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4.6.2020:

Familiarize Yourself with Fonner, Will Rogers

With a few tracks in the weekday mix that you might not normally play, the wealth of information in the Betmix database can come in handy. Whether you’re crunching the stats yourself or using the 1/ST BET App and the data-driven information, closing the gap between uninformed and informed is a key to handicapping success in this ever evolving schedule. Let’s take a look at a few pointers uncovered. Betting Fonner Park Favorites win overall at 40% at Fonner Park in 2020, and have been strongest in the 4-furlong dash races at 44%. By classification at all distances, you can see quite a spread in public trust. The higher-quality races absolutely have been more ‘to form.’ Maiden Claiming: 15%Maiden Special Weight: 48%Claiming: 36%Allowance: 54% Stakes: 50% Notable among favorites, trainers Kelli Martinez (10-16, 63%), David Anderson (5-8, 63%) and Marissa Black (5-7, 71%) have been outstanding with the chalk. Leading jockey Armando Martinez has a remarkable 29: 17-5-3 record aboard favorites (59% wins, 76% in exacta). A couple of sires with local success this year worth following include Loveofthegame (offspring 10: 4-2-0) and Top Hit (offspring 5: 4-0-0). Betting Will Rogers Downs Favorites win overall at 36% at Will Rogers Downs in 2020, and have been strongest in 5-1/2 furlong sprints at 41%. As with Fonner Park, we’ll take a look at the favorites’ trustworthiness by class. Maiden Claiming: 21% Maiden Special Weight: 67%Claiming: 39%Allowance: 25% Stakes: N/A Notable among favorites, trainers Scott Young (5-12, 42%), Andy Gladd (3-3, 100%) and Kari Craddock (3-6, 50%) have enjoyed the most success. Jockey Kevin Roman (8: 5-2-0, 63%) has been nearly flawless on the favorites. A sire worth mentioning is Notional, who leads all at the meet with 5 winners. He’s hitting at 22% locally and his runners show a small, flat-bet profit. His 5 winners have come with 5 different offspring, and 3 of those were trained by Scott Young.

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4.6.2020:

Wednesday, April 8: Happy Valley (Hong Kong) Picks

HAPPY VALLEY BETTING SELECTIONS Wednesday, April 8, 2020First Post: 7:15AM ET Race 1: #8 Dionysus Collin, #9 Everyone’s Elite, #2 Play Wise, #10 Galaxy EmperorRace 2: #2 Let’s Take It Easy, #1 Happy Warrior, #8 Focus, #5 Fun Times Race 3: #1 Harmony N Home, #5 Winner’s Heart, #10 Super Alliances, #3 Golden GloryRace 4: #10 Simply Fluke, #3 Amazing, #2 Gunnar, #8 Wood On Fire Race 5: #10 Diamond Brilliant, #3 Beauty Amigo, #6 Seventh Sea, #12 Good For You Race 6: #4 Be Ready, #2 Explosive Witness, #8 Amazing Kiwi, #7 Very Sweet OrangeRace 7: #1 Holy Heart, #3 Smoothies, #7 Flash Famous, #4 Bear AgainRace 8: #10 This Is Class, #6 Hong Kong Win, #4 Gentle Breeze, #2 StrongerRace 1: Yue Wan Handicap (7:15AM ET) #8 Dionysus Collin is unlucky not to already be a winner and although is isn’t the easiest of contests, he does rate as a leading player, especially with four runner-up efforts next to his name. If he can overcome the wide draw then he can finally go on with it. #9 Everyone’s Elite is another who is unlucky not to have already won. He’s finished second in his last five races and he’s proven that it’s only a matter of time before he does deliver. This appears to be a race in two and in his favour is the soft gate and retention of Joao Moreira. #2 Play Wise mixes his form but is a two-time Class 4 winner. He’ll relish the return this grade and he deserves respect. #10 Galaxy Emperor hasn’t done much across his short six-start career, though, the added distance just might be what he is after. Race 2: Yiu Tung Handicap (7:45AM ET) #2 Let’s Take It Easy is a three-time course and distance winner. This is right up is alley and the retention of Zac Purton has to warrant respect, especially with the blinkers applied here as he looks to three narrow defeats behind him. #1 Happy Warrior is as consistent as they come. He’s been close up all season and if he runs up to his usual level, then he’s expected to be in the finish. #8 Focus is a much better Happy Valley horse and the return to his preferred track on Wednesday should spark sharp improvement. #5 Fun Times mixes his form but his best should see him finish thereabouts. Race 3: Wan Tsui Handicap (1st Section) (8:15AM ET) #1 Harmony N Home is lightly raced but he has shown his quality already across his short three-start career. Class 3 beckons for this galloper and with Zac Purton taking the reins again, he shapes as the one to beat. #5 Winner’s Heart is nearing a breakthrough win and he finds himself stepping back up to 1200m here. He can figure with the right run. #10 Super Alliances has mixed his form but has twice placed over this course and distance this season. He’s drawn to get the gun run and he’s another who has shown that it’s only a matter of time before he does go on with it. #3 Golden Glory won well two starts ago and since then has been far from disgraced. He won’t be too far away but there doesn’t appear to be much improvement left in him which is a slight concern. Race 4: Wan Tsui Handicap (2nd Section) (8:45AM ET) #10 Simply Fluke makes his first start for the Douglas Whyte stable after transferring from the Dennis Yip yard. He’s placed in his last two starts and this contest looks more than suitable for him to finally breakthrough in as long as he can offset the wide gate. #3 Amazing won well two starts ago. He’s still racing well since that win and with even luck he’s capable of returning to the winner’s stall. #2 Gunnar is consistent and in his favour this time is Alfred Chan’s seven pound claim. He can run them along here and he’s capable of clinging on for prize money. #8 Wood On Fire has a bit of class about him and the inside gate should afford him every opportunity. Race 5: Hong Tung Handicap (9:15AM ET) #10 Diamond Brilliant has finished runner-up in his last two outings. He’s racing well at present and his consistent record should see him prove difficult to reel in. He commands plenty of respect, especially from the in-form Benno Yung yard who bagged race-to-race double last Sunday. #3 Beauty Amigo is winless. He closed nicely last start for fourth at Sha Tin and he might just be down to a competitive mark now. #6 Seventh Sea is another who is winless. He has put together a few nice runs albeit without winning and this contest is suitable. #12 Good For You is already a two-time course and distance winner this term. He commands respect returning to the Valley after two runs at Sha Tin. Race 6: Hing Wah Handicap (9:45AM ET) #4 Be Ready has gone close on a number of occasions already across his short six-start career. He’s shown plenty of ability early and the drop back to 1000m here on the tight turning city circuit appears a positive for his chances. #2 Explosive Witness arrived in Hong Kong as an undefeated victor at Moonee Valley in Australia. He’s drawn awkwardly in gate 12 but he does appear to still have a number of ratings points still in hand. #8 Amazing Kiwi finished runner-up last start. He’s an ex-Godolphin galloper who was a two-time winner in Australia. #7 Very Sweet Orange has hit a purple patch of form. He’s looking for his fourth consecutive win and he’s going to look the winner a long way from home if he tries to make all once again. Race 7: Oi Tung Handicap (10:15AM ET)  #1 Holy Heart brought with him some high quality British form with him and although he’s yet to record a win, he has shown that it’s only a matter of time before he does so. He narrowly missed by a short-head last start and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him go on with things here. #3 Smoothies made all for an impressive win last start. He’s likely to try the same again here and if he can dictate terms to suit himself, he’s going to warrant plenty of respect. #7 Flash Famous has put his best foot forward his last two starts and his now a four-time winner this season. He’s enjoyed a rapid rise to success and as he is in career-best form, he is expected to challenge this bunch. #4 Bear Again won easily three starts ago by four lengths over this course and distance. He’s next best. Race 8: Hing Min Handicap (10:50AM ET) #10 This Is Class is looking for his third consecutive win. He’s living up to his namesake with four wins already across 10 starts and with even luck he’s going to take a power of beating. #6 Hong Kong Win is a three-time winner already this term. He’s a pretty straightforward ride who with a positive run on the speed, always seems to run a bold race. This is suitable and the booking of Joao Moreira commands respect. #4 Gentle Breeze holds an imposing record at the Valley. He might have reached his mark but still, his best is more than up to this and gate one will see him do next to no work throughout. #2 Stronger sped to a track record two starts ago at the Valley. That alone suggests that he is going to be in the finish even if he went unplaced last time as his blistering best is worth consideration. Learn more about Hong Kong Racing

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4.6.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (March 30-April 5): Kimari

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.March 30-April 5, 2020MVP: KimariOwner: Ten Broeck Farm, Inc.Trainer: Wesley WardJockey: Channing HillPerformance: The daughter of Munnings made a stellar 3-year-old return to the races April 4 at Oaklawn Park, rallying to win the $100,000 Purple Martin Stakes over a strong field. She ran by multiple Grade 1-placed favorite Frank’s Rockette in the final yards for her fourth lifetime win. Kimari’s only 2 losses have come in the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint against the colts, in which she finished second and fourth, respectively. She’s now 2-for-2 on dirt, including a 15-length Keeneland debut dash score last April.On Tap: For a 3-year-old sprint filly of this repute, most years a race like the Acorn or Test in New York would be the principal goals. But with the calendar ominous at this point due to so many track closures, you’re likely looking at projecting ahead toward the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint at Keeneland in the fall and working backwards to find a race or two that reappears on a more firm schedule at a later date. As a 3-year-old filly, the rescheduled May 1 Grade 3 Fantasy Stakes remains on the Oaklawn slate if the connections are willing to stretch out to 1-1/16 miles. Gulfstream Park has $75,000 stakes for the sophomore fillies on dirt in June and July as lesser options if she’s kept in harder training and needs to run.Honorable Mentions: Much like he did in the Tropical Park Derby, Halladay overcame a wide post draw at Gulfstream Park on April 4 to win a quality allowance race in front-running fashion. The 4-year-old is developing into one of the up-and-coming eastern turf milers. Shashashakemeup shook up the Oaklawn Park toteboard in the April 5 allowance finale for 3-year-olds. The Lecomte and Risen Star Stakes also-ran scored a 49-1 upset over a solid field that included Grade 2 San Vicente runner-up Ginobili, who wound up fifth as the 4-5 chalk.

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4.6.2020:

Cal-Expo: A ‘Trip’ Like No Other

Cal-Expo was the last U.S. harness track running amid the coronavirus pandemic. Live racing survived until the end of March at the one-mile oval before the Sacramento Health Department shut it down. Bettors might have been hesitant to wager on the 10-race cards and horses they knew little about.  They might not have been interested in a $2,800 race for “non-winners of $751 in their last five starts.” They probably couldn’t relate to leading drivers Luke Plano, James Kennedy or Nick Roland, who didn’t rank among North America’s Top 15 in wins or Top 50 in earnings. But Cal-Expo gave bettors a reason to watch and wager. Unlike any other track, it provides detailed trip notes on every horse, every live racing night, on a never-ending scroll at the bottom of its video feed. The notes are so detailed, one could bet with confidence without a program in hand. Take the March 31 card, which featured a million-dollar handle for the third consecutive night of live racing and a $40,000-plus carry-over pool in the 10-cent Single 6 wager. Lincoln won the first race at 9-2 odds, a week after the 9-year-old pacer “brushed out 3/8s, got past the fave half, attacked into lane, held on pretty well. … Excuses in last couple.” Western Devil sat a pocket trip and won the second race by 4 lengths, no surprise off a prior-race trip in which he was “sent from the gate, brushed back before the quarter, opened up into lane, caught by fave, tough try.” Marty Bridges, a chart-caller for 45 years, is the man responsible for the trip notes. He has been at Cal-Expo since the early 1980s and has made it his passion to inform novices, recreational bettors and serious horseplayers with his hard-hitting, easy-to-follow notes. In the fifth race, Wizzle Stix rallied past the co-favorites to finish second at 18-1 and create some good exotic wager payouts. The trip notes revealed that he was “stuck last throughout, traffic into the lane, angled wide … not without a small chance at big odds.” Hi Ho Julio lit up the tote board when he paid $69.60 win in the sixth race. He was at least worth a closer look on late Pick 5 tickets, considering he was “reserved to the far turn, tipped out but no headway into strong winner, James (Kennedy) drives, not worst stab.” Cal-Expo surely attracted some new fans while the other tracks were dark. And the fans might return -- with their trip notes in hand.

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4.5.2020:

Sunday, April 05: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B-Use: 3-Awesome Evil; 5-Water Wizard; 11-TumbadoraForecast: The Sunday program begins with another one of those first-off-the-claim class droppers from the S. Joseph, Jr., barn that looks tough to beat. Tumbadora, taken out of her debut in February for $25,000 in a race in which she flashed early speed for a half before packing it in, returns in a very soft spot for stable that hits a remarkable 40% (with massive flat-bet profit) with this angle, and from her outside post against this modest group she should have every chance to show her true abilities. The daughter of Awesome Again removes blinkers (love the angle), but at 8/5 on the morning line there won’t be much value to be found. Those trying to beat the favorite should consider Awesome Evil and Water Wizard in rolling exotic play. ‘Evil has shown nothing in two starts since joining the P. Walder barn but picks up a stronger rider (V. Lebron) could improve enough with patient tactics to make some noise at 15-1 on the morning line. ‘Wizard (9/2) is gradually improving with experience and will be doing her best work from the quarter pole home. A little certain will go a long way in this bottom-rung affair.RACE 2: Post 1:31 ET. Grade: C+Use: 5-La Cara Bonita; 9-Swirling CandyForecast: La Cara Bonita and Swirling Candy couldn’t be separated when dead-heating for third in a starter optional $25,000 claiming turf sprint last month and they are tough to differentiate right back in this restricted (nw-2) $20,00 seller over the same course and distance. For whatever it’s worth (probably not much), there’s a two pound weight shift in favor of Swirling Candy, but perhaps more significant is that she’s the quicker of the two and has the option of popping and going from her outside draw or stalking and pouncing. The speed figure that she earned when graduating two runs back is considerably better than par for this level; however in that race she was able to smoothly establish the pace while in her last outing (and today as well) that kind of easy front-running trip might not be so readily available. La Cara Bonita is reunited with “win rider” L. Saez and projects to be prominent throughout – perhaps right behind the leaders – and then have her chance to kick home through the lane. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play with a slight edge on top to Swirling Candy.RACE 3: Post 2:05 ET. Grade: C+Use: 2-Kiffle; 3-Nothings Free; 6-Baby IceForecast: We’ll go three deep in the third race, a main track $10,000 claiming extended sprint for fillies and mares. Kiffle drops to her lowest level ever after flashing speed and then fading in a $25,000 seller two-turning on grass in late December. First or second in nine of 12 career starts, retaining T. Gafflione, and returning to her preferred distance and surface, the daughter of Take Charge Indy makes her first start since being transferred to the the R. Hess, Jr. barn and has only one way to go from her 2-hole draw. Her best chance for a gate-to-wire performance most likely depends on how much early pressure Nothins Free, drawn just to her right, can apply. Listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite and freshened since mid-January, the veteran Flat Out mare shortens from a couple of one-turn mile efforts and always has been most effective on the front end. Can she stalk and win if the situation dictates? Baby Ice, certain to be the beneficiary of an early pace duel should one materialize, projects into an ideal second flight position and then have every chance to wear down the leaders when it counts. She’s moving up in class while seeking her third straight score but is a genuine and consistent race mare with the perfect style this six and one-half furlong trip.RACE 4: Post 2:36 ET. Grade: XSingle: 5-CryogenicForecast: Crogenic is in good form for M. Maker, switches to the barn’s go-to rider L. Saez, and has an ideal second flight, stalking style for this five furlong turf trip. First or second in 11 of 23 career starts, the son of Soldat remains protected in this Florida-bred first-level allowance optional claimer and is logically the one to beat at 8/5 on the morning line. He may wind up being a bit too short to play in the win pool but we can use him as a short-price rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 3:08 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Starship Voyager; 8-SeayouatthebreakersForecast: This is an intriguing Florida-bred maiden sprint for fillies and mares. Starship Voyager is a first-time starter bred to win early (Big Drama) and with a series of promising workouts on her resume. A good, athletic mover with a touch of quality, she’s listed at 10-1 on the morning line for a low jockey-trainer combo, so her price (10-1 morning line) should remain reasonable. The rail always is a concern with a debut runner but if she manages to break cleanly and work out a decent trip, she has a chance to produce an upset score. New Yorker shipper Seayouatthebreakers, away since May of last year when she displayed good speed in a couple of maiden special weight outings at Belmont Park, lands the comfortable outside box and J. Rosario following a series of decent drills that should have plenty fit. The daughter of Hard Spun is 4-1 on the morning line but we suspect she’ll go lower than that. Preference on top – especially at the price – goes to Starship Voyager but we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 6: Post 3:39 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Gotta Go Mo; 2-Backside Beauty; 3-No No NinaForecast: This is a challenging five furlong turf sprint for open maiden fillies and mares. Backside Beauty, a first-timer by Orb, brought $150,000 in the OBS April sale last year after impressing in the preview session when she breezed a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds. The L. Rivelli barn has excellent stats with debut runners and V. Libron is one of the stable’s go-to riders, so this half-sister to multiple New York-bred stakes winner Temper Mint Patty looks extremely live at 6-1 on the morning line. No No Nina, bred to most effective on grass (More Than Ready), missed her chance on the lawn when her debut race was transferred to the main track last month. The C. Clement-trained filly received some backing (3-1), but after flashing a bit of early speed she steadily retreated and wound up a distance fourth. With T. Gafflione riding her back, we’ll give her another chance for a barn that has solid stats with second-time starters. Gotta Go Mo probably can’t beat a real good filly but it apparently it takes a decent sort to beat her. Still a maiden after five starts but in the frame in her last pair over this course and distance, the daughter of Uncle Mo must leave well from her rail post and is likely to have a big say in the matter if she does. She’s not yet achieved a speed figure equal to or better than par for this level, so improvement may be needed, but experience is in her corner.RACE 7: Post 4:10 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Subsidiary; 6-Sky ChaserForecast: Sky Chaser has been chasing tougher without much success lately, but this drop into the $20,000 claiming ranks could return her to winning form. Successful twice over the local main track, she’s reunited with “win rider” M. A. Vasquez after a brief freshening and can be tough on the lead or from a stalking position. Subsidiary, in her second off a layoff for M. Casse (very strong stats with this angle), missed as the favorite when fading late to wind up a distant second in a $25,000 sprint last month. She’s switches to T. Gaffalione and should produce a forward move but based on pure numbers we have to prefer Sky Chaser on top while including both in our rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post 4:41 ET. Grade: B+Single: 6-Voodoo ZipForecast: Voodoo Zip, in the frame in all three of his career starts with rising speed figures in each outing, appears ready to graduate in this maiden special weight turf miler for 3-year-olds. Drawing a better post today after leaving from the far outside when nosed out in his most recent start, the D. Gargan-trained colt has a good stalking style and should have every chance to seal the deal when the pressure is turned on. T. Gaffalione stays aboard and knows him well, so let’s make the son of City Zip a win play and rolling exotic at or near his morning line of 5/2.RACE 9: Post 5:12 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Rhythmia; 6-Proven Strategies; 9-Roman EmpireForecast: This first-level state-bred allowance middle distance turf affair came up stronger than par, with at least three legitimate contenders. Proven Strategies just broke his maiden in sharp fashion with a good pace-stalking trip, and with continued improvement the son of Sky Mesa may be capable of taking this class hike in stride. His speed figures are rising with each outing and another forward move is likely to today. Rhythmia remains protected by S. Joseph, Jr., who took this gelding for $20,000 two runs back and clearly still likes this hard-hitting son of Majestic Warrior, who will be making his first start since mid-January. Very competitive at this level based on speed figures, he lands the good rail and can be expected to employ gate-to-wire tactics. Roman Empire, the most dangerous true closer in the field, will have his chances promoted if he gets legitimate fractions to chase. The son of Empire Maker crushed a soft Florida-bred maiden field on dirt last time out after flashing ability routing on grass when third in his debut, so if he continues to progress, the T. Pletcher-trained colt could be heard from in the final furlong.RACE 10: Post 4:17 ET. Grade: B-Use: 2-Up in Smoke; 7-Midtown RoseForecast: Up in Smoke is a perfect two-for-two in her young career, both wins accomplished with complete authority against state-bred competition. In her most recent start, she broke well and was close up in the opening furlong, drifted back to last while appearing to be completely beaten at the quarter pole, then suddenly took hold wide and roared by her rivals to win as tons best. We’ll find out what she’s made of today in open company but one thing’s for sure, she can’t pull that same stunt against this group and get away with. On pure speed figures she’s a fit, but certainly not a standout. Midtown Rose lands the cozy outside post and should draft into an ideal pace-stalking trip in a field without an abundance of early zip. Second while well-clear of the rest in a similar spot last month, the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained filly earned a monster speed figure three runs back when graduating over this track and distance but then didn’t come close to that number in her two subsequent outings. She’s the 9/5 morning line favorite and based on the projected pace flow probably deserves to be.RACE 11: Post 4:49 ET. Grade:Use: 5-Catnip Kitten; 7-Got the Gist; 8-Aguas Coloradas; 10-Chiclet’s DreamForecast: The finale is a grass gab bag for low-level claiming fillies and mares. Use as many as your budget allows. Catnip Kitten is winless in eight starts over the local lawn but she ran very well at this level when second last time out and switches to J. Rosario. With good racing luck she seems capable of getting up in time. Got the Gist, away since the summer when she was racing at Suffolk Downs, returns for the high percentage G. Baxter barn (solid with comebackers) and lands L. Saez. She’s won fresh in the past, seems to be training well, and is dangerous off the bench. Aguas Coloradas is a Tampa Bay shipper with rising numbers and a previous win over this course. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy is lightly raced with further improvement possible and certainly worth including at 8-1 on the morning line. Chiclet’s Dream is a first-off-the-claim play leaving the C. Brown barn for a low percentage outfit and must leave from the 10-hole going a mile. She’s coming off a win but didn’t beat much and won’t offer any value at 3-1 on the morning line, so you can use as a back-up or a saver but nothing more than that.

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4.4.2020:

Saturday, April 04: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.RACE 1: Post 12:45 ET. Grade: C+Use: 5-Big Treasure; 8-Blessed JourneyForecast: Blessed Journey isn’t one to entirely trust but the Gemologist gelding is plummeting in class to a realistic spot and may have found his friends in this $16,000 maiden claiming turf miler for older horses. Re-equipped with blinkers and switching to L. Saez, the R. Hess, Jr.-trained gelding is a one-paced type without a true style, but on pure numbers he really should be able to out-grind this field. At 2-1 on the morning line, though, he doesn’t really offer much value. Big Treasure is cut from the same cloth. The Treasure Beach colt is dropping to his lowest level ever and has speed figures that make him a fit in this league, but he’s another that tends to run in the same spot, displaying no real tactical speed or much of a closing kick. But against this bunch he might get his confidence up and at 8-1 on the morning line he’s certainly worth including in rolling exotic play. Tread lightly here.RACE 2: Post 1:15 ET. Grade: C+Use: 3-So Long Chuck; 8-Transistor; 10-Peppi the HunterForecast: Low-level claiming main track milers meet in the second race, an open scramble that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go three deep – two of them are stable mates - and hope to survive and advance. Transistor nosedives in class after failing to make the course over a sloppy track in his last appearance seven weeks ago in what was his first start in 10 months. This S. Joseph, Jr. barn can be very aggressive with its claiming stock, so with the spotty pattern and the poor recent run it’s not surprising to see the son of Forty Tales show up cheap. With the switch to L. Saez we’re going to assume the three-time Gulfstream Park winner has at least one more good one left, so based mostly on price we’ll put him on top and hope to get close to his morning line of 6-1. This same barn also is represented by another class dropper, the 2-1 morning line favorite Peppi the Hunter, who was taken for $12,500 following a good runner-up effort over this track and distance in early February and today surfaces for $7,000, not typically a healthy sign but standard operating procedure for this outfit. The son of U S Ranger is dangerous when he makes the running, but there are other front-running types in the field that make his trip a bit problematic. On the positive side, a recent half mile bullet workout at Gulfstream Park West (:47 1/5, fastest of 36) catches the eye along with the switch to go-to rider T. Gaffalione (33% with this jockey/trainer combo). The fly in the ointment with regards to the projected pace flow of the race is So Long Chuck, a four-time winner over the local main track and dropping to his lowest level ever. The Adios Charlie gelding is reunited with “win rider” E. Jaramillo, stretches out from seven furlongs, and has the kind of early zip that could make things sticky for Peppi the Hunter. ‘Chuck also has the second-off-the-layoff angle for a barn that has superior stats (29%) with this maneuver.RACE 3: Post 1:45 ET. Grade: CUse: 4-Long Story Short; 8-Toonie Loonie; 9-So Dar; 11-Bella GiannaForecast: Today’s third race is a messy bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. We’ll go four deep while tossing in some big prices, but otherwise sit it out. So Dear is dropping all the way down from the maiden $50,000 level and actually did finish second in maiden special weight company in her debut last summer, so while her recent form looks suspect she’s never faced such weak company and could quickly find her confidence. She also has the route-to-sprint angle that we like and speed figures that look very competitive. Toonie Loonie, in the frame in her last pair and shortening up a half-furlong while switching to E. Jaramillo, probably is the one to fear most. She seems comfortable in her current role as a dirt sprinter and has numbers that are reasonable close to par for this level. You should also include a couple of long shots, Bella Giana (12-1) and Long Story Short (20-1). The former may be the quickest of the quick and with the return to the main track could get loose early and forget to stop, while the latter, in her third start off a layoff, has some back speed figures that make her competitive, gets off the rail, and could find herself within range if she leaves better today than she did last time out.RACE 4: Post 2:15 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Mighty Fast; 5-W W Archie; 9-War ActForecast: W. W Archie failed to draw in yesterday in a maiden $12,500 affair but shows up here for $16,000 in an equally soft spot. The son of Archarcharch has an improving pattern (his speed figure rose considerably between his first and second start) and he was more than five lengths clear of the rest when a reasonable third over this track and distance three weeks ago. On pure numbers, he’s a bit better than Mighty Fast, who, like W. W. Archie, will be making his third career start and also appears to be progressing with experience. However, Fast’s connections (Saez, Delgado) inspire much more confidence than ‘Archie’s and at 6-1 on the morning line he’ll probably wind up being a better price, so while we’ll include both in our rolling exotics we’ll give slight preference on top to Mighty Fast. The most dangerous of the closing types may be War Act, and at this extended sprint trip he could produce the last run from his outside draw. While lacking tactical speed, his numbers have gradually risen with each of his five career starts, though the barn has yet to win a race this year. Toss him in on a ticket or two.RACE 5: Post 2:45 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Little Bella; 4-Domineer; 9-Moon EyesForecast: This grass grab bag has a number of possibilities and is yet another race that requires extended coverage in rolling exotic play. Little Bella makes a barn switch to J. Orseno, picks up J. Rosario, and draws the fence in this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 dash for fillies and mare. Fresh from a solid runner-up performance over this course and distance last month, the daughter of Paddy O’Prado should be capable of producing the last run, though her morning line of 2-1 is a bit problematic. Domineer will be equipped with blinkers for the first time and gets a major jockey change to E. Jaramillo, but both of her turf tries were below standard (albeit when facing much tougher) and the barn has had a slow year so far. You have to use her at 8-1 on the morning line. Moon Eyes was over-bet at 3/5 when fourth in the same race Little Bella exits – her second straight defeat at odds-on - and her lack of tactical speed in these abbreviated turf sprints has rendered her untrustworthy. However, she switches to L. Saez and will be running on late, so we suppose there’s a chance she could clunk up and win.RACE 6: Post 3:15 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Bardot; 7-Running Girl; 8-Kozy DreamsForecast: Here’s another maiden claimer, a $25,000 main track extended sprint for restricted to 3-year-old fillies. The best of the experienced runners would seem to be Kozy Dreams, a first-off-the-claim play from a barn that doesn’t have great stats with this angle. However, she’s finished in the money in three of four career starts and most recently was second, nearly six lengths clear of the rest, at this level last month with career top speed figure. She looks like a play at or near her morning line of 6-1. The T. Pletcher first-time starter Bardot, likely to get plenty of play, doesn’t have a great pattern. The daughter of Candy Ride brought $97,000 as a weanling and shows up cheap, hardly a sign of confidence, and a video of a mid-February workout was something less than inspiring - view video. Yet, how good does she really have to be to act with group? Running Girl debuts for K. O’Connell, a very competent trainer with first-timers, and as a daughter of Run Away and Hide she has a right to at least have some early speed. Throw her in at 12-1 on the morning line.RACE 7: Post 3:47 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Dark Ages; 7-Im the Captain Now; 10-Mystical MoonForecast: Dark Ages is intriguing at 6-1 on the morning line in this restricted (nw-3) $12,500 claiming turf miler. Exiting a pair of rapid turf sprints, breaking from the rail, and switching to J. Rosario, the son of J. P.’s Gusto could easily find himself as the controlling speed. The barn has superior stats with the sprint-to-route angle and sharp half mile breeze around dogs on turf last week should have him right on edge. Im the Captain Now, beaten a head in a recent restricted (nw-3) $20,000 middle distance turf affair last month, shows up for $12,500 today, his fourth straight class drop, hardly a healthy sign. The B. Tagg-trained gelding is winless in almost two year so perhaps the connections are simply getting realistic with the once-promising gelding, who had enough talent to win an allowance at Saratoga in the summer of 2018. In his good days, he was a deep closing mini-marathoner, so at this one mile trip the son of Trappe Shot may need some good fortune. Mystical Moon is drawn farther outside than we’d prefer but after winning a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 seller over this course and distance last month with a competitive number the B. Lynch-trained gelding, who was entered and scratched out of a tougher race yesterday, may have a bit of a look if he can negotiate a decent trip.RACE 8: Post 4:18 ET. Grade: B+Use: 2-Ghostly Beauty; 8-Yolanda’s PrideForecast: Ghostly Beauty was a somewhat unlucky loser when worn down by Lookinlikeaqueen in a similar state-bred first-level allowance turf miler last month. She found herself pressing the pace 3-wide without cover every step of the way, and then, after striking the front in mid-stretch, couldn’t quite hold off the late-runner and had to settle for second, beaten less than a length. She’s all but assured of a ground-saving trip from her 2-hole post today, switches to L. Saez (who jumps off ‘Queen to ride her) and sports a bullet half mile main track breeze (:46 3/5, fastest of 39) since raced. In projecting the race flow, we envision ‘Beauty sitting just behind the likely pacesetter Yolanda’s Pride and then have every chance to exert her superiority from the quarter pole home. While the main push will go to Ghostly Beauty, ‘Pride should be included on a ticket or two as a saver. The lightly-raced 3-year-old filly was fairly convincing with a gate-to-wire score over this course and distance in a starter optional claimer last month and today picks up J. Rosario. Similar front-running tactics are sure to be employed, and if not respected the S. Klesaris-trained filly could take this field a long way.RACE 9: Post 4:49 ET. Grade: BUse: 5-Inter Miami; 6-Silverly EnoughForecast: Silverly Enough shortens to his preferred trip, switches to L. Saez, and seems well-placed for a snap back performance after failing at 6/5 when pressing the pace and fading at one-turn mile against a similar starter optional claiming field last month. He shows two sprint races among the five in his chart that show speed figures good enough to beat this field, so we’ll put him on top but as a single. Inter Miami, overmatched and out of his element when last of 12 two-turning on grass in the Cutler Bay Stakes last week, is wheeled back quickly and realistically spotted. Low profile connections notwithstanding, the son of Big Drama has a look off his game state-bred win over this track and distance two runs back. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics and then press a bit with Silverly Enough on top.RACE 10: Post 5:20 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-First Premio; 8-Class and Cash; 9-Penalty; 11-HalladayForecast: This is a race loaded with speed, so we’re looking at the stalkers/closers to have an edge in a highly-competitive three-other-than grass miler for older horses. Penalty is starting to get very good as he matures and is better than his morning line of 12-1 gives him credit for. The lightly-raced (just 10 starts) 5-year-old son of Blame was especially sharp wearing down next-out winner Largent in a fast, highly rated affair over this course and distance in late February and sports a strong, steady work tab since, including a recent bullet half mile drill (:49 2/5, fastest of nine) just a few days ago. E. Zayas stays aboard and will give this W. Mott-trained horse the patient ride he requires. First Premio, exiting a series of five stakes races, most recently when fifth beaten just a length in the Shadow Turf Mile-G1 last fall, has a history of firing fresh and is strictly the one to beat. That said, the M. Casse-trained 6-year-old has been less than impressive in his workouts leading up to this race - view video - however, that might be nothing more than par for the course for him. We’ll try to beat him but we have to use him. Tropical Park Derby winner Halladay, a self-caused troubled fourth in the Tampa Bay S.-G3 in early February, has form on his best day that puts him right there but T. Pletcher-trained son of War Front must leave from the far outside and will need luck to secure any kind of trip. We might use him as a saver on a ticket or two but nothing more. Class and Cash, victorious 13 races from 35 lifetime outings including four over the local lawn but winless since September of 2018, switches to J. Rosario and should settle in just behind the leaders and have dead aim entering the lane. He’s eight years old now and probably has a lost a step but given the connections he’s worth tossing in somewhere.RACE 11: Post 5:52 ET. Grade:Use: 3-I’ll Fight Dempsey; 4-SonnemanForecast: I’ll Fight Dempsey was quite impressive winning his debut sprinting from the rail with a big speed figure in late February and had the form franked when runner-up Candy Machine came back to break his maiden yesterday. Three successive bullet workouts since that race gives strong indication that the son of Into Mischief is prepared to step forward, and while there may be other speed in the field we’re expecting to see the T. Pletcher-trained colt employ similar gate-to-wire tactics right back. As a back-up, you should definitely consider the come-backing Sonneman, a maiden winner with a strong number last fall at Belmont Park and making his sophomore debut with a healthy series of workouts and a pedigree (Curlin) that should guarantee that he’ll be better as a 3-year-old than he was at two. Not a speed type and probably needing more ground than seven furlongs, the M. Hennig-trained colt picks up J. Rosario and could be dangerous if the pace flow turns up hot and contested.RACE 12: Post 6:24 ET. Grade: C+Use: 8-Avenida Manana; 9-Trilby; 12-Paint the CornersForecast: The finale is a grass miler for $16,000 claiming fillies and mares. We’ll approach this race with caution. Avenida Manana probably doesn’t offer a whole lot of value at 9/5 on the morning line but she certainly can win in her first start off a claim for R. Hess, Jr. A winner of her last three by an aggregate margin of less than a length, the daughter of Street Boss gets extra points for knowing where the wire is and has the ideal stalking style that should produce a comfortable pace-stalking trip. The fact that she’s not being protected on the raise is of mild concern and it’s somewhat surprising that despite her record she’s only been claimed the one time out of the six races she’s competed for a tag. We suspect there’s a reason. Paint the Corners and Trilby, four-five finishers in a similar affair here last month, also have a right to run well, as both are four-time winners over the local turf course. Unlike Avenida Manana, Trilby has been extremely popular at the claim box, having changed hands in each of her last four starts, and has been fairly consistent, though her numbers are a bit soft. Paint the Corners, stuck way out in the 12-hole, switches to E. Jaramillo and may have enough tactical speed to get over and secure a decent spot, but it’s no slam dunk. At 10-1 on the morning line she’s worth using on a ticket or two.*

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4.4.2020:

Fun to Have Fonner Park, Will Rogers Downs in Racing Spotlight

The spring winds of Grand Island whistled up and down Pleasant View Drive in April ’75 as a 15-year-old and his banana-seated Huffy cut through the tremendous wind gusts or flew with the help of tail winds, depending on if they came from Canada or Mexico. The completion of the afternoon paper delivery of the Grand Island Independent newspaper turned into a trek down the road that today still leads into the parking lot at Fonner Park.I went to work for that newspaper and ultimately covered the races. Currently, the racing world gets to take a look at the five-eighths oval that has been a fixture in the southeast corner of the city of 50,000 since 1954. About three decades after those bike rides to late-afternoon Thoroughbred glory, I was turf writer for The Oklahoman and made some trips to and covered Will Rogers Downs. It became a big part of the Oklahoma racing scene and currently has attracted horses from Oaklawn and tracks in Louisiana.Fonner and Will Rogers also race on Wednesday, but Tampa Bay Downs joins the fray and kicks off the day’s action.Fonner and Will Rogers provide the racing entertainment on Monday and Tuesday, and it’s time to revisit each with a few spot plays. You CAN go home again, especially when they are the only games in ‘town’.MondayFonner Park Race 4: #5 In Control (12-1)When you get to the $2,500 claiming level, you’ll often find aged performers that have seen better days. In Control is a good example. Hasn’t done much in three Fonner starts but turns back to four furlongs after showing speed going six furlongs. Jockey Erik McNeil has done a good job occasionally bringing home a hefty-priced winner. In Control is 9 years old and has a 9 of 54 record. The one-turn sprint here could be right in his wheelhouse. Will Rogers Downs Race 9: #4 She’s Shiney (10-1)Oklahoma-bred distaffers get the spotlight in the $50,000 Wilma Mankiller Stakes at six furlongs, and it helps to have some quality starts over the Will Rogers track.She’s Shiney makes her 1st start of the year after good 2019 campaign that included a win in the Cinema Handicap at Will Rogers. She has also won stakes at Remington Park and Fair Meadows is capable of a big effort in her initial try off the bench.TuesdayFonner Park Race 3: #6 Ye Be Judged (6-1)The Baxter Stakes has been on the docket for decades, and today’s six-furlong sprint looks wide open. Ye Be Judged has been a local all the way and has two four-furlong races to his credit. He was an easy winner in quick time and the Nebraska-bred should be a legit danger on the front end against open company.Will Rogers Downs Race 9: #1 Minister of SoulMinister of Soul has developed into one of the better sprinters in the Southwest part of the country and has been a getting nothing but better. He comes in from Turf Paradise, where he was 2nd in the Phoenix Gold Cup and followed with an allowance win. His recent workouts over the Turf Paradise strip have been eye-catching, including a six-furlong work in 1:09 2-5, and five eighths in :57 3-5 and 57-4 (twice).

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4.3.2020:

Friday, April 03: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: CUse: 1-Missandei; 2-Capeline; 3-Princess CrystalForecast: Let’s be kind and describe this as a “modest” race for the level. We’ll use three in our rolling exotics but the best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Missandei rates top billing because she hasn’t shown she can’t run. A first-time starter from a sharp barn with a healthy work tab and a good inside draw, the daughter of Fed Biz sports a 1:00 2/5 drill last month around dogs on grass at Palm Meadows in a move that indicates she has at least some ability. Capeline was beaten less than five lengths with a wide trip in her sprint debut in February and has every right to improve with that bit of experience behind her. L. Panici rides her back, so there’s that. Princess Crystal is an 11-race maiden from a low profile outfit, but she missed by a neck over this course and distance two runs back and not much more will be needed for her to earn a diploma. She’s the 2-1 morning line favorite.RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B+Single: 4-Flaming HotForecast: Flaming Hot seems fairly solid in this $16,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-olds and we’d have to think he’ll go considerably lower than his morning line of 3-1. The Khozan gelding has steadily rising speed figures (and a huge edge in this department over his rivals) and most recently ran a winning race when beaten a nose while two lengths clear of the rest against a similar group over this track and distance last month. A repeat of either one of his last three races would be more than good enough to handle this task, so let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post 2:05 ET. Grade: CUse: 1-Captain Yenner; 3-Not Now Rated; 8-Newyork GiantForecast: Here’s another soft maiden claimer, this one a six furlong sprint fort older horses entered for $12,500. Newyork Giant flopped badly at 3/5 in a similar affair in late January but before that ran a winning race when a troubled runner-up (beaten a head) while earning a speed figured that would be good enough to beat this group. Freshened since late January and getting a considerable upgrade in jockey with the switch to E. Jaramillo, the S. Joseph, Jr.,-trained gelding should be capable of producing the last run. Not Now Rand, a solid runner-up two races back in a tougher maiden $25,000 sprint but a well-beaten fourth at 6/5 last time out, drops to his lowest level ever and is a major contender with this group with a repeat of his best effort. L. Saez stays aboard, a positive sign. Captain Yenner is a class-dropping first-time gelding adding blinkers, so there are reasons to be optimistic that the lightly-raced sophomore has room to improve. The connections don’t win very often but in a soft race at 6-1 on the morning line he’s worth including as a back-up on a ticket or two.RACE 4: Post 2:36 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Threshold; 8-Abdaa; 12-Plan of AttackForecast: Anything goes in this messy maiden claiming turf miler for 3-year-olds. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough. The known element certainly doesn’t inspire, so let’s take a stab with a newcomer from a good barn. Abdaa, a homebred first-timer by Animal Kingdom and therefore bred to run long on the lawn, shows a steady series of recent workouts at Palm Meadows that should have him plenty fit for trainer M. Pino, who has an excellent recent record (33% with a strong flat-bet profit) with newcomers. At 8-1 on the morning line, he won’t have to be a world beater to pull off a surprise against a modest bunch. Threshold has the benefit of the rail draw and should draft into a good ground-saving spot and have every chance from there. The son of Karakontie didn’t really show that much when facing maiden $50,000 foes over this course and distance in mid-February but the M. Casse-trained colt switches to T. Gaffalione and earned a “buried” number that makes him a major player at this level. At 5-1 on the morning line, he’s a “must use.” Plan of Attack is stuck in the 12-hole, hardly an ideal post at a mile on this turf course. Claimed for $16,000 by K. O’Connell in mid-February out of a better-than-looked fourth place finish from off the pace, the son of War Front switches to E. Zayas and could be dangerous if given the patient ride he apparently prefers.RACE 5: Post 3:08 ET. Grade: BUse: 2-Dalarna; 7-Power Walker; 8-My Point ExactlyForecast: In his present form, Dalarna should be hard to beat in his quest to extend his winning streak to four. Capable of winning on the front end or from a comfortable stalking position, the veteran gelding can choose his spot from his ideal inside draw, but at 7/5 on the morning line there’s probably not much value to be found. There are two others worth considering in rolling exotic play, at least as backups. Power Walker, a razor sharp Tampa Bay Downs invader with speed figures that fit, can be very effective on the front end but equally dangerous as a stalker. A winner of two of three career outings over the local lawn, the son of Stroll is reunited with favorite pilot E. Jaramillo and is fresh from earning a career top speed figure when beating a straight $16,000 claiming field. These are tougher, but you have to use him somewhere. My Point Exactly, first or second in his last four starts, was no match when chasing home Dalarma two races back but he’s a nine time winner over the Gulfstream Park grass course and has the kind of tactical speed that ensures a trouble-free trip.RACE 6: Post 3:39 ET. Grade: B+Single: 3-Candy MachineForecast: Candy Machine flashed plenty of ability when a strong runner-up to the highly-regarded I’ll Fight Dempsey in his racing debut in late February and the son of Candy Ride seems sure to improve a bunch with that race behind him and this stretch out in trip. Drawn comfortably in post three with the short run to the clubhouse turn, the 3-year-old colt should secure an ideal pace-stalking position and then have every chance to verify his strong backing on the tote. Worth noting is trainer C. Brown’s sensational record with second-time starters (35%) and with the sprint-to-route angle (37%). At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he’s a short price rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post 4:10 ET. Grade: B+Single: 2-InterestForecast: Interest, from a barn that can be very aggressive with its claiming stock, drops sharply in class for the money run and rates top billing as a straight play and rolling exotic single in this moderate claiming turf miler. The S. Joseph, Jr.-trained sophomore filly lost in her first outing for these connections when stumbling badly at the start in a much tougher starter’s optional claimer last month but against this group, especially with the popular blinkers-off angle, she appears more than capable of bouncing back. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile is reunited with “win rider” L. Saez, lands an ideal draw, and should be along in time from a good second flight, stalking position. She’s 3-1 on the morning line and we’ll take it if we can get it.RACE 8: Post 4:41 ET. Grade: B+Use: 3-So Cunning; 4-Off TopicForecast: Off Topic projects as a very short price favorite in her first start since winning a good allowance race at Belmont last summer, and if she returns as well as she left the daughter of Street Sense will be tough to beat in this second-level allowance one-turn miler for fillies and mares. T. Pletcher hits at a remarkable 30 percent with layoff runners, so you have to suspect that this multiple-graded stakes place filly is fit and ready. However, at even money on the morning line, there’s not much value to be found, so while we’ll certainly include her in rolling exotic play, the main punch both in the rolling exotics and in the win pool will go to the undefeated but unproven (and much better priced) So Cunning. A winner last May in her debut at Delaware Park and then most recently thoroughly dominant in an allowance sprint victory at Tampa Bay Downs, she’ll certainly need to step things up in this much stronger affair but could easily be up to the task. In that Tampa Bay win the daughter of Blame was bottled up from the 5/8ths pole to the top of the stretch while full of run, then got clear and accelerated quickly to win going away without taking as much as a deep breath. How good is she? We’ll find out today but at 10-1 on the morning line for the always-powerful C. Clement/J. Rosario team she’s certainly worth the gamble.RACE 9: Post 5:12 ET. Grade: C+Use: 3-Tapit to Ride; 5-Laska; 11-Polished CopperForecast: Tapit to Ride, a $250,000 yearling purchase by Tapit from the dam of multiple graded stakes winner Winning Cause, has been reasonably competitive in maiden special weight races in a four career but today is being tossed away for $25,000, surely not a healthy sign for a filly that must have at least some residual value as a broodmare prospect. On pure form she really should handle this very soft assignment, but at even money on the morning there’s really not much we can do with her. Those interested in trying to beat the chalk should consider Lashka, dropping in class and with numbers that make her fairly competitive, and Polished Copper, poorly drawn outside and average at best according to her speed figures but switching to J. Rosario in her second off the claim for D. Fawkes. A solid runner-up effort at this level over this course and distance last time out provides some encouragement.

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4.2.2020:

Saturday, April 4, 2020: Spot Plays & Previews

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. BETTING GULFSTREAM PARK 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. BETTING OAKLAWN PARK 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. BETTING SHA TIN (HONG KONG) 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.

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4.2.2020:

Tiz The Record Florida Derby

This is what grandparents warned us about: a rainy day. Remember, they’d say, ‘Save your pennies for a rainy day.’ Never quite got it. I do now. That ‘rainy day’ has arrived. It’s today and tomorrow and the day after, at least for the foreseeable future. They should have cautioned that the downpour could last for weeks, months, maybe longer. Already, everything seems soaked, except the bowels of our homes where we hide.The old folks neglected to tell us that umbrellas, raincoats and galoshes would be useless against the deluge. That we’d need gloves, facemasks and respirators. Lots and lots of them. They didn’t advise that people would become infected and die in figures resembling a Keeneland sales auction. ‘Who’ll give me 100? Two? Three?...Do I hear 500?’ Thousand.The bidding continues. Unabated. Worldwide. No ceiling in sight. Government/scientific estimates predict that, eventually, there will be between 100,000-240,000 deceased. Here. In the greatest country in the world. Those numbers represent lives lost. Not dollars. Real people. Fellow US citizens. Of all colors, nationalities and yes, ages. While some are particularly at risk, no one is excluded--grandpas, grandmas, mimis, nanas, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, aunts, uncles and cousins. Neighbors. Acquaintances. Celebrities.This time, we’re all on the front lines…fighting. Grunts in a war against an invisible enemy traveling on a universal passport with an unknown expiration date. Some survivors will be winners of a genetic lottery that devilishly can present the infected as asymptomatic—i.e. ‘fine’—so that they can unknowingly transmit the virus. Ironically, infected survivors may be immune to re-infection. That loophole will come in handy if, or when, a new and improved wave of COVID 19 arrives.People say, ‘we’re all in this together.’ Correct. Like in an overcrowded, rush-hour subway car or a bingo hall aboard a cruise liner. We hope and pray, mightily, that the storm will pass. ‘Blow over’ without flooding our house. That we and our loved ones will survive unscathed. But all we really can do is to take care, stay inside, maintain a wide berth, avoid others who can infect or become infected. Reinforcements will arrive, bearing cure and vaccination. They’re merely time and thousands more deaths away.This virus is science and not an alien invasion. It’s as remarkable as the union of sperm and egg and as deadly as cancer on steroids. But, eventually, the rainy day will go away. The sun will shine, and we will return to our normal lives. How do I know? Because it’s happened before.According to Winston Churchill, “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” There was a worldwide pandemic in 1918-19 called the Spanish Flu, but it didn’t originate in Spain. According to cdc.gov, about one-third of the world’s population became infected with the virus. There were an estimated 50 million deaths worldwide and approximately 675,000 in the United States. That is all we wish to rely on that. We considered ignoring the Covid-19 subject altogether, but that seemed ostrich-like. Yes, this is a horseracing wagering site and, specifically, a blog about the sport. Thankfully, amazingly, some tracks nationwide have been able to continue to race. In this time of worldwide crisis, when all professional sports have disappeared, horseracing and ADW services like Xpressbet & 1/ST BET have provided a much-appreciated, home-based diversion to a segment of society.Saturday’s Curlin Florida Derby card at Gulfstream Park was the best racing program of the season, anywhere! Full fields, competitive races, outstanding wagering opportunities, impressive performances…what else could a horseplayer ask for?(To have attended in person. OK, wise guy, you got me!)The 69th Florida Derby headlined a 14-race program that featured 10 stakes, six graded, worth $1.825 million in purses. Additionally, there was a mandatory payout in the popular Rainbow Six—which ultimately handled $9.2 million and returned $17,848 for each correct $0.20 wager. With Santa Anita abruptly padlocked approximately 30 minutes before Friday’s first race, much of the nation’s weekend wagering attention was focused on Gulfstream Park. Wagering was brisk, to say the least. According to DRF.com’s Mike Welsch, all source handle for the card was a record $53.5 million, eclipsing the previous mark of $49.9 million in 2018. Last year’s handle was $47.5 million. Oaklawn Park, Golden Gate Fields and Tampa Bay Downs were the only competing US-based tracks in action Saturday afternoon. Los Alamitos and Remington Park ruled the night.In the main event, the Curlin Florida Derby, once-beaten Tiz The Law proved clearly best over a lot that appeared better, beforehand, on paper than they actually were on the track. The winner’s talent can’t be diminished. He did what was asked of him and did it in style. The son of Constitution, with jockey Manny Franco along for the ride, enjoyed a playbook perfect trip—third in the three-path into the first turn—nearly precisely as pre-game plans had dictated. Tiz The Law’s only career defeat came as a third, three-quarters of a length short, in the Kentucky Jockey Club, in late November, at Churchill Downs. That afternoon, he was trapped inside other horses and couldn’t make up needed ground when clear. Since then, it’s been widely reported that the colt prefers to be outside of others.Casting slight shade on Tiz The Law’s triumph is the fact that 80-1 shot Shivaree—most recently second as favorite in the Hutcheson at six furlongs--was able to hold on for place. Perhaps, that’s less of a knock on the winner and more an indictment of the rest of the field. After all, it’s not a geared-down, four and one-half length winner’s fault who finishes second. Those behind Shivaree--racing two-turns for just the second time in his 10-race career--that failed to collar him in the lane of the mile and one-eighth test have some serious ‘splainin’ to do.’Third-place finisher Ete Indien emerged from the tussle gashed, cut and minus a shoe. Don’t know if those equal enough to erase a five-length losing margin behind the winner, but they easily could eclipse a three quarter-length deficit to Shivaree. Gouverneur Morris, expected to take a forward step in the Florida Derby for trainer Todd Pletcher, was a mere neck behind Ete Indien in fourth. He never looked a threat throughout the race. The rest were five lengths further back and were not factors in the race. Independence Hall and As Seen On Tv were particular disappointments.This Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby will not happen because of a Los Angeles County Health Department edict that the track close. That’s strange because Los Alamitos, just a 40-minute drive south (in light LA traffic), continues to race. Fortunately, for Los Al and evening fans nationwide, that track is located in Orange County instead of Los Angeles county. Golden Gate Fields continues to entertain in northern California.At this writing, tracks previously mentioned as active, continue and, hopefully, will provide shelter for those of us in search of a place to spend another ‘rainy day.’Be well. Take care of yourselves and others.Race On!

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4.2.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: April 3 Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 Play

With the Stronach 5 on hiatus for the time being, let’s alternate between Gulfstream’s late Pk5 and Pk4 on Friday’s, as even though the Championship Meet has ended, the racing is still flush with top connections and deep fields. This week’s late Pk4 is also a good exercise in stacking tickets, as it doesn’t look to be the type to have an expansive play and could be one you can hit multiple times if you’re a-level selections pan out. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Race 6 (3:39 ET): 3yo MSW at 1-mile The public will flock to #3 CANDY MACHINE (8-5), who was a solid—and fast—2nd sprinting on debut for Brown and should like the stretchout to two turns, and while he too is my top pick, I will use one more on the top line. And that is #5 ELLIS ISLAND (7-2), who ran like a horse who was begging for this trip when 3rd on debut for Pletcher, so he should really appreciate the added ground and turn he gets, for a 25% second-out maiden barn. Pk6 A horses: 3,5 (listed in order of preference) This has the makings of a key race, and one you should pay attention to, as there could be several second-half kind of 3yos that come out of it. And therefore I will use some backups, especially since my tickets will be on the cheap side with this sequence as a whole. I’m going to use #4 FRIED RICE KING (9-2), the “other” Pletcher who was a DOB 16-1 on debut but ran on to be a distant 4th and can move up here, while #2 OR’EFFICE (6-1) actually cuts back after running a close 2nd in the slop and adds blinkers, so he should be involved throughout, and #8 WIND RIDGE (15-1) was a distant 5th in a fast race on debut at Tampa for Clement, who is too white-hot now not to use. You could also use #1 Mau Mau, a well-bred Mott firster, but this is a patient barn, so unless the money shows, he’ll probably need one, especially against a group like this. Pk6 B horses: 4,2,8 Race 7: 3f 12.5k claimer at 1-mile (turf) If there’s a spread race in the sequence this is likely it, as I think there are six that can win, and I’ll use them all on the top line, since I have no opinion here and singles coming up in the next two legs. Obviously I’m using all the logicals—#7 SILLY NOTION (6-1), #8 WICKED SOLUTION (7-2), #2 INTEREST (3-1), #9 LEMON SCAT (9-2), #4 LA TRES JOLIE (10-1), and #10 TEACHER DRAMA (6-1), as none of them stand out, the price players are close to the favorites, and none of them seem very trustworthy either. Pk6 A horses: 7,8,2,9,4,10 No one else looks remotely interesting, so if I can’t get through with the six-pack above, well, I don’t deserve to win anyway. Pk6 B horses: NONE Race 8: 4upfm AOC (62k/N2X) at 1-mile It’s going to be tough to beat #4 OFF TOPIC (1-1), long layoff and all, as Pletcher is 30% off a 180-day+ layoff, and this miss is the class too, as she is GI stakes placed and walloped allowance foes to end her season in September, so she’s the single for me, as anything above her C+ game wins this. Pk6 A horses: 4 I’ll use a few on the back end, again because it’s very cheap to do so, which means #7 I’LL TAKE THE CAKE (9-2) seems logical off a claiming crown stakes win off the Joseph claim, while #3 SO CUNNING (10-1) has a ton of upside off just two starts for Clement, and though her return win was slow, it was also really sharp and she has every right to improve in a big way, as it came off an eight-month layoff. You could also use #5 Final Cut (6-1), but her big win last time at Cd in November came when she walked on the lead, and that’s not happening here. Pk6 B horses: 7,3 Race 9: 3upfm 25k MCL at 1 1/16 miles (turf) It looks like Pletcher holds all the aces here as well, since MSW dropper #3 TAPIT TO RIDE (1-1) has by far the best form of these and takes the biggest plunge in all of racing, which is going to make her about 3-5 by post time, and extremely tough to beat. Pk6 A horses: 3 There could be issues with ‘Ride though, and you’re allowed to ask why a daughter of Tapit with decent enough MSW form is in for a 25k tag, so let’s use a few backups just in case she is in fact about to go the wrong way fast. I think #4 MATCHA (8-1) could move up here, as her middling 6th for 40k last month came off a May layoff, and if the favorite regresses and she inches forward they wouldn’t be too far apart. The same can be said for #5 LASKA (6-1), who has paired up figures in her last two and beat Matcha by 2 lengths last time, though she doesn’t have quite the reason to move forward today. If you want to go deeper, and use some bigger prices, then #2 Veer (15-1) fits and is another MSW dropper who has run just twice, while #1 Truly (12-1) drew well and her 2nd at the level the last time she ran on turf is worth a sniff. Pk6 B horses: 4,5 Suggested Tickets: As you can see below, these are very cheap tickets, which is why you can play the main ticket ($6) several times in the hopes that your handicapping is spot-on and you can turn a modest investment into a decent score. And, should your A’s not all win, the backups could get you out if they are fortunate enough to connect. Main Ticket: 3,5 with 7,8,2,9,4,10 with 4 with 3 = $6Race 6 B Backup: 4,2,8 with 7,8,2,9,4,10 with 4 with 3 = $9Race 8 B Backup: 3,5 with 7,8,2,9,4,10 with 7,3 with 3 = $12Race 9 B Backup: 3,5 with 7,8,2,9,4,10 with 4,5 = $12

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4.2.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Golden Gate Fields Wagering Strategies - 4/02/20

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering StrategiesGolden Gate FieldsThursday, April 2, 2020 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow Jeff on Twitter @jsiegelracing. RACE 1: Post 12:45 ET. Grade: CUse: 1-Enchanting Eva; 5-Pajama QueenForecast: Enchanting Eva, beaten as the favorite in four of five career starts and a no-excuse third in a slightly tougher maiden claimer two weeks ago, is certain to get plenty of play again in this modest maiden $5,000 five furlong sprint for older fillies and mares. From a low percentage outfit and with speed figures that have stagnated, the daughter of Champ Pegasus represents an unattractive gamble at 5/2 on the morning line, though it must be stated that in a race without many alternatives she remains a contender by default. Rolling exotic players may find the need to include her – and if you’re in that camp we won’t try to talk you out of it – but we’re inclined to side with the lightly-raced Pajama Queen, making her second start off a layoff after finishing fourth, just a half-length behind Enchanting Eva, when they faced each two weeks ago. She’s another with low-percentage connections but because she’s unexposed with only three career starts the daughter of U. S. Ranger may have room for improvement that the others don’t. And at 6-1 on the morning line she seems certain to be more attractive on the tote. In a race we’ve rated a “C” (least preferred or pass) we’ll put her on top for those who desire the action. RACE 2: Post 1:15 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Wilshire Dude; 2-Eldritch; 5-Studly PerfectionForecast: Eldritch is a one-paced grinder but he’s dropping to his lowest level ever and has speed figures that fit, so we’ll give him a very slight edge on top in a race that projects an uncertain race flow. The M. Glatt-trained veteran has been victimized of late by slow early fractions but with the presence of front-running types King Eddie and Studly Perfection, the Irish-bred gelding may have a better chance in a race that could promote his style. However, he’s 2-1 on the morning line so even if the fractions wind up being up normal-to-fast there really won’t be much value to be found. Studly Perfection joins the J. Wong stable following a $12,500 claim last month and this barn is currently hitting at a remarkable 35% with this maneuver from a rather substantial sample. There is every reason to believe this son of Majesticperfection will step forward as so many of the Wong claims do, and if clears the field without pressure there’s a strong likelihood that he’ll never look back. However, King Eddie, who tends to employ the same front-running style, is drawn inside of ‘Perfection and if he can beat his pace rival to the lead before the clubhouse turn the race shape takes a different look. Meanwhile, Wilshire Dude should be saving all ground from his rail post just behind the leaders in an ideal stalking position. All three of his races over the local synthetic track have been solid, and the S. Miyadi-trained gelding will have every chance while settling in the garden spot. However, the son of First Dude tends to punch it in stronger when able to press easy fractions and there’s a better than average possibility that the early splits here will be a bit quicker than he prefers. Rolling exotic players may find the need to spread deeper than the three we’ve listed above in a race in which a win by any one of the six entrants couldn’t be considered terribly surprising. RACE 3: Post 1:45 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Jenpirestrikesback; 7-Joyous; 8-DiamondsnchampagneForecast: Joyous seeks her third straight score for the high percentage Q. Howey barn and while she’s moving up from a starters allowance $4,000 sprint to this restricted $8,000 affair the daughter of Comic Strip has figures that fit and a good stalking style that should allow her every chance to wear down Diamondsnchampagne close home. Quinn, who had this filly last summer, lost her and then her claimed back (despite her being a voided claim during that time), is hitting at close to 30 percent during the meeting and this raise in class must be viewed as a sign of confidence. Diamondsnchampagne is easily the quickest mare in the field and will take them as far as she can. All seven of her wins have been accomplished over the local synthetic surface and at this abbreviated sprint trip she’s a lifetime 6-for-10. In her younger days, the daughter of Vronsky could win as a stalker/pouncer if the situation dictated so from her outside draw that option will be available but given the projected pace flow of this race she’s almost certain to play catch me if you can. And the others may not be able to. Jenspirestrikesback plummets from starter allowance $50,000 all the way down to the $8,000 level but based on pure speed figures this is about where she belongs and the lightly-raced daughter of Coil is a two-time winner over the local strip while displaying a good late kick. If the leaders hit a wall late, she could easily be there to be pick up the pieces. RACE 4: Post 2:15 ET. Grade: XSingle: 6-Sassy and HotForecast: Sassy and Hot was beaten a neck in a similar maiden $12,500 sprint for 3-year-old fillies less than two weeks ago and returns on short rest in a field should allow her to control proceedings on the front end. More than three lengths clear of the rest when worn down late in just her second career start, the L. Powell-trained filly earned a better-than-par speed figure in that race, so if she doesn’t react negatively to the quick turnaround the daughter of Stormin Fever should be able to outlast this group, today’s extra half furlong notwithstanding. At 2-1 on the morning line with the possibility of going lower she won’t be offering much wagering value so you can use her as a rolling exotic single or simply sit it out. RACE 5: Post 2:45 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Mithqaal; 5-Respect the HustleForecast: Although Mithqaal failed to capitalize on a perfect stalking trip when winding up third in an optional $62,500 claimer over this track and distance earlier this month, the J. Wong-trained gelding earned a career top speed and really won’t have to improve much if at all to win today with the drop into a straight $50,000 claimer. This will be his third start off a long layoff, so theoretically he should run at least as well if not better for this high-percentage (30%) outfit, and with the switch to the barn’s go-to rider J. J. Hernandez (a ridiculous 48% with a large sample with this jockey-trainer team), it’s easy to see why this veteran Speightstown gelding is listed at even money on the morning line. Those trying to beat the favorite may take a small stab at Respect the Hustle. The former stakes winner is winless in eight starts over the Tapeta surface but has hit the board on five occasions and finished with purpose when a good closing fourth in his sprint comeback last month. At 8-1 on the morning line the son of Colonel John may be worth using on a ticket or two as a saver. RACE 6: Post 3:15 ET. Grade: BUse: 5-Crazy Sexy Munny; 6-GratzieForecast: Crazy Sexy Munny, claimed for $6,250 three races back and a winner for $20,000 in her last pair for streaking trainer J. Navarre, looks well-spotted to score again for that same price in this middle distance affair for fillies and mares. With a lifetime record of eight wins from 10 career starts (with two seconds) over the local all-weather surface, the daughter of Munnings can dictate the race flow either as the controlling speed or from a stalking position, so at 2-1 on the morning line with the probability of going lower she once again is the logical top pick. Old pro Gratzie, now nine years old but as genuine and consistent as ever, moves up a notch to the $20,000 level after finishing a close second in her last pair, both defeats coming in races with creepy-crawler early fractions that impacted her late kick. Today’s pace scenario projects to produce another slowly run affair, so she may be up against it again, but the winner of 10 races during her career has numbers that fit, will be bearing down late, and is worth including somewhere in your rolling exotics. RACE 7: Post 3:45 ET. Grade: BUse: 2-Blushing Bay; 3-Mulhima; 6-Posh HollyForecast: Posh Holly couldn’t handle win machine Crazy Sexy Munny when second for $20,000 in her first start since November last month but avoids that filly today by opting for this starter’s allowance affair that on paper appears to be a less contentious race that today’s sixth race, which her connections also could have considered. The Irish-bred filly was making her first start on synthetic in that closing runner-up effort behind ‘Munny, is protected today in a sign of confidence, and retains K. Desormeaux. With any kind of forward move at 5-1 on the morning line she can win this race at a decent price. Mulhima apparently has found a home on this all-weather surface (she also won on synthetic in England as a 2-year-old), and after a brave score in a restricted $20,000 claimer over this strip in late February and with two nice workouts since the Irish-bred filly seems primed for another major effort. She projects to enjoy a good stalking trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Blushing Bay has improved a ton since being claimed out of a maiden $5,000 on New Year’s Day by J. Navarre and her win for $12,500 last time out earned a speed figure – a career top - that makes her a solid fit right back despite the class hike. At 6-1 on the morning line, the daughter of Liaison is a “must use.” RACE 8: Post 4:15 ET. Grade: B-Use: 2-Railsplitter; 4-Lookin for Revenge; 5-Exhort; 6-Temple of SolForecast: In his first start as a gelding Railsplitter received plenty of play as the 2-1 favorite but couldn’t quite deliver the goods when second in a competitive maiden $75,000 claimer on grass at Santa Anita in mid-February. He was under pressure on the front end every step of the way, so the effort was better than the line looks. The lightly-raced sophomore vans north (along with his D. O’Neill-trained stablemate Exhort) and with a forward move the son of Bodemeister could be hard to beat in this straight maiden synthetic track miler for 3-year-olds. Exhort returns to the Bay Area after finishing fourth sprinting here in his debut and then winding up fifth (after cutting out the fractions) in a nine furlong straight maiden grass affair at Santa Anita three weeks ago while a vastly improved speed figure. It’ll be interesting to see that with two apparent front-running types in the field if O’Neill opts to take one of them back (but which one?) or leaves them both to their own devices. Meanwhile, the 8/5 morning line favorite, Looking for Revenge, is stronger than both based on speed figures, though we wonder if his no excuse second place effort that produced the good number as the favorite in a four-runner field can be taken at face value. We’ve arbitrarily downgraded the race a bit. Toss in Temple of Sol, bred to run long, adding blinkers, switching to R. Gonzalez and with the two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern and you have a very competitive affair that requires a spread in rolling exotic.

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4.2.2020:

April 2, 2020: Gulfstream Park Spot Plays & Analysis

Musings from my Grade One Couch!I have one too, much like Bob Baffert, Kenny McPeek and many other people, I have watched multiple Grade 1’s from my grade one couch .So lets get to business, Gulfstream Park has a fabulous 9 race card starting at 1pm eastern on Thursday. I have concentrated on a couple of key maiden races and delved further into their pedigrees. Race 1) $50K MAIDEN CLAIMER FIVE FURLONGS ON TURF FOR 3 YEAR OLDS#2 She’s just Quality 4-1Lone FILLY in this race (gets a 5lb break in weights!!) is a daughter of Quality Road and debuts for a trainer who hits at 29% first out. This $50k Keeneland September grad is owned by Irishman Fergus Galvin (his Hunter Valley Farm consigned her) and she is well spotted, coming in with a series of strong works at Palm Meadows, including a Bullet 47 1/5 on March 25.As far a pedigree goes she’s out of a winning half sister to G2 Sanford winner Desert Party. (Sire) and multiple stakes winner Ellie Cat, as well as  a 1/2 to 3 winners from 3 to race. TOP PICK Race 4) MSW ONE MILE ON TURF FOR 3 YEAR OLD FILLIESSuper interesting race here with many ways to go, my TOP PICK in here will be …#1 Altaf 8-1 DAYMAKERRosario and Brown team up for 26% winners and Brown himself is a gaudy 27% first out on Turf. This daughter of Medaglia d'Oro debuts with some stellar works, although there is a 12 day gap from March 16-March 28, I see no cause for concern there. Her March 16 gate work was with #6 Publication (6-1), a grey daughter of Tapit out of G2 winner Flimbi.  She easily outworks her company and most certainly has the action of a filly who will relish the turf . Publication, the shorter priced of the two, looks like she may need a race to figure things out. Work: Publication (Outside) and Altaf Worked 4 Furlongs in :50.00 at Payson Park on March 16th, 2020 Altaf’s pedigree is nothing to be sniffed at either as her dam was a debut winner on the lawn at Keeneland for trainer Danny Peitz, she herself is out of a half-sister to G2 Miesque Winner Habaya and to top it all the 2nd Dam is Champion Turf Mare Golden Apples!#3 Cat Lady  9-2 For all you TIGER KING fans out there (yes I do think Carol killed her husband!!!)This filly, while not impressive in her am works certainly could have been much closer in her last if it were not for a rather bumpy trip in last that caused Ortiz to do a masterful job of very quickly regaining his irons. Saez picks up the mount due to Ortiz taking off due to COVID 19 (thoughts to all and their families out there) DANGEROUS#7 Miss Flying Sun 20-1 LONGSHOTThis daughter of Karakontie was a $17k Keeneland September yearling purchase and could easily debut for a tag. She’s out of a winning Royal Academy 1/2 sister to MGS winner Springhouse. Seen working here with Burning Secret on the outside. Burning Secret was 6th in a MSW on dirt at Churchill last September and clearly relishes the dirt . Miss Flying Sun clearly does not as you see her action get a little shorter towards the wire as she struggles over the dirt. Turf with that pedigree will certainly move her up. LONGSHOT Work: Burning Secret (Outside) and Miss Flying Sun Worked 4 Furlongs at Gulfstream Park on March 21st, 2020 #8 Mimina’s Team 7-2 is  the morning line favorite and will be bet that way; however she has given up the lead in her last two starts and I’m not sure I trust her. RACE 7) MSW FOR 3 YEAR OLD FILLIES 1 1/6 DIRT#1 Token 7-2 TOP PICKClaiborne bred and raised filly makes her 3rd start for a trainer that excels in this category. She was well-meant in her last a may have moved rather too fast and too early and paid for it late! Goes two turns for the first time this daughter of Curlin of of the G2 miler Sign should only get better . TOP PICK#7 Envoutante 3-1#6 Assume 8-1 RACE 8) NW1X FIVE FURLONGS TURF FILLIES AND MARES#1 Smack 2-1 is the morning one favorite and will be very tough in here , the rails are set at 120 feet. She’s sharp and has speed, plus the Clement barn is on fire right now! However ……..There is plenty of pace in here to keep her honest so I’m going to go with …..#4 Dixieincandyland 9-2 TOP PICK This daughter of top stallion Candy ride fired big of the layoff in her last with significant trouble, especially going 5/8. She likely will improve tremendously with that start under her belt , picks up Rosario ( Gaffalione rides Smack ) and has a really nice work under her belt with a rather not so small exercise rider aboard her !! Work: Dixieincandyland (Outside) and Heavenly Peace Worked 4 Furlongs in :51.25 at Palm Meadows on March 20th, 2020 RACE 9) MSW 3 YEAR OLDS 1 1/16 TURF#Limetini 6-1 TOP PICK and DAYMAKER !!!!I have been waiting for this guy to show up in the entries for quite some time. The son of Tapiture was a $240K yearling purchase for Phoenix TB (Tapiture stands for $7,500!) Tapiture's progeny do very very well on debut and I have no doubt that he will fire at first asking . Work: Gimme Some Mo (Outside) and Limetini Worked 4 Furlongs in :51.10 at Palm Beach Downs on March 14th, 2020 #5 Pricing Exercise 4-1 will take some money second out for Brown.#7 Bear Alley 9-2 ran very well in last start , but in comparing the March 28 work where he didn’t switch leads to works prior to his last start I’m inclined to stay away.

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4.2.2020:

Saturday, April 4: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN BETTING SELECTIONS Saturday April 4, 2020First Post: 12:45AM ET on Sunday, April 5 (9:45PM PT on Saturday, April 4) Race 1: #4 Decisive Twelve, #5 Dream Team, #1 Trust Me, #11 Regency PoetRace 2: #11 Unique Treasure, #2 Take What You Need, #3 Victoriam, #9 Little Wise Man Race 3: #2 Waikuku, #1 Beauty Generation, #7 Flying Thunder, #3 Ka Ying StarRace 4: #5 Ka Ying Excellent, #2 Chairman Lo, #8 Casimiro, #4 LorizRace 5: #1 Dark Dream, #6 Chefano, #10 Butterfield, #2 Eagle Way Race 6: #6 King Dragon, #13 Plikclone, #5 Defining Moment, #9 Party EverdayRace 7: #8 Aethero, #2 Thanks Forever, #1 Hot King Prawn, #6 Big PartyRace 8: #4 Dublin Star, #5 So We Joy, #3 El Jefe, #8 This Is CharismaRace 9: #4 Ping Hai Bravo, #6 Big Fortune, #8 Star Luck, #11 Magic SupremeRace 10: #3 Glorious Lover, #8 Ultimate Glory, #1 Farhh Above, #13 Emerald SpurRace 1: Peel Handicap (12:45AM ET) #4 Decisive Twelve was well supported on debut and ran well for a close-up third. He returns here with that performance under his belt and if his condition’s improved from that run, he’s going to prove difficult to catch. #5 Dream Team tried to make all on debut but faded to finish fourth. He can challenge with further improvement from that performance. #1 Trust Me is searching for his third win from his last four starts. He’s getting up in the ratings now but does get Zac Purton aboard and he might have another win left under his belt in Class 4. #11 Regency Poet is next best for the in-form Manfred Man who has nabbed two doubles at the last two meetings. Race 2: Homestead Handicap (2nd Section) (1:15AM ET) #11 Unique Treasure is nearing a win, especially off his narrow defeat last start and with no weight on his back here, it could well come. He’s drawn to get a soft run in transit and this appears to be his race to lose. #2 Take What You Need is unlucky not to have already won in Hong Kong having finished runner-up on three occasions from eight appearances. Zac Purton takes the reins for this and he commands plenty of respect. #3 Victoriam mixes his form but his best is up to this. Whether he finds it here is a query but on natural ability he remains a leading player. #9 Little Wise Man looked ordinary first-up but from the gate with Victor Wong’s claim, he’s going to get his chance to improve off that performance. Race 3: G2 Chairman’s Trophy (1:45AM ET) Small but competitive G2 field assembled here. #2 Waikuku slots in for first off his last-start G1 Stewards’ Cup victory ahead of Beauty Generation. Suspect Waikuku can continue on an upward trajectory and take out this contest, especially off the back of an impressive trial. His best is still yet to come. #1 Beauty Generation comes into this following success in the G1 Queen’s Silver Jubilee Cup. Though that was an excellent win, he didn’t exactly beat a top notch group which primarily consisted of sprinters who were stretching out to 1400m. Suspect he’s vulnerable here and Waikuku is the one who can defeat him. #7 Flying Thunder has been racing out of his skin this season and with the right run he’s a chance. He’s likely to settle at the tail of the field which isn’t a concern in this field and if he gets a race run to suit, he’s capable of finishing inside the top three. #3 Ka Ying Star mixes his form but was second two starts ago to Beauty Generation. He’ll be thereabouts. Race 4: Pollock Handicap (2:15AM ET) #5 Ka Ying Excellent caught the eye last start finishing a narrow second over this course, beaten by only a nose. He appears ready to finally go on with it here and from the good gate with Zac Purton up, he’s going to take plenty of beating. #2 Chairman Lo is unlucky not to already be a winner having finished runner-up on five occasions from 13 starts. He’s trialled well leading into this and although he’s become a costly conveyance for supporters, he still has the raw ability to get the job done and he commands plenty of respect here. #8 Casimiro got off the mark impressively two start ago. This is well within his reach especially from the good gate. #4 Loriz is next best.Race 5: Harlech Handicap (3:05AM ET) Scattered showers throughout the week leading into Sunday suggest that the ground might be rain affected and the one who will benefit from this is #1 Dark Dream. His second Hong Kong win came on the softer surface with Zac Purton up, who hasn’t ridden him since that score last season. He’s proven over this course and distance as a two-time winner and with even luck, against this bunch, he can get another win. #6 Chefano has proven himself as a solid 10-furlong galloper. Grant van Niekerk takes the reins from gate three and with only 117lb on his back, he comes into this contest nicely. Brazilian import #10 Butterfield finished sixth in the BMW Hong Kong Derby last time out. Joao Moreira takes over and the inside draw will afford him every opportunity, also, in his favour is that he has been sparingly raced since his arrival to Hong Kong. #2 Eagle Way steps out again over his preferred distance. He’s next best. Race 6: Severn Handicap (3:40AM ET) #6 King Dragon has been consistent across his short career albeit without a win. He’s placed in three of his last four and the inside gate should afford him every opportunity to finally go on with it here. #13 Plikclone is another who is winless. He’s shown glimpses of ability and he now appears down to a competitive mark for Matthew Poon and David Hall. #5 Defining Moment is one of the veterans of the field with 26 starts under his belt. He’ll settle at the rear but with a race run to suit he can make his presence felt. #9 Party Everyday is somewhat of an enigma. He has the raw ability but he’s running out of chances and his task isn’t made easy from gate 13. Race 7: G2 Sprint Cup (4:10AM ET) #8 Aethero returns from a lengthy stint on the sidelines after finishing third in the G1 LONGINES Hong Kong Sprint. He had a few niggling issues since then but his recent trial suggests that he’s put those behind him and with the right run, against this field he can bounce back to the winner’s stall. #2 Thanks Forever is by Duporth who will relish the prospect of a soft surface on Sunday thanks to the forecasted rain. Still, he’s G1 placed and has the ability to test his stablemate. #1 Hot King Prawn won a hot Class 1 contest last start. He’s proven at this level and he should get a charmed run throughout from gate one. #1 Big Party grabbed the G3 Bauhinia Sprint Trophy two starts ago. He’s had leg issues throughout his career so the prospect of a soft surface on Sunday brings him right into contention here.  Race 8: Plantation Handicap (4:40AM ET) #4 Dublin Star comes into this off two third place efforts. He’s becoming a costly conveyance especially as a short priced favourite each time, but still, he’s shown plenty of ability and the inside gate will once again offer him every chance to deliver. #5 So We Joy turned his form around last start to grab third. This contest looks suitable and he’s worth keeping safe at only his third Hong Kong Start. #3 El Jefe is looking for back-to-back wins. He flashed home from the tail of the field to score that day and he appears to still have a number of ratings points in hand. #8 This Is Charisma narrowly missed last start. He switches to Sha Tin for the first time and if he can handle the track at his first attempt then he’s going to be in the thick of it. Race 9: Homestead Handicap (1st Section) (5:15AM ET) #4 Ping Hai Bravo is a serious talent on the rise who is looking for his third win from his last four starts. He can get that here, especially as he remains in Class 3 off his dominant score last start and this isn’t an overly strong contest for him to go back-to-back. #6 Big Fortune is the likely leader of this, especially with Alfred Chan’s 7lb claim in effect. He’ll run them along here and if he can dictate terms to suit himself, then he’s going to give them something to run down. #8 Star Luck has turned his form around his last two starts after failing to fire early on this season. Karis Teetan takes the reins here and this contest does appear suitable. #11 Magic Supreme is next best. Race 10: Lugard Handicap (5:50AM ET) #3 Glorious Lover was trapped at the rear of the field last start but to his credit still managed to make up ground to finish a competitive eighth. He’s drawn a touch awkward but if he can sit closer in the run here he should be able showcase his budding best. #8 Ultimate Glory is the veteran of the field with five wins 75 attempts. He’s currently in-form and his last two runs with Zac Purton aboard have seen him go close, so it wouldn’t shock to see him go on with it here. #1 Farhh Above is a serious talent though his last-start failure came across as a slight concern. He’s since trialled quietly and we know how good he is on his day, but if he comes up a short-priced favourite he might be worth opposing. #13 Emerald Spur is a consistent customer

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4.1.2020:

April 1: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Cal Expo has a 10-race card set to go at 3:30 PST with the 0.20 Pick 4 beginning in Race 7. Last night the Pick 4 pool was slightly over $92,000 and it was a very chalky sequence until a 20-1 shot took the final leg. The (6-2-1-5) 0.20 ticket paid $82.82.Tonight's sequence will have another $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 74 Joker John (6-1)-Will toss last with an interference break, usually tries hard and should be in the mix with this crew.5-Lickcreek Speedway (5/2)-Kennedy can put this mare in play to use one big move to take control.6-California Rock (2-1)-Consistent plus likes to win and that's a very good combo. Plano can find cover or make an early move to get the lead. Looks like a major player.Race 81-King Of The Crop (6-1)-Steps-up after winning off a nice trip and is Svendsen's choice over #5. Shooting for a nice price to add some pop to the Pick 4. Might be able to top this field with a smooth trip.2-Bunkerhill Bill (9/2)-9-year old fits with these but is basically an on the engine type and he can take that kind of trip here. Should be able to get the top and Roberts will look to control the pace.5-Almost Cut My Hair (8-1)-Won on 3-6 with a pocket ride versus similar and could get the same trip here.7-Pancetta (6-1)-Plano's choice over the #3 and #8 seldom wins, just 2-28 over the past 2 years. But can score against this crew with a top effort. Plano beat cheaper on 3-6, he knows how to work the right trip to take another photo.Race 91-Bettor In The Bank (2-1)-Comes off a nice win and is back in at the same class. 10-year-old has won 24 of 62 CalX starts and should be bet hard. Looks like a player but is trip dependent.2-Mystery Dragon (4-1)-Even effort in last when dropped to this level. Looking for better and will respect the Roland-Q. Schneider combo.6-Mister Hat (4-1)-Mister cashes checks but doesn't like to win. This is a significant drop-in class and best to respect tonight.Race 101-Custards Dungeon (5/2)-Odds-on favorite comes off a win last weekend at this class and now draws the rail. Looks like a serious threat and should be bet hard again.3-Therealgoods (3-1)-Won 4-back and lost last 3 by 1-length or less at this level. Beaten chalk should be right there again.8-My Muddy Buddy (6-1)-Roberts sticks, and this is a more comfortable spot. Hasn't won since 1-11 but that was against similar. Could do the same here if brings a top try.0.20 Pick 44,5,6/1,2,5,7/1,2,6/1,3,8Total Bet=$21.60Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.31.2020:

March 31: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Cal Expo has changed days and its start-time for the rest of the meet. First post will now be at 3:30 PST on Tuesday and Wednesday through April 22. East Coast harness players will relish the earlier start time and the handle should be a big one. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 7, the guarantee has been raised to $50,000 and the actual pool will likely be much larger.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 75-Dancingonthesand (4-1)-Has had trouble taking a picture at this class but is in the mix at the wire. This could be the time to cash the biggest check as half the field is stepping up in class.6-Velocity Mcsweets (2-1)-Makes the 3rd start off the bench after winning as an odds-on favorite on 3-20. Looks like the one to beat and should be bet hard again.7-Alwaysalittlemore (5/2)-Likes to get on the engine and today it shouldn't be a big challenge. This mare is a cut above those with an inside post draw and if Plano gets the top easily, he could steal a 1/4.Race 82-Vicious Aloicious (5/2)-Roland's choice over #1 and #5 drops to a soft spot. Morning line chalk deserves to be part of the ticket and Roland will put in play. But Smith barn is ice cold and 6-year-old is camera shy, (11-113) lifetime.3-Twomickeytrip (6-1)-Mickey should offer a nice price and is also dropping to a spot to shine. This could be a wake-up call for Team Longo and can be forwardly placed from this post.7-Hi Ho's Little Rev (7/2)-Beaten odds-on chalk couldn't catch Beckys Dreamboat over the weekend when dropped to this level. Becky isn't around tonight and it's best to respect.10-Dontdoubtthelakers (8-1)-The Smith barn's other entry and Roberts steers again. May have met an easier field than last time. Veteran should be able to get a good early seat and might be able to close into quick fractions at a big price.Race 91-Senga Nitro (3-1)-Drew the rail again and should be in the hunt. Hard to ignore from this post and could offer a fair price.2-Herecomesthethundr (6-1)-Broke on Saturday on an off track and is only 1-20 on a wet surface. Makes 3rd start off the bench and now Roland stakes a spin. Looking for a lot better and the price should be right too.3-He Grins Again (5/2)-Beaten chalk lacked a closing kick and that has been the case in last 3-third place finishes. Probably won't offer any value but hard to leave off the ticket with this post draw and will look to others as well.6-Crusin For You (5-1)-Svendsen's choice over #4 steps up after a game win. Last effort was the best in quite a while and will string a long at what could be a solid price.Race 102-Greekona (6-1)-Finished 2nd to #8 in last and except for #4 this is the same crew. If the chalk can't find her fastball this mare could trip out and should be a better price than last week.8-Dontcloseyoureyes (5/2)-Hung out the 1st quarter from the 10-hole and then took control. Brushed off a challenger, pulled away and couldn't have been any better. Gets a little post relief and has a big shot for 3rd straight picture.0.20 Pick 45,6,7/2,3,7,10/1,2,3,6/2,8Total Bet=$19.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.30.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (March 23-29): Tiz the Law

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.March 23-March 29, 2020MVP: Tiz the LawOwner: Sackatoga StableTrainer: Barclay TaggJockey: Manny FrancoPerformance: Tiz the Law left no doubt in the March 28 Grade 1 $750,000 Florida Derby who was the best 3-year-old at Gulfstream Park this winter/spring. He added to his Grade 3 Holy Bull victory with a widening, 4-1/2 length cruise over a field that included the 1-2-3 finishers in the Grade Fountain of Youth. His time of 1:50 flat was more than 1 length faster than the same-day Grade 3 Hal’s Hope for older horses. Tiz the Law, a son of fellow Florida Derby champ Constitution, firmly put himself atop the east coast’s sophomore class, though the 2020 Kentucky Derby tentatively awaits in September.On Tap: The uncertainty of the 3-year-old calendar makes what’s next the most clouded Triple Crown trail in memory. Owner Sackatoga Stable has been public in its quest to return to the Kentucky Derby some 17 years after its success with Funny Cide. Obviously a run through Saratoga en route to September could be in the cards if the Travers date shifts, and any Triple Crown dates are on the radar in no matter which order they are presented, Tagg said.Honorable Mentions: Mean Mary was fantastic in her wire-to-wire score March 28 in the Grade 3 Orchid. The Graham Motion trainee has developed into one of the top Filly & Mare Turf divisions prospects for the rest of the 2020 season. The return effort March 28 at Gulfstream Park by Vekoma to win the listed Sir Shackleton Stakes also caught the eye. Last year’s Blue Grass winner was off since a Kentucky Derby injury and shook off the rust to win over 7 furlongs in a rapid 1:21.92. If he can stay healthy, his versatility in distance makes him an interesting Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile division player.

