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7.4.2020:

Saturday, July 4: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The main event for the 4th of July card at the Meadowlands happens in Race 8, when 11-trotters compete in the Arthur J. Cutler Final. The Final has a $170,900 purse and features a rematch of two great mares, Manchego, and Atlanta. The 0.50 Early Pick 4 begins 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 62-Century Farroh (7/2)-Wbsb regular just missed in the Graduate at TgDn. This is the Big M debut and should enjoy the mile oval, best to respect.3-Covered Bridge (9/2)-Big try from the 9-hole at TgDn to come 2nd to #6. Now gets a post edge. Burke trainee likes the track and should be in the hunt.6-Dancin Lou (9/5)-Winner of both starts in 2020, has taken control at the top of the stretch and has finished off each mile. Deserves respect but this appears to be a good test.Race 73-Ocean Colony (3-1)-Gets some needed post relief and Miller should put the 6-year-old in play early on. Likes the track and could be sitting on a big try.5-Rockapelo (7/2)-Gets some needed class relief and Gingras could blast out to take control. Burke pupil has been camera shy, but this is a spot to shine. Maybe Gingras can squeeze a bit more out of him to finish off the mile.7-Saying Grace N (8-1)-Drops to a more comfortable level and there might be a few that could be leaving for the top. That means the pace could be hot and Zeron should have the Cullipher trainee rolling down the lane at a nice price.Race 85-Atlanta (7/2)-Lost to #6 by a nostril on 6/19 but showed a lot of heart to dig in late. Not surprised by the tenacity and that was the 1st start since 11/23. Could be better tonight in what looks like another battle royal.6-Manchego (3-1)-A perfect 2-2 this year and was bet down to .30 on the dollar last time versus Atlanta. This rivalry should last all year and fortunately we get to witness two champions battling each other.Race 95-Soho Burning Love A (5-1)-Aussie invader seems to be getting better in each start. Last win in 148.4 looked effortless but now faces a tougher crowd. Not sure what the top end for this mare is and will use at a square price here.8-Kissin In The Sand (9/5)-Qualified and then won on 6/5 at this class in a sharp 147.4. Came back on 6/27 to tune-up again in 149.1. In against similar and does look like the probable winner barring a bad trip.My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,6 Race 7) 3,5,7 Race 8) 5,6 Race 9) 5,8Total Ticket Cost) =$18 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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7.4.2020:

Saturday, July 4: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s prime plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and each selection should be given strong consideration both as a straight wager and as a key in vertical and horizontal exotics.BELMONT PARK – 2nd RACE. POST TIME: 1:49 ET2 – SPIRIT ANIMAL (7/2)Made his first start as a 4-year-old off a seven month layoff and left his previous from behind when annihilating a restricted $50,000 claiming field three weeks ago with devastating late kick while registering a five and one-half length score and career top speed figure. Claimed by R. Rodriguez and protected on the raise after a recent bullet five furlong main track drill, the son of Lemon Drop Kid, a winner of three of six career starts, switches to J. Rosario, lands a favorable inside post, and should be capable of handling the class hike. At 7/2 on the morning line he’ll offer plenty of value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.GULFSTREAM PARK – 7th RACE. POST TIME: 3:00 ET3 – PLUM FUNNY (3-1)Homebred son of Distorted Humor from the multiple Grade-1 winner Plum Pretty finally makes it to the post midway through his 3-year-old son and has trained like the goods for R. Nicks (solid stats with debut runners). While the work tab doesn’t jump off the page, this impressive chestnut colt has handled everything that’s been matched up with him in the morning and should be plenty fit and ready for a top effort first crack out of the box. The barn’s “go-to” rider E. Jaramillo takes the call, so at 4-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a win play and key in all of our rolling exotics. BELMONT PARK – 5th RACE. POST TIME: 3:30 ET7 -FORTIN HILL (5/2)Had a right to be rusty in his first start since last June when rallying to be second in his comeback at Gulfstream Park in April and finding his best stride late after being somewhat sluggish early. Freshened for more than 10 weeks since that race but with a steady, healthy recent work tab, the son of Much Macho Macho lands the cozy outside draw, is reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr., and returns to Belmont Park, where he is unbeaten in two starts. There should be no excuses today, so we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single while hoping to get close to his morning line odds of 5/2.BELMONT PARK – 6TH RACE. POST TIME: 4:03 ET8 – YES TO MISCHIEF (8-1)Let’s take shot at a price with this well-bred first-time starter in a seven furlong turf affair for older maiden fillies and mares. A $400,000 OBS March Sale purchase last year after she breezed a blistering furlong in 10 seconds flat in the preview session, the daughter of Into Mischief might be a tad late to the party but hails from an outfit that hits at a respectable 17% with debut runners and shows a work tab that includes several good drills to have her plenty fit. By Into Mischief from a female family that includes major stakes winning turf runners Broken Dreams and Caribou Club, the M. Casse-trained filly looks like a live item and is worth a bit of gamble at 8-1 on the morning line.

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7.3.2020:

Friday, July 3: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

The 0.50 Late Pick 4 at Hawthorne Racecourse begins in Race 9. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and will be my focus. If there ever was a Pick 4 devoid of form this would be it. But with randomness sometimes comes an opportunity for a nice payout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 91-I Am Will (3-1)-Makes the 1st start for new connections, was claimed for $8,000 on 3/10 and now in for a $4,000 tag + allowances. 9-year-old doesn't take many pictures these days but this spot is about as soft as it will get.4-Sports Creek (7-1)-Leonard's choice over #3 and #9 takes a considerable drop in 2nd start off the bench. This is only the 2nd race since 9/1/2018 but Leonard should keep in play versus a suspect bunch.6-In Your Eye (5/2)-Program chalk is 1-23 which spans the past 2-years but does get a positive driver change as Husted takes a spin. Won here in March with a 155.2 mile and raced 155.4 last week in the slop, should contend here.Race 101-Brooklyn Flight (5/2)-Drops and has had post #9 in both races off the restart. Could get sucked around from this spot and sneak by late.4-I Dreamed A Dream (6-1)-10-year-old is 0-23 and that could be enough to avoid but the entire field has won only 34 races in 2019-2020. Last was better and now tries Lasix for the 2nd time.5-Heartland Desire (9/2)-Did race better in the slop when dropped to this level last week. Trip dependent but can pass horses late so best to consider.10-Dinky Dune (7/2)-Has won 11 of 53 at Haw, was used hard early in last and faded. Wilfong could leave and find a close-up seat without draining the tank this time. Could take a picture with the right trip.Race 116-Parklane Eagle (7/2)-Beaten chalk got on the engine last time and just missed. Willis barn has been going well, may get the top tonight and not look back.7-Park Official (9/2)-Nice effort in the slop last week and now drops. Looks like a player but will need Wilfong to work the right trip.Race 121-Chick Magnet (2-1)-Broke at the start last week in the slop and had no chance in 1st try for new barn. Looking for better tonight and will respect connections. Does have the speed to cash the top check if minds manners.8-Hello Rooster (7/2)-Even effort in the slop after winning on 6/21. Leonard was the winning pilot then and is back in the bike tonight. Should be in the hunt if finds a live cover flow.My Ticket Race 9) 1,4,6 Race 10) 1,4,5,10 Race 11) 6,7 Race 12) 1,8Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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7.3.2020:

Belmont Graded Stakes Pick 4 Analysis

Saturday, Belmont serves up a graded stakes pick 4 feast racing fans and horseplayers should consume with delight. Portions aren’t overly generous—there are fields of 8-9-8-8 runners in races 8 through 11, respectively--but the quality is exceptional. Think fine dining versus all-you-can-eat buffet. Michelin stars not tires.The Grade 3 Poker pops the seal on the deal in race 8 at approximately 5:13 ET. It’s a $150,000 one mile, one turn, turf race topped on paper by multiple Gr. 1 winner millionaire mare Got Stormy against a gang of male foes. Trainer Chad Brown dispatches the lightly raced Grade 1 winner Valid Point as a more than worthy adversary.The $500,000, Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap is next as race 9. You may recognize the race by its more casual moniker ‘The Met Mile.’ As sweet-smelling a rose by either name, it’s seasonally one of the nation’s top encounters, a sire-making squabble contested around one turn—an inch or two too far for confirmed speedballs and a tad short for dedicated plodders. The race, however, hits racing fans and horseplayers right between the eyes and usually produces an entertaining outcome.Bob Baffert-trained McKinzie, troubled runner-up in this race last year to Eclipse Award winning sprinter Mitole, returns to right that wrong. He’s the 125-pound starting high weight and will spot rivals from 16 to 128 ounces. Recent Gr. 3 Westchester winner and Belmont track lover Code of Honor will carry 124 pounds, one more than recent Gr. 1 Carter winner Vekoma.Race 10, third leg of the all graded stakes pick 4, is the $400,000 Manhattan at one mile and one-quarter on turf. Channel Maker, a Gr. 1 winner of over $2 million, shoulders top weight of 122 pounds. Sadler’s Joy, a 7-year-old warrior, with over $2.5 million in the bank also will draw wagering attention. Multiple Eclipse Award-winning trainer Chad Brown, the dominant force in local and national turf racing, has three runners in the race that can’t be overlooked.The wager concludes with the 11th race, the $200,000, Gr. 2 Suburban at a mile and one-quarter on the main track. A couple of 2019 Triple Crown race survivors figure mightily as Belmont winner Sir Winston and Kentucky Derby third-place finisher and Belmont runner-up Tacitus meet.Here’s one man’s humble opinion on how to play this tantalizing quartet of races:Race 8Analysis of this race begins with #7 Got Stormy, a 5-year-old mare with over a million and one-half in the bank. She got good in March of 2019 and proved a force against males in Gr. 1 competition—she won the Fourstardave at Saratoga, was second in the Woodbine Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile—before winning the Gr. 1 Matriarch against fellow female foes. She returned in Feb. 2020 to lay a huge egg when fourth against females at $.20 to the dollar in the Gr. 3 Endevour at Tampa Bay Downs. She bounced back mightily to miss by a neck to the tenacious River Boyne in the Gr. 1 Frank Kilroe at Santa Anita. Two months off produced another disappointing Gr. 3 effort when #7 Got Stormy was fourth in Belmont’s Beaugay at a mile and one-sixteenth on turf. Which Got Stormy are we likely to see in the Poker? One of the nation’s top mile turf performers of any sex? Or, a mare that struggles in Grade 3 races against females? Regular rider Tyler Gaffalione is replaced by Hall of Fame member John Velazquez, a signal that someone is not happy with the way things have been going—that could be the jock, the trainer or the owner. While #7 Got Stormy is the most accomplished in this field, she’s got some blemishes on her recent resume and it feels as if her connections are attempting to right the ship. We’re not positive she’s as sharp as she once was. Taking a stand against her in this first leg is a big gamble, but it might be a good idea.#2 Valid Point hails from the Chad Brown stable. In a graded New York-based turf stakes race you almost don’t need to analyze anything else. Use this horse. He’s already a Gr. 1 winner against fellow 3-year-olds last year and has had just four starts overall. He’s been gone since October, but Brown’s great at bringing them back sharp. Unlike the situation with #7 Got Stormy where it feels like they’re trying to get back on track, this appears the perfect spot to begin this colt’s 2020 season on a turf course he likes.#9 Value Proposition is another Chad Brown trainee in the race. If you’re going to take a shot against #7 Got Stormy, you’d better have this guy in play. He won his most recent start—a $62k/optional claimer, so he’s sharp. That’s his third win in four lifetime starts—two out of three coming on Belmont turf.#4 Seismic Wave is an interesting possibility. He’s 2 for 2 at the distance and rallied 7 wide last out to be fourth, just one length away from winning. This 4-year-old made some big dances last year in graded stakes races. He could be finding his best stride this year. Jockey Eric Cancel is replaced by the terrific Joel Rosario in here and the latter has ridden the ridgeling five times before, to some success.Race 9#2 Vekoma deserves much respect in here. He’s razor sharp, off a 7 � length Gr. 1 Carter win at Belmont on the slop. It was by far the fastest race of his career. He’s now won five of seven starts and nearly one million dollars in purse money. His only two losses came in the 2019 Fountain of Youth and in the Kentucky Derby. In the former he chased home Code of Honor who’s also in this race. This colt has enough speed to lay close to the early pace and the one-mile distance is no issue. He’s got a funny way of going but he’s all business.#3 McKinzie should have won this race last year but he and jockey Mike Smith ran into some traffic issues. That’s to be expected, after all, they were in New York. They’re back for redemption this year with trainer Bob Baffert again calling the shots. This 5-year-old horse is a multiple Gr. 1 winner who showed his fitness by winning at a short price in the Gr. 2 Triple Bend at Santa Anita last out. The Beyer Speed Figure was not close to his better efforts, so one could approach him with a tentative posture. However, he’s difficult to ignore in here.#5 Code of Honor comes off a workmanlike half-length tally in the Gr. 3 Westchester—his first race since November’s disappointment in the BC Classic. This colt loves Belmont—3 wins in 4 starts—and has a first and a second out of three one-mile starts, all around one turn. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey, a veteran Big Apple conditioner, knows what kind of horse it takes to win this race. Expect a top performance.#7 Mr. Freeze is a new face to Belmont Park, but he’s no stranger to one-turn mile races where he’s 2 for 2. He’s got enough speed to be close up in a great striking position. He’ll be a price and a huge separator if he happens to fire over this surface.Race 10Trainer Chad Brown will saddle three runners in this race: #1 Instilled Regard, #2 Rockemperor and #5 Devamani. None can totally be discounted. This race is a bit of an old-timer’s game featuring two runners who’ve earned over $2 million—7-year-old #4 Sadler’s Joy at $2.5 million and 6-year-old #6 Channel Maker at $2.1 million. Of the remaining six runners, there are two 6-year-olds and one 7-year old.#4 Sadler’s Joy was fourth in this race in 2018 and ran well in the Tiller June 4 at Belmont, but he’s just 1 for his last 7 starts and a weak 1 for 11 on Belmont turf.#6 Channel Maker was fourth in this race last year and hasn’t put it together this year, finishing fourth, eighth and eighth in three 2020 starts.While no one stands out in here, #2 Rockemperor seems the most attractive off a narrow loss to the highly regarded United in the Gr. 2 Charles Whittingham at Santa Anita. Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez subs for the sensational Irad Ortiz, Jr., who remains with stablemate #1 Instilled Regard, winner of the Gr. 2 Fort Marcy over this course last out. Must use both of these Chad Brown-trained runners.#7 Dot Matrix is a 7-year-old with 10 wins from 33 lifetime starts. He was second last out in the Tiller at Belmont, two lengths in front of #4 Sadler’s Joy. He’s not without a chance at a price in a wide-open event.Race 11Ever wonder what happens to the previous year’s Triple Crown headliners? Some of them end up in the Suburban: 2019 Belmont winner #6 Sir Winston meets Kentucky Derby fourth (placed third via DQ) and Belmont runner-up #1 Tacitus.In 2019, #6 Sir Winston parlayed a Gr. 3 Peter Pan runner-up finish into a Gr. 1 Belmont Stakes triumph. He returns to the scene of his most prestigious success for the second time—he was a well-beaten second against #8 Moretti in the Flat Out stakes last out June 11 over a sloppy track. He has a grinding, off the pace style that excels at Big Sandy where he’s been first once and second twice in three tries. However, at this mile and one-quarter distance, instead of the mile and one-half Belmont journey, we’ll favor #1 Tacitus over Sir Winston in this rematch.#1 Tacitus hasn’t won a race since April 6, 2019, but don’t hold that entirely against him. He’s faced some of the best of his generation and some salty older runners. He was second in the Gr. 1 Belmont, Gr. 2 Jim Dandy and Gr. 1 Travers, as well as third against elders in the Gr. 1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and fifth in the Gr. 1 Saudi Cup. Last out he was fourth in the Gr. 2 Oaklawn Handicap. Before all that, He knocked down three wins in a row— a maiden, the Gr. 2 Tampa Bay Derby and the Gr. 2 Wood Memorial. Blinkers go back on for the Suburban. He’s not a ‘win’ type, but he’s got three workout bullets in his Suburban holster and deserves top billing.#4 Mr. Buff is a hard-knocking New York bred that likes to win races. He’s tried similar foes at this level before and come up well short, but you’ve got to love his speed and his winning attitude. He might be a worth a look as a possible upsetter on larger tickets.#8 Moretti takes a big step up in class, but he’s sharp 4-year-old, with two wins in his last two races. He hails from the Todd Pletcher barn, hitting at 24% this meeting. There’s a decent amount of speed in here, so it’s doubtful he’ll be able to take this field wire-to-wire like he did last out in the Flat Out, but he’s 3 for 9 lifetime with 3 seconds and one third. One could include him in the mix on saver tickets.My Ticket Race 8) #2, #4, #9Race 9) #2, #3, #5, #7Race 10) #1, #2, #4, #5, #6, #7Race 11) #1 Total Ticket Cost) 2,4,9/2,3,5,7/1,2,4,5,6,7/1 = $36 for $0.50 Take care of each other! Race On!

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7.3.2020:

Friday, July 3: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s prime plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and each selection should be given strong consideration both as a straight wager and as a key in vertical and horizontal exotics. LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE – 3rd RACE. POST TIME 1:58 PT2 – HARVEST MOON (8/5) Made her debut in a difficult spot when facing a seasoned group of winners in a first-level allowance turf miler last month and actually acquitted herself very well. The daughter of Uncle Mo made a strong bid on the turn to loom a threat and then stayed on nicely to be beaten less than three lengths to a stakes-quality filly, and today surfaces in a maiden race over a Los Alamitos main track that she received all of her early training over. With the switch to F. Prat for a barn that is solid with second-timers, she looks like a logical play and rolling exotic single at anywhere near her morning line of 8/5. BELMONT PARK – 9TH RACE. POST TIME: 5:36 ET8 – DALIKA (5/2) This German-bred filly seems to have found her niche as a late-running turf sprinter after a series of long distance races that really didn’t bring out her best. A visually pleasing win at Churchill Downs in late May – she won despite traffic trouble and was geared down late – was a smart way to return to competition after a five month vacation and not much more will be needed to land the A. Stall, Jr.-trained filly in the winner’s circle in this listed grass dash for fillies and mares. J. Rosario stays aboard and should have her free of trouble from her comfortable outside post position. There’s value here at 5/2 on the morning line if you can get it.

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7.2.2020:

Saturday, July 4: Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 Selections

The Azalea Stakes and Carry Back Stakes are good early-summer black-type opportunities for Florida’s 3-year-olds and a good chance for players to nail a challenging Late Pick 4 on Saturday. The Pick 4 begins with the Azalea Stakes for fillies and continues with claimers, the Carry Back and maiden claimers to finish the day. Here’s a look at the Pick 4 races: Race 9 (3:00PM ET, Azalea S.) The Azalea is a good test as the fillies attempt to carry their speed seven furlongs. BANKRUPTONTHEBEACH has had just two starts and showed promise by winning her maiden voyage at Monmouth last July. She was a non-threatening seventh in a stakes race at Laurel in her comeback in February and has had some decent drills for her 1st in about five months. With fresh legs, she could bring an element of surprise against those that have been running lately. DON’T GET KHOZY took several starts in which to figure out this game, and she has had it down pat with wins in four of her last five. Hot-riding newcomer Joseph Trejos is perfect in two starts aboard her and those two have been in easy fashion. A similar effort in this will make her extremely difficult to hold off. BOERNE whistled in three straight races before running second in the Game Face Stakes here. She’s a strong front-runner, has takes on good fillies and likely will get the most play. She’s the one to catch. Race 10 (3:30PM ET, Claiming) This is the spread race, as five of these make an appearance on the ticket. RODDICK won the last time he was on turf and can be strong from the beginning. SIR SEAMUS was a clear winner in two of his last three and beat ‘non-winners of three’ last out. TWENTY FOUR SEVEN was claimed two back by the Joseph barn and was third in his return. Has finished well in most of his recent races and can make a run here. AMERICAN NINJA has an upset chance, especially if he runs back to his latest, when he closed from far back and was third, beaten a half-length. He’ll get a good pace to follow and could be the one to watch for in the drive to the wire on the green. HOT AND HEAVY was up in time after stalking from just off the pace and can be close-up throughout. Showed a lot of gameness in his latest, and that definitely makes him a player here. Race 11 (4:00PM ET, Carry Back S.) CAJUN BROTHER failed at a mile last time after two wins to begin his career. He’s strong on the front end and can give it an honest go at seven furlongs. Could be the target as they turn for home. OUBLE CROWN was up in time in the Roar Stakes last out and another effort last that one will make him difficult to beat. This is his 1st attempt beyond 6.5 furlongs, and that could be an equalizer for others. WITH VERVE has some quality experience and beat outstanding runners in the Hutcheson. He came from off the pace and was a closing third behind Double Crown in the Roar and likely will appreciate the distance. Race 12 (4:30PM ET, Maiden Claiming) DR. SAMADI and CURLINGO are the players on the Pick 4 card in this finale. DR. SAMADI roared from far back and finished second in his debut. Another such effort should get him to the winner’s circle. CURLINGO never showed interest in his only start and quickly takes a drop to a claiming price, which is unusual for a $900,000 yearling purchase. The Edgard Zayas-Todd Pletcher jockey-trainer combo is five of their last 13. The drop could be what it takes for this Curlin colt. Late Pick 4 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: Race 9: #1 Bankruptonthebeach, #5 Don’t Get Khozy, #6 BoerneRace 10: #4 Roddick, #7 Sir Seamus, #9 Twenty Four Seven, #10 American Ninja, #11 Hot and HeavyRace 11: #2 Cajun Brother, #5 Double Crown, #6 With VerveRace 12: #2 Dr. Samadi, #3 Curlingo 50-cent Late Pick 4 Suggested Ticket: 1-5-6 with 4-7-9-10-11 with 2-5-6 with 2-3 ($45)

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7.2.2020:

Saturday, July 4: Belmont Late Pick 4 Ticket featuring Met Mile & Manhattan

Last week in this space, we came a head from hitting the (admittedly low-paying) Late Pick 4 at Churchill Downs. Unfortunately, Crystal Cliffs had a tough stretch run in the G3 Regret while Harvey’s Lil Goil had a dream trip and pulled it out by a slim margin.  Hopefully we have a little more luck this week as we turn our attention to Belmont Park’s loaded Fourth of July card. Many of Saturday’s races – traditionally run on the Belmont Stakes undercard – would be in the books already. But due to the difficulty of scheduling an abbreviated meet, we get to enjoy them this weekend. The Met Mile and Manhattan, the day’s co-features, attracted phenomenal fields of top notch racehorses including MCKINZIE, CODE OF HONOR and VEKOMA in the Met and INSTILLED REGARD, ROCKEMPEROR and SADLER’S JOY in the Manhattan. Sprinkle in horses like GOT STORMY, FRANK’S ROCKETTE, TACITUS and SIR WINSTON throughout the card and this is a day of racing you won’t want to miss. Met Mile Day Essential Reading Belmont Park 4 Million XB Rewards Point Split Xpressbet Race of the Week: Metropolitan Handicap (Jeremy Plonk) Here’s my take on the Late Pick 4 (Races 8 – 11): Race 8 (5:13PM ET) – Poker (G3, $150K) – 1 Mile Turf The Opening Leg of the Late Pick 4 is a really solid edition of the G3 Poker and I think you have to use several horses to get through it. The Chad Brown-trained duo of #2 VALID POINT (7/2) and #9 VALUE PROPOSITION (5/2) are ‘must’ uses and I think you have to give #7 GOT STORMY (7/2) another shot. She scratched out of the G1 Just a Game last weekend to run here and it’s hard to blame the connections – I wouldn’t have wanted to face Newspaperofrecord and Uni either. GOT STORMY will need to capture her best form but her best day is on par with any of these. I’ve chased #3 HAWKISH (12/1) and #5 SOCIAL PARANOIA (4/1) enough in recent starts to use them again. Pick 4 ‘Use’ Horses: #2 VALID POINT, #7 GOT STORMY, #9 VALUE PROPOSITION Pick 4 ‘Bigger Ticket’ Consider Horses: None Race 9 (5:47PM ET) – Met Mile (G1, $500K) – 1 Mile Dirt #3 MCKINZIE (2/1) seems best suited for this one-turn mile trip and should have beaten Sprint Champion Mitole in this race last year if not for a tumultuous trip. He’s definitely the horse to beat on Saturday in my eyes and I will bet that accordingly.  #5 CODE OF HONOR (3/1) is one we must consider at Belmont and #2 VEKOMA (5/2) has a pace advantage on the top picks as he’ll be drafting just in behind the speed. That said, it’s one thing to run away and hide from NETWORK EFFECT (8/1) and American Anthem – another MCKINZIE and CODE OF HONOR. #7 MR FREEZE (8/1) gets back to the one-turn mile trip over which he ran the best race of his life in the G2 Gulfstream Park Mile on February 29, but he needs to prove he can run that well away from Gulfstream.  Pick 4 ‘Use’ Horses: #3 MCKINZIE, #5 CODE OF HONOR Pick 4 ‘Bigger Ticket’ Consider Horses: #2 VEKOMA Race 10 (6:20PM ET) – Manhattan (G1, $400K) – 1 1/4 Miles Turf The Chad Brown show continues in New York as he sends out three horses here and all have a big shot - #1 INSTILLED REGARD (2/1), #2 ROCKEMPEROR (5/1) and #5 DEVAMANI (9/2). History says the winner should come from this group (Brown has won this race five times since 2012 and four of the last six) so we don’t need to get cute in looking for a winner. Of Brown’s four starters, INSTILLED REGARD is the likeliest winner with his other two charges being much more pace dependent. I’m adding #3 CROSS BORDER (10/1) as a ‘consider’ as he has the potential to be lone speed and give his backers some thrills at a decent price. Pick 4 ‘Use’ Horses: #1 INSTILLED REGARD, #2 ROCKEMPEROR, #5 DEVAMANI Pick 4 ‘Bigger Ticket’ Consider Horses: #3 CROSS BORDER Race 11 (6:51PM ET) – Suburban (G2, $200K) – 1 1/4 Miles Dirt It would be hard to envision singling #1 TACITUS (9/5) in this spot given all of the disappointment that one has given his backers in the last 14 months. Since winning the G2 Wood Memorial he is 0-for-7. That said, he exits a useful prep in the G2 Oaklawn Handicap and should move forward from that effort. #6 SIR WINSTON (7/2) won the Belmont last year but isn’t a standout. #4 MR. BUFF (2/1) is a New York bred who runs his best races on the lead. #8 MORETTI (5/1) is in great form.  Pick 4 ‘Use’ Horses: #1 TACITUS, #8 MORETTIPick 4 ‘Bigger Ticket’ Consider Horses: #4 MR. BUFF, #6 SIR WINSTON My Ticket Race 8: #2 VALID POINT, #7 GOT STORMY, #9 VALUE PROPOSITIONRace 9: #3 MCKINZIE, #5 CODE OF HONORRace 10: #1 INSTILLED REGARD, #2 ROCKEMPEROR, #5 DEVAMANIRace 11: #1 TACITUS, #8 MORETTI Ticket Cost: $36 for $1

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7.2.2020:

Thursday, July 2: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s prime plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and each selection should be given strong consideration both as a straight wager and as a key in vertical and horizontal exotics. BELMONT PARK – 7TH RACE. POST TIME: 4:32 ET2 – SNIPER SHOT (7/2) This lightly-raced and rapidly improving 4-year-olds moves up a level in class and must face several graded stakes performers in this one mile affai, and while his best form admittedly has been accomplished over wet surfaces we’re going to gamble that his progression will continue. The T. Pletcher-trained gelding is fresh from a career-top victory at Gulfstream Park, has trained very well since, retains regular pilot L. Saez, and should be comfortably placed on or near what projects to be an average early pace. At 7/2 on the morning line we’ll play in the win pool and as a key in the various rolling exotics. LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE – 7TH RACE. POST TIME 3:58 PT1 – I’M SO ANNA (7/2) Was supposed to be a good thing in her debut last month at Golden Gate Fields (she went off at 4/5) but whatever chance the daughter of Fast Anna had was lost when she broke several lengths slow and was eliminated. That she managed to put in a nice run to finish a willing third indicates the ability is there, so if she can leave with her field today the S. Sherman-trained filly could make amends at a much better price. The easy breezes since raced is a positive sign and this trip to Southern California is a good indication of confidence. The barn’s “go-to” rider R. Gonzalez take the call. Hopefully, it all adds up.

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7.2.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: July 3 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in this week’s Stronach 5, which once again has a 100k guarantee, and a prospective pool that should far surpass that. 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 90 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 (3:50 ET) – 3upfm 16k N2L at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) I’ll try for a small upset with #6 PINS AND NEEDLES (4-1), who had a tough go of it early last time and lost some key early position, but a look at her prior two says she can play with these, and she figures to have a tactical edge on ‘Highway too, not to mention a recency edge as well. I contemplated singling #3 GENNIE HIGHWAY (3-1), who might be better than a really weak bunch, but the fact she hasn’t been out since September is a worry, and now she’s in for a tag too, and both rub me the wrong way, especially since she’ll be overbet too. Pk5 A horses: 6,3 (listed in order of preference) Maybe dropping in class and getting back to the turf will wake up #4 JUDI BLUE EYES (4-1), and her turf runs are solid, plus she’ll now run on the grass for the first time for Gonzalez, so she’s going to be my lone B, even though her 13-1-5-1 record is a bit disconcerting. Pk5 B horses: 4 Potential B add-ins: #3 Sunday Red (12-1), #9 Toma (6-1) Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R9 – 3upfm AOC (25k/N1X) at 1-mile I might be trying to be too clever, but I’ll put #8 FREE TO FLY (9-2) on top, since she goes off the claim for Delgado, a 4-for-11 move, and meets a pair who I don’t fully trust, though there’s little doubt she’s going to have to improve several lengths off what is a stiff rise in class. I also sided with her because #5 LIL MISS HOTSHOT (4-1), who is the gal to beat, has been 2nd in three straight, and is just 1-for-10 of late, so while she’s the most likely winner, I have some reservations as well. You also have to think #2 ALIZEE (3-1) will regress in her first start away from Navarro, especially since she rises in class off an off-the-turf win, so even though Doles is 24% with her newcomers, she’s a bit down on the top line for me. Pk5 A horses: 8,5,2 The tactical speed of #4 SKY CHASER (7-2) makes her playable, and she comes out of a very good race for the level too, plus her overall recent form is sharp, and you’ll get a lot more value than this ML as well, so she’s worth a look as a supporting actress. Pk5 B horses: 4 Potential B add-ins: #3 Champagne Bliss (8-1) Leg 3: Laurel Park R8 – 3up allowance at 1-mile You might not see a deeper, more competitive open allowance in Maryland all year, or maybe even the country, as this heat is that tough, and you could make a case for literally everyone entered. I’m going to get a little cheeky and go with the classy #6 NO DOZING (10-1), who may well have seen better days, but also might be a Lone F, and if you surmise he just didn’t like a sometimes quirky Tampa surface, while knowing he’s never been a two-turn horse either, then his form comes a bit more into focus and puts him in the mix at a price with these. The more likely winner is Maryland stud #8 ALWAYSMINING (3-1), who had no chance against tons better after a rough start last time, but has a class edge on these, and drew a perfect outside attack post at this one-turn mile as well. A September layoff says #7 CORDMAKER (7-2) might be prepping for two turns next time, but he’s too good to not use on the top line, especially since he’s got several one-turn races showing that would win this. I’m a sucker for two-turn types cutting back to one-turn, so I’ll lastly toss in #1a NAME CHANGER (9-2), a classy router and GIII winner that could trip out nicely just off the pace. Pk5 A horses: 6,8,7,1a This is a definite rise in class for #3 HARPERS FIRST RIDE (9-2), who aired against better with a big figure last time, but he’s clearly better than ever, and he’ll trip out here too, so he would hardly be a surprise, tougher group and all. A sharper early pace will help #2 JOHN JONES (6-1), who got caught dueling through slow splits at this trip last time but should settle better here, which will put him in the mix off the far turn, while going second-off the layoff too. Pk5 B horses: 3,2 Potential B add-ins: #9 Honor the Fleet (12-1) Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R10 – 3up MSW at 1-mile (turf) Being a fresh new face against a so-so group of proven runners might be the key for #4 MONY (3-1), a first-time Ward runner who was a close 4th on debut in his lone start for Pletcher, and while it came some 15 months ago, there’s a slew of good works showing, for a trainer who is 20% off this elongated break, and 20% with newcomers too. Getting back to the turf should move up #6 JOE BENJAMIN (6-1), and his turf form is best here, as those runs two and three-back would put him right on the line with this group, plus he has plenty of speed too. A clean run would move #7 STRONG HEADED (12-1) way up, as he had a tough start last time, but his prior two were solid, and he has a stalking gear that should put him in the right spot off the far turn. Pk5 A horses: 4,6,7 The post and connections are the biggest reason to look to #1 SPIN FACTOR (4-1), as he drew perfectly for Maker and Zayas, but there’s not much pedigree here, and this is only a 9% first-turf barn, so tread lightly as well. Pk5 B horses: 1 Potential B add-ins: #10 Salow (8-1), #8 Unbridled Tizzy (10-1), #9 Mr Matuschek (9-2) Leg 5: Laurel Park R9 – 3up N1X at 1 1/16 miles (turf) It looks like put up or shut up time for #1 J BERESFORD TIPTON (2-1), who has been knocking at the door with big figures (for this group) of late, drew best, and, quite frankly faces a group he’s supposed to beat, so he’s the single in the finale, as this just looks like a field he’s got to beat up on. Pk5 A horses: 1 Both #5 TEN EYCK (9-2) and #4 SPEED GAME (5-1) were close to ‘J last time, so I’ll use them both underneath, but they also have shown their best, so I doubt a breakthrough will be coming today. Getting back to the turf and going second-off a long layoff will help #6 CANNON’S ROAR (5-1), who will be stalking in midpack, and that fast 2nd here in September says he’s not impossible. * Please note that on the backup tickets I’ll be singling #4 Mony in Leg 4. * Pk5 B horses: 5,4,6 Potential B add-ins: #8 ARANSAS (6-1) The tickets: Main Ticket: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 4,6,7 with 1 = $72Leg 1 B Backup: 4 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 4,6,7 with 1 = $36Leg 2 B Backup: 6,3 with 4 with 6,8,7,1a with 4,6,7 with 1 = $24Leg 3 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 3,2 with 4,6,7 with 1 = $36Leg 4 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 1 with 1 = $24Leg 5 B Backup: 6,3 with 8,5,2 with 6,8,7,1a with 4 with 5,4,6 = $72

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7.1.2020:

List of Top Performances of 2020 (So Far)

Now that the calendars have been flipped over to July, it’s time for my list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in the United States during the first half of 2020. When there were just a handful of tracks conducting live racing for several weeks earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, I was concerned that there might be a dearth of candidates for this list. But it turned out that there actually were quite a number impressive performances to choose from. A Thoroughbred’s performance can make this list for a variety of reasons, such as: --A win by a big margin while showing brilliance. --Recording a fast final time and/or speed figure. --Being especially game in victory or defeat. --Overcoming adversity. --Defeating a particularly strong group of opponents. --Carrying more weight than usual and/or spotting considerable weight. --Achieving something historic. The importance of the race itself also plays a role in determining whether or not I believe a performance deserves to make the list. Here is my list of the Top 10 performances this year from Jan. 1 through June 30: 10. HONOR A.P. in Santa Anita’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby on June 6. (Owned by CRK Stable; trained by John Shirreffs; ridden by Mike Smith.) | Video In Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 7, Authentic won by 2 1/4 lengths. Honor A.P. ran second. In their rematch, Honor A.P. won the Santa Anita Derby going away and rather authoritatively by 2 3/4 lengths. Authentic had to settle for second this time, his first defeat in four career starts. Honor A.P. had been at a pace disadvantage vis-a-vis Authentic in the San Felipe. Authentic had it his own way on the front end that day, but that was not the case in the rematch. Seven faced the starter in the Santa Anita Derby. Breaking from the outside post, Authentic veered outward in the initial strides, which is not unusual for a horse starting from an outside post. But when Authentic veered out and had to be straightened, it essentially eliminated the possibility he would be able to get a clear early lead. Entering the clubhouse turn, Authentic found himself involved in a three-way battle for the lead while outside Shooters Shoot and Anneau d’Or. These three continued as pace factors through the early furlongs while Honor A.P. was lurking within easy striking distance in fifth. At the quarter pole, Shooters Shoot, Anneau d’Or and Authentic were just heads apart while slugging it out for the lead. Honor A.P. now was gaining strongly while wide and loomed boldly as the field reached the top of the lane. “Honor A.P. coming with a big, powerful, sweeping move on the outside of Authentic and Anneau d’Or!” said track announcer Frank Mirahmadi. Surging to the front in upper stretch, Honor A.P. had so much momentum that he already was 1 1/2 lengths clear at the eighth pole. He then steadily increased his advantage the rest of the way. Honor A.P. completed the race in 1:48.97. Honor A.P. continued his improving Beyer Speed Figure pattern. He recorded a 77 Beyer in his career unveiling, then a 91, then a 95, then a 102 in the Santa Anita Derby. It was a terrific training job on the part of John Sherriffs to have Honor A.P. ready to run a biggie in the June 6 Santa Anita Derby while making his first start since March 7. Meanwhile, as I previously wrote, Hall of Famer Smith rode a perfect race, which is SOP for M.S. when big bucks are on the line. They don’t call him “Big Money” Mike Smith for nothing. 9. ZULU ALPHA in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf on January 25. (Owned by Michael M. Hui; trained by Michael Maker; ridden by Tyler Gaffalione.) | Video Shuffled back in heavy traffic when passing the stands the first time, Zulu Alpha was toward the back of the field of 12 going into the backstretch. Rallying while racing next to the inside rail, he overtook the classy mare Magic Wand in midstretch and drew clear to win by two lengths at 11-1. Magic Wand, the 7-2 second choice in the betting, held on to finish second. Instilled Regard finished third at 10-1. As an indication of the strength of this race, Zulu Alpha, Magic Wand and Instilled Regard all subsequently won Grade II races. Zulu Alpha won the Grade II Mac Diarmida Stakes at Gulfstream on Feb. 29. Magic Wand won the Group II Lamwades Stud Stakes in Ireland on June 13. Instilled Regard won the Grade II Fort Marcy Stakes at Belmont Park on June 6. Zulu Alpha, a 7-year-old Kentucky-bred Street Cry gelding, recorded a 106 Beyer Speed Figure for his Pegasus victory. At the end of the first half of 2020, Zulu Alpha ranked No. 7 on the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, highest of any grass runner. 8. NADAL in Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 14. (Owned by George Bolton, Arthur Hoyeau, Barry Lipman and Mark Mathiesen; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by Joel Rosario.) | Video Any way you slice it, this was an outstanding performance. It is easy for people to rave about a runaway winner. It takes more of a keen eye to recognize just how marvelous Nadal was to win the Rebel. Nadal prevailed by three-quarters of a length in 1:44.97. While this performance by Nadal did not produce a triple-digit Beyer Speed Figure, it took a special colt to do what he did. The big 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Blame colt had to run hard for every step of the entire race. Heading toward 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 get the job done, 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. Not only did Nadal win as the 9-10 favorite, he then also stayed in front after the finish while galloping out, which again was impressive after he had to run hard during the entire race. Nadal proved a lot with this triumph. It was his first race around two turns and on a wet track. He also proved he could succeed when shipping away from his home base at Santa Anita. It was announced on May 28 that Nadal had been retired from racing as a result of a condylar fracture in his left front leg following a four-furlong workout in :48.80 that morning at Santa Anita. 7. VEKOMA in Belmont Park’s Grade I Carter Handicap on June 6. (Owned by R.A. Hill Stable and Gatsas Stables; trained by George Weaver; ridden by Javier Castellano.) | Video Sent off as the 8-5 favorite, Vekoma led in the opening furlong, then deferred to 16-1 American Anthem. After relinquishing the advantage, Vekoma was content to stalk before regaining the lead turning into the stretch. He then drew away from his foes in the stretch to reach the finish 7 1/4 lengths in front. Noted for his way of moving in which it appears he is paddling with his front legs, Vekoma gave the impression he was swimming home on the wet track in the Carter. This was his first Grade I win. A 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt, Vekoma posted a laudable final time of 1:21.02. Vekoma received a 110 Beyer Speed Figure, bettering his previous top of 102 when he won Gulfstream Park’s Sir Shackleton Stakes by 3 1/4 lengths on March 28 in his 2020 debut. His 110 tied him with Gamine for the second-best Beyer during the first half of 2020, exceeded only by Volatile’s 112. 6. MUCHO GUSTO in Gulfstream Park’s Grade I Pegasus World Cup on January 25. (Owned by HRH Prince Faisal bin Khaled bin Abdulaziz; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr.) | Video The $3 million purse for this race was considerably lower than the $9 million purse for the 2019 renewal won by City of Light. There is no question that Mucho Gusto’s task in this year’s Pegasus was made much easier after both Omaha Beach and Spun to Run were scratched. Omaha Beach, the even-money morning-line favorite, was scratched and retired from racing when X-rays detected the start of a cannon bone fracture in his right rear ankle, BloodHorse reported. Spun to Run did not run due to a skin problem. He was the 7-2 second choice on the morning line. Following the important defections of Omaha Beach and Spun to Run, a field of 10 started in the Pegasus. Higher Power was sent away as the 5-2 favorite. Mucho Gusto left the gate at 3-1. Mucho Gusto exited the gate alertly, then raced in third and fourth while 7-1 Mr Freeze showed the way through the early stages. Taking command at the top of the stretch, Mucho Gusto kicked clear to win by 4 1/2 lengths in 1:48.85. Going into the Pegasus, Mucho Gusto’s top Beyer had been a 101 when he finished third in the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga in 2019. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Mucho Macho Man colt was credited with a 107 Beyer for his Pegasus victory. 5. TIZ THE LAW in Belmont Park’s Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 20. (Owned by Sackatoga Stable; trained by Barclay Tagg; ridden by Manny Franco.) | Video To the surprise of virtually no one, 4-5 favorite Tiz the Law won the Belmont with authority by 3 3/4 lengths at a distance much shorter than the traditional 1 1/2 miles due to the coronavirus pandemic. Also because of the pandemic, this was the first time ever that the Belmont kicked off this country’s Triple Crown series. Furthermore, this year’s 152nd running of the Belmont was the first in its history to be contested with no customers on hand, again as a result of the pandemic. Tiz the Law had an ideal trip. He sat third through the early furlongs when on the outside and in the clear while only a couple of lengths off the pacesetting Tap It to Win. When Franco pushed the button, Tiz the Law responded readily to take the lead coming into the stretch. The New York-bred Constitution colt went on to prevail by daylight in 1:46.53. Tiz the Law recorded a 100 Beyer Speed Figure for his Belmont triumph. The 100 matched his previous top Beyer achieved when he won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes by three lengths in his 2020 debut on Feb. 1. Sandwiched between the Holy Bull and Belmont Stakes, he won Gulfstream’s Grade I Florida Derby by 4 1/4 lengths on March 18. Through the Belmont Stakes, nobody had ever defeated Tiz the Law on a fast track. His only loss in his first six career starts came in last year’s Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes when he had a troubled trip on a sloppy track and finished third. Tiz the Law became the first New York-bred to win New York’s Belmont Stakes in 138 years. Only four New York-breds have ever won the Belmont. They are Ruthless (who took the inaugural running in 1867), Fenian (1869), Forester (1882) and Tiz the Law. Tagg, 82, became the oldest trainer to win the Belmont. At the end of the first half of 2020, Tiz the Law held the top spot in the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 409 Tiz the Law (40)2. 367 Honor A.P. (1)3. 276 Authentic4. 223 Dr Post5. 200 King Guillermo6. 138 Gamine7. 105 Charlatan8. 97 Max Player9. 71 Swiss Skydiver10. 66 Maxfield 4. MIDNIGHT BISOU in Churchill Downs’ Grade II Fleur de Lis Stakes on June 27. (Owned by Bloom Racing Stable, Madaket Stables and Allen Racing; trained by Steve Asmussen; ridden by Mike Smith.) } Video This was Midnight Bisou’s first start since she finished second to Maximum Security in the richest race on the planet, the Group I, $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29. Seven started in the Fleur de Lis. Midnight Lute was bet down to 1-2 favoritism. Fourth early while being patiently ridden by Hall of Famer Smith, Fleur de Lis made an electrifying move on the far turn. “Midnight Bisou, with a blitz on the far turn, has rocketed to the front! Midnight Bisou takes charge off the turn,” said track announcer Travis Stone. For many it brought back memories of Arazi’s electrifying come-from-behind victory years ago on that same oval. I was at Churchill Downs when Arazi won the 1991 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. Whether you saw that race live or on television, Arazi’s performance was one that you likely will never forget. Next-to-last and a dozen lengths off the early lead in the field of 14, Azeri generated one of the most memorable rallies in the history of the Breeders’ Cup. Midway on the far turn, Bertrando was in front and running strongly. But Arazi moved with a rush to get the lead turning for home and went on to prevail by five lengths. “And they are coming down to the finish here. Here is indeed a superstar!” said Tom Durkin during his call of the race. “Arazi, absolutely brilliant. He was taken under a hard hold, to win it here by five, and he could have won by 10 perhaps.” After Midnight Bisou had opened a commanding lead during the stretch run of this year’s Fleur de Lis, Smith similarly allowed her to just canter home. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Midnight Lute mare won by 8 1/4 lengths in 1:48.99. At the end of the first half of 2020, Midnight Bisou occupied the top spot in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 390 Midnight Bisou (25)2. 347 Tom’s d’Etat (9)3. 217 Mucho Gusto4. 206 Code of Honor (4)5. 180 By My Standards6. 123 Tiz the Law (3)7. 119 Zulu Alpha8. 116 Vekoma9. 90 Maximum Security (3)10. 85 Improbable In the week prior to the Fleur de Lis, I cast my first-place vote for Tiz the Law in the NTRA poll. At that time, Midnight Bisou had not yet won a race in 2020. But after Midnight Bisou’s dominant victory in the Fleur de Lis, she did receive my first-place vote for the final NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll during the first half of 2020. 3. TOM’S D’ETAT in Churchill Downs’ Grade II Stephen Foster Handicap on June 27. (Owned by GMB Racing; trained by Albert Stall Jr.; ridden by Miguel Mena.) } Video Off as the 6-5 favorite, Tom’s d’Etat raced just off the early pace established by 14-1 Pirate’s Punch. Tom’s d’Etat took the lead with about three furlongs to go and drew away in the stretch to prevail by 4 1/4 lengths. A 7-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Smart Strike, Tom’s d’Etat’s registered a praiseworthy final time of 1:47.30, only .02 seconds off the track record set by Victory Gallop in the 1999 Stephen Foster. Tom’s d’Etat received a career-best 109 Beyer Speed Figure for his Stephen Foster performance. The Stephen Foster was Tom’s d’Etat’s fourth consecutive victory. He won Keeneland’s Grade II Fayette Stakes last Oct. 26, then Churchill’s Grade I Clark Stakes on Nov. 29, then the Oaklawn Mile at Oaklawn Park on April 11, then the Stephen Foster. By My Standards had to settle for second in the Stephen Foster. Going into this race, he ranked second behind only Midnight Bisou on the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Why have I put Tom d’Etat’s win in the Stephen Foster higher on this list than Midnight Bisou’s victory in the Fleur de Lis? The main reason is Tom’s d’Etat’s final time of 1:47.30 in the 1 1/8-mile Stephen Foster was considerably faster than Midnight Bisou’s final Fleur de Lis clocking of 1:48.99 on the same day and same track and at the same trip. 2. VOLATILE in Churchill Downs’ Aristides Stakes on June 6. (Owned by Phoenix Thoroughbreds III and Three Chimneys Farm; trained by Steve Asmussen; ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr.) | Video Asmussen also trained Mitole, whose victory in the Met Mile at Belmont Park ranked No. 2 on my list of the Top 10 performances by a Thoroughbred in the United States during the first half of 2019. No. 1 was City of Light’s 5 3/4-length victory in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park early in 2019 on Jan. 26. Mitole won the Met Mile by three-quarters of a length in a stellar field of nine. He stepped one mile in a splendid 1:32.75, not far off the track record of 1:32.24 set by Najran in 2003. Most observers considered that Met Mile field to be the strongest for any race run in this country during the first half of 2019. McKinzie finished second (despite a troubled trip), followed in order by Promises Fulfilled, Firenze Fire, Pavel, Coal Front, Tale of Silence and Prince Lucky. Mitole would go on to win last year’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. He was voted a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion male sprinter. Volatile’s win as the 1-2 favorite in the Aristides was Mitole-like. Making his stakes debut, the 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Violence colt sat in third early, took over at the top of the stretch and drew off to win by eight lengths in a scorching 1:07.57. His final time was just .02 of a second off the track record set by Indian Chant in 2007. “He’s just a tremendous talent,” Asmussen said of Volatile after the Aristides. Volatile recorded a 112 Beyer Speed Figure. It was the highest Beyer during the first half of 2020. 1. GAMINE in Belmont Park’s Grade I Acorn Stakes on June 20. (Owned by Michael L. Petersen; trained by Bob Baffert; ridden by John Velazquez.) | Video Even before this race, Baffert had called Gamine a superstar. Baffert’s view of the filly was affirmed by her scintillating performance in this race, which deserved a 10 on a “wow scale” of 1 to 10. Breaking from the inside post, Gamine dashed immediately to the front. She flaunted her speed while setting fractions of :22.48, :45.28 and 1:09.33. Gamine proceeded to pour it on while coming down the lane and won in isolated grandeur by 18 3/4 lengths as a 3-5 favorite. The 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly was credited with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. That 110 figure tied for the second-best Beyer during the first half of the year. No 3-year-old of either sex posted a higher Beyer from Jan. 1 to June 30. Gamine’s margin of victory was the largest in the history of the Acorn, a race that was first run in 1931. Her final time of 1:32.55 was a stakes record and just .31 of a second off the 17-year-old track record owned by Najran. To put Gamine’s 1:32.55 clocking into further context, it was faster than Mitole’s excellent final time of 1:32.75 when he won the 2019 Met Mile on that same track. The stakes record for the Acorn once was held by Ruffian. She won the 1975 renewal of the Acorn by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:34.40. I consider Ruffian to be the greatest female Thoroughbred of all time. Her only loss in 11 career starts came when she tragically broke down in her 1975 match race against Foolish Pleasure. In Ruffian’s 10 victories, she tied or broke a stakes or track record in all but one of them. Andrew Beyer, father of the Beyer Speed Figures, went so far as to call Gamine’s Acorn victory a “great” performance. In my view, Gamine’s performance in the Acorn was the finest to have occurred on the American racing stage during the first half of 2020. MY CURRENT KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10 The more I have looked at American-bred, Japan-based Cafe Pharoah, the more I think he could be very dangerous in the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby. Consequently, I have moved him up a couple of notches to No. 7 on my Kentucky Derby rankings. Cafe Pharoah is undefeated in three career starts. Most recently, he won the Group III Unicorn Stakes at about one mile on dirt June 21 at Tokyo Racecourse. His sire is American Pharoah, who in in 2015 swept this country’s Triple Crown and was voted Horse of the Year. Cezanne, who is No. 6 on my Top 10, is the 4-5 morning-line favorite in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race Friday at Los Alamitos. A $3.65 auction purchase, he won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race at Santa Anita on June 6 in his lone start to date while recording a 90 Beyer Speed Figure. Bob Baffert trains the Kentucky-bred Curlin colt. Uncle Chuck, who is ranked No. 5, is among five 3-year-olds entered in this Saturday’s Grade III Los Alamitos Derby at 1 1/8 miles. The first four finishers will be rewarded with points toward the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby on a 20-8-4-2 scale. In Uncle Chuck’s only start so far, he won a one-mile maiden special weight race by seven lengths at Santa Anita on June 12. He was credited with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Baffert also trains Uncle Chuck, a Kentucky-bred Uncle Mo colt and $250,000 auction purchase. Baffert also is represented in the Los Al Derby by Thousand Words. A $1 million auction purchase, Thousand Words has lost two straight (by 11 1/4 and 29 3/4 lengths) after winning his first three career starts. The Kentucky-bred Pioneerof the Nile colt won the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity last year and Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita this year prior to his back-to-back drubbings. Here is my current Kentucky Derby Top 10: 1. Honor A.P.2. Tiz the Law3. Authentic4. Dr Post5. Uncle Chuck6. Cezanne7. Cafe Pharoah8. Max Player9. Art Collector10. Rushie TIZ THE LAW FAVORED IN KDFW POOL 5 Not surprisingly, Tiz the Law ended up being the favorite in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager (KDFW) Pool 5 that closed last Sunday. Tiz the Law’s price was 2-1. Here were the final odds for Pool 5 of the KDFW: 2-1 Tiz the Law6-1 Honor A.P.8-1 “All Other 3-Year-Olds”11-1 Authentic13-1 Uncle Chuck14-1 Cafe Pharoah19-1 Cezanne20-1 Art Collector20-1 Dr Post24-1 “All Other Three-Year-Old Fillies”24-1 Max Player29-1 King Guillermo46-1 Enforceable47-1 Thousand Words53-1 Basin53-1 Ete Indien54-1 Creed54-1 Mystic Guide56-1 Pneumatic57-1 Ny Traffic69-1 Man in the Can75-1 Money Moves78-1 Mr. Big News104-1 Rushie Here were the final odds for Pool 4 of the KDFW that closed back on April 4: 3-1 “All Others”5-1 Charlatan*5-1 Tiz the Law9-1 Maxfield9-1 Nadal10-1 Authentic15-1 Honor A.P.28-1 Wells Bayou29-1 Ete Indien31-1 Gouverneur Morris33-1 Enforceable34-1 Sole Volante36-1 King Guillermo45-1 Thousand Words46-1 Mischievious Alex50-1 Modernist53-1 Storm the Court54-1 Major Fed56-1 Basin63-1 Three Technique67-1 Max Player71-1 Ny Traffic85-1 Excession85-1 Shivaree *Actual betting favorite among the individual horses.

