by Dustin Fabian
June 27, 2019
Let’s face it – every summer Saturday in horse racing is a big one. Heck, every Saturday in horse racing matters.
But some are just a little better than others. And this is one of the big ones.
If you love playing stakes races with major implications, Woodbine (Queen’s Plate), Gulfstream (Summit of Speed), Belmont (Mother Goose) and Churchill (Bashford Manor, Debutante) have you covered.
If you like playing those Mandatory Payout Jackpot Pick 6’s, you’ve got chances at Churchill (Saturday) and Gulfstream (Sunday). Granted, Gulfstream's 'Rainbow' was hit on Thursday, but there should be plenty of fresh money on Friday and Saturday to make Sunday's offering worth playing.
If pacers and trotters are your thing, Pocono Downs’ huge Saturday card features $2 Million-plus in purses.
And if you just love playing all different types of races (I’m guiltiest of this), Xpressbet gives you the opportunity to bet more than 75 tracks this Saturday – everything from the US and Canada to Australia, South Korea, France, Ireland and the UK.
Here are five things that stand out to me on Saturday, along with some pretty lucrative Xpressbet promotions.
1. Split 1 Million Points on the Summit of Speed
Saturday’s 14-race Summit of Speed card is a big one at Gulfstream Park, especially with a Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint on the line in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney. Couple that with four other stakes races on the card, including the Grade 3 Smile Sprint, and this loaded card is one that you’ll want to check out.
The Smile Sprint attracted an evenly-matched field of seven and this one could be such a good betting race that out pro handicapper, Jeremy Plonk, made it his Xpressbet Race of the Week. Read his blog to find out who he likes and how he’s playing.
Seven fillies and mares also entered the ‘Rooney, with defending champion Stormy Embrace expected to be a formidable foe. She loves Gulfstream Park (5-for-11 lifetime) and her biggest rivals will be local threats Trenchtown Cat and Royal Asscher. Saguaro Row ships in for Mike Stidham off a pair of allowance wins at Keeneland and Belmont.
Hit 5 Exactas on Saturday’s Gulfstream card to win even bigger. We’re giving a 1 Million Point Split to anyone who achieves that. Good luck!
2. Queen’s Plate Saturday at Woodbine + 1 Million Point Split
Woodbine has $700K in Guaranteed Wagers on Saturday and none are bigger than the $300K Guaranteed Late Pick 4 (Races 10 – 13), including the Queen’s Plate, Canada’s version of the Kentucky Derby. Hit that Pick 4 to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. With just a 20-cent minimum, you can get involved without spending an arm and a leg.
The Queen’s Plate attracted a loaded field of 14, including Grade 3 winner Avie’s Flatter and Woodbine Oaks winner Desert Ride. Avie’s Flatter is a perfect 2-for-2 on the Woodbine synthetic surface and Javier Castellano is in from New York to ride him. Mark Casse has won this race twice since 2014 and sends out a pair of entrants, Skywire and Federal Law.
The card also features the Grade 1 Highlander Stakes, starring Caribou Club and Extravagant Kid, the Grade 2 Dance Smartly, starring Holy Helena and Starship Jubilee and the Grade 2 King Edward, showcasing Synchrony.
3. Get 10X Points Saturday at Pocono Downs
With more than $2 Million in purses, Saturday night’s Sun Stakes card at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono (or, simply, Pocono Downs) is one that we think you’ll enjoy. Top pacers are on display in the $500K Max C. Hempt Memorial and $500K Ben Franklin, while top trotters compete in the $500K Earl Beal Jr. Memorial. Familiar drivers like Yannick Gingras, David Miller, Dexter Dunn, Tim Tetrick, Brian Sears, Corey Callahan and Ake Svanstedt are in town to ride.
First post is 7:00PM ET and Pocono offers a Pick 4 (Races 9 – 12) and a Rainbow Pick 5 (Races 10 – 14), along with a wager menu that includes Exactas, 50-cent Trifectas and 10-cent Superfectas on every race, as an Early and Late Daily Double and a Pick 3 (Races 3 – 5).
Bet Pocono with Xpressbet on Saturday to receive 10X XB Rewards Points for all of your wagers. You have to register to play in this offer, but registration is free and takes just a few seconds.
If you're looking for picks, Xpressbet's Harness Handicapper, Al Cimaglia, has you covered. Follow him on Twitter for his thoughts and analysis. His Pocono Downs blog will be posted on Saturday.
4. Mandatory Payouts at Gulfstream and Churchill
There's no denying some of the wind came out of the sails here on Thursday as a lucky handicapper took down the $3.1 Million Jackpot Pick 6 at Gulfstream Park. That enticing morsel was going to be paid out Sunday and track officials were expecting anywhere from $8 - $12 Million in the pool. But hey, it happens, and you have to tip your cap to the lucky gal or guy that had the winner.
On the bright side, Gulfstream's Rainbow 6 is still paying out Sunday and there will be new money infused into the pool on Friday and Saturday. It won't be millions, but it won't be anything to turn your nose at, either.
And Saturday is Closing Day at Churchill and that means their Jackpot Pick 6 'must go' as well. The carryover there is a healthy $294,725 and, if that continues to grow, we're easily looking at a seven-figure pool on Saturday.
Plus, Saturday's card includes three stakes races, highlighted by the Grade 3 Bashford Manor and $125K Debutante, both for two-year-olds. First post is 12:45PM ET and the Pick 6 starts with Race 7 at 3:50PM ET.
5. Dunbar Road in the Mother Goose
I remember the Kentucky Oaks, when two of the horses I liked the most - Dunbar Road and Point of Honor - drew to the also-eligible list and ultimately scratched. I made immediate dividends betting Point of Honor back in the Xpressbet Black-Eyed Susan at Pimlico (or, to put it better, I won some of the money back I lost on Oaks day betting against Serengeti Empress). Now it's Dunbar Road's turn.
Between Oaks Day and now she has run once, a Belmont N1X that she turned into a personal runaway at pennies on the dollar. This race should be more of a challenge, but the way this filly runs it shouldn't be much more of one. She endured a three-wide trip throughout and plenty of inexperience to nearly win the G2 Gulfstream Park Oaks in March and, given her rail draw here, she shouldn't have any problem carving out a trip.
Her chief rivals are Jeltrin, who won the G2 Davona Dale at 50/1 and was a decent 3rd in the G1 Acorn on Belmont Stakes Day and Mark Casse's Wings of Dawn, who ships down from Canada off a pair of synthetic track scores.
Ultimately, though, this race should be about Dunbar Road and her continuing to ascend the ladder of three-year-old fillies. The G2 Mother Goose is Race 8 of 9 at Belmont on Saturday and post time is 5:18PM ET.
So that’s that – 75 tracks, nearly one-thousand races and chances to pick winners from every corner of the globe. Not a bad way to spend a Saturday (or Sunday) afternoon.