There’s no greater excitement in racing than a Saturday loaded with coast-to-coast stakes action. No matter where you look, horses are punching their tickets to the Breeders’ Cup World Championships next month at Del Mar. In New York, top horses will be on display in Belmont’s Jockey Club Gold Cup, while in Kentucky, Keeneland has five graded stakes races. Plus, in Los Angeles, Santa Anita is hosting a trio of stakes, headlined by the Sprint Championship.
Here’s everything you need to bet on Saturday, including wagering information and picks for the best races.
First Post: 12:15PM ET
Multi-Track Races: Belmont Park – Keeneland Pick 4
Major Races: Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1), Champagne S. (G1), Hill Prince S. (G3), Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational
- Race 1 - #2 Brattata (6/5): Chad Brown-trainee ran out of room going 5 ½-furlongs in his debut at Saratoga, but adds ground into today’s 7-furlong race. Jose Ortiz stays aboard. Keep an eye on how they’re betting this one as compared to his stablemate, Night Time Lady, who is ridden by Jose’s brother Irad.
- Race 3 - #5 Disco Partner (3/5): He set a North American record over this course in the Jaipur Stakes in June (6f in 1:05 3/5) and while he likely won’t come close to that time today, he has more than enough class to get the job done against this group. He’s 6-for-10 at Belmont.
- Race 8 - #10 Full of Run (15/1): This Grade 1 staple has the makings of an utter crapshoot with 12 two-year-olds entered to run. I’m taking an absolute shot in the dark with Full of Run, a Monmouth-based son of Power Broker that won his only career start by 3 ½-lengths in August.
- Race 9 - #2 Yoshida (JPN) (7/2): He was the best horse in the G3 Saranac, but got caught just a bit too far behind a loose-on-the-lead frontrunner over a speed-favoring strip at Saratoga. The price will be right today with both Bricks and Mortar and Frostmourne in the field.
- Race 10 - #7 Keen Ice (9/5): There’s just enough speed signed on to cater to Keen Ice’s solid kick and in this past year, this one has won the G2 Suburban, finished 2nd in the G1 Whitney and G3 Harlan’s Holiday, 3rd in the G1 BC Classic and 4th in the G1 Pegasus World Cup. He and Jose Ortiz seem to have developed a good rapport and he’s never been worse than 3rd in three tries at Belmont. He’s the class of a relatively mediocre group.
First Post: 1:05PM ET
Guaranteed Pools: $350K Guar. All-Stakes Pick 4 (R6 – 9), $250K Guar. All-Stakes Pick 5 (R5 – 9)
Major Races: Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), First Lady S. (G1), Breeders’ Futurity (G1), TCA S. (G2), Woodford S. (G2)
1 Million Point Split: Hit 4 Exactas
Xpressbet Race of the Week Picks: Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity
Horses to Watch:
- Race 3 - #9 Tricks to Doo (4/1): Arnaud Delacour is one of the best ‘under the radar’ trainers in the US and he sends out Tricks to Doo here, a $600K son of Into Mischief who has been working at Delacour’s base at Fair Hill since late June. This one should break running and has the credentials to be a good one.
- Race 5 - #1 Conquest Panthera (7/2): He fired a big shot at Keeneland in the G1 Makers’ 46 Mile in the Spring and while he has primarily gone as a router, he has sneaky good sprinting form. He’s 3-for-4 in one-turn races, but none were quite this short. He’ll need a clean trip and a pace meltdown, but it could happen.
- Race 6 - #4 Finley’sluckycharm (3/5): She’s one of the quickest fillies in North America, having won six of her last eight one-turn races. She’s 5-for-6 at the distance and looks to be the speed of the speed. In case the race falls apart, you’ll also want to have Ivy Bell on your tickets.
- Race 7 - #3 Dona Bruja (Arg) (5/2): Figuring the public will hammer Roca Rojo and Dickinson, but I think the former prefers a wet turf course and the latter has had such a long year. Dona Bruja cuts back in distance from 1 3/16-miles and is 10-for-13 in a career that spanned Argentina and the United States. She nearly won the Beverly D. last out.
- Race 8 - #9 Free Drop Billy (2/1): He came tantalizingly close to victory in both the G1 Hopeful and G3 Sanford at Saratoga, but was denied late in both races. He gets two-turns for the first time and there’s plenty of speed in here to set up for his closing kick.
- Race 9 - #10 Heart to Heart (7/2): He appears to be controlling speed here and his win last out in the G2 Bernard Baruch indicates he’s still atop his game. Florent Geroux rides him for the first time, but ‘Flo’ is experienced and knows how to win big races. Heart to Heart is 6-of-15 at a mile and was barely denied in the Makers’ 46 Mile here earlier this year.
Santa Anita Park
First Post: 3:30PM ET
Guaranteed Pools: $500K Guar. Late Pick 4 (R7 – 10), $100K Guar. Pick 6 (R5 – 10)
Major Races: Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1), Obviously Mile, Swingtime S.
- Race 2 - #1 Blackjackcat (4/5): This up-and-coming son of Tale of the Cat brings a three-race win streak into the Obviously, which is more than you can say about any of his rivals, who’ve combined for just four turf wins all year. Look for the ‘Cat to sit just behind Cistron before unleashing a winning kick.
- Race 6 - #1 Ransom the Moon (5/2): There doesn’t appear to be a lot of speed signed on for the G1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. Now don’t get me wrong, these are fast horses. Just none of them are ‘need the lead’ types. Ransom the Moon, American Anthem and Roy H. all seem to be the type that would rather defer to someone else in the early stages and then try to run them down late. Ransom the Moon’s rail draw may force the hand of his rider, Flavien Prat. Send early or get stuck inside. If he sends and the others sit back, I don’t think they’ll catch him.
- Race 8 - #3 Mrs McDougal (4/1): While she was in the barn of Chad Brown, Mrs McDougal won the G2 Lake George at Saratoga, the G3 Nobel Damsel at Belmont and the Plenty of Grace at Aqueduct. Since moving to Richard Mandella’s barn, her form has been somewhat off, however. She was 3rd in the Osunitas and 7th in the G2 John C. Mabee, but this is an easier spot and I love that Flavien Prat sticks with her, despite her early troubles in California.
- Race 9: #11 Shackleford Banks (6/1): There’s something about incredibly consistent horses that just does it for me. So when I see a horse who is 15-of-37 lifetime, I can’t help but stand behind it. Plus, this one has been in solid form since Peter Miller took over the training duties and today’s rider, Drayden Van Dyke, was aboard for a victory two back at Del Mar.
Good luck with your wagers this weekend! Be sure to Tweet your picks to @Xpressbet .