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6.30.2020:

June 30: Scioto Downs Pick 5 Analysis

Starting today, Scioto Downs drops Tuesday matinees for night racing and that could help grow the handle. The 0.50 Pick 5 begins in Race 5. The sequence has a $7,500 guaranteed pool with a low 14% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 53-Tivo Hanover (9/2)-Steps-up in 3rd local start after two sharp efforts from the 9-hole. Kaufman takes the lines and should be in the hunt at a fair price.4-Mister Virgin (6-1)-Burke trainee is looking for 1st ScD win and Page took this 10-year-old over the 6,7 and 8. This isn't an easy race to read as no one in the field has won at this class.7-Music Is Art (6-1)-Makes 1st start since 3/6 at YR. The 6/8 qualifier at ScD was solid and will take a swing with a fresh face who has been racing versus better. Leaving Burke's other pupil #6 out who is the program chalk and is 0-13 here.Race 61-Don't Fire (7-1)-1st time Lasix and will use at this price from the rail. Fits with this group and could be posing if Lasix kicks-in right away.3-Exhibit Class (4-1)-This is a soft spot so will overlook break in last from post 9. Winner of >$116k in 2019 can bounce back in a big way tonight.7-Team Jesse (5/2)-Will respect winner of 2 straight, one at Nfld and one here. Should be in the mix and doesn't have to get on the engine. Lightly raced 3-year-old can race off cover.Race 74-I M Mccited (4-1)-Suspecting Miller will make an early move to get the top to take command and not look back.8-I Got The Diamonds (8-1)-Drops to a spot to cash the biggest check after making 2 starts coming off the bench versus better. Although 0-8 at ScD, can beat this field with a good trip.Race 88-Cambassador (2-1)-Did fade in last but will give a 2nd chance versus this group. 13-year-old likes to win, and connections have been rolling. Will single and look for a top effort.Race 93-Hunchie (3-1)-Winner of 9 starts in 46 races at ScD drops to the lowest level in quite a while. Should be ready for a big try but is best on a fast track.5-Tiffany Marie (5/2)-This is actually a gelding who doesn't usually race at Scioto. Burke trainee does have 1 win in 3 starts at ScD. Similar to #3, should like the company and will likely be put in play early.0.50 Pick 53,4,7/1,3,7/4,8/8/3,5Total Bet=$18Check me out on Twitter!

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6.30.2020:

Betting Gulfstream's Rainbow Pick 6 with 1/ST BET AI Assistance

  With the fiscal year ending at midnight, everything must go in the Rainbow Pick 6 jackpot carryover at Gulfstream Park on a special, 9-race Tuesday card. The mandatory payout pick six has a $407,675 carryover that will be on the line in Races 4-9. First post is slated for noon ET and Race 4 has a scheduled off time in the neighborhood of 1:34 pm ET.Let’s take a look at the Rainbow Pick 6 races with a handicapper’s eye and the help of the 1/ST BET app’s artificial intelligence selections.Race 4Jeremy’s tip: Since the end of the Championship Meet in April, only 1 of 22 maiden claiming turf sprints has been won by a horse over 9-1, and 18 of the 22 winners were 5-1 or less. Keep it close to the vest.1/ST BET AI Picks#3 Shez Stuck Up (28%W, 53%P, 65%S)#4 Dinner At Five (19%W, 35%P, 49%S)#5 Aunt Irene (10%W, 21%P, 30%S)Race 5Jeremy’s tip: Since the start of April, favorites are only 2-for-13 in Gulfstream dirt dashes at 5-1/2 furlongs, and more than half of the winners were not among the top-3 post-time wagering choices. Feel free to spread your tickets a bit in a race where no less than 3 massive class droppers clash.1/ST BET AI Picks#2 Hero Tiger (31%W, 48%P, 64%S)#5 Say Adios (22%W, 35%P, 53%S)#10 Travelin Gambler (13%W, 27%P, 42%S)Race 6Jeremy’s tip: Favorites are a rock-solid 42% winners in 6-furlong claimers at Gulfstream since April 1, and nearly 80% of the winners have been top-3 post-time wagering choices. This could be a leg in which to narrow.1/ST BET AI Picks#10 Mystic Comin Home (22%W, 43%P, 55%S)#1 Dixieland Humor (17%W, 31%P, 41%S)#4 Toonie Loonie (12%W, 25%P, 37%S)Race 7Jeremy’s tip: Turf sprints for claiming/allowance horses since April 1 at Gulfstream have provided rather mixed results. Favorites have won a plain-Jane 35% overall, but that increases to 40% in fields of 8 or fewer like this. Still, 28% of winners were not among the top-3 post-time choices even in those smaller fields. Don’t be shy about shopping.1/ST BET AI Picks#6 Sea Lover (30%W, 58%P, 69%S)#7 Remaster (21%W, 36%P, 55%S)#3 Mukulwitz (20%W, 41%P, 63%S)Race 8Jeremy’s tip: Favorites are only 4-for-21 in 7-furlong dirt sprints at Gulfstream since April 1. But the average winning odds has been 4-1 and only 1 winner has been more than 8-1. A little coverage in this may not hurt, while settling for 8-5 morning line favorite Panarea does not appear to be a requirement.1/ST BET AI Picks#8 Panarea (31%W, 52%P, 68%S)#5 I’m a Rockstar (26%W, 48%P, 63%S)#7 Smitten for Smitty (10%W, 33%P, 47%S)Race 9Jeremy’s tip: The top-2 post-time wagering choices have accounted for 58% of the Gulfstream turf sprint claiming races since the start of April. Notably here are the same timespan’s leading turf sprint jockey, Emisael Jaramillo (21%), and red-hot turf sprint trainer, Carlos David (6-for-7 in exacta), showing up with the top-2 morning line choices -- #12 Cookie Cove and #2 I’m Prayingforthat.1/ST BET AI Picks#12 Cookie Cove (21%W, 33%P, 50%S)#10 Bella Bionda (18%W, 30%P, 49%S)#2 I’m Prayingforthat (9%W, 22%P, 32%S)

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6.29.2020:

No ‘Stranger’ Atop Pace Rankings

The first stop on the “Road to the Meadowlands Pace” went over smoothly for its featured performer. Two days after Tall Dark Stranger was ranked No. 1 in Dave Little’s weekly poll, the 3-year-old colt defeated older rivals in a high-end conditioned pace in 1:47.2, equaling the fastest mile in harness racing this year. He bid 3-wide on the final turn for driver Yannick Gingras and blazed the final quarter mile in :25.4 to win by 1-1/2 lengths. He paid $3.80 to win. “I wasn’t shocked,” trainer Nancy Takter said of Tall Dark Stranger’s seasonal debut. “The fact that he did it in his first start, that surprised me.” Tall Dark Stranger improved to 9-for-10 lifetime and will bring a $726,889 bankroll into the July 11 Pace eliminations for owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor. The $682,650 Meadowlands Pace final is scheduled July 18. But while he sits idle this week, three of his main rivals – No. 2 Papi Rob Hanover, No. 3 Captain Midnight and No. 4 Catch The Fire -- could race. All three won qualifiers recently and have a sub-1:50 mile on their resumes. Earlier on the Saturday card, Takter and Gingras orchestrated a potential shakeup in Ken Warkentin’s Road to the Hambletonian. Sorella, a 3-year-old trotting filly, won by a nose in 1:51.2 while top-ranked Amigo Volo, last year’s Breeders Crown champion, finished out of the money. The $1 million Hambletonian is set for Saturday, Aug. 8. The Meadowlands will re-open for fans at 25 percent capacity this Thursday, July 2, with the apron also open. The dining room will take reservations Friday and Saturday. Post time each night is 7:15 p.m.

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6.29.2020:

Monday, June 29: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

The popular 0.20 Early Pick 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park kicks-off the card and will be my focus. It is a competitive sequence with a $75,000 guaranteed pool and 15% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Heid (15-1)-Not a bad effort in 1st start since 11/23. Now moves in from the 7-hole and should be a price. Roy steers again, he got her off the gate and kept the filly trotting.4-Chelseas Magic (7/2)-Stayed trotting in qualifier and 1st start of the year. Trotted 57.3 in the 2nd half of the mile and should be in the hunt in a difficult race.8-Enchanting Gal (9/2)-Last qualifier was good enough to take notice and raced the back half in 57.4. Should like the company and if gets the right trip it could be graduation time.Race 23-Betalady (6-1)-Comes off a sharp effort in a quick mile to finish 2nd. Barn has been doing well, likes the track, drew well and could offer a solid price. Might get the 2-hole behind the 7/5 chalk and is a use in gimmicks.5-Alicorn (7/5)-Tuned up nicely and will be difficult to beat if dialed on high in 1st start of the year. Looks ready and this will be a single on many tickets.8-Lauras Love (4-1)-This is a good test for this nice looking 3-year-old who has won 5 of 7 in 2020. McClure will have in play but will need a hot pace.Race 33-Yacht Seelster (7/2)-Raced the back half on 6/20 in .53 to come 2nd. 0-6 this year and McClure needs to work a favorable journey. Looking for a more aggressive start to be in striking range at the top of lane.4-Sweet N Fast N (3-1)-Takes a meaningful drop in 3rd race after the re-start. This looks like a spot to pick-up a 3rd win in 11 starts this year.6-Rock N Talkin (8-1)-Filion gets the catch drive on this 4-year-old who had 2 sharp local starts. Closed into some wicked fractions last time. Should be forwardly placed tonight and could add some juice to the Pick 5 payout.Race 42-Refi (6-1)-Left and got a perfect 2-hole trip and rolled by late. Won't be as easy this time but this is a sharp, handy horse. Offers some value at the ML odds of 6-1 and barn keeps winning.3-Only Take Cash (5-1)-Raced evenly in 1st race since 11/14. McIntosh trainee has won 4 of 8 starts at Wbsb and fits with this group. This is another tough race and Henry should put in play early. Might be tight enough to take a picture.Race 52-Iwontdothatagain (7/2)-Loses Roy but gets McNair and more important now gets post relief. Has started from the 9-10 and 8 posts in last 3 and has been flying late. McNair may gun for the engine and steal a quarter in an interesting race.3-Icy Blue Scooter (4-1)-Drops out of Preferreds into a spot to shine. JMac needs a good steer to capture 1st win in 2020. Looks like a major player and likes to takes pictures, was 16-30 in 2019.4-Peace Out Posse (5-1)-This is the other Moreau trainee and Roy has some choices. Drops and also gets post relief. Best to not overlook and should offer a square price.My Ticket Race 1) 1,4,8 Race 2) 3,5,8 Race 3) 3,4,6 Race 4) 2,3 Race 5) 2,3,4Total Ticket Cost) = $32.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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6.29.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (June 22-28): Tom's d'Etat

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.June 22-28, 2020MVP: Tom’s d’EtatOwner: GMB Racing (Gayle Benson)Trainer: Al Stall Jr.Jockey: Miguel MenaPerformance: The 7-year-old continues to improve with age, winning his fourth straight in the June 27 Grade 2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs. The Smart Strike horse left no doubt in the Foster against a solid field, drawing off by 4-1/4 lengths over red-hot By My Standards. Sent away the 6-5 favorite in the Foster, Tom’s d’Etat zipped a mile and one-eighth in 1:47.30, just .02 off Victory Gallop’s track record set in the 1998 Foster. By comparison, the same-day Fleur de Lis Stakes was completed in 1:48.99.On Tap: Tom’s d’Etat clearly ranks among the very top of the list of Breeders’ Cup Classic division favorites. The Nov. 7 destination at Keeneland likely will see only a single additional stop between now and then, though two races are possible. The Grade 1 Whitney on August 1 at Saratoga comes up first, but is at a mile and one-eighth. The Grade 1 Woodward on September 5 at Saratoga could give him a mile and one-quarter rehearsal, while the Jockey Club Gold Cup a month later at Belmont would offer the same test, just closer in timing to the Classic.Honorable Mentions: In New York, Newspaperofrecord wired the Grade 1 Just A Game in impressive fashion June 27 at Belmont Park, defeating the likes of stablemate and 2019 Breeders’ Cup Mile heroine Uni. She’s now 2-for-2 on the campaign and back to her juvenile form. Midnight Bisou and/or Cazadero nearly gave Steve Asmussen a third MVP of June (previously Volatile, June 8; She’s a Julie, June 15). They cruised in the Grade 2 Fleur de Lis and Grade 3 Bashford Manor, respectively, at Churchill Downs on Saturday. And a shout-out to Pink Lloyd, Woodbine’s 8-year-old sprint maven who won the June 25 Grade 3 Cartier for the fourth time while advancing to 23-for-29 lifetime.

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6.28.2020:

Sunday, June 28: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Sunday's 0.50 Late Pick 4 at Hawthorne Racecourse begins in Race 11. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 112-Delightfully Wild (7-1)-Moves up after a sharp win on the engine and was strong through the wire. Will not be 22-1 most likely but will offer a good price and should fit here.3-Shedaisy Ten (6-1)-Didn't get the best of trips in last and now Leonard is back aboard. Looks like a player at a square price.6-Mirasol (6-1)-This is the 3rd start off the bench. One was very good and the 2nd start, when bumped up in class and off for 15-days was dull. Looking for Warren to provide a better steer and an improved effort at a better price.7-Model (5/2)-Program favorite isn't offering any value at this price and hasn't looked sharp in last 2 starts. But this is a wide-open affair and the Smith barn should start taking some pictures.10-Rollin Coal (5-1)-Drops in 2nd start on Lasix and 3rd race after the re-start. Post makes for a better price and will need the right trip. This mare is probably the fastest horse in the race if dialed on high, best to not overlook.Race 122-Fox Valley Lolo (7-1)-Not sure Lasix has taken full effect yet but last effort was the best since starting back up. Should stay in the hunt from this post and if continues to improve could take a picture at a solid price.6-Fox Valley Torrid (4-1)-Qualified on 6/13 with a 55.2 back half and has won 9 of 24 starts at Haw. Can beat this field if fires hot off the bench.9-Fox Valley Halsey (7/2)-Has fallen short in both local starts and has been the beaten chalk each time. Now draws outside but will likely not offer any value. Maybe Leonard will try a different game plan and follow cover.Race 138-Fox Valley Triton (5/2)-Raced the 2nd half in 54.2 and couldn't catch the leaders but those two are not in this field. Looking for a more aggressive move by Leonard to take control for 1st photo of 2020.Race 141-Western Vinny (3/2)-Doesn't offer any value and is only 2-23 lifetime but this is not a group of All-Stars. Did have a big try from the 8-hole and deserves respect due to that effort.5-Life Is A Highway (4-1)-This will be the 3rd start after the break and faces a beatable field. Bates has driven before at HoP and he is back tonight. Could be sitting on a big try.7-Fox Valley Lincoln (12-1)-Won 2 times pre-lockdown but has not been able to get rolling since. Looking for a price and thinking Warren may leave to get the top or the pocket trip behind #1.My Ticket Race 11) 2,3,6,7,10 Race 12) 2,6,9 Race 13) 8 Race 14) 1,5,7 Total Ticket Cost) $22.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.28.2020:

Sunday, June 28: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers & Best Plays

Jeff Siegel’s Day Makers and Best Plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value while Best Plays isolate likely winners and logical rolling exotic singles. Each selection also should be given strong consideration as a key in vertical plays such as exactas and trifectas. NOTE: Selections are listed chronologically according to listed post time.CHURCHILL DOWNS – 2ND RACE. POST TIME: 1:34 ET1 – DREAM QUIST (7/2) – Best PlayThis doesn’t appear to be an especially strong race for maiden 2-year-old fillies, at least among the known element, so let’s zero in on a first-time starter with a “win early” pedigree and a strong work tab. A $265,000 yearling purchase, this daughter of Nyquist has done everything in the morning like a very nice filly and should be plenty fit to show her best stuff in this five furlong dash. The K. McPeek barn doesn’t often win with first-timers but with two recent bullet drills over the local main track on her resume she should offer plenty of value at or near her morning line of 7/2.GULFSTREAM PARK – 6TH RACE. POST TIME: 2:36 ET1 - PSEUDONYM (12-1) – Day MakerHere’s a long shot worth considering. This daughter of Hard Spun could not have gotten a worse trip than she did from a poor draw in her debut last month, as she was rank during the early stages, was forced to race extremely wide without cover throughout, and then was not persevered with when the cause was lost. The S. Joseph, Jr.-trained filly has returned to work very well since that outing and today, from her advantageous rail post, should be able to display her true form. At 12-1 on the morning she offers a chance at a nice score in both the win pool and as a long shot key in the various rolling exotics.CHURCHILL DOWNS – 4TH RACE. POST TIME: 2:38 ET2 - KID SHELLEEN (6-1) – Day MakerTrainer Eddie Kenneally claimed this colt for $30,000 for his own account earlier this month after this 3-year-old colt made his debut in a third place performance that was better than the line will show. Off slowly, racing in heavy traffic and taking a sea of mud in his face, the son of Cairo Prince kept to his task through the lane and finished eagerly to beaten only three lengths before galloping out strongly past the wire. This raise to the maiden $40,000 should be well within his capabilities if he can leave cleanly and negotiate a clear journey. This barn has a terrific record with the first-off-the-claim angle (29% with a very strong flat-bet profit) so at 6-1 on the morning line the namesake of Academy Award winning Lee Marvin’s character in Cat Ballou rates strong consideration both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.GULFSTREAM PARK – 10TH RACE. POST TIME: 4:46 ET1 – KID BISCAYNE (7/2) – Day MakerThis rapidly-improving Florida-bred daughter of Brethren seeks her third straight victory while moving up class to tackle open company after breaking her maiden on the main track and then dismantling a first-level allowance state-bred field at 22-1 over this turf course late last month. The J. Alvarado-trained 3-year-old was miles the best in her most recent score, overcoming a poor post and an extremely wide trip without cover to come away as much the best while earning a career-best speed figure. Today, she lands the good rail, retains regular pilot E. Jaramillo, shows three easy breezes since raced to keep her on edge, and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. There’s excellent wagering value in the win pool and in the rolling exotics at her morning line of 7/2 if you can get it.LOS ALAMITOS – 9TH RACE. POST TIME: 4:45 PT6 – DR. HOFFMAN (7/2) – Best PlayHere’s a first-off-the-claim play for a barn that shows superlative stats with this angle (31%, powerful flat-bet profit), so we’re anticipating another significant forward move from the lightly-raced son of Alternation in this modest maiden $40,000 claiming router. Well-beaten sprinting after a poor start in his debut, the sophomore gelding improved a ton in his next outing, closing fastest off all but running out of room to finish second while more than four lengths clear of the rest. This raise in class from the $20,000 level shouldn’t be a concern, so at 7/2 on the morning line we’ll make him a win play and a logical key in rolling exotic play.

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6.27.2020:

Saturday, June 27: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a 13-race card scheduled with the 0.50 Early Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout. If the weather forecast is correct the track will probably not be fast.Race 61-Southwind Avenger (5-1)-Tuned-up at YR with a sharp effort from the 8-hole and was parked so maybe Lasix is making a difference. McCarthy takes a spin and is 2-2 on a wet track.3-Don't Let'em (3-1)-This is a fast horse who is a risky play in almost every start but is hard to leave out. Hasn't won on an off-track and hopefully will offer a decent price.4-Reign Of Honor (7/2)-Came 3rd at TgDn versus tough company after taking a picture here. Merlander barn is hot and it's best to not overlook.Race 71-Tall Dark Stranger (5/2)-Not going to single but was worthy of that type of respect. Last qualifier was razor sharp and even though 3-year-old faces older this is a world class horse. Could win and tune-up for the upcoming Pace Elims.2-Western Joe (5-1)-#1 hasn't raced on an off-track and there is a good chance of rainy weather so will use Joe just in case. Does step-up off a win but fits with this group and should be on the engine or in the pocket.Race 81-Ideal Feeling (5-1)-Won in 148.4 last week, likes the Big M and has won 2 of 4 on an off-track. Does meet tougher company but Tetrick should keep in play throughout.3-Franco Totem N (7/2)-Liked this guy last week and he came 2nd but raced well. Could be better tonight and comes off a quick mile and raced near the lead. Best to respect, especially with this post draw and Dunn sticks.10-Flaming Flutter N (3-1)-Takes a big bump up after being rimmed the mile and winning in 149.1 with a 26.1 last quarter. Oh, and not to forget that was the US debut. 2nd time Lasix and does not show a start on an off-track.Race 92-Filibuster Hanover (9/2)-No chance in a needed start at TgDn but can be a factor here. Should be fine on a wet track and has banked >$330 in East Rutherford facing tough foes. Only 1 picture in last 19 tries but that could change tonight.3-Trojan Banner N (8-1)-Will swing for a price, loses Tetrick to #7 but D. Miller should be up to the task and barn has been hot. Needs a big effort but did race a 148.4 mile last week with a 26.2 last quarter and the trip wasn't great.4-Sintra (5/2)-Raced well in 1st start off the bench at this class. Has won 6 of 9 on an off-track and has 2 wins in 5 Big M starts. Looks to be a major player and Gingras will have in play.7-Donttellmegain (5-1)-Looking for 1st win on an off-track but did hit the board in all 4 starts and has won 4 of 8 Big M races. Six-year-old has a 147.2 mark here, the question is how fast he will go in 2nd race after the re-start.My Ticket Race 6) 1,3,4 Race 7) 1,2 Race 8) 1,3,10 Race 9) 2,3,4,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.27.2020:

My Late Pick 5 Ticket Sunday at Lone Star Park

Sunday is a big stakes day at Lone Star Park in Grand Prairie, Texas, and the top action of day is right in the mix of an attractive Pick 5.The Pick 5 will run in races 5-9 and is highlighted by the Lone Star Park Mile, which goes as the eighth race and puts a spotlight on some of the area’s top older runners. The slate includes the Lone Star Park Turf Stakes and the Grand Prairie Derby, in addition to claiming and maiden races.Here’s a look at the 50-cent Pick 5, which uses and 3x3x3x3x2 approach for $81:Race 5 (6:07 p.m. ET, Lone Star Park Turf S.)A quality run over the course is important, and FOOL’S PARADISE has that to his credit. She followed a pace that was favorable for her rally and came through in eye-catching fashion. She’s better on grass and will be one to hold off.CURLIN’S JOURNEY was up in time in an allowance race here and prior to her trip to Texas was a regular in graded turf stakes in California. She has the class and can be close to the action throughout.COWGIRLS LIKE US finished well and was getting to CURLIN’S JOURNEY last out. She’s never won on turf but has been on the board in 2 of 3 grass attempts.Race 6 (6:37 p.m. ET, Claiming)BRAVURA CREEK will be able to find a good trip just off the pace and will be set up by a fast pace. He’s improved in his last two and should be moving the best late.ALEUTIAN HARBOUR ran well in British Columbia and just missed in his first local start. Can make a serious run at the lowest level he has seen.YOUNG HENDRICK will be going like mad to get to the lead from the outside, and when he’s successful early on, it immensely enhances his chances. His only success came on the front end and he’ll go for that from the outside post.Race 7 (7:07 p.m. ET, Grand Prairie Derby)LITTLE MENACE makes her first two-turn attempt after some quality sprints. He ran out of real estate in his last three starts – all at six furlongs – and probably welcomes the chance to stretch out.SIR RICK is a stakes winner around two turns and can benefit from a fast pace. He usually likes to be on the front end but chances are slim that he’ll get that kind of trip. Others with speed could work in his favor.ICECAP has never been in a stakes races but is a regular going in longer events and will be one to benefit the most if there’s a multi-horse battle for the lead. He has been the victim of a slow pace in his last two and this could work out well for him.Race 8 (7:37 p.m. ET, Lone Star Mile S.)SLEEPY EYES TODD comes in off a powerful and easy score in the Bosselman Gus Fonner at Fonner Park last out and got his act back together after tiring in two Grade 3 races. The Lone Star main track usually plays well for a front runner of this one’s quality and you can expect him to dig in.PIONEER SPIRIT has been a big player in several stakes races at Fair Grounds and Oaklawn and could be difficult to handle. You don’t see many horses claimed for $150,000, but in just eight months has won back the investment for his new connections.MOCITO ROJO hasn’t won since September but last year was a big one as he developed into one of the top older horses in the region. He’ll get a rapid pace to follow and that’s a scenario that works best for him.Race 9 (8:07 p.m. ET, Maidens)HARD TWIST had a rough trip against some of these in his debut and he’s probably get a much better go of it this time around. ROBO ran on well for second last time should and should be able to get a clean run from the outset. My TicketRace 5) #2 Fool’s Paradise, #3 Curlin’s Journey, #7 Cowgirls Like Us.Race 6) #8 Bravura Creek, #10 Aleutian Harbour, #13 Young Hendrick.Race 7) #2 Little Menace, #4 Sir Rick, #6 Icecap.Race 8) #1 Sleepy Eyes Todd, #6 Pioneer Spirit, #7 Mocito Rojo.Race 9) #7 Hard Twist, #9 Robo.Total Ticket Cost) 2,3,7/8,10,13/2,4,6/1,6,7/7,9 = $81 for $0.50

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6.27.2020:

Saturday, June 27: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers & Best Plays

Jeff Siegel’s Day Makers and Best Plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value while Best Plays isolate likely winners and logical rolling exotic singles. Each selection also should be given strong consideration as a key in vertical plays such as exactas and trifectas. NOTE: Selections are listed chronologically according to listed post time. CHURCHILL DOWNS – 5TH RACE. POST TIME: 3:10PM ET2 – PIT BOSS (5-1) – Day Maker Talented maiden is improving with racing – according to his speed figures – and with another forward move today the son of Union Rags could be set to spring a mild surprise while stretching out to 9.5 furlongs on the main track and catching a field without much speed. Exits a pair of stronger-than-par maiden races and today catches a field that looks average at best. With a healthy work tab since raced and with the switch to good speed rider M. Garcia, the W. Catalano-trained colt may find himself as the controlling speed, though his deep-closing rally when second in his debut indicates he can be effective with patient tactics as well. There’s value here to be found at or near his morning line of 5-1. BELMONT PARK – 5TH RACE. POST TIME: 3:37PM ET5 – FLYING FINISH (7/2) – Best Play Walked out of the gate and gave himself an impossible task when closing well but too late in a fifth place finish in his debut at Gulfstream Park in early May vs. open maiden-special-weight foes and then was impressive on the gallop-out (he was in front of the pack at the clubhouse turn), so we know the natural talent is there. Hopefully, the son of Pioneerof the Nile leaves with his field today, and at this extended sprint trip the A. Margotta, Jr.-trained colt may be able to produce the last run. I. Ortiz got to know him in Florida, stays aboard, so at 7/2 on the morning line we’ll have a gamble both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. CHURCHILL DOWNS – 6TH RACE. POST TIME: 3:41PM ET6 – PARIS LIGHTS (2-1) – Best Play Won like a future star when breaking her maiden by nearly seven lengths in her first try around two-turns over this track and distance last month and seems well-spotted to repeat on the raise in this entry-level allowance affair for fillies and mares. The daughter of Curlin has a good stalking style that should keep her clear of trouble, and in a race that projects to have a better-than-average early pace she should be able to settle in mid-pack and then produce a winning kick when called up. At 2-1 on the morning line, she’s a win play at or near that price and also a rolling exotic single. WOODBINE – 8TH RACE. POST TIME 4:42PM ET5-ELIZABETH WAY-IRE (4-1) – Day Maker Irish-bred mare shows up north of the border for Nassau S.-G2, a one-turn grass miler for fillies and mares that fits her like a glove. Though primarily a marathoner in her nine-race career, the daughter of Frankel appears to be most comfortable at a middle distance, and after recording two solid recent workouts for her Canadian-based trainer she should be primed for a breakout performance at what we expect will be close to her 4-1 morning line. She can be dangerous on the lead or from off the pace, so E. J. Wilson can assess the early pace flow and then pick the proper early position. CHURCHILL DOWNS – 8TH RACE. POST TIME: 4:43PM ET6 – CAZADERO (8/5) – Best Play Seems certain to go lower than his morning line of 8/5 and therefore will be too short to play straight but the son of Street Sense, a visually impressive maiden debut winner over the local main track last month, looks very difficult to deny right back in this year’s edition of the Bashford Manner S.-G3 for 2-year-olds. On pure speed figures he’s a standout, and the way the S. Asmussen-trained colt lengthened out with power in the final stages in his nearly nine length romp over five furlongs makes him likely to be even more dominant at today’s six panel trip. We’ll make him a short-priced rolling exotic single. LOS ALAMITOS RACE COURSE – 3RD RACE. POST TIME 4:58PM ET 5 – DISCO BALL (9/5) – Best Play Been away almost a year but we’re expecting this talented 3-year-old to return better than he left in this six furlong maiden sprint. In his only start last year at Del Mar, the son of Orb was forced to race under severe pressure throughout while being mired down in the extremely deep inside lane yet continued to battle back bravely in the final stages and was beaten only a half-length by subsequent stakes winner Collusion Illusion. Sharp recent drills – including a bullet :47 3/5 half mile move (fastest of 57) just six days ago – indicate this B. Koriner-trained colt is ready to roll. At his morning line of 9/5 he’s a strong win play, but if he goes lower we can still him with confidence as a rolling exotic single. BELMONT PARK – 8TH RACE. POST TIME: 5:04PM ET7-MEAN MARY (7/2) – Best Play Though she doesn’t need the lead to win, this daughter of Scat Daddy seems certain to accept the role as the controlling speed in the 10-furlong turf New York S.-G2 for fillies and mares, and given that kind of trip she has an excellent opportunity to take this field gate-to-wire. The lightly-raced 4-year-old filly, a two-time graded stakes winner at Gulfstream Park this past winter, tackles tougher foes today but based on the projected race flow and speed figures that shows she’s improving with every start the G. Motion-trained filly should have every chance to extend her winning streak to four. There’s good gambling value at or near her morning line of 7/2, so let’s make her a win play and rolling exotic single. GULFSTREAM PARK – 11TH RACE. POST TIME: 5:18PM  ET3 – QUEEN NEKIA (4-1) – Day Maker Dangerous at any distance but appearing most comfortable in one-turn races, this veteran mare should fire her best shot in the listed Added Elegance S. for older distaffers at this one mile trip. Never off the board in five career starts over the local main track and in the frame in 20 of 25 career outings, the S. Joseph, Jr.-trained daughter of Harlington is as thoroughly genuine and consistent as they come, and her speed figures indicate that she’s more than good enough to regain her winning form after competing in graded stakes races in her last pair. With the switch to one of this barn’s go-to riders, S. Camacho, she should be along in time while offering good value at or near her morning line of 4-1. CHURCHILL DOWNS – 10TH RACE. POST TIME: 5:47PM ET6 – BY MY STANDARDS (5/2) – Best Play Gets the acid test in this year’s renewal of the Stephen Foster S.-G2 and most likely will need a career top effort to upset Tom’s d’Etat but the son of Goldencents continues to improve with each outing and just might be able to pull it off. A winner of five of his last six starts (the defeat being his 12th place finish in the rodeo that was the Kentucky Derby), the son of Goldecents owns a superior pace-prompting style that always seems to ensure an easy, clean trip. That’s what we’re expecting today, as the B. Calhoun-trained colt is comfortably drawn outside the projected leader, Pirate’s Punch, and should be able to use that long shot as a target before being set down. If you can get close to his morning line of 5/2, he’ll be worth a gamble against the heavily-backed favorite.

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6.26.2020:

Saturday, June 27: Charles Town Pick 6 Mandatory Payout Selections

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

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6.26.2020:

Friday, June 26: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Hawthorne Racecourse has a 15-race card ready to go with the 0.50 Late Pick 4 starting in Race 12. That sequence has a 15% takeout with a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 121-Lucky Crusader (7/2)-Comes off a victory, draws well again and barn might have a good night. Husted can work an up-close trip and roll by down the lane again.5-Pacific Stride (10-1)-Looking for a more aggressive steer out of the gate. Will swing for a price with Ridge Warren in the bike tonight.6-Almost Cut My Hair (6-1)-Stayed racing near the top to get a sharp win and could get the same type of trip here. 6-year-old can stay good and has won 2 of 4 in Stickney.9-Trashytonguetalker (5/2)-Comes off a very strong effort to win 2nd straight. Post makes this more difficult but off the last try, it's best to not leave out.Race 131-Are You Terry (4-1)-Husted on another Alex Adam trainee who raced well last week but was far back early. Gets post relief here and could make the most of starting on the rail rather than post-8.3-Party Belle (6-1)-Seekman has some options from this post and has improved in last 2 starts. Could be picture time at a square price if upswing continues.5-Thought Provoking (4-1)-Leonard takes the lines and that is a ++ driver change in 3rd race off the restart. Could be sitting a on big try and should like the company.Race 142-Evening Play (5-1)-5-year-old is only 1-13 in the last 2 years and driver doesn't take many picture either. But this is the time to get sucked around and use one big move late to surprise.3-Bettor's Outlaw (7/2)-Gets post relief and Wilfong sticks. Has not been used hard off the gate in last 2 starts and there could be a new game plan this time to get into striking range at the top of lane.Race 152-Bettor's Promise (5/2)-Leonard's choice drops to a spot to shine. 9-year-old should be ready to roll.7-Sir Mammo (9/2)-This is another dropper in 2nd start off the bench. This was Warren's choice and the Roberts' barn may be ready to wake-up.My Ticket Race 12) 1,5,6,9 Race 13) 1,3,5 Race 14) 2,3 Race 15) 2,7Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.26.2020:

Friday, June 26: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s prime plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and each selection should be given strong consideration both as a straight wager and as a key in vertical and horizontal exotics.CHURCHILL DOWNS – 5TH RACE. POST TIME: 3:10 ET6 - CLEVELAND SIMPSON (7-2) After tough trips in his first two career outings, this 3-year-old colt is due for some good luck and appears to have found a proper spot in this nine furlong turf affair for older maidens. Well-meant in his debut in January at Gulfstream Park, the son of Hard Spun clipped heels and nearly fell entering the far turn, raced in traffic when attempting to re-rally at the top of the stretch and then finished well to be second while no doubt best. Returning in late May, the E. Kenneally-trained colt was victimized by a poor draw and an extremely wide trip and understandably weakened late after looming a threat inside the furlong pole. Today, in a race without much pace, he should be comfortably placed throughout – perhaps even on the lead – and then have every chance to seal the deal. At 7/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.LAUREL PARK – 7TH RACE. POST TIME 4:06 ET10 – POT THE DOTS (3-1)Shows improving speed figures in each of his three career outings, most recently when a strong runner-up in a fast, highly-rated miler after pressing the pace throughout in a similar first-level allowance affair. The son of Uncle Mo stretches out to two-turns today and despite his poor draw should be quick enough to get over and secure a good stalking position. With another forward move – and based on a healthy workout pattern since raced we’re expecting just that – the M. Trombetta-trained colt should be hard to beat and represents value at or near his morning line of 3-1.

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6.25.2020:

Tiz Lays Down Law & Churchill Pick 4 Analysis

Tiz the Law won the Belmont Stakes Saturday like a good thing should. He comfortably stalked the early pace, moved up effortlessly, responded when asked in the lane and drew off to win decisively. He was much the best against a less than stellar bunch and there’s little reason to expect any of those foes to come close to the son of Constitution in the Travers Stakes—his next projected start. A serious challenge will need to come from someone else. A new face—maybe not unfamiliar to national racing fans, but one we didn’t see in Elmont, NY Saturday. So, and we realize we’re getting way ahead of ourselves here, if Tiz the Law should capture the Travers and Kentucky Derby, to compliment his Belmont, would we then be looking at a qualified great horse? Perhaps. And we should begin pondering that possibility, too, because this colt keeps improving under trainer Barclay Tagg. Right now, if you asked me (you didn’t, but I’m telling you anyway) if Tiz the Law can win the Travers and then both remaining pieces of the Triple Crown, I’d predict that the Preakness could be the colt’s Waterloo. Why? Because if he’s successful in the Travers and Kentucky Derby, both at a mile and one-quarter, he will be cutting back in distance for a third race in three months. That, plus meeting a compliment of fresh foes might prove too much for him to handle. Certainly, Tiz the Law’s got the goods--the looks, the breeding, the talent, the temperament and the conditioner to win this season’s scrambled Triple Crown. However, when Travers is added to the mix…well, it feels as if something’s got to give. This asterisk-stamped Triple Crown will be spread out over several months instead of being crammed into five weeks. That ought to make it easier for a talented colt to sweep the series. No? Sufficient rest between each leg, isn’t that what revisionists have been crying for, forever?   Those that dare to dream even loftier for Tiz the Law—that he’ll sweep Belmont, Travers, Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Breeders’ Cup Classic are asking too much. But that’s what dreams are for. If that quintet were to be completed, we’d undoubtedly be in the presence of one of the sport’s all-time greats deserving of a ticker tape parade and a key to the city that never sleeps. During the Triple Crown, it’s not always the horses that beat each other. More often than not it’s the schedule. Thoroughbreds are not race cars. Think flesh and blood, tendon and bone. At some point along the way, a perhaps inferior but fresh horse, maybe also enjoying an early or late pace advantage, can upset the apple cart and drench the parade. We’ve seen the winner of the first two legs of the Triple Crown fail in the third stanza far too often to ignore the effects of attrition. Funny Cide, owned by the same folks that pay for Tiz the Law’s meals, is a prime example. Any way we look at it, this Triple Crownus-interruptus sophomore season will be worth watching. Nobody knows what will happen. That’s one reason we watch…to see what happens. Another reason we watch is in the hope of witnessing greatness. So far, Tiz the Law has hinted that the best is yet to come.   Churchill Downs Late Pick 4 Analysis–Saturday, June 27 8th Race—Grade 3--Bashford Manor Stakes—Six Furlongs—Two Year Olds Off limited form—all starters have had just 1 race--#6 Cazadero appears to have these over the proverbial barrel. He powered home in a 5-furlong Churchill maiden event by more than 8 lengths in fast time. He drew a perfect outside post and hails from the barn of Churchill’s leading trainer Steve Asmussen. Go-to jock Santana returns in the saddle (note: he also won last out with Asmussen’s other entry #2 Hulen). This guy appears a single but Pick 4 players will have the advantage of evaluating current odds and various will pays to see where the money is headed before submitting tickets. 9th Race—Grade 2—Fleur De Lis Handicap—One Mile & One-Eighth--F & M Four & Up #4 Serengeti Empress has one way to go and that’s to the front. She’s most dangerous when she can get lead early without pressure and that could be the case in here. She has a Gr. 1 win at this track and distance in the Kentucky Oaks, so she’s already proven she can do the job. A powerful win over a sloppy track in the Gr. 2 Azeri at Oaklawn was followed up by a poor effort in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom. Others in here with some early speed will be comfortable sitting just off whatever pace this filly dictates. Anyone that runs with her early will be toast. If she gets her way up front, she’s dangerous, especially when catching favored #5 Midnight Bisou off a trip to Saudi and a layoff. #5 Midnight Bisou had an outstanding 2019 season, winning 7 of 8 starts. Her only defeat came in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff to the streaking Blue Prize. ‘Bisou’s lone 2020 start came in the inaugural running of the Group 1 Saudi Cup in February when she gave it all against Maximum Security, falling just three-quarters of a length short. This 5-year-old mare is incredibly honest but has just two third-place finishes in as many starts over the Churchill strip. That’s notable because those are 2 of only 3 occasions in 20 starts when she’s been worse than second. Perhaps Churchill is not her favorite surface? She’s clearly the one to beat, but she’s got a few blemishes and is at an extremely short price. 10th Race—Grade 2—Stephen Foster—One Mile & One-Eighth—Four & Upward #5 Tom’s d’Etat returned from a layoff since October with a sharp Oaklawn Mile victory in April. He’s now won 3 in a row and 4 of his last 5. He loves this racetrack and distance. Plus, he has a solid run of 7 consecutive Beyer Speed Figures over 100 while only three of his foes have even cracked the 100 BSF once! He also won the Gr. 1 Clark here in November at this distance. Negatives include that he’s now 7-years-old and that he comes from off the pace. Still, he’s even money in here and, obviously, is the one to beat. #6 By My Standards has prime second billing in here behind favored #5 Tom’s d’Etat. He’s won 3 in a row—2 at Fair Grounds and 1 at Oaklawn Park in his only starts at four. This guy is razor sharp and has every right to keep improving. Overall, he’s won 5 of his last 6 races, with the only defeat coming in a troubled Kentucky Derby trip. He’s 0 for 2, with a second, at Churchill but both of those came over sloppy tracks. He’s a sterling 3 for 3 at the distance. This guy also can lay close to whatever pace develops and he should get first run on the closers. That’s an advantage. No way a player can ignore favored #5 Tom’s d’Etat but there’s also no way to skip over this streaking colt. #8 Owendale is another outstanding 4-year-old, but he’s a cult below #6 By My Standards. He’s got to come from well off the pace, so he needs pace help. He’s won 2 of 3 at the distance and has a first and second at Churchill, but has yet to crack the BSF century mark in 15 starts. He has 6 lifetime wins, including a trio of Gr. 3 triumphs. His decisive Gr. 1 Clark loss to Tom’s d’Etat and his late-running style relegate him to third choice in the wagering.  11th Race—Grade 3—Regret—One Mile & One-Eighth Turf—Fillies Three Year Olds #1 Dominga, troubled in her last start, is a stakes winner at Fair Grounds. She starts for the red-hot Brad Cox stable and has won 3 of 6. She has the rail, but no early speed. She will have to save ground and find a way to rally through a crowded field. She has a win over the course and a bullet half-mile. She has to be respected. #4 In Good Spirits has Beyer Speed Figures that have advanced in each start, a great sign. She’s won 2 of 4 and has speed, so she’ll probably be setting the pace riding the rail. The distance may be her biggest hurdle. Trainer Al Stall has been unlucky at the meet with just 3 wins and 9 seconds. #5 Crystal Cliffs is the 3-1 race favorite. She’s earned the distinction with a solid allowance level win at this distance over this course last out. She’s now 2 for 3, including a win and a close third in France on her resume. John Velazquez returns for hot trainer Graham Motion. It’s notable that Johnny V. stays here over the Todd Pletcher-trained #9 Eve of War. Velazquez rides a great deal for Pletcher. Can’t ignore this one.   #6 Micheline hails from the ice-cold Mike Stidham barn--0-20 on the meet. She was a sharp stakes winner last out at Gulfstream and has won 3 of 8 starts. She has no speed, so she needs pace help she might not get in here. #9 Eve of War had trouble last out in a Churchill stakes race. She had won 2 of 3 previous starts at Gulfstream. This is a step up for her. She’s got speed and can be expected to keep #4 In Good Spirits busy up front early. Florent Geroux replaces John Velazquez. At 12-1 she’s got something to prove, but she has a turf win at this distance this year. #11 Witez has matched or improved Beyer Speed Figures in each race through 7 starts. Her most recent resulted in a close runner-up finish to favored #5 Crystal Cliffs in a first-level allowance race—less than 3 lengths back with some trouble. She’s won just 1 of 7, but she’s been in the money 5 times. She tries and is 12-1. #13 Hendy Woods is unbeaten in two starts, both on turf at Fair Grounds—a slow maiden win and a much faster first-level allowance victory. She’s drawn terribly here in the #13 post, has a bit of speed she’ll need to use to save ground, but has much to prove on the class rise. Don’t love her but would hate to be knocked out by an unbeaten Mark Casse filly. Purely playing defense here. Suggested $1.00 Late Pick Four Ticket ($24 Total) Race 8--#6 Race 9--#4, #5 Race 10--#5, #6 Race 11--#1, #4, #5, #6, #11, #13   Take care of each other! Race On!

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6.25.2020:

Thursday, June 25: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s prime plays from around the country are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. Always the day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and each selection should be given strong consideration both as a straight wager and as a key in vertical and horizontal exotics.   BELMONT PARK – 8TH RACE. POST TIME: 5:04 ET6 – Toy (8-1) Let’s take a flier with a price horse in this year’s edition of the Easy Goer Stakes. This M. Trombetta-trained gelding shows rising speed figures in his last four starts and earned a career top number when victorious despite a dreadful trip in a recent first-level allowance main track miler at Laurel Park. Blocked repeatedly and forced to steady and alter course sharply at the head of the lane, the sophomore gelding regained his momentum and then drew clear quickly while appearing capable of handling a raise in class. This is a considerably tougher spot, but drawn comfortably outside and therefore guaranteed an in-the-clear trip, the son of Tapizar might be up to the task, so at 8-1 on the morning line he’s worth a bit of gamble. BELMONT PARK – 9TH RACE. POST TIME 5:36 ET3 – Magnolia’s Lady (6-1) Appeared to be in for the experience when finding her best stride too late without being knocked about in her debut in a similar maiden state-bred grass affair earlier this month. Closed from 10th to fourth while doing her best work late and today gets an extra furlong to work with for a barn that has terrific stats with second-time starters. The daughter of Freud retains J. Lezcano, shows a recent easy breeze to tick her over and should be primed for significant forward move in what appears to be a fairly wide open affair. At 6-1 on the morning line she’s worth a play in the straight pool and in the various rolling exotics.  