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3.30.2020:

Wednesday, April 1: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN BETTING SELECTIONS Wednesday, April 1, 2020First Post: 7:15AM ET Race 1: #11 Exponents, #4 Aurora Steed, #7 Great Son, #3 General Trump Race 2: #4 Good Luck Money, #9 Little Thunder, #10 Golden Mission, #2 Gracious Ryder Race 3: #14 Master Bernini, #4 Curling Luxury, #7 Hidden Spirit, #12 Winners Brother Race 4: #7 Excel Delight, #6 Daily Beauty, #11 Sky Treasure, #2 Goldie Flanker Race 5: #1 Jade Fortune, #14 Super Red Dragon, #11 All For St Paul’s, #3 King’s Race Race 6: #11 Utopia Life, #4 Wind N Grass, #8 Flying Genius, #3 Mega Heart Race 7: #6 Red Elysees, #4 Righteous Doctrine, #11 Owners’ Star, #8 Acclaimed Light Race 8: #3 Buddies, #13 Elite Patch, #1 Glorious Artist, #2 Dances With Dragon Race 1: Silvermine Bay Handicap (7:15AM ET) #11 Exponents’ last win came off a mark of 28 on a Wednesday night at Sha Tin and having now returned to that mark, it appears as though lightning is preparing to strike twice, especially with that jockey, Grant van Niekerk getting the leg up again. His best is up to this and with even luck he’s going to take a power of beating. #4 Aurora Steed has steadily improved with each outing this term. His recent dirt trial caught the eye and if he handles the surface on race day, then he’s in with a leading chance, especially with Joao Moreira up. The Brazilian ace is fresh off a Sunday five-timer at Sha Tin. #7 Great Son joined the Paul O’Sullivan stable at the start of this season and since then has looked good. Zac Purton rode a double for O’Sullivan on Sunday and their good fortune can continue here. #3 General Trump is consistent, and he warrants respect. Race 2: Kiu Tsui Handicap (2nd Section) (7:45AM ET) #4 Good Luck Money steps out on debut for championship leading trainer Ricky Yiu. He caught the eye in a recent trial on the dirt at Conghua, cruising up to cross the line with stablemate Team Power who has subsequently finished second last Sunday at Sha Tin. He’s worth taking a chance on in a very open Class 4 contest. #9 Little Thunder is another who has caught the eye at the trials. He led that day and is a chance to employ those tactics here on race day as he looks to offset the wide draw. #10 Golden Mission is winless. He’s mixed his form but has shown his capabilities on his day and a recent trial on the dirt suggested he handles the surface. #2 Gracious Ryder is next best. Race 3: Tung Wan Handicap (8:15AM ET) Tony Millard has an exceptional record with stable transfers and #14 Master Bernini looks ready to join that list. Although he’s winless across 25 starts, he has shown steady improvement, especially on the dirt and with only 116 on his back, he can take this contest out. #4 Curling Luxury is the likely leader of this. He gets the services of Zac Purton here which is a good push and as a winner on the surface previously, he rates as a leading chance. #7 Hidden Spirit is looking for back-to-back course and distance wins. He remains in Class 5 off that win which is suitable, and he maps to get the right run from gate two. #12 Winners Brother is winless, but he turned his form around last start when missing by a short head at 94/1. He’s next best if he can reproduce that effort here. Race 4: Kiu Tsui Handicap (1st Section) (8:45AM ET) #7 Excel Delight is a course and distance winner already this season. He narrowly missed last start and he gets an excellent chance here to atone for that performance. Joao Moreira takes the reins again and he’s drawn to get the gun run from gate two. #6 Daily Beauty has shown steady improvement across his short three-start career. He’s another who has been favoured by the draw and at his second start on the dirt, he’s expected to improve sharply. #11 Sky Treasure is a three-time course and distance winner. He’s won off this mark before and if he finds the front early, he could take plenty of running down. #2 Goldie Flanker is next best. Race 5: Pui O Handicap (9:15AM ET) #1 Jade Fortune steps back to Class 4 now which suits and with Zac Purton taking over he appears ready to win. He’s a Class 2 winner previously so the step back now to this grade should prove fruitful, especially off a number of solid Class 3 performances this term. #14 Super Red Dragon gets in light with only 114lb to carry from gate two. He’s drawn to get the gun run and with no weight on his back he remains a leading player. #11 All For St Paul’s is lightly raced but he has displayed plenty of ability across his short three-start career.  With further improvement he can figure and he’s one who is more than likely not going to relish the added distance. #3 King’s Race has already recorded one all-the-way win this term and he’s expected to try similar here. He’ll run them along and is capable of holding on for prize money.  Race 6: Clear Water Bay Handicap (9:45AM ET) #11 Utopia Life is unlucky not to have already won across his career but still, he gets an excellent chance to finally go on with it here. He’s drawn to get a nice run and with luck in the straight, he can deliver for Chad Schofield and Manfred Man. #4 Wind N Grass has shown steady improvement across his career and he tackles the dirt for the first time here. Suspect he handles the surface as he’s on the seven day back-up here in order to shed his maiden tag. #8 Flying Genius rarely runs a bad race and his forward style of running can ensure he’s in with a chance here. He’s drawn beautifully for Zac Purton who should be able to control the tempo and give him every chance. #3 Mega Heart has placed four times over this course and distance this season. He’s consistent and is not out of his depth against this bunch. Race 7: Hap Mun Bay Handicap (10:15AM ET) #6 Red Elysees narrowly missed over this course and distance two starts ago, before stepping out over 1650m to finish a close-up fifth. He’ll relish the return in trip to 1800m here and with even luck this is his to lose. #4 Righteous Doctrine is looking for back-to-back wins after ending his streak of 15 runs without a win. He’s found his groove and with Joao Moreira retaining the ride he warrants plenty of respect. #11 Owners’ Star is consistent and he hasn’t been too far away over this course and distance previously. This is suitable although still, more difficult. #8 Acclaimed Light is next best.   Race 8: Cheung Sha Handicap (10:50AM ET)  #3 Buddies ran a blinder last start on the turf and he returns to his preferred course and distance here. Joao Moreira hops up and has a three-time course and distance winner previously he rates as the one to beat, especially breaking gate three. #13 Elite Patch is a two-time dirt winner previously. He steps up in trip here which is the unknown but his last few runs have given the impression that he is ready for it and his latest trial caught the eye. Three out of #1 Glorious Artist’s four wins have come over this course and distance, each time with Zac Purton up and again this galloper warrants respect, especially in Class 2 which he is proven in. #2 Dances With Dragon bagged his first win for Caspar Fownes last start and lines up again here. He’s next best.  Learn more about Hong Kong Racing

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3.29.2020:

Sunday, March 29: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Wild About This; 5-Cultivation; 8-Cookie CoveForecast: The Sunday opener is a maiden claiming turf sprint scramble for fillies and mares. Anything goes, so let’s try a 20-1 long shot on top. Wild About This turns back from a series of route races and may go much better at this abbreviated sprint trip. She has plenty of early speed and not much stick, but at this level from the rail she could take control early and get brave. Low profile connections will keep the price up. Cultivation, nosed out in a similar affair last month, won’t need much more than that to beat this group. She’ll be running on strongly late. Cookie Cove, a close fifth in the same race Cultivation exits, is another that figures to be doing her best work late, and if the speed collapses she’ll be dangerous in the final furlong.RACE 2: Post 1:30 ET. Grade: CUse: 7-Brookes All Mine; 12-EnlistingForecast: Enlisting and Brookes All Mine both won their last races at this $8,000 level, both were claimed, and neither one is being raised in class by their new connections, not exactly a sign of confidencE. The former moves to a 4% barn and switches to a jockey who at last check was winless with 39 mounts at the meeting, while the latter switches to a 6% jockey but at least hails the capable R. Hess, Jr. barn. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but not with any degree of confidence in a race that is best left alone.RACE 3: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Pardon My Heart; 2-Tizahra7-Sacred PeaceForecast: Pardon My Heart didn’t get the clearest of runs through the lane when a close fourth (beaten a length) in a similar maiden turf router for fillies and mares earlier this month but with the switch to L. Saez from her inside draw the daughter of Declaration of War should be well-positioned to fire her best shot. Tizahra, second in her last pair with competitive speed figures and exiting the same race as Pardon My Heart, may find herself as the controlling speed in a race that projects to be slowly run early. Given that kind of trip, the I. Wilkes-trained filly could get very brave. Sacred Peace, a nine-race maiden from France making her U. S. debut, shows some decent efforts vs. winners at Chantilly and Deauville last year, and those races if repeated her give her a look. She’s a first-time Lasix user from a capable outfit and lands J. Rosario, so at 12-1 on the morning she’s a “must use.”**RACE 4: Post 2:31 ET. Grade: A-Single: 7-Center AisleForecast: Center Aisle blazed a quarter mile in :20 3/5 at the Fasig-Tipton March Sale last year and then brought $1.5 million through the ring. She finally makes it to the races more than a year later following a healthy series of breezing workouts for C. Brown. In viewing the video of several of her drills at xbtv.com it’s fairly evident that this daughter of Into Mischief is loaded with speed and quality. The known element doesn’t particularly impress and we doubt there’s a world beater among the other first-timers, so at 5/2 on the morning we’ll make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 3:03 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Bean Counter; 9-I Am MagicalForecast: Bean Counter was a beaten choice in a recent starter’s allowance middle distance turf affair so in her second start off a layoff she returns to the restricted claiming ranks, draws the rail, and should be the controlling speed for the Pletcher-Saez team. I Am Magicalmust overcome her outside draw and is winless in four starts since being imported from England but her numbers are solid and she appears to be the most dangerous of the closing types. We’ll try to get by in rolling exotic play using just these two in an uninspiring affair.RACE 6: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: A-Single: 12-Dr PostForecast: Dr Post was all the rage last summer prior to his debut at 50 cents on the dollar at Belmont Park, but after bobbling at the start and then failing to show his best speed, the son of Quality Road wound up fourth and then disappeared. The T. Pletcher-trained colt makes it back to the post nine months later in this seven furlong maiden special weight affair for 3-year-olds, lands the cozy outside post, and once again should be heavily backed at the windows. His workouts at Palm Beach Downs give every indication that the hype prior to his 2-year-old debut was justified; this time we’re expecting no mistakes. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to his morning line of 3-1.RACE 7: Post 4:06 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Blazing Desires; 6-JustinthenickoftimeForecast: Blazing Desires seems likely to be the controlling speed from his inside draw and will take them as far as he can. How quick he’ll have to go early may depend on how much pressure is applied by Mystery Bank, a maiden tackling winners but with the kind of early speed that could impact the pace flow. Justinthenickoftime, a well-beaten third in an overnight stakes over this course and distance last month, earned a good number in defeat and won’t need much better to act at this level of competition. The Justin Phillip gelding switches to L. Saez and appears capable of making a strong run from second-flight, stalking trip.RACE 8: Post 4:39 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Faraway Kitten; 4-Morocco; 11-WesterlandForecast: Faraway Kitten was an unlucky runner-up when claimed for $40,000 last month and moves up a level for his new connections while trying to make amends after missing at even money. With a better trip today, he can be along in time. Morocco was out of his element when unplaced in the Mac Diarmeda Stakes but he’s realistically spotted today while remaining above his claim level for M. Maker and switching to L. Saez. With some help up front, Pioneerof the Nile gelding will be heard from late. Westerland, listed at 12-1 on the morning line, may be worth tossing in somewhere. The “other” M. Maker entrant earned a strong number when unplaced in a tougher second-level allowance affair in late January, switches to P. Lopez, and is another capable of producing a dangerous late kick if the race-shape turns up in his favor.RACE 9: Post 3:34 ET. Grade:Use: 4-Viva Forever; 6-Believe Indeed; 8-AngeliaForecast: Angelia lands the ideal outside post for this one-turn mile and in her second start off a long layoff the daughter of Curlin should produce enough of a forward move to regain her winning form in this first-level allowance optional claimer for fillies and mares. She also gets an extra quarter of a mile to work with, so there should be no excuses at 9/5 on the morning line. Small ticket player may consider her as a possible rolling exotic single. Believe Indeed shortens up and returns to the main track, conditions that should suit her fine. The P. Walder-trained mare, first or second in 21 of 46 career starts, seems likely to at least hit the board from off the pace. Old pro Viva Forever, a winner of 11 races (with seven seconds) from 42 career outings, was beaten as the favorite at Tampa Bay Downs two weeks ago and in fact has failed as the chalk in each of her last three starts and four of her last five. At this stage of her career she may no longer be one to trust, but we’ll toss her in on a ticket or two out of respect.RACE 10: Post 4:17 ET. Grade: B-Use: 6-Urban Fairytale; 7-Key BiscayneForecast: The newcomers don’t impress so let’s try to get by in rolling exotic play using a couple of experienced fillies at decent prices launching a comeback. Urban Fairytale, away since October when she finished a solid second in a maiden special weight affair at Keeneland, will be tough if she returns as well as she left for I. Wilkes. The work tab at a local training center should have her fit enough. Key Biscayne, away since July and returning without blinkers, was a runner-up in a pair of races over the local lawn before being stopped on, and she, too, appears to have been training well at an off-track center. Neither are world beaters on pure form but against this group they probably won’t have to be. Ready to start betting? Log In now to get started on betting today's tracks. If you don’t have an Xpressbet account, Sign Up Here and receive a free $10 + up to a $500 bonus with code SPORTOFKINGS Plus, check out XBTV for additional North American Thoroughbred content surrounding anaylsis of recent workouts, past races and more. Log In More News Current Promotions Upcoming Live-Money Tournaments

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3.28.2020:

Friday, March 28: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Cal Expo has a 10-race card ready to go with a first post at 6:10 PST. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 7 and it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a 16% takeout and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Sin Machqueen (6-1)-Comes off an easy win against much cheaper. By starting on the rail versus this field, a nice trip could be in the cards. Will take a swing for a solid price with a fresh horse making its 4th start this year.3-Dependlebury A (3-1)-Drops to the level of last win back on 2-8 and was Plano's pick over #8. Looks like a player who should be put in play early.4-Marced Magic (5/2)-Will toss last from the 9-hole, started very slowly and couldn't make-up enough ground. Should fit much better at this level.5-Mystery Dragon (9/2)-Drops to a more comfortable spot and was overmatched in last two starts. Barn has been doing well and was Roland's choice over #7.Race 82-Joker John (8-1)-Roland's pick over #6 who is the 2nd ML choice. Flew down the lane but came up short to finish 3rd versus most of this field. Should be put in play earlier and could win at a square price with a top effort.3-My Muddy Buddy (12-1)-Closed well off a ground saving trip and now makes 3rd start for new barn. Might be sitting on a big try and could be in the hunt at long odds.5-Lickcreek Speedway (5-1)-Team Kennedy entry gets some post relief and can grind her way into contention. Winner of 7 out of 32 tries at CalX and should be in the mix tonight.7-California Rock (5/2)-Comes off a win and this is 2nd time Lasix. 4-year old Rockin Image gelding loves the track and is consistently consistent. This is a likely single on many tickets.Race 95-Virgin Eyes (2-1)-11-time winner in '19 has only taken 1-picture this year. Drops out of Open company and Plano takes a spin. Magee chose #4, but Corbin barn has won at a 19% clip over last 30-days and this could be a spot to shine.6-Capitol Hill (5/2)-Fell short by <1-length last week when dropped to this level. Should be a major player if Cutting works a trip and puts into striking range. The short field can only help chances.Race 102-Outlawintriguedbyu (7/2)-Rolled a 56.2 back half but fell a neck short. Magee's pick over #5, the program favorite, tries hard but doesn't win often. This looks like a beatable field and a spot to trip out.5-Shock N Awe (2-1)-Takes a good drop and should be a major threat. Has won only 3 times in last 32 and is 2-14 at CalX. Doesn't have a lot to beat in here but won't trust as a single.My TicketRace 7) 1,3,4,5 Race 8) 2,3,5,7 Race 9) 5,6 Race 10) 2,5Total Ticket Cost) $12.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.28.2020:

Saturday, March 28: Gulfstream Park Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.RACE 1: Post 11:30 ET. Grade: C+Use: 5-Zabava; 10-Scatnap; 11-TraipsingForecast: The 14-race Florida Derby-G1 day program begins with a wide-open first-level allowance middle distance turf event for fillies and mares. We’ll try to survive and advance tripling the race but if you can afford to include a few more, go right ahead. Scatnap is tough, dependable mare with 10 wins on her resume, most recently scoring in a $30,000 claimer over this course and distance last time out in mid-January while earning one of her better speed figures. She’s protected today by a hot barn, switches to P. Lopez, and projects to enjoy a good second flight, stalking trip. At 5-1 on the morning line, she seems as good as any. Zabava, in the frame in her last three starts but winless in six outings over the local turf course, has an effective stalking style that should ensure a good trip in a big field. The M. Maker-trained filly earned a career top speed figure last time out, one that if repeated would be good enough to beat this field. Stranger danger comes in the form of Traipsing, away since breaking her maiden at Presque Isle Downs by herself back in September of 2018. The work tab doesn’t jump off the page, but at 20-1 on the morning line for the always-dangerous Clement-Rosario team she’s worth tossing in as a tote-buster. It’s a long day and there are better wagering opportunities later on, so we suggest you tread lightly here.: See Race Video, ScatnapRACE 2: Post 12:00 ET. Grade: BUse: 5-Beau Luminarie; 11-Top SeedForecast: Beau Luminarie continued his improving pattern in his third career start last month when earning a giant speed figure over this track and distance in handling maidens by seven widen lengths while on the pace throughout. A similar effort today makes him the one to beat right back. Top Seed finally made it to the post in February of his 4-year-old season and won at first asking in rather nice fashion for Shug, earning a good figure with a pace-pressing trip while giving every indication that he’ll handle more distance if asked. This one-turn first-level allowance main track miler appears made to order for the son of Orb, so with a forward move from a comfortable outside draw he may be the one Beau Luminarie has to worry about the most. These are the two we’ll be including in rolling exotic play in what appears to be a rather strong race for the level.: See Race Video, Beau Luminarie: See Race Video, Top SeedRACE 3: Post 12:30 ET. Grade: B-Use: 3-Largent; 5-Temple; 7-Proliferate; 12-TribhuvanForecast: Here’s a very difficult second-level allowance middle distance turf event that has several possibilities. The four we’ve listed above have every right to run well enough to win, but there are others that are more than capable of landing the odds as well. Trip should decide it. Largent just failed at even money in a similar spot, going down by a head after pressing a strong pace outside throughout. He’s fast on numbers, has the tactical speed to be placed wherever L. Saez wants to be, and with just four career starts the T. Pletcher-trained gelding has plenty of room for further improvement. Proliferate, a closing third beaten just over a length in the same race Largent exits, was a little farther back than he normally prefersly in that race and could find himself within striking range throughout with the switch to F. Geroux. The M. Casse-trained son of Declaration of War has been stuck on thirds lately but won’t have to improve much to get back in winning form. Temple exits a series of stakes races and should appreciate this drop in class. A three-time winner over the Gulfstream Park grass course, the M. Maker-trained gelding was given too much to do when a closing third last time out and is more effective when he can utilize his tactical speed to be within striking range throughout. On pure speed figures he’s right there with these. Tribhuvan took a long time to break his maiden and then after doing so in his 12th career start came right back to capture a valuable 16-runner handicap in Chantilly last fall. C. Brown has remarkable stats with European invaders and this colt adds Lasix for his U.S. debut following a series of local drills that should have him primed and ready. We give him a legitimate look despite his poor outside draw.: See Race Video, Largent: See Race Video, TempleRACE 4: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B+Use: 6-Vitalogy; 10-Decorated InvaderForecast: This listed turf stakes for 3-year-olds has two exceptional colts that on paper should leave the others behind. They’re tough to separate so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics. Vitalogy was visually very impressive winning his sophomore debut in the Palm Beach S.-G3 here last month. He overcame an outside draw to secure a good pace-prompting position and then kicked clear when the pressure was turned on from the head of the lane to the wire. Graded stakes placed twice as a 2-year-old and apparently better now than he was then, the B. Walsh-trained colt must pick up 6 lbs. today but we doubt the added impost will make much difference. The son of No Nay Never has the makings of an outstanding middle distance turf performer, but he’ll have to beat Decorated Invader, away since finishing a much troubled fourth beaten just over a length in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, a race he could have won with any kind of racing luck. The C. Clement-trained son of Declaration of War may not be totally cranked up but even at 90 percent he’s dangerous for the powerful jockey/trainer team of Rosario and Clement. Given his recent win over the course, Vitalogy deserves the edge on top but both must be included in rolling exotic play.: See Race Video, Vitalogy: See Race Video, Decorated InvaderRACE 5: Post 1:30 ET. Grade: B+Use: 3-Network Effect; 11-AlmashriqForecast: Draw a line through this three substandard grass races and Almashriq looks like a very nice colt. Originally a $1.2 million Keeneland yearling purchase, the Shadwell Stable 4-year-old was impressive winning a first-level allowance race in his recent U. S. debut over this track and distance, finding more when it was needed in the final furlong after racing on the lead inside under pressure every step of the way. Today, the K. McLaughlin-trained colt is cozily drawn outside in a field without much pace, so L. Saez has the option of taking control early or stalking and pouncing when the time is right. The son of War Front will need to produce a forward move to win on the raise, but seems more than capable of doing just that, and at 8-1 on the morning line he offers plenty of value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Also worth including is Network Effect, freshened since finishing far back behind Maximum Security in the Cigar Mile-G1 in December but with prior speed figures that are good enough to win at this level. The C. Brown-trained colt won his debut so we know he can fresh and has a lovely pace-stalking style for this one-turn mile trip.: See Race Video, Almashriq RACE 6: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Harvey Wallbanger; 2-Bodexpress; 6-American TattooForecast: This is one of the more difficult races on the program with many question marks that require a significant spread in rolling exotic play. Each of the three listed above are capable of winning if the race shape goes their way. Consistency has never been Harvey Wallbanger’s middle name but when the 4-year-old colt has his mind on running he can be extremely effective in middle distance graded events, especially over the Gulfstream Park main track. A winner of the Holy Bull S.-G2 here last year and showing a return to that form with a dominating score in a strong second-level allowance race here last month, the stretch running son of Congrats came against slow fractions in his last victory and today should have more than an ample amount of pace to set things up for his late kick. Whether he can turn in two alike remains to be seen, but on the chance that he can we’ll put him on top. American Tattoo was out of his element in the McKnight S.-G23 over 12 furlongs on turf last time out but returns to his preferred surface and shortens to a mile and one-eighth, conditions that should bring out his best. A Grade-1 winner in South America, the T. Pletcher-trained horse projects to enjoy a perfect second-flight trip behind the fast leaders and then have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Bodexpress is a need-the-lead type and always is dangerous when he inherits the role as the controlling speed. With the presence of committed front-runner Rare Form also in the field, his preferred trip is problematic, but if he can shake free early, he could take this field a very long way.: See Race Video, Harvey WallbangerRACE 7: Post 2:30 ET. Grade: B+Use: 7-Walk In Marrakesh; 9-SeducerForecast: Seducer is making a substantial leap in class – from a debut maiden win straight into the listed $100,000 Sanibel Island Stakes – but the way she performed in her only outing at the Big A last November provides strong indication that she could very well be the goods. A smooth, athletic filly with a superior turn of foot, the C. Clement-trained filly won her race in gate-to-wire style but gave the impression that she just as easily could have stalked and pounced. The recent work tab at Payson Park indicates fitness, and at 8-1 on the morning line the daughter of Cairo Prince offers extreme value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Walk in Marrakesh is a proven stakes-quality performer and is another that appears to be a bit of an overlay at 6-1 on the morning line. Nosed out in her U.S. debut in the Natalma S.-G1 at Woodbine last summer, she returned to suffer another heartbreaking defeat when missing by a head in her sophomore debut in the Florida Oaks-G3 at Tampa Bay Downs earlier this month. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Seducer getting top billing.***RACE 8: Post 3:00 ET. Grade: BUse: 8-Vekoma; 7-JacksonForecast: Vekoma, away since crossing the wire 13th in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, certainly has shown he can fire fresh, having won his debut as a 2-year-old, but even more significant is his record around one turn, a perfect two-for-two that includes a victory in the Nashua S.-G2. This seven furlong trip looks ideal for his pace-stalking style, and if the son of Candy Ride returns as well as his connections expect, he’ll outclass this listed stakes group of sprinters. The work tab at Palm Beach Downs looks good and includes a bullet five furlong drill in 1:00 flat on March 6. That said, a major point of concern is that the G. Weaver barn isn’t known to win regularly with layoff runners – currently the stable is on a zero-for-23 streak – but hopefully this colt is good enough to buck the trend. Jackson won the World of Trouble S.-G3 here at six furlongs last month with a career top speed figure and has the style to be even more effective with an extra furlong to work with today. He’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.: See Race Video, JacksonRACE 9: Post 3:34 ET. Grade: B-Use: 2-Zofelle; 6-La Signare; 12-ValedictorianForecast: With the scratching of the 9/5 morning line favorite Newspaperofrecord and the likely controlling speed Jakarta, this race takes on a whole different messy look, leading us to spread three-deep without any great conviction. Zofelle, a sharp Fair Grounds invader, packs a powerful late kick but won't have nearly as much early speed in here to compliment her late-running style as originally thought. With good racing luck, the B. Walsh-trained filly may still be able to produce the last run. La Signare came against slow fractions to finish a willing third in the The Very One S.-G3 and may have to do the same today. She’s always been most effective when held up and allowed to run late. Valedictorian, fourth in the Honey Fox S.-G3 in a race she probably needed, is drawn farther outside than we’d prefer but the veteran mare always has loved the local lawn and is eligible to move forward considerably with that tightener behind her. The pace projection is much more favorable for her with the softening of the pace scenario.: See Race Video, La SignareRACE 10: Post 4:17 ET. Grade: B+Use: 5-Gentle Ruler; 6-Mean MaryForecast: Gentle Ruler took a while to break her maiden but once she figured things out the late-developing daughter of Colonel John became a high class marathon grass specialist. Though she’s been freshened since winning the 12-furlong Dowager Stakes at Keeneland in October, the I. Wilkes-trained mare has trained eagerly and splendidly for her return while giving every indication that she’s ready to pick up where she left off. Her chief rival in this mile and three-eighths Grade-3 grass event for fillies and mares is Mean Mary, a lightly-raced and rapidly improving daughter of Scat Daddy who crushed her rivals in gate-to-wire fashion in the Le Prevoyante S.-G3 in late January. The G. Motion-trained filly has seen her speed figures rise with every outing, and in a race that projects to have soft early splits ‘Mary may take control early and never look back, just as she did her most recent score. We’ll be surprised if the winner isn’t one of these two, and both should be included in rolling exotic play. We’ll then press with extra tickets using Gentle Ruler in the win pool.: See Race Video, Mean Mary: See Workout, Gentle RulerRACE 11: Post 4:49 ET. Grade: B+Use: 5-Spice Is Nice; 9-Tonalist’s ShapeForecast: Tonalist Shape just beat Spice Is Nice on the square in Davona Dale S.-G2 at a one-turn mile here last month and they meet again stretching out an extra half furlong in this year’s edition of the Gulfstream Park Oaks-G2. Both fillies will be trying two-turns for the first time and both have pedigrees to improve as the distances increase. ‘Shape is perfect in five starts, and while her speed figures has gone up and down like a yo-yo she may be the type that does only what’s required. ‘Nice is a daughter of Curlin and therefore bred to develop as she matures. She really caught the eye when bravely keeping to her task to be well clear of the others in the Davona Dale, and we suspect the T. Pletcher-trained 3-year-old will move forward considerable off that performance. You have to use both in your rolling exotics; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Spice Is Nice on top.: See Race Video, Tonalist’s Shape/Spice Is NiceRACE 12: Post 5:26 ET. Grade: XSingle: 9-Zulu AlphaForecast: It’s hard to get past Zula Alpha, listed at 3/5 on the morning line, in today’s Pan American S.-G2 over a mile and one-half on turf. In a division that saw a different winner almost every time one of these marathon turf graded races was staged in North America last year, this veteran gelding finally seems to have established a pecking order following back-to-back victories over the local turf course, first in the middle distance Pegasus World Cup Turf-G1 in January and then most recently in the 11 furlong Mac Diarmeda S.-G2 here last month, a performance that earned him a career-top speed figure. A winner of 11 of 32 career starts, four of which have been accomplished at Gulfstream Park, the veteran son of Street Cry seems likely to continuing what he’s been doing, but at odds far too short to embrace. We’ll make him a short price rolling exotic single but otherwise sit it out.: See Race Video, Zulu AlphaRACE 13: Post 6:00 ET. Grade:Use: 1-English Bee; 3-March to the ArchForecast: This is a highly challenging renewal of the Appleton S.-G3 – a case can be made for several of these – but we’ll focus on just two and hope to get by in rolling exotic play. March to the Arch, a thoroughly genuine and consistent gelding, won the Sunshine Millions Turf here in January and then lost a toughie at Tampa Bay Downs when third, beaten a head, in the Tampa Bay S.-G3 the following month. Drawn comfortably inside, the M. Casse-trained son of Arch is right there with the rest of these on pure numbers and is listed at 8-1 on the morning line, so let’s put him on top and hope for good racing luck. English Bee, also listed at 8-1, was a fast-finishing second in the Canadian Turf S.-G2 over this course and distance last month and gets a significant eight pound shift in the weights in his favor with the colt that just beat him, Sombeyay. He’s a late-developing son of English Channel with speed figures that are progressing, and from his favorable inside draw the G. Motion-trained colt has a chance to take full advantage of a ground-saving trip. If you feel the need to go deeper than just these two, feel free, it’s that kind of grass grab bag.RACE 14: Post 6:36 ET. Grade: XSingle: 7-Tiz the LawForecast: There really is no reason to pick against Tiz the Law in the afternoon’s featured event, the Florida Derby-G1. By all rights, the son of Constitution should be undefeated – his trip when beaten over a sloppy track Kentucky Jockey Club S.-G2 is legendary – and he certainly performed up to standard when easily capturing the Holly Bull S.-G3 over this main track in early February. The B. Tagg-trained 3-year-old has been kept on edge in the interim with a steady, healthy series of workouts, so in a race that sets up nicely for a second flight stalker, ‘Law looks every bit like a 6/5 morning line favorite should. We’ll make him a no-value rolling exotic single and to cap off a marvelous day of racing.b>: See Race Video, Tiz the Law

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3.27.2020:

Friday, March 27: Gulfstream Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Counterstrike; 8-Rhythm Section Forecast: Counterstrike earned a strong speed figure when missing in a photo in a promising debut performance over this course seven weeks ago and returns in a similar affair with two nice recent breezes to have him set for a forward move. Nicely drawn inside with J. Leparoux riding him back, the son of Street Boss seems the solid choice at 5/2 on the morning line. Rhythm Section is protected today by T. Pletcher after missing by a neck (while more than five lengths clear of the rest) in a maiden $50,000 claimer in his debut in a race that earned a respectable figure. The son of American Pharoah has a right to improve with experience, so at 8-1 on the morning line he’s worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up in rolling exotic play. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: X Single: 1-Miz Chaplin Forecast: Miz Chaplin ran off from a maiden $20,000 field at Gulfstream Park West in November and was claimed by S. Joseph, Jr. in what looked at the time to be a sharp purchase. Unraced since then and returning for $10,500, the daughter of Rattlesnake Bridge has the unhealthiest of patterns, but this barn plays the claiming game aggressively, and with a recent bullet gate drill of :48 flat (fastest of 41) she should be set to pick up where she left off for a barn that hits with 40% (with a strong flat-bet profit) with the first-off-the-claim plays. However, at 6/5 on the morning line and breaking from the rail, there is no value to be found. You can use her as a rolling exotic single or, better yet, simply pass the race. RACE 3: Post 2:05 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Bourbon Street;6-Tapping; 7-Khattaf Forecast: Tapping is an intriguing first-time starter in this maiden $50,000 claimer for a stable that shows fancy recent stats with debut runners. The barn’s go-to rider E. Jaramillo takes the call, and in a race in which the known element doesn’t inspire, let’s try the son of Tapizar and hope to get close to his morning line of 6-1. Khattaf is another newcomer with credentials to run well. The son of Khozan shows a series of solid drills, including a bullet half mile spin (:48 flat, fastest of 24) last month and the R. Nicks barn is more than capable of winning with a firster. Bourbon Street was more than four lengths clear of the rest when runner-up over this track and distance at this level earlier this month, switches to L. Saez, and may be worth using on a ticket or two as a back-up at 8-1 on the morning line. RACE 4: Post 2:36 ET. Grade: B Use: 4-First Wave; 9-Noble Alma Forecast: First Wave, away since October, performed her best last year when sprinting on grass, having finished an excellent second (beaten a neck) at Saratoga last summer in an effort that produced a career top speed figure. The daughter of War Front need only run back to that race today – and the recent work tab should have her plenty fit and ready – to earn her diploma in what appears to be a moderate race for the level. She’s a square price at 5/2 on the morning line if you can get it. Noble Ann also is worth consideration in rolling exotic play. She’s considerably slower on numbers than First Wave but has the benefit of a recent run over the course in her first start in nearly a year when a solid second in a similar affair earlier this month. If she can shake loose early on the front end she could get brave. RACE 5: Post 3:08 ET. Grade: X Use: 5-Queen Kantharos; 7-Stormy Boss Forecast: Here’s a race – a restricted (nw-2) $6,250 sprint for fillies and mares – that probably is best avoided. Stormy Boss drops to the bottom and may have found her friends after turning in a flat performance when competing for $12,500 last time out. Her third place effort when beaten less than a length for that price two races back makes her hard to beat at this level, but with low profile connections and a history of failing as the favorite the daughter of Mucho Macho Man clearly isn’t one to trust. If not her, then who? Queen Kantharos also drops to the bottom for the first time but comes from a low percentage outfit. Tread lightly here. RACE 6: Post 3:39 ET. Grade: B- Use: 5-Greyes Creek; 9-Flame Zapper; 10-Propensity Forecast: Though he’s been away since November of 2018, Greyes Creek has plenty going for him in this maiden special weight turf miler, including a bullet half mile gate drill (:48 flat, fastest of 26) at Palm Meadows last week that should have him fit and ready. The son of Pioneerof the Nile was a beaten choice in all three of his starts as a 2-year-old in good company but could easily return a better type as an older horse for a barn that hits at 28% with layoff runners. Flame Zapper and Propensity, two-three finishers over this course and distance in a race that was assigned a very strong speed figure, both have the benefit of recent racing and should prove formidable. The former has a good stalking style while the latter looks like a need-the-lead type and may prove elusive if not pressured early. RACE 7: Post 4:10 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Lapochka; 6-Chase Runner Forecast: Chase Runner is in good form for winning connections and stretches out to his preferred one mile trip in race that should have him ideally placed outside stalking what projects to be a moderate pace. First or second in six of 14 career starts and with rising speed figures, the son of Big Brown looks fairly enticing at or near his morning line of 4-1. Lapochka moves up a couple of notches after a strong win for $8,000 over this track and distance 13 days ago and if he can come close that type of effort off the short rest he’ll be tough right back. However, that may be a tall task for a horse that doesn’t have a history of stringing good races together. RACE 8: Post 4:41 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Frenchmen Street; 4-Camp Randall; 7-Captain Ron Forecast: Frenchmen Street, first off the claim for M. Maker, won an off-the-turf abbreviated sprint for $40,000 last month but can be just as effective on grass and looks live on the raise. Always consistent in the speed figure department, the Malibu Moon can be effective on the lead or from the second flight, so T. Gaffalione can play it by ear. Captain Ron could be the quickest in the field but is another that is more than capable of winning as a stalker or presser and may be able to dictate the race from his outside draw. Much improved since being claimed for $10,000 last November, the lightly raced 7-year-old is fresh from a career top effort against a lesser state-bred field but on pure numbers is a fit at this level. Camp Randall, with just three career starts and a perfect two-for-two over this course and distance, has more upside than the others and is another with the versatility to handle any type of pace scenario. In a tough, competitive event, we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics while giving Frenchmen Street a very slight not on top. RACE 9: Post 5:12 ET. Grade: Use: 2-Edge of Fire; 4-Ournationalonparade; 7-Silver Ratio Forecast: This first-level allowance miler for 3-year-olds looks deep and competitive and offers a stiff task for the impressive debut winner Edge of Fire, who didn’t earn much of a speed figure in victory but was never asked for anything close to his best after extracting himself from traffic trouble much of the way while displaying a proper style for a stretch out in trip. The son of Curlin is a high potential type for J. Jerkens but will need to produce a significant forward move to handle this group of fast, seasoned sophomores. At 8-1 on the morning line, the price is right for such a gamble, so we’ll put him on top but also include a couple of others in our rolling exotics for protection. Ournationonparade, a close third in the Hutcheson Stakes in his sophomore debut, should step forward with that effort behind him at a distance that should complement his pace-pressing style. At 9/2 on the morning line, the Maryland-bred gelding is a “must use.” Soros, entered in the Florida Derby-G1 on Saturday but we suspect will remain in this spot (his connections also have Independence Hall in the big race), showed good ability last fall when as a maiden winning the Smooth Air Stakes over this track and distance, rallying from mid-pack to earn a useful speed figure. His recent workouts indicate the G. Delgado-trained son of Commissioner is plenty fit and ready. RACE 10: Post 5:43 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Bacchanalia; 6-Wildlife; 9-Silver Kitten Forecast: Silver Kitten, an excellent runner-up in the Honey Fox S.-G3 last month and the likely controlling speed in a race that on paper projects to have modest early fractions, shows numbers that have risen in each of her last five starts and deserves top billing in this second-level allowance nine furlong turf affair for fillies and mares. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy is reunited with “win rider” L. Saez and will be very hard deny if handed the front end but figures tough even if she’s relegated to a stalker’s role from her outside draw. Bacchanalia is another improving filly and earned a career top number when beating a lesser allowance field in late January with a relentless late kick. Her chances increase if the race-shape isn’t too skewed. Wildlife is 12-1 on the morning line and is absolutely worth including in our rolling exotics at that price. Away since November and exiting a pair of graded stakes races, the daughter of Animal Kingdom returns to the second-level allowance ranks, lands Johnny V., and with a bit of help up front could be dangerous with her deep-closing style. On pure numbers she’s right there with these, but the barn’s lack of success with layoff runners justifies her big price. RACE 11: Post 6:14 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Gufo; 5-Ask for Bode; 9-Unconquered Lea Forecast: Unconquered Lea graduated for fun in a visually pleasing performance over a mile in his first try on grass and today tackles tougher while stretching out to nine furlongs. The B. Perkins, Jr.-trained colt may not have things his own way on the front end this time (it would be nice if he did) but after a bullet grass drill since his win last month the son of Lea could easily take the class hike in stride even if forced to stalk and pounce as is likely with Ask for Bode drawn inside of him. The Bodemeister colt dismantled a maiden $75,000 field at first asking on the front end with solid splits, earning a useful speed figure, and while better will be needed to score right back the E. Kenneally-trained sophomore might be tough to catch if not respected up front. At 6-1 on the morning line we’ll toss him in. Gufo, a first-time Lasix user for the always-potent Clement-Rosario team, makes his first start since breaking his maiden over this course in December with a nice display of late speed, His style suggests today’s mile and one-eighth journey will promote his chances and at 9/2 on the morning line the son of Declaration of War is another “must use” in rolling exotic play. More Picks Log In now to get the rest of our picks for Gulfstream, Santa Anita Park, Oaklawn Park & Cal Expo, FREE, plus enjoy live video of today's races. If you don’t have an Xpressbet account, Sign Up Here and receive a free $10 + up to a $500 bonus with code SPORTOFKINGS Plus, check out XBTV for additional content surrounding anaylsis of recent workouts, past races and more. Log In More News Current Promotions

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3.27.2020:

Friday, March 27: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

At Cal Expo tonight, the 0.20 Pick 4 will begin in Race 7. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Gorgeous For Real (5-1)-Makes 4th start off the bench and the last outing was the best so far. Pilot doesn't win often but this post gives him more options. Meets easier and the barn might be waking up. Using and should offer a nice price.4-Bunker Hill Bill (5-1)-Has finished 2nd when leaving from the 10 and 9-hole in last 2 starts. Gets class relief and post relief but 9-year-old has trouble cashing the biggest check. Should be a player but might be over bet.5-Almost Cut My Hair (5/2)-Drops out of the Opens and picked up checks there. Did win at this class on 3-6 from this post. Could trip out behind #4 and will likely be bet hard but is a must use.7-China King (6-1)-Should like the company and Plano takes a seat. 12-year-old doesn't bring his "A" game every night, more an on and off type of performer. Didn't do much in last, so thinking this is go-time at a nice price.Race 83-Greekona (9/2)-Got on the engine and almost hung on last weekend. That type of trip isn't typical, was used hard in the 3rd quarter and faded. Expecting another big try with some better rating, maybe a 2-hole trip behind #10.8-Youroldlov-Eletter (8-1)-Looking for a wake-up call in a race without much form. Makes 4th start for new trainer and last week did go the back half in 56.3. Could pop at a price with a good steer by Svendsen.10-Dontcloseyoureyes (3-1)-Took the long way around last time from the 8-hole and beat 3 from this field. My guess is Roberts will leave and get on the engine but either way, should be a major player.Race 91-Senga Nitro (6-1)-Having the rail will help and fits with this crew. Should be in the hunt at a square price and could get a cozy pocket trip behind the program chalk #7.3-He Grins Again (4-1)-Drops again looking for a win. Roberts sticks, gets post relief and should be forwardly placed. It's best to not overlook.7-Contemporary Legend (2-1)-Even effort in last but was off 3-weeks. One of a few dropping and looking to pick up a win. Could get the top and not use up a lot of gas, will respect connections but will look to others as well.Race 102-Bet Together (5-1)-Loses Plano because he trains #7 but does step down and Svendsen can work a good trip. Can be put in play early and could offer a square price.3-Western Devil (5-1)-Roland picked over #1 and the program chalk #4. Raced big in last and now bumps up but still can pose a threat versus this crew. The barn has been rolling and should be in line for a nice trip.7-Mr Varsity (3-1)-Drops and this is the softest spot this year. Smells like a drop and pop situation for Team Plano.My Ticket Race 7) 1,4,5,7 Race 8) 3,8,10 Race 9) 1,3,7 Race 10) 2,3,7Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.27.2020:

My Rainbow 6 Ticket for Florida Derby Day

It’s Mandatory Payout Day in the Rainbow 6 Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and it’s appropriate that it's on a standout card that ends with the Grade 1 Florida Derby.Here’s a look at the suggested ticket, which amounts to a $72 cost.Race 9: Sand Spring Stakes - 3:34PM ETUsing: #2 Zofelle (IRE), #5 Newspaperofrecord (IRE), #7 GetmotheraroseAnalysis: Newspaperofrecord (9/5) at one time looked unbeatable, and then she became beatable. Saying she has a class advantage is an understatement – the filly is a Breeders’ Cup winner. Despite not having run since July, she’s likely be very tough on the front end. Zofelle (9/2) won her first U.S. races after running in Great Britain. Her win streak came to an end in the Stall Memorial last month at Fair Grounds. She has a terrific late move and could benefit from a fast pace. Getmotherarose (6/1) won the Honey Fox over this course last time out, rallies well and has a legit chance to take it in the closing strides.Race 10: Orchid Stakes - 4:17PM ETUsing: #2 Kelsey’s Cross, #5 Gentle Ruler, #6 Mean Mary, #12 Elizabeth Way (IRE)Analysis: One of the toughest of the day, and after 1 3-8 miles on the turf, there will be some winded fillies and mares. Kelsey’s Cross (10/1) was unsuccessful in two at Gulfstream and then was a closing third in the Hillsborough at Tampa Bay. Florent Geroux has twice been aboard this filly and was third in each. She’ll be a late threat if he runs back to her last one. Gentle Ruler (7/2) is a must-use, having won six of her last seven. The only strike against her is that she hasn’t raced since October. She still might be good enough. Mean Mary (3/1) has won three of five – three of four on the turf – and only gets better with distance. Won both local tries. Elizabeth Way (9/2) drew the No. 12 post, which is not a good thing going this distance, but her two U.S. starts have resulted in wins. She led gate to wire in her latest but came from far back in her first.Race 11: Gulfstream Park Oaks - 4:49PM ETUsing: #4 Lake Avenue, #5 Spice Is Nice, #9 Tonalist’s ShapeAnalysis: Tonalist’s Shape (5/2) has been terrific in winning all five career starts, including graded events in her last two. Has tactical speed and just keeps going once she hits the stretch. Lake Avenue (9/2) tired in her latest but won on the front end in two earlier at Aqueduct. Spice Is Nice (3/1) broke her maiden by 12 and followed with a bang-up second to Tonalist’s Shape last out.Race 12: Pan American Stakes - 5:26PM ETUsing: #1 Channel Cat, #9 Zulu AlphaAnalysis: Channel Cat (9/2) just didn’t fire in the Pegasus World Cup Turf, finishing 10th behind Zula Alpha, but at this distance, he should be much closer to the lead, and he’s usually effective under such scenarios. Zula Alpha (3/5) was outstanding in his Pegasus Turf win and follow with a tremendous rally and victory in the Mac Diarmida. He’s 7 years old and he probably has not been better. Probably didn’t write the book on the term “turn of foot,” but you’d have to look hard to see another as good as he is when he winds up.Race 13: Appleton Stakes - 6:00PM ETUsing: #4 Ballagh Rocks, #5 Maraud, #7 Social Paranoia, #9 Louder Than Bombs, #10 SombeyayAnalysis: This is a pick ‘em, and Sombeyay (7/2) probably comes off the best effort when he won the Canadian Turf, but that doesn’t mean he’s any kind of cinch. He’ll have to overcome his outside post but is certainly usable. Of the others, Louder Than Bombs (15/1) might have the best chance to deliver when it comes to price. He was early 50-1 when he closed for third in the Canadian Turf, beaten by three-quarters of a length by Sombeyay. Ballagh Rocks (6/1), Maraud (10/1) and Social Paranoia (10/1) also have legit chances and none of those would be a major surprise.Race 14: Florida Derby - 6:35PM ETUsing: #7 Tiz the LawAnalysis: Tiz the Law (6/5) is the single here, and his win in the Holy Bull Stakes could’ve been the best effort by a 3-year-old this year. He brought his record to three-for-four when he took the Holy Bull and moved himself to the top of his class.Here’s the suggested play in Gulfstream Park’s Rainbow 6 mandatory payout on Saturday:Race 9: #2 Zofelle, #5 Newspaperofrecord, #7 GetmotheraroseRace 10: #2 Kelsey’s Cross, #5 Gentle Ruler, #6 Mean Mary, #12 Elizabeth WayRace 11: #4 Lake Avenue, #5 Spice Is Nice, #9 Tonalist’s ShapeRace 12: #1 Channel Cat, #9 Zulu AlphaRace 13: #4 Ballagh Rocks, #5 Maraud, #7 Social Paranoia, #9 Louder Than Bombs, #10 SombeyayRace 14: #7 Tiz the Law20-cent Rainbow 6 ticket: 2-5-7 with 2-5-6-12 with 4-5-9 with 1-9 with 4-5-7-9-10 with 7 ($72). More Picks Log In now to get the rest of our picks for today's races, FREE, plus enjoy live video to stay close to the action. If you don’t have an Xpressbet account, Sign Up Here and receive a free $10 + up to a $500 bonus with code SPORTOFKINGS Plus, check out XBTV for additional content surrounding anaylsis of recent workouts, past races and more. Log In More News Current Promotions

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3.26.2020:

Johnny D's Florida Derby Analysis & Selections

Historically, the Florida Derby has been a fruitful tree from which to pluck Triple Crown success stories. However, present times suggest an uncertain future that, undoubtably, will result in a unique 2020 Wikipedia section. The world is in the throes of a pandemic, the likes of which citizens of the world haven’t experienced since the Spanish Flu of 1918. Silence abounds; neighborhood streets, playgrounds, offices, restaurants, and other small businesses are empty. Sports arenas, normally thundering with the roar of tens of thousands of fans, are muted. Baseball, the National Pastime, has been banished to the dugout before the games even began in earnest. The Masters and Kentucky Derby, two traditional and beloved rites of spring, have been postponed to who knows when and September 5, respectively. Thoroughbred racing, in certain locations dotted across the nation, has continued, but the sand in those hourglasses may be running out. Racing’s been the only game in town for weeks, satisfying a national need for entertainment and providing an outlet for gamblers experiencing a March Madness jones. At this writing, in a classic example of irony, Santa Anita Park, the racetrack that politicians, animal activists and media members demanded be shuttered nearly a year ago due to a rash of horse deaths, is one of a very few businesses currently operating in the entire state of California. Mickey in Anaheim has ‘Gone Fishing.’ Universal Studios is deserted. Knott’s Berry Farm hasn’t been this quiet since Walter and Cordelia peddled their first batch. Santa Anita, along with The Stronach Group’s Golden Gate Fields, stand as the state’s only operational entertainment venues—grandstands eerily empty, but action delivered to a sports-starved nation via television and the Internet. Florida Derby Money-Back Guarantee: Bet Your Horse and Get Your Cash Back if it finishes 2nd or 3rd! There was some doubt about whether or not Gulfstream would be able to present this season’s Florida Derby card. There probably still is. As late as Thursday, it was announced that Jockey Javier Castellano, scheduled to ride Saturday at Gulfstream, has been confirmed as having asymptomatic Covid-19. He has not ridden at Gulfstream Park since March 15 and, obviously, will not be permitted to ride Saturday. We send our best wishes to Castellano, always a class act, and to his family. Politicians would like to see the track closed. Some argue that racing in Broward County is a violation of a ban on groups of more than 20 in one location. We’ll leave that to track and state officials to sort out. For the moment we’ve got bigger fish to fry. We must sort out a very interesting Florida Derby and solve a $2 million or so mandatory payout in the Rainbow Six. In stressful times like these, diversions are important and this is ours. Here’s one man’s horse-by-horse analysis of the Florida Derby: 1. As Seen On Tv (Breen/Lopez) - 12/1 Never worse than third in five career starts, this son of Lookin At Lucky finished a well-beaten third to #12 Ete Indiene last out in Gulfstream’s Grade 2 Fountain of Youth. He took decent play that day and started at 2.80-1. He really didn’t have much excuse for not following through better in the lane. Perhaps he didn’t handle two turns in his first attempt? This is a deeper field and his 12-1 morning line odds suggest that. Still, he’s been a steady in-the-money player every time and he’s got one race to suggest he’s better than his last. Worth inclusion in exotics. 2. Shivaree (Nicks/Jaramillo) - 30/1 This guy has been a sprinter, and a Grade 3 placed one at that. There’s no indication he will do any real damage in this field at a mile and one-eighth. He’s got three wins and a pair of seconds in his last five starts. Tough customer, but we can’t see him carrying his talent effectively around a mile and one-eighth. 3. Disc Jockey (Joseph Jr./Gaffalione) - 20/1 He’s won two of three starts, including a second in a $60k stakes last out. This will be his first try around two turns. Talk about going from the frying pan into the fire. He broke maiden for a $35k tag and was haltered by current connections—the cagey owner Frank Calabrese and the successful trainer Saffie Joseph. Again, he’s a talented one-turn runner being asked to go two turns against Grade 1 foes. Big ask. 4. Soros (Delgado/Prado) - 30/1 He upset the one-turn, one-mile Smooth Air Stakes for his first victory in just his second lifetime start. That was back in November, so he’ll be fresh for this race, but he may be short on conditioning. Let’s watch one off the layoff before backing him. 5. Gouverneur Morris (Pletcher/Velazquez) - 8/1 Strongly favored in three lifetime starts, he’s got two wins and a second on his limited resume. He broke maiden by nine lengths at Saratoga in September (the runner up came back to win). The Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity saw him break from post 10 of 10 going a mile and one-sixteenth at Keeneland in October—a tremendous disadvantage. He still finished second, five and one-half lengths behind the highly regarded Maxfield. Off until Feb. 14, the son of Constitution then stalked the early pace in an allowance/$75k optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs and drew clear going a mile and 40 yards. He’s a developing animal, the dangerous kind at this time of year, and his trainer excels at having runners peak in these early spring races. Expect him to be just off whatever early pace develops. He must be respected, and 8-1 odds seem too good to be true. 6. Ajaaweed (McLaughlin/Saez) - 20/1 He finished a disappointing and well-beaten third in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay in his last start. Before that he was second in the Grade 2 Remsen and fourth in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity—hence his 3.30-to-one price in the Davis. The son of Curlin (Hunch Players Note: This is the Curlin Florida Derby) comes from off the pace and that’s not usually the way to win at Gulfstream. He’s already successfully been the distance and that’s a plus, but he’ll need to go much better than he did in the Davis. He’s useable in lower exotic rungs. 7. Tiz The Law (Tagg/Franco) - 6/5 He’s the Florida Derby favorite and probably the most highly regarded colt in the nation. Three wins in four starts will do that. His only loss came in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club and that was by just three-quarters of a length with some trouble. His last victory, and only start of 2020, came in the Grade 3 Holy Bull when he bested today’s second choice #12 Ete Indien by three lengths. Tiz The Law was a talented two-year-old who won his first and only start at three in impressive fashion over the Gulfstream surface. Can he win this race? Absolutely. Should you wager on him? Absolutely not. What often happens during this time of year is that while some horses are improving by the minute, others remain the same. Tiz The Law was a top two-year-old and he was on his game February first. That was nearly two months ago. A lot can change over 60 days in an early three-year-old season. How good is this son of Constitution? I don’t think we know for certain. However, when a short-priced 3-year-old favorite comes along off a two-month break with unanswered questions, you’re supposed to go against him. 8. My First Grammy (Sanchez/Berrios) - 50/1 The most interesting affect this guy might have on this race should be in the early running. He’s got some early foot and could contribute to the early pace. He’s still a maiden and not nearly this good. Pass on him. 9. Independence Hall (Trombetta/Rosario) - 9/2 Lots of folks head south for the winter because they enjoy Florida. This guy doesn’t. At least he didn’t love Tampa Bay Downs last out in the Grade 3 Sam F. Davis when he was solidly overhauled late by Solo Volante. Before that, this son of Constitution had strung together three outstanding performances--a Parx maiden score, a 12-length, Grade 3 Nashua romp and a solid Jerome triumph. He figures to be close to whatever early pace develops and a rider switch from the inactive Jose Ortiz to Joel Rosario shouldn’t matter because Rosario was aboard for the colt’s maiden win. Can the colt be trusted to fire a big one, or was the Sam Davis a more accurate reflection of his ability? Keep him around in exotic action and use him a bit on the win end. 10. Candy Tycoon (Pletcher/TBD) - 20/1 It took this guy five starts to break maiden and then he promptly finished a well-beaten second to #12 Ete Indien in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at nearly 24-1 odds. It’s a stretch to imagine he’ll fire a similarly strong bullet here. Connections are solid and he did close ground in the Fountain of Youth. This race is a sixteenth of a mile further. Still, he’s a bottom level exotic player at best. 11. Sassy But Smart (Condie/Bravo) - 50/1 Three of four starts have been on turf and the only dirt appearance didn’t go well. We’ll pass on this longshot. 12. Ete Indien (Biancone/Geroux) - 4/1 At two, this son of Summer Front seemed to be headed for a career on grass. He broke maiden first out with a late charge, going a mile and one-sixteenth on the Gulfstream turf. Next out, he was well beaten in the Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland. A one-turn dirt mile at Gulfstream seemed to suit him just fine as he scored solidly in that allowance/$75k optional claimer. What is most interesting about that race is that Ete Indien, who had shown no speed in two turf routes, suddenly went wire-to-wire on dirt to score at 14-1. In the Grade 3 Holy Bull, after showing speed again, he finished second, three lengths behind Tiz The Law. Last out, he romped home, wire-to-wire, in the Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth by eight and one-half lengths. Jockey Florent Geroux can be counted on to send this guy from the gate in an attempt to secure the early lead and to control the race. How much resistance he gets from other speed horses will tell the tale for Ete Indien. It should be noted that each of his five Beyer Speed Figures has improved. He’s talented, sharp, racing on a track he adores (4 starts, 3 wins) and is ridden by a hot rider who understands the value of hustling horses early. Can’t ignore this guy for the win and exotics. 13. (AE) Rogue Element (Romans/Vasquez) - 50/1 He’ll need one scratch to start in this race and then it will be from an outside post position. His form doesn’t suggest that he has a chance in here. He’s a maiden, second by a neck last out at 116-1, following two awful performances. Bottom Line: If #7 Tiz The Law wins, we won’t be surprised. We will, however, lose our wagers. He’s the best based on form, but he brings question marks into this race. At a short price, we’ll seek other options. #12 Ete Indien is next best on form and will be setting the pace. However, he’s run two big ones in a row. #5 Gouverneur Morris deserves plenty of attention. He’ll need to take a step forward in here, but he’s got the connections and upside to possibly do that. #9 Independence Hall should be in a great spot just behind the early leaders. He’ll need to do better than he did in his last, but he’s got an effort in his past performances that would win this. Presence of Rosario is encouraging and he should be a solid price. The Wager: $.50 Trifecta ($30) First: #5, #9, #12 Second: #1 #7, #5, #9, #12 Third: #1, #3, #5, #6, #7, #9, #12 Be Well and, as always, Race On! More Picks Log In now to get the rest of our picks for today's tracks, FREE, plus enjoy live video of all races. If you don’t have an Xpressbet account, Sign Up Here and receive a free $10 + up to a $500 bonus with code SPORTOFKINGS Plus, check out XBTV for additional content surrounding anaylsis of recent workouts, past races and more. Log In More News Current Promotions

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3.26.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Gulfstreak Park Wagering Strategies - 3/26/20

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.*It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.*Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.*Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.*The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.**RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: XUse: 7-Madame Moon; 9-Kayseri; 11-Bee WingsForecast: Low-level maiden claiming fillies and mares meet over a mile on grass in the Thursday opener, a race that doesn’t leave us with much to work with. Madame Moon plummets in class for T. Pletcher and clearly is being culled from the stable in just her third career start. Originally a $330,00 yearling purchase, the daughter of Malibu Moon switches to L. Saez after finishing with a bit of interest when third over this course and distance last month in a maiden $50,000 event. A similar effort today beats this modest group, but at even money on the morning line she’ll offer no wagering value. For those looking to beat the favorite, there are a couple of price chances worth consideration. Kayseri, a first-off-the-claim play for R. Dibona (19% with this angle), removes blinkers and shows a speed figure two runs back that makes her reasonably competitive, while Bee Wings overcame early trouble to rally wide and finish a willing second vs. similar last time out, switches to P. Lopez, and with some help up front could be heard from in the final furlong.**RACE 2: Post 1:30 ET. Grade: BSingle: 11-FollowhisfootstepsForecast: Followhisfootsteps has been buried on the rail in each of his last four starts and seems certain to appreciate today’s comfortable outside draw. L. Saez has the option of popping and going and stalking and pouncing, and with solid, consistent speed figures for this restricted (nw-3) $8,000 level the V. Barboza-trained gelding is the logical top pick. The concern, of course, is that’s he’s never been all that dependable as the favorite, so we wouldn’t take much less than his morning line of 5/2.**RACE 3: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: BUse: 6-Annualized; 7-Ohanzee; 8-Island SongForecast: This maiden $25,000 claiming turf sprint has a few price options, starting with Annualized, a lightly-raced gelding showing up for the first time in a seller in his first outing since being transferred to the S. Joseph, Jr. barn. Two poor runs in straight maiden company when well-backed on the tote following a long layoff provides evidence that he’s not the same horse that finished a promising runner-up in his highly-rated debut sprint last year at Oaklawn Park, but the recent work tab is healthy for this high-percentage outfit so let’s hope the class drop combined with the surface switch does the trick. L. Saez stays aboard, another promising sign, and 6-1 on the morning line he’ll offer some value. Ohanzee, an okay runner-up in a maiden $40,000 seller in his comeback last month, takes another class drop, not really an encouraging sign, but on figures this is a logical spot so at 3-1 on the morning line he’s a solid contender. Island Song, away since October and returning at his lowest level ever, has speed figures from last year that make him dangerous, and recent bullet workout at Palm Meadows should have him on edge for a barn that generally does very well with layoff runners. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then have an extra ticket or two keying Annualized on top.**RACE 4: Post 2:31 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Blakey; 5-False AccusationForecast: Here’s a messy one-turn main track mile affair for restricted (nw-3) $8,000 claimers. Blakey is stuck on the rail but he seems as good as any and better than most. A distant second at this level two runs back but pitched too high in his most recent start, the veteran gelding is reunited with L. Saez and has enough early speed to secure a good pace-prompting/stalking trip with a decent break from the gate. False Accusation has low percentage connections but form that makes him a contender. He was third in the same race Blakey finished second in last month and has hit the board in four of five career starts over the Gulfstream Park main track. In a race that we’ll not get too involved in, we’ll use both in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out.**RACE 5: Post 3:03 ET. Grade: B+Single: 4-Sister OtooleForecast: Sister Otoole took the worst of it when breaking slowly, being forced to rally wide into the teeth of slow fractions, and then settling for third in a similar maiden special weight affair over this course and distance earlier this month. The G. Motion-trained filly looks capable of producing the last run with a slightly better trip. In just her third career start the daughter of Amira’s Prince logically has more upside than most of the others, so at 3-1 on the morning line (and certain to go lower) we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 6: Post 3:34 ET. Grade: CUse: 1-Cat’s Astray; 4-Paula Andrea; 8-StatedForecast: This grass grab bag for restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming fillies and mares looks borderline inscrutable, so we suggest you use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Small ticket players should consider the three that we’ve listed above. Cat’s Astray, runner-up in her last pair and first or second in four of seven career starts over the local lawn, should have enough early speed to gain a favorable position from her rail post and enjoy a ground-saving trip. She’s never been all that generous under pressure but these are her friends and she should have every chance. Paula Andrea, third in the same race Cat’s Astray just finished second in, switches to L. Saez, and has some past speed figures that could beat this field. She’s most effective when she’s in the fray right from the bell and in her last pair found herself to far back early to make any impact. Stated just won a race over this course and distance when facing a non-winners of two field. She hails from a hot barn, so if she can turn in two alike the veteran mare could have some say in the matter. Tread lightly here.**RACE 7: Post 4:05 ET. Grade: B+Single: 6-Blue BuffForecast: Blue Buff crushed a similar starter optional claiming field over a one-turn mile last month that produced a career top speed figure and today tries two turns in search of his third straight score. The lightly-raced 6-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song is undefeated in three career starts over the Gulfstream Park main track dirt and seems likely to draft in a soft stalking position in a race flow that projects favorably to his style. He’s 2-1 on the morning line – you’d have to think he’ll go lower – and is a logical rolling exotic single.**RACE 8: Post 4:36 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Jost Sayin; 9-Elite AppealForecast: Elite Appeal, a close third when earning a career top speed figure under these conditions earlier this month, should display enough tactical speed to gain a favorable stalking position from her outside draw and then have every chance when the pressure is turned on. She’s a grinding type without a turn of foot, so her best chance is to find herself within striking range throughout. Jost Sayin has numbers that can win and a rail draw that ensures a ground-saving trip, but she’s been a beaten choice in each of her last three starts and might wind up the chalk again. She’s certainly not one to trust, but who in here is? These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play but certainly not without any great degree of confidence.**RACE 9: Post 5:07 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Soldado; 5-Frosted Grace; 8-MihosForecast: Soldado returned off a 10-month layoff in peak form, breaking from the rail and winning a first-level allowance sprint on the main track with stakes quality speed, and will try to repeat on the raise while again drawing the fence. He’s facing considerably more early heat today which means he’ll probably have to take some dirt, and while the son of Verrazano doesn’t need the lead to win – he rallied from fifth in his debut score – the T. Pletcher-trained colt may not offer much value at 9/5 on the morning line. Mihos, a stakes winner here last year and probably most effective around one turn, launches a comeback for J. Jerkens with a couple of recent bullet workout to indicate fitness. He’ll race with blinkers for the first time, and after going a bit stale last fall and being stopped on he could easily return better than he left in his first start as a 4-year-old. Also worth some consideration is Frosted Grace. He isn’t quite as fast on pure numbers as Soldado but at 6-1 on the morning and with the always-enticing blinkers off angle and a healthy recent work tab the son of Mark Valeski has a reasonable look at a price.**RACE 10: Post 5:38 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Peacock Kitten; 3-BelgranoForecast: Peacock Kitten, claimed by his current connections for $35,000 two runs back and protected last time in a starter’s allowance turf miler, shows up in a $16,000 restricted (nw-3) seller today, an aggressive move by a barn known to place them where they can win. The son of Kitten’s Joy has enough tactical speed to use his rail post to good advantage and will be tough if he has one good one left, but at 8/5 on the morning line he’s not going to be offering any real wagering value. Belgrano makes his first start for new connections following a $16,000 claim and should find himself in a pace-prompting position and have a legitimate chance to reproduce his best form. A prior winner over the local lawn and with past numbers that are better than par for this level, the War Front gelding is interesting at 8-1 on the morning line.

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3.26.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: March 27 Gulfstream Park Rainbow 6 Play

With the Stronach 5 on hiatus this week, let’s take a look at Friday’s Rainbow 6 at Gulfstream Park, as the carryover figures to be over $1.5 million (assuming it doesn’t get hit Thursday), and it’s often advantageous to play on the penultimate day before a mandatory payout (which happens on Saturday’s Florida Derby card). With just a 20-cent base bet, we can have a lot of fun and get plenty of coverage, on what will be a bit bigger than normal suggested ticket. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Race 6 (3:39 ET): 4up MSW at 1-mile on the turf The opening leg is supposed to be won by one of the best three horses—#6 ROCHAMBEAU (9-2), #10 PROPENSITY (4-1), and #9 FLAME ZAPPER (7-2)—but with the latter two drawing terribly thing gets a bit trickier. I’ll use all three, as their merits are obvious, both on figures, and their tactical/speedy running styles, but I also don’t want to go it alone since the draw could easily trip up my second and third choices. And it’s never bad to use a price either, so I’ll also add in #4 AZRAEL (6-1), who hasn’t been out since July and has never run on turf, but it looks like stable jock Castellano opted for this one over #5 Greyes Creek (8-1), and it’s pretty obvious these two have worked in tandem in their last four AM drills, and Brown is 27% first-turf, and 28% off elongated layoffs, so I’ll let all that be my guide. Pk6 A horses: 6,10,9,4 (listed in order of preference) If I use Azrael then I have to use #5 GREYES CREEK, especially since his turf breeding is better, though his layoff dates back to 11/18, so that’s a lot to ask. I’ll also use #1 FELIX THE FOX (6-1), who runs second-off a July layoff and for only the second time on turf, but when a horse has run a Beyer between 77-79 in every one of his last nine starts (yes, that seems impossible), I think we know what we’re getting today. If you’re going deeper then both #7 Bold Gem (12-1) and #11 Freedom’s Flight (10-1) aren’t too far behind on paper, but both haven’t been seen since November, which stacks the deck that much more against them. Should #13 Holy Meister (6-1) draw in, he’s a must-use somewhere, with the post likely relegating him to a B. Pk6 B horses: 5,1 Race 7: 4up 12.5k claimer at 1-mile Just seven are entered but there looks to be an honest pace shaping up, as #2 Krachenwagen (10-1) will be going from the inside and #6 Chase Runner (4-1) will be pressing throughout to his outside, with potentially a few others chasing as well. So it should come as no surprise that I’ll use #7 CANDY CRUSHEM (6-1), #1 LAPOCHKA (5-2), and #4 TWO STEP SALSA (10-1), who all have stalking gears, and all three come in off sharp runs that would put them on the line here. Pk6 A horses: 7,1,4 I’m going to be aggressive and toss the two speeds but #5 KAHRAMANI (3-1) was a good 2nd and ahead of ‘Salsa last time, while #3 DISCREET HEAT (6-1) ran well against better when last seen on the dirt, though both could be a bit too close to the pace and therefore wilt late, which is why they are supporting actors on the ticket. Pk6 B horses: 5,3 Race 8: 4up AOC (62k/N2X) at 5 furlongs (turf) Another seven-pack, and oddly enough a turf sprint without a ton of pure speed, which really helps the chances of #7 CAPTAIN RON (3-1), who drew the perfect outside attack post for his pressing style, and while he meets tougher off a Florida-bred win, there’s no reason he can’t climb the ladder against this modest group. You have to use #4 CAMP RANDALL (4-1), who may be the speed here, as he’s 2-for-2 on the turf, and both wins came over the course/distance. Improving off Joseph is no easy task but Maker is a solid 15% off the claim, so there’s no reason to think #3 FRENCHMAN STREET (5-2) doesn’t fire a big shot on the return to the turf, and he’s like the top-2, in that he’ll be on or just off the expected moderate pace (for this level) throughout. Pk6 A horses: 7,4,3 The rest of these are a mixed bag and I admittedly don’t have a handle on any of them, and I also think the top-3 are a cut above, so I’ll only use #5 COOP TRIES HARDER (9-2), who shows two solid runs at Laurel before a dud when last seen in September, but Cibelli is having a banner meet, main man Lopez is here, and this one will be closing. It looks like #2 Cuestion de Tiempo (8-1) has some class questions to answer off his Tampa form, while #6 Maniacal (6-1) looks too slow, and while getting back to the turf could be a wakeup, he still doesn’t look good enough. Pk6 B horses: 5 Race 9: 3yo AOC (75k/N1X) at 1-mile It’s not often you see a dozen 3yos line up in an AOC on dirt, so take note of the also-rans here, as this could be a key race in the making, since I think several can win. And the beauty of the 20-cent wager means, if you identify the race you have no opinion and think can be won by a big price, you can just use whoever you think can win, which is what I’ll do here in what looks like a real scramble. Any time Jerkens wins with a firster (and one that’s been bet hard too) you better take notice, so #2 EDGE OF FIRE (8-1) has to be respected, while #7 SILVER RATIO (4-1) was a good 3rd vs. winners and hits hard for Pletcher. Clearly #12 MILES AHEAD (8-1) has a huge chance off his romp here last time, while #4 OURNATIONONPARADE (9-2) will like the class drop, #3 SOROS (8-1) looked good breaking his maiden in the Smooth Air, #8 SPRAWL (15-1) will like getting back to the dirt and can close second-off the layoff, and the other Pletcher, #1 MONEY MOVES (3-1), may get overlooked (he figures twice this ML) but lived up to his short price winning in the slop (albeit in slow time) on debut. And lastly, if #13 MISTER CANDY RIDE (8-1) draws in, you can comfortably put him in the top half of this group. Pk6 A horses: 2,7,12,4,3,8 *** Please note, to keep the cost of the backup tickets down, I’ll use just 2,7 *** I’m decidedly against #1 MONEY MOVES (3-1), who is a laughable ML favorite off a very slow debut win in the slop for Pletcher, drew a tricky post, and will have to improve open lengths to win here, and while I don’t think #10 SARATOGAIN (15-1) can win off that very slow Tampa debut score, I do have a lot of respect for Brisset, so if he deems worthy to make the ship, then that’s worth a flier on the back end for me. Pk6 B horses: 1, 10 Race 10: 4upfm AOC (62k/N2X) at 1 1/8 miles I don’t want to call it a match race but this sure seems close to it between #9 SILVER KITTEN (5-2), who should be all alone on a loose and lonely lead, and the up and coming #5 BACCHANALIA (3-1), who may be developing into another turf monster for Brown and Klarman. If you’re on a tight budget then single the former, since she’s got a huge race flow edge and was a big 2nd in a GIII here last time, but the latter looked good winning off the break and won’t have to improve much to win, so I’ll Dutch them and call it a day. Pk6 A horses: 9,5 No one looks to be in the league of the top pair, nor do they have the upside, so ill go it alone on the top line. If you’re looking for more pricier alternatives, then #7 Cash Out (10-1), #6 Wildlife (10-1), and #3 Zarina (9-2) all fit the bill. Pk6 B horses: NONE Race 11: 3yo AOC (75k/N1X) at 1 1/8 miles (turf) The finale is a toughie, but it does seem to have plenty of speed, which will really test those who want to be involved early going this demanding 1 1/8 miles. And that’s why I’ll go inside, and to a pair who have shown they can pass horses in the lane; #2 GUFO (9-2), who faces winners but adds Lasix and has impressed in both starts, and #1 BEE CATCHER (12-1), who was aggressively spotted in the local GIII Palm Beach off an MSW score, but is back with friends here, and note how he really improved with blinkers two-back in his win. I’ll also use #10 BUY ME CANDY (8-1), who invades off a polished MSW score at FG after a troubled debut, will no doubt get first run on the top pair, and has a world of upside too. Pk6 A horses: 2,1,10 I could use many more on top, but a budget, and aggressive race flow, has me being a bit more condensed than I normally would want to be in a spot like this. The aforementioned will come from sharp maiden winners #5 Ask for Bode (6-1) and #9 Unconquered Lea (7-2), but the former needed MCL’ers and the latter walked on the lead, so they have questions to answer and won’t be used, especially since there’s cheap speed from #6 Montana Man (15-1). I’m very intrigued with #12 KID MERCURY (15-1), who had a decent enough 2yo campaign, returns as a first-time gelding, and figures to like every inch of this trip for Motion, who is aces in this type of spot. Several others aren’t without hope with a forward move, as #7 Mystic Lancelot (6-1) has been middling against stakes foes, as has #11 Fame to Famous (15-1), but they also have no upside after six starts each, so I’ll pass.Pk6 B horses: 12 The suggested tickets: Main Ticket: 6,10,9,4 with 7,1,4 with 7,4,3 with 2,7,12,4,3,8 with 9,5 with 2,1,10 = $259.20Leg 1 B Backup: 5,1 with 7,1,4 with 7,4,3 with 2,7 with 9,5 with 2,1,10 = $43.20Leg 2 B Backup: 6,10,9,4 with 5,3 with 7,4,3 with 2,7 with 9,5 with 2,1,10 = $57.60Leg 3 B Backup: 6,10,9,4 with 7,1,4 with 5 with 2,7 with 9,5 with 2,1,10 = $28.80Leg 4 B Backup: 6,10,9,4 with 7,1,4 with 7,4,3 with 1,10 with 9,5 with 2,1,10 = $57.60Leg 6 B Backup: 6,10,9,4 with 7,1,4 with 7,4,3 with 2,7 with 9,5 with 12 = $28.80 More Picks Log In now to get the rest of our picks for Gulfstream, Santa Anita Park, Oaklawn Park & Cal Expo, FREE, plus enjoy live video of today's races. If you don’t have an Xpressbet account, Sign Up Here and receive a free $10 + up to a $500 bonus with code SPORTOFKINGS Plus, check out XBTV for additional content surrounding anaylsis of recent workouts, past races and more. Log In More News Current Promotions

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3.26.2020:

Saturday, March 28: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN HORSE RACING SELECTIONS Saturday, March 28, 2020First Post: 1:00AM ET (Sunday, March 29, 2020) Race 1: #8 Kwai Chung Elite, #2 Speedy Missile, #1 Hurricane Hunter, #11 Golden CannonRace 2: #6 Cheerful Star, #10 Happy Rocky, #4 Defining Moment, #3 AboveRace 3: #9 Fantasy, #5 Urban Dancer, #3 Handsome Bo Bo, #1 Team SpiritRace 4: #13 Iron King, #8 Incanto Prepared, #1 Dream Warriors, #7 Regency Master Race 5: #5 Jade Phoenix, #6 Team Power, #2 Grade One, #12 Victory MasteryRace 6: #3 The Runner, #2 Sam’s Love, #1 Juneau Park, #13 Winwin ThirtythreeRace 7: #13 War Of Courage, #2 Heart Conquered, #6 Valiant Dream, #7 Grateful HeartRace 8: #1 Superich, #12 Picken, #13 Beauty Icon, #6 Hardly SwearsRace 9: #13 Enzemble, #2 High Rev, #4 Band Of Brothers, #5 Lobo’s LegendRace 10: #5 Duke Wai, #3 Perfect Match, #9 Hong Kong Bet, #12 Shining Ace Race 1: Un Chau Handicap#8 Kwai Chung Elite get the blinkers applied to sharpen him up which could be exactly what he is after to finally get on with the job. He’s been racing well enough across his 13-start career to indicate a win was nearing and with the in-form Grant van Niekerk up, Sunday could well be his day. #2 Speedy Missile might have issues since the tongue-tie has been applied. He’s put together a few admirable runs and with this applied to help his breathing, he too could be ready to finally piece it all together. #1 Hurricane Hunter is a two-time course and distance winner. He narrowly missed last time out and a return to his preferred distance here, should see him run well. #11 Golden Cannon has drawn to get the right run. He’s proven here and is capable of snatching some prize money.Race 2: Tai Hang Tung Handicap #6 Cheerful Star is racing well and appears suited stepping back out to 2000m for this contest. Karis Teetan hops aboard following his recent suspension and from the gate, ridden quietly, should give him every opportunity to finish over the top of them. #10 Happy Rocky turned his form around to grab third last start. He can figure here with no weight on his back and although he’s drawn the widest ally, it’s unlikely to be a hindrance if he settles at the rear again. #4 Defining Moment mixes his form but on his day he is up to this. He gets Zac Purton on for the first time this season which warrants respect and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him get the job done. #3 Above is next best, though, he is quite a tough ride as somewhat of a grinder.Race 3: Lai Kok Handicap#9 Fantasy has done nothing but impress across his short five-start career with four top two finishes, including the one win on debut. If he’s held his condition he’s going to take a power of beating, especially with no weight on his back and the services of Joao Moreira engaged. #5 Urban Dancer steps out on debut. It’s always difficult to win on debut, especially in Hong Kong but with the early dash this guy has shown in his trials, he just might be able to string them along here and he’ll represent good value to do so. #3 Handsome Bo Bo turned his form around last start to finish third. He’s proven in Class 3 previously and although he hasn’t won since early 2018, he just might be ready to bounce back off what was easily his best performance this season. #1 Team Spirit is next best, though, his task is made difficult with top weight on his back.Race 4: So Uk Handicap (1st Section)#13 Iron King has been racing well this season and has shown that a maiden win isn’t too far away. He gets in light once again and if he can overcome the wide draw, then he is the one to catch, especially with the in-form Grant van Niekerk up. #8 Incanton Prepared comes into this with two narrow placings under his belt at his most recent two runs. Joao Moreira retains the ride and this steady improver isn’t too far away from getting the job done. #1 Dream Warriors has the awkward gate to contend with but has thrived in Class 4 this term as a two-time winner. He can figure here and in his favour is the return to the grass from the dirt. #7 Regency Master gets Zac Purton on for the first time. This horse has a lot to learn still but has shown glimpses of ability and the booking of Hong Kong’s champion jockey for this, warrants respect.Race 5: Shek Kip Mei Handicap#5 Jade Phoenix has placed in all three of his runs across his short career. He’s nearing a breakthrough win, especially following that latest defeat by a neck, and with Joao Moreira retaining riding duties here, he rates as the one to beat. #6 Team Power raced well on debut before appearing to struggle at his latest. He was overrun in the finish last start but still, if he can recapture his debut performance he’s a leading player and coming from the Ricky Yiu yard, he’s every chance to do that. #2 Grade One’s last run in Class 4 relinquished a win and now finally dropping back to this grade should give him every opportunity to get back in the winner’s arch. Zac Purton hops on for the first time and although he’s drawn a touch awkward, he does warrant plenty of respect. #12 Victory Mastery is lightly raced but appears capable. He’s next best.Race 6: So Uk Handicap (2nd Section)#3 The Runner is lightly raced but has been thereabouts on a number of occasions. He’s improved back to Class 4 and now with those two runs under his belt in this grade, he just might be ready to go on with it now. #2 Sam’s Love appears to have found his mark. He won well three starts ago and since then has held his condition well for two sound efforts, including his latest short-head defeat. This is suitable. #1 Juneau Park rattled home to win by a nose just a fortnight ago. He remains in Class 4 off that performance and he definitely does appear to have a number of ratings points still in hand. #13 Winwin Thirtythree is winless, though his last three runs have clearly been his best, placing in each. He’s unlucky not to already be a winner and with a good draw and no weight on his back, he’s expected to get his chance.Race 7: Cheung Sha Wan Handicap#13 War Of Courage has shown immense talent across his short four-start career having never finished outside the top three, which includes one win. He can figure here down in the weights against this bunch. #2 Heart Conquered has done well so far in Hong Kong across his four starts and if he manages to step up once again he can challenge these. His Australian form stacks up here and it’s only a matter of time before he delivers. #6 Valiant Dream has won twice from his last five starts, though, appeared to struggle at his latest. Still, he can bounce back and this race is well within his grasp. #7 Grateful Heart did well on debut and his latest trial was seriously impressive. He gets Zac Purton on here and he remains a leading player in a hot little race.Race 8: Nam Shan Handicap#1 Superich put his best foot forward in a recent barrier trial and he appears to have recaptured his blistering best. Zac Purton takes the reins which indicates exactly that and from the soft draw he’s going to get all of the favours. #12 Picken is unlucky not to have won a race already this term. He’s gone close on a number of occasions and if he manages to piece it all together here, he’s in with an excellent shout with Joao Moreira up. #13 Beauty Icon grabbed third last time out. He’s winless but with the right run from the inside draw he can turn that around. #6 Hardly Swears is somewhat of a Happy Valley specialist after notching a hat-trick of wins there at his first three runs this term. He struggled last start but with that under his belt, he can improve.Race 9: Pak Tin HandicapAlthough winless #13 Enzemble is ever so close to that breakthrough success having placed in each of his last four runs. He’s found this distance to be suitable and with no weight on his back, as well as the services of Joao Moreira, he once again gets an excellent chance to finally go on with it. #2 High Rev is on the seven-day back-up. He’s talented and although he’s done his best at Happy Valley, he’s still suited by this distance at Sha Tin after racing over 2000m last week. He can figure from the gate and he’ll be worth keeping safe. #4 Band Of Brothers found his feet last start to grab fourth after a two month break. He’s ready now with that performance under his belt. #5 Lobo’s Legend narrowly missed over 1400m last start. He’ll relish the step up to the mile here and he remains a leading player. Race 10: Chak On Handicap#5 Duke Wai won four in a row before his last two defeats. Still, his last two defeats were narrow and against serious opposition and if he’s continued to hold his condition out of both of those runs, he is the one to beat. He’ll be rattling home for Karis Teetan. #3 Perfect Match has won his last two. He’s had his runs spaced which is a slight concern but his recent trial caught the eye and he’s proven in Class 2 also. #9 Hong Kong Bet has the ability. He’s a two-time Valley winner who returned from a lengthy break this campaign to grab fifth first-up and third last start. He’s on the right trajectory. #12 Shining Ace is next best if he can recapture his form at Happy Valley. Learn more about Hong Kong Racing

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3.25.2020:

Good Racing at Santa Anita a Welcome Diversion

As a California resident, I have been one of the 39 million or so in the Golden State mandated to stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic in an order issued last Thursday by Gov. Gavin Newsom. As this health crisis wreaks more and more havoc on our lives, it’s becoming harder and harder to find a way -- any way -- to take our minds off it. It’s especially true when so many have essentially been ordered by the state’s governor to become something of a prisoner in their own home. For many of us “self-quarantinees” (how’s that for a made-up word?), it would be wonderful to have sports as a much-needed distraction. But pretty much all sports have been canceled or postponed except for horse racing. Even the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, which had been scheduled to be held from July 24 to Aug. 9, have been postponed until 2021. It’s the first time in modern Olympic history that a global health issue has disrupted the Games during peacetime. The Games had been canceled in 1916, 1940 and 1944 due to world wars. Horse racing is just about the only sport being shown live on television these days. That means horse racing has been a much-appreciated diversion for many of us. Being able to watch and wager on horse racing enables a lot of people to take their mind off the pandemic by trying to solve various equine puzzles and maybe, just maybe, even make some money (hopefully via an Xpressbet or 1st.com/bet account). Horse racing has been able to continue at a number of tracks under strict protocols and procedures, such as operating with no spectators and only a bare minimum of essential personnel on hand. But even though horse racing has been able to keep going at some tracks, the sport has been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis. A large number of tracks in this country -- indeed, a great many tracks throughout the world -- have canceled or postponed racing due to the pandemic. The biggest news in this regard was last week’s announcement that the date of this year’s Kentucky Derby, America’s most famous horse race, was being changed from May 2 to Sept. 5. Also in Kentucky, Keeneland’s spring meeting, which had been scheduled to commence on April 2, has been called off. The $12 million Dubai World Cup was supposed to be held this Saturday. It was supposed to highlight a nine-race card offering a gaudy $35 million in purses. But it was announced last Sunday that the Dubai World Cup and the other eight races scheduled for that date will not be run this year. As recently as Tuesday, yet another track, Charles Town, announced that it “will be indefinitely suspending its live racing programs until further notice.” The Tuesday announcement by Charles Town came on the heels of West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s Monday press conference in which he issued a statewide “stay at home” order that has the impact of shutting down non-essential businesses as of 8 p.m. Tuesday. On Wednesday, the New York Racing Association officially suspended live racing at Aqueduct through at least April 5. As a result, the Grade II Wood Memorial for 3-year-olds, previously slated for April 4 at the Big A, has been postponed to a date yet to be determined. Also on Wednesday, racing at Turfway Park was suspended, effective immediately, in accordance with Kentucky Gov. Andy Beashears’s order that all non-life-sustaining businesses in the state should be closed by Thursday at 8 p.m. As the number of tracks to conduct racing in this country has dwindled, it was touch and go last week as to whether Santa Anita Park would be racing last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. After the stay-at-home order issued by California’s governor on Thursday, Santa Anita’s status was up in the air all the way up until near post time for last Friday’s first race. “Horse racing in California will continue at tracks in the midst of the state’s stay-at-home order because of the coronavirus outbreak after consulting with officials of the California Horse Racing Board,” John Cherwa wrote in Saturday’s Los Angeles Times. “Santa Anita was given the go-ahead less than an hour before Friday’s first post at 1 p.m.” Santa Anita announced Friday via Twitter that “all profits from racing will go to a charity chosen by Governor Newsom and his team to assist during these difficult times.” With authorities not ordering Santa Anita to pull the plug, the track was able to go on with racing as scheduled last Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s nine-race card was highlighted by a pair of graded grass stakes, the Grade III San Simeon for sprinters and Grade III San Luis Rey for long-distance runners Making his first start since winning Del Mar’s Grade I Bing Crosby Stakes on the dirt at Del Mar last July 27, Cistron took the 5 1/2-furlong San Simeon by a head at 4-1. Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza rode the 6-year-old Kentucky-bred son of The Factor for trainer John Sadler. The Factor holds Santa Anita’s track record of 1:06.98 for six furlongs on the dirt. Bound for Nowhere, who had not raced since last Oct. 25, lost a close decision in the San Simeon when he finished second as the 1-2 favorite. Keeping in mind that he broke sluggishly and got squeezed in the initial strides, Bound for Nowhere actually ran a big race in defeat. Ward 'n Jerry, trained by Mike Puype and coming off a second in the Unusual Heat Turf Classic on Jan. 18, won the 1 1/2-mile San Luis Rey by 1 1/4 lengths at odds of 9-5. It was his first graded stakes victory. Flavian Prat rode the California-bred gelded son of Lucky Pulpit and Tamarack Bay. Lucky Pulpit is best known as the sire of two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome. A daughter of 1993 Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male Dehere, Tamarack Bay won only three times in her 29-race career. But she did finish second or third in three stakes races on the dirt at Emerald Downs in 2003 and ran second in the Claire Marine Stakes on the turf at Arlington Park in 2004. Tamarack Bay has been an outstanding broodmare. In addition to Ward ’n Jerry, who became a graded stakes winner last Saturday at the age of 7, Tamarack Bay has produced Grade I winner Tamarando, multiple stakes winner Luckarack and stakes winner U’narack. FLORIDA DERBY LURES TWO ON MY TOP 10 Holy Bull Stakes winner Tiz the Law and Fountain of Youth Stakes victor Ete Indien head a field of 13, including an also eligible, entered in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Florida Derby, a 1 1/8-mile affair that will be contested this Saturday. Tiz the Law currently ranks No. 6 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Ete Indien is No. 7. Here is my current Top 10 for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby: 1. Charlatan2. Nadal3. Honor A.P.4. Authentic5. Maxfield6. Tiz the Law7. Ete Indien8. Sole Volante9. Thousand Words10. King Guillermo Should either Tiz the Law or Ete Indien win the Florida Derby, they almost certainly will move up on my Kentucky Derby rankings next week. Tiz the Law did rank No. 1 for a number of weeks earlier this year. The New York-bred Constitution colt held the top spot from Feb. 5 to March 4. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law goes into the Florida Derby off a three-length victory in Gulfstream’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 1. Ete Indien won Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes by 8 1/2 lengths when last seen under silks on Feb. 29 at Gulftream. Patrick Biancone conditions Ete Indien, a Kentucky-bred Summer Front colt. Two other Florida Derby contenders are Independence Hall, winner of the Jerome Stakes early this year on Jan. 1, and Gouverneur Morris, a two-time winner in three career starts. Independence Hall and Gouverneur Morris, like Tiz the Law, are sons of Constitution. Tiz the Law has been installed as the 6-5 favorite on Jay Stone’s Florida Derby morning line. Ete Indien is the 4-1 second choice. Independence Hall is 9-2. Gouverneur Morris is 8-1. Everyone else in the race is 12-1 or higher. CELEBRATING SECRETARIAT’S BIRTHDAY It was 50 years ago this coming Monday (March 30, 1970) that Secretariat was born at 12:10 a.m. at the Meadow Stud in Virginia. Secretariat ranks No. 2 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. Man o’War is No. 1. After Man o’ War and Secretariat, my Top 10 consists of No. 3 Citation, No. 4 Kelso, No. 5 Spectacular Bid, No. 6 Native Dancer, No. 7 Dr. Fager, No. 8 Seattle Slew, No. 9 Count Fleet, No. 10 Affirmed. By the time Secretariat came along, many were convinced that there would never be another Triple Crown winner. It had been 25 years since Citation had swept the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Numerous theories were advanced as to why there had been no Triple Crown winner since Citation. “The foal crops are so much larger now than when Citation was racing,” became a common explanation as to why there had been a long Triple Crown drought. Another popular theory was Thoroughbreds no longer were stout enough to win the demanding Triple Crown consisting of three races at three different tracks within a five-week window (the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May, then the 1 3/16-mile Preakness on the third Saturday in May, then the 1 1/2-mile Belmont three weeks after the Preakness). Between Citation and Secretariat, the following seven horses were unable to complete a Triple Crown sweep after winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness: 1958 Tim Tam (finished 2nd in Belmont)1961 Carry Back (7th in Belmont)1964 Northern Dancer (3rd in Belmont)1966 Kauai King (4th in Belmont)1968 Forward Pass (2nd in Belmont)1969 Majestic Prince (2nd in Belmont)1971 Canonero II (4th in Belmont) As for Secretariat in 1973, many were of the opinion that “no son of Bold Ruler could win the Kentucky Derby,” let alone the Triple Crown. If I had a dollar for every time I heard someone say “no Bold Ruler can win the Derby,” I would have accumulated a whole lot of cash. Despite the 25-year Triple Crown drought and doubts about Secretariat possessing the stamina to win the Kentucky Derby at its distance, I made the following prediction in my high school newspaper, the Lewis & Clark Journal, on March 22, 1973: “Going out on a limb and living dangerous, I dare say 1973 will be a historic year as Secretariat will become the first Triple Crown winner since the great Citation in 1948,” I wrote. I am as proud of that prediction as any other I have ever made in print or on the air. Secretariat did indeed become a Triple Crown winner. And he did so spectacularly in that he not only succeeded in all three races, he won each of them in radically different fashion. He rallied from last in the Kentucky Derby. He made an electrifying move to the front on the clubhouse turn in the Preakness. He was a pace factor from the outset in the Belmont. In the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat ran each quarter of a mile faster than the preceding one. He completed 1 1/4 miles in 1:59 2/5 to break the track record of 2:00 established by Northern Dancer in 1964. In the Preakness, Secretariat was last early, then made a jaw-dropping charge to the front on the clubhouse turn. I have never seen a horse move with such a rush so early in a major race and still win. How great was Secretariat? He died in 1989, yet he was able to break the stakes record for the Preakness in 2012. As far as I know, he is the only horse to break a stakes record 23 years after he died. Secretariat’s original time for the Preakness was posted as 1:55. But there had been a timer malfunction. Daily Racing Form’s highly respected clocker, Gene “Frenchy” Schwartz, and another Racing Form clocker, Frank Robinson, told the DRF’s executive columnist, Joe Hirsch, that they had both timed Secretariat in 1:53 2/5, which would have broken Canonero II’s track record of 1:54. In the Secretariat book “Big Red of Meadow Stable,” originally published shortly after Secretariat’s retirement in 1973, William Nack wrote of the final time for the 1973 Preakness: “The discrepancy would never be resolved, though the proof would be overwhelming in favor of the faster clocking. Pimlico officials, conceding that the electric timer had malfunctioned, would later accept the time belatedly reported to them by the track’s official timer, E.T. McClean, who claimed he had timed Secretariat in 1:54 2/5. Later still, behind the impetus of handicapper Steve Davidowitz, the Maryland Racing Commission held a hearing on the matter and listened to testimony presented by CBS-TV, among others, that Secretariat had beaten Canonero’s track record…But despite the time reported by two veteran Racing Form clockers, and despite the evidence presented by CBS-TV, the racing commission would finally decide to keep McClean’s time as official.” The DRF took the unusual step to note for the record its disagreement with McClean’s 1:54 2/5 clocking in the official 1973 Preakness chart. In the DRF’s Preakness chart, under the official race time of 1:54, it states: “Daily Racing Form Time 1:53 2/5 New Track Record.” Canonero II’s time of 1:54 in 1971 stood as the Preakness record until Gate Dancer’s 1:53 3/5 clocking in 1984. And then in 1985, Tank’s Prospect posted a record Preakness time of 1:53 2/5, a clocking matched by Louis Quatorze in 1996 and Curlin in 2007. Tank’s Prospect, Louis Quatorze and Curlin shared the record for the fastest Preakness in history until the outcome of a special hearing held by the Maryland Racing Commission on June 19, 2012, at the request of Secretariat’s owner, Penny Chenery, and Tom Chuckas, who at the time was president of Pimlico. I was among those who had been critical of the Maryland Racing Commission for its original decision to accept McClean’s 1:54 2/5 clocking for Secretariat instead of the DRF’s 1:53 2/5. But the truth is the commissioners could not accept the DRF’s 1:53 2/5 Preakness clocking because their hands were tied by the state rules as they were in 1973. “State rules dictated that only the time from the official time keeper [McClean] could be used as a backup,” the Baltimore Sun’s Chris Korman wrote in his coverage of the 2012 Maryland Racing Commission to address the official final time of the 1973 Preakness. When the Maryland Racing Commission in 2012 dealt with the final time of the 1973 Preakness, the state rules had been changed to allow for a time adjustment if compelling evidence could be presented. For more than two hours at the 2012 hearing, commissioners heard testimony, backed by modern technology, to prove Secretariat’s Preakness time actually was faster than 1:54 2/5. “Chenery’s spokesman, Leonard Lusky, slowly built his case by calling on a former CBS director and video experts from Kentucky and Colorado to testify that the tape of the 1973 race had not been doctored and indeed reflected real time,” Korman wrote. “Digital technology allowed them to break down film frame-by-frame and create a comparison to other Preakness races. “When Lusky finally showed three videos on the screen at once, stacked, the only immediately discernible difference was the quality of the film. The top block showed Louis Quatorze’s win in 1997, the middle showed Tank’s Prospect’s 1985 victory and the bottom Secretariat’s run. Though the productions used slightly different camera angles, the races clearly unfurled in unison. “At the end, Secretariat hit the finish line at least a length and a half ahead of the other two -- even though Louis Quatorze and Tank’s Prospect had started the day sharing the race record of 1:53 2/5.” The evidence was so compelling that, according to Korman, commissioners deliberated for only 10 minutes before announcing the vote had been 7-0 to change Secretariat’s official Preakness time to 1:53, a stakes record. Korman reported that when the Maryland Racing Commission’s decision to change Secretariat’s time to a Preakness record 1:53 was announced, Chenery, 90 at the time, let out a cheer. “People don’t like to be told something that, by implication, they got wrong,” Chenery was quoted as saying in Korman’s story. “So we had to be pretty delicate in presenting this. I just had to hope that they would listen to the evidence and not think about the precedent of overturning history. But we see it all the time in sports now. It’s accepted, with replays. It’s completely consistent with the way sports are conducted now, that we use all the analytical tools possible.” Davidowitz, who died in 2019, zealously railed against the injustice concerning Secretariat’s time for the Preakness from 1973 to the Maryland Racing Commission’s hearing in 2012 regarding Secretariat’s final time in the Preakness. After the 2012 hearing, Davidowitz expressed his delight that Secretariat at long last was given credit for having run the fastest Preakness in history. While I too was extremely pleased that Secretariat finally got his Preakness record, I also am grateful that E.T. McClean originally goofed in terms of Secretariat’s Preakness time. Why? Because McClean’s blunder played a significant role in Secretariat winning the Belmont by 31 lengths, or as the great Daily Racing Form writer Charles Hatton put it, “31 hysterical lengths.” Even though Secretariat was far in front during the stretch run of the 1973 Belmont, jockey Ron Turcotte kept pumping his arms all the way to the finish. That’s because Secretariat and Turcotte were not just running against Sham and the other Belmont starters, they were running against the clock after believing (correctly, as it turned out) the colt had been robbed of a track record at Pimlico. Years ago, I asked Turcotte about the Preakness and Secretariat’s time. “Well, I think I feel the same as everybody, that he broke the record,” Turcotte said. “He deserved the record. There’s so much proof. There’s overwhelming proof that he broke the record. But they never gave it to him. Mind you, the Racing Form chart says it’s a record.” I then asked Turcotte if it was in his mind at the Belmont that Secretariat had been denied a track record in the Preakness. Turcotte admitted that he did have that in mind during the final furlong of the Belmont. He said he did not want to take any chances of Secretariat being “robbed” of another track record. “I did knuckle down on him a little bit the last 70 yards,” Turcotte said. “But I never did use my stick or tap him or anything. He just did it all on his own.” I asked Turcotte if, at any time during the final furlong of the Belmont, he was looking at the timer in the infield. “Oh, I was,” he said. “I was definitely looking at the timer. I was looking at the teletimer because I was not racing against any horse. All I was racing against was the clock at that point.” Secretariat’s 2:24 Belmont clocking obliterated Gallant Man’s track record set in 1957 by 2 3/5 seconds. Secretariat’s 2:24 remains the fastest 1 1/2 miles ever run by a horse on dirt. And so, if McClean had not messed up Secretariat’s time in the 1973 Preakness, Secretariat probably would have won the Belmont by a considerably smaller margin than 31 lengths in what many consider the greatest performance ever seen by a Thoroughbred in the history of American racing. Here it is, 47 years later, and still no horse has ever won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness or Belmont in faster time than Secretariat. In yet another of Secretariat’s tremendous performances, he won the 1973 edition of the 1 1/8-mile Marlboro Cup when defeating a stellar group of older foes at Belmont Park on Sept. 15. How strong was that field? The seven starters had won a total of 63 stakes races going into the Marlboro Cup. Secretariat won the Marlboro Cup by 3 1/2 lengths in 1:45 2/5. That shaved four-fifths of a second off the world record. Finishing second was Secretariat’s stablemate, Riva Ridge, who the year before had won the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. Winning the Marlboro Cup with such authority against such a quality cast of older rivals while breaking a world record did a lot for Secretariat’s standing among the all-time greats. It further enhanced Secretariat’s lifetime resume that he also trounced his elders twice on the grass in 1973. He won Belmont’s Man o’War Stakes by five lengths on Oct. 8. And then, in his memorable farewell on the racing stage, he captured the Canadian International on a raw Oct. 28 afternoon at Woodbine by 6 1/2 lengths with “steam puffing from his nostrils,” as Nack put it. Secretariat was retired to stud at Claiborne Farm in Kentucky after the Canadian International. He was voted 1973 Horse of the Year after having been voted that same coveted title as a 2-year-old in 1972. What would Secretariat have done as a 4-year-old? We will never know, of course, but the mind boggles at the possibilities. But while many have a sense of regret that we did not get the opportunity to see Secretariat race at 4, what he did accomplish at 2 and 3 showed everyone that he truly was a fantastic racehorse. WELLS BAYOU TAKES LOUISIANA DERBY Successfully employing catch-me-if-you-can tactics, Wells Bayou won last Saturday’s Grade II Louisiana Derby at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Sent off as the 3-1 favorite, he defeated 13 opponents. It’s to Wells Bayou’s credit that he was able to stay in front all the way down the long Fair Grounds stretch when being asked to race 1 3/16 miles. He completed his trip in 1:56.47. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden beautifully by Florent Geroux, Wells Bayou was credited with a 91 Beyer Speed Figure for his triumph last Saturday. That figure was down from his career-best 96 Beyer when he ran second to Silver Prospector in the Grade III Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park on Feb. 17. The Louisiana Derby was Wells Bayou’s first stakes victory. The Kentucky-bred Lookin At Lucky colt now has won three of five career starts. While I thought Wells Bayou ran a fine race last Saturday, it was not quite good enough for me to add him to my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. But I will not be surprised if he makes more noise en route to this year’s Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in September. NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 383 Midnight Bisou (32)2. 307 Mucho Gusto3. 271 Zulu Alpha4. 169 Mr Freeze5. 126 Maximum Security (7)6. 106 Combatant6. 106 Serengeti Empress8. 90 Code of Honor10. 53 McKinzie10. 53 Starship Jubilee Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: 1. 344 Authentic (12)2. 342 Tiz the Law (18)3. 322 Nadal (4)4. 212 Ete Indien (1)5. 199 Charlatan6. 158 Honor A.P.7. 121 Wells Bayou8. 114 Sole Volante9. 60 Gouverneur Morris10. 55 Independence Hall

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3.25.2020:

Wednesday, March 25: Gulfstream Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B Use: 10-Mayito; 12-Rapstorerocks Forecast: Maiden $16,000 claiming 3-year-olds compete over a mile on grass in the Wednesday opener. Tampa Bay Downs invader Mayito joins the high-percentage S. Joseph, Jr. barn and is a first-time gelding dropping to his lowest level ever so it’s logical to think he’ll improve considerably, especially with a pattern that shows rising speed figures in each of his three career starts. The barn’s go-to rider E. Jaramillo takes the call, so we’re expecting the son of Declaration of War to be along in time while offering value at or near his morning line of 7/2. Rolling exotic player looking for back-up should consider Rapstorerocks, poorly drawn in the 12-hole but switching to red-hot P. Lopez and likely to produce a dangerous closing kick if given the patient handling that he apparently prefers. RACE 2: Post 1:30 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Lookn Fine as Wine; 6-Garner State Park; 11-Harmonic Thunder Forecast: Here’s another maiden claiming turf miler, this one for 3-year-old fillies. Lookn Fine as Wine, much better drawn today than in her last race, drops to her lowest level ever and projects to enjoy a soft second-flight, ground-saving trip. She’s a fit on speed figures and clearly has little to beat, so we’ll put her on top pretty much by default. Garner State Park, originally a $60,000 Keeneland January yearling buy, is a first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn debuting in a maiden $16,000 affair, so obviously she’s not well-liked by the connections, but how good does she really have to be? The daughter of Lea shows works at Palm Beach Downs that don’t look too bad, so we’ll toss her in. Harmonic Thunder is another worth consideration. The daughter of Honor Code plummets from maiden $50,000 while returning to grass for a high percentage outfit and has numbers fit. Despite her outside draw the S. Joseph Jr.-trained filly has a right to be a strong threat in a weak affair. RACE 3: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Champagne Bliss; 3-Cory Gal; 4-No Se Vende Forecast: Champagne Bliss went stale in New York during the winter when facing infinitely tougher competition but today shows up in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer for new connections and is the one to beat with anything close to her best effort. However, given the sketchy and race workout pattern, the daughter of Into Mischief isn’t one to trust at 2-1 on the morning line, so we’ll spread a little deeper in our rolling exotic play. Cory Gal, double-jumped in class in her first-off-the-claim for G. Delgado (always dangerous with this maneuver), switches to the main track and will take them as far as she can on the front end. She’s just 1-for-17 during her career but at least the one win came over the Gulfstream Park main track. No Se Vende has back numbers that put her right there and her best form has been accomplished over the local dirt strip. She projects to enjoy a good stalking trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home. RACE 4: Post 2:31 ET. Grade: C Use: 4-Cuy; 5-Don’t Tase Me Bro; 9-Still Schemin Forecast: This is a split of the first today and on paper looks like the weaker half. Don’t Tase Me Bro drops from maiden $50,000 to the maiden $16,000, adds blinkers and moves to the S. Klesaris barn. If he can run, this would be a good place to show it and on pure numbers he seems likely to improve considerably against this group. Still Schemin has produced a forward move according to his speed figures in each of four career outings and gets a better draw today while switching to E. Jaramillo. He’ll be doing his best work late. Cuy is improving with racing and represents a late threat, so with another forward move the E. Dobles-trained gelding figures in the picture. On the negative side, the switch to a very low percentage jockey doesn’t inspire confidence. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spready deeper, go right ahead. RACE 5: Post 3:03 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Simple Story; 7-Liam’s Lookout; 9-Daily Grace Forecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming 3-year-old fillies sprint six and one-half furlongs in the opening leg of the 20 cent Rainbow Pick-6 Liam’s Lookout flashed speed before fading in her debut in a fairly strong straight maiden dash last month, gets off the rail today, and drops for the money run while switching to J. Rosario for a solid outfit. She’s 9/2 on the morning line and at that price (or near it) she represents a reasonable gamble against this considerably softer group. Daily Grace had a couple of runs vs. straight maidens before this drop into a seller and is another should greatly appreciate the class relief. A disappointing fourth as the favorite last time out after a promising runner-up effort in her debut, the daughter of Uncaptured should be on or near the lead throughout from a stalking spot and should have no excuses. Simply Story, a very runner-up (while more than six lengths clear of the others) over a sloppy surface at this level at Churchill Downs in November, makes her first start since for S. Hough (competent stats with layoff runners and second-timers) and will be dangerous if she returns as well as she left. The rail post for a filly that didn’t show any gate speed in her only outing looks problematic, but she gets an extra half furlong to work with day and with good racing luck should be heard from late. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then have an extra ticket or two keying Liam’s Lookout on top. RACE 6: Post 3:34 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Liza Star; 6-Day by Day Forecast: Day by Day seems the solid top pick in this optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares. First or second in 17 of 30 career starts, the genuine and consistent daughter of Awesome of Course switches to L. Saez, is strong based on recent speed figures, and should be in an ideal stalking position throughout. She’s 2-1 on the morning line while her chief rival, Liza Star, is listed as the 8/5 choice and also is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. The P. Walder-trained mare was a bit disappointing when weakening late to finish second at even money in the Lady Bird Stakes last month, but eight of nine career victories have been accomplished over the Gulfstream Park main track and this shortening to six furlongs for the projected controlling speed could make her difficult to catch. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Day by Day. RACE 7: Post 4:05 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Verdict Is In; 8-Keepsakekitten; 9-Earthquack Forecast: Keepsakekitten seems well-spotted in the seventh race, a $16,000 claimer over a mile on grass for 3-year-olds. An all-out winner of a starter’s optional claimer at Tampa Bay Downs in late January, the son of Kitten’s Joy is realistically spotted by the high percentage S. Joseph, Jr. barn, switches to L. Saez, and has a good stalking style that should ensure a trouble-free trip. There’s probably not much value to be found at 9/5 on the morning line, so we’ll prefer him on top but also include a couple of other contenders in our rolling exotics. Verdict Is In missed by a neck when more than six lengths clear of the others in a slightly stronger affair here last month and on pure numbers won’t need to improve much to regain his winning form against this group. The son of Lea likes this course, is drawn comfortable inside, and should draft into a nice second flight, ground-saving trip. Earthquake looked good winning at this level in an off-the-turf sloppy track score last month but actually has stronger speed figures on grass, so this return to the sod shouldn’t impact him at all. The son of Brethen likes to lag and kick it in late and with some help up front should be heard from late. RACE 8: Post 4:36 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-The Tabulator; 2-Fast Pass Forecast: This three-other-than sprint should boil down to the two inside runners. The Tabulator, freshened since September, was entered last Friday but remained in his stall when the entire card was canceled. The former graded stakes winner returns in a plausible spot for a barn that boasts superb stats with layoff runners, so we’re going to assume that the son of Dialed In is fit and ready. The lightly-raced five-year-old, a winner of six of 14 career starts including the Iroquois S.-G3 in his younger days, has shown the ability on at least two occasions to fire a big shot fresh, so if he can negotiate a decent trip from the rail the L. Rivelli-trained horse should be hard to contain while either on the lead or from a stalking position. Fast Pass, first or second in 22 of 41 career stars, packs a powerful late kick but his lack of tactical speed may land him in a disadvantageous position that projects to have modest early fractions. He’s a pro’s pro and always must be respected but given the race flow we’ll give The Tabulator a slight edge on top. RACE 9: Post 5:07 ET. Grade: B Use:6-Vegas Kitten ; 8-Indian Counselor; 10-Shazier Forecast: With the scratching of 9/5 morning line favorite Lemonist, this turf marathon for first-level allowance horses takes on a much different look. Vegas Kitten, claimed back by M. Maker (always a good sign) after a gate-to-wire win in a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 claimer, likely will try similar front-running tactics stretching out to a distance he’s never tried but certainly is bred for. The lightly-raced son of Kitten’s Joy switches to hot-riding P. Lopez and deserves top billing despite the obvious raise in class. Indian Counselor returned off a layoff as a first-time gelding and earned a career-top speed figure when breaking his maiden over a mile here last month. It’s hard to say if that form translates to a mile and one-half, but with just five career starts the son of Paynter has a right to continue his improving pattern. Shazier was overmatched in the McKnight S.-G3 over this course and distance in January but gets realistic today. He’s a one-paced grinder but has numbers that fit so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as a saver. RACE 10: Post 5:38 ET. Grade: B- Use: 4-Mandate; 5-Blessed Journey; 7-Venezuelan Hug Forecast: Blessed Journey, fourth when earning a career top speed figure despite a very wide trip, drops below his claim level for the first time, switches to P. Lopez, and makes his first start as a gelding. The R. Hess, Jr.-trained son of Gemologist returns to grass should draft into a good second flight position and then grind away from there. Mandate surfaces in a maiden claimer for the first time, is a fit on speed figures and is the likely choice (8/5 morning line) and one to beat. The T. Pletcher-trained son of Blame, originally a $200,000 yearling, was given three chances to show his ability to in straight maiden company but was not really competitive; he’ll find this group far less challenging. Venezuelan Hug, fourth without really posing a threat in a straight maiden turf miler earlier this month, is dropped realistically in class and has a right to improve with that big of experience behind him. He’s a fit on figures and may be a threat from off the pace. These are the three we’ll be using on rolling exotic play but there are a few others with credentials so the best advice is to include as many as your budget allows.

