type of runner the sire was, whether that be front running speed, slightly off the pace, and one who liked to gather him self and make a late run. Some horses are naturally gifted at breaking on cue while others tend to break flat footed and takes a stride or two to get going. I'm sure most of you have seen or heard of a horse hitting the gate at the start. This occurs mostly in young horses, such as 2 YOs because the jockey will usually try to time the break to get a head start which is huge in short races, but not as important in mid distance races or longer. If he succeeds he looks like a genius but when he fails, it usually causes the horse all chance of winning. However, just because a sire won a graded stakes or several graded stakes in his career does not mean he will sire even one stake winner, much less dozens of them. But it does give you a clue as to what type of running style his foals will have. If he had blazing speed from the gate, then most likely his best foals will display similar speed. The top trainers normally takes a look at a sire's natural ability and try to copy that style with his foals. Next, I take a look at the dam and if she has enough starts, then I follow the same procedure with her as I do the sire. I determine which surface the dam favor, her running style, and her best distance. If I feel she did not have enough starts to get a clear picture and/or she had a poor trainer, then I will use the broodmare sire(her sire) instead. While she too may not produce a foal that was as good as her or will compete in the same class she did, their running style and preferred surface will usually be similar unless the trainer teaches her foals a different method of running that he believes will make the foal a better runner. However, most trainers will not switch anything at all in the foals, in fear of making them less profitable for the owners and them too. And while I am on the subject, trainers are the key to all of these angles simply because if they do know how to get a horse fit and/or can not tell when a horse is improving, then he will waste most of his life getting horses near peak and then making ill advised moves that will cause the horse to go off form(such as running him in class that the horse cannot compete in after getting him fit). But trainers are out to win because training is their livelihood and they will struggle just like anyone else if they cannot win on occasion. However, just because a trainer has a win percentage of around 10%, he may not have the stock or clientele of more well known trainers, he usually knows when his horse is fit as well as the more highly regarded trainers do. Run an unfit horse, you can expect a bad race. Run a horse that peaked in his second start back and is beginning to go off form, expect an less than top effort. But run a horse when he is signaling he is feeling better than he has in a while and expect an on the board finished at least, with a win very possible. Current conditioning is always the key. These are the six major angles that I look for on a consistent basis. I use every one of these angles to help me narrow down my choices the quickest way possible while pointing me to live horses that will lead me to huge payoffs. I am not interested in betting when payoffs are low because that will mean you are spinning your wheels and wasting time, just trying to stay even or making just enough money to get to try again the next day or week. When I bet, I strive for making enough money to cover all my bets for a couple of months, off one solid score. Anything more is simply added rewards that I put away and use on other things I enjoy. But I started out the same as most handicappers, betting a lot of low odds horses and seeing them get beat much more often than they were winning. I got tired of spending hard earned cash and having nothing to show for it. But I eventually got the message and I realized that I could go thru life trying the same old things that were not working well enough for me to succeed and hoping for a different outcome one day or I could do research and pick up new ideas that would make me a better handicapper. I chose the latter and while it was hard work and continues to be hard work, the rewards are much better this way than my old way of handicapping. So does any of this really work? Make you own call. While it does not in every race. you will be presented with enough opportunities to take your game to a higher level with very little at risk. I will give you a few examples that occurred last Saturday night at CD, June 15th. But realize I did not hit any of these exactas, mostly because I overlooked these angles. While they still came through, like they do very often, first finding them and then be willing to risk a few dollars, regardless of odds, will make all the difference in your bankroll. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 1st Race was a maiden special weight for 3 YO & Up going 5 1/2 furlongs on the grass. While I bet a first time starter that was listed at 20-1 M/L but eventually got off a 45-1 and ran 2nd. He had good works and a decent trainer, but I was drawn to the fact his sire was Distorted Humor, a son of Forty Niner and his broodmare sire is Danzig. Danzig's foals are known for their grass and off tracks abilities. especially in sprints. Bet him to WP and he came out first and led to deep stretch when he got caught. While I boxed an Animal Kingdom son with him in an exacta box, he proved to me that he really did not want any part of such a short distance, which I figured as much, but bet him anyway. However, the winner was a son of Verrazano and grandson of More Than Ready. More Than Ready is another sire than is on my short list of sire to watch in sprints, whether on grass or dirt. He had one start and ran 2nd in a maiden claiming race and was stepping up in class. This was the reason I decided to go another way, but the trainer and jockey had teamed up to bring another 35-1 on top in a 5 Furlong turf sprint at CD, exactly five weeks before, and I was on that one. Actually, the only horses to run second or third in their previous race coming in to this race, completed the exacta, tri and superfecta! None had proven they were not willing to pass. These three exotic wagers would have netted anyone over $1G with the minimum bet on each one boxed, all for less than $10 invested. -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 2nd Race was a maiden special weight for 3 YO & Up F&M going 1 mile on dirt. Sally's Curlin was making her 4th start this year, twice finishing 3rd behind runaway winners on speed favoring tracks and then 5th against this class in her last. But her prior two starts, came at 1 1/16 mile and 1 1/8 mile and both were a little longer than her broodmare sire, More Than Ready(yes that one), performed his best at throughout his career and has sired. Shorting back up to a mile, she sat near the rear, made an explosive move and won going away. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 6th Race was the Wise Dan S at 1 1/16 mile on grass. While I had a case of tunnel vision when I was handicapping this race, it proved to be a major error. I bet two horses that did not conformed to any of my angles and it proved costly. The winner, March To The Arch, ran an even fifth in a G1 stakes race in his last and was the only one entered in this race than had ran in a G1 in his last, which the exception of the import who I bet. All Right ran 2nd at 71-1. If you read what I type about the third race back after a win, he fit that angle to a T. Not only did he run a poor race in his next, he ran an much improved race the race after that and equibase charts noted he need a seam, otherwise behind a wall of horses and could not get through. The horse that ran third, Admission Office, ran 2nd in a G2 in his last start prior to this effort and he was the only one in this field that had done so. With a little knowledge about recent class and one of the angles i use, betting the minimum of less than $10 would have netted anyone more than $8.5K. A life changing amount, in most instances. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- The 8th race was the Steven F Foster S and the winner, Seeking The Gold, was making his third start back after putting in his best race in the Pegasus World Cup, but was used hard to get up for second behind the runaway winner on a sloppy race track. Then he traveled half the way around the world and put in a poor effort. Returnedto The U.s, he then finished 3rd in his next which set him up nicely for this effort. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The 9th race was the Regret S. The winner, Hard Legacy , was making her third start back after a winning effort. First she ran an even race in a G3 race, her first effort against graded horses. Then she returned against G2 caliber horses and she ran even again, though she pick up a few horses but not much gain on the top horse. She returned this race and was sent out front for the lead, set most of the pace and held the runner up safe. The runner up, Winter Sunset, was my best pick of the day simply because I thought she would get the lead and win going away. Winter Sunset was also working on her third start since the last win, and like the winner, faced off against graded horses in both. While I rarely put two of the same angle horse together in an exacta box(which I didn't this time either), it would have been beneficial in this case as the 2nd choice in my tri box ran 5th. ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ The 11th race was a maiden claiming for $30,000 for 3 YO & Up at 6 furlongs. I was betting the winner all the way simply because he was returning on the same class as his first start but which he was claimed out of. His sire was Flatter, who broke his maiden in his second start at 6 furlongs but did not mature into the top runner he ended up being until late in his 5 YO season. The Cadron Flats's broodmare sire was Diablo, was a fast sprinter throughout his career and a son of Devil's Bag, another high class speedster. Now you will not find these angles every day or even every week, because they are buried in thousands of other useful pieces of information, but you will get several opportunities every month if you do not let your guard down.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby runs through the Fair Grounds in Louisiana this weekend as our highlighted race will be the $1 million Louisiana Derby for three year olds going a mile and a sixteenth. While at the Fair Grounds, we will also be looking at two other races on the under card including The New Orleans Handicap for four year olds and up and the Muniz Memorial on the turf. Then on Sunday, we travel to Sunland Park in New Mexico for the $800,000 Sunland Park Derby, also an 8 ½ furlong contest for three year olds, and the Sunland Park Oaks, which will feature an excellent matchup between American Pharoah’s little sister Chasing Yesterday and the super talented and super gorgeous Bellafina. Before moving forward, just a few notes about last week: Even after a ridiculously wide trip, Improbable still looked like a winner in mid-stretch of the first division of the Rebel but was run down late by Long Range Toddy. I’m 99% sure he was “short” as it was his first race in almost three months. I know I said otherwise in last week’s breakdown, but the other 1% is the City Zip angle. His next race will be a huge one as it will hold the key to answering that question. Two Year Old Champion Game Winner did absolutely nothing wrong and was flat unlucky in losing a head bob on the wire in the second division of the Rebel. I’m not worried about him as he will probably get a lot out of that race and seems to be on target to be peaking on the first Saturday in May. Kudos to the winner Omaha Beach, who signaled a big effort was upcoming with a monster 6F work (1:10.3) several days before the race. This was a big “coming out” party for the very handsome, very talented, beautiful striding colt and he too seems to be peaking at just the right time. I couldn’t be happier for trainer Richard Mandella, who is clearly one of the best trainers in the game today and has an excellent sense of humor as well. Midnight Bisou was “talking” to us leaving the three eighths pole right through the wire while winning the Azeri Stakes on the Rebel under-card. I loved the way she was flipping her ears back and forth and the look on her face on the far turn. She was clearly waiting patiently for a cue for jockey Mike Smith and when he gave it, she took off. I also loved how she pricked her ears about 50 or so yards before the wire as if she was saying “ok, I got this….hey look at that over there” Monomoy Girl or no Monomoy Girl, I expect a big year out of this super talented filly. As far as Elate goes, she clearly needed the race. I’m still hopefully she can return to her Grade:1 form and hasn’t lost a step due to having “a few physical issues” over the past several months. Lastly, and I didn’t catch his name, but a big shout out and props to the guy who was the sole survivor in a pick seven, $100,000 tournament at Oaklawn on Saturday. The man went 6 for 6 and had Game Winner in the final leg…..need I say more? Saturday, March 23, 2019 Fair Grounds Race: 10 (4:34 PM EST Post) New Orleans Handicap Copper Bullet proved he’s more than just a top notch sprinter in the Razorback Handicap in his last which was his first try at route of ground. This good looking son of More Than Ready came with a furious stretch run but just missed catching the talented Coal Front. The combination of that race and back to back very strong, stamina building works in the month of March should set him up perfectly for this………………….…Silver Dust is a $510,000 son of super sire Tapit who is three quarters of a length away from coming into this riding a four race winning streak. Although his speed figure was a little light, I was most impressed with his last (Mineshaft Handicap, Feb. 18) when he overcame a slow early pace, yet took command of the race on the turn and won easy all while coming home the last 2 ½ furlongs in a very good :30.3. …Looms a solid threat here …………………….Although Mr. Buff will be making his first start in 56 days for underrated trainer John Kimmel, he clearly comes into this race razor sharp. The son of Friend or Foe, who stands for $1,000, impressively went “Coast to Coast” in four straight at Aqueduct in NY, registering speed figures that are higher than most in here. I’m not too worried about the time off, as his last two works signal he is most likely holding form……Figures bang up and the one to catch……………….Honorable Mentions: Although Core Beliefs will be making his first start in 181 days, he might go well in this spot. If you draw a line through his last two races last year where he was overmatched against Good Magic then McKinzie, you’ll see he’s hit the board in all six career starts including finishing third to Triple Crown winner Justify in the Santa Anita Derby. I like his work pattern coming into this as well……………………… Lone Sailor had several issues when disappointing as the 2-1 favorite in the aforementioned Razorback. The now four year old was making his first start in 103 days, was hung wide on the first turn and was trapped behind a slow pace. This stretch runner should be tighter for this and should also get a faster pace. Of course, it’s always hard to endorse a horse who is 2 for 16 in his career, 1 for his last 11 and 0 for 4 on this surface. …...A couple of other side notes about this race: After winning two straight at Gulfstream Park, Souper Tapit stumbled at the start of the Razorback and was five wide at the half mile pole…could be a menace with a cleaner start and trip. Noble Indy is not as bad as his last four races indicate. This Todd Pletcher trainee has been beaten by a, no exaggeration, 141 lengths over that span. “Ignore Pletcher, leave the track on a stretcher” angle fits with this horse. (My play: $50 win on Copper Bullet and a .50 triple box using the top 5. Cost $80) Race: 11 (5:10 PM EST Post) Muniz Memorial Handicap Bricks and Mortar was visually impressive coming “over the top” and beating some of the best turf horses in the world while taking down the inaugural Pegasus World Cup Turf in his last. This now five year old by Giant’s Causeway improved his career record to 6 for 8 that day. This Chad Brown trainee won’t be facing nearly as tough of field here…....hard to go against in this spot…....Logical choice......…….Synchrony is a hard hitting, multiple Graded Stakes winning stretch runner who sports a 12-6-2-3 career record on the turf. This chestnut colt by Tapit’s 2019 debut was very good as he took down the Fair Ground Handicap on Feb. 16. What makes it especially good is he got the last furlong of that race in a smoking :11.4 after being six wide at the quarter pole. Of course, being 4 for 4 on this turf course also merits attention….Should be coming late once again in this spot……………..Although Divisidero has disappointed time and time again (1 for 8 over the last two years) and finished behind Inspector Lynley last time out, I’m going to use him in my exotics once more. The late running, now seven year old son of Kitten’s Joy gave several good accounts of himself vs. Grade: 1 competition last year, so there is a left handed drop in class in this spot………………………….Honorable Mentions: Inspector Lynley, who is consistent (14 of 22 on the board), but doesn’t actually win (5 for 22) as much as you’d like to see but still merits a look regardless………………..Hot Springs will be asked to take on Bricks and Mortar in his first start in over four month, that’s a tall order. With his running style, drawing the rail won’t help his cause either. That said, he is 4 for 7 on the turf and has shown me some talent in watching his replays. ($200 win on Bricks and Mortor & $1.00 triple box using all 5. Cost: $260) Race: 12 (5:44 PM EST Post) Fair Grounds Oaks If you draw a line through Serengeti Empress’ Breeders’ Cup debacle, you see she’s won her last three races by 13, 19 and 4 ½ lengths with each being more impressive than the next. The 13 and 19 lengths wins speak for themselves but note she was basically being pulled up in the last 50 yards of her last race (the Grade: 2 Rachel Alexandra) but still won by plenty of daylight. Still another who is hard to go against…………………Eres Tu has been seriously unlucky in her last two starts yet finished admirably in both. Good looking filly by Malibu Moon just missed in the Silverbulletday Stakes two back after being “assaulted” leaving the five-sixteenths pole and being pushed five wide for the stretch drive. She then came back with a ridiculously wide trip, all the way around, yet still passed five horses in the last 4 ½ furlongs in the Rachel Alexandra while checking in third. That horrid ride probably cost regular jockey Ricardo Santana the mount as Jose Ortiz gets the leg up for the first time…………………Liora probably need the Silverbulletday, her first start of the year, because she ran much better in the Rachel Alexandra last time out. Although this well bred filly (by Candy Ride out of Giant’s Causeway mare) was “no match” for the winner that day, she was making up ground in deep stretch. Third start off the layoff angle figures here too. (My Play: $200 win on Serengeti Empress and $5.00 exacta box using all 3. Cost: $230.00) Race: 13 (6:13 PM EST Post) Louisiana Derby War of Will is unbeaten and, by and large, untested in three starts since switching over to the dirt surface in November. This handsome