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Saturday, April 4, 2020: Spot Plays & Previews

by Dustin Fabian

April 2, 2020

The show goes on this weekend and, as of Thursday afternoon, Saturday’s docket is still scheduled to include racing from Gulfstream, Oaklawn, Tampa Bay, Remington and Los Alamitos.  Additionally, international tracks in Australia, Hong Kong and Japan are still in action. 

I guess that’s a small morsel of good news for those looking to get a bet in.  Globally, these are trying and unprecedented times and I applaud the men and women working tirelessly to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our equine and human athletes, as well as track employees and industry stakeholders.  While a small blip on the radar, hopefully horse racing is able to provide an ounce of normalcy and perhaps a bit of a distraction for you this weekend. 

There are some nice races around the world for you to play on Saturday.  Here’s a look at some horses that caught my eye.


A strong 12-race card kicks off at 12:45PM ET and for those jumping into the Rainbow 6, #7 IM THE CAPTAIN NOW (3/1) in the kickoff leg (Race 7) looks like a standout.  He’s going to rely on a quick pace, so you may want to slightly adjust your plays if either of the speed players - #2 CROW MOON or #9 RODDICK – opt out.

Probably the best race on the card, from a betting perspective at least, is the 10th.  This is essentially a stakes race masquerading as an allowance, with stakes winners like #3 FIRST PREMIO (7/2), #8 CLASS AND CASH (4/1) #11 HALLADAY (6/1) and #2 KROY (6/1) all entered. FIRST PREMIO is the horse to watch, but he’s coming off a five-month layoff and could be rusty. #9 PENALTY is worth a big look at 12/1 odds. He upset an allowance race on February 22 at odds of 29/1 against the highly-regarded Largent and is a fair-priced alternative to FIRST PREMIO.

Finally, in Race 11, I’ll put a small bet on #7 MASTERDAY at anything close to his 8/1 ML.  I foresee a fast pace in here and I love getting MASTERDAY on the cut-back, coming off a 6th in the G2 Fountain of Youth. He ended up chasing a loose leader that day (Ete Indien) and consider that, while he was beaten 13-lengths for the win, he only missed second by 4 1/2-lengths.


Oaklawn’s 10-race card gets underway at 2:05PM ET and they’re home to a very strong stakes race on Saturday – the $100,000 Purple Martin Stakes. I think #8 FRANK’S ROCKETTE (5/2) is a standout here. She won the ungraded Any Limit Stakes at Gulfstream on February 22 by 7-lengths and drew perfectly in here.  With plenty of speed to her inside, Martin Garcia should be able to make the call to send or rate on the fly. #1 KIMARI returns to the dirt for the first time since her smashing 15-length Keeneland debut win last April and attracts Mike Smith to ride.  I’ll let her take money and would be willing to let her beat me.  She’ll either have to send hard from the inside or will be taking dirt to the face for the first time. 

My other Oaklawn Spot Play is #6 BIGGS (6/1) in Race 2. This Arkansas-bred son of Midshipman has done nothing in three career starts but this is his third start off the layoff and I would expect Fernando De La Cruz to send from the start and play ‘catch me if you can.’  Brad Cox has been strong at the meet (25%) and 6/1 may be a bit of a dream. He was 4/5 in a sprint race at this level on February 20.


Admittedly, the racing from Hong Kong gets underway late on Saturday night.  First post is after midnight – 12:45AM ET – on the East Coast.  But maybe consider placing a few bets before turning off the lights and hitting the pillow?

They’ve got two really nice stakes races at Sha Tin on Saturday – the G2 Chairman’s Trophy and the G2 Sprint Cup. The former pits #1 BEAUTY GENERATION (2017-18 Hong Kong Horse of the Year) against #2 WAIKUKU.  The Sprint Cup features Hong Kong Sprint third-place finishers #8 AETHERO and some other crack racehorses.

For full card picks from Hong Kong, check out Declan Schuster’s Picks Blog.

That’s all I have for this weekend.  Please stay at home, stay safe and trust Xpressbet and 1/ST BET to get your bets in.  We’ve got you covered for betting, watching and handicapping the races.