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3.23.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (March 16-22): By My Standards

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.March 16-March 22, 2020MVP: By My StandardsOwner: Allied Racing StablesTrainer: Bret CalhounJockey: Gabriel SaezPerformance: Under a confident look the entire trip, By My Standards drew clear March 21 to a 3-length victory in the Grade 2 $400,000 New Orleans Classic. The son of Goldencents continued his Fair Grounds affinity, having won last year’s Louisiana Derby over the same track as well as a February 9 allowance return to kick off what could be a productive 4-year-old season. By My Standards pressed pacemaker Silver Dust and put that one away, while favorite Fearless was unable to keep up through a sparkling fourth quarter in 23.35. By My Standards ran the final 3 furlongs in a remarkable 35.91. He’s now won 4 of 8 starts for $921,910.On Tap: Schedule uncertainly will be the main story with what’s left of the 2020 racing season. The Grade 2 $600,000 Oaklawn Handicap has been rescheduled for May 2 and could be a fit, but there are obvious issues precluding any plans. This would be a contender in the Breeders’ Cup Classic or Dirt Mile divisions at Keeneland in the autumn if we’re fortunate to be talking about such things by then.Honorable Mentions: Louisiana Derby winner Wells Bayou gave trainer Brad Cox a trio of graded stakes wins on the Saturday card at Fair Grounds, and served as an apt replacement for sidelined stablemate and Risen Star victor Mister Monomoy. Meanwhile, West Virginia-bred star Runnin’toluvya won his 2020 return in allowance company Saturday night, ending a 7-race win streak for Penguin Power. Last year’s Charles Town Classic hero, Runnin’toluvya won for the 14th time in 21 starts and is just shy of $1 million earned. Also, dirt sprint star Cistron transferred back to the turf in his 2020 return bid and ran down quality grass dasher Bound for Nowhere to win Saturday’s co-featured Grade 3 San Simeon at Santa Anita.

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3.23.2020:

Wednesday, March 25: Happy Valley (Hong Kong) Picks

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONS Wednesday, March 25, 2020First Post: 7:00AM ET Race 1: #12 Virtus Star, #1 Galaxy Racer, #3 Great Garvest, #2 Bundle Of EnergyRace 2: #9 Murray’s Partners, #2 Happy Warrior, #8 Nunchuks, #3 Casa De Forca Race 3: #12 Farm Bumper, #1 Zero Hedge, #4 Winning Ways, #3 Winner’s Heart Race 4: #6 Methane, #11 Blooming Spirit, #4 Green Dispatch, #1 Dor Dor Race 5: #2 Mehboob, #6 Super Lucky, #10 Super Alliances, #5 All You Know Race 6: #7 Shouson, #1 Dancing Fighter, #2 Wind N Grass, #9 What A Legend Race 7: #7 Naboo Star, #3 Cinquante Cinq, #6 Jolly Honour, #9 Dynamic EagleRace 8: #6 Green Reign, #7 Beauty Spark, #3 Winning Method, #8 Victory Power Race 1: Waterfall Bay Handicap#12 Virtus Star is winless. Although this is the case, he has shown steady improvement across his short career and off a rating of 25 now, he could prove tough to beat, especially with Zac Purton jumping in the plate off the back of an eye-catching trial. #1 Galaxy Racer is another who is winless. He’s been beaten by less than a length in both of his last two starts and if he’s continued to hold his condition out of those, he’s going to be in the finish. He has 133lb to carry but the inside draw should allow him to do minimal work in the run. #3 Great Harvest is drawn to get all of the favours and with even luck he’s going to be thereabouts for Matthew Chadwick. #2 Bundle Of Energy has become a costly conveyance and although he’s still winless, his best still warrants plenty of respect, especially with Joao Moreira up.  Race 2: Tin Wan Handicap (2nd Section)#9 Murray’s Partners couldn’t have been more impressive in a recent trial and if he translates that to race day, then he’s going to prove tough to catch. Zac Purton takes the reins which is a good push and this race appears his to lose. #2 Happy Warrior is proven over the course and distance and he rarely runs a bad race. He has an awkward draw to overcome but his race-experience holds him in good stead for this. #8 Nunchuks is winless but has shown his quality across his short five-start career. He isn’t far away from finally piecing it all together. #3 Casa De Forca is next best from the inside gate with Joao Moreira up. Race 3: Sha Wan Handicap#12 Farm Bumper got off the mark impressively last start. He rises to Class 4 now which is always difficult but from the soft gate, with Chad Schofield engaged again, he’s going to get every chance. #1 Zero Hedge is unlucky not to have already won a race this term, having finished runner-up on five occasions. The in-form Grant van Niekerk is up and this race is well within his grasp. #4 Winning Ways won well two starts ago. He’s finally hit his straps and again rates as a leading player here. #3 Winner’s Heart narrowly missed last time out. He can figure again with a similar run here. Race 4: Tin Wan Handicap (1st Section)#6 Methane got off the mark two starts ago and followed that up with a narrow defeat over this course and distance. Still, he’s in top condition at the moment and with a clean run throughout, he can take this out. #11 Blooming Spirit has gone to a new level this season. He gets in light with only 121lb on his back and from the inside draw, he can figure. #4 Green Dispatch gave Blake Shinn his first Hong Kong win and he could very well deliver him another here. He’s the likely leader of this and if he sets a tempo to suit himself, he could take a power of running down. #1 Dor Dor is in career-best form however, from the draw he’ll need a stack of luck in a race littered with pace.  Race 5: Shek Pai wan Handicap#2 Mehboob is a model of consistency and his good fortune can continue here with a win. He’s yet to finish outside of the top three this season, which includes one win and with Zac Purton hopping aboard again, it’s a good push around his chances. #6 Super Lucky is looking to snap a string of three runner-up efforts. He’s in-form and it’s only a matter of time before he goes on with it. #10 Super Alliances has mixed his form but prior to his last-start failure he tallied two runner-up efforts. If he can recapture these he’s in with a shout, especially from the good draw. #5 All You Know is next best.  Race 6: Kong Sin Wan Handicap (2nd Section)#7 Shouson is a two-time winner this campaign and is really starting to show his class. He narrowly missed last start but nevertheless, he’s consistent, in-form and with Zac Purton hopping aboard, remains the one to beat. #1 Dancing Fighter is a supreme talent with three wins next to his name from six starts. Still, although his win last start was strong, he’s going to need to carry an added 10lb and the wide gate is against him here. #2 Wind N Grass rattled home for a narrow defeat last start. He has the inside draw on his side and with further improvement, he shouldn’t be too far away. #9 What A Legend is next best. Race 7: Po Chong Wan Handicap #7 Naboo Star was awfully unlucky last start but still, he gets an excellent chance to atone for that performance here and with even luck he is the one to beat. #3 Cinquante Cinq is a model of consistency. He appears to have a number of ratings points still in hand and as a two-time course and distance winner, he warrants respect. #6 Jolly Honour has gone close in his last two outings. He can figure with the right run. #9 Dynamic Eagle is next best. Race 8: Kong Sin Wan Handicap (1st Section)#6 Green Reign is a talent on the rise. He’s twice narrowly missed this term at the city circuit and with the right on Wednesday night, he is capable of going on with it. He’ll need luck, especially if he settles back in the field but, if he gets it, he’s the one they all have to beat. #7 Beauty Spark has finished third in his last four starts. Zac Purton sticks aboard for the third consecutive time and it could third time lucky for him. #3 winning Method has lost a bit of form but still, if he manages to find the front for Matthew Chadwick he could still prove hard to reel in. #8 Victory Power is a course and distance winner already this term. He’ll be thereabouts.

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3.22.2020:

Harness Highlights: Shortened Schedule, Notable Performances

North America’s harness tracks are going dark by the day over coronavirus concerns. But there were some noteworthy performances recently before the action was suspended indefinitely. Woodbine-Mohawk Park handled more than $4.5 million over two cards on the March 13-14 weekend, but racing was put on hold at the Ontario track last weekend. Jonathan Drury filled the pockets of longshot players with a driving triple that included Major Hill ($70) and a driving double on Mister Magic ($41) and Ynothos ($23) that triggered $1 superfecta payouts of $8,500 and $2,934, respectively. Northfield Park ran 61 races over four days with no fans in attendance until last Saturday’s card was cancelled by the Ohio Racing Commission. Aaron Merriman, Ronnie Wrenn Jr. and Ryan Stahl enjoyed five-win nights, while Chris Lems posted a four-bagger during that span. Stahl won on Bunkndunk ($31.20) last Tuesday and a $20 win bet on his 13 drives would have produced a $490 profit. The Maryland Jockey Club suspended live racing at Rosecroft Raceway after the March 18 card, simmering the hot hand of driver Roger Plante Jr. He guided longshots DVC Kolorme Krazy ($26.80) and The Illuminator ($21) and feature-race winner Arts And Flowers during a five-win night. Pompano Park in Florida was enjoying a good handle surge before it went dark last Wednesday. Bueller (Kevin Wallis, $6.80) finished in front of a parade of longshots in Tuesday’s final race for a $90,000 pentafecta payout on numbers 2-3-7-5-6. Wally Hennessey, the track’s leading driver, won the Masters Of The Mile competition earlier in the month, beating a star-studded cast that included fellow Hall of Famers David Miller, Dave Palone and Tim Tetrick and Top 25 all-time leading drivers Tony Morgan, Peter Wrenn, Kevin Wallis and Bruce Ranger. Cal-Expo appears the only track to not cancel as a new week dawns. Favorites won all three ‘open’ races last weekend. Nick Roland won on pacer Heza Real Diamond for trainer Edwin Quevedo and trotter Mandeville for trainer Gerald Longo. James Kennedy piloted odds-on mare pacer Velocity Mcsweets.

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3.22.2020:

Sunday, March 22: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Nardini; 10-LoftyForecast: Lofty has found her niche as a turf sprinter. After crushing a maiden state-bred field with a big speed figure two races back, she verified the strength of that performance by coming back to win for fun again last month vs. an overmatched optional claiming field while earning a stakes-quality number. A repeat of either one of these two races will be good enough to handle this first-level Cal-bred field, her extreme outside draw notwithstanding. As a back-up you should probably consider Nardini, a lightly-raced and improving daughter of Acclamation trying grass for the first time. She’s nowhere near as fast on numbers as Lofty but if the turf moves her up – as we suspect it will – the A. Mathis-trained filly could make a run for it.RACE 2: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: CUse: 2-Tiz Wonderfully; 4-Majestic Diva; 6-Indypendent DeputyForecast: This race has a few question marks and no real value to be found, so we’ll sit it while going three-deep in our rolling exotics. Tiz Wonderfully isn’t particularly fast on numbers but she’s genuine and consistent and on pure form as good as any. Majestic Diva won by a pole when competing for this $12,500 price and earning a career top speed figure two runs back but then bounced to the moon in her next outing, finishing last of seven with her Beyer speed figure dropping 33 points. Which version will show up today? Indypendent Deputy returns to her claim level in her second start off a layoff and the W. Spawr-trained veteran mare should greatly appreciate the softer assignment and not really mind the return to the main track (she’s a three-time winner on dirt). She does her best work from off the pace and should be heard from late.RACE 3: Post 1:35 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Golden Sparkle; 6-Hammering LemonForecast: Hammering Lemon has worked pretty well since his non-threatening debut earlier this month and may be better than shown. The Square Eddie colt was off slowly and never got untracked on grass, but today adds blinkers, switches to dirt, lands the cozy outside post and should be able to show his best stuff in a modest state-bred extended sprint. Golden Sparkle has trained okay in the morning for J. Cassidy and probably is worth tossing in at least as a backup. Based on his workouts, he’ll be running on late. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics; you may feel the need to spread a bit deeper.RACE 4: Post 2:07 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Jaxson’s Goldie; 6-Neutrino; 8-PalaleoForecast: Here’s a fairly competitive maiden claiming turf sprint that has a few possibilities. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Jaxon’s Goldie, first off the claim for R. Hess, Jr., is raised from $30,000 to $50,000 in a sign of confidence and this shortened grass trip might suite him very well. The son of Goldencents has only one way to go from the rail – on the lead – and if he breaks cleanly he could take some catching. Palaleo, away for more than year, returns with F. Prat in the saddle so we’re assuming he’s fit and ready. The J. Bonde-trained gelding is bred for grass (Noble Mission) and finally gets a chance to show what he can do after being forced to compete in two off-the-turf events before being stopped on. Neutrino has flashed some ability in the morning for J. Sadler so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as well. He was entered yesterday in a straight maiden turf sprint but failed to draw in from the also-eligible list, so we’d have to think he’ll fit in this league.RACE 5: Post 2:39 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Conquest Cobra; 2-FabozziForecast: Fabozzi has been close without being able to seal the deal lately but his numbers are strong so maybe he’s due for some luck. Winless in the last two years but with the proper style for this extended sprint distance, the M. Glatt-trained gelding retains A. Cedillo, shortens up, and should have every chance to produce the last run. Conquest Cobra, third in the same race Fabozzi just finished second in, clearly is the one to fear most. A two-time winner at seven furlongs, the Pioneerof the Nile gelding retains F. Prat and should be forwardly placed throughout in a race that projects to have soft early fractions. These two are difficult to separate; we’ll operate under the assumption that the winner will be one or the other but pass the race.RACE 6: Post 3:09 PT. Grade: BUse: 7-Shines Her Light; 8-Teachers Big Dream; 10-Mind OutForecast: Here’s another tough and competitive race, this one over a mile on grass for entry-level allowance 3-year-old fillies. Mind Out has plenty of talent and should make an excellent 3-year-old for S. Callaghan. The daughter of Tapit walked out of the gate but still got up and won her debut sprinting on grass last summer and then finished a solid third in the Surfer Girl Stakes over this course and distance during the fall meeting while appearing a bit green. She returns with blinkers on, retains F. Prat, and looks the most dangerous of the closers, so we’ll put her on top. Teachers Big Dream is lightly-raced, improving, continues to impress in the a.m., and just won over this course and distance with career top speed figure. She loses U. Rispoli (who understandably opts for Shines Her Light) but picks up one of this barn’s go-to riders, E. Maldonado. We suspect she’s better than her morning line of 10-1. Shines Her Light won her U. S. debut sprinting on grass in good style and should be tough on the raise. The stretch out to a mile won’t bother her in the least; she finished second of 20 at this distance in a handicap in Ireland last summer.RACE 7: Post 3:39 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Dano’s Dream; 3-I Can Do This; 5-Jamming EddyForecast: I Can Do This is a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track and generally runs well at this flat mile trip. He has a good stalking style and is reunited with “win rider” A. Cedeno so in a wide open affair we’ll put him on top. Dano’s Dream, second in two photo finishes in his last pair up north, tries his luck on conventional dirt after vanning down from Golden Gate Fields and if he can duplicate his all-weather speed figures over the Santa Anita main track he could be hard to beat. However, his career record on dirt – 5-0-0-0 – hardly inspires. He picks up U. Rispoli, so there’s that. Jamming Eddy is pretty much in the same boat – decent form on grass, not so hot on dirt – but his numbers are gradually rising so maybe he’s a better type now. The Square Eddie gelding probably is most effective when held up early and allowed to run late.RACE 8: Post 4:09 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Just Grazed Me; 5-Tigre Di SlugoForecast: Let’s go for a price in this grass grab bag sprint stakes for state-bred older runners. Tigre Di Slugo will be making his first start on the sod but he’s a progressive sort with a powerful late kick and with another forward move could easily outrun his 12-1 morning line odds and maybe do more than just that. F. Prat knows him well, stays aboard, and should have this lightly-raced son of Smiling Tiger within range and ready to pounce from the quarter pole home. Just Grazed Me tackles the boys today after missing without an apparent excuse at 50 cents on the dollar in the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint over this course and distance in January. She may have a lost a half step, but there’s no doubting her class, so you have to use her. There are several other legitimate contenders in the field, but we’ll try to get by using just these two with preference on top to Tigre Di Slugo.RACE 9: Post 4:39 PT. Grade: C+Use: 3-Indy Jones; 5-Cross TownForecast: The finale is a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming miler with nothing to trust. Anything goes. Cross Town just broke his maiden with an okay number, retains F. Prat, and should get the patient ride that apparently he requires. He’s 6-1 on the morning line, and probably is worth that price if you can get it. Indy Jones, in the frame in his last pair at this level, switches to A. Cedillo and seems likely to draft into a comfortable pace-stalking position and have every chance from there. We’ll sink or swim with just these two in our rolling exotics but otherwise not get too involved.

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3.22.2020:

March 22: Saratoga Harness Analysis

Saratoga Harness has a 13-race card set to roll at noon EST and after today's program racing will be suspended. The feature comes in Race 11 an Open Handicap Trot, plus there is an Early and Late Daily Double on the card.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 16-Cool Jack (4-1)-Leaning towards the 3rd morning line chalk who comes off a nice win in 4th start of the year. There isn't much gate speed inside so Cushing should get a good early seat and can put Jack into striking range.Race 22-Wicked Nick (4-1)-Makes 3rd start of 2020 and showed improvement last week. Usually is in the mix at this level and can make the most of an inside post draw.5-Weekend Wit Bigd (5/2)-Has won over 25% of starts at Stga and has been in the hunt. Fell victim to a slower pace in last from the 7-hole. May be able to get a good early seat and this race could set-up for a nice brush to roll by down the lane.7-Jeter's Way (6-1)-Beckwith returns and expecting an aggressive steer. Was used hard in last from the 7-hole to get on the engine and almost lasted. Taking a swing and can pop at a nice price to pick-up 1st picture of the year.Early Daily Double$5 Double-6/2,5,7Total Bet=$15Race 11-Open Handicap Trot-Purse $16,0504-Mister Muscle (8/5)-Program favorite looks the part and has had success versus Open company. Has the gate speed to get the lead and not look back. A major threat and probably an odds-on choice.5-Mr Cool Seaeyre N (9/2)-Usually doesn't seal the deal at this level but will use and this field isn't very deep. Could get the 2-hole and follow #4 around the oval. 8-year-old knows how to win and could trip out if finds a pocket ride.6-Justice Jet (8-1)-Here's another veteran and Jet has put over $600k in the bank. If pace is hot Gray may put in striking range and add some juice to the exacta.$12 Exacta 4/5, $5 Exacta 5/4, $5 Exacta 4/6Total Bet=$22Race 122-Brad's Buddy (8/5)-Will likely go off as the odds-on chalk again and unless it's an off night it should be the 4th straight picture.Race 131-All That Dazzle (4-1)-Looking for a different version of this mare than last 2 starts which were from the 7 and 8 post. Cross should keep her near the top of the stack and be in the hunt at the wire.5-Kennel Buddy (6-1)-Even effort in 1st start since 11-26. Seldom wins but others are no different. Did keep trotting in a needed start in a race with a quicker fractions and should be a good price.Late Daily Double$10 Double 2/1,5Total Bet=$20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.21.2020:

Saturday, March 21: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

This evening, Cal Expo has another challenging Pick 4 on tap, and it will be my focus. The sequence starts again in Race 8 and this time has a $40,000 guaranteed pool. Friday's Pick 4 pool was over $49,000 and there's no reason to think it won't be higher tonight.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 82-Marilyn (7/2)-Has been off since 2-29 but if ready should be a threat from this post in a race without a standout. Barn has won their share and Kennedy knows how to work a trip. Usually gets bet when ready to play.3-La Diva De Rosa (5-1)-Steps down to a better spot and Bertrand barn was good last night. Does need a trip but can pass foes down the lane if Cutting puts her into striking range.4-Sing Along (5/2)-Comes off a sharp win on a sloppy track versus $3k claimers. Knows how to win and should be a threat. But at this class and at a short price will look to others too, for a better Pick 4 payout.5-Place At the Beach (6-1)-Taking a swing on the drop, the Magee-Longo combo worked last night with a similar set-up. Won at this class on 2-21 and 10-year-old can do it again. Hoping the price won't be any lower than the morning line.Race 91-Sin Machqueen (5-1)-Nice effort in 1st start off the bench and now stakes a slight bump up but gets post relief. Raced the back half in 55.3 last week. Cutting should get a ground saving trip and could score at a fair price.5-Herecomesthethunder (7/2)-Has been on the bench since 1-17 but qualifier from last week was solid. Thinking Roland will put in play early and be there at the wire.8-Ramsay (8-1)-Raced better when Svendsen drove last week in 1st start after being freshened up. Could offer a nice price from this post and was Svendsen's choice over #4.10-Wet Shark (6-1)-Won off an injured scratch when dropped to the basement and edged stablemate #8. Magee is in the bike again and should be in the mix with this bunch. Post draw helps the price.Race 106-Lodi Eat My Dust (8/5)-1st start on the barn change to Plano was a win on a sloppy track at odds of 1/2. That was the only victory in 11 tries on an-off track and will string along here.7-Custards Dungeon (7/2)-Missed a start before last and finished 3rd from the 9-hole to #6. Can handles this crew when good and the shorter field doesn't hurt chances.Race 112-Cantholdmebackmack (8/5)-Tried to wire the field into a headwind in the stretch and faded in the late going. Not sure how much the wind hurt and is only 3-33. But this is Plano's choice over #5, so will respect in a race with a suspect field.4-Gunny Wilson (8-1)-Roberts was able to pass a few down the stretch in last at a 31-1. Could pick up 1st CalX win with the right trip at a juicy price.7-Burntisland Billy (9/2)-Has been off since 2-28 but this is the spot for a rare win if fires off the bench. Roland's choice over #3 could take a picture at a solid price.My Ticket Race 8) 2,3,4,5 Race 9) 1,5,8,10 Race 10) 6,7 Race 11) 2,4,7Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.21.2020:

Saturday, March 21: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-Lets Get WildForecast: Lets Get Wild was 10 lengths clear of the rest when second to next-out winner Lofty in a similar state-bred turf sprint for fillies in late January and was subsequently entered but scratched when she failed to draw into the race from the also-eligible list the following month. The E. Kruljac-trained daughter of Ministers Wild Cat sports a steady work tab in recent weeks so we’re expecting her to produce her best effort, one that should make her tough to beat. Nardini is lightly raced, improving, and bred for grass (Acclamation). She picks up F. Prat, and with another forward move may be dangerous at 6-1 on the morning line. Preference on top goes to Lets Get Wild but both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Mystery Messenger; 5-OliverForecast: Mystery Messenger appears well-placed to extend his winning streak to three in this second-level allowance main track miler that drew just five entrants. The Point of Entry gelding, fresh from a clever win in a productive race up north, projects as the controlling speed, though he certainly doesn’t need the lead to win. Reunited with “win rider” U. Rispoli, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding probably will have to worry most about stable mate Oliver, a strong runner-up in the recent Tiznow Stakes over this track and distance earlier this month. While the Santa Anita dirt strip is his least favorite surface (he’s much more effective at Del Mar and Los Alamitos), the son of Papa Clem should draft into a good stalking position outside and then have every chance to engage ‘Messenger from the head of the lane to the wire. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have an extra ticket or two keying Mystery Messenger on top.RACE 3: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Scarlet Heat; 5-SassyserbForecast: Sassyserb continued her improving pattern when following up a good maiden score with a sharp runner-up effort in a similar first-level state-bred allowance event over the local lawn last month. Today she makes her first start since being transferred to the high percentage R. Baltas barn, so her upward mobility figures to continue. Today’s extra furlong shouldn’t be an issue for the granddaughter of Galileo, and with the switch to top grass rider U. Rispoli, she should be forwardly placed and trouble free throughout. Scarlet Heat is worth including somewhere on your ticket as well. The daughter of Unusual Heat adds blinkers, has steadily rising speed figures, retains F. Prat, and owns the late-running style that makes her dangerous at this nine furlong distance.RACE 4: Post 2:02 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Rossman; 5-Ultimate Mystery; 8-OutrightForecast: This bottom-rung maiden claiming extended sprint looks like a messy affair so we’ll go three-deep and hope to survive and advance. Rossman is stuck on the rail – not usually the place to be at this seven furlong distance – but the lightly-raced son of Data Link just finished a solid runner-up in a similar affair 15 days ago and really won’t need to improve much to earn his diploma. This will be his second start off a long layoff, so a forward move is probable, and in a race in which most of the others have been thoroughly exposed, this J. Carava-trained gelding at least has somewhere to go. Ultimate Mystery is an intriguing newcomer in a very soft spot. This barn rarely wins with a first-timer but this son of Ultimate Eagle does show a bullet half mile gate drill (:47 flat) at Los Alamitos back in November, so maybe he can run a bit. Outright is a first-timer gelding from the R. Hanson barn with numbers that aren’t half bad, and in just his third career start he might have a forward move in him. A fair third in a similar event in early February charts pretty well here.RACE 5: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: XSingle: 2-Bound for NowhereForecast: Bound for Nowhere has registered six consecutive bullet workouts at Turfway Park while preparing for this year’s edition of the San Simeon Stakes, and the lightly-raced six-year-old – he’s won 6 races from just 12 career starts – arrives fit and ready for trainer Wesley Ward, who hits at a strong 22% with layoff runners. With a history of firing fresh and with several triple-digit Beyer speed figures on his resume, the son of The Factor simply outclasses this field. However, at 6/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he won’t offer much value other than as a short price rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post 3:05 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Order and Law; 4-ZorichForecast: This starter’s allowance main track miler has several possibilities. We’ll double the race but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. Zorich didn’t get the best or runs when third after losing ground throughout in a similar affair last month but the son of Hard Spun retains U. Rispoli and should draft into an ideal pace-stalking trip and have every chance to reproduce his best form. Never off the board over the Santa Anita main track in four starts and with two easy breezes since his last outing, the M. Glatt-trained gelding may offer a bit of value at or near his morning line of 4-1. Order and Law is just 1-for-17 and winless on dirt, but the V. Cerin-trained son of Violence is very competitive based on his recent turf speed figures, so if he can duplicate his grass form on the main track he could be hard to handle. The V. Cerin-trained ridgeling will be doing his best work from off the pace.RACE 7: Post 3:35 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Oscar Dominguez; 6-Ward ‘n JerryForecast: Oscar Dominguez has developed into a genuine and consistent turf stayer and should continue his strong recent form in this year’s edition of the San Luis Rey Stakes over 12 furlongs down the Hillside course. The veteran gelding picks up U. Rispoli and will get the patient ride he requires. With good racing luck he should be able to wear down the leaders close home. Ward ‘n Jerry, third when beaten a neck by our top pick in the Hollywood Turf Cup-G2 at Del Mar in early December, was subsequently second in the Cal Cup Turf Classic here in January and today stretches back out to a marathon trip while switching to F. Prat. A three-time winner over the local lawn, the son of Lucky Pulpit has a bit more tactical speed than ‘Dominguez and will be getting four lbs. from his main rival. You have to include him at least as a saver in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Taco Waco; 5-See Through It; 8-Blazing HomeForecast: This is a split of the second race, a seven furlong maiden $20,000 claimer for older horses. We’ll use three but not with any real degree of confidence. Taco Waco must overcome the rail but he’s a fit on figures and has enough tactical speed to be within range throughout. He’s been facing a bit stronger fields than this, so with any kind of improvement he’ll be right there. See Through, a weakening seventh in his debut after flashing some early speed, should be fitter and stronger today, so if he can produce any type of forward move the A. Sherman-trained gelding may have a chance to do some damage at 6-1 on the morning line. Blazing Home hasn’t gotten even remotely close in his first two starts – he’s been beaten a total of 28 lengths – but he hails from the high percentage R. Baltas outfit and lands F. Prat. On the chance that for whatever reason he’s much better than shown, we’ll toss him in as well.RACE 9: Post 4:39 PT. Grade: C+Use:1-Miss Tokyo; 3-Tagline; 10-LookintogetevenForecast: The finale is a borderline inscrutable maiden turf miler for fillies and mares. We’ll triple the race but you should spread as deeply as your budget allows. Tagline finished an okay third after being a bit rank early in her first start in nine months and just her second overall, so the daughter of Bellamy Road may have more right to improve than most of the others. She switches to M. Smith – always one of this barn’s go-to riders – so if she can settle early and produce a late run, the J. Mullins-trained filly might get up in time. Miss Tokyo lands the rail and likely will try gate-to-wire tactics after getting tagged right on the money in the same race Tagline exits. This shortening to a mile won’t hurt, especially in a field without much other speed signed on. Lookintogeteven, a deep closer that always seems to be a day late and a dollar short, will make her run again today, but from the extreme outside post. She’ll need some help up front, but one of these days the daughter of Ghostzapper will break through and in an open fray she’s worth including at 8-1 on the morning line.

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3.20.2020:

Friday, March 20: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Cal Expo has a $30,000 guaranteed pool for the 0.20 Pick 4. The sequence begins in Race 8, it has a 16% takeout and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 82-Rockin Eddie (12-1)-Willing to take at a swing with Eddie at this level. Barn has been doing well, now Magee takes the lines and that's a positive. Needs a trip and that can happen, could surprise at a nice price.4-Dontdoubtthelakers (7/2)-Plano takes a seat and he has had success steering this veteran. Hasn't shown much lately but faces the softest field in some time and it's best to respect.7-Hi Ho's Little Rev (9/2)-This is another who drops to a spot to shine and should be a big threat with the right trip. Gets a bit of post relief compared to the last 3 starts, it might be time to dial it on high.Race 94-Exsqueezeme (3-1)-Rolled by most of these in the slop last week to score at 9/2. Should be bet after beating 6 from this field in last and draws well again.5-Capitol Hill (7/2)-Drops out of Open company and has a big shot if brings a top effort. Has only 1 win at the meet and that was versus cheaper than this, but best to not overlook.8-Royal Mistress (9/2)-Was the even money choice last week at this level. Didn't get the best of trips and the price should be better. Looks like a player but needs the right steer. Did beat Open company on 2-7.9-Lickcreek Speedway (4-1)-If there is a speed duel and pace is quick Kennedy should have this mare rolling late in the mile. Might be overlooked at the windows, likes the track and this race might set-up for a closer.Race 102-Brooklyn Moonshine (7/2)-Usually is in the mix on a fast track and comes off a tripped out win. Barn has been cold but at this class and from this post it's best to consider.3-Thats How it Goes (5-1)-Beaten chalk versus this group last week. Money showed in last and Kennedy stays in the bike. Using in a race without a standout and price should be better.4-Hagginatthebeach (5-1)-Plano got on the engine and was passed in the late going by #2. Going to the top is not a must and maybe in this case gets a cozy trip and rolls by down the lane.5-Casey N Grinegan (6-1)-Makes 4th start after about a month off and did pass foes in last. Could be ready for a rare win and should offer a square price.Race 111-Little Emma (6-1)-Emma is only 1 for 23 when the track is wet and the last 2 have been on an off-track. Taking a swing with Kennedy from the rail, looking for a sweet trip at a square price.8-Dontcloseyoureyes (9/2)-Had 2 dominate wins from the #7 and #9 posts on a fast track. Last 2 on an off-track hasn't worked out but is only 2 for 26 when the track is wet. Looks like a player on a fast strip and best to not overlook.My Ticket Race 8) 2,4,7 Race 9) 4,5,8,9 Race 10) 2,3,4,5 Race 11) 1,8Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.20.2020:

Friday, March 20: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Charging Home; 5-Trouville; 6-PranceForecast: Prance has the route-to-sprint angle that we like and shows three bullet training track drills since she last raced more than two months ago. The N. Drysdale-trained filly switches to F. Prat and seems well-suited to improve a bunch as a late-running sprinter. We suspect this is what she’s always wanted to do. Trouville ran well vs. much tougher starter optional claiming company last month, pressing the pace and then holding on for third at the taxing distance of seven furlongs over a deep main track. She returns to the maiden claiming ranks today, shortens to five and one-half furlongs and switches to grass, all positive changes. The barn has had some tough luck this meeting with one win and 11 placings. Charging Home flashed good speed before fading in her debut behind subsequent stakes winner �clair last summer at Los Alamitos and then was stopped on. She returns in a realistic spot with a series of solid San Luis Rey Downs workouts including a bullet five furlong drill (fastest of 18) just four days ago. She could easily be a better type this time around, especially against this softer crew. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Prance on top.RACE 2: Post 1:33 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-BuybackForecast: Buyback missed by a head in a starter’s $50,000 main track miler last month (she was more than seven lengths clear of the rest) but instead of returning protected in that same type of race she plummets to the $25,000 restricted claiming level today and shortens to a sprint. The class drop is somewhat suspicious but she does sport a healthy work pattern since that early February outing and perhaps this is simply a case of finding a race that would fill. Her maiden $20,000 win two runs back earned a number that would beat this field, and regular pilot E. Maldonado knows her well and stays aboard. In a five runner affair that offers little in the way of wagering value, she’s a short price rolling exotic single in a race that otherwise should be left alone.RACE 3: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Ka’nah; 3 J Z My Man; 7-Whirl CandyForecast: There are lots of question marks in this maiden turf sprint, so a spread strategy in rolling exotic play may be the way to go. J Z My Man has done more than enough in the morning to be fit and debuts sprinting on grass, a surface that for whatever reason many of the American Pharoah’s appear to prefer. A $410,000 Fasig-Tipton 2-year-old purchase last March and out of the good sprinting mare J Z Warrior, the B. Baffert-trained colt tuned up with a bullet half mile drill in :47 3/5 seconds, the fastest of 214 for the distance, just four days ago. Some of his previous works were good, others not so hot, so we’re not sure what we’re going to get with him. Ka’nah has been away since December of 2018 but ran quite well in both starts as a 2-year-old, including a strong runner-up effort in his debut sprinting on grass at Del Mar. The R. Hanson-trained colt attracts shows a relatively brief work tab leading up to his return but a recent five furlong gate drill (1:00.3hg) should have him fit enough and F. Prat gets the call. If the son of Gio Ponti returns as well as he left, he’ll be right there. Whirl Candy was well-backed in his debut (5-1) last summer at Del Mar but faded after flashing early speed in a hot race won by American Theorem. The son of Twirling Candy returns with blinkers on and shows a bullet training track drill (5f, 1:00.2h, fastest of seven) that catches the eye. The J. Sadler-trained is likely better than his only previous outing indicates.RACE 4: Post 2:37 PT. Grade: XSingle: 3-RaneemForecast: Raneem has failed at 2-1 or less in four of her eight career starts and clearly isn’t one to trust, but the B. Baffert-trained filly is the top pick by default in this below standard maiden $50,000 claiming abbreviated sprint for older fillies and mares. She was more than three lengths clear of the rest when runner-up under these conditions last month and not much more will be needed for her to finally earn her diploma. In a race that probably is best left alone, you can use her as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply sit it out.RACE 5: Post 3:09 PT. Grade: XSingle: Y Not SizzleForecast: Here’s another race that is difficult to embrace, as the logical top selection, Y Not Sizzle, is an 11-race maiden but clearly is the one to beat based on her two good recent runner-up efforts vs. similar state-bred company over this course. She was somewhat unlucky when missing by a nose in her most recent outing over a mile but today stretches out to nine furlongs, a distance that may be a bit farther than she really prefers (her only previous race at this trip was disappointing). That concern notwithstanding, top grass rider U. Rispoli stays aboard, so with anything close to her best the J. Mullins-trained filly should finally earn her diploma, but most likely not at a price that offers any real wagering value. Use her as a rolling exotic single or just pass the race.RACE 6: Post 3:38 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-No Wine Untasted; 3-Todos Santos; 4-Fair LuckyForecast: We’ll go 3-deep in rolling exotic play but otherwise pass the sixth race, a five-runner $10,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. Todos Santos and Fair Lucky finished one-two when they met under similar conditions in early February after which both were raised in class without success, so they’re back where they belong today. ‘Lucky has a bit more tactical speed and today’s race is a sixteenth of a mile shorter than when they squared off last time, but ‘Santos was able to wear her down late despite a slow start and a wide trip so either one should be capable of beating the other today depending upon pace and trip. No Wine Untasted could outrun them both. She’s a four-time winner dropping to the bottom and with enough early speed from her rail post to make the running and be a strong threat to keep on going.RACE 7: Post 4:08 PT. Grade: BUse: 8-Liar Lair; 9-K P All Systems GoForecast: K P All Systems Go left his previous form behind when breaking his maiden by six rapidly-widening lengths that gave him the appearance of being shot out of a cannon, a performance that pretty much came out of nowhere based on his previous form. It’s taken almost two months to get him back to the post but the work tab seems steady so if the son of More Than Ready can turn in two alike he’ll probably do the same to this first-level allowance field as he did vs. maidens in late January. That said, there are two areas of concern. First, his win came over nine furlongs and today’s race is a mile, and second, his late kick was bolstered by a fast early pace while today’s race flow projects to be softer. Liar Liar isn’t quite as fast on pure speed figures as our top pick but exits a pair of legitimate turf stakes and makes a monumental jockey change to U. Rispoli. He defeated K P All Systems by a head when breaking his maiden last fall and has a right to do it again. To be safe, we’ll have tickets using both in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Gov From Above; 7-My Super Mario; 9-War WatchForecast: Here’s a maiden claiming state-bred $50,000 claiming sprint with a few first-time starters that appear intriguing. The gamble is that one of them will win. My Super Mario has been training out of sight of the private clockers at San Luis Rey Downs but has winning connections (Baltas/Cedillo) and a work tab that should have him plenty fit. Finally making it to the races at age four, the son of Ministers Wild Cat shows a five furlong drill in 1:00 flat in February that catches the eye for a barn that is more than capable of winning with debut runners. In a race in which the known element doesn’t inspire, let’s take a shot and put him on top. War Watch, a decently-bred son of Acclamation, has turned in a couple of recent noteworthy gate drills for his Los Alamitos-based connections, lands the cozy outside post, and looks well-meant first crack out of the box. Gov From Above is bred for speed (Govenor Charlie) and has worked well enough for A. Sherman to indicate some ability. The rail post is no help but at this level and little will go a long way, so we’ll toss him in.

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3.19.2020:

March 19: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Hopefully this crisis will be behind all of us in the near future. Unfortunately, harness tracks have been closing so subsequently my writing schedule will vary from the usual Friday-Monday analysis. Tonight, the Early 0.20 Pick 4 at Woodbine Mohawk Park will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 44-Beach Baby Bee (2-1)-Drew off by more than 4 lengths to beat 4 from this field in last start. Smoked the back half in 55.2, last quarter in 26.2 and looks like a must use.5-Farmers Tan (7/2)-Jamieson's choice over #1 can leave to get the top and might enjoy the company. If #4 doesn't have his best fastball this guy could cash the biggest check.Race 53-State Of Play (12-1)-Gets post relief tonight and has been racing well. Needs a good steer and Hudon has some choices. Could take a picture at a big price.6-Legal Bettor (7/2)-Makes 1st start for Moreau after breaking stride when claimed as an odds-on favorite. Fits here and was a winner in 25% of starts in 2019.7-Quan Blue Chip (5/2)-Makes 1st start for Moreau off a claim and has won 2-straight. Has been very sharp and Filion could get the top or 2-hole behind #8.8-Leader Tonight (3-1)-Probably has the best gate speed and is another who has been racing well. May offer some value because of the post and if crosses over without using a lot of gas it could be picture time again.Race 61-Casimir Rumrunner (10-1)-Makes 2nd start for the Fellows barn and 2nd try at Wbsb. Took the short way around last week and went the back half in 55.4. Might be better tonight, from this post could trip out and pop at a price.3-P L Idaho (5/2)-Makes 3rd start back in the Moreau barn and draws inside. Should be a player but will likely offer no value and hasn't been able to finish off miles.4-Kingofthejungle (3-1)-Drops to a spot to snag 1st win of the year. Has the gate speed to be put in play off the gate and control the race.Race 71-Mr Contestant (2-1)-Won 1st start on 1-27 after joining the Boyd barn and has struggled since. Now takes a good drop in class and shouldn't have any excuses versus this crew but can't completely trust.6-Mystery Bet (12-1)-Only 2 wins in last 31 starts and makes 2nd try for new barn. Trainer hands the lines to McClure. Even effort in last start with Jones in the bike and was off almost a month, will take a swing at 12-1 in the ML.7-Graceful (5-1)-Muscle Hill mare has been rested since 10-31 and makes season debut after 2 qualifiers. Should like the company and has 3 wins in 13 starts at Wbsb.0.20 Early Pick 44,5/3,6,7,8/1,3,4/1,6,7Total Bet=$14.40Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.19.2020:

Johnny D's Louisiana Derby Horse-by-Horse Analysis & Selections

With the Kentucky Derby now rescheduled and to be contested Saturday, Sept. 5, traditional 3-year-old prep races must be viewed differently. No longer are they stepping-stones toward an approaching destination. Now, they must be handicapped as valuable, stand-alone events.  Scheduled major 3-year-old races still award coveted points toward stalls in the Derby starting gate but, reportedly, additional opportunities to accumulate Derby points will be offered this summer. That renders current estimates of a ‘required’ points total moot. And that’s just one of the many questions surrounding this unique first-Saturday-in-September scenario.   So far, a few traditional Triple Crown preps--Sunland Derby (Saturday), Blue Grass (April 4) and Lexington (April 11)--are cancelled, but plenty of beauties remain: Louisiana Derby (Saturday), UAE Derby (March 28), Florida Derby (March 28), Wood Memorial (April 4), Santa Anita Derby (April 4) and Arkansas Derby (April 11), for now. So, while a ticking Kentucky Derby countdown clock has been reset, plenty of exciting and hopefully profitable sophomore action remains.   The Louisiana Derby, to be contested Saturday at one mile and three-sixteenths at the Fair Grounds, is a fabulous example of a rich, prestigious 3-year-old race that can stand on its own, removed as a signpost on a now detoured road to the Kentucky Derby.  An overflowing field of 13 runners with two also-eligible starters will chase a $1 million purse. Below is one man’s horse-by-horse analysis of the Louisiana Derby lineup with suggested selections:   1. Major Fed                           Foley/Rosario                         8-1 Trainer Greg Foley reports that this son of Ghostzapper has improved with each race and that statement is supported by the colt’s form. A well-beaten third, first out in a sloppy Churchill maiden sprint, he won next out at Fair Grounds around two turns. That January effort propelled him to a start in the second division of the Gr. 2 Risen Star. After a wide trip, he managed to finish second. The addition of top jock Joel Rosario suggests that this one could be live. He’s still a bit green, but the distance should be no issue. Give him a look at a decent price. 2. Mailman Money                Calhoun/G. Saez                    15-1 This son of Goldencents won the first two starts of his career—a sloppy Churchill maiden race and a first-level allowance/optional claimer. In his third start, he was fourth in the second division of the Gr. 2 Risen Star. Mailman Money is a slow-maturing, big, long striding colt. His appreciation for the distance could be a question, but his form is solid. He’s not out of the picture. 3. Wells Bayou                        Cox/Geroux                            8-1 This guy has plenty in his favor: He’s drawn inside; has speed in a race where there isn’t much of that; has a hot rider who’s recently been successful going to the front with mounts for a trainer who’s hitting at a 25% win rate nationwide. Last out, this son of Lookin At Lucky set the pace in the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park before being outrun late by Silver Prospector. That race was this colt’s first start out of four contested over a ‘fast’ track. His trainer was impressed by his final prep breeze of 1:01 1/5 at the Fair Grounds and says distance won’t be an issue. If he’s 8-1 at post time, yours truly is either going to win or lose a bundle.    4. Chestertown                      Asmussen/Velazquez             15-1 Purchased for a whopping $2 million as a 2-year-old, this grey/roan son of Tapit has been favored in each of his four starts. That streak ends Saturday. Last out, he finished second by a mere neck in a first-level allowance race. He’s taking a substantial step up the ladder in here to face GR. 2 foes. He broke maiden in a New York state-bred mile race at Aqueduct in December. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez replaces Asmussen regular Ricardo Santana, Jr. in the irons. Santana continues aboard #13 Silver State, another Asmussen starter. 5. Social Afleet                       Stewart/Beschizza                 50-1 This Louisiana-bred will carry the Pelican State’s flag postward. He won his last start over fellow state-breds in an allowance race. These should prove much tougher. 6. Shake Some Action             Cox/CJ Hernandez                  15-1                 One of two Brad Cox entries in this race, this son of Into Mischief has won two of three starts with improving Beyer Speed Figures. A bit of further improvement is all that’s needed to compete here. His maiden victory came on Fair Grounds turf and was followed by an allowance/claiming score on Fair Grounds dirt. According to his trainer, the distance of the race and Shake Some Action’s pedigree are positives. One drawback is his lack of early speed. 7. Sharecropper                     Stall/M. Mena                                    20-1 A lightly raced son of Pioneerof the Nile, he won the second start of his career at Churchill Downs at a mile and one-sixteenth. His first 3-year-out start produced a fourth placing in an allowance/optional claimer at Fair Grounds. While his Beyer Speed Figures have improved with each start, he still would need to improve quite a bit in here to threaten. Add him to the roster of runners that come from well back in a seemingly pace less field. 8. Royal Act                            Eurton/Cedillo                                   10-1 Two turf starts at age two—a maiden mile win first out and a fifth placing in the Eddie Logan Stakes, also at one mile—led to a try in the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis on the Santa Anita main and a solid, mere three-quarter length defeat by Thousand Words. That was a good effort, his first in blinkers, and, while Thousand Words subsequently disappointed in the San Felipe, that foe was considered a major Derby contender at the time of the Lewis. Royal Act’s trainer says connections have a lot of hope for the American Pharoah colt and that he’s needed maturity. If that’s true, with just three races in the vault, there could be more positive stuff to come. Since his Feb. 1 last race, Royal Act has worked out seriously, with three six furlong and one five furlong moves. Jockey Abel Cedillo is not a household word, but, as those who watch SoCal racing regularly will attest, kid can horseback. Royal Act can be reasonably close to whatever pace develops in the Louisiana Derby. Anything near that 10-1 morning line will look attractive. 9. Portos                                 Pletcher/I. Ortiz, Jr.                8-1 This grey or roan colt by Tapit never has raced less than a mile and one-sixteenth in five lifetime starts. In fact, he began his career in a Saratoga maiden race going a mile and one-eighth. That day, he showed no speed but closed well to be a solid fourth behind Enforceable, who will line up directly to Portos’ right in the gate Saturday. It took Portos three more starts to break maiden but when he did it, he did it right. He won a sloppy Aqueduct event by nearly 11 lengths. That led to a start in the Gr. 3 Withers where he again closed ground late to be a solid third. Trainer Pletcher says this guy needs pace and suggests that the colt, hopefully, will show more speed Saturday. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. currently is one of the hottest riders in the nation. This colt seems like a ‘must use’ in any exotic considerations. 10. Enforceable                      M. Casse/Leparoux                7/2 He’s the lukewarm 7/2 morning-line favorite and that alone screams ‘wide-open event.’ This son of Tapit has made eight starts, the last two at Fair Grounds in the Gr. 3 Lecomte--which he won--and the Gr. 2 Risen Star--where he was raced wide and finished second. He needs a decent early pace to do his best because he’s got no early speed and a steady running style. There doesn’t seem to be much early speed in here and that could make his task difficult. He’s honest, will have no trouble with the distance, and should be respected in here as an in-the-money player with a ‘win’ chance. 11. NY Traffic                          Saffie/L. Saez                          15-1 A mere length and one-quarter behind Modernist in the second division of the Gr. 2 Risen Star, this son of Cross Traffic set a reasonable pace before losing steam in the lane. There’s not much speed in here, so that should help his chances. Before the Risen Star he won a first-level allowance race at a mile and one-sixteenth at Gulfstream. Others seem more attractive wagering propositions but he should be in a decent spot close to the leaders when the real running starts. 12. Lynn’s Map                       M. Casse/Gaffalione              30-1 Following a Churchill Downs maiden score and an optional claiming tally at Fair Grounds, Lynn’s Map was shipped to Oaklawn Park for a shot in the Smarty Jones at one mile. He forced the pace there before fading. Last out, he was far back early and very wide but continued to run on. He finished sixth, beaten four lengths. Assistant trainer David Carroll reports that the Liam’s Map colt is doing “really well.” Jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who rides Saturday, was aboard the colt for his maiden victory. He’s a longshot that needs some pace help and will need a fortunate trip to make a statement in here. Bottom rung exotics a possibility. 13. Silver State                       Asmussen/R. Santana                       6-1 He’s started in both major sophomore Fair Grounds stakes—runner-up in the Gr. 3 Lecomte to Enforceable and third in the Gr. 2 Risen Star behind the now injured Mr. Monomoy and Enforceable. Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen explains that Silver State is a big horse that needed racing. He’s now had four lifetime starts and a sparkling 1:11 3/5 work March 9 under the hood. Trainer Asmussen and jockey Santana click at around a 20% clip, so this guy should get plenty of attention in the wagering. He’s another capable runner that comes from back in the field, so he’ll need to close ground in the lane. It should be noted that his Beyer Speed Figures fit well in here and that each one has equaled or surpassed the previous number. He must be considered as an in the money threat and respected as a possible ‘win’ candidate.   14. Modernist                        Mott/J. Alvarado                   6-1 This steadily improving son of Uncle Mo shocked the second division of the Gr. 2 Risen Star when he scored at nearly 13-1. That tally came on the heels of a mile and one-eighth maiden win at Aqueduct over a ‘good’ track. His division of the Risen Star was slower than the other one, so there’s a bit of a question about his ability. Each of his victories have come with him on or forcing the early pace. There isn’t much speed on board in here, so he might enjoy another comfortable trip. He’s got a horrible post position, but a long run to the first turn helps, so he might be able to get over and save some ground. It’s unusual for a horse to go from a maiden score to a Grade 2 triumph, but it’s even more unusual for a horse to parlay two such wins into a third. Probably will take a slight stand against this one repeating his surprising Risen Star effort.   15 AE. Mr. Big News               Calhoun/Albarado                 20-1 He’ll need a scratch inside the body of the race to get into the gate and then he’ll have to break from the outside. He’s been described as a free-running colt that’s steadily improved. Last out he was fifth, four lengths behind Modernist in the second division of the Gr. 2 Risen Star. He’ll need to do much better to cash in here. 16 AE. Farmington Road        Pletcher/Castellano               12-1 He will need two scratches to get into the body of the field. Even then, he’ll have to break from the far outside and that will make things more difficult. Fresh off a Tampa Bay maiden victory, this son of Quality Road finished fourth in first division of the Gr. 2 Risen Star. A quick pace would aid his cause. He’s not totally out of the picture, but that post would be a killer. Bottom Line: There’s not much early pace in here, so #3 Wells Bayou ought to experience a cherry trip from a cozy inside post. Assumption here is that #11 Ny Traffic and #14 Modernist have enough speed to force the early issue a bit. The former adds blinkers, too, so that should add pace. What happens early will decide what happens late. #14 Modernist ought to be comfortable sitting just off the pace if the inside pair go swiftly. There are several fit and talented runners in here that could upset or complete exotics. Most dangerous of those could be #8 Royal Act, as he should be closest of the closers to the early leaders. #1 Major Fed must be respected from a ground-saving trip in mid-pack. #13 Silver State and #10 Enforceable should be closing, too.     $1.00 Trifecta ($36) First: #3 Second: #1, #8, #10, #13 Third: #1, #2, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14   $.50 Trifecta ($18) First: #1, #8, #10, #13 Second: #3 Third: #1, #2, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12, #13, #14   Race On!

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3.19.2020:

My Louisiana Derby Late Pick 4 Ticket

It’s one extreme to another early on the Fair Grounds Late Pick 4 for Saturday, which ends with the Grade 2 Louisiana Derby. The sequence runs from races 9-12 and in addition to the headliner includes the Grade 2 New Orleans Classic, the Mervin Muniz Memorial Classic and the Fair Grounds Oaks.The Derby, raced at 1 3-16th miles, has a full boat of 14 scheduled to run, and so many entered have a legitimate shot for the victory. Of course, with the rescheduling of the Kentucky Derby to September, this and other springtime preps don’t have the same effect as far as immediate importance for the Triple Crown, but in and of themselves are important races for those with promising sophomores.If you can confidently dive into the New Orleans Classic to start off the Pick 4, I tip my cap. There are so many legit possibilities, and with nine entered, there’s not a bum in the lot. Looks like a good spot for the ALL button.It’s just the opposite in the Fair Grounds Oaks. Finite has won five straight and absolutely romped in the Grade 2 Rachel Alexandria. While this doesn’t necessarily have to be a stroll in the park, her opponents will have to step up their game in a big, big way.Here’s a look at the horses on the ticket for the Louisiana Derby:Major Fed: Has had only three starts, but his second to Modernist in a division of the Risen Star sent the signal that he belongs with this group. Distance should be no problem.Wells Bayou: Another with limited starts but he clearly has talent. He moves over from Oaklawn, where he set the pace and was caught late by Silver Prospector in the Grade 3 Southwest. He’s won half of his four starts and has a good chance to get to the lead.Royal Act: Brings his game from the West Coast, where he has a maiden win and most recently was second to Thousand Words in the Grade 3 Robert Lewis. Looks like he’ll get better with distance, and the American Pharoah colt likely will be fairly close to the pace.Enforceable: Had a rough trip for second against Mr Monomoy in a division of the Risen Star, but he just kept on running. Would almost have to get a better trip this time around.Silver State: The No. 13 post doesn’t do him any favors, but he doesn’t have speed anyway and will have time to get into a better position heading into the first turn. He has trained like a champ since his last one, and don’t be surprised if he gets his first graded win after graded placings in the Risen Strar (third behind Mr Monomoy) and second in the Lecomte (behind Enforceable).Also on the docket is the Muniz Memorial on turf, and Dot Matrix, Instilled Regard and Factor This are worthy of inclusion.Here’s a suggested $67.50 play in Fair Grounds’ late Pick 4 on Saturday:9) ALL (9 horses)10) #1 Dot Matrix, #6 Instilled Regard, #9 Factor This.11) #6 Finite.12) #1 Major Fed, #3 Wells Bayou, #8 Royal Act, #10 Enforceable, #13 Silver State.50-cent Pick 4 ticket: ALL with 1-6-9 with 6 with 1-3-8-10-13 ($67.50).

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3.19.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: March 20 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, which has been easily surpassing the 100k guarantee, and in some cases doubling it. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R9 (5:29 ET) – 4up 8k claimer at 6 furlongs The first race brings to mind the age-old racing adage “pace makes the race,” as there’s a ton of speed here, and therefore I’m playing for a meltdown. And I’m also being a bit bold in the first leg and singling #2 MINERS QUEST (7-2), who might be best anyway, but will only be flattered by the race flow and probably wins this if he can just run back to his 2nd at the level last time, even though he gives every indication he can surpass it, with such a positive race flow. Pk5 A horses: 2 (listed in order of preference) Obviously there’s a decent chance my single doesn’t win, so I want ample backups, but we’ll have to be creative with them because it will cost way too much to play a conventional B-ticket. I’ll use all the logicals; #9 MIDNIGHT CRY (5-2), who is all speed and was just a nose behind ‘Quest last time, and #6 E J’S REVENGE (6-1), along with longshots #8 NO HITTER (12-1), #1 RUNS FOR LUCK (12-1), and #4 MIDNIGHT GAMES (12-1), as well as major underlay #7 HIGH ROLLER (9-2), who looks destined to be a pace casualty but is too sharp not to use on a backup. In order to play this ticket on a budget, I’ll use on my super A’s in the remaining legs, which are as follows: Leg 2: 3Leg 3: 1,4Leg 4: 5,3Leg 5: Pk5 B horses: 9,6,8,1,4,7 Leg 2: Santa Anita R4 (5:37 ET) – 3upfm 50k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs Weird race here, in that #3 RANEEM (9-5) seemingly has to win, but we’ve said that before, especially when she took the MSW drop last time, yet she still couldn’t get it done and is now 0-for-8. Welp, here we are again, and here she is again, as a legitimate stiff favorite in a race she’s supposed to win. I’ve got her on top, and she is my lone super A, but she’s impossible to trust too, so I’m also using MSW dropper #6 ENCHANTING MOVE (8-1), who should like the cutback, and has flashed enough in her two starts to think she can move way up here on the biggest drop in racing. Pk5 A horses: 3,6 I’ll use one backup, #5 BOCHIM (10-1), who is a firster, which can’t be a bad thing here, and Garcia is 2-for-9 with debut runners, which is solid enough, ply Deb (4-1)us this 4-year-old has a slew of works, and also faces a bunch of 3-years-olds as well, which is significant at this time of the year. You could also use #8 Palm d’Oo (4-1), who has the best proven form aside from Raneem, but she was 3 1/2 lengths behind her last time and is another with no upside at 0-for-9. Neither #1 Enriched by Deb (4-1) or #2 Lucky Daughter (8-1) would shock, but they also seem destined to duel each other into the ground. Pk5 B horses: 5 Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:43 ET) – 3yo 16k MCL at 1-mile (turf) This doesn’t look like the typical impossible GP puzzle in the finale, since I don’t think there are too many win candidates, which is why I’ll limit the top line to #1 CUY (3-1), who is lightly raced and improving, and gets a huge post upgrade this time, and #4 DON’T TASE ME BRO (5-2), who drops stiffly in class off his turf debut last time, but also leaves Pletcher and goes to Klesaris, so I’m a little leery, though blinkers-on is a 3-for-7 move for this solid barn. Pk5 A horses: 1,4 If #2 HERO UP (4-1) gets loose he could get brave, but I think there’s some outside speed with #8 Ringle Belle (20-1), which is why he doesn’t make the A-list, though off his last three he has to be used somewhere. If you’re spreading deeper then #9 Fayez (9-2) is next, but at 0-for-14 from a bad draw he can beat me, while ‘Belle isn’t impossible off a wakeup turf debut, and #7 Cab Beef (20-1) wasn’t far behind Cuy last time, albeit at 125-1. Pk5 B horses: 2 Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R4 (5:55 ET) – 3yo 25k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs No strong opinions here, so I’ll use the four I like the best, and call it a day, with #5 ARCHARCH FIRES (10-1) on top for a 21% Howey barn, who is a big 4-for-10 with firsters. The one to beat is clearly MSW dropper #3 EL CENTENARIO (3-1), who has the best form as well but doesn’t look as sharp at one-turn as he does at two, while #6 TIGER THE MAN (4-1) brings some serious Southern California speed, and #10 OLYMPIC SILVER (9-2) was a very fast 3rd at the level on debut before being overmatched against MSW foes last time. Pk5 A horses: 5,3,6,10 Contention runs deep however, so I’m backing up with #9 AWESOME DUDE (7-2), who is not an A because of his lack of speed, and #2 KNOWN (10-1), who was a close 3rd at the level last time but also lacks speed. Pk5 B horses: 9,2 Leg 5: Laurel Park R10 (6:01 ET) – 3yo 10k MCL at 1 1/16* miles Nothing too clever in the last, as I think Aqueduct shipper #1 IHADADREAM (4-1) and #8 JOHNNY JINGLE (3-1) look better than a modest bunch, which is how I’ll play it, especially some of the other main contenders have done their best work off over tracks. Pk5 A horses: 1,8 You could use several here, but I’m just going with #9 INSPIRED OPTIONS (10-1), who stretches out off a closing 4th on debut, and, more importantly, goes off the claim for Gonzalez, which is a huge 30% move. Others with hope include #4 Two Doors Down (6-1), #10 Just Chill Out (8-1), #6 Table Max (10-1), #2 Baby Boy (9-2), and #7 Huntin’ the Rut (10-1), but they all have warts, and many fit under the aforementioned off-track move-up angle. Pk5 B horses: 9 The suggested tickets: Main Ticket: 2 with 3,6 with 1,4 with 5,3,6,10 with 1,8 = $32Leg 1 B Backup: 9,6,8,1,4,7 with 3 with 1,4 with 5,3 with 1,8 = $48Leg 2 B Backup: 2 with 5 with 1,4 with 5,3,6,2 with 1,8 = $16Leg 3 B Backup: 2 with 3,6 with 2 with 5,3,6,2 with 1,8 = $16Leg 4 B Backup: 2 with 3,6 with 1,4 with 9,2 with 1,8 = $16Leg 5 B Backup: 2 with 3,6 with 1,4 with 5,3,6,2 with 9 = $16

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3.19.2020:

It's a Big Change: A Kentucky Derby in September

The Kentucky Derby, this country’s most famous horse race, has been held on the first Saturday in May for decades. It had been scheduled to be run this year on May 2. But as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs has been shifted to Sept. 5. Churchill also announced that this year’s Kentucky Oaks has been moved from May 1 to Sept. 4. You have to go all the way back to 1945 for the last time the Kentucky Derby was not held in May. It was contested on June 6 that year. With legendary jockey Eddie Arcaro aboard, Hoop Jr. defeated 15 foes and won by six lengths on a muddy track for owner Fred W. Hooper and trainer Ivan Parke. Switching the Kentucky Derby to Sept. 5 this year means we will have a different Triple Crown from what had become traditional dates on the calendar for the three races. It had become customary for the Kentucky Derby to be on the first Saturday in May, followed two weeks later by the Preakness Stakes, with the Belmont Stakes then taking place three weeks after the Preakness. “The Derby is, of course, the first leg of the Triple Crown, the most high-profile series of races in American Thoroughbred racing, and rescheduling the Derby to Sept. 5 will have an enormous impact on the remainder of the U.S. racing calendar and the economic performance of competing tracks,” Daily Racing Form’s Matt Hegarty wrote. “That impact is unclear, but if the other hosts of the Triple Crown races decide to stick to the traditional spacing of the events, the Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore would be held on Sept. 19 and the Belmont Stakes in New York on Oct. 10. That is no certainty, however.” Indications are the Preakness Stakes also might be moved to September. As for when the Belmont will be run, in a Daily Racing Form story posted online Tuesday written by David Grening, NYRA president and CEO Dave O’Rourke said, “We’re still just starting the conversation with all the stake holders…We’re at the beginning of assessing it and we won’t have a response for the next few days, maybe next week. There are a lot of things to deal with; this is really important but it falls pretty far back when you consider the immediate issues at hand.” If this year’s Triple Crown does turn out to be different from what we have become accustomed to in terms of the race order and/or spacing, keep in mind it has had different permutations. There have been years in which the Preakness was run before the Kentucky Derby. And how about what occurred in 1917 and 1922? In those two years, the Kentucky Derby and Preakness were held on the same day! When Hoop Jr. captured the Kentucky Derby in 1945, the Triple Crown series was scrunched into a three-week window that year stemming from the United States being in the throes of World War II. In 1945, the Kentucky Derby was run on June 9, the Preakness on June 16 and the Belmont on June 23. In the book “The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes: A Comprehensive History,” Richard Sowers wrote: “Despite Hoop Jr.’s runaway Derby victory, neither Parke nor anyone else was discussing Triple Crown possibilities because of a war-mandated compact schedule.” KENTUCKY DERBY SWITCH TO SEPTEMBER COULD HELP MANY I often have addressed how horses used to be much more experienced going into the Kentucky Derby than has been the case in recent years. Changing the date of this year’s Run for the Roses will allow additional time for 3-year-olds to gain valuable racing experience before they are asked to go 1 1/4 miles on the first Saturday in September. Consider Bob Baffert’s situation. His strength at this time vis-a-vis the 2020 Kentucky Derby is reflected by the fact he trains four horses on my Kentucky Derby Top 10, a list that I have updated this week following the announcement that the race now will be run on Sept. 5. Baffert is the trainer of No. 1 Charlatan, No. 2 Nadal, No. 4 Authentic and No. 9 Thousand Words. Charlatan has raced just twice to date. Nadal and Authentic each have started only three times. Thousand Words has but four races under his belt. I think it’s quite feasible that Charlatan, Nadal, Authentic and Thousand Words all are eligible to benefit from getting a chance to race more prior to a Kentucky Derby that has been moved to September. I especially believe it’s possible the extra time will be a big plus for Charlatan, who is two for two while exhibiting brilliance in his two victories by a combined 16 lengths. It’s one of the reasons I have moved him to the top spot on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. Nadal is three for three. Whereas Charlatan has yet to run in a stakes race, Nadal is a two-time graded stakes winner. Nadal took Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs by three-quarters of a length on Feb. 9 and Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles by the same margin last Saturday. Authentic, like Nadal, is three for three and a two-time graded stakes winner. Authentic has victories in Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 4 and Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7 on his resume. Baffert recently described Charlatan, Nadal and Authentic as “three pretty wicked amigos.” Ain’t it the truth. Even though the Kentucky Derby won’t be run until September this year, it is clear Baffert currently has the ammunition to take a serious run at yet another victory in this race. He has won it five times (Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018). Ben Jones is the only trainer with more Kentucky Derby victories than Baffert. Jones has six such wins to his credit (Laurin in 1938, Whirlaway in 1941, Pensive in 1944, Citation in 1948, Ponder in 1949 and Hill Gail in 1952). As for Thousand Words, I have not totally given up on him, as a number of others seem to have done. He has dropped off many a Top 10 after his disappointing effort in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7 in which he finished fourth, 11 1/4 lengths behind the winner. But the San Felipe was Thousand Words’ first career loss. I do not want to overreact to just one loss. Thousand Words therefore remains on my Top 10. I certainly would not rule out seeing Thousand Words rebound in his next race. Don’t forget the $1 million yearling was good enough to win the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity last year and Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes this year prior to the San Felipe. Along with the Baffert-trained quartet on my Top 10, the Hall of Fame horseman currently has no less than three other possibilities for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby in Eight Rings, High Velocity and Azul Coast. Eight Rings sports some good recent workouts at Santa Anita. He has not started since finishing sixth in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. Eight Rings won the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes by six lengths at Santa Anita prior to the Breeders’ Cup. High Velocity and Azul Coast both had been entered in this Sunday’s Grade II Sunland Derby, but unfortunately that race has been canceled. Winner of the Grade III Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar last Nov. 16, High Velocity ran third in both the Los Al Futurity and the aforementioned Lewis at Santa Anita. Azul Coast finished second in Santa Anita’s Sham Stakes on Jan. 4. He subsequently won the El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Fields on Feb. 15. Speaking of the Sham Stakes, Authentic won that race by nearly eight lengths. He then took the San Felipe by 3 1/4 lengths. By the calendar, if the Kentucky Derby had been held on its original date of May 2, Authentic would have still been a 2-year-old on that date. He’s a May 5 foal. A Kentucky Derby in September definitely could help such a late foal. Honor A.P. is No. 3 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. I felt it was a terrific performance on his part to finish second in the San Felipe in that it was his first start since last Oct. 13, his first race against winners and his stakes debut. Considering Honor A.P. has just three races under his belt at this point, I believe he could become one tough dude for trainer John Sherriffs by the time we get to the first Saturday in September. Baffert, Sherriffs and everyone else must now deal with a Kentucky Derby being held in September for the first time. Baffert had been worried the race would be canceled this year, like so many other sporting events. In a video tweeted by Fred Cowgill, sports director for Louisville’s television station WLKY, Baffert expressed his relief that the Kentucky Derby is still scheduled to be run this year. The white-haired trainer also put the race itself into perspective in relation to the catastrophic coronavirus pandemic. Reacting to a Kentucky Derby now scheduled for Sept. 5, Baffert said: “Changing the date, I know it’s probably not optimal...But at the end of the day, it’s just a horse race. I worry more about the people who have jobs that are losing jobs, people in America. Hopefully this thing will pass. And I’m just for, right now, going along whatever they think [at Churchill Downs]. I’m sure they’re thinking about health comes first. The Derby, at least it’s not canceled.” KENTUCKY DERBY MORE LIKELY FOR MAXFIELD Another 3-year-old who seemingly could benefit -- perhaps significantly so -- from a Kentucky Derby in September instead of May is Maxfield. Thus, I have elevated him to No. 5 this week after he had been No. 7 last week. Maxfield underwent surgery last Nov. 18 in Kentucky for the removal of what had been reported to be a mildly displaced ankle chip. The Kentucky-bred Street Sense colt, trained by Brendan Walsh, had been on a very tight schedule to possibly make a May 2 Kentucky Derby. Now there is plenty of time for Maxfield to be ready for a Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. Last Saturday in Florida at Palm Meadows, Maxfield worked five furlongs in 1:01.80. “He went very good, with a good, strong gallop-out,” Walsh told Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee. After it was announced that the Kentucky Derby has been moved to Sept. 5, Walsh told the DRF, “Obviously, this gives us more time to help prepare him properly.” Jon White's current Top 10 for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby: 1. Charlatan2. Nadal3. Honor A.P.4. Authentic5. Maxfield6. Tiz the Law7. Ete Indien8. Sole Volante9. Thousand Words10. King Guillermo CHARLATAN’S REMARKABLE BEYERS At Santa Anita on Feb. 16, Charlatan was a dazzling maiden winner at first asking when he completed six furlongs in a scorching 1:08.85 to win by 5 3/4 lengths. At that same venue last Saturday, Charlatan stretched out to one mile in sensational fashion. The Kentucky-bred Speightstwon colt won an allowance/optional claiming affair by 10 1/4 lengths in 1:36.24. In the very next race on the Santa Anita card, the 4-year-old filly Ce Ce took the Grade I Beholder Mile by 3 1/4 lengths in 1:37.33. While drawing away from his foes, Charlatan ran the final furlong in :12.90. Ce Ce covered her final furlong in :14.08 while in the process of increasing her lead. Charlatan was credited with a 106 Beyer Speed Figure. Ce Ce recorded a 100 Beyer. What Charlatan has done in his first two career starts from a Beyer Speed Figure standpoint is nothing less than outstanding. Let’s take a look at his first two career Beyers compared to some others: --Charlatan (a 105 in his career debut, then a 106 in 2020) --Justify (a 104 in his career debut, then a 101 in 2018) --Curlin (a 102 in his career debut, then a 99 in 2007) --Pulpit (a 107 in his career debut, then a 108 in 1997) --Formal Gold (a 112 in his career debut, then a 100 in 1996) After Justify’s initial two starts, he won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby before becoming the sport’s 13th Triple Crown winner. Here is something else to ponder. Charlatan registered a 106 Beyer Speed Figure in his second career start. American Pharoah, the 2015 Triple Crown winner, did not record a Beyer higher than 106 until credited with a 109 in his ninth career start, a victory in the Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park. As if the above accolades for Charlatan aren’t enough, his Feb. 16 maiden win was flattered last Sunday when Shooters Shoot won a one-mile maiden special weight race at Santa Anita by 3 1/4 lengths and recorded a 92 Beyer. Shooters Shoot had finished second when no match for Charlatan on Feb. 16. REBEL WIN BY NADAL MERITS PRAISE It is easy for people to rave about a runaway winner like Charlatan in his two races so far. It takes more of a keen eye to recognize just how marvelous Nadal’s performance was last Saturday to take the Grade II Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. Racing on a sloppy track, Nadal won the 1 1/16-mile Rebel by three-quarters of a length in 1:44.97. He received a 96 Beyer Speed Figure. Nadal’s 96 Beyer was 10 below Charlatan’s on the same day. But it took a very special colt to do what Nadal did in winning the Rebel. The strapping Kentucky-bred Blame colt, ridden by Joel Rosario, had to run hard for every step of the race. In this regard, for me, it brought to mind Justify’s victory in the 2015 Preakness. Hall of Famer Mike Smith rode Justify in the Preakness. If the colt had been all alone in front while running the first quarter in :23.11 and half in :47.19, that would have been one thing. But Justify did so while engaged in a fierce head-and-head duel with Good Magic, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male champion of 2017. In other words, regardless of the fractions not being faster than :23.11 and :47.19, it was no leisurely pace being set by Justify. The duel between Justify, the 2-5 favorite, and Good Magic, the 7-2 second choice, continued on for furlong…after furlong…after furlong. Just inside the sixteenth pole, it appeared for a brief moment that Justify was in good shape. He had increased his lead to about a length after finally racing Good Magic into submission. But in the final yards, after Justify had worked so hard to at long last put away Good Magic, the overwhelming favorite had to hold off late charges from both Bravazo and Tenfold. Most horses would have won the battle with Good Magic only to then lose the war. But Justify demonstrated in the Preakness that he was not like most horses. He had enough gas left in the tank approaching the finish to win the war by holding off both Bravazo and Tenfold. While many came away disappointed that Justify did not win by more than he did, Smith was impressed that the colt was able to win despite being “tested more than he ever had been before.” The next day when talking about Justify’s Preakness victory, Smith said to Mike Willman on his radio program Thoroughbred Los Angeles: “It ain’t always pretty. Sometimes you gotta win ugly. Even the great Secretariat got beat. This is a horse who was in a dogfight for a good seven-eighths of a mile and still held off the competition. We should be commending him and not looking at him winning by only half a length. “So many great horses we’ve seen win by a length, a half a length, a nose sometimes. Even the great Zenyatta won most of her races by a nose or a head. It’s just part of it, but people expected [Justify] to draw off and win by 10. Well, he showed more to me than drawing off and winning by 10. That was very impressive for him to get into a dogfight and prevail. We’ve seen him draw off and win so many times that you didn’t know what would happen when someone looked him in the eye.” I consider Nadal’s effort in the Rebel to have been, to a large extent, similarly admirable to Justify’s in the Preakness. In the run to the first turn, Nadal vied for the early advantage with No Parole. No Parole had come into the race having won all three of his career starts by a combined 34 lengths, albeit in races restricted to Louisiana-breds. On the first turn, a fresh American Theorem, who was making his 2020 debut, rushed up to engage Nadal and No Parole for the lead. The preliminary fractions of :22.89 and :46.00 were swift. After being involved in such a hot early pace, both American Theorem and No Parole faltered badly in the final quarter of a mile. American Theorem lost by 27 1/4 lengths. No Parole got beat by 49 lengths. Considering the early pace, Nadal had every right to also throw in the towel in the last quarter of a mile. Yet he came home well enough to win, but not before having to stave off bids from Three Technique and Silver Prospector near the top of the lane, then Excession in deep stretch while he and Excession drew well clear of the rest of the field. Excession gave it a good try at odds of 82-1, but could not pull off the upset. Nadal got the job done as the 9-10 favorite, then also remained in front after the finish while galloping out, which again was impressive after he had to run hard during the entire race. Nadal proved much with this triumph. It was his first race around two turns and on a wet track. He also proved he can succeed when shipping away from his home base at Santa Anita. Charlatan and Nadal both are very talented. Nadal has yet to be tested, while Nadal now is battle-tested after winning both Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 9 and the longer Rebel, each by three-quarters of a length. OAKLAWN PARK, DEL MAR RACETRACK MULL CHANGING STAKES DATES In reaction to the Kentucky Derby being moved to Sept. 5, some tracks are contemplating an adjustment to their stakes schedule. Oaklawn Park’s Grade I Arkansas Derby is scheduled for April 11. Daily Racing Form’s Mary Rampellini reported that Oaklawn’s president, Lou Cella, said the track “has been in discussions with a number of factions to determine the best date for the 1 1/8-mile race.” Cella said with the current landscape of preps all geared to the first Saturday in May, it might make sense to run the Arkansas Derby later in the Oaklawn meeting that currently is scheduled to be adjourned on May 2. “For the horseman with a promising 3-year-old, is it best for him to race on April 11 or race on May 2?” said Cella. Cella said decisions would be made in the near future to allow horsemen time to adjust training schedules. Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen reported that Del Mar officials held discussions on Tuesday “about including a stakes race at its summer meet designed as a prep for the scheduled Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on Sept. 5.” Del Mar has one open stakes race on the dirt for 3-year-olds, the one-mile Shared Belief Stakes, which last year was run on the final Sunday of August. To provide a Kentucky Derby prep, Del Mar could move the Shared Belief and perhaps alter its distance, or create a new race, Andersen wrote. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won the Kentucky Derby four times (Winning Colors in 1988, Thunder Gulch in 1995, Grindstone in 1996 and Charismatic in 1999). He shared some interesting thoughts with Rampellini in terms of the Kentucky Derby being repositioned to Sept. 5. “It’s going to change the dynamics, going to change the field, I think quite a lot,” Lukas said. “I personally don’t think they’ll get 20. A number of things could happen. “Through the summer, as people develop 3-year-olds, a certain amount will fall by the wayside, and for a certain amount, reality will settle in. In April and May, everybody thinks they have a Derby horse. In September, reality may set in. It will sort them out. Some will say, ‘I don’t know if I want to put up $50,000 [to run]. They might get a smaller field, with more of a realistic field as far as handicapping.” JON WHITE"S DERBY STRIKES SITUATION Back in 1999, I developed my Derby Strikes System. It consists of nine key factors. When a horse does not qualify in one of the nine categories, the horse gets a strike. The purpose of the Derby Strikes System is to try and ascertain a horse’s chance to win the Kentucky Derby from both tactical and historical perspectives. But that is when the Kentucky Derby was held on the first Saturday in May. For all intents and purposes, the Derby Strikes System has been rendered inapplicable this year as a result of switching Kentucky Derby from May 2 to Sept. 5. NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 387 Midnight Bisou (32)2. 318 Mucho Gusto3. 283 Zulu Alpha (1)4. 172 Mr Freeze5. 123 Maximum Security (7)6. 108 Combatant7. 97 Serengeti Empress8. 94 Code of Honor9. 60 McKinzie10. 53 Starship Jubilee Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: 1. 350 Authentic (13)2. 346 Tiz the Law (16)3. 337 Nadal (6)4. 211 Ete Indien (1)5. 190 Charlatan (4)6. 160 Honor A.P.7. 121 Sole Volante8. 66 Gouverneur Morris9. 61 King Guillermo10. 55 Mischevious Alex

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3.18.2020:

Eddie Olczyk’s Louisiana Derby Picks: Upset Brewing?

Before we jump into analyzing this race, I just want to ask that all of us horseplayers to stay smart and healthy out there. Thankfully we can bet the races from the Fair Grounds, Santa Anita, Gulfstream, Aqueduct and more with our Xpressbet accounts. Sixteen horses have entered the Grade 2, $1 million Louisiana Derby at the Fair Grounds (only fourteen can start) and among them are nine horses exiting the split divisions of the Grade 2 Risen Star Stakes, which were contested here on February 15.  Modernist, who rode the rail to victory in one of those races, is stuck with Post Position 14 on Saturday, which could severely hinder his chances. As you’re handicapping, be sure to keep an eye on the forecast. Early predictions show on-and-off showers throughout the day Saturday in New Orleans, so just keep that in mind when evaluating the contenders and building your bets. Believe it or not, my picks should hold true rain or shine.  I see plenty of speed signed on for this race. #3 WELLS BAYOU, #11 NY TRAFFIC and #14 MODERNIST want to race on/near the front and a few others have tactical speed and can race just behind them.  Those are the horses I’m going to build my bets around.  #7 SHARECROPPER is a 20/1 outsider on the morning line but I think he has a huge chance here. Two starts ago he broke his maiden at Churchill Downs in a key race that produced next out winners Sounion, Excession and Banks Island. If the name Excession looks familiar, he just finished second at odds of 82/1 behind Nadal in the G2 Rebel Stakes. In SHARECROPPER’s comeback race on February 15, I think he was too close to the pace in a slowly run race. Moreover, when it came time to run he found himself hemmed in behind horses without clear sailing for most of the stretch. With a better trip on Saturday, I expect a much better result. My hope is that the speed horses are sent to the lead and SHARECROPPER’s jockey, Miguel Mena, sits back and makes one big run. If he’s able to avoid traffic and find racing room at the right time, I think he has a big chance.I’m going to use SHARECROPPER alongside some of the other tactical horses - #2 MAILMAN MONEY (15/1), #8 ROYAL ACT (10/1) and #9 PORTOS (8/1). Betting Strategy: $10 Win, Place, Show: SHARECROPPER ($30) $1 Trifecta Box: SHARECROPPER, MAILMAN MONEY, ROYAL ACT, PORTOS ($24) $10 Exacta Key: SHARECROPPER over MAILMAN MONEY, ROYAL ACT, PORTOS ($30) Eddie’s Picks #7 SHARECROPPER #2 MAILMAN MONEY #8 ROYAL ACT #9 PORTOS

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3.16.2020:

Monday, March 16: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has a 10-race card scheduled to start the week. The Early 0.20 Pick 5 kicks-off the card. That sequence has a $75,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 17-Tymal Riggs (9/2)-Makes 3rd lifetime start and has been racing from the back. But it might be time to be used more aggressively from the start and a short field doesn't hurt chances.8-Victor Invictus (5/2)-Could leave to get a good seat because there isn't a lot of gate speed that has shown up so far in this field. Has the ability to pass foes, so may duck and then pull to roll by down the lane.Race 26-Miss Rockadali (7/2)-Has finished 2nd in last 3 starts and each time was used hard off the gate. In a spot now to get the top or the 2-hole behind #7 without much strain and that could lead to a picture.7 Lucky Player (9/5)-Makes 1st start for new barn after snagging a sharp win from the 9-hole against 6 from this field. Looks like a major player again.Race 35-Morraly Flexible (6-1)-Just missed in last after grabbing the lead early in the mile. That was a different tactic that almost worked and will use right back.10-Major Muscle (5-1)-Best to respect even from this post because this could be the field to capture an overdue win as long as McClure provides a sharp steer.Race 41-Traveller (5-1)-Muscle Mass colt comes off a good qualifier and could win right out of the box in a field without a standout.3-Gamblin Road (9/5)-Makes 2nd start of the year and raced well in the back half on 3-6. Looks like Henry can put in play early in the mile and be in striking distance at the top of the lane.7-Tymal Tarot (8-1)-Didn't accomplish much as a freshman but comes off 2 qualifiers and the last was a sharp effort. Trainer hands the lines to McClure and at 8-1 in the ML is well worth a swing.Race 51-Osborne Seelster (5-1)-1 for the last 39 is a reason to avoid but not being all in on the ML chalk leads me to include from the rail. Should be sitting close to the lead and could use one big move down the lane.3-Phill The Thrill (6-1)-There is no doubt Phil likes to roll late and he is a threat but is trip dependent. Has the speed to win at a square price.4-Dovuto Hanover (12-1)-Makes 1st start since 12-15 and has done well here in the past. Taking a swing at this price and the connections can fire hot off the bench. Did race the back half in 55.4 in 3-12 qualifier.9-White Hair Rocks (5/2)-My thinking is McNair leaves and could get the top without using up a lot of gas. If he can steal a soft quarter this guy knows how to win. Only 1-13 at Wbsb is a concern and will use but shoot for a better return.My Ticket Race 1) 7,8 Race 2) 6,7 Race 3) 5,10 Race 4) 1,3,7 Race 5) 1,3,4,9Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.16.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (March 9-15): Ce Ce

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.March 9-March 15, 2020MVP: Ce CeOwner: Bo Hirsch LLCTrainer: Whitey McCarthyJockey: Victor EspinozaPerformance: California welcomed a rising star in the Distaff division as Ce Ce captured the week’s only Grade 1 race, the $400,000 Beholder Mile on March 14 at Santa Anita, and did so with authority. She overpowered previous Grade 1 winners Hard Not to Love and Ollie’s Candy by 3-1/4 lengths. It marked the first stakes win for the daughter of Elusive Quality and improved her record to 2-for-2 on her 4-year-old season. Ce Ce is half-sister to millionaire earner Papa Clem, winner of the Arkansas Derby and San Fernando (who also raced for owner Bo Hirsch).On Tap: A campaign toward the Breeders’ Cup Distaff would be in order as the long-range goal for 2020. Timing-wise, she won Saturday on the same day the local prep was run for Oaklawn’s April 18 Grade 1 Apple Blossom, so she would fit there in terms of spacing. The April 25 Grade 2 Santa Margarita would be next up on the Santa Anita stakes schedule within the division, with the Grade 2 Santa Maria to follow May 30.Honorable Mentions: It was a tight call this week and difficult to deny Serengeti Empress. Last year’s Kentucky Oaks winner dominated the March 14 Grade 2 Azeri Stakes at Oaklawn by more than 6 lengths. You certainly could make additional cases for Bob Baffert’s unbeaten pair of 3-year-olds Nadal and Charlatan. They equally impressed with Nadal winning the March 14 Grade 2 Rebel at Oaklawn and Charlatan dominating a March 14 Santa Anita allowance cast for his second eye-catching victory. Finally, 8-year-old Nun the Less easily won the March 14 Kentucky Cup Classic for the second straight year, defeating the last two winners of Turfway’s signature Jeff Ruby in the process.

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3.15.2020:

Sunday, March 15: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileToday’s Golden Hour Double Analysis: View VideoRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Shooters Shoot; 5-Yeng Again; 8-Seize the DayForecast: Seize the Day may not be Charlatan, Nadal, or Authentic, but he’s trained like he has some ability and appears fit and ready for a big effort first crack out of the box in this mile maiden affair for 3-year-olds. The son of Carpe Diem will need to negotiate a good trip from his outside draw and if he’s able to the B. Baffert-trained colt should be highly competitive and maybe even more than that. Shooters Shoot was no match for Charlatan (who is?) when second beaten nearly six lengths with a career top speed figure last month. The son of Competitive Edge won’t find anything that good in here, but is questionable over a distance of ground, having been beaten 22 lengths in his only previous try around two-turns. From the rail he could become the controlling speed. Yeng Again was knocked down to 4/5 in his debut but despite having every chance the length of the lane simply couldn’t get by Silent Fury (who returned to finish last behind Charlatan yesterday). He’s another son of Carpe Diem and certainly has a right to move forward off the race but may find this stretch out to a mile somewhat problematic. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics in a tough, contentious affair.RACE 2: Post 1:33 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Ruby Bradley; 2-WinsinfashionForecast: Ruby Bradley, a stakes winner in her younger days, finished a close third at this level last month but was a voided claim and returned to the S. Miyadi barn. She’s in a similar spot today after working satisfactorily at Los Alamitos and is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from her rail post. A two-time winner over the local main track, the daughter of Grazen seems the logical top pick. Winsinfashion adds blinkers for the first time, stretches out, and seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics under A. Cedillo. If she can get loose, she should take this field a long way. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Ruby Bradley.RACE 3: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: B+Single: 1-Brickyard RideForecast: Brickyard Ride appeared headed to a victory when he ducked in sharply at the head of the lane and lost his rider in a starter’s allowance turf miler in January. Freshened since then and sporting a good work tab that includes two bullet drills, the son of Clubhouse Ride shortens to a dirt sprint and should be quick enough to be on or near the lead throughout from his rail post position. He’s the logical top pick at 9/5 on the morning line and a short price rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post 2:37 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Too Much Heaven; 3-Biddy DukeForecast: Too Much Heaven is a first-off-the-claim for P. Eurton, returns to dirt, shortens to a sprint, and switches to J. Rosario. The daughter of Twirling Candy has rising speed figures, broke her maiden over this main track last fall, and may be quick enough to be on or near the lead throughout despite her rail draw. Biddy Duke is re-equipped with blinkers, returns to the mid-level claiming ranks, and will help ensure a quick pace. First or second in six of 12 career starts, the daughter of Bayern has only one way to go, on the lead from start to finish. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Too Much Heaven.RACE 5: Post 3:09 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-New Year New Me; 3-Swingn It; 4-Tiz Curvy; 9-Midnight GardenForecast: Here’s another tough affair, a bottom-rung maiden claimier for older fillies and mares. We’ll spread four deep but otherwise sit it out. New Year New Me, a first-off-the-claim for V. Cerin, makes her first start in almost a year and could easily be better than shown this time around. The work tab isn’t fancy but it’s healthy and we’re expecting the daughter of Creative Cause to flash improved early speed in a race that really doesn’t have much. Swingn It has hit the board in two of three starts (she lost her rider in the other outing) and while slow on speed figures she at least appears to be a trier. The J. Sadler-trained homebred is a contender pretty much by default. Tiz Curvy and Midnight Garden are first-timers that might fit at this level. The former looked decent in a recent training track drill (third fastest of 43) while the latter shows a few recorded workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that indicate some ability. Tread lightly here.RACE 6: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Saddle Bar; 2-Temple Knights; 6-Jen Go UnchainedForecast: Saddle Bar earned a good figure when winning here two runs back but most recently failed to fire when sent north over the all-weather surface. These are his friends, he’s reunited with “win rider” A. Cedillo, and with a clean break from the rail should draft into an ideal pace-stalking/pressing position. In another spread affair, we’ll give him a very slight edge on top. Jen Go Unchained exits a much tougher race and drops a notch while remaining above his claim level. His win two races back over this track and distance charts very well in this modest restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claimer. Temple Knights makes a major jockey switch to F. Prat and shortens up a furlong and a half to what might be his favorite distance. With some help up front his late kick makes him a major player and a “must use.”RACE 7: Post 4:12 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Rather Nosy; 3-Ava’s CharmForecast: Ava’s Charm and Rather Nosy had the misfortune of facing subsequent Beholder Mile-G1 winner Ce Ce last time out and considering the strength of the race did well to finish second and third, respectively. Both figure strongly today, with ‘Charm the quicker of the two and clearly the one to catch. ‘Nosy projects to enjoy a good stalking trip and is certain to offer better wagering value (she’s 6-1 on the morning line, ‘Charm is 8/5). We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while recognizing that ‘Charm will be hard to run down.RACE 8: Post 4:44 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Chalky; 6-Diamond of ValueForecast: There’s enough early speed to set things up for the late runners in the Sunday finale, a restricted (nw-2) bottom-rung claimer for fillies and mares. Diamond of Value drops sharply from a starter’s $50,000 allowance event to this $12,500 seller and also has the route-to-sprint angle that should suit her well. With anything close to her best race the veteran mare will be tough to contain in the final furlong. Chalky, away since October and dropping to her lowest level ever while picking up F. Prat, is another that does her best when held up early and allowed to run late. She has several back speed figures that would beat this field if repeated. We’ll give Diamond of Value a slight edge on top but use both in our rolling exotics.