colt broke his maiden, then took down the LeComte Stakes and the Risen Star Stakes all very impressively. I don’t blame his connection for running him on the turf in his first four races as his pedigree, by War Front out of Sadler’s Wells mare, screams “grass” and “distance”. He will be seeking to be only the third horse (the gorgeous Friesan Fire in 2009 and “little” International Star in 2015) in 100+ years to win all three Fair Ground prep races for the Kentucky Derby. Being 2 for 2 over the track and firing a big work last week both signal he is holding form. With Game Winner and Improbable each tasting defeat for the first time last week, if this very tactical colt wins here, and I suspect he might, I’m sure he’ll catapult to the Kentucky Derby favorite in a lot of people’s minds. So this is a very big race for him……………………. Country House’s maiden breaking win at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 17 still stands out in my mind as one the most impressive races I’ve seen all year. Colt by Lookin’ at Lucky broke slow but executed an eye catching move on the turn, swept by the field and won going away by 3+ lengths. The Bill Mott (who is loaded for bear in the 2019 Kentucky Derby hunt) trainee proved that race was no fluke as he had a rough trip (broke slowly, 5 wide on the turn then lugged in down the lane) in the Risen Star, yet still managed to get second. Figures bang up here; especially with a better trip…………………..The regally bred Spinoff is another who appears to be getting his act together at just the right time. Colt by Hard Spun, who remains one of the best looking horses I’ve ever seen, out of Grade: 1 winner Zaftig, absolutely blitzed a “NW1X other than” at Gulfstream Park in his last. This chestnut took command of that race leaving the half mile pole (in :45.4) and drew away impressively from that point on, winning by a colossal margin and stopping the clock in an excellent 1:40.1 for 8 ½ furlongs. Two sensational works at Palm Beach Downs since only adds to it and he figures prominent throughout……………….Honorable Mentions: I hate to put Sueno this far down, I really do, as he’s done nothing wrong in his last four races dating back to last August. Most recently, he just missed behind Gunmetal Gray in the Sham Stakes then again in the Southwest Stakes behind upset winner Super Steed. His speed figures continue to climb and he posted a big six furlong work (1:12.2) last week………………………..In my article breaking down the Risen Star, I mentioned I wasn’t giving up on Roiland just yet and this colt by Successful Appeal did me proud in finishing third at almost 70-1. He came screaming from last, and some 16 lengths back, to be beaten by less than four lengths in the end including passing an astounding eight horses down the lane. I hate he drew the one hole but perhaps his rider can work out a decent trip………………………I’m probably underrating Hog Street Hustle in this spot. Here’s a colt who was making up ground vs. War of Will late while finishing second in the Lecomte, then had a nightmare trip in the Risen Star (checked early and seven wide on the turn). Through all that, he came from next to last to grab fourth…..long shot possibility right here………………..The same goes for Limonite, (underrating) who probably needed the Risen Star as it was his first start in almost three months. Another stretch runner, he draws a decent post and should be tighter for this……………………..Bankit also possesses a strong late run but fizzled in his last two races. (My play: .50 triple box using the top 5. Cost $30.00) Sunday, March 24, 2019 Sunland Park Race: 9 (6:27 PM EST Post) Bellafina was runner up as Champion Two Year Old Filly last year and has come out running thus far in her 3 year old campaign. This $800,000 filly by Quality Road annihilated the field in the Santa Ynez in January, and then wired her foes in the Las Virgenes in her last in Feb. I’m not worried about the perhaps little kink in the armor we saw in the last 100 yards of the Las Virgenes. She had every right to tire in deep stretch being she ran fast through the first six furlongs, on a track labeled “good” in just her second start of the year. Third start off the layoff and a big work last week are more signs pointing towards a peak performance from this winner of 5 of 7 starts including a pair of Grade:1’s………………………………I can see my moniker of “American Pharaoh’s little sister” Chasing Yesterday is about to be changed to just Chasing Yesterday. Filly by Tapit has won four of five career starts including the Grade: 1 Starlet to end the year last year and seems to still be getting better. Bellafina will clearly have a fitness edge in this spot and that’s one of the main reasons why I’m lining them up this way. That said, I will tell you her 5F work (:57 flat) last week was…well…beyond supersonic. It has been a while since I’ve seen a horse work that fast………………..Victim of Love has speed, the rail and has won three straight including beaten several of these in her last. Filly by Speightstown is 2 for 2 over this surface also………………Honorable Mentions: Backflash made a run at Victim of Love in her last but just wasn’t getting by her. In the end, she was only beaten by less than two lengths…………………Although K P Slickem hasn’t crossed the finish line first yet through five career starts, she hasn’t been off the board yet in any of those five starts. (My Play: Pass...I'm not seeing much value with what figures to be a two horse race) Race: 11 (7:30 PM EST Post) Sunland Park Derby Mucho Gusto is a $625,000 colt by Mucho Macho Man who gets lost in the Bob Baffert barn sometimes thanks to Game Winner and Improbable. This talented chestnut colt, who is 3 for 4 in his career with his only loss coming to Improbable which is nothing to be ashamed of, showed a new weapon in his arsenal when he learned how to rate off the pace like he did in winning his last. He’ll be making his first start in 50 days here but his work pattern coming in is tremendous, topped off by a monster 5 furlong move (:57.4) on March 10. He draws the rail, which is a good thing with his running style and the distance will be no problem whatsoever………………..Anothertwistafate is a synthetics surface running sensation. This $360,000 son of Scat Daddy broke his maiden (by 4 lengths), beat mid level optionals NW1X (by 5 lengths) and was nothing short of dominating in his last while winning the El Camino Real Derby by 7 lengths, with strong speed figures in all three races. I was super impressed with his win in the El Camino. I love the way he was moving from the eighth pole to the wire as he leveled off and was “reaching out” really well. Of course, the elephant in the room is how will he handle the switch back to dirt? Because his one and only try over it says he won’t……………………………….Wicked Indeed closed ground well, late in the Mine That Bird Stakes at 1 1/16th miles in his last and chased War of Will two races back. I like the fact that this gray colt by Tapit’s speed figures have risen through all four career starts. Logical contender with the added distance in this spot……………………….Honorable Mentions: Hustle Up has owned the state of New Mexico for the past 364 days. This speedster is 8 for 10 in his career, including being 4 for 4 on this oval. He draws toward the inside, so that should help his chances as should the back to back big works coming into this. He looms the one to catch in this spot. That said, he’ll be a big step up in class and will have to run longer than he’s ever been before. ….If you are shopping for a longshot, take a gander at “the maiden” Pasamonte Man, who has gotten progressively better through each of his three career races, including just missing two back. Note how he was quietly making up ground late against Wicked Indeed and Hustle Up in the Mine That Bird Stakes. Still another who should relish the stretch out in distance. (My Play: .50 triple box using all 5: Cost: $30) By: Gerard Apadula Director of Equine Operations and Development Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) 2019- Record: 16-52 = 31% (My Plays: -$1,652.19) 2018- Record: 107-261= 41% 2017- Record: 92-235 = 39% 2016- Record: 91-229 = 40% 2015- Record: 67-180 = 37% 2014- Record: 29-73 = 40% 2013- Record: 20-59= 34% 2012 -Record: 24-73= 33% 2011 –Record: N/A 2010- Record: 24-74= 33% Little Bets N’ Pieces **** WinStar Farm's top stallion Pioneerof the Nile died suddenly Monday, the farm announced. He was only 13. The impeccably bred son of Empire Maker-Star of Goshen bred a mare in the morning and started acting “strange” once he was back in his stall. He was en route to the clinic when he died. "We are all extremely saddened by the loss of Pioneerof the Nile," said WinStar Farm president and CEO Elliott Walden. "He was a superior physical specimen, a Triple Crown sire (American Pharaoh), and a unique personality. All of us at WinStar are heartbroken." **** Danthebluegrassman, a 2002 Kentucky Derby contender, was euthanized Monday at Park Equine Hospital in Woodford due to an irreparable small intestinal obstruction that was causing chronic colic. The 20 year old gelding had been pensioned at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement center in Georgetown, K.Y., since 2008. Trailed by Bob Baffert and owner Michael E. Pegram, Danthebluegrassman won the Gold Rush Stakes as a two year old and later convinced his connections he was Kentucky Derby worthy with a win in the Grade: 3 Golden Gate Derby and a close 2nd in the Grade: 3 El Camino Real Derby. Although being listed at 50-1 on the morning line, he was forced to scratch after he "tied up" following a gallop at Churchill Downs. “Dan” eventually fell down to the claiming ranks and was retired to Old Friends in the spring of 2008. His final career stats were 47 starts with 8 wins and earnings of $423,794.