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6.25.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 26 Stronach 5 Play

If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger, that’s how it goes, right? We forge on in this week’s all Laurel-Gulfstream Park 100k guaranteed Stronach 5 after a brutal neck loss in the final leg of last week’s sequence, when our 4-1 single couldn’t quite get by the favorite to secure what would have been well over a five-figure payoff (it paid $7,039 with the 7-5 winning) on an $72 All-A ticket. So it goes. 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 90 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 R6 (3:33 ET) – 3up 40k MCL at 6 furlongs (turf) Whereas last week seemed to be a much more expansive sequence, this week’s doesn’t look nearly as hard—and yes, I know how that usually plays out—and so I’ll play it accordingly, since I came up with mostly logical horses throughout the five races. The opener is a good case in point, as #4 DREAMING OF CARATS (4-1) could be a potential single off the two-turn debut 5th against much better at GP, from an impossible draw too, and now he runs as a first-time gelding and takes blinkers off, so there’s a good chance he blows up here and lays down a race the rest of these can’t handle on the cutback in what looks like a speedy field. I do think #1 ARTISTIC REASON (6-1) is playable though, even though his dirt debut wasn’t much, but he did rally late, and McCarthy sticks for Motion, who is 27% dirt-to-turf, and there’s some solid grass pedigree here as well, plus he’s another who will like the expected hot and contested pace. I’m also going to use one of the few A-line prices in the sequence, as #10 LOCK (12-1) made up 10 lengths late in a non-threatening debut on the dirt against MSW foes, so this drop, and all the heat up front, could set him up at a nice price. Pk5 A horses: 4,1,10 (listed in order of preference) There are undoubtedly others who could be used on the top line, but the statistics have me siding against a few who will get played, especially #7 ROYAL THUNDER (9-2), an MSW dropper for a 30% Russell barn, but also one that is 0-for-9 first-turf, 0-for-9 dirt-to-turf, and 0-for-10 in turf sprints, so while he fits on paper, that’s a lot of 0’fers to snap. Inside speed might be #2 KARAN’S NOTION’S (5-1) undoing, as that 2nd on debut on the dirt was big, but he takes all the worst of it here with so much pressure to his outside, and that 61-1 is long gone today too. if nothing else, #9 FIYA (6-1) did well to draw outside the other speed, and both dirt runs were strong, but he’s off a December layoff and may need this, for a Merryman barn that is 0-for-9 in turf sprints. Pk5 B horses: 7,2,9 Potential B add-ins: #6 Makoto (8-1), #3 Chauffer (12-1) Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R8 (3:41 ET) – 3upfm AOC (62k/N2X) 6 ½ furlongs Gulfstream has a pair in the sequence that look mighty tough to beat, with the first being #6 LIZA STAR (2-1), a stakes dropper who not only looks best of a modest bunch, but also drew perfectly for her pressing style, as the two confirmed speeds are to her inside and look destined to set her up perfectly. Pk5 A horses: 6 I’m not using any backups here, since #1 Crumb Bun (4-1) and #3 Cory Gal (5-2) are next-best on paper but look to be involved together in a torrid pace, while #4 Spanish Point (7-2), who could theoretically take advantage, just looks much too slow on figures. Pk5 B horses: NONE Potential B add-ins: #3 Cory Gal (5-2), #1 Crumb Bun (4-1), #4 Spanish Point (7-2) Leg 3: Laurel Park R7 (4:30 ET) – 3up Md-bred N1X at about 1 1/16 miles An inside draw and getting back to two turns could be key for #1 MARYLANDER (6-1), who aired against open SOC runners two-back, and should be sitting close to what looks like a modest pace. If #10 PLOT THE DOTS (3-1) gets loose he’ll be tough, as that chasing 2nd against open N1X foes last time was sharp, and he could well be the controlling speed in what is his two-turn debut. If #9 MY FRIENDS BEER (5-1) can put the GI Arkansas Derby drubbing behind him, then he’s going to hit hard off the two open runs preceding it, though note he was only facing 3yos, so this won’t be easy, especially since he may be at a race flow disadvantage. Pk5 A horses: 1,10,9 Speaking of a race flow disadvantage, it’s tough to envision #4 CAN’T PASS IT UP (4-1) getting there, as he might not be able to get ahead of a turtle early, though he does figure on paper and McCarthy lands here, so he’s worth a backup slot. It looks like #8 TAP THE MARK (7-2) could be in the same boat, since he’s been far back of late too, though his best race makes him a player here, so he sidles up nicely next to ‘Up. Pk5 B horses: 4,8 Potential B add-ins: #7 Can He Shine (10-1) Leg 4: Gulfstream Park R9 (4:49 ET) – 3up 12.5k MCL at 1-mile (turf) We have our second single, and a much more comfortable one than Liza Star in Leg 2, as #2 LIMETINI (7-5) might lap this field on the drop and perfect draw, as all three of his races win this, and it simply looks like Pletcher is trying to open up a stall for a better one, while taking an easy win in the process. Pk5 A horses: 2 Limetini is such an overwhelming favorite that there are no backups, especially since arguably the biggest danger, #11 Rags for Britches (9-2) drew terribly, and is 0-for-15 to boot. Pk5 B horses: NONE Potential B add-ins: #11 Rags for Britches (9-2), #8 Dramatic Kitten (7-2), #3 Power (10-1) Leg 5: Laurel Park R8 (5:00 ET) – 3upfm 12.5k claimer at 6 furlongs (turf) If there was a race that might be open for chaos, I think this is it, since a few of these are tough to trust, and it’s possible #6 MARIE FROM PARIS (12-1) gets loose early off the Serey claim, and while she’s been running on the dirt of late, note she does have a few solid turf sprints here showing back in her PPs. It’s obvious #5 CHECKBOUNCIN BILLY (5-2) is the one to beat, as that fast figure 4th against SOC runners off the 10-month layoff last time would win this, and there’s a chance she could even build off that as well. The SOC drop also makes #9 EIFS (9-2) appealing after a good 6th from an impossible draw last time, and he too goes second-off the layoff and off the claim for Capuano. Pk5 A horses: 6,5,9 You have to respect Magee off the claim (21%), and #4 TANDA’S JOY (3-1) does have some big prior turf races showing, but the dirt run when last seen in January was ugly, and the grass runs were at two turns, so this seems like a bit of a reach, at underlaid odds too. If you like Eifs you have to use #8 PRINCESS KILLMAIN (12-1) as well, since they hit the line together last time, and getting off the rail should help too, but she looks more like a bounce candidate, as that was her fastest run yet. *** Note that if #12 BATH AND TENNIS (6-1) draws in, she too is a must-use, on either line, depending on your preference and bankroll. *** Pk5 B horses: 4,8 Potential B add-ins: #1 Bruja Bug (10-1) The tickets: Main Ticket: 4,1,10 with 6 with 1,10,9 with 2 with 6,5,9 = $27 (play for $2)Leg 1 B Backup: 7,2,9 with 6 with 1,10,9 with 2 with 6,5,9 = $27Leg 3 B Backup: 4,1,10 with 6 with 4,8 with 2 with 6,5,9 = $18Leg 5 B Backup: 4,1,10 with 6 with 1,10,9 with 2 with 4,8 = $18

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6.25.2020:

Tiz the Law Tops NTRA Poll; Not Jon White's Derby Top 10

As a result of Tiz the Law’s emphatic triumph in last Saturday’s 152nd running of the Grade I Belmont Stakes, he solidified his position atop this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll. It was nearly unanimous. I think it should have been unanimous. Tiz the Law received 28 first-place votes last week, while Honor A.P. garnered nine. I was one of the nine to put Honor A.P. at No. 1 last week. But I cast my first-place vote for Tiz the Law this week. There were 39 voters in the NTRA Top Three-Year-old Poll and NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week The Top 10 in each poll is listed at the end of this column/blog. Tiz the Law received 38 first-place votes in this week’s Top Three-Year-Old poll. There was a lone first-place vote for Honor A.P. Let’s take a look at the 2020 resumes for Tiz the Law and Honor A.P. Tiz the Law is three for three in 2020. He’s a two-time Grade I winner this year. In Tiz the Law’s three 2020 starts, he has been victorious each time by three lengths or more. He won the Grade III Holy Bull Stakes by three lengths on Feb. 1, Grade I Florida Derby by 4 1/4 lengths on May 28, then last Saturday’s Belmont by 3 3/4 lengths. Honor A.P. is not undefeated in 2020. He’s a one-time Grade I winner this year. In Honor A.P.’s 2020 debut, he finished second to Authentic in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7. Honor A.P. then won the Grade I Santa Anita Derby by 2 3/4 lengths while avenging his San Felipe defeat. Authentic finished second in the Santa Anita Derby. In terms of what Tiz the Law and Honor A.P. have accomplished so far this year, this week’s single first-place vote for Honor A.P. is extremely difficult -- if not impossible -- to justify. I also was one of only five to cast my first-place vote for Tiz the Law in the Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. According to the NTRA, the Top Thoroughbred Poll is a “current Horse of the Year ranking.” The key word is “current.” In other words, if Eclipse Award voting took place right now, who would be elected 2020 Horse of the Year? Would it be Midnight Bisou, who tops the poll and received 25 first-place votes? Would she really be voted 2020 Horse of the Year right now when she has lost her only 2020 start? And that one start was not even in this country. Midnight Bisou finished second to Maximum Security in the Group I, $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29. If the voting took place right now, it seems to me that Tiz the Law most likely would be elected Horse of the Year. I believe his 2020 record of two Grade I wins, including one of the jewels in the Triple Crown, plus a Grade III victory would garner more Horse of the Year support at this time than a winless-in-2020 Midnight Bisou. Yes, Midnight Bisou is quite capable of going on during the rest of 2020 to do enough to get elected Horse of the Year. She resumes her 2020 campaign this Saturday in the Grade II Fleur de Lis Stakes at Churchill Downs. (Note: Equibase and the Daily Racing Form past performances incorrectly state it is the Fleur de Lis Handicap. This is not a handicap race. The weights for the Fleur de Lis were not assigned by the racing secretary, but rather they were specified in the race’s conditions, starting with a base weight of 124 pounds. This is just as it is for Saturday’s Stephen Foster Stakes, which formerly was the Stephen Foster Handicap.) Meanwhile, while I did cast my first-place vote for Tiz the Law in both NTRA polls, with this week’s resumption of my Kentucky Derby Top 10, I am putting Honor A.P. at the top of these rankings. My Kentucky Derby Top 10 is a different animal than the NTRA polls. To reiterate, the NTRA polls are supposed to reflect the “current” rankings of the 3-year-olds and the “current” Horse of the Year rankings. My Kentucky Derby Top 10 is different in that it’s looking ahead. My Top 10 is a ranking of 3-year-olds in terms of who I see at this time as having the best chance to win the Run for the Roses on Sept. 5. Right now, I believe Honor A.P. has a slightly better chance to win the Kentucky Derby than Tiz the Law. A key question for me in terms of who to put at No. 1 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 is this: Who is better, Authentic or Dr Post? I believe that, right now, Authentic is better than Dr Post. This is one of the reasons I have decided to put Honor A.P. instead of Tiz the Law at No. 1 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10. If they were to meet in a 1 1/8-mile race, I am confident that Authentic’s odds would be lower than Dr Post’s. In the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll, who is ranked higher, Authentic or Dr. Post? It’s Authentic, who is No. 3. Dr. Post is No. 4. Tiz the Law, appropriately, is the 5-2 favorite in William Hill Sports Book’s odds to win this year’s Kentucky Derby. Honor A.P. is 7-2. Authentic is 5-1. Dr Post is 16-1. Also appropriately, Tiz the Law is the 7-5 favorite in Marty McGee’s Daily Racing Form odds for this year’s Kentucky Derby. Honor A.P. is 4-1. Authentic is 8-1. Dr Post is 10-1. In this week’s Pool Five of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager, Tiz the Law is the 7-2 morning-line favorite. Honor A.P. is 5-1. Authentic is 8-1. Dr Post is 15-1 It means more to me that Honor A.P. defeated Authentic by nearly three lengths in the Santa Anita Derby than that Tiz the Law outran Dr Post by almost four lengths in the Belmont. In terms of deciding who to put at No. 1 on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 this week, I also took Beyer Speed Figures into consideration. Honor A.P. recorded a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure in the Santa Anita Derby. His improving Beyer pattern suggests we might well have not seen his best yet. After being credited with a 77 Beyer at first asking, Honor A.P. has recorded figures of 91, then 95, then 102. Tiz the Law received a 100 Beyer for his Belmont victory. It matched his previous top Beyer that had been achieved in the Holy Bull. I hit the pause button earlier this year with respect to my Kentucky Derby Top 10 after that 1 1/4-mile race was moved to the first Saturday in September. I switched to a Belmont Stakes Top 10 after it was announced that race was being shifted to June 20 and shortened to 1 1/8 miles from 1 1/2 miles. This year’s Belmont, for the first time in history, kicked off this country’s Triple Crown series. The final event in this year’s radically different Triple Crown will be the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3. Even though Collusion Illusion is four for five overall and two for two this year after a sparkling victory in Santa Anita’s Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes last Saturday, the Kentucky Derby seems unlikely for him. Nevertheless, track announcer Frank Mirahmadi put it perfectly when he said “Collusion Illusion’s a serious racehorse” while the Florida-bred Twirling Candy colt was in the process of turning a two-length deficit at the eighth pole into a 3 1/4-length win in the Barrera. Mark Glatt trains Collusion Illusion. The plan, according to Glatt, who seemingly is exercising good judgement by avoiding “Derby fever,” is to run Collusion Illusion next in Saratoga’s Grade I H. Allen Jerkins Memorial at seven furlongs on Aug. 1. A possible wild card in this year’s Kentucky Derby is Japan-based, American-bred Cafe Pharoah. A colt by 2015 American Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, Cafe Pharoah is three for three after a five-length win in the Group III Unicorn Stakes last Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse. Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reported that Churchill Downs officials have received “encouraging feedback” from Cafe Pharoah’s connections regarding a potential start in the Kentucky Derby. Cafe Pharoah was a $475,000 purchase at public auction in Florida last year. Here is my current Kentucky Derby Top 10: 1. Honor A.P. 2. Tiz the Law 3. Authentic 4. Dr Post 5. Uncle Chuck 6. Cezanne 7. Max Player 8. Art Director 9. Cafe Pharoah 10. Rushie VENERABLE TAGG MAKES HISTORY Congratulations to Barclay Tagg, who had Tiz the Law splendidly prepared to prove a punctual odds-on favorite in the Belmont. Tagg, 82, became the oldest trainer to ever win the Belmont Stakes, a race that was first run in 1867. Winning a Belmont meant a lot to Tagg. It had been a longtime goal of his. But did he scream and shout that his goal had finally been achieved? No, with a rather calm demeanor, he said the following to Britney Eurton during the NBC telecast: “Yeah, I wanted to have a Belmont victory before I gave it up or died or something like that.” Tiz the Law’s Belmont victory also was extra special for both Tagg and owner Sackatoga Stable. That’s because for Tagg and Sackatoga, this completed a Triple Crown of their own by adding a Belmont victory to their Kentucky Derby and Preakness wins with Funny Cide in 2003. Funny Cide was thwarted in his bid for an actual Triple Crown sweep when he finished third behind Empire Maker and Ten Most Wanted in the Belmont. Meanwhile, what in the heck is the deal with ending these streaks since 1882? Tiz the Law became the first New York-bred to win the Belmont Stakes since Forester in 1882. When Justify captured the 2018 Kentucky Derby while on his way to a Triple Crown sweep, he became the first horse to win that race without having started as a 2-year-old since Apollo in -- yep -- 1882. Just to give you an idea of how long ago 1882 was, way back then a quart of milk cost 6 cents. A pound of coffee cost 29 cents. A dozen eggs cost 40 cents. In 1882, there were only 38 states in the Union. Those that had not yet been admitted were North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii. Tiz the Law is just the fourth New York-bred to have won the Belmont. The others were Ruthless in 1867, Fenian in 1869 and the aforementioned Forester. BELMONT ATTENDANCE When Funny Cide was unable to complete a Triple Crown sweep in the 2003 Belmont Stakes, the attendance at Belmont Park that day was 101,864. More recently, the attendance at Belmont Park in 2018 was 90,327 when Justify did complete a Triple Crown sweep by taking the Belmont Stakes.  When Sir Winston won the 2019 Belmont Stakes, the attendance at Belmont Park was 56,217. And the attendance figure for the 2020 Belmont Stakes, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, was 0. GAMINE A SUPERSTAR, JUST AS BAFFERT HAD SAID Trainer Bob Baffert, even before Belmont Park’s Grade I Acorn Stakes at one mile around one turn last Saturday, had called Gamine a superstar. There is no doubt that Baffert was right (as he so often is) after Gamine’s Acorn victory, which deserved a 10 on a “wow scale” of 1 to 10. Beginning from the inside post (as so many Baffert runners seem to do), Gamine seized the lead quicker than you could say her name. She established a lively pace while carving out fractions of :22.48, :45.28 and 1:09.33. Then she ran up the score down the lane and won in isolated splendor by an official 18 3/4 lengths. Heavily favored Gamine returned $3.40 for each $2 win ticket. Andrew Beyer, father of the Beyer Speed Figures, did not hesitate to call Gamine’s performance “great.” I have no problem with that. But some went so far as to compare Gamine to Secretariat. I do have a problem with that. To put Gamine’s Acorn performance into some perspective vis-a-vis Secretariat, Gamine was credited with a 110 Beyer Speed Figure. Secretariat’s sensational 31-length tour de force in the 1973 Belmont Stakes occurred long before the publication of Beyer Speed Figures. However, Beyer once calculated Secretariat’s Belmont Stakes figure to be 139. But while Gamine’s 110 Beyer pales in comparison to Secretariat’s 139, the 110 recorded last Saturday by the 3-year-old Kentucky-bred Into Mischief filly is tied for the second-best Beyer of the year to date. Vekoma likewise put a 110 Beyer on the board when he won the Carter Handicap at Aqueduct on June 6. The top Beyer so far in 2020 is Volatile’s 112 when he won the Aristides Stakes at Churchill Downs, also on June 6. Gamine’s Acorn clocking of 1:32 and change does bring to mind one of the finest races I have ever witnessed by a 3-year-old filly, Melair’s wire-to-wire victory against males in Hollywood Park’s Grade II Silver Screen Handicap in 1986. I called the official 1986 Silver Screen chart for the Daily Racing Form. Off at odds of 9-5, Melair won by 6 1/2 lengths while completing one mile around one turn in a marvelous 1:32.80. It was at the time the fastest mile that had ever been run by a filly or mare. Southern Halo finished second in the field of 12. Snow Chief ended up third as the 3-5 favorite, 11 lengths behind Melair. The day after Gamine won the Acorn in New York, the Melair Stakes was run and won by Warren’s Showtime in California on Santa Anita’s closing-day card. The Silver Screen Handicap is now the Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita. Affirmed appears in Gamine’s pedigree. Her paternal grandsire, Harlan’s Holiday, is a grandson of 1978 Triple Crown winner Affirmed. Gamine’s 18 3/4 lengths is the biggest margin of victory in the history of the Acorn, which was first run in 1931. Her final time of 1:32.55 was a stakes record and just .31 of a second off the 17-year-old track record owned by Najran. The stakes record for the Acorn once was held by Ruffian. She won the 1975 renewal of the Acorn by 8 1/2 lengths in 1:34.40. In my opinion, Ruffian is the greatest female Thoroughbred of all time. Her only loss in 11 career starts came when she tragically broke down in her 1975 match race against Foolish Pleasure. In Ruffian’s 10 victories, she tied or broke a stakes or track record in all but one of them. That is greatness. Ruffian ranks No. 11 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. No female Thoroughbred ranks higher. The 10 racehorses ranked higher than Ruffian are: 1. Man o’ War, 2. Secretariat, 3. Citation, 4. Kelso, 5. Spectacular Bid, 6. Native Dancer, 7. Dr. Fager, 8. Seattle Slew, 9. Count Fleet, 10. Affirmed. “While Gamine has a long way to go before being mentioned in the same breath as Ruffian and other greats, she does share a blood link with that champion as she is inbred to her speedy half-brother Icecapade,” wrote Daily Racing Form’s Nicole Russo. “Gamine, who sold for a sales-record $3.8 million at the Fasig-Tipton 2-year-olds in training sale, is by leading sire Into Mischief, who is out of blue hen Leslie’s Lady. Leslie’s Lady’s sire, Tricky Creek, is by Icecapade’s son Clever Trick. Meanwhile, Gamine is out of the Kafwain mare Peggy Jane, who is out of the Chief Seattle mare Seattle Splash. Chief Seattle is out of the Icecapade mare Skatingonthinice. “Icecapade, foaled in 1969, was by Nearctic and out of the stakes-placed Native Dancer mare Shenanigans, the dam of Ruffian.” Following Gamine’s annihilation of her Acorn opponents, the thought naturally occurred to many observers, including yours truly, if the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby might be in the cards for her. But the trainer poured cold water on that notion by saying the Sept. 4 Kentucky Oaks is on Gamine’s itinerary, with one start before then. What about the Oct. 3 Preakness for Gamine after the Kentucky Oaks? Baffert has said that is a possibility for the exciting filly. ANNIVERSARY OF MAN O’ WAR’S BELMONT It was 100 years ago that the legendary Man o’ War won the Belmont Stakes during his fabulous 3-year-old campaign. He was 11 for 11 at 3 in 1920. Man o’ War in 1920 tied or broke world, American or track records at seven different distances -- one mile, 1 1/16 miles, 1 1/8 miles, 1 1/4 miles, 1 3/8 miles, 1 1/2 miles and 1 5/8 miles. When Man o’ War won the Belmont, he should have been completing a Triple Crown sweep. But at that time, the colt’s owner, Samuel D. Riddle, felt that running a 3-year-old at 1 1/4 miles under 126 pounds so early in the year was asking too much. Consequently, Riddle skipped the Kentucky Derby with Man o’ War. (By 1937, Riddle changed his mind regarding the Kentucky Derby and ran War Admiral, a son of Man o’ War, in it. War Admiral did win the Kentucky Derby and sweep the Triple Crown.) Trained by Lou Feustel, Man o’ War won the Preakness by 1 1/2 lengths on May 18 in his first start as a 3-year-old. Man o’ War then completed one mile in 1:35 2/5 to win the May 29 Withers Stakes at Belmont Park by two lengths. That 1:35 2/5 clocking broke Fairy Wand’s American record by two-fifths of a second. Man o’ War’s Withers performance combined with his overall record scared everyone to such an extent only one horse dared take him on in the June 12 Belmont Stakes. In the book “Man o’ War,” Dorothy Ours wrote: “Even a token opponent, though miles better than a walkover, wouldn’t satisfy the 30,000 people who filled Belmont Park. Few of them were betting on Man o’ War at odds of 1-25, and very few fancied Donnacona at 20-1. Most people chose to wager on a different question: Would Man o’ War break Sir Barton’s record time?” Those who wanted to bet that Man o’ War would break Sir Barton’s track record for 1 3/8 miles could get even money on that proposition with bookmakers. “The big doubt was whether Donnacona would be able to keep close enough to the champion to spur him to a record-breaking performance,” Ours quoted one reporter as writing. “Lou Feustel apparently heard the talk and accepted the challenge,” Ours wrote. “ ‘The crowd wants to see this fellow do something,’ Feustel told [jockey Clarence] Kummer in the paddock, ‘and I don’t want them to see a gallop. Let him race, and we’ll please them and incidentally get a record.’ ” Man o’ War won the Belmont by 20 lengths. The following was how the New York Times described how Kummer rode Man o’ War in the stretch: “Instead of taking a pull of his mount, as he had done in his previous race [when Man o’ War set a track record in the Preakness], he let Man o’ War step along all through the stretch, although at no time urging him. He simply let the colt run freely, and then it became evident how much he outclasses the others of his age.” As just one example of why I have Man o’ War ranked No. 1 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America, his final Belmont time of 2:14 1/5 broke the track and American record set the year before by Sir Barton by 3 1/5 seconds. Man o’ War also broke the world record set 12 years earlier by Dean Swift in England by 2 3/5 seconds. Man o’ War’s 2:14 1/5 clocking stood as an American record for 71 years! Timely Warning finally broke that record at Aqueduct in 1991. MOTT JOINS THE 5,000 VICTORY CLUB Hall of Famer Bill Mott became just the seventh trainer in history to win 5,000 races when Moon Over Miami took last Saturday’s third race by one length at Churchill Downs. Mott is best known as the trainer of Cigar, who was voted Horse of the Year in 1995 and 1996. Cigar ranks No. 29 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. “It’s a milestone,” Mott told Daily Racing Form, “and I’m proud to be in the club that did it.” According to Equibase, these are North America’s trainers with 5,000 or more wins through Tuesday: Rank Wins Trainer 1. 9,445 Dale Baird 2. 8,877 Steve Asmussen 3. 7,651 Jerry Hollendorfer 4. 6,523 Jack Van Berg 5. 6,503 King Leatherbury 6. 6,105 Scott Lake 7. 5,000 Bill Mott THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 361 Midnight Bisou (25) 2. 248 By My Standards (1) 3. 244 Mucho Gusto 4. 205 Code of Honor (4) 5. 148 Tom’s d’Etat 6. 130 Zulu Alpha 7. 121 Vekoma 8. 117 Tiz the Law (5) 9. 91 Improbable 10. 87 McKinzie Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 389 Tiz the Law (38) 2. 348 Honor A.P. (1) 3. 256 Authentic 4. 204 Dr Post 5. 191 King Guillermo 6. 135 Gamine 7. 107 Charlatan 8. 84 Max Player 9. 68 Maxfield 10. 67 Swiss Skydiver 

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6.24.2020:

Saturday, June 27: Stars Shine in Churchill All-Stakes Late Pick 4

Talk about a weekend for watching horse racing’s shining stars. On Saturday at Churchill, horses like Midnight Bisou, Tom’s d’Etat, By My Standards, Serengeti Empress and Owendale are among the entries. And Saturday’s Belmont slate includes Uni, Newspaperofrecord, Promises Fulfilled and Come Dancing.   And for the cherry on top, on Saturday just outside of Cleveland, Ohio the reigning Breeders’ Cup Juvenile champ, Storm the Court, takes on a full field in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby.  Not a bad day to play the races, huh? The Churchill All-Stakes Late Pick 4 jumped out to our team, so we have made it a 1 Million XB Rewards Point bet. What does that mean? Well, it’s simple. Hit that bet with your Xpressbet account and you’ll win a Split of XB Rewards Points.  Rewards Points are a currency around here – think of them like airline miles – but instead of redeeming for magazine subscriptions, you can redeem for betting vouchers and past performances.  The fewer people that hit the All-Stakes Pick 4, the most Points each winner receives.  The All-Stakes Pick 4 at Churchill covers Races 8 – 11 and gets underway at 4:43PM ET. Here’s my take on the sequence. Spoiler alert – if it’s ‘bombs away’ in any of the races, I won’t be a winner.   Race 8 (4:43PM ET) – Bashford Manor Stakes (G3, $100K) On paper, this race is more of a coronation of Steve Asmussen’s #6 CAZADERO than it is a horse race. After all, the 81 Beyer Speed Figure he earned on debut at Churchill on May 29 is 20+ points higher than any other horse in the field has received (although, worth noting that Beyers are not assigned for the debuts of three of these horses). I’ll use him alongside #5 HERD IMMUNITY, who was, let’s say ‘professional’ on debut for Peter Miller at Santa Anita on June 6. Miller does extremely well with 2YO’s and he should move forward from that first race. Pick 4 Use Horses: #5 HERD IMMUNITY (9/2), #6 CAZADERO (8/5)  Pick 4 ‘Bigger Budget’ Horses: #3 GATSBY (4/1), #5 HYPERFOCUS (4/1), #7 COUNTY FINAL (6/1)    Race 9 (5:15PM ET) – Fleur de Lis Stakes (G2, $200K) Many handicappers will check the box next to #5 MIDNIGHT BISOU and go on to the next one. And it’s hard to blame them. She’s 12-for-20 in her career and is coming off a 3/4-length defeat behind Maximum Security in the Saudi Cup on February 29. I’m going to double my ticket cost and add in #4 SERENGETI EMPRESS as I think she has a legitimate shot to steal this race. She loves Churchill and there isn’t a lot of speed in here, which should pave her path to the front. And after her debacle in the G1 Apple Blossom (never made the lead and tired to 11th) you have to assume that Joe Talamo will push her hard out of the gate to establish the lead. Can Midnight Bisou reel her in? In her first start since February and her second in nearly eight months, it’s not impossible to believe she could need one. Pick 4 Use Horses: #4 SERENGETI EMPRESS (2/1), #5 MIDNIGHT BISOU (3/5) Pick 4 ‘Bigger Budget’ Horses: None     Race 10 (5:47PM ET) – Stephen Foster Handicap (G2, $500K) Let’s treat this as a two horse race as well, using #5 TOM’S D’ETAT and #6 BY MY STANDARDS. TOM’S D’ETAT is the class of the bunch, having won 10-of-17 and three straight, including the Oaklawn Mile last out over Improbable. But if there’s one hitch in his giddyup, it’s that regular rider, Joel Rosario, isn’t in town to ride and he’s going to be chasing BY MY STANDARDS, who is certainly no slouch. He has won three straight races (and five of his last six) with the lone defeat since January 2019 coming in the ’19 KY Derby. He’s going to sit a phenomenal trip just off #2 PIRATE’S PUNCH and they’ll need to bring their running shoes to catch him. Pick 4 Use Horses: #5 TOM’S D’ETAT (1/1), #6 BY MY STANDARDS (5/2)  Pick 4 ‘Bigger Budget’ Horses: #8 OWENDALE (4/1)      Race 11 (6:20PM ET) – Regret Stakes (G3, $100K) With most of the horses in here coming out of Tepin Stakes (the race that produced Royal Ascot runner-up, Sharing) we have to ask – do you use all of them or look elsewhere? I lean toward the latter approach. I thought #5 CRYSTAL CLIFFS ran a great race in her US debut for Graham Motion on May 31 and she should jump forward off that performance. The only other horses I think I need are #6 MICHELINE, who ran huge at Gulfstream in the Honey Ryder Stakes on May 2, and #13 HENDY WOODS is stuck with a terrible post but has tactical speed and this is a field where she could work out a trip.   Pick 4 Use Horses: #5 CRYSTAL CLIFFS (3/1), #6 MICHELINE (8/1)  Pick 4 ‘Bigger Budget’ Horses: #1 DOMINGA (5/1), #4 IN GOOD SPIRITS (8/1), #9 EVE OF WAR (12/1), #13 HENDY WOODS (15/1)    My Ticket Race 8: 5,6 Race 9: 4,5 Race 10: 5,6 Race 11: 5,6 Ticket Cost: $16 for $1.00 Base  

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6.24.2020:

Wednesday, June 24: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s Day Makers – his prime plays from around the country - are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. The day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and should be given strong consideration both as straight wagers and as keys in vertical and horizontal exotics. GULFSTREAM PARK – SECOND RACE. POST TIME: 12:30 ET 1 – Tiger (7/2) Looks very much like a win early type based on his recent solo gate drill - (view video) - over the Gulfstream Park main track, a bullet drill accomplished in blinkers under a tight hold while displaying good athleticism and enough fitness to win at first asking. Juvenile son of Dialed In goes for a powerful jockey/trainer combo (29% with a massive flat-bet profit), so we’re expecting this Arindel homebred to a very live item at 7/2 on the morning. If he breaks running from the rail, he could be long gone. GULFSTREAM PARK – FIFTH RACE. POST TIME: 2:05 ET 5 – Baseline Drive (5/2) Makes her debut for C. Brown (22% with first-timers) following a series of breezing workouts that should have her fit and ready in a race in which the known element doesn’t particularly impress. Been training locally for several months but was left behind while the bulk of the stable shipped north in order to take advantage of this Florida-bred maiden condition. The daughter of Point of Entry out of the good race mare Corner Three (herself a debut winner for these connections) should outclass this field, so we’ll make her a win play and rolling exotic single at anywhere near her morning line of 5/2. PARX – EIGHTH RACE. POST TIME 4:04 ET 8 – Arkaan (7/2) Into Mischief colt was a buyback at $320,000 as a weanling and then brought $450,000 the following September when purchased at Keeneland by Shadwell, a significant amount considering the pedigree is empty under the first dam, so he must be one terrific-looking athlete. The work tab provides strong indication that he’s a runner as well and should be plenty fit for a top effort first crack out of the box for a trainer that has superior stats with first-timers (29% with a flat-bet profit). In a field that doesn’t appear to have any champions in it, the M. Pino-trained colt should be hard to beat if he doesn’t make any mistakes. Let’s hope we can get close to his morning line of 7/2 both in the win pool and in our rolling exotics. DELAWARE PARK – SEVENTH RACE. POST TIME: 4:15 ET 10 – Simplicity-FR (5-1) Makes her U.S debut for C. Clement in a modest first-level allowance affair and brings with her European form that should be good enough to handle this assignment. Purchased overseas last fall at the Arc Sale for the U.S. equivalent of $164,000, the listed stakes-placed French-bred filly has put together a series of solid workouts at Payson Park and most recently at Saratoga to have plenty fit, and as a first-time Lasix user she has a right to be improve on this side of the pond. At 5-1 on the morning line, she’s worth a bit of a gamble in the win pool as a rolling exotic single.

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6.22.2020:

Big M Scores With 18-Race Cards

Racing at the Big M last weekend translated to Big Money and Big Miles. The Meadowlands hosted back-to-back, 18-race cards that produced $7.5 million in total handle and eight, sub-1:50 performances on the Saturday card. The highlight of the weekend was a matchup between two of the best female trotters ever. Manchego, last year’s Breeders Crown champion, held off 2018 Hambletonian winner Atlanta by a nose in 1:50 in the $40,000 Miss Versatility Stakes on Friday to improve to 29-45 lifetime and pad her $2.1 million bankroll. Manchego (Dexter Dunn) brushed to command on the final turn, then held on desperately as Atlanta (Yannick Gingras) fought back. Tim Tetrick drove five winners Friday and three Saturday, including Guardian Angel AS in the co-featured preferred trot. Ideal Son (Jim Marshall IV) won the Saturday opener at 38-1, triggering a $32,943 Pick 5 payout. Shane Tritton, a champion trainer in Australia, is making a strong first impression on U.S. fans. He and driver Jordan Stratton teamed for three more weekend winners, including 11-year-old Flaming Flutter N, who overcame post 9 to win in his North America debut in 1:49. BAILLARGEON BARN TROTTING UP A STORM The coronavirus might have shut down racing for three months but it did little to slow the progress of horses trained by Benoit Baillargeon. Baillargeon is simply on fire at Woodbine-Mohawk Park in Canada. He is 16-for-41 since racing returned June 6 and sent out at least one winner on 10 of 11 cards. Rock This Way ($10.70) capped a Baillargeon triple Saturday night. Of the 16 winners, 11 were trotters and 12 were driven by Sylvain Filion. The only two-time winner of the group was 3-year-old Stravinsky, who looks to be something special after back-to-back romps to start his career.

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6.22.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (June 15-21): 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.June 15-21, 2020MVP: Tiz the LawOwner: Sackatoga StableTrainer: Barclay TaggJockey: Manny FrancoPerformance: The 2020 Triple Crown series kickoff was over at the coin toss. Tiz the Law towered over the entries as the 6-5 morning line favorite, and the public choice at 4-5 looked like a winner every step of the June 20 Grade 1 $1 million Belmont Stakes. Tiz the Law overtook Tap It to Win and Fore Left at the top of the stretch and quickly widened to score by 3-3/4 lengths. The pace players were defeated 14 and 22-3/4 lengths in this first-over trouncing from the 2019 Champagne and 2020 Florida Derby champ.On Tap: With the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby the obvious calendar circle on September 5, expect to see New York-bred Tiz the Law reappear next in the recently announced August 8 Grade 1 Travers at Saratoga. It’s a home-game for the ownership group there, where a Travers score means a lot personally. Depending how the next few steps turn out, races like the Oct. 3 Grade 1 Preakness could fit the playbill.Honorable Mentions: Arguably tops this week, Gamine crushed the Grade 1 $300,000 Acorn on the Belmont Stakes undercard by 18-3/4 lengths, and in some opinions stole the show. Her time of 1:32.55 set an Acorn Stakes record by more than a full second. Meanwhile, Jean Elizabeth won for the eighth straight time when she tallied the June 21 Grade 3 $125,000 Whimsical at Woodbine. She’s now 15-for-21 lifetime with 19 exacta finishes for trainer Larry Rivelli. And Collusion Illusion remained perfect when sprinting, tallying his fourth victory in the June 20 Grade 3 $100,000 Laz Barrera Stakes at Santa Anita on closing weekend.

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6.22.2020:

Monday, June 22: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has 10-races scheduled with the popular 0.20 Early Pick 5 starting in Race 1. The sequence has a $75,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and it will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-Only Take Cash (3-1)-Didn't need to show much speed in both qualifiers as this mare won in hand. This is the best horse if dialed on high. Has beaten tough foes, does well at Wbsb so it's a matter of how fast she will go in 1st start of 2020.5-Zig Zig (4-1)-Moves up after a sharp score. Raced the back half in 55.4 all on his own. Looks like a player once again.7-P L Matt (7/2)-Might be a better price than in recent efforts after a miscue in last start. 4-year-old has been very good this year and barn keeps sending out winners. Post makes for a better price and will overlook last break.Race 25-Oceanview Magnum (7/5)-Technically stepping up in class but on 6/13 beat 3 from this field at even money in 151.4 on the engine. Should like the company, beat $30k claimers at Wbsb in February.Race 31-Remember Titans (5/2)-On 6/11 was the 3/2 choice and lost by a neck. 0-9 record isn't inspiring but may catch a pocket trip behind #8.5-Spartan General (5-1)-Improved in last outing and now tries hopples for the 2nd time. Raced the last half in 57.3 and had a 27.4 final quarter. Looking for continued improvement in 2nd career start at a square price.8-Hayek (2-1)-Speed has been there in Big M starts and now joins the Baillargeon barn to start the 2020 campaign. This is the 1st Wbsb start, should be bet hard and could break maiden in new barn.Race 43-Better Take It (5/2)-Raced well in 2020 debut, came 2nd and had a 26.2 last quarter. Seems set for a big try but does show a couple of breaks last year. Looks like a real player if puts in a clean line.6-Menlo Park (5-1)-Roy sticks after a qualifier on 6/4 and did race the back half in 56.3. 3-year-old has only 4 starts and did hit the board in every race. If the chalk doesn't mind manners, it could be time for a trip to the winner's circle.Race 52-Ideal Perception (5/2)-Big-time effort in 2nd race off the restart from the 9-hole to just miss in 150.4. Should be difficult to beat with the inside post.9-Night Watchman (5-1)-Won at a big price from the 9-hole, steps-up and is saddled with another bad post draw. But it's best to not overlook versus this crew off that sharp effort and should be a fair price.My Ticket Race 1) 2,5,7 Race 2) 5 Race 3) 1,5,8 Race 4) 3,6 Race 5) 2,9Total Ticket Cost) $7.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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6.21.2020:

Al Cimaglia: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, the 0.50 Late Pick 4 at Hawthorne Racecourse starts in Race 10. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.On Saturday, the top pilots on the card were Kyle Husted and Kyle Wilfong, both with three pictures. The leading trainers were Kyle Husted and Mike Brink who recorded two wins each.Comments and selection below are based on a fast track.Race 102-Crooked Creek (7-1)-Comes off a break in last but Brink barn had been rolling and will overlook last fumble. Looking for Oosting to keep this 3-year-old pacing and does offer a fair price.8-Fox Valley Quest (9/5)-Made it look easy last week drawing off by 5 lengths. Will not offer any value but has won 8 of 10 in Stickney. Is a must use but will also look to others because of the outside draw.11-On Higher Ground (5-1)-Another Brink trainee who will be looking for 1st Haw win in 9 tries. Came second 5 times here and might be able to save ground and sneak by late, was Wilfong's choice over #4.Race 114-Mirasol (5-1)-Won like a good horse who found an easy spot for a picture last week at 23-1. Won't be close to that price, actually probably won't even be 5-1 even though bumping up and does look like a major player.7-Skeeter Machine (6-1)-Not agreeing with the program handicapper and will leave #8, the 3-1 chalk off my ticket. This mare likes the track (8-20), tuned-up nicely in Spr and trainer should have her ready for a big try off the bench.Race 121-Coming Up (7/2)-The Searle barn has won at a good clip since the restart but this guy has faltered down the lane. This will be the 3rd start off the bench and Oosting should be able to get on the engine and control the race.2-He's Masterful (5/2)-Lightly raced 4-year-old had a nice effort in 1st start this year. Thinking Leonard will make the most of starting inside instead of the 8-hole and be in the mix throughout.4-Ricky The Flash (25-1)-Comes off dual qualifiers at Spr for the Patton barn which has had them ready to go. Ricky is only 1-21 at Haw but could get sucked around and use one big brush to light up the board.Race 131-Lilly Von Shtupp (5/2)-The issue with Lilly is she just doesn't like to seal the deal and, often falls short in a close race. But did have a big effort from the 10-hole and should be forwardly placed without draining her tank.2-Whiskersonkittens (9/2)-Was driven like an 8/5 chalk in last but faded badly off a tough 1st half. She is a game mare and this is a soft spot but barn has been ice cold.7-San Antonio Rose (9-1)-6-year-old has tuned up in Springfield and knows her way to the Haw winner's circle having banked >$113K here. Should be a nice price and #1 will be bet and can't be trusted.8-Tell Marcia (9/2)-Qualified and rolled the back half in a snappy 56.4. Also, has won 3 of 6 starts at Haw. Offers a square price but Sheehan needs to provide a strong drive.My Ticket Race 10) 2,8,11 Race 11) 4,7 Race 12) 1,2,4 Race 13) 1,2,7,8Total Ticket Cost) = $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.21.2020:

Sunday, June 21: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Ultimate Bango; 4-Sparky Ville; 5-Yes I am FreeForecast: The Sunday opener is a highly-competitive overnight sprint stakes on grass that has at least three legitimate possibilities. Sparky Ville appears to have found his niche as a turf sprinter, and if runs back to his nose defeat in the Daytona S.-G3 over this course and distance last month he’ll beat this field. The son of Candy Ride earned by far his career top speed figure in that race and projects to be the controlling speed based on his most recent outing. Ultimate Bango, away since November, is a thoroughly genuine and consistent turf sprinter and will be dangerous if cranked up. The work tab looks modest but he’s run well fresh in the past and is a three-time winner over the local lawn, so we’ll include him. Yes I Am Free is a lightly-raced colt with three wins from six starts and is training very well for his first start since February. The son of Uncaptured has had issues in the past – he was a voided claim for $80,000 last summer – but the S. Miyadi-trained colt is a stakes winner with F. Prat in the saddle, so we’re compelled to use him on a least a few tickets.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: A-Single: 6-Bud KnightForecast: Bud Knight recently dismantled a maiden field with a career top speed figure and should continue his upward mobility in this starter optional claimer over a mile on grass. The son of Tizbud retains red-hot F. Prat and has the tactical speed to cope with any type of race flow. In this case, we’re expected the Cal-bred gelding to draft into an ideal stalking position and then go on with it when called upon. The L. Powell-trained 4-year-old is listed at 5/2 on the morning and at that price he’ll offer excellent value both in the win pool and as a rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: A-Use: 2-Dr. Schivel; 3-AmbivalentForecast: Dr. Schivel looks and acts like a win-early type and appears cranked up and ready to roll following a string of sharp workouts for a barn that specializes in early-developing juveniles. The son of Violence blew out in :46 3/5 from the gate (fastest of 59) and had impressed in earlier, slower workouts as well. He’s 5/2 on the morning line but we’re expecting him to go lower. As a back-up, you should consider using Ambivalent on a ticket or two. He’s also a very good prospect, but this four and one-half furlong trip might be a tad short. That said, the son of Constitution has a chance to be somebody down the road and is worth protecting with in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Ole Silver; 5-Alice Marble; 8-South Beach Gal; 12-Bella ChicaForecast: Alice Marble has been burning up the track at Los Alamitos in preparation for her debut, and this homebred 3-year-old filly hails from a barn whose maidens often run better than they work. Out of a mare by More Than Ready, the daughter of Grazen debuts on a surface she’s bred to love, and with the barn’s “go-to” rider T. Pereira taking the call she looks like a very live item in a wide-open state-bred turf sprint for fillies and mares. At 8-1 on the morning line she’s worth a bit of gamble. South Beach Gal is another in the “stranger danger” category; she’s been prepared at San Luis Rey Downs by P. Miller and is another Grazen filly bred to win early and handle grass. A recent five furlong drill in 1:00 flat tells us she’s fit. Ole Silver got her feet wet in a main track sprint last month in which she finished sixth while finding her best stride too late. As a daughter of Acclamation, she’s bred to improve considerably on grass and with a nice recent work since raced the P. D’Amato-trained filly gives every indication that she’ll produce a significant forward move. She’s too big of a number at 12-1 on the morning line. The morning line favorite Bella Chica (3-1) has solid form under these conditions, having hit the board in all four of her career outings. She’s stuck way out in the 12-hole and lacks tactical speed, so she’s certainly vulnerable but still worth including on a few tickets as a back-up.RACE 5: Post 2:32 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Your Royal Coil; 7-Mucho Macho WomanForecast: Your Royal Coil is progressing with racing, and although she missed as the favorite last time out (third, beaten a half-length), the P. Aguirre-trained filly didn’t get away cleanly and still battled gamely to the wire. She’s returned to breeze very nicely since that race, removes the blinkers that she wore last time out, and projects to be within striking range throughout. Mucho Macho Woman is worth including on a few tickets as well. She was disappointing when a well-beaten fourth on grass in a tougher spot just eight days ago but returns to her preferred surface, drops to a realistic spot, and is comfortably placed outside. Her nine length maiden score over this track three runs back puts her right in the hunt in this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer.RACE 6: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: B+Use: 5-Kershaw; 8-Ward ‘n JerryForecast: Ward ‘n Jerry wants to run all day and is ideally suited for the San Juan Capistrano’s mile and three-quarter race (yes, we get to see a Hillside race!). Winner of the San Luis Rey S.-G3 in March and fifth in a tune-up for this race in an overnight affair at a mile two weeks ago, the M. Puype-trained gelding retains F. Prat and should be along in time at 6/5 on the morning line. If you’re looking for a price to use in the vertical exotics (or as a back-up on a small ticket in Pick-3s) consider Kershaw, totally unproven at the trip and with just one prior run on grass. However, the P. D’Amato-trained gelding continues to look very sharp in the morning and projects as the controlling speed. Give that trip he could take this field a very long way.RACE 7: Post 3:33 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Big Sweep; 2-Smiling ShirleeForecast: Unbeaten (in two starts)Big Sweep just beat the boys in the Echo Eddie Stakes with a strong, improved speed figure, and in doing so verified the highly favorable impression she made when graduating at first asking two months previous. Today, she stretches out around two turns, and as a daughter of Mr. Big should get nothing but better as the distances increase. She’s fast but hardly speed crazy, so F. Prat can assess the race flow and settle into any position he wants. At 6/5 on the morning line, small ticket players can consider her as a possible single. Those who can afford to may want to consider Smiling Shirlee as a saver. A winner of her last pair including the Evening Jewel Stakes sprinting on this main track in mid-May, the daughter of Smiling Tiger is dangerous at any distance, On pure numbers, she’s reasonably competitive with the favorite.RACE 8: Post 4:03 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Arya’s Dagger; 10-Danceformunny; 11-Sapori GirlForecast: Arya’s Dagger didn’t show much of anything in her main track workouts prior to her debut two weeks ago sprinting on grass, which is why she left at 43-1. But the daughter of Will Take Charge outran those odds when overcoming a rough trip to rally strongly but much too late when sixth, beaten just over four lengths, in a $62,500 affair that produced a decent speed figure. She stretches out to this more suitable mile trip, drops into the maiden $40,000 ranks, retains T. Pereira, and lands a comfortable inside draw. At 10-1 on the morning line she offers intriguing value. Sapori Girl, logically the one to beat, is marooned in the 11-hole and is a 10-race maiden, so she’s not really one to trust. However, her numbers are fairly solid for this level, so if she can negotiate a decent trip under good grass rider U. Rispoli the T. Yakteen-trained daughter of Mizzen Mast could finally earn her diploma.Danceformunny is lightly raced and dropping into a seller for the first time. She also picks up F. Prat and shows a recent bullet workout at San Luis Rey Downs (4f, :47.4h, fastest of 34) so we have to find on a spot on our ticket for her somewhere.RACE 9: Post 4:33 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Cosmic Girl; 3-With This Vow; 4-M FastForecast: With This Vow finished far back in her debut vs. straight maiden foes last month but we suspect the R. Ellis-trained filly will step forward significantly with that effort behind her combined with this drop into the much softer maiden $50,000 ranks. The daughter of Broken Vow weakened chasing a very hot pace in that debut run and will be much more comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout today. M Fast has a similar pattern – far back in her debut vs. maiden special weight company and dropping into a claimer today – and the N. Drysdale-trained filly also will be adding blinkers following a nice recent training track drill in which she flashed improved early speed. If she can run, this would be a nice place to show it. Cosmic Cowgirl is a “must use” for several reason. The R. Baltas-trained filly must overcome the rail but she has the route to sprint angle that we like coupled with a class drop, a surface change, and a switch to F. Prat. She’s also worked pretty well of late, so against this group she has to be considered a contender.RACE 10: Post 5:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Cleopatra’s Strike; 4-Blitzkrieg; 5-Sharp SamuraiForecast: This bunch takes turns so we’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics and hope to get a price home. If you find the need to include a few more, go right ahead. Blitzkrieg didn’t get the best of trips in the wickedly fast Shoemaker Mile-G1 last month but wasn’t beaten all that badly under the circumstances and shows up today in a decidedly easier spot. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding, a three-time winner over the local lawn, recently worked six furlongs on dirt in a bullet 1:12 flat (fastest of 11) so we know he’s fit, sharp, and ready, and at 12-1 on the morning line he’s more than reasonably priced. Let’s hope that V. Espinoza puts him on the lead in a race without much pace. Sharp Samurai is more than good enough if ready. Away since last August, the veteran gelding has trained well for his comeback and is a course specialist, having won five of eight at Santa Anita. In his younger days, the M. Glatt-trained gelding could win off the bench, so you have to respect him. Cleopatra’s Strike needs more than a mile to be at his best but he’s worked well for his first outing since February, switches to M. Smith, and will be rolling in the final furlong. Yes, this could be a prep for Del Mar, but the son of Smart Strike is worth tossing in at least as a back-up or a saver.RACE 11: Post 5:33 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Provocation; 5-Himiko; 8-La V.Forecast: This is an especially strong race for older maiden fillies and mares for this time of the year. The debuting Provocation has done everything in the a.m. like an excellent prospect and appears plenty fit and ready to show her abilities in this extended sprint that should complement what we believe is here stalking/closing style. That’s what she’s been taught to do in a series of very impressive workouts, and as a daughter of Into Mischief she certainly could be any kind. M. Smith, back in B. Baffert’s favor and riding all of the barn’s best prospects, takes the call. Baffert’s other runner, the second-timer Himiko, is no slouch and has to be considered strongly. She failed to land a blow in her debut with a bit of rough trip in a grass sprint, but she’ll be a lot more serious in this event, and with the switch to A. Cedillo the $1 million daughter of American Pharaoh can be expected to display a whole lot more early speed than she did last month. La V. is another that has worked like she has more than her share of ability. The daughter of Midnight Lute is plenty fit, drawn nicely outside, and can be expected to be running on late.RACE 12: Post 6:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 9-Colosi; 11-Galloping Mischief; 12-SucceedandsurpassForecast: The nightcap is a mile grass grab bag for first-level allowance horses. Succeedandsurpass should win but had the misfortune of drawing the extreme outside post position. Recently transferred to the M. Puype barn, the Irish-bred colt has worked splendidly of late for his new trainer and is Grade-2 placed over this course, having finished an excellent second in the Twilight Derby-G2 last fall. He really should out class this field but needs to drop over and find some cover and not get fanned out early. Colosi is a 15-1 price chance that is worth including on your ticket. He’s a second-off-the-claim for D. O’Neill and making his first start since December following a series of surprisingly good recent workouts on the main track. The time off may have done him some good, and he’s a two-time winner over the local lawn, so there are reasons to be optimistic. The lightly-raced Galloping Mischief, second off a layoff, stretching out for the first time, working well for R. Mandella and retaining F. Prat, has several angles that make us want to include him, at least as a backup.

