by Jeff Siegel
June 26, 2021
Every Thursday through Sunday 1/ST BET handicapper Jeff Siegel offers his best wagering opportunity from a selected North American racetrack. These “Best Plays” can take the form of a win wager, exacta, trifecta, or a daily double, pick-3, pick-4 or pick-6. Selections are listed in chronological order.
Churchill Downs Race 7 – Post time: 3:50 ET
Overmatched in the Kentucky Derby-G1 and then a slightly disappointing third when thrust into the role as the pacesetter in the Matt Winn S.-G3, this talented colt makes his first start on turf while dropping into listed company in the War Chant S., a one mile event for 3-year-olds. As a son of the good grass performer Ironicus, he’s bred to step forward considerably with the switch in surface, so if he receives the patient ride he requires with the change to T. Gaffalione, the M. Casse-trained colt should be capable of getting back on the winning track and is a solid play at or near his morning line of 7/2.
Churchill Downs Race 8 – Post time: 4:22 ET
1-Wicked Halo (4-1)
From the first crop of the Horse of the Year Gun Runner, this precocious filly provided strong evidence of future stardom when breaking her maiden at first asking at Lone Stone Park earlier this month while earning a huge speed figure. In winning with authority and with plenty left in the tank, the S. Asmussen-trained 2-year-old displayed the tools that should allow her to return off relatively short rest and capture this year’s edition of the Debutante S. Today’s extra furlong should be no problem and because she just won from the rail, in her inside post is of little concern. At 4-1 on the morning line, she’s an aggressive play as a win play and in the various rolling exotics.
Thistledown Race 8 – Post time: 5:04 ET
Late-developing colt produced a quantum leap forward when winning a first-level allowance race by nearly 12 lengths with a monster speed figure at Churchill Downs almost two months ago on the Kentucky Derby Day program and has trained extremely well since, so if this colt isn’t just a one-hit wonder he should be capable of withstanding the class hike in this year’s edition of the Ohio Derby-G3. The A. Stall, Jr.-trained sophomore projects to fold into a comfortable second flight, stalking trip outside and then have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. In a fairly contentious field, he’s sure to offer good wagering value, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a gamble both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.
Belmont Park Race 9 – Post Time: 5:12 ET
Irish-bred filly was a breathtaking winner in her U.S. debut in late April when producing an electric late turn of foot to dismantle a first-level allowance field with distain. A Group-3 stakes winner overseas during in a two-race campaign as a 2-year-old, the daughter of Zoffany appears to have exceptional talent and can be expected to score again in this year’s renewal of the listed Wild Applause Stakes for 3-year-old fillies. This stretch out to a mile shouldn’t be any issue at all, so at 5/2 on the morning line the C. Brown-trained import offers excellent wagering value both as a win play and as a rolling exotic single.