Previews of the Gotham Stakes; Tampa Bay Derby and more
Needless to say, this weekend is jam packed with big races all over the country….. But it could have been a lot bigger. With the blockbuster news that Santa Anita Park has been closed “indefinitely” due to an alarming 21st horse suffering a life ending injury during a training session four major races won’t be run this weekend. Affectionately known as “the Big ‘Cap”, the Santa Anita Handicap, a major three year old Kentucky Derby prep race, the San Felipe Stakes, the Grade: 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile and the San Carlos for sprinters were all slated to be run and will be rescheduled. This statement was released last Tuesday at 10:15PM: “The Stronach Group announced the closure of Santa Anita Park for live racing and training effective immediately while the one mile main track undergoes additional extensive testing. All stakes races scheduled for this upcoming weekend, including the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, the Grade II San Felipe and the Grade II San Carlos will be rescheduled. “The safety, health and welfare of the horses and jockeys is our top priority,” said Tim Ritvo, Chief Operating Officer, The Stronach Group. “While we are confident further testing will confirm the soundness of the track, the decision to close is the right thing to do at this time”. The additional testing of the track will be led by veteran Trackman Dennis Moore, expanding on the ground radar testing conducted earlier this week by the University of Kentucky's Dr. Mick Peterson. Measures will include utilizing an Orono Biomechanical Surface Tester, a device that mimics the impacts of a horse running at full gallop allowing engineers to see how the track holds up. These test results will be evaluated to ensure track consistency and uniformity for both training and racing. Further, The Stronach Group will be conducting a comprehensive evaluation of all existing safety measures and current protocols. This decision comes a little late. In all my 40 years of being involved in this sport, I can’t recall a time where 21 horses have lethally broken down in such a short, 10 week time span. I’ve been to Santa Anita several times in the past year. I walked the upper stretch, the surface seems fine. The whole situation is both tragic and baffling. The only thing I can come up with is the weather, as I’m not sure the Santa Anita surface was designed to stand up to it. Los Angeles and surrounding areas have been pounded with rain over the last several weeks and the temperatures are much lower than normal. Past that, I am very curious to see what these tests show. With the cancellation of those races, the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct and the Tampa Bay Derby at, you guessed it, Tampa Bay Downs, will be our highlighted races of the week. Other races we will be examining include the Honey Bee Stakes at Oaklawn Park and the Busher at Aqueduct, both for three year old fillies. Lastly, and although I’m not a big fan of the synthetic racing surface, we will be looking at the Jeff Ruby Steaks at Turfway Park for three year old males. Aqueduct Racetrack Race: 10 (5:09 PM EST Post) Gotham Stakes Although there are several “play against” angles in regards to the very highly touted Instagrand, I can’t seem to pull the trigger in doing so. The $1.2 million son of Into Mischief will be making his first start in almost seven months. Will he be ready? How will he ship across the country? How will he handle going from 70 degrees in Southern California to Queens, New York where it’s expected to be in the low 40’s? How will he handle the surface change? And of course, how will he handle the mile distance when he’s never been over three quarters? I mentioned last week that Hidden Scroll was the most intriguing horse on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. If Hidden Scroll was #1, this colt is easily #2. The decision to come here was sheer brilliance by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer as he gets away from what is right now a dangerous surface and two dangerous horses in Game Winner and Improbable. It makes all the sense in the world that if you’re going to ask a horse to stretch out, why not do it at a one turn mile against what is clearly inferior competition and over a safer track? All that said, I still have no idea how good he is. He absolutely destroyed maidens in his debut and his rivals in the Grade: 2 Best Pal Stakes last summer while winning each race by 10 lengths. He’s been working well so he should be ready but remember the ultimate goal is the first Saturday in May, not the first Saturday in March. Past that, I’ll throw in my “eye test” angle as he was jaw dropping good last year and one more little tidbit. The talk around the Hollendorfer barn is they are putting this horse in the same league as the ill-fated Shared Belief. That, readers, is an enormous compliment…………......…….Based off his Grade: 1 win last year and his strong performance in winning the Jerome last time out, Mind Control is most likely the best three year old in New York. This handsome colt by Stay Thirsty has won three of his last four races and seems to be coming into this race in good shape. "Everything has gone according to plan. For the most part, he hasn't missed a beat. He's filled out, he's stronger, and his works have been well within himself. He couldn't be doing any better going into the Gotham," trainer Greg Sacco said………………………Haikai is a neck shy of being unbeaten in three starts including gamely winning the $150,000 Jimmy Winfield on this track last time out and scoring higher speed figures than Mind Control…must be considered in this spot……………………….Honorable Mentions: I really liked Not That Brady’s last three races, which consisted of two large margin wins vs. NYSB and super game second to Tax in the Withers Stakes. Chestnut gelding by Big Brown set the pace in the Withers, was passed by Tax, but lowered his head, dug in and fought back valiantly in the process. The cutback in distance should only help him in this spot and he could easily better this rating…………………..Much Better is a speedy, $600,000 son of Pioneerof the Nile from the Bob Baffert barn who ran huge vs. Gunmetal Gray in the Sham Stakes in January and whistled home (6 ½ furlong in 1:15.3) three in front vs. high level optionals last time out….should come out running in this spot and could be a menace………………..What do you do with Knicks Go? On one hand he is a Grade: 1 winner and was second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile last fall, but on the other hand, albeit with excuses, he showed little in last two races. (My Play: .50 trifecta box using the top 5. Cost $30.00) Race: 11 Busher Stakes (5:40 PM EST Post) Like Instagrand in the Gotham, Please Flatter Me is hard to go against in this spot. Filly by Munnings, who the owners paid $12,000 for but she has already made more than 12 times that amount, has won all three career starts “on the engine” and by a combined 18 ¼ lengths including two Stakes races. I also the liked the fact that, after ripping through the first half mile of her last, she came home the last furlong in a solid :12.3. This speedster will be stretching out in distance, stepping up in class and drew towards the outside. However, drawing the outside becomes somewhat neutralize in a one turn, mile race and she shows a pair of monster works recently….should make every pole a winning one here………………….Play “Pin the Tail on the Donkey” with the rest of this field as they are difficult to separate. ….I’ll take a shot with the well bred Always Shopping to fill out the exacta. This good looking filly, by Awesome again out of the Grade: 1 Stakes placed Stopshoppingmaria, has methodically improved through each of her four career starts, highlighted by winning the Busanda Stakes on this oval last time out………………….Espresso Shot is 5-2-1-1 in her career and running very well in her last two on this track, including beating a restricted Stakes field in her last. Although it took her a very pedestrian :26.3 seconds to get the final quarter mile in that race, you must note that race was in the mud. If you go back to her previous race, note how she was charging hard, late to grab second in a fairly quickly run six furlong race. A fast track and a mile distance looks to be exactly what the Doctor ordered for her here……………………….Honorable Mentions: Ujjayi sports a 4-2-2-0 record, has speed, draws the rail and wired a Stakes field on this oval last time out. All that said, she’s faced Please Flatter Me twice recently and has been beaten by a combined (almost) 10 lengths………………………I hate to put Oxy Lady this far down, I really do as this might come back to bite me. This filly Oxbow ran the best race of her life in her one and only try on this surface and had legitimate excuses in her two races since (overmatched in the Grade: 1 Starlet at Los Al, yet she was only beaten by less than three lengths and probably needed her wide tripped, Rachel Alexandra Stakes effort in her last). Of course, having Castellano in the irons won’t hurt her chances either. Bottom line here is she could easily outrun this rating………………..If you want to think outside the box a little, take a look at the cleverly named Filly Joel, who has shown improved speed for trainer “Rudy Rod” in her last three races and cuts back in distance for this race. (My Play: .50 Trifecta box using the top 5. Cost: $30.00) Tampa Bay Downs Race: 11 (5:25 PM EST Post) Tampa Bay Derby Win Win Win ran one of the better races by a three year old on the Road to the Kentucky Derby when he pulverized the field in the Pasco Stakes last time out. The colt by Hat Trick shattered the track record for seven furlongs when he stopped the clock in 1:20.4, which is almost unheard of for a surface that is so deep and sometimes quirky. He’s been training lights out since (49 days), signaling to me another big effort is upcoming. Although he’ll be trying a route of ground and two turns for the first time, I’m not real worried about it as a) he showed me no signs he was “done” late in the Pasco Stakes. In fact, he was moving very well in the last three furlongs, which he got in a very good :36.2, including the last furlong in :12.1 and b) note, both his grandsires were Kentucky Derby and Preakness winners, so he certainly has the bloodlines for more distance……………………The 123 days off that Dream Maker received evidently did him a world of good. Colt by super sire Tapit decimated a field of optional NW1X in his 2019 debut at the Fair Grounds while winning by 8 ½ lengths under very little pressure from his rider. Bottom line here is he looks to be the biggest threat to my top pick in this spot…………………………………I like Zenden in this spot too, but what’s up with his three career races being spaced so far apart? Makes me wonder. Anyway, this chestnut colt by Fed Biz won his first two career starts, with one being a