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6.20.2020:

Saturday, June 20: Meadowlands Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has another giant 18-race card ready to go this evening with the first post at 6:00 EST. My focus will be on the 0.50 Pick 4 that starts in Race 10. The competitive sequence has a 15% takeout.On Friday, Tim Tetrick was the driver with the hottest hands winning six races. The top conditioners with two wins each were Nancy Takter, Nifty Norman and Scott Di Domenico.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 103-Guardian Angel As (3-1)-That was a big-time effort in 1st start off the bench versus a strong winner from the 8-hole at ScD. Starts inside of main foes, should be tighter than in last outing and was Tetrick's choice over #10.4-JL Cruze (7/2)-Even effort last week in 1st race since the restart. Usually in the mix at the Big M and has won 21 of 50 in East Rutherford. Dunne should have in striking range at the top of the lane.10-Crystal Fashion (9/2)-Qualified on a sloppy track and that effort was fine. No doubt this is a tough post draw, but the pace could be very quick. If so, Miller should find some live cover and might roll by everyone down the lane.Race 112-Odds On Delray (7/2)-The 6/8 qualifier at Gaitway was very good. Yonkers invader has 1 win in 10 Big M starts but will respect chances with this post draw.5-Campora N (10-1)-Has been competitive in Big M starts winning 1 of 3 and should offer a square price. Fits with this group and had a 54.3 back half in 6/5 qualifier here. Looking for D. Miller to put in play.9-Numbered Account (8-1)-Winner of 7 of 27 in 2019 usually does best work on a smaller oval. Tuned-up nicely in dual qualifiers at Gaitway, will take a swing with Tetrick in this spot and leave #10, the program chalk off my ticket.Race 122-Vettel N (6-1)-Both qualifiers at Gaitway were sharp. The Jen B. stable has been cold but won a race last night. Will use and hope it's time for her barn to wake-up.6-Another Daily Copy (9/2)-Finished 8th in a quick mile versus better in 1st start off the lay-off. Johnson barn has been doing well and this looks like a spot to shine. 8-year-old has won 5 of 26 starts at the Big M and A. Miller will likely leave.7-Western Joe (3-1)-Big effort at even money in 1st start and now Gingras takes the lines. Fits with this crew and likes the track winning at 33% clip (11-33).Race 135-The Devils Own N (3-1)-New Zealand bred has looked good in 3 local starts and now steps-up off a nice win. Loses Dunn to #7 but will respect chances with D. Miller for back-to-back picture.7-Franco Totem N (5-1)-Drops out of Opens and has beaten better than this at the Big M. Deserves respect and Norman barn took a couple of pictures last night.8-Closing Statement (7/2)-Won at this class on 6/6 with a 53.2 last half. Will need another big try from this post but McCarthy can grind his way around and put into striking at the top of the lane.My Ticket Race 10) 3,4,10 Race 11) 2,5,9 Race 12) 2,6,7 Race 13) 5,7,8Total Ticket Cost) = $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.20.2020:

Sunday, June 21: Santa Anita Park Mandatory Payout Pick 6 Ticket

It’s Mandatory Pick Six Payoff Day as Santa Anita closes out its season on Sunday, June 21 and bettors are challenged to go 6-for-6 in order to take down the estimated $5,000,000 pool, which includes a $1,089,836 into the card.   The sequence covers Races 7 - 12 and features the G3 American Stakes (Race 10) and the Melair Stakes (Race 7), along with a trio of maiden races and an optional claimer. The sequence gets underway at approximately 6:33PM ET. Here’s a capsule look at each race, along with a $86.40 suggested ticket. 7th Race (Melair Stakes, 6:30 p.m. ET)BIG SWEEP is unbeaten in two sprints and seeks to take her act around two turns. Trainer Mark Glatt is cruising along at 33-percent. Her latest was in the Echo Eddie Stakes and she has finished well in both race. No reason to think she can’t stretch out. SMILING SMIRLEE sprinted to a win in the Evening Jewel Stakes last out and won going a mile two races back. WARREN’S SHOWTIME has the best chance at a closing move as this pace should be lively.8th Race (Maiden Claiming, 7 p.m. ET)The big players come from the outside and each is taking a drop in class for this maiden-claimer at a mile on the turf. DANCEFORMUNNY has taken on much better and likely will be much closer to the early action than she has been. SAPORI GIRL has had 10 chances and is coming closer to getting the maiden win. The 3rd-place finish in her latest could translate into a win here.9th Race (Maiden Claiming, 7:30 p.m. ET)COSMIC COWGIRL showed speed in maiden special races and that usually translates into more endurance with a class drop. Will not want to give up the rail and should be a strong player throughout. WITH THIS VOW was in good position for a half-mile of her debut and then faded. She is another that can improve with the step down the ladder as well as moving up with the benefit of having had a start. SAVING SOPHIE has been running two turns, gets back to a sprint and will likely be rolling late.10th Race (Gr. 3 American Stakes, 8 p.m. ET)The American Stakes looks the most difficult race in the sequence, and a foursome are represented on the sequence. JASIKAN makes his 1st of the year and has done little wrong in the U.S. starts after beginning his career in Ireland. He won the Oceanside at Del Mar last year and ended the second with a 3rd in the G3 LaJolla. Always seems to be moving well late. CLEOPATRA’S STRIKE was 2nd in the G2 San Marcos and G2 San Gabriel in his last two and deserves support. SHARP SAMURAI just missed in the G2 Del Mar Mile in August and has trained exceptionally well for his return. BOWIE’S HERO has no shortage of class, having won the G1 Shadwell Turf Mile and the G1 Shoemaker Mile during the past two years.11th Race (Maiden Special Weight, 8:30 p.m. ET)Which Baffert do you like? Trainer Bob is always difficult to beat in maiden races, and that problem is compounded as he has two in this one. PROVOCATION makes her career debut, and the Into Mischief gal has trained well. And getting Mike Smith aboard (30 percent) hurts nothing, either. HIMIKO started once, and it was an unsuccessful voyage over the turf. The American Pharoah filly has drilled well since then, and the $1 million weanling purchase is likely to make a huge improvement from her 1st start to this.12th Race (Optional Claiming, 9 p.m. ET)Veteran optional claimers on the turf end the day and sequence, and three of these appear to have an edge over the rest. OF GOOD REPORT lost by a nose at this level last out and has taken 4 of 11 on grass. Galloping mischief return off a 14-month layoff with a closing 4th in a fast sprint. She won’t have to improve much to be a strong player in the closing yards. SUCCEEDANDSURPASS was a closing 3rd at this level in his 1st of the year and was 2nd in the G2 Twilight Derby at Santa Anita last year.Rainbow Pick Six Sunday at Santa Anita: Race 7) #1 Big Sweet, #2 Smiling Shirlee, #6 Warren’s Showtime.Race 8) #10 Danceformunny, #11 Sapori Girl.Race 9) #1 Cosmic Cowgirl, #3 With This Vow, #6 Saving Sophie.Race 10) #2 Jasikan, #3 Cleopatra’s Strike, #5 Sharp Samurai, #8 Bowies Hero.Race 11) #2 Provocation, #5 Himiko.Race 12) #3 Of Good Report, #11 Galloping Mischief, #12 Succeedandsurpass. Totaly Ticket Cost) 1,2,6/10,11/1,3,6/2,3,5,8/2,5/3,11,12 = $86.40 for $0..20

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6.20.2020:

Saturday, June 20: Belmont Stakes Day 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 11:45 ET. Grade: C+Use: 8-Scanno; 10-Souper Energizer; 11-Turn of Events Forecast: The opener is a maiden $75,000 claimer over a mile on turf and requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Souper Energizer is listed at 8-1 on the morning line and may be as good as any. He’s a first-time gelding and relatively lightly-raced, so with some freshening since mid-March and with the switch to J. Rosario, the son of Hat Trick has a chance to build on his runner-up effort in a similar affair at Gulfstream Park when earning a career top speed figure. He’ll need another forward move to beat this field but following a recent series of solid workouts at Fair Hill he could have it in him. Scanno, in the frame in three of his last four starts, most recently when a narrow second in when facing a slightly softer field in Florida while well clear of the rest, switches to J. Castellano and should settle into a good second flight position and have his chance from there. As a nine-race maiden the son of Bernardini may be hard to trust, but he’s a fit on speed figures and shouldn’t have to improve much to win. Turn of Events shows up in a seller for the first time and has form earlier this year in Florida that puts him in the fray. We’ll toss out his poor run earlier this month over wet ground and key off his strong runner-up effort in his previous outing that produced a career top figure. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; feel free to go deeper if your budget allows. RACE 2: Post 12:25 ET. Grade: B+Single: 3-Mischievous Alex Forecast: The Woody Stephens S.-G1 is deep in contention but with a field of just five we have to take a stand to create a bit of value. Co-second choice at 5/2, Mischievous Alex is lightly raced, has proven to be very effective fresh, and has the perfect style for this extended sprint distance. Undefeated in two starts at this seven furlong trip and rested since winning the Gotham S.-G3 in early March, the son of Into Mischief should settle into an ideal stalking position behind the two other major contenders, No Parole and Echo Town, and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on in the final quarter mile. In a tough race to be sure, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 3: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: XUse: 6-Indian Pride; 7-Mrs. Danvers Forecast: Indian Pride returns to action in her first start since weakening late to finish third at 7/5 in the Raven Run S.-G2 at Keeneland last October (a poor start cost her) and has trained like she’s fit and ready to verify the strength of her debut maiden win, an eight-length romp with a powerful speed figure at Saratoga. The daughter of Proud Citizen trained superbly in Florida before shipping to Belmont Park and should return at least as good if not better than she left in this entry-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares. At even money on the morning line she’s unplayable in the win pool but she’s certainly a candidate to be no-value rolling exotic single. Those who would feel a bit more comfortable may choose to have Mrs. Danvers on a ticket as a back-up. Away since a nice maiden-breaking score at Saratoga last summer, the daughter of Tapit lands the cozy outside post and should settle early and then rally late in what probably will serve as a springboard to a stretch out in trip next time. RACE 4: Post 1:42 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Decorated Invader; 2-Venezuelan Hug Forecast: The main contention in this year’s edition of the Pennine Ridge S.-G3 for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf is drawn inside. Decorated Invader, a race-shape aided winner of the Cutler Bay S. at Gulfstream Park in late March in his sophomore debut, most likely will have to overcome a much slower pace flow today but could be good enough anyway to score again for the powerful J. Rosario/C. Clemente jockey-trainer combo. Listed at 6/5 on the morning line, the son of Declaration of War colt likes to lag and blast home, so if he can remain in contact of the field to the head of the lane he’ll have his chance to wear down the leaders. Venezuelan Hug, claimed out of a maiden $40,000 affair in late March and two-time winner for his new connections since, gets tested for class today but this rapidly-developing son of Constitution could easily be up to the task. Much the best despite the narrow margin of victory in a recent starter optional claimer in late May, the D. Gargan-trained colt is a fit on speed figures and has improved in each of his four starts, so better is likely today. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and maybe in an exacta box as well. RACE 5: Post 2:19 ET. Grade: BUse: 2-O’Trouble; 5-Rare Stripe; 8-Happy Saver Forecast: This is a stronger than par maiden special weight sprint and it will take a fairly decent colt to win it. Rare Stripe was well-meant in his debut but was pinballed and squeezed back at the start to lose valuable position and his best chance. The son of Flatter steadily moved into a mid-pack spot and then stayed on well to be a willing fourth in a race that was won by Dr Post (entered in the today’s Belmont Stakes). Now in the J. Sisterson barn, the Calumet Farm homebred has done some excellent work in the a.m. since that outing, most recently breezing a half mile in :47 1/5, the fastest of 97 for the distance at Keeneland. J. Rosario stays aboard and hopefully will get this colt to break sharply today. O’Trouble had one prior outing last summer at Saratoga and it was a very good effort, a third place finish behind Belmont Stakes-G1 major contender Tap It to Win in a fast, highly-rated affair. His recent work tab is a bit light but does include a bullet five furlong drill (1:00.4, fastest of 14) two weeks ago, so if the son of In Trouble is ready he should be a major player for a barn that is quite capable with layoff runners. Happy Saver represents stranger danger from the T. Pletcher barn. A first-timer by Super Saver out the fast sprinting mare Happy Week, he actually outworked the good older horse Fearless at Palm Beach Downs before heading north and goes for a barn that is excellent with debut runners (21%) while landing blazingly-hot rider I. Ortiz, Jr. In a race in which all three are “must uses” in rolling exotic play, we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Rare Stripe. RACE 6: Post 3:01 ET. Grade: B+Single: 2-Sweet Melania Forecast: Sweet Melania, winner of the Jessamine S.-G2 at Keeneland last fall before finishing an excellent third to Sharing in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, makes her seasonable bow in this year’s edition of the Wonder Where S.-G2 over a mile and grass and has trained like she’s ready to roll for T. Pletcher (superb 29% with layoff runners). The daughter of American Pharoah prefers to make the running, and in a race with just four other entrants, none of whom are speed types, we’re expecting the daughter of American Pharoah to be presented with the opportunity to dominate as the controlling speed. Given that type of trip, she will be hard to catch, so at 7/5 on the morning line she’s the logical top pick and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 3:39 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Strongerthankuknow; 8-My Sassy Sarah Forecast: My Sassy Sarah launches a comeback in this state-bred first-level allowance sprint for fillies and mares and if she returns as well as she left the daughter of Summer Front should be capable of tagging the speed from off the pace. She earned a giant 79 Beyer speed figure when breaking her maiden over this course and distance as a 2-year-old last summer when producing a powerful late kick, and nothing more will be needed to handle this assignment. That said, the work tab isn’t fancy and the barn does not have great stats with layoff runners, so for protection will have a back-up ticket or two that includes Strongerthanuknow, a local gate-to-wire maiden turf winner earlier this month with a career top figure but hooking a bit more early speed today. The daughter of Mineshaft was actually second to our top pick when ‘Sarah broke her maiden and it won’t be shocking to see a similar result today. RACE 8: Post 4:15 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Gamine; 4-Casual Forecast: This year’s edition of the Acorn S.-G1 should boil down to Casual and Gamine, two fillies who are unbeaten in two career starts and both with extreme potential. Casual, a daughter of Curlin from the S. Asmussen barn, graduated at first asking with complete authority at Oaklawn Park in April and then returned the following to defeat a strong allowance field while giving every indicate that today’s one-turn mile should be perfect for her pace-stalking style. No matter what the race flow, she’ll be able to handle it. Gamine won off by herself sprinting in her debut at Santa Anita and then went to Oaklawn Park for a first-level allowance two-turn affair, a race she won extra gamely with a stakes-quality speed figure. She’s back sprinting today – we suspect she’ll enjoy the turn back in trip – and seems the likely pacesetter from her rail post position. These two probably will hook up somewhere along the way and may the best filly prevail. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Casual ever so slightly on top. RACE 9: Post 4:53 ET. Grade: B+Use: 4-Pure Sensation; 5-Stubbins Forecast: The unusual thing about today’s Jaipur S.-G1 is that the six furlong turf sprint drew eight entrants, only one of which – the 9-year-old Pure Sensation – is a committed front-running type. A winner of 14 races during his long career that includes a victory in the 2016 edition of the Jaipur, the C. Clement-trained gelding shows a brief work tab leading up to his first start since finishing fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint November, so we can’t really be sure how cranked up he really is (the barn does have excellent stats with layoff runners, though). Given the projected pace flow, ‘Sensation is a “must use” on our ticket, but preference on top goes to the California shipper Stubbins, a much troubled fourth in the 2019 BC Sprint and then a nightmarish third (beaten a half-length) in his seasonal bow in the Daytona S.-G3 at Santa Anita last month. This six furlongs trip compliments his late-running style and with the switch to the aggressive riding L. Saez, the son of Morning Line appears capable of producing the last run. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics; we’ll press with extra tickets keying Stubbins on top. RACE 10: Post 5:42 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Tap It to Win; 8-Tiz the Law; 9-Dr Post; 10-Pneumatic Forecast: While we’re going four-deep in our rolling exotics, Tiz the Law is a legitimate short price favorite and will be very difficult to beat if he shows up with his best stuff, as we suspect he will. Proven over the Belmont Park main track (his 2019 victory in the Champagne S.-G1 was superb), the son of Constitution is perfect in two starts as a 3-year-old, most recently with a dominating score in the Florida Derby-G1 in late March. Kept on edge with a series of sharp recent workouts, the B. Tagg-trained colt can be placed in a pace-stalking position or somewhere in mid-pack, depending on how regular rider M. Franco assesses the race-shape. Small ticket players needing a single certainly can assign the role to this terrific colt with complete confidence. Those looking for a price – either in the pick-3’s and pick-4’s or in the vertical exotics – have a few viable options. Tapit to the Win will be the controlling speed from the rail and will take his field as far as he can. Back in two weeks, moving up from a first-level allowance race into an American classic, facing more heat, and having to cope with an extra half-furlong, the son of Tapit will need to produce a career top effort and then some to worry Tiz the Law. However, if he can clear early and shake loose from his likely pace adversary Fore Left, the M. Casse-trained speedster may prove to be an elusive target. Dr Post won a listed stakes at Gulfstream Park in late April after overcoming a difficult trip, and his workouts since that race indicate the son of Quality Road remains on track to produce another significant forward move. He’s not the handiest of runners but over the Belmont Park main track, with its sweeping turns and long home stretch, he shouldn’t be inconvenienced in the least. Is the T. Pletcher-trained colt this good? We’ll find out. Pneumatic won the draw. He’ll leave from the highly-favorite outside post position, which will allow regular rider R. Santana, Jr. to assess the pace and find a comfortable early spot. Both of his victories at Oaklawn Park were accomplished by taking the overland route, whereas his defeat in the Matt Winn S.-G3 at Churchill Downs (when a respectable third) came when he was forced to set/press the pace inside under pressure throughout. His speed figures continue to rise and we suspect we haven’t seen anywhere close to his best just yet . RACE 11: Post 6:17 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Talk or Listen; 3-Largent; 9-Digital Age Forecast: Talk or Listen, a group-stakes quality invader from France, makes his U.S. debut in a third level allowance race and has trained well enough at Fair Hill to be ready for a top effort for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. The form is good in this context, and this Irish-bred colt has run well fresh in the past. He’s also a first-time Lasix user and 10-1 on the morning line. Digital Age, away since finishing a respectable fourth in the Hollywood Derby-G1 in November, has worked well enough to expect a big run off the bench for C. Brown, whose stats with come-backers is off-the charts (29%). The negative is his record over the Belmont Park turf course – he’s been unplaced in all three starts – but considering the company he’s been keeping the son of Invincible Spirit should be a strong fit at this level. Largent has excellent tactical speed in a race that might not have much pace in it, and although the son of Into Mischief moving up a level in class he’s earned competitive speed figures for this level of competition and seems certain to have room for further improvement. RACE 12: Post 6:49 ET. Grade: B-Use: 2-Crack Shot; 4-Simply; 7-Qian B C; 8-Turbo Drive Forecast: The finale is a grass grab bag for state-bred sprinting first-level allowance older horses. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. Qian B C is a prototype late-running sprinter in a race that projects to have a faster-than-par early pace, so with good racing luck the Desert Party gelding may able to produce the last run over a course he’s been known to like. Reunited with “win rider” J. Rosario, the C. Baker-trained veteran rates the edge on top at 5-1 on the morning line. Crack Shot, freshened since November, may be the most dangerous of the pace types and has won off a layoff in the past, so we’re expecting the son of Freud to return as well as he left. His numbers are faster than par for this level, so he’s a major contender on many fronts. Turbo Drive, off the track since last December and returning as a first-time gelding, goes for the M. Maker barn (powerful stats with layoffs) and sports a bullet recent five furlong drill (1:00b, fastest of 32) to have him on edge. He’ll be doing his best work from mid-pack. We’ll also toss in Simply, a debut winner at San Houston over a route-of-ground in early March. He’s a first-time gelding, has winning connections (J. Ortiz/S. Asmussen) and is another that could be heard from late if the speed types go too fast early.  

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6.20.2020:

Saturday, June 20: Santa Anita 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. Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Utalknboutpractice; 7-Count Alexei Forecast: Count Alexei lost a heartbreaker in his racing debut over this course and distance last month, flashing good speed to make pace, opening up into the lane while appearing home free but then getting tagged right on the money in a legitimate race for the level. The B. Koriner barn has excellent stats with second-timers so we’re expecting this Cal-bred son of Vronsky to run at least as well if not better while facing what probably is a lesser group than he encountered first time out. He’s 8/5 on the morning line and may go lower. Utalknboutpractice, fourth in the same race ‘Alexei exits, walked out of the gate, fell far back, found room to rally into the lane, put in a good run from the quarter pole until the sixteenth pole, and then lost some of his steam in the final stages. He’s another from a barn (P. Miller) whose second-timers usually move forward, so if this son of Just Phillip breaks better today he could be a danger. The monumental jockey switch to F. Prat won’t hurt, either. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, so both should be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Count Alexei. RACE 2: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: B+Single: 5-Keeper Of the Stars Forecast: This year’ edition of the Wilshire S.-G3 drew seven starters, two of which will get most of the play. The easy way out is to double the race using both favorites in rolling exotic play, but there will be little wagering value in taking that approach, so we’ll zero in on Keeper Ofthe Stars. The daughter of Midnight Lute has developed in a versatile and consistent performer in the West Coast distaff middle distance turf ranks, and after winning both the Buena Vista S.-G2 and the Gamely S.-G1 over the local lawn we’re expecting the J. Wong-trained filly to fire another winning shot. Equally effective on the lead or from a second flight stalking position, she continues to train well, and may even have more improvement in her. It’s tough to fault Toinette – she’s a perfect four-for-four over the Santa Anita turf course - and although she’s been away since early December the daughter of Scat Daddy has shown the ability to fire a winning shot fresh. If it turns out that she’s simply the better filly, so be it. RACE 3: Post 1:33 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Adens Dream; 5-Jan’s Reserve Forecast: We’ll double this five-runner $32,000 claiming sprint, with Jan’s Reserve given a very slight edge on top over Adens Dream in a race in which early pace projects to be moderate at best. Jan’s Reserve is winless in six starts over the Santa Anita main track but exits a strong, productive race, has breezed very well since that mid-May allowance dash (his first start in more than a year) and takes a realistic drop in class for the money run while landing the cozy outside draw. The M. Puype barn has superior stats with second-off-layoff runners and this son of Ready’s Image is plenty fast enough on pure numbers. Adens Dream may be the controlling speed and given that type of trip he could be hard to run down. He’s a first-off-the-claim for the capable A. Kitchingman outfit, switches to the barn’s go-to rider E. Maldonado and is a tough, veteran gelding who knows how to win races. On his best day, he’s more than capable of wiring this field. RACE 4: Post 2:02 PT. Grade: B-Use: 5-Sweet Sonny; 8-Moonhall Milly; 9-Vegas Palm; 11-Officious Forecast: This turf sprint for maiden special weight fillies and mares drew a full field of 12, and that’s always nice to see. We’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics and hope to get a decent price home. Sweet Sonny flashed good speed for a half in a similar spot in her debut last month before gradually weakening and has returned to train very well for trainer B. Koriner, whose second-timers often step forward in their next outings. A sharp recent drill gives hope that this daughter of Twirling Candy will do just that, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll put her on top and hope she can secure the early lead and roll all the way to the wire. Moonhall Milly, a close third in the same race Sweet Sonny finished seventh in, broke slowly in that race and then rushed up to be within range inside before staying on well to hit the board. If she leaves with her field today, the Irish-bred filly could be hard to handle and may, in fact, go favored. Vegas Palm, a good second in that same race, seems to have found her niche as a turf sprinter (draw a line through her route races and she’s pretty good) and the G. Mandella-trained mare is a “must use” in the exotics. Hopefully, she gets the patient ride she prefers. Officious was well-beaten in her only outing last fall and was stopped on; it’s certainly possible she’ll be a better type this time around as her recent training track workouts suggests. The daughter of City Zip is drawn a little farther out than we’d prefer but should be in the first flight outside and then have her chance to show what she can do. RACE 5: Post 2:32 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Alvaaro; 4-All American Hero Forecast: All American Herowas out of his element in his first outing since last June when unplaced in a tough first-level allowance grass sprint but drops for the money run and has numbers last year in Canada that chart very well against this group. The Hard Spun colt has done almost all of his racing on turf or synthetic, but this will be his first start for a tag and if he handles the dirt he’ll be a strong factor at 6-1 on the morning line. Alvaaro has been away since last October but returns in a proper spot (Nw-2, $25,000) for D. O’Neill and lands F. Prat, so we’re going to assume he’s fit and ready following a slow but steady series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs. He’ll need to break well from the rail but if the lightly-raced son of Old Fashioned can negotiate a good trip he can win. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in a shaky affair that you may find the need to spread deeper. RACE 6: Post 3:02 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Psycho Dar; 2-Unbridled Ethos; 5-City Rage; 6-Whooping Jay Forecast: Here’s another difficult turf sprint with several possibilities. We’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Whooping Jay looked good winning his comeback last month vs. state-bred rivals while earning a sharp numbers and could be capable of scoring right back in open company. His only prior turf race was quite good (second in the Speakeasy S. as a 2-year-old) and his style suggest he can win on the lead or from a stalking position. A recent :59 4/5 workout (second fastest of 60) should have him right on edge. City Rage, a solid runner-up over this course and distance in a similar affair last month, has the makings of a useful late-running grass sprinter and such tactics surely will be employed again today. With good racing luck the son of City Zip will be heard from late. Unbridled Ethos overcame traffic to quicken late and win from Cal-bred foes under these conditions last month, and while the field itself wasn’t particularly strong the performance was quite good. This will be his second start off an 11 month layoff and with only slight improvement the J. Mullins-trained gelding, with just five career starts, may be able to move up the ladder if he can stay healthy. Psycho Dar, away since last summer but with the kind of early speed that can take a field like this gate-to-wire, goes for a barn (S. Miyadi) that is always dangerous with off-the-bench runners. You always have to hold your breath in the final 50 yards – the son of Storm Wolfe has been known to give it up under pressure – but on pure numbers he’s a fit so we’ll toss him in as well. RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: C+Use: 6-Multiplier; 7-Ax Man Forecast: Ax Man and Multiplier – one-three when they met two races back – square off again and both are more than capable of winning with anything close to their best race. Ax Man filled the race for McKinzie when showing speed and then fading in the Triple Bend S.-G2 (he wasn’t knocked about when tiring in the lane) and is back where he belongs today while being reunited with “win rider” M. Smith. Arguably most effective around two turns, the son of Misremembered catches a very soft pace scenario and should either be on the lead or in a comfortable pace-stalking position. The concern is that he’s 8/5 on the morning line and has been known to burn money when heavily-backed. Multiplier, beaten a neck in the Big ‘Cap in March, certainly has races that can win but is just 3-for-27 lifetime and is winless since 2018. The veteran gelding will have every chance from a second flight position under F. Prat. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and hope that at least one of them brings his “A” game. RACE 8: Post 4:02 PT. Grade: A-Single: 5-Brickyard Ride Forecast: Brickyard Road is simply too fast for these. The rapidly-developing son of Clubhouse Ride just scorched the main track when beating a starter optional claiming field by almost 10 lengths while earning a career top speed figure, one that buries this group if he can repeat it. And based on his workouts since that race, the C. Lewis-trained colt can do just that. The switch to turf doesn’t concern us at all and a low profile jockey should keep the price acceptable, so at 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 4:32 PT. Grade: XSingle: 1-Collusion Illusion Forecast: We’re not wild about the rail draw for Collusion Illusion but it really shouldn’t matter. The Grade-2 winning son of Twirling Candy returned at least as well as he left when in his first outing as a 3-year-old trounced a very strong second-level allowance field of older horses (runner-up Tiger Dad came back to win a state-bred stakes) with a career top speed figure. The M. Glatt-trained colt probably will have to rally from last (of five) to win, but with F. Prat staying aboard that won’t be asking too much. At 4/5 on the morning line he’s a logical, no-value, rolling exotic single in this year’s edition of the Laz Barrera S.-G3. RACE 10: Post 5:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Sacred Rider; 2-Margot’s Boy; 7-Indian Peak Forecast: Sacred Rider is a hard-knocking, dependable Golden Gate shipper with the proper style for this nine furlong trip, and we’re expecting the son of Lucky Pulpit to produce the last run in a race that should have a proper amount of early speed. He’ll probably have to beat his fellow Northern California-based Indian Peak (twice a winner over Sacred Rider up north) and under M. Smith is clearly the most dangerous of the deep-closing types. Truthfully, they’re hard to separate. Devout front-runner Margot’s Boy is a perfect 3-for-3 over the local lawn but may be a tad vulnerable at nine furlongs, especially with sprinter-stretching-out Bam Bam Again in the field. He’s too good of a colt to dismiss so we’ll toss him somewhere as a saver or a back-up. RACE 11: Post 5:32 PT. Grade: CSingle: 3-World Affairs Forecast: This modest bottom-rung maiden claimer drew a field of seven with nothing in it to truly embrace. World Affairs, a $260,000 OBS April sale purchase, is being tossed into the scrap heap, but as a 4-year-old with just two career starts the connections clearly are ready to move on. On pure form he’s not terrible, so we’ll put him on top by default, and if it’s not him, it could be any of the other six (yes, even Fabio at 50-1 with the blinkers off angle could be used). Tread lightly, or better yet, don’t tread at all. RACE 12: Post 6:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Blackout; 6-Boogalute; 7-Shadow Sphinx Forecast: The finale is a starter’s allowance turf miler loaded with question marks. The morning line favorite is Shadow Sphinx, scratched out of a short field on June 5 and un-raced since January of 2019. The R. Baltas-trained gelding actually has trained quite well for his comeback and has a prior win over the local lawn, so if he’s feeling up to it the son of Pioneer ofthe Nile, with “win rider” F. Prat aboard, certainly is good enough (and this barn is off-the-charts with come-backers). Blackout has numbers that fit, and though he’s been sprinting of late the French-bred gelding is more than capable at this trip, having finished first or second in four of seven career starts over the Santa Anita lawn. With regular pilot Prat opting for Shadow Sphinx, capable A. Cedillo takes the call and should have this gelding on or near the lead. Boogalute has races that make him dangerous but will be making his first career start on grass. He’s not really bred to improve on the lawn, but if he can handle it he can make some noise.

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6.19.2020:

Eddie Olczyk’s Belmont Stakes Picks & Spot Plays

ANALYSIS: This Belmont Stakes has pretty much everything you can throw at it – all different running styles, layoffs vs. short rest, and horses exiting races from locally at Belmont Park to the far reaches of Meydan in Dubai. Even out of the mile and one-eighth chute, it’s still the Belmont Stakes. The key, as often it is, will be the pace. When you hear NBC announcer Larry Collmus call out the six-furlong split, take notice. If it’s 1:09-and-change, that’s when I think the off-the-pace types could roll late.MAIN CONTENDERS: TIZ THE LAW is a deserving favorite and should get a perfect trip. Look for him to be fourth or fifth early, but not far off of the pace. Trainer Barclay Tagg has slowed him down in his works recently and I really appreciate that. With FORE LEFT and MODERNIST competing for the front with rail-drawn TAPIT TO WIN, it should favor the favorite’s finishing kick. DR POST figures to be in a similar spot following TIZ THE LAW for leading local jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. SOLE VOLANTE will be coming from farther back and benefits more the faster they go early.VALUE PLAYS: FARMINGTON ROAD has a steady running style and will be the longer price of the two Pletcher trainees. He could be as much as twice the price as DR POST and adds value to the exotics.$100 Belmont Stakes Wagering Strategy- $10 Trifecta Part-Wheel: TIZ THE LAW with DR POST with SOLE VOLANTE, FARMINGTON ROAD ($20)- $10 Trifecta Part-Wheel: TIZ THE LAW with SOLE VOLANTE, FARMINGTON ROAD with DR POST ($20- $10 Exacta Box: TIZ THE LAW and DR POST ($20)- $40 Exacta: TIZ THE LAW over DR POST ($40)Eddie’s Top 4 Picks1. TIZ THE LAW2. DR POST3. SOLE VOLANTE4. FARMINGTON ROADEDDIE OLCZYK’S BELMONT STAKES DAY SPOT PLAYSRace 4 – Pennine Ridge Stakes: #7 Famished (5-1)Despite an 0-3 record on turf, he’s run very well on the grass. Outside post positions and trips have been his kryptonite. This one-turn mile gives him a better chance to deal with the widest draw, though only 7 are entered. Manny Franco moved too soon aboard him in his last race on turf. Go off of his Palm Beach effort, and with a better trip under Irad Ortiz Jr., he has a heck of a chance. I’m hoping for 6-1 or more, but the Irad Factor almost certainly keeps him under 10-1.Race 8 – Acorn Stakes: #5 Glass Ceiling (20-1)Take a look at this longshot price. She was impressive in her Gulfstream Park allowance victory May 16 in which the runner-up has returned to hit the board in stakes company. Glass Ceiling is another nice claim by trainer Danny Gargan and will provide value in a race that has plenty of early pace in it. She’s tactical and won’t be on the lead, nor does she appear to need to be.

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6.19.2020:

Belmont Stakes Undercard Workout Report

Race 6 – Grade 3 Wonder Again Sweet Melania | June 5 Workout Video | May 29 Workout Video   Daughter of American Pharaoh has hit the board in all of her 6 starts, her last being a 3rd to Sharing (Runs Saturday at Royal Ascot ) in the BC Juvenile fillies Turf. She’s a filly who excels on turf, but is no slouch on dirt as seen in her June 5 work. Working with the maiden colt Bourbononrox, she was in the bridle early over a surface listed as good at Todd Pletcher's Palm Beach Downs base. The surface was tight with a bit of rain, and she clearly loved it. Moving easily and being let swing wide around the turn, she was easily best in this easy, half-mile drill. The best thing is: Even though she is keen, she is tactical and has a ton left at the end. She’s the top pick in the Wonder Again. This filly always runs a good race and may just well be better at age 3 than 2!Highland Glory | May 24 Workout Video While she may have been best in the Honey Ryder after a tough trip, we will never know. Her May 24 work was a pure maintenance, clicking of 12ss every eighth-mile, while cruising round the dogs in easy fashion. Nothing wrong here, but as for a win wager, I prefer Franco and Tagg in the Belmont Stakes!Selflessly | June 8 Workout Video She ran super in the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf, beaten just 4 lengths to Sharing (Did I mention she runs Saturday at Royal Ascot?). Her June 8 work with My Sister Nat, a Grade 3 winner, left me a little puzzled.  Her works we have on XBTV all winter have all been rather good, but this was, well, a bit lackluster as she never got by (or even next to) her workmate. Perhaps she had an off day? She draws well in a short field and is the only one with a perfect record at Belmont. Still, prefer Sweet Melania off the works!Race 8 – Grade 1 AcornGamine | June 13 Workout Video | June 7 Workout Video A $1.8 million acquisition from the Fasig-Tipton May sale last year, she gutted it out around 2 turns with a big fig at Oaklawn; but I’m not convinced she’s not better around one turn like the Acorn. This race is the perfect fit, although she will get pressure from Casual and Glass Ceiling amongst others. Her June 13 work was good. Breaking off a couple of lengths behind Dodger (maiden colt), she was nice and relaxed throughout. The leggy daughter of Into Mischeif inhaled her company like a Ritz Cracker (She’s watching her weight) at the quarter-pole, and as usual worked to the seven-eighths pole easily. She’s probably best of the rest in the Acorn, but doesn’t win the draw from the rail. Beware: I’m using Casual on top! Race 9 – Grade 1 JaipurHidden Scroll | June 14 Workout Video How good is he? Jury’s out there, but he has shown brilliance at times in allowance company. Disregard his turf bow, stumbling at the start and tossing John Velazquez. Delighted that he rides back. One thing I can say, they have not got to the bottom of him in his turf works. His June 14 work looked like he was going in :55 not :47-4/5 (which is a good thing ). In the solo work, he was unfocused at times and looked almost lost on the expansive turf course; nonetheless, he worked well and was surprisingly relaxed. With the speed of the wily veteran Pure Sensation inside of him, perhaps he can rate on a kinder surface than dirt? Lots of questions here, but wouldn’t be surprised.White Flag | May 28 Workout Video May 28 at Payson was no more than a gallop on the dirt. One thing that struck me is how massive this son of War front has gotten. He loves the Belmont sod and I can see him running along for a piece of it!

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6.19.2020:

Friday, June 19: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has 13 races scheduled with the 0.50 Late Pick 4 starting in Race 10. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 101-Over Speeding (5/2)-Comes off a sharp win from the 9-hole and fits with this group. Has recorded 8 lifetime wins and 7 pictures have happened in Stickney. Should be in the mix from start to finish.5-Blue Gem (4-1)-Franco takes the lines as Bates is back at HoP. Did go a 57.1 back half in a 6/7 qualifier. Should like the company if fires hot off the bench. Herrera has had them ready to roll.6-Party Belle (7-1)-There have been excuses in both local starts. Gets post relief and did race a 56.3 back half last week. Could be sitting on a big try at a square price.Race 112-Lucky Crusader 5/2-Veteran is trip dependent, tonight Husted takes a spin and that is a positive driver change. This is soft spot and will use but will also consider others.3-Major Legacy (5-1)-Odds on winner was bet like the race was already run and didn't disappoint. This field isn't out of reach and price will be better.7-Ricky Bobbie (3-1)-Nice effort versus a strong winner from the 10-hole last week. Now Leonard steers and Trashytonguetalker isn't in the mix, best to respect.8-Uncle Si (5-1)-If pace is hot Si can pick off a few down the lane, so will use and hope for a nice price.Race 123-Yankee Bounty (3-1)-One time class horse drops to a spot to shine. Doesn't often win these days but did roll the 2nd half in .55 in 1st start of the meet versus better.4-Rebel Rouser (8/5)-Owns a 150.2 mark at PcD and will probably be bet hard. Doesn't offer any value, will use but look to beat. Not sure the long stretch at Haw helps his cause.6-Rockin Robert (12-1)-Barn is 0-5 but qualified well. Looks like a worthwhile price shot and knows how to race on a mile oval.Race 133-Dinky Dune (7/2)-Will toss last from the 9-hole, broke poorly and pace was dull. Did come the 2nd half in 56.1 and could take a picture if #5 doesn't have his fast ball tonight.5-Dakota Roadster (6/5)-0-10 in 2020 but in a new barn which has won 2 of 8 since the restart. Many will probably single the morning line chalk as this is a good spot for a picture and gets a ++ driver change in Todd Warren.My Ticket Race 10) 1,5,6 Race 11) 2,3,7,8 Race 12) 3,4,6 Race 13) 3,5Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.19.2020:

Friday, June 19: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:Belmont Park – 9th race. Post time 5:36 ET.4 – Guildsman (7/2)Been the victim of two troubled trips to kick off his U.S. campaign but with a clean break and clear sailing today this talented gelding should be capable of producing a winning late kick. Lost all chance at the start in his North American debut when he broke poorly when winding up third in listed stakes at Gulfstream Park in the March, and then had a nightmarish journey (steadied repeatedly in traffic and then took hold too late) in a Churchill Downs overnight turf dash last month. Was good enough as a 2-year to hit the board in two group stakes races (including a close third of 17 in the Coventry S.-G23 at Royal Ascot), so he certainly won’t be outclassed in this spot. We also like the switch to the aggressive L. Saez, so at 7/2 on the morning he’ll offer value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Eastern Ocean; 5-Tapitution; 6-Lane WayForecast: The Friday opener is a challenging maiden turf miler with several legitimate possibilities. We’ll hope to get by using just three in our rolling exotics. Lane Way has much going for him and is strictly the one to beat. Third in all four of lifetime starts but with strong speed figures, the blinkers off angle that we like, and with the powerful R. Mandella/F. Prat team in his corner, the son of Into Mischief is unproven on grass but there’s no reason he won’t like it, or at least, handle it. Exiting a series of powerful races won by the likes of Nadal, Charlatan, Shooter’s Shoot and most recently Ka’nah, the $550,000 OBS auction purchase may not be able to defeat a really good colt, but there may not be one in here. Eastern Ocean took a step forward with a solid runner-up in a similar affair over this course and distance last month and with just three career outings probably has room for improvement that most of the others don’t. The son of Stormy Atlantic lands a favorable inside draw and should be close up throughout and have every chance. The newcomer Tapitution is worth including on a least a ticket or two. The B. Baffert-trained colt has done some promising work in the morning for a barn that hits with a remarkable 29% with debut runners, and this son of Constitution, a $350,000 OBS March purchase last year, has trained like a colt that will appreciate being held up early and allowed to run late, the kind of ride he’s likely to receive from M. Smith.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Real Good Deal; 6-Sindy’s RevengeForecast: Phoenix invader Sindy’s Revenge, away since February, has been training locally for at least two months and should be plenty fit and ready to show her best stuff in this six-runner restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. She removes blinkers for new trainer B. Heap, lands the cozy outside draw, and earned a speed figure in her debut two runs back that is par for this level. With the proper stalking style for this extended sprint trip, the daughter of Slew’s Tiznow should have every chance to regain her winning form. Real Good Deal is slower on numbers than Sindy’s Revenge but ran well at this level two runs back when missing by a neck, and not much more will be needed to make her the one to fear most. She projects to settle in the second flight just off the speed and then have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Sindy’s Revenge.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Still in the Game; 9-Tiberius MercuriusForecast: Tiberius Mercurius is poorly drawn outside in this maiden turf miler for older horses but if he can drop over, get some cover, and negotiate a decent trip, the New York invader should be able to produce a winning late kick. His East Coast numbers are strong and his local work tab for new trainer J. Sadler contains several excellent drills that indicate he’s fit, ready, and probably improved. With excellent turf jockey U. Rispoli (a very live rider for this outfit) taking the call, we’re expecting this year-old colt to be a long in time. Still in the Game should be the controlling speed from his inside draw, and when the rails are up (they are today at 20 ft.) this type of trip gets strongly promoted from what we call the “jet stream effect”. If not pressured early, the son of Uncaptured should take this field a very long way. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with the main push going to Tiberius Mercurus.RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-What’s Up Surfer; 7-Touchdown BrownForecast: Touchdown Brown sports a :47 flat gate work (fastest of 28) over the local main track that certainly catches the eye and his previous (slower) works were visually impressive just as well. This son of Cairo Prince looks fit, ready, and good enough to handle juvenile abbreviated sprint assignment, thought at 9/5 on the morning line he won’t be offering a huge amount of wagering value. What’s Up Surfer is another one of those San Luis Rey Downs-based shippers for the F. Prat/P. Miller team, and with a bullet half mile gate drill (:47.4h, fastest of 10) last week showing on his resume the son of Surf Coat is certain to get plenty of play. We’ll include him on a ticket or two, but the main push in our rolling exotics goes to Touchdown Brown.RACE 5: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Fengari; 3-Sly; 5-Most SandisfactoryForecast: This maiden $40,000 grass miler for older horses appears to have three main players with Fengari the logical top pick after finishing a strong runner-up vs. slightly tougher over this course and distance last month. Draw nicely inside that will guarantee an ideal ground-saving, stalking trip, the J. Sadler-trained gelding shows an easy training track drill last week to tick him over and in what will be his third start off the layoff the son of Artie Schiller should be set for a career top effort. The first-time routing Most Sandisfactory is intriguing. Both of his prior grass outings in Kentucky were quite solid, though he’ll have to improve a bunch in the speed figure department. The P. Miller-trained gelding, second in a dirt sprint in his local bow last month, has every right to step forward with the stretch out in trip and the return to turf, and if he wants to be he’ll probably inherit the role as the controlling speed. Sly, second off a layoff for R. Mandella (superior 23% with this angle) and exiting a productive dash, should put that tune up to good use at this mile trip and has a Beyer speed figure over this course last year that would probably beat this field. The Orb gelding has been a disappointment so far in his five race career but continues to train well and should be able to at least get a piece of it.RACE 6: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: B+Single: 6-With Due CauseForecast: With Due Cause finished a promising third with a less-than-ideal trip (a slightly slow start and a very wide trip throughout) in a productive affair and seems very likely to produce a significant forward move in this maiden special weight Cal-bred sprint in his second start off a layoff and just third outing overall. The son of Creative Cause earned a decent speed figure in that race, retains F. Prat, and shows two solid five furlong drills at Los Alamitos in the interim to keep him on edge. We’re anticipating a nice stalking trip from his cozy outside draw in a race in which the speed types are suspect, so at 4-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post 4:12 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Smiling Annie; 7-Harper’s Gallop; 10-Loud Loud MusicForecast: Here’s a treacherous turf sprint for entry-level allowance fillies and mares that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Loud Loud Music was a visually pleasing winner of a maiden turf sprint at Golden Gate Fields last month, doing so with a speed figure that should make her competitive in tougher affair. We’re not crazy about the extreme outside post but the daughter of Tizbud should be quick enough to get over a secure a comfortable pace-stalking position. Harper’s Gallop, fresh from a game win in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming mile turf affair, has been routing most of her career but could very well enjoy this turn back to a sprint. She earned a career top speed figure in her last race and can score right back with a similar effort despite this raise into the first-level allowance condition. She projects to be on the lead or in a stalking position outside; in either case the J. Carava-trained filly should have every chance. Smiling Annie is wheeled back in six days after winning a four-runner dash over this course and distance with an easy trip as the controlling speed. She’ll have to work a little harder today but in her present form must be given a big chance right back, especially if she’s quick enough to secure another front-running trip.RACE 8: Post 4:42 PT. Grade: CUse: 3-Malakai Moxie; 4-Grazed My Biscuits; 6-Hot SocksForecast: Anything goes in this maiden $50,000 claiming state-bred sprint that drew six runners. Malakai Moxie has F. Prat and numbers that can win, so he’s the default top choice. An eight-race maiden without a definitive style (not a speed horse, not a closer), the P. D’Amato-trained colt shows up in a seller for the first time and should greatly appreciate the class drop. Hot Socks has a right to be fitter and sharper today in his second off a layoff following an okay runner-up effort in a similar affair last month. He’ll need a boost in the speed figure department but is assured a soft pace-stalking trip outside, so we’re expecting a forward move. Grazed My Biscuits is a first-timer from the P. Miller barn with a recent good gate drill (5f, 1:00.1hg) that catches the eye. How good does he have to be? Let’s try to survive and advance using just these three in race that is probably best left alone.RACE 9: Post 5:12 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Cheerful Charm; 3-On Mars; 4-Rockie CausewayForecast>: The finale is a maiden turf miler for state-bred fillies and mares with a logical contender (On Mars) and two sneaky first-time starters (Cheerful Charm, Rockie Causeway) that warrant closer inspection. On Mars, a recent runner-up over this course and distance vs. similar while earning a career top speed figure, may not have to improve to earn her diploma against this group. Most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the daughter of Vronsky retains M. Smith, and with good racing luck and any kind of help up front she should be hard to contain in the final furlong. Cheerful Charm has looked okay-to-decent in her morning preps for D. Blacker and absolutely should fit well in this spot. Certainly bred to run long on the lawn (Boisterous), she debuts with the barn’s go-to rider (U. Rispoli) from a favorable inside draw and will likely settle early and take hold late. The stable hardly ever wins with a first-timer but this sophomore filly may prove to be the exception to the rule. Rockie Causeway, by Giant’s Causeway from multiple stakes winner Private World, has been preparing at San Luis Rey Downs for a few months and shows no less than three bullet workouts since early May to indicate ability. With F. Prat taking the call, the R. Baltas-trained filly is simply a “must use.”