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3.15.2020:

March 15: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Pompano Park 0.50 Pick 4 has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout. The sequence begins in Race 6 and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-Sir Bradford (6-1)-Starts inside of main foes and has been competitive at this level. Simons can work a good trip from this post and should be in the hunt at the wire.5-IRA Chief (4-1)-Was used a couple of times in last and has been a bridesmaid in 3 starts at this class. 11-year-old likes to finish 2nd but could look to get on the engine and is in a spot to take a picture versus this crew.6-Sporty Redhot (8-1)-Drops after a needed start which came after a sick scratch and had been off since 2/12. The 8-1 morning line is appealing, fits here and Fenn might blast out to get an upfront seat.7-Spanish Art (3-1)-Won last while coming from almost 10 lengths back at the 1/2 after leaving from post 7. Might try to follow a similar script tonight and quick pace would help chances.Race 72-Always Glorious (5-1)-Takes a bump up in class and is coming off a 2 sharp wins. Plano is back in the bike and his barn is winning at a 26% win rate over the past 30 days.4-Mac Anover (4-1)-Got the 2-hole in last versus straight Open company and finished right behind a well meant winner. Has taken 2 pictures in 7 starts which is more than last year in 37 tries and is in a spot to take top honors again.Race 83-Hot Art (4-1)-Beaten 4/5 chalk deserves another chance and now Plano returns which could make a difference. 11-year-old may have lost something off his fast ball but should be in the hunt.4-Oberlin (2-1)-Tried to rally in last when raised to this level but tepid pace hurt chances. Hennessey will work a trip from this post as he probably won't be blasting out to the top. Looks like a player but offers no value.5-Late Night Joke (4-1)-Drops and Simons may look to leave and get the top or the 2-hole. Likes to win and best to respect.Race 92-Byby Landon (3-1)-Makes 3rd start for new barn and now Hennessey takes the lines. May try to get the top and make every call a winning one.7-Superior Raven (15-1)-Tossing last after being hung out to dry in 53.3 half but, Plano steers tonight and another aggressive start could be in the cards. Will take a swing at 15-1 in the morning line and look for a price.8-Pointsman (7-1)-Drops to softest spot in quite a while. Can beat this crew but Meittinis has to work the right trip. If 10-year-old is dialed on high he might be able to leave fastest of all and is another interesting price shot.0.50 Pick 43,5,6,7/2,4/3,4,5/2,7,8Total Bet=$36Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.14.2020:

Saturday, March 14: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has a 9-race card set to roll with the Late 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Spunky Bottom Girl (9/2)-Comes off an easy win versus NW1500 and takes a few steps up. Winner of >$52k in 2019 knows how to win and is in a spot to trip out. Likes to race close to the top of the stack and Oosting can put in play.5-Pine Dream (2-1)-Drops out of Open company in 3rd local start. Has had trouble finishing miles but this is a soft spot. Using but can't completely trust so looking to others as well that could help the Pick 4 payout.6-Double A Cash Hall (5-1)-9-year-old drops to a better level but will need an improved effort in 4th Haw start. Todd Warren's choice and he takes a spin for the 1st time which shouldn't hurt chances.8-Pepin Coolie (9-1)-7-year-old makes 2nd start of sophomore season and steps up after a 3rd place finish. Can makes some noise versus this field if Leonard works the right trip.Race 71-Dirt E Rock (8/5)-Has won from the rail and the 9-hole in first 2-lifetime starts and looks a notch above the others tonight.Race 81-Lakeside Buddy (9-1)-Oosting's choice over #3 was a sick scratch last week. Looks to be worth a swing at 9-1 and can be put in play from the rail. Using and hoping the price is at least the morning line odds.6-Fast Track (9-1)-Makes 2nd start on Lasix and comes off an improved effort last week. Upswing could continue at a juicy price.8-Toxic Rock (7/2)-Leaves once again from the 8-hole in search of 3rd straight picture. Game 4-year-old rolled off cover and smoked the 2nd half in .56. Should be in the mix but has missed a start.Race 91-Blissful Pansy (20-1)-Only 1-27 past 2 years but has won 8 of 42 at Haw. Had an even effort in 1st start off the bench but did race the last half in .57 and Bates chooses over the #7.2-Danger Strike (7/2)-Didn't have much pop in 1st local start but was off 13-days. Fits here and looking for better after a start at the track.3-Tarport Belle (7-1)-Ridge Warren's choice over #8 has beaten better at this meet. Could be put in play early versus this kind and should be in the mix at a fair price.5-Windsun Brooklyn (9/5)-Team Leonard entry had a nice try in 1st local start and now steps up a notch. Looks like a player but not a standout 9/5 choice.My Ticket Race 6) 1,5,6,8 Race 7) 1 Race 8) 1,6,8 Race 9) 1,2,3,5Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.14.2020:

Saturday, March 14: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Majestic Diva; 3-Sheza FactorForecast: Majestic Diva just demolished a $12,500 field by almost 10 lengths and earned a giant speed figure that if repeated today will be more than good enough to win right back despite the two-level class hike. She’s had plenty of time to recover from the effort, has trained nicely since, and offers wagering value at 3-1 on the morning line if you can get it. Sheza Factor might be worth tossing in as a saver. A two-time winner over the local main track, she’s a first-off-the-claim play for V. Garcia and projects to be the controlling speed.RACE 2: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: B+Use: 5-Quick Finish; 6-Black StormForecast: Despite failing to change leads in the stretch, Black Storm drew away with complete authority to win a $20,000 claimer two weeks ago and did so with a speed figure that makes him double tough right back despite the raise into the first-level state-bred allowance ranks. He has the proper style for this extended sprint distance in a field without much speed, so we’ll put the G. Stute-trained gelding on top and hope to get close to his morning line of 3-1. Quick Finish can be used as a back-up or a saver. The D. Blacker-trained gelding has been away since last May but is training quite well and should fire a big shot fresh. He has enough early speed to be in the first flight – maybe even in front – and given that type of trip could get brave.RACE 3: Post 1:59 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Big Sweep; 2-Approved for Flyby; 3-Loud Loud MusicForecast There are lots of question marks in this maiden state bred sprint for fillies and mares, so we’ll include three in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out. Big Sweep lands F. Prat for her debut and this $40,000 yearling by Mr. Big sports a steady if unspectacular series of workouts that should have her plenty fit. Approved for Flyby a daughter of Vronsky, has a six furlong 1:13.2h workout last month that catches the eye for capable veteran trainer E. Truman and should be a live item on the tote. Loud Loud Music has a brief work tab at Los Alamitos that looks intriguing for S. Miyadi, whose debut runners rarely are advertised in the a.m. The daughter of Tizbud could easily be much better than the moderate workout times might indicate.RACE 4: Post 2:31 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Kadesh; 6-Big Hoof DynamiteForecast: Kadesh just won a maiden $30,000 claimer by more than 13 lengths and earned a speed figure that makes him a solid fit for new connections in this starter optional claimer. The son of Karakontie probably won’t get the soft pace pressing trip that he just enjoyed so he still has something to prove, but we’re thinking that the H. Palma-trained colt, who has produced a forward move in each of his five career starts, will be able to step forward once again. Big Hoof Dynamite also is improving and actually won a photo from Kadesh when they met two races back. He’s reunited with “win rider” F. Prat and should settle into a good stalking position outside and have every chance from the quarter pole home. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Kadesh.RACE 5: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Li’l Grazen; 4-Songofthedesert; 10-Win OftenForecast: Li’l Grazen, away since January of 2019, returns protected in a sign of confidence by trainer P. Miller, attracts hot-riding U. Rispoli, and shows a strong, healthy work tab at San Luis Rey Downs. Most effective as a late-running sprinter, she catches a field with plenty of heat to compliment her style and at this extended sprint trip seems capable of producing the last run. Win Often is drawn comfortably outside and should draft into an ideal second flight, stalking position. She’s back on dirt after earning a career top number when second on grass last time out. Songofthedesert, first off the claim for J. Wong (a massive 36% with this angle), vans down from the Bay Area and is clearly well-meant while being raised into the allowance ranks. She appears to be the most dangerous of the speed types and will take them as far as she dan.RACE 6: Post 3:35 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Great Power; 6-CharlatanForecast: Charlatan earned a triple-digit, Grade-1 quality speed figure in his runaway debut maiden win and today removes blinkers, moves up a notch in class and stretches out to a mile. We’ll find out what he’s made in this highly-competitive first-level allowance event, because also in the field is a colt with a similar resume, Great Power a visually highly-impressive maiden first-out winner in fast time during the fall season, training superbly for his comeback, and stretching out to a distance he’s seems certain to enjoy. In a race matching two colts with classic aspirations, it’s a good one to watch but perhaps not a great one to bet on. We’ll pass but include both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Charlatan.RACE 7: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: B+Use: 6-Ollie’s Candy; 7-Ce CeForecast: Ce Ce tries two turns for the first time - she was fourth in the Acorn S.-G1 at a one turn mile last year - and based on her comeback win looks capable of being up to the task in a terrific edition of the Beholder Mile-G1 for older fillies and mares. The daughter of Elusive Quality could not have been more impressive beating a lesser field in a common gallop and has trained superbly since. We’re projecting the M. McCarthy-trained filly to settle in mid-pack outside and then turn on the pressure from the top of the lane to the wire. Ollie’s Candy is the most dangerous of the closing types and if she gets some help up front could easily blow past everybody in the final furlong. The daughter of Candy Ride, away since finishing a respectable fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff-G1 in November, switches to F. Prat and appears ready to embark on a terrific 5-year-old season. We’ll sink or swim in rolling exotic play using these two and then have extra tickets keying Ce Ce on top.RACE 8: Post 4:39 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Blazing Charm; 6-Our RomanceForecast: Our Romance has much in her favor while dropping into a maiden claimer for the first time and the P. D’Amato-trained filly, after hitting the board in three of her last four races when facing tougher straight maiden foes should greatly appreciate this easier task. She’s also shortening up to a sprint and switching to the main track, so under these more favorable conditions the daughter of Archarcharch seems very likely to produce a winning effort. There’s value here at 5/2 on the morning line if you can get it. Blazing Charm is a sneaky first-timer from an outfit that does well with debut runners, and with F. Prat taking the call the daughter of James Street may be a bit better than her moderate workout times might lead one to believe. At 8-1 on the morning line she’s worth including on a ticket or two as a saver.

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3.13.2020:

Friday, March 13: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight the 0.20 Pick 4 at Cal Expo begins in Race 8. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout, and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 86-Cenalta Glory (9/2)-Comes off a rough trip versus better last week. Has a big shot to win if races back to 2/28 start when she drew off by 5 in 1:53. Drops and has won 10 of 25 at CalX, looks like a player at a square price.7-Magnifique (2-1)-Has been trying hard and now drops in 3rd start off the bench. Team Plano entry should be in it from start to finish but won't offer any value.Race 91-Bettor In The Bank (3-1)-Has been facing tougher and drops again looking for a picture. Kennedy's pick over #4 and winner of 23 out of 59 CalX starts might have found a spot to wake up.2-Fox Valley Hoss (10-1)-Plano's choice over #3 has raced well versus better. Plano has had success with this 6-year-old in the past, using and hoping the morning line accurately represents the post time odds.9-Bunkerhill Bill (7/2)-Has been in the hunt while racing up at NW3500 and now may be in a spot to seal the deal. There isn't much gate speed, Roberts will likely leave and could get the top rather easily. Should fare better at this level.Race 105-Timetoplaythegame (3-1)-Beat 4 from this field last week off an advantageous trip. Kennedy's choice over #6, which he had driven to 2 straight wins, should be forwardly placed and is threat to win right back.7-Mister Hat (7/2)-Plano left last week and couldn't hold on for the win. This time he could look to duck and come off cover. Mister needs the right trip and is camera shy but best to respect versus this crew.Race 114-Stylemaster (10-1)-Offers a price and will need everything to fall in place but Plano can provide a sharp steer. Looking for this veteran to race close to the top and then make one big move down the lane.5-Ethan Hanover (5/2)-Drops to the basement but it's hard to be confident because 11-year-old has trouble passing foes down the lane. Should be in the hunt but will also look to others with more value.8-Sin Machqueen (6-1)-Has been off since 1/3 and tuned-up with a nice qualifier last week. 0-7 in Sacramento but is fresh and drops into a soft spot. Fits with this bunch as long as Cutting provides a smooth journey.My Ticket Race 8) 6,7 Race 9) 1,2,9 Race 10) 5,7 Race 11) 4,5,8Total Ticket Cost) $7.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.13.2020:

My Rebel Stakes Late Pick 4 Ticket

It gets serious Saturday at Oaklawn Park as promising 3-year-olds run in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes, but that’s just part of an outstanding late Pick 4.It starts in the eighth race with the Essex Handicap for older horses and follows with the Grade 2 Azeri for fillies and mares, the Rebel Stakes and a tremendous maiden race to end the day.This week’s Pick 4 attempt goes with a 4x2x5x4 scenario for an $80 ticket.Here’s a look at the main combatants in the headliner – the Rebel Stakes, which carries a $1 million purse:Nadal: The Bob Baffert runner needs to answer the same question all 3-year-olds face: Can he get the distance. His maiden sprint at 6.5 furlongs showed what observers expected. He won in 1:15 4-5 and followed that up in the Grade 2 San Vicente, when he won by three-quarters after being eyeballed through fast fractions. Being by Blame and out of a Pulpit mare, it’s likely that Nadal can a distance but he faces his strongest test.Basin: Steve Asmussen doesn’t seem to runout of starts, and this one makes his 1st since he romped in the Grade 1 Hopeful at Saratoga in September. After losing his debut by a nose, he cruised in his next two. He’s bred to run long and on the front end. This is a tough task in his first one back, but he clearly has the talent.Silver Prospector: Rallied well and was in plenty of time in the Grade 3 Southwest, and since his win in the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November, he’s been good at his new running style. Asmussen has him in top form and he could get the dream trip, considering the amount of speed in this one.Three Technique: Has been on a steady arch of improvement and ran a good second in the Smarty Jones. That was his first one around two turns and he could benefit from having had the quality start over this strip.American Theorem: Was second in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes (named after his sire) and has been since September. Clearly he’s talented and ran a good race but is coming in off a long string of works only. He finished six lengths ahead of Storm the Creek, who came out of that race and won the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.Here’s a suggested play in the Oaklawn Park late Pick 4 on Saturday: Race 8) #1 Guest Suite, #2 Night Ops, #4 Bankit, #6 Snapper Sinclair. Race 9) #4 Lady Apple, #5 Serengeti Empress. Race 10) #1 Nadal, #3 Basin, #4 Silver Prospector, #6 Three Technique, #8 American Theorem. Race 11) #5 Cynical Girl, #6 Sacred Union, #10 Weekend Fun, #12 Tipsy Gal.Total Ticket Cost) 1,2,4,6/4,5/1,3,4,6,8/5,6,10,12 = $80 for $0.50.

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3.12.2020:

2020 Rebel Stakes Analysis

Below is one man’s horse-by-horse analysis of the Rebel Stakes with a suggested wager. Handicapping the Rebel Stakes with Johnny D Post/Horse Name Trainer/Jockey ML Odds 1. Nadal Baffert/Rosario 5/2He’s the probable race favorite off two wins in two Santa Anita tries—an impressive maiden win and a Grade 2 San Vicente score. In the latter, at seven furlongs, he dueled with Ginobili, a talented sprinter, through torrid early fractions and had enough in the tank to hold that one (and everyone else, including 2-year-old Champ Storm the Court) safe. It’s always dangerous to put all of one’s wagering eggs into a single equine basket that hasn’t yet gone two-turns, but when Hall-of-Fame trainer Baffert is the one holding the basket, concessions are made. Nadal’s clearly the one to beat. Jockey Joel Rosario probably will hustle Nadal to the lead and save ground throughout while having plenty for the stretch run. 2. Excession Asmussen/Baze 30-1The least regarded of three Steve Asmussen-trained runners in here, Excession will be making his ninth start. He lists a maiden victory to his credit but has finished seventh and eighth in his last two starts against graded stakes competition. A win would be a huge surprise. Any chance he might have would be helped by a fast early pace to compliment his closing style. 3. Basin Asmussen/Castellano 3-1One of two in here making an initial 3-year-old start. Basin’s record is solid, although it lacks two turn experience. Otherwise, a nose second first out in mid-June at Churchill is the only thing keeping Basin from being unbeaten in three starts. After a Saratoga maiden triumph, Basin absolutely dominate the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at the Spa. He hasn’t been seen since. Connections probably figure that a start Saturday and a return in the Arkansas Derby will be enough to have him prepared and in the gate on the first Saturday in May. Basin’s works have been serious for a trainer who doesn’t normally ask for much in the morning—a :59 1/5 five furlongs on February 25, and a 1:12 on March 2, both at Fair Grounds emphasize the point. This son of Liam’s Map was touted in this corner as a suitable option in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 at 39-1 odds. He appears to have the right style for this—just off the pace---now let’s see if he can make that critical developmental step from two to three. 4. Silver Prospector Asmussen/R. Santana, Jr. 7/2Plenty of experience in his corner, as this will be his ninth start. He’s won three of those, including the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill Downs and the Southwest at Oaklawn last out, His style is to come from off the pace and he should have plenty to chase in here. Trainer/jockey onnections couldn’t be better than Asmussen/Santana, Jr. Silver Prospector doesn’t usually draw much attention at the windows—5/2 is the shortest price he’s ever been and he’s never been favored. Because of his talent, style and connections he has to be respected in here as a serious in-the-money player. 5. No Parole Amoss/Talamo 8-1Here’s an interesting runner. He’s a Louisiana-bred who’s been odds-on while facing fellow bayou-bros in three races. He’s unbeaten, untied and unscored upon—never behind another horse at any call. In those three races, his winning margins total 34 lengths! How good is he? Tradition predicts that these types almost always have a hard time staying afloat in deeper waters. Is this Violence colt an exception to the rule? We’d have to go against him. Foes he will face Saturday are different animals than he’s previously conquered. Still, he adds intrigue (and some pace) to an already interesting race. 6. Three Technique J. Englehart/L. Saez 7/2Here’s one of those talented types that seems just a bit below the top of the crop. He’s got two wins in five starts, with two seconds. Last out, in his first stakes try in the Smarty Jones, He was a reputable second behind Gold Street—a foe he meets again in here. Three Technique has been popular with horseplayers and favored in each of five starts, never more than 2-1. That streak ends Saturday as the water gets much deeper for him. He tries, though, and may be ignored on the tote. Could be a sneaky exotic play. 7. Coach Bahe Bauer/Sanjur 30-1This son of Take Charge Indy broke his maiden in the mud last out in his third start. He adds Lasix for this race. Off such a limited resume he ought to be a huge price. 8. American Theorem Papaprodomo/Pereira 6-1The other runner making a soph debut in the Rebel, this son of American Pharoah has a maiden win and a runner-up finish to his credit. The latter came against Eight Rings in the Grade 1 American Pharoah at Santa Anita, six lengths behind the winner and two and one-quarter lengths in front of the eventual 2-year-old Champ Storm the Court. He was being pointed toward the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, but an issue prevented him from running. That’s not much history to go on, so horseplayers are left guessing. He has been working well at Santa Anita. If you’re looking to embrace a new face, this could be your guy. As we saw in the Tampa Bay Derby last week, horses making their first starts at three sometimes can show amazing development. The difference between that race and the Rebel, however, is that the competition in this event runs much deeper. Also, being drawn in the outside number eight post position doesn’t help. Bottom Line: #1 Nadal, clearly, is the one to beat. He is trying two turns for the first time, but he’s got the rail, speed, a top jockey and Hall-of-Fame trainer in his corner. Lots to like. #4 Silver Prospector is the most logical runner-up. He’s got a nice mid-pack style and likes the track and distance. Two new faces in here #3 Basin and #8 American Theorem are interesting exotic ticket options. #6 Three Technique is a consistent, hard-trying sort. $2 Trifecta ($18)#1#3, #4, #8#3, #4, #6, #8 Beat the Host Concludes 15th Successful Season Last Saturday marked the end of the 15th season of Xpressbet’s Beat the Host handicapping competition. Scott Shore won the $5,000 top prize in the Championship event and led all players with $194.50 in earnings based on 10 $5 win wagers in competition races. Karla Hilbert was second with $181.50 in earnings and collects a $2,500 prize. John Voyda finished third at $175 for a $1,500 additional payoff. Darrell Mirro rounds out prize earners with $166.50 in earnings good for a $1,000 prize. Shore was fourth halfway through Saturday’s event, briefly took the lead, and then rallied from second in the final race to claim the top prize. #1 She’s Our Charm won the ninth race from Santa Anita and final competition race to return $29 for a $5 wager. Hilbert also used that score to advance from fourth to second and Voyda moved from sixth to third. Darrell Mirro, who led into the final race, held on for fourth. Jason Wesley’s total cumulative earnings of $679.50 were enough to make her the first ever to collect that Beat the Host honor and a $5,000 first prize. Steven Jones finished second with $605.50, worth $2,500. Stephan Stange was third at $580.50 and John Moravec fourth at $564. Those finishes were worth $1,500 and $1,000, respectively. 17 players each won $176.47 as reward for sweeping hosts in all nine weeks. Perhaps, though, this season’s Most Valuable Player award should go to Kevin McFarland. He won two weekly awards at a $1,000 each. It’s rare enough for a player to win two shares of weekly prizes in a single season. One of the outstanding features of Beat the Host is that prizes are so widely distributed. This season, Beat the Host had 51 different prize winners, with none of the top four in the Championship Round having previously won a prize. Just one of the top four cumulative earnings finishers had previously won a share of a weekly prize—Stephen Stange was third Feb. 1. And, just one Sweep the Host prize winner also had won a share of a weekly prize—Bruce Barton finished second Feb. 22. Xpressbet would like to thank everyone that played Beat the Host and remind you that, in addition to additional handicapping tournaments presented in conjunction with Santa Anita, the next Xpressbet competition is Xpressbet LIVE Saturday, March 21. Registration is free and begins March 16, 2020. See you then! Race On! 

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3.12.2020:

Rebel Stakes Headlines Big Saturday of Racing

Few things are as excited – and potentially rewarding – as being a horseplayer in the spring. Every week, there is something big to play. Last weekend, it was the Santa Anita Handicap, Tampa Bay Derby and Gotham Stakes. This weekend? The Rebel Stakes, Beholder Mile and Jeff Ruby Steaks take center stage. My focus in this article is on the Oaklawn card, which attracted Bob Baffert’s potential star shipper Nadal, but I highly recommend not sleeping on the races at Santa Anita or Gulfstream. At Santa Anita, their G1 feature, the Beholder Mile, attracted a field of seven headlined by multiple graded stakes winner HARD NOT TO LOVE. She is in great form and will be hard to deny. And if you hit Santa Anita’s Late Pick 4, featuring the aforementioned Beholder Mile, you can Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  And at Gulfstream, the lone graded race is the G3 Hurricane Bertie and nine fillies/mares are signed on there and all look like they’ve got a big shot. And if you hit Exactas on four different races at Gulfstream Park on Saturday, you’ll Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  And at Turfway, six stakes races headline their biggest day of the year and focus will be on the G3 Jeff Ruby Steaks, which attracted a field of 12. Sprinkle in overflow fields for both the Kentucky Cup Classic and Bourbonette Oaks and this is a day of racing you won’t want to miss.  But without further ado, here’s my Oaklawn Park Late Pick 4 ticket: Race 8 – Essex Handicap ($350K) – 1 1/16 Miles DirtThe kickoff leg of a competitive Late Pick 4 is the Essex Handicap for older horses and a solid crew of seven is entered. I think you can get past with just using a few of these, so my Pick 4 will utilize #4 BANKIT (5/2), #6 SNAPPER SINCLAIR (7/2) and #7 PIONEER SPIRIT (3/1). I don’t see much pace in this race outside of PIONEER SPIRIT, which would hinder closers like LAUGHING FOX, NIGHT OPS and GUEST SUITE. And BRAVAZO, a longtime favorite of mine, just doesn’t win enough and doesn’t seem to be in good form following multiple layoffs.  Race 9 – Azeri Stakes (Gr 2; $350K) – 1 1/16 Miles DirtThe 1-2-3-4-5 finishers from the G3 Houston Ladies’ Classic at Sam Houston in January are back for the Azeri and, as that race was a blanket finish with four fillies separated by just a length at the wire, you may want to bet on a similar result this time. #5 SERENGETI EMPRESS (9/5) is the class of the field, at least on name recognition, but she has dropped five straight decisions. She’d be a hard filly to single, especially when in against #1 STREET BAND (3/1) (making her second start off the layoff) and #4 LADY APPLE (5/2) (won the Houston Ladies Classic and 3-for-3 at Oaklawn) again. Race 10 – Rebel Stakes (G2; $1M) – 1 1/16 Miles DirtA bit of an unfortunate draw for Bob Baffert’s highly-regarded shipper, #1 NADAL (5/2). You have to figure they’d have preferred not to end up stuck on the rail, as Joel Rosario is going to have no choice but to send from that post. On the bright side, the only other pace player in the group seems to be #5 NO PAROLE and he figures to be second choice. This is a big step up in class for the Louisiana-bred and, while he’s winning with ease, I’m not a huge fan of his declining speed figures (89 > 86 > 79 on the Beyer scale). So I’ll bet on NADAL to win the battle between those two and also use #4 SILVER PROSPECTOR (7/2), who won the G3 Southwest here in fine fashion for Steve Asmussen.Race 11 – Maiden Special Weight – 6 Furlongs Dirt I’m going to try and get through the nightcap by using just a few of these. #12 TIPSY GAL (6/1) makes her second start for Dallas Stewart and what jumps out there is she was favored in her debut. It’s not common that a Dallas Stewart-trainee is favored at first asking and that tells me the word is out on her being a pretty nice horse. She was only beaten a length in that first start and should move forward. I’ll also use #3 LUCKY BETTY (6/1), beaten just a half-length on debut (in the same race as TIPSY GAL) and a pair of first-time starters - #7 LEGGS GALORE (12/1) for Phil D’Amato and #9 NEVER SAY CAN’T (10/1) for Larry Jones.  My TicketRace 8: 4, 6, 7 Race 9: 1, 4, 5Race 10: 1, 4Race 11: 3, 7, 9, 12 Ticket Cost: $36 for 50-cents

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3.11.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: March 13 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, which has been easily surpassing the 100k guarantee, and in some cases doubling it. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R7 (4:22 ET) – 4upfm AOC (35k/N2X) at 7 furlongs A tricky opener, as always, especially with a trio coming out of the same 2/23 race that was won by a rousing winner. I’m not completely sold on that heat, so I’ll go a different way with #5 REFLECT (7-2), who rises in class off an easy win last time, and #4 IT’S A JOURNEY (7-2), who does exactly the same. I will use #2 WARM out of the 2/23 race, since she was a troubled 2nd and has been in very sharp overall form. Pk5 A horses: 5,4,2 (listed in order of preference) I don’t fully trust #3 THREE HAWK (3-1), who was 3rd on 2/23, but her form has been solid, and it’s not like she’s that far behind anyone on paper, so for backup purposes she’s worth inclusion. Pk5 B horses: 3 Leg 2: Laurel Park 8 (4:54 ET) – 3yo 25k MCL at 6 furlongs Nothing’s easy here, as there are several who can win, so I won’t get too cute and use the four I think are the most logical, with Aqu MSW shipper #3 SPITBALL (5-1) on top for Rice, who is a stiff 26% with second-out maidens. Drawing outside the rest of the speed should help #8 CREATED SPECIAL (7-2), and either of his last three would put him on the line with these. Both #6 PALACE CANDY (5-1) and #1 METAL MAGICIAN (3-1) go off the claim for the sharp barns of Magee and Robb, and they both ran well in their last too, so minimal improvement makes them big threats too. Pk5 A horses: 3,8,6,1 The drop from 40k should help #2 FEATURE ACT (6-1), and his debut 3rd for 16k puts him as a fringe contender here, so off just two lifetime starts, he’s worth a look as well. Pk5 B horses: 2 Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:12 ET) – 4upfm Fl-bred AOC (16k/N1X) at 1-mile (turf) Though only seven are signed on, there looks to be plenty of speed, which is why the Maker pair of #6 GHOSTLY BEAUTY (2-1) and #1 LOOKINLIKEAQUEEN (5-2) seem above the rest, since both have rating gears, and the former gets the nod off a sharp 2nd at the level over the track/distance last time, though her stablemate goes off the claim and drew well, and was just 2 lengths behind ‘Queen in her last. Pk5 A horses: 6,1 I’m not suing anyone else, since the pace just looks too hot for them, though if #2 Candy Money (3-1) clears she could get brave, though this is a huge step up off her winning turf debut in cheap MCL company at Tampa. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R3 (5:23 ET) – 3y 12.5k MCL at 5 � furlongs The two MSW droppers, #5 SYNTHETIC JOE (7-2) and #2 NEVER THINK TWICE (5-2) seem best of a modest bunch, which is how I’ll play it, since this is the biggest drop in racing, both have reason to improve off their last runs, and the rest here just don’t inspire. Pk5 A horses: 5,2 Underneath is a conundrum, since you could use several, but I’ll keep it to #4 BEER THIRST (9-5), who has worked well enough for this, and goes for 21% debut barn in Yakteen. You could also use #3 Speedy Trip (5-1) and #8 Northern Affair (20-1), but the former hasn’t impressed in the AM for his bow, and the latter was just 63-1, so he looks a bit tough to trust off that “fast” 5th. Pk5 B horses: 4 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:43 ET) – 3f SOC (25k/N1X) at 1-mile turf Tough sledding here, as several look the same on paper and possibly the best horse, #10 La Rusia (4-1), is marooned outside after just missing when 2nd in a claiming stakes here last time. There’s also some speed here, so I’ll side with #5 INTEREST (8-1), who runs on the turf for the first time since the Joseph claim and can stalk and get first run, while #3 JOYOUS TIMES (7-2) is 2-for-2 and has Irad off the Serpe claim. I’ll also use #7 LEMON SCAT (8-1), who has to wake up on the class drop, and #2 DAYS OF SPRING (6-1), who flew home last time and goes off the Hurtak claim, a 3-for-10 angle. Pk5 A horses: 5,3,7,2 I can’t completely toss LA RUSIA, though this wide draw did her no favors, which is why she’s down on the list, not to mention the stakes miss was at 52-1, so she has some proving to do. Don’t sleep on #11 JUST A BIT SASSY (10-1), who drew worst of all, but that turf debut was solid, so she could be a player back on the green after off the turf 2nds on the main. Pk5 B horses: 10,11 The suggested tickets: Main Ticket: 5,4,2 with 3,8,6,1 with 6,1 with 5,2 with 5,3,7,2 = $192Leg 1 B Backup: 3 with 3,8,6,1 with 6,1 with 5,2 with 5,3,7,2 = $64Leg 2 B Backup: 5,4,2 with 2 with 6,1 with 5,2 with 5,3,7,2 = $48Leg 4 B Backup: 5,4,2 with 3,8,6,1 with 6,1 with 4 with 5,3,7,2 = $96Leg 5 B Backup: 5,4,2 with 3,8,6,1 with 6,1 with 5,2 with 10,11 = $96

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3.11.2020:

First Derby Strikes of 2020

Each March brings us Saint Patrick’s Day on the 17th. March also has the first day of spring on the 19th.And the month of March traditionally is when the first “Derby strikes” of the year can be determined.Back in 1999, I developed my Derby Strikes System. It consists of nine key factors. When a horse does not qualify in one of the nine categories, the horse gets a strike. The nine key factors (or categories) are explained at the end of this column.It is not until a horse’s next race will be the Kentucky Derby that a horse’s number of strikes can be determined.There was a time when various “rules” for the Kentucky Derby were quite popular. A “Derby rule” meant a horse needed to have done this or that, or not done this or that, in order to win the Run for the Roses. However, through the years, as many of the “Derby rules” were broken one by one, their popularity has waned.I think what quite possibly makes my Derby Strikes System better than any single “Derby rule” is the strikes system is more comprehensive. The Derby Strikes System is an amalgamation of factors that attempts to ascertain the chances a horse has to win the Kentucky Derby from both tactical and historical perspectives. It is the marriage of the TACTICAL with the HISTORICAL that I believe makes the strikes system better than any single “Derby rule.”I know that many felt that, once and for all, “Derby rules” could be tossed into the garbage can after Justify won the 2018 Kentucky Derby. That’s because Justify finally broke the granddaddy of “Derby rules” by becoming the first Kentucky Derby winner who did not race as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. Justify thus broke the so-called “Apollo jinx.”In my nine key factors, Category 8 specifies that in order for a horse to avoid getting a strike in this category, the horse needs to have raced as a 2-year-old. This was one of three strikes for Justify. I still believe it’s a plus for a Kentucky Derby starter to have raced as a 2-year-old inasmuch as only once in the last 137 years has a winner of this race not started at 2.WINNER’S STRIKES GOING BACK TO 1973Several years ago, at the suggestion of racing enthusiast Ryan Stillman, I researched how many strikes each Kentucky Derby winner prior to 1999 had going all the way back to 1973. I could not go back any further than 1973 because that was the year in which stakes races in the U.S. were first graded. Two of my nine key Derby factors deal with graded stakes races.Here are the strikes for each Kentucky Derby winner going back to 1973:1973 Secretariat (0 strikes)1974 Cannonade (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 41975 Foolish Pleasure (0 strikes)1976 Bold Forbes (0 strikes)1977 Seattle Slew (0 strikes)1978 Affirmed (0 strikes)1979 Spectacular Bid (0 strikes)1980 Genuine Risk (1 strike) Category 11981 Pleasant Colony (0 strikes)1982 Gato Del Sol (1 strike) Category 31983 Sunny’s Halo (1 strike) Category 11984 Swale (0 strikes)1985 Spend a Buck (0 strikes)1986 Ferdinand (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 41987 Alysheba (1 strike) Category 21988 Winning Colors (0 strikes)1989 Sunday Silence (0 strikes)1990 Unbridled (1 strike) Category 31991 Strike the Gold (0 strikes)1992 Lil E. Tee (0 strikes)1993 Sea Hero (2 strikes) Categories 3 and 51994 Go for Gin (0 strikes)1995 Thunder Gulch (0 strikes)1996 Grindstone (0 strikes)1997 Silver Charm (1 strike) Category 41998 Real Quiet (0 strikes)1999 Charismatic (1 strike) Category 52000 Fusaichi Pegasus (1 strike) Category 62001 Monarchos (0 strikes)2002 War Emblem (0 strikes)2003 Funny Cide (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 92004 Smarty Jones (0 strikes)2005 Giacomo (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 52006 Barbaro (1 strike) Category 62007 Street Sense (0 strikes)2008 Big Brown (1 strike) Category 62009 Mine That Bird (4 strikes) Categories 1, 4, 5 and 92010 Super Saver (1 strike) Category 42011 Animal Kingdom (1 strike) Category 62012 I’ll Have Another (1 strike) Category 62013 Orb (0 strikes)2014 California Chrome (0 strikes)2015 American Pharoah (1 strike) Category 62016 Nyquist (0 strikes)2017 Always Dreaming (2 strikes) Categories 1 and 62018 Justify (3 strikes) Categories 1, 6 and 82019 Country House (2 strikes) Categories 2 and 3ZERO STRIKES OR ONE STRIKE DESIREDHistory shows that according to the Derby Strikes System, a horse with zero strikes or only one strike has a much better chance to win the Kentucky Derby than a horse with two strikes. And a horse with more than two strikes has only a remote chance of winning the roses.Going back to 1973, 38 of the last 47 Kentucky Derby winners have had zero strikes or one strike. (If Maximum Security had not been disqualified from first and placed 17th for causing interference in the 2019 renewal, it would be 39 of the last 47 Kentucky Derby winners have had zero winners or only one strike.)Seven of the last 47 Kentucky Derby have had two strikes: Cannonade (1974), Ferdinand (1986), Sea Hero (1993), Funny Cide (2003), Giacomo (2005), Always Dreaming (2017) and Country House (2019).Of the last 47 horses to win the Kentucky Derby, just two have won with more than two strikes: Mine That Bird and Justify.Mine That Bird pulled off a 50-1 shocker when he won the 2009 Kentucky Derby on a sloppy track. Justify proved a punctual 5-2 favorite in the 2018 edition, which also was contested on a sloppy track. A SEISMIC SHIFT IN CATEGORY 6Even though Justify had three strikes, he was my choice to win the Kentucky Derby that year. One of the reasons I went ahead and picked him despite his three strikes was that one of his strikes came in Category 6.The increasing number of Kentucky Derby winners with a Category 6 strike in recent years has greatly diminished the significance of getting a strike in this particular category.From 1973 through 2000, Fusaichi Pegasus was the only horse to get a strike in Category 6. He had made five starts going into the Kentucky Derby.But from 2001 through 2019, a huge spike in Category 6 strikes occurred. From 2001 through 2019, seven horses -- Barbaro, Big Brown, Animal Kingdom, I’ll Have Another, American Pharoah, Always Dreaming and Justify -- received a strike in Category 6.Put another way, only 3.5% of the Kentucky Derby winners from 1973 through 2000 had a strike in Category 6. But 36.8% of the winners from 2001 through 2019 received a strike in this category.Ever since Animal Kingdom in 2011, I made up my mind that a Category 6 strike in itself was not going to stop me from picking a horse to win the Kentucky Derby.Consequently, while it did worry me to some extent that Justify had three strikes, the fact that one of his strikes came in Category 6 made it a lot easier for me to go ahead and pick him.Justify, of course, not only did win the Kentucky Derby, he went on to take the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes to become America’s 13th Triple Crown winner.NUMBER OF STRIKES FOR KING GUILLERMOThere were three races last Saturday offering 50-20-10-5 points to the first four finishers toward the $3 million Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 2. Those three races were the Grade II San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and Grade III Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct.Authentic won the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe for trainer Bob Baffert. Mischevious Alex took the one-mile Gotham for trainer John Servis. King Guillermo stunned horseplayers by winning the 1 1/16-mile Tampa Bay Derby for trainer Juan Carlos Avila.Baffert and Servis are Kentucky Derby-winning conditioners. Baffert’s five Kentucky Derby winners have been Silver Charm in 1997, Real Quiet in 1998, War Emblem in 2002, American Pharoah in 2015 and Justify in 2018. Servis won the 2004 renewal with Smarty Jones. (The aforementioned War Emblem was found dead Wednesday morning at the age of 21 at the Old Friends Thoroughbred Retirement Center in Kentucky. Old Friends reported the cause of death was “perceived to be a paddock accident,” but added that “a full necropsy report is pending.” The Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old male of 2002, War Emblem had been pensioned at Old Friends since 2015.)Next up for Authentic, according to Baffert, is the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. Mischevious Alex “likely” makes his next start in the Grade II Wood Memorial at the Big A, Servis said. The Santa Anita Derby and Wood both will be run on April 4.The number of Derby strikes for Authentic and Mischevious Alex can’t be determined at this time because they are scheduled to have another race before the Kentucky Derby.As for King Guillermo, the word is he will be making his next start in the Kentucky Derby. He was nominated to the Triple Crown with a $6,000 late payment that was received and processed Tuesday by Churchill Downs.With the Kentucky Derby next for King Guillermo, his number of Derby strikes now can be computed. He gets three strikes.But even though King Guillermo has three strikes, there is some good news for him in this regard. One of the strikes for King Guillermo, like Justify and so many others in recent years, comes in not-too-significant-these-days Category 6.In addition to King Guillermo getting a strike in Category 6, he has strikes in Category 4 and Category 5. His strike in Category 4 is because he was second at the eighth pole before finishing third in the Pulpit Stakes on the turf last Nov. 30. His strike in Category 5 is because he has not finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer.The huge swing in betting support for King Guillermo from his final start as a 2-year-old to his first start as a 3-year-old is astounding.When King Guillermo made his final start at 2, he was sent away as the 3-2 favorite in the Pulpit at Gulfstream Park. He finished third. Sole Volante won the Pulpit by two lengths at 5-1. Sole Volante defeated King Guillermo by 3 1/2 lengths on that occasion.In King Guillermo’s first start at 3, horseplayers virtually ignored him when his Tampa Bay Derby odds were 49-1 vis-a-vis 3-2 favorite Sole Volante.Between the Pulpit and Tampa Bay Derby, King Guillermo finished third in Gulfstream Park’s Mucho Macho Man on dirt and won the Sam F. Davis Stakes by 3 1/2 lengths on dirt March 7 at Tampa Bay Downs.Ridden by Sammy Camacho, King Guillermo stalked the early pace and drew away in the lane to prevail by 4 3/4 lengths. The Kentucky-bred Uncle Mo colt paid $100.40 for each $2 win ticket.According to Daily Racing Form’s McGee, the only bigger upset than King Guillermo at 49-1 in the 40-year history of the Tampa Bay Derby came when Bold Southerner won the 1984 running at 88-1.King Guillermo’s final time last Saturday was 1:42.63. He was credited with a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure. When Tacitus received a 93 Beyer Speed Figure for his victory in the 2019 Tampa Bay Derby, his final time was 1:41.90, which broke the track record. It is interesting that even though Tacitus broke the track record, his 93 Beyer was much lower than the 99 Beyer recorded by King Guillermo, whose final time was slower. The top Beyer Speed Figure for a Tampa Bay Derby winner going back to 1992 (the first year Beyers are listed for this race in the American Racing Manual) is Equality’s 103 in 2002.As a side note, the Victoria’s Ranch of Victor Martiniez races King Guillermo. The colt is named after Martinez’s father, who died when Victor was 6, according to the DRF’s McGee.Victor Martinez, now 41, was a five-time All-Star catcher who retired in 2018 after a 17-year career in major league baseball. He purchased King Guillermo for $160,000 in 2019 at the Ocala Breeders’ Sales Spring Sale of 2-Year-olds in Training.A NEW NO. 1 ON MY KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10Authentic, backed down to 6-5 favoritism, won the San Felipe in front-running fashion by 2 1/4 lengths. Honor A.P., off at odds of 3-1, came home willingly to finish second for trainer John Sherriffs.Even though Authentic defeated Honor A.P. by a clear margin last Saturday, it’s Honor A.P. who vaults to the top of my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. Why? Because even though Authentic won the San Felipe to remain undefeated in three career starts, I thought Honor A.P.’s performance was terrific under the circumstances in that he went into the race with a number of disadvantages vs. Authentic.For one thing, the San Felipe pace situation certainly was in Authentic’s favor. He had it all his own way on the front end early. Furthermore, Authentic had raced more recently than Honor A.P. This was Honor A.P.’s first race since his maiden victory last Oct. 13. Authentic had raced not once, but twice between Oct. 13 and the San Felipe. After winning a maiden contest at Del Mar on Nov. 9, Authentic won Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes on Jan. 4.Also, it seems a safe assumption that it’s Sherriffs’ goal to have Honor A.P. peak on the first Saturday in May, not on the first Saturday in March. With the San Felipe a means to an end, did Sherriffs have Honor A.P. fully cranked last Saturday? I don’t think so.We just might be seeing something similar to what happened in 2005. The Sherriffs-trained Giacomo finished second in the San Felipe that year, like Honor A.P. this year. Giacomo went on to win the Kentucky Derby after finishing fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby.Something else to keep in mind is that while Honor A.P. had to settle for second in the San Felipe, he did travel 24 feet farther than Authentic, according to Trakus. That means that even though Honor A.P. lost by 2 1/4 lengths, he traveled approximately 2 1/2 lengths farther Authentic.With Honor A.P. in the hands of the so-very-patient Sherriffs, it’s not hard for me to picture the Kentucky-bred Honor Code ridgling trained in such a fashion that he runs a biggie in the Kentucky Derby. I also think there is a good chance Honor A.P. is going to relish stretching out to 1 1/4 miles in the first leg of the Triple Crown.Honor A.P. was ranked higher than Authentic on my Top 10 last week. Honor A.P. was No. 4, while Authentic was No. 5. Authentic climbs to No. 2 this week.Meanwhile, King Guillermo debuts on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. He edged out Gotham Stakes winner Mischevious Alex for the No. 10 spot.Storm the Court, the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 2019, drops off my Top 10 this week. After losing Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes by 2 1/4 lengths at seven furlongs on Feb. 9, he finished 5 3/4 lengths behind Authentic in the San Felipe.Here is my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week:  1. Honor A.P.  2. Authentic  3. Tiz the Law  4. Nadal  5. Ete Indien  6. Charlatan  7. Maxfield  8. Sole Volante  9. Thousand Words10. King GuillermoI came very close to moving Authentic into the top spot on my Top 10 this week. There certainly is much to like about this athletic colt, who led past every pole in the San Felipe after bobbling at the start. In the words of Baffert, Authentic “moves like a gazelle.”An important aspect concerning Authentic’s San Felipe victory was he ran a straight course all the way down the lane this time, unlike his shenanigans in the Sham.Authentic won the Sham by nearly eight lengths on Jan. 4. When far in front during the stretch run of that one-mile affair, the Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief ran an erratic course while racing greenly. At one point in the final furlong, he ducked in and nearly hit the inside rail.Baffert determined it would be prudent to have Authentic race with earplugs for the first time in the San Felipe. This was not the first time Baffert has used earplugs that cost about $6 on a horse with positive results.In 2014 at Del Mar, American Pharoah finished fifth as a 7-5 favorite in his initial career start. One subsequent morning, he freaked from the noise of a tractor. After noticing that, Baffert had American Pharoah race with earplugs. The rest is history, as they say. American Pharoah went on to become the Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old champion male of 2014 and a Triple Crown winner and Horse of the Year in 2015.Arrogate, the Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old male of 2016, also raced with earplugs, according to Baffert.With Authentic, Baffert registered his record seventh San Felipe victory. Prior to this year, the Hall of Famer had won the San Felipe with Prime Timber (1999), Point Given (2001), Preachinatthebar (2004), Pioneerof the Nile (2008), Dortmund (2015) and Mastery (2017).Four of the seven starters in this year’s San Felipe were on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 going into the race -- Thousand Words (No. 3), Honor A.P. (No. 4), Authentic (No. 5) and Storm the Court (No. 10).That the San Felipe attracted so many quality 3-year-olds was not lost on Shirreffs.“Think about who went in the race -- an undefeated colt, a multiple graded stakes winner and the 2-year-old champ,” Shirreffs said, referencing, respectively, Authentic, Thousand Words and Storm the Court in a Daily Racing Form story written by Jay Privman. “It doesn’t come much saltier than that.”In light of Thousand Words’ 11 1/4-length loss in the San Felipe, he drops to No. 9 on my Top 10. The Florida-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt had been victorious in all three career starts prior to the San Felipe. He was good enough to win the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity last year and Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes earlier this year. Can he rebound next time out? We shall see.“He was just too sharp, too strong early, and he gassed it turning for home,” Baffert said Monday of Thousand Words’ San Felipe on Steve Byk’s SiriusXM radio program At the Races. “That wasn’t him. I really thought I was going to run one-two in there. That’s why we have these preps. You try to figure them out. You want to figure them out before that last prep, because that last prep is the one that there can’t be any mistakes. He came out of it well, so we’ll have to tweak him, equipment maybe no blinker or less blinker, or train him a bit differently. He’s a quirky horse, but he’s still a good horse.”AUTHENTIC AND HONOR A.P. HAVE IMPROVING BEYERSAuthentic’s final time in the San Felipe was 1:43.56. He was credited with a career-best Beyer Speed Figure, as was Honor A.P.After an 87 Beyer at first asking, Authentic recorded a 90 in the Sham followed by a 98 in the San Felipe.Honor A.P. received a 77 Beyer Speed Figure when he finished second in his career debut. He subsequently posted a 91 in his maiden victory, then a 95 in the San Felipe.These are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winner of the San Felipe going back to 1992:2020 Authentic (98)2019 not run2018 Bolt d’Oro (101)+2017 Mastery (105)2016 Danzing Candy (100)2015 Dortmund (104)2014 California Chrome (108)2013 Hear the Ghost (94)2012 Creative Cause (102)2011 Premier Pegasus (97)2010 Sidney’s Candy (95)*2009 Pioneerof the Nile (91)*2008 Georgie Boy (97)*2007 Cobalt Blue (96)2006 A.P. Warrior (101)2005 Consolidator (105)2004 Preachinatthebar (101)2003 Buddy Gil (102)2002 Medaglia d’Oro (107)2001 Point Given (105)2000 Fusaichi Pegasus (106)1999 Prime Timber (106)1998 Artax (108)1997 Free House (103)1996 Odyle (101)1995 Afternoon Deelites (106)1994 Soul of the Matter (106)1993 Corby (100)1992 Bertrando (97)+McKinzie finished first but was disqualified and placed second*Run on syntheticTHREE FOR THREE WITH BLINKERSMischevious Alex, who like Authentic is a Kentucky-bred son of Into Mischief, lost three of his first four career starts before having blinkers added to his equipment. In his three starts with blinkers, Mischevious Alex has won them all.When wearing blinkers in a race for the first time, Mischevious Alex won a seven-furlong stakes race at Parx by nearly 10 lengths on Nov. 5. He then took Gulfstream’s Grade III Swale Stakes by seven lengths at seven furlongs on Feb. 1 prior to his Gotham triumph.Mischevious Alex’s final time for one mile around one turn last Saturday was 1:38.80. He recorded a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. His top Beyer so far was a 93 in the Swale. The highest Beyer by a Gotham winner going back to 1991 was I Want Revenge’s 113 in 2009.There were a number of reasons King Guillermo got the nod over Mischevious Alex for No. 10 on my Kentucky Derby rankings this week, such as:--The victory in the Tampa Bay Derby by King Guillermo came around two turns. Mischevious Alex has never won around two turns.--King Guillermo recorded a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in the Tampa Bay Derby. Mischevious Alex’s top Beyer is a 93.--Street Sense won the Tampa Bay Derby in 2007 and went on to capture the Kentucky Derby. No Gotham winner has subsequently won the Kentucky Derby since Secretariat in 1973.--While King Guillermo’s connections do intend to run him in the Kentucky Derby, it is not a slam-dunk at this time that Mischevious Alex’s connections ultimately will decide to do likewise.AUTHENTIC 6-1 IN DERBY FUTURE WAGERAs expected, the “All Others” option ended up being the favorite in Pool Three of the 2020 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) that was conducted last week. “All Others” closed at odds of 4-1. In terms of individual horses, Authentic wound up being the favorite, closing at odds of 6-1.Here were the final odds for Pool Three of the KDFW:    4-1 “All Others”    6-1 Authentic    7-1 Tiz the Law  10-1 Nadal  12-1 Charlatan  14-1 Honor A.P.  15-1 Maxfield  16-1 Ete Indien  20-1 Solo Volante  23-1 Enforceable  24-1 Silver Prospector  26-1 Gouverneur Morris  27-1 Independence Hall  29-1 Three Technique  34-1 Thousand Words  35-1 Modernist  38-1 Basin  42-1 Major Fed  53-1 Chance It  60-1 Storm the Court  62-1 Wells Bayou  68-1 Royal Act  71-1 Max Player104-1 Spa CityVENETIAN HARBOR 4-1 IN OAKS FUTURE WAGERThe Kentucky Oaks Future Wager also closed last Sunday. Venetian Harbor, runaway 9 1/4-length winner of Santa Anita’s Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 8, was backed down to 4-1 favoritism among individual horses. The “All Others” option closed as the 3-1 favorite.This will be the only 2019 Kentucky Oaks Future Wager offered.Here were the final odds:    3-1 “All Others”    4-1 Venetian Harbor    8-1 Finite    9-1 Tonalist’s Shape  11-1 Harvey’s Lil Goil  12-1 British Idiom  12-1 Donna Veloce  16-1 Spice Is Nice  18-1 Lake Avenue  23-1 Edgeway  27-1 Frank’s Rockette  38-1 Auberge  41-1 Wicked Whisper  47-1 Ice Princess  50-1 Gingham  55-1 Lucrezia  59-1 Alta’s Award  71-1 Maedean  92-1 Magic Dance107-1 Mo City112-1 Turtle Trax113-1 Motu167-1 Swiss SkydiverNote: Kentucky Oaks future wagering on O Seraphina was suspended because Joe Sharp reported the filly “has sustained a minor injury,” according to a Churchill Downs press release.DERBY STRIKES SYSTEM’S CATEGORIESThese are the nine key factors (or categories) in my Derby Strikes System:1. THE GRADED STAKES FACTOR. (The horse ran in a graded stakes race as a 3-year-old before March 31.) This points out horses who have competed against tough competition at 3 prior to March 31 rather than at the last minute in April, enabling the horse to be properly battle-tested. (Exceptions: Since the introduction of graded stakes races in the U.S. in 1973, only Genuine Risk in 1980, Sunny’s Halo in 1983, Mine That Bird in 2009, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Justify in 2018 have won the Kentucky Derby without running in a graded stakes race at 3 before March 31.)2. THE WIN IN A GRADED STAKES FACTOR. (The horse has won a graded stakes race.) This points out horses who have shown they have the class to win a graded stakes race. (Exceptions: Ferdinand in 1986, Alysheba in 1987, Funny Cide in 2003, Giacomo in 2005 and Country House in 2019 are the only exceptions since the introduction of U.S. graded stakes races in 1973; Alysheba in 1987 did finish first in the Blue Grass, only to be disqualified and placed third.)3. THE EIGHTH POLE FACTOR. (In either of his or her last two starts before the Kentucky Derby, the horse was either first or second with a furlong to go.) This points out horses who were running strongly at the eighth pole, usually in races at 1 1/16 or 1 1/8 miles. By running strongly at the same point in the Kentucky Derby, a horse would be in a prime position to win the roses. Keep in mind that 54 of the last 57 Kentucky Derby winners have been first or second with a furlong to run. Since Decidedly won the Derby in 1962 when he was third with a furlong to go, the only three Kentucky Derby winners who were not first or second with a furlong to run were Animal Kingdom, third with a furlong remaining in 2011 when only a half-length from being second; Giacomo, sixth with a furlong to go in 2005; and Grindstone, fourth with a furlong to run in 1996. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the Kentucky Derby winners who weren’t either first or second at the eighth pole in his or her most recent two starts have been Tim Tam in 1958, Carry Back in 1961, Cannonade in 1974, Gato Del Sol in 1982, Unbridled in 1990, Sea Hero in 1993 and Country House in 2019, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)4. THE GAMENESS FACTOR. (The horse’s finish position in both of his or her last two races before the Kentucky Derby was no worse than his or her running position at the eighth pole.) This points out horses who don’t like to get passed in the final furlong. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Venetian Way in 1960, Cannonade in 1974, Foolish Pleasure in 1975, Ferdinand in 1986, Silver Charm in 1997, Mine That Bird in 2009 and Super Saver in 2010, with Canonero II in 1971 unknown.)5. THE DISTANCE FOUNDATION FACTOR. (The horse has finished at least third in a 1 1/8-mile race or longer before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the proper foundation and/or stamina for the Kentucky Derby distance. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the only exceptions have been Kauai King in 1966, Sea Hero in 1993, Charismatic in 1999, Giacomo in 2005 and Mine That Bird in 2009.)6. THE SUFFICIENT RACING EXPERIENCE FACTOR. (The horse has had at least six lifetime starts before the Kentucky Derby.) This points out horses who have the needed experience. (Exceptions: Since 1955, the exceptions have been Grindstone in 1996, Fusaichi Pegasus in 2000, Barbaro in 2006, Big Brown in 2008, Animal Kingdom in 2011, I’ll Have Another in 2012, American Pharoah in 2015, Always Dreaming in 2017 and Justify in 2018. Grindstone, Fusaichi Pegasus, Barbaro, I’ll Have Another, American Pharoah and Always Dreaming each had made five starts before the Kentucky Derby. Animal Kingdom had made four starts before the Kentucky Derby. Big Brown and Justify had made three starts before the Kentucky Derby.)7. THE NO ADDING OR REMOVING BLINKERS FACTOR. (The horse has not added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her final start at 3 before the Kentucky Derby.) This seems to point out that, if a horse is good enough to win the Kentucky Derby, the trainer is not searching for answers so late in the game. (Since Daily Racing Form began including blinkers in its past performances in 1987, no horse has added blinkers or had blinkers removed in his or her last start at 3 before winning the Kentucky Derby.)8. THE RACED AS A 2-YEAR-OLD FACTOR. (The horse made at least one start as a 2-year-old.) (Exceptions: Apollo in 1882 and Justify in 2018 are the only Kentucky Derby winners who didn’t race as a 2-year-old. Through 2018, the score is 142-2 in terms of Kentucky Derby winners who raced at 2. Since 1937, horses unraced as a 2-year-old are a combined 1 for 63 in the Kentucky Derby. During this period, the only horses to win, place or show were Hampden, who finished third in 1946; Coaltown, second in 1948; Agitate, third in 1974; Reinvested, third in 1982; Strodes Creek, second in 1994; Curlin, third in 2007; Bodemeister, second in 2012; Battle of Midway, third in 2017; and Justify, first in 2018.)9. THE NOT A GELDING FACTOR. (The horse is not a gelding.) (Exceptions: Funny Cide in 2003 and Mine That Bird in 2009 are the only geldings to win the Kentucky Derby since Clyde Van Dusen in 1929.)

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3.10.2020:

Driver Contest Fuels ‘Madness’

Harness racing’s version of March Madness begins today (Tuesday, March 10) with a free contest that will award a $250 Visa gift card to the winner. “Driver Madness 2020” features 64 of harness racing’s top drivers competing in a bracket format similar to that of the popular college basketball tournament. An expert panel selected 16 drivers in each region of the single-elimination contest. Points will be awarded for each correct selection and they will increase each tournament round. Contestants must submit their completed bracket via Facebook, Twitter or email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. document.getElementById('cloakb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12').innerHTML = ''; var prefix = 'ma' + 'il' + 'to'; var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '='; var addyb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12 = 'Michael.Carter' + '@'; addyb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12 = addyb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12 + 'ustrotting' + '.' + 'com'; var addy_textb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12 = 'Michael.Carter' + '@' + 'ustrotting' + '.' + 'com';document.getElementById('cloakb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12').innerHTML += ''+addy_textb90beff08693a194d2959a79101abd12+''; ) before midnight Sunday, March 15. The contest is sponsored by onGait.com and hosted by the Harness Racing FanZone. In The Expresslane: Yonkers Raceway’s month-long Blue Chip Matchmaker and MGM Borgata Pacing Series will begin with a bang this Friday, March 13, when Horse of the Year Shartin N squares off against Breeders Crown champion Caviart Ally. The Borgata series – formerly the George Morton Levy Memorial – begins with four races Saturday night. Both series finals are scheduled Saturday, April 18. … Driver Anthony Napolitano and trainer Steve Salerno swept the opening-round trots in the Game of Claims Series at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono with Manwithamission and ELO Hanover. … The Meadowlands last weekend initiated a guaranteed pool increases to $40,000 for the 20-cent Pick 5, $50,000 for the Early 50-cent Pick 4 and $40,000 for the Late 50-cent Pick 4. …Dylan The Great (Josh Sutton) won in a $16,000 conditioned race in 1:54.1 Monday at Miami Valley, equaling the track record for 4-year-old trotting geldings.

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3.9.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (March 2-8): Whitmore

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.March 2-March 8, 2020MVP: WhitmoreOwner: Robert LaPenta, Southern Springs Stables (Ron Moquett), Head of Plains Partners LLC (Sol Kumin)Trainer: Ron MoquettJockey: Joe TalamoPerformance: The 7-year-old Whitmore won the Hot Springs Stakes at Oaklawn for the fourth consecutive year, rallying for a 2-1/2 length victory behind his patented stretch kick. The Pleasantly Perfect gelding stopped the clock in 1:08.54, the fastest time of the meet and a stakes record in the Hot Springs. The victory was the 13th in the career of Whitmore and pushed his earnings just shy of the $3 million mark. In the process, he avenged his loss to Share the Upside in the King Cotton Stakes earlier in the Oaklawn season.On Tap: Whitmore is expected back in Oaklawn’s April 11 Grade 3 Count Fleet. He won that race in 2017 and 2018 before finishing second a year ago to eventual Eclipse Award-winning sprinter Mitole. His recent spring campaigns have included follow-up stops on Triple Crown undercards in races like the Churchill Downs Handicap, Maryland Sprint and True North. Of course, the year-end goal is the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland, a race in which he’s finished fourth, second and third the past three years.Honorable Mentions: Undefeated Authentic went wire-to-wire to win the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 7 at Santa Anita, firmly stamping him as one of the Kentucky Derby favorites. Combatant scored the biggest win of his career when taking the March 7 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, giving trainer John Sadler a third straight win in the race (following Accelerate and Gift Box). Starship Jubilee, an MVP earlier this year, kept her winning ways intact with her third stakes tally of 2020 in the Grade 2 Hillsborough at Tampa Bay Downs on March 7. River Boyne ran the best race of his career in the March 7 Grade 1 Kilroe Mile, rallying up the fence to nab favorite Got Stormy and catapult his career earnings over the $1 million mark.

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3.9.2020:

Monday, March 9: Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

The Early 0.20 Pick 5 with a $75,000 guaranteed pool kicks-off the card at Woodbine Mohawk Park this evening. That competitive sequence will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 14-Dunbar Hall (5/2)-Was put away in early Nov. after having breaking issues and came back last week with a good effort versus better. Makes 2nd start on Lasix, should be the best here with a decent trip and if minds manners.6-Super Schissel (9/2)-Drops down to a more comfortable spot but will need a top effort. The 1-13 record at Wbsb isn't great but deserves some respect versus this crew.7-Exemplar (8-1)-Looking for a decent price in 3rd start off the bench for Moreau and Filion did stick. Could be sitting on a big try and 10-year old knows his way to the winner's circle.Race 24-Dreamfair B J (2-1)-Makes 1st start for the Cullen barn and drops to the basement looking for a win. JMac steers and knows how to work a trip on a slow starter. This looks like a drop and pop situation.7-Rock This Way (4-1)-Didn't show much vigor in last start but Filion returns tonight for hot barn. This is another who drops to a spot to shine.Race 31-Hoya Saxa (9/2)-Decent effort from the 2nd tier in last and should be in the mix despite an 0-10 record at Mohawk. Maybe starting on the rail and a racing on a fast track will help this Kadabra 3-year-old to take 1st picture.7-TLF Royal Lake (5/2)-Faces easier and McClure picked the #9 so Filion takes a spin. Looks to have some speed and has passed foes down the lane, so best to respect.9-Tymal Riggs (6-1)-Got off the gate and was almost a city block behind the pack and then made up a lot of ground. McClure is back between the pipes and looking for a more alert start.Race 41-Mister Godro (4-1)-Is only 2 for 24 at Wbsb but won 1st start for new barn. Filion steers again and he knows well. Could benefit from the post draw, should be on top or in the 2-hole and looks like a player.7-Tomy Terror (9/2)-Was claimed in last like #8, and now makes 1st start for Fellows. Henry steers and he could get on the engine and not look back.8-Real Wicked (3-1)-Makes 1st start for Moreau and was a winner in last. Should be a threat as long as Roy can find some cover and put in play.Race 56-Charmbo Prince (9/2)-Strong effort in last to notch 2nd LT win and now is back in against a similar crew. Will respect chances for another picture and should be rolling late.7-Golden Dynamite (3-1)-Has been trying hard but has come up short in last few starts. May benefit from starting outside, likes to grind and brush by down the lane.My Ticket Race 1) 4,6,7 Race 2) 4,7 Race 3) 1,7,9 Race 4) 1,7,8 Race 5) 6,7Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.8.2020:

Sunday, March 8: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

The Sunday night feature at Pompano Park rolls in Race 8, an Open Pace with a $10,000 purse. The 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 12% takeout and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Bass Player (2-1)-In good form, draws well, starts for a hot barn and was Hennessey's choice. Also, comes off a win so there is a lot to like.5-Caviart Regan (4-1)-Drops after flying down the lane against better. Looking for Ingraham to provide a more aggressive steer and be in striking range at the top of the stretch.7-Quatrain Blue Chip (3-1)-Oakes flew off the gate and set a wicked pace, 54.4-122.3 and faded late to miss by a half of length. The #2 and #3 will likely leave so will need a more tactical trip in 2nd start off the bench.Race 72-Oberlin (4-1)-Moves up after an impressive win versus $12,500 claimers. Rallied from 8th at the 1/2 to win at 11-1. Hennessey's choice over #4 & #6 is a slow starter so will need good steer but this isn't a loaded field and best to respect.3-Hot Art (3-1)-11-year-old can be tough if dialed on high and figures to be a major player. Hard to look away and should be bet hard. May try to get the lead early on and control the mile.Race 83-Outkast Blue Chip (5-1)-Took advantage of a quick pace and a very good steer by David Miller to pop last week. Gets a post draw edge over some tough customers. Winner of 4 out of 9 starts at the Pomp should be put in play.4-American Hustle (4-1)-Likes to blast out and get on the engine. That looks very possible here and if can cross-over to the rail without burning a lot gas chances for success go up. The chalk may leave too but the 2-hole won't be so bad.5-Prairie Panther (2-1)-Winner of >$144k in 2019 was rested at the end of the year after winning 3 in a row versus similar company. Wally's choice over the #1 and #2 should be the best if ready but might need a race.Race 91-King Corona (6-1)-Usually has trouble winning at this level but that describes this field. Looking for Wallis to make the most of the rail, could get the smoothest journey and trip out.5-Harry Terror (2-1)-Has beaten better but not since the calendar flipped over and should be bet hard. Looks to be a player but not a single in my mind.6-Deseronto (9-1)-Has fallen short in last 2, both from the rail and now faces better. Usually that isn't a strong reason to play but fits here, makes 3rd start for Dustin Ingraham barn and this is the 1st drive for dad Dave.7-Mister Marvalous (8-1)-Makes 2nd consecutive start at this class and had no chance in last with a troubled trip and a wide journey. Looks like a price shot with a punchers chance and has won 9 of 23 at the Pomp.My Ticket Race 6) 2,5,7 Race 7) 2,3 Race 8) 3,4,5 Race 9) 1,5,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.8.2020:

Sunday, March 8: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B+Single: 5-GoalieForecast: Goalie didn’t get the best of runs when rallying to finish a distant second in a very fast, highly-rated race over this course and distance last month and with clear sailing today the son of Bodemeister should be able to take care of business. In a race without much pace, the P. D’Amato-trained colt should be able to settle in the second flight and then make his run. At 5/2 on the morning (with the likelihood of going lower), he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Gate Speed; 3-Fratelli; 4-Afternoon HeatForecast: Fratelli demolished a maiden claiming $20,000 field at first asking in November and was promptly claimed by M. Glatt, who returns the Munnings gelding off a three and one-half month vacation protected in this starter’s allowance abbreviated sprint in a sign of confidence. Based on speed figures he’ll be dangerous on the raise but no slam dunk, so we’ll toss in a couple of others in our rolling exotic play. Afternoon Heat, in the money in all eight career starts and with numbers that put him right there, appears the one to fear most. The S. Knapp-trained colt may be the most dangerous of the closers and with some help up front should be heard from in the final stages. Gate Speed will bust out and go from the rail and off his best effort must be included as well. He’s plenty quick – maybe quick enough to engage Fratelli early – and will help ensure a fast enough pace that might set things up nicely for the closing types.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: XSingle: 7-Papa TurfForecast: Papa Turf has much in his favor in this extended sprint for older $10,000 claimers. A first-off-the-claim play for P. Miller (28% with a substantial flat-bet profit with this angle), the veteran gelding lands the cozy outside post and can dictate the race either on the lead or from a stalking position. All seven of his wins have been accomplished over the Santa Anita main track, so at 9/5 on the morning line and liable to go lower, he’s a logical short price rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 4: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Colonial Creed; 3-Bodhitcitta; 4-DogtapForecast: This nine furlong second-level allowance turf affair for fillies and mares has several possibilities, so we’ll spread three deep and hope to get a decent price home. Bodhicitta was visually quite impressive beating a soft group over this course last month, has trained especially well since, and may be capable of successfully handling the raise in class. The English-bred filly likes to settle and blast home and with F. Prat riding her back the R. Baltas-trained import should have every chance to post a repeat score. Colonial Creek, away since last May but with a series of sharp workouts from a barn that excels with come-backers, won over this turf course two runs back and looks very live off the bench with J. Rosario taking the call. She does her best work on the front end and could be tough to catch if not pressured early. Dogtag makes her first start since finishing unplaced in the Del Mar Oaks last summer. She has numbers that make her a strong contender at this level, has run very well fresh in the past, and has looked especially sharp in the morning, so the daughter of War Front is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.**RACE 5: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Manresa; 6-SuezaaanaForecast: Manresa may be as good as any in this bottom rung maiden claiming router for fillies and mares. With only three prior starts, she has room for improvement and projects to enjoy a soft pace stalking trip from her comfortable inside draw. She missed at 6/5 in a similar affair here in late January but won’t need to improve much to handle this task. Suezaaana is stretching out for the first time and seems certain to employ gate to wire tactics. She’s bred to run a mile and will take them as far as she can. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but not with a great amount of confidence, so if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.RACE 6: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Ekklesia; 4-Frasard; 7-Media Blitz; 8-CosmoForecast: This is a difficult affair with several contenders, so we’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out. Media Blitz is steadily improving with experience and with another forward move in this, his fourth career start, the S. Callaghan-trained colt could be capable of earning his diploma in this nine furlong turf affair for older maidens. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has the kind of tactical speed that should place him in a comfortable stalking or pressing position in a race that projects to a have a modest early pace. Ekklesia, a close third in the same race Media Blitz exits, is a guaranteed a ground-saving trip from his rail post should be in the fray throughout and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Frasard needs to be held up early and allowed to make one run, and likely will get that type of ride with the switch to D. Van Dyke. We’ll also include Cosmo, working well and adding blinkers for Drysdale. He could easily be better than shown.RACE 7: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: XSingle: 1-Donna VeloceForecast: Dona Veloce, narrowly beaten in a pair of Grade-1 races to complete her juvenile campaign, returns in this Grade-3 affair off a three month layoff and beats this field if she’s anywhere near ready. The work tab seems light, but we doubt her connections would be running her unless she was reasonably fit, and because she won her debut by more than nine lengths we know she can fire a winning shot fresh. At 4/5 on the morning line the daughter of Uncle Mo clearly won’t be offering any real wagering value, so the best strategy use her as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 8: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-The Street Fighter; 7-Succeedandsurpass; 11-OdysseusForecast: The finale is a better-than-par first-level allowance grass miler. Succeedandsurpass is the logical top pick in his first outing since finishing a respectable fifth in the Hollywood Derby-G1 at Del Mar in late November. Prior to that race the Irish-bred colt was a strong runner-up over the Santa Anita turf course in the Twilight Derby-G2, and nothing much more will be needed to handle this task. With the switch to F. Prat and a series of good works to have him fit and ready, the R. Baltas-trained colt clearly is the one to beat. The Street Fighter is listed at 8-1 on the morning line and may be worth including in your rolling exotics at that price. A previous winner over the local lawn, the B. Headley-trained horse has been freshened since September, has trained well enough to be fit off the bench, and should be running on strongly late. We’ll also toss in on a ticket or twoOdysseus, poorly drawn outside but an impressive debut sprint winner in mid-January and with a pedigree to improve as the distances increase. A recent bullet blowout should have him ready to produce a forward move.

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3.7.2020:

Saturday, March 7: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Late Pick 4 begins in Race 6. That sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Dash Around (9-1)-Even effort in 1st start off a lay-off but did have a 56.3 last half. Team Farley entry has had some success here in the past and looks to be worth a swing at a price from the inside.3-Tappin Outamessage (3-1)-Risky play comes off 3 straight breaks but did requalify well. Can beat this field if minds manners.5-Downyn Shark (3-1)-Wilfong gets the nod to steer the stronger of 2-Sheehan entries. Does take a good step up but comes off two nice wins and has a shot for 3 straight pictures. Using instead of some dropping that aren't in great form.Race 72-Sports Hero (3-1)-Big try in last after droppping to this level for hot barn. Lightly raced 4-year-old is in a spot to capture first win since 2017.4-Lakeside Buddy (2-1)-Doesn't win often but that's the case with most of this field. Has been trying hard and is Oosting's choice over the #7.6-Stealing Credit (4-1)-Makes 2nd start off the bench and had a 56.1 back half last week. Franco takes a spin and looks ready to be a player this evening.Race 84-My Kind of Dance (9/2)-Comes off a nice effort but does miss a start. Leonard sticks and this mare like the track. Makes 3rd Haw start and should be in the hunt from start to finish.6-Rushing Reba (6-1)-Warren took advantage of a great trip and snagged top honors. Might be a better price because some will dismiss off a perfect trip. Better to respect chances for a repeat over similar foes.10-Queens N Tens (12-1)-Back down to the same level of recent succes and because of the post draw should be a decent price. Post may not matter too much, should be able to grind around and can roll off cover.Race 91-Be Magical (9/2)-Has raced well since coming off the bench and barn has heated up. Likes to race upfront and drawing the rail might be enough to take 2nd picture of 2020.3-Joe Joes Violet (9/2)-Beaten chalk in last 3 is Leonard's choice over #5. This looks like a spot to make amends and should get a smoother trip tonight.10-Loussolatire (25-1)-Makes 4th start off the bench and might be ready for an aggressive steer. Post makes the price, was caught inside down the lane and looks to be worth a swing. Needs an alert start and a good steer by Franco.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,5 Race 7) 2,4,6 Race 8) 4,6,10 Race 9) 1,3,10Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.7.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Wagering Strategies for 3/7/20

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Santa Anita Saturday, March 7, 2020 Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders. Grade A=Highest degree of confidence. Grade B=Solid Play. Grade C=Least preferred, or pass. Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value. The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: View Video Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File RACE 1: Post 11:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 6-Colombian Gold; 8-Sunriser; 10-Danceformunny Forecast: The opener is an inscrutable maiden claiming turf router for fillies and mares. We’ll go three deep but if you can afford to use more, go right ahead. Sunriser, away since the fall but hailing from a barn that has superior stats with layoff runners, attracts top grass jockey U. Rispoli and can win if she returns as well as she left. The daughter of City Zip will be doing her best work from off the pace. Colombian Gold has the first-time-in-a-claimer angle and is stretching out in her second race off a long vacation for a high percentage outfit while making a pivotal jockey switch to F. Prat. A strong recent work tab at San Luis Rey Downs provides further evidence that the P. Miller-trained filly is ready to step forward. Danceformunny is stuck way outside but is another dropping into a claimer for the first time and lands J. Rosario. Her seventh place finish vs. tougher two runs back over this course and distance charts well with these, so at 6-1 you have to toss her in. RACE 2: Post 12:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-American Code; 9-Drop the Chalupa Forecast: American Code has trained like a top prospect for B. Baffert and though he’ll probably not be blazing quick from the gate the son of American Pharoah should have every opportunity to produce a winning late bid at this extended sprint distance. He’s 2-1 on the morning line and there should be value at that price if you can get it. Drop the Chalupa, listed at 12-1 on the morning line, has worked a bit better than the clockings will show and is worth long shot consideration. The R. Ellis-trained son of Liam’s Map lands the cozy outside post and if he breaks reasonably well he’ll have every chance from a stalking position. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with clear preference on top to American Code. RACE 3: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Sapphire Silk; 8-Rocking Redhead; 9-Affiance Forecast: Here’s a highly-competitive maiden turf sprint for fillies and mares with several possibilities. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Affiance has done some good work in the a.m. for R. Mandella, attracts F. Prat, and as a daughter of More Than Ready is bred for speed and grass. She’s worked like she’s plenty fit, so if she leaves cleanly she should be major player from start to finish. Sapphire Silk hasn’t turned in any fancy times in her morning trials but she moves like a quality filly and being by Verrazano she’s another from the More Than Ready sire line. There could be real wagering value at or near her morning line of 8-1. Rocking Redhead was entered a few weeks back but was scratched at the gate when she refused to load. The daughter of Hard Spun is another promising newcomer that has a good look at a price. Let’s hope she agrees to participate this time. RACE 4: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Flagstaff; 3-Roadster Forecast: Flagstaff missed at 4/5 when he was unable to take advantage of a perfect trip in the Palos Verdes S.-G2 earlier this season but we’ll give him a chance to make amends at this seven furlong distance that should be ideal for his stalking style. A one-paced grinding type, the son of Speightstown seems likely to benefit greatly from a pace flow that matches two committed front-running types, St. Joe Bay and McKale, to set things up nicely for him. Roadster, beaten a nose by Flagstaff over this track and distance during the fall meeting, seems most effective as a late-running sprinter and gets ideal conditions today while turning back in trip. The quicker the early fractions, the more dangerous he’ll be. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with a slight edge on top to Flagstaff. RACE 5: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-River Boyne; 3-Got Stormy Forecast: Got Stormy failed to hit the board at 20 cents on the dollar at Tampa Bay Downs last month in her seasonable debut and if she doesn’t step forward today the same thing might happen. However, we’ll trust the trainer (M. Casse), who says the real version will show up today and recent works in Florida indicate the top class mare is ready to bounce back. Her brilliant runner-up effort in the Breeders’ Cup Mile over this course and distance last fall is more than good enough to handle this lesser field. River Boyne, always partial to the local lawn, regained his winning form with a dominating score in the Thunder Road S.-G3 last month and has trained well since. We’re expecting a similar effort today, but if Get Stormy brings her “A’ game he’ll be running for second money. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics and then press keying Get Stormy on top. RACE 6: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: X Single: 3-Gamine Forecast: In a four runner field, Gamine is expected to justify her press clippings. The daughter of Into Mischief, a $1.8 million purchase at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale last May, has done everything in the morning like a future star. There will be no wagering value (she’s 3/5 on the morning line and could go even lower than that) so we’ll pass the race other than to use her as a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Bella Vita; 4-Stela Star; 10-Beguiled Forecast: This listed stakes over a mile on grass for 3-year-old fillies came up especially contentious. We’ll try to survive and advance using three, but here’s another situation where you may find the need to spread deeper. Bella Vita projects as the controlling speed following her facile victory in a state-bred maiden turf sprint last month. She has the pedigree to stay the trip and if not policed during the early stages the daughter of Bayern may never look back. At 6-1 on the morning line for the always-potent Prat/Callaghan team, she’s a “must use.” Stela Star, a stakes winner in Ireland as a 2-year-old and training very well for her U.S. debut, has won on the lead overseas but has trained like she can really pour it on late. She could be very dangerous no matter what strategy is employedBeguiled was green as grass when breaking her maiden stylishly over this course and distance, so today she will add blinkers. With just two career starts behind her the daughter of Orb could very well have another significant move or two in her. At 10-1 on the morning line you have to include her somewhere. RACE 8: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: X Single: 4-Authentic Forecast: Authentic rates top billing in a stellar edition of the San Felipe Stakes, a race that features another B. Baffert-trained undefeated colt, Thousand Words, the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Storm the Court, and the come-backing Honor A. P., who when last seen last fall was one of the most impressive local maiden winners. We’ll take a stand with Authentic, the son of Into Mischief who appeared to do everything wrong but still won the Sham S.-G3 all by himself despite being very green and almost hitting the rail twice from the furlong pole to the wire. He’s pulled no stunts in the morning since, so today we’re hopeful of seeing just what he can really do when fully concentrating on the task at hand. However, at 6/5 on the morning he won’t be offering any real value, so we’ll use him as a rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race. RACE 9: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: B Use: 5-Kalliniki; 6-Muchly Forecast: Muchly is an intriguing English invader making her U. S. debut in a first-level allowance turf miler for fillies and mares. The first-time Lasix user from the S. Callaghan barn performed well in valuable handicaps overseas, lands top turf jockey U. Rispoli, and should be plenty fit off the bench for a winning effort. We’ll put her on top but also include Kalliniki at 15-1 on the morning line. The lightly-raced filly from the P. D’Amato barn picks up F. Prat, adds blinkers, has trained well in recent weeks and might get brave if not policed on the front end. RACE 10: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: B+ Single:4-Gift Box Forecast: Defending Santa Anita Handicap winner Gift Box faces an easier field this year than last and has trained better this year than last, so we’re fully expecting the 7-year-old son of Twirling Candy to prove a repeat winner. The J. Sadler-trained horse can be very tough on the front end or from a stalking position, and in a race that projects to have moderate (at best) early fractions, J. Rosario, aboard Gift Box, should be able to pick his early spot and dictate the race flow. We’ll make him a short price rolling exotic single. RACE 11: Post 4:34 PT. Grade: B Use: 3-Quick; 4-Tijori; 12-Ellie Arroway Forecast: Quick was given too much to do when rallying strongly but too late to wind up a close third under these conditions in her U.S. debut last month. She’ll need racing luck and some help up front to get there today, but if things break right the English-bred filly should be along in time. Tijori is interesting at 12-1 on the morning line. She gets blinkers, retains F. Prat, and had traffic trouble in the same race Quick exits and never really landed a blow. She can do better with clear sailing. Ellie Arroway is drawn farther out than we’d prefer and may be using this turf sprint as a prep for a two-turner next time out, but she’s lightly raced, training well and fits on numbers so we’ll include her on a few tickets as well. RACE 12: Post 5:04 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Constitutionaffair; 8-My Journey Forecast: The finale is a maiden $20,000 main track miler with little in it. Constitutionaffair stretches out again, adds blinkers, and likely will employ gate-to-wire tactics. The S. Callaghan-trained colt takes a significant class drop, has worked well at Los Alamitos since his last race, and is less exposed that most of the others. My Journey has the blinkers off angle that we like and has hit the board in three of his last four starts. He’s competitive in speed figures, worked well recently, and makes a positive jockey switch to A. Cedillo.

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3.6.2020:

Friday, March 6: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Cal Expo has an 11-race card set to go this evening. The 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 8 and will be my focus. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 81-Mr Varsity (8-1)-Drops to a spot to shine for Team Plano. Using and hoping the morning line odds are accurate.4-Gorgeous For Real (6-1)-Also drops into a good spot and tuned up with a nice qualifier. Looking for a big try in 1st start coming off the bench for small barn with a good batting average.5-Almost Cut My Hair (5-1)-Went off as a lukewarm chalk in last and started slowly. Looking for Svendsen to be more aggressive from this post and put in play early. Could beat this field at a fair price.8-Coz And Effect (7/2)-Stuck outside again but did rally with a big effort from the 9-hole last week. Best to respect again, could stay good and brush by with another strong surge.Race 91-Reys N A Ruckus (12-1)-Price shot who seems to fit with these. Will toss last and look for a return to recent form. Races well when forwardly placed, could make the most of the post draw and trip out.6-Platinum Time (9/2)-Might be overlooked at the windows and could leave and get a good seat. Recent form has been sharp and may offer a nice return.7-California Rock (3-1)-Has been extremely consistent all meet and will respect chances in quest for 3rd straight pictures. Using but looking toward others to pump up the Pick 4 payout.Race 102-Getter Queen Flush (6-1)-Has been racing well and now gets some needed post relief. Best to not overlook, should be in the hunt at a square price.5-Magnifique (3-1)-Makes 2nd start at this level since dropping out of Opens and being out of action since 1/3. Draws well and Plano should have this mare dialed on high.Race 111-Pancetta (5/2)-Drops to the lowest level of the meet. The 1-25 record is an issue, but this is a spot to wake up and was Plano's choice over #5.2-In For The Chase (3-1)-Dropped and popped last week from the 9-hole and now is right back at the same class. Does lose Svendsen but Magee can provide a good steer.4-My Friskie Boy (10-1)-Has been in the mix versus this kind. Longo can save ground and look to pop with one big move down the lane at a juicy price.My Ticket Race 8) 1,4,5,8 Race 9) 1,6,7 Race 10) 2,5 Race 11) 1,2,4Total Ticket Cost) $14.40Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.6.2020:

Friday, March 06: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Rookie Mistake; 8-JetovatorForecast: Rookie Mistake, a solid third after a bit of a slow start in the recent Baffle Stakes, tackles older foes today while dropping a class and is a fit on speed figures. A maiden winner over the local lawn in January, the D. O’Neill-trained son of Square Eddie should be able to settle behind the leaders and then provide his run from the quarter pole home. Jetovator overcame a bit of early trouble to graduate over this course and distance in late January and has trained steadily since, so we suspect the son of Grazen has further improvement in him. Drawn comfortably outside in a race lacking in early speed, the Peter Eurton-trained colt should be on or near the lead throughout in this first-level allowance sprint for state-bred runners. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, so we’ll include both in our rolling exotic with a very slight edge on top to Rookie Mistake.RACE 2: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: BSingle: 5-Lil SydneyForecast: At first glance this looks like a treacherous affair, a 14-runner race for bottom-rung maiden claimers. You can spread (and still not be right) or you can take a stand and try to be right. Lil Sydney is a first-time gelding removing blinkers and dropping in class, so the M. Glatt-trained son of Sidney’s Candy has every right to leave his previous form behind in his first outing in 11 months. He’s actually worked better than the work tab gives him credit and appears to be a better type now than when we last saw him almost a year ago. In this league a little will go a long way so let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to his morning line of 4-1.RACE 3: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: C+Use: 3-Lucky Romano; 4-TromadorForecast: Tromador drops to his lowest level ever after exiting a much tougher restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf sprint and at this level the lightly-raced colt may have found his friends. He’s fast enough on pure speed figures off his grass form and in fact won a maiden $40,000 affair sprinting on this main track two runs back. Lucky Romano makes a monumental trainer change to M. Glatt, picks up F. Prat, and seems certain to receive plenty of play based on these two factors alone. The Lucky Pulpit gelding, a runner-up in two valuable state-bred stakes early in his career but way below that form since, should settle in just off the pace and then have every chance to wear down the leaders when it counts. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics but you may find the need to go a bit deeper.RACE 4: Post 2:35 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Desert Smoke; 2-Smiling ShirleeForecast: Smiling Shirlee, exiting a series of competitive state-bred events, shows up in a softer-than-par entry level Cal-bred allowance main track two-turn affair for fillies and mares and should be short price to regain her winning form. Missing at 6/5 when fourth, beaten three lengths in on a recent grass dash, the daughter of Smiling Tiger finished second in the Soviet Problem Stakes at Los Alamitos three runs back and we don’t expect today’s one mile distance will be an issue, especially against this group. She should be along in time under J. Rosario. Desert Smoke just won a $10,000 claimer in gate-to-wire fashion with a nice speed figure and if she can turn in two alike the E. Truman-trained mare projects to be prominent throughout and have every chance. We’ll have tickets including both in our rolling exotics and then press with Smiling Shirlee on top.RACE 5: Post 3:08 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Zero Down; 5-Tropical Terror; 7-Brace for ImpactForecast: Zero Down lands a comfortable inside draw for his first try around two turns, removes blinkers (love that angle) and could inherit the role as the controlling speed if the “send” strategy is employed. With the rails up 30 feet, this appears to be an ideal spot for a theft. We always say that even if a sprinter really doesn’t want to run long, he has a good chance of handling the trip first time he gets a chance and in this case the son of Square Eddie projects to have every opportunity. Tropical Terror looks the most dangerous of the off-the-pace types, and after finishing in the frame in his last three the J. Cassidy-trained colt may be ready to break on through. Brace for Impact has improving speed figures, and while he’s suspect at this distance the B. Headley-trained gelding could be dangerous with the switch to grass. Toss him in on a ticket or two.RACE 6: Post 3:38 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Concur; 5-Impression; 6-CaptivateForecast: We’ll go three-deep in this $25,000 main track miler for older horses while slightly preferring the class dropper Concur on top. Likely to draft into a nice second-flight, ground-saving position from his rail post, the veteran son of Curlin drops to his lowest level ever, has a prior win over the local main track, and offers a bit of value at or near his morning line of 6-1. Impression looked good earning a sharp number when a winner in a slightly softer spot two races back but then was in too tough when overmatched in a first-level allowance event last time out. Back where he belongs today, the B. Spawr-trained veteran does his best running on the front end, so we’re anticipating that regular rider T. Pereira will let him roll from the bell in attempt to become the controlling speed. Captivate is another tackling softer today with the expectations of an improved effort. He’ll be close to the pace throughout, and if Impression can’t outrun him early the son of Warrior’s Reward could find himself on the lead in a race in which the closers may be a bit suspect.RACE 7: Post 4:08 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Tig Tog; 9-SugaryForecast: Tig Tog moves up a notch after a clever win over this course and distance last time out and with J. Rosario staying aboard in a race in which the pace flow compliments this deep closers style, the Irish-bred mare in the J. Sadler should be ready for a similar effort. Given another proper patient ride and with some help up front, she could get up in time. Sugary looked fairly decent winning a $32,000 claiming turf miler in late January and returns for that same price while being given an extra furlong to work with. A winner of three of her last four but not being raised in class, the seven-year-old mare clearly is for sale, but if she has at least one good one left she should be hard beat once again. We’ll slightly prefer Tig Tog on top but use both in all of our rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Hoffa’s Union; 4-Justin’s Quest; 8-LambeauForecast: The nightcap is a competitive entry-level allowance main track middle distance affair with several possibilities. We’ll try to get by using three, including the dangerous come-backer, Hoffa’s Union. The P. Miller-trained colt, so well regarded after being purchased privately following a 15 length debut main win that he was unsuccessfully wheeled back in the Wood Memorial Stakes-G1, makes his first start since last July following a string of sharp drills at San Luis Rey Downs that should have him fit and ready. With F. Prat taking the call, the son of Union Rags looks extremely live and well-meant. Justin’s Quest returns off the bench for Baltas and has trained well enough to expect a good effort. He’ll be prominent throughout and has back numbers that make him competitive. Lambeau, third at 70 cents on the dollar in a similar spot last month, might have been a tad short in his first outing since November but won’t have that excuse today. Solid in the speed figure department and retaining V. Espinoza for a barn that sports strong stats with second off layoff runners, the son of First Samurai will be making just his four career start, so there’s plenty of room for further development.

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3.5.2020:

My Tampa Bay Derby All-Stakes Pick 4 Ticket

This far into the Derby prep season, the newcomers could take over with the Triple Crown as their target. It’s been accepted in many corners of the nation’s racing map that 2-year-old Breeders’ Cup types of 2019 don’t necessary instill a lot of confidence. The Tampa Bay Derby on Saturday is a good way to find out where some of the up-and-comers stand. And it’s nothing close to being easy to handicap. The suggested All-Stakes Pick 4 ticket (races 8-11) uses the headliner, which is the last of the sequence, as on of two “spread” races. The arithmetic on the ticket this week is 3x2x5x5 for a $75 ticket. Those five selected on the Tampa Bay Derby leg are Spa City, Chance It, Market Analysis, Sole Volante and Letmeno. Here’s a look at their chances: Spa City: An up and comer who debuted early in the week of Christmas and has shown considerable improvement in each of his subsequent starts and comes off a dandy of a maiden win – 1 length victory in a 1 1-8-mile race at Gulfstream. He can stalk and get the distance. Chance It: It’s hard to find any faults as he’s won four of six (and second in the other two). He’s been two turns just one, and it was a smashing win against Florida-breds. Of course, he’s in open company today for this but really has shown a lot of heart when eyeballed. His connections will learn a lot today. Market Analysis: He’s had just one start and he won all-out going seven furlongs at Gulfstream. He’s bred to go the distance and will be close-up throughout if he runs back to his only start. Sole Volante: The choice if you believe there will be a speed battle between a cadre of runners. He’s the deep closer and comes in off a 2.5-length, going-away win of the Sam Davis Stakes here. Florent Geroux picks up the mount, which might be an indication of what kind of future trainer Patrick Biancone believes this one has. If any horse in his field, or for that matter, in this crop of 3-year-olds screams out “distance,” this is the one. He’ll get his biggest class challenge. Letmeno: Was third in his only start over this strip. It was his first one since September and looks good going two turns. He’ll be the priciest of this group and is capable of running a big one. If speed falters he can pick up some, if not all, of the pieces. Has the good price and some promise and is worthy of inclusion Here’s a suggested play in the Tampa Bay Downs All-Stakes Pick 4 on Saturday:Race 8) #1 Big Dollar Bill, #3 Trophy Chaser, #5 King for a Day. Race 9) #3 Magic Star, #7 Starship Jubilee.Race 10) #1 Ivyetsu, #6 Walk In Marrakesh, #8 Outburst, #10 Secret Stash, #12 Micheline.Race 11) #2 Spa City, #4 Chance It, #5 Market Analysis, #7 Sole Volante, #8 Letmeno. 50-cent Pick 4 ticket: 1-3-5 with 3-7 with 1-6-8-10-12 with 2-4-5-7-8 ($75).

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3.5.2020:

San Felipe, Tampa Bay Derby and Gotham Analysis

This first weekend in March features…count ‘em…not one, not two, but three races that are part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series—San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita, Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs and Withers at Aqueduct. Each offers Derby hopefuls shares of 85 points toward spots in the Louisville starting gate on first Saturday in May: First-50, Second-20, Third-10, Fourth-5. Last Saturday, in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream, Ete Indien awoke with a dominating performance; favorite Dennis’ Moment slept through the race while morning-line second choice Chance It hit the ‘snooze’ button and scratched. Ete Indien, the winner, last out had finished a well-beaten second to Holy Bull winner and Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 3 favorite Tiz the Law. This time, in the Fountain of Youth, he went to the lead from the far outside 10-hole under jockey Florent Geroux, maintained clear advantage throughout and then drew well clear in the stretch. A four-horse photo adjudicated second, with recent maiden winner Candy Tycoon getting the nod. Heavily favored Dennis’ Moment had no visible excuse under jockey Joel Rosario. Trainer Dale Romans advised drawing a line through the race as connections continue to entertain Kentucky Derby hopes. Originally slated to start Saturday in the Holy Bull was choice Chance It, winner of four of six starts. He got unlucky at the post-position draw and was stranded in the far-outside 12-hole. Trainer Saffie Joseph agonized before ultimately scratching his charge from the race because of the horrible post. Chance It will try again Saturday on the opposite side of the Sunshine State in the Tampa Bay Derby from a more palatable post four of 12.   From a purely ‘hindsight-is-20/20’ angle, despite the poor post, Chance It might have had a real shot at winning had he remained in the Fountain of Youth. That’s a bold statement considering that Ete Indien romped home by more than eight lengths. Still, Chance It has enough speed so that he might have been merely two-wide into the first turn, perched just off the leader early and licking his chops in the garden spot. Then again, from there who really knows what might have happened. Below is one horseplayer’s analysis of this week’s 3-year-old major stakes races: Handicapping the San Felipe Stakes This might be the very definition of a ‘small but select field.’ Only seven runners gather, but there’s a decent chance that one of the choices for the Kentucky Derby, if not the winner, could be lined up in here. That’s often the case this time of year when Bob Baffert runs out of options and has to begin matching his top colts against each another. Two of them are in here and they’re both unbeaten. #4 Authentic parlayed a five and one-half length maiden romp into victory in the Grade 3 Sham Stakes. In the latter event he appeared to lose focus in the stretch and dipsy-doodled his way home. Didn’t matter at all. In fact, while he was playing around, he seemed to widen his advantage. Officially, stretch and finish margins were eight and seven and three-quarters lengths, respectively. He’s had plenty of time since the Sham and has worked well, including a bullet six furlongs in 1:12 4/5 at Santa Anita.   Baffert’s other starter #5 Thousand Words is three-for-three, including the Grade 2 Los Alamitos Futurity and the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. He’s not speedy and flashy like so many of Baffert’s runners, but he’s as steady as a surgeon’s knife. Last time out, turning for home in the Lewis, he and jockey Flavien Prat needed racing room. They shoved their way out from behind the leader and went on to a three-quarter length tally over a closing Royal Act. Before that, Thousand Words claimed a neck victory in the Los Al Futurity and a mere one-half length triumph in a maiden race. In case you haven’t been keeping score, that’s three wins by a total winning margin of less than two lengths  Besides the Baffert runners, there are two other interesting San Felipe starters: #6 Storm the Court and #2 Honor A. P. The former is the reigning 2-year-old Champion who comes into this off a close fourth-place finish in the seven-furlong San Vicente Stakes won by the Baffert-trained Nadal. Storm the Court hadn’t been out since he won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 1 at Santa Anita. He could have needed a race in the San Vicente and the mile and one-sixteenth distance of the San Felipe should help his cause. He easily could have something to say about the outcome of this race, although he’s not as fashionable a choice as either of the Bafferts. It should be noted that jockey Flavien Prat, regular rider of both Storm the Court and Thousand Words has chosen the latter for this race. #2 Honor A.P. is in development for Kentucky Derby-winning trainer John Shirreffs. He’s been sidelined since October when he convincingly won a mile maiden race. A number of questions surround, but connections—Shirreffs and Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith—plus a promising maiden win give cause for hope. Any other outcome on the ‘win’ end of this race would be distinct surprise. #3 Wrecking Crew has hit the board in an assortment of Grade 1 and Grade 2 races. They all came at two, and he’s finished behind both Thousand Words and Storm the Court  Bottom Line #5 Thousand Words gets the nod in here over stablemate #4 Authentic. The former’s experience tilt the scale in his direction, but if Authentic were to triumph it would be no surprise. There’s little edge in this race from a wagering perspective. Handicapping the Tampa Bay Derby On paper this appears a clash between a pair of familiar opponents—2-1 morning-line favorite #7 Sole Volante and 5/2 second choice #4 Chance It. The pair met Jan. 4 at Gulfstream in the Mucho Macho Man where Chance It finished first by a head with Sole Volante third, more than two lengths back. That race was one mile around one turn and the layout probably favored the swifter Chance It. Saturday’s Tampa Bay Derby distance is a mile and one-sixteenth around two turns and, even though both runners have won around two bends, that layout should even things up a bit. Chance It has not raced since the Mucho Macho Man, scratching from the Fountain of Youth 12-hole last week. Sole Volante, on the other hand, returned to upset the Grade 3 Tampa Bay Derby over this track. Trainer Todd Pletcher will send out three runners in search of a sixth Tampa Bay Derby win. #1 Texas Swing (12-1) and #5 Market Analysis (8-1) come off maiden victories—the former going a mile and one-eighth at Tampa in his second start and the latter in a first-out seven-furlong tussle at Gulfstream. #9 Unrighteous (20-1) is a maiden, but he was a solid second going a mile and one-eighth at Gulfstream last out in just his second career start. He adds blinkers Saturday. While none of these figures to pull off the outright upset, Pletcher runners must be respected in the exotics and they’re all decent prices. #2 Spa City (10-1) will draw legitimate wagering attention. He’s improved for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin in three starts, including a one-length decision over #9 Unrighteous at Gulfstream last out. A solid five-furlong 1:00 4/5 Palm Meadows work since and the presence of local 23% winner jockey Daniel Centeno help his cause.  Bottom Line: Between #4 Chance It and #7 Sole Volante, I’d lean to the former. He’s fresh, speedy, has a recent bullet four-furlong blowout at Gulfstream and will be ridden aggressively by jockey Paco Gonzalez. #7 Sole Volante has fired two big shots—Jan. 4 and Feb. 8--and may feel residual heat from those efforts. In exotics I’d use the Pletcher runners --#1 Texas Swing, #5 Market Analysis and #9 Unrighteous, as well as #2 Spa City and hope that morning-line favorite #7 Sole Volante misfires.  $2 Trifecta ($24 Total) #4 #1, #5, #9, #2 #1, #5, #9, #2 Handicapping the Gotham Stakes It’s doubtful any of these runners will figure prominently in the Kentucky Derby picture but, when the dust settles Saturday afternoon, one of them probably will have enough points to enter the Kentucky Derby starting gate. The most interesting Gotham entrant is #6 Mischevious Alex (spelling is correct, and also incorrect) from the John Servis barn. He’s the most experienced runner in the field with six starts, but his most recent—a powerful seven-length romp in Gulfstream’s Grade 3 Swale—hints at a reservoir of talent. Since blinkers were added he’s 2-0 with a nearly 10-length win in the Parx Juvenile and a seven-length Swale score. Come Kentucky Derby time distance really is the question with him, but that shouldn’t be an issue Saturday at one mile around one turn at Aqueduct. Trainer Linda Rice has had an outstanding Aqueduct meeting and #8 Montauk Traffic, winner of the Jimmy Winkfield at Aqueduct Feb. 8, has accounted for two of the trainer’s 38 winners—a seven-furlong maiden score and the Winkfield at the same distance. Stretching out to a mile in the Gotham seems logical and attainable. Drawing a line through the colt’s first start when he dwelt makes him two-for-two and unbeaten horses always are dangerous. A bullet five-furlong breeze over the Belmont training track is a further indication of fitness. #3 War Stopper woke up for trainer Rudy Rodriguez last out when blinkers were added, and he cruised to a four-length maiden score. He’ll need to repeat that effort to contend in here. #4 Attachment Rate starts for trainer Dale Romans off a solid, more than six-length maiden score over a ‘sloppy’ Gulfstream surface. He is improving and comes from off the pace, but he was dismissed at giant odds of 50-1 and 35.50-1 in two of his three starts. That lack of mutuel support makes one wonder if the maiden victory might have had more to do with ‘slop’ than talent. #10 Untitled was favored over #6 Mischevious Alex in the Swale, got bounced around at the start and didn’t fire. Trainer Mark Casse then uncharacteristically wheeled him back in 13 days to finish second to Gouverneur Morris in a Tampa Bay Downs allowance race. The cut back to a mile should help the cause.    Bottom Line Don’t see much other than an A-B-C type race. In other words, #6 Mischevious Alex looks best with #8 Montauk Traffic the most logical threat.  No real exotic combos jumping out. While these three pre-Kentucky Derby skirmishes may not offer much wagering value, supporting cards at Santa Anita, Tampa Bay and Aqueduct are chock full of outstanding mutuel opportunities. Don’t miss them. Race On!