minor Stakes race, before chasing (second) the talented Call Paul in his last in the Grade: 3 Swale Stakes at GP. He ran well that day being it was his first start in almost two months and Call Paul is a runner. That race should set him up very well in this spot and his past races and running style suggest he won’t have a problem with the route distance either………………………Honorable Mentions: Well Defined pulled off a 7-1, coast to coast upset in the Sam F Davis last time out, so he certainly merits attention. That said, a few things trouble me about him. One, he was all alone on an uncontested lead in the Sam Davis and I doubt that happens again in this spot. Two, he has a hard time putting wins back to back. Three, his recent works since have been….meh….ok, I guess………………......Outshine is a $625,000 son of Malibu Moon who closed late to win two of his first three starts, including his 2019 debut on Feb 10. He recorded a monster work last week at Palm Beach Downs and he should appreciate the stretch out in distance here………………………….Just a few other side notes about this race: Although he finished off the board, Sir Winston didn’t run all that bad in his return to the dirt surface for the first time since June in the Withers Stakes at Aqueduct in his last…….........Tacitus is clearly one of the best bred horses in training today being by Tapit out of five time Grade: 1 winner Close Hatches and he goes first time Lasix here……….Lastly, if you are looking for a long-shot, take a look at Dunph, who has run very well in three of his five career starts and had legitimate excuses in the other two. (My play: $50 to win on Win Win Win, .50 trifecta box using the top 5. Cost: $80.00). Oaklawn Park Race: 9 (5:09 PM EST Post) Honey Bee Stakes Motion Emotion was visually impressive running high level NW1X optionals off their feet while winning by almost 7 in her last and looking like the “real deal.” She improved her record to 2 for 2 on this oval in the process. Drawing towards the inside should only help her chances, should make every pole a winning one here even with the big step up in class………………….Power Gal is a stretch runner by powerhouse sire Empire Maker who has yet to run a bad race though four career starts, highlighted by winning the Martha Washington in her debut on this oval last time out. With rain in the forecast for Oaklawn, there are no worries about her as she can handle a wet track…………………..After poking her head in front in the drive, Marathon Queen yielded and finished just a half length behind Power Gal in the Martha Washington. That was an impressive feat being that was just filly by Super Saver’s second career start. Logical contender with normal improvement from career start #2 to career start #3………………………Honorable Mentions: After finishing a fast closing third in her debut, Raintree Scarlet has rattled off three impressive wins in her last three races, including taking down a Stakes race in her last. Filly by Get Stormy steps up and stretches out but could be a menace………………………Sunset Wish has also rattled of three straight wins before finishing a close up fourth in the Martha Washington after a troubled trip (rank early, took a minor bump and four wide on the turn). Filly by Malibu Moon could outrun this rating, especially with a cleaner trip…….Couple of long-shots to consider:Bizwhacks is consistent and ran an enormous race in the mud last time out, consider her if it rains.. and, based off her past performances, Chocolate Kisses might quietly be sitting on big race here. (My Play: $50 win on Motion Emotion and .50 trifecta box using the top 5. Cost $80.00) Turfway Park Race: 11 (6:37 PM EST Post) Jeff Ruby Steaks Somelikeithotbrown just missed in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf last year and was a conclusive winner in 2019 debut (on the synthetics) on Feb 15. This son of the very gentle Big Brown should only be tighter for this his second start of the layoff…..logical choice here…….................….Skywire won his racing debut on the synthetics nicely, then closed very well, late to beat optional NW1X by 6 at Gulfstream Park in his last. Good looking colt by Afleet Alex takes the next logical step in this spot……………………........Five Star General probably needed his last in the Sam F. Davis, his 2019 debut. Colt by Distorted Humor won his last two races in 2018 and his work pattern suggests he will come out running in this spot……………..Honorable Mentions: Dabo returns to his best surface (synthetics) in this spot and executed a brazen, five wide run on the turn in his 2019 debut while finishing third to Somelikeithotbrown in his last. Threat in this spot as he should be “tighter for this” and get a little better trip………………..Dynamic Racer has shown improved early speed in 2019. Although he was beaten fair and square by the top choice last time out, he draws the rail, likes the synthetics and you get the third start off the layoff angle as well. Merits consideration even though his trainer is 6 for 185 (3%) in synthetics surface races…………..If you are hunting a long-shot, take a look at Curlin Grey, who is the complete opposite of Dynamic Racer as this colt has shown an improved late run in both 2019 races at Gulfstream but tries the synthetics for the first time. (My Play: $50 win on Somelikeithotbrown and .50 trifecta box using the top 5. Cost $80.00) By: Gerard Apadula Director of Equine Operations and Development Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) 2019- Record: 15-42 = 36% (My Plays: -$815.76) 2018- Record: 107-261= 41% 2017- Record: 92-235 = 39% 2016- Record: 91-229 = 40% 2015- Record: 67-180 = 37% 2014- Record: 29-73 = 40% 2013- Record: 20-59= 34% 2012 -Record: 24-73= 33% 2011 –Record: N/A 2010- Record: 24-74= 33% Little Bets N’ Pieces **** 62-1 shot Southwest Stakes winner Super Steed is off the Kentucky Derby trail because of bone bruising in a front leg, trainer Larry Jones said last Sunday morning. Albeit the injury isn't career threatening, Jones said Super Steed will require 60-90 days of rest, eliminating any chance of running in the Kentucky Derby "He's walking, but not perfect by any means," Jones said. "We just found out yesterday afternoon that's he got the issue because I galloped him yesterday and he came back and everything was good. He came out of that last race with a little more of an issue than I realized," Jones added. "We did some X-rays, and it just looks like if we don't stop now, we're going to run into trouble. Thank God there's no surgery, no nothing needed. Just needs rest." Jones said Super Steed will be sent to Kentucky to recover. **** In another development last Sunday, trainer Jinks Fires said Smarty Jones winner Gray Attempt was no longer under consideration for the Rebel Stakes because of an undisclosed minor setback. Fires said the hope is to make the Arkansas Derby. **** Trainer D. Wayne Lukas said last Friday that Bravazo was scheduled to undergo surgery at Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Lexington, Ky., to address a knee issue. Bravazo was pointing for the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 30 in Dubai but the problem was detected after training Thursday morning, Lukas said. "He galloped beautifully yesterday," Lukas said. "We thought he was tender coming off the wash rack, and we just got to the bottom of it. He's already gone (to Kentucky) … he had some gravel and garbage that they wanted to clean up." Lukas said he expects Bravazo to return to his barn by June 1. Bred and owned by Calumet Farm, Bravazo has a 3-4-3 record from 17 starts and earnings of $2,003,528. **** Four time champion Beholder was confirmed in foal to sire War Front, Spendthrift Farm confirmed Friday. The pregnancy is the third for Beholder, who produced an Uncle Mo colt in 2018, and a Curlin filly on Jan. 19. Beholder, who won Eclipse Award titles as champion 2-year-old filly, 3-year-old filly, and two as champion older female, earned over $6 million on the racetrack. **** Global Campaign, the half brother to the mega talented Bolt d’Oro by Curlin, “grabbed a quarter” (stepped on one of his front feet with a back foot) during his fifth place finish in last Saturday's Fountain of Youth Stakes. “He grabbed a quarter, on the meaty part above the coronet band and ripped it back, and it's going to take some time to heal up,” said trainer Stanley Hough. “(Jockey) Luis (Saez) said he wasn't even sure where it happened. Best-case scenario he's going to be out of training a couple of weeks, so he'll have to miss the rest of these type of races. But I look at it as maybe a blessing in disguise because now he'll get some time off, and by summer time I think he'll really show himself and be the guy.”
I didn't manage to get this up last week because - reasons I won't bore you with. I've combined them into one post to make it easier, feedback on this as a good or bad thing welcome. NAPs: Post one selection from any of the Saturday races in the UK, Ireland or France. Include a write up (a couple of sentences will do, please feel free to go more in depth) as to why this is your NAP. Selections can be any Tote bet on a race; win, place, e/w, exacta, swinger, trifecta. All selections will be for 1u total (e.g. e/w would be 0.5u e/w) and will be settled as Tote returns.Selections must be made by 12:15 Saturday. PoPs: You have £25 (a pony) to stake on any horse racing (UK, Ireland, France), on Saturday. You are not obligated to stake the entire £25. You can stake on any available Tote bet, win/place/etc and placepot/etc; no doubles or other multiples (yankee/etc) for ease of calculation of results. Stakes are settled on Tote returns and must be made in whole £ stakes (e.g. an e/w can be £2 e/w for £4 total but not £2.50 e/w for £5 total). You can stake the whole pony on one selection or you can do 25 single selections should you desire. Any stakes over the £25 limit will be removed down to the limit, reading from top of post down. Selections to be made by 12:30 Saturday. Please ensure you have your selection properly written up before posting, edited posts will be classified as losses. Current standings: NAPs:
Preview of the Risen Star; Rachel Alexandra Stakes' and more