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6.18.2020:

2020 Belmont Stakes Analysis and Late Pick 4 Ticket

On any date, at any distance, we’re fortunate to have the Belmont Stakes this year. By the time the race is over, we may count ourselves fortunate in another aspect: We may get to see an eventual Triple Crown winner in action. We know, we know, it’s early, and if we do see a sweep there forever will be an asterisk alongside Tiz the Law’s name. That’s okay. His connections will take it. In a world where there’s much upheaval, Tiz the Law’s universe is progressing swimmingly. While many of his top foes have been sent to the sidelines or breeding shed, Tiz the Law’s emerged from winter as fresh as a daisy, poised for a postponed Triple Crown run. No doubt, trainer Bob Baffert will have a late developer or two ready to challenge Tiz the Law in the Derby and Preakness, and John Shirreffs could have Honor A. P. on ‘tilt’ then, too. First things first. Tiz the Law seems best in the Belmont Stakes. Below is one man’s horse-by-horse Belmont field analysis. 1.TAP IT TO WIN (Casse/Velazquez) - 6/1  This son of Tapit approaches the Belmont in great shape. He’s sharp, off a five-length first level allowance win at Belmont just 16 days ago. That was his second consecutive win, following a six-furlong state-bred allowance triumph at Gulfstream in May. He broke maiden at Saratoga in his second start and then turned in a pair of clunkers in stakes at Keeneland and Churchill. They were almost too bad to be believed. Rested from October to May, he returned for the Gulfstream win. He probably will use his speed from the rail to gain an early advantage. There also doesn’t seem to be an abundance of other speed in the race. How good is this guy? Don’t really know, but he’s sharp and could have enough of a pace advantage to hang around for a while at the finish. 2. SOLE VOLANTE (Biancone/Panici) - 9/2  This son of Karakonite returns in the Belmont Stakes just 10 days after impressively winning an allowance race at Gulfstream Park. That’s a rapid turnaround for the modern quality racehorse, but such moves often produce good results. Makes sense. He’s fit, sharp and on his game. Why shouldn’t he not run well? Sole Volante’s resume isn’t too shabby either. He’s won four of six starts, with a second and a third. He won his first two starts on turf, then moved to dirt and since has a win, a second and a third in stakes company. He comes from off the pace and would appreciate an early meltdown up front. On paper, we don’t see that happening. Still, he’s sharp, honest and the only runner in the field with as many wins as heavy favorite Tiz the Law. Sole Volante is an exotics must use. 3. MAX PLAYER (Rice/Rosario) - 15/1  A mere half-length from being unbeaten in three starts, Max Player has been on the bench since winning the Withers at Aqueduct in February. At that time, his connections had no idea the racing schedule would be upended and that a shortened Belmont Stakes would be the first leg of the Triple Crown. They had planned to give him a rest and then prep for the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in May. Now, he’s had lots of rest and, according to connections, that’s done him a world of good. They say he’s grown mentally and physically. If that’s the case, he could have something to say about the outcome of this race. He’s a mid-pack early type of runner with a solid kick. No telling how much he might improve in here and worth using in exotics at a big price. 4. MODERNIST (Mott/Alvarado) - 15/1  Running, not running. A :59 1/5 bullet workout June 14 finally sealed the deal: Modernist was entered in the Belmont Stakes. This son of Uncle Mo won the Gr. 2 Risen Star in February and was third in the Gr. 2 Louisiana Derby in March. He also has an Aqueduct maiden tally to his credit. In fact, he parlayed that January maiden score into the surprise Risen Star victory at 12.80-to-1. He’ll need to step up his game a bit to act with these, but Hall of Fame trainer Mott’s horses generally improve. Still, he’s a longshot in here. 5. FARMINGTON ROAD (Pletcher/Castellano) - 15/1  This is one of two Todd Pletcher runners in the Belmont and, like stablemate Dr. Post, he’s by Quality Road. However, there are significant differences between the two colts. This guy has raced six times with just one win—a maiden victory at Tampa Bay Downs going a mile and seventy yards. He closed stoutly to just miss by a half-length in the Oaklawn Stakes to Mr. Big News over a sloppy track. The biggest challenge for Farmington Road is that there’s not much speed in this race and he needs a hot pace to do his best. Connections have considered him a ‘Belmont horse’ for a while, but they had no idea the race would be at one mile and one-eighth instead of a mile and one-half. He deserves respect as a late threat, but the bottom of exotics is the best we see from here. 6. FORE LEFT (O'Neill/Ortiz) - 30/1  He’s won four of nine races, including his last out—the one-mile UAE 2000 Guineas at Meydan in Dubai. Other scores include the restricted Sunny Slope sprint at Santa Anita and the Tremont for 2-year-olds at Belmont, also a sprint. He should add a bit of early pace to the race. He’s been training well at Santa Anita, so connections decided to take a shot at this shortened Belmont Stakes that boasts a strong favorite, but an otherwise wide-open field. He will need to do much better than he has in the past to threaten here.    7. JUNGLE RUNNER (Asmussen/Gutierrez) - 50/1  A late addition to the field, he’s got to step up his game to be a threat in here. Owner Calumet Farm often enters overmatched runners in stakes and sometimes pulls off upsets. A Jungle Runner triumph would be a real surprise. 8. TIZ THE LAW (Tagg/Franco) - 6/5 In the annual game of musical chairs that is the 3-year-old road to the Kentucky Derby, Tiz the Law remains as one of a few of top-ranked players still with a seat when the music stops. According to the official May 23 list of Kentucky Derby point earners, out of the top five horses only Tiz the Law remains currently active. Santa Anita Derby one-two finishers Honor A.P. and In the most recent update, Authentic and Honor A. P. joined Tiz the Law among current top-five ranked runners, however, Nadal, Wells Bayou, Charlatan and King Guillermo are currently out. Tiz the Law made three starts at two, winning two of them and just missing in the Gr. 2 Kentucky Jockey Club. Connections opted to skip the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and aim for a Feb. 1 start in the Holy Bull, which he won impressively. Management continued a conservative path and passed on a return in Gulfstream’s Fountain of Youth to train directly up to the Florida Derby for another powerful victory. All systems were on ‘go’ for the main event on the first Saturday in May. Unfortunately, the big race that day turned out to be the Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn instead of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill. Tiz the Law remained on the bench, waiting for the right opportunity. And, finally, here it is in the form of a revised Belmont Stakes—first leg of a unique Triple Crown. He’s trained superbly for the race and is supposed to win. One quirk of his is that he, apparently, prefers to be outside of other horses. Keep an eye on that during the race. It might be the only thing that can beat him.   9. DR POST (Pletcher/Ortiz Jr.) - 5/1 He’s a lightly raced son of Quality Road with two consecutive wins out of three lifetime starts. Both victories came at Gulfstream Park in a seven-furlong maiden race and in the one mile and one-sixteenth Unbridled Stakes. He’s attracted serious wagering support as favorite in all three races--$.50, $1.00 and $1.00-to-1. That kind of backing suggests that he’s always been highly regarded. Clearly, this is the deepest field he’s ever faced, but his trainer has won three Belmonts and knows where and when to place his horses. Jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. helps his cause, too. Look for him somewhere in the middle of the pack in the early going. He’s got a chance to be part of the exotics at a square price. 10. PNEUMATIC (Asmussen/Santana Jr.) - 8/1 This son of Uncle Mo has two wins in three starts, including a mile allowance/optional claiming race triumph at Oaklawn Park. His Beyer Speed figures have improved with each start for Hall of Fame trainer Steve Asmussen and the barn’s ‘go-to’ jock is aboard. Last out, Pneumatic was a fighting third to top-rated Maxfield and Ny Traffic in Churchill’s Gr. 3 Matt Winn Stakes. He’s an example of an improving 3-year-old that could wake up in here. He drew an outside post and might lose ground early, adding to his challenge.    BOTTOM LINE: Tiz the Law is strictly the one to beat in here. He’s coming off a long layoff and history says that’s the time to go against heavy favorites. However, he’s just plain better than this group on paper and should get the kind of trip he needs to win. It will be interesting to watch opposing jockeys attempt to keep him trapped inside where he doesn’t want to be. He’s got enough talent and quickness to overcome some of that gamesmanship, though. There are a couple of ways to go underneath the favorite. #2 Sole Volante returns just 10 days following a Gulfstream prep race and he’s the most accomplished of the second tier in here. He comes from off the pace, but he’s got to be considered in exotics. #3 Max Player is an interesting option. He really hasn’t proven that he’s not a good horse. With just three starts (just one of those at three), he’s got room to improve and trainer Linda Rice is solid with runners off a layoff. He shouldn’t be too far behind whatever early pace develops. #1 Tap It to Win has speed and will use it from this rail draw. He’s sharp, fast early and a winner at Belmont. Those factors add up to a positive expectation for him. If he’s pressured early, he may not have the fortitude to hang around, but he should be in front early and that’s usually a great place to be.    HERE'S MY SATURDAY LATE PICK 4 (RACES 9 - 12) TICKET:RACE 9 - JAIPUR STAKES #1 Kanthaka starts as a first-time gelding for trainer Graham Motion, switched from Jerry Hollendorfer. The 5-year-old gelding is a Grade 2 & 3 winner on dirt and has made just one career turf start. He’s been gone from the races for over a year.#2 Oleksandra is two-for-two on Belmont turf, two-for-five at the distance and six-for-14 overall. He’s a 6-year-old Grade 3 winner trying Grade 1 company for the first time. Jockey Joel Rosario knows this guy very well and has his closing kick timed perfectly—They’re four-for-six together.#3 Texas Wedge hails from the always dangerous Peter Miller stable. The 5-year-old gelding is six-for-15 lifetime, including two-for-three this year. He’s a Grade 2 winner who’s travelled the country to find turf sprint stakes opportunities. This is his first Grade 1 attempt. He usually his late kick from about mid-pack.#4 Pure Sensation makes his first start as a nine-year-old in here. He’s 13-for-27 on turf and was last seen in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint in November as a troubled fifth. Top jock Irad Ortiz, Jr. takes over today for the first time aboard this speedster. Two years ago, this gelding finished third in this race, beaten just one length. He’s one tough customer, but probably is best at five furlongs instead of the six furlongs he’ll need to get in here.#5 Stubbins finished just in front of #4 Pure Sensation in the BC Turf Sprint and has had a race this year in the Gr. 3 Daytona at Santa Anita where he just missed by a half-length. The late-running 4-year-old is a Grade 2 winner and could get overlooked in this field at a decent price.#7 White Flag makes his first start of 2020 for trainer Christophe Clement. This 6-year-old horse has won five-of-16 overall and four-of-seven on Belmont turf. That alone deserves some respect. He’s three-for-eight at the distance, so he can handle the trip. He won a stakes race back in 2017 and comes from off the pace. He’s a reach.RACE 10 - BELMONT STAKES #8 Tiz the Law—See AboveRACE 11 #1 Talk or Listen is a wild card making his first US start for the sharp Arnaud Delacour stable. This 4-year-old colt is coupled with #1A Surprise Twist. #Talk or Listen faced Group 2 & 3 foes in France before going on the shelf in August. This distance may be a bit too short for him. Move his chances up if it rains, he loves soft ground.#2 Breaking the Rules returns off a year layoff for trainer Shug McGaughey. The 5-year-old once had promise and won four of eight starts in 2018. If he’s back to his best he could be a threat. However, it’s probably best to see one first.#3 Largent, from the powerful Todd Pletcher stable, figures to make the early lead and take this field as far as possible, utilizing a great rail trip. He’s a solid 4-year-old who’s never been worse than second in five starts, with three wins.#4 Red Right Hand is a 5-year-old gelding that got hot last summer and fall, and it wasn’t just because of the humidity. He won three races in a row for trainer Tom Morley and has a win over the Belmont turf course.If #3 Largent can’t go all the way on the lead, Pletcher’s got #6 Pillar Mountain to close from behind. Gone since October, he faced stakes horses in his last three tries, including Grade 1 and Grade 3 company. The distance is a question for him, as he’s been racing over longer trips—two wins at a mile and three-eighths. He does have an artificial surface win at a mile in Ireland.#9 Digital Age hails from the potent Chad Brown stable and is ridden by Irad Ortiz, Jr. Brown/Ortiz combo hits at 23% with 82 attempts. This 4-year-old has been away since November for a trainer who’s great with layoff runners—29% with 142 off at least 180 days. Seven of this colt’s eight lifetime races have been against stakes foes, including two Grade 1 and two Grade 2 appearances. This field is a lot easier than any he’s faced in the past. Plus, if it’s Belmont, Chad, Irad and turf, you gotta use ‘em.RACE 12 #1 Veterans Beach makes first start for Christophe Clement, switched from Jerry Hollendorfer. The 4-year-old has been away since August and has been gelded during that time. Hot jock Irad Ortiz, Jr. rides and that’s a potent jockey/trainer combo. This one fits from off the pace.#2 Crack Shot has speed but gets a bit late in the final stages of races. He must be respected off a strong jockey/trainer combo of Saez/J. Englehart. He had trouble in his last race back in November.#7 Qian B C has been gone since October, but trainer Baker Charlton is 26% off long layoffs. Jockey Rosario, who won with this this gelding two back, returns in the saddle and clicks at 22% with Charlton. This 4-year-old took a long time to break maiden but came back solidly in his first against winners. He should be running late.#10 Power Up Paynter has speed and an outside post position. He’s been gelded since his last start in March and he’s been second at this level in his last two races, including one against open company. He’s a 3-year-old making his first start against older, but the jock and trainer combine successfully often.$1.00 PICK 4 TICKET ($48)Race 9: 2, 3, 4, 5Race 10: 8Race 11: 3, 6, 9Race 12: 1. 2, 7, 10Take care of each other! Race On!      

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6.18.2020:

Thursday, June 18: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s Day Makers – his prime plays from around the country - are offered on a daily basis to members of Xpressbet and 1/ST BET. The day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and should be given strong consideration both as straight wagers and as keys in vertical and horizontal exotics. Churchill Downs – 6th race. Post time: 3:42 ET 7-Acre (6-1) This sophomore son of Blame may be worth a bit of gamble in his first try around two turn and his first on grass. Out of mare by Galileo, the W. Mott-trained colt certainly is bred to run long on the sod, and after chasing home the extremely talented Art Collector in a fast main track dash last month he’ll certainly enjoy this softer assignment. Competitive on speed figures with the possibility of producing a significant forward move under these conditions, the lightly-raced colt is facing a make-or-break situation today so let’s see what he can do at or around his morning line of 6-1. Belmont Park – 8th race. Post time: 5:04 ET 1 – Morning Colors (9/2) Displayed plenty of talent and potential in her maiden win at Tampa Bay Downs in early March while giving the impression that she has the ability to develop into a very useful grass filly for trainer C. Clement, who excels with this type of runner. In that race she was very keen early and unsettled during the early stages, relaxed midway, hit the front with authority entering the lane and then when challenged in the final sixteenth found something extra to win with something left. From her rail post today, the daughter of Midshipman should draft into an excellent ground-saving position under J. Rosario and perhaps even establish the pace if it’s handed to her. This New York-bred first-level allowance event seems well within her capabilities, so let’s put her on top and hope to close to her morning line of 9/2.

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6.18.2020:

Podcast: Belmont Stakes Day Handicapping with Jeff Siegel & Jeremy Plonk

Listen as Jeff Siegel and Jeremy Plonk handicap the races from Belmont Park on Belmont Stakes Day - Saturday, June 20, 2020 - and the $100,000 Guaranteed Stronach 5 on Friday, June 19.   LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

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6.17.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 19 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle in this week’s Stronach 5, which once again has a 100k guarantee, and a prospective pool that should far surpass that. 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 90 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: Gulfstream Park R8 (3:41 ET) – 3f AOC (50k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf) You could probably do worse than singling #7 SWIRLING CANDY (2-1), who just easily beat a few of these off the D’Angelo claim, and would win this one too if she runs back to that fast score, but with a ton of speed on both sides, I’m going to pick her on top but include a few others as well, since I don’t think her true winning chances are what the tote might indicate when the gates open. One of the main reasons I don’t want to single ‘Candy is that #11 TONY’S ROSE (9-2), who was 2nd to her, some 2 1/2 lengths behind, has every right to make up the difference, as she’s now second-off an almost 10-month layoff, and should love all the speed she gets to sit off of, so I’m expecting a very big run. I’m also using a price in #4 FUJAIRAH (15-1), who hasn’t sprinted on the turf since December but has been facing much better, is another who will be closing strongly, and goes for a very sharp David barn that is 24% in turf sprints. Pk5 A horses: 7,11,4 (listed in order of preference) I’ll take another longshot and race flow play and use #3 MANE ATTRACTION (20-1), who finally broke through in a confidence building off-the-turf MSW last time but has a few solid turf sprints showing that aren’t too far off these on paper, and can settle off the speed, which could move her up. Pk5 B horses: 3 Potential B add-ins: #8 Fly On Angel (6-1) Leg 2: Laurel Park R7 (4:06 ET) – 3up 16k AOC (35k/N2X) at 1-mile In what might be the toughest race of the quintet, I’ll spread and use four on the top line, and all have tactical speed in common, as this one-turn mile doesn’t look like it will have all that salty of a pace. Top honors go to #9 BUSTOFF (9-2), who could be the coolest horse around, as he just dueled on the lead through a hot 48 1/5 half-mile and finished 2nd going 1 1/2 miles, one start removed from doing the same through a 45 4/5 half-mile when 4th here going 6Fs; he splits the difference today, and here’s hoping he finally clears, gets brave, and forgets to stop. I don’t know where the easy win #8 ROUGH SEA (8-1) delivered last time in a local N1X, but if you take it at face value, he’s a huge threat here, and the price will be right to come along. The duo of #3 TOUGHEST ‘OMBRE (6-1) and #11 THE RIGHT PATH (8-1) fit with these, have solid recent form, and should be close throughout, so they both seem like a must-use as well. Pk5 A horses: 9,8,3,11 A decided lack of early speed might be the ultimate undoing of #6 PRETTY GOOD YEAR (5-1), who also seems better at two turns, and #2 TATTOOED (6-1), who has been 2nd in three straight, so they seem better on the second line, especially since the pace on paper doesn’t seem to flatter them. Pk5 B horses: 6,2 Potential B add-ins: #5 Ruby Bleu (8-1), #10 Hanalei’s Houdini (10-1), #7 Belfour (12-1) Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R9 (4:13 ET) – 3up Florida-bred AOC (20k/N1X) at 5 furlongs (turf) This one is tricky because the favorite, #2 GOOD BYE GREG (2-1), ran huge in this space three weeks ago, when he never got a breather on the lead through wicked splits yet held well to be 3rd, and might not have to work as hard here. However, Apache Brave (7-2) didn’t break and was stymied in traffic in that race, and is every bit as fast—and maybe faster—than ‘Greg, so he could be a huge pace nuisance from the outside with an alert beginning, yet he takes the blinkers-off, to possibly settle better early. I’ll side with what I know, and that’s that ‘Greg will certainly be in front, and therefore has to be used on the A-line. But, should ‘Brave offer intense pace pressure, I want an alternative, and that’s #12 CRYOGENIC (4-1), who will love getting back to the turf, has Lopez, who will put him in the race early, and several races at the level that would win this. Pk5 A horses: 2,12 Should #11 APACHE BRAVE break alertly and press the issue from the outside, he could be in a great spot and well clear of the rest, while dictating to the favorite, so I’m using him defensively based on this post, and the fact he beat Cryogenic when 2nd at the level two-back. Pk5 B horses: 11 Potential B add-ins: #4 Honolulu Express (10-1) Leg 4: Laurel Park R8 (4:38 ET) – 3up AOC (35k/N2X) at 6 furlongs The second half of a tough duo at Laurel seemingly has plenty of pace, especially with #8 PREMIER STAR (9-2) entered, so I want to see tactical speed, and both #9 EASTERN BAY (5-1) and #11 TAPPIN CAT (6-1) have it, with the former a potential move-up candidate off the Gonzalez claim (27%), and the latter a big threat after missing by a neck at the level last time. You clearly have to use ‘Star, who impressed beating 3yos in a pair of GP runs to start his career for Navarro, but he’s now with Trombetta, and while he’s as good as they get around here, it’s not going to be easy to improve this colt’s form off his former trainer, who is awaiting trial for administering performance enhancing medication to many of his horses, especially with so much other speed to contend with. Pk5 A horses: 9,11,8 The wildcard—and the best horse in the race—is New York bred stakes winner #5 RUNAWAY LUTE (7-2), who checks a lot of boxes, including running style, but enters off a 14-month layoff for new trainer Jeremiah Englehart, and while that’s a positive move from former conditioner Contessa, there are only three works showing, and it’s odd he’s here and not against his own kind up I-95, so I’m getting mixed signals and will only use him as a backup. I wanted to use #6 HALL PASS (8-1) on top, because he will be closing, and fits on numbers, but he’s off a November layoff and never wins (1-for-12 last year), so it’s tough to think today is the day, off that kind of break, expected hot pace and all. Pk5 B horses: 5,6 Potential B add-ins: #1 Absentee (10-1), #12 Fortunate Friends (12-1) Leg 5: Santa Anita R3 (4:59 ET) – 3up MSW at 1-mile (turf) This is my line in the sand race, and not just because it’s the last one of the sequence, but more so because it looks like the type where you either need to take one, or take them all, as most of these look the same on paper. I’m certainly not in position to do the latter, so I’ll side with the former and single #6 WAR PATH (4-1), since he has a ton of upside off just three starts, should trip out nicely just off the speed, and gets a huge jock upgrade from Diaz to Prat, which to me says Baffert might think today is the time for a breakthrough. Pk5 A horses: 6 Clearly if I said you could use them all I need several backups, so we have #9 TIBERIUS MERCURIUS (5-2), who has the best overall form and actually won an MSW in NY last time for Asmussen before being DQ’d and now starts for Sadler; #2 STILL IN THE GAME (4-1), who would be dangerous if he clears and ran his best race when 3rd in his only turf start last summer; and #8 NO SLO MO (8-1), an encouraging 5th on debut at 54-1 for Glatt, who is 29% with second-out maidens. *** Please note, to keep the cost of the R5 backup ticket down, I’ll be singling #7 Swirling Candy in Leg 1 and #2 Good Bye Greg in Leg 3 *** Pk5 B horses: 9,2,8 Potential B add-ins: #5 Much More Halo (7-2) The Tickets:  Main Ticket: 7,11,4 with 9,8,3,11 with 2,12 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $72Leg 1 B Backup: 3 with 9,8,3,11 with 2,12 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $24Leg 2 B Backup: 7,11,4 with 6,2 with 2,12 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $36Leg 3 B Backup: 7,11,4 with 9,8,3,11 with 11 with 9,11,8 with 6 = $36Leg 4 B Backup: 7,11,4 with 9,8,3,11 with 2,12 with 5,6 with 6 = $48Leg 5 B Backup: 7 with 9,8,3,11 with 2 with 9,11,8 with 9,2,8 = $36

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6.17.2020:

Jon White's Belmont Stakes Selections, Plus a Letter to Dad

This Sunday is Father’s Day. Not only that, it would have been my father’s 91st birthday if he had not passed away on June 1, 2017. I miss my dad so much. I do. My dad loved horse racing. He also loved baseball, basketball and football. But horse racing was his favorite sport. His love of horse racing actually was the main reason I became a huge fan myself. My own love of horse racing was such that when I was a high school student, my goal was to work for the Daily Racing Form. I aspired to become a writer/columnist for the DRF at the Southern California tracks. I grew up in Spokane, Wash. I was hired by the DRF in 1974 at Spokane’s Playfair Race Course. After spending the next several years working for the DRF at tracks from coast to coast, I was promoted by the DRF to the position of writer/columnist for the Southern California tracks in 1981. I held that position until switching to replace Warren Williams as the DRF chart-caller for the SoCal tracks in 1986. I left the DRF after the 1993 Del Mar meeting to embark on a television career at Santa Anita. Mike Schneider replaced me as the chart-caller on the SoCal circuit, first for the DRF, then for Equibase. Schneider’s long run in that position will come to an end this Sunday at Santa Anita when he retires. How much did my dad mean to me? He was the best man at my wedding in 1983 at the Santa Anita Church (what else?) in Arcadia, Calif. If you would be so kind to indulge me, I’ve composed the following letter to my late father:   Dear Dad, Let me first say that I really miss being able to chat you about racing, sports and so much else. But I’d also like to take this opportunity to once again thank you for being such a great father. I know that your dream was to be a major league baseball player. But after a few years of playing first base professionally in the low minors, you knew it was not going to happen. You then married a wonderful woman (yes, when she tied the knot she became Betty White) and the two of you raised two sons while you become a highly respected golf course superintendent. Luckily for me, you also became a big horse racing fan. The Belmont Stakes is this Saturday, Dad. If you were still alive, it’s 1-100 that you would be watching the Belmont on TV. The Belmont this year will be run at 1 1/8 miles. The race is this Saturday. No, I haven’t lost my mind, Dad. You see, the whole world has been turned upside down this year because of something called the coronavirus pandemic. The Kentucky Derby will be run this year on Sept. 5. No kidding, Dad. And the Preakness will be on Oct. 3. How crazy is all of this? These are my selections for the Belmont: 1. Tiz the Law 2. Tap It to Win 3. Sole Volante 4. Dr Post Tiz the Law looks like he’s going to be mighty tough to beat, Dad. It also looks like he’s going to be a big favorite. I know that you’ve always been very interested in my horse racing fantasy league. I am in contention this year, but I had a couple of really bad breaks recently. First, Nadal emerged from a workout with a condylar fracture. And then Maxfield did the same thing. I thought either one of them could have won the Belmont and/or the Kentucky Derby this year, Dad. It’s a devastating blow to me in the fantasy league to lose them both for the rest of the year. I also thought Charlatan had an excellent chance to win the Belmont. Michael Hammersly has him in the fantasy league. But Charlatan came up with an injury and also won’t be in the Belmont. The way I see it, without Nadal, Maxfield or Charlatan in the Belmont, it seems to practically hand the race to Tiz the Law on a silver platter. Tiz the Law really does have a lot going for him, Dad. He’s four for four when racing on a fast track. He’s already won at 1 1/8 miles. After he won the 1 1/16-mile Holy Bull by three lengths in February, he looked terrific when he won the 1 1/8-mile Florida Derby by a little more than four lengths. He’s also one for one at Belmont. He won the Champagne by four lengths there last year. It’s important that he’s seems to like that track. The only time Tiz the Law has been beaten was when he had a troubled trip and finished fourth in the Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes last year at Churchill Downs when the track was sloppy. The forecast is calling for about an 80% chance of no rain at Belmont this Saturday. Tiz the Law hasn’t raced since the Florida Derby in late March, but it appears he’s trained beautifully up to the Belmont. All in all, it looks like it is all systems go for Tiz the Law this Saturday. His odds will not be appealing, though. He is the 6-5 morning-line favorite. I think there is a good chance he will be 4-5 or shorter when the field of 10 is dispatched Saturday. While Tiz the Law looks formidable, we learned a long time ago that there is no thing as a sure thing, didn’t we, Dad? I know some people are saying that Tiz the Law’s opponents are pretty much garbage, but I strongly disagree with that. Tap It to Win, for one, is extremely interesting to me. His allowance win at Belmont on June 4 was dazzling. He annihilated some really nice 3-year-olds that day in a freaky good performance when his final time for 1 1/16 miles was 1:39.76. When you see 1:39 and change, that’s impressive. He was just .54 off the track record. Mark Casse trains Tap It to Win, Dad. Casse’s trying to make it three straight wins in a Triple Crown race after taking last year’s Preakness with War of Will and Belmont with Sir Winston. I know Tap It to Win is running again just 16 days after his June 4 victory. But Casse is a trainer who has done well doing this type of thing. You weren’t around to see it, Dad, but Casse won a Breeders’ Cup race in 2018 and the Foustardave Handicap at Saratoga in 2019 with a couple of fillies who had a short period of time between races. Shamrock Rose won Keeneland’s 2018 Raven Run Stakes on Oct. 20, then 14 days later pulled off a 25-1 upset in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint. Got Stormy won Saratoga’s De La Rose Stakes last year against fillies and mares on Aug. 3. And then, just seven days later, she won the Fourstardave Handicap vs. males in a brilliant performance when she won by 2 1/2 lengths and completed one mile in 1:32.00 to break Saratoga’s grass-course record. Even though Tap It to Win is racing again 16 days after his last start, I definitely think he just might win the Belmont. The 16 days between races for Tap It to Win running in the Belmont is nothing compared to Conquistador Cielo. Heck, Dad, I know you remember him, right? Conquistador Cielo in 1982 won the Met Mile by a little more than seven lengths against his elders on Monday, then just five days later won the 1 1/2-mile Belmont by 14 lengths on a sloppy track. As for Tap It to Win, he’s coming back in 16 days and “only” going 1 1/8 miles, not 1 1/2 miles. Speaking of coming back quickly, how about Sole Volante? He’s being wheeled back in 10 days by trainer Patrick Biancone. Sole Volante, off at odds of 2-1, rallied from last in a field of six to win a one-mile allowance/optional claiming contest at Gulfstream on June 10. Finishing fourth was 7-10 favorite Ete Indien, also trained by Biancone. I’ve had my eye on Sole Volante ever since his maiden win in a 7 1/2-furlong maiden race on the grass at Gulfstream Park last year. Earlier this year, he won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. He then finished second to King Guillermo in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby. What Biancone is doing with Sole Volante in terms of the short period of time between races is not a concern to me. Not when I think back to the remarkable job Biancone did in 1984 with All Along when she won four big races in three different countries from Oct. 2 to Nov. 12. What All Along did in her final four 1984 starts was incredible. On Oct. 2, she won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in France. On Oct. 16, she won the Rothmans International (aka the Canadian International) at Woodbine. On Oct. 29, she won the Turf Classic at Aqueduct. And then, on Nov. 12, she won the Washington, D.C., International at Laurel. All Along was voted America’s Horse of the Year in 1984. But after winning important races in France, Canada and the U.S., All Along essentially was the Horse of the World in 1984. Meanwhile, Dad, I have a hunch Dr Post might run a biggie in the Belmont. I do think that’s possible. He has won both of his races this year for Todd Pletcher, a trainer who has won the Belmont three times (Rags to Riches in 2007, Palace Malice in 2013 and Tapwrit in 2017). How good is Dr Post? We really don’t know. When he won his 2020 debut, he got a serious 96 Beyer Speed Figure in a seven-furlong maiden race at Gulfstream. He then got only an 86 Beyer when he won the Unbridled Stakes at Belmont, but his troubled trip that day might have had something to do with the substantial drop in the Beyer department. Modernist should not be taken lightly in the Belmont, Dad. His trainer, Bill Mott, seemed to have been leaning to running him in the Ohio Derby instead of the Belmont. Mott then went ahead and entered him in the Belmont after Modernist had a sharp five-furlong workout in :59.20 last Sunday, according to Equibase. Jockey Junior Alvarado was aboard Modernist, who worked in company with 4-year-old multiple graded stakes winner Tacitus on Belmont’s main track. Jockey John Velazquez was on Tacitus. Tacitus also was clocked in :59.20. He ran second in the 2019 Belmont. Tacitus, who is one of the horses I have in my fantasy league stable, is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade II Suburban at Belmont on July 4. In my opinion, Dad, I also don’t think Pneumatic should be taken lightly in the Belmont. He won his first two races, both at Oaklawn this year, before finishing a respectable third behind Maxfield and Ny Traffic in the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill on May 23. Considering that was Pneumatic’s stakes debut, I thought that was a fine effort in defeat. It appears to me that both Max Player and Farmington Road are capable of making their presence felt in the Belmont. Max Player, trained by Linda Rice, has won two of his last three. He hasn’t raced since he won Aqueduct’s Grade III Withers at one mile by a little more than three lengths on Feb. 1. While it’s true that Max Player hasn’t started since Feb. 1, at least he already has won at 1 1/8 miles. And Rice has said that she believes based on what she’s seen from Max Player in his training, he has improved a lot in the last couple of months. By the way, if Max Player does win the Belmont, history will be made. Rice will become the first female trainer to win a Triple Crown race. I think that would be pretty darn cool, Dad. I will be honest, Dad. I have never really been a Farmington Road fan. He usually drops far back early and comes flying late. Yes, Sole Volante has the same running style. But the difference to me is Sole Volante has won four of six, while Farmington Road has won one of six. That being said, would I be shocked if Farmington Road wins the Belmont? No. But, again, I’m just not a fan, at least not at this point. Fore Left was a surprise entrant in the Belmont. He’s 30-1 on the morning line. He won three of eight starts in this country, then took a Group III race in Dubai at about one mile on Feb. 6. If he won the Belmont, I would be happy for owner Reddam Racing and trainer Doug O’Neill after what happened eight years ago. They had I’ll Have Another, the 4-5 morning-line favorite for the Belmont after victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness. But I’ll Have Another was denied his chance to go for a Triple Crown sweep when he was withdrawn the day before the Belmont due to an injury. If Jungle Runner wins the Belmont, that would shock me. He is 50-1 on the morning line. After losing by 22 1/2 lengths at 60-1 in the division of the Arkansas Derby won by Charlatan, how in the world is Jungle Runner going to win the Belmont? To me, Dad, the Belmont looks like it’s a mission impossible for him. By the way, Dad, I know you would have been interested in the announcement this week that two criminal complaints were unsealed in federal court in Brooklyn, N.Y. Larnel Miller and Lafayette Morrison have been charged with “Hobbs Act robbery” in connection with the armed robbery of over $280,000 in cash from Aqueduct earlier this year on March 7. The two men were arrested Monday. Morrison, a security guard at Aqueduct, is accused of being the “inside man” who posed as a victim in the robbery that occurred at about 10 p.m. on the night of March 7 following the running of the Gotham Stakes. According to documents, Miller and a co-conspirator held up at gunpoint several racetrack employees -- including Morrison, who was employed as a racetrack security guard -- as they were transporting more than $280,000 in cash to a vault. Wearing surgical masks, Miller and the co-conspirator allegedly emerged from their hiding spot in a stairwell and confronted the employees at gunpoint. Miller and the co-conspirator are alleged to have taken the employees’ cell phones and the cash, then forced the victims into a closet. As the “inside man,” Morrison allegedly provided information in advance of where and when the money would be transported to the vault. “The defendants allegedly gambled that they could pull off a high-stakes robbery with the benefit of inside information, but thanks to the outstanding efforts of ATF special agents and NYPD detectives, they ended up on the losing end of that bet,” said Richard Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York. The reason that Aqueduct robbery would interest you, Dad, is I will never forget what you told me about the night you thought the money room was being robbed at Playfair in the 1970s. While you were counting money in the money room, all of a sudden there was a power failure. You told me that when the lights went out, it was so dark that you could not even see your hand. It was pitch black. And then, all of a sudden in the darkness someone yelled, “Nobody move!” You told me that when you heard that, you got scared because you thought the money room was being robbed. But fortunately it turned out that the person who yelled, “Nobody move!” was the policeman who guarded the money room. It wasn’t a robbery. It was just a power failure. Before I sign off, Dad, I want to say again how much I miss you. I was thinking the other day how much I regret that you passed away before getting the chance to meet my good friend Ryan Stillman. I just know you would have really liked Ryan. He’s a terrific guy. Ryan became a racing fan relatively recently and actually has become quite knowledgeable on the subject. Something I think of often, Dad, were all those times we traveled out of town to go to the races at Longacres, Yakima Meadows or Portland Meadows. At night in a motel, we’d both pore over the past performances for the card the next day. You always marked the past performances with a special red pencil. And sometimes I would hide your precious red pencil. You understandably would get irked. But, gee, what’s a son for? I also look back fondly on all the many days we spent at the track. Like the time we went to Portland Meadows in the 1970s and it was raining hard while we were walking toward the grandstand from the parking lot. They had a dirt section of parking that was free, then a paid section closer to the grandstand that was paved. We always parked in the free, dirt section. The day that it was absolutely pouring while we sloshed our way through the mud on the dirt section of the parking lot, I looked over at you and said, “You know, this just might be the only track in the country that people need mud caulks while walking into the track from the parking lot.” We both laughed while continuing to get soaked. It was 50 years ago this Sunday -- June 21, 1970 -- that you did disappoint me when, despite my begging, you would not take me to Longacres to see Turbulator make his Longacres debut in the Space Needle Handicap. We were staying with your parents north of Seattle. Because your father did not like horse racing, you didn’t want to upset him by taking me to Longacres on a day when we would be celebrating your birthday with your parents. But as an example of what a fantastic dad you were, you said that because you were sorry that we wouldn’t be going to Longacres to see Turbulator run on June 21, I could go ahead and pick any day I wanted during the rest of the year and you would take me to Longacres. Without hesitation, I said, “the Fourth of July.” And you said, “Okay, it’s a deal.” I picked July 4 because I figured that probably would be the day of Turbulator’s next race. Turbulator rallied to finish third in the 1970 Space Needle Handicap at 6 1/2 furlongs. He did indeed make his next start in the 1970 Independence Day Handicap, a one-mile race at Longacres on July 4. I will never, ever forget sitting next to you, Dad, near the sixteenth pole in the bleachers at Longacres on that Fourth of July afternoon. It was a warm, comfortable summer day. We both watched Turbulator’s race with binoculars. As they headed for the clubhouse turn, we were startled when there was a spill. Silver Double, in front early, crossed over to the inside rail without clearance. Judgelyn clipped Silver Double’s heels. Judgelyn fell, tossing his rider, Mark Jennings, to the ground. Turbulator, as usual, was well off the early pace. He actually jumped over the fallen rider. After that, as the horses rounded the first turn, Turbulator found himself 14 lengths off the lead. Because you knew what a huge Turbulator fan I was, Dad, you felt bad for me when Turbulator was so far behind. While you were still watching the race through your binoculars, you said, “Oh, I’m so sorry, son. There’s no possible way he can win from there.” And I said, “Don’t worry, Dad. Just keep your binocs on him. He will win. Believe me.” Turbulator roared home to win going away by two lengths in a sparkling 1:34 4/5. “Wow, I can’t believe he won,” you said after the race. Thanks to you, it was a memorable belated birthday present for me to witness the first of Turbulator’s 12 victories he would register at Longacres during his career. How about this, Dad? Just the other day, Vince Bruun, the director of media relations at Emerald Downs, emailed me the 2008 Daily Racing Form story written by Dennis Dodge on jockey Larry Pierce being voted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame. Pierce rode 1,039 winners during his riding career. His 63 stakes wins at Longacres ranked third on the all-time list for jockeys at that track. Vince knew I would love what Pierce said to Dodge about Turbulator. “Pierce said that Turbulator, whom he rode to numerous stakes wins and to a world record performance in the 1970 Governor’s Handicap, was undoubtedly the best horse he ever rode,” Dodge wrote. ‘He was the most awesome animal I’ve ever been on. His stretch kick was just unbelievable. I remember telling my brother, Don [Pierce], who rode lots of top horses in California, that I was riding a great horse. He said I had no way of knowing what a great horse was, because I had never ridden one. I did, though. I rode Turbulator.’ ” Well, Dad, we both were there at Longacres 50 years ago to see Turbulator’s unbelievable stretch kick the first time he ever won there. Spending that whole summer afternoon at the races with you, Dad, is a memory I will cherish until the day I die. And so I say to you, happy Father’s Day and happy birthday this Sunday, Dad! Love, Your son, Jon   BAFFERT UNVEILS ANOTHER PROMISING SOPHOMORE On June 6, Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert sent out the highly regarded $3.65 million auction purchase Cezanne to win a 6 1/2-furlong maiden race by 2 1/2 lengths as the 2-5 favorite. Baffert unveiled yet another promising 3-year-old colt last Friday at Santa Anita when $250,000 auction buy Uncle Chuck won a one-mile maiden race by seven lengths as the even-money favorite. I was quite impressed by Uncle Chuck. Away a step slow from the inside post, he moved up to engage for the lead not too long after the start. But I think it’s to his credit that he did not get headstrong or rank. He moved up smoothly early. I thought he bowled along as gracefully as a ballerina on the far turn and all the way down the lane. After boasting a four-length advantage at the quarter pole, he won by seven lengths in 1:36.78. Uncle Chuck was credited with a 95 Beyer Speed Figure. Making his performance all the more impressive is he won a one-mile race around two turns at first asking. It’s not easy to win a two-turn race at first asking. Cezanne recorded a 90 Beyer while winning a seven-furlong race around one turn. The powerful Baffert barn has experienced recent setbacks in the 3-year-old male ranks with Nadal (injured, retired), Charlatan (injured, out of the Kentucky Derby) and Authentic (finished second in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby for his first defeat in four career starts). But it certainly helps the Baffert barn cope with those disappointments to have a pair of 3-year-olds who appear to have a bright future in Cezanne and Uncle Chuck. Speaking of the Baffert barn, a couple of sharp recent workouts by Thousand Words suggests that those who have written him off might have been wrong to do so. Thousand Words won the first three starts of his career, including a pair of graded stakes races. He took the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity last Dec. 7, then won the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes at Santa Anita on Feb. 1. But his stock fell dramatically after he then was soundly beaten in his next two starts. In Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7, Thousand Words finished fourth, 11 1/4 lengths behind the victorious Authentic. After the San Felipe, Thousand Words stumbled at the start and lost by almost 30 lengths when he finished 11th on a sloppy track in the April 11 Oaklawn Stakes. He hasn’t started since that April 11 race, but his recent a.m. activity indicates he just might still have more graded stakes wins in him. He recorded a five-furlong bullet drill in :58.60 at Santa Anita on June 6, then worked seven furlongs in 1:25.80 at Santa Anita on June 13. This is especially interesting in the context that he generally was not the sort to post a fast time for a workout last year or early this year. One wonders if the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby on July 4 might be in the cards for Thousand Words. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 343 Midnight Bisou (26) 2. 245 Mucho Gusto 3. 244 By My Standards (2) 4. 190 Code of Honor (3) 5. 138 Tom’s d’Etat 6. 129 Zulu Alpha (1) 7. 119 Vekoma 8. 100 Maximim Security (4) 9. 88 Improbable 10. 83 McKinzie Note: Tiz the Law received one first-place votes in the Top Thoroughbred Poll. With 25 points, he ranked 14th in that poll. Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 360 Tiz the Law (28) 2. 339 Honor A.P. (9) 3. 260 Authentic 4. 201 King Guillermo 5. 171 Sole Volante 6. 109 Maxfield 7. 97 Charlatan 8. 78 Nadal 9. 72 Basin 10. 70 Ete Indien

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6.17.2020:

2020 Belmont Stakes Post Position Draw Rapid Reaction

The 2020 Triple Crown series kickoff officially lured 10 starters for Saturday’s Belmont Stakes as the field was drawn today. NYRA morning line maker David Aragona tabbed Tiz the Law, winner of the Florida Derby, the 6-5 favorite. The complete field for the 152nd running of the Belmont Stakes #1 Tap It to Win (John Velazquez/Mark Casse) 6-1#2 Sole Volante (Luca Pancici/Patrick Biancone) 9-2#3 Max Player (Joel Rosario/Linda Rice) 15-1#4 Modernist (Junior Alvarado/Bill Mott) 15-1#5 Farmington Road (Javier Castellano/Todd Pletcher) 15-1#6 Fore Left (Jose Ortiz/Doug O’Neill) 30-1#7 Jungle Runner (Reylu Gutierrez/Steve Asmussen) 50-1#8 Tiz the Law (Manny Franco/Barclay Tagg) 6-5#9 Dr Post (Irad Ortiz Jr./Todd Pletcher) 5-1#10 Pneumatic (Ricardo Santana Jr./Steve Asmussen) 8-1 Rapid Reaction The one mile and one-eighth distance change in the Belmont Stakes means there will be an extreme run from the chute and down the backstretch before the one and only turn. There is four and one-half furlong expanse from the start into the far turn (literally half of this race), so every runner should have plenty of time to gain position. A horse wide on the turn will be there due to his own inability to secure position. Post positions should have no bearing on the turn. Where post position could play some factor is the proximity of the expected pace players in accordance with one another. The eleventh hour inclusion of Fore Left should give presumptive pacesetter Tap It to Win some additional company on the front end. Tap It to Win was the speed and draws the rail. It’s a positive-enough draw given all factors, while Modernist and Pneumatic project to be in closest pursuit, perhaps along with Tiz the Law. More Belmont Stakes Picks & Analysis The 1/ST Belmont Stakes Wager Guide update will be available for free download beginning Friday. The updated Guide will include the exclusive 1/ST INDEX percentages for each runner in the Belmont Stakes field, offer 1/ST INDEX Artificial Intelligence selections for the entire 12-race card and analysis from the likes of Eddie Olczyk, Brent Musburger, Jeff Siegel and more. To download the Guide, visit Xpressbet.com or 1st.com/bet.

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6.17.2020:

Wednesday, June 17: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers

Jeff Siegel’s Day Makers – his prime plays from around the country - are offered on a daily basis to members of xpressbet.com and 1stbet.com. The day’s the cream of the crop, Day Makers emphasize price and wagering value and should be given strong consideration both as straight wagers and as keys in vertical and horizontal exotics.Gulfstream Park – 2nd Race. Post time: 12:30 ET.8 – Heavenly Blessing (4-1)Ran much better than the line will show in his debut three weeks ago when finishing a willing third (beaten just over three lengths) before galloping out in front past the clubhouse turn. In that race, the son of Young Brien was forced to steady inside in close quarters when vying for the early lead, lost his action, took plenty of dirt behind a wall of horses when angling off the rail, and then finished with interest, all of this happening in a four and one-half furlong dash. The R. Rodriguez-trained juvenile gets an extra half furlong to work with today, so with a clean break and clear sailing we’re expecting the Florida-bred colt to earn his diploma in a similar maiden claiming $25,000 affair for 2-year-olds. Delaware Park – 3rd race. Post time: 2:15 ET.8 – Royal Collection (12-1)Intriguing first-time starter has trained like she’s ready to win right off the bat for trainer A. Delacour, who employs “go-to” rider D. E. Centeno (29%) in this mile turf maiden affair for fillies and mares. The daughter of Munnings was produced by the multi graded stakes winning grass mare My Princess Jess, so it’s understandable that she begins her career in this type of race. Her work tab is good – she’s been breezing in company with her older multiple-stakes winning barn mate Eons – so at 12-1 on the morning line (she’ll go lower) this talented 3-year-old filly offers considerable value in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play.Delaware Park – 6th race. Post time: 3:45 ET.2 - Skol Factor (5-1)Missed by a neck in his debut to Belmont Stakes-bound Pneumatic and then as expected crushed a maiden field at 4/5 in his next outing in a fast, highly-rated race while being geared down in the final 70 yards. By The Factor (and therefore bred to handle turf) out of a mare by Tiznow (and therefore bred to handle two-turns), the 3-year-old gelding from the M. Robertson barn (28% with stretch-out plays) lands a good inside post and could easily inherit the role as the controlling speed. He’s a major play at anywhere near his morning line at 5-1 (he’ll go lower) in addition to being a logical rolling exotic single.

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6.17.2020:

Xpressbet's 2020 Belmont Stakes Challenge

Saturday, for the first time ever, the Belmont Stakes will be contested as the first leg of a COVID 19-revised Triple Crown series at the shortened distance of one mile and one-eighth. Adding spice to an already unique experience, Xpressbet will offer the lucrative 2020 Belmont Stakes Challenge handicapping tournament—a golden opportunity for serious horseplayers to earn up to three seats to the National Handicapping Championship and up to two for the Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship, as well as cash prizes to the top six finishers.A $3,000 registration payment covers a $2,000 live bankroll and a $1,000 entry fee—all fees are returned to players in the form of prizes. Eligible tournament races include the entire Belmont Park live card and, while on paper the main event appears a mere coronation of favorite Tiz the Law, supporting stakes and overnight races definitely offer players assorted outstanding wagering opportunities. The XB 2020 Belmont Stakes Challenge wager format includes: Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta and Daily Double, only, and players must wager a minimum of $200 on each of five races and, overall, the entire $2,000 bankroll. Log In & Register for the 2020 Belmont Stakes Challenge  The NHC title, decided annually in Las Vegas, is a prized handicapping jewel, and the only way to join that party is to qualify for it. Saturday’s your chance. All players must be NHC Tour members prior to the XB competition in order to earn coveted NHC seats and valuable Tour points. PWCBC seats are valued at $6,000 each and offer players superb opportunities to compete annually online with Xpressbet for big money during the Pegasus World Cup card at Gulfstream Park.Racing history will be made Saturday. How about adding a bit of spice to the unique experience with Xpressbet and the 2020 Belmont Stakes Challenge? A top performance on the first day of summer could lead you to enjoying a bit of personal racing history in 2021.  

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6.16.2020:

Tuesday, June 16: Belmont Stakes News, Notes & 1/ST BET Data

Post positions will be drawn live at noon ET Wednesday for Saturday’s Grade 1 $1 million Belmont Stakes. A field of 9 is expected to enter, led by Grade 1 Florida Derby winner Tiz the Law, who could start as a prohibitive favorite in the neighborhood of 4-to-5.Backers trying to upend the chalk do so with some pause: According to the 1/ST BET data, favorites are 17-for-31 in Belmont Park races at 1-1/8 miles on dirt since 2013. And favorites at the current Belmont meeting are 6: 5-1-0 in graded stakes races. The early release of the 1/ST INDEX, which measures every contender in a race based on the 10 most successful handicapping factors, puts Tiz the Law solidly on top among only 3 horses to reach double-digits.Tiz the Law 31%Tap it To Win 22%Farmington Road 13%Note: the complete and official 1/ST INDEX for Belmont Stakes will be released in Friday’s updated 1/ST Belmont Stakes Wager Guide with up-to-the-moment data.Riding assignments have firmed up for the contenders. Their Belmont Stakes history and 1/ST BET data for the track and distance (since 2013) could be telling handicapping points. Manny Franco (Tiz the Law): 17: 3-2-7 (18%) record at the track/distance, he will be making his Belmont Stakes debut. John Velazquez (Tap It to Win): The Belmont Stakes winner of 2007 aboard Rags to Riches and 2012 with Palace Malice, Johnny V. owns a 21: 3-4-3 (14%) record at the track/distance. Javier Castellano (Farmington Road): 21: 4-6-2 (19%) record at the track/distance. The Hall of Famer is 0-13 in the Belmont Stakes with a trio of runner-up finishes.Irad Ortiz Jr. (Dr Post): Winner of the 2016 Belmont with Creator, he has a 20-1-1-4 (5%) record at the track/distance.Luca Panici (Sole Volante): The Belmont Stakes will be his first local attempt at 1-1/8 miles. His lone mount on the Belmont Park main track came in 2017 (finished fourth).Junior Alvarado (Modernist): 15: 3-2-2 (20%) record at the track/distance, his only career Belmont Stakes mount came in 2012 (finished sixth).Joel Rosario (Max Player): Last year’s Belmont-winning pilot aboard longshot Sir Winston and in 2014 with Tonalist, Rosario has a strong 16: 4-4-1 (25%) record at the track/distance.Ricardo Santana Jr. (Pnuematic): The Belmont Stakes will be his first local attempt at 1-1/8 miles. He’s a 17% winner on the Belmont Park main track with more than 75 mounts since his 2014 debut.Reylu Gutierrez (Jungle Runner): The Belmont Stakes will be his first local attempt at 1-1/8 miles. He’s a 13% rider on the Belmont Park main track since arriving there in 2019.

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6.16.2020:

June 16: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 5 Analysis

The 0.20 Pick 5 begins in Race 1 at Woodbine Mohawk Park and it has a $75,000 guaranteed pool. The competitive sequence also has a low 15% takeout and will be my focus.On Monday, Trevor Henry led the pilots with three pictures and all ten races were won by different trainers.Comments and selections are based on a fast track.Race 11-Stravinsky (3-1)-Broke maiden with a romp in last week's debut. This may not be as easy but deserves respect in a race without much form.3-Sebastian Ray (5-1)-Even effort in 1st start off the bench and it was the 1st try for new barn. Moves in a few spots and should be in contention throughout.7-Delilah Seelster (8-1)-Makes 1st start for a barn that can fire hot off a claim and should be a nice price.Race 21-Outlaw Gunpowder (3-1)-Comes off a trip-out win and that can be the case again. Faces five from last week and result could be the same.3-Fern Hill Breeze (5/2)-Nice effort to finish 2nd to #1. This time leaves from the 3-hole instead of post 7 and that should make things interesting.Race 34-No Time To Play (9/2)-Was handled carefully in 1st lifetime start. Breaking problems have been an issue but went the long way around and kept trotting to the wire in debut. Filion could be more aggressive, so best to respect.7-Powerful Spirit (3-1)-Trotted the last half in 57.2 in 1st lifetime start and should be tighter tonight. A threat with a flat mile.8-Windsong Patriot (7/2)-No chance from the 2nd tier last week, stayed inside and picked up a check. Lightly raced 4-year-old should like the company but needs to mind manners.9-Victor Invictus (4-1)-McClure takes a seat and maybe he can make a difference. Hasn't been able to seal the deal but could find some live cover and roll by down the lane.Race 41-Mach Me Onemore (5-1)-Nice effort in 1st lifetime start from the 8-hole at Georgian Downs. McClure steers and he has options, there isn't much gate speed in this race.2-Admityourewrong (8-1)-This gal likes to start slowly and rally to finish 2nd. Big Jim filly does try hard and JMac might be the guy to squeeze a little more out of her.4-Classica (2-1)-Fell short form the 1-hole but could enjoy this post more and now McNair is back in the bike. Program chalk might be set to take 1st picture.Race 52-Vines To Heaven (5-1)-Won in 1st start off the bench on 2/1 for these connections. Winner of 7 of 37 at Wbsb and will be banking she is ready to roll. Henry has been hot, and he needs to work the right trip.3-Takeyourbreathaway (12-1)-Will take a swing for a price, drops to a more comfortable level, and gets post relief. If Hudon can put into striking range this mare can pass foes down the lane.0.20 Early Pick 51,3,7/1,3/4,7,8,9/1,2,4/2,3Total Bet=$28.80Check me out on Twitter!