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3.5.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: March 6 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, which has been easily surpassing the 100k guarantee, and in some cases doubling it. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:49 ET) – 4up N1X* at 7 furlongs In what could be a match race between two talented, lightly raced prospects, I’ll side with the post position of #8 MUNGOJERRIE (9-2), since he drew a lot better than #1 BENINTENDI (8-5), as the former can dictate from the outside, while the latter may take all the worst of it as the inside speed. Don’t let the odds discrepancy fool you either, as they figure about 9-5 and 2-1 by post time, off equally big figure 2nds, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see ‘Jerrie go favored either. Pk5 A horses: 8,1 (listed in order of preference) Those looking to play against two heavy favorites will mention the possibility that the pace falls apart, and it’s something to consider a bit, which is why I’ll also use Parx invader #3 POPIZAR (9-2), who needs to answer the class question, but has the running style to pick up the pieces, and should like the added ground he gets here too. Pk5 B horses: 3 Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (4:23 ET) – 4upfm 5k at 5 1/2 furlongs The first of two spread races is upon us, as this one looks very evenly matched, with no distinctive favorite. I’ll side with #4 CASTLE RIDGE (9-2), who drops in class after running decent enough against better, and should trip out nicely just off the speed. Clearly you have to use #9 PRANK CALL (3-1), who won off by 3 at the level last time and did well to draw outside the other speed as well, as well as #1 FENDER BABY (7-2), who lost to the former last time but might be a Lone F, or at least the speed of the speed. Pk5 A horses: 4,9,1 You could use several on the second line as well, but I’ll side with two—#6 LADY KIM (10-1) and #3 HIGHLAND LASS (6-1)—as the former might not have liked being down inside against ‘Call and ‘Baby last time but has two big figures showing two and three-back, while the wildcard for Farrior but plummets in class off a no-show against eons better, so where his form is at now is a huge guess. Deeper spreads might include #5 Barbsgraylion (10-1), #8 Slewzer (10-1), and #7 My T Talk (8-1), but they appear to be going the wrong way and look behind the quintet I’m using. Pk5 B horses: 6,3 Leg 3: Santa Anita R2 (4:32 ET) – 3up 20k MCL at 6 furlongs The second of the spreads comes in a tough 14-pack at the Great Race Place, and I’ll again use three on the top line, with #8 ROYAL RANGER (15-1) preferred, since he has speed, is lightly raced, was just a good 4th at the level, and drops eight pounds (though he figures much lower than this ML). I think #7 KING PARKER (5-1) is the horse to beat, as he improved last time and makes the third start of his form cycle, while #14 BOBS BLUES MAN (12-1) is the class, and though he hasn’t been out since July, he did run well on debut and this drop can’t be overstated. Pk5 A horses: 8,7,14 There’s a lot going on with #5 LIL SYDNEY (4-1), who hasn’t run since April, or on dirt, and now returns with blinkers-off and as a first-time gelding, so he’s eligible to fire, but he’s also favored on the ML and just doesn’t entice, at least on the A-line. I’d be stubborn to not include #6 GIT ON YOUR PULPIT (6-1), who should be rolling off the far turn and has several races that would win this, but when you’re 12-0-4-3, you’re allowed to wonder “why would today be the day?” Pk5 B horses: 5,6 Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R3 (5:20 ET) – 4up 16k at 5 1/2 furlongs “Pace makes the race” comes to mind here, as there is a ton of speed on the outside, which should set up #3 COLORMEMONEY (5-2) and #1 ARGOSY FLEET (9-2), as they both have a rating gear, and the former goes off the claim for 27% trainer France after just missing against slightly lesser last time, while the latter looked good winning in fast time at the N2L level and should be able to handle the rise. Pk5 A horses: 3,1 It’s possible #5 MY FRIEND TONY (2-1) takes the pace pressure and holds on, but that’s a lot to ask with speed to both sides of him, so even though he drops in class, let’s make him prove it, at least on top. Pk5 B horses: 5 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (5:21 ET) – 4upfm N1X* at 5 furlongs (turf) Budget players can probably single #7 AWSUM ROAR (5-2), who has the best form to begin with off a dominant win against lesser and now goes off the claim for Dobles, a huge 35% angle, and that’s what I’ll do for all the backup tickets. However, I’m intrigued by #4 MISS AURAMET (7-2), who just wired Florida breds easily after withstanding plenty of pace pressure, and might not have to work as hard early today, so I’ll use her on the top line as well. Pk5 A horses: 7,4 The November layoff is not ideal for #3 BENTLEY’S DREAM (9-2), as Wilkes is just 4-for-60 off this layoff, but her 2nd at CD last time was sharp and she won’t have to improve much off it, so I’ll use her as a supporting actress here. if you want more coverage you could do worse than #5 Dealer’s Girl (6-1), who gets Irad and is tactical, but she also looks a bit outgunned on paper as well. Pk5 B horses: 3 The tickets: Main Ticket: 8,1 with 4,9,1 with 8,7,14 with 3,1 with 7,4 = $72Leg 1 B Backup: 3 with 4,9,1 with 8,7,14 with 3,1 with 7 = $18Leg 2 B Backup: 8,1 with 6,3 with 8,7,14 with 3,1 with 7 = $32Leg 3 B Backup: 8,1 with 4,9,1 with 5,6 with 3,1 with 7 = $24Leg 4 B Backup: 8,1 with 4,9,1 with 8,7,14 with 5 with 7 = $18Leg 5 B Backup: 8,1 with 4,9,1 with 8,7,14 with 3,1 with 3 = $36

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3.5.2020:

Maximum Security Wins $20 Million Saudi Cup

Can you imagine how long the line would be if Maximum Security were to show up in a $16,000 claiming race now? That sure would be a sight to see. The line probably would stretch for furlong after furlong. Maximum Security could have been claimed for just $16,000 at Gulfstream Park when he made his first career start on Dec. 20, 2018. Fortunately for owners Gary and Mary West, there were no takers. That same horse nobody wanted to claim for $16,000 earned $10 million in one day at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in the Middle East last Saturday for the Wests and trainer Jason Servis. Maximum Security won the new $20 million Saudi Cup, the richest horse race ever run on the planet. While racing under the Wests’ silks last year, Maximum Security finished first in seven of eight starts. The only time he did not finish first last year, he stumbled at the start and had to settle for second behind King for a Day in the Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth Park in June. As you no doubt know, Maximum Security made history in 2019 on the first Saturday in May. He finished first by 1 3/4 lengths in the Grade I Kentucky Derby, but then was disqualified and placed 17th by the stewards. Maximum Security had his number taken down when the stewards ruled that he had drifted out and caused interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. I think the sport was extremely lucky that Maximum Security did not trigger a major spill when he veered out and caused interference on the far turn in the Kentucky Derby. In a bit of irony, this time it was Maximum Security who was victimized when having to deal with a horse -- Mucho Gusto -- not maintaining a straight course during the stretch run of Saudi Cup, a race contested at 1,800 meters (about 1 1/8 miles) around one turn. With Irad Ortiz Jr. in the saddle, Mucho Gusto was a pace factor from the beginning. Maximum Security, ridden by Luis Saez, sat menacingly within close attendance of the lead through the early stages. Turning into the stretch, Mucho Gusto had a clear advantage. His closest pursuer was Maximum Security. At that point it looked like Mucho Gusto might well be on his way to another lucrative victory after capturing the $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25. Mucho Gusto then drifted out badly in upper stretch. With a little more than 200 meters to go, it appeared that Mucho Gusto, while drifting out, was about 1 1/2 lengths in front of Maximum Security. Saez wisely elected to alter course to the inside of Mucho Gusto. It is likely that Saez felt the need to do that or risk having Mucho Gusto possibly carry Maximum Security all the way out to the outside rail. With Maximum Security now racing to the inside of Mucho Gusto, Maximum Security came on to reach virtual even terms for the lead about 150 meters out. Mucho Gusto then came over and looked like he nearly made contact with, or possibly made slight contact with, Maximum Security. But Maximum Security was undaunted by the actions of Mucho Gusto. Maximum Security surged to the front in the final 100 meters and reached the finish three-quarters of a length in front. The way I saw it, Ortiz did not make the proper effort to maintain a straight course while coming down the stretch on Mucho Gusto. “I was a little upset with Irad Ortiz,” Servis was quoted as saying in Bob Kieckhefer’s Saudi Cup recap for BloodHorse. “He carried me out in the stretch and then came down on [Maximum Security].” Servis also said “this has to be vindication,” implying it was an injustice that Maximum Security was disqualified in the Kentucky Derby. A number of others also have termed the Saudi Cup as vindication for the colt. Look, I realize that Maximum Security’s DQ in the Kentucky Derby was a bitter pill to swallow for the Wests, Servis and Saez (plus anyone who bet on Maximum Security). But in my opinion, it was Saez and Maximum Security who bear responsibility for Maximum Security being disqualified in the Kentucky Derby. If they had simply stayed in their lane on the far turn, they would not have been DQ’d. How about this what if? What if Maximum Security had finished second behind Mucho Gusto in the Saudi Cup after Mucho Gusto had run all over the track and negatively impacted Maximum Security’s trip? I am quite sure that the Wests, Servis and Saez would have cried “foul” and called for Mucho Gusto to be disqualified for his actions. But even though Mucho Gusto and Ortiz did not run straight during the stretch run, Maximum Security and Saez did manage to overtake them and came away with the biggest equine payday in the history of Thoroughbred racing. After Maximum Security’s win in the Cigar Mile toward the end of last year, he was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. Between the Cigar Mile and Saudi Cup, the Wests reportedly sold a half-interest in the Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt to Coolmore. Maximum Security raced under Coolmore’s silks for the first time in the Saudi Cup. Midnight Bisou, the Eclipse Award-winning older female of 2019, ran a terrific race in the Saudi Cup. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Midnight Lute mare, ridden by Mike Smith, rallied from far back and finished second while facing males for the first time. Mucho Gusto weakened late and ended up fourth when edged for third by Dubai-based Benbatl. A big disappointment was McKinzie, who never threatened and finished 11th in the field of 14. The day before the Saudi Cup, Smith earned a $30,000 bonus for winning Saudi Arabia’s International Jockeys Challenge. However, after riding for two days in that country last week, Smith was suspended for a total of 11 days and received a huge fine. Riding penalties in Saudi Arabia certainly are considerably more severe than here in the United States. Cited for excessive use of the riding crop on Midnight Bisou in the Saudi Cup, Smith was handed a nine-day suspension and also had to forfeit 60% of the $350,000 he would have collected for his share of the $3.5 million that Midnight Bisou earned for finishing second. That amounted to a $210,000 fine for Smith. A jockey in Saudi Arabia can be fined for an amount up to 100% of what the rider is to receive from his or her share of what their mount earned from the purse. Smith received an additional two-day suspension for failing to weigh in after the fifth race. That increased his total Saudi Arabian suspension to 11 days. Phil Tuck, stipendiary steward for the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, told the Racing Post that all riders had been briefed on the rules and penalties prior to racing there last week. Smith conceded that did happen, but he nevertheless feels the suspension and fine are out of line. He responded to the suspension and fine for his ride on Midnight Bisou in a BloodHorse story written by Byron King. “By no means do I feel that the way I rode her was excessive,” Smith said. “I might have passed a number [of strikes with the riding crop] a little bit, but that was it. I never put her or anyone else in harm. To receive that many days of a suspension is brutal enough.” Smith went on to say that he feels “the punishment doesn’t fit the crime” in terms of the suspension and $210,000 fine. “They’ll come in and explain stuff to you,” Smith said. “You understand it, but you don’t. Like excessive? What’s excessive? I got a day added because I hit off stride -- I don’t even know what that means.” Ortiz also was heavily sanctioned in Saudi Arabia. He was hit with an eight-day suspension for excessive use of the riding crop in Friday’s eighth race, then was suspended for an additional two days for committing the same offense on Mucho Gusto in the Saudi Cup. Ortiz also was fined 10% of his share of the prize money he was to receive in those two races. Maximum Security, Midnight Bisou and McKinzie are scheduled to return to the United States and will not run in the $12 million Dubai World Cup on March 28. Mucho Gusto is headed to the Dubai World Cup, as is U.S.-based Tacitus, who finished fifth in the Saudi Cup for trainer Bill Mott. THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THROUGHBRED POLL Maximum Security had been No. 2 behind Mucho Gusto in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll on Feb. 18 and Feb. 24. Both weeks I had put Maximum Security at No. 1 on my ballot. Following Maximum Security’s Saudi Cup victory, he takes over the top spot this week when he received all but one of the 43 first-place votes. Midnight Bisou got a single first-place vote. I can’t help wondering why someone would cast their first-place vote for Midnight Bisou after she was defeated by Maximum Security last Saturday. Is that voter aware of what happened in the Saudi Cup? Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 422 Maximum Security (42)2. 369 Midnight Bisou (1)3. 311 Mucho Gusto4. 276 Zulu Alpha5. 161 Mr. Freeze6. 114 Code of Honor7. 101 Firenze Fire8. 63 Hard Not to Love9. 61 McKinzie10. 58 Silver Dust BAFFERT-TRAINED DUO TOPS SAN FELIPE STAKES The strength of this Saturday’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes, which has drawn a field of seven, is reflected by the fact that four of the entrants in the 1 1/16-mile affair at Santa Anita are on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who currently is loaded with Kentucky Derby prospects, will have a strong one-two punch consisting of the undefeated colts Thousand Words and Authentic. No. 3 on my Top 10, Thousand Words is three for three. He won the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity last year and Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 1 in his first 2020 start. Thousand Words is a Kentucky-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt. American Pharoah, a Kentucky-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt trained by Baffert, swept the Triple Crown five years ago. In 2009, Pioneerof the Nile won the Lewis, San Felipe and Grade I Santa Anita Derby before finishing second to 50-1 longshot Mine That Bird in the Grade I Kentucky Derby. No. 5 on my Top 10, Authentic is two for two. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race by 1 1/2 lengths when he kicked off his racing career last Nov. 9 at Del Mar. He then took Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes by nearly eight lengths on Jan. 4. Authentic did not run a straight course during the stretch run in the Sham when racing greenly while far in front. He has not exhibited any such goofy behavior in his seven recorded workouts since the Sham. Honor A.P., who is No. 4 on my Top 10, and Storm the Court, who is ranked No. 10, also are entered in the San Felipe. Mike Smith has been given the okay to ride Saturday at Santa Anita, including Honor A.P. in the San Felipe. Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen reports that beyond Saturday, Smith “faces an uncertain riding schedule in March while awaiting clarification of a riding suspension issued in Saudi Arabia last Saturday for excessive use of the whip on runner-up Midnight Bisou in the $20 million Saudi Cup.” Smith, according to Andersen, is scheduled to serve the first two days of his 11-day suspension on consecutive Fridays, March 6 and March 13. “It was not clear on Wednesday morning when the remaining days would be served, and whether Smith would be eligible to ride designated races, often graded stakes, during the suspension,” Andersen wrote. John Shirreffs trains Honor A.P. When the Kentucky-bred Honor Code ridgling made his career debut at Del Mar last Aug. 17, he closed with a rush after being far back early to finish second in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race won by Ginobili. That’s the same Ginobili who ran second to the highly regarded Nadal (No. 2 on my Top 10) in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 9. Nadal, yet another undefeated 3-year-old colt at the powerful Baffert barn, is scheduled to make his next start in Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 14. The door was opened for Joel Rosario to pick up the mount on Storm the Court in the San Felipe because Flavien Prat opted to stick with Thousand Words. This will be the first race in which Prat doesn’t ride Storm the Court. In Storm the Court’s final 2019 start, he won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in a 45-1 shocker at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. The Kentucky-bred Court Vision colt subsequently was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. Storm the Court finished fourth when making his 2020 debut in the aforementioned San Vicente. Gary West (the veteran journalist, not the owner of Maximum Security) noted that with that performance, Storm the Court “dashed many of the high expectations that had accompanied him into the season.” West wrote that in his view, “Storm the Court’s San Vicente looks like the perfect start to the campaign. His effort there was much better than some might be willing to acknowledge, and, in fact, he might have won the race had he drawn an inside post position. A wide trip cost him more than the 2 1/2 lengths that were the margin of his defeat. He should be poised to take a significant step forward when he returns.” In my opinion, regardless of what post position he began from, Storm the Court was not going to beat Nadal in the San Vicente. I just do not believe Storm the Court is fast enough to beat Nadal in a seven-furlong race. However, I think West might be onto something when making the point that Storm the Court’s San Vicente should not be judged too harshly under the circumstances. ETE INDIEN CRUSHES FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH FOES In the wake of what happened in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park last Saturday, Ete Indien debuts on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week at No. 6, while Dennis’ Moment drops off the list after being No. 4 last week. When Ete Indien won the 1 1/16-mile Fountain of Youth by 8 1/2 lengths, it flattered Tiz the Law, who is No. 1 on my Top 10. Ete Indien finished second, three lengths behind Tiz the Law, in Gulfstream’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 1. Here is my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week: 1. Tiz the Law2. Nadal3. Thousand Words4. Honor A.P.5. Authentic6. Ete Indien7. Charlatan8. Maxfield 9. Sole Volante10. Storm the Court Ete Indien, trained by Patrick Biancone, won the Fountain of Youth despite breaking from post 10. That’s a poor post position in a 1 1/16-mile race at Gulfstream due such a short run to the first turn. Cognizant of the situation, jockey Florent Geroux gunned Ete Indien early. Ete Indien and Geroux quickly got clear and angled down to the inside rail going into the first turn. In the vast majority of cases, after Ete Indien had to expend so much energy early, it would have taken a toll on him toward the end of the race. But Ete Indien, the third choice in the wagering, actually drew off in the lane. His final time was 1:43.02. Candy Tycoon, off at 23-1, lacked early speed, never threatened and finished second in the field of 10. As Seen On Tv, the 5-2 second favorite, came in third, a neck behind Candy Tycoon. According to Biancone, Gulfstream’s Grade I Florida Derby at 1 1/8 miles on March 28 is next for Ete Indien. That is expected to give Ete Indien the opportunity for revenge against Tiz the Law. Chance It would have started from post 11 if he had stayed in the Fountain of Youth. But he was withdrawn and instead will run in this Saturday’s Grade II Tampa Bay Derby at Tampa Bay Downs. A half-mile into the Fountain of Youth, Dennis’ Moment was only three lengths off the pace when sixth. But he faltered badly in the final three furlongs and wound up last as the 13-10 favorite. It was a dismal performance that left trainer Dale Romans baffled. Dennis’ Moment finished 25 1/4 lengths behind Ete Indien. “Nothing has shown up yet,” Romans said Sunday morning to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman. “We’re working on it. Very puzzled so far.” Romans, Privman reported, said an endoscopic examination showed Dennis’ Moment did not bleed. “He ate every oat. It really is confusing,” Romans said. “I’ve never had one run like that where something didn’t come up at some point. “We’ll figure it out,” the trainer added. “I’m not giving up on him.” However, the panel determining the 23 individual horses in this week’s Pool Three of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager did give up on Dennis’ Moment as he was left out. The poor performance by Dennis’ Moment in the Fountain of Youth follows his BC Juvenile debacle in which he stumbled badly at the start and trailed throughout. Dennis’ Moment finished eighth as the 9-10 favorite in the BC Juvenile, 21 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Storm the Court. Dennis’ Moment posted Beyer Speed Figures of 97 in his 19 1/4-length maiden romp at Ellis Park last July 27, then 90 when he won the Grade III Iroquois at Churchill Downs in September. But in his two starts since the Iroquois, his Beyers have been 53 in the BC Juvenile and 58 in the Fountain of Youth. Ete Indien was credited with a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure for his Fountain of Youth triumph. His previous top figure had been a 95 Beyer when he finished second to Tiz the Law in the Holy Bull. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for the Fountain of Youth winners going back to 1992: 2020 Ete Indien (97)2019 Code of Honor (95)2018 Promises Fulfilled (96)2017 Gunnevera (97)2016 Mohaymen (95)2015 Itsaknockout (88)2014 Wildcat Red (101)2013 Orb (97)2012 Union Rags (95)2011 Soldat (96)2010 Eskendereya (106)2009 Quality Road (113)2008 Cool Coal Man (98)2007 Scat Daddy (96)2006 First Samurai (94)+2005 High Fly (99)2004 Read the Footnotes (113)2003 Trust n Luck (106)2002 Booklet (103)2001 Songandaprayer (101)2000 High Yield (101)1999 Vicar (97)1998 Lil’s Lad (113)1997 Pulpit (104)1996 Built for Pleasure (100)1995 Thunder Gulch (105)1994 Dehere (99)1993 Storm Tower (96)*1993 Duc d’Sligovil (94)*1992 Dance Floor (98) +Corinthian finished first but was disqualified and placed third *Run in divisions 2020 HALL OF FAME FINALISTS REVEALED Two-time Horse of the Year Wise Dan tops 11 finalists on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot in an announcement made Monday. Wise Dan won 23 of 31 lifetime starts and earned $7,552,920. He was voted Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013. Five other horses are on this year’s ballot. They are, alphabetically, Blind Luck, Game On Dude, Havre de Grace, Kona Gold and Rags to Riches. Retired jockey Corey Nakatani also is on the ballot, as are trainers Mark Casse, Christophe Clement, Doug O’Neill and David Whiteley. This year’s 11 finalists were selected from a total of 91 candidates that had been suggested to the nominating committee. Hall of Fame voters may select as many of the 11 finalists as they believe are worthy of induction into the Hall of Fame. All finalists that receive higher than 50% support from those who cast ballots will be elected. The 2020 class of inductees will be revealed on May 6. Also on that date will be the announcement of those selected by the Hall of Fame’s historic review and Pillars of the Turf committees. The induction ceremonies will be held on Aug. 7 at the Fasig-Tipton sales pavilion in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where the Hall of Fame is located. Two of the six horses on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot are on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. Wise Dan ranks No. 84. Rags to Riches is No. 89. Wise Dan is on this year’s Hall of Fame ballot in his first year of eligibility. Rags to Riches was a Hall of Fame finalist last year for the first time. I strongly believe 2007 Belmont Stakes winner Rags to Riches belongs in the Hall of Fame. The biggest stumbling block seems to be that she made only seven career starts. But keep in mind Justify made just six career starts. Even though Justify did not race more than that, I’d say it’s a slam-dunk that the undefeated Triple Crown winner will be elected to the Hall of Fame when he first becomes eligible in 2024. Justify will go into the Hall of Fame mainly for his monumental feat of sweeping the Triple Crown. All 12 previous Triple Crown winners are in the Hall of Fame. Rags to Riches raced just seven times, but in a tremendous achievement, she became the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 102 years. When Rags to Riches won the Belmont, she did so despite stumbling at the start and racing wide. Finishing second was none other than Curlin, who would be voted Horse of the Year in 2007 and 2008. Curlin entered the Hall of Fame in 2014. Rags to Riches is one of only four fillies to have won a Triple Crown race in the last 96 years! The four fillies are Genuine Risk (who won the 1980 Kentucky Derby), Winning Colors (1988 Kentucky Derby), Rags to Riches (2007 Belmont Stakes) and Rachel Alexandra (2009 Preakness). Genuine Risk, Winning Colors and Rachel Alexandra are all in the Hall of Fame. Despite making only seven career starts, Rags to Riches managed to win more Grade I races than both Genuine Risk and Winning Colors. The number of Grade I victories by the four fillies to have won a Triple Crown race in the last 96 years is listed below: 5 Rachel Alexandra4 Rags to Riches3 Winning Colors2 Genuine Risk I really hope this is the year that Rags to Riches gets what she richly deserves and joins Genuine Risk, Rachel Alexandra and Winning Colors in the Hall of Fame.  

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3.3.2020:

Harness Highlights: New Stars Emerge in New Year

Harness racing’s top performers of 2019 were recently honored at the Dan Patch Awards banquet. Several others are making a name for themself in the early part of this year. The list includes: Australian import Majestic Player won three consecutive open handicap trots at Miami Valley to bankroll more than $40,000 in February. Bell I No paced two sub-1:50 miles at the Meadowlands during a 3-for-4 winning run for trainer Andrew Harris. He set a torrid pace last Saturday but finished second to Covered Bridge in 1:49.2 Age can’t slow down Melady’s Monet. The now 11-year-old trotter won in Yonkers Raceway’s $35,000 preferred handicap February 22 for her 63rd win from 207 starts. Romantic Interest has owned Rosecroft Raceway’s weekly open handicap pace, extending his winning streak to six in 1:50.4 for driver Frank Milby. Tookadiveoffdipper won an open handicap pace at Yonkers last Saturday for his fourth win of the year that pushed his 2020 earnings to a North America-best $83,200. Panoramic View, the Big Muscle, Easy Flyer, Kabang, Ladylike and Northernlands each won six races in the first two months of the year. Rouser Hanover, a 3-year-old colt trained by Tony Alagna, turned heads in his debut at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono, winning by 3 lengths in 1:54.4 and pacing a back half-mile in :56 despite a broken equipment issue along the way.

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3.2.2020:

Monday, March 2: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight's Pompano Park 0.50 Pick 4 starts in Race 5. The sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% take out and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 52-Hypnotic Racer (4-1)-Comes off an even effort after breaking in previous start. Looking for a bigger try with this post draw, can stick around and roll by late.5-Maddelle (5-1)-Was beat as an odd-on favorite by #6, but could look to get the top and be the one controlling the pace.6-New Number Who Dis (3-1)-Deruntz provided a sharp drive and was able to back the pace down and stay strong to the wire. This mare likes to win, 5-10 this year and 12 of 37 in 2019-2020, best to not overlook.Race 65-Northern Dali (3-1)-Drops into soft spot looking for an overdue win. Should have a good shot at getting on the engine and may not look back.6-Post Time Terror (5-1)-Has the gate speed to drop in right behind #5 and catch a 2-hole ride. Is over due to get the right trip and take a picture.7-Sun Belle Slippery (2-1)-Has won the last 2-starts and now Hennessey gets back in the bike. Start will be key and may not get the top without a challenge. Should be bet hard, using but will hope for others to boost the Pick 4 payout.Race 71-Deseronto (2-1)-Set a blistering pace in last and now draws the rail again but Ranger takes a seat. Looking for a more rated effort. Should be on the engine or in the 2-hole behind #5.5-Jimmy Be Good (3-1)-Form has been so-so but Hennessey should be out and winging. Has been falling short but will respect connections and the short field shouldn't hurt.Race 84-Gold Star Aurora (12-1)-Simons can put this mare in play and keep her in contention. Has a good chance to get on the engine and may be able to steal a quarter. Will take a swing from this post and shoot for a nice price.7-R ES Shabla (5-1)-Has had excuses and comes back to a spot to shine if ready after missing a start. Should be forwardly placed and could snag an overdue win at a square price.10-Stonebridge Focus (2-1)-Shooting for 6 in a row and best to respect although the post makes it a more diffcult task. Is a major player but Oakes needs to provide a good steer.My Ticket Race 5) 2,5,6 Race 6) 5,6,7 Race 7) 1,5 Race 8) 4,7,10Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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3.2.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Feb. 24-March 1): Maximum Security

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.February 24-March 1, 2020MVP: Maximum SecurityOwner: Gary and Mary West, Michael Tabor, John Magnier, Derrick SmithTrainer: Jason ServisJockey: Luis SaezPerformance: His victory in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup won’t erase the controversy at last year’s Kentucky Derby, but Saturday’s $10 million winner’s share is a pretty good salve to most any emotional wound. Maximum Security delivered another winning performance, defeating top-flight American travelers like Midnight Bisou by three-quarters of a length, in addition to Pegasus World Cup winner Mucho Gusto and McKinzie. From sprints to routes to intercontinental jaunts some 7,000 miles from home, his 11: 9-1-0 career record has seen only 1 horse finish in front of him under the wire. For trivia buffs: King for a Day was just that in last year’s Pegasus Stakes at Monmouth.On Tap: With a 4-year-old goal stated by co-owner Gary West as the Breeders’ Cup Classic, expect at least a few more starts out of Maximum Security this season if all checks out in the health department. He likely will not run back in the March 28 Dubai World Cup. Given his versatility and natural speed, most all of the stakes schedule would be at his disposal this spring and summer toward the Classic finale. Races like the June 6 Met Mile at Belmont, and summer stakes at Saratoga like the Whitney and Woodward would make sense.Honorable Mentions: It took a $20 million race to knock Mr. Freeze out of the MVP spot this week. The 5-year-old ran the best race of his career in a blitzing Grade 2 Gulfstream Park Mile performance. The victory underscored his Pegasus World Cup runner-up performance earlier in the Gulfstream Park meeting. Races like the Godolphin Mile in Dubai and/or the Met Mile at Belmont could be in his future. Pegasus World Cup Turf winner Zulu Alpha was in control Saturday at Gulfstream, winning the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida by a measured length for the second straight year. He returned in Keeneland’s Grade 2 Elkhorn a year ago following the similar score. And finally, Ete Indien earned his Kentucky Derby credentials with a surprisingly easy, 8-1/2 length romp in the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream on Saturday. He likely will be a leading Florida Derby contender at month’s end.

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3.1.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Wagering Strategies for 3/01/20

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSanta AnitaSunday, March 1, 2020*Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.*It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.*Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.*Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.*The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.*Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File**RACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse:4-Desert Swarm; 7-SorrisoForecast: Desert Swarm flashed speed, faded, and then went to the sidelines last summer after just one start, but he’s trained like he’s a better colt now and hails from a barn that has strong stats with layoff runners. The son of Desert Code doesn’t really have a whole lot to beat in this state-bred maiden special weight sprint, so let’s put him on top while also including the intriguing newcomer, Sorriso, in our rolling exotic play. The son of Smiling Tiger is bred for much speed and has shown signs of it in morning preps. At this abbreviated sprint distance, he could be tough to catch if he breaks with his field.**RACE 2: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: BSingle: 3-Beau RocketForecast: Beau Rocket seems to have found a proper spot in this five-runner bottom-rung claiming miler for fillies and mares. The lightly-raced mare drops drastically in class, switches to A. Cedillo, and recently worked quite well to indicate a form reversal may be in store. She can be the controlling speed if she wants to be, and in a race lacking in effective closers the daughter of Heatseeker can get brave if not pressured early. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 3: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Fire When Ready; 3-FreiburgForecast: Fire When Ready is double jumped in class following a $12,500 Mullins claim – always a good sign – and after showing improvement in the morning for his new connections the son of Empire Way may be set to produce a significant forward move. A two-time winner over the local main track and with numbers that make him competitive despite the raise to the $20,000 level, ‘Ready switches to hot-riding U. Rispoli and rates top billing. Freiburg has back numbers that can win and is trying an easier group today, so the M. Glatt-trained gelding is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. We’ll try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play; we’ll also have extra tickets keying Fire When Ready to top.**RACE 4: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Treasure Hunter; 5-Winning ElementForecast: Here’s another five runner affair, this one for $50,000 claimers over a mile on the main track. Treasure Hunter, a $35,000 claim last May by M. Glatt (terrific stats with this angle), returns waiver protected and has been first or second in eight of 12 starts over the Santa Anita main track. If he’s ready – and the works indicate fitness – the son of Treasure Beach can handle this assignment either on the front end or from a good stalking position. Winning Element, a $40,000 R. Hansen claim last month, is solid on numbers and really won’t have to improve much at all following a sharp last-out victory under F. Prat, who rides him back. The son of City Zip should find himself in a comfortable stalking position outside and have his chance from the quarter pole home. We’ll prefer Treasure Hunter on top but include both in our rolling exotics.**RACE 5: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Storming Lady; 4-Sold ItForecast: Sold It turns back to a sprint and should fire her best shot under conditions that seem made to order. The D. O’Neill-trained daughter of The Factor is strong on speed figures and is a perfect one-for-one at this distance on grass. Storming Lady is most effective when held up early and allowed to run late. This course has been kind to the closers this meeting and with F. Prat staying aboard the daughter of Flat Out should get the kind of trip that will bring out her best. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Sold It on top.**RACE 6: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Coilette; 4-Leading IndicatorForecast: We’ve got this restricted (nw-3) $16,000 extended sprint for fillies and mares down to two main contenders, and both should be used in rolling exotic play. Leading Indicator, first or second in each of her last three outings, seems set for another top effort, and with just eight starts on her resume the daughter of Clubhouse Rise should have room for further improvement. Her numbers are gradually rising, she has the proper style for this six and one-half furlong trip, and she’s reunited with “win rider: A. Espinoza. Coilette, freshened since mid-December, hails from a high percentage outfit and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Both of her races over the Santa Anita main track were good, and not much better will be needed to return her to the winner’s circle.**RACE 7: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Oliver; 3-Fashionably FastForecast: Fashionable Fast has won five straight, but this race is a mile and the razor sharp son of Lucky Pulpit has yet to prove he can be as effective around two-turns as he is sprinting. Strong on speed figures and thoroughly genuine and consistent, the D. Pederson-trained gelding has never been better so we suspect in his present form he’ll be able to get the trip. Oliver always hits hard in these state-bred stakes and actually won at this one mile distance in a stakes at Los Alamitos last year. He’ll draft into a good stalking position, and if Fashionable Fast finds the final furlong a bit too much this son of Papa Clem could be there to pick him up. Both should be included in your rolling exotics.**RACE 8: Post 4:34 PT. Grade: BSingle: 5-A Man’s ManForecast: A Man’s Man is a single by default in this maiden state-bred turf sprint that came up unusually light;. The son of Mucho Macho Man ran well when finishing in the frame under these conditions in late January despite a less than ideal trip and anything close to that type of performance today should get the money. At 5/2 on the morning line, the B.Koriner-trained gelding is a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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3.1.2020:

March 1: Hawthorne Racecourse Pick 5 Analysis

It was an interesting Saturday night at Hawthorne Racecourse as there were a number of big prices. The upsets have caused carryovers in the Early and Late Pick 4's as well as the Pick 5. The Late Pick 4 has been assigned a $40,000 guaranteed pool and the Pick 5 has a $100,000 guaranteed pool. My focus is on the 0.50 Pick 5 and it appears to be another big challenge.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Fox Valley Charliz (9/2)-Couldn't make up any ground in last but did race the 2nd half in .57 and now drops down to face easier. Shouldn't blush at the company and looks to be a square price.4-Hard Headed Woman (2-1)-Program chalk steps down and should be a player versus this crew. Appears to have a good chance of snagging a win but is only 3 for 37 at Haw and has only 3 wins in last 41 starts.Race 22-Brienne The Beauty (9/2)-Beaten favorite came up short. Now camera-shy mare is in a spot to get sucked around and could rally late.3-KZ Kool Desire (7-1)-Only 1-24 at Haw but fits here and did close well last time. Makes 2nd Stickney start and will look for upswing to continue.4-Roberts New Life (5-1)-Comes off a tough trip but did pace hard to the wire. Best to respect in an open affair and has done well here in the past.6-Vegas Highroller (4-1)-Was used aggressively in 1st local start and was coming off a 3-week rest. Could be betterin 2nd try for new barn.Race 32-Mamaneedsmorewine (2-1)-Started slowly and rallied nicely in 1st start of the year. Not sure if is 2-1 good but has shown ability to pass horses and finish the mile. Oosting could put in play sooner and make a move down the lane to take a picture.8-Bluebird Luigi (5-1)-Raced well in 1st start at Haw and that was coming off a scratch. Bates could find some live cover and rally down the lane.Race 41-Rushing Reba (10-1)-Even effort last week in 1st start of the meet and is in a spot to trip out at a nice price.3-Valar Morghulis (2-1)-Has been bet down in both local starts and has gotten on the engine and faded to finish 2nd. Could be tight enough to make every call a winning one but doesn't offer any value.5-Tell Marcia (5/2)-Didn't show much vigor in 1st start since 9/27 but will expect better this time. Has won 3 of 6 starts at Haw.8-Daybreak Girl (20-1)-Raced a quick back half last week and now makes 2nd start of the meet and adds Lasix. Will take a swing at a big price.Race 52-Model (5-1)-Had a nice effort in last and now steps-up but that doesn't mean much as the entire field is doing the same except for #8.8-Pretty Image (3/2)-Back at the same level after beating Open company in 1st start off the bench. Did skip a start and is stuck outside but should be a major player with a clean trip.0.50 Pick 51,4/2,3,4,6/2,8/1,3,5,8/2,8Total Bet=$64Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.29.2020:

February 29: Hawthorne Racecourse Pick 5 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse starts the night with a $10,895 carryover in the 0.50 Pick 5. That helps the guaranteed pool to grow to $25,000 and the sequence will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Muscular Babe (7/2)-Will take a swing this mare is up to beating the boys in 3rd start off the bench. Gets post relief, has won 3 of 7 races at Haw and will respect connections.4-Louscardamon (3-1)-Looking for 3rd straight pictures after 2 sharp wins since using Lasix. Best to respect but may not get a 3rd quarter breather this time.8-Lousraptor (7-1)-Makes 3rd start on Lasix and 3rd start off the bench. Has fallen victim in previous two races to sharp winners. The price should be right here and has been trying hard but will need best on step up in class.Race 25-Luke's Rocketman (5/2)-Was 0-22 until last time and that was an impressive mile racing wide much of the way. May have awaken and will string along as this barn has started the meet hot.7-Adios Amigos (5-1)-Raced well from the 8-hole in last and now makes 3rd Stickney start after arriving from CalX. Thinking upswing could continue as could be better acclimated to the weather. Using and leaving #6, the ML chalk out.Race 31-Waymore (7-1)-Oosting's choice over #5 tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Raced okay in the back half last week and now faces a field without a standout.3-Trashytonguetalker (3-1)-Has won 14 of 33 starts at Haw but has fallen on hard times and has made only 6 starts in 2019-20. This looks like a spot to duck, stay on the wood and look to brush by down the lane.5-Why Ask Why (9/2)-10-year old was used hard off the gate into a 55.4 opening half and didn't cave in at the end of the mile. Should be tighter and could win at a square price.Race 43-J B's Hero (5-1)-Makes 3rd start of the meet and was rolling in the back half of the mile but couldn't gain ground into a tepid pace. Leonard sticks and will look for better tonight.5-Native's Best Bet (9/2)-Made a rare break in last after going off as the chalk. Previous start was an easy win, thinking a repeat of that performance is more likely than last week's miscue.7-Holdonwe'rerolling (2-1)-Drew off as a strong winner last time and beat five from this field. That start came after being on the shelf since 11/3. Looks like a major player for a barn batting 36%.Race 55-A Bettors Risk (9/5)-Tuned-up last week versus Open company and now drops to a softer spot. Last line was better than it looked, went the last half in 54.3, last quarter in .27 flat. Looks like a winner with a decent trip.0.50 Pick 51,4,8/5,7/1,3,5/3,5,7/5Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.28.2020:

Friday, February 28: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

The 0.20 Pick 4 at Cal Expo this evening is set to begin in Race 7. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 72-Gravelsinmytravel (5-1)-9-year-old needs the right trip and starts slowly. The pace could be brisk and in 4th local start, might be set to roll by down the lane.3-To The Limit (7/2)-Beaten chalk didn't get the best of trips and couldn't make up ground down the lane. Steps-up a notch but has beaten better when dialed on high. Plano steers and with the right trip it could be picture time.8-Contemporay Legend (5/2)-Program chalk drops to a spot to shine. Kennedy's choice over #5 is a major threat with a live cover flow. Kennedy could also leave as there isn't a lot of gate speed inside.Race 81-Wizzel Stix (6-1)-Will toss last effort as Roberts is back and he has driven a few times before. Looking for a more aggressive steer and could get the top and steal a quarter.3-Bunkerhill Jill (3-1)-Camera shy mare did race the last 1/2 in 57.1 in previous start after being off for 7-weeks. Looking for a big try tonight and the Wiseman barn has been rolling.5-Brian's Magic Girl (3-1)-Was claimed for $7,200 on 1/4 and since then has been racing over its head. Now takes a good drop and this looks like the time to cash the biggest check.Race 91-Bettor In The Bank (5-1)-Went out for jog last week from the 8-hole and is back against the same company. Looking for a more serious effort and starting from the rail should help.2-Marced Magic (4-1)-Dropped out of the Open class to this level in last. Tried to get on the engine and not look back. That was an unusual tactic and it didn't work. Magee sticks and may look to come off cover tonight.4-Blue Star Maverick (5-1)-Sizzled the back half in 54.1 but came up empty. Could race closer to the top of stack and might be sitting on a big try .6-Bunker Hill Bill (6-1)-Comes off 2-second place finishes and has been right there in quick miles. Wasn't Magee's choice but Roberts might be able to squeeze a bit more juice out of this veteran and pop at a square price.Race 101-Cenalta Glory (9/2)-Last race was on 2/1 but has shown to come back well after time off. Plano's choice over the 3 & 5 is a 9-time winner in 23 starts at CalX. Should like the company and best to not overlook.4-Custards Dungeon (4-1)-Started the year with 3-straight wins and has had excuses in last 3 starts. Will respect connections and could get 1st win at this level.9-Marc Mellow Man (7/2)-Post draw could hurt but thinking the price will be better than the morning line. Rolled the last half in 55.4 and Roberts takes over here and he could put in play sooner.My Ticket Race 7) 2,3,8 Race 8) 1,3,5 Race 9) 1,2,4,6 Race 10) 1,4,9Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.28.2020:

Friday, February 28: Santa Anita Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: XSingle: 1-Mongolian LegendForecast: Mongolian Legend adds blinkers for the first time, lands the favorable rail, exits a series of much tougher races and has speed figures that make him a logical short priced favorite in this maiden $40,000 middle distance affair. As an eight-race maiden he’s probably not one to trust, but if it’s not him, then who? We’ll make him a no value rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Point Hope; 2-Classy AtlanticForecast: This non-winners of three $35,000 claiming turf sprinter should boil to the two inside runners, both of whom are making their first start for new connections following a claim. Point Hope was haltered by M. Glatt (32% with a strong flat-bet profit) and can be expected to improve with the switch to F. Prat and the turn back to a sprint. The veteran Irish-bred mare appears capable of producing a winning late kick. Classy Atlantic is a two-time winner over the local lawn and has a good stalking style for this distance on this course. She goes for the Cerin barn, which usually has a high percentage of winners sporting the first-off-the-claim angle, and though she could do no better than third when favored last time out she exits an open affair and should find this restricted group well within her abilities. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll then have extra tickets keying Point Hope on top.RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Malibu Cat; 6-RaneemForecast: Raneem shows up in a maiden claimer for the first time while returning to the main track, so the B. Baffert-trained filly shouldn’t have any excuses after failing as the favorite in a stronger straight maiden event last month. She’s always been vulnerable in the final furlong but figures to stick much better in this league. We’ll put her on top but not with any degree of confidence. Malibu Cat, sixth in the same race Raneem just finished fifth in, also should enjoy the lesser competition and must be given a strong look. She retains F. Prat, and with just three prior starts may have bit more improvement in her than her main rival. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that probably is best left alone.RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: C+Single: 5-Indy JonesForecast: Indy Jones is 1-for-16 lifetime so there’s no way you can back him with any degree of certainty but the Temple City gelding has numbers that are good enough to beat this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 field and just finished a close third (albeit in a four-runner race) in a similar event earlier this month. If he can produce any kind of forward move – or just turn in the same type of effort – he can win. You can reluctantly use him as a rolling exotic single or just sit it out.RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: B-Use: 6-Commanding Chief; 7-Border TownForecast: Border Town and Commanding Chieffinished third and fourth, respectively, in a recent similar straight maiden turf router and both figure in the fray once again while stretching out to a mile and one-eighth. Neither should be inconvenienced by the extra distance and both should be included in rolling exotic play, though ‘Town, with five fewer starts and adding blinkers for the first time, has more room for improvement and therefore deserves top billing.RACE 6: Post 2:58 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Winning Bells; 2-Sweet Sassafrassy; 5-Dorita’s LemonForecast: Winning Bells, second while more than six clear of the rest in a similar bottom-rung maiden claimer last month, probably won’t have to do much more today to graduate in only her third career start, so we’ll put the daughter of Dialed In on top and hope that she leaves cleanly from the rail. Sweet Sassafrassy, well-backed at 3-1 in her debut in the same race Winning Bells exits, flashed speed before weakening to wind up a distant third, but she has a right to be fitter and stronger today. It wouldn’t be surprising to see patient handling employed today. Dorita’s Lemon is a first-timer with moderate works. If she run just a little bit, she can act with these.RACE 7: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: B+Single: 2-KazanForecast: The speed types appear suspect in this turf sprint for $50,000 older claimers so let’s go with the best of the closers. Kazan, strictly a router throughout his career, has been away since last August when he was voided claim, but we suspect the D. O’Neill-trained gelding will fire a good shot fresh following a series of solid works at San Luis Rey Downs. With excellent turf rider U. Rispoli taking the call, the veteran son of Shanghai Bobby figures to be rolling in the final furlong and with good racing luck should get up in time. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Tejon5-Seizetheday RexyForecast: The nightcap is a maiden $50,000 state-bred sprint that drew just seven starters. Seizetheday Rexy seems the best of the known element after finishing a solid runner-up in a similar affair last month and with another forward move today should be hard to deny. The Pratt-O’Neill combo always hits at a high percentage and this gelding projects to enjoy a soft pace-prompting trip and have every chance to separate from the pack when the pressure is turned on. Tejon is a Square Eddie gelding making his first start for the always-dangerous R. Baltas barn and shows a reasonable work tab at San Luis Rey Downs that indicates some ability. The rail is no bargain but in a modest field he’s worth tossing in.

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2.27.2020:

Johnny D's Fountain of Youth Picks

Those of a certain age can recall hearing venerable sportscaster Jim McKay’s dramatic weekly voiceover, “Spanning the globe to bring you the constant variety of sports…the thrill of victory…and the agony of defeat…the human drama of athletic competition. This is ABC’s Wide World of Sports.” It’s doubtful that this weekend’s Thoroughbred events will equal the excitement of seeing a young Cassius Clay, a charging Arnold Palmer or a helpless Vinko Bogataj. You’re probably familiar with the first two names, but the third might not ring a bell. He’s the Yugoslavian ski jumper that famously wiped out during a 1970 competition in Oberstdorf, Germany. Bogataj became the unforgettable image paired with the words ‘the agony of defeat.’ While the intro video for “Wide World of Sports” changed during a 37-year span, McKay’s delivery, first aired April 29, 1961, endured. McKay won two Emmy Awards for moving coverage of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games—one for sports and one for news. He also hosted the USA Olympic hockey team’s incredible victory over the Soviets in 1980 at Lake Placid. The nation recently celebrated the 40-year anniversary of that event. If McKay were with us today, no doubt, he’d be intrigued by this weekend’s ‘globe-spanning’ of his favorite sport: horseracing. Born in Philadelphia and moved to Baltimore at age 14, McKay eventually bred and raised Thoroughbreds. He famously founded Maryland Million Day in order to showcase the local talent. That event has grown to be second to only the Preakness in Charm City equine popularity. Saturday, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, several top-ranked US horses will meet worldwide foes for the inaugural presentation of the $20 million Saudi Cup. Xpressbet account holders can watch and wager on all the races beginning at 8 am ET. #7 Maximum Security has a chance to prove he’s a superstar. That didn’t definitively happen in 2019 for a variety of reasons--disqualification, illness, poor timing. In fact, in some quarters, there’s lingering doubt about ‘Max’s ability to punch with the heavyweights. While some maintain he should have been voted Horse of the Year, others dispute his Eclipse as the year’s top 3-year-old. In this corner, we’re Maximum Security fans, but agree that he’s got something to prove. Perhaps, he will do that Saturday. Of course, how the near virgin King Abulaziz surface plays Saturday is a valid concern. Will it favor speed or closers? Word is that, so far, the track has played fairly. If, for some reason, ‘Max can’t make it happen, look for one of Bob Baffert’s to get the job done (surprise, surprise!). #9 McKinzie is the most obvious threat, but a razor-sharp and improved #8 Mucho Gusto also is a serious consideration at a price. The Saudi Cup is the race of the young 2020 season, unfortunately, those seriously offended by Saudi Arabia’s human rights record refuse to support the race. On the other half of the globe, late Saturday afternoon US time, the 74th running of the Fasig-Tipton Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park will match 3-year-olds sharing ultimate designs on winning the Kentucky Derby. With $400k in purse money and 85 points available toward a reserved parking spot in the new 20-horse Churchill Downs Derby starting gate, competition will be fierce. Here’s a horse-by-horse look at the Fountain of Youth. 1. Candy Tycoon (Pletcher/Franco) - 15/1 Meet’s leading trainer Todd Pletcher sends out this recent impressive mile and one-sixteenth maiden winner. While it took this one 5 starts to finally graduate, he’s sharp, in good hands and has drawn well in here for taking a shot at making the lead from the rail. Regular rider John Velazquez moves to #10 Shotski, but that makes sense. This one’s entry was a last minute audible from the cinch Hall of Fame trainer’s barn. 2. Makabim (Hurtak/Alvarado) - 50/1 Horseracing is a game of hope. His entry in this race is the proof. 3. Masterday (Zerpa/Torres) - 30/1 He broke maiden first out at Gulfstream Park West and hasn’t been closer than 6 lengths behind in two subsequent allowance outings. He’d need more to do damage here. 4. The Falcon (Quartarolo/Meneses) - 50/1 Will be looking for ‘The Snowman’ to complete the exacta. He’s been close in two maiden starts—third by a neck for a $50k tag in the slop at Churchill and a close second going a mile at Turfway against straight maidens. Not for us. 5. Dennis' Moment (Romans/Prat) - 2/1 He hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since stumbling at the start of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, losing all chance as the heavy favorite. His career theme song, made popular by Frank Sinatra in 1939, is “All or Nothing at All.” He has a pair of wins and two complete tosses among four career starts. First time out, he clipped heels down the backstretch and dislodged jockey Robby Albarado. Next out he broke maiden and parlayed that into a decisive score in the Grade 3 Iroquois at Churchill. That led to the disappointing BC Juvenile. Any highly regarded juvenile making an initial sophomore start must be viewed with a hint of cynicism. What’s happened previously is of little import. They must prove themselves by transferring notable form into a 3-year-old season. This guy’s no exception to the rule, especially because he’s going to be heavily bet and shows a history of unfortunate events. On his best day, he’s the best in this field. Will Saturday be one of those days…or nothing at all? BTW…the favorite has won this race just twice in the last 10 years. If Dennis’ Moment should go odds-on in the wagering know this: the favorite in this race has been odds-on five times in the last eight years. Four of those five have lost.   6. As Seen on Tv (Breen/Lopez) - 9/2 The son of Lookin At Lucky has won two of four starts, including the restricted Juvenile Sprint at Gulfsteam Park West. His lone 3-year-old outing was a narrow, grueling Mucho Macho Man defeat by Chance It, a foe he faces here. He had advantages over Chance It in that race but couldn’t seal the deal. This will be his first try around two turns. Expect him to show speed in here with Chance It and others stalking intently. He seems a bit of a reach, but the post draw didn’t hurt him as much as it did others.   7. Country Grammer (Brown/Castellano) - 15/1 Reported to be a half-brother to Kelsey Grammer…just kidding. Sorry, that was unavoidable but bad. This guy comes from the powerful Chad Brown outfit and counts a strong maiden victory last out at a mile and one-eighth at Aqueduct in November. His first race resulted in a fourth placing while wide in a mile turf race at Belmont. No doubt this is an aggressive spot for Country Grammer but he’s got the right connections to threaten exotics in here.  8. Gear Jockey (Arnold/Leparoux) - 20/1 He’s a maiden after 5 starts, but he’s got a pair of graded stakes turf tries on his resume—third-place finishes in both the Gr. 3 Bourbon and Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. He’s been off the board in his two dirt starts. This son of Twirling Candy has been working forwardly at Palm Meadows, including five-furlong bullets—one on turf and one on dirt. Expect to find him just behind the early leaders, a good spot, but he must improve his dirt form significantly to threaten in here.     9. Liam's Lucky Charm (Nicks/Zayas) - 15/1 He had a rough time of it before the start of the Gr. 2 Risen Star Stakes. He broke through the gate and then didn’t fire at nearly 6-1 contender odds. Before that, he won the seven-furlong Pasco Stakes at Tampa Bay as favorite. That effort added to an impressive sprint resume that also included a decision over Chance It --this race’s second choice—in three tries. Distance appears to be a question with this son of Khozan and those backing him will need to be very forgiving of his Risen Star disappointment. 10. Shotski (O'Dwyer/Velazquez) - 10/1 Along with favorite Dennis’ Moment, Shotski is a graded stakes winner who was successful in the Gr. 2 Remsen at a mile and one-eighth at Aqueduct. He also finished fourth in the one-mile Street Sense and second in the mile and one-eighth Gr. 3 Withers behind Max Player. He’s been on the lead in his last two starts, but that position will be occupied in the Fountain of Youth. Can Shotski rate comfortably and kick when the time is right? His past performances suggest not. In two dirt starts when he failed to make the lead, he didn’t run well. And, even in races where he made the lead, he lost ground in the stretch. He’ll need to show me more. Jockey John Velazquez has won the race a leading 5 times.    11. Ete Indien (Biancone/Geroux) - 8/1 He has two wins in three starts, both coming at Gulfstream Park with one on turf. Following a grassy, first-out maiden race, this colt was elevated to Grade 3 turf competition in the Bourbon at Keeneland. He drew an outside post there and raced wide without threatening. A one-mile allowance score led to a start in the Grade 3 Holy Bull at the Fountain of Youth distance. He led most of the way until gobbled up in the stretch by highly regarded Tiz the Law.  He figures close to the early pace in here and may force As Seen on TV’s hand early. According to Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch: since the track was reconfigured, at a mile and one-sixteenth horses breaking from post 11 are 4 for 54. 12. Chance It (Joseph Jr./Gaffalione) - 7/2 He battled back gamely inside As Seen on TV to win the one-mile Mucho Macho Man last out at Gulfstream Park. The pair finished clear of third-place runner Sole Volante, who stretched out to win the Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs next out. A winner of 4 of 6 starts (all at Gulfstream), he was a multiple restricted-stakes winner before the Mucho Macho Man. He has speed but was comfortable racing just off the pace last out. He’s handy and gutsy, as he rallied along the rail for the victory. He’s also trained by Saffie Joseph, one of Gulfstream’s top conditioners. The jury is still out, though, on his most effective distance. He has a romping score at a mile and one-eighth against overmatched foes and now he must prove himself against better competition. He can’t be ignored. The post draw did him no favors. According to Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch, since the reconfiguration of the track, at a mile and one-sixteenth horses breaking from post 12 have won 3 of 36. Bottom Line: #5 Dennis’ Moment, a talented-but-unlucky 2-year-old, will have to show that he’s matured with the rest of his generation. He’s been away since November, will be a short price and has to prove he’s got the goods at 3. He could win, but this is the time to take a shot against him. The biggest problem with that plan is that several of the most talented challengers #10 Shotski, #11 Ete Indien and #12 Chance It all drew poorly. One can assume there will be a few scratches in the race, moving outside contenders a few slots toward the rail. Still, it’s not a plus to be wide around the Gulfstream oval going a mile and one-sixteenth. All things considered, there should be a quick early pace and that ought to set the table for Dennis’ Moment. If he has one of his ‘good’ days, he’ll win. However, as we’ve already discussed, there are negatives. Perhaps #12 Chance It can get over from the far outside, rate kindly and save some ground. If you’re in an adventuresome mood, give longshots allowance winner #7 Country Grammer and maiden #8 Gear Jockey looks in the exotics. Either could come from off the pace and both bring solid works into this. If Saturday’s global dose of ‘the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat’ tickles your fancy, you’re in luck. Another rich worldwide doubleheader is on tap Saturday, March 29, when Gulfstream hosts the Gr. 1 Florida Derby and Meydan Racecourse presents the 25th running of the $12 million Dubai World Cup program. Race On!

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2.26.2020:

Exceptional Racehorse and Sire A.P. Indy Dies

A.P. Indy, a Horse of the Year on the track and one of the all-time great sires off the track, died at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky last Friday from what was said to have been the infirmities of old age. He was 31. Lane’s End issued the following statement: “A.P. Indy passed away peacefully in his stall at the Lane’s End stallion complex, the barn he called home for 27 years. Champion A.P. Indy’s list of accomplishments range far and wide, as his legacy continues to be carried through the outstanding performances of his sons and daughters across the globe. He was the most important and popular member of the Lane’s End team, and we are deeply sorry to all who loved him as much as we did.” William Farish and W.S. Kilroy bred A.P. Indy in Kentucky. A son of Seattle Slew and the Secretariat mare Weekend Surprise, A.P. Indy was born on March 31, 1989. A.P. Indy had a Triple Crown lineage. Seattle Slew and Secretariat were both Triple Crown winners. A.P. Indy’s pedigree had additional appeal in that Weekend Surprise produced 1990 Preakness Stakes winner Summer Squall. With such regal breeding, it should come no surprise that A.P. Indy sold for a bundle at public auction. He fetched a final bid of $2.9 million to top the 1990 Keeneland summer yearling sale. In fact, A.P. Indy was the most expensive yearling sold at public auction in the nation that year. Tomonori Tsurumaki of Japan purchased A.P. Indy by outbidding trainer D. Wayne Lukas. With Seattle Slew and Secretariat appearing prominently in the yearling’s pedigree, it is perfectly understandable that Lukas took a keen interest in A.P. Indy at the Keeneland sale. Lukas trained Landaluce, a Seattle Slew filly who never lost in five career starts and was voted a 1982 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly. Lukas also conditioned two very talented daughters of Secretariat in Terlingua and Lady’s Secret. Terlingua, one of the nation’s top 2-year-old fillies in 1978, would become the dam of super sire Storm Cat. Lady’s Secret was voted 1986 Horse of the Year. Tsurumaki bought both A.P. Indy and A.P. Jet at that 1990 Keeneland sale. A.P. Jet was acquired for $2 million. The purchases of these two yearlings paled in comparison to the $51.3 million Tsurumaki spent in 1989 to buy Picasso’s “Pierrette’s Wedding,” at the time the second-highest price ever paid for a painting. Tsurumaki sent both A.P. Indy and A.P. Jet to trainer Neil Drysdale at Hollywood Park. Tsurumaki wanted one of the two to race in Japan. Drysdale was to train the two youngsters and send the one he felt was more precocious to Japan. Drysdale felt A.P. Jet was the more precocious of the two. Thus, A.P. Jet was sent to Japan to race. A.P. Jet did well in Japan. He earned $1.4 million. I saw him race at Tokyo Race Course on Nov. 24, 1991. A.P. Jet won the fourth race that day by a huge margin. In the 10th race, Golden Pheasant, with Gary Stevens riding, captured the rich ($2.7 million) Japan Cup for trainer Charlie Whittingham. In 1997, A.P. Jet returned to the U.S. and entered stud at Sugar Maple Farm in New York. He was New York’s leading sire in 2005. A.P. Jet was pensioned in 2008. According to BloodHorse, A.P. Jet died “because of complications of old age” in 2010 at the age of 21. Drysdale, a one-time assistant to Whittingham, saddled A.P. Indy for his first career start in 1991. It came in a six-furlong maiden special weight race at Del Mar on Aug. 24. He was sent away as the 2-1 favorite. Eddie Delahoussaye rode A.P. Indy in that race and in all 10 of his future starts. A.P. Indy raced five times in Southern California. I called all five of those official Daily Racing Form charts. In his first start, A.P. Indy raced fifth early in the field of seven and never threatened. He finished fourth. When A.P. Indy got beat at first asking, virtually nobody knew that he was born a ridgling, which meant he had one undescended testicle. He was listed in the Del Mar program and Daily Racing Form past performances as a colt rather than as a ridgling. He would not be listed as a ridgling for his first six races. The first time he was listed as a ridgling in the program and in the DRF was when he was entered in the 1992 Kentucky Derby. It really should not have taken as long as it did for that to happen. Furthermore, after A.P. Indy’s disappointing first race, hardly anybody knew that he underwent surgery for removal of the undescended testicle. Because A.P. Indy “was never comfortable” in this first race because the undescended testicle was bothering him, he then had the undescended testicle removed before his next start on Oct. 27. A.P. Indy’s improvement was dramatic. He reeled off seven consecutive victories. In his final start at 2, A.P. Indy won the Grade I, $500,000 Hollywood Futurity at Hollywood Park by a neck. Dance Floor, the 3-1 favorite trained by Lukas and owned by recording artist M.C. Hammer, finished second. A.P. Indy’s margin of victory was small. It also was quite misleading. It did not do justice to his superiority. Of the thousands of charts I called for the DRF throughout the years, there were very few times a horse prevailed by such a small margin and I did not put “won driving” in the chart. The 1991 renewal of the 1 1/16-mile Hollywood Futurity was one of the rare exceptions. If you want to see a jockey winning a race by a small margin while riding so confidently he is not asking his mount to run all out, watch a video of the 1991 Hollywood Futurity. This was what I wrote in the chart: “A.P. INDY, unhurried while being outrun early and four wide in the clubhouse turn, lost ground when wide while in the middle of the track all the way down the backstretch, was five wide into the far turn, rallied on the far turn without being hard ridden, passed the quarter pole four wide, engaged for the lead approaching the furlong marker, battled for command throughout the final furlong while being shown the whip right-handed while outside DANCE FLOOR and had the necessary late response to prevail by a small margin.” In A.P. Indy’s lifetime past performances that appear in the Daily Racing Form book “Champions,” the comment for A.P. Indy’s Hollywood Futurity says: “Bid strongly, driving.” But the chart that I called does not say he “won driving.” It says he “won ridden out.” Why the discrepancy? It’s simply a mistake in “Champions,” which is too bad. The comment for A.P. Indy’s Hollywood Futurity in his lifetime past performances should say “Ridden out” to match the chart. You can judge it for yourself. Watch the 1991 Hollywood Futurity on YouTube and count how many times Delahoussaye strikes A.P. Indy with the whip. You will see it’s zero times. Here is the YouTube link: 1991 Hollywood Futurity (GI) - A.P. Indy “The Hollywood Futurity victory made A.P. Indy one of the future book favorites for the Kentucky Derby behind the Breeders’ Cup sensation, Arazi, who topped the Experimental Free Handicap at 130 pounds,” the esteemed Joe Hirsch wrote in the American Racing Manual. “The danger was to do too much, but Drysdale majored in patience at Whittingham U. and started Indy only once before the Santa Anita Derby in early April.” In his first start at 3, A.P. Indy won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Rafael Stakes by three-quarters of a length on Feb. 29. That set him up nicely for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 4. Fourth early, A.P. Indy won going away by 1 3/4 lengths. Bertrando finished second in the field of seven. In the 1991 BC Juvenile on a bone-chilling cold afternoon at Churchill Downs, Bertrando had finished second to Arazi, whose electrifying rally to win by five lengths after being 13th early remains one of the most memorable moments in Breeders’ Cup history. This is what I wrote of A.P Indy in the chart for the 1992 Santa Anita Derby: “A.P. INDY, away in good fashion, settled into an easy striking position early, raced wide down the backstretch, passed the half-mile pole five wide, did not display immediate acceleration but instead moved up gradually to threaten turning into the stretch after being roused with the whip twice right-handed approaching the quarter pole, entered the stretch four wide, resolutely kept to his task through the stretch, was shown the whip in the stretch until nearing the sixteenth marker, was roused with the whip four times right-handed in the vicinity of the sixteenth marker, reached the front shortly after passing the sixteenth marker and drew clear in deep stretch when again being shown the whip.” Following the Santa Anita Derby, A.P. Indy was sent to Churchill Downs to train for about a month there before the 118th running of the $500,000 Kentucky Derby on May 2. A.P. Indy was going to be one of the Kentucky Derby favorites along with the aforementioned Arazi. But there was a huge difference in the attention paid to the arrival at Churchill Downs of these two talented 3-year-olds. When A.P. Indy showed up at Churchill, it made some news. But it was nothing like Arazi’s arrival at that track after he had won his first 3-year-old race in France by five lengths in facile fashion with Steve Cauthen in the saddle. “No horse since the colorful, stretch-running Silky Sullivan in 1959 -- not even the great Secretariat in 1973 -- caused as much excitement on his arrival in Derbytown as Arazi,” Hirsch wrote. “Television teams from stations throughout the Midwest were present at Standiford Field in record numbers for the appearance on a Sunday afternoon of the wonder horse from France.” In the book “The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes: A Comprehensive History,” Richard Sowers wrote: “It’s hard to imagine presidents, popes or rock stars would have received a more enthusiastic welcome or closer media scrutiny than Arazi, who attracted crowds lined three deep for 100 yards to watch him exercise” at Churchill Downs. While Arazi had the fanfare, Delahoussaye was extremely confident that A.P. Indy was going to be his third Kentucky Derby winner, joining Gato Del Sol in 1981 and Sunny’s Halo in 1982. Eddie D. once revealed to me that he surprised his wife, Juanita, and other members of his family when he made a bold prediction concerning A.P. Indy prior to the 1992 Kentucky Derby. “I told them this horse is going to win the Triple Crown,” Delahoussaye said. “They’d never heard me make a statement like that before. But that’s actually what my feelings were.” Unfortunately for A.P. Indy and Eddie D., there would be no Kentucky Derby for them. The day before the Run for the Roses, all was not well with A.P. Indy. A.P. Indy “showed indications of lameness, apparently stemming from a bruise of the left front foot,” Hirsch wrote. “Dr. Alex Harthill, who over the years has attended many Kentucky Derby horses, was A.P. Indy’s vet in Louisville from his arrival almost a month prior to the race. Harthill X-rayed A.P. Indy and recommended hot and cold tubbing and use of a poultice. Some of the lameness was reduced overnight but it was apparent to trainer Neil Drysdale that he would have to make a difficult decision. A.P. Indy would be scratched from the Derby field, despite his short price and despite the fact his owner, Tomonori Tsurumaki, had flown halfway around the world to see him run. “Hours before post time on Derby Day, Drysdale held a well-attended press conference at the barn, outlining the problem and the treatment A.P. Indy was receiving. The diagnosis at the time was a deep-seated bruise…It was announced a few days later that the deep bruise was actually a blind quarter crack.” DEFECTION FROM DERBY DISAPPOINTS A FRIEND When I worked at Del Mar for the DRF back in those days, I rented a room from Roy Warden, a retired mutuel clerk, in nearby Solana Beach. We became good friends. Roy once showed me a $50 Kentucky Derby future book ticket he had purchased on A.P. Indy at 100-1. In addition to horse racing, Warden loved camping, fishing and hunting. The weekend of the 1992 Kentucky Derby, he was fishing in the wilds of Colorado. But, of course, he wanted to see the race. “I drove and drove and drove, trying to find someplace in the middle of nowhere in Colorado that would have a TV so I could watch the race,” he recalled. “After driving for a long time, I finally found a restaurant at the side of the road. I walked in and asked, ‘Do you have a TV?’ They said, yes, there was a TV at the bar. So I headed to the bar. They had the TV on. I asked the bartender if he’d be showing the Kentucky Derby. The guy said, ‘This is the channel that the race is on. They’re showing commercials right now.’ ” Roy was thrilled that he was going to be able to see his 100-1 future-book horse, A.P. Indy, run in the Kentucky Derby. But then, all of a sudden, the bartender said to Warden, “It’s really too bad a horse has been scratched.” Roy felt a sense of dread. “What horse scratched?” Roy asked, afraid of what the answer might be. “A.P. Indy,” the bartender replied. “A.P. Indy scratched.” With that, Roy got up from his bar stool, walked out the door and drove hours back to his campsite to resume his fishing trip. LIL E. TEE WINS ROSES IN AN UPSET With A.P. Indy out of the Kentucky Derby, Arazi was hammered down to 9-10 favoritism. For a brief moment during the race, it looked like the “wonder horse from France” and his rider, Pat Valenzuela, were going to win. “Arazi, the favorite, came away slowly, moved into the backstretch and exploded,” Hirsch wrote. “He passed horses with abandon, swung wide into the stretch, and appeared to have the lead momentarily between calls. That remarkable effort for a horse who had one race in six months took its toll. Arazi was all through and finished eighth.” On the day that the 1992 Kentucky Derby was run, much of Los Angeles was on fire because the Rodney King riots were going on. In Louisville, while A.P. Indy stayed in the barn, Lil E. Tee won the Kentucky Derby. Dismissed at odds of 16-1, Pat Day rode Lil E. Tee for owner W. Cal Partee and trainer Lynn Whiting. (According to John Eisenberg’s book “The Longest Shot: Lil E. Tee and the Kentucky Derby,” Lil E. Tee nearly died from stomach surgery as a weanling.) A.P. Indy’s quarter crack also caused him to miss the Grade I Preakness Stakes on May 16 won by Pine Bluff. Requiring a fiberglass patch to protect the foot with the quarter crack, A.P. Indy returned to competition at Belmont Park on May 24. He won the 1 1/8-mile Peter Pan Stakes by five lengths. The Grade II Peter Pan served as an ideal springboard to the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 6. Sent off as the 11-10 favorite in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont, A.P. Indy did not let his many backers down. He got the job done by three-quarters of a length while still racing with the fiberglass patch. It was his seventh win in a row, all coming after the undescended testicle had been removed. On a track that was not fast but rather was wet and listed as “good,” A.P. Indy’s final time in the Belmont was 2:26. These are the fastest final times in the history of the Belmont: 2:24 Secretariat (1973)2:26 Easy Goer (1989)A.P. Indy (1992)2:26 2/5 Point Given (2001)Risen Star (1988)2:26 3/5 American Pharoah (2015)2:26 4/5 Affirmed (1978) BREEDERS’ CUP CLASSIC BECOMES THE GOAL After A.P. Indy’s Belmont triumph, the next major target for him became the BC Classic at Gulfstream Park on Oct. 31. Drysdale, like Whittingham when he was alive, is as good as there has ever been at having a horse at his or her peak for an important race. For example, in the spring of 1984, Drysdale told me that everything he’d be doing with Princess Rooney would be geared toward having her at her absolute best for the inaugural Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park in the fall. And, man, did Drysdale ever have Princess Rooney ready for a dynamite performance in the BC Distaff on Nov. 10. Few fillies or mares who ever lived could have beaten Princess Rooney that day. She collaborated with Eddie D. to win the 1 1/4-mile BC Distaff with complete authority by seven lengths in 2:02.40. Wild Again won the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic later in the afternoon in 2:03.60. After A.P. Indy’s victory in the Belmont, “Farish announced that he and several partners [including co-breeder Kilroy] had bought an interest in the 3-year-old from Tsurumaki, who reportedly was experiencing financial problems because of the Japanese recession,” BloodHorse’s Jacqueline Duke wrote. A.P. Indy started twice between the Belmont and BC Classic. “A large crowd was on hand at Woodbine on Sept. 21 to see the return of A.P. Indy in the Molson Million for 3-year-olds,” Hirsch wrote. “A.P. Indy was the 7-10 favorite and most fans thought they were attending a coronation. But the king never showed up, or at least was in disguise. On a tiring, cuppy track that proved to be the bane of all shippers, A.P. Indy finished fifth.” A.P. Indy then finished third in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup, a 1 1/4-mile event on Oct. 10 at Belmont. Pleasant Tap won by 4 1/2 lengths. Finishing second was Strike the Gold, who had won the Kentucky Derby the year before. In the book “Breeders’ Cup: Thoroughbred Racing’s Championship Day,” Jay Privman wrote of A.P. Indy’s start in the Jockey Club Gold Cup: “He nearly did a somersault coming out of the gate.” Privman quoted Drysdale as saying: “He pulled his shoe off. His foot was shredded. It looked like someone had taken thick sandpaper and sanded off his foot. The walls were gone.” According to Privman, Drysdale “called in a farrier, Joey Carroll, who rebuilt the foot, using an acrylic resin that dries out quickly and is hard and resilient. A.P. Indy then was sent to Florida to prepare for the Breeders’ Cup. From that point on, everything went smoothly.” Even though A.P. Indy lost both the Molson Million and Jockey Club Gold Cup, it again needed to be remembered that he was in the hands of a masterful trainer whose goal was to have A.P. Indy at his peak in the BC Classic. Favored at 2-1 in the field of 14, A.P. Indy and Delahoussaye won the BC Classic. Ninth with four furlongs left to run, A.P. Indy generated a sustained rally to win by two lengths. When writing about the Classic in the Breeders’ Cup book, Privman mentioned A.P. Indy’s distinctive way of going. “A.P. Indy, his head low to the ground, as if he was searching for a contact lens, knifed between horses on the final turn, then drew away, with his jockey, Eddie Delahoussay, never having to reach for the whip.” Hirsch was effusive in his praise for Delahoussaye’s ride. “Delahoussaye rode an outstanding race, easing A.P. Indy back on the first turn when caught in close quarters, then guiding him between horses up the backstretch,” Hirsch wrote. “He moved outside for racing room leaving the quarter pole, then drew even at the eighth pole with Defensive Play. Through the final furlong, Eddie D. resorted to a hand ride and appeared to have some gas left in the tank as A.P. Indy passed the winning post with a margin of two lengths over Pleasant Tap, one of the most consistent American horses in training.” A.P. Indy was voted 1992 Eclipse Awards as champion 3-year-old male and, moreover, Horse of the Year. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2000, seven years after Delahoussaye’s enshrinement. Ironically, A.P. Indy, a $2.9 million yearling, earned $2.9 million ($2,927,815 to be exact) during his racing career. How many horses have you ever seen earn almost exactly the same amount of money on the track that they sold for at public auction? A HUGE SUCCESS IN THE BREEDING SHED After the 1992 BC Classic, Farish was asked if he felt that A.P. Indy had anything left to prove. “I don’t think so,” Farish said in Ray Paulick’s BloodHorse recap of that year’s BC Classic. “He’s shown his brilliance and he’s done something that only the best 3-year-olds are able to do which is to beat the best older horses in the fall of the year in a classic confrontation.” Never racing again after the BC Classic, A.P. Indy would become a marvelous sire and an important broodmare sire. He was the leading sire in 2003 and 2006. He was the leading broodmare sire in 2015. From A.P. Indy’s very first crop came Grade I winner Pulpit, who would become a highly successful sire. One of the Pulpit’s offspring is the extraordinary sire Tapit. Another son of Pulpit, Lucky Pulpit, sired California Chrome, voted Horse of the Year in 2014 and 2016. A.P. Indy sired these Eclipse Award winners: --Tempera (2001 champion 2-year-old filly) --Mineshaft (2003 Horse of the Year) --Bernardini (2006 champion 3-year-old male) --Rags to Riches (2007 champion 3-year-old filly when she won the Belmont Stakes; this is a filly I strongly believe belongs in the Hall of Fame) --Honor Code (2015 champion older male) Many were saddened when learning news of A.P. Indy’s death. It is safe to say that the impact on racing and breeding by this special equine athlete and superb sire was truly enormous. RACING MOURNS DEATH OF TOMMY TROTTER Tommy Trotter, a highly respected racing secretary and steward during a long career in the sport that lasted for 56 years, died last Sunday in Aventura, Fla., following a brief illness. He was 93. It was during Trotter’s tenure as a racing secretary in New York that he was responsible for some of the most famous weight assignments in the history of American racing. Trotter in 1970 piled 142 pounds on the diminutive filly Ta Wee for the final start of her career in the six-furlong Interborough Handicap at Belmont. Ta Wee won by three-quarters of a length. Ta Wee was a half-sister to the great Dr. Fager. Trotter in 1969 asked Dr. Fager to carry 139 pounds in the Vosburgh Handicap at Aquduct. Dr. Fager won by six. And then there was Forego and the 1 1/4-mile Marlboro Cup at Belmont in 1976. One of the all-time great geldings, Forego was voted Horse of the Year in 1974, 1975 and 1976. Two weeks before the Marlboro Cup, Forego carried 135 pounds and won the 1 1/8-mile Woodward Handicap by 1 1/4 lengths. After the Woodward, according to the book “Forego” written by Bill Heller, Forego’s trainer, Frank Whiteley, “did some posturing.” Forego would not be running in the Marlboro Cup, Whiteley announced, if Trotter gave him more than 135 pounds, the weight the big son of Forli had carried in the Woodward. Trotter knew that whenever the popular Forego raced, there typically would be a spike in attendance and handle. Whiteley knew it was unlikely Forego would get 135 again. But the trainer hoped that by asking for 135, perhaps Forego would go up only one pound to 136. Trotter did not buckle to Whiteley’s public lobbying. Forego was assigned 137 pounds. Forego spotted 18 pounds to champion Honest Pleasure and up to 28 pounds to his other nine Marlboro Cup foes. The Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male of 1975, Honest Pleasure in 1976 took the Travers Stakes at Saratoga by four lengths prior to the Marlboro Cup. Earlier in 1976, Honest Pleasure finished second as the 2-5 favorite in the Kentucky Derby won by Bold Forbes. The 1976 Marlboro Cup was contested on a sloppy track. Bill Shoemaker rode Forego, the 11-10 favorite. Honest Pleasure, with Craig Perret aboard, went off at 5-2. At the top of the stretch, Honest Pleasure looked like he was a cinch to win the race. Not only did Honest Pleasure have a clear lead, it appeared Perret had a ton of horse under him. At the eighth pole, Forego was four lengths behind Honest Pleasure. Encumbered with 137 pounds, Forego seemed to have no chance of catching Honest Pleasure in the final furlong. But Forego closed relentlessly and prevailed by a head. Writer William H. Rudy called Forego’s victory “awesome” in his BloodHorse magazine recap. “It was the essence of Thoroughbred racing -- a great horse, more heavily burdened than at any time in his career, straining to catch a younger horse who also was running the race of his life,” Rudy wrote. In the American Racing Manual, Hirsch characterized Forego’s triumph as “an incredible performance by a magnificent horse, who had to overcome so much to win.” Shoemaker’s weight for that race was 106 pounds, with all of his tack, including the heaviest saddle he could find. That meant 31 pounds of lead had to be added to the saddle for Forego to carry 137. Years later, I asked Shoemaker about the 1976 Marlboro Cup. He told me that while he was waiting to be led into the winner’s circle on Forego, Whiteley walked up to them. Shoe told me what Whiteley said to him. “Do me a favor, Shoe,” Whiteley said sotto voce. “We’re up to 137. So really play it up when you walk up to the scale with the saddle. Act like it’s really heavy.” “Mr. Whiteley, I won’t have to play it up,” Shoemaker said to the trainer. “It IS really heavy!” RETIRED TRAINER HENRY MORENO PASSES AWAY The Southern California racing community has been saddened by the death of retired trainer Henry Moreno. He passed away last Sunday following a lengthy battle with dementia at an assisted living facility near Santa Anita in Sierra Madre, Calif. He was 90. Born in Corona, Calif., Moreno began as a Quarter Horse trainer before switching to Thoroughbreds in the early 1960s. Thus, he helped pave the way for D. Wayne Lukas and Bob Baffert to later make that same transition. Moreno trained such Thoroughbred graded stakes winners as Bastonera II, Jolouise II, Lite Light, Re Toss, Sam Who, Sangue, Timely Assertion and Tizna. I first got to know Moreno at Hollywood Park when I had been promoted by the Daily Racing Form in the spring of 1981 to be a reporter/columnist on the Southern California circuit. In my many visits to the Moreno barn through the years, he was always friendly. I know that Moreno was especially proud of the fact that Tizna holds the record for carrying the most weight by a filly or mare in the history of Santa Anita. Despite being burdened with 132 pounds, Tizna won the 1976 San Gorgonio Handicap (now the Robert J. Frankel Stakes). That’s not just the record for most weight ever carried to victory by a female Thoroughbred at the Great Race Place. It’s the record for the most weight ever carried by a filly or mare at Santa Anita, win or lose. Waya was the only other filly or mare to carry more than 130 pounds at Santa Anita. She took the 1979 Santa Barbara Handicap while carrying 131 pounds. Moreno was respected by his colleagues. “Henry was a staple of Southern California racing,” said trainer John Sadler. “He was one of the men who built our game.” KENTUCKY DERBY-WINNING JOCKEY RAY YORK DIES Ray York, who at the age of 20 won the 1954 Kentucky Derby aboard Determine, died last Sunday from pneumonia at an extended care facility near Bakersfield, Calif. York was 86. York retired as a jockey in 1992. He won 3,082 races. York then came out of retirement to ride one race at Santa Anita in 2000 at the age of 66 in order to achieve the feat of riding in a race in seven decades. Shortly after turning 16, he rode his first race late in 1949. STRIKING A POSE PRODUCES IRONIC WIN MUTUEL When Washington-bred Striking a Pose kicked off his racing careeron Feb. 21 by winning a one-mile maiden special weight race at Santa Anita by three-quarters of a length, he paid $54.20 for each $2 win ticket. Another Washington-bred, the diminutive Travel Orb, also returned $54.20 when he won the 1966 Californian Stakes at Hollywood Park in a shocker. None other than Native Diver finished last in that race. Travel Orb was inducted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame in 2015. Mark Glatt trains Striking a Pose, who is a half-brother to $631,011 earner Stryker Phd, a two-time winner of the biggest race in the Pacific Northwest, Emerald Downs’ Grade III Longacres Mile. Stryker Phd won the Longacres Mile in 2014 and 2015. Glatt won last year’s Longacres Mile with Southern California shipper Law Abidin Citizen. Larry Ross trained Stryker Phd, whose sire is Bertrando, a 1993 Eclipse Award winner as champion older male. Bertrando is a son of Skywalker, who in 1986 won the Longacres Mile at Longacres and Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita. Stryker Phd is living a life of leisure these days at Larry and Sharon Ross’ farm in Washington. Vince Bruun, the director of media relations at Emerald, told me that he recently visited the 11-year-old Stryker Phd at the farm. “Stryker Phd is living the good life and loves rolling around in the mud,” said Bruun. Todd and Shawn Hansen bred and own Striking a Pose. DENNIS’ MOMENT TOPS FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH Highly regarded Dennis’ Moment makes his 2020 debut this Saturday in the Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park. The 1 1/16-mile affair has attracted a field of 12. Dennis’ Moment, trained by Dale Romans, has not started since he stumbled badly at the start and finished eighth as the 9-10 favorite in the Grade I BC Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. The Kentucky-bred Tiznow colt has won two of four career starts. His first victory came when he won a seven-furlong maiden special weight race by 19 1/4 lengths at Ellis Park last year on July 27. He then was not fully extended at the Grade III level when he took the Grade III Iroquois Stakes by nearly two lengths at Churchill Downs on Sept. 14. Chance It is my pick to win the Fountain of Youth despite drawing the disadvantageous 12 post. Trained by Saphie Joseph Jr., the Florida-bred Currency Swap colt has won four of six career starts. In his 2020 debut, Chance It won the one-mile Mucho Macho Man Stakes by a head as a 7-10 favorite when As Seen On Tv finished second. As Seen On Tv also is entered in the Fountain of Youth. Gulfstream Park oddsmaker Jay Stone has pegged Dennis’ Moment as the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Chance It is 7-2. As Seen On Tv is 9-2. Dennis’ Moment is ranked No. 4 on my current Kentucky Derby Top 10. How he fares in the Fountain of Youth obviously will determine whether he moves up, moves down or remains No. 4 next week. Here is my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week: 1. Tiz the Law2. Nadal3. Thousand Words4. Dennis’ Moment5. Honor A.P.6. Authentic7. Charlatan8. Maxfield9. Sole Volante10. Storm the Court THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THROUGHBRED POLL Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 300 Mucho Gusto (16)2. 287 Maximum Security (14)3. 269 Midnight Bisou (5)4. 209 McKinzie (4)5. 148 Zulu Alpha6. 112 Covfefe7. 97 Code of Honor8. 62 Firenze Fire9. 51 Silver Dust10. 40 Warrior’s Charge

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2.26.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: February 28 Stronach 5 Play

Big doings in this week’s Stronach 5, as there is a 167k carryover to go after, which should have the pool approaching $1 million. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:50 ET) – 4upfm 5k claimer at 6 furlongs It’s rare that you get a relatively defined race at Laurel to open the sequence but I think we have it here, as there are clear some haves, and some have nots entered. I’ll use four on top, with #3 FIFTEEN K getting top billing on the class drop, as she dips into the restricted ranks here. The class rise could prove worrisome for #12 HAND RAIL but she doesn’t meet any world beaters, so she hits hard, s does #6 CROSSINGTHEVALLEY, who bounced last time but might make amends here. I’ll also use #9 ACIANO, who plummets off a dismal return but could wake up against this group. Pk5 A horses: 3,12,6,9 (listed in order of preference) The post keeps #1 TRIMMED IN GREY from being an A, as she will have to work out a trip from a tricky draw, though that 2nd at the level last time makes her a player here. Pk5 B horses: 1 Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R8 (4:33 ET) – 4up 16k at 1-mile (turf) Since I’m going to be spreading in the other legs in the sequence I think this is the spot to be a bit bold and take a single, and I’ll go with #7 GOSILENTLY, who should be the controlling speed, was just a good 2nd at the level, and simply looks like a better horse than the rest of his modest rivals. It’s also one of those “if not him, then who?” types of races, and since I can’t spread 6-deep, I’ll go with the one that looks best to me. Pk5 A horses: 7 I’ve got to be a bit imaginative to use my three backups, #5 DISCREET HEAT, #8 AMERICAN NINJA, and #2 UNLOCKTHEPOTENTIAL, since it would cost way too much to use them with my other A’s, so I’ll have to condense things down to my super A’s, which are as follows: Leg 1: 3,12Leg 3: 2,8,5Leg 4: 5,6Leg 5: 1,12 Pk5 B horses: 5,8,2 Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 3yo 25k MCL at 6 furlongs I’d like to think we can get out of this one by using three, who cover all the bases, as #2 MISTER MCLEAN is the best of the proven runners at the level and has some heavy speed; #8 THATSABADBOY is an MSW dropper who has never been in for a tag; and #5 BIG PERM is a Wong firster (16%) with a slew of works and has Hernandez, who is 16-for-30 when riding this barn. Pk5 A horses: 2,8,5 The other two logicals are #4 Gem State and #6 Trabieso Avelito, but neither are overly inspiring, and don’t look nearly as good as the top trio, so I’ll go it alone on the top line. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Santa Anita R3 (4:59 ET) – 3upfm 50k MCL at 5 � furlongs Tough sledding here, as this is a real mixed bag full of tough to trust gals who have disappointed mor often than not. The MSW drop should agree to #5 MALIBU CAT and #6 RANEEM, but the former didn’t fire in her lone start on dirt and the latter is an 0-for-7 Baffert maiden, so it’s tough to love either. I don’t think being a firster here is a bad thing, so #3 FRESH FACE could be aptly named, and Sadler is 16% on debut. Pk5 A horses: 5,6,3 If nothing else, #8 PALM D’ORO is in form and seems to be going the right way, and her speed should play here, so I’ll use her, but she’s also 0-for-8 and looks like a lesser version of Raneem, which is why she’s a supporting actress only. Pk5 B horses: 8 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:33 ET) – 4up 16k N2L at 1 1/16 miles (turf) When I initially saw this race I figured there would be 10 win candidates and it would be a real problem, but it actually doesn’t look that bad, and I think I can get out with three, at least on the top line, so that’s how I’ll play it. I’ll take the post and class drop with #1 NINJA DUST, who has been facing better in NY for Martin and now goes to Orseno, who is 14% with newcomers. If #12 CRUPI’S PIZZA DOM had drawn better he’d be on top, but this wide draw is a worry, as is the June layoff and significant class drop, so I’ll use him second. Lastly I’ve got #4 NOBLE LION, who ran well twice against winners when last seen in September and October for Weaver, and seems realistically spotted in his first start for an underrated Rubley barn. Pk5 A horses: 1,12,4 I think #2 RED FOG could be a fringe A, and Mazza is solid and rarely claims one, but this is a tougher group than he was just facing, so he does need to improve. He needs to run faster, but #7 SIR HOSKI is also in good form and has been 3rd in two straight, so he’s not impossible either, though he’s down on the list. Pk5 B horses: 2,7 The tickets: Main Ticket: 3,12,6,9 with 7 with 2,8,5 with 5,6,3 with 1,12,4 = $108Leg 1 B Backup: 1 with 7 with 2,8,5 with 5,6,3 with 1,12,4 = $27Leg 2 B Backup: 3,12 with 5,8,2 with 2,8,5 with 5,6 with 1,12 = $72Leg 4 B Backup: 3,12,6,9 with 7 with 2,8,5 with 8 with 1,12,4 = $36Leg 5 B Backup: 3,12,6,9 with 7 with 2,8,5 with 5,6,3 with 2,7 = $72

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2.26.2020:

Harness Highlights: Shartin N Named Horse of the Year

She danced every dance, with nary a match for her fancy footwork. Shartin N ran away with harness racing Horse of the Year honors, becoming the first pacing mare in 73 years of voting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association to earn such a distinction. She received 83 votes, nearly double that of runner-up Bettor’s Wish (42), a 3-year-old pacing colt who out-distanced Trotter of the Year Greenshoe (14 votes) in the balloting. The results were announced at the annual Dan Patch Awards banquet Sunday in Orlando, FL.  As a 6-year-old in 2019, Shartin N upstaged an historic 2018 season in which she became the first pacing mare to earn $1 million. She won 15 of 19 starts last year and bankrolled an additional $982,177 for owners Richard Poillucci, Jo-Ann Looney King and Tim Tetrick LLC. The New Zealand bred became the first horse bred outside the U.S. to win the award.  She didn’t win in the $500,000 Breeders Crown Mare Pace, finishing second to Caviart Ally, her main rival throughout the last two years. But Shartin N did more than enough to take home the most prestigious of the Dan Patch Awards, winning eight stakes races of $100,000 or more on a whirlwind North America tour.  With Hall of Famer Tim Tetrick doing the driving, she won in the $402,600 Blue Chip Matchmaker series final at Yonkers, $330,000 Roses are Red at Woodbine-Mohawk Park, $179,550 Golden Girls at the Meadowlands, $137,000 Artiscape at Tioga Downs, and the $100,000 Betsy Ross at Harrah’s Philadelphia, Sam “Chip” Noble III Memorial at Miami Valley and Clara Barton at Plainridge.  Trainer Jim King Jr. had Shartin N primed for a world-record 1:46.4 performance in the $183,000 Lady Liberty at the Meadowlands August 3.  “It’s crazy good,” King told Ken Weingartner of the U.S. Trotting Association after the Horse of the Year announcement. “It’s unexplainable. It’s one of those feeling that everybody should get the chance to experience. Unfortunately, everybody can’t do this.”  Bettor’s Wish, runner-up to Shartin N for Pacer of the Year, too, didn’t leave empty-handed. He received the Dan Patch Award as champion sophomore pacer after a year in which he finished first or second in all 19 starts and earned $1.6 million with four major stakes victories at as many tracks. Owned by Bettor’s Wish Partners, Fair Island Farm Inc. and Bella Racing Ltd, Bettor’s Wish was in the capable hands of trainer Chris Ryder and Driver of the Year Dexter Dunn.  Trotter of the Year Greenshoe won 10 of 13 starts with three seconds for co-owners Hans Backe, Lars Granqvist, Morten Langli and Owner of the Year Aners Strom’s Courant Inc. He was one of the most visually impressive trotters ever, winning the $450,000 Kentucky Futurity, $330,000 Dr. Harry Zweig Memorial and sire stakes finals in New Jersey and Kentucky and finishing second in the Hambletonian. Hall of Famer Brian Sears did the driving and Trainer of the Year Marcus Melander handled Greenshoe and Trotter of the Year runner-up Gimpanzee, who both topped $1 million in earnings.

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2.24.2020:

Monday, February 24: Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

Tonight's Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 will be my focus. The sequence has a $75,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it starts in Race 1.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Up And Trending (9/5)-Couldn't have started much slower but flew home to miss by a length in 1st start of the year. The morning line could be correct, but I can't fully trust this green 3-year-old.4-Hoya Saxa (9/2)-Can't seem to find the winning formula but best to not overlook here. My guess is Hudon leaves and controls the fractions and could take a picture for the 1st time.5-Petro Chrome (10-1)-Might look to get a good early seat and if minds manners can stay in the mix at long odds.Was on the bench from 9/29 until last week and should be tighter tonight.Race 24-Brookletsjustified (3-1)-Took the short way around in last and barely missed snagging #6 at the wire. Filion is back between the pipes and this time comes back in 1-week instead of 3.6-Lone Wolf Terror (2-1)-Flew home in 53.3 after trailing the field by 15 at the first call. Looks like a major player versus many of the same and shorter field improves chances.Race 36-Hockey Hanover (7/2)-Made a miscue in last as a 9/5 favorite and jumped off-stride. McNair may blast out to get the top and control the pace. If that happens chances for a picture goes up.7-Sortie (5-1)-Not sure if 5-1 is worth the risk because of breaking issues but might be overlooked at the windows. Moves up after a nice win and maybe thing are changing for the better, as there have been clean lines in 2 of last 3 starts.8-Monopoly (5/2)-Was turned out this past summer and now makes 4th start of this year. Was overmatched in previous 3 races but fits better with this crew and has won 7 of 32 at Wbsb.Race 41-Fly Beyond (5-1)-Drops after being used hard to get the top and set a brisk pace until fading late. Does have only 1 win in last 26 starts but that came recently on 2/1. Will respect chances to get the top and stay in the hunt.3-Hey Livvy (5/2)-Even effort in 1st start off the bench. The Gillis barn has been rolling so this could be go-time in 2nd race of the year. This mare has faced some tough customers and is a big threat if ready.8-Pikachu Hanover (7/2)-This is a bigger test than last week when raced the back half in 54.3 to cash the biggest check. Form has been too good to dismiss, and post makes for a better price.Race 52-Xelene Bayama (8-1)-Comes off a 10-win year and this might be the spot to snag 1st picture of 2020. Post draw shouldn't hurt chances and drops to a good spot. Could win at a nice price with a good steer from Young.7-Lucky Player (9/2)-Came up with a very efficient win in 1st start for Cullen barn as an even money chalk. Faces many of the same and could leave again to get a seat near the top of the stack.9-E R Rhonda (5/2)-9-year-old mare drops back in versus those she has dominated. Even from the outside post best to respect until her form falters versus this kind.My Ticket Race 1) 1,4,5 Race 2) 4,6 Race 3) 6,7,8 Race 4) 1,3,8 Race 5) 2,7,9Total Ticket Cost) $32.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.24.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (Feb. 17-23): Mr. Buff

MVP: Mr. BuffOwner: Chester and Mary BromanTrainer: John KimmelJockey: Junior AlvaradoPerformance: New York-bred Mr. Buff topped the $1 million mark in career earnings in one of the most effortless performances you’ll see. He won the $100,000 Haynesfield Stakes for state-breds Feb. 22 at Aqueduct by 20 lengths and was completely geared down for 3/16ths of a mile. He was given a blazing 106 Beyer Speed Figure and a 136 fig from Timeform US. It was Mr. Buff’s fifth win in his last 7 starts, losing only in Grade 1 company in the Woodward Stakes and Clark Handicap. The 13-time winner from 35 starts is by Friend or Foe and has now won his last 3 races by 32-1/2 combined lengths.On Tap: Last year, they tried the Grade 2 New Orleans Handicap in March and that road trip turned out a disastrous result. At age 6, they may be more judicious with the gelding and certainly will give him a bit more time between races than that. Kimmel mentioned the Grade 2 $1 million Oaklawn Handicap on April 16 and the Grade 3 $200,000 Westchester on May 2 at Belmont as possible landing spots.Honorable Mentions: Jean Elizabeth won her seventh straight race by wiring the Feb. 22 Lightning City Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. Trainer Larry Rivelli’s 5-year-old Illinois-bred has won on turf, dirt, Polytrack and Tapeta during the current streak. She’s 13-for-19 lifetime has hasn’t missed an exacta since October of 2018. Knicks Go, winner of the 2018 Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, made a sparkling unveiling for his new trainer, Brad Cox, Feb. 22 at Oaklawn. The Maryland-bred by Paynter smashed a 1-1/16 miles allowance field by 7-1/2 lengths and led every step. He could be a formidable sprint and middle-distance stakes horse in the Midwest at age 4.

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2.23.2020:

Sunday, February 23: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Pompano Park 0.50 Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout and it will be my focus. Last week was very formful at the south Florida oval and we will see how the payouts look over the coming days.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-War-N-Munn (5-1)-Winner of 2-straight is no slouch and has the speed to beat #6 with the right trip. Will probably need to catch a break but could get the top or 2-hole without much strain.6-Rebellious (2-1)-Winner of 5 in a row has won at different distances and has been as good as advertised. If dialed on high it will likely be the 6th straight picture in 7-starts this meet.Race 71-Byby Landon (4-1)-Freehold shipper makes 1st ever PPk start but likes to race on the engine and there isn't much gate speed in this field. Did race on 2/8 and might be able to beat this field without a race over the track.5-Itsnoproblemman (4-1)-Paced the back half in 56.1 last time but couldn't close on the leader. Could race close to the top here and be in the hunt near the wire. Simons takes a spin and he could be more aggressive.7-Alway'syourway (2-1)-Hennessey's choice over the 1,5 and 6 deserves some respect but current form doesn't stand way above this field and will need a good steer from this post.Race 81-Dragon N Kickin (3-1)-8-year-old is a new arrival from Ohio and was Hennessey's choice over the 7. Tough to leave out from the rail as Wally should keep in play but will likely offer no value.2-Freak On A Leash (10-1)-Only 1-15 at the Pomp but this race feels like there could be a price. This is a spot to trip out and pop at good odds.3-R Gauwitz Hanover (5-1)-Finally draws inside and Ingraham steers for the 1st time this meet. Put the 11-year-old in the mix with live cover and an honest pace.5-Sir Bradford (4-1)-Beat four from ths field in last start and did benefit from a nice trip. Could follow the same script here, likes the track and Simon is back in the bike.Race 93-William McWiskers (5-1)-Was cashing checks on the East Coast this fall. Qualifier was good and now makes 1st start since 9/29. 4-year-old should like the company, has won 4 of 12 lifetime starts and has hit the board 4 other times.4-Perkins (3-1)-Hennessey returns and has taken pictures the last 2-times he has steered. Gets post relief and looks like a major player. Should be bet hard and will use but hope for others.7-JD's Noah (6-1)-Tried a new strategy as an odds-on chalk in last and faded late after getting on the engine. Gets a new set a hands as Wallis takes a seat and could pop at square price if he works a smooth trip.8-Garrett's Guide (7-1)-Game horse who could leave and get a nice tuck. Will need the trip to work but has been trying hard and the price should be right.My Ticket Race 6) 2,6 Race 7) 1,5,7 Race 8) 1,2,3,5 Race 9) 3,4,7,8Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.23.2020:

Sunday, February 23: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Classy Ruler; 2-Regal Beauty; 3-MerneithForecast: Any one of those listed above appear capable of winning, so we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. While all three are extremely talented and promising, each was beaten as an odds-on favorite last time out. Merneith appeared headed to victory in her debut but then shortened stride in the final sixteenth and was worn down late. The B. Baffert-trained filly continues to impress in the a.m. and as a daughter of American Pharoah should have no trouble handling today’s two-turn mile trip. Her stablemate, Regal Beauty, cost herself a debut win when she walked out of the gate in an abbreviated sprint and then flew home but just ran out of room. She’s another that gives every indication that added distance will do nothing but help her. Classy Ruler, second in both starts with strong speed figures, likely will get the patient ride she needs for M. Smith and may be most dangerous from off the pace.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Rstars and Stripes; 3-Mosienko; 4-Secret SquareForecast: Secret Square has the route-to-sprint angle we always like and with J. Rosario riding her back the daughter of Square Eddie looks capable of producing the last run from a good second flight position. She’s probably most effective sprinting, so today’s conditions appear ideal. Rstars and Stripes was visually quite pleasing winning her debut in a maiden $50,000 main track sprint, but she certainly didn’t have a whole lot behind her. Now in the S. Knapp barn via a claim, the daughter of Coil gets a bit of a class test but could be up to the task. Mosienko, like Secret Square, has the proper style for this distance, switches to M. Smith, and with better racing luck today than last time could make her presence felt from mid-pack. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Secret Square on top.RACE 3: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Challah; 6-ZorichForecast: Zorich missed by a head in a similar starter’s allowance affair over this track and distance last month and a repeat of that effort today probably will be good enough to win. Never worse than second in three career starts over the local main track, the M. Glatt-trained gelding projects to enjoy a good stalking trip outside and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Challah is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat after finishing second in a dead-heat with Zorich last time out. They were impossible to separate last time and they figure just as close again today. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Zorich.RACE 4: Post 1:59 PT. Grade: B+Single: 3-Murad KhanForecast: Murad Khan has been a middle distance specialist throughout most of this career but gets a chance to show his stuff in a grass sprint today and gives every indication that he’ll thoroughly enjoy the turn back in trip. He’s a first-off-the-claim for D. O’Neill (strong stats), retains F. Prat, and has recent speed figures that are better than par for this second-level allowance affair. We’re expecting the son of Raven’s Pass to settle off the pace and blast home, so at 9/5 on the morning line we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 2:29 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Sara Crewe; 6-Rickie Nine Toe’s; 9-On the VergeForecast: Maiden $50,000 claiming sophomore fillies sprint six and one-half furlongs in what appears to be a fairly wide open affair. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Sara Crewe drops in for a tag for the first time, exits an infinitely tougher race in which she got bounced around at the start and was forced very wide, and picks up J. Rosario while returning to conventional dirt for the first time since finishing second in her debut last summer at Pleasanton. Rickie Nine Toe’s has solid form at the level, having hit the board in all four career starts. She was more than four lengths clear of the rest last time out and projects to be part of the pace throughout. On the Verge missed by a neck in her debut vs. similar and has a right to produce a forward move. Today’s extra half furlong may be of some help. (Full disclosure, this handicapper is a part owner of Sara Crewe).RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Bella Chica; 3-Civil Suit; 6-RainwineandhereiamForecast: Rainwineandhereiam is a first-timer from a barn that is capable with debut runners and shows and extended series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs that indicate ability and fitness. She’s a four-year-old daughter of Stormin Fever being protected in straight maiden company, so we’ll assume she’s well-liked by her connections. Bella Chica returned off a long layoff to finish a solid second on turf last month and not much more may be needed to earn her a diploma. If she breaks cleanly from the rail, the daughter of City Zip should draft into a comfortable second-flight, ground-saving position and then have dead aim from the top of the lane to the wire. Civil Suit, third in the same race ‘Chica exits, makes her second career start but her first with blinkers, so a significant forward move is possible. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to the newcomer, Rainwineandhereiam.RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Bold Endeavor; 4-California StreetForecast: Bold Endeavor and California Street were badly overmatched in the San Pasqual S.-G2 earlier this month but both return to reality today in this second-level allowance main track miler and both should be able to regain their best form. ‘Endeavor shortens to what probably is his preferred trip and catches a pace scenario that figures to greatly promote his front-running style. The switch to J. Rosario won’t hurt, either. California Street has numbers that fit and represents the most dangerous of the closing types. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Bold Endeavor.RACE 8: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Desmond Doss; 2-Southern King; 3-Proud PedroForecast: Proud Pedro is overdue for a win and seems capable of producing a sufficient late kick after being reunited with “win rider” F. Prat. His only prior victory came over the local lawn at nine furlongs; today he gets a chance to do his thing over a mile and one-quarter. Southern King, a strong runner-up under similar conditions in his first start since arriving from the east and joining the P. Miller barn, retains J. Rosario and should draft into a perfect ground-saving, pace-stalking trip from his inside draw. The Animal Kingdom gelding shows two recent bullet drills at San Luis Rey Downs to indicate he’s spot on. Desmond Doss was victimized by a slow pace in a tougher spot on Cal Cup day but lands the rail, drops in class, continues to train well, and seems likely to produce a forward move in his third start off a layoff.

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2.22.2020:

Saturday, February 22: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has a 13-race card scheduled to start its second week of harness action. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 10 and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 103-Waymore (10-1)-Oosting gets the lines after a tightener out of the 10-hole. This gelding is 10 out of 16 in the money at Haw with 4 wins and raced the back half last week in 56.2. Using and will hope the morning line is correct.7-Native's Best Bet (3-1)-Steps up after a sharp win versus $6k claimers. This may not be as easy but fits here as well, and best to respect.9-Mitch Mc Bluegrass (10-1)-Has more wins in 2020 (2) than all of last year. Can race off cover and didn't have smooth trip in last. Warren sticks and this is another price shot worth a swing in a race without a standout.Race 113-Lucky Crusader (7/2)-Oosting's choice over #2 could be significant as he's made a few trips to the winner's circle for the Adam barn. Slow pace hurt in last and looking for a better effort in 2nd local start.4-Bright Future (5-1)-Raced wide most of the way and kept coming in 1st start for new barn. Now drops to a softer spot and looks like a player. Biggest negative is the 0-40 record in Stickney.Race 122-Uncle Si (7/2)-1st local start was an even effort after arriving from PPk. Should be better tonight and appears to have the best chance of downing #5 if the chalk comes up flat.5-Panda's Prospect (1-1)-Drops out of Opens and should have no trouble beating this kind but this is only the 2nd start since 11/1. Leonard is back between the pipes and that can only help.Race 131-Boogie On Down (5/2)-Drops to a good spot and should be tighter in 2nd Haw start. Likes the track and Team Wilfong could be ready to roll.5-Sweetshadyshark (2-1)-Second of 2 qualifiers was fine as this will be the 1st start since 9/24. Does like the track and similar to #1, will be tough if ready to come up with a big try. But has had breaking issues in the fall and in 1st qualifier.My Ticket Race 10) 3,7,9 Race 11) 3,4 Race 12) 2,5 Race 13) 1,5Total Ticket Cost) $12 for 0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.22.2020:

Saturday, February 22: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Kadesh; 8-Royal SuspectForecast: Royal Suspect is improving with racing and appears ready to graduate in this main track maiden-claiming miler for 3-year-olds. Third when seven lengths clear of the rest while earning a good speed figure last month, the M. Glatt-trained gelding should draft into a second-flight, stalking position and have every chance from the top of the lane to the wire. Kadesh drops in class for the fourth straight time – not really a healthy sign – but after missing by a head in a low-rated maiden $50,000 affair over this track and distance the R. Hanson-trained colt certainly won’t have to improve much at all to earn his diploma at this bottom-rung level. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Royal Suspect on top.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: XSingle: 7-Saving SophieForecast: Saving Sophie has been been stuck on seconds – she’s been the runner-up in each of her last four outings – but the R. Ellis-trained filly adds blinkers today, gets an extra furlong to work with, and may finally break through in this below par nine furlong turf affair for older fillies and mares. She switches to M. Smith and should be capable of producing the last run, but at 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower she won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value, other than as a short price rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Shanghai Barbie; 5-Boonesboro BeautyForecast: We’ll double the third race, a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming main track miler for older fillies and mares. Shanghai Barbie, in the money in her last four, is overdue for a win and seems the logical top pick, though after being handed an easy early lead with slow fractions and then blowing a clear lead in mid-stretch in a similar event last month she might not be one to trust. Boonesboro Beauty, third in the same race ‘Barbie exits, also may not be one to count on after missing at even money, however she switches to hot-riding U. Rispoli and projects to enjoy a cozy stalking trip outside. We suspect the winner will be one of these two, but neither one really offers much wagering value.RACE 4: Post 1:59 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Divine Armor; 6-Yeng AgainForecast: Yeng Again missed at 4/5 in his debut but earned a giant number when second while five lengths clear of the others, so we’ll give him a chance to make amends while stretching out to a distance he’s bred to handle. The R. Baltas-trained son of Carpe Diem retains bug boy J. Velez and will take some catching if he leaves cleanly from his outside draw. Divine Armor, also beaten at odds-on last time out, adds blinkers after finishing second in his last pair. The son of Include may display improved early speed with the hood on. We’ll prefer Yeng Again on top but use both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 2:29 PT. Grade: B+Single: 1-Jolie Olimpica; 2-CarressaForecast: Unbeaten Joli Olimpica was highly impressive winning her U. S. debut in the Las Cienegas S.-G3 sprinting on turf last month and today should tackles a tougher group while stretching out to a mile. She was a Group-1 stakes winner in her native Brazil before being imported to the States, so the extra distance shouldn’t be any issue, and while she won from a stalking position last time out the daughter of Drosselmeyer may inherit the role as the controlling speed from her good inside draw. Carressa won her turf debut in capturing the Megahertz Stakes over this course and distance last month and did so impressively. She’ll need to step it up to challenge the favorite, but the lightly-raced daughter of Uncle Mo has plenty of upside and could be up to the task. Preference on top goes to Jolie Olimpica but we’ll use both in our rolling exotics.RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Rinse and Repeat; 7-Temple KnightsForecast: Rinse and Repeat has two wins from 28 starts along with 13 seconds and thirds, so while he usually hits the board the veteran son of Square Eddie – who just finished second as the 6/5 favorite in a similar spot – can’t always be counted on to seal the deal. However, at this extended sprint distance, and without pace to ensure decent early fractions, the S. Knapp-trained veteran may be able to find a way to get it done. Temple Knights, in good form for A. Lerner and likely to enjoy a soft pace-stalking trip in a race that might be slowly run early, earned a career top speed figure when beating a restricted $12,5000 field here just eight days ago and must be considered dangerous right back. Like Rinse and Repeat, the son of Temple City should draft into second flight early position and have dead aim when the pressure is turned on. Both should be included in rolling exotic play and very slight edge on top to Rinse and Repeat.RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Sunrise Royale; 3-Avalon RideForecast: This first-level allowance turf miler for California-bred fillies and mares is an absolute raffle. A win by anyone of the five entrants would not surprise us. Avalon Ride, third in her last pair when facing similar company, should be a major factor again and really won’t have to improve much to win. She’s drawn nicely inside, and with some help up front should have her chance to tag the speed in the final furlong. Sunrise Royale lands the rail and probably will employ gate-to-wire tactics. Fourth in the same race Avalon Ride just finished third in, the daughter of Informed was forced into hot fractions and paid the price late, but with a little less pace pressure today she could stick around a long time. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but not with a great deal of confidence.RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Promise Nothing; 6-Jaxon’s Goldie; 11-Call Offthe LureForecast: This challenging maiden $30,000 claiming sprint requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll try to get by using just three, but if you feel the need to go deeper, go right ahead. Jaxon’s Goldie, a fair fifth on turf in his debut vs. optional claiming types, tries maidens today while tackling a much easier group and seems likely to have found his friends. The son of Goldencents should be on or near the lead throughout. Promise Nothing has the route-to-sprint angle we like and ran better than the line will show when forced to lose ground from a poor outside draw against similar opposition as the favorite last month. Perhaps most comfortable as a late-running sprinter, the R. Becerra-trained colt should be dangerous if held up early and allowed to run late. Call ofthe Lure is a first-timer from the T. Yakteen barn (strong with debut runners) with an okay work tab and lands F. Prat, so you have to include him as well.RACE 9: Post 4:34 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Exhort; 7-K P Indy; 8-Much More HaloForecast: Exhort is an intriguing first-time starter from the D. O’Neill barn that brought $135,000 at the OBS Sale last April and impressed during the previous session while displaying good speed. He finally makes it to the post almost a year later, but where will he run? The son of Will Take Charge shows a couple of bullet drills at San Luis Rey Downs to signal his readiness but was also entered a maiden sprint in tomorrow’s fifth race at Golden Gate Fields. As of this writing, we’re not quite sure where he’ll show up. K P Indy, freshened since the fall and training solidly for the J. Mullins barn, displayed ability sprinting on grass as a two-year-old and has every right to return better than he left. Much More Halo continues to train like he has more ability that he has shown in the afternoon so far, but we suspect he’ll prove most effective sprinting on turf and gets those conditions today. With the switch to F. Prat, the son of More Than Ready should have no excuses.f

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2.21.2020:

Friday, February 21: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the headliner from a betting standpoint at Cal Expo begins in Race 7, the 0.20 Pick 4 with a $30,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a 16% takeout and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 72-Place At The Beach (10-1)-Magee's choice over #3 drops to a spot to shine and at 10-1 in the ML can add some juice to the Pick 4. Could surprise with a clean trip and can be put in play early on.4-Princess Decline (6-1)-Loses Plano to #1 but will use instead as comes off a sharp win. Needs an honest pace and some live cover but that can happen, if so, should be rolling late.6-Relentless Dancer (4-1)-Wasn't Plano's choice but Roland has steered in the past and drops to a better spot. Doesn't win often but this a beatable field.Race 82-Blue Star Maverick (6-1)-Interesting play who could be overlooked and was overmatched last week. This is a spot for Cutting to leave, get sucked around and brush by late.4-Bunkerhill Bill (5-1)-Makes 3rd start off an injured scratch and last was better. Will look for upswing to continue at a square price.8-Bettor In The Bank (9/2)-10-year-old has won 41% of CalX starts and can come off cover from an outside post.9-Coz And Effect (7/2)-Usually in the hunt but hasn't closed the deal. Has finished 2nd in 6 of last 7 starts, needs a trip but does drop. Kennedy may not get on the engine but should get a good early seat and be in the hunt.Race 91-Asplode Hanover (5-1)-Enjoyed a fortunate trip in last to score at 12-1. Loses Roland but Magee knows well. Probably won't be 12-1 but should be a fair price and can follow a similar script.2-Reys N A Ruckus (7/2)-Knox trainee has been in sharp form and best to respect especially with the added help of an inside post. Winner of 3 of 7 this year looks like a major player.8-Explainnotcomplain (4-1)-Plano got the top and never looked back in the same class last week. There are a couple who could leave but thinking an up-close trip is likely and an encore could be in the cards.Race 101-Gordy Again (3-1)-Longo owns, trains and drives and this is a soft spot for 7-time winner in '19. Using and this is the time for a dialed-up effort.8-Sweet One (8-1)-Veteran mare has done well here in the past and half of the field doesn't have a win at CalX. Plano knows well and should put her in play early and stay involved to the wire.My Ticket Race 7) 2,4,6 Race 8) 2,4,8,9 Race 9) 1,2,8 Race 10) 1,8Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.21.2020:

Friday, February 21: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSanta AnitaSpecifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BSingle: 6-First EmpressForecast: First Empress exits an infinitely tougher maiden $75,000 claimer in her debut last month and though well-beaten earned a speed figure that is good enough to beat this field. Granted, that race was on grass and this one’s on the main track, but if the daughter of Cairo Prince can run at all, she’ll handle this modest assignment. Strictly by default, we’ll make the P. Eurton-trained filly a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B+Single: 3-Smiling AnnieForecast: Smiling Annie had a rough trip in a stronger first-level allowance race over this course and distance last month but switches to F. Prat, drops into a starter’s allowance affair and has past speed figures good enough to win at this level. A good, healthy work pattern since her last outing should have her primed for a bounce-back performance. We’ll make the daughter of Smiling Tiger is a straight play and logical rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Purdue; 6-PromnesiaForecast: Here’s a bottom-rung, restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming sprint for fillies and mares that probably requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Best advice is to include as many as you can afford to; we’ll try to survive using just two. Purdue, away since last May but with speed to grab control and keep on going, rates top billing if she returns with her best stuff. The work tab, while hardly flashy, points to her fitness for a barn that has enjoyed a strong meeting so far with limited starters. Promnesia, in the frame in her last four, adds blinkers after finishing a reasonable third under these conditions last month and may have enough improvement in her to break through with a win.RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: B+Single: 7-Love a HoneybadgerForecast: This abbreviated main track sprint for older $16,000 claiming fillies and mares looks made to order for Love a Honeybadger. The veteran mare was off poorly and eliminated when far back in a much stronger starter allowance dash last time out but this more realistic spot should help get her back on track. Drawn comfortably outside and a winner of five of 10 career starts over the Santa Anita main track, the B. Koriner-trained daughter of Bushwacker need only repeat her highly-rated win two runs back to handle this task. She’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Muralist; 3-Paint Me LuckyForecast: Paint Me Lucky is now five years old and hasn’t come close to fulfilling his expectations but the son of Paynter, away since November, continues to sizzle in the morning for B. Baffert and picks up F. Prat. A couple of sharp gate works – most recently in company with 2019 Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster – should have him on edge for a top effort and his race two back – a runner-up effort over this track and distance – charts very well in this spot. Muralist has improving form and rising speed figures, but this will be his first start on dirt, and there’s no guarantee he’ll duplicate his grass form over this much deeper surface. The switch to J. Rosario is a positive factor, making the Street Sense gelding the one to fear most. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 6: Post 2:58 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Order and Law; 3-Sea of LibertyForecast: Sea Liberty is wheeled back quickly by J. Sadler after beating state-bred maidens over this course and distance just 12 days ago. The Boisterous gelding earned a career top speed figure in that clever win that charts very favorably in this starter’s $50,000 nw-2 allowance event. Bug boy J. Velez stays aboard and should have him on or nearly the lead in a race that projects to have soft early splits. Order and Law has yet to hit the board in five starts over the local lawn and hasn’t visited the winner’s circle since capturing the Laurel Futurity as a maiden in September of 2018. But his recent numbers make him a major player in this league, and with the switch to J. Rosario the son of Violence is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 7: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-Mucho Macho WomanForecast: Mucho Macho Woman became eligible for this starter’s allowance condition when she dropped into a maiden $40,000 sprint over this track and distance last month and won for fun with a huge speed figure, one that makes her a very short price to score right back. Drawn perfectly outside, the R. Ellis-trained filly should control the race either on the lead or from a stalking position. She’s an obviously (but no-value) rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Dude’s Dream; 7-Champers; 9-Brother ReidForecast: The finale is an intriguing but difficult expensive maiden claiming turf miler for 3-yeaer-olds. On pure form Champers is the one to beat. The R. Hess, Jr.-trained colt has performed well over this course in the past, though he was a distant third as the favorite behind runaway winner Rip City under these conditions last time out. This looks like a considerably easier assignment and with the switch to M. Smith the son of Cairo Prince should have every chance to earn his diploma from a good stalking position. Dude’s Dream was no factor when chasing infinitely tougher straight maiden foes sprinting on grass in his debut last month but should go much with the benefit of that bit of experience under his belt in addition to the stretch-out in trip, the class drop, and an inside draw that guarantees a ground-saving trip. Today we’ll find out if he can run. Brother Reid had an outing in Florida, where he closed a gap sprinting in a decent straight maiden event and the V. Cerin-trained son of Empire Maker seems likely to improve with today’s added distance. Top grass rider U. Rispoli takes the call, another positive factor.

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2.20.2020:

Saturday, February 22: My Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 Ticket

It would be a challenge to find a better way to kick off a Pick 4 than the way Gulfstream Park will do it Saturday, as the opening leg of their Late Pick 4 is the G3 World of Trouble Sprint Stakes for older horses. Talk about the perfect way to get the 'final four' on the card going in the ninth race. The Jason Servis-trained Lasting Legacy is the likely favorite and will be a single on more than just a few tickets. Epic Dreamer, trained by Kelly Breen, will also play a big role down the stretch, despite tiring badly going longer in the Grade 3 Hooper Stakes. There’s little to recommend off his performance in that one, but going two races back, it’s easy to get excited about his sprint chances. To end 2019, he blasted optional allowance foes by 6 1/4 widening lengths in 1:09 1/5. He was on a course to test the Triple Crown prep waters last year and the best he could do on that path was a fourth in the G2 Holy Bull. Hit 4 Exactas Saturday at Gulfstream to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points Lasting Legacy will be short on the board after a second behind Diamond Ops in the G3 Mr Prospector going seven furlongs. In a separate Mr Prospector Stakes at Monmouth two back, he came off the pace and was strong in a 1 1/2-length win in 1:08 3/5. Until the Mr Prospector at Gulfstream, he had won three straight. Also on the card and in the late Pick 4 is the Amy Limit Stakes, a sprint for 3-year-old fillies. The Any Limit looks like it could come down to two runners – Sound Machine and Frank’s Rockette. Take on Acacia Courtney in our Beat the Host Tournament Saturday for $2,000 in Cash Prizes The Saffie Joseph, Jr.-trained Sound Machine romped in the Glitter Woman Stakes in her last start and continued her Gulfstream success. She’s 2 of 3 over the Gulfstream Park strip and her only disappointment came in a seventh-place finish at Keeneland. Frank’s Rockette, from the barn of trainer Bill Mott, has an obvious class advantage over this field but has been off since October. That could be somewhat of an equalizer, but if she runs to her races as a 2-year-old, she’s be extremely difficult to beat. After a maiden win at Churchill Downs, she went to Saratoga, where she was second in the G1 Adirondack Stakes and followed with another second in the G1 Spinaway. She ended 2019 with another second in a G1 when he came up just short in the Frizette. Here’s a suggested play in the Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 on Saturday: Race 9: #1 Epic Dreamer, #2 Lasting Legacy. Race 10: #1 Award Winner, #6 Ry’s the Guy, #7 Mustaaqeem, #10 Largent. Race 11: #2 Sound Machine, #5 Frank’s Rockette. Race 12: #3 Weather Wiz, #5 Blewitt, #7 Zoe’s Delight, #10 Dinar, #11 Lemniscate. 50-cent Pick 4 Ticket: 1-2 with 1-6-7-10 with 2-5 with 3-5-7-10-11 ($40).

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2.20.2020:

Sophmore Stakes Review

Relax. Take a break. Hit ‘pause.’ Your determined search to find probable Kentucky Derby in-the-money finishers is suspended. For now. This weekend there are no races with Kentucky Derby starting-gate points attached.  However, don’t get too comfortable. Consider this Saturday and Sunday a mere coffee break, not a vacation. The hunt for the first four finishers in the featured race at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May continues in earnest next week. And then it’s non-stop sleuthing until April 11--in Arkansas, with the 150-point Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn, and in Kentucky, with a 34-point Lexington at Keeneland. Following the holiday weekend’s sophomore scramble you may require a respite, anyway. Friday, highly regarded Gouverneur Morris made his 3-year-old debut in an allowance race at Tampa Bay Downs. For the record, off the turn, the heavily favored Todd Pletcher-trained beast appeared to be going nowhere under vigorous scrubbing by jockey John Velazquez. The good ‘Gouverneur kept grinding, however, and not only won the race but actually stopped the timer just two tenths of a second short of the track record. One can assume he might return in the Tampa Bay Derby, although his camp hasn’t released future travel plans. Saturday, a pair of sophomore stakes produced three separate events: the Risen Star was contested in two divisions and Golden Gate presented the Camino Real Derby. These races promised a slight clarification of the Kentucky Derby picture and may have helped…a bit. It’s still way too early to make any concrete statements. ‘Leans’ are about all we can currently deliver. The El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate provided added proof (as if any was needed) that trainer Bob Baffert has the deepest bench of any Thoroughbred operation, perhaps, in the world. Azul Coast, no better than a ‘sixth man’ on the Great White Father’s soph roster, romped home to win and earn 10 Derby starting points. Victory didn’t appear as easy as his odd-on chances predicted, but he got it done. Over a synthetic surface he many not have particularly cared for, his talent and determination ruled. He’s probably destined to travel lots this season as he knocks off nationwide derbies other than the one in Kentucky. The first division of the Risen Star featured favored Enforceable, decisive winner of the Lecomte Stakes. Saturday, he proved backers half-right as he closed ground late to catch Silver State for second. The Risen Star was the Tapit colt’s eighth start, and his late-running style that proved so effective in the Lecomte didn’t function as smoothly Saturday. He had a fairly clean trip while making up ground from last early, but he ran into a sharp, improved, front-running foe and that made all the difference. No reason to abandon Enforceable. He ran well. In recent years, late-runners like him have had a difficult time winning the Kentucky Derby. However, it should be noted that they do offer significant monetary rewards to those who can correctly select one-through-four Kentucky Derby finishers.   Mr. Monomoy and jockey Florent Geroux took control of the Risen Star out of the gate and never looked back. They finished strong and straight. Based on breeding there is some concern about the colt’s most effective distance, but he easily handled a mile and one-eighth. We’ll keep an eye on this one going forward. Third-place finisher Silver State raced mid-pack early, moved up while a few lengths in front of Enforcable, entered the lane in front of that foe but was caught by him for second near the wire. The second division of the Risen Star included both the weekend’s biggest surprise and greatest disappointment—at least from this observation point. Modernist, a dominant, four-length maiden winner over just five rivals Jan. 25 at Aqueduct, shipped south, won the Grade 2 Risen Star and just about punched his ticket toward a start in the Kentucky Derby. Generally, yours truly isn’t interested in recent maiden winners immediately challenging Grade 2 foes. And I wasn’t alone. Modernist was dismissed at 12-1 odds. That price looked a gift after he broke well, was hustled to vie for the lead, rated while eager inside of NY Traffic, put that one away in the stretch and held off the rest. The race was not as visually impressive as the first division and the final time was more than a second slower.  The emergence of Modernist was notable, but the real story of the second division of the 2020 Risen Star was the absolute dud fired by even money favorite Anneau d’Or. He had no visible excuse for the poor performance. Yes, he had to steady off heels a bit into the first turn, and, yes, he raced wide throughout. Still, none of that normally is enough to discourage a good horse from doing his job. We can guess about what might have caused a colt that was two necks away from the Eclipse Award as the top Juvenile to ‘phone one in,’ but we really don’t know and haven’t been offered a logical explanation. Jockey Joel Rosario surmised that it ‘just wasn’t his day.’ Really? Guess that sometimes happens, although usually not to good 3-year-olds on the road to the Triple Crown. To borrow the late Ricky Ricardo’s line, the son of Medaglia d’Oro ‘…has got some ‘splainin’ to do.’ Monday’s Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn added to the ‘cred’ of one Silver Prospector. The son of Declaration of War began his career with three turf races: two maiden tries at Belmont & Saratoga and one stakes attempt at Kentucky Downs. Still a maiden, he then was switched to a Keeneland dirt sprint and exploded to win with a big figure. Since then, before Monday, he’d started in three consecutive stakes races—a close third in a one turn mile at Churchill in the Street Sense; a win over top sophomore prospect Tiz the Law in the sloppy, mile and one-sixteenth Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club at Churchill; and a mid-pack fourth in Oaklawn’s muddy, one-mile Smarty Jones. Trainer Steve Asmussen couldn’t have drawn on a chalkboard a more perfect trip for Silver Prospector and jockey Ricardo Santana, Jr. They rode the rail home, split horses off the turn and ran down a stubborn Wells Bayou. It was a solid, if unspectacular performance. The runner-up Well’s Bayou, in only his fourth start, was gigged to the lead, opened up a clear advantage, battled fiercely in the lane, and was a clear second best. While this entertaining stakes action occupied most racing fans, Sunday at Santa Anita, Bob Baffert unleashed his most recent weapon of mass destruction in the form of Charlatan, a chestnut 3-year-old colt by Speightstown. He demolished just four foes in 1:08 4/5 but, as they say, it was the way he did it. Niggled a bit early to show speed from the outside post, Charlatan relaxed for jockey Drayden Van Dyke as they cruised unopposed to the stretch. There, Charlatan switched leads and spurted further from pursuers. He wasn’t really ‘asked’ for much in this glorified breeze and he galloped out like a good horse to earn a stratospheric 105 Beyer Speed Rating. Very impressive. Those quick to compare Charlatan to another late-starting, Bob Baffert sophomore named Justify ought to be careful. That Triple Crown winner was a once-in-a-lifetime horse and unless you’ve figured out a way to beat the odds and return for a second act, you won’t ever see another do what Justify did. Race On!

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2.20.2020:

Mucho Gusto, Tiz the Law Top NTRA Polls

It’s Post Time by Jon White (Feb. 19, 2020) Mucho Gusto, Midnight Bisou, Maximum Security and McKinzie are ranked 1-2-3-4 in this week’s first National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2020. And these four outstanding equine athletes are scheduled to clash on Feb. 29 in the richest race on the planet, the new $20 million Saudi Cup. The results for this year’s first NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll and Top 3-Year-old Poll were announced Monday. The Top Thoroughbred Poll is indicative of who might be crowned a divisional champion and, moreover, Horse of the Year. Eligible journalists and broadcasters each week submit their Top 10 horses, with points awarded on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points basis. The Top Thoroughbred Poll will end on the Monday following this year’s Breeders’ Cup. That means the final poll this year will be on Nov. 9 after the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland on Nov. 7 and 8. The final Top 3-Year-Old Poll will be announced on the Monday following the Grade I Belmont Stakes. That means this year the final poll will be on June 8 after the June 6 Belmont. Mucho Gusto tops this week’s Top Thoroughbred Poll after his glittering 4 1/2-length victory in the Grade I, $3 million Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park on Jan. 25. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Mucho Macho Man colt. No. 2 is Midnight Bisou. Voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female, she won seven of eight starts in 2019. Midnight Bisou’s lone defeat last year came when she finished second in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen trains the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Midnight Lute mare. Maximum Security is No. 3. The Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old male of 2019 won six of eight starts in 2019. He also finished first in the Grade I Kentucky Derby, but then was disqualified and placed 17th for causing interference on the far turn. In his final start last year, Maximum Security won Aqueduct’s Grade I Cigar Mile with authority by 3 1/2 lengths on Dec. 7. Jason Servis conditions the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt. No. 4 is McKinzie. In his final 2019 start, McKinzie finished second in the Grade I Breeder’s Cup Classic at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. Baffert also trains this 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Street Sense. Zulu Alpha is No. 5. He registered a two-length win in Gulfstream’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf on Jan. 25. Mike Maker trains the 7-year-old Kentucky-bred Street Cry gelding. Covfefe, another 2019 Eclipse Award winner, is No. 6. In fact she garnered a pair of Eclipse Awards last year. In addition to being voted champion 3-year-old filly, she was voted champion female sprinter. Brad Cox trains the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly. Here is the first NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2020: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 224 Mucho Gusto (12)2. 188 Midnight Bisou (4)3. 186 Maximum Security (11)4. 156 McKinzie (1)5. 89 Zulu Alpha5. 75 Covfefe7. 57 Code of Honor8. 45 Firenze Fire9. 40 Silver Dust9. 40 Warrior’s Charge Also receiving votes: Hard Not to Love (36 points), Gift Box (34), Spun to Run (34), Uni (33), Sistercharlie (27), Imperial Hint (20), Tom’s d’Etat (20), United (20), Finite (17), Midcourt (17), Mr. Freeze (17), Starship Jubilee (17), Higher Power (16), Magic Wand (15), Mitole (15), Tiz the Law (15), Texas Wedge (10), Shancelot (9), British Idiom (8), Cookie Dough (7), Got Stormy (7), Sir Winston (5), Iridessa (3), Mind Control (3), Owendale (3), Venetian Harbor (3), Captain Scotty (2), Majestic Reason (2), Monomoy Girl (2), Omaha Beach (2), Factor This (1), Taraz (1), Serengeti Empress (1), War of Will (1). “All horses that have raced in the U.S., are in training in the U.S., or are known to be pointing to a major event in the U.S. are eligible for the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll,” according to the press release accompanying the first NTRA polls of 2020. However, the NTRA evidently did not compel voters to follow those guidelines. That’s because in the “also receiving votes” section, you will see that Mitole and Omaha Beach received votes. They both have been retired to stud. Something else you will see in the “also receiving votes” section is Texas Wedge has 10 points. But he actually was listed by the NTRA for having 7 points and then again a second time for having 3 points. Hence, I combined the 7 and 3 to give him a total of 10 points. This was the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll of 2019: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 438 Bricks and Mortar (42)2. 388 Mitole (2)3. 332 Vino Rosso4. 297 Midnight Bisou5. 157 McKinzie5. 157 Sistercharlie7. 151 Uni8. 109 Covfefe9. 102 Blue Prize10. 90 Maximum Security Also receiving votes: Code of Honor (50 points), Omaha Beach (34), Imperial Hint (18), Higher Power (16), Spun to Run (15), Got Stormy (14), Elate (10), Iridessa (10), British Idiom (8), Vasilika (7), Belvoir Bay (4), Storm the Court (2), World of Trouble (2), Four Wheel Drive (1). TIZ THE LAW TOPS YEAR’S FIRST NTRA 3-YEAR-OLD POLL An impressive three-length winner of Gulfstream’s Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 1, Tiz the Law holds the top spot in the first NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll of 2020. Barclay Tagg trains the New York-bred Constitution colt, who has won three of four career starts. The powerful Baffert barn has three undefeated colts on the Top 10. They are No. 2 Thousand Words, No. 3 Nadal and No. 4 Authentic. Thousand Words is three for three. The Florida-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt won Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 1 in his 2020 debut. He took the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity in his final 2019 start. Baffert won the 2015 Triple Crown with American Pharoah, also a son of Pioneerof the Nile. Nadal is two for two. The Kentucky-bred Blame colt won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 9. Authentic likewise is two for two. The Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt won Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes by nearly eight lengths on Jan. 4 despite not running a straight course in the stretch when racing greenly. Here is the first NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll of 2020: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 252 Tiz the Law (17)2. 199 Thousand Words (4)3. 141 Nadal (2)4. 128 Authentic (1)5. 125 Dennis’ Moment (1)5. 112 Mr. Monomoy7. 103 Sole Volante8. 70 Independence Hall9. 66 Maxfield (2)9. 59 Silver Prospector (1) Also receiving votes: Enforceable (55 points), Gouverneur Morris (47), Modernist (44), Storm the Court (44), Charlatan (20), Structor (17), Eight Rings (15), Finite (10), Anneau d’Or (9), Chance It (5), Azul Coast (4), Wells Bayou (4), Honor A.P. (3), Mischevious Alex (3), Taraz (3), British Idiom (1), Fore Left (1). TIZ THE LAW ALSO TOPS MY KENTUCKY DERBY LIST In addition to being No. 1 in this week’s NTRA Top 3-Year-Old Poll, Tiz the Law again occupies the top spot on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week. The newcomer to my Top 10 this week at No. 7 is the Baffert-trained Charlatan, who had observers buzzing when he won a six-furlong maiden special weight race in sensational fashion last weekend at Santa Anita. Baffert trains four of the horses on my Top 10 this week -- Nadal, Thousand Words, Authentic and Charlatan. Charlatan zipped to the front early last Sunday and drew away in the stretch to win by 5 3/4 lengths. He clicked off fractions of :21.89, :44.72 and :56.52 en route to a final clocking of 1:08.85. Those times are exceedingly swift on a slower-than-it-used-to-be Santa Anita main track. Charlatan was credited with a 105 Beyer Speed Figure. Keep in mind his laudable final time and triple-digit Beyer were achieved even though he was just cruising down the lane. A Kentucky-bred Speightstown colt, Charlatan made his splashy career debut on Feb. 16. Two years ago on Feb. 18, Justify kicked off his racing career by winning a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Santa Anita by 9 1/2 lengths for Baffert. Justify posted a 104 Beyer in his career debut. He would go on to become America’s 13th Triple Crown winner. It will be very interesting to see what the obviously talented Charlatan goes on to accomplish. Anneau d’Or, trained by Blaine Wright, drops off my Top 10 this week after he finished ninth as an even-money favorite in the second division of the Grade II Risen Star Stakes last Saturday. Though bounced around early while making his 2020 debut, Anneau d’Or was a big disappointment to his backers. He lost by 12 3/4 lengths. “We are going to put the Risen Star behind us and move forward,” Wright told Fair Grounds’ media relations. “I haven’t a clue why he didn’t run well, but I’m not going to worry about it. We’ll go back to California, regroup and point to the Santa Anita Derby [April 4].” Anneau d’Or was racing with blinkers for the first time last Saturday. The Kentucky-bred Medaglia d’Oro colt was narrowly beaten last year when the runner-up in both the Grade I BC Juvenile and Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity. Maxfield came close to exiting my Top 10 this week, but he stays on the list due to finally having his first recorded 2020 workout on Monday in Florida. The Kentucky-bred Street Sense colt worked three furlongs in :38.20 at Palm Meadows for trainer Brendan Walsh. TVG’s Caton Bredar asked Walsh last Saturday if the Kentucky Derby is still in play for Maxfield. “I wouldn’t count him out of anything right now,” Walsh said. “Obviously, the clock is ticking. But let’s see how his works go. He kind of did more than what we expected of him last year, and that’s what he tends to do. So I wouldn’t write him off of anything right now. Walsh noted that Maxfield is lot stronger physically than last year. “Last year he was a frame of a horse and now he’s really filled out,” Walsh said. “Mentally he’s in great shape. So we’re really happy with him.” One reason there are such high expectations for Maxfield is his scintillating performance in Keeneland’s Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at 1 1/16 miles last year. Ninth early, he closed with a rush and won by 5 1/2 lengths. And those were not bums left in Maxfield’s wake at Keeneland. Gouveneur Morris finished second, Enforceable second, Ajaaweed third and By Your Side fourth. Gouveneur Morris and Enforceable look like they are quite capable of making their presence felt in the $3 million Kentucky Derby on May 2. Last Friday at Tampa Bay Downs, Governor Morris made his 2020 debut a winning one. He prevailed by 1 1/4 lengths in an allowance/optional claiming race and completed one mile and 40 yards in 1:38.88 to just barely miss the track record by .02 seconds. Trained by Todd Pletcher, the Kentucky-bred Constitution colt was credited with an 88 Beyer Speed Figure. Enforceable won the Grade III Lecomte Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Jan. 18. The Kentucky-bred Tapit colt, conditioned by Mark Casse, then finished second to Mr. Monomoy in a division of the Grade II Risen Star Stakes in New Orleans last Saturday. After the Breeders’ Futurity, Ajaaweed finished second in Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen Stakes in his final start as a 2-year-old. In his first start at 3, Ajaaweed ran third behind Sole Volante and Independence Hall in the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. By Your Side has not race since the Breeders’ Futurity. He was good enough to win Saratoga’s Grade III Sanford Stakes last year. Considering the manner in which Maxfield trounced his foes in the Breeders’ Futurity last year at 2, what if it turns out he’s even better this year at 3? Now that’s a scary thought. Here is my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week: 1. Tiz the Law2. Nadal3. Thousand Words4. Dennis’ Moment5. Honor A.P.6. Authentic7. Charlatan8. Maxfield9. Sole Volante10. Storm the Court  

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2.20.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: February 21 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, a week after an extremely tough sequence. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:50 ET) – 4up 5k claimer at 1-mile The opener seems relatively evenly matched, so I’ll use three on the top line, since I don’t have a lot of conviction. The horse to beat is #5 CALADAN (2-1), who could move way up off the Farrior claim (29%), though the potential to get caught in a pace sandwich has me looking elsewhere for a top pick. I’ll come back to #8 SIR DOUGLAS (9-2), who could bounce off a big figure 2nd at the level last time, but he should like the pace here, and will be a nice price too. I’ll also use #2 SEBRAY (5-1), who is the wildcard off the Mancilla re-claim (24%), since he hasn’t been out since August and isn’t in for the tag, but a sharp barn could be playing some poker here, and there’s plenty of back form that could win this. Pk5 A horses: 8,5,2 (listed in order of preference) A drop in class out of some tough NY claimers could help #9 HOLY WEEK (8-1), but he also never wins (4-for-62), so, while I think you have to be wary of him, he’s a backup at best. You could also give a look to #1 Battle Ready (6-1) on the stretchout, but wiring this group as the inside speed seems like a big ask. Pk5 B horses: 9 Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (4:03 ET) – 4upfm Florida-bred AOC (16k/N2X) at 1-mile (turf) Tough sledding here, as several could win on their day, and I’ll use four on top, with #8 GIOIELLI (8-1) getting the nod on the stretchout from a perfect attack post, in what is the third start of her form cycle. I’ll also use #7 VALLEY DATE (8-1), who gets back to the turf and will run against Florida breds on the drop, along with #3 HERE COMES JACKIE (9-2), who was just 2nd at the level and should trip out perfectly here, and #5 LOVEY LUVY (6-1), who was just a neck behind ‘Jackie last time and should also like the race flow. Pk5 A horses: 8,7,3,5 I’m playing against #4 TRILBY (5-1), who beat ‘Jackie and ‘Luvy’ when winning at the level, as she now goes off the Hess claim, for a barn having a very rough meet, though her form is far to sharp to leave her out of the equation completely. I think you also have to use #1 LOOKINLIKEAQUEEN (4-1), a winner at the level two-back, though a possible aggressive pace could hurt her chances. Pk5 B horses: 4,1 Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:44 ET) – 4up 8k* at 5 � furlongs After spreading a bit in the first two legs we need a single, and we get it here with #1 GOING AWAY PARTY (9-5), who was in to tough for 20k last time but is back with friends here, will sit just off the heap outside speed, and get first run on the rest, and if he runs back to the win against similar two-back, he might lap this field. Pk5 A horses: 1 When you have a single you usually can make a case for several underneath, but I think ‘Party is strong enough that we can go it alone. The main danger seems to be Santa Anita invader #6 King Eddie (2-1), but his last two since being claimed by Miyadi have been dreadful, so he can beat me. You could also look to #3 Aalsmeer (7-2), who is tactical and has run well at the level of late, along with the class dropping #5 Mirror Image (8-1), but I’ll stick with an aggressive opinion and single the favorite. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Santa Anita R3 (4:59 ET) – 4upfm 12.5k N2L at 6 � furlongs I’ll use the three gals with the most early speed here, as the pace doesn’t look supersonic, and being tactical will give them first run on the stalker/closers, which can be pivotal. Improving figures and making the third start of her form cycle make #2 JABBER NOW (4-1) very appealing, while #1 QUEEN CARMELITA (7-2) was just a good 2nd at the level and should trip out, though she could also regress off such a big run. I’m also very interested in the comebacker #5 PURDUE (4-1), who hasn’t been out since May but seems to be the controlling speed, and if she can get bac to her runs two and three-back she’ll be a real handful here. Pk5 A horses: 2,1,5 If things get too heated early then #8 DADDY’S MELODY (4-1) will be the one to fear off the far turn, though she’s 1-for-15 lifetime and was behind a few of these last time, so she’s hardly the type to lean on. Pk5 B horses: 8 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:33 ET) – 3f 16k MCL at 1 1/16 miles (turf) You could go a lot of different ways in the finale, but the best of the two proven runners might be a bit too much, as #1 GEA (4-1) gets a huge jock upgrade to Irad and draws perfectly, while #4 KAYSERI (7-2) is lightly raced and adds blinkers for a bit more focus after she made the lead then tired late in her local debut. I’ll also use #8 POLISHED COPPER (9-2), since there’s no reason she can’t improve off her turf debut and return run against much better. Pk5 A horses: 1,4,8 You’re allowed to think #9 QUEEN LETIZIA is live, since Jose Ortiz rides, and being a firster against a group like this isn’t a bad thing either, though Joseph is much better on dirt than turf, hence her supporting role and not leading one. Pk5 B horses: 9 The Tickets: Main Ticket: 8,5,2 with 8,7,3,5 with 1 with 2,1,5 with 1,4,8 = $108Leg 1 B Backup: 9 with 8,7,3,5 with 1 with 2,1,5 with 1,4,8 = $36Leg 2 B Backup: 8,5,2 with 4,1 with 1 with 2,1,5 with 1,4,8 = $54Leg 4 B Backup: 8,5,2 with 8,7,3,5 with 1 with 8 with 1,4,8 = $36Leg 5 B Backup: 8,5,2 with 8,7,3,5 with 1 with 2,1,5 with 9 = $36

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2.19.2020:

Individual Dan Patch Awards Aplenty

Harness racing’s 2019 Horse of the Year, Pacer of the Year and Trotter of the Year will be announced at the annual Dan Patch Awards banquet this Saturday in Orlando, FL. But the top Standardbreds weren’t the only ones recognized in the voting by the U.S. Harness Writers Association, as the following list of individual Dan Patch Award winners will attest:   ·         Stanley F. Bergstein Proximity Award – For the first time in 68 years, there was a dead heat for the winner of the sport’s most prestigious award. Joe Faraldo, an owner, amateur driver and president of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York, shares center stage with the Ontario-based owner-breeder partnership of Al Libfeld and Marvin Katz. ·         Owner of the Year – Anders Strom’s Courant Inc., which campaigned 3-year-old trotting millionaires Greenshoe and Gimpanzee. ·         Driver of the Year – Dexter Dunn, who won 460 races for $12 million in earnings and guided Breeders Crown champions Manchego and Amigo Volo in his first full year of driving in North America. ·         Top Dash Driver – Aaron Merriman, who made history with 1,000 wins for the third consecutive year. ·         Trainer of the Year – Marcus Melander, upstaging his selection as the 2018 Rising Star recipient. ·         Hall of Famers – Tom Charters, the first executive director of the Breeders Crown;  Jeff Gural, who owns and operates the Meadowlands, the most recognized track in North America; Tim Tetrick, still adding to all-time Top 10 driving statistics in wins and earnings; and Bill Popfinger, a successful Grand Circuit driver-trainer for five decades. ·         Communication Hall of Famers – Ken Weingartner, media relations manager of the U.S. Trotting Association and Phil Pikelny, an author and publicist for the USTA and Scioto Downs racetrack. ·         Rising Star Award – Driver Bob McClure, who guided Forbidden Trade to an upset victory in the Hambletonian. ·         Breakthrough Award – Dawnelle Mock, director of marketing at the The Meadows in Pennsylvania. ·         Pooler Unsung Hero Award – Wanda Polisseni, owner of Purple Haze Stable and advocate for the after-track life of racehorses. ·         William Haughton Good Guy Award – Jim King Jr., trainer of 2019 Horse of the Year candidate Shartin N. ·         Breeder of the Year – Brittany Farms, LLC, breeders of 2019 millionaires Bettor’s Wish, Manchego, Six Pack and American History. ·         Caretaker of the Year – Courtney Polan, who takes care of eight horses in the stable of Meadows-based trainer Norm Parker. ·         Prince Ushwan Award – Derick Giwner for “going above and beyond the call of membership.” ·         President’s Award -- Don Marean, vice chariman of the USTA and president of the Maine SOA; and Adriano Sorella, a savvy marketing executive and owner of millionaire pacer Jimmy Freight. ·         Service To Youth Award – Robert Lasky for his work in the horse transportation field that kept the Harness Horse Youth Foundation’s summer program running smoothly. ·         Amateur Driver of the Year -- Jazmin Arnold posted a remarkable 59/23-10-5 record in the Billings Series to become the second woman ever to win the award. ·         John Hervey Award – Melissa Keith for feature writing and Derick Giwner for news/commentary writing. ·         George Smallsreed Award – Chris Gooden for action photography and Mark Hall for feature photography.

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2.18.2020:

Picks for Thursday's Gulfstream Park $203K Late Pick 5 Carryover

A $203,727 carryover awaits horseplayers in Thursday’s late pick five at Gulfstream Park, a President’s Day holiday leftover that merits wagering attention. Gulfstream’s final five Thursday will be Races 6-10 and field sizes line up 8x9x9x8x10 in an attractive manner. There are no skinny fields and no absolute brain-busters. Scheduled off time for Race 6 is 3:33 pm ET … give or take a cup of coffee. Let’s dig into the players I’m considering and the pertinent Betmix Angler statistics that helped formulate the opinion. Race 6 1-R Kiss Em Goodbye (8-5): Morning line favorite has never been on turf. Georgina Baxter 31% with turf sprinters over 103 starters. The mark is 29% with those moving dirt-to-turf sprint, similarly strong. Favorites have dominated this claiming turf sprint division at the meet (49%), but I trust the favorites more in a similar Race 8 test. 4-Take Charge Again (10-1): Missed only 1 exacta in 6 starts on dirt and tries turf first time. Jane Cibelli hits only 14% going dirt-to-turf sprint and 1-for-19 on that move at Gulfstream. But filly fits with these runners. 7-Stormy Nelly (7-2): Third against similar class over this course/distance in December when getting hotter pace to rally into than likely today. Move to Irad Ortiz Jr. won’t hurt chances. 5-Little Bella (6-1): Nothing flashy about debut win, but switches to Paco Lopez, a top-notch turf sprint pilot (25% since 2013). At least we know this filly handles turf. 6-Cavernndchipmunks (4-1): Best US races have been turf sprints among soiled form in other spots. 2-Susie’s Memory (10-1): Wildcard has been away 1-1/2 years but working fast for return and fitness not as requisite at 5 furlongs on grass like most trips. Race 7 3-Worth Avenue (3-1): Class dropper makes noteworthy rider change second time off the claim for high-percentage barn. Jockey-trainer combo 6: 1-3-1 since last April, always live. 4-Fancy Sox (5-2): Kenneally $10,000 claim in Kentucky met tougher in decent local turf try and fits with these back on dirt. Mare won moving turf-to-dirt in November. Race 8 4-Sir Seamus (2-1): Expect him to be favored and chalk is hitting 49% in turf sprint claimers at the current meet. 9-Youshouldbesolucky (9-5): Morning line favorite the other logical contender in a race that plays logically. 5-Mr. Edgar (7-2): Alternate inclusion only if one of the key players scratches. Lacks finishing bid, but may improve for new barn. Race 9 2-Freudian Finish (10-1): Brendan Walsh barn has been on fire at Gulfstream, going 12: 5-2-0 since January 3. Among those are a 15-1 winner off a 233-day layoff as well as a 12-1 runner-up. 5-R Prerogative (5-2): Speed always dangerous and the rule of thumb states you never fear just 1 other runner in a potential duel. 8-My Sarasota Star (4-1): The second likely speed player works her way into the equation for the same reason and scenario as R Prerogative. If one of these two doesn’t break, the other could be loose on the lead. Race 10 8-Bulldat (10-1): Trainer Terri Pompay is 6: 3-1-0 since September moving dirt-to-turf at Gulfstream and has hit a strong 23% (7-for-30) with this move locally in maiden claiming races since 2014. In what looks like a weak field with no finishers, this stretch-out sprinter may just lead the chase. 2-Raspberry Ballet (5-2): On past races, she simply looks faster and classier than these. But you’re taking a shorter price on an 0-for trainer and 0-for jockey at the meet. To single such a tandem also puts all of your faith in running lines that are dated prior to mid-September. But favorites are a stout 46% in maiden claiming turf races at the meet, so don’t get too crazy. 50-cent Pick 5 Ticket Race 6: 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7 Race 7: 3, 4 Race 8: 4, 9 Race 9: 2, 5, 8 Race 10: 2, 8 Total Ticket Cost: $72.00

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2.17.2020:

Monday, February 17: Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

The 0.20 Pick 5 kicks off the card at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The sequence has a $75,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-Emily Antoinette (4-1)-Raced well in defeat coming off a sick scratch against a tough winner. Looks like it could be picture time but doesn't standout well above the others.5-Forged In Fire (8-1)-Drew off by >10 lengths at FlmD and now tries the big track. Fits into this condition because of earnings. May continue winning ways off of last confidence builder.6-Hoya Saxa (10-1)-Gets a new set of hands in JMac and looking for a price. Was too far back into a slow half and the race before got on the engine and faded. Maybe finds the sweet spot and gets an honest pace and rolls by late.9-Up And Trending (8-1)-Post draw doesn't help but comes off a nice qualifier and stayed flat with a 58.3 back half. Here's another with some ability and this filly may be ready for a big try.Race 21-Hammering Haley (2-1)-14-time winner in 2019 makes 2nd start off a claim for Auciello. Finished 3rd to some tough mares in last and looks like a major player tonight.6-Lucky Player (7/2)-Makes 1st start for Cullen barn and Henry steers. Camera shy 7-year-old is in good form and is a solid threat with any improvement off the claim.Race 34-TLF Royal Lake (3-1)-4-year-old makes 3rd career start and does like to trot in the back half of miles. Maybe McClure can avoid a very sluggish start and if fractions are swift chances go up.9-Charmbo Prince (8-1)-Makes 3rd start and has been sharp in both outings. Trotted the back half in .58 in winning last as an odds-on chalk. As long as the fractions are honest chances for a repeat are good.Race 42-Tomy Terror (5-1)-Was used hard from the 7-hole and got the top but faded late. That was a sharp effort and a new tactic. Should be put in play early and can pop at a square price with a decent trip.7-Casimir Overdrive (2-1)-Claimed again and posted another win. Now starts for the Johnson barn and Roy will be looking for some cover and then try to pull away down the lane.Race 51-Mr Contestant (9/2)-Drops into a spot to shine and could be put in play from the first call. Looking for a big try and might get the 2-hole trip behind #2.2-Hockey Hanover (7/2)-Thinking the front end will hold-up better than it did with this crew last time. Should be bet and can probably get the top without much strain.My Ticket Race 1) 2,5,6,9 Race 2) 1,6 Race 3) 4,9 Race 4) 2,7 Race 5) 1,2Total Ticket Cost) $12.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.17.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (February 10-16): Finite

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.February 10-16, 2020MVP: FiniteOwner: Winchell Thoroughbreds, Thomas Reiman, William Dickson, Deborah EasterTrainer: Steve AsmussenJockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.Performance: The anticipated showdown between champion 2-year-old filly British Idiom and red-hot Finite never got a chance to smolder in Saturday’s Grade 2 Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds. Finite made sure of that, drawing away to a 4-3/4 length score. In fact, the final margin was greater than the gap between the two star Kentucky Oaks hopefuls during any point in the race. With no quarter slower than 24.78, Finite never gave them a chance. She’s now won 5 straight after runner-up finishes in her first pair of starts. British Idiom, now 3-for-4 lifetime, wound up a clear second in her first race since the Nov. 1 Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies.On Tap: The Grade 2 $400,000 Fair Grounds Oaks March 24 would be the likely next and final step toward the Kentucky Oaks. There, Finite could get a rematch with British Idiom, though it seems more likely that rival would await the Grade 1 $500,000 Ashland at Keeneland on April 4, given she won last year’s Alcibiades over that track. The pair could be on course for the ultimate showdown in the May 1 Grade 1 $1,250,000 Kentucky Oaks, where Venetian Harbor could wind up if she continues her dominance at Santa Anita.Honorable Mentions: Hard Not to Love won Saturday’s Grade 2 $200,000 Santa Monica at Santa Anita for her fifth win in 6 starts. Trainer John Shirreffs appears to have another dominant filly in his barn a decade after Zenyatta (at least around 1 turn). Mr Monomoy scored the faster of the Grade 2 $400,000 Risen Star split divisions Saturday at Fair Grounds and may have earned Louisiana Derby favoritism.

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2.17.2020:

Monday, February 17: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Wind Tartare; 3-Playa ChicaForecast: Playa Chica is a first-off-the-claim play from the A. Lerner barn, which boasts sensational stats (41%) with this angle. She drops from $35,000 to $25,000, which normally might be considered suspicious but not with this trainer and could find herself on or near the lead in a race that projects to be slowly run early. In an open fray, the daughter of English Channel seems as good as any. Wind Tartare is winless in seven starts over the local lawn but returns to her proper level and has hit the board in four of her last five starts. She’ll be running on late. Let’s try to get by using just these two in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Playa Chica.RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Wilshire Dude; 4-Conquest CobraForecast: Conquest Cobra, a game winner of a $12,500 claiming sprint here last month, moves up a notch and stretches out again after a series of sprint races that should have him sharp enough to be comfortably placed on or near the lead. He’s won at this trip in the past and picks up hot-riding F. Prat. Wilshire Dude, freshened since mid-December, has a big look off his clever score at Golden Gate Fields two runs back. He’s won on this main track in the past and should draft into a favorable pace-stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with a slight preference on top going to Conquest Cobra.RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Pretty Point; 3-Kittyhawk LassForecast: Pretty Point, freshened since finishing a nice third in the American Oaks-G1 on opening day in late December when she earned a career top speed figure, returns to the first-level allowance ranks and switches to F. Prat. From her rail post the daughter of Point of Entry is assured a good ground-saving trip and with a repeat of her last race she should be along in time. Kittyhawk Lass has rising speed figures and a good stalking style. With another forward move, she’ll be right there. We’ll give Pretty Point the edge on top but both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: XSingle: 1-Ce CeForecast: Ce Ce is infinitely faster than her rivals in this entry-level allowance sprint, so if the daughter of Elusive Quality is anywhere close to being fit she’ll beat this field at a very short price. The M. McCarthy-trained filly won her debut over this track last spring so we know she can fire fresh, and while her current work tab isn’t flashy she should be tight enough to return a winner. At 4/5 on the morning line she doesn’t offer any wagering value other than as a short price rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Blackout; 7-CastleForecast: Blackout goes for new connections after being claimed out of a winning effort at this price ($32,000) over this course and distance last month. F. Prat stays aboard for J. Mullins and should have this French-bred gelding in an ideal stalking spot from his rail post position. The numbers are solid, so let’s expect a repeat score. We’ll also toss in Castle,winner of the California Flag Stakes for state-bred turf sprinters here during the fall meeting. Fourth earlier this meeting vs. tougher, the M. Glatt-trained gelding drops for the money run, retains A. Cedillo, and should have every chance from a pace-prompting/setting trip in a field without a whole lot of sprint speed.RACE 6: Post 2:58 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Big Hoof Dynamite; 5-Govenor CinchForecast: Big Hoof Dynamite just broke his maiden in a $50,000 seller over this main track and distance and equaled his career top speed figure. Since then he’s joined the E. Truman barn and really won’t have to improve much at all to score right back in this $40,000 claimer restricted to 3-year-olds. Govenor Cinch is worth including in rolling exotic play as well. On pure numbers he’s right there with ‘Dynamite and this return to the main track and to the claiming ranks makes him a proper fit.RACE 7: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Apache Princess; 3-Kentan RoadForecast: Kentan Road is clearly the controlling speed in a race that doesn’t have much of it, so we’re expecting the daughter of Into Mischief to take control early without need of urging and then have every chance to dominate throughout. She was second to unbeaten Jolie Olympic over this course and distance last month and she’s facing nobody near that tough today. Apache Princess always has been most dangerous as a late-running sprinter and should be heard from in the final furlong. She was a strong third place effort in the Sunshine Millions Turf here last month but will need some help up front to have her best chance, and on paper her main rival projects to have an easy time of it up front. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have extra tickets keying Kentan Road on top.RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Ruby Bradley; 4-Atina; 6-Tiz WonderfullyForecast: The nightcap is a $16,000 restricted (nw-3) middle distance main track claimer for fillies and mares and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Bay Area invader Atina seems well-spotted for a major effort; the Argentine-bred mare is a fit on speed figures, has winning connections, and owns a good stalking style that should ensure a trouble-free trip. Ruby Bradley and Tiz Wonderfully, two-three finishers in a similar affair last month, figure in the battle right back, with the former, a state-bred stakes winner and successful twice over the local dirt strip but not particularly fast on speed figures, likely to get plenty of play. We’ll try to get by using just these three but if you can afford to spread deeper, go right ahead.

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2.16.2020:

Sunday, February 16: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park starts the week with an 8-race card. The 0.50 Pick 4 rolls in Race 5, it has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 52-Jimmy Be Good (8-1)-With this post draw it makes sense to look toward Jimmy to spice up the Pick 4. Does his best work racing near the top of the stack and this is a spot to trip out.6-Alway'syourway (3-1)-Hennessey's choice over the #5 and #8 was an 11-time winner in 2019 but has only 2 wins in 15 starts at the Pomp.7-Rockntouch (4-1)-Some will discount the chances of this McNichol trainee as he couldn't close the deal in last 2 starts. But set very fast fractions in last and may not need to go to the half in 54.4 tonight. Start will be key and best to respect.Race 61-LA Rockin Sampson (8-1)-Has the gate speed to be on the engine or in the 2-hole and take advantage of a beneficial trip to score at a nice price.3-Fernado (12-1)-Santeramo's choice will need a good steer but at 12-1 is worth a swing in a race where the chalk is outside and doesn't always have great gate speed.5-Spanish Art (6-1)-If there is a battle for the lead, and the pace is sizzling MacDonald should be rolling late. This barn has been hot and 6-year-old has the speed to be in the mix with this crew.6-Feelin Lika Winner (2-1)-Hennessey got the lead and slammed on the brakes in last. If Wally is able to go to the half in 56.2 and to the 3/4's in 124.4 he probably wins again. I'm thinking it won't be so easy tonight.Race 71-Rub ofthe Green N (3-1)-Steps-up after drawing off in 152.1 and that effort would be tough to beat for this field. From the rail it should be all systems go, and looks like a major player.8-American Chrome (4-1)-Has the gate speed to be put in play early and came up with a good effort last week after a sick scratch. Post is a challenge but drops to a favorable level and should be in the hunt with a good steer.Race 82-Jeremes General (9-1)-Facing better but has been the post time chalk in last 3 and from the 2-hole could get a cozy trip. Knows how to win, in this field only #9 banked more money last year.6-Warr-N-Munn (5-1)-Steps-up after 2 sharp wins and has a ton of gate speed to get a good early seat. Wallis owns-trains and drives and we will see how long this guy can stay on top of his game.9-Rebellious (3-1)-Winner of 5 straight will likely be bet hard again but may not get the top without a battle. Using but will shoot against.My Ticket Race 5) 2,6,7 Race 6) 1,3,5,6 Race 7) 1,8 Race 8) 2,6,9Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.16.2020:

Sunday, February 16: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-Bella VitaForecast: Bella Vita was extremely well-meant in her debut last month, but after a slow start, a wide trip, and perhaps hitting the front too soon the expensive daughter of Bayern was tagged right on the money by another very talented filly, She’s Devoted, in a similar state-bred turf sprint for sophomore fillies. The S. Callaghan-trained filly, a $400,000 purchase last year at the OBS April sale, seems sure to improve with that bit of experience behind her and should simply outclass this group of Cal-breds. She’s 5/2 on the morning line (you won’t get it) and looks like the surest winner on the program and a logical rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Short of Ez; 7-Papa TurfForecast: Short of Ez returns to his win level after being overmatched in starter optional claiming company last month, and anything close to his five-length romp two runs back probably beats this field. Papa Turf, now nine years old and a veteran of 62 previous races, makes his first start since early November and is a seven time winner over the Santa Anita main track. His recent works indicate he’s doing well for the J. Mullins barn and he is reunited with A. Cedillo, who was aboard in a 12-lenth romp under these conditions two races back during the fall season. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: C+Use: 3-Kissable U; 4-Lucky Babe; 5-Warren’s Empress; 10-CreerForecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for sophomore state-bred fillies over a mile on turf. Use as many as you can afford to. Warren’s Empress stretches out to a distance she’s bred to like, exits a hot race and adds blinkers, so we’re expecting the daughter of Clubhouse Ride to step forward for a barn that does very well with second-time starters. Lucky Babe was a distant third in her debut sprinting on grass and is another with every right to improve with experience and distance. Creer is stuck way outside but showed improvement when a non-threatening runner-up over this course and distance in a similar affair last month. With another forward move today she should be in the thick of things again. Kissable U has some early speed, and if she can shake loose early she might get brave. Toss her in somewhere at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Lane Way; 6-CharlatanForecast: Lane Way was a promising third behind Nadal in one of the hottest maiden sprints in memory and if doesn’t go backwards it will take something extra special to deny him in this six furlong sprint for 3-year-olds. The R. Mandella-trained son of Into Mischief retains F. Prat and shows two nice recent workouts to indicate he’s right on edge. Charlatan is a fast-working first time starter from the B. Baffert barn that brought $700,000 as a yearling. The son of Speightstown has been doing some excellent work from the gate leading up to this race for a barn that hits at a remarkable 29% with debut runners. Lane Way is the proven commodity so we’ll put him on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Johnny Podres; 8-If Id Told You; 9-Fly the SkyForecast: Johnny Podres was visually quite pleasing winning a maiden two-turner over the all-weather surface at Golden Gate Fields last month with a career top speed figure and his only prior try on grass resulted in a solid runner-up performance in November. A progressive son of Grazen, the S. Miyadi-trained colt is a devout stretch runner in a field that promises to have faster than par early fractions. At 8-1 on the morning line, he’s worth a bit of gamble. Fly the Sky won a state-bred first-level allowance event over this course and distance last month and not much more will be needed to win this open affair. He has plenty of speed but doesn’t need the lead to win, so the extreme outside draw might not be a negative for a colt with his style. If Id Told You is improving with each start for G. Mandella, and the number that he earned when breaking his maiden last November at Del Mar makes him a fit. Recent works indicate that he should be fit enough to pick up where he left off.RACE 6: Post 2:58 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Afternoon Heat; 3-I Belong to Becky; 5-Tigre Di SlugoForecast: Tigre Di Slugo didn’t get the best of trips when third in a similar first-level allowance sprint last month but with better luck today from a better post the lightly-raced 5-year-old can make amends. F. Prat stays aboard and should have this son of Smiling Tiger doing his best work from the quarter pole home. Afternoon Heat was a half-length in front of ‘Slugo when runner-up in that same highly-rated race, has trained well since, and should be within range and have every chance once again. The S. Knapp-trained colt switches to J. Rosario and projects to be in a good pace-stalking position throughout. I Belong to Becky crushed a much softer restricted (nw-3) $16,000 field last month over this track and distance and earned a speed figure that makes him very competitive despite the class hike. We’ll prefer Tigre Di Slugo on top but include all three in our rolling exotics.RACE 7: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Shines Her Light; 6-Laura’s LightForecast: Laura’s Light makes her sophomore debut for P. Miller after displaying considerable ability in three starts during a productive two-year-old campaign. A sharp sprint maiden winner at Golden Gate Fields in November, the daughter of Constitution subsequently was a strong runner-up in the Jimmy Durante S.-G2 at Del Mar and then in late December captured the Blue Norther Stakes over the local lawn in gate-to-wire fashion. She’s been kept on edge with a series of good drills at San Luis Rey Downs, so she’s logically the one to beat again, though at 6/5 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found. Shines Her Light graduated at this trip just 16 days ago and is wheeled back quickly into stakes competition, a fairly ambitious move by J. Sadler. On numbers, she should at least get a piece of it, so rolling exotic players might consider including her on a back-up ticket while reserving the main punch for Laura’s Light.RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-My Journey; 7-SpeakerofthehouseForecast: The finale is a bottom-rung maiden claimer for older horses. My Journey stretches out again, continues to train like a gelding with more ability than he’s shown, and may offer a bit of value at 6-1 on the morning line. The son of Good Journey can be expected to employ gate-top-wire tactics and in a field like this he could get very brave if not pressured early. Speakerofthehouse, second under similar conditions last month, should fire a good shot but he’s a 14-race maiden and not one to count on. Both can be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying My Journey on top.

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2.15.2020:

Saturday, February 15: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The 0.50 Early Pick 4 at the Meadowlands this evening starts in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Saying Grace N (8-1)-Tetrick is in the bike, so a positive driver change and get post relief from the 9-hole. Does appear to fit but needs the right steer. Using with the driver change and thinking there's a close-up trip in the cards.3-Bell I No (5/2)-Stepped-up to this level last week and raced the short way around to finish 2nd. That effort was after skipping a start, looks like a major player as Miller could be more aggressive this evening.7-Mindtrip (5-1)-Callahan chose #5 and so Gingras takes a spin. That change signals a blast out to get on the engine, which is usually a better formula for this 7-year-old. Using instead of #6 the 2-1 program chalk.Race 71-Revelry (7/2)-Fits here plus Tetrick is between the pipes and he has won with this gelding before. Going from the 9-hole to the rail and has the gate speed to start well. Could take his 2nd picture at the Big M in 6 starts.4-Machiavelli (3-1)-This is a soft spot for dropper who comes off a 10-win year in 2019. But not liking the fact the Surick trainee is 0-15 in East Rutherford. Thinking Miller will make an early move to the top and take an overdue picture at the Big M.Race 81-Jet Airway (5-1)-Beat the $20k claimers handily on 2/1 and now appears to have drawn into a favorable condition. Callahan's choice over #4 does well at the Big M and may offer a square price.4-Party Boy (8-1)-Loses Callahan and Tetrick steers and finally draws well. Probably will be put in play early and has the speed to cash the top check. Looking for a nice price in this race and will leave #8-#9, the ML chalks off the ticket.5-Statement Made A (9/2)-Got on the engine and didn't look back versus easier. Like #1 has skipped a start but McCarthy will be steering. Small barn has been hot, best to respect because another top effort puts this gelding in the hunt.Race 92-Crusades (10-1)-Bumps up a couple of notches after a sharp score. This post draw shouldn't hurt chances, and Gingras is back to steer Burke trainee who should be a solid price.6-Sams Triple Crown (9/2)-Stuck with the 9-hole in last 2 and now Callahan gets the call. This will be the 4th start off the bench, 3rd straight start at the Big M and could be sitting on a big try.7-Stendahl Hanover (7/2)-Beaten even money chalk made an early move when dropped to this level. Maybe a different script will be followed tonight as he usually does come off cover.8-Hoo Nien A (8-1)-Probably will need the right trip and pace to win from this post but this is a race without a standout. Best to respect an honest horse who is at the right level to be there at the wire.My Ticket Race 6) 1,3,7 Race 7) 1,4 Race 8) 1,4,5 Race 9) 2,6,7,8Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.15.2020:

Saturday, February 15: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: CUse: 3-Tequila Joe; 5-French Getaway; 6-Swamp Souffle; 7-Tough It OutForecast: The Saturday opener is an inscrutable mid-level claiming affair over nine furlongs. Rarely do we go four-deep in our rolling exotic play but this one requires such as spread. Tequila Joe moves up a notch to the $32,000 level but is more than capable of winning off his best race. He gets an extra furlong to work with and may be capable of producing the last run. Tough It Out is re-equipped with blinkers and switches to F. Prat after finishing a close sixth in the same race that Tequila Joe just finished third in. The veteran son of Grazen is a grinder that shows two prior wins over the local lawn. French Getaway exits a much tougher race and this return to the claiming ranks could wake him up. He’s another that should be doing his best work from off the pace. Swamp Souffle won the common race with Tequila Joe and Tough It Out and must be considered, though he has history of following up his victories with a clunker. Anything goes here.RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Kirsch Truffle; 7-Slew SouthForecast: Slew SouthKirsch Truffle, away since April and making her first start since joining the P. Miller barn and just her fourth overall, could easily be better than shown. The work tab at San Luis Rey Downs seems reasonable, and from the rail under A. Cedillo the daughter of Trappe Shot can be expected to show tactical speed.RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Leatherneck; 4-Bad BeatForecast: Leatherneck is back sprinting where he belongs and a repeat of his solid maiden $50,000 debut win at Los Alamitos should be good enough to beat this starter’s allowance field. This six and one-half furlong distance seems ideal for this late-running son of Congrats, so if he can a get a bit of help up front the J. Bonde-trained colt can be along in time. We’ll also include Bad Beat. The Danza gelding returned off a six month layoff to run quite well when crossing the wire second (subsequently disqualified to third) in a similar affair on grass last month while earning by far a career top speed figure, and with another forward move today he should be in the thick of things throughout. He’ll race without blinkers for the first time (love that angle) and projects to be part of the pace throughout.RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: XSingle: 3-Sky JumperForecast: Sky Jumper is the obvious top pick but his pattern is suspicious. Purchased for $200,00 as a 2-year-old in Ocala last year, the B. Baffert-trained gelding performed reasonably well when a close third in straight maiden company on turf last month but today is being tossed away for $50,000, hardly a sign of confidence from his connections. That said, the son of Jump Start continues to look good in the morning, so if he has at least one good one left he should easily handle this assignment. You can play him as a no-value rolling exotic single or just sit it out.RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Satanta; 6-Factorial; 8-Battle of MemphisForecast: This turf sprint for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimers has a number of question marks that makes it difficult, so we’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Factorial may be as good as any. The D. O’Neill barn hasn’t enjoyed much of a meeting so far, but this gelding returns to his claim level and has several back speed figures that are better than par for this level, so we’re expecting one of his better efforts. A willing third in a starter’s allowance dash over this course and distance last month, he’s always been most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and we’re expecting that type of strategy to be employed today. Battle of Memphis sporting the blinkers off angle, turns back to a sprint, drops to a realistic level, and is another with past numbers that make him dangerous. The Irish-bred gelding has primarily been a two-turner throughout his career but we suspect this trip will suit him better. Satanta broke his maiden at first asking like a nice prospect but hasn’t been close since. This drop into restricted claiming company could make a big difference, as could the switch to grass. With F. Prat taking the call, the J. Mullins-trained gelding deserves one more chance.RACE 6: Post 3:01 PT. Grade: B-Single: 1-Bowl of SpaghettiForecast: Bowl of Spaghetti, away since April but returning in a logical spot, doesn’t have a whole lot to beat in this bottom-rung maiden claimer so we’ll put him on top strictly by default (it’s either him, or anybody). When last seen, the P. Miller-trained gelding flashed good speed before weakening late in a straight maiden turf sprint, and if comes back as well or better he just might be able to outrun this weak field. How weak? Calder Vale, a 24-race maiden, looks like a major player on pure form. We’ll use Bowl of Spaghetti as a single in rolling exotic play single but otherwise not get involved.RACE 7: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: B+Single: 1-KakistocracyForecast: Kakistocracy is a progressive son of Point of Entry fresh from a maiden win over this course and distance in his second career outing and with a very sharp recent workout since that early January win he’s likely to produce another significant forward move is likely. Drawn comfortably inside to ensure a ground-saving trip in this first-level allowance optional ciaimer, the C. Gaines-trained gelding retains D. Van Dyke and projects to draft into a comfortable second flight position and then have every chance to quicken when ready from the quarter pole home. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: XUse: 4-Hard Not to Love; 5-Mother MotherForecast: Hard Not to Love won the La Brea S.-G1 over this track and distance on opening day in late December and will be favored to repeat, but while she certainly it’s no slam dunk. The one-eyed daughter of Hard Spun has a negative four pound weight shift compared to chief rival Mother Mother, who finished a good third in the La Brea after being forced into a hot pace duel. The early fractions of this race should be considerably softer, so after winning the Kalookan Queen S. last month the B. Baffert-trained filly could be set for another forward move. Truthfully, these two are very difficult to separate, so rather than split hairs we’ll include both in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race.RACE 9: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Absolute Unit; 7-Frasard; 8-JurgenForecast: The finale is a fairly competitive maiden special weight turf miler for 3-year-olds that has at least three major contenders, all of which are worthy of inclusion in rolling exotic play. Absolute Unit stretches out for the first time and has the pedigree to improve as the distances increase, so we’re expecting another forward move from the son of Will Take Charge after a strong runner-up effort in a grass dash last month that earned him a career top number. F. Prat stays aboard and should have this P. Eurton-trained colt within striking distance every step of the way. Frasard was burned up on a hot pace in a recent highly-rated nine furlong maiden grass affair and paid the price late, but at this shorter trip with patient tactics the L. Powell-trained English-bred colt should be much more formidable in the final stages. This switch to D. Van Dyke ensures the proper type of trip and ride. Jurgen made his U.S. debut under similar conditions on New Year’s Day and didn’t do badly, winding up fourth beaten just a length after being somewhat intimated when trying to rally along the rail in the final furlong. The son of Kitten’s Joy certainly can improve for a stable that has solid stats with second-off-layoff runners.

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2.14.2020:

Friday, February 14: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the 0.20 Pick 4 at Cal Expo starts in Race 8. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 81-Wildcat Bobby (6-1)-Even effort at this class last week and Fox returns to drive the 13-year-old who fits with these. Looking for a square price and that the regular pilot provides a more aggressive drive.5-Cowboys Dirtyboots (9/2)-Longo takes a seat as last effort was better and has beaten this kind before. May look to save ground and use one move to sweep by but has gate speed to leave as well.6-Imma Tank (3-1)-Camera shy but was Plano's choice over #2 and should be in the hunt at the wire.8-Gravelsinmytravel (7/2)-Went the last half in 56.1 in 2nd start off the bench. Looking for Magee to find live cover and should be tighter tonight.Race 92-Rockin Eddie (8-1)-Fell just short at this level on 1/31 so can compete here. Could get sucked around and pop at nice odds.3-A And C Artist (12-1)-This is another price shot who might enjoy the added distance. Marshall could provide a smooth trip and pass foes down the lane to light up the board.6-Mystic Ruler (7/2)-Roland sticks after an odds-on win versus easier. Is trip dependent and only 1-13 at CalX but does know how to win and best to respect.9-Beaus Cowboy (8-1)-Kennedy knows well and can get the Cowboy to pass foes down the lane. May like the added distance and should offer some juice to the sequence.Race 106-Key Word (3-1)-Drops to spot to shine if Longo can put into striking range at the top of stretch. Short field should help chances for a picture.7-Western Devil (5/2)-Beat $6k claimers 2 straight last month and now drops to the same level. Looks like a major player. Plano returns to steer, and he knows how to put into play.Race 114-Fred And Roz (3-1)-Steps-up after an easy win on the engine as a big chalk. Has been bet hard in last 2 but now the price should better, and recent form has been sharp.5-Platinum Time (7/2)-Has raced well at this class and looking for a similar effort again. Might leave and look to duck-in behind #4 and could trip out.6-Custards Dungeon (4-1)-0-17 in 2019 and has come out like a much different horse winning 3 of 4 this year. Kennedy's back after missing last week when stepping up to this class. Looking for a better trip to start a new win streak.My Ticket Race 8) 1,5,6,8 Race 9) 2,3,6,9 Race 10) 6,7 Race 11) 4,5,6Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.14.2020:

Friday, February 14: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-Golden Melodie, 5-Zippninthecity; 6-It’s a RiddleForecast: The opener, a maiden $30,000 claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies, appears to offer little wagering value, as the likely favorite, It’s a Riddle, isn’t one to trust. While she’s been in the money in five of six starts, the R. Hess, Jr.-trained daughter of Merit Man just hasn’t been able to seal the deal, and after missing at even money or less in three out of her last four outings she certainly can’t be counted on. But if not her, then who? Golden Melodie, third in the same race It’s a Riddle exits when finishing only a neck behind her, certainly won’t have to improve much to win while Zippninthecity could produce a significant forward move after shortening to a sprint, dropping sharply in class, and moving to the main track after a speed/fade performance in her debut. Best advice is to use as many as you can afford to or better yet pass the race.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Temple Knights; 5-Polity; 6-Concord JetForecast: Temple Knights and Concord Jet just finished two-three in a similar restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming sprint and meet again in an extended sprint at six and one-half furlongs. With an extra eighth of a mile to work with today, ‘Knights, most effective as a late-running sprinter, should have the edge, though the rail draw does him no favors. ‘Jet lands the cozy outside draw and projects to inherit an ideal pace-stalking trip. Worth noting, though, is that together they are winless in 12 lifetime starts over the Santa Anita main track. Polity has been training well for his comeback and could fire a big shot fresh, and he did break his maiden by daylight over this main track, so he be a spoiler. This might be another race that is best left alone.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Love Not War; 3-Lady Ember; 6-Mrs. Kimberly KForecast: Love Not War has the first-time-in-a-claimer angle with speed figures that fit, so, rail and all, she’s the one to beat in this modest affair, but at 6/5 on the morning line there’s not much we can do with her. The barn’s other starter, Mrs. Kimberly K, gets a lovely outside draw and continues to train like a filly that has more ability than she’s been able to show in two prior outings. She gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy J. Velez and projects to enjoy a clear stalking trip, so we’ll toss her in as well. Lady Ember has been chasing tougher in two-turn grass races without being competitive, but with the shortening in trip and the return to the main track, the P. Eurton-trained filly could come to life. Tread lightly here.RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: A- Single: 4-She’s DevotedForecast: She’s Devoted was a very impressive debut winner sprinting on turf last month and seems quite capable of repeating in this first-level allowance affair restricted to state-bred 3-year-old fillies. The daughter of Grazen rallied from last to first despite a slow start and a wide trip to give every indication that this stretch out to a mile shouldn’t be an issue for her. This could be just another step towards bigger and better things, so we’ll make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to her morning line of 5/2.RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 5-Lippy; 7-Miss MeganForecast: Miss Megan has much in her favor in this first-level allowance main track sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. Returning from Golden Gate where she failed to act on the all-weather surface, the daughter of Richard’s Kid clearly is more comfortable on conventional dirt and from her favorable outside draw with F. Prat picking up the mount she should have every chance to return to top form. Strictly off her maiden win at Del Mar three races back she should handle this task, especially given the soft pace projection. As a saver or a back-up, Lippy is worth some consideration. A stakes winning now being offered for $20,000, the daughter of Square Eddie may have seen better days, though she continues to look good in the morning and may snap to life with the return to conventional dirt.RACE 6: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Hootie; 3-Roaring Fork; 5-Mr. MagicoForecast: Here’s a fairly competitive restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claimer for older horses over a mile on grass. Roaring Fork, a first off the claim for P. Miller (31% with a flat-bet profit with this angle), seems likely to improve a ton for his new connections. The Mineshaft gelding stretches out, moves to grass, gets a weight break with the switch to bug boy J. Velez, and will wear blinkers, so there are a number of reasons to expect a major effort, especially if he inherits his preferred role as the controlling speed. At 6-1 on the morning line he represents a good gamble. Hootie returns to his preferred surface after spinning his wheels in a tougher starter’s allowance event on the main track last month and the M. McCarthy-trained gelding can dangerous with a repeat of his sharp score over this course and distance two races back. The Candy Ride gelding is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip and have every chance to fire his best shot. Mr. Magico, freshened since August, returns in a proper spot for a barn that has excellent stats with layoff runners, and a repeat of his sharp score at Del Mar two races back (at 33-1) puts him in the thick of things. Toss him in on a ticket or two.RACE 7: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Der Lu; 3-First StarForecast: First Star ran like a short filly when a non-threatening fourth in the La Brea S.-G1 on opening day in late December but she’s catching an easier field today and stretching out to a middle distance, arguably her preferred trip. With just four starts on her resume, the lightly-raced daughter of First Dude has plenty of upside and on pure speed figures appears to have a decided edge over her four rivals. Der Lu earned a career top number when nosed out in the La Canada S.-G3 last month and today returns to the second-level allowance ranks in attempt to regain her winning form. She loses regular pilot D. Van Dyke (who opts for First Star) but picks up A. Cedillo and projects to settle into a good stalking spot in a race that projects to have only moderate early fractions. Additionally, the lightly-raced daughter of Orb should have another forward move in her in what will be her second start off a layoff. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with a very slight edge on top to First Star.RACE 8: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Dance Costume; 8-Oh Pretty WomanForecast: Dance Costume flashed ability in her debut when she closed with interest to be a solid second in a turf sprint last month and today gets more ground while switching to F. Prat. Certainly bred to improve two-turning, the daughter of Union Rags hails from a barn that has strong stats with stretch-out plays, so we’re expecting the T. Yakteen-trained 4-year-old to be along in time. Oh Pretty Woman, a close third over this course and distance in a similar state-bred affair last month, should be running on strongly again and is the one to fear most. This will be her third start off a layoff and it should be her best.

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2.14.2020:

My Saturday Fair Grounds All-Stakes Late Pick 4 Ticket

If you’re playing the All-Stakes Pick 4 Saturday at Fair Grounds (Races 10 - 13), hopefully you’re in the mood for the Risen Star Stakes, because you get two of them due to the race attracting 23 entrants and splitting into two divisions that will run as Races 12 and 13 on the card.The Risen Star always lures some of the best 3-year-olds and is a stepping stone to the Louisiana Derby and success in those two races usually earns a horse a ticket to Kentucky. The splitting of the race makes each a strong handicapping challenge.Four horses made the cut for the 1st division on my suggested $72 Pick 4 ticket – Silver State, Enforceable, Mr. Monomoy and Scabbard.Three more runners - Liam’s Lucky Charm, Anneau d’Or and Finnick the Fierce - are on my ticket from the 2nd division.Enforceable is the lukewarm 7-2 favorite in the 1st division, while Anneau d’Or is lined at 9-5 in the 2nd division.Enforceable took to the Fair Grounds track in fine fashion as he rallied strongly for a win in the G3 Lecomte. Silver State and Mr Monomoy were 2nd and 3rd, respectively. The Lecomte marked the 1st time he was ridden by Julien Leparoux, who is up for the return engagement.Silver State has raced only three times but has shown a lot of talent in each. After a easy maiden score and a second by a nose in an allowance at Churchill, he moved to New Orleans and was moving extremely well at the end of the Lecomte. The additional distance could play to him nicely.Mr. Monomoy was just behind Silver State in the Lecomte and improved from a second in an allowance over the main track. Scabbard ran an even 5th in the Lecomte but has several good performances on his form. He probably needed the start in the Lecomte and he looks ready for the added ground.Anneau d’Or is the deserving favorite in the nightcap, mainly because he was second in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Futurity and 2nd in the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity. Joel Rosario takes over the riding assignment.Like several others, the 1 1-8th miles could be a challenge for Anneau d’Or, but he does have a distance pedigree in his favor (by Medaglia d’Oro).Liam’s Lucky Charm comes in off an effort as sharp as any recent performance by any in the field as he really uncorked an eye opener at Tampa Bay Downs, where he won the Pasco Stakes by 5.5 lengths in a sizzling 1:21 3-5 for seven furlongs – just four-fifths of season of the track record set last year by Win Win Win. He was 3rd in his only two-turn effort (at Gulfstream) and could try to control this one from the outset.Finnick the Fierce was 4th in the Lecomte and could benefit greatly from a fast pace. He closed for 2nd in the G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last year and the distance of the Risen Star should be to his liking.My TicketRace 10) #2 Synchrony, #5 Dontblamerocket, #8 Tone Broke, #9 Captivating Moon, #10 Space Mountain, #12 Midnight Tea Time. Race 11) #6 British Idiom, #7 Finite. Race 12) #2 Silver State, #8 Enforceable, #9 Mr. Monomoy, #11 Scabbard. Race 13) #5 Liam’s Lucky Charm, #8 Anneau d’Or, #10 Finnick the FierceTotal Ticket Cost) 2-5-8-9-10-12/6-7/2-8-9-11/5-8-10 = $72 for $0.50.

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2.13.2020:

February 15: Stakes Picks & Previews

It’s another big weekend of racing, with major stakes at Gulfstream, Laurel, Santa Anita, the Fair Grounds and Golden Gate Fields.  Ready to play them all? Xpressbet has you covered. We’ve got wagering and live video on all of the big races, as well as picks and analysis from top handicappers like Jeff Siegel, Jeremy Plonk, Jerry Shottenkirk and more.  Plus, when you play this weekend I highly recommend checking out our Beat the Host Handicapping Tournament.  It’s FREE to enter and your bankroll consists of just ten $5 Win bets on top races from Gulfstream and Santa Anita. This week’s top performers split $2,000 in cash prizes. Plus, Beat our host, Tom Quigley from Santa Anita, to punch your ticket to the $16,000 Beat the Host Championship Round on Saturday, March 7.And if you need some incentive to play – and a look at what Saturday’s big races are – I’ve got you covered. Gulfstream ParkGulfstream is always a great jumping off point for winter racing and Saturday’s 12-race card is no exception. The feature race is the G3, $150,000 Royal Delta Stakes (Race 11, 5:04PM ET). Named for the three-time Eclipse Award Champion and two-time Breeders’ Cup winner, the Royal Delta attracted a field of just six. On the bright side, it marks the return of G1 winner RESTLESS RIDER (last seen in the Kentucky Oaks) and G3 winner GOLDEN AWARD (last seen in November at Aqueduct).  Sprinkle in a pair of Saffie Joseph Jr. trained starters – COOKIE DOUGH and QUEEN NEKIA – and this should be a phenomenal betting race. My colleague, Jeremy Plonk, also handicapped this race as our Xpressbet Race of the Week. Get his picks here. 1. Cookie Dough2. Golden Award3. Queen Nekia Fair Grounds The weekend’s top Kentucky Derby prep races run through the Fair Grounds on Saturday, with a pair of editions of the G2, $400,000 Risen Star which go as Races 12 (6:38PM ET) and 13 (7:12 PM ET).  In the first division, G3 LeComte winner, ENFORCEABLE, takes on SILVER STATE, MR. MONOMOY and SCABBARD, who finished 2nd, 3rd and 6th in that race. In the second division, California invader ANNEAU D’OR headlines a field that also includes runners from the potent barns of Bill Mott (MODERNIST), Ralph Nicks (LIAM’S LUCKY CHARM), Mark Casse (LYNN’S MAP) and Saffie Joseph Jr. (NY TRAFFIC). The card also includes the G3, $200,000 Mineshaft – Race 9 at 5:01PM ET – (including HOFBURG and SILVER DUST), the G3 $150,000 Fair Grounds Stakes – Race 10 at 5:32 PM ET – (starring SYNCHORNY and DONTBLAMEROCKET) and the G2, $300,000 Rachel Alexandra (Race 11, 6:05PM ET), featuring the return of BRITISH IDIOM.  Risen Star Division 1 Picks1. Silver State2. Blackberry Wine 3. Enforceable Risen Star Division 2 Picks1. Liam’s Lucky Charm 2. Addeau d’Or3. Mr. Big News Santa AnitaSanta Anita’s Saturday feature is the G2, $200,000 Santa Monica (Race 8, 7:00PM ET) and what this race lacks in field size (just five entered) it makes up for in class. The one-eyed HARD NOT TO LOVE won the Opening Day G1 La Brea Stakes and is 4-for-5 at Santa Anita, making her a hard horse not to root for this weekend. MOTHER MOTHER was third in the La Brea (her first start since May) and she wheeled right back to win the Kalookan Queen for fun two weeks later over LADY NINJA, who is back for another crack. That daughter of Majesticperfection won the G3 LA Woman Stakes last October. 1. Mother Mother2. Hard Note to Love3. Lady Ninja Laurel ParkStakes races are the name of the game at Laurel on Saturday as the card is topped by the G3 $250,000 General George (Race 8, 3:49PM ET) and G3 $250,000 Barbara Fritchie (3:20PM ET). It also includes the $100,000 John B. Campbell (Race 4, 1:50PM ET), $100,000 Wide Country (Race 5, 2:18PM ET) and $100,000 Miracle Wood (Race 6, 2:51PM ET). So long story short, there’s no shortage of quality stakes horses set to compete. Entries include Firenze Fire (General George), Anna’s Bandit (Barbara Fritchie) and Alwaysmining (John Campbell). Plus, Laurel’s wager menu is a big draw. The card includes a pair of 12% Takeout Pick 5’s (Races 1-5 and Races 5-9). Barbara Fritchie Picks 1. Saguaro Row 2. Anna’s Bandit3. Majestic Reason General George Picks1. Wicked Trick2. Firenze Fire3. Tiz He the One Golden Gate FieldsSaturday’s feature is the $100,000 El Camino Real Derby (Race 7, 6:45PM ET). The ‘Derby,’ a Preakness Stakes ‘Win and You’re In’ prep race, attracted a field of 11, headlined by Bob Baffert’s AZUL COAST and Richard Baltas’ CZECHMIGHT. By virtue of his runner-up performance in Santa Anita’s G3 Sham behind stablemate Authentic, AZUL COAST is probably going to be the favorite in this race. He brings jockey Rafael Bejarano with him and stands out on paper. The only pause is whether or not he a) handles Golden Gate’s synthetic surface and b) finds a pace to run at. Many races at Golden Gate are slow early/faster late and it can be tough for closers to find racing room for their kick. Golden Gate’s Late Pick 4 is a 1 Million Point Split bet at Xpressbet. Hit it to win your share! 1. Azul Coast2. Indian Peak3. Czechmight

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2.13.2020:

Start of Something Big

This past weekend felt like the start of something big—the journey toward horseracing’s premier annual event: The Kentucky Derby. Granted, as the thermometer on the wall reminds, we’re a couple of months away from the first Saturday in May. However, from now until the Arkansas Derby April 11, just about every winter weekend offers an opportunity for horses, horsemen and horseplayers to prepare for ‘the chance of a lifetime in a lifetime of chance.’There were two such events Saturday (Feb. 8)—one at Tampa Bay Downs in Florida and one at Santa Anita in California. The former is the Sam F. Davis and the latter is the San Vicente. The Sam F. Davis is named in honor of the industrialist, University of Florida quarterback, team captain and Tampa Bay Downs track president. The race is a mile and one-sixteenth and often produces a Kentucky Derby contender or two. The event also awards points (10-4-2-1) toward a spot in the Louisville starting gate. The San Vicente, on the other hand, is contested at seven furlongs with no Derby points as reward at the conclusion.Naturally, one would assume the former historically more productive than the latter, but that’s actually not the case. The Sam F. Davis has produced winners of the Tampa Bay Derby, but none in the Kentucky version. On the other hand, the San Vicente has produced four Kentucky Derby winners: Nyquist (2016), Silver Charm (1997), Swaps (1955) and Hill Gail (1952).This year, in the Sam F. Davis, all eyes were on heavily favored and unbeaten Independence Hall. At the start, a pair of longshots No Getting Over Me and Tiz Rye Time, broke poorly. Independence Hall enjoyed a flyer out of the gate and then relaxed a bit for jockey Jose Ortiz into the first turn, giving way to Premier Star, venturing beyond seven furlongs for the first time, and Chapalu, wire-to-wire winner of Woodbine’s Grey Stakes. That pair hooked up on the lead and went a solid :23 1/5 for the first quarter.The race’s challenging second quarter duplicated the first in :23 1/5 and suggested that the leaders were indeed rolling along. Down the backside, Independence Hall found an absolutely perfect spot behind dueling pacesetters, around 12 lengths in front of the next nearest competitor. He appeared eager to go, but not uncomfortable under Ortiz’ direction. A slower third quarter in :24 4/5 allowed Independence Hall to move to the leaders on the turn and, at the rider’s will, to inhale them in a few strides. Simultaneously, the rest of the field closed gobs of ground to reach contention, particularly, Solo Volante, leader of the second wave.As the favorite entered the lane in control, it appeared the race was over. After all, the Grade 3 Big Apple-stakes winner had had things pretty much his own way throughout and appeared to be cruising. Solo Volante, on the other hand, had made such a long, determined run just to reach second position, it seemed likely he wouldn’t follow through on his threat.In the sunny, windy Tampa stretch, whether Independence Hall slowed down (and if so, why?) or Solo Volante exploded, we don’t know for sure. Probably, as is usually the case, it was a bit of both. Either way, the winner looked solid as he roared home, giving the distinct impression that he’s the real deal and that added distance won’t be an issue. His past performance lines show an improving animal—maiden and stakes winner in two turf tries, as well as a third-place finisher in the one-turn, one-mile Mucho Macho Man at Gulfstream. He was third choice in the eight-horse Sam F. Davis field at $5.80-1.As can happen this time of year, coming out of the race, there are more questions than there were going in. For example, is Independence Hall really all that and a bag of chips? He had no visible excuse in the race. How good is Solo Volante? Was this race a peak effort or merely a step toward better? As they say on TV, stay tuned.Out west, the San Vicente was billed as the return of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and Champion 2-year-old Eclipse Award winner Storm the Court. Just a few days before entries, though, Bob Baffert announced that he would start impressive maiden race winner Nadal in the race. That move turned what was supposed to be the Champ’s triumphant coming out party into an early season showdown between top sophomore prospects. In fact, Nadal’s presence in the race not only stole limelight from Storm the Court, but also a majority of wagering dollars.Santa Anita morning linemaker Jon White instilled Nadal as the 4-5 favorite, but the colt amazingly started at just less than 2-5! In a distinct lack of support, Storm the Court drifted from a 9-5 morning line estimation to over 3-1. Some of that odds drift can be attributed to trainer Peter Eurton’s well-publicized pre-race musings that he viewed the San Vicente as more of a seasonal launching pad for Storm the Court than an immediate destination.Nadal didn’t disappoint. Storm the Court may have. The former went to the front soon after the start, roared through :21 4/5, :44 and 1:09 fractions, repelled a serious bid from a determined Ginobili and drew clear to stop the timer in 1:22 2/5. It was an impressive, but not overwhelming performance. After the race, trainer Bob Baffert pronounced his horse ‘fit’ and said that he’d entered the San Vicente instead of working his colt out in the morning. If he’s correct that Nadal ‘needed the race,’ this colt will be a very tough out on the Triple Crown trail, especially in the March 14 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn, his next planned start.Those underwhelmed by Nadal’s triumph may have been a bit too demanding on the colt. After all, it was only his second lifetime start and he was hounded throughout by Ginobili, who appears a decent sprinter. As for Storm the Court, he may not have matured as much as the rigors of a sophomore campaign demand. He definitely was fortunate Breeders’ Cup day to find himself on a comfortable lead. While we certainly can’t hold that against him, Saturday afternoon the champ lacked a knockout punch.This week’s main sophomore events are the split division Risen Star at Fair Grounds Saturday (50-20-10-5 Derby points) and the Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Park (10-4-2-1) Monday. The El Camino Real Derby at Golden Gate Saturday also offers points toward the Derby starting gate (10-4-2-1)Race On!

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2.13.2020:

Venetian Harbor Dazzles in Las Virgenes

“It reminded me of a lot of Winning Colors, to be honest with you.” Gary Stevens said that about Venetian Harbor during the America’s Day at the Races telecast on Fox Sports 2 last Saturday after the filly’s brilliant performance in Santa Anita’s Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes. Host Greg Wolf had a look of shock on his face. “That kind of ability?” Wolf asked the Hall of Fame former jockey. “Yep,” Stevens said. Drawing off in the stretch, Venetian Harbor was all alone at end of the Las Virgenes Stakes in which she shellacked four other 3-year-old fillies. Winning Colors ran in, but did not win, the one-mile Las Virgenes in 1988. Sent away as the 7-10 favorite, Winning Colors lost that race by a neck. The burly gray filly, with Stevens in the saddle, had to settle for second. Goodbye Halo, off at 7-5 and ridden Jorge Velasquez, edged Winning Colors that day. But even though Winning Colors did not get the job done in the 1988 Las Virgenes, it’s perfectly understandable why Venetian Harbor’s 2020 Las Virgenes performance as a 3-10 favorite reminded Stevens of Winning Colors. For many of us, Venetian Harbor’s Las Virgenes was indeed quite similar to Winning Colors’ sensational 1988 victories with Stevens aboard in the Santa Anita Oaks and Santa Anita Derby. In the 1 1/16-mile Santa Anita Oaks, Winning Colors set the pace and drew away in the stretch to win by eight lengths at 2-1. Jeanne Jones finished second at 3-1. Goodbye Halo, the 7-10 favorite, finished third. In the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby, Winning Colors again won in front-running fashion, this time by 7 1/2 lengths as the 5-2 favorite. I called the official Daily Racing Form charts of those two lopsided victories by Winning Colors. For the Santa Anita Oaks chart, I wrote: “WINNING COLORS went to the front at once, established the early pace while being rated, had plenty left when seriously challenged by GOODBYE HALO approaching the three-eighths pole and edged away from that rival leaving the five-sixteenths marker without being hard ridden, quickly drew out to a commanding advantage in the upper stretch when asked to extend herself, was shown the whip right-handed while increasing her lead in midstretch and continued to increase her advantage in the final sixteenth while under a brisk hand ride.” For the Santa Anita Derby chart, I wrote: “WINNING COLORS, away in alert fashion, established the early pace while under a snug rating hold, drew away on the far turn when asked somewhat, entered the stretch with a commanding lead, responded when roused with the whip periodically left-handed from the top of the stretch to midstretch, maintained a commanding advantage from midstretch to the finish while under a brisk hand ride and was a decisive winner.” On the first Saturday in May in 1988, Stevens and Winning Colors -- both future Hall of Famers -- led past every pole in the Kentucky Derby, which they won by a neck over an onrushing Forty Niner. Winning Colors became the third filly to take the Run for the Roses. To this day the only three fillies to have won the 1 1/4-mile classic are Regret in 1915, Genuine Risk in 1980 and Winning Colors. Ridden by Flavian Prat, Venetian Harbor opened a six-length early lead in last Saturday’s one-mile Las Virgenes when racing around two turns for the first time. When Venetian Harbor’s lead dwindled to one length at the quarter pole, it appeared she might be in deep water. But in reality, Prat still had “a ton of horse” beneath him. At the top of the lane, Venetian Harbor rebroke, as they say. She spurted away to sport a five-length lead at the eighth pole. The Kentucky-bred Munnings filly was 9 1/4 lengths in front at the finish even though she had been “geared down” late, as track announcer Frank Mirahmadi accurately said during his call of the race. Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen reported Sunday that Venetian Harbor “cruised to an easy win” in the Las Virgenes “despite losing a front shoe in the race.” Richard Baltas, Venetian Harbor’s trainer, said he was unsure when Venetian Harbor lost the shoe. “You worry about that when it happens,” Baltas said while noting that all was well with the filly Sunday morning despite the shoe incident, adding “her feet are cold and she jogged sound.” Venetian Harbor now is two for two when racing on the dirt. In her lone defeat, she finished second behind Aqua Seaform Shame in a five-furlong grass dash at Del Mar last Nov. 15. Baltas also trains Aqua Seaform Shame, who has not raced or had a workout since her Nov. 15 win. After Venetian Harbor’s defeat at first asking, she won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race by 10 3/4 lengths in 1:15.60 on Dec. 29 while recording a 94 Beyer Speed Figure. She made even money look like a huge bargain when she proved a punctual favorite on Dec. 29. She then was backed down to 3-10 favoritism in the Las Virgenes and once again won for fun when completing one mile in 1:37.51. She was credited with a 92 Beyer for her race last Saturday. The DRF’s Brad Free explained why Venetian Harbor’s 1:37.51 final time in the Las Virgenes was outstanding. “Since last spring when the [Santa Anita main] track was modified it consistently has generated slow times,” Free wrote. “Only two dirt miles at Santa Anita have been faster than Venetian Harbor’s 1:37.51 in winning the Las Virgenes -- Spun to Run’s 1:36.58 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile and Midcourt’s 1:36.89 stakes win [in the Comma to the Top last Oct. 27].” When British Idiom won the Grade I BC Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita last Nov. 1 and was credited with just a 79 Beyer Speed Figure, some understandably questioned the quality of the 2-year-old filly class of 2019. But now hardly anyone is knocking them. The leaders in the 3-year-old filly division of 2020 appear to be a strong group. While British Idiom’s 79 Beyer in the Breeders’ Cup no doubt left something to be desired, it is to her credit that she’s undefeated in three career starts. In addition to her BC Juvenile Fillies triumph, she won Keeneland’s Grade I Alcibiades Stakes with authority by 6 1/2 lengths last year (85 Beyer). The Kentucky-bred Flashback filly, trained by Brad Cox, heads a field of seven entered in this Saturday’s Grade II Rachel Alexandra Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. Finite, who like Venetian Harbor is a Kentucky-bred by Munnings, is among those running against 2019 Eclipse Award winner British Idiom in the Rachel Alexandra. Trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, Finite has won four straight, including three stakes (the Rags to Riches and Grade II Golden Rod at Churchill Downs and Silverbulletday at Fair Grounds). The quality among the current leaders in the 3-year-old filly ranks is further bolstered by the likes of Taraz, who is unbeaten in three career starts by a combined 22 1/5 lengths; Bast, a three-time Grade I winner; Donna Veloce, narrowly beaten as the runner-up in both the BC Juvenile Fillies and Grade I Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos; Harvey’s Lil Goil, a 7 1/2-length winner of Aqueduct’s Busanda Stakes; Tonalist’s Shape, a 3 3/4-length winner of the Grade III Forward Gal Stakes at Gulfstream and undefeated in four career starts; Lake Avenue, a four-length winner of the Grade II Demoiselle Stakes at the Big A; and Spice Is Nice, who won a one-mile maiden special weight race by 12 lengths when unveiled at Gulfstream last month for trainer Todd Pletcher. Yet another talented 3-year-old filly, Alms, remained undefeated in four career starts last Saturday for trainer Mike Stidham. Alms took the Shantel Lanerie Memorial Stakes by 4 1/2 facile lengths at about a mile on the turf at Fair Grounds last Saturday. Up next for the Kentucky-bred City Zip filly is the Grade III Florida Oaks on the grass March 7 at Tampa Bay Downs. NADAL MOVES UP, STORM THE COURT DOWN ON TOP 10 Following Nadal’s win in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes last Sunday, he moves up to No. 2 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week after being No. 5 last week. No, Nadal did not win by a big margin. Nevertheless, he showed me a lot in the seven-furlong San Vicente. He won despite going quite fast early, yet his breeding suggests that he actually might be more comfortable when given the opportunity to go farther than seven furlongs. Trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, Nadal had to run hard -- very hard -- from start to finish last Sunday. The big Kentucky-bred son of Blame never, ever got a breather. Look, it is not easy for a horse to go hard all the way in a seven-furlong race and still win, especially for a colt with only one start under his belt. Baffert said he told jockey Joel Rosario beforehand, “Don’t get cute, just go. We can rate him some other day.” And so, riding to instructions, Rosario gunned Nadal away from the gate. They began alertly this time, unlike Nadal’s career debut when he rushed up early after breaking a tad slowly under apprentice J.C. Diaz Jr. As Baffert put it, they took it to Nadal early in the San Vicente. In particular, it was a fresh Ginobili who took it to Nadal from the get-go. Nadal and Ginobili vied for the advantage all the way down the backstretch, all the way around the far turn and all the way down the lane. Increasing his lead a bit late, Nadal found a way to prevail by three-quarters of a length at the end of a prolonged slugfest. Granted, Nadal’s final furlong in :13.54 was no great shakes. But he did well to win the race despite being involved in a pace that would cause many to wilt. He flirted with sizzling internal fractions of slightly off :43 and change and 1:08 and change en route to a final clocking of 1:22.59. Nowadays, one just does not often see splits of :21.81, :44.09 and 1:09.05 on a slower-than-it-used-to-be Santa Anita main track. Baffert has become known for calling a last-minute audible in terms of where to run a horse, such as when he sent Mucho Gusto to Florida for the Grade I Pegasus on Jan. 25. And how did it turn out? Mucho Gusto won that $3 million event. It took just about everyone by surprise when Baffert dropped Nadal’s name into the entry box for the San Vicente. And, again, how did the last-minute audible turn out? Nadal won as a 3-10 favorite. Baffert said that he had trained Nadal “light” for the San Vicente. At the top of stretch, when Nadal and Ginobili were locked in a fierce battle for the lead, the white-haired trainer admitted that he thought Nadal was going to get beat. According to Baffert, Nadal won on sheer talent. “He had to gut it out, so he’s got a good foundation now,” Baffert said. “This should set him up pretty good. I think we’ll go to the Rebel.” Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes will be contested at 1 1/16 miles on March 14. Baffert has three undefeated 3-year-old colts on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. They are No. 2 Thousand Words (three for three), Nadal (two for two) and Authentic (two for two). Thousand Words won the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity in his final start at 2. The Florida-bred Pioneeerof the Nile colt was victorious in Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes in his first start at 3. Authentic won Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes by 7 3/4 lengths on Jan. 4 despite zigzagging in the final furlong when racing greenly while far in front. Holding onto the No. 1 spot this week is Tiz the Law, who is three for four. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law won Gulfstream’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes by three lengths in his 3-year-old debut on Feb. 3. The Kentucky-bred Constitution colt is scheduled to make his next start in Gulfstream’s Grade I Xpressbet.com Florida Derby on March 28. He worked five furlongs in :50.00 on Monday at Palm Meadows. Meanwhile, Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reported that Prat, a member of the Santa Anita riding colony, will be riding Dennis’ Moment at Gulfstream when that colt makes his 2020 debut in the Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes on Feb. 29. Irad Ortiz Jr. rode Dennis’ Moment in his last two races. But Ortiz will be out of the country on Feb. 29 to pilot Mucho Gusto in the inaugural $20 million Saudi Cup. That opened the door for Prat to ride Dennis’ Moment in the Fountain of Youth. Dennis’ Moment has not started since he stumbled badly at the start and finished eighth as the 9-10 favorite in the Grade I BC Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. The Kentucky-bred Tiznow colt worked five furlongs in 1:00.22 last Saturday at Gulfstream for trainer Dale Romans, who said the plan is for Ortiz to regain the mount on Dennis’ Moment after the Fountain of Youth. I have Dennis’ Moment ranked No. 4. Just below him at No. 5 is Honor A.P. Trainer John Sherriffs was quoted by Ed Golden in last Saturday’s Santa Anita stable notes as saying “we’ll try to make the San Felipe” with Honor A.P. The Grade II San Felipe Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile affair, will be decided at Santa Anita on March 7. Honor A.P. worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 last Saturday at Santa Anita. The Kentucky-bred Honor Code ridgling has not raced since winning a one-mile maiden special weight race by 5 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita last Oct. 13. In his only other start, Honor A.P. ran second to the aforementioned Ginobili. The 2019 BC Juvenile winner, Storm the Court, drops to No. 9 this week on my Top 10 after being No. 3 last week. The Kentucky-bred Court Vision colt, trained by Peter Eurton, finished fourth in the San Vicente. But it’s not as if he embarrassed himself. Last year’s Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old male lost by just 2 2/4 lengths. Storm the Court certainly has a right to build on his San Vicente effort due to it being his first start since the Breeders’ Cup. Ranked just below Storm the Court at No. 10 again this week is Anneau d’Or, who makes his first 2020 start this Saturday. Anneau d’Or, trained by Blaine Wright, heads a field of 12 entered in the second division of Fair Grounds’ Grade II Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/8 miles. The Kentucky-bred Medaglia d’Oro colt was narrowly beaten when second last year in both the BC Juvenile and Los Al Futurity. Enforceable is among 11 entered in the first division of the Risen Star. Trained by Mark Casse, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt won the Grade III Lecomte Stakes in New Orleans on Jan. 18. Sole Volante debuts on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week at No. 7 following his win in last Saturday’s Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. The Kentucky-bred Karakontie gelding rallied from 15 lengths off the pace to win the 1 1/16-mile Davis going away by 2 1/2 lengths. Finishing second as the 7-10 favorite was Independence Hall, who lost for the first time in four career starts. Independence Hall drops off my Top 10 this week after being No. 9 last week. Patrick Biancone trains Sole Volante, who now has won three of four lifetime starts. Biancone conditioned All Along, who in 1983 was the Horse of the World when, from early October to mid-November, she won the prestigious Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France, Canadian International in Canada, Turf Classic in New York and Washington, D.C., International in Maryland. In 2004, Biancone ran Lion Heart in the Kentucky Derby. Lion Heart finished second on a sloppy track to Smarty Jones. BloodHorse’s Steve Haskin has put Sole Volante at No. 2, behind only Tiz the Law, on his Derby Dozen. One reason I don’t have Sole Volante ranked higher than No. 7 is no Sam F. Davis winner has ever gone on to capture the Kentucky Derby. Here is my Kentucky Derby Top 10 for this week: 1. Tiz the Law2. Nadal3. Thousand Words4. Dennis’ Moment5. Honor A.P.6. Authentic7. Sole Volante8. Maxfield9. Storm the Court10. Anneau d’Or NADAL, TIZ THE LAW 8-1 IN FUTURE WAGER As expected, the “All Others” option ended up being the favorite in Pool Two of the 2020 Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) that was conducted last week. “All Others” closed at 2-1. In terms of individual horses, Nadal and Tiz the Law were each 8-1. Nadal was the actual favorite among the individual horses inasmuch as $1,484 more was bet on him than Tiz the Law. Pool Two of the KDFW closed about a half-hour before Nadal won the San Vicente. I thought two interesting longshots at 39-1 each were Chance It and Basin. Chance It, who is targeting the Fountain of the Youth, won Gulfstream’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes at one mile on Jan. 4. Not only did he record a 99 Beyer Speed Figure in that race, that performance looks even better now because Sole Volante finished third in that race. Trained by Saphie Joseph Jr., Chance It does not seem to get the respect he deserves considering some of his speed figures, be it Beyers or Thoro-Graph. In six career starts, Chance It has recorded a Beyer of 90 or higher four times. I think Beyer Speed Figures are valuable for horseplayers. That’s why I often cite them. But in my opinion, the figures calculated by Thoro-Graph are superior to the Beyers. Regarding Thoro-Graph, the lower the number the better the performance, which is the opposite of the Beyers. When it comes to Beyer Speed Figures, the winner of a race will never get a smaller figure than the horse who finished second, the horse who finished second will never get a smaller figure than the horse who finished third, and so on and so forth down through the order of finish. In the case of the Thoro-Graph Figures, a horse who finishes second, or even lower, can get a better figure than the winner. This, I believe, is a much more realistic evaluation of a horse’s performance. Thoro-Graph takes many more factors into account than the Beyers. According to Thoro-Graph, “each number on a sheet represents a performance rating arrived at by using time of the race, beaten lengths, ground lost or saved on the turns, weight carried, and any effects wind conditions had on the time of the race.” Chance It has two of the best seven Thoro-Graph figures posted by the 23 individual horses in Pool Two of the KDFW going into last week. These were those seven Thoro-Graph figs (the lower the number the better): Figure Horse (Race, Track, Date) negative 2 Independence Hall (Nashua, Aqueduct, Nov. 3)negative 3/4 Tiz the Law (Holy Bull, Gulfstream, Feb. 1)3/4 Chance It (maiden race, Gulfstream, June 29)1 1/4 Dennis’ Moment (maiden race, Ellis Park, July 27)1 1/2 Chance It (Mucho Macho Man, Gulfstream, Jan. 4)2 1/4 Basin (Hopeful, Saratoga, Sept. 2)2 1/2 Three Technique (Smarty Jones, Oaklawn, Jan. 24) Three Technique did not win the Smarty Jones (which was run on a muddy track), yet his Thoro-Graph figure of 2 1/2 was better than the 3 1/4 fig assigned to the victorious Gold Street. Basin is slated to make his 2020 debut in the Rebel for Asmussen. The Kentucky-bred Liam’s Map colt has not raced since he won the Grade I Hopeful Stakes on a sloppy strip in New York last Sept. 2. Prior to the Hopeful, Basin won a six-furlong maiden special weight race by 1 1/4 lengths at Saratoga, a race in which Three Technique finished second. Below are the final odds for KDFW Pool Two and William Hill Sports Book’s future book odds as of Feb. 9: KDFW WHill Horse2-1 none All Others8-1 10-1 Nadal*8-1 6-1 Tiz the Law10-1 8-1 Dennis’ Moment13-1 10-1 Maxfield15-1 14-1 Authentic16-1 12-1 Thousand Words19-1 12-1 Independence Hall24-1 14-1 Honor A.P.28-1 20-1 Anneau d’Or28-1 none Structor29-1 20-1 Enforceable30-1 15-1 Storm the Court32-1 24-1 Gouverneur Morris36-1 30-1 Three Technique39-1 20-1 Basin39-1 20-1 Chance It49-1 75-1 Max Player50-1 25-1 Silver State54-1 50-1 Gold Street98-1 90-1 Palm Springs111-1 75-1 Exaulted145-1 125-1 Violent City169-1 100-1 Premier Star *actual favorite among individual horses in KDFW Pool Two Sam F. Davis winner Sole Volante, one of the “All Others” in KDFW Pool Two, was listed at 17-1 in William Hill’s future book after having opened at 150-1.

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2.12.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: Feb 14 Stronach 5 Picks

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, after we hit every race that was run last week, but unfortunately Laurel canceled and we live to fight another day. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors.*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. ***Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:50 ET) – 4up 5k at 5 1/2 furlongsThe opener looks relatively cut and dried, in that there are only a few that can win, and a lot that can’t. The list starts and possibly ends with #4 UNBRIDLED OUTLAW, who has been in sharp form and drops steeply in class, but considering he was only claimed for 7.5k three starts ago, there’s no real warning signs that he’s dropping in for 5k off a 3rd for 12.5k last time. I’ll also use #7 SMOKIN HOT FACTOR, who was a solid 3rd off the Sanchez-Saloman claim for 8k last time and now drops, and has a stalking gear from the perfect outside attack post.Pk5 A horses: 4,7 (listed in order of preference)The two other logical contenders are #1a Laser Loop and #9 Will Munnings, but the former has been comfortably behind ‘Outlaw in his last two and the latter hasn’t been out since a no-show in July, so while neither are impossible, I’ll pass unless one of the top-2 scratches.Pk5 B horses: NONELeg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (4:00 ET) – 4upfm 40k N2L at 1-mile (turf)I’m going to put a couple of newcomers on top here, as both #2 MUSIC OF LIFE and #8 SO CHARMING, have some big back form but enter off duds, but now both start for Joseph, who is very adept at moving his new acquisitions way up. We need to go deeper there, and while she drew poorly, but #9 STRELLA’S WAR has enough tactical speed to negotiate the quick first turn, and her Tampa allowance form stacks up nicely here too.Pk5 A horses: 2,8,9The backups will be #6 I AM MAGICAL and #7 SHIKAKA, who drop from the same N1X, which might be all they need to wake up. You could also use recent MCL winners #1 She Fled the Scene and #5 Kitten by the Sea, but they are stepping up in class and seem a little outgunned at this point, so I’m apt to make them both prove it.Pk5 B horses: 6,7Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 4up 8k N2L at 5 1/2 furlongsThe outside speed of #9 NUTTY SIERRA and the stalking styles of #6 SMILING BANDIT and #2 PAMPER ME NOW make this trio the ones to beat in a deep field, though admittedly there are several different ways you can go here. I’ll also use #7 SMOKIN ENCOUNTER, who has won two straight and has a ton of upside off just four starts, and keeps passing every test she’s been given, which means this tougher group could be next.Pk5 A horses: 9,6,2,7A cutback to one-turn might help wake up #5 DRIZZY, who seems to have gone the wrong way of late, but has plenty of back races that would make her a major player here. Both #1 Hot n’Famous and #4 Independent Indy can be considered, but they are below the top quintet, and going five-deep seems to be enough, so I’ll let them both beat me.Pk5 B horses: 5Leg 4: Santa Anita R4 (5:30 ET) – 3f Cal-bred AOC (50k/N1X) at 1-mile (turf)Stakes droppers #1 WARRIOR’S MOON and #7 CALIFORNIA KOOK, who were recently 3rd and 4th, respectively, in the 200k Cal Cup Oaks, will be tough here, as this is a modest group for the level and they both proved they have some class last time. However, it looks like #4 SHE’S DEVOTED is a runner too, as she won at 8-5 turf sprinting on debut and is bred for this, so she’s a must-use as well. I’ll also use #5 ALMOST A FACTOR, since she had plenty of trouble when 5th in the Cal Cup, and will like what looks like an aggressive pace here.Pk5 A horses: 1,4,7,5There are a few others who have caught the eye, most notably #6 Teachers Big Dream and #8 Sassyserb, but the expected hot pace won’t help, so I’ll stick with just the top-4, especially since the race flow seems to suit them better too.Pk5 B horses: NONELeg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:33 ET) – 3f 16k MCL at 1 1/16 miles (turf)I’m going to be aggressive in the finale because I have a lot of coverage early and I also like #4 BIG BOSS LADY a lot, since she had a ton of trouble in her lone turf start, drew perfectly here, and meets a group there for the taking as well.Pk5 A horses: 4The two main dangers are clearly #6 BETTER BARGAIN and #11 ZANDREA’S, so you have to use them, and could easily put them on the top line, though on my tickets that would make it much too expensive. Getting back to the turf should help #1 I’ll Do It My Way, while #2 Bee Wings would be a threat off the run two-back, but neither seem trustworthy, while the others rank higher.*** Please note that to keep the backup ticket down, I’ll be singling #1 Warrior’s Moon in Leg 4.Pk5 B horses: 6,11The tickets:Main Ticket: 4,7 with 2,8,9 with 9,6,2,7 with 1,4,7,5 with 4 = $96Leg 2 B Backup: 4,7 with 6,5 with 9,6,2,7 with 1,4,7,5 with 4 = $64Leg 3 B Backup: 4,7 with 2,8,9 with 5 with 1,4,7,5 with 4 = $24Leg 5 B Backup: 4,7 with 2,8,9 with 9,6,2,7 with 1 with 6,11 = $48

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2.11.2020:

Harness Highlights: Forbidden Trade Named Canada's Horse of the Year

The “grand” stage wasn’t too big for Canadian-bred Forbidden Trade in 2019. The 3-year-old trotter upstaged his victory in the Ontario Sire Stakes Final with eight wins on the Grand Circuit that spanned North America and a lifetime-best performance in winning the world-renowned Hambletonian at the Meadowlands.   He surprised no one when named Horse of the Year in Canada at the O’Brien Awards banquet earlier this month. Forbidden Trade earned a second piece of hardware as champion sophomore trotter with an 8-for-14 record and $1 million seasonal bankroll. In the Hambletonian, Forbidden Trade dug in for driver Bob McClure and repelled a stretch challenge by 1-to-5 favorite Greenshoe to prevail by a neck in 1:51. Luc Blais trained the son of Kadabra for owner Determination Stable.   Forbidden Trade was among 12 divisional champions honored at the O’Brien Awards. The storylines included:   ·         McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year in Canada and the U.S., repeating as best Older Pacing Horse. He won multiple stakes despite battling foot problems throughout the year. He retired to a career at stud with $5.1 million in earnings. ·         Bob McIntosh trained, co-owned and bred both 3-year-old filly champions – trotter Only Take Cash and pacer Sunny Dee (13-23). Only Take Cash finished tied in the voting for divisional honors with Evident Beauty, a $617,050 earner in 2019. ·         Musical Rhythm bounced back from a life-threatening infection in 2018 to be named Older Trotting Horse of the year in 2019. He won six consecutive races that included a track-record 1:50.4 trot at Woodbine-Mohawk Park. Trainer Ben Baillargeon also handled HP Royal Theo, the O’Brien winner as 2-year-old Trotting Colts. ·         Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, added an O’Brien Award to her collection as top Older Trotting Mare. She won the Graduate series final at the Meadowlands in a world-record 1:49.1. Breeders Crown champion Caviart Ally was a convincing winner as Older Pacing Mare. ·         Ontario Sire Stakes stalwarts Century’s Farroh (3YO Pacing Colts) and Alicorn (2YO Pacing Fillies) were named Canada’s best. ·         Metro Pace winner Tall Dark Stranger (2YO Pacing Colts), the son of past O’Brien Award winners Bettors Delight and Precocious Beauty, followed in their footsteps. ·          Dip Me Hanover swept through the Peaceful Way Stakes en route to 2YO Trotting Fillies honors. ·         Richard Moreau led all trainers in wins (285) and earnings ($4.5 million) to win his seventh consecutive O’Brien Award. Louis-Phillippe Roy repeated as Driver of the Year with 293 wins and more than $5 million in earnings for the third consecutive year.

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2.10.2020:

Monday, February 10: Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

Tonight, the Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 will be my focus. It's a 0.20 wager, with a 15% takeout and a $75,000 guaranteed pool.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-Xelene Bayama (6-1)-Roy's choice was a 10-time winner in '19 but recent form has been so-so. Will bite on the connections and the best finish since 12/22 came with Roy between the pipes.5-Hammering Haley (3-1)-1st time Auciello off a claim makes Haley a more appealing play. Will respect 14-time winner in '19 but is only 1-14 at Wbsb.7-E R Rhonda (2-1)-Keeps getting claimed and has been either 1st or 2nd in every start except once since at least the beginning of November. McNair steers for Shepherd and should be right there at the wire once again.Race 22-Joani Treelane (5/2)-Makes 3rd start off the bench and looking for better. Should be in the mix but is 0-7 and could be bet down off the morning line.6-Charmbo Prince (2-1)-Was stuck with post 10 in debut and was raced from the back. That was a nice tune-up and trotted the last half in 58.3 with the final quarter in 28.3. Could be ready to roll and the short field should help chances.Race 33-P L Jill (2-1)-Spotted the leader 11 lengths at the 1/4 pole and still cruised home as an odds-on favorite. Back again at the same class and is a must use.5-Derf Hanover (5-1)-McNair will probably be leaving and may need a near perfect trip to win. But if gets the top and can hit the breaks or catch a 2-hole ride good things can happen.Race 44-Casimir Overdrive (5/2)-Returns to the Moreau barn but no matter who trains Casimir keeps taking pictures. Once again looks like the one to beat and with a clean trip may pick up 4th win in 5 starts this year.7-Tomy Terror (5-1)-Has been trying hard and if there is an upset my chips will be on Tomy. May benefit from a fast track and should be fine from this post coming off cover.Race 51-Refi (2-1)-Program chalk looks the part drawing off to win last 2 starts. This guy will be singled on many tickets and last 2 wins were on an off-track where he has won 4 of 8. I'll look to a fast track possibly helping the rest of the field.2-Knopfler (8-1)-Henriksen trainee seems to be rounding into form. Last effort was better and will look for upswing to continue.9-Blazing Trail (7/2)-Post makes it a bigger challenge for sure but has been sharp and had an excuse with broken equipment in last. JMac can find some cover and if pace is lively chances for success go up.10-Steuben Hanover (4-1)-Maybe the 2nd tier won't hurt as much with starting behind #1, the chalk who should be leaving protecting the rail. Makes 2nd start off the bench and is another who could be rolling late.My Ticket Race 1) 2,5,7 Race 2) 2,6 Race 3) 3,5 Race 4) 4,7 Race 5) 1,2,9,10Total Ticket Cost) $19.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.10.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (February 3-9): Nadal

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.February 3-9, 2020MVP: NadalOwner: George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman and Mark MathiesenTrainer: Bob BaffertJockey: Joel RosarioPerformance: An eleventh-hour entrant into Sunday’s Grade 2 San Vicente at the time of entry, Nadal proved ready for the stakes leap in an impressive sprint performance. The 3-year-old son of Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Blame lived up to his debut victory hype by defeating five rivals, including reigning 2-year-old champion Storm the Court. Nadal went fast, blistering 21.81 and 44.09 opening quarters while dueling Ginobili, and remained clear of Cal Cup Derby winner Fast Enough and the aforementioned Storm the Court at the end of 7 furlongs. The public was all in at 3-10 odds.On Tap: Nadal will have 2 chances to earn his way to the Kentucky Derby if good enough, and Baffert said that first opportunity is scheduled to come in the March 14 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park. The Rebel would be Nadal’s first trip around 2 turns. It’s a race the barn has won 6 times since 2010, including American Pharoah in his Triple Crown-winning campaign of 2015. Such a path could lead him back to Oaklawn for the Arkansas Derby or the Santa Anita Derby a week prior at the start of April.Honorable Mentions: Venetian Harbor stamped herself a serious Santa Anita Oaks and Kentucky Oaks player with her 9-1/4 length victory in Saturday’s Grade 2 Las Virgenes. Also, a couple of past MVP honorees were back in the winner’s circle on Saturday as No Parole captured the Premier Night Prince at Delta Downs to remain unbeaten (3-for-3) and Starship Jubilee won her 16th career race (10th at Gulfstream Park) in the Grade 3 Suwanee River Stakes.

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2.9.2020:

Sunday, February 9: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

The 0.50 Pick 4 at Pompano Park begins in Race 6 and will be my focus. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and an industry low 12% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-Nosportspunintended (2-1)-Rolled home under wraps while scoring on the engine and now moves up.5-JD's Noah (3-1)-Hennessey's choice was done by the 5/8's in last after being used hard out of the gate from the 9-hole. Positive driver change and post relief tonight makes Noah a major player.7-Garret's Guide (3-1)-Garret has been in fine form for quite a while and will use here as the post will make for a better price. Likely will be leaving and could get a 2-hole ride behind #3.Race 72-Brigadierbronski A (8-1)-10-year-old steps up after a sharp win in 2nd start off the bench. Loses Wallis but Meittinis has driven before. At this price will take a swing this veteran can stay good and he has liked it here in the past.4-Pointsman (8-1)-Another who steps up but is very sharp. Usually likes to race near the top but rallied from far back to just miss after leaving from the 7-hole. Using and Paquet could leave and pop at a square price.6-American Hustle (3-1)-Was used hard to get the top and faded. Might be tailing off but has won 15 of 32 starts at the Pomp and will use instead of the program chalk #7 who hasn't raced since 12/27.Race 82-Classic Gent (3-1)-Hennessey's choice and he has won with him in the past. Will respect but is only 1-12 at PPk and won't offer any value.3-Watchyastarinat (4-1)-Doesn't like to win but fits with this kind and should be in the hunt.5-Doo Wop Hanover (5-1)-Went off at 9/5 last time and threw a real clunker. But will overlook as Ingraham is back and he should make a difference. Barn has been hot and could be sitting on a big try.Race 95-Feelin Lika Winner (2-1)-Program favorite and Hennessey's choice drops to a soft spot. Should be put in play early and could be tough to beat.6-Grand Galop Semalu (8-1)-The start will be key and could be in the mix at a nice price if Cushing can provide a smooth journey.8-Keystone Steam (4-1)-Was bet down to 7/5 in last and came 3rd. Now makes 1st start for Dinges and Ingraham steers. Has had a rough meet but best to respect tonight and keep on an eye on the tote board.My Ticket Race 6) 3,5,7 Race 7) 2,4,6 Race 8) 2,3,5 Race 9) 5,6,8Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.9.2020:

Sunday, February 09: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-I Love Romance; 5-Drift AwayForecast: Drift Away, always most effective as a late-running sprinter and a winner of three of six career starts over the local lawn, drops a notch following a nice win, not always the healthiest of signs, but this barn runs them where they can win so we suspect the veteran daughter of Congrats will fire another big shot. F. Prat stays aboard and fits her perfectly. Bay area shipper I Love Romance, first or second in 12 of 19 career starts, should display good early speed from the rail and be a strong factor every step of the way. She’s effective on any surface and while a tad shy in the speed figure department still must be respected. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Drift Away.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Constitutionaffair; 4-Arc NationForecast: Constitutionaffair was a voided claim for $30,000 when third beaten a neck in a two-turn even and today is raised to the maiden $50,000 level in a sign of confidence while shortening to seven furlongs. If he produces a forward move – and we suspect he will – the S. Callaghan-trained colt should be tough to beat. Arc Nation blew a two length lead in mid-stretch when second in a maiden $30,000 sprint last month but earned a pretty good speed figure in the process and figures in the fray right back. In a five runner field, these are the two that will get most of the play and both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: XUse: 4-Big City Bane; 5-Sea of LibertyForecast: Big City Bane and Sea of Liberty finished two-three in a similar maiden state-bred turf miler here last month and meet again in a six-runner field that lacks depth. We’ll give ‘Liberty a very slight edge on top due to his good tactical speed and a sharp recent training track drill, though ‘Bane may have a bit more room to improve with just three prior outings and speed figures that continue to rise. In a race we’ll otherwise pass, both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Accountability; 4-Winning ElementForecast: Winning Element returns to his claim level, catches a below par field for the level and switches to F. Prat. It all adds up to a short price (he’s 4/5 on the morning line) for a consistent gelding that has finished first or second in seven of 15 career starts. Accountability removes blinkers in his third start off the layoff and drops to a realistic level. He’s never been keen on winning but off his best race he fits so we’ll include him on a ticket or two as a saver in race that lacks wagering appeal.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Arctic Roll; 3-Desert OasisForecast: We’ll double the fifth race, an allowance optional claiming turf miler for fillies and mares. Desert Oasis looked good breaking her maiden last summer at Del Mar and then disappeared. She’s trained well enough to be fit and ready off the bench for N. Drysdale while picking up J. Rosario, so we’ll put the lightly-raced daughter of Medaglia d’Oro on top over the recent restricted claiming winner Arctic Rose. The latter earned a career top speed figure in victory over this course and distance last month and if she can turn in two alike – never her strong suit – the A. Lerner-trained mare certainly can win right back despite the class hike.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Buyback; 4-Zucchera; 5-Sybil’s KittyForecast: Zucchera didn’t break any stopwatches when earning her diploma in a maiden $30,000 claimer during the fall meeting over this track and distance but she’s trained pretty well for her comeback and it’s encouraging that R. Baltas chooses to protect her in this starter’s allowance event. The lightly-raced daughter of Tapizar appears improved, picks up J. Rosario, and may be worth a play at or near her morning line of 4-1. Sybil’s Kitty, also in the Baltas barn, is lightly-raced and progressing as well and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. She exits a pair of sprints and could find herself as the controlling speed. Buyback won a bottom-rung maiden claimer here last month and earned a speed figure that makes her a fit at this level. She should be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-NadalForecast: Nadal was one of the most impressive debut maiden winners we’ve seen since, well, Justify, and he’s come back to train splendidly since that highly-rated monster performance here last month. The B. Baffert-trained son of Blame is 4/5 on the morning line and there really isn’t a gamble at that price but it’ll be interesting to see how he matches up with the Eclipse Award winning Storm the Court, who will be making his first start since his Breeders’ Cup Juvenile win last November and who we suspect may be a race away from being at his best. It’s a good race to watch and enjoy.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Noble Hearted; 2-Nu Pi Lambda; 7-Sweet DevilForecast: Sweet Devil was given a run in her debut sprinting and ran better than the line will show, as she found her best stride too late without being knocked about and then galloped out strongest of all past the clubhouse turn. This stretch out to nine furlongs seems is no piece of cake but this could be a nice filly and we’ll gamble that she’ll be up to the task. Nu Pi Lambda, third in the same race ‘Devil exits, stretches out for the first time, is the speed of the speed and we’ll take them as far as she can. Noble Hearted is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from her rail draw and has every right to continue to improve with experience. On pedigree, she should have no trouble with the mile and one-eighth trip. Preference on top goes to Sweet Devil but we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics.

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2.8.2020:

February 8-Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

The Cam-Am 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 10 at Mohawk and concludes with leg 4 at the Meadowlands in Race 12. It's another challenging sequence and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 10-Mohawk-Leg 12-Matticulous GB (2-1)-5-year-old made 9 of his 26 starts last year and won 8 times. Looks like a player in 2nd start for Johnson and gets a ++ driver change as Roy takes a seat. A must use but will spread and hope for others.4-Fancourt (10-1)-The track was rated as 'good' last week but it was tight and fast as this 7-year-old paced in 150.4. It was an impressive win being only 1-9 on a wet surface. Needs another top effort as this is a big step-up in class.5-Ideal Jet (10-1)-Another who steps-up after a big mile from the 7-hole and led the entire way to win in 150.4 last week. 9-year-old still likes to win and is worth a swing here at a square price.6-Beachin Lindy (15-1)-McClure will need to work the right trip, if so can compete with these and should be long odds. Got the trip in last but couldn't finish, will overlook and should be better on a fast track.Race 11-Meadowlands-Leg 21-Ode To Gray (9/2)-Berry takes a seat and this is good spot to get sucked around and use a one well-timed brush to roll by down the lane.2-A Major Omen (7/2)-Only 2-25 lifetime but is similar to #1 as Callahan can sit in. Does come home with quick last panels but can't pass them all. This is the 3rd straight drive for Callahan and maybe he can work a better finish.5-Good Rockin (3-1)-Took the long way around from the 10-hole to just miss at 20-1 and is a major player here. Getting 20-1 isn't happening and probably will be the post-time chalk in 2nd Big M start with Dunn.Race 11-Mohawk Park-Leg 31-Windsun Ricky (9/2)-Gets post relief and drops to a better spot. Looking for McClure to put in play early from the rail.5-JKNR Liketell (6-1)-0-9 on an off-track and 5 of last 6 have been on a wet surface. But has hung in versus this kind for the most part. There seems to be a good chance for an honest pace and Hensley should be rolling down the lane.10-Lyons Pegassus (5/2)-Chances for success would be much better if not starting in the 2nd tier but best to not overlook. Will need some breaks but the price should be better and Jamieson knows well.Race 12-Meadowlands-Leg 42-Terror Hall (9/2)-Still looking for a picture at the Big M (0-9). But last time, McCarthy got the 7-year-old rolling late in the mile into a softer pace. McCarthy sticks and now comes right back 2 times in a row, looking for a big try.3-Ideal Son (8-1)-Even effort in last but had missed a start, now comes right back. Likes to be around the money in East Rutherford, has hit the board in 18 of 33 starts.5-Sunset Over Miami (7/2)-Last was better than the line looks, raced the back half in 56.3 but couldn't cash the top check. Gingras needs to put in play early and save ground again. Usually in the mix and will benefit from a quick pace.0.20 Can-Am Pick 42,4,5,6/1,2,5/1,5,10/2,3,5Total Bet=$21.60Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.8.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Wagering Strategies for 2/8/20

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSanta Anita*Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.*It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.*Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.*Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.*The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.*Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File**RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 6-Street Behavior; 7-Nonno’s PolarisForecast: Maiden claimers sprint six and one-half furlongs in the Saturday lid-lifter, a below par race for the level that we’ve got down to two main contenders. Nonno’s Polaris finished second in a pair of lesser maiden-claiming events last fall but has speed figures that fit nicely in this maiden $50,000 affair and probably won’t need to improve much at all to graduate. His late-running style suggests he’ll enjoy today’s extended sprint trip and with the barn’s go-to rider taking the call the S. Knapp-trained gelding seems capable of producing the last run. We’ll also include “stranger danger” Street Behavior in our rolling exotic play. The son of Street Sense has been working reasonably well according to the listed clockings and the P. Miller barn always is dangerous with these first-timers from the training center. R. Fuentes has been riding some live runners from the stable lately and this gelding could turn be of similar ilk.**RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-Kustom for KarlForecast: Kustom for Karl ran better than the line will show when a close fourth in her debut over this course and distance last month and seems very likely to produce a significant forward move with that bit of experience behind her. The J. Mullins barn has excellent stats with second-time starters, and with better racing luck (and clear sailing) from the top of the stretch to the wire the daughter of Custom for Carlos should be able to produce a winning late kick under excellent turf rider U. Rispoli. At 3-1 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Edna; 3-Coalinga HillsForecast: Bottom-rung claiming fillies and mares meet over a six and one-half furlongs in the third race. There’s not much to work with, so we’ll use two in our rolling exotics but otherwise not get too involved. Edna drops drastically in class from $20,000 to $10,000 and has the kind of early speed that should allow for separation during the early stages. As the controlling speed, the S. Miyadi-trained filly could get very brave. Coalinga Hills has won two of her last three starts and is strictly the one to beat. She has a good stalking style that should produce a comfortable trip, and while she’s not particularly fast on speed figures she does know where the wire is.**RACE 4: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Tropical Terror; 3-Rocks and Salt; 6-George Herman Ruth;Forecast: The fourth race is a maiden special weight grass miler for California-bred 3-year-olds that on paper looks fairly challenging. We’ll go three-deep and hope to survive and advance. Rocks and Salt is improving with racing, retains F. Prat, and may be capable of producing a winning late kick. The C. Gaines-trained gelding doesn’t have any tactical speed, but in a field with only seven runners he should be forwardly placed throughout. George Herman Ruth walked out of the gate in his debut sprinting on grass last month and lost all chance, but he continues to train like a colt with some ability and probably deserves another chance. He’s shown some speed in the morning, so if he leaves with his field the son of Grazen should be prominent throughout and have every chance. Tropical Terror, third in the same race Rocks and Salt just finished second in, gets the rail and adds blinkers, so there’s every reason to believe he can improve. Toss him in on a ticket or two.**RACE 5: Post 2:28 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-Venetian HarborForecast: Venetian Harbor is the 2/5 morning line favorite in this year’s edition of Las Virgenes S.-G2. A maiden winner by nearly 11 lengths here in late December, the daughter of Munnings stretches out to a mile and moves way up in class, but this task should be well within her abilities based on the impression she left in that runaway score for the always-potent F. Prat/R. Baltas team. She’ll be too short to play, of course, but you can use her as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.**RACE 6: Post 2:58 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-French Rose; 6-TrouvilleForecast: We’ll double the sixth race, a starter optional claiming sprint over seven furlongs for 3-year-old fillies. Base strictly on speed figures Trouville is the best filly in the field, yet she’s still a maiden after three starts. In her last pair, the L. Powell-trained daughter of Will Take Charge finished second in highly-rated affairs, and with any kind of improvement today she should be able handle this task by utilizing her stalking style that is ideal for this seven furlong journey. There may some value here at 7/2 on the morning line if you can get it. French Rose, in the money in her last pair but beaten as the choice in a first-level allowance state-bred affair last time out, isn’t as fast on figures as Trouville but seems like a trier and is another with a good style for an extended sprint. Preference on top goes to Trouville but both should be used in rolling exotic play.**RACE 7: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: B-Use: 5-Mugaritz; 6-River Boyne; 7-Frontier MarketForecast: The Grade 3 Thunder Road Stakes is a grass grab bag for older milers and has several possibilities. We’ll use three, but you should include as many as your budget allows. Frontier Market is an intriguing Eastern invader now in the J. Sadler barn and deserves a close look despite managing to finish only third when favored in his last appearance, the Artie Schiller Stakes at Aqueduct in early November. The veteran gelding, now 7-years-old but with only 12 career starts, has trained quite well for his California debut and picks up F. Prat. He’ll be running on strongly late and with good racing luck should make his presence felt in the final furlong. River Boyne was compromised by a poor outside post position when third in a listed stakes race at Turf Paradise last time out and returns to his favorite course and distance today while remaining long overdue for a win. The Irish-bred horse tries a rider switch to A. Cedillo, continues to look sharp and eager in the morning, and figures to have every chance from a mid-pack early position. Mugaritz had his six race winning streak snapped when unplaced in the San Antonio S.-G2 in late December but he’s a perfect two-for-two on grass and could easily snap back to top form against this softer group. The Dialed In gelding switches to M. Smith and may employ gate-to-wire tactics.**RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Adens Dream; 5-OliverForecast: Adens Dream was visually very impressive winning an overnight race at Los Alamitos last time out in mid-December, and while form at that track doesn’t always carry over to Santa Anita the J. Sadler-trained gelding has worked splendidly here in the interim and could easily win right back with a similar performance. A two-time winner over the local main track and with a bullet five furlong recent workout (:59 4/5, fastest of 26), the 7-year-old has never been sharper. Oliver should get a dream stalking trip outside and projects to have dead aim and every chance with this class drop to second-level allowance ranks. He’s never been terribly fond of the Santa Anita main track – his best work has been accomplished at Del Mar and Los Alamitos – but under these conditions he’s a major player. We’ll prefer Adens Dream on top but include both in our rolling exotics.**RACE 9: Post 4:32 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Fivestar Lynch; 4-Irish SpiritForecast: The nightcap is a high priced ($62,500) maiden claiming turf miler. Let’s go for a price. Irish Spirit launches a comeback – he’s been away since December of 2018 – and returns as a first-time gelding with a series of workouts that should have him fit and ready. Now 5-years-old but with only three prior starts, the son of Curlin still has plenty of room to improve, and with M. McCarthy’s go-to rider, G. Franco, taking the call, there’s enough evidence to suggest that he’s extremely live and well-meant. At 8-1 on the morning line, ‘Spirit certainly is worth using both in the win pool and in the vertical and horizonal exotic plays. Fivestar Lynch is the 9/5 morning line favorite and deservedly so after finishing second vs similar competition in his last two outings. The Irish-bred gelding lands the good rail, adds blinkers for the first time, and should be on or near the lead throughout. He’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.

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2.7.2020:

Friday, February 7: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

Cal Expo starts the weekend with a 0.20 Pick 4 that has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout. The sequence begins in Race 8 and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 81-Blue Star Maverick (6-1)-Svendsen's choice over the 7/8 gets needed post relief. Got on the engine 2 starts back and wired this same class in 1.52 from post #6. Looking for a similar script tonight.6-To The Limit (10-1)-Plested's other entry and was Wiseman's choice over #1. Fits with this kind, should be a decent price and best to respect.9-Marced Magic (7/2)-Dropped from Opens to this class in last and started slowly from the same post but was off 2-weeks. Smoked the last half in 55.3 and still finished 6th. Using and betting Magee is more aggressive from the start.Race 93-Fred And Roz (7/2)-Svendsen trainee is a work in progress and has had trouble finishing off the last 2 miles. Has stayed flat in last 2 starts and might be better rated here.5-Marc Mellow Man (5-1)-Makes 2nd start off the bench and this is the 2nd race at CalX. Looking for Roberts to work a smooth journey and could surprise at a square price.7-Mystical Storm (6-1)-Needs a trip but is in fine form and has battled in last 3 starts. Should be in the mix again at a solid price.8-Fear Action (6-1)-Slow starter shouldn't be too disadvantaged with the outside draw. Plano needs to find a live cover flow and get a quick pace. Both could happen as there are a few leavers in the mix.Race 105-Relentless Dancer (6-1)-9-year-old doesn't race much anymore but fits with these. Also, comes off a good try in last start. Will use and try to beat the program chalk #10.8-La Diva De Rosa (5-1)-Drops and has had excuses in last 2 starts. Cutting can get this mare to roll late in the mile and has no issues passing foes.9-Along Came Jane (8-1)-Plano needs to work a good steer as this mare is trip dependent. Start will be key but has a shot if can get into striking range at the top of the lane.Race 113-Beckys Dreamboat (6-1)-13-year-old makes 2nd start since missing almost 2 months. Did have a decent finish to the mile last week considering the time off. Should be tighter now and looking for a better effort.4-Rockin Eddie (4-1)-Knox takes the lines for the Fox barn. Looking for an early move and could catch a 2-hole ride behind #5.5-Imma Tank (3-1)-Plano's choice over #6 will likely leave and look to get on the engine. Camera shy 7-year-old may have found a beatable field.My Ticket Race 8) 1,6,9 Race 9) 3,5,7,8 Race 10) 5,8,9 Race 11) 3,4,5Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.7.2020:

Friday, February 07: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Workout Analysis: Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Austin’s Boy; 7-Perfect AffectionForecast: Austin’s Boy ran a bit better than the line will show when a distant third after a slow start in a similar state-bred maiden turf sprint last month. The Idiot Proof gelding makes a positive rider switch to U. Rispoli and seems likely to produce a forward move in what appears to be a moderate race for the level. We’ll put him solidly on top but also include in our rolling exotics Perfect Affection, a route-to-sprint play for the D’Amato barn with a bullet training track workout since raced and likely to be dangerous from off the pace.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 3-Canadian GameForecast: Here’s a race we have no plans on playing because suspicious class dropper Canadian Game – claimed for $25,000 last month and returning for $12,500 today – hardly is one to trust, though off his best race he should be a standout. The good news is that the A. Lerner barn is an amazing 38% with first-off-the-claim plays, so perhaps this pattern isn’t quite the negative that it is appears to be. The Curlin gelding is 1-for-18 but at least that victory was accomplished over this track and distance and the barn’s go-to rider Fuentes (32% combo this year) picks up the mount. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply sit out race.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Win Often; 6-Smiling ShirleeForecast: We have a hunch Win Often will move up considerably on turf – she’s a daughter of Vronsky and therefore eligible to do just that – and after winning a nice starter’s allowance sprint on the main track the D. Petersen-trained filly should fit very well in this state-bred first-level allowance dash. She likes to stalk and pounce, and that style generally works very well over this course at this distance. Smiling Shirlee was a bit out of her element when fifth in the Cal Cup Oaks over a mile last time out but she returns to a realistic level and shortens to a sprint, which we suspect is her preferred trip. A recent bullet half mile workout in :46 4/5 catches the eye. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Win Often on top.RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BSingle: 4-Desert SmokeForecast: Desert Smoke has little to beat in this $10,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares, and after finishing a distant second in a highly-rated seven furlong sprint vs. slightly tougher last month she stretches out again, adds blinkers, retains A. Cedillo, and looks likely to be the controlling speed. First or second in 13 of 29 career starts, the veteran mare hasn’t won since September of 2018 but if there’s any gas left in the tank she’ll handle this task. Mostly by default, we’ll make her a rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Bulletproof One; 4-Billy BattsForecast: This a fairly contentious sprint turf stakes for 3-year-olds and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Bulletproof One is back sprinting where she belongs and based on her excellent runner-up effort over this course and distance in the Speakeasy Stakes vs. boys during the fall meeting the P. Miller-trained filly appears the one to beat. She was a respectable second over a mile in the Cal Cup Oaks last month but really wanted to no part of the trip; today she picks up A. Cedeno and can be dangerous on the front end or from slightly off the pace. Her stable mate, Billy Batts, is the one to fear most. A strong runner-up over a mile in the BC Juvenile Turf-G1 when last seen in November, the son of City Zip returns following a series of slow and easy drills at San Luis Rey Downs and based strictly on speed figures is more than good enough to win race such as this. He picks up good grass rider U. Rispoli, who’ll probably employ patient tactics.RACE 6: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Royal Insider; 3-Uno Dancer; 7-LambeauForecast: Lambeau was an impressive maiden winner at this trip during the fall Del Mar season and makes his first start since in this first-level allowance middle distance main track affair, the first time this specific race has been written during the current Santa Anita season. The workouts in the interim have been slow and easy but we suspect the very expensive ($475,00) son of First Samurai is more than fit enough to fire another big shot. Royal Insider is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from the rail and earned a number two races back when winning a $40,000 claimer that puts him in the picture at this level. The S. Knapp-trained gelding loves this main track (first or second in 5 of 7 starts) and can be dangerous on the lead or from a stalking position. Uno Dancer is an intriguing Maryland shipper now in the P. Gallagher barn making his first start since last spring. He’s a tad light in the speed figure department but has finished first or second in seven of 13 career starts and has won two of his last three starts, and his sharp local workouts indicate fitness.RACE 7: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Cosmic Cowgirl; 5-I Give Up; 9-Going to VegasForecast: The second, third, and fourth place finishers of a recent maiden $75,000 turf miler for 3-year-old fillies return today in the same spot, and each has to be considered a contender, but we’ll look elsewhere and try Cosmic Cowgirl on top. The daughter of Malibu Moon shows up in a seller for the first time, has trained quite well of late at San Luis Rey Downs for R. Baltas, and has the kind of early speed that will make her quite dangerous on the front end if she’s able to make the running without pressure. Going to Vegas, runner-up in that common race Jan. 12, must overcome the outside draw but retains F. Prat and may not have to improve much based on her last performance. She projects to enjoy a stalking trip despite her poor draw. I Give Up adds blinkers for the first time after finishing fourth in the same race Going to Vegas exits and didn’t get the best of runs when doing so. The daughter of Candy Ride has been trouble-prone throughout during her four-race career; we’ll see if the equipment change can help her secure a clean journey.

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2.6.2020:

Attard, Starship Jubilee ready for tall task in Gulfstream Pick 4

It’s difficult to go 1-on-1 with Chad Brown’s stable, and 1-on-2 makes it even more of a challenge. That’s what trainer Kevin Attard faces Saturday in the Grade 3 Suwanee River at Gulfstream Park, and could have just the runner to answer that call. Attard trainee Starship Jubilee takes on Brown representatives Magic Star and Tapit Today. Starship Jubilee has two distinct advantages – speed and experience. The 7-year-old can either take command, or if the pace in the 1 1-8th-mile race is too hot, run from off the pace. The Suwanee River looks more like the latter than the former today, and jockey Luis Saez often is terrific on the front end. Starship Jubilee has won 15 of 33 starts and $1.2 million, won the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor and Grade 2 Canadian at Woodbine last year and opened 2020 with an easy win in the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Turf. She was 2-to-5 in the one and it was as easy a spot as horseplayers indicated. When it comes to credentials, Starship Jubilee is all alone in this one. But Magic Star and Tapid Today are up-and-comers and are good enough to use alongside Starship Jubilee in the late Pick 4, which runs from races 9-12. Magic Star has raced only three times in a career that began just last August. She’s won two of three and most recently was up in time in the Grade 3 Marshua’s River Stakes over this course. She’s a big closer and will need some help from those on the front end. Tapit Today has found her niche in turf racing and has won half of her six starts, including three of her last four. Her wins came at Monmouth and Tampa, and she was second in the restricted Riskaverse at Saratoga. This is her toughest test but she’s certainly going the right direction in her career. All three made it onto the suggested Pick 4 ticket, which comes to $36 and has a 2x4x3x4 approach. The opening ninth race has the fewest on the ticket as Cash Call Kitten and Twenty Four Seven stand out over their rivals. Here’s a suggested play in the late Pick 4, which runs from races 9 through 12:Race 9) #1 Cash Call Kitten, #10 Twenty Four Seven.Race 10) #1 Genghis, #3 Cross Court, #5 Ricki Ticki Taffi, #7 With Verve.Race 11) #3 Magic Star, #6 Starship Jubilee, #7 Tapit Today.Race 12) #3 Eight Ain’t Enough, #11 Dramatic Kitten, #12 Friendly Fella.50-cent Pick 4 ticket: 1-10 with 1-3-5-7 with 3-6-7 with 3-11-12 ($36).

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2.6.2020:

Five Races You Can’t Miss on Saturday, February 8

Every weekend of racing is a good one but this Saturday sure is a doozy.  No matter where we look around the country, top horses are competing in big races from Florida, New York and Arkansas to California. And on a weekend like this, unfortunately, you just can’t bet them all. Trust me, I’ve tried. And I’ve come close to pulling it off. Ultimately, it’s just too much. Especially with all of the betting opportunities out there. The Cross Country Pick 5. 20-cent Rainbow Pick 6’s almost everywhere. Early and Late Pick 4’s and Pick 5’s. Exactas and Trifectas. The good old fashioned Win bet. I’d love to play them all, but on days like this it is so important to be able to pick your spots.And that’s what I’ve done here. I’ve identified the five races I’m most excited to play on Saturday. Plus, you can read my thoughts and betting strategy.In addition to these five races, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share some additional picks and commentary for this weekend’s races.  Here is how my colleagues are handicapping Santa Anita and the Kentucky Derby Future Wager: Johnny D’s Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2 Analysis & Standouts Jeremy Plonk’s Race of the Week Picks: Santa Anita’s Thunder Road Stakes And here are my Top 5 races: Tampa Bay Stakes (Gr 3; 175K)Tampa Bay Downs (Race 10, 4:59PM ET)1 1/16 Miles (Turf) – 4YO+I was tempted to go with the Endeavour Stakes (featuring Got Stormy) as my first ‘can’t miss’ race but from a betting perspective, that one just doesn’t stand out. Got Stormy is going to be 1/5 and should run like it. But the Tampa Bay Stakes for the males two races later is much more wide open. MARCH TO THE ARCH has always been a very consistent performer – assuming he gets a firm turf course and a fair pace. The forecast (as of Thursday at least) looks favorable for him, as does the pace setup. I’ll use him and fellow-closer, CARIBOU CLUB, on top over a number of other horses. Due to field size and field quality we should expect to see some fair prices.1. March to the Arch (7/2)2. Caribou Club (5/2)3. Renaisance Frolic (15/1) The Play: Exactas and Trifecta with MARCH TO THE ARCH and CARIBOU CLUB on top of those two as well as RENAISANCE FROLIC, DEVAMANI, HALLADAY, HEMBREE and REAL STORY. Suwannee River Stakes (Gr 3; 150K)Gulfstream Park (Race 11, 5:04PM ET)1 1/8 Miles (Turf) – 4YO+ Fillies & MaresGulfstream’s Saturday feature should be a fun one as it pits the millionaire seven-year-old mare STARSHIP JUBILEE against a pair of up-and-coming runners from Chad Brown’s barn, MAGIC STAR and TAPIT TODAY.  STARSHIP JUBILEE is likely to go favored, but TAPIT TODAY has gone favored in her last four starts (three wins) and MAGIC STAR just won the G3 Marshua’s River on January 11.  From a gambling perspective, I think STARSHIP JUBILEE could be vulnerable in this spot and will be playing the Chad Brown runners on top.1. Magic Star (5/2) 2. Starship Jubilee (7/5)3. Tapit Today (7/2) The Play: Exactas with MY STAR and TAPIT TODAY in 1st and those two in second along with STARSHIP JUBILEE.  Sam F. Davis Stakes (Gr 3; 250K)Tampa Bay Downs (Race 11, 5:29PM ET) 1 1/16 Miles (Dirt) – 3YOSaturday’s big Kentucky Derby prep race is the G3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa Bay Downs and all eyes are on INDEPENDENCE HALL. Installed as the 10/1 ML second-choice for Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool #2, this brilliantly named son of Constitution is a perfect 3-for-3 in his life with a combined margin of victory of more than 20-lengths. He passed his two-turn debut in Aqueduct’s Jerome with flying colors and he has been working at Tampa Bay Downs for the last month, so he should be acclimated to this sometimes quirky track. The plan seems simple enough. Jose Ortiz will try to stalk the early pace – likely set by Jorge Navarro’s PREMIER STAR – and will need to have enough in the tank to hold off Kiaran McLaughlin’s AJAAWEED and Patrick Biancone’s SOLE VOLANTE. 1. Independence Hall (6/5) 2. Premier Star (3/1)3. Sole Volante (8/1)4. Ajaaweed (4/1) The Play: Exactas and Trifectas, keying INDEPENDENCE HALL in 1st with PREMIER STAR in 2nd and SOLE VOLANTE and AJAAWEED in 3rd.King Cotton Stakes (125K)Oaklawn Park (Race 8, 5:38PM ET)6 Furlongs (Dirt) – 4YO+Oaklawn-loving WHITMORE is back to his favorite track in the King Cotton Stakes and he hasn’t been seen since finishing 7th in the one-mile G1 Cigar Mile at Aqueduct. The seven-year-old $2.8M earner had the misfortune of running into Mitole 3x and Maximum Security once last year, so his 1-for-7 seasonal record is a little misleading. That said, this could be a really nice time to bet against him. It caught me by surprise that Ricardo Santana Jr. is opting to ride SHARE THE UPSIDE here instead of WHITMORE.  Maybe the mount wasn’t open but Santana and WHITMORE have a long history of wins at Oaklawn.  I expect Santana to send SHARE THE UPSIDE from his rail draw and see how long this son of Maclean’s Music can take them. There isn’t much other speed in here so I’m expecting him to get clear early. 1. Share the Upside2. Whitmore3. Silver Ride The Play: Win bet on SHARE THE UPSIDE, with Exactas with him over WHITMORE and SILVER RIDE in second. Another Exacta with WHITMORE on top of SHARE THE UPSIDE.  Maiden Special WeightSam Houston (Race 10, 11:56PM ET)6 Furlongs (Dirt) – 4YO+My final race is the nightcap at Sam Houston. Why Sam Houston? I love their wager menu, which includes 12% takeout on their Pick 3, Pick 4, Pick 5 and Fortune 6. And the late versions of all of those wagers wrap up with Race 10, a race where I really like SILVER AND ACES. He was favored in a similar race at Sam Houston on January 10 (his first start off a year and a half layoff) and he set the pace before tiring to finish 3rd. Understandable given the layoff. He should move forward with that start under his belt and his trainer Allen Dupuy does well with these types. 1. Silver and Aces (8/1)2. Doc’s Class Act (4/1)3. Mr. George Tap (10/1) The Play: Win bets on SILVER AND ACES, especially at 5/1 or higher. Exactas with MR. GEORGE TAP, DOC’S CLASS ACT and NOVA NOTION above and below him. Use SILVER AND ACES in the low-takeout Pick 4, Pick 5, etc.

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2.6.2020:

Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 Analysis

A good way to begin analysis of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 candidates is by excluding those you don’t think can win the race. That narrows options and increases the chances that one, two or three horses will tickle your fancy, including the first Saturday in May winner. Remember, nobody knows nothing, so rely on your opinion as compared to offered prices. If any of the options below interest you, wager on them with Xpressbet from Friday noon through Sunday at 6 pm ET. Morning line prices, as set by veteran price-maker Mike Battaglia, are listed below but actual odds will vary until they’re locked in at the close of wagering Sunday evening. If you’re feeling especially adventurous, you might even take a swing at predicting the Kentucky Derby Exacta. Personally, it’s enough of a challenge for me to attempt to hit the Derby exacta with a minute to post, let alone three months in advance. While I’m not normally fan of future wagers — too many things can go wrong between now and the first Saturday in May — horseplayers can have some fun with them. Here’s one man’s opinions on runners included in the Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2.At best, maybe you can find a winner or two. At worst, hopefully, this analysis provides a useful head start toward what promises to be an exciting and unpredictable 3-year-old season. More information and past performances are available here.#1 Anneau d’Or (Blaine Wright, 30-1): Has a touch of quality but needs to finish what he starts. Following a dynamic turf victory first out, this colt appeared to gain the lead, momentarily, in the stretch of both the BC Juvenile at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos Futurity. However, he failed to seal either deal--losing by a head and a neck to eventual Eclipse Award winner Storm the Court and Robert B. Lewis winner Thousand Words, respectively. With just three starts under his belt, the son of Medaglia d’Oro out of a Tapit mare has room to improve. 30-1 is a big price on this guy and he could be worth a wager. Low-profile Northern California connections pad the number. He may return to action Feb. 15 in the Gr. 2 Risen Star. #2 Authentic (Baffert, 15-1): This son of Into Mischief broke maiden first-out at 3-5 odds in a Del Mar sprint. The the two-turn, mile and one-sixteenth Gr. 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita was his next start. From the rail, he broke in front, galloped along on the lead and opened up in early stretch. Through the lane he put on quite a show by ducking, diving, switching leads and maybe even brushing the rail while lugging in under Drayden Van Dyke.  No doubt this guy’s got worlds of talent, but he has to eliminate the goofy behavior in the lane. Of course, he couldn’t be in better hands than Bob Baffert’s and may be aimed toward the March 7, Gr. 2 San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita. He may be a bit distance challenged, but a flyer on him at 15-1 wouldn’t be the worst shot in the dark.#3 Basin (Steve Asmussen, 30-1): Ran a game race first out at Churchill to lose by a mere nose. His next two starts were at Saratoga and he couldn’t have been more impressive in breaking maiden and in winning the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes in the slop. Three Technique chased him home in the maiden race and Shoplifted was a distant second best to him in the Hopeful—so company lines are good. He’s got speed and has done nothing wrong. Next stop is to see him handle two turns and that should come in the Gr. 2 Rebel at Oaklawn March 14. By Liam’s Map out of a Johannesburg mare distance shouldn’t be an issue. He’s worth a close look on the come. #4 Chance It (Saffie Joseph Jr., 30-1): He’s experienced, with six career starts. Second first time out, he then dominated maiden foes going five and one-half furlongs at Gulfstream in June. His third start was a solid stakes score against fellow Florida-breds. He then was nailed in the final strides going seven-eighths in another state-bred stakes. Two turns, again against Florida-breds, proved no issue as he came home well to win easily. Facing open company, as favorite, he won a desperate stretch-long battle going a one-turn mile. This guy’s tough, but the water’s going to get much deeper and soon.#5 Dennis’ Moment (Dale Romans, 12-1): It’s pretty much been all or nothing for this guy, so far. First out he clipped heels and dislodged the jock. Next out he won maiden by nearly 20 lengths going seven-eighths at Ellis Park. He then won the Gr. 3 Iroquois without breaking much of a sweat. As favorite in the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he stumbled out of the gate and lost all chance. He’s trained well so far in 2020 and it’s fair to expect big things from him when he returns in the Feb. 29 Gr. 2 Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream. He’s got a real chance to run well on Derby Day, but 12-1 seems to short a price.#6 Enforceable (Mark Casse, 30-1): Off a solid first-out runner-up finish, this guy then finished third as 9/5 favorite while racing in a bit of traffic sprinting again at Churchill. At Saratoga, he tried a mile and one-sixteenth on turf, had some traffic issues again, but lacked a real closing kick. His first dirt route going a mile and one-eighth at Saratoga was by far his best race to date as he won a stretch battle and drew clear late. Two subsequent stakes races produced at third in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, when he moved with Maxfield wide on the turn but couldn’t keep pace with that one, and an off-the-board effort when closing from last in the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club. His first start of 2020 is the race that got him a spot on this list. He used a wide, sweeping move to storm home through the Fair Grounds stretch to win the Gr. 3 Lecomte. He has improved this year, for sure, but probably doesn’t have the quality to sustain such a wide sweeping move against better competition. He’s headed toward the Feb. 15 Risen Star at Fair Grounds.     #7 Exaulted (Peter Eurton, 50-1): Finished a solid second to Nadal in his maiden voyage. That was a nice run, but it’s way too early to pull the trigger on this one…even at 50-1 odds.#8 Gold Street (Asmussen, 30-1): He broke maiden in his fourth start and that’s usually not a great sign—most really good horses win either first or second time out. Still, Hall-of-Fame trainer Steve Asmussen’s probably going to win a Kentucky Derby one day…maybe this May? Steadied and shuffled back to last in a five and one-half furlong maiden race, this guy got plenty of experience first time out at Ellis Park. Much improved second time out at Churchill, he settled for second behind a heavy favorite. Gold Street showed speed again to stalk an early pacesetter, took over, but lost a desperate head bob at the finish. Fourth outing proved the charm as Gold Street broke well, stalked, pounced and drew off going six furlongs over a wet Churchill strip. At even money in the Sugar Bowl at Fair Grounds over a wet strip, he again proved best after forcing the early pace from inside. He earned a spot on this list by winning the Smarty Jones Stakes at Fair Grounds with a stout wire-to-wire trip. He looked good doing it, too, as all that experience paid off. Expect this guy to be strong in Fair Grounds sophomore races, but down the road he’ll have more company up front. Note that he hasn’t had a break since August, racing at least once a month. He’s scheduled to compete in the Feb. 17 Gr. 3 Southwest. #9 Gouverneur Morris (Todd Pletcher, 30-1): Dispatched at 3-5 odds first time out in a five and one-half furlong maiden race at Saratoga, he won off like a good thing. That victory made him 3-2 odds from the 10-hole in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland, where he raced wide the entire way and finished second to the explosive Maxfield. Due to the taxing race, Morris’ connections skipped the Breeders’ Cup in hopes of having a top 3-year-old. They said that he needed to put on some weight and mature a bit mentally. He’s got talent, that’s clear. If you wager on him, you’re hoping the time off did him some good. That’s a fair price on this wild card. Expect to see him in the Gr. 3 Southwest Stakes at Oaklawn Feb. 17.#10 Honor A. P. (John Shirreffs, 30-1): This son of Honor Code, who is a son of A. P. Indy, caught the eye when he closed ground to finish a well-beaten second in a six furlong Del Mar maiden race. He got left at the start, was able to gather his legs under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, moved up gradually on the field, tasted a few left-handed smacks and gained ground with every long, metered stride. He returned at odds-on to win a one mile maiden race at Santa Anita—broke alertly, rode rail, drew off--in October, but hasn’t been seen in the afternoon since. He was scheduled to start in the Gr. 3 Sham Stakes at Santa Anita but came back after a gallop with an issue. #11 Independence Hall (Mike Trombetta, 10-1): Unbeaten in three starts, this colt posted a rare triple-digit Beyer Speed Rating at two when he won the Gr. 3 Nashua Stakes by more than 12 lengths at Aqueduct in November. He returned to the races Jan. 1, 2020, broke slowly and then dominated the one-mile Jerome at 1-9 odds. Before that he broke maiden at Parx by nearly five lengths going seven furlongs. The jury is still out on this guy, but he’s shown talent, for sure. What he hasn’t done is face top-level competition. He’s got speed, a great stride and an athletic look about him. Still, 10-1 seems a bit of an underlay. He races Saturday in the Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis at Tampa.#12 Max Player (Linda Rice, 20-1): He won the Gr. 3 Withers Feb. 1, impressively. There’s reason to believe the race didn’t have much depth—slow early, slow late and not much of a Beyer Speed Figure. Max broke maiden by more than four lengths in his second start at one mile in the slop at Parx. Guess he’ll need to continue to improve to be a Derby factor.   #13 Maxfield (Brendan Walsh, 15-1): Unbeaten in two starts, this son of Street Sense drew lots of attention when he exploded on the turn to win the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He used a breathtaking move to roar to the front, leaving Gouverneur Morris and Enforceable in his wake. Unfortunately, he was injured while preparing for Breeders’ Cup, has had surgery and now is on the way back, although no return race has been selected yet.#14 Nadal (Baffert, 12-1): Snappy first-out maiden winner at Santa Anita has lots of upside. Downside is that he will have to buck the dreaded Apollo jinx shattered by barn-mate Justify in 2018. The then 136-year-old trend suggests that a Kentucky Derby winner must have started at two. Trainer Baffert didn’t start Justify until February of his 3-year-old season and that colt not only won the Derby, but also the Triple Crown. Nadal’s one month ahead of that schedule, though it’s difficult to imagine another horse beating the Apollo jinx so soon. Make no mistake, though, this is one talented colt. He’s expected to start in the Gr. 3 Southwest Stake at Oaklawn Park Feb. 17. #15 Palm Springs (Pletcher, 50-1): At odds-on he finished second to fellow pool 2 entrant Violent City first time out. From the rail he broke a bit slowly, moved up to be just about even with the leaders but stuck inside of three-horse spread. Jockey Javier Castellano then took Palm Springs back a bit and that seemed to cost him momentum. He rallied well in the stretch to suggest more distance would help. Palm Springs returned Feb. 1 at one mile to score a nose decision at Gulfstream. This time he broke from the far outside in the nine-hole, forced the early pace, took the lead under early left-handed pressure, seemed to lose focus a bit in the lane and nearly was collared by Mister Candy Ride late. Palm Springs will need to do better to win the Derby.   #16 Premier Star (Jorge Navarro, 50-1): First time out this colt battled hard in the stretch before drawing away to a solid length and three-quarters win. He returned in an allowance race and completely dominated the competition by more than five lengths, wrapped up. He needs to show a bit more before we give him a pro or con review. Next test comes in the Gr. 3 Sam F. Davis Feb. 9 at Tampa.#17 Silver State (Asmussen, 50-1): First time out, going six and one-half furlongs at Churchill, this son of Hard Spun dead-heated to break maiden with next-out winner Relentless Dancer. Silver State broke last in the field of 11, moved up steadily on the inside, angled out for the stretch run and closed determinedly to share the win. Next out, in a Churchill allowance/75k optional claimer at a mile over a sloppy track, Silver State again broke slowly, moved up steadily, split horses in the lane and just missed.  In the Lecomte, won by Enforceable, Silver State stumbled a bit at the start, was back in the pack early, moved up on the inside, swung extremely wide for the stretch run, split horses and was too late to catch the winner. I really like the way this guy has progressed. While he doesn’t have as much pure talent as some of his classmates, he’s got plenty of fight in him. He has overcome poor starts, moved in traffic and closed in the lane. Distance doesn’t appear an issue. I’d take anything near 50-1 on this guy. He’s got a Derby ‘in-the-money’ look about him. Next up could be the Gr. 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds Feb. 15.#18 Storm the Court (Eurton, 30-1): We haven’t seen this guy since he won the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile which led to the Eclipse Award as the nation’s top 2-year-old male. He is scheduled to return to the races Saturday in the Gr. 2 San Vicente at Santa Anita, so his price here will fluctuate according to that performance. Before the BC he was a well-beaten third in the Gr. 1 American Pharoah and broke maiden at Del Mar while racing first out at five and one-half furlongs. In the Gr. 1 Del Mar Futurity, he lost all chance and jockey Flavien Pratt soon after the start when he was bumped by a bolting foe. If you fancy him, wait until after the San Vicente, see how he runs and what effect that has on his price.#19 Structor (Chad Brown, 30-1): He hasn’t started on dirt yet, but has won all three turf starts, including the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. In the hands of Chad Brown, good things are possible, but turf horses are turf horses for a reason. This one will need to show me he’s as good on dirt and even that might not be enough to defeat many of these. Slated to return at Gulfstream in the Feb. 29 Fountain of Youth.#20 Thousand Words (Baffert, 15-1): He’s done nothing wrong in three starts with as many wins, including the recent Gr. 3 Robert B. Lewis at Santa Anita. He’s got a workmanlike style, with a bit of pace, that throws 24 second quarters at foes like breaking sticks. He doesn’t dominate foes, but he keeps winning with a dogged presence. Anyone hoping to beat him had better be ready for a fight in the lane. He could face barn-mate Authentic in the March 7 Gr. 2 San Felipe Stakes.#21 Three Technique (Jeremiah Englehart, 50-1): He’s got five races under his belt and never has been worse than second, including a Saratoga maiden win and an optional claiming/allowance score at Aqueduct. His only stakes appearance came last out in the Smarty Jones when he broke last and closed ground to be second. He’s a trier, but will have to go a bit to dance with the best of these. His next start may be in the March 14 Gr. 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn. #22 Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg, 8-1): No doubt this guy is talented. His most recent triumph came in Gulfstream’s Gr. 3 Holy Bull Stakes, which he dominated. He lugged in a bit through the lane and appeared to be looking around near the finish. Don’t think he beat much, but he did it the right way—except for the gawking around, that is. The only blemish on his resume is a close third in the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club when he was trapped inside for much of the final furlong. He’s also got a Gr. 1 Champagne victory already in his pocket. On the basis of his dominant Holy Bull triumph and previous performances, he’s the individual pool 2 morning-line favorite. He’s headed toward the Louisiana Derby, March 21, and should be the favorite in that race.#23 Violent City (Ian Wilkes, 50-1): Romped to easy four-length maiden victory Jan. 11 at Gulfstream Park at 7-1 odds in a nine-horse field. It’s unusual for trainer Ian Wilkes to win with a first-time starter, so you know this one can run a bit. Like Nadal, he’ll be fighting the Apollo jinx, having not raced at two. We need to see more from him before giving thumbs up or down.#24 All Other 3-Year-Olds (5-2): The pari-mutuel field for the first pool of the New Year has closed as the bettors’ choice every year since the wager was inaugurated in 1999, and the final odds were 5-2 each of the last five years. Bottom Line: Here are a few horses this writer thinks are worth backing in pool 2:1. Anneau d’Or (30-1): Guy hasn’t done a thing wrong against top competition. If he were trained by Baffert he’d be half the price. 17. Silver State (50-1): Like the development with this one. Price is right. Will cash with him somewhere in exotics along the Triple Crown trail.3. Basin (30-1): He’s got a bit of shot in here at this 30-1 price. He hasn’t gone two-turns, but hasn’t done a thing wrong yet either. 20. Thousand Words (15-1): No bargain at this price, but he’s unbeaten, a tough out and a Baffert.Race On!

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2.5.2020:

Kentucky Derby Top 10: A New No. 1

Making amends for his defeat as a 3-5 favorite in his final start as a 2-year-old, Tiz the Law proved a punctual 13-10 favorite in Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes last Saturday while making his 3-year-old debut. Off his sparkling Holy Bull victory, Tiz the Law moves all the way up to the top spot on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week after being No. 7 last week. The Holy Bull was Tiz the Law’s third victory in four career starts. The only time the Kentucky-bred Constitution colt has been beaten was when he had a troubled trip and finished third in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on a sloppy track last Nov. 30 at Churchill Downs. Tiz the Law won the Grade I Champagne Stakes at Belmont Park last Oct. 5 prior to his setback in Louisville. Also improving his position on the Top 10 this week is Thousand Words, who now is No. 2 after being No. 5 last week. He is three for three after taking Santa Anita’s Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes last Saturday in his first start as a 3-year-old. The Kentucky-bred colt won the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity in his final start at 2. Whereas Tiz the Law sold for $110,000 as a yearling, Thousand Words fetched a cool $1 million at public auction at that same age. One thing Tiz the Law and Thousand Words do have in common is they both are in the hands of a trainer who has won the Kentucky Derby. Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law’s conditioner, won the 2003 Kentucky Derby with Funny Cide, a New York-bred owned by Sackatoga Stable. Tiz the Law also is a New York-bred who races for Sackatoga Stable. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains Thousand Words, who is owned by Albaugh Family Stables and Spendthrift Farm. Baffert has won the Kentucky Derby five times and the Triple Crown twice. Tiz the Law and Thousand Words each earned 10 points last Saturday toward a starting berth in the Kentucky Derby. Max Player likewise collected 10 Kentucky Derby points last Saturday for his 3 1/4-length win in Aqueduct’s Grade III Withers Stakes. Linda Rice trains Max Player, a Kentucky-bred Honor Code colt. Untitled drops off my Top 10 this week after finishing fourth as the 7-5 favorite in Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Swale Stakes last Saturday. It is true that Untitled experienced early adversity in the seven-furlong Swale. As noted in the Equibase chart, Untitled got bumped by Flash Pass at the break, then was ping-ponged between that one and the eventual winner, Mischevious Alex. But despite what happened to Untitled early, I expected to see a lot more run from him in the final quarter of a mile. Mischevious Alex trounced his Swale foes. Since having blinkers added to his equipment, the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt has won the Parx Juvenile by almost 10 lengths and Swale by seven lengths. John Servis, like Tagg and Baffert, is a Kentucky Derby-winning trainer. Servis sent out Smarty Jones to win the 2004 Run for the Roses. However, this year’s $3 million Kentucky Derby at 1 1/4 miles on May 2 does not appear to be in the plans for Mischevious Alex. “Is he a mile-and-a-quarter horse? I don’t think so,” Servis said in Gulfstream’s Swale quotes. Mischevious Alex probably will run next in Aqueduct’s Grade III Gotham Stakes at one mile on March 7, according to Servis. As for Tiz the Law, indications immediately after the Holy Bull were that he probably would make his next start in the Grade II Louisiana Derby, a 1 3/16-mile event on March 21 in New Orleans at Fair Grounds Race Course. However, Tagg later told Daily Racing Form’s Mike Welsch that both the Louisiana Derby and Xpressbet.com Florida Derby are in play, with the latter race more likely. The Grade I Florida Derby will be run at 1 1/8 miles on March 28 at Gulfstream. “Right now I’m probably leaning towards running him next in the Florida Derby,” Tagg said to Welsch. “Both races are in play, but he’s schooled at this track, he’s worked at this track, and he’s run well over this track, so we already know he likes it here. “Nothing is etched in stone,” Tagg added, “but right now I think I’d prefer to stay here and take him right to the Florida Derby.” As for Thousand Words, Baffert indicated Tuesday that colt might start next in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 7. Also a San Felipe possibility, Baffert said, is Authentic, who is No. 7 on my Top 10. A Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt, Authentic is two for two. He followed a 1 1/2-length maiden win at first asking Nov. 9 at Del Mar with a resounding victory in the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 4. Authentic did not run a straight course in the final furlong of the Sham when racing greenly while far in front. He won by almost eight lengths. “We don’t know how good he is,” Baffert said Tuesday when discussing Authentic on Steve Byk’s SiriusXM radio show At the Races. Authentic, who might race with blinkers and/or earplugs next time out due to his actions during the stretch run of the Sham, worked five furlongs Wednesday in 1:01.20 at Santa Anita. A 3-year-old heading to New Orleans from California is Anneau d’Or, who holds down the No. 10 position on my Top 10. He is targeting the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at 1 1/8 miles in that city on Feb. 15 for trainer Blaine Wright. A Kentucky-bred Medaglia d’Oro colt, Anneau d’Or last year narrowly lost both the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile when second to Storm the Court on Nov. 1 and Grade II Los Al Futurity when second to Thousand Words. DRF’s Steve Andersen reported that Wright said Anneau d’Or will be racing with blinkers for the first time in the Risen Star. Following the Risen Star, the plan is for Anneau d’Or to run in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 4. Storm the Court, who is No. 3 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10, is scheduled to make his 2020 debut this Sunday in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs. Trained by Peter Eurton, Storm the Court has not competed since he won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile in a 45-1 shocker at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. The Kentucky-bred Court Vision colt was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. Dennis’ Moment stumbled badly at the start and finished eighth in the BC Juvenile as the 9-10 favorite. He had a sharp five-furlong workout in :58.47 last Sunday at Gulfstream for trainer Dale Romans. A Kentucky-bred Tiznow colt, Dennis’ Moment is gearing up for his 2020 debut in Gulfstream’s Grade II Fountain of Youth Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 29. Albaugh Family Stables is the owner of Dennis’ Moment in addition to being co-owner of Thousand Words. Nadal, No. 5 on my Top 10, worked five furlongs Tuesday in a crisp :47.80 at Santa Anita for Baffert. The Kentucky-bred Blame colt kicked off his racing career with an impressive 3 3/4-length win in a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race Jan. 19 at Santa Anita. Nadal’s Beyer Speed Figure was a big 98. Baffert said Tuesday no decision has yet been made regarding Nadal’s next start. While the trainer mentioned Oaklawn’s Grade III Southwest Stakes at one mile on Feb. 17 as an option, he said another possibility would be to wait longer for the colt’s next race. No. 9 Independence Hall puts his undefeated record on the line this Saturday in Tampa Bay Downs’ Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at 1 1/16 miles. This race offers 17 points (10-4-2-1) to the first four finishers toward the Kentucky Derby. Trained by Michael Trombetta, Independence Hall is three for three. Back on Nov. 3, Independence Hall annihilated his opposition and registered a 101 Beyer Speed Figure when he won Aqueduct’s Grade III Nashua Stakes by 12 1/4 lengths. He then took the Jerome Stakes by four lengths and was credited with an 83 Beyer at the Big A on Jan. 1. Independence Hall, like Tiz the Law, is a Kentucky-bred Constitution colt. According to the DRF’s Marty McGee, Independence Hall has been installed as the 6-5 morning-line favorite in the Davis. Among the seven taking on Independence Hall are Premier Star (3-1) and Ajaaweed (4-1). Ajaaweed, trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, has not raced since he finished second in Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 7. Premier Star, conditioned by Jorge Navarro, is two for two. In his most recent start, Premier Star rolled to a 5 1/2-length victory in a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming contest at Gulfstream on Jan. 15. Sole Volante could be dangerous in the Davis at a nice price. He’s 8-1 on the morning line. He won his first two races, both on turf, then finished third in Gulfstream’s Mucho Macho Man on dirt Jan. 4 for trainer Patrick Biancone. Here is my current Kentucky Derby Top 10: 1. Tiz the Law2. Thousand Words3. Storm the Court4. Dennis’ Moment5. Nadal6. Honor A.P.7. Authentic8. Maxfield9. Independence Hall10. Anneau d’Or TRIPLE-DIGIT BEYER FOR TIZ THE LAW Tiz the Law posted a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 100 in the Holy Bull. His previous best had been a 90. Thousand Words was credited with a 92 Beyer in the Lewis to continue an improving pattern in that regard. After an 88 at first asking, he recorded a 91 when victorious in the Los Alamitos Futurity, followed by a career-best 92 last Saturday. Max Player was credited with a career-best 86 Beyer Speed Figure for his Withers victory. Tiz the Law and Thousand Words are on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 but Max Player is not. That’s why I’ve listed Beyer Speed Figures below for Holy Bull and Robert B. Lewis winners but not Withers winners. Here are the Beyers recorded by Holy Bull winners going back to 1991, as far back as published by the DRF: 2020 Tiz the Law (100)2019 Harvey Wallbanger (85)2018 Audible (99)2017 Irish War Cry (101)2016 Mohaymen (95)2015 Upstart (105)2014 Cairo Prince (95)2013 Itsmyluckyday (104)2012 Algorithms (105)2011 Dialed In (97)2010 Winslow Homer (91)2009 Saratoga Sinner (98)2008 Hey Byrn (88)2007 Nobiz Like Shobiz (99)2006 Barbaro (95)2005 Closing Argument (98)2004 Second of June (111)2003 Offlee Wild (99)2002 Booklet (101)2001 Radical Riley (90)2000 Hal’s Hope (100)1999 Grits ’n Hard Toast (100)1998 Cape Town (101)1997 Arthur L (107)1996 Cobra King (107)1995 Suave Prospect (100)1994 Go for Gin (100)1993 Pride of Burkaan (88)1992 Waki Warrior (92)1991 Shoot to Kill (99) The Holy Bull was known as the Preview Stakes prior to 1996. Here are the Beyer Speed Figures recorded by Robert B. Lewis winners going back to 1991: 2020 Thousand Words (92)2019 Mucho Gusto (90)2018 Lombo (86)2017 Royal Mo (94)2016 Mor Spirit (93)2015 Dortmund (104)2014 Candy Boy (96)2013 Flashback (92)2012 I’ll Have Another (96)2011 Anthony’s Cross (91)2010 Caracortado (98)*2009 Pioneerof the Nile (98)*2008 Crown of Thorns (94)*2007 Great Hunter (101)2006 Brother Derek (102)2005 Declan’s Moon (97)2004 St Averil (102)2003 Domestic Dispute (103)2002 Lambata Babe (105)2001 Millennium Wind (99)2000 The Deputy (103)1999 General Challenge (95)1998 Artax (109)1997 Hello (97)1996 Prince of Thieves (103)1995 Larry the Legend (95)1994 Wekiva Springs (97)1993 Art of Living (91)1992 Vying Victor (92)1991 Mane Minister (93) *Run on a synthetic surface The Robert B. Lewis was known as the Santa Catalina Stakes prior to 2007. BAFFERT’S LEWIS VICTORY A MILESTONE When Thousand Words got the job done as a 3-5 favorite last Saturday, it was Baffert’s eighth win in the Lewis. Moreover, it was the white-haired trainer’s 3,000th career Thoroughbred victory. Baffert has a lot more wins than that, though. As best as I can determine from the research I’ve done, Baffert also has a total of 978 Quarter Horse victories to his credit. Thousand Words is a son of Pioneerof the Nile. Baffert also trained Pioneerof the Nile, who 10 years ago won the Lewis. Pioneerof the Nile would go on to sire American Pharoah, who swept the Triple Crown in 2015 for Baffert. Speaking of American Pharoah, an offspring of his by the name of Royal Act was the runner-up in the Lewis at 18-1 when racing for the first time with blinkers and on dirt. Royal Act, who like Storm the Court is trained by Eurton, recorded a career-best 90 Beyer Speed Figure in the Lewis. The Robert B. Lewis Stakes may be a Grade III race, but it is named in honor of a Grade I individual, as anyone fortunate enough to have known the man can attest. Lewis died of heart failure at the age of 81 on Feb. 17, 2006. It was very meaningful to Baffert to have reached his 3,000th career Thoroughbred win last Saturday in a race named after Lewis. Owners Bob and Beverly Lewis and Baffert came very close to a Triple Crown sweep in 1997 with Silver Charm. After Silver Charm won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, he finished second, three-quarters of a length behind Touch Gold, in the Belmont Stakes. Bob and Beverly first met while attending the University of Oregon. Three months after they met, Bob took Beverly to Glendale, Calif., to meet his family. It was during that trip in 1946 that they decided to see what horse racing was like. They spent an afternoon at Santa Anita. After the couple returned to the University of Oregon, they went to the races from time to time at Portland Meadows. Years later, when the Lewises decided to become Thoroughbred owners, they chose the University of Oregon’s green and yellow school colors for their silks. Three days following Lewis’ death, Santa Anita honored him during a ceremony between races. After a video presentation, Baffert was one of several who eulogized Lewis. This was what Baffert said: “I definitely remember the first day Bob Lewis walked up to me and introduced himself at Clockers’ Corner here at Santa Anita in 1991,” Baffert said. “I was just, myself, getting into the business then, those first few years. The sun shone down on me that day, as it has every day since I’ve been around Bob and, as Bob would say, his beloved Beverly. “Bob, we had some great memories together. As you all know, probably one of our favorite horses was Silver Charm. And we never thought, from that day we met in 1991, that six years later, Bob and I and his son Jeff would be making that historic walk from the barn area at Churchill Downs to the paddock with Silver Charm. We looked like a couple of teenagers walking down through there. “But through the years, one thing about Bob Lewis, what he’s taught me, I’ve learned so much. Not only was he a great client of mine, but he also was a very personal friend. Whenever I had any personal problems, I’ve always confided in Bob, and he was always there with the right answers. He taught me a lot in life. He taught me a little kindness goes a long way, never dwell on the past, and if he ever felt I was getting too big for my britches, he was the first one to crack the whip. He had a huge impact on my life, and on a lot of other people’s lives. “…And every day, when I saddle a horse and walk from the paddock to my box, you always walk through the garden, and you see all these statues of these once-in-a-lifetime kind of guys, all these heroes we have in the garden. And one thing about Bob Lewis, he was a once-in-a-lifetime kind of guy. He was the kind of guy that does all of the right things in life. That’s what he was. He showed kindness, he was generous, he was a man of his word, and a man of honor. And that’s what he always brought to the table. And hopefully, one day, I’d like to saddle a horse, and then on my way to my box, see a statue of Bob Lewis in the garden.”

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2.5.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Black Book Xpress (Updated Feb. 5, 2020)

Jeff Siegel and Zoe Cadman from xbtv.com go treasure hunting at various North American tracks to uncover excellent future wagering opportunities in the Black Book Xpress. Updated every week, the list includes horses that should be included in your stable mail so that you'll be aware where and when they reappear in the entries. Horses that have run back since first being featured are eliminated from the list.*CURRENT BLACK BOOK RUNNERS:Absolute Unit (Jan. 4, 2020)View VideoAwesome Summer (Dec. 29, 2019)View VideoBeguiled (Jan. 20, 2020)View VideoCall Me Daddy (Dec. 13, 2019)View VideoCleveland Simpson (Jan. 10, 2020)View VideoConvict (Dec. 5, 2019)View VideoJohnny Podres (Jan. 5, 2020)View VideoK P All Systems Go (Jan. 25, 2020)View VideoKustom for Karl (Jan. 11, 2020)View VideoLonesome Fugitive [IRE] (Jan. 26, 2020)View VideoMade My Day [IRE] (Jan. 17, 2020View VideoMo City (Dec. 7, 2019)View VideoNadal (Jan. 19, 2020)View VideoRegal Beauty (Jan. 26, 2020)View VideoRip City (Jan. 1, 2020)View VideoSecure Connection (Jan. 9, 2020)View VideoSpice is Nice (Jan. 12, 2020)View VideoSunblessed [IRE] (Jan. 25, 2020)View VideoTigre Di Slugo (Jan. 18, 2020View VideoVenetian Harbor (Dec. 29, 2019)View VideoWell Connected (Nov. 30, 2019)View Video

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2.5.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: February 7 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, which will run the gamut with four tracks this week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:50 ET) – 3yo 40k MCL* at 6 furlongs Several different ways to go in the opening leg, though the drop in class for #4 ROYAL THUNDER makes him a huge threat in his local bow, after running in four MSW starts in Ca., especially since he showed high speed out west and new trainer Russell is 3-for-8 with newcomers. If ‘Thunder wasn’t entered it’s possible #8 GOLAZO would be a heavy favorite, as that debut 3rd at the level over the track/distance was very fast, and he won’t have to improve much, if at all, to win this, especially if the pick doesn’t fire. I’ll also use #11 COMMISSIONER BIGGS, who makes his debut for Lynch who is 26% with firsters, and this one has plenty of works that whisper ready. Pk5 A horses: 4,8,11 (listed in order of preference) The MSW drop, outside attack post, and addition to Lasix all say #9 ABUELO PAPS can be a big threat here, though the August layoff is a worry, and with McCarthy also named on #2 Deshackled, it’s worth tabbing who he does ride. It’s tough to toss anything from Robb, who is 35% at the meet and 29% off the claim, so #7 METAL MAGICIAN could deliver in his third career start, especially since he’s been highly backed in his first two. Pk5 B horses: 9,7 Leg 2: Santa Anita R1 (4:00 ET) – 3yo Cal-bred MSW at 5 � furlongs (turf) In a field of only eight, I’ll go with three proven runners and a firster, as #5 ZERO DOWN really woke up in his turf debut last time—over open MSW foes too—while #3 AUSTIN’S BOY was a solid 3rd at the level over the course/distance on debut, and #7 PERFECT AFFECTION also improved in his turf debut, and the cutback to one-turn could put him over the top. Lastly, with Puype at 19% on debut and 20% in turf sprints, you have to use #6 SQUALOTORO, who also has a slew of sharp works and lures name jock Valdivia. Pk5 A horses: 5,3,7,6 There will be no backups, as the rest don’t really inspire, and the firster I considered, #2 Equipo A, goes for a 15-for-52 Ruiz barn, but one that is 0’fer in five categories pertaining to today’s conditions (albeit with very small sample sizes). Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (4:33 ET) – 4upfm AOC (25k/N1X) at 1 1/16 miles I’m going to take the bait and single #7 ROYAL FLAG, who won’t be the lock the toteboard suggests but looks better than an average bunch, especially since he starts for Brown and Irad off an 8-length (muddy) MSW win at Aqueduct, has a world of upside off just two starts, and is a half to multiple GII winner Eagle; yes, facing winners is never easy, and his big win was over an off-track, but there’s not much here, and his two biggest foes have serious questions too. Pk5 A horses: 7 The aforementioned two biggest foes—#4 Violent Trick and #2 Big Tina—are very tricky reads, as the former has just one big race showing (two-back), while the latter impressed on his return to the dirt last time, but that was against 40k N2L runners, so this is a significant rise in class, and for those reasons, and the talent of ‘Flag, I’ll go it alone. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 4up 3.2k claimer at 1-mile A deep field but one that lacks much pace, so I’m trying to get #2 KONA COAST to forget to stop, as he really improved on the stretch to two turns last time and will undoubtedly be on the engine, and hopefully won’t get too much pressure from #8 Union Wine, who looks like the only other one who wants to be close early. The more logical win candidates are #6 TYPHOON HARRY, who is tactical and drops in class, and #1 KID ARCADE, who was a very fast 3rd last time and drew well, though his lack of speed is a concern. Pk5 A horses: 2,6,1 I don’t really know what to make of #7 ASKIN’ FOR TROUBLE, who ran extremely fast (for these) when beating ‘Kid, but that was three starts ago, and he bombed last time with no apparent excuse, but now goes off the claim for Tanayo, which is a big 28% angle, so I think he needs to be used in some form. You could also use Kid Wine, who should trip out but might not be good enough, though his good race-bad race pattern says he’s firing today. Pk5 B horses: 7 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:33 ET) – 4up 8k claimer at 1-mile I’ll be the first to admit I don’t love anyone in the finale, but I also think if you use #7 CHIRPING, #10 SMOKE ‘N’ GLOAT, #3 POSTINO’S VOW, and #9 FRENCH QUARTER, you’ll get through, as they simply look like the four best and don’t face much. The one who is a bit outside the box is ‘Gloat, who has plenty of speed and goes off the claim for Sano, a very underrated 25% move, while the other three are all very obvious. Pk5 A horses: 7,10,3,9 If you’re looking for another, or want a price as a backup, then #4 Love Nest fits the bill, though his last two dirt runs, for a 1-for-24 Morrison barn, just won’t cut it here. Pk5 B horses: NONE The tickets: Main Ticket: 4,8,11 with 5,3,7,6 with 7 with 2,6,1 with 7,10,3,9 = $144Leg 1 B Backup: 9,7 with 5,3,7,6 with 7 with 2,6,1 with 7,10,3,9 = $96Leg 4 B Backup: 4,8,11 with 5,3,7,6 with 7 with 7 with 7,10,3,9 = $48

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2.3.2020:

Monday, February 3: Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

The 0.20 Early Pick 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park has a $75,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. There appears to be some live price shots that could lead to a nice payout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 14-P L Idaho (7/2)-Set the pace on an off-track and faded. Not an easy horse to predict but is worth another swing versus this crew. Could leave and try to take control and not look back. A dry track wouldn't hurt chances.5-Oceanview Magnum (9/2)-16-time winner in 2019 was claimed in last 2 and now starts for a hot barn. Jamieson can work a nice trip from this post and will look for a better effort for new connections.6-Kingofthejungle (5-1)-Will likely be looking to come off a helmet but did blast out 2 back to a 26.4 opening quarter. Could be overlooked at the windows and JMac has some options in a race without a standout.Race 25-Refi (4/5)-Rolled home last week after being 12 lengths back at the half way mark, looks to be a cut above the rest and should be bet hard.Race 32-Knopfler (8-1)-Drops after having excuses in last 3. Slow starter is at a better level but needs to find live cover and a quick pace. Not sure that can all happen but will use at a juicy price.3-Zig Zag (5/2)-Cruised home from the 8-hole in last but #5 wasn't in the field. Looks like a player if fires best shot.5-Blazing Trail (9/5)-Has taken 2 pictures since changing barns and is a major contender if races back to those efforts. Should be included but can't completely trust.Race 47-Tomy Terror (7/2)-Jamieson's choice has been facing some tough customers, but they aren't in the mix tonight. Looks like a spot to snag an overdue win and is 10 out of 44 at Wbsb.8-Mister Godro (8-1)-Has only 1 win in 18 starts here and had a flat effort in last but was off for more than 4 weeks. Fits here and is usually in the hunt. Roy can work a smooth trip and pop at a nice price.10-Zen Da Ballykeel (4-1)-Does like to race near the lead and that could be an issue from this post. Trusting Filion to work some magic as this is a consistent check getter who hit the board in 26 of 44 starts in 2019.Race 56-Major Muscle (8-1)-Faded down the lane after being used to get the top on an off-track. Hasn't won in a while but has had excuses. Looking for an aggressive try on a dry track at an appealing price.7-P L Jill (2-1)-Drops to a better level to compete for top honors but does need a trip. Best to not overlook but will look to others as well.8-Derf Hanover (6-1)-McNair returns, and he could be out and winging in a race without much gate speed. Using and hoping the drive could be the difference.My Ticket Race 1) 4,5,6 Race 2) 2,3,5 Race 3) 7,8,10 Race 4) 6,7,8Total Ticket Cost) $16.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.3.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (January 27 - February 2): Tiz the Law

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.January 27-February 2, 2020MVP: Tiz the LawOwner: Sackatoga StableTrainer: Barclay TaggJockey: Manny FrancoPerformance: No one really knew who the winter book favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby chase was until Saturday. There was speculation that New York-bred Tiz the Law could be the one after his Champagne dynamo and troubled third in the Kentucky Jockey Club. Saturday’s multiple-gear victory in the Grade 3 $250,000 Holy Bull Stakes hinted that we just might be seeing the second coming of Funny Cide. Same owners. Same trainer. Same talent. Tiz the Law’s 3-year-old debut broke like a cannon shot, then he settled nicely for Franco before being stuck down inside horses and losing positions. Once clear he tackled a tenacious, legitimate pace player in Ete Indien, put him away and notched the final margin of 3 lengths under the wire.On Tap: Just like Funny Cide, the campaign began in the Holy Bull and could move next to the Louisiana Derby for Tiz the Law. Tagg indicated the extended 1-3/16 miles event at New Orleans’ Fair Grounds was on the radar. That comes up March 21 with the Xpressbet Florida Derby possible the following Saturday. Unlike Funny Cide, however, the calendar has shifted since ’03 when the Louisiana Derby was earlier and left a Wood Memorial final prep on the docket. It will be a two-prep campaign for Tiz the Law with one of the two southern Derbies targeted.Honorable Mentions: Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up United scored a half-length decision in a wild renewal of the Grade 2 $200,000 San Marcos at Santa Anita on Saturday. The 4-5 favorite topped a field of 6 that was separated by only 1-1/2 lengths, but in a sharp 1:59.04 for 1-1/4 miles on grass. Also notable, Mischievous Alex romped in Saturday’s Grade 3 $150,000 Swale, putting 7 lengths on the rest for trainer John Servis and is likely next for the Gotham at Aqueduct. He beat a better-than-recent renewal of the Swale in fine fashion.

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2.2.2020:

Sunday, February 02: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 11:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-West Sider; 4-Candy FuryForecast: West Sider has trained okay for his debut, not like a superstar but good enough to win a race like this, and the B. Baffert-trained colt likely will go favored in a field in which the known element doesn’t impress. Candy Fury may be the best of those with experience and is worth including in rolling exotic play. He’ll add blinkers and should be prominent throughout in this extended sprint that on paper projects to have soft early fractions.RACE 2: Post 11:59 PT. Grade: XSingle: 2-HoneywhiskeynwineForecast: Honeywhiskeynwine drops for the money run and doesn’t have a whole lot to beat in this maiden $30,000 claiming router for sophomore fillies. She has grass numbers that can win, but this will be her first try on dirt, and with a 3% jockey aboard she hardly offers great value at 9/5 on the morning line. We’ll put her on top by default but this is a race that probably is best left alone.RACE 3: Post 12:29 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Vallestina; 3-Sheza Factor; 6-Leading IndicatorForecast: This is another race that we’ll pass while going three-deep in our rolling exotics. Vallestina hasn’t been out since December of 2018 and returns cheap, but her workouts indicate she’s fit and ready and she’s shown she can fire fresh, having won her debut by more than 17 lengths. Clearly, the Meah-trained mare she has issues, but she appears quite capable of a firing a big shot off the bench. Sheza Factor returns to her claim level and is realistically spotted after encountering a rough trip in a much tougher allowance sprint at Golden Gate Fields last month. She has a prior win over the local main track, recent numbers that are good enough to win at this level and is reunited with “win rider” E. Roman. Leading Indicator lands the cozy outside post and won’t need much improvement after finishing second in a similar restricted (nw-3) affair here last month. The daughter of Clubhouse Ride should draft into an ideal pace-stalking trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home.RACE 4: Post 12:59 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Opus Won; 2-Wicked Old FashionForecast: Opus Won was visually impressive winning a first-level allowance event over this course and distance and seems capable of scoring right back despite the class hike. From the rail she’s guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip and has shown the versatility to win on the lead or from a stalking position. Wicked Old Fashion knows where the wire is (she’s 11-for-24 in her career) and has performed well over this course in the past. She’s another that can be effective regardless of race flow and may be capable of improving her last pair, both of which were below her beset. We’ll have tickets including both in our rolling exotics and then we’ll press keying Opus Won on top.RACE 5: Post 1:29 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Soldier Boy; 3-Tiger DadForecast: Soldier Boy shortens up a half-furlong, retains Rosario, and is fresh from a career top number when third in a similar affair last month. If he breaks cleanly from the rail,. The J. Sadler-trained colt projects to be the controlling speed and given that type of trip he should be hard to catch. Tiger Dad has been stuck on seconds lately but he’s fast on figures and should have every chance from a stalking position. Give the projected race flow we’ll give Soldier Boy the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 6: Post 1:59 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Holly Hundy; 6-Storming LadyForecast: Storming Lady just won a similar race over this course and distance but was disqualified for causing interference in the lane. She switches to hot-riding F. Prat, and if she runs straight and true today the daughter of Flat Out appears capable of making amends. Holly Hundy, a close third in the same race Storming Lady exits (and took the worst of the crowding in deep stretch when crossing the wire third), is the one to fear most. A two-time winner over the Santa Anita lawn, the V. Cerin-trained filly retains J. Rosario and should inherit a good stalking position and then have her chance to seal deal in the lane. These two are hard to separate so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 7: Post 2:29 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-La Croix; 4-Rstars and Stripes; 8-Awesome AlessandraForecast: The finale is a $50,000 maiden claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. La Croix returns from the Bay Area after finishing off the board on the all-weather track in straight maiden company in mid-December but her prior outing over conventional dirt – a dead-heat second at this level the previous month - probably makes her the one to beat. The speed figure earned in that race is stronger than par for the level and this field on paper looks considerably weaker than average. Awesome Alessandra, third in three of her last four starts, figures in the fray throughout but will need to some improvement in the speed figure department to graduate. Rstars and Stripes is a first-timer bred for speed but with a slow series of drills for the K. Mulhall barn. Still, she might be able to run some, and with J. Rosario taking the call we suspect she can be competitive first crack out of the box.

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2.2.2020:

February 2: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park will be an outlet for money made on any Super Bowl props as the 0.50 Pick 4 is set to go in Race 6. The sequence has a $15,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Bay Meadows (4-1)-Besides being 0-20 this guy comes off a spirited effort when the trip took him the long way around. Plano is back between the pipes and banking on a much smoother journey.3-Hesallaboutdabass (3-1)-Usually tries to come off a helmet and follows cover but not last week. Sanzeri got the top into a 55.3 half and will look for another aggressive try.4-Just Don't Wait (4-1)-2020 has been a good year so far for this 4-year-old who has 2 wins and 2 third place finishes in 4 starts. Thinking Wallis will get the lead or sit in the 2-hole.Race 72-Hot Art (4-1)-Plano should dial it up to get a close-up seat and could trip out. Chances go up with a good start and 10-time winner in 2019 should be a player.4-Feelin Lika Winner (2-1)-Drops out of Open II class and 10-year-old has banked over $500k. Offers no value and gets a new pilot tonight. Will respect but will look to others.7-Neat (6-1)-Makes 2nd start off a sick scratch and could pop at a nice price with a good steer by Cushing. The start of this race should be very interesting and will lean towards a neat trip for Neat.Race 83-War-N-Munn (2-1)-Program chalk deserves to be in the mix and does drop but isn't a picture taker. Gets a good post draw but needs to finish off the mile to take the top prize.5-Late Night Joke (3-1)-Veteran gets a new set of hands as Plano takes a spin. Chances go way up if pace is swift but at this level may leave and take control. Either way best to respect.6-Jins Shark (4-1)-Hasn't been as effective at the Pomp as at HoP but gets post relief and should like the company.Race 94-Always Glorious (7-1)-Gets some class relief and my view is Wallis will put in play early. Could be sitting on big try at a nice price.6-Mach West (4-1)-Winner of 4 of last 6 starts fits well with this group and Cushing has driven in the past. The start will be key as there is gate speed to the inside.0.50 Pick 42,3,4/2,4,7/3,5,6/4,6Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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2.1.2020:

Saturday, February 1: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Quick; 8-Queen of the TrackForecast: At first glance it may appear Quick is merely getting her feet wet in this abbreviated turf dash for first level allowance fillies and mares, having performed best in England at much farther distances. But the J. Sadler-trained import has trained like she had enough early speed to be effective at this trip, and with J. Rosario taking the mount the daughter of Olympic Glory appears extremely well-meant. Additionally, she’s a first-time Lasix user with solid Timeform ratings and was a winner in her debut, so we know she can fire fresh, so we’ll put her on top but also include in our rolling exotics Queen of the Track, a two-time turf sprint winner and possibly the quickest of the quick. She gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Velez and has numbers that make her a dangerous with her top effort.RACE 2: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-My Happy GirlForecast: This maiden special weight extended sprint for 3-year-old fillies drew just five runners, so we’ll take a stand with My Happy Girl, the first-timer by American Pharoah from the Bob Baffert barn. She’s trained well enough to win a race like this and can dictate the race from her cozy outside draw. She won’t be offering any real value at 6/5 on the morning line, so you can use her as a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: XUse: 3-Auberge; 5-SpeechForecast: Auberge ran a winning race when second in the Santa Ynez S.-G2 behind three-time Grade-1 winner Bast last month and with a better break from the rail that day she might have been able to upset her stable mate. The daughter of Palace has trained extremely well since, so this drop into the first level allowance ranks theoretically should be easy pickings. We’ll also include as a back-up or a saver in our rolling exotics Speech, a runaway winner of a maiden race at Los Alamitos in December with a huge figure in what was just her second career start. The daughter of Mr Speaker will be dangerous if she can repeat that type of effort in this tougher affair.RACE 4: Post 2:04 PT. Grade: XSingle: 6-Divine ArmorForecast: Divine Armor is improving with racing and appears ready to break through with a winning effort. In the money in both of his outings with rising speed figures, the son of Include retains J. Rosario, continues to look good in the morning, and seems capable of producing the last run. He’s 8/5 on the morning line with the likelihood of going lower, so here’s another logical rolling exotic single that probably won’t offer any real value.RACE 5: Post 2:36 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Woke Up to Aces; 6-Rocking Redhead; 9-Moonhall MillyForecast: Here’s a maiden race with some depth, requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Debuting Rocking Redhead has done some good work in the morning for a capable outfit and appears to be ready for a major effort right now. Certainly bred for turf (Hard Spun), the R. Baltas-trained filly recorded a bullet half mile training track workout (47 3/5) two weeks ago when beating older stakes winner Desert Stone that really catches the eye. Woke Up Aces attracts J. Rosario for her debut, is bred to win early (The Factor) and has trained a bit better than her moderate morning clockings might indicate. If she leaves cleanly from the rail, she’ll be dangerous. Moonhall Milly is an intriguing Irish invader that ran finished a strong third in an 18-runner field in only outing last summer. She gets Lasix and F. Prat and should be more than fit following a series of solid training track workouts. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Rocking Redhead on top.RACE 6: Post 3:07 PT. Grade: XSingle: 2-Thousand WordsForecast: Thousand Words is undefeated in two starts, including a win in the Los Alamitos Futurity-G2 when beating Breeders’ Cup Juvenile-G2 runner-up Anneau d’Oro. The son of Pioneerof the Nile has trained very impressively since, so at 4/5 on the morning and certain to go even lower, she’s an obvious no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post 3:37 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-UnitedForecast: United has had a couple tough beats recently – he missed by a head in the Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 to Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar two runs back and then most recently dropped a neck decision in the Hollywood Turf Cup-G2 at Del Mar in early December – but recent works indicate he’s as sharp as a tack and ready to get back into winning form. In a race that figures to be slowly run early, the son of Giant’s Causeway should be within striking range every step of the way and then be able to kick home when it counts. At 8/5 on the morning line and likely to go closer to even money, he’s yet another short price rolling exotic single.RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Roadster; 3-Restrainedvengence; 5-MidcourtForecast: This year’s edition of the San Pasqual Stakes is a wide open affair in which no result would be surprising. We’ll go three-deep but not with any degree of confidence; you probably should spread as deeply as you can afford to. Roadster won last year’s Santa Anita Derby over this track and distance but hasn’t won since. The son of Quality Road continues to train well and just finished a closing second to Omaha Beach in the Malibu Stakes-G1 on opening day, so with any kind of forward move he’ll be tough to beat. But he’s never really been one to count on. Restrainedvengence got a confidence-building win at Zia Park in late November and is a versatile type that can win on any surface on the front end or from far back. Freshened and training well, the veteran son of Hold Me Back should be within striking range throughout and have every chance in the final quarter mile. Midcourt had won four straight prior to a somewhat lethargic third place effort (beaten more than seven lengths) in the San Antonio Stakes-G2 on opening day. He didn’t break well in that race but the slow didn’t get him beat. We’ll see if he can snap back today.RACE 9: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Absolutely Perfect; 5-Bodhicitta; 7-Out of BalanceForecast: Bodhicitta is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat while exiting the Lady Shamrock S. and this first-level allowance event should be well within her capabilities based on her clever win over this course and distance two runs back. A bullet workout on the training track last week gives every indication that she’s on top of her game. Out of Balance is a first-time Lasix user in her 14th career start and has hit the board at this level in her last pair, so the daughter of Kitten’s Joy has every right to improve enough to be a strong threat . With some help up front, the late-running filly could be tough to contain in the final furlong. Absolutely Perfect looked good beating state-bred rivals during the fall meeting but hasn’t been out since. Her recent workouts are promising and if she returns as well as she left the D. Blacker-trained daughter of Vronsky should be competitive in open company and is worth including at 8-1 on the morning line.

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2.1.2020:

Saturday, February 1: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the Can-Am Pick 4 starts in Race 10 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and finishes up at the Meadowlands when leg 4 rolls in Race 11.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 10-Leg 1-Mohawk Park1-Easy Lover Hanover (2-1)-Recent form has been flat but drops from Preferred ranks. Should be on the engine early and may not look back. Not sure McNair will be driving as the O'Brien Awards are happening tonight but using anyway.2-East End (9/2)-Similar form to #1 and also drops to a good level. Filion could catch a jewel of a trip behind the ML chalk and then take a shot to brush by down the lane.Race 10-Leg 2-Meadowlands1-New Talent (7/2)-Drops, draws the rail and Callahan steers for Cullipher. Only 2-28 at the Big M but should be dialed on high tonight.2-Independent One (5-1)-In fine form and appears to be a value if goes off at 5-1. Came out flying in 2020 with wins in 3 of 4 and has won 3 of 7 in East Rutherford.3-Seeing Eye Single (3-1)-Came up short from the 9-hole on an off-track and now Gingras takes the lines. Probably will be driven aggressively and best to respect.7-Laredo Torpedo N (8-1)-Even effort in a fast mile at this level in last outing. Now McCarthy takes a seat on New Zealand import who hasn't seen a fast track in 3 local starts.Race 11-Leg 3-Mohawk Park2-Julerica (7/2)-Came 4th in last and that was the worst finish since 11/11. Should enjoy the post draw and Jamieson could put in play off the wings.5-Keep Coming (6-1)-Only 1-13 at Wbsb but drops to a favorable level. Cullen could work a trip and with a live cover flow may take the top prize.6-Cheapskate Hanover (5/2)-Makes 3rd start for the Auciello barn and last was a strong try from the 2nd tier. An 8-time winner in 20 starts at Mohawk looks to be a player versus this crew.Race 11-Leg 4-Meadowlands2-Nascar Seelster (9/2)-Recent form has been so-so and moves up a notch. New hands with McClure after Miller chose #9. Has won here at this class and starts in a good spot to be put in play early and could trip out.3-Lifeonthebeach A (3-1)-Made it look too easy last week can't ignore even though taking a big step-up in class. Went to the half in 55 flat but sizzled the 3/4's in 122.4 and looks like a player again.9-JK Wildfire (8-1)-Miller's pick could benefit from a hot pace and has the gate speed to get a close-up seat. Best to respect more so if track is fast, only 1-13 on a wet surface.My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 1,2 Race 10 Meadowlands) 1,2,3,7 Race 11 Mohawk) 2,5,6 Race 11 Meadowlands) 2,3,9Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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1.31.2020:

Friday, January 31: Cal Expo Pick 4 Analysis

The Friday night 0.20 Pick 4 at Cal Expo is set to roll in Race 8. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a 16% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 81-Uringoodhands (3-1)-Winner of 3 straight moves up and last was too good to discount chances for another picture tonight. Likes the engine and should be put in play early to get the top spot.2-Ragin's Flight (5-1)-Gets post relief, Svendsen is back aboard and had a tough trip in last but kept working. Looks like a player and could offer a square price.7-Western Devil (7/2)-Beat the $6k claimers last week but took the lead off a soft .29 opening quarter. But best to respect chances to repeat, likes the track and has the gate speed to be on top or in the 2-hole behind #1.Race 95-Fred And Roz (4-1)Last start came off 2 breaks but was used hard and took control only to fade late. Gets a good draw and could make an easy lead. Could win if minds manners, using and will hope 4-year-old stays flat.7-Mystical Storm (6-1)-Best to not overlook winner of 4 of last 6 for hot barn. Form has stayed sharp for the last 6 weeks as adding Lasix has worked some magic.8-Fear Factor (6-1)-Plano returns for a 2nd spin and last was a better than previous starts. Needs the right trip and an honest pace but the price should be right to take a swing.9-Na Na Na Baatman (12-1)-Another who needs an honest pace and the right trip. But this feels like a race to spread and look for a big price. Doesn't win often but this isn't a field of all-stars.Race 102-Senga Nitro (5-1)-Drops out of Open company and could benefit from the inside post draw. Boyd will probably be out and winging looking for the top. Should enjoy the company and looks like a player.8-Timetoplaythegame (8-1)-Tossing last at 1.5 miles and now gets necessary class relief. Wiseman could leave, get a nice seat and a close-up trip at a nice price. Likes to win, best to not overlook.9-Marced Magic (4-1)-Has been battling well versus Open company and should be rolling late if pace is quick. Magee needs to work the right trip and post helps the price.Race 111-Crookshanks (5/2)-Gets post relief in 4th start since arriving from Nfld. Loses Svendsen to #4 but is in good hands with Plano. Not crazy about the ML odds but should be in the hunt in an ugly race.2-Daatrumpster (2-1)-1st start off the bench after a good qualifier and tries Lasix for the 2nd time. Best to respect connections as barn is batting 21% in last 30 days and was Kennedy's choice over #7.4-Villa For Rent (5-1)-Svendsen's choice and he knows well. Looking for a more aggressive steer and to be put in play early. Chances improve if the track is fast.My Ticket Race 8) 1,2,7 Race 9) 5,7,8,9 Race 10) 2,8,9 Race 11) 1,2,4Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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1.31.2020:

Friday, January 31: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-A Man’s Man; 2-Jetovator; 7-Trending HigherForecast: Jetovator hasn’t been punching it in lately, so he’s certainly not one to trust, but the P. Eurton-trained gelding returns to a sprint and gets his easiest chance to date in his 10th career start. The Grazen gelding figures to get plenty of play once again with the switch to F. Prat and with numbers that are good enough to beat this modest state-bred field, but we’ve said in several of his prior outings and he’s still a maiden. A Man’s Man is sure to offer betting wagering value and continues to impress in the morning with every right to step forward in his first try on grass. With City Zip on the bottom side of his pedigree, the B. Koriner-trained gelding could easily move up several lengths with the switch to turf. Debuting Trending Higher is another bred for grass (Acclamation) and has trained well enough to expect that he’ll be competitive with these, but the barn rarely wins with first-timer starters and the extreme outside post is not the place to be when the rails are up 30 feet. In a wide open affair, best advice is to use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Busy Paynter; 3-Edna; 4-Rizzi’s HonorsForecast: Ednatakes a realistic class drop and could be the quickest of the quick. An impressive recent training track drill indicates she retails all of her speed, and in this spot she could get her confidence back. Busy Paynter easily handled a restricted (nw-3) $12,500 field here two weeks ago and is wheeled back quickly by new trainer R. Hess, Jr. while switching to F. Prat. This is a logical spot, so she’s a contender despite the class hike. Rizzi’s Honors crushed a starter’s allowance field at Los Alamitos last time out and a similar effort today in this $20,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares might be good enough for a repeat score. However, she’s only 1-for-14 over the Santa Anita main track, so there’s no guarantee that she can repeat that type of performance today. All three should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Edna on top.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Miss Stormy D; 2-Velvet QueenForecast: Velvet Queen is a genuine and consistent filly trying to make amends for her recent narrow defeat as the favorite in a similar first-level allowance middle distance event. She switches to J. Rosario but is facing much more early speed today and may have to accept a stalker’s role rather than her preferred front running trip. If she can relax early and pounce late, the R. Baltas-trained filly should be hard to beat, but that might be a big if. Miss Stormy D lands the rail, stretches out for the first time, and seems sure to employ gate-to-wire tactics. If she’s ever going to handle two turns, it’ll be in her first try. In a five-runner race, we’ll try to survive and advance using just these two.RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Quinnie; 2-Violette SzaboForecast: There appears to be an abundance of early speed in this first-level allowance state-bred turf mile for fillies and mares so let’s toss on the front running types and concentrate on the stalkers and closers. Violette Szabo has been knocking on the door without entering in recent sprint and seems to have enough of a foundation now to stretch out successfully. While she has good early speed, the daughter of Grazen projects to settle into a comfortable second flight, stalking spot and then have every chance to tag the speed when the pressure is turned on in the final furlong. Quinnie won a solid $32,000 claimer over this course and distance two runs back but then appeared to lose her punch when second over nine furlongs in her most recent outing. She’s back at a flat mile – clearly her favorite trip – and from the rail the C. Gaines-trained daughter of English Channel is assured a clean, ground-saving trip. Two of her three career victories have been accomplished over the local lawn.RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Freiburg; 6-Italiano; 7-Oil Can KnightForecast: Prototype late-running sprinter Italiano was a tad disappointing when a no-threat fifth in a first-level allowance sprint earlier this month but this drop into a starter’s allowance $25,000 affair should allow the V. Belvoir-trained gelding to regain his top form. F. Prat stays aboard, knows him well, and should give the veteran son of Twirling Candy the patient ride he needs. Oil Can Knight switches to J. Rosario and projects to enjoy a perfect trip from his comfortable outside draw. He was a respectable third behind Italiano two runs back over a wet track at Los Alamitos but in a field without much early speed, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the S. Knapp gelding pop the gate, take control early, and prove hard to catch. Freiburg remains protected in a sign of confidence by M. Glatt and returns to dirt after failing to get involved in a quick grass dash at Del Mar in early December. Freshened since then and training quite well in the interim, the son of Langfuhr earned a number when winning at Emerald Downs two races back and puts him right in the thick of things.RACE 6: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Little Bird; 2-Carpe Vinum; 3-She’s So SpecialForecast: Little Bird was given a run in her U. S. debut when allowed to finish on her own courage in the listed Blue Norther Stakes last month and should get much more serious today with that effort under her belt and this drop into the first level allowance ranks. The Irish-bred filly was making her first start since August, had won two of her three previous starts, and shows a bullet five furlong training track drill since raced. Today we should find out what she’s made of. She’s So Special was a visually pleasing winner of a maiden turf sprint here in mid-January and there’s no reason she shouldn’t be comfortable with this stretch-out to a mile. The daughter of Hard Spun will need to step it up against this tougher group, but could be up to the task, though it’s fair to point out that J. Rosario jumps off her to ride Little Bird. Carpe Vinum also a was a recent maiden winner, scoring with a good stalking trip over this course and a distance, and given the projected pace scenario she could easily inherited the role as the controlling speed.RACE 7: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Itsthattime; 9-Promise NothingForecast: Promise Nothing stretches out for the first time, removes blinkers (love that angle), drops to his lowest level ever and switches to the barns go-to rider, T. Pereira. The son of Street Boss doesn’t have a whole lot to beat in this maiden $30,000 middle distance claimer for 3-year-olds and if he can establish the pace without pressure he could easily take this field gate to wire. Itsthattime, second in his last pair with speed figures that fit nicely in this league, may be the most dangerous of the closing types and is worth tossing in on a few tickets as a saver or a back-up.

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1.30.2020:

Tiz the Law Heads Holy Bull S., Late Pick 4 at Gulfstream

The Triple Crown trail heats up in south Florida as the Grade 3 Holy Bull Stakes gets it rolling at Gulfstream Park. The Holy Bull is the start of the most lucrative portion of the Gulfstream stakes schedule that culminates with the Grade 1 Florida Derby, and then the winter of that is usually highly regarded for the Kentucky Derby. Here’s a look at the Holy Bull and the late Pick 4:1st: Tiz the Law. Makes his first start of 2020 after an impressive 2-year-old campaign, and if he runs close to those races, the Barclay Tagg trainee will be too much of a challenge for these. The Grade 1 Champagne winner was two for two when he suffered his first loss, a third-place finish as the 3-to-5 favorite behind Silver Prospect in the sloppy Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs.He has been a handful on the track in the morning and come forth with a steady and mostly impressive string of workouts. Jockey Manny Franco is a good fit for this Constitution colt, who has shown some maturity in relaxing just off the pace in his races and has had a decent finish in each. A lively pace should set him up for another good late move. 2nd: Mayberry Deputy. Improvement is the name of the game for young horses, and Mayberry Deputy has done just that. He has just three starts and his debut was not a good one, as he was eighth in a Churchill maiden race. Julien Leparoux picked up the mount from trainer Kenny McPeek for his second start, and he turned it out with a second. On Dec. 19, he broke his maiden over the Gulfstream strip when he cruised by 2 1-2 lengths. He’ll likely be a pace from the outside, and Leparoux has a knack for getting speed horses to relax. 3rd: Ete Indien. The Patrick Biancone-trained Summer Front runner has won two of three, and his only blemish came in the grassy Grade 3 Bourbon at Keeneland, when never got involved while very wide throughout. In a race since then, he dazzled with a gate-to-wire score in an optional claiming at Gulfstream. Toledo was an even second in that one and returns for this one. Tiz the Law is the one to beat, mainly due to the pace here, which is expected to be a hot one. If either Mayberry Deputy or Ete Indian are allowed to clear into the backstretch, they would be seriously difficult to catch. Here’s a suggested play in the late Pick 4, which runs from races 9 through 12. The Holy Bull is the 11th race on the card and third leg in the sequence:Race 9) #1 Mischevious Alex, #2 Untitled, #4 Green Light Go, #5 Shivaree.Race 10) #2 South Bend, #3 Homeland, #9 Famished. Race 11) #3 Tiz the Law, #4 Ete Indien. #7 Mayberry Deputy. Race 12) #4 Doctor Dub, #9 Appealing Briefs, #10 Fantasizing.50-cent Pick 4 ticket: 1-2-4-5 with 2-3-9 with 3-4-7 with 4-9-10 ($54)

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1.30.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Wagering Strategies for 1/30/20

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.*The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing. Today’s Day Makers: View Video Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File RACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Grandpa Louie; 4-Abusive Gary Forecast: Grandpa Louie shows up in a seller for the first time, is re-equipped with blinkers, and switches to F. Prat in this modest maiden $50,000 claiming sprint for older horses. Having failed three times as the favorite in six career starts, twice at odds-on, the P. Miller-trained gelding hardly is one to trust, but on pure numbers he really should have this group over a barrel. The bottom line, though, is at 9/5 on the morning and likely to go lower, the son of Coil won’t offer any wagering. Abusive Gary shows up in a seller for the first time, shortens to six furlongs, switches to the main track, and continues to look good in the morning. We’ll give him one more chance and include him in our rolling exotics. RACE 2: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: X Use: 3-Shanghai Barbie; 5-Boonesboro Beauty Forecast: Boonesboro Beauty is a Bay Area invader with speed figures that are more than good enough to win at this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 level and she’s shown she can handle conventional dirt, having beaten maiden special weight company at Pleasanton last summer. This class drop seems realistic and she gets a break in the weights with the switch to good bug boy J. Diaz, Jr. It all adds up to a 6/5 morning line favorite. Shanghai Barbie has finished in the frame in each of her last three outings and was more than three lengths clear of the rest when runner-up over this track and distance in a similar miler for older fillies and mares 13 days ago. The N. Drysdale-trained filly has good tactical and should have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics. RACE 3: Post 1:58 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Mucho Macho Woman; 5-Mela Jones; 7-Fresh Face Forecast: Mucho Macho Woman, away since the fall meeting, returns in a maiden claimer for the first time and seems to have found her proper level. The R. Ellis-trained filly is turning back to a sprint, sports a strong recent series of works, and really doesn’t have much to beat. Mela Jones, in her second off a long layoff, returns to the main track, exits a series of tougher straight maiden turf sprints, and has speed figures that make her the one to beat for the potent Cedillo/Carava team. She appears the quickest of the quick and will take them as far as she can. Fresh Face has trained a bit better than her moderate work tab gives her credit for, so we’ll toss her in as well. She’s a daughter of Uncle Mo debuting in a claimer, not an encouraging sign, but if she can run at all she’ll fit with these. RACE 4: Post 2:29 PT. Grade: X Single: 8-Border Town Forecast: Five of the eight entrants in this maiden special weight turf miler for older horses exits the same race, the Jan. 5th event over this course and distance that was won by Lincoln City. Border Town in his first outing since September, his first for R. Mandella, and his first since arriving from New York, would seem to have the most reason to improve, and was second in that race while beaten a head despite a slow start. With a trouble free trip today, the son of War Front should be able to earn his diploma in his fourth career start. However, at 2-1 on the morning line and likely to go lower he’ll probably not offer much in the way of wagering value. RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Will Dancer; 3-Blame It On Kitty Forecast: Will Dancer just broke his maiden over this track and distance in a productive bottom-rung affair with a career top speed figure and is realistically spotted in this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 event for older horses. The son of Will Take Charge won that race gate-to-wire and we suspect similar front-running tactics will be employed right back. Based on the projected race-shape of this race, the E. Truman-trained colt should find himself as the controlling speed once again. Blame It On Kitty has no tactical speed but he is dropping significantly in class and returning to the main track, so improvement is possible. The Blame gelding has back numbers that fit and may improve with the switch to A. Cedillo. Will Dancer gets the edge on top but both should be included in your rolling exotics. RACE 6: Post 3:31 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-You’reright Again; 3-Mosienko; 5-Shootin Money Forecast: Mosienko returns to a sprint, tackles boys and based on pure form should be able to compete strongly under these conditions. The daughter of Hat Trick is plenty quick but projects to draft into an ideal pace-stalking position and then have dead aim when it matters in the final stages. Shooting Money got away with easy splits when breaking his maiden for $30,000 on New Year’s Day and is protected today while switching to grass. His pedigree doesn’t guarantee he’ll improve on turf but that doesn’t mean he won’t like it. With another forward move, he should be right there. You’reright Again moves up in class but has plenty of early zip and from the rail should take them a long way, maybe even gate-to-wire. He’s a tad slower on speed figures than the other main players but has the pedigree to handle on grass, so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as well. RACE 7: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Lightning Fast Forecast: Lightning Fast, freshened since mid-November and returning as a first-time gelding, lands the cozy outside post in this extended sprint for maiden state-bred 3-year-olds and catches what appears to be a below par field for the level. He’s fast enough on speed figures to win, sports a recent healthy work tab, and hails from a barn that boasts superior stats with layoff runners. At 5/2 on the morning line, the W. Spawr-trained gelding is a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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1.30.2020:

On Ropes, Pegasus Rallies

The 2020 Pegasus, fourth renewal of the event, struggled through early rounds while taking several potent jabs to the face. First, in a single, delayed announcement, the race’s purse was reduced from $7 million to $3 million and hopefuls were informed that starters in both the Pegasus World Cup Turf and Pegasus World Cup Invitational would be required to race medication free, including the omnipresent anti-bleeding aid Lasix. Race purse and condition alteration announcements were followed by possibly unrelated but, nevertheless, crushing blows in the form of defections by headliners--runaway Eclipse Award-winning 3-year-old Maximum Security and Breeders’ Cup Classic runner-up McKinzie. Connections announced that both runners, instead, would join the maiden voyage of the $20 million Saudi Cup in Saudi Arabia.  A few counterpunches kept things close on judges’ cards--reduced starting fees for owners and a pledge to racehorse aftercare—an $80k final contribution. Just as it seemed the 2020 Pegasus had settled into a decent rhythm, moving, sticking and promising to make it a fight, the race was hit with a damaging, powerful one-two combination. The day after entries, within a few hours, not one but two top morning-line favorites scratched from the race. Omaha Beach, a talented 4-year-old multiple Grade 1 winner and Breeders’ Cup Mile runner-up, and Spun to Run, winner of the Gr. 1 BC Mile, had physical issues that precluded them from starting in the race. Omaha Beach is through racing and will begin a stud career at Spendthrift Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. Spun to Run, according to trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero will rest before, hopefully, returning to action. Those blows sent the 2020 Pegasus reeling against the ropes, knees wobbly, eyes glazed. It seemed as if the race was headed for the canvas, flat on its back. Ten runners remained to compete for $3 million, but without top drawing cards it seemed as if the race’s luster had vanished into the cool Hallandale Beach air. Then, suddenly, like Rocky Balboa, the club fighter who got an improbable shot at the heavyweight title, the 2020 Pegasus roared back with a vengeance, landing blows left and right. The weather struck first—at the end of a week of the coldest temperatures in eight years--clear, sunny, mid-70s temperatures arrived Saturday with a faint, cool breeze off the nearby Atlantic. The event’s undercard delivered a series of punches, race after race, featuring mutuel payoffs so juicy that they, ultimately, nearly caused a swollen Rainbow Six Jackpot to disperse the day before a much-anticipated mandatory payout. Like the Italian Stallion against Apollo Creed, the 2020 Pegasus event rallied to take control of the fight with a powerful left hook to the body in the form of the second edition of the $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational. Zulu Alpha, a 7-year-old claimed by Mike Maker for $80k out of nine-length win at Churchill in September of 2018, enjoyed a splendid rail-skimming trip under jockey Tyler Gaffalione. In the stretch, he exploded past respected world traveler Magic Wand by two lengths at 11.80-1. In addition to outstanding racing, Pegasus 2020 also delivered on its promise to offer outstanding entertainment with an eye toward attracting a younger demographic. Across the horse path, up the stretch from the grandstand, some of Miami’s beautiful people gathered to eat, drink, be merry and wager on the races. Attracted by local promotion and appearances by T-Pain and Nelly, the crowd in the LIV Stretch Village swelled as the afternoon progressed. The most illustrious of attendees was the beautiful, multi-talented Jennifer Lopez, who walked the blue carpet with her two daughters. Right behind JLo was husband Alex Rodriguez and his two daughters. It looked like a Saturday afternoon family outing, mixing a bit of business with pleasure, no doubt. But who cares if JLo was paid to appear? All my starstruck wife cared about was that there was the superstar was ascending the stairs a mere five feet away. Of course, the rest of the crowd was just as jazzed, and called out to JLo while somewhat ignoring her former New York Yankee star and baseball Hall-of-Fame candidate husband. It reminded me about Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe and Hall-of-Fame Yankee husband Joe DiMaggio. During their honeymoon in Japan, Monroe made a side trip to Korea to entertain the troops. As Roger Kahn described it in Joe and Marilyn: A Memory of Love, “When she was reunited with DiMaggio, she described the crowds and then burst out, ‘Joe, you never heard such cheering.’ ‘Yes, I have,’ DiMaggio said…” Moments later, actor Vin Diesel followed the same Pegasus Blue Carpet route and stairs, but my wife wasn’t nearly as impressed. No offense, Vin. Also, Saturday, there was a horse race. The Pegasus World Cup Invitational was won by Mucho Gusto, a California invader trained by Bob Baffert. Unlike with three previous Pegasus editions, won by Arrogate (also trained by Baffert), Gun Runner and City of Light, respectively, horseplayers viewed this renewal differently than merely as a pre-retirement coronation. Favoritism, at 2.80-1, went to another Southern California-based runner in the John Sadler-trained Higher Power. Mucho Gusto was solid second choice at 3.40-1, just in front of Tax at 4.30-1. ‘Power and ‘Gusto finished as bookends, the former home last and the latter first. Tax beat only ‘Power home and reportedly ‘bled’ while racing without Lasix. Clearly aboard the best on the afternoon, jockey Irad Ortiz rode a brilliant, confident race; breaking fast from near the outside, the pair gained the lead going into the first turn, saved ground along the rail and relaxed comfortably behind a pair of determined pacesetters. When it was ‘go’ time, Ortiz merely needed only to ask the question and ‘Gusto responded affirmatively to roar home convincingly. Like Rocky, the 2020 Pegasus World Cup Invitational didn’t rally to win by a knockout. It overcame early challenges to go the distance in a close decision. Some will argue that Mucho Gusto is no superstar, and that’s true…today. But, perhaps, instead of featuring the final race of a great horse’s career, this season’s Pegasus World Cup may be the coming out party for an up and coming star. Certainly, the race would have been much different with Omaha Beach and Spun to Run in the lineup, never mind if Maximum Security and McKinzie had shown up. However, according to an impressive 107 Beyer Speed Rating, Saturday, they would have needed to wear their running shoes on to defeat Mucho Gusto. Post 2020 Pegasus World Cup, as the Miami sun set on a job well done, this writer noticed JLo, and family depart the Liv Stretch Village. Wait, you mean they were in attendance for the races and not just for the post-race entertainment? Great! Upon hearing a rumor that ARod had wagered $500 to win on Mucho Gusto, I remarked, “That’s great, I bet $200 on him. Obviously, one of us is wagering over his head.” Race On!

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1.30.2020:

Triple Crown Trail Kicks off in Florida & California; Free Picks & Analysis

The Road to the Triple Crown kicks off in earnest in California and Florida this weekend as Santa Anita and Gulfstream host the first major steps along the path to the Santa Anita and Florida Derbies.Gulfstream’s Grade 3, $350,000 Holy Bull is the highlight of a 12-race card in South Florida that includes five stakes races for three-year-olds.  Among the leading contenders for the Holy Bull are G1 Champagne Stakes winner Tiz the Law and Louisiana-bred Relentless Dancer, who has won his last two races by a combined 20-lengths.Also on the slate at Gulfstream is the Grade 3, $150,000 Swale and that race attracted G2 Saratoga Special winner Green Light Go, multiple stakes winner Shivaree and incredibly impressive maiden breaker, Untitled. Across the country at Santa Anita, their 9-race card is bolstered by three stakes races including the G3, $100,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes. Bob Baffert has entered a pair of horses, G2 winner Thousand Words and G3 winner High Velocity, while Richard Mandella sends out recent maiden winner Tizamagician.  And finally, up in New York, sophomores are on display in the G3, $250,000 Withers Stakes. The standouts in there appear to be G2 Remsen winner Shotski, stakes winner Monday Morning Qb and Todd Pletcher’s recent maiden winner Portos. The Holy Bull, Robert Lewis and Withers are all ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’ Qualifying Races with the Top 4 finishers receiving points on a 10-4-2-1 scale. Here are the horses that jump out at me in each race:Gulfstream Park – Race 11 (5:04PM ET)Holy Bull Stakes (G3, $350K)1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)Conversation around the Holy Bull starts with Tiz the Law, Barclay Tagg’s impressive G1 Champagne Stakes winner. He’s going to be heavily bet on Saturday but I see a slight problem. I was completely unimpressed with his first two-turn try when he finished 3rd in Churchill’s G2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes in November. Maybe it was the slop that day, but it’s enough to give me cause for concern. Mike Maker’s Relentless Dancer beat nothing in the Louisiana Legacy Stakes at Delta Downs for Louisiana-bred horses on October 19, but any time a horse wins a race by 10+ lengths, you’ve got to take notice. He dead-heated for victory in a Churchill Downs maiden race on September 27 (more than nine lengths clear of third) and he drew a nice outside post where he should be able to stalk from just off the pace.Ken McPeek won this race last year with 29/1 outsider Harvey Wallbanger and he’s back this year with Mayberry Deputy, a recent Gulfstream Park maiden breaker. He’s a closer so a fair pace is a must, but I like the way he has moved forward with each start and he could get involved late.Toledo will be overbet on virtue of connections (Juddmonte/Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr) but none of his three races were all that impressive. Maybe he jumps forward in his two-turn debut – and the rail draw won’t help – but I just don’t see a lot of value with this one.My Picks1. Relentless Dancer2. Tiz the Law3. Toledo4. Mayberry Deputy Santa Anita Park – Race 6 (6:00PM ET)Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3, $100K)1 1/16 Miles (Dirt)Bob Baffert’s Thousand Words is a perfect 2-for-2 with his most recent victory coming in a hard-fought win in the G2 Los Alamitos Futurity on December 7. Baffert has won this race – named for his former client – a record seven times, including recent editions with Mucho Gusto (2019), Mor Spirit (2016) and Dortmund (2015). Thousand Words will be a heavy favorite and should perform well on Saturday.Even if Thousands Words loses, Baffert could still find the winner’s circle as he also sends out High Velocity. This one scuffled a bit in his two-turn debut – that same G2 Los Al Futurity – but he is already a G3 winner by virtue of his win in the Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar. He’s not the best Baffert horse in the race, but he’s not without a shot, either.Tizamagician needed six tries to break his maiden (including four second-place finishes) but the lightbulb clicked last time and sometimes that is all it takes. He has been around two-turns four times and always seems to fire. Plus, he’ll be an easy horse to cheer for. His trainer (Richard Mandella) had to endure another late scratch of Omaha Beach prior to last weekend’s Pegasus and his part-owner, Spendthrift Farm, will stand Omaha Beach at stud. They could use a ‘pick me up’ kind of weekend.Both Encoder and Royal Act are making their dirt debuts and either horse could surprise at a bit of a price. My Picks1. Thousand Words 2. Tizamagician3. Zimba Warrior 4. High Velocity Aqueduct – Race 8 (4:25PM ET)Withers Stakes (G3, $250K)1 1/8 Miles (Dirt)The longest of this weekend’s preps is the G3 Withers and G2 Remsen winner Shotski is already a winner at this 1 1/8-mile distance. He and Luis Saez stole the Remsen, though and the question regarding the Withers is a simple one – is thievery on the menu once again? He’s a nice horse but not necessarily the type of horse you want to back at a short price.Todd Pletcher’s Portos broke his maiden in the slop at Aqueduct on December 31 and while he’s not a fast horse, he is improving. He’ll be piloted by Jose Lezcano from a decent outside post and the expectation would be that they choose to sit midpack. There’s nothing on this horse’s resume that makes him a worldbeater, but he’s going to have a big shot in this race.Monday Morning Qb has never run around two turns and he doesn’t have beautiful breeding, but the MD-bred son of Imagining did win the Heft Stakes last out and his owner and trainer, Cash is King, LLC and Robert Reid, know their way to the winner’s circle. Vanzzy took advantage of a dawdling pace to win the Display Stakes at Woodbine on December 14 but, like several others, he’ll need to go faster to win this time around. My Picks1. Portos  2. Shotski3. New Commission  4. Monday Morning Qb 

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1.29.2020:

An Early 2020 Thoroughbred Top 10

The first polls of 2020 conducted by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association (NTRA) are not far away. The NTRA early each year begins disseminating a Top Thoroughbred Poll and a Top 3-Year-Old Poll. The Top Thoroughbred Poll ends on the Monday following the Breeders’ Cup. That means this year the final poll will be on Nov. 9 following the Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland on Nov. 7 and 8. The Top 3-Year-Old Poll ends on the Monday following the Grade I Belmont Stakes. That means this year the final poll will be on June 8 following the June 6 Belmont Stakes. These rankings are indicative of who might be crowned a divisional champion and, moreover, Horse of the Year. The rankings are based on votes cast by members of the media who regularly cover Thoroughbred racing. The voters select their Top 10 choices on a 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 points basis. Horses are to have raced at least once in North America. A horse who may have retired during the current calendar year remains eligible. Additionally, a horse can receive a vote even though the horse has not made a start in the new calendar year so long as the said horse is scheduled to race in the new calendar year. The first NTRA polls in 2016 were announced on March 7. But the first polls in 2017 were much earlier. That was because the Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park was inaugurated in 2017. Due to the introduction of the Pegasus World Cup, a $12 million race won by Arrogate early in 2017 on Jan. 28, the first NTRA polls started that year on Jan. 30. The first NTRA polls in 2018 were announced on Jan. 29 after that year’s $16 million Pegasus World Cup won by Gun Runner on Jan. 27. The first polls in 2019 were announced on Jan. 28 after that year’s $9 million Pegasus World Cup won by City of Light on Jan. 26. Mucho Gusto won this year’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup on Jan. 25. According to Alicia Hughes, director of NTRA communications, the first NTRA polls of 2020 will be on Feb. 17. “This way, it allows for a little more substance for voters to consider, especially on the 3-year-old side of things,” Hughes wrote in an email to explain this year’s later start to the polls. As a longtime voter in the NTRA polls, I went ahead and decided how I would have voted in the Top Thoroughbred Poll if there had been one this week. Here is that Top 10: 1. Maximum Security2. Mucho Gusto3. McKinzie4. Midnight Bisou5. Covfefe6. Uni7. Spun to Run8. Code of Honor9. Zulu Alpha10. Gift Box As the only one of the three 2019 Horse of the Year finalists scheduled to return in 2020, Maximum Security gets the top spot on my Top 10. The other two Horse of the Year finalists, Bricks and Mortar and Mitole, have been retired to stud. Maximum Security currently is in training with trainer Jason Servis in Florida at Palm Meadows. The plan, according to Gary West, who owns the colt in partnership with his wife, Mary, is for Maximum Security to make his 2020 debut in what now will be the world’s richest horse race, the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29. Voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male, Maximum Security won six of eight starts last year. Three of his 2019 victories came at the Grade I level. He took the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream in March, Grade I Haskell Invitational on a brutally hot July day at Monmouth and Grade I Cigar Mile at Aqueduct in December. In one of Maximum Security’s two losses last year, he crossed the finish line first in the Grade I Kentucky Derby on May 4, but then was disqualified by the stewards and placed 17th for causing interference on the final turn. In Maximum Security’s only other 2019 defeat, he stumbled at the start and finished second in Monmouth Park’s Pegasus Stakes on June 16. When Maximum Security won the Haskell, the runner-up was Mucho Gusto, who lost by 1 1/4 lengths. Yes, that’s the same Mucho Gusto who, in a sparkling performance, won last Saturday’s Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream by 4 1/2 lengths. Inasmuch as Maximum Security and Mucho Gusto finished one-two when they met last year in the Haskell, I feel quite comfortable putting them one-two, in the same order, on my Top 10. McKinzie, a Kentucky-bred son of Street Sense, concluded his 2019 campaign by finishing second to Vino Rosso in the Grade I, $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Like Maximum Security, McKinzie and Mucho Gusto both have designs on the inaugural Saudi Cup. Like Bricks and Mortar and Mitole, Vino Rosso has been retired from racing to embark on a new career as a stallion. Hall of Famer Bob Baffert trains Mucho Gusto and McKinzie in Southern California at Santa Anita. By the way, three of the first four editions of Gulfstream’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup have been won by a SoCal-based runner -- Arrogate in 2017, City of Light in 2019 and Mucho Gusto in 2020. Midnight Bisou, who won seven of eight starts in 2019, is No. 4 on my Top 10. She is yet another headed to the Saudi Cup. The daughter of Midnight Lute currently is in training with Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen in Louisiana at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots. The lone blemish on Midnight Bisou’s 2019 record was when she ran second to Blue Prize in the Grade I BC Distaff at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Midnight Bisou was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female. Covfefe and Uni, both on my Top 10, also were 2019 Eclipse Award winners. Covfefe, a Kentucky-bred daughter of Into Mischief, was voted champion 3-year-old filly and champion female sprinter. Uni, a Great Britain-bred daughter of More Than Ready, was voted champion female turf horse. Trained by Brad Cox, Covfefe won the Grade I BC Filly & Mare Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. Uni, whose trainer is Chad Brown, captured the Grade I BC Mile, also at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. In 2019 Eclipse Award balloting, Uni received 126 first-place votes compared to Sistercharlie’s 61 and Got Stormy’s 33. To be perfectly frank, I feel kind of bad for not putting Sistercharlie or Got Stormy on my Top 10. Sistercharlie was voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion female grass horse, then was a three-time Grade I winner in 2019. Got Stormy was a two-time Grade I winner in 2019 and was runner-up to Uni in the BC Mile. I ultimately made the decision to not have three horses from the same female grass division taking up three of the 10 spots. I have Spun to Run ranked No. 7. The high point of his 2019 campaign was a 2 3/4-length victory against Omaha Beach and company in the BC Dirt Mile at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. In Spun to Run’s final 2019 start, the Juan Carlos Gonzalez-trained Hard Spun colt finished second to Maximum Security in the Cigar Mile. Spun to Run was withdrawn from last Saturday’s Pegasus at Gulfstream owing to a skin disease. Code of Honor, one of the three finalists along with Maximum Security and the now-retired Omaha Beach for a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male, is No. 8 on my Top 10. Last summer at Saratoga, Code of Honor won the Grade I Travers Stakes for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. The Kentucky-bred Noble Mission colt then finished first in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 28, but he was disqualified and placed second for causing interference to Vino Rosso during the stretch run. Vino Rosso was declared the winner. In Code of Honor’s final 2019 start, he never threatened and wound up seventh in the BC Classic. Daily Racing Form’s Brad Free reported last Sunday that McGaughey said Code of Honor would be joining his Payson Park string in Florida “in about a week” after “spending early winter at Margaux Farm in Kentucky.” I believe that Zulu Alpha deserves inclusion on my Top 10 off his two-length triumph in Gulfstream’s Grade I, $1 million Pegasus World Cup Turf last Saturday in an 11-1 upset. Michael Maker trains the Kentucky-bred son of Street Cry. Rounding out my Top 10 is Gift Box, who won Santa Anita’s Grade II San Antonio Stakes with authority by 3 3/4 lengths on Dec. 28. Trained by John Sadler, the Kentucky-bred son of Twirling Candy won the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap in 2019. FINAL NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL OF 2019 With the first 2020 NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll just around the corner, here is a look back at the final poll for 2019: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 438 Bricks and Mortar (42)2. 388 Mitole (2)3. 332 Vino Rosso4. 297 Midnight Bisou5. 157 McKinzie5. 157 Sistercharlie7. 151 Uni8. 109 Covfefe9. 102 Blue Prize10. 90 Maximum Security Also receiving votes: Code of Honor (50 points), Omaha Beach (34), Imperial Hint (18), Higher Power (16), Spun to Run (15), Got Stormy (14), Elate (10), Iridessa (10), British Idiom (8), Vasilika (7), Belvoir Bay (4), Storm the Court (2), World of Trouble (2), Four Wheel Drive (1). When last year’s Eclipse Award winners were announced last week, it was revealed that Bricks and Mortar had been elected 2019 Horse of the Year. MY LATEST KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10 Storm the Court, who was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male, is atop my Kentucky Derby Top 10. Trained by Peter Eurton, Storm the Court won the Grade I BC Juvenile when last seen under silks at Santa Anita last Nov. 1. The Kentucky-bred Court Vision colt is gearing up for his first 2020 start in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 9. Here is my current Kentucky Derby Top 10: 1. Storm the Court2. Dennis’ Moment3. Nadal4. Honor A.P.5. Thousand Words6. Maxfield7. Tiz the Law8. Authentic9. Independence Hall10. Untitled There are three races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby this Saturday. The Road to the Kentucky Derby is a series of races that awards points to the Top 4 finishers in each race toward a berth in Churchill Downs’ 146th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby at 1 1/4 miles on May 2. Saturday’s trio of Grade III races offering Kentucky Derby points are Gulfstream’s Holy Bull Stakes, Aqueduct’s Withers Stakes and Santa Anita’s Robert B. Lewis Memorial. The first four finishers in those races earn points toward the Kentucky Derby on a 10-4-2-1 basis. Tiz the Law heads a field of seven entered in the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull. Trained by Barclay Tagg, the New York-bred Constitution colt won last year’s Grade I Champagne Stakes by four lengths at Belmont. In his only start since the Champagne, Tiz the Law finished a close third in Churchill’s Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club on a sloppy track when he had a troubled trip. Shotski, winner of Aqueduct’s Grade II Remsen Stakes on Dec. 7 in his most recent start, is expected to be the favorite in the Withers, a 1 1/8-mile race that has attracted a field of eight. Jeremiah O’Dwyer trains the Kentucky-bred Blame colt. Thousand Words, No. 5 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10, probably will be a heavy favorite in the Lewis. Six are entered in the 1 1/16-mile Lewis. Undefeated in two starts, Thousand Words is coming off a victory in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity on a wet track Dec. 7. Baffert trains the Kentucky-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt. Baffert also has High Velocity entered in the Lewis. The Kentucky-bred Quality Road colt finished third in the Los Al Futurity after winning Del Mar’s Grade III Bob Hope Stakes on Nov. 16. What happens in the Holy Bull, Withers and/or Lewis quite likely will have an impact on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 next week. WILLIAM HILL’S KENTUCKY DERBY ODDS Horseracingnation.com is doing a good job of weekly posting the William Hill Sports Book’s Kentucky Derby future book odds. William Hill has 26 horses listed at 50-1 or lower as of Jan. 27. They are: 8-1 Tiz the Law12-1 Dennis’ Moment12-1 Maxfield12-1 Storm the Court12-1 Thousand Words14-1 Authentic15-1 Eight Rings20-1 Enforceable24-1 Anneau d’Or25-1 Independence Hall30-1 Three Technique35-1 Azul Coast35-1 Silver State40-1 Ancient Warrior40-1 Answer In40-1 Blackberry Wine40-1 Chance It40-1 Chestertown40-1 Gouverneur Morris40-1 Tizamagician45-1 Ajaaweed50-1 Basin50-1 Caracaro50-1 Express Train50-1 Honor A.P.50-1 Untitled Nadal, who is No. 3 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10, is 75-1. ECLIPSE AWARD PREDICTIONS SCOREBOARD When I made my annual Eclipse Award predictions last week, I had 15 correct and two wrong. I wrote last week that it could be a close vote in the older dirt male category between Grade I BC Sprint winner Mitole and Grade I BC Classic winner Vino Rosso. Not only was I wrong with my prediction that Mitole would win it, it turned out Vino Rosso won by a fairly wide margin. Vino Rosso received 129 first-place votes compared to Mitole’s 108. I also incorrectly predicted Julio Correa would be voted champion apprentice jockey. The award went to Kazushi Kimura. I am especially kicking myself for being wrong in this category because I voted for Kimura. In what I found to be a very tough category to try and forecast the winner, I guessed Correa would get the most first-place votes. I guessed wrong. Kimura received 74 first-place votes compared to Correa’s 60. The first year that I made Eclipse Award predictions for Xpressbet.com was for racing that was conducted in 2011. Now including 2019, my Eclipse Award predictions have proven to be correct 91.4% of the time: 2011: 15 correct, 2 wrong2012: 16 correct, 1 wrong2013: 16 correct, 1 wrong2014: 17 correct, 0 wrong2015: 14 correct, 3 wrong2016: 16 correct, 1 wrong2017: 16 correct, 1 wrong2018: 16 correct, 1 wrong2019: 15 correct, 2 wrong Total: 141 correct, 12 wrong  

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1.29.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: January 31 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in the Stronach 5, which will run the gamut with four tracks this week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (3:49 ET) – 4up AOC (35k/N2X) at 7 furlongs You could literally throw a blanket over the field for the opener, as several look very similar on paper and come out a muddy 1/10 race that was in this sequence three weeks ago , so I’m going to spread deep, especially since the remaining four legs look a little most concise to me. I’m going to use a five-pack on the top line—#6 FORT FORTITUDE, #8 SANAVI, #9 CHARGIN STORM, #2 WORKING ON A DREAM, and #3 CERULEAN SPRINGS—as the first two don’t exit the 1/10 race and have solid for, especially the latter, and the last three all seemed to struggle in the mud three weeks ago, but have big prior fast track form that could win this on dry land. Pk5 A horses: 6,8,9,2,3 (listed in order of preference) I’ll use two on the B-line, as #1 FOLLOW THE DOG was all-out to beat lesser in good time in his last, but could find these waters a bit too deep, while #5 W W SPRINGTIME didn’t fire in the slop but had good prior form, and now starts for Mancilla, who is 4-for-14 at the meet. If #4 Confessor or #7 Saratoga Bob win, then I don’t, as the former has no speed and rarely gets there first, while the latter just seems a cut below on paper. Pk5 B horses: 1,5 Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R8 (4:06 ET) – 4upfm Fla-bred AOC (16k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf) Several speedsters look destined to set this up for a stalker, which means #5 SWEET YARE N DIRA and #9 HEIR BALL should hit hard, as both exit big runs, and have the right running style to take advantage of what looks like a hotly contested pace. I’ll also use #4 MISS AURAMET, who pressed and tired to be 3rd last time, but that came off an almost year-long layoff, so she should be tighter here, and won’t have to improve much as it is. Pk5 A horses: 5,9,4 I’m not sold on #1 GHOST BEAUTY, but she gets a huge jock upgrade to Irad and gets back to the turf off the Maker claim (14%), and the grassy MCL win at Aqu was solid, so if she can rate from a tricky draw, she has a chance. A better start gives #8 True Heiress a longshot chance, especially since she’s another who can pass horses late, but she’s tough to include off her last, while #7 Gioielli should run better as she’s second-off the long layoff and gets back to turf, but the hot pace won’t help her, or #6 War Star, who is 2-for-2 here but seems like she might get fried. Pk5 B horses: 1 Leg 3: Santa Anita R2 (4:30 ET) – 4upfm 20k claimer at 6 furlongs An expected hot and contested pace should help the class dropping #6 MONGOLIAN HUMOR, who continues to descend down the ladder after facing tons better, and has a stalking/closing gear that should really be flattered here. An outside attack post should help #4 RIZZI’S HONORS, and she does have a hint of a rating gear, and that 4-length win in the starter ranks last time was heady stuff, so if she can settle just a smidge, she’s got a big chance. Pk5 A horses: 6,4 It might take a herculean effort to wire from the inside, but #2 BUSY PAYNTER just freaked on the lead last time and goes off the Hess claim (15%), and there’s little doubt she’s the speed of the speed here, so she could get brave if she catches a flier at the start. If you want to think outside the box a bit, then #3 Edna is interesting on the stiff drop, and with a stalking gear, though she does look to be going the wrong way fast after three good runs to start her career. Pk5 B horses: 2 Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R3 (4:45 ET) – 4up 5k N2L* at 6 furlongs Here’s hoping a cutback to one-turn and some tactical speed are enough to help #3 STONE GROOVE pull the mild surprise, as he dueled and tired going longer last time but catches a group without a lot of early lick here, and it’s also worth noting he’s got three lifetime wins here. A drop in class should help #7 BROTHERCICCIO, who was a chasing 5th against better last time for 8k, while finishing ahead of a few here, and that style will give him first run on those rivals here. Pk5 A horses: 3,7 It looks like #1 HOW’S MY HERO regressed last off a big figure 4th two-back, and being wide every step of the way didn’t help either, so on the drop, with a better post, he may be able to get back to his best. I’m going to play against both #8 Smiling Bandit and #4 Leadville, who were 7th and 6th, respectively, behind ‘Brother last time, and while neither was beaten much, they don’t have any early speed either, which won’t help in the lane. Pk5 B horses: 1 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (5:10 ET) – 4upfm 16k MCL at 1 1/16 miles (turf) A weak field of locals and a recent Rice claim that heads down I-95 from Aqueduct gives us a single in the finale, as #6 SAVVY CAIRO looks to be here for a reason for a 23% barn off the claim that rarely ships south, and this gal faced eons better in her lone career turf start, and should only improv off the dirt return last time. Pk5 A horses: 6 If ‘Cairo doesn’t win, so be it, but she looks too good to use anyone else here, especially since anyone else here doesn’t look good at all. If you are trying for the upset, then #3 Funny Feather, #1 Always Lucky, and #4 Rooney seem best of the experienced gals, while #9 Bailatino goes for Rubley, who is 20% on debut, though 0-for-9 with first-time turfers. Pk5 B horses: NONE The tickets: Main Ticket: 6,8,9,2,3 with 5,9,4 with 6,4 with 3,7 with 6 = $60Leg 1 B Backup: 1,5 with 5,9,4 with 6,4 with 3,7 with 6 = $24Leg 2 B Backup: 6,8,9,2,3 with 1 with 6,4 with 3,7 with 6 = $20Leg 3 B Backup: 6,8,9,2,3 with 5,9,4 with 2 with 3,7 with 6 = $30Leg 4 B Backup: 6,8,9,2,3 with 5,9,4 with 6,4 with 1 with 6 = $30

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1.28.2020:

Harness Highlights: Old-Timers Piled Up The Wins In 2019

Age did not slow down harness racing’s winningest performers in 2019. Six of the Top 10 on the North America leaderboard were at least 10 years old and the leading trotter was 14 before he was forced into mandatory retirement on January 1 of this year.   Rustys Flying, who competed mostly at Flamboro Downs, Kawartha Downs and Rideau Carleton Raceway in Canada, hit the finish line first with 20 wins from 41 starts. The 11-year-old mare pacer has been claimed 15 times since 2018, three times by current trainer David Gibson. “She’s never been a stakes horse or anything like that,” Gibson said of the 98-race career winner in an interview with Standardbred Canada. “She’s done this week after week after week for so many years now, it’s really amazing. … She’ll just keep digging to the wire and give you everything she’s got.”   Rustys Flying won in a photo finish over 10-year-old pacer Atta Boy Dan, whose 19 wins earned him Horse of the Year honors at The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono. He, too, changed hands repeatedly in upper-level claiming races at the Pennsylvania track.   Defending champion Southwind Amazon was among eight standardbreds tied for third with 18 wins last season. The Northfield Park-based sensation, now 10 years old, completed a remarkable three-year run with 57 wins from 118 starts. With 18 wins, Anderlecht deserves special recognition, too, ending his career with 82 victories and C$1 million in earnings.   Elias Joy raced 42 times at age 14 for owner Andrew Gannon and trainer Robert Lounsbury. He won 18 of them – more than any other trotter in 2019 -- including his farewell race at Monticello in New York. In the earnings category, four Dan Patch Award divisional champions led the way. Bettors Wish parlayed multiple stakes victories and a perfect in-the-money record into a $1.64 million bankroll. Greenshoe and Gimpanzee both trotted to $1 million in seasonal earnings for trainer Marcus Melander. McWicked, the 2018 Horse of the Year, closed one of the best careers in harness racing history, with another $1 million season.

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1.27.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (January 20 - 26): Mucho Gusto

Each Monday, I’ll select my Most Valuable Pony from the previous week’s racing action around the country. Who won the week? It could be a breakout performer, a known stakes commodity or the horse lifting the most loot. Chime in on Twitter @Xpressbet with your thoughts on who should be each week’s MVP.January 20-16, 2020MVP: Mucho GustoOwner: Prince Faisal bin KhaledTrainer: Bob BaffertJockey: Irad Ortiz Jr.Performance: Dominant winner of Saturday’s $3 million Pegasus World Cup, Mucho Gusto’s breakout party was quite a performance. He won four Grade 3 races in 2018-'19 as a freshman and sophomore, but nothing like this. Those who had watched his recent workouts at XBTV.com understood that this kind of performance was possible against a field that had lost favorites Omaha Beach and Spun to Run to injury and illness. Irad Ortiz Jr. hustled Mucho Gusto from the gate to secure position, he came back to hand for the rider in a perfect, pressing trip behind Mr. Freeze and Bodexpress, then simply tackled them both at the quarter-pole and cruised home by 4-1/2 emphatic lengths.On Tap: Purchased by Prince Faisal bin Khaled specifically with the inaugural Saudi Cup in mind, he heads to the Middle East with a major chance at taking top prize in that $20 million jackpot on February 29. Baffert is no stranger to shipping to that part of the world with success, taking the Dubai World Cup with the likes of Silver Charm, Captain Steve and Arrogate.Honorable Mentions: Zulu Alpha’s rail-skimming rally to win Saturday’s Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Turf over world traveler Magic Wand was a career-best effort for that Mike Maker trainee. Pink Sands shot out of a rocket to roll late in Saturday’s Grade 2 Inside Information at Gulfstream for Shug McGaughey. She provided memories of barn predecessor Honor Code and his 2015 Met Mile late eruption.

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1.27.2020:

Monday, January 27: Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

Last week Woodbine Mohawk Park increased the Pick 5 guaranteed pool to $75,000. Early results have shown the move to be a good one as pools have been well above the guarantee. Tonight, the Early 0.20 Pick 5 will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Rustys Flying (7/2)-Has been camera shy of late and is a one move horse. But from the rail that move could come down the lane to be first under the wire. Will use with Rhonda stuck outside.4-Silverhill Misty (5-1)-Similar to #1, can get sucked around and use one move and make it a winning one.8-E R Rhonda (9/5)-Veteran campaigner has been claimed almost every week and cranks out wins. From this spot Drury has to choose to leave or grind it out. Could win either way as long as the trip is smooth.Race 21-HP Bruxelles (2-1)-Team Baillargeon entry is looking for 3rd straight win and this field isn't very deep, best to respect.5-Princess Ruler (5/2)-Only 1 for 30 lifetime but when minds manners is around the money. Should be in play early and maybe this time gets some revenge on #1.Race 31-Golden Dynamite (6-1)-Aggressive steer by Henry in last, got on the engine but faded late from the 8-hole. Henry is back and gets post relief. Should be on the engine or in the 2-hole and maybe gets the jump on #2.2-Sebastian Ray (2-1)-Started from post 10 in season debut and rallied from 10th to finish 2nd. Raced the last half in 57.2 and figures to be used more aggressively tonight.Race 42-Tommy Terror (5-1)-Jamieson is back and he will need to provide a good trip and put in play early in the mile. Will need a top effort but can cash the biggest check if stays in the hunt down the lane.4-Mister Godro (7/2)-Only 1 for 17 at Wbsb but may have landed in a nice spot. Roy is back between the pipes and could make the most of a nice post draw.9-Crocadile Canyon (5/2)-Program chalk is red hot winning 3-straight. Tonight, McClure is in the bike instead of McNair and looks too good to leave out even from post 9.Race 52-Legal Bettor (8-1)-Took the long way around last week and kept coming despite a tough trip. Cullen has options and may trip out. Knows how to win but has lacked a knock-out punch, using and looking for better at a square price.3-Ocean View Magnum (3-1)-Makes 1st start for O'Sullivan and has been in fine form. Should be bet down and will respect 16-time winner in '19.6-Brookletsjustified (7/2)-Comes off an easy win at this class and Henry takes over for McNair. It probably won't be as easy as last time but should be a player again.8-Lone Wolf Terror (5-1)-Makes 4th start off the bench and has been hurt in last 2 outings by a slow start. A quick pace helps chances and might be put in play sooner.My Ticket Race 1) 1,4,8 Race 2) 1,5 Race 3) 1,2 Race 4) 2,4,9 Race 5) 2,3,6,8Total Ticket Cost) $28.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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1.26.2020:

January 26: Pompano Park Pick 4 Analysis

Pompano Park has a 10-race card to kick-off the week. The 0.50 Pick 4 will be my focus. That sequence starts in Race 6 and has a $30,000 guaranteed pool with a very low 12% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 63-Fritzie Pic Up Man (2-1)-Steps-up but finally draws inside and that might be the edge to take 1st picture of this year. Hennessey's choice has won 20 of 101 starts at the Pomp.4-Team Captain (6-1)-Drops, gets post relief and a positive driver change. Needs the right trip and does best work when racing near the top of the stack. Wallis can put into striking range and win at a square price.Race 73-Late Night Joke (5-1)-10-year-old is trip dependent but can fly late. A quick pace could be in the cards, so this race might set-up nicely for this veteran.6-Surge Seelster (15-1)-Steps-up after an overdue win and will need a top effort here. Has shown the ability to stay in the hunt with this kind before. Braden could work a trip and surprise at long odds.7-Doo Wop Hanover (3-1)-Beaten favorite drops and loses Holiday to the #1 but Santeramo has steered in the past. Makes 3rd start since an injured scratch and is back at the same class as last win.Race 83-Maybe Ned (9-1)-Only 1 win in 22 starts so that's an issue but tried a different tactic in last outing. Took the lead and stayed on the engine until the last call in a quick mile. That's a pattern that can lead to a nice price, using here.5-Garrett's Guide (4-1)-Made a rare break at the start which probably cost the win. Best to not overlook winner of 4 of last 6 starts.7-Perkins (3-1)-Camera shy but has raced well and now makes 4th start since arriving from Canada. Hennessey can work a trip and should put in play early on.Race 93-Jeremes General (4-1)-10-year-old knows how to win and gets the post edge over the ML chalk. Should have enough gate speed to catch a 2-hole ride behind #8.8-Mcjagersonthemove (3-1)-Drops in for the optional claiming tag and faces others who are a notch below. Cruised home in last in 151.4, has the speed and now needs a favorable trip. Major player was Hennessey's choice over 2,7 and 9.0.50 Pick 43,4/3,6,7/3,5,7/3,8Total Bet=$18

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1.26.2020:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Wagering Strategies for 1/26/20

January 26, 2020 Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSanta Anita*Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.*It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.*Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.*Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.*The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.**Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File**RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Untouched Elegance; 9-JaccatForecast: Untouched Elegance has the route-to-sprint angle that we like combined with the addition of blinkers and a class drop to a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares. She also picks up J. Rosario, lands the rail, and is a definite threat to lead from gate to wire. Jaccat also is adding blinkers (for the first time) after returning from the Bay Area, where she failed at 7/5 in an all-weather sprint vs. tougher. She has a prior win over this course and distance and might be most effective when held up early and allowed to run late. We’ll take the best speed and the best closer and include both in our rolling exotics, with a slight preference on top to Untouched Elegance.**RACE 2: Post 12:57 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Royal Insider; 2-ImplicitlyForecast: The main contention is drawn inside in this starter allowance middle distance main track affair. Implicitly looked good winning a restricted $16,000 affair at Los Alamitos last month and is being protected today in a sign of confidence following a claim by a low profile outfit. A prior winner over the local main track and with a good pace-stalking style that should ensure a trouble-free trip, the veteran son of Artie Schiller is a fit on speed figures and should fire another big shot. Royal Insider seeks his third straight score and is a three-time winner (from six starts) at Santa Anita. Fresh from a nice win vs. $40,000 foes on New Year’s Day, the S. Knapp-trained gelding is the likely choice and one to beat. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.**RACE 3: Post 1:27 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Regal Beauty; 4-Morning Addiction; 7-Golden Star LadyForecast: This looks like a stronger than par maiden special weight abbreviated sprint for 3-year-old fillies. Regal Beauty had the misfortune of drawing the rail but the daughter of Malibu Moon has done some very good work in the morning leading up to her debut. If she breaks cleanly with her field, the B. Baffert-trained should be a major player and we’re expecting her to get bet accordingly. Morning Addiction didn’t show much in a highly-rated, productive turf sprint at Del Mar in November but she’s trained very well since and seems certain to improve. The daughter of Carpe Diem is bred to more effective on dirt. Golden Star Lady had a couple of disappointing runs as the favorite last summer and was stopped on but could easily return a much better filly following her extended vacation for a barn that does extremely well with layoff runners. Drawn comfortably outside with a series of nice workouts and picking up J. Rosario, the daughter of Candy Ride should enjoy clear sailing outside and have every chance to show her best stuff. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Regal Beauty,**RACE 4: Post 1:57 PT. Grade: XSingle: 7-Yeng AgainForecast: Yang Again has trained like a smoker for R. Baltas and appears fit and ready to turn some heads in his debut. A likely strong favorite following two recent bullet five furlong workouts, the son of Carpe Diem appears blessed with much speed but has the option of settling and stalking outside should the race flow dictate. Let’s make him a logical rolling exotic single.**RACE 5: Post 2:27 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Mystery Messenger; 6-Worthy TurkForecast: Here’s a tricky starter’s allowance turf sprint that appears to be fairly wide open. We’ll try to survive and advance using just two. Mystery Messenger is turning back from a route and showed earlier in his career than he can be effective sprinting. Though he will display early speed if asked, the D O’Neill-trained gelding may be more effective with patient handling, and that’s the type of ride we’re expecting he’ll get from good grass jockey U. Rispoli. On pure numbers, he’s a solid fit. Worthy Turk has been away since December of 2018 but returns protected, so we’re expecting good effort from the P. Miller-trained gelding. Yes, it’s possible the son of Lemon Drop Kid is merely prepping for a two-turner down the road, but his recent San Luis Rey Downs work tab is promising, so he may fire a big shot fresh. He’s 4-1 on the morning line and shouldn’t go any lower than that.**RACE 6: Post 2:57 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Takeo; 2-Tartini; 5-Mayan WarriorForecast: Mayan Warrior stretches out again after finishing a willing fourth in a better-than-average starters allowance sprint and may be as good as any in a fairly competitive race for the level. The S. Knapp barn has enjoyed a pretty good meeting so far, and this gelding’s only prior win was accomplished over this main track. R. Fuentes should have him on or near the lead throughout. Tartini is just 1-for-21 in his career and certainly not one to trust, but the Giant’s Causeway gelding has hit the board in similar events in his last two starts and should be set for a good effort in his first start since early November. He’ll be running on late. Takeo**RACE 7: Post 3:27 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Ghoul; 3-Lil Milo; 7-Bay MuzikForecast: Lil Milo was most unlucky when a close third over this course and distance in a strong second-level allowance affair last month and with clear sailing today the veteran son of Rocky Bar could spring a mild surprise at 6-1 on the morning line. A three time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the A. Marquez-trained gelding has an ideal stalking style and speed figures that fit. GhoulBay Muzik may be the quickest of quick and almost stole the recent Joe Hernandez S.-G2, leading until deep stretch before being worn down and winding up a close third. The race already has been flattered (Texas Wedge came back to win yesterday at Gulfstream Park) so if he can shake loose early without undue pressure the Maclean’s Music gelding may roll all the way to the wire.**RACE 8: Post 3:57 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Diosa; 2-Promnesia; 6-She CherieForecast: The final is a restricted $12,500 claiming sprint for fillies and mares that is full of question marks. We’ll use three, but best advice is to include as many as you can afford to. Diosa failed at 6/5 an extended sprint earlier this month in a similar claimer but shortens to six furlongs today and seems likely to stick better. Also, she should be fitter in her second start off a nine month layoff for a barn that has very good stats with this angle, so if the B. Hess, Jr.-trained daughter of Uncaptured leaves quickly from the rail, she may never look back. She Cherie was a nice winner in a modest maiden claimer at Zia Park in New Mexico last month while earning a speed figure that makes her a fit at this level on this circuit. She should be on or near the lead with a similar effort today. Promnesia, in the frame in her last three starts, most recently at Turf Paradise in an optional claimer 19 days ago, is a tad slower on pure numbers than her two chief rivals but should be within range throughout and have her chance to at least pick up a minor award.

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1.25.2020:

Saturday, January 25: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.Handicappers also are encouraged to access Jeff’s Daily Santa Anita Workout Analysis (see below), an exclusive report containing commentary, fractional times, grades, and a link to the video of the actual workout by each race’s key contenders.Grade A=Highest degree of confidence.Grade B=Solid Play.Grade C=Least preferred, or pass.Grade X=probable winner but odds are not likely to offer wagering value.The selections are available every racing day after morning scratches. For updates, please follow us on twitter @jsiegelracing.Today’s Day Makers: View VideoToday’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Ci Voleva; 8-LoftyForecast: The main contention is this state-bred sophomore filly turf dash appears on the also-eligible list, so check for late scratches to see if one of the “Sally’s” draws in. Among those in the main body of the race, Lofty looks best of a modest lot. Away since the fall when she was fifth in a turf miler, she returns to a sprint and may be capable of tagging whatever speed there is. Interestingly, she was a voided claim for $50,000 when second in her debut at Del Mar and has been protected ever since. Ci Violeva is bred to win early (Grazen), hails from a clever outfit, and certainly won’t have to be any champion to act with these. She was entered in a similar race two weeks ago but didn’t draw in from the also-eligible list. These are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play but not with any great degree of enthusiasm.RACE 2: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: XSingle: 1-Remember to SmileForecast: Remember to Smile is the top pick in this five-runner bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint pretty much by default. The Smiling Tiger filly drops from maiden $50,000 to the $20,000 league and has numbers that should be more than good enough to win this modest affair. However, she won’t offer any wagering value, so you can use her as a rolling exotic single or better yet simply pass the race.RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Conquest Cobra; 4-Fire When ReadyForecast: Fire When Ready was a voided claim for $20,000 in early November and returns for $12,500, not an encouraging sign, but if he has one good one left he’ll probably beat this field. The Hess, Jr.-trained gelding is a two-time winner over the local main track – both victories under today’s pilot R. Bejarano – and in a field without much speed he projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Conquest Cobra lacks early speed and is stuck on the rail but has back form that makes him a major player if he’s feeling up to it. Today’s extra half-furlong works in his favor and with two prior wins over the Santa Anita dirt he’s proven he likes this track. We’ll prefer Fire When Ready on top but include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post 2:04 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Stackin Silver; 5-Include the TaxForecast: Stackin Silver pulverized a maiden $50,000 claiming field at Del Mar in mid-November and returns protected in this starter optional claimer for high percentage connections. He’s fastest on pure numbers and from the rail could easily find himself as the controlling speed. Logically, he’ll be hard to beat. Include the Tax is bred to improve with distance and has steadily rising speed figures. The M. McCarthy-trained son of Include overcame a bit of traffic to graduate in good style last month and should be able to produce a forward move. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Stackin Silver on top.RACE 5: Post 2:36 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Shandling; 5-Of Good Report; 9-Proud PedroForecast: Proud Pedro was in a tad tough when a closing but non-threatening sixth in the Mathis Bros Mile-G2 opening day but this drop into the first-level allowance ranks should allow the French-bred colt to return to top form. On pure numbers he’s good enough to win and if he can manage to negotiate a good trip from his outside draw and have decent early fractions to compliment his late running style the L. Powell-trained sophomore should be along in time. Shandling is stretching out for the first time, lands the rail, and seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics. We’re not totally convinced he really wants to route, but if he’s ever going to stay two-turns it’ll be in his first try. Of Good Report won a $40,000 claimer in good style at Del Mar in November and returns protected over a course he’s won on in the past. The Twirling Candy gelding needs to improve his numbers but the winner of 4 of 12 knows where the wire is so we’ll include him on a ticket or two as well.RACE 6: Post 3:07 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Kleen Karma; 2-K P WhirlwindForecast: Kleen Karma hadn’t trained like much prior to her debut but to her credit she was able to win at first asking with a speed figure that makes her the one to beat right back in this somewhat shallow starter optional claiming main track miler for 3-year-old fillies. She’s certainly bred to handle the extra distance (Clubhouse Ride) and the C. Lewis barn is in good form right now. K P Whirlwind beat a soft maiden claiming field at Los Alamitos in convincing style and with a similar effort today should be competitive despite the class hike. However, preference on top goes to Kleen Karma and she’ll get the bulk of our play in the exotics and in the straight pool.RACE 7: Post 3:37 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Cosmo; 6-War Path; 9-Media BlitzForecast: It’s never easy to win at first asking over nine furlongs on grass but the N. Drysdale barn has done it in the past and may do it again with Cosmo, a promising son of Distorted Humor with a series of strong workouts that should have him fit and ready. He’s been trained to sit back and produce a late run and that’s the type of ride he’ll surely get from good grass jockey D. Van Dyke. There aren’t any world beaters in the field, so let’s go with the fresh face. War Path flashed improvement with a decent third over this course earlier this month and with today’s extra furlong to work with the son of War Front should continue his improving pattern. Media Blitz, freshened since the fall, could be a better type this time around for S. Callaghan and is another that should enjoy the nine furlong trip. His debut over a mile at Del Mar last summer – he was beaten a nose despite a slow start and a wide trip – charts very well with these.RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Captain Scotty; 3-FlagstaffForecast: Flagstaff has won four races from nine starts, never by more than three-quarters of a length, so he’ll probably make hard work of it trying to justify his favorite’s role. The J. Sadler-trained colt should settle in the second flight and then have his chance to wear down the leaders when it matters in the final furlong. Captain Scotty could be the quickest in the field, though he may have to deal with St. Joe Bay, who doesn’t usually wait around for anybody. If these two hook up along the way, Flagstaff’s task should be quite a bit easier.RACE 9: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-Eddy ForeverForecast: Eddy Forever needs patient handling – he didn’t get it last time and faded under pressure in the final furlong – and we’ll assume that strategy will be employed today in this nine furlong turf affair for maiden 3-year-olds that appears to be the easier split of the seventh race. The B. Baffert-trained colt continues to impress in the morning and both of his prior grass races were decent, so there should be no excuses today for the son of Medaglia d’Oro. In a race in which nothing else inspires, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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1.25.2020:

Saturday, January 25: Can-Am Pick 4 Analysis

The Saturday Can-Am Pick 4 is set to roll and the first leg goes at Woodbine Mohawk Park in Race 10. The sequence is competitive in all legs and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 10-Leg 1-Mohawk Park1-HP Napoleon (4-1)-This post draw may not help the chances of this sometimes slow starter. But if gets a good early seat, does have the speed and will, to be a serious contender.2-Cinnabar Dragon (6-1)-Henry takes another spin and this time doesn't have to deal with the 2nd tier. Should enjoy the post change and the company, could pop at a square price.3-Heza Thrill N (7/2)-Form has been nothing to write home about but drops to a soft spot. Has been off since 12/14 and makes 1st start for new barn but McClure sticks, best to respect.7-Better Ops N (5/2)-Jamieson takes the lines of beaten favorite and he provided a good steer on a 11/30 against better. Looking for a more aggressive drive.Race 10-Leg 2-Meadowlands1-Youcaniknow (7/2)-Tetrick is doing the steering for the Burke barn tonight. Best to not overlook 2nd ML chalk who should like the company as well as the post draw.3-Forevernalways (3-1)-Faded in the late going as the ML favorite in 1st start for the Harris barn. Had been claimed in 4 straight, looks like a player but will need more to close the deal tonight.8-Ever Again (8-1)-Hasn't won on an-off track in 20 starts. But closed strongly in last on a "good" track at this class. Will take a swing that Cushing will put in play early and provide a nice trip.9-Heavenly Sound (5-1)-Steps-up and moves outside and that isn't the best recipe for success. Monti does stick and comes off a strong effort so will respect.Race 11-Leg 3-Mohawk Park4-Isitfridayyet (8-1)-Fits better at this class and Jamieson returns. Has won 10 of 46 at Wbsb and could be sitting on a big try.6-Kinnder Jackson (10-1)-Raced well on an off-track when bumped up to this level. Recent form suggests Jackson could surprise at a solid price.10-Real Willey (5/2)-Has the gate speed to get a good seat. Roy can work a trip to give the 5-year-old a big shot even from this post.Race 11-Leg 4-Meadowlands2-Justin Credible (10-1)-Tried to rally into a slow pace on an off-track. Came up short and is camera shy but will use at a price in a race without a standout.4-Western Redhot (7/2)-Makes 3rd start for new barn and has been improving. Will look for upswing to continue and would be better off on a fast track, is 0-23 on wet surfaces.6-Sunset Over Miami (8-1)-Miller has left hard in last 2 starts and now draws better. Missed a start but will overlook at this price and hope for a smooth trip.My Ticket Race 10 Mohawk) 1,2,3,7 Race 10 Meadowlands) 1,3,8,9 Race 11 Mohawk) 4,6,10 Race 11 Meadowlands) 2,4,6Total Ticket Cost) $28.80Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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1.24.2020:

Eddie Olczyk: Diamond Oops Could Surprise in Pegasus World Cup

With the two favo