Buckle your seat belts and make sure your tray tables are in an upright position because between this Saturday and Monday, (President’s Day) we will be looking at least 10 races. Between the two days, any number of those races could be our highlighted “Race of the Week”. But first things first as this Saturday our highlighted “Race of the Week” is the Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course and Slots. The 8 ½ furlong, Grade: 2 contest for three year olds drew a full field of 14 plus one AE is led by War of Will. Two other races on Saturday’s card at Fair Grounds include the Rachel Alexandra Stakes, also a Grade: 2 event run at 8 ½ furlongs, but for three year old fillies, as well as the Mineshaft Stakes for four year olds and up. The complexion of the Risen Star and Rachel Alexandra changed dramatically mid week when, after seeing both American Pharoah’s little sister, Chasing Yesterday and Kingly, a full brother to $2.2 million Mohaymen**,** both draw horrible posts, trainer Bob Baffert decided to “keep them both home”. Other races we will examine include the Royal Delta Stakes, a Grade: 3 contest for four year olds and up and fillies and mares going a mile at Gulfstream Park, a pair of sprints, one for each gender, at Laurel Park in the General George and Barbara Fritchie Stakes and perhaps THE most competitive race of the weekend, the Santa Monica Stakes at Santa Anita. The seven furlong race drew as strong and as deep of a race you’ll ever find. Saturday February 16, 2019 Laurel Race Course Race: 8 (4:00 PM EST Post) General George Stakes Home Run Maker comes into this razor sharp off three straight wins vs. lesser. This son of Into Mischief, who hails from the unconscious (26-63= 41%) “Miah” barn, loves this surface (3 for 4 over it, yet 1 for 8 everywhere else) and that Feb 6th work (4F- :47.2) tells me he is holding form…..spring a mild upset in a race that is ridiculously difficult to figure…………………..Still Having Fun was just 3 for 11 in 2018 but it must be noted he was running against the likes of Promises Fulfilled, Patternrecognition, Audible and, most recently, third behind McKenzie in the Grade:1 Malibu last time out at 47-1. Colt by Old Fashioned, who sold for $12,000 but has earned over a half million bucks so far, will meet no such rivals in this spot and will probably be your post time favorite…………………….Uncontested ran a hole in the wind in his Laurel debut shortly before Christmas. This one time Kentucky Derby hopeful beat mid level optionals by five lengths while zipping six furlongs in 1:08 flat. A repeat of that effort would make him tough to beat here………………………Honorable mentionsLaki is another surface love”horse for the course” type. This eight year old gelding is 7 for 11 on this oval and 0 for 5 everywhere else. His last four races/speed figures suggest he’s a contender in this spot as well……………..I’m not sure what Something Awesome was doing in the Pegasus World Cup in his last. I suppose Stronach had one last spot to fill. Anyway, this veteran son of Awesome Again is still another who fancies this surface (4 for 6) as he’s run some of the best races of his life over it and he drops to a more reasonable spot in this race…………………..It’s Good to Be Us is a $650,000 son of Tapit who has won three of his first four starts at Parx including being 2 for 2 at this distance. Steps up but could be equal to the task. (My Play: .50 Trifect box using the top 5. Cost: $30) Race: 9 (4:30 PM EST Post) Barbara Fritchie Stakes Spiced Perfection has methodically improved while winning three of her last four, topped off by springing a mild (5-1) upset in the Grade: 1 La Brea Stakes at Santa Anita last time out. Filly by Smiling Tiger, who has gotten off to a good start at stud, makes her debut for new trainer Peter Miller and, if she can handle Grade: 1 runners, logically she should be able to handle this Grade: 3 field…………………Late Night Pow Wow has very impressive stats. This obscurely bred filly is 10 for 11 lifetime including being 2 for 2 on this oval and 4 for 4 at this distance. She also came home the last furlong in a very strong :11.4 while winning by 6+ in her last. Monster work on Feb 6 tells me she is probably sitting on yet another big effort but she will be swimming in deeper waters than what she’s used to………………………Dawn the Destroyer comes into this sharp as a tack while winning her last two in NY including the $100,000 Interborough at 7/5 last time out. Mare by Speightstown holds a double Brisnet speed figure advantage (her last “two” speed figures are better than anyone else’s last two) as well…….figures close………………..Honorable Mentions: Ms Locust Point beat an allowance field at Parx on New Year’s Day, signaling a possible return to the form she showed in late 2017/early 2018. Filly by Dialed In is 7 for 13 lifetime and 5-4-1-0 at this racetrack……………………Timeless Curls has improved steadily since the summer while winning five of her last six and stepping up in class each and every time. Filly by Curlin draws a good post for her running style and shows a bullet work (5F- :59.4) in preparation for this last week. (My Play: $1 triple box using all 5. Cost $60) Fair Grounds Race: 9 (4:25 PM EST Post) Mineshaft Handicap Although Lone Sailor was 1 for 10 in 2018 and just 2 for 15 in his career, he totally outran his 91-1 odds in the Breeders’ Cup Classic last time out. This bay colt was last and almost 20 lengths out of it early, but catapulted past eight horses, and made up some 14 lengths, to finish sixth behind the streaking City of Light. He’ll be making his first start since (3 ½ months) but the bullet (best of 61) 5F work of :59.3 last week states he might be ready…………………….Quip was on a lot of people’s Kentucky Derby list last year and he might be the most talented runner in this field. Although he’s been working well at Payson Park recently, has run well off of layoffs before, and this is his best distance, he’ll have to overcome an almost nine month layoff here and the dreaded #13 post position. Those factors might be asking juuuust a little too much from this son of Distorted Humor…………………….Flameaway is another who was Kentucky Derby material last year after very good second place finishes in the Tampa Bay Derby and Bluegrass Stakes. After running only one good race (second in the Jim Dandy) in four tries from that point, he was put away for the year. Although he might “need one” here, this $400,000 son of Scat Daddy is versatile and clearly has ability……………………Honorable Mentions: Harlan Punch has won two of his last three vs. lesser but does have a fitness edge over the top three. Third start off the layoff angle fits here too..........After a ridiculously wide trip, Silver Dust finished right behind Harlan Punch last time out. This $510,000 son of Tapit had won his two prior races to that and he appears to be slowly improving…..upset chance here. (My Play: $1 Triple box using all. Cost: $60) Race: 11 (5:29 PM EST Post) Rachel Alexandra Stakes Needs Supervision has won three of her first four career starts, highlighted by winning the Silverbulletday on this oval in her 2019 debut last time out. Bay filly by Paynter has improved in each subsequent start and should only be “tighter” for her second start of the year in this spot……………………………… Positive Spirit is another who has improved through each of her first four starts, culminating in winning the Grade: 2 Demoiselle Stake at Aqueduct by a colossal margin. Good looking filly by Pioneerof the Nile poses a big threat here …………………Serengeti Empress showed little at 4-1 in the Breeders’ Cup Filly race in her last after winning her two prior races by a combined 33 lengths. Filly by Alternation drops back into a more reasonable spot for her 2019 debut but judging from her works and trainers comments: "I expect her to make a good showing, but at the same time, this is our first race back and it's not our end all race. It's important to understand that she'll improve off this race. Goal (Kentucky Oaks) is a couple of months down the road" trainer Thomas Amoss said, she may not be fully cranked up for this………Honorable Mentions: Oxy Lady finished less than three lengths behind Chasing Yesterday who would be a solid favorite in this race should she have run. No worries about her handling the track as she’s been training extremely well since arriving here right around the beginning of the year….could better this rating……………..Bell’s the One is unbeaten in three career starts and her speed figures say she could be a contender here. Filly by the speedy Majesticperfection will be stepping up in class big time here and will have to go 2 ½ lengths further than she’s ever gone before but from what I’ve seen in her first three races, she might be able to handle both. (My Play: .50 triple box using all 5. Cost $30) Race: 12 (7:02 PM EST Post) Risen Star Stakes After running well in all four turf starts to begin his career, trainer Mark Casse switched surfaces with War of Will last November and this colt, who is bred to run to the South Pole and back without stopping, broke his maiden by five lengths. Casse then gave him two months off and this son of War Front came back to pulverize the LeComte Stakes field on Jan 19. He won by four but it must be noted this good looking bay was very wide on both turns so he could possibly have won by more…….......................In taking War of Will, Country House is pretty scary. This Lookin’ at Lucky colt, from the loaded for the Kentucky Derby Bill Mott barn, completely missed the break in his last but launched a very impressive, three wide run leaving the three eighths pole and left his foes in his wake down the lane. Yes, it was a field of maidens and yes, it was on that conveyor belt they call Gulfstream Park but still, it was visually impressive to watch. I am shocked at the 20-1 morning line odds………thought maybe he’d open at 6 or 8 to 1….............. Limonite is about 2 ½ lengths away from coming in this race unbeaten. Although it was 2 ½ months ago, I loved his Kentucky Jockey Club effort, where he came from last (of 14), circled the field four wide and was still charging hard, late in deep stretch to only be beaten by two lengths to (at this point in the season) upper echelon three year old Signalman…threat with a fast pace and repeat of that effort……………….Honorable Mentions**: Plus Que Parfait** had a nightmare trip in the LeComte (stumbled at the start, bumped hard shortly thereafter and six wide on the turn) but was only 6+ length behind my top pick....should be closer with a better trip this time………… I wouldn’t be so quick to throw out Henley’s Joy just because he’s making his first dirt start here. He is a two time Stakes winner and his works suggest he’ll handle the change in surface just fine………….. Couple of side notes: I’m not completely giving up on Roiland, who has gone off at high odds in his last three races, just yet. This horse packs a solid stretch run and could surprise a few people in this spot with the right pace scenario……………...Hog Street Hustle has run well in four of five tries including finishing second to my top pick in the LeComte last time out at 12-1. (My Play: $20 win on War of Will, $5 exacta box top 3, .50 triple box using the top 5. Cost: $80) Gulfstream Park Race: 11 (5:12 PM EST Post) Royal Delta Stakes Jala Jala has been a win machine in Mexico (13 for 23 lifetime) but has also duplicated that form at Gulfstream….twice. Chestnut mare by Point Determined was visually impressive kicking away from males at the six furlong marker while winning her last in hand by almost 5 lengths……narrowest of margins over Blamed, who clearly is a huge threat here. Filly by, you guessed it, Blame probably didn’t care for the sloppy track and probably needed that last race (fifth, beaten by 10+) as she was coming off a two month layoff as well. Irad Ortiz Jr. taking the leg up on this filly, who is 9-6-2-0 lifetime, won’t hurt her chances either……………………...I’m not sure if Tequilita is just getting better or the wet tracks in her last two helped her out. Regardless, this well bred (by Union Rags out of Grade: 2 winner Sangrita), Grade: 3 last time out winner merits a look in this spot……………….Honorable Mentions: Although Another Broad will be making her first start in more than two months, she is giving me every indication she could run well in this spot. New trainer Todd Pletcher has been working her fast and often at Palm Beach Downs and “JCC” will be in the irons……………Coming off a sloppy tracked, restricted Stakes win at Tampa Bay Downs in her last, Silver Bay looks the best of the rest. (My Play: $1 triple box using all 5. Cost $60) Santa Anita Park Race: 9 (7 PM EST Post) Santa Monica Stakes Trainer Bob Baffert entered a formidable 1-2 punch in this race in Dream Tree and Eclipse Award finalist for Champion Female Sprinter Marley’s Freedom…..Dream Tree rattled off five straight impressive wins before inexplicably mailing it in last time out. I’m going to give this $750,000 daughter of Uncle Mo a “mulligan” for that race and come right back with her here………….Marley’s Freedom was a multiple Graded Stakes winner on both Coasts last year, winning at distances from 6 furlongs to one mile. I loved her Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint effort (fourth, beaten by just a half length) and that race was sandwiched by five other wins. Monster work last week (5F- :58.4) signals she is ready to pick up where she left off in 2018………………………Selcourt is a speedy, $800,000 mare by Tiz Wonderful who won this race last year and sports a 7-4-2-1 record on this oval. I expect her to come out running and she may prove difficult to catch in this spot even though she is showing a slight down tick in form………………………..Honorable Mentions: Escape Clause boasts a 19 for 28 career record with most of that beating up on far lesser foes at small time tracks. That said, this $3,800 mare, who has earned almost $425,000 in her career, proved she belongs here with her tour de force win of the Grade: 3 La Canada last time out…..could conceivably better this rating………………I wonder which Paradise Woods will show up on Saturday for new trainer John Shirreffs? The one who has won two Grade: 1’s in blow out fashion or the one who shows brief speed and retreats after the first half mile? It’s really, really difficult to get a read on this temperamental mare. (My play: pass...not seeing much value) By: Gerard Apadula Director of Equine Operations and Development Knights of the Round Stable Thoroughbred Racing Team [[email protected]](mailto:[email protected]) 2019- Record: 10-26 = 38% (My Plays: -$452.36) 2018- Record: 107-261= 41% 2017- Record: 92-235 = 39% 2016- Record: 91-229 = 40% 2015- Record: 67-180 = 37% 2014- Record: 29-73 = 40% 2013- Record: 20-59= 34% 2012 -Record: 24-73= 33% 2011 –Record: N/A 2010- Record: 24-74= 33% Little Bets N' Pieces **** Kentucky Wildcat, who made an eye catching move around the far turn to finish second in Saturday's Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, was pulled up and vanned off the racetrack after the finish. Evidently, the colt suffered a “non life threatening injury to his right foreleg.” He is expected to undergo surgery to repair the condylar fracture in Ocala in the next several days, but is no longer on the Kentucky Derby trail. **** Australian super mare Winx will be going after her 30th consecutive victory in Saturday's Group: 2 Apollo Stakes at Royal Randwick. The Chris Waller trained daughter of Street Cry is expected to make four more starts before her retirement, culminating in the Group: 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes in April. **** When NYRA releases it stakes schedule for Saratoga and the Belmont Park fall meet, they will include the unveiling of two new turf stakes for 3 year olds and two new Turf Stakes for 3 year old fillies that will join the Belmont Derby and Belmont Oaks in becoming the "Turf Trinity" for males and "Turf Tiara" for fillies. For males the "Turf Trinity" will be made up of three $1 million races at the same distances as the dirt Triple Crown for 3 year olds of the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. Following the $1 million Belmont Derby at 1 1/4 miles July 6 at Belmont, the $1 million Saratoga Derby will be contested Sunday, Aug. 4 at 1 3/16 miles at Saratoga. The series will conclude with the $1 million Jockey Club Derby at Belmont Park Saturday, Sept. 7 at 1 1/2 miles. "The Turf Trinity is designed to emulate the American dirt classics," said Martin Panza, NYRA's Senior Vice President of Racing Operations, in a statement. "The three race, $3,000,000 series complements the schedule with no overlap of the American Triple Crown races while also providing international runners an opportunity to race against 3 year olds later into the summer." For fillies, the "Triple Tiara" starts with the $750,000 Belmont Oaks July 6 at Belmont at 1 1/4 miles, then the $750,000 Saratoga Oaks Friday, Aug. 2 at 1 3/16 miles, and the $750,000 Jockey Club Oaks Sept. 7 at a 1 3/8 miles at Belmont. "The Turf Tiara, a three race $2,250,000 series, will shadow the colt division, providing a well defined pattern of races highlighting future turf stars while serving as a test of their speed, versatility and endurance," Panza said.
Arlington Million Day--- What Happening?--- My Analysis To Help Others Understand
I am going to go over the Arlington Million card that was ran last Saturday. While most of my horses did not perform up to my expectations, I have looked over the results charts and can see that the ones I liked best did not get the best of trips, either from the gate or in the stretch after they had built up momentum. I am in no way trying to find excuses, only ways that I can improve my handicapping and hopefully avoid repeating my mistakes again. While there is nothing anyone can do about tough or less than ideal trips, it is often the difference between winning and losing. I have been looking over results throughout my life but have never even attempted to post my thoughts or findings. But through the years, this is what has helped me the most and hopefully will help you if you really want to get better and win with more consistency. Race 1: This race ran true to form but mostly because the outsiders had already proven they had limited ability and not enough upside to spring an upset. Race 2: I bet the 1)Drilliant to WP. According to the charts(and my own watching. also), he dwelt at the start(means he hesitated while others broke on cue)and came out last which pretty much eliminated him from serious contention on a track that was still affect by recent rain. He had works that show some early speed was possible, but you never know how any horse will react when loading in the gate with others for the first time. And since he drew the rail, he stood in the gate probably longer than anyone and was not focused enough on the break. I look for him to make amends when he runs back, especially with another work or two, because his first start was good experience for a young horse. The winner, Hide The Demon, was my second choice because I thought Drilliant was better prepared for his debut. But had I gone with bloodlines instead like I usually would, he is one horse that I would had hit. Everyone on here should know by now that I bet City Zip lineage a lot and this one had Tapit as a broodmare sire and was a pedigree that I should have never even thought about betting against. But I did. My screw up!!! The second favorite at post time won and the favorite ran second as these two went around the track together, first and second the whole way while opening up a big lead at the top of the stretch on the all weather track that was still drying out from recent heavy rain. Exacta pd $12.50. Another first time starter you may want to keep your eyes open for is the 3rd place finisher, Ship Of The Line, especially if he shows up in grass race at a mile or further. He is royally bred for that surface and his trainer will put him on that surface before long. And while his trainer can win on dirt, he is much better with grass performers. Race 3: I bet Fifth Ace to WP in this race mostly based off his first race and his bloodlines. But he did not break as alertly this time and basically ran an even race. The most probable reason was the grass was still wet and he could not gain the traction he was comfortable with. But he knows? Maybe he face a better field and was outclass, though his bloodlines says it was probably the first reason. I am satisfied with this pick and will look to bet him again in his next start, hopefully on firmer ground. The favorite and 2nd favorite ran 1-2 but the payoff is exactly why you will not see me betting this combination very often. $10 for a $1 exacta which means you have to hit too many of these to eek out a small profit. But the horse(favorite)who won came from last and the second favorite came from slightly off the pace to run second. Race 4: I bet Southsider to WP, mostly because I though he had a chance to get an uncontested lead as he had just broken his maiden in a turf sprint in good time. However, he was beaten to the lead by a 13-1 shot who had ran against winners over a dozen times, set a soft pace and held on to run 2nd, beaten by the favorite. The favorite track early from slightly off the pace, dropped back a bit mid race and then had enough to run by a front runner who had everything his way, including a slow pace. Ex Pd $24.50. Will not consider either one in their next race. Race 5: I bet Take the Odds to WP as the 2nd favorite mostly because of his bloodlines and I knew his trainer usually has them ready to win early. His works showed he was possible speed but he was beaten to the lead by another first time starter. That first time starter, Winning Envelope, had better works and just as good bloodlines, but I was not at all familiar with his trainer. He won the race in a laughter as the third choice at 5-1 and looked very good finishing in a fast time. Again on a drying out all weather track, the two front runners went around the track all the way in the same position, but this time the front runner ran away. The third favorite with the favorite exacta pd $27.10. Now you getting into an area where betting well bet horses are worthwhile. 