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6.15.2020:

Belmont Stakes First Look With 1/ST INDEX

Horseplayers will be tasked to look beyond their traditional means in the one-time Test of a Champion. The 2020 Belmont Stakes contenders are fresher, the distance is shorter, and time-honored axioms figure to give way to new-fangled approaches.The 1/ST BET App, and its exclusive 1/ST INDEX, puts the power of past races and millions of data points at your fingertips. So while Saturday’s Belmont Stakes might not look like past Belmonts, it delivers many characteristics of local stakes at 1-1/8 miles on the dirt. When mining the data, five of the more than 50 factors empowered by the 1/ST BET App stood out in assessing races at this Belmont Park trip.“Last Race Class” topped all factors as most telling. A whopping 57.1 perfect of all winners were horses who led that handicapping category. Farmington Road, via the Arkansas Derby, and Tiz the Law, last seen in the Florida Derby, score best here, according to 1/ST BET.“Average Best 2 of Last 3 Speed” also checked in very predictive among the factors. Those leading this category also found the winner’s circle 54.5 percent of the time. The same two runners top this list, reversed in order from above, with Tiz the Law over Farmington Road.“Horses Beaten Percentage” is the next-strongest category with 40 percent of its leaders delivering a victory. Among the Belmont prospects, Max Player leads over Tiz the Law.“Distance Pedigree” rates next, and examines a horse’s pedigree for the specific distance of 1-1/8 miles. This category’s top-rated runner wins 36.4 percent in this situation. Tiz the Law leads the way over a tie between Tap It To Win and Modernist.“Last Late Pace” rounds out of the top 5 factors and hits at a similar 36.4 percent rate as “Distance Pedigree.” The horses who finished fastest late in their most recent race, according to 1/ST Bet, are Sole Volante and Pneumatic.Final entries for the Belmont Stakes will be drawn Wednesday, and Friday’s updated version of the 1/ST Belmont Stakes Wager Guide will include the 1/ST INDEX handicapping percentages from top to bottom of the Belmont Stakes field, derived from a full assembly of the 10 most successful handicapping factors for the race. The updated 1/ST Belmont Stakes Wager Guide also will include full-card Artificial Intelligence selections for Belmont Park based on the 1/ST INDEX.Handicappers using the 1/ST BET App also are able to choose their own factors to assess the contenders in every Thoroughbred race across North America, including the Belmont Stakes, choosing between traditional elements such as speed, pedigree, class, jockeys, trainers and more.

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6.15.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (June 8-14): She's a Julie

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.June 8-14, 2020MVP: She’s a JulieOwner: Bradley Thoroughbreds, Tim & Anna Cambron, Denali Stud, Rigney Racing, LLC and Madaket Stables LLCTrainer: Steve AsmussenJockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.Performance: For the second straight week, the national nod goes to trainer Steve Asmussen’s Hall of Fame shedrow. Volatile sprinted his way to MVP 2 weeks ago, and last week it was the Distaff division player She’s a Julie. The 5-year-old mare won the week’s only Grade 1 or Grade 2 race, the $300,000 Ogden Phipps at Belmont Park. It was a bounce-back effort for last year’s Grade 1 La Troienne winner, who had lost 5 straight before the Phipps. Under Ricardo Santana Jr., She’s a Julie finished strongly between runners to edge favorites Point of Honor (nose) and Ollie’s Candy (head) by another neck in a 3-way thriller.On Tap: The road to Keeneland’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff in November likely would include 1 or 2 more starts in 2020. The Fall Meet at Keeneland includes the local Grade 1 Spinster as a logical final destination before the main season goal, a race She’s a Julie competed in a year ago. Her success at Belmont and Churchill make those venues potential fall landing spots, though Saratoga’s to-be-released stakes schedule likely includes an obvious return to the Grade 1 Personal Ensign.Honorable Mentions: Golden Gate Fields’ main event hero Neptune’s Storm just missed our top billing in a sharp showing in the Grade 3 $250,000 San Francisco Mile on closing day June 14. Weekday player Moretti impressed in the June 11 Flat Out over 1-3/8 miles, easily dispatching last year’s Belmont Stakes winner Sir Winston. Dogtag wrapped a big turf stakes weekend for Richard Mandella when winning the June 14 Possibly Perfect at Santa Anita, and she seems to be arcing back up toward major graded stakes. And finally, the Wesley Ward-trained Owlette caught the eye north of the border at Woodbine in a fleet 6 furlongs to capture the Star Shoot Stakes in a faster time than the boys went in the same-day Woodstock.

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6.15.2020:

Monday, June 15: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

The 0.20 Pick 5 kicks-off the Woodbine Mohawk Park card this evening. The sequence has a $75,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 12-Unique Beach (5/2)-Drew off by 4 1/2 lengths on a 5/28 qualifier on a "good" track. O'Sullivan barn has won 2 of 7 after the restart and best to respect.4-Moxley (10-1)-Chased a 151.3 winner in last and now finds more suitable competition.6-Gonnahaveonemore (5-1)-Came out of the same race as #4 and had no chance. But can make its presence felt here.Race 23-Hetalkstoangels (7/2)-MacIntosh trainee is 0-11 but had been facing stakes caliber competition. Looks to stand above this crew, barn has been rolling and is only a clean trip away from a picture.Race 32-Steuben Hanover (5-1)-Was too far behind P L Matt turning for home but this time doesn't leave from the 8-hole. 4-year-old did race the back half in 56.2, so best to not dismiss in what should be a good race.4-P L Matt (3-1)-Sharp win in first start off the bench for the Baillargeon barn who has been hot. No reason to overthink this, sharp horse, hot barn so will string along and use.5-Pikachu Hanover (5/2)-Looked great last week and then didn't. Not sure what caused the break, but it looked like Filion was on his way to the winner's circle. Gets some post relief and is worthy of another chance.Race 42-Par Intended (8-1)-Got a start in from the 2nd tier at GrVr and should offer a nice price. The post draw helps and could get sucked around and use one big move to roll by.3-Hes A Sensation (6-1)-Faced a 151.0 winner in 1st start off the bench from the 8-hole and that didn't work out. Comes out of the same race as #5 & #7 and is in the mix tonight.7-Mach Code (5-1)-Actually had a nice effort last week versus a tough winner and should be a player with this group.Race 51-Regal Son (5/2)-Raced well last week and kept pacing through the wire. Looking for a more aggressive start this week and to be forwardly placed early in the mile. May have met a beatable field to notch 2nd win of 2020.2-Sabine Pass (10-1)-Raced from the back in 1st start for the Davis barn. JMac could get this 8-year-old going earlier and barn has won 2 of 4 starts since racing has resumed.9-Cinnamack (8-1)-Money showed up last week and was used hard before fading down the lane. Camera shy 5-year-old could leave and get a good seat. McNair can work a trip and should be tighter than last week at a better price.My Ticket Race 1) 2,4,6 Race 2) 3 Race 3) 2,4,5 Race 4) 2,3,7 Race 5) 1,2,9Total Ticket Cost) $16.20 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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6.14.2020:

Al Cimaglia: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has 13-races scheduled for Sunday night. The headliner from a betting standpoint is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which starts in Race 10. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.On Saturday the driver with the hottest hands was Ridge Warren with three trips to the winner's circle. The top conditioners were Terry Leonard and Mike Brink, each took two pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 102-Lookintomyeyes (7/2)-Has had trouble sealing the deal but was competitive in all three Haw starts. Gets another inside post draw, could get sucked around and go under the wire first.3-Passionanpromise (2-1)-Rallied off a tough trip with a 56.2 back half to take a picture. Looking to string along versus the same bunch except for #5 and #7.Race 113-It's Time For Fun (3-1)-Qualified a while ago on 5/20 and the Wilfong barn hasn't done much so far, but this is a soft spot. Beat Open company here last summer and should be a player if ready, in a competitive affair.4-My Kind Of Dance (7/2)-Has hit the board in 21 of 51 Haw starts but has only 3 wins in the last 43 races. Needs a trip and this is the spot to stay inside and get sucked around. Could rally late in a race without a standout.7-Mocking Robin (7-1)-This mare has 11 lifetime wins and 10 of those came right here. Needed the last start and broke slowly from post 8. Did roll the back half in 55.3 and taking a swing Krueger will be more aggressive tonight.8-Shedaisy Ten (5-1)-Similar situation to #7, needed last and likes the track. Has won 3 of 6 starts at Haw, was Leonard's choice over #5 & #10 and should be a square price.Race 122-Fox Valley Halsey (5/2)-Beaten chalk deserves another chance in 2nd try off the restart. Leonard barn has started to heat up so will respect connections.7-Valar Morghulis (7/2)-Used hard in the opening quarter and faded. Did qualify on 6/2 and raced right back on 6/6 so this might be a better set-up. Not much gate speed inside and Oosting could get the top without draining the tank.Race 133-Whiskersonkittens (5-1)-Didn't show much last week but that was versus Open company. This is a better spot but can't be sure if 7-year-old will be dialed on high. The Roth barn has come out cold.4-Luckey Jewel (9/2)-Using and banking the Herrera barn will send this mare out ready to roll. Like others in here this is the 1st start at Haw since March.5-I Dance U Prance (3-1)-Has 7 wins in 32 starts at Haw but this will be first start off the bench. This mare has the speed to beat this crew if tight enough.6-Finleys Filly (6-1)-Team Leonard trainee makes 2nd start off the restart and that could be the difference here. Comes off a rough trip versus a tougher group. This is a spot to shine and could offer a fair price. My Ticket Race 10) 2,3 Race 11) 3,4,7,8 Race 12) 2,7 Race 12) 3,4,5,6 Total Ticket Cost) = $32 for #0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.14.2020:

Sunday, June 14: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Dupioni; 5-Zee DropForecast: This turf miler for second-level allowance fillies and mares projects to have a faster than par pace – even for a small field – and we expect the race flow to favor the two proven closers in the field. Zee Drop has been away since winning an entry-level allowance turf miler at Del Mar last summer but the work tab at Los Alamitos should have her fit and ready for the strong jockey/trainer combo of A. Cedillo and P. D’Amato. Having won her debut, she’s proven she can win fresh, and we’re expecting the daughter of Lemon Drop Kid – a fit on figures and bred to improve with maturity – to settle off the pace and then produce a winning late kick. Dupioni has two strong efforts over the local lawn, though both were race-shape aided (and this one might be, as well). The Irish-bred filly is up a notch in class but seems to be a better type now than she was overseas. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics while preferring Zee Drop on top.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Miss Baylee; 5-My Girl RedForecast: Miss Baylee and My Girl Red both have done some good work in the a.m. and we’re expecting the winner of this baby race to be one or the other. Miss Baylee, another one of those precocious juveniles from the L. Mendez barn, is listed as the 2-1 morning line favorite and showed enough early speed in a recent three furlong gate drill to expect she’ll be part of the pace throughout. My Girl Red also displayed some quality in a :47 1/5 gate drill last month and seems extremely live with F. Prat taking the all. She’s from the first crop of B.C. Juvenile winner Texas Red and looks cranked up and ready to go. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-Summer FireForecast: Summer Fire surfaces in a $50,000 claimer restricted to 3-year-olds – his first start for a tag - and should greatly appreciate the class relief. The R. B. Hess, Jr.-trained colt is a strong fit on speed figures and projects to enjoy a good second-flight trip and then have his chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Crystal Ball; 5-Via AngelicaForecast: This middle distance maiden affair for fillies and mares should boil down to the two second-time starting B. Baffert-trained entrants. Crystal Ball, a respectable third in her debut while clearly needing the race, switches to A. Cedillo, and with three recent solid workouts the daughter of Malibu Moon should be much fitter and tougher today. We’re expecting her to be on or near the lead throughout. Via Angelica, a closing third in an abbreviated sprint first time out last month, is another that seems certain to step forward with M.. Smith staying aboard. She’s the 9/5 favorite and probably deserves to be, though we’re a tad more intrigued by Crystal Ball and will put her slightly on top. Both should be included in your rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Sole Amino; 5-Veteran; 7-Hollywoodhellraisr; 9-Absolute UnitForecast: We’ll spread this maiden turf sprint, going four-deep in our rolling exotics in a race that appears deep in possibilities. Solo Animo ran a winning race in defeat, finishing third after a horrendous start and traffic trouble at the head of the lane. That he was beaten just over a length for it all was rather amazing; however, it may not have been much of a race. We’ll find out what the son of Carpe Diem is made of today. Veteran had speed before fading in his only start last summer in a race that was won by eventual juvenile champion Storm the Court. He returns for the always-dangerous R. Mandella/M. Smith team and has trained very well for his comeback. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s let roll from the gate or taken back and allowed to make one run, as he’s been taught to do in recent drills. Hollywoodhellraisr has displayed some power in his training track drills for P. D’Amato and appears to be a gelding with some talent. We’re expecting the son of Race Day to be doing his best work from off the pace. We’ll also toss in Absolute Unit, a route-to-sprint play with good form over this course and distance and back with F. Prat, who knows him well. He’s another that may make some noise late.RACE 6: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Justinian; 6-McKaleForecast: Once again it appears the B. Baffert barn has two major bullets to fire. We’ll try to get by in rolling exotic play with just those two. McKale returns to the conditioned allowance ranks after a solid third place effort in the San Carlos S.-G2 and with solid, consistent speed figures and a healthy work tab since raced the son of Congrats should fire his best shot. He’s most effective on or near the lead and should be comfortably placed in a race that projects to have a moderate opening quarter. Justinian switches to F. Prat, and maybe the jockey change will help bring out his best. Trouble-prone most of his career – he has a devil of a time leaving the gate – the talented son of Justin Phillip broke his maiden sprinting over this main track so the turn back in trip is warranted. He’s worked very impressively of late, but then again, he always does.RACE 7: Post 4:12 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Invincibella; 3-Smilling Rose; 5-Sabinos PrideForecast: Here’s a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer for fillies and mares over nine furlongs that looks inscrutable, even with just six runners. Five of the six entered exit the same race and none of them hit the board. Sabinos Pride is listed as the 2-1 morning line and can win, but at that price she certainly doesn’t have to. The D. Hofmans-trained was fourth at 42-1 in that common race at a mile; she may run better at this trip but who really knows? Smiling Rose was a close fifth in that same race in her first outing since September, has trained well since, and should produce enough of a forward move to be a threat. Invincibella lands the good rail, seems likely to enjoy a ground-saving trip, and given the patient ride we suspect she requires could be the most dangerous of the closers. We’ll sink or swim with just these three; if you feel the need to buy the race, do it.RACE 8: Post 4:42 PT. Grade: CUse: 8-Street Image; 9-Show BusinessForecast: Bottom-rung maiden claimers sprint six and one-half furlongs, with the class dropping Show Business assured of getting plenty of play due to the connections (R. Mandella/F. Prat). At this level the son of Distorted Humor simply should win; the class drop is warranted and Godolphin doesn’t need or want these kinds of horses, anyway. He’s 7/2 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower. Street Image, a reasonable runner-up in his comeback last month at this level, is the quickest in the field and will take them as far as he can, which in the past hasn’t been much farther than the furlong pole. We’ll see if he can stick better today. In a race that should otherwise be left alone, we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 9: Post 5:12 PT. Grade: A-Single: 4-DogtagForecast: Dogtag was highly impressive beating second-level allowance foes at a mile last month over the local lawn and we strongly suspect she’ll be more than capable of handling today’s class hike and added distance. The daughter of War Front appeared especially sharp in a recent workout to indicate she’s continuing to improve, and in a race that shouldn’t have much pace F. Prat can put her just about anywhere he wants. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.

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6.14.2020:

Neptune's Storm the Pick in Solid San Francisco Mile

The Grade 3 San Francisco Mile (8th race, 6:45 p.m. ET, Sunday) is the feature of Golden Gate Fields’ final day of the season, and the turf headliner should catch the eye of anyone looking for the best races around the country on this particular day.Restrainedvengence, winner of Golden Gate’s All American Stakes last out, is a slight 5-2 favorite over Neptune’s Storm (3-1), but several others have run well enough to be considered.Here’s a capsule look at the players, and a $100 bankroll play for the race:Camino Del Paraiso: Last won when he scored over the Golden Gate Tapeta, but had two good efforts as he ran second in the G3 Thunder Ride and G3 San Luis Rey. Usually runs well on the turf, but wins only five percent of the time on the green (20-1-8-1). Had chances to turn some of those seconds into wins, but did not. Still, he has talent and can loom as a threat to get into the minor awards.Arch Prince: Won three of his last four, but that and most other damage he’s done as occurred on dirt and All-Weather. His form is good but a lack of noticeable turf success (1 of 16) will make it tough on him. Seems the best would be a piece of the super, possibly the tri if he brings his best. A tough ask on turf.Majestic Eagle: Doesn’t duck anyone, as he’s been in the Grade 2 and Grade 3 grass stakes, and the best on his form this year was a third in the Grade 2 San Gabriel. Seems to do his best fairly close to the early lead. Strong company has prepared him for this, and an appearance in the exotics would not be a surprise.Murad Kahn: Textbook stalker when he’s sprinting and closer when he’s going two turns, like in this one. Has a good 7 of 21 record on turf and was a closing second last time he was this distance. While graded stakes placed in the G3 San Simeon two races back, much of his best races have been against upper claiming company.Simply Breathless: Was in some of the best turf races for fillies and mares in southern California. Gave way in the G1 Gamely last out, but this spot isn’t as strong as that, even with restricted company. Won the Golden Poppy Stakes over this course last year and that marked her first attempt in this country. Classy and should be taken seriously.Kiwi’s Dream: His best chance would be if this came off the turf. His last grass win came two years ago at Santa Rosa. He’s in good form with wins in three of his last five and has loved the Tapeta. He changes courses and his speed should not be overlooked. Lost the All American Stakes by a head over Tapeta. He’ll be in the good hands of Juan Hernandez, who has rolled up a 30 of 99 (30 percent) season and was aboard this one’s last two tries.Neptune’s Storm: There’s a huge reason to throw out Neptune’s Storm last one. Everything else on his form is top shelf. Forgive him for his seventh-place finish in the G1 Shoemaker, when he shared a pace of :22, :44 3-5 and 1:08 2-5 in a mile race.His career took off when he won 4 of 11 races and nearly $600,000 and his last win was in Belmont’s G2 Hill Prince. He has an abundance of talent, can stalk or be on the front end, and looms as the one to beat.Restrainedvengence: Goes for his third straight, but neither of those wins came on turf. He gutted out a nice win in the Curribot Handicap at Sunland and followed with a hard-fought win over Kiwi’s Dream and Camino Del Paraiso in the All American. He won the Rolling Green over this course land followed with a solid second in the G2 City of Hope at Santa Anita. He can be right there throughout and his best will make him a tough customer.Suggested plays: $40 win on Neptune’s Storm ($40); $20 exacta box Neptune’s Storm and Restrainedvengence ($40); $10 exactas Neptune’s Storm over Majestic Eagle and Simply Breathless ($20). (Total: $100).

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6.13.2020:

Al Cimaglia: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

The Meadowlands has a big 13-race card scheduled with the Early 0.50 Pick 4 starting in Race 6. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. On Friday, the driver with the hottest hands was Yannick Gingras with three pictures. The leading trainers on the night were Ron Burke and Nancy Takter, both had two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Genius Man (9/2)-Sharp looking qualifiers and from the rail it's best to respect. Leaving from this spot should mean Miller puts in play and that kind of trip makes this colt a threat.3-Montefalco N (5-1)-Magical Acres qualifier was good and Lasix may help even more so tonight. Tetrick should work a trip in a competitive race.7-Manticore (7/2)-Controlled both qualifiers from the word go and sizzled the back half in 55.2 on 6/9. Not sure it will be so easy this time but looks like a player.9-Save Me A Dance (3-1)-Gaitway Farm tune-ups, both on Lasix, were very good but the question here is the trip. Should have a big shot if can get on the engine without much strain, otherwise things get more difficult.Race 73-Declan Seelster (8-1)-Both qualifiers were fine but loses Dunn to #5. Looks like a price shot as Tetrick can get a close-up trip and has been facing tougher.5-The Devils Own N (3-1)-Barn won 2 of 3 last weekend and New Zealand bred has some big speed. 6-year-old is a player but so far has been a bit camera shy. Does have a win and a second-place finish in two Big M starts.8-Blood Money (7/2)-Classy, Sweet Lou 4-year-old makes first start for Pelling and can grind it out if dialed on high. This barn did have a win in three starts last weekend.Race 81-Freedom Warrior (7/2)-Qualified on 5/30 with a 54.1 back half to hold on for the win. This will be debut for the Lare barn and 1st Big M start for 3-year-old who won >$148K in 2019. Using, but would have liked another qualifier.2-Lake Charles (3-1)-Tuned up nicely with dual qualifiers at Goshen for the Schniktter barn who had 2 wins last weekend. Taking a swing with 3-year-olds versus older. My take is they deserve respect, and the post edge will make a difference.Race 92-Prairie Panther (8-1)-Comes off two nice qualifiers and has done well facing tough company. Winner of >$144k in 2019 likes to race with the lead and can do so here. Has a perfect 1-1 record at the Big M and barn won 4 races last week.3-Trojan Banner N (7/2)-Should fit with this crew and the King barn won 2 of 4 last weekend. If pace is hot chances go up but might be over bet.6-Thinkbig Dreambig (3-1)-Qualified at the Big M on 5/30 and smoked the 2nd half in 54.3. Program chalk was only 1-8 in 2019 but was facing tough customers like Lather Up and Jimmy Freight to name a couple. Looks like a major player.My Ticket Race 6) 1,3,7,9 Race 7) /3,5,8 Race 8) 1,2 Race 9) 2,3,6Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.13.2020:

Saturday, June 13: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:Woodbine – 7th race. Post Time: 4:21 ET4-Clayton (3-1)Was one of the most impressive debut maiden winners of the season last November when he overcame a slow start to win by more than seven furlongs in a fast, highly-rated affair over the Woodbine all-weather surface. Returns in the 6F listed Woodstock Stakes after wintering in Florida, where he worked well enough to expect a major effort in his sophomore bow. The son of Bodemeister should develop into an outstanding 3-year-old and while today’s assignment clearly is a step up in class, the son of Bodemeister should offer good wagering value at or near his morning line of 3-1.Belmont Park – 7th race. Post Time 4:32 ET5 - Cost Benefit-G2 (5/2)Debuting English-bred filly has done everything in the morning like a top prospect and should be plenty fit and ready for a winning effort in this maiden turf miler for older fillies and mares. The daughter of the top class British stallion Dansili goes for the powerful C. Brown/J. Rosario team (42%) and catches a field that she simply should out-class. Let’s hope we can get close to her morning line of 7/2 in both the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Woodbine – 8th race. Post Time: 4:53 ET10 – New York Groove (5/2)She’s unbeaten in four starts sprinting (each over a synthetic surface) so we’re expecting this multi-stakes winning daughter of Verrazano to regain her best form in this six furlong listed stakes for 3-year-old fillies. Drawn comfortably outside, shortening to her best trip and showing a bullet five furlong drill (:59 flat, fastest of 24) over the local main strip, the M. Trombetta-trained filly is plenty fast of numbers and projects to enjoy an ideal second flight stalking position. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a play in the win pool and in the exotics as well.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: CUse: 4-Mamba Queen; 6-Spicy Sommelier; 7-SmoothlikebuttahForecast: Mamba Queen, a Square Eddie filly out of a half-sister to the multiple stakes-winning sprinter Eddie Haskell (also by Square Eddie) brought $70,000 at the OBS March Sale after drilling a quarter mile in :21 flat but was under urging to do so and never changed leads. Though the local tab doesn’t jump off the page, she obviously can run some. Spicy Sommelier shows a modest work tab at San Luis Rey Downs but has the red-hot combo of P. Miller and F. Prat in her corner and on that factor alone you have to use her. Among those that have raced, Smoothlikebuttah was a private purchase by clients of S. Knapp after walking out of the gate and then rallying to be a distant fourth in her debut in late May. Let’s hope the daughter of Mr. Big doesn’t pull that same stunt today. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Smiling Annie; 5-Much Macho WomanForecast: Smiling Annie lands a lovely inside draw (so effective when the rails are up) and should settle into a comfortable ground-saving trip while on or near the lead in a field without much early zip. She’s better than her last pair of races show and has a nice recent three-furlong bullet blowout (:35.1, fastest of 18) to have her right on edge. Mucho Macho Woman, freshened since February and training well for R. Ellis, earned a number two runs back that would win this race, but that runaway score came on the dirt and she’s unproven on grass. From her outside (of only five) draw, she’ll no doubt try to pop and go. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Smiling Annie on top.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Manresa; 6-Our Bonnie LassForecast: Trainer T. R. Bell III holds the aces in this bottom-rung maiden claiming main track miler with Manresa (4/5) and Our Bonnie Lass (2-1) sure to receive the bulk of the play. On pure numbers Manresa is the much better of the two but has been pretty much exposed, while first time Lasix user ‘Lass, with just one start on her resume, may have more room to improve after closing a huge gap to be third sprinting. We’ll pass the race other than to include both in our rolling exotics in a truly forgettable affair.RACE 4: Post 2:32 PT. Grade: XUse: 3-Worthy Turk; 4-Seeking RefugeForecast: Worthy Turk, a good second while more than four lengths clear of the rest in a similar restricted (nw-2) $25,000 turf miler last month, is 6/5 on the morning line to handle this task for the P. Miller/F. Prat team and should have little difficulty in doing so. Yes, his record suggests he prefers to run second and third more than winning so far in his career but against this group he’ll truly have no excuse. Seeking Refuge is worth including on a ticket or two as a backup. The D. O’Neill-trained colt graduated up north last month with an okay number and should enjoy a similar pace-stalking trip. A bullet half mile drill at San Luis Rey Downs (:48 2/5, fastest of 11) last week indicates he’s doing well and perhaps ready to produce another forward move.RACE 5: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Queensbeccaandjane; 5-Blazing Charm; 7-Little Miss EllieForecast: We’ll triple the fifth race, a maiden $50,000 state-bred extended sprint for fillies and mares. Blazing Charm was off slowly but then produced a solid steady run to pick up the pieces and finish second in a similar affair in March and today gets an extra furlong to work with while retaining F. Prat. She’s likely to improve off that bit of experience and may have upside that most of the others don’t. Queensbeccaandjane is progressing with racing, having her Beyer speed figure improve 17 points between her first and second outing. She was a willing but distant runner-up at this level two weeks ago and this will be her third start in a month so let’s hope she can step forward again.Little Miss Ellie, drawn comfortably outside, makes her debut for capable connections with a work tab that should have her plenty fit. How good does she really have to be? Toss her in.RACE 6: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: XSingle: 1-Desert LawForecast: Desert Law, a runaway winner with a career top speed figure in this race last year, makes his first start since finishing a strong runner-up in the Bing Crosby S.-G1 at Del Mar 11 months ago. The works are strong, so we expect the veteran gelding to fire a big shot off the bench, good enough to return a winner in this five-runner state-bred sprint stakes. With F. Prat aboard the D. O’Neill-trained son of Desert Code, you probably won’t even get the 6/5 that he’s listed on the morning line, so while we can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single, it’s a race that we’ll otherwise sit out.RACE 7: Post 4:06 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Hit the Seam; 4-Fratelli; 6-Kris’ Wild CatForecast: Fratelli may have been a tad short when finishing third after pressing the pace in a similar starter/optional claimer in his comeback in March but sports a steady, healthy series of works since and should produce a forward move, assuming he transfers in dirt form to grass. However, the Munnings gelding probably will have to deal with Hit the Seam during the early stages, with ‘Seam likely to enjoy the jet stream effect of his highly-favorable inside draw with the rails set out at 20 feet. If these two go at each other from the get-go, Kris’s Wild Kat should be able to fold over into a stalk-and-pounce position. The R. Baltas-trained gelding has the route-to-sprint angle that we like, two nice, easy breezes since raced, and, oh yes, retains F. Prat. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then, due to the anticipated race flow, press with extra tickets keying Kris’ Wild Cat on top.RACE 8: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Gingham; 5-Been Studying HerForecast: Been Studying Her is favorably drawn outside and has the proper style for this extended sprint distance, so with F. Prat riding her back the daughter of Fast Anna is the likely choice and one to beat following a fast-closing third in the Evening Jewel S. last month. She’s 9/5 on the morning line and probably will go a bit lower. Gingham is very interesting. The B. Baffert-trained filly continues to impress in the a.m. and this, her ninth career starts, will be her first in a sprint. The daughter of Quality Road switches to the barn’s latest “go-to” rider M. Smith and projects to draft into a good stalking, ground-saving position and then have her chance from the quarter pole home. Been Studying Her probably deserves a slight edge on top but both should be included in your rolling exotics.RACE 9: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Little No Way; 4-Jen Go Unchained; 6-Dark Hedges; 7-More HonorForecast: The finale is a messy restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming sprint over seven furlongs. We’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics with little-to-no conviction. Dark Hedges drops drastically in class, returns to the main track, sports the route-to-sprint angle and won the last time he appeared for this tag. He’s the controlling speed and could get very brave if not pressured early. More Honor is another dropping sharply in price and projects to fold into a good stalking spot. On pure numbers he should be right there throughout. Little No Way is the 2-1 morning line favorite probably due to the presence of F. Prat in the saddle. He has back speed figures that can win but may need turf to show his best stuff. Jen Go Unchained was a voided claim for $12,500 in late May but is back in the entries so we’ll assume he’s okay. First or second in five of 12 career starts, the R. Becerra-trained gelding should at least get a piece of it.

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6.12.2020:

Friday, June 12: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has 12-races on tap for this evening. The first two dashes have nine horses scheduled to go and the rest of the card has full fields of ten. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 9 and will be my focus. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 91-Winonefordoug (25-1)-This veteran was having a good start to 2020 and CalX invader fits with this kind. The Bertrand barn has won 3 of 11 starts. Warren should get a close-up seat and be in the mix late.3-Impressive Art (6-1)-Comes off a decent qualifier and should like the company. Can be a square price and does well in Stickney.5-Major Legacy (7/5)-Here is the 7/5 program chalk that is worth using but will shoot against. Barn was ice cold before the break and is 0-2 since racing has resumed. Usually is over classified but this is the right level, so might wake-up.7-Impressive Cowboy (5-1)-Bates took the long way around in needed start and did race the 2nd half in 56.1 with a 27.1 last panel. Does fit better with this crew and has won 3 of 11 starts at Haw.Race 102-Lucky Crusader (2-1)-11-year-old is a threat and can roll late but needs the right trip. Will look to others at 2-1 in the morning line and should be bet. Usually breaks slowly and if pace is dull may not close fast enough to win.3-Gabe Henry (20-1)-Willis barn did win 3 of 7 races last weekend and Gabe has taken 9 pictures in 54 Haw starts.Hasn't won much the past two seasons but will respect connections.5-Fox Valley Hoss (12-1)-Even effort in last but went the 2nd half in 56.4 for a barn that has been doing well and should like the company.8-Almost Cut My Hair (12-1)-In from CalX for west coast connections and usually faces better. Six-year-old has a win in two Haw starts. Lackey could put in play, so best to respect because there isn't much gate speed inside.Race 112-Pacific Stride (7/2)-Fits with this bunch but can't fully commit. Only 3 for last 42 and has just 2 wins in 30 Haw starts. This is not a strong group so could trip out but doesn't like to pass horses down the lane.4-B R Flying Dali (6-1)-In from PPk for the Petrelli barn and Leonard steers. Haw record is a reason to use, has won 4 of 5 here and finished 2nd in the other start.6-Sheriff Coffey (9/2)-Raced from the back in needed start but did roll the 2nd half in 56.1. Faces an easier group so Warren will likely get going sooner. Has the speed to win if dialed on high and chances go up if pace is quick.7-Ole Swamp Master (12-1)-6/2 Spr qualifier was fine but was scratched the following week. Trigg barn usually has them ready and will use at a price. Looks like a player if minds manners.Race 125-Rock Steady Ron (2-1)-Patton barn has sent them out ready and Ron qualified here in 154.3. That start was from the 9-hole, got on the engine and did all the work on his own. Plus finished the mile with a 27.3 kicker.My Ticket Race 9) 1,3,5,7 Race 10) 2,3,5,8 Race 11) 2,4,6,7 Race 12) 5Total Ticket Cost) $32 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.12.2020:

Friday, June 12: Santa Anita 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. Today’s Day Makers: Gulfstream Park – 10th race. Post Time: 4:45 ET8 – Lady Boss (10-1) First-timer has shown excellent speed in morning drills, including a bullet gate work last week in :47 1/5, the fastest of 52 for the distance. The daughter of Street Boss goes for a strong jockey-trainer combo in a field that doesn’t have an abundance of early zip, so if she breaks with her field the E. Dobles-trained juvenile should be extremely dangerous at this abbreviated sprint trip of five furlongs on grass. At 10-1 on the morning we’ll make her a good price play in the win pool as well as all of the exotic wagers. Belmont Park – 9th race. Post Time: 5:36 ET4-Build to Suit (9/2) Been away since October but has won off a 15-month layoff in the past, so we doubt he’ll be rusty in this year’s edition of the Commentator Stakes for New York-bred older horses. Lightly-raced at age six with just 10 career starts (six wins), the veteran in Chad Brown’s barn likes to settle in mid-pack and produce a strong late kick, and in a race that projects to have quick early fractions the son of Dominus should be capable of producing the last run. He’ll offer wagering value in the win pool and in rolling exotic play at or near his morning line of 9/2. Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File RACE 1: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: XUse: 3-Shines Her Light; 5-Affianced Forecast: Shines Her Light has two good races over this course and distance, a maiden win in her U.S. debut and a strong third place effort despite a less-than-ideal trip in a similar first-level allowance turf dash last month. An easy five-furlong solo training track drill last week should keep her on edge, so the Irish-bred daughter of No Nay Never looks pretty solid for the always-potent J. Sadler/V. Espinoza combo. Affianced isn’t as fast on numbers as Shines Her Light but has improving form and is worth including in rolling exotic play. In a race that projects to have a below average early pace, the R. Mandella-trained filly may inherit the role as the controlling speed and be tough to catch, just as she was when breaking her maiden last month. RACE 2: Post 1:37 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Uncle Chuck; 2-Big Mel; 5-Uncle Addouma Forecast: This maiden main track miler drew just five entrants, three of which must be considered legitimate contenders. We’ll triple the race in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass. Uncle Chuck is a very well-regarded first-timer from the B. Baffert barn with enough of a foundation to win at first asking. The son of Uncle Mo has done everything asked in the morning and has trained very much like a route-type, so it’s not surprising that he starts his career in a two-two affair. Stable mate Big Mel was given a run in his debut when finishing mostly on his own before galloping out strongly in a good maiden sprint last month and seems sure to be tighter, sharper, and more serious today. In fact, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Quality Road colt makes the running and is the one we suspect Uncle Chuck has to worry about the most. Uncle Addourma stayed on nicely when a willing fourth in his debut sprinting at Oaklawn Park last month and should benefit greatly from that bit of experience. The M. McCarthy barn has excellent stats with second-timers, and with F. Prat staying aboard this promising colt has every right to produce a significant forward mover over a distance he’s quite likely to enjoy. RACE 3: Post 2:09 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Lovely Lilia; 8-Going to Vegas Forecast: In a grass miler for $50,000 claiming 3-year-old fillies that projects to have a faster than par early pace, Going to Vegas seems capable of settling in mid-pack and then producing a winning late kick. The daughter of Goldencents is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat, is realistically dropped to what should be her proper level, and sports a steady, healthy series of workouts at San Luis Rey Downs for her first outing since March to have her fit and ready for the hot P. Miller barn. Lovely Lilia, a first-off-a-claim play for the V. Cerin barn (good stats with this angle), certainly is bred for grass and distance (Animal Kingdom) and makes her first start around two turns with sprint numbers that make her competitive. A solid runner-up while more than six lengths clear of the rest in a main track sprint for $40,000 three weeks ago, she projects to be within striking range throughout and have every chance when the pressure is turned on. We’ll prefer Going to Vegas on top but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 4: Post 2:41 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Camino de Estrella; 2-Conquest Cobra Forecast: Camino de Estrella, doubled jumped in class after being haltered for $12,500 by S. Knapp (excellent stats with the first-off-the-claim angle), was a strong runner-up in a highly-rated main track miler upon his return from Phoenix last month and this nine furlong distance has proven to be well within his wheelhouse. In a race that should be slowly run early, the veteran Mineshaft gelding should settle into an ideal second-flight, ground-saving position and then have dead aim when it counts. Conquest Cobra can handle the trip as well and under the projected pace scenario seems likely to be the controlling speed. Give that type of trip, the eight-year-old gelding could be very hard to catch. We’ll give Camino de Estrella a slight edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 5: Post 3:13 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Rawhide Rawlins; 5-Foothill Forecast: Foothill was a bit too keen for his own good in his racing debut vs. similar last month and under the circumstances held on better than he had a right to after pressing the pace most of the way, eventually winding up fourth. With that effort behind him and two easy breezes since, the son of Vronsky should be fitter and tougher today, especially if he can establish the pace without pressure. A. Gryder returns and will try to get the S. McCarthy-trained gelding to settle better today. Rawhide Rawlins closed fastest of all and galloped out strongly in a promising debut sprinting on grass last month and is probably the most dangerous of the closers. His pedigree suggests he’ll handle two-turns and the S. Miyadi barn has spectacular stats with second-time starters. We’ll try to get by using just these two, with Foothill a slight preference on top. RACE 6: Post 3:44 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Abusive Gary; 6-All I Can Say Forecast: Abusive Gary was overmatched in a first-level allowance main track miler last month but is realistically spotted today in this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claimer and based strictly on speed figures should be able to handle this task with his best effort. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding may find himself as the controlling speed, though we suspect he can stalk and win against this group if the situation requires. All I Can Say, in his second start off a long layoff, closed well to be a willing third vs. similar last month in what has proven to be a productive race. His form suggests he’s better around one turn but on numbers he’s a fit, so if taken back and allowed to produce one run the son of Old Topper could make some serious noise in the final furlong. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with Abusive Gary the main push on top. RACE 7: Post 4:15 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Querelle; 4-Great Return Forecast: Querelle is a genuine and consistent late-running turf sprinter and in a small five runner field should be able to negotiate a trouble-free trip and produce the last run for the red-hot F. Prat/P. Miller team. She’s fresh from a career-top earning win over this course and distance vs. first-level allowance foes last month and a similar effort makes her tough right back despite the one-level class hike. Great Return, away since October, hasn’t been particularly impressive in morning drills leading up to this race, but as a grass specialist working exclusively on dirt nothing flashy should have been expected. If ready, she’ll be dangerous with anything close to her best race, and since she won her debut we know she can fire fresh. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Querelle. RACE 8: Post 4:45 PT. Grade: CUse: 2-Kirsch Truffle; 13-Daddys Real Diva Forecast: Daddys Real Diva has been away for more than a year but her form in 2019 is good enough to beat this field and her recent workouts at San Luis Rey Downs and before that at Turf Paradise are reasonably encouraging. Kirsch Truffle is slow on figures (as are most of these) but did manage to finish second in a similar affair last month and not much more will be needed in a race that simply doesn’t have much in it. These are the two we’ll prefer in our rolling exotic play but best advice is to go as deep as your budget allows in a race in which nothing would surprise us.

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6.12.2020:

Saturday, June 13: Gulfstream Mandatory Payout Rainbow 6 Picks

With a mandatory Rainbow 6 in the offing Saturday at Gulfstream Park, and a pool that could swell to $5 million, let’s dive in to what looks like a tough, but hardly unreasonable sequence, and see what we can come up with. *** 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 2:00PM ET Saturday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1 (3:14 ET): 3up MSW at 1-mile (turf) I’m spreading in the first leg, especially with the must-use ML favorite, #12 LEADING WEST (2-1), drawing terribly and running the risk of being extremely wide into a quick first turn, not to mention his turf form isn’t better than any of these. I’m adding four others on the top line, with #3 CONSTITUTIONAL PAL (9-2) leading the way off a troubled and much improved comeback, followed by #6 IMPERIAL MOMENT (4-1), who has speed and could clear this group with an aggressive ride. Tab the tote on #1 ALASTOR (8-1), a Joseph firster (12% on debut) with a slew of bullets and sharp works leading up to this, while longshot #7 METCALF (15-1) has one true turf race showing, and it was a good 2nd against better, so don’t sleep on him. Rainbow 6 A horses: 3,6,12,1,7 (listed in order of preference) As you will see, the B-list in this sequence is an expansive one, so I’m going to have to use my “Super A” strategy to make things affordable. If you’re followed me in this space before you know what that is, but to refresh, the Super A’s are the best of the best of my top line picks, which in turn helps make the B tickets fall into a budget and not get overly expensive. So, while on the A tickets I can use all my top line picks, on the B tickers I’ll only use who I designate as my Super A’s, which I’ll list below when all is said and done. As for the opening leg, I don’t want to be out after just one race, and I mentioned this is a spread in my eyes anyway, so I’ve got #10 MIGHTY TOUGH (30-1), #2 FAKE MUSE (6-1), #5 SEVEN CHANNELS (20-1), and #11 LUCKY STRIPE (15-1), all as secondary contenders who could pull the upset with a move forward. As an aside, the ML here is so weak and poorly done that you should do yourself a favor and make your own for a sequence like this, since it will steer you in the right direction, as a horse like Mighty Tough, who actually has the second-highest last race Beyer speed figure in the field (on turf), is more like an 8-1 shot, as opposed to 30-1, yet anyone who is quickly playing a ticket will probably just glance at the latter and disregard a horse who has a very realistic chance of winning. Rainbow 6 B horses: 10,2,5,11Potential B add ins: NONE Leg 2: 3yo 12.5k claimer at 6 furlongs I think this is another spread as well, with several having a big chance and looking much the same on paper, though I’ll use just two on top; #7 SHANGHAI MOON (4-1) and #8 MAN WITH A PLAN (2-1). The former should like getting back to a fast main track, as the close 2nd two-back makes him a big player here, but his real attribute is his stalking gear in a race loaded with speed, as this one looks destined to fall apart in the lane. The latter has plenty of speed and did well to draw outside, and he’ll win this if he runs back to the N2L score last time for Pletcher, and the fact he now goes off the claim for D’Angelo, a huge 38% angle, says he could run even better here, which would make the rest run for second-money. Rainbow 6 A horses: 7,8 (listed in order of preference) It’s tough to separate all the speed horses, as they all seem good enough on their day, and if something funky happens and one should clear, it could severely change the flow of the race, so I’m going to use them all on the backup line; #4 CAPTAIN DUKE (3-1), #6 VINCENT WILLIAM (7-2), and #1 SMASH (15-1). I’m also using #3 OUR TIME (15-1), who could very well be off form, but drops in class and is the only other runner who has shown an ability to settle and pass horses, so maybe the race flow wakes him up. Rainbow 6 B horses: 4,6,3,1Potential B add ins: NONE Leg 3: 3up 12.5k claimer at 1-mile (turf) If you’re on a budget you could do worse than singling #4 DONJI (7-2), who is simply better than these on turf and has been running faster against better, now drops slightly against what is a pretty modest group, and looks more like 9-5 or so. With that being said, I’m also going to use #7 COWBOY CULTURE (6-1), since he he’s been facing better the best competition on turf and now goes off the claim for Plesa, and while that’s a ho-hum 0-for-6 angle, it’s worth nothing this is a very sharp barn that rarely makes a claim, so clearly he saw something he liked here. Rainbow 6 A horses: 4,7 (listed in order of preference) I’m probably being a bit too expansive on the B-line, since I tabbed Donji as a potential single, but this is a huge sequence and pool we’re talking about, so I want to be there if something crazy happens. The post really hurts #9 GRAND NENUCO (4-1), as does an October layoff, but his prior form is very solid, while #10 MORNING STRIDE (5-2), who is a hilarious favorite, runs off the Sancal claim (4-for-13) and gets back to the turf after an easy off-the-turf win for Maker. Speaking of bad ML’s, #1 MAJESTIC LUNA (30-1) looks more like 8-1 off his turf form, which is actually as good as anyone other than Donji, and he drew best of all too, while #7 COWBOY CULTURE (6-1) can stalk and has been running good enough of late to warrant inclusion. Rainbow 6 B horses: 9,10,1,7Potential B add ins: NONE Leg 4: 3up 10k N2L at 6 furlongs Another toughie that sees a field that seems to have a lot of moving parts and therefore makes things difficult, and leaves me with very little in terms of a strong opinion. The class drop and upside of #6 JUST US (12-1) makes him appealing, and the dirt debut win was solid, and he’s another incorrectly priced, as he looks more like 9-2 or so. I have no knocks on the favorite, #7 FLAWLESS MOON (5-2), who will win this if he runs back to the fast 2nd two-back, though I wonder if that’s more the exception than the rule, especially since he’s now three starts removed from D’Angelo. If things get heated up front then #5 HARPER GO LUCKY (8-1) will come into play late, and he’s been running in some very live races too, while #3 TRAVELIN GAMBLER (10-1) might be going the wrong way, but he too drops, and if you’re forgiving and toss his last two on off tracks, his fast track form plays with these. Rainbow 6 A horses: 6,7,5,3 (listed in order of preference) The secondary players are a lot tougher to trust, as both #8 RESERVENOTATTAINED (6-1) and #10 BIBLEMAN (4-1) come off complete no shows, while #2 NEVERSTOPDREAMING (7-2) drops but still doesn’t look good enough, but the first two have run well enough in the past to win this with a form reversal, while the latter isn’t impossible if he moves up a bit on the drop, so they make the cut. Rainbow 6 B horses: 8,2,10Potential B add ins: #4 War Act (15-1) Leg 5: 3up 55k handicap at 1-mile Here’s likely where we separate the contenders from the pretenders, as anyone on a budget who needs a single will take what they hope is the free square with #4 DIAMOND OPS (8-5), a multiple graded stakes winner who is by far the best horse here. however, it’s also obvious he’s prepping for bigger (likely at Keeneland), so just how cranked is he for a meaningless 55k purse? The problem is he could still win this at 75%, but I’m going to get a bit cheeky and not single him, and I’m also not just going to take the obvious second-choice, #9 Math Wizard (more on him below), because if my other pick should win, it will really blow things up. And that other pick is #6 RED CRESCENT (10-1), who got fried chasing a hot pace in his comeback last time but can win this with his best, should trip out off a pair of speeds (#7 and #3), and will probably fall right through the wagering cracks. Rainbow 6 A horses: 4,6 (listed in order of preference) I don’t have anything that much against grade I winner #9 MATH WIZARD (3-1), who is the obvious next likeliest winner should Diamond Ops come up short, but his lack of speed is a big detriment going a one-turn mile, and adding blinkers seems a bit panicky after a no-show return last time, so I just don’t like the vibes in this corner, especially since you know darn well this was not the original plan and seems like a major regrouping/here’s hoping he rebounds kind of spot. Since it’s affordable to use another, I’m slide in #8 NOBLE DRAMA (9-2), since his one-turn form is solid enough to make him a contender here, and Bravo comes back after likely moving too soon when he made the lead only to be run down in the Big Drama, so with that experience, he could time it just right this time. Rainbow 6 B horses: 9,8Potential B add ins: NONE Leg 6: 4up 8k claimer* at 1-mile I’d like to think we’re going to be alive for big balloons should we be fortunate enough to get to the cashout leg, as there are several races preceding this that give us legitimate shots at getting a nice price home. And this race certainly looks like it could offer one, and the good news is that I’ve been condensed enough in the first five legs to spread deep here, which was the plan all along, since attrition could turn a logical 8-1 winner on the toteboard into 25-1 in the sequence, and that’s where you can really get some bang for your buck. Basically I’ll use anyone logical and hope to get a price home, especially since #1 JUST KIDDING (9-5), who will win this with his typical run, exits a very suspect effort when claimed by Joseph (39%) for 16k, and now immediately runs back for 8k, which is never a good sign, and suggests you’re not getting his typical run. An outside attack post could be key for #10 DEXTER ROAD (8-1), who got back untracked on the drop last time and has several races showing that would put him on the line with these, while the speed of #6 SO LONG CHUCK (7-2) makes him a huge player, as there’s actually not a lot of early lick here, and while he probably won’t improve from Barboza off the Matier claim (0-for-4), he might not have to either. I’ll be a bit forgiving with #12 KAHRAMANI (12-1), who didn’t fire off the Quiroz claim last time in the slop, and has now run poorly twice in a row, so he could be off form, but Drawing Away excels in these spots, and this is a solid barn, and the price will be right too, so even though it’s probably a bit improbable he gets back to the Joseph races, I’ll add him and hope just maybe there’s more here than meets the eye. My total stab, shot in the dark, blow it all up horse is #7 YEAR OF THE KITTEN (20-1), who will hopefully run on a fast main track, something he’s never done, but Pat Reynolds, who may be winless on the year, knows what he’s doing, and adds blinkers here, and is intent on running this one on the dirt, so I’m coming along at a big number. Rainbow 6 A horses: 10,1,6,12,7 (listed in order of preference) I’ll use the only other three that could possibly win, even though they are a decided cut below the top-3 above, as #5 DESERT GENERAL (4-1) has lost 10 straight and was just 3 lengths behind ‘Chuck, while #2 TELL ME A STORY (20-1) has also lost 10 straight but has run well in several of them, and #11 COULD BE (10-1) has never run on a fast main track and is a turf horse, but is 3-1-1-0 on off tracks, so he could wake up here. Rainbow 6 B horses: 5,2,11Potential B add ins: NONE Super A’s: R7: 3,6,12R8: 7,8R9: 4,7R10: 6,7R11: 4R12: 10,1,6 The suggested tickets: Main Ticket: 3,6,12,1,7 with 7,8 with 4,7 with 6,7,5,3 with 4,6 with 10,1,6,12,7 = $160Leg 1 B Backup: 10,2,5,11 with 7,8 with 4,7 with 6,7 with 4 with 10,1,6 = $19.20Leg 2 B Backup: 3,6,12 with 4,6,3,1 with 4,7 with 6,7 with 4 with 10,1,6 = $28.80Leg 3 B Backup: 3,6,12 with 7,8 with 9,10,1,7 with 6,7 with 4 with 10,1,6 = $28.80Leg 4 B Backup: 3,6,12 with 7,8 with 4,7 with 8,2,10 4 with 10,1,6 = $28.80Leg 5 B Backup: 3,6,12 with 7,8 with 4,7 with 6,7 with 9,8 with 10,1,6 = $28.80Leg 6 B Backup: 3,6,12 with 7,8 with 4,7 with 6,7 with 4 with 5,2,11 = $14.40

