by Dustin Fabian
June 26, 2020
With so much good racing at Churchill and Belmont, we didn’t want the Pick 6 Mandatory Payout at Charles Town on Saturday night to get lost in the shuffle.
After all, it’s not every day you get to shoot at a $150,000+ carryover with a mandatory payout.
When handicapping a track a track you aren’t familiar with, or even one that you are, I always recommend checking out the Equibase stats from time to time to identify who’s hot, who’s not and who are the top dogs on track.
At Charles Town, the leading jockey is Arnaldo Bocachica. He has won 71 races there this year, a 30% clip. Rounding out the top five are Denis Araujo (46, 20%), J.D. Acosta (35, 18%), Christian Hiraldo (30, 19%) and Gerald Almodavor (26, 16%). Note any horses these guys are riding.
On the trainer side, Jeff Runco is tops among conditioners, with 42 wins and a strike rate of 24%. Kevin Patterson has won with 15-of-36 starters, an insane 42% win rate. And Anthony Farrior is 15-of-43 on the season, good for 35%. Any horse they send out needs to merit serious consideration or needs to go on the ticket almost blindly.
Based on what I said above, the likeliest two singles come in Races 5 and 6. Arnaldo Bocachica rides a pair of low-priced horses - #2 BUCKED TOOTH (Race 5) and #2 EVAN’S CHILE (Race 6) for top trainers Kevin Patterson and Anthony Farrior, respectively.
Neither horse is a cinch, though, which muddies the equation. BUCKED TOOTH is just 1-for-10 on fast dirt, has never raced at Charles Town, drew inside and isn’t a standout on paper. EVAN’S CHILE is unraced since June 2019.
Here are some quick thoughts on the races of the sequence:
Race 3 (8:02PM ET): The opener is a bottom-level N2X claiming race and my goal in here would be to get through by only using two horses - #1 LIL SWEETHEART (7/2) and #5 CHARITABLE TIME (3/1). Both should get good trips from on/near the lead. If a fast pace is projected, #8 IMAGOODCHATTERBUG would factor but he’s tough to endore based on his last few races.
Race 4 (8:32PM ET): Maidens sprinting 4 1/2 furlongs and when you get a bunch of horses that are 0-for-11, 0-for-24, 0-for-13, etc. my mind automatically looks to the inexperienced runners. A pair of first-time starters drew outside - #8 JAMAKIN ME RUN (9/2) and #9 TRACE’S BOY (6/1) and I’ll use both, with more interest in JAMAKIN ME RUN. He goes out for a decent barn and is ridden by J.D. Acosta. Of those that have raced, #7 GRANDPA LOUIE (4/1) and #5 FASTDRIVEN (3/1) both make the cut.
Race 5 (9:02PM ET): The aforementioned #2 BUCK TOOTH (7/2) is joined by the comfortably drawn #6 BEARCAT KITTEN (7/2) on my ticket. ‘BEARCAT’ should move forward off a second-place finish in a race at Mountaineer on June 1 and has enough gate speed to ensure BUCK TOOTH doesn’t get a comfortable lead. #7 RED GUARD POST (5/1) is also worth a look but I think he could find himself racing wide from an outside post.
Race 6 (9:32PM ET): We’ll use just two in this WV-bred maiden race, #2 EVAN’S CHILE (8/5) – a potential zinger for Farrior/Bocachica – and #4 FANCY CONCHO, a second-time starter that was well-bet, and ran well, in his debut race. He can move forward off that effort.
Race 7 (10:02PM ET): #1 BRIDGING THE GAP (7/2) raced against the nearly unbeatable Anna’s Bandit last time out and held her own, finishing 4th of 8. She drew perfectly here and should be forwardly placed from the break. The only other one I’m considering is #9 RAVENEL (9/2), who risks being caught wide but has good forward speed in a race lacking it.
Race 8 (10:32PM ET): The nightcap is a tough $5K maiden claiming even and I think the ML oddsmaker got it right by making #8 COLD HEARTED GAL (9/5) and #3 TIPSY TIME (2/1) the favorites. I’ll add #2 MOHAWK MISS (10/1) – drops in class after a sloppy track debut – and obviously any of the Also Eligible horses should be on the ticket.
Race 3: 1, 5
Race 4: 5, 7, 8, 9
Race 5: 2, 6
Race 6: 2, 4
Race 7: 1, 9
Race 8: 2, 3, 8
Ticket Cost: $38.40 for 20-cents