6th Race: I bet 3)Justenufftuff simply because of his bloodlines and the fact he was stretching out on grass to a distance his bloodlines should had favored. And this one was much closer to winning than his finishing position suggest. He was battling for the lead near the rail at the furlong marker when he steadied in tight quarters, losing his momentum, per equibase race chart(but I was also watching and I saw it too). At 41-1, I was definitely satisfied with the effort, just did not get the racing luck. I will bet this one back his next time on grass or the all weather track. With the 4th favorite winning at 5-1 and the 2nd favorite running second at 9-2, this exacta should have paid more than $26.50 it ended up returning. I would have been upset if I risked money on those odds and that is all it paid. But this was the first race ran Saturday that indicated the track was finally drying out, though the grass was still listed as good. Why do I say this? Because the winner came from last and the second place finisher was 2nd last early and this is what grass favors as it is getting near firm again, especially since the pace was slow. 7th Race: I bet Diamondmaze to WP in this race. And he ran just about the race I thought he would. He sat just off the pace of the front runners in third early, took the lead turn for home, before being ran down by the horse just behind him and 2 late runners, including one longshot which I had picked as my third choice that finished 3rd at 38-1. The second favorite(All Call) came from near the back to win and the favorite came from slightly off the pace(just behind my pick) to run second, key a $12.10 exacta. But unlike the last race, the pace was picking up and getting close to normal. Race 8: This was the race that I wish I could have back. I bet Wile E Peyote to WP in this race and I can not fathom why I would bet an angle that I have always been heavily against. But I did. He had won his last race but was tiring and veering in enough that the stewards thought it was warrant enough for a DQ. The horse who finished second, was pulling away from the rest, making me think the winner was getting chased by a good horse. But I have now looked up that horse and seen he was a career long low claiming horse. the two best horses he ever ran against was Runningfromthefeds(second earlier in an O/C 16,500 race) and Maxus(won 12,500 claiming turf race in 6th race). This race was a stakes race. All I knew for sure was I was betting against The Tabulator when I started looking at the race. His form showed he ran some fast races but he only beat 2 horses one race and 4 another when he open a huge early lead and was gone against weak fields. I knew he would not get that luxury Saturday unless they tied everyone else to the gate. Outside of him, there was two horses that had ran against ran reasonable in stakes races, the winner at 35-1 and the 2nd place finisher at 6-1. The winner, Sir Anthony, was making his fourth start in a stakes race, the first three restricted to Ill Bred but had 2 seconds in those third starts including beating Wile R Peyote in his last stakes three starts back and the horse who beat him in his first two stakes races. He was then put on grass where he showed he did not like as he never picked up his feet on that surface. Returned to the AWT, he went around the first turn, became ranked, then bolted against Wile E Peyote in a N/W of 1 other than allowance race, per equibase charts, basically taking him out of the race. Trainer decided to replace a jockey who rarely wins with Florent Geroux and the results was paydirt. The second place finisher, Nobrag Just Fact, had just ran 2nd against Sniper Kitten in a $200,000 stakes race, who connections thought enough of to try him in the G1 Secretariat S. Sir Anthony, reverted back to his style of racing at 2 since he was now fit and closed from near the back of the field while Nobrag Just Fact stalked the pace and went by as the winner was going by in his first start on the all weather track, keying a $327.10 exacta. Say what you want but this race was the most pickable big paying exacta on the card. 9th Race: I bet Ming to WP in this race and got odds that I wanted too. He broke slowly as expected but saved ground until the stretch before swinging out turning into the stretch, was full of run but blocked by a wall of horses. To me, it looked like the jock got confused and did not know if he wanted to go further out or back in and ended up checking, but was still beaten only 3 lengths. I can live with this as he outran his odds, though he did not get the best of trips which probably cost him a few positions. But not sure he would have beaten top two without the trouble, either. However, the winner, Carrick, was probably the best bet of the day bloodlines wise. He only have 3 lifetime starts, winning twice and in his first stakes race, he tried to bear out early causing John Velazquez to take a tight hold of, then was trying to close in the stretch as the pace quicken but still did not give up at 1 1/8 mile. Stretch to a 1 1/4 mile, he was able to sit a perfect stalking trip and had enough to get by the favorite when asked at 38-1. His sire is Giant's Causeway who everyone has heard of but his dam, How Far To Heaven, is bred 3x3 to Danzig and 3x4 to Mr Prospector. Add in Storm Cat and Rahy and Roberto(from Giant's Causeway side), then add Forty Niner & Gone West along with Quadrangle(foiled Northern Dancer's TC bid in the Belmont), you are looking at most of the top grass sires in the racing game today. No one else in this race has that much grass influence. His trainer, Thomas Morley, is fairly new to the U.S. racing game but his uncle was a top trainer in England for years and he came to the U.S. on the recommendation of Jeremy Noseda, who he learned under. The three horses that tracked the pace closest to the front runners ran 1,2,3 and keyed a .50 tri for $1044.65. The two front runners finished 8th and 9th. 10th Race: I bet Dona Bruja to WP and charts says she was wrangled back at the start, a term I never heard of, then check going into the first turn. But, regardless, she did not try and was never a factor, finishing last. The race was pretty formful for those of you who like to bet favorites. Sistercharlie won as the favorite and her stablemates also ran 2nd & 3rd. Fourstar Crook , like Sistercharlie, closed and ran 2nd as the 3rd favorite, keying a $8.90 exacta. However, Thasis, set about as slow pace as you will see in a G1 on a turf course that was upgraded to firm. Race 11: I took a wild shot and bet Twenty Four Seven to WP simply because I thought the favorites were suspect at the distance or not really ready to perform their best. Robert Bruce won as the 2nd favorite and I probably should have considered him, but I knew he had never gone this far with success and his broodmare sire was a son of Lure, winner of 2 BC Turf Miles, but who never won past 1 1/16 miles. Almanaar, the third choice, only ran once in the last 1 1/2 years and the field he beat that day was on the weak side. But so was this race so he probably did not need his best to compete in here, just not a type of horse that I bet very often. They both closed a little further back that mid pack and they chased the longshot speed down who easily put away the favorite under a solid pace, but he, too, was suspect at 1 1/4 mile. he drifted out in the stretch, impeding another horse and was DQ and placed 4th, indicating he was tired. Ex paid good for the 2nd & 3rd choice coming in at $18.60. 12th Race: I bet Madame Milan to WP. She sat behind the front runners as they battle through modest fractions and look like a winner turning into the stretch before flattening out. The winner, Secret Message, 4th favorite at 6-1, broke poorly as she has done throughout her career even though she has strong speed influences on both sides of her pedigree, closed with a rush and won pulling away. Pamina, the 3rd choice, sat on the heels of the horse I bet, moved with that one into the stretch, put that one away shortly thereafter and finished with good energy to be a clear second. The exacta with the 4th choice at 6-1 on top of the third choice at 5-1 pd $35.80, decent for those odds. Whether you agree with me or not, this post is about helping others get a grasp on the art of handicapping. You heard me say it dozen of times, there is good money to be made in horse racing betting, but only if you are really willing to learn. And whether you choose to learn and/or keep following systems that will cause you to struggle, you will be using your hard earned money the next time you wager. I will continue to do as I have for 40 years and that is bet horses according to my beliefs. Some of my most profitable days have come after I look back on previous days that were not so good for me, and made adjustments.
An Exacta bet in horse racing is the wager placed on which horses which will finish the race first and second, in the correct order. What is the Minimum Stake on an Exacta Bet? The minimum stake is usually $1 for an exacta bet, although some tracks do have a $2 minimum. Online Exacta bets have the same minimum stake as betting Exactas at the track. Or you might play the part-wheel the other way, 2, 4, 5 with 3 (also three possible winning combinations of 2-3, 4-3, 5-3) at a cost of $3. While exacta wheels and part-wheels are not quite as inefficient as boxes, they still leave room for improvement, which brings us to our preferred exacta betting strategy. Preferred Exacta Betting Strategies selection is correct. Permutation betting is the placing of a series of wagers which covers multiple selections in various different combinations, meaning you can still get a return even if some are incorrect. To fully understand how this form of betting works, you should ideally be familiar with accumulators and multiples. If Exacta (also known as Perfecta) Calculator. An exacta, also known as a perfecta at some horse racing tracks, means you must select the first two finishers in exact, or perfect order. By playing an exacta part wheel, you increase your chance of winning while also increasing your cost. The exacta paid $89 for $2, or $44.50 for just $1. The exacta betting strategy in the Belmont, if you were a believer in Justify, was simple – bet an exacta with him on top and any horse you like underneath. For sports fans, this was an easy hunch play: the Triple Crown candidate on top and the horse named after Rob Gronkowski in second.
Full Article at Oddsmarket: http://www.oddsmarket.com/how-to-bet-on-sports/ Betting Basics Part 1: How To Bet Straight Bet: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v... How & Why to Bet Exactas - Duration: 7:16. US Racing 2,460 views. 7:16. 6 Quick Steps Every Horse Racing Handicapper Should Follow Before Placing a Bet - Duration: 9:23. An exacta box is where you choose three horses, and then bet on all six exacta combinations. For example for three horses named one, two, and three, the following exacta combinations are possible: Host Derek Simon details the new "Score with Simon" promotion at TwinSpires.com and discusses exacta and trifecta wagering as it relates to the top betting races on his Win Factor Report ... Mobile Betting 101 - Quinella and Exacta bet types - Duration: 2:07. MobileBettingComAu 737 views. 2:07. How To Bet On Horse Races - The Exact Box System - Duration: 1:58.