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6.11.2020:

Saturday, June 13: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN SELECTIONSFirst Post: 12:30AM ET on Sunday, June 14 Race 1: #5 Tinker Belle, #1 Chancheng Prince, #4 Sea Monarch, #3 HongKong HarmonyRace 2: #8 Impeccable Fellow, #11 Bundle Of Energy, #2 Iron King, #14 Keep GoingRace 3: #1 Fabulous Eight, #2 Dublin Star, #5 Super Kin, #6 Comfort LifeRace 4: #3 Nicconi Express, #6 Lakeshore Eagle, #1 Time To Celebrate, #5 Right ChoiceRace 5: #9 Precious Sweetie, #10 Noble Desire, #12 Strathclyde, #4 Sparky StarRace 6: #2 Gunnar, #3 Fortune Happiness, #10 Tailor Made, #8 Viva CouncilRace 7: #6 Super Elegance, #1 Champion Supreme, #4 Defining Moment, #9 God Of DragonRace 8: #2 Gunnison, #5 Red Desert, #9 Will Power, #1 Ugly WarriorRace 9: #7 Mighty Power, #3 Chevalier Prince, #2 Sam’s Love, #11 DestinRace 10: #1 Sunny Boy, #2 Mega Heart, #3 Sunset Watch, #8 Good For YouRace 11: #9 California Gungho, #11 Unique Treasure, #7 President’s Choice, #2 Be Ready Race 1: The Chairmen’s Day Plate (12:30AM ET) #5 Tinker Belle raced close to the speed first-up on debut and from there, faded to sixth. Still, she actually kept on gamely and maybe now, down the straight, she could find the necessary improvement required to win against this small and inexperience field. #1 Chancheng Prince has placed in all three of his career runs. He’s racing well and it wouldn’t surprise to see him finally go on with things here. #4 Sea Monarch did well on debut then at his second start, appeared to struggle. Still, the small field will ensure him a chance. #3 Hongkong Harmony is next best on debut. He caught the eye at the trials and bears close watching. Race 2: Ryrie Handicap (1:00AM ET) #8 Impeccable Fellow raced well last start from the widest ally, and this time, now breaking from gate five, he should be able to get every opportunity close to the pace. He’s down to a competitive mark by his standards and with even luck he might be able to piece it all together for his second Hong Kong win. #11 Bundle Of Energy is still winless across 22 starts. He’s another though, who appears to have found a competitive mark and his latest effort was more than encouraging. He can challenge this bunch. #2 Iron King is another who is winless. He steps into Class 5 now for the first time and with Zac Purton taking over, he just might be ready to go on with it. #14 Keep Going has shown glimpses of ability. He most likely needs to settle close to the speed and from there, may have a chance of clinging on for some prize money. Race 3: The Macwhinnie Cup (Handicap) (1:30AM ET) #1 Fabulous Eight has hit his straps his last two runs and it won’t surprise to continue on an upward trajectory into Class 3. Joao Moreira retains the ride here which suits and this contest appears his for the taking. #2 Dublin Star was a solid course and distance winner last time out. He’s still on the up and this contest appears suitable, though, he will need to shoulder more weight. #5 Super Kin has mixed his form but appeared to return in good order first-up last time out when finishing third. He’s open to further improvement with that run under his belt and off that performance, bears close watching. #6 Comfort Life is next best. Race 4: The Purves Quaich (Handicap) (2:00AM ET) #3 Nicconi Express returns from a four month break. He’s trialled impressively leading into Sunday’s test and his best form is more than up to capturing this race, that is, if he manages to produce it at his first run back. #6 Lakeshore Eagle has gone to a new level of late as he searches for a hat-trick of wins. He’s down in the weights and if he can continue on an upward trajectory, then he’s going to be a force to be reckoned with here. #1 Time To Celebrate mixes his form but could find himself a soft enough lead here, especially with the addition of Alfred Chan’s seven pound claim. The young apprentice is fresh off a treble last Sunday and draws favourably here aboard the Per Incanto gelding. #5 Right Choice is looking to snap a run of two second-place efforts. He gets Zac Purton up which is suitable once again and in a tight contest such as this, he’s expected to be thereabouts. Race 5: The Swaine Cup (Handicap) (2:30PM ET) #9 Precious Sweetie is reasonably consistent and is capable of putting his last-start struggles behind him where he finished a distant eighth on the dirt. He’ll improve switching back to the grass and now, off a competitive he should be able to challenge this bunch. #10 Noble Desire is lightly raced with only seven starts to his name. He’s well weighted here and the good draw should afford him every opportunity to grab his first win. #12 Strathclyde steps onto the turf for the first time this season. He’s actually raced well on the grass previously although limited and if he manages to capture his best, then he’s an excellent chance to score his first win in nearly three years. Joao Moreira hops on #4 Sparky Star for the first time after the gelding ran poorly on debut. Suspect he’s better than that performance otherwise the Brazilian wouldn’t be jumping aboard and on that reason alone, he bears very close watching. Race 6: The Wong Cup (Handicap) (3:00PM ET) #2 Gunnar is drawn to get the gun run and with Jerry Chau’s ten pound claim in use, he just might be able to pinch this. Last time out he was narrowly cut down by a short-head but again, finds similar conditions here and with a positive ride, he can get every chance to go on with it. #3 Fortune Happiness is a three-time winner on the dirt already this season. If he can recapture that form then he’s a leading player. #10 Tailor Made hasn’t exactly set the world on fire in Hong Kong, but maybe now, from the inside gate with no weight on his back, he just might be able to show something. #8 Viva Council is proven over this course and distance as a winner already this term. He’ll be thereabouts, especially off his current mark. Race 7: The Li Cup (Handicap) (3:35AM ET) #6 Super Elegance is unlucky not to be a winner already this term having finished runner-up on four occasions. He’s had a little two month freshen up since his latest run and now, against this field with Zac Purton up, he gets an excellent chance to reward connections with a deserved win. #1 Champion Supreme sits at the top of Class 3. He’s done well this term as a two-time winner and if he’s held his condition out of his latest run, he’s going to be in the finish. #4 Defining Moment is looking for his fourth win from his last five starts. He’s racing in supreme form and there is little reason to suggest it won’t continue here, especially with Joao Moreira sticking aboard. Race 8: The Arculli Trophy (Handicap) (4:05AM ET) #2 Gunnison rarely runs a bad race and appears to have found himself a very suitable contest here. This is an excellent chance for him to finally score an overdue win after finishing runner-up in two out of his last four contests. #5 Red Desert steps out for owner Ronald Arculli, the namesake of this contest. His galloper won over this course and distance three starts ago and if, he manages to capture that here, he is capable of going on with it. #9 Will Power is a dirt specialist as a three-time winner on the surface. He gets in light but this is a reasonable class rise, with some talented seasoned campaigners lining up. #1 Ugly Warrior is a six-time course and distance winner. Arguably his best is behind him but a recent barrier trial success suggests that maybe, he’s capable of winding back the clock. Race 9: The Chan Trophy (Handicap) (4:35AM ET) #7 Mighty Power closed off well for fourth over this course and distance last month and now, with that performance under his belt, he just might be on his way breaking his maiden. He gets a handy ten pounds off thanks to Jerry Chau’s claim and he should be able to test this field. #3 Chevalier Prince is a talent on the rise having placed in both of his outings. This is a suitable contest and with Zac Purton sticking aboard, he is likely to be in the finish once again. #2 Sam’s Love is racing well and if he can overcome the awkward draw, he’s going to be in the finish. #11 Destin is favoured by the inside draw which should afford him every opportunity. Race 10: The Stevenson Cup (Handicap) (5:10AM ET) #1 Sunny Boy receives a welcome return to Class 3 racing here. He’s mixed his form this campaign but on his day, he is a very speedy gelding, especially on the dirt and the booking of Zac Purton now, warrants respect. #2 Mega Heart is a two-time course and distance winner, including two starts ago. He’s drawn to get the gun run and with Jerry Chau’s ten pound claim, he gets in very light for the joint second-highest rated horse. #3 Sunset Watch was well supported and narrowly missed last time out. Still, if he can reproduce that here, at his second run on the dirt this season, then he can figure. #8 Good For You is always thereabouts, especially in this grade and this appears unlikely to change against this field. Race 11: The Ip Jug (Handicap) (5:45AM ET) Difficult contest to close out the day with but #12 California Gungho appeals, especially if he is a reasonable price. He’s pieced together a number of good runs in this grade and if he manages to offset the wide draw, then there is little reason to suggest why he can’t find it again here, especially returning to his preferred track and distance. #11 Unique Treasure rattled into second last time out. He gets conditions to favour here, off a low mark and good gate with Joao Moreira up, which should ensure he gets every possible chance. #7 President’s Choice is only a small horse but he has plenty of guts, especially as a two-time winner already. He knows what he’s doing and there appears to still be a number of ratings points in hand with him. #2 Be Ready is next best, though is becoming a costly conveyance having placed on five occasions from nine starts.

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6.10.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 12 Stronach 5 Suggested Play

We’re back to battle this week in the Stronach 5, with a tough sequence that includes a trio of maiden races filled with largely unproven horses. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a wildly successful and well received Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), in the space of about 90 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. *** 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 (4:25 ET): 3upfm AOC (35k/N2X) at 1 1/16 miles (turf) The opening leg is a bit tricky, in that there is plenty of speed signed on, many of the favorites have some of it, and a few of them are drawn out wide, which only further adds to the puzzle. I’ll split the difference a bit and use both #13 EBULLIENT (9-2), who will like getting back to the turf and is the one to beat off her two GP races this winter, and #9 TASS (4-1), who did some good things in NY last year and lures McCarthy for her first start since December. However, since both want to be up front early they run the risk of canceling each other out, no matter if they are the best two here (and they are), so I’m also using #14 I’M LISTENING (10-1), who can stalk and returns for her first start since October for an Eppler barn that is 4-for-14 off this elongated layoff. Stronach 5 A horses: 13,9,14 (listed in order of preference) The closing style and solid form of #3 KAILEE (8-1) makes her a player here, even though Keefe is just 1-for-30 on the year, and the August layoff isn’t as crucial to a stretch runner as it is to a speed horse, so there’s a chance she runs by them all at a nice price. Stronach 5 B horses: 3 Potential B add ins: #12 Jabuticaba (9-2), #8 No Mo Lady (15-1), #1 Wildcat Cartridge (12-1) Leg 2 Gulfstream Park R10: 3upfm MSW at 5 furlongs (turf) Budget players will be singling #12 FUDDLED (2-1), who wins this by 4 if she runs back to that neck 2nd on debut, but this wide draw isn’t ideal, and if #9 HUOR ME DIXIE (9-2) gets loose, then she could have a bit too much to do in the lane. The latter dueled through hot fractions on debut in July at Ellis in July and held well to be a close 3rd, the didn’t fire on the dirt in her return here in April, but she’s back on her preferred surface here, and off that tightener she could get brave. Stronach 5 A horses: 12,9 (listed in order of preference) I contemplated using #7 She’s Just Quality (6-1), since she was a good 2nd in a fast MCL on debut, but that was for Ward, and she now goes off the claim for Morici, who is 0-for-7 on the year, so on the rise, and now away from a potent debut barn, I just can’t see this miss improving enough to win this. Stronach 5 B horses: NONE Potential B add ins: #7 She’s Just Quality (6-1), #11 Thrill (4-1) Leg 3 Santa Anita R3: 3f 50k claimer 1-mile (turf) Another race that seems to have quite a bit of speed, especially with some stretchout sprinters, so I’m hoping an aggressive pace helps the late chances of #3 A THOUSAND DREAMS (5-1), who really improved on her lone turf start in her return off the long break last time, now stretches out, and should be primed from a bit off the pace. Obviously #8 GOING TO VEGAS (9-5) is the gal to beat, though she was uncharacteristically bad last time and now drops, so while her best wins this, from a wide draw off that dud, at an underlaid price too, you’re allowed to wonder where her form is right now. A trouble-free trip in a speedy race would help #2 MADAME BOURBON (6-1), who had to steady last time and then didn’t have a lot of late interest, but she too drops, drew well, and is another who has some solid back races that can win this. Stronach 5 A horses: 3,8,2 (listed in order of preference) I’m going to leave it on the A-line and call it a day, as more than a few others (see below) could be players here, but they also are the speeds I’ve mentioned, and have some negative trainer stats too, so going a two-turn mile, I’m hoping they all take enough out of each other early to hurt them late, and set it up for my trio above. Stronach 5 B horses: NONE Potential B add ins: #1 Too Much Heaven (8-1), #6 Lovely Lilia (3-1), #4 Savvy Gal (5-1) Leg 4 Laurel Park R10: 3up 25k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) In a weak race on paper, it won’t take a freakish firster to win, so you have to think #6 EAGLE KEEPER (7-2) will be a real handful for Trombetta (15% with firsters), especially since he’s got a slew of solid works showing, has McCarthy up, and is kin to a 168k earner. The best of the proven runners is #11 RARELY (5-1), who probably would be favored if he wasn’t off a July layoff, as he drops from a pair of solid turf MSW runs, but note Morgan is 2-for-5 off this extended break, and they aren’t giving him away for 40k, so he looks the main danger. My price is the firster #4 MIGHTY SOLDIER (10-1), as he’s kin to a 200k earner, has Marquez, and starts for Elizabeth Merryman, who is 5-for-20 in turf sprints. Stronach 5 A horses: 6,11,4 (listed in order of preference) I’m a bit intrigued by #3 MORE TWIRL (12-1), since he has a 344 turf Tomlinson, a few strong works showing, and lures Ruiz, so there’s reason to think he’s live, and if that’s the case he can play with a group like this. Stronach 5 B horses: 3 Potential B add ins: #7 Power Back (8-1), #2 Kukulkan (3-1) Leg 5 Golden Gate Fields R5: 2yo MSW at 5 furlongs I’ll be the first to admit the finale is a guess, as only two of these 2yos have started, and since you can’t see the tote before playing a ticket, I’d suggest as much coverage as your bankroll could provide. I’ll also admit I’m being very brave and going with a trio of firsters, since the two to race (see below) have some questions to answer. We start with #2 COLAVITO (2-1), who has several encouraging works showing for Wright, who is 17% on debut, and it looks like stable jock Hernandez chose here (Wright also runs #7 Sale’ Y Vale), which will help be my guide. The other two—#8 AHIMAAZ (10-1) and #9 CALL SIGN LUCKY (12-1)—are more unknown, but both have worked well, and the former has Frey for 2-for-8 debut trainer Lenzini, while the latter starts for 2-for-9 debut trainer Jauregei, so you have to think they are here to fire their shot. Stronach 5 A horses: 2,8,9 (listed in order of preference) I mentioned the experienced runners—#1 MANDO 3-1) and #10 BRONY BOY (6-1)—and neither would surprise, as they ran 2-3 on debut, but the former was 16-1 in a short field and now draws worst of all, and the latter was 3 lengths behind in 3rd at 3-2, so you have to ask just how good of a race was that? Stronach 5 B horses: 1,10 Potential B add ins: #7 Sale’ Y Vale The suggested tickets: Main Ticket: 13,9,14 with 12,9 with 3,8,2 with 6,11,4 with 2,8,9 = $162Leg 1 Backup: 3 with 12,9 with 3,8,2 with 6,11,4 with 2,8,9 = $54Leg 4 Backup: 13,9,14 with 12,9 with 3,8,2 with 3 with 2,8,9 = $54Leg 5 Backup: 13,9,14 with 12,9 with 3,8,2 with 6,11,4 with 1,10 = $108

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6.10.2020:

Honor A.P. Raises Game and Takes Santa Anita Derby

Many, as expected, perceived last Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby as a two-horse race between 1-2 favorite and 2-1 second betting choice Honor A.P. What happened? They did indeed run one-two. In Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 7, Authentic won by 2 1/4 lengths. Honor A.P. finished second. In their rematch last Saturday, Honor A.P. won the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby going away and rather authoritatively by 2 3 4/lengths. Authentic had to settle for second this time, his first defeat in four career starts. As I wrote last week, Honor A.P. had been at a pace disadvantage vis-a-vis Authentic in the San Felipe. I also wrote that if Authentic did not again get it all his own way on the front end early in the Santa Anita Derby, “it does seem to increase the possibility he won’t win, especially since he also is being asked to go 1 1/8 miles,” which would be farther than he had ever raced. I wrote that my gut told me that “when it gets down to crunch time in the final furlong, the long-striding Honor A.P. just might turn the tables on Authentic. When push comes to shove in terms of deciding who to pick to win a race, sometimes it’s a good idea to go with one’s gut. Consequently, I am going with Honor A.P. to win.” Yes, Authentic did taste defeat for the first time. But you know what? All in all, I thought he ran well under the circumstances. Even though Authentic did not have it all his own way early this time, I give him credit for still finishing second and recording a 98 Beyer Speed Figure. Interestingly, that 98 Beyer matched Authentic’s figure for the San Felipe. Thus, the Beyers suggest that in the Santa Anita Derby it was not so much that Authentic ran worse than he had in San Felipe but rather that Honor A.P. raised his game and ran much better this time than he had last time. Seven started in the Santa Anita Derby. Authentic had the outside post and veered outward in the initial strides. That’s not unusual for a horse breaking from an outside post. But when Authentic did that, it pretty much eliminated the possibility he would be able to get a clear early lead. Entering the clubhouse turn, Authentic found himself in a three-way battle for the lead while outside Shooters Shoot and Anneau d’Or. These three continued as pace factors through the early stages while Honor A.P. was lurking within easy striking distance in fifth. At the quarter pole, Shooters Shoot, Anneau d’Or and Authentic were just heads apart while slugging it out for the lead. Honor A.P. now was gaining strongly while wide and loomed boldly as the field reached the top of the lane. “Honor A.P. coming with a big, powerful, sweeping move on the outside of Authentic and Anneau d’Or!” said track announcer Frank Mirahmadi. Surging to the front in upper stretch, Honor A.P. had so much momentum that he already was 1 1/2 lengths clear at the eighth pole. He then steadily increased his lead the rest of the way. Honor A.P. completed the race in 1:48.97 before galloping out with enthusiasm to suggest he will relish the 1 1/4-mile trip of the Kentucky Derby on Sept. 5. It was a marvelous training job on the part of John Sherriffs to have Honor A.P. ready to run a biggie last Saturday. Meanwhile, Hall of Famer Mike Smith rode a perfect race, which is SOP for M.S. when big bucks are on the line, such as in the $400,000 Santa Anita Derby. They don’t call him “Big Money” Mike Smith for nothing. Sherriffs and Smith teamed up to win the 2005 Kentucky Derby with Giacomo, who won in a 50-1 upset. Closing Argument finished second at the gigantic odds of 71-1, just a half-length behind Giacomo. Afleet Alex ended up third at 9-2. Bellamy Road, the 5-2 favorite, came in seventh. My top four picks for Xpressbet.com in the 2005 Kentucky Derby were: 1. Closing Argument2. High Fly3. Afleet Alex4. Bellamy Road Though Closing Argument didn’t win, he did pay $70 for each $2 place ticket. It’s still the highest place payoff in the history of the Kentucky Derby, which this year will be run for the 146h time. I’d have to say Closing Argument in the Kentucky Derby was the best pick I’ve ever made publicly that did not win. The Santa Anita Derby was Honor A.P.’s first stakes victory. He now has two wins and two seconds from four lifetime starts. Lee and Susan Searing’s C R K Stable own the Kentucky-bred Honor Glide ridgling and $850,000 yearling acquisition. The dam, Hollywood Story, was a multiple Grade I-winning millionaire. By the way, the C R K stands for the Searing’s three adult children -- Christina, Richard and Katherine. The C R K horses race beneath purple and gold silks. Why those colors? It’s because the Searings are huge fans of the Los Angeles Lakers. Honor A.P., who missed some training for a time early this year due to a bruised foot, was credited with a career-best 102 Beyer Speed Figure for his Santa Anita Derby triumph. In terms of the Beyer Speed Figure department, Honor A.P. sports an improving pattern. He recorded a 77 in his first race, followed by a 91, then a 95 prior to ascending to a triple-digit figure last Saturday. These are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winner of the Santa Anita Derby going back to 1990 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2020 Honor A.P. (102)2019 Roadster (98)2018 Justify (107)2017 Gormley (88)2016 Exaggerator (103)2015 Dortmund (106)2014 California Chrome (107)2013 Goldencents (105)2012 I’ll Have Another (95)2011 Midnight Interlude (97)2010 Sidney’s Candy (100)2009 Pioneerof the Nile (97)2008 Colonel John (95)2007 Tiago (100)2006 Brother Derek (108)2005 Buzzards Bay (98)2004 Castledale (103)2003 Buddy Gil (104)2002 Came Home (96)2001 Point Given (110)2000 The Deputy (109)1999 General Challenge (108)1998 Indian Charlie (111)1997 Free House (110)1996 Cavonnier (104)1995 Larry the Legend (106)1994 Brocco (105)1993 Personal Hope (98)1992 A.P. Indy (95)1991 Dinard (108)1990 Mister Frisky (109) KENTUCKY DERBY FUTURE WAGERING UPDATE Two prominent 3-year-olds, the Bob Baffert-trained duo of Charlatan and Nadal, are gone from the William Hill Sports Book’s odds to win this year’s Kentucky Derby. Charlatan and Nadal finished first in their respective divisions of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on May 2. But Nadal has been retired from racing as a result of a condylar fracture in his left front leg following a four-furlong workout in :48.80 on May 28 at Santa Anita. And now Charlatan will not be running in the Belmont Stakes on June 20 or even the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in September due to an ankle injury, according to Baffert. “He came up with an issue,” Baffert said in a Daily Racing Form story written by David Grening. “We saw that he had a tiny aggravation there. I wouldn’t call it a chip. They’ll clear it up. It will take him out of the [Kentucky] Derby picture. He’ll be back by the fall.” Following the Santa Anita Derby, William Hill now has Honor A.P. and Florida Derby winner Tiz the Law as co-favorites for the Kentucky Derby. Below are the prices for all the horses listed 20-1 or lower after the Santa Anita Derby: 4-1 Honor A.P.4-1 Tiz the Law6-1 Authentic7-1 Maxfield10-1 Sole Volante20-1 Basin20-1 Cezanne Now, stunningly, Maxfield also is out of the Kentucky Derby after he emerged from a June 10 workout with a condylar fracture of his right front cannon bone, according to Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee. “Trainer Brendan Walsh confirmed the injury shortly after Maxfield breezed a half-mile in :49.00 over a fast track, emphasizing the colt’s life was not in danger and that he was expected to fully recover from surgery,” McGee wrote. Dr. Larry Bramlage, the noted equine surgeon, was scheduled to operate on Maxfield at the Rood and Riddle equine clinic in Lexington, Ky. “It devastating, absolutely,” Walsh said, “although as far as these types of injuries go, it couldn’t have been much cleaner, thank goodness. The prognosis is very good for a full recovery, a screw or two to be inserted in the bone. That’s the main thing, that he’s going to be fine.” Maxfield is undefeated in three career starts. The Kentucky-bred son of Street Sense won the Grade I Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland last year and Grade III Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in his 2020 debut on May 23. CEZANNE HAS LOOK OF UP-AND-COMER When I wrote about Cezanne back on May 20, I noted that while a June 20 Belmont certainly was not in the cards for him, I nevertheless was excited about his potential following his five-furlong workout from the gate on May 14 at Santa Anita. Cezanne worked in company with Tapitution, a 3-year-old unraced Tapit colt who sold for $350,000 at public auction last year. Cezanne also sold at public auction last year, fetching a final bid of $3.65 million. “Super” was the word XBTV’s Millie Ball used to described Cezanne’s May 14 workout. “He’s definitely the goods,” Ball said May 17 on Mike William’s radio program Thoroughbred Los Angeles. Ball noted that regarding the May 14 work by Cezanne, it was the first time “Baffert said to go ahead and let him run. And Cezanne came back [after the work] and he couldn’t even have blown a candle out. I was very impressed.” Cezanne then had two more excellent workouts at Santa Anita. He stepped five furlongs in :59.60 from the gate on May 23, third best of 42 at the distance. That was followed by another bullet drill, four furlongs in :47.60 on May 30, best of 47 at the distance. In light of Cezanne’s expensive purchase price, snazzy workouts and considerable hype, plus the fact he hails from the powerful Baffert barn, I made him a 4-5 morning-line favorite for his first career start in last Saturday’s sixth race at Santa Anita. Bettors sent him away as a 2-5 favorite. Away in good order and a close fourth early, Cezanne had a 1 1/2-length lead at the eighth pole. Increasing his lead thereafter while racing a bit greenly, he proved a punctual favorite by 2 1/4 lengths while completing 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:16.13. Flavien Prat was aboard the Kentucky-bred son of two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. It appears to me that Cezanne will appreciate going farther than 6 1/2 furlongs. Baffert has said he believes the colt has the potential to have a big second half of the year like Arrogate in 2016 and West Coast in 2017. In 2016, Arrogate made his career debut as a 3-year-old at Los Alamitos on April 17. He finished third in a six-furlong maiden special weight race. Later in the year Arrogate won the Grade I Travers Stakes by 13 1/2-lengths and broke Saratoga’s 1 1/4-mile track record in what I called a Secretariat-like performance. After the Travers, Arrogate won the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic by a half-length at Santa Anita when he ran down no less a foe than the older California Chrome. Arrogate was voted a 2016 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. California Chrome was voted 2016 Horse of the Year after having previously elected 2014 Horse of the Year. In 2017, West Coast made his career debut as a 3-year-old at Santa Anita on Feb. 18. He finished second in a one-mile maiden special weight race. Later in the year West Coast won the Grade I Travers and Grade I Pennsylvania Derby before finishing third in the Grade I BC Classic at Del Mar. He was voted a 2017 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. Because of all the hype, some probably expected Cezenne to get a higher Beyer Speed Figure than a 90 in his career debut. But keep in mind that it stacks up well against the career-debut Beyers for Arrogate and West Coast. Those Beyers were an 80 for Arrogate and a 91 for West Coast. Whether or not Cezanne does go on to win some big races (and I think he will), he certainly is one very big colt. Check out what Cezanne’s weight was last Saturday compared to some others who raced at Santa Anita that afternoon: Weight Age Horse (Race, Finish) 1,258 lbs. 3 Cezanne (maiden special weight, 1st)1,252 lbs. 5 Higher Power (Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup, 2nd)1,143 lbs. 3 Honor A.P. (Grade I Santa Anita Derby, 1st)1,112 lbs. 3 Swiss Skydiver (Grade II Santa Anita Oaks, 1st)1,098 lbs. 4 Improbable (Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup, 1st)1,090 lbs. 3 Authentic (Grade I Santa Anita Derby, 2nd) How does Cezanne’s weight of 1,258 pounds compare to some champion 3-year-olds in the past? The late Dr. Manuel Gilman, who passed away in 2011 at the age of 91, was best known for being the chief examining veterinarian at New York tracks for 32 years. He is credited for having pioneered the extensive pre-race examination for every horse that now is widespread in the industry. I became familiar with Gilman’s remarkable work in anatomically measuring a multitude of the finest Thoroughbreds to ever race in America when reading the American Racing Manual. Gilman’s measurements are included in many of the profiles of the best horses of the year written by Daily Racing Form columnist Charles Hatton. Year ago I was able to make copies of many of Gilman’s actual conformation sheets. These sheets had the handwritten measurements of numerous champions, such as Buckpasser, John Henry, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Seattle Slew, Ruffian, Dr. Fager and Kelso. Unfortunately, Secretariat’s sheets were not included. However, Gilman’s measurements of Secretariat can be found in the American Racing Manuals of 1972 and 1973. In a few cases on Gilman’s conformation sheets, he made note of a horse’s weight. In the American Racing Manual, Hatton wrote that Secretariat’s weight was on Oct. 22, 1973, prior to his final start and victory on a raw autumn afternoon at Woodbine in the Canadian International at Woodine on Oct. 28. Hatton no doubt got that piece of information from Dr. Gilman. Below is a comparison of Cezanne’s weight at 3 and Secretariat’s weight at the same age: 1,258 lbs. Cezanne1,154 lbs. Secretariat Dr. Gillman’s conformation sheet for Seattle Slew at 3 did not list a weight, but the respected vet did have Slew’s weight at 2 and 4, as listed below: 1,120 lbs. Seattle Slew at age 21,177 lbs. Seattle Slew at age 4 Dr. Gillman also did have Ruffian’s weight as of Sept. 3, 1974, which is listed below: 1,125 lbs. Ruffian at age 2 Man o’ War ranks No. 1 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. It has been reported that Man o’ War weighed “about 1,150 pounds” as a 3-year-old. While Hatton certainly was a keen student of conformation, he also frequently cautioned people there was much more to what makes a champion Thoroughbred than conformation and/or size. “A Thoroughbred’s class, character, action and soundness are not measurable by a tape or standard,” Hatton wrote. MY BELMONT STAKES RANKINGS Charlatan had ranked No. 1 on my Belmont Stakes rankings last week, but he exits the rankings this week due to his aforementioned injury. Prior to Maxfield’s injury, he already had been taken off my Belmont Park rankings after his trainer had said the colt would skip the Belmont and run instead in Keeneland’s Grade II Blue Grass Stakes on July 11. Now Maxfield will not be running in the Blue Grass, either. Without having to face Charlatan and/or Maxfield in what has become a depleted Belmont, it looks like Tiz the Law is going to be mighty tough to beat in the Belmont. It appears to me at this point that Tiz the Law probably will be an odds-on favorite. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law has never lost when competing on a fast track. His lone loss in five career starts came when he had a troubled trip and finished third in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes on a sloppy track at Churchill last Nov. 30. Tiz the Law is two for two in 2020. The New York-bred Constitution colt won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull by three lengths on Feb. 1. He then registered a 4 1/4-length victory in the Grade I Florida Derby at that track on March 28. An interesting newcomer among those expected to run in the Belmont is Tap It to Win. Though trainer Mark Casse has held him in high esteem all along, the Florida-bred Tapit colt won only once in four 2019 starts. When Tapit to Win made his first 2020 start, he won a six-furlong allowance/optional claiming contest by 1 1/2 lengths against state-breds at Gulfstream on May 9. And then last Thursday, Tapit to Win was dazzling when he trounced some highly regarded opponents to win a 1 1/16-mile allowance affair by five lengths at Belmont Park. Tapit to Win’s final time of 1:39.76 was terrific. It was only .54 off the track record of 1:39.22 established by Transparent in 2014. Tapit to Win was assigned a career-best 97 Beyer Speed Figure. Casse won last year’s 1 1/2-mile Belmont with Sir Winston. The trainer is planning to run Tapit to Win back in the Belmont even though it will mean the colt will be racing again only 16 days after his June 4 victory. “I just think you run them when they’re good,” Casse said in a June 5 DRF story written by Grening. “That’s what Woody [Stephens] did, that’s what Allen Jerkens did. I don’t claim to be anywhere in those two guys’ category, but I do try and listen to the greatest in the game and I would say those two fall in that category.” Probably the most famous example of a horse winning two races within a short window for either Stephens or Jerkens occurred in 1982. Conquistador Cielo as a 3-year-old in 1982 for Stephens won the Grade I Met Mile by 7 1/4 lengths on a Monday, then five days later splashed his way to a 14-length victory in the 1 1/2-mile Belmont on a sloppy track. Conquistador Cielo was voted 1982 Horse of the Year. The 2020 Belmont, for the first time ever, will kick off this country’s Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds. Its distance has been shortened considerably this year to 1 1/8 miles. Right now it looks like a field of eight or nine for the Belmont (Pneumatic is considered possible). Here are my rankings: 1. Tiz the Law2. Tap It to Win3. Sole Volante4. Dr. Post5. Basin6. Modernist7. Max Player8. Pneumatic9. Farmington Road Sole Volante, like Tap It to Win, is expected to return relatively quickly to run in the Belmont. A Kentucky-bred Karakontie gelding trained by Patrick Biancone, Sole Volante rallied from last at 2-1 to win a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race June 10 at Gulfstream. Finishing fourth as the 7-10 favorite was another Biancone-trained 3-year-old, Ete Indien. Earlier this year on Feb. 8, Sole Volante won the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs. He then ran second to King Guillermo in the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby on Mach 7 prior to his June 10 allowance victory. HONOR A.P. LEAPS TO NO. 2 IN NTRA POLLS While Midnight Bisou again holds the No. 1 position in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, Honor A.P. moved up to No. 2 in this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll after being No. 6 last week. Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 383 Midnight Bisou (29)2. 265 Mucho Gusto3. 263 By My Standards (1)4. 197 Code of Honor (4)5. 150 Tom’s d’Etat6. 144 Zulu Alpha (1)7. 117 Vekoma8. 109 Improbable9. 108 Maximum Security (4)10. 103 McKinzie Note: Tiz the Law received two first-place votes in the Top Thoroughbred Poll. With 35 points, he ranked 14th in that poll. Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 394 Tiz the Law (31)2. 364 Honor A.P. (7)3. 310 Maxfield (3)4. 260 Authentic5. 189 King Guillermo6. 131 Charlatan7. 119 Sole Volante8. 99 Ete Indien9. 84 Nadal10. 61 Basin  

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6.9.2020:

June 09: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight, Woodbine Mohawk Park has a competitive card scheduled with the Early 0.20 Pick 4 starting as usual in Race 4. The sequence should have a healthy pool, last night over $45,000 was bet on the Early Pick 4.The driver with the hottest hands on Monday was Sylvain Filion with four wins. The top conditioner was Benoit Baillargeon who had three trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 42-Solsbury Hill (5/2)-Comes off a decent 6/1 qualifier and Zeron should work a trip from this post. Makes Wbsb debut and looks like a player.3-Massive Flirt (3-1)-Also qualified with a nice effort on 6/1. Going off past performances, this is the one to beat. Comes in with a perfect 2-2 record and has faced some tough company.7-Nylander (6-1)-Will use after a sharp qualifier from the 8-hole on 6/2. Here is the price shot and could surprise with a decent pace and a live cover flow.Race 51-Crocadile Canyon (5/2)-Will bank on connections having this 10-year-old dialed on high for 1st start off the bench. Fits well with this crew and should take full advantage of the post draw.7-EL Wild Spirit (15-1)-Will need to get a trip but knows how to win here. Post helps the price, has won 8 of 42 starts at Wbsb and Johnson should have 9-year-old ready to roll.8-Tomy Terror (5-1)-Here's another veteran who shows up with this type of company. May leave and hope for the best. Makes 2nd start for Goddard barn off a claim and first race on 3/16 ended with a picture.Race 65-Spartan General (8-1)-Owned, driven, trained, and bred by Team Christoforou and qualified well. Trotted the back half in 57.3 and will use at a price if chalk stumbles.8-Hot Wheelz (2-1)-Comes off a sharp qualifier and that was the 1st time without hopples. 3-year-old Team Jamieson trainee might be ready for a big try and should like the company.Race 71-LA Always Amartini (8-1)-Only 3 for the last 48 but this is a nice spot to improve on that record. Drury should have in striking range and could offer a square price.4-Jan (4-1)-This mare is an on and off type but at this level it could be "go" time. Jamieson may look to get on the engine and stay in control throughout.7-Twin B Tipster (6-1)-Qualified in winning fashion on 6/4 but has had trouble winning at this class. Looking for a solid effort coming off the bench and trying Lasix for the 1st time. Filion can work a trip and pop at a solid price.10-Lovely Donna (5/2)-If this mare drew better, she might go off as an odds-on choice. Should relish the company but Saftic needs to provide a good steer. If #1 blasts out this race could set up nicely for Donna.0.20 Pick 42,3,7/1,7,8/5,8/1,4,7,10Total Bet=$14.40Check me out on Twitter!

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6.8.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (June 1-7): Volatile

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.June 1-7, 2020MVP: VolatileOwner: Phoenix Thoroughbreds III and Three Chimneys FarmTrainer: Steve AsmussenJockey: Ricardo Santana Jr.Performance: There were bigger purses and more prestigious races this past week, but no singular effort could match the 8-length romp by Volatile in the June 6 $100,000 Aristides Stakes. In one of the fastest 6-furlong times in Churchill Downs’ history, this 4-year-old son of Violence stopped the clock in 1:07.57, missing the 2007 track record by just .02. Volatile drew away with each stride in the stretch, defeating a classy field that included Honest Mischief and Bobby’s Wicked One. The final quarter-mile in :23.21 was exceptional after dueling the first half in :44.36. The legacy performer Volatile is a grandson of the Asmussen-trained Grade 1-winning sprinter Lady Tak.On Tap: A potential sequel to Asmussen’s 2019 champion sprinter Mitole obviously will be aimed toward the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Keeneland in November. The path to that one likely heads next to New York as the brief July summer stand at Keeneland does not include any major sprint stakes for the males. Belmont Park has the June 27 Grade 2 $250,000 True North Handicap as a possibility sprinting, while the July 4 Grade 1 $500,000 Metropolitan Mile would certainly be a contender on a mile stretch-out in distance. Mitole took that challenge a year ago with success.Honorable Mentions: A series of stakes winners June 6 nationally earned plaudits. Honor A.P. vanquished rival Authentic to win the Grade 1 $400,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby for his first stakes win, stamping him perhaps the west’s top Kentucky Derby hopeful. On the fillies side, Swiss Skydiver took her road show to the winner’s circle in the Grade 2 $196,000 Santa Anita Oaks. The well-traveled Kenny McPeek trainee has now captured the Gulfstream Park Oaks, Fantasy at Oaklawn and Santa Anita Oaks in her last 3 starts. The June 6 card at Belmont Park had a deep series of stakes winners, most impressively though was Vekoma in the Grade 1 $250,000 Carter, zipping 7 furlongs in 1:21.02 and drawing off by more than 7 lengths. On the same card, Code of Honor made a rousing 2020 return to the races with a determined score in the Grade 3 $100,000 Westchester over a stubborn foe in Endorsed.

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6.8.2020:

Monday, June 08: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk has 10-race card on tap for this evening. The popular 0.20 Pick 5 starts in Race 1 and will be my focus. The sequence has a $75,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Mack (6-1)-Left in its qualifier on a "good" track and stayed inside in a quick 153.3 mile with a 26.3 last panel. This colt can get a similar trip here. If Filion protects his position and starts aggressively Mack could surprise at a price.4-Indictable Hanover (2-1)-Coleman trainee won its qualifier and rolled away in a 56.2 back half. Should be ready for a big debut and will likely be bet hard.6-Better Take It (5-1)-Betters Delight colt had multiple issues in his freshman campaign, so there are reasons to hesitate. But it's better to respect chances here as qualifier was really solid. Posted a 54.2 back half and a 26.3 last 1/4.Race 21-Sky Spirit (6-1)-Has had issues and is a breaking risk. But qualifier was good and now tries hopples for only the 2nd time. Seemed to like the bigger oval, can hang around if minds manners and should offer a fair price.3-Heat Wave Hanover (3-1)-Has only hit the board once in seven starts. But now comes off a nice qualifier and finds a more comfortable spot. Best to respect, should like the company.10-Windsong Patriot (3-1)-Has been off since last June and drops into a softer spot. The 2nd tier is a challenge but could follow #1 and get a decent seat. Might get sucked around if minds manners and roll by near the wire.Race 34-Smart Hill (6-1)-Four-year-old has earned over $215K at Wbsb and has the speed to go with this bunch. MacDonell can make the most of a good post draw and surprise at a square price.8-Pikachu Hanover (3-1)-The shutdown may have come at a good time for this McNair trainee as his form was slipping. Has the gate speed to get on the engine or could grind his way around. Looks like a big threat if dialed on high.Race 41-White Hair Rocks (3-1)-Has only 1 win in 14 starts at Mohawk but draws the rail and this is a soft spot. McNair could get on the engine and not look back.3-PL Jackson (5/2)-Similar to #1, could leave and be tough to collar. Should also like the company but lost the winning punch last year and has only 1-win in the last 40 starts.10-Black Smile (8-1)-Price shot has made a living at ScD and other smaller ovals. Makes 1st start for the Budd barn and Henry can work a trip from the 2nd tier. Shows 151.1 speed at ScD, could be dangerous if put in striking range.Race 53-Captivate Hanover (6-1)-Went the short way around to pick-up a win in 5/28 qualifier. Did go the 2nd half in 55.1 and faced tough foes last year.7-Beaumond Hanover (5/2)-Makes season debut after winning 4 of 5 starts in 2019. Tuned-up with a .55 back half to win qualifier and program chalk looks set for a big try.9-Ideal Perception (9/2)-East coast invader makes 2020 debut for the Coleman barn. McClure may blast out and get the top. American Ideal 3-year-old could be tough to collar if takes to the track.My Ticket Race 1) 1,4,6 Race 2) 1,3,10 Race 3) 4,8 Race 4) 1,3,10 Race 5) 3,7,9Total Ticket Cost) $32.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter!

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6.7.2020:

Sunday, June 7: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:Belmont Park – 4th race. Post Time: 2:55 ET2 – Pandamom (5-1)Was given a run in her debut last fall at Aqueduct, displaying good late speed to wind up a distant third without being knocked about in a middle distance turf affair for juvenile fillies. Returns for C. Clement, who has strong stats with layoff runners and a work tab that should have her plenty fit and ready. The daughter of Uncle Mo doesn’t have all that much to beat in this New York-bred affair and will offer wagering value at or near her morning line of 5-1.Belmont Park – 5th race. Post Time: 3:27 ET1A – River NileCairo Prince colt brought $200,000 as a yearling at Saratoga and debuts in a New York-bred maiden race over a mile that didn’t come up all that strong. First-timers from K. Breen barn often run better than they work, and this colt actually has done some very good things in the morning, including a bullet three furlong gate drill (:35 flat, fastest of 36) last week to have him sharp and ready. The barn’s go-to rider E. Cancel takes the call, so at 6-1 on the morning line he represents an excellent wagering opportunity in the win pool as and a potential rolling exotic single.Churchill Downs – 8th race. Post Time: 4:46 ET3 – Inish Gluaire (6-1)Ran better than the line will show when splitting the field after a wide trip in a strong maiden sprint at Oaklawn Park last month and can be expected to produce a significant forward move for a barn that has superior stats with second-times starts. Purchased for $825,000 at the 2019 OBS March sale, the son of Bernardini from two-time Canadian champion mare Inish Glora shows four easy workouts since that race, retains R. Santana, and projects to be within striking range throughout in a field without a whole lot of early speed. At 6-1 on the morning line the S. Asmussen-trained colt offers value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Never Easy; 8-Cayman’s CobraForecast: Caymans Cobra has looked pretty good in the morning while preparing for his first outing since last October and should return at least as well as he left. The R. Baltas barn has superior stats with layoff runners (31%) and that, along with always-dangerous blinkers off angle, makes this son of Super Saver intriguing in this restricted (nw-3) $35,000 claiming turf miler that came up relatively soft. Never Easy, freshened since late February and with a prior win over the course, lands red-hot F. Prat while showing up in a claimer for the first time. These should be his friends. At the price we’ll try Caymans Cobra on top but include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post 1:04 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Carrie’s Success; 7-Majestic DivaForecast: Bay area invader Carrie’s Success vans down for an extended sprint that isn’t offered at her home track and this seven furlong trip should suit her perfectly, especially with F. Prat climbing aboard. A synthetic course specialist and winless in four starts over the local dirt track, the veteran mare nonetheless rates top billing due to her consistency, sharp recent form, winning connections and speed figures that are good enough to win at this level. Majestic Diva earned a shopping 88 Beyer speed figure over this track and distance three runs back but hasn’t come close to that in two starts since, so we’re not quite sure which version we’re going to see today. She lands the cozy outside post, projects to enjoy a soft stalking trip and should have every chance from the quarter pole home. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Carrie’s Success.RACE 3: Post 1:37 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Burn Me Twice; 4-Black StormForecast: Burn Me Twice ran too well to lose over this track and distance when last seen in early March and returns in a similar spot after ticking over with a series of nice, easy drills. The B. Spawr barn has excellent stats with come-backers so we’re expecting this veteran gelding to fire his usual shot, which could be good enough to win. Class-dropper Black Storm, fourth vs. $25,000 sellers last month, drops for the money run and is the one to fear most. The J. Mullins-trained gelding is a two-time winner over the local main track, a strong fit on speed figures, and easily the most dangerous of the closing types. We’ll prefer Burn Me Twice slightly on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 4: Post 2:10 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Appreciated; 7-Mr PaytienceForecast: Mr Paytience may have been a tad short when second to stable mate Whooping Jay in a similar state-bred allowance sprint last month but will no doubt be fit and ready today in this extended sprint that most likely will feature a modest early pace. Perfectly drawn outside, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should be well positioned on or near the lead and then have his chance to kick home when set down. Appreciated seems likely to be prominent throughout from the rail, and after finishing a close fourth in a hot race last time out – runner-up Kneedeepinsnow came back to gallop yesterday – the Acclamation gelding is strictly the one to beat. He earned a career top speed figure in that race and then returned to work a sharp half mile (:47 2/5, fourth fastest of 52), further evidence that he’s ready for a top try. We expect the winner will be one or the other and both are “must uses” in rolling exotic play.RACE 5: Post 2:42 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Tagline; 3-Constantia; 6-Colombian Gold; 8-SurfaceForecast: We’ll spread four-deep in this maiden $62,500 grass grab bag for fillies and mares and hope to survive and advance. Tagline is improving with racing, is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from her rail draw, and with just three career outings has plenty of room for further development. She closed willingly against the grain in straight maiden company when last seen in March and faces easier. Columbian Gold, a solid second over this course and distance in a similar affair in early March, must be considered a major player off that effort and goes for the red-hot F. Prat/P. Miller combo. The daughter of Dialed In projects to draft into a nice second-flight position and then be ready to pounce when called upon. Surface shows up in a seller for the first time in her first outing since November and is a fit on figures. While she has failed to hit the board in three prior starts over the local lawn, those races came against better. Constantia has the two-sprints and a stretch-out pattern we like combined with the always-dangerous maiden-to-maiden claimer angle. We can’t say she’s bred to improve routing on turf and this trainer/jockey combo doesn’t have any history of success, but we’ll still toss her in on a ticket or two as a saver.RACE 6: Post 3:14 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Dark Prince; 2-Sash; 6-JuliusForecast: Here’s a tough race loaded with question marks. Tread lightly. Julius may not be one to trust, but if he minds his manners he may be capable of handling this field. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding has the two prerequisite sprints under his belt off a layoff and seems primed to stretch and shows his best stuff while picking up one of the stable’s “go-to” riders, U. Rispoli. The son of Tapit can win a race like this if he decides to run straight and true, and in a field without any effective true closers he’ll be tough from a pace-stalking position. Dark Prince may be better on turf, but he trains well on the main track, and after a speed/fade effort in his comeback should be fitter today. We like the blinkers off angle as well. Sash turned in a solid effort vs. similar here last month when winding up second and a repeat of that effort today puts him right there. He’s the likely choice and perhaps the most reliable of the main contenders.RACE 7: Post 3:46 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Red Diamond; 3-Predictable Tully; 8-Viazar; 10-Sapphire SilkForecast: This is a real messy affair, a maiden claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares in which no result would surprise us. Spread as deeply as you can afford to. The debuting Red Diamond has trained fairly well for R. McAnally, seems to have some speed, and if she breaks cleanly from the rail she might make some noise at a nice price. Predictably Tully shows up in a maiden claimer for the first time – you know how effective that angle can be – and while her numbers aren’t strong they’re good enough to win a race like this. The J. Mullins-trained import seems most effective when held up early and allowed to run late and given that type of race she could produce the last run. Sapphire Silk is stuck way outside in her first-off-the-claim for S. Knapp (25% with a massive flat-bet profit with this angle) and this lightly-raced daughter of Verrazano could move forward considerably in her first start on grass (bred for it). She has enough early speed to be dangerous so at 8-1 on the morning you have to use her. The first-timer Viazar has shown some ability in the a.m., and while this barn doesn’t win often with debut runners the daughter of Tapizar is a dangerous fresh in a wide open grass grab bag.RACE 8: Post 4:18 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-McKinzieForecast: McKinzie is unbeaten at seven furlongs and will be odds-on to remain that way in this year’s edition of the Triple Bend S.-G2. His cozy outside draw that will allow M. Smith to dictate the race, and the son of Street Sense has trained as well as ever, has a history of firing fresh, and simply out-classes this field. He’s a short-priced, highly-logical rolling exotic single.RACE 9: Post 4:48 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Approved for Flyby; 9-A MelisForecast: We’ll double the finale, an abbreviated maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares. A Melis has trained very well for her debut and should be plenty fit for a barn that has good stats with first-timers. Bred to be quick (Jimmy Creed out of a half-sister to Forego S.-G1 winner Pomeroy), the T. Yakteen-trained filly hasn’t really been asked for speed in most of her local works, but when she breezed at the OBS Sale as a 2-year-old she went in 10 1/5 seconds, so we’re expecting to see her display some early zip. He might be a nice Cal-bred filly. Approved for Flyby exits a fast race and has a right to improve in her second career start after finishing a distant third behind subsequent stakes winner Big Sweep. She gets blinkers and F. Prat, and if she breaks running from the rail she should be right there.

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6.7.2020:

Sunday, June 07: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

The horsemen at Hawthorne Racecourse have been anxiously awaiting a Sunday night of racing since the middle of March. Tonight's 13-race card has a 0.50 Late Pick 4 slated to begin in Race 10 and it will be my focus. The sequence has a $25,000 guaranteed pool.The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday was Bobby Smolin with three trips to the winner's circle. The leading trainer was Ronnie Roberts with two wins.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 103-Swans Mission (12-1)-Even qualifier at HoP but did race the back half in 57.4 and should be forwardly placed with this post draw.5-I Thank You (5-1)Had a breaking problem in the past but qualified without any issue. Leonard can keep her in the hunt early, could get sucked around and roll by late.8-Stella Kemp (5-1)-Had a pair of qualifiers at HoP and might be ready for a big try off the bench. Trixton filly is 0-9 but has faced some tough competition. Fits much better with this group and should offer a square price.Race 112-Lookintomyeyes (3-1)-Qualified at ScD and also had a nice start on 5/27. Has been in the hunt in 5 of 6 races in 2020. Does have a win and a third-place finish at Haw in two starts. Will look for a big try off the recent effort.3-Slow Your Roll (4-1)-Qualified in 56.4 at Nfld after winning back on 3/8 at Haw. Steps-up but still fits with this crew and has done well in 2 Haw starts.6-Spicy Lil Hope (6-1)-Comes off an even qualifier and is 0-7. But Husted seems to put this 3-year-old filly in play and will take a swing for a square price.Race 121-Dandy Dude (10-1)-Finished off the qualifier in fine fashion and has hit the board in 13 of 19 Haw starts. Drawing the rail helps and has the gate speed to be on or near the lead throughout at nice odds.6-Western Vinny (3-1)-Comes off a solid qualifier and will likely be sent out to gain an up-close seat. Should be in the mix throughout and will be trying to take its third picture in 22 starts.7-Lakeside Buddy (4-1)-Qualified at Haw with Leonard on 6/1 and has 2-second place finishes in 4 Haw starts. Leonard is a different set of hands, maybe he will squeeze a little more juice out of this 4-year-old and snag 3rd career win.Race 132-Beachmaster Two (2-1)-3-year-old maiden is 0-11 but had 2 qualifiers at HoP and did face stakes level competition last year. Oosting has steered before and he has options from this post.10-Rollinwithdesire (8-1)-Team Seekman trainee tuned up at HoP with a good qualifier. Has some speed and went the 2nd half in .57 on 5/30. There are a few who could blast out and if pace is hot chances for success go up at a price.My Ticket Race 10) 3,5,8 Race 11) 2,3,6 Race 12) 1,6,7 Race 13) 2,10Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.7.2020:

Changes Abound On Stakes Landscape

Cancelled … postponed … rescheduled … unchanged. Take your pick. Harness racing’s 2020 stakes season can be divided into those categories, ever-changing as they may be. Here’s some of what fans know now. Check the U.S. Trotting Association for daily updates. ·         From June to July 3, there were 21 six-figure stakes from among 177 scheduled in North America. ·          Northfield Park’s $200,000 Battle of Lake Erie and $175,000 Cleveland Trotting Classic were canceled, meeting similar fate of high-profile events like Yonkers’s Art Rooney Pace, Western Fair’s Camluck Classic and Scioto Downs’ Jim Ewart Memorial before them. The next stakes cycle will commence with the July 4 cancellation of Pocono Downs’ lucrative Sun Stakes finals. ·         Sire stakes action at New York’s Buffalo Raceway, Saratoga Raceway and Tioga Downs joined Pennsylvania’s Pocono Downs, Meadows and Harrah’s Philadelphia in the “postponed” stage. ·         The top 3-year-olds are scheduled to head postward in the Meadowlands Pace on Saturday, July 18. ·         The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the featured race on Canada’s most lucrative night of racing, was rescheduled from June 20 to August 29. The $450,000 Fan Hanover Stakes and $330,000 Roses Are Red complement the North America Cup. ·         Pacing’s Triple Crown will consist of the Cane Pace, scheduled August 8 at the Meadowlands, the Messenger September 5 at Yonkers and the Little Brown Jug September 24 in Delaware, Ohio. ·         The crown jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown – the $1 million Hambletonian – hopes to maintain its August 8 starting assignment, surrounded by the Yonkers Trot September 5 and Kentucky Futurity October 11 at the Red Mile. ·         Many of the world’s best trotters will receive invites to the Yonkers International, set for September 12, though live racing has yet to return to Yonkers. ·         Harrah’s Hoosier Park is on pace to host its second Breeders Crown in late October. Hoosier Park handled a record $4 million-plus in bets in its first go-round in 2017.

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6.6.2020:

June 06: Meadowlands Early Pick 4 Analysis

It is the first Saturday night of harness racing at the Meadowlands since the lockdown. The Early Pick 4 starts in Race 6 and will be my focus. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool with a 15% takeout.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Another Daily Copy (15-1)-Rolled the back half at Gateway Farms in 56.1 and has won 25% of Big M starts. Likes to race up front and should do so here. Will take a swing for a price and the Johnson barn was having a good 2020.4-Western Joe (3-1)-Joe knows his way to the Big M winner's circle and has won over $300k in East Rutherford. Gets a nice post draw and Berry should put in play.6-Closing Statement (9/2)-Raced evenly in qualifier but the winner is in with Prfd company tonight and the mile went in 150.4. Could offer a square price and McCarthy should have in play. Did have a 54.1 last half in qualifier.7-Alluneedisfaith N (8-1)-Qualified at the Big M and the fractions were swift. Usually does best work on a smaller oval but will use in this spot instead of #10, the 2nd program chalk.Race 71-Very Very Fast (10-1)-Didn't show much in Gateway Farms qualifier but fits well with this bunch and does have 4 wins in 16 starts at the Big M. Likes to get on the engine and could play that hand here or sit a 2-hole trip.2-Muscle Fashion (8-1)-Qualified at the Big M and that shouldn't hurt. Usually shows up from an inside post at this class. Will look for a price in this race and leave #10 the program chalk out of the mix.5-Oberto (9/2)-Qualifier was fine, but the pace was dull. This guy is trip dependent but can roll late. Will respect chances because pace could be quick as the morning line chalk, #10 will probably blast out.6-My Lindy Winner (12-1)-Looking for another price and trying to beat the two program chalks #8 and #10. Qualified with some tough customers, Southwind Chrome and Crystal Fashion, but did race the back half in 55.4.Race 83-Mohawk Warrior (5-1)-Is 0-5 at the Big M and usually is performing at Yonkers. Did race the back half in 54.3 in tune-up and Tetrick stays aboard tonight. Could get sucked around and roll by late at a square price.7-The Bettormack N (3-1)-Aussie import seems to have found a nice spot to win US debut. Qualified at the Big M and sizzled the 2nd half in 54.2, best to respect.Race 91-Shnitzledosomethin (7/2)-Five-year-old tuned up nicely and appears ready for a big try off the bench. Likes to race on top or close to the lead and had a 149.1 lifetime mark here in 2019.5-Dorsoduro Hanover (9/2)-Burke trainee qualified nicely and looks ready for a top effort. Has only 1 win in 9 starts at the Big M but should like the company this evening.7-None Bettor A (3-1)-Qualified on Lasix in 150.4 at Gateway and is a perfect 6-6 in East Rutherford. Tetrick could blast out and get on the engine or land in the 2-hole. Harris trainee looks dangerous with a decent trip.0.50 Early Pick 41,4,6,7/1,2,5,6/3,7/1,5,7Total Bet=$48Check me out on Twitter!

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6.6.2020:

Saturday, June 6: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:Churchill Downs – 8th race. Post Time: 4:46 ET6-Volatile (2-1)Won like a future star in his sophomore debut at Oaklawn Park in late April, flashing speed to press the pace in hand and then kicking clear when turned loose to earn a career top speed figure for his third victory from just four lifetime starts. Moves into stakes company for the first time, but this son of Violence should be able to take the class hike in stride. Perfectly drawn outside, the S. Asmussen-trained colt can press the issue and then move when he wants, so there’s plenty of wagering value at 2-1 on the morning line if you can get it.Churchill Downs – 10th race. Post Time: 5:50 ET8 – Edgeway (3-1)Was miles the best in a recent allowance win at Oaklawn Park, overcoming a sluggish beginning and very wide trip to win as much in a fast allowance sprint to improve her record to two wins in three starts to accompany a third place finish in a stakes. The daughter of Competitive Edge can control this race either on the front end or as a pace-presser from her lovely outside draw, and with a series of recent terrific workouts over the local main track the J. Sadler-trained filly should be extremely difficult to deny. Hopefully, we can get close to her morning line of 3-1 in the win pool and in the exotics.Belmont Park – 9th race. Post Time: 5:36 ET11-Vekoma (7/2)Came back better than he left when winning a strong allowance race with a career top speed figure in late March at Gulfstream Park and should build on that impressive performance today while tackling a tougher group in today’s Carter H.-G1. Genuine and versatile son of Candy Spot is tough at any distance – he won last year’s 9-furlong Blue Grass S.-G2 – but he may be most effective sprinting and in fact in undefeated in three starts around one-turn. Drawn comfortably outside in a race without pace, he’s guaranteed an ideal pace-stalking trip, so at 7/2 on the morning line there’s plenty of wagering value to be found.Belmont Park – 10th race. Post Time 6:08 ET4 – Tale of the Union (8/5)Was extremely rusty when seventh of eight in his first start in 21 months in a first-level allowance sprint at Santa Anita in mid-May but has returned to work extremely well since that race before being put on a plane for this first-level allowance extended sprint. The son of Union Rags catches a field without much speed, so we’re expecting the B. Baffert-trained son of Union Rags to out-class this field while or near the lead throughout .Belmont Park – 11th race. Post Time: 6:40 ET6 – Lonesome Fugitive-IRE (5/2)Was very green in his only outing and cost himself the race when lugging in through the stretch yet still finished with purpose to be second in a promising effort at Gulfstream Park in January. The C. Brown-trained colt has displayed none of those tendencies in recent workouts so we’re expecting the this talented Irish-bred colt to run straight and true and earn his maiden diploma in this mile grass event for older maidens. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a strong win play and rolling exotic single.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Sedamar; 2-Super PatriotForecast: The Saturday opener is a highly-contentious state-bred stakes over a mile on turf that drew six runners, each of whom have a look at it. We’ll try to survive and advance using just two; you may feel the need to go deeper. Sedamar, freshened since January and sporting a pair of bullet training track drills to indicate that she’s fit and ready, seeks her third win from her last four starts and projects to enjoy a lovely stalking, ground-saving trip. From a capable barn that shows good stats with layoff runners, the daughter of Richard’s Kid is strong in the speed figure department and has shown a liking for the local lawn in the past. B. Blanc stays aboard and fits her well. Super Patriot was overmatched in the Buena Vista S.-G2 in her most recent appearance in February but she’s back with California-bred company today and makes a monumental jockey change to F. Prat. She’s always been somewhat pace dependent, so in a race that may have modest early fractions she’s not guaranteed the proper race flow, but against this group she may be able to overcome it. We’ll give Sedamar a slight edge on top due to her tactical speed but both should be included in rolling exotic play/RACE 2: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Sonic Brees; 5-Rombauer; 6-ExhaltingForecast: This five-furlong juvenile dash has at least three newcomers with credentials to win early, with trainer D. O’Neill saddling a pair that are “must uses” in rolling exotic play. Sonic Brees has done some excellent work in the a.m. over the local main track, displaying good ability in a pair of recent team gate drills, so the $80,000 Keeneland yearling purchase looks fit and ready to fire. Those his listed clockings have been just moderate, this colt appears to have plenty of early gas. Stable mate Exalting also has displayed talent in the a.m. and looks like a very live item as well. A $42,000 yearling purchase last fall in Florida, the son of Chitu tuned up with a sharp :47 3/5 gate drill while best of a team and moves like a colt with some quality. Also worth some consideration, at least on a back-up ticket, is Rombauer, a nice prospect by Twirling Candy and another with workouts that are better than the final times might indicate. The M. McCarthy barn doesn’t win with many first-timers but this colt should at the very least give a good account of himself.RACE 3: Post 1:31 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Silken Prince; 4-KneedeepinshowForecast: Kneedeepinshow lost a toughie in his return to California when pressing the pace throughout and then getting tagged right on the money in a fast, highly-rated race at this level that produced a career top speed figure. The son of Flat Out, with just six career outings, has room for further improvement, and in a field that lacks early speed he should be comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout. With the switch to A. Cedillo and an easy breeze since raced, the S. Ruis-trained colt should be primed for another big effort. Silken Prince, a prototype late-running sprinter, finished sixth in the same race Kneedeepinshow exits but didn’t get the best of trips, was beaten only 2 � lengths, and today gets an extra furlong to work with. A repeat of his dynamite score over this track and distance two runs back makes him a major player. Due to the projected soft race flow, we’ll give Kneedeepinshow a slight edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 4: Post 2:01 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-El Tigre Terrible; 4-Rookie MistakeForecast: El Tigre Terrible won the Speakeasy Stakes over this course as distance as a 2-year-old in October in his only prior outing on turf, but then disappeared. The Smiling Tiger colt returns following a healthy series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs, and if returns as well as he left the P. Miller-trained colt should be hard to deny. In a race that should contain enough early speed to set things up for a closer, ‘Terrible will be capable of producing the last run with good racing luck. Rookie Mistake, tough on any surface but already a two-time winner over the local lawn, earned a career top speed figure when beaten a head in the Echo Eddie S. on dirt last month and should be equally dangerous under these conditions. Like ‘Terrible, this son of Square Eddie is most effective when held up early and allowed to blast home. Since today’s course will have the rail set at a “zero” setting and therefore kind to the late runners. we’ll give El Tigre Terrible a slight edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 2:32 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Swiss Skydiver; 2-Merneith; 3-SpeechForecast: This year’s edition of the Santa Anita Oaks-G2 will have just four entrants and three of them are exceptional, while the other filly (Real Beauty) is merely very good. This is a pass race, plain and simply. Merneith should be the controlling speed, and although she failed to stay a mile when nosed out at 6/5 at this trip in February, we’re thinking that she’s a much better filly now, especially following in 10 length maiden romp at Oaklawn Park in her most recent start. She continues to train superbly over a Santa Anita main tack that is much tighter and firmer than it was during the winner, and if this daughter of American Pharoah shakes looks early without being pressured she may take this field a very long way. Swiss Skydiver winner of both the Gulfstream Park Oaks-G2 and the Fantasy Stakes-G3, will be very hard to beat if she can reproduce that form on the West Coast. Very fast on numbers and projected to enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip, the daughter of Daredevil picks up M. Smith and is a genuine and versatile type that can win regardless of pace flow or early position. Speech continues to improve with experience, earning a career top speed figure when a narrow second to the highly-regarded Gamine in an overnight race at Oaklawn Park last month. She switches to F. Prat and is likely sit just behind the leaders and then produce her best bid from the quarter pole home. A recent bullet five furlong drill in :59 flat indicates she’s spot on for another huge effort.RACE 6: Post 3:03 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Cezanne; 2-Brazen’ 4-Mystery Man; 4-Rayray; 5-Mystery ManForecast: All eyes in this hot maiden special weight sprint will be on Cezanne, an exceptional prospect by Curlin that brought $3,650,000 at auction in the winter of 2019. He finally makes it to the post following a string of very impressive workouts in recent weeks and was recently a late nomination to the Triple Crown. That said, the B. Baffert-trained colt had the misfortune of drawing the rail and must break cleanly to avoid trouble. He doesn’t strike us as a particularly quick colt leaving the barrier so the opening furlong may tell the tale, but if runs to his press clippings he’ll be good enough to graduate at first asking and then go on to bigger and better things. Stable mate Brazen, drawn right next door in the 2-hole, is another good prospect and must be considered a contender as well. He recently worked stride-for-stride with unbeaten Charlatan and did it without pressure, so you know the ability is there. The son of Ghostzapper is plenty fit and ready. Mystery Man is yet another newcomer with excellent credentials. The R. Mandella-trained son of Violence has handled everything led up to him in the morning and has done it like a colt that could be formidable first crack out of the box even though his pedigree suggests he’ll be better with more distance. Rayray has the benefit of a recent local outing, having finished a strong second in a similar maiden sprint that earned a strong speed figure. He could easily be the controlling speed, but today will have to negotiate an extra furlong. Any one of the four could win without really causing an upset, but the colt with the fancy price tag - Cezanne - probably is the one to fear beat.RACE 7: Post 3:34 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Prince Earl; 8-Lieutenant DanForecast: There should be enough pace in this state-bred turf miler to compliment the late-running styles of Prince Earl and Lieutenant Dan, both of whom are good enough to win with any kind of proper trip. Prince Earl, winner of the Del Mar Mile-G2 last summer following a nine-month layoff, returns this time off a similar vacation and has trained well enough at Los Alamitos to expect a top effort off the bench. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding picks up top grass rider U. Rispoli and should settle somewhere in mid-pack and then have his chance to produce the last run. Lieutenant Dan, fresh from a game win in the Sensational Star Stakes sprinting over the local lawn in March, can be just as effective around two turns but most avoid getting caught wide early from his outside draw. The son of Grazen should be able to settle in the second flight and then kick home when asked. We’ll give Prince Earl the edge on top for having won graded stakes in open company, but if he’s not quite cranked we’ll still have Lieutenant Dan as a saver in rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post 4:09 PT. Grade: XUse: 6-Honor A. P.; 7-AuthenticForecast: Authentic may have won this year’s edition of the Santa Anita Derby at the draw. Drawn cozily outside of seven, the unbeaten 3-year-old now has the option of settling off the other speed types (Shooters Shoot, Rushie) if the situation demands, or he can take control early if the others aren’t sent. The main thing, though, is that D. Van Dyke will have plenty of time to decide before the field hits the clubhouse turn where he wants to be. How will Authentic – a gate-to-wire winner in each of his three previous starts – react if stalking tactics are employed? The gamble is that the B. Baffert-trained colt will handle that strategy just fine. Fast on figures and training in superb fashion, the son of Into Mischief won’t be offering any value at 4/5 on the morning line, but clearly he is the one to beat. Honor Code is worth considering as a saver on a ticket or two if your budget allows. A willingly and respectable runner-up to Authentic when they met in the San Felipe S.-G2 in early March, the son of Honor Code has every right to be fitter, sharper and better as he gains experience and maturity, and if the pace comes up faster than expected he’ll be heard from late as the most dangerous of the closers.RACE 9: Post 4:42 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-K P All Systems Go; 7-HaribouxForecast: There are two main contenders in this year’s renewal of the Cinema Stake, and trainer Jeff Mullins trains them both. Hariboux is unproven at nine furlongs but his form over a mile suggests that today’s extra furlong shouldn’t be an issue. A strong runner-up at 34-1 in the fast-paced Eddie Logan Stakes in December and then victorious in the highly-rated but race-shape-aided Pasadena Stakes in late February, the English-bred gelding can really turn it on late but will most likely have to switch off early and find some cover in a race that probably will be slowly run early. If he can do that without becoming keen or rank, the J. Mullins-trained 3-year-old should continue his winning form. K P All Systems Go seemed like he was on the road to nowhere early in his career, but his past two outings shows that the son of More Than Ready has blossomed into an exceptional grass prospect. A six length romp from maidens over this course and distance in January followed by a clever entry-level allowance score when rallying against creepy-crawler fractions has propelled the late-charging colt into stakes competition, and while he’ll need a boost in the speed figure department he strikes as a colt that may be capable of rising to the occasion. Both of the Mullins entrants should be included in your rolling exotics.RACE 10: Post 5:12 PT. Grade: B+Single: 5-ImprobableForecast: There may be some question as to whether Improbable is a true mile and one-quarter horse but given the small field and the lack of pace this 4-year-old will never have a better opportunity to prove that he is. The B. Baffert-trained colt, training as well or better than he ever has, should be able to dictate the race flow while either on the lead or from a stalking position, depending upon how committed to the lead Midway and/or Brown Storm choose to be. Additionally, he’ll have to mind his manners in the gate – something that’s always a concern – but if he behaves himself in the barrier and then performs up to his ability we’re expecting the son of City Zip to take home his second Grade-1 win of his career. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a win play and rolling exotic single.RACE 11: Post 5:42 PT. Grade: C+Use: 7-Homehome; 8-Takethediamondlane; 9-Dim LightsForecast: The finale is a challenging state-bred, first-level allowance extended sprint for older fillies and mares. Takethediamondlane will be a bit of a price in her first outing since mid-January. The daughter of Bodemeister has trained pretty well of late and may be a better type off the layoff for a barn that has superior stats with come-backers, and although she finished far back as the favorite last time out in a similar affair she switches to U. Rispoli and may be capable of bouncing back. If not, Dim Lights could be the one to beat. From her outside draw the S. Miyadi-trained filly has the option of popping and going or stalking and pouncing, and if she duplicates her grass form on the main track the daughter of Munnings will be formidable throughout. Homehome returns to the allowance ranks after being overmatched in a pair of stakes. She’s won over this main track in the past and projects to settle in a good second flight position and then have every chance when the pressure is turned on. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play with a very slight edge on top to Takethediamondlane.

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6.6.2020:

Sunday, June 7: Santa Anita Late Pick 4 Ticket

Everyone likes the outstanding sprinter Whitmore, but fans of Flagstaff feel slighted and have waited since mid-April for his return.Whitmore won Oaklawn’s Grade 3 Count Fleet Sprint by three-quarters of a length over Flagstaff, who broke 11th and last, motored through traffic and came within three-quarters of a length of Whitmore at the end. He was flying, and with any kind of luck at all probably would’ve had his picture taken.Flagstaff is back home at Santa Anita on Sunday for the Grade 2 Triple Bend Stakes (Race 8, 7 p.m. ET) to face highly regarded McKinzie and three others in the seven-furlong race, which is the third leg of the Pick 4.Flagstaff became on of the top sprinters on the West Coast when he was third behind Omaha Beach in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship. He won the Damascus Stakes and took the Grade 2 San Carlos. He has been very close to the pace in nearly all of his races, with the Count Fleet as a glaring exception.McKinzie, as we all know, is a Grade 1 regular and usually runs longer distances, but in December of 2018 he rallied from 12th and won the Grade 1 Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs in widening fashion. He can get tuned up early and he certainly has the overall class edge. He’s been off since he was 11th in the $20 million Saudi Cup. His usual string of good works has followed and he’ll undoubtedly be outrun in this one.Both are on the suggested Pick 4 ticket, which amounts to $60. Here’s a look at the other late Pick 4 races:Race 6 (6 p.m. ET, optional claiming)It’s all about finding the right level, and the connections of SASH have done just that. Sure, they tried him in the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe, and the result was a 10th-place finish, but he’s back to his optional claiming $40,000 price, and he has a win and a good 2nd (last out) at the level. He gets the edge, but it’s not enough of an advantage in which he stands alone on the ticket. SWAMP SOUFFLE made a strong run for third last out and is capable of getting there today, and JULIUS was very good in two-turn races last year and gets to stretch out after competing in sprints.Race 7 (6:30 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)Maiden claimers are the easiest to figure, especially when it’s an evenly matched bunch. RED DIAMOND makes her debut and Hall of Famer Ron McAnally won with a first-timer last week, so this gal will try to continue that barn’s success. PREDICTABLE TULLY has had four U.S. starts after three in Great Britain and has been fairly close in all tries here. Moved early and hung late last time and a well-timed move will make her tough. MOREAVINO is a Justin Phillip filly making her initial start midway in her 4-year-old year. She has a steady string of works and looks ready to give it a go. MISS ALEGRIA was an even fourth in a decent spot in her debut and can be expected to improve off that effort.Race 9 (7:30 p.m. ET, maiden)This is a head scratcher, much like the 7th race. APPROVED FOR FLYBY was closed up early and faded to third, 10 lengths off at the end. She’s likely to improve. LOVELY FINISH ran on late and was getting to the winner. She’s been second in four of six and has been able to get over the hump. Maybe today is the day. LIBERALISM was on the board in all three starts, will be a front-end factor and could stay. A MELIS has trained very well for her first start and likely will get a fair share of support. ANNA FANTASTIC has several good works and is ready to make her debut. Could surprise.My Ticket Race 6) #2 Sash, #5 Swamp Souffle, #6 Julius. Race 7) #1 Red Diamond, #3 Predictable Tully, #5 Moreavino, #9 Miss Alegria. Race 8) #1 Flagstaff, #5 McKinzie. Race 9) #1 Approved for Flyby, #6 Lovely Finish, #8 Liberalism, #9 A Melis, #10 Anna Fantastic. Total Ticket Cost) 2,5,6/1,3,5,9/1,5/1,6,8,9,10 = $60 for $0.50

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6.5.2020:

RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby Day Spot Plays

On what is traditionally Belmont Stakes Saturday, we’re instead greeted with an 11-race card from Santa Anita headlined by the Grade 1 RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby. And while New York will have its day in two weeks, this Saturday is all about California.  With heavy hitters like Authentic, Improbable, Higher Power, Swiss Skydiver and highly touted first-time starter Cezanne among the entries, finding value – and betting it accordingly – is extremely important to coming out ahead on Saturday.  You may have to alter your normal approach to make sure you are getting your money’s worth in horizontal and vertical bets.  But hey, we’re horesplayers and that’s what we do. I’ve handicapped the card and identified two horses I really like in early races. The early part of the card features the low-takeout Player’s Pick 5 (Races 1 – 5), the Early Pick 4 (Races 2 – 5), Rolling Pick 3’s and Doubles, as well as traditional single-race bets like the Exacta, Trifecta and Superfecta. Consider these horses in those races and let’s try to start the day by boosting the bankroll with a few nice tickets! Race 3 (4:31PM ET) – Allowance Optional Claiming #4 Kneedeepinsnow (5/2) I think #4 KNEEDEEPINSNOW has a big tactical advantage over the field as he is the ‘speed of the speed’ and should be able to dictate the flow of the race on the front-end. He nearly won at this level last time out – beaten just a head at odds of 24/1 – and while he won’t be that long of a price on Saturday, I’m still hoping he offers a fair price. His last two conventional dirt track races were excellent and he’s a must-use horse for me and a potential single in the Early Pick 5. Race 4 (5:01PM ET) – Desert Code Stakes#1 Phantom Boss (6/1) Let’s take a shot at a first-time turf horse, #1 PHANTOM BOSS, in the $75,000 Desert Code Stakes. He is a son of 2011 Preakness winner Shackleford and I love betting his sons and daughters on the grass. Plus the rail draw (as opposed to a very difficult outside post last time) and addition of blinkers simplifies things a bit for PHANTOM BOSS. I think he’s the quickest of these early and I’d like to see Tiago Pereira put him on the lead and try to take this bunch gate-to-wire. And since he has no prior turf form, we should get a fair price on him, hopefully 5/1 or higher.   

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6.5.2020:

Friday, June 05: Scioto Downs Late Pick 4 Analysis

Scioto Downs has a 14-race card ready to go this evening. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 10 and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 106-Pure Chance (8/5)-Got the top from the 10-hole and faded to finish 2nd in season debut. Should be tighter, gets post relief and Merriman can provide an aggressive steer.9-Wittyville (9/2)-Burke trainee has won >$190k at ScD and comes off an easy score versus a softer field. Needs to mind manners and Page must work a good trip, but could be in the mix with an alert start.Race 111-Under The Hood (5/2)-Widger takes the lines and maybe that will help this mare wake-up. Figures to be in the hunt, but recent form has been dull. Using and hoping won't be over bet in a race without a standout.2-Dancing Lisa (4-1)-Got on the engine and was just edged in a sharp qualifier. Is only 1-15 at ScD and will probably be bet. But has the speed to beat this crew.3-Elm Grove Joanette (8-1)-Took the short way around in qualifier and raced the back half in 56.2. Should be a player despite being only 1-39 at ScD and may offer a solid price.4-U'll Learn (12-1)-If Sutton finds a live cover flow this mare could win at a big price. Has shown some improvement since the lay-off and draws well.Race 124-Bellatricks (4-1)-Camera shy 7-year-old did race a big mile against better last week. Miller will probably blast out to control things and may not look back.8-Queen Of The Pride (4-1)-This classy mare is the one to beat and probably is a picture taker if dialed on high. Winner of 4 in 8 starts at ScD and now drops into a soft spot to grab first win of 2020.Race 132-I Know My Chips (7/2)-Should enjoy the company and has won 12 of 27 starts at ScD. Qualified well and was Smith's choice over the program chalk #8.4-Mugshot Man (8-1)-Qualifier was fine and comes off the bench to face a similar crew as in last win. This is a lightly raced 7-year-old and last picture was taken back on 8/22. Can compete here if ready and should be a square price.10-Voyage To Paris (5-1)-Drops in 3rd start off the lay-off and post helps the price. Sutton may look to follow #2 at the start and get a good early seat. Best to respect winner of $186k in 2019.My Ticket Race 10) 6,9 Race 11) 1,2,3,4 Race 12) 4,8 Race 13) 2,4,10Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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6.5.2020:

Friday, June 5: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:Laurel Park – 7th race. Post Time: 3:51 ET11-Francatelli (7/2)Looks to be an extremely live and well-meant first-timer from the C. Lynch barn (superior starts with debut runners) in this maiden special weight turf sprint. The barn’s “to to” rider X. Perez takes the call on the son of City Zip (terrific grass sire), who sports an impressive workout resume that a couple of bullet drills including a nice breeze around dogs on the Laurel lawn May 31 as the final tightener. At 7/2 on the morning line he offers intriguing value both in the win pole and rolling exotic play.Belmont Park – 10th race. Post Time: 6:08 ET9 – Uncle George (8-1)Shows a very impressive series of drills for his long-awaited debut and we’re expecting a big effort from the son of Uncle Mo for the powerful jockey/trainer team of F. Alvarado and C. Clement. From a stable that excels with first-timer starters, this $310,000 Saratoga yearling purchase displayed plenty of zip over the deep Payson Park training track before arriving in New York, so at 8-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a win play and rolling exotic single.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Eagle in the Sky; 3-BoldenForecast: Bolden sports a bullet :47 2/5 gate drill (fastest of 33) last week to have him fit and ready in this juvenile California-bred sprint and goes for the always-potent P. Miller/F. Prat combo, two factors that will ensure the son of Square Eddie will get plenty of backing on the tote. A $100,000 yearling purchase at Pomona last September, he’s out of the mare Bas, a bottom-rung maiden claiming route winner from a modest female family, so we can only assume that this is one superior-looking individual. In the past, this jockey has needed some convincing to ride first-time starting babies, so we must assume this colt has a story attached. Eagle in the Sky has done some good working in the morning leading up to his debut (see PDF workout report, above), including a recent gate drill in company and besting the older Include the Tax while displaying good early speed and professionalism. The M. McCarthy barn doesn’t often win with first-timers but this son of Sky Mesa looks cranked up and ready to go. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-So Much Happy; 5-Sunriser; 8-SutroForecast: This starter optional claimer for fillies and mares over a mile on grass seems likely to have a faster-than-par early pace and seems likely to set things up for the late-running contingent. On the other hand, with the rails up 30 feet, inside speed tends to carry farther than one might anticipate. Because of the volatile nature of the projected race flow, a spread in rolling exotic play might be required. Sunriser may be the most dangerous of the closing types, especially if her improvement continues. She broke her maiden for a high-priced tag off a layoff in March rallying against the grain in a clever performance and been kept on edge in the interim for a barn that has superior stats with layoff runners (in this case, nearly three months). The V. Cerin-trained daughter of City Zip retains top grass rider U. Rispoli and is sure to receive the patient ride that brings out her best. Sutro, a grinding type without a true turn of foot, had fractions to run at when a closing third in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claimer over the local lawn last month and earned a speed figure that, while fast enough to win this race, may have flattered her just a bit. She retains M. Smith and with some help up front should be heard from in the final furlong. So Much Happy lands the golden rail and has only one way to go, on the front end for as far as she can stay there. If not pressured early – and in these turf routes you never can be sure just what the pace will be – the daughter of Twirling Candy could take this field a very long way. We’ll try to survive and advanced using just these three in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to go deeper – and your budget allows – go right ahead.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Justin’s Quest; 4-Dia de Pago; 7-Claim of PassionForecast: Justin’s Quest may be the controlling speed in this restricted (nw-2) S25,000 claiming main track miler and this monument class drop from tough first-level allowance company combined with the switch to F. Prat it’s easy to see why he’s listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite. His numbers are faster than par for this level, so with a recent outing over the track and nice recent breeze to tick him over the son of Justin Phillip really shouldn’t have any excuses. Dia de Pago has been unplaced in his last five starts – you have go back three years to find his maiden win – but this substantial class drop to the restricted (nw-2) $25,000 level could make a world of difference to the V. Cerin-trained gelding. On pure numbers the son of Macho Uno is a strong fit and this level but his style suggests he’ll be doing his best work late, and in a race that projects to be slowly run early his task won’t be easy. Claim of Passion is yet another class dropper – this will be his first start ever for a tag – that is worth including in rolling exotic play. The son of Acclamation has looked good in the a.m. in his recent works while getting fit for his first outing since January and should fold into a good pace-stalking trip outside and have every chance. He’s slower on speed figures than he needs to be but has won over this main track in the past, switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider A. Cedillo and may have a bit more improvement in him than most of the others.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 6-Arctic Roll; 9-Teachers Big DreamForecast: Arctic Roll returns to the claiming ranks and appears to have found a proper spot to regain her winning form in this restricted (nw-3) $35,000 seller over a mile on grass. A sharp winner with a big figure over this course and distance three runs back, the A. Lerner-trained mare is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat and projects to draft into an ideal second-flight, stalking position and then have dead aim and every chance from the quarter pole home. Teachers Big Dream is another that should greatly appreciate this softer assignment. A winner under these conditions three races back in a state-bred event but then pitched too high in a pair of tougher fast-paced entry-level open allowance events, the E. Truman-trained filly picks up top turf rider U. Rispoli and should find herself in a stalking position with far easier fractions to deal with. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with clear preference on top to Arctic Roll.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: CUse: 62-Tromador; 6-Mayan WarriorForecast: Here’s another restricted claimer, this one for (nw-2) $12,500 claimers in a race that may boil down to a couple of recent money-burners. Mayan Warrior failed at even money when a close runner-up in a similar affair two weeks ago and that, along with his overall record of 1-for-15 makes him a bit difficult to trust. But in a race that might better belong at Los Alamitos, the S. Knapp-trained gelding, a voided claim for $25,000 for earlier this year, may deserve top billing by default. Tromador enters this race after failing twice at odds-on in mixed-breed races at Los Al. The Exchange Rate colt, in the frame in his last four outings, does have a maiden win over the local main track on his resume and the proper style for this extended sprint trip, hence his favorite’s role on the morning line at 2-1. In a race that offers little in the way of wagering, we’ll otherwise pass, other than to include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Kookie Gal; 5-Muchly-GBForecast: Muchly-GB may have hit the front too soon when worn down in the final stages of a similar first-level allowance turf event last month but at this longer trip the English-bred filly should get the patient handling she requires and have her chance to register in first U.S. victory. That said, the pace flow in this nine-furlong affair looks soft – Nice Ice projects as the controlling speed – so it wouldn’t be a shock to see the S. Callaghan-trained filly draft into a stalking position and then try to seal the deal from there. Kookie Gal has numbers that fit, winding up a respectable fourth (beaten just a length) at 22-1 in the faster split of the two races for this condition May 15. She picks up F. Prat, has a prior win over the local lawn, and has plenty of room for further improvement. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other, so we’ll include both in rolling exotic play.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: CUse: 4-World O Luck; 10-Next RevoltForecast: Though he just earned a career-top speed figure in his third career start when fifth in maiden special weight main track miler two weeks ago, Next Revolt, purchased for $130,000 last year at OBS, is being tossed away today in a modest $25,000 maiden claimer, indicating that his connections want to cut bait. Actually, it’s not a bad move; the son of Revolutionary clearly isn’t going anywhere and we suspect his connections simply want to move on. But from the 10-hole the D. Blacker-trained colt doesn’t have to win, though if he can negotiate and kind of decent trip he probably will from a field that on paper looks pretty bleak. If it’s not him, it could be World O Luck, who stretches out for the first time, drops from a tougher maiden $50,000 affair in February and returns in a spot that could produce a front-running trip from a favorable inside draw. Maybe, as the controlling speed, he gets brave? While recognizing that Next Revolt is clearly the one to beat, we’ll double the race in our rolling exotics but otherwise not get too involved.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Fabozzi; 5-Contagion; 7-Publicius SyrusForecast: The finale is a grass grab bag for $32,000 claimers over a mile. None of these are trustworthy, so we’ll go three deep and hope that’s enough. Contagion chased tougher off a long layoff last month and is realistically dropped in class with the expectation that this group, along with all-important race under his belt, will propel the D. O’Neill-trained gelding back to his best form. A prior winner over the local lawn and reunited with “win rider A. Cedillo, the Fed Biz gelding has a good stalking/pressing style that should keep him free of trouble and two recent workouts that indicate health and fitness. Fabozzi returns to grass and is a two-time winner on this course and distance. Very strong in the speed figure department based on his recent dirt, form the son of Sydney’s Candy moves up a level in a sign of confidence but switches to E. Roman after Cedillo opted for Contagion. Regardless, the M. Glatt-trained gelding is a contender. Pubilius Syrus, in for a tag for the first time in his first outing since January (and just his second since last summer). Clearly with his best days behind him, the son of Candy Ride won two listed stakes here as a 3-year-old and at this level, but the barn has a weak percentage with layoff runners. We’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up but not much more than that.

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6.5.2020:

Horse-by-Horse Santa Anita Derby Analysis & Late Pick 4 Ticket

Saturday is Derby Day. Ok, not that one. This derby will be in Arcadia, Ca, at Santa Anita instead of at Churchill Downs, in Louisville, KY. We’ve got to wait a bit longer for that showdown. At this point, as bat-excrement crazy as 2020 has been, we’ll settle for handicapping and wagering on any derby we can get our sanitized hands on. Besides, it’s not as if this Grade 1, $400k, mile and one-eighth west coast derby version sponsored by Runhappy is empty this year. Topping the starting lineup is Authentic, a speedy, unbeaten colt from Bob Baffert’s barn, and Honor A. P. a promising dude from the John Shirreffs quarantine. You remember John, he coached Giacomo to win the Kentucky Derby and Zenyatta to queen-like status as a racing legend, among others. While Authentic’s accomplishments have had tongues wagging, Honor A. P. is wrapped in chatter about what the future might hold. The former has won all three of his starts in nearly wire-to-wire fashion. The latter has one win and two second-place finishes--one by two and one-quarter lengths to Authentic last out in the San Felipe Stakes. The rest of the cast, as usual, is composed of back-up players. Talented, but not marquee worthy. Because Authentic and Honor A. P. will attract most of the wagering attention and appear best, it might be difficult to make a killing while wagering on the race. Thankfully, the Santa Anita Derby is race eight in a challenging 11-race card and part of a sequence of events that form assorted pick N wagers—the Derby is Leg A of the Late Pick 4, leg B of the Pick 5 and Leg C of the Rainbow Pick 6. Among those hills is where horseplayers likely will mine for gold. Below is a horse-by-horse analysis of the Santa Anita Derby and one man’s opinion on how the late Pick 4 might unfold Saturday at Santa Anita: Leg A -Race 8 - Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby 1. Friar's Road (McCarthy/Franco) - 20/1 After three tries—at six and one-half furlongs, a mile, and one mile and one-eighth—this son of Quality Road remains winless. It’s not like he hasn’t been close—second twice in both 2020 starts, including a runner-up effort to #3 Shooters Shoot. Trainer Mike McCarthy is having a strong year and doesn’t fire many ‘practice rounds.’ This guy’s future is bright but he seems in a bit over his head. Top jock Flavien Prat, understandably, moves from this guy to McCarthy stablemate #2 Rushie. 2. Rushie (McCarthy/Prat) - 8/1  Second of two starters from the sharp Mike McCarthy stable, this son of Liam’s Map has two wins in four starts—a maiden-mile tally at Santa Anita and a first-level mile and one-sixteenth allowance win at Oaklawn Park. He has a touch of early speed, and probably will stalk leaders while riding the rail under cagey jockey Flavien Prat. Baffert’s top Belmont Stakes hopeful and #7 Authentic stablemate Charlatan dusted Rushie by 10 1/2 lengths in the latter’s only loss at three. Rushie has improving Beyer Speed Figures in four starts, always a great sign for a 3-year-old. He’s no toss from exotics consideration but needs a big jump to win this. 3. Shooters Shoot (Eurton/Cedillo) - 8/1 Shooters Shoot has had the distinction of chasing #7 Authentic home on a previous occasion. This son of Competitive Edge lost to #7 Authentic by five and three-quarters lengths going six furlongs. Winless in his first four starts, the fifth journey proved the charm as Shooters Shoot hit the bullseye in a maiden mile race over a ‘good’ Santa Anita surface. Apparently, he enjoyed the experience because he also won his next start going a mile at Oaklawn Park in a first level allowance race. Both wins came while close to the lead. Red-hot jockey Abel Cedillo is a capable ‘speed’ rider. Those factors suggest that this colt will force the early issue. If so, expect that early effort to take a toll in the stretch. 4. Anneau d'Or (Wright/Espinoza) - 15/1  This son of Medaglia d’Oro has been a major disappointment this season. Following a first-out romp in a Golden Gate maiden turf race, he finished second by a head in the Gr. 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita and second by a neck in the Gr. 2 Los Alamitos Futurity. We couldn’t wait to see what further development might mean to Anneau d’Or. Unfortunately, we’re still waiting. As even-money favorite, he beat just two home in the Gr. 2 Risen Star at Fair Grounds and then pretty much split the field in the Gr. 1 Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn. There’s little reason to assume trainer Blaine Wright finally has turned the ship around. This colt probably soon will return to the turf where he looked like a monster in his only start over that surface. 5. Azul Coast (Baffert/Rispoli) - 15/1  Here’s a prime example of a Baffert barn bench warmer who’d be in a starting lineup anywhere else. The son of Super Saver is a stakes winner and was runner-up in the Gr. 3 Sham by seven and three-quarter lengths to stablemate #7 Authentic. Can he turn the tables on that foe now? Probably not. He’s not as fast as others in here, but he did win the El Camino Real Stakes at Golden Gate over a synthetic surface last out. 6. Honor A. P. (Shirreffs/Smith - 9/5  Here, as they say, is the meat of the lineup. Purchased as a yearling for a whopping $850k, Honor A. P.—by Honor Code out of Hollywood Story--has experienced plenty of hype. First out, he closed well to finish second to the quick Ginobili going six furlongs at Del Mar in August. Next, he dominated a field of maidens to win by more than five lengths going one mile at Santa Anita. His 2020 training schedule, which was pointing him toward the Gr. 3 Sham Stakes in January, was interrupted by a minor issue and connections were forced to wait until March to see his 3-year-old debut. That came in the Gr. 2 San Felipe when second-best to #7 Authentic. This long-striding grinder now has that race under his belt and has trained forwardly since—three seven-eighths breezes and a bullet :59 1/5 five-furlong dash—so he should be ready to fire his best shot. He’ll probably need a bit of pace help to turn the tables on #7 Authentic and clearly is the one with the best chance to pull off the upset. 7. Authentic (Baffert/Van Dyke) - 4/5  Authentic is by Into Mischief. His dam is named Flawless. So far, that would be an accurate description of this colt’s early career. In three starts, at two tracks, over distances from five and one-half furlongs to a mile and one-sixteenth, he’s whipped 16 foes by a combined total of 11 1/2 lengths. He’s got speed to lead or contend early, but he’s not unmanageable, and he keeps going to the finish. He did display a tendency to drift in while winning the Gr. 3 Sham, but that was corrected in the Gr. 2 San Felipe. Drawn outside in this field, patient jockey Drayden Van Dyke ought to be able to comfortably assess the early pace situation. If he needs to ask for speed, Authentic will have it. If the jockey prefers to sit just of an initial speedball, Authentic should oblige. So, how in the world can Authentic lose this race? Two things could stand in his way: distance and development—his and #6 Honor A.P.’s. A mile and one-eighth should not be an issue for this colt. However, it may not be his favorite trip either. We don’t know that answer. Also, we can’t be certain how much #6 Honor A. P. has developed since the last time they met. So far, neither of these colts has taken a backward step, according to Daily Racing Form’s Beyer Speed Figures. When it comes to such numbers, every horse has a ceiling. Will one of these two bump against theirs Saturday? A minor note: Authentic has a 17-day gap in his recorded workout pattern between a bullet six furlongs in 1:11 on May 7 and his next work at the same distance in 1:12 on May 24. May be a minor point, but Baffert horses almost never have 17-day gaps between workouts. Leg B- Race 9 - Cinema This stakes race appears as if it will be a Jeff Mullins-trained main dish with a side of John Sadler. Mullins sends out probable favorite #7 Hariboux, off victory in the Pasadena Stakes at one mile over the Santa Anita green, and #3 K P All Systems Go, a winner of his last two, a maiden and first-level allowance both on turf at Santa Anita. The former was at a mile and one-eighth and the latter at a mile. Trainer John Sadler saddles improving #1 Heywoods Beach with top jock Flavien Prat. He broke maiden last out and was second by a neck at this distance the time before that. He’ll need to improve but he’s got the rail and should enjoy a favorable trip. Leg C - Race 10 - Grade 1 Hollywood Gold Cup This is a reincarnation, of sorts, of one of the sport’s most prestigious events: The Hollywood Gold Cup. Seabiscuit won the first running in 1938 and was followed by Citation, Swaps, Round Table, Native Diver, Exceller, Affirmed, Ferdinand, Best Pal, Cigar, Skip Away, Real Quiet and Lava Man, to name a few. One of this writer’s favorite races is the 1979 Hollywood Gold Cup when Affirmed and Sirlad battled hoof-to-hoof for a mile and one-quarter in 1:58 2/4—just 1/5 off the track and world record. That afternoon, the Laz Barrera-conditioned Affirmed packed 132 pounds, spotting 12 to the Charlie Whittingham-trained Sirlad and became the sport’s all-time money-earner with over $2 million in purses. There aren’t any runners like Affirmed or even Sirlad in this edition and the race no longer is a handicap—all starters ages four and up pack 126 pounds. Under the conditions of the race, all starters get two pounds off that for not winning a Grade 1 Stake at a mile or over since December 6, 2019. Some get an additional two-pound break for not winning a Grade 1 or Grade 2 race at a mile or over since June 6, 2019. And, of course, this Hollywood Gold Cup won’t be held at Hollywood Park--Track of the Lakes and Flowers. A brand-new football stadium, 2020 home to the NFL’s Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Chargers, now occupies that real estate. #1 Parsimony had a busy 3-year-old season with just one win in 16 starts. Finally, he broke through in his second start this season—with a stakes win at Meydan going a mile and one-quarter. That makes him 2-for-22 with 7 seconds. If he’s finally seen the light, he could be an upsetter. #2 Midcourt is a reliable sort (5 wins in 10 starts) that likes Santa Anita (3-for-7). His only try at the mile and one-quarter distance resulted in a close third in the Santa Anita Handicap. He’s got some pace, so he might be on the lead or close to it throughout. Blinkers come off for trainer John Shirreffs and Victor Espinoza returns in the irons. #3 Higher Power has been on vacation since a dismal performance in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational at Gulfstream in January. He won the Pacific Classic going at this distance last August, so that’s a plus. Regular rider Flavien Prat returns in the irons. While his Pacific Classic victory was a bit of a surprise (9.60-1), he also managed a well-beaten third in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at a similar number. At his best, he’s the one to beat. Respect. #4 Brown Storm is an interesting outsider. After setting the early pace, he was fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap, his first US dirt race following three turf tries since his arrival from native Chile. He did win several times on dirt and turf at this distance. Red hot Abel Cedillo is aboard for sharp trainer McCarthy and Brown Storm’s Beyer Speed Figures have improved with each US start. He’s really going to have to improve, though, to handle these. #5 Improbable comes off a decent performance in the Oaklawn Mile where he blew a two-length stretch lead to the hot Tom’s d’Etat. Improbable often runs well, but he never really has lived up to 2-year-old promise when he reeled off three consecutive wins to begin his career. He’s a cut below the best in the nation, but he’s a 4-year-old and hails from the Baffert barn. What else do you need to know? Leg D - Race 11 This is a tricky race and the suggestion is to go deep as possible. #2 Wishful was close at this level a few times last summer. The 5-year-old mare’s most recent effort wasn’t special, as she finished fifth as favorite. Top jock Prat switched his tack to #3 Li’l Grazen. Wishful is just 2 for 17 lifetime but six of those defeats came over turf. #3 Li’l Grazen has made just one start since winning a state-bred allowance race over a ‘good’ track at Santa Anita in January of ’19. That effort was in March when she finished seventh as a lukewarm favorite. She’s won just 3 of 25 races and was claimed for $16k in December of 2018. Top jock Prat rides for 23% trainer Peter Miller. When these guys hook up their batting an outstanding 24% out of 49 mounts. This one should be used defensively based on connections alone. #4 Silk From Heaven isn’t completely out of the question. She’s a 4-year-old with a couple of races that fit. She doesn’t have a particular style, though, and it’s difficult to figure out how she can win this race. #6 Time for Ebby is a 7-year-old mare that’s 1-for-her last 17. These also-rans are difficult to use in multi-race wagers. Her Thoro-Graph speed figs fit well, but she just doesn’t win very often. #7 Homehome gets some class relief in here. She’s been facing fellow 3-year-old fillies in turf and dirt stakes races and is 2-for-7 lifetime. Both wins came when she dipped below the stakes ranks—a state-bred straight maiden win first time out and a state-bred allowance/optional $50k claimer. The former was at this track and trip and the latter came at five and one-half on turf. She has to be included in any race 11 action. #9 Dim Lights comes out of the same recent race at #7 Homehome, but they had very different experiences. Dim Lights has speed and isn’t afraid to use it. Hot jock Abel Cedillo takes over in the saddle and he will send this filly from a cozy outside post. Last out, she sizzled early, forcing a :21 2/5 :45 early pace. That cooked her goose and she faded to eighth. If that race didn’t completely fry her, she could be dangerous this time going a bit more comfortably on the lead. $.50 Pick 4 Ticket ($50) Race 8: 6, 7Race 9: 3, 7Race 10: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5Race 11: 2, 3, 4, 7, 9 Take care of each other. Race On!

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6.4.2020:

Santa Anita Oaks/Hollywood Gold Cup Workout Report

Santa Anita Oaks (Saturday Race 5) Merneith It’s hard to ignore the daughter of American Pharoah in here. Her maiden win at Oaklawn was dazzling as was her last work on May 31. But the proof in the pudding is always in the second-to-last work, and on May 24 while working solo under Drayden Van Dyke she sparkled early and sparkled late. She worked 7 furlongs in in 1:24 4/5 and galloped out a good mile.  She doesn’t have the resume of some of these, but off that work, she is the one to beat.  May 24 Workout Video Speech She draws outside of Merneith, a perfect spot to push the pace. Speech’s May 16 work was sharp, never being asked and working in a snappy :47 2/5. Any doubts that she may bounce off a big effort surely have to be squashed here. One thing to note, though: Ce Ce also ran a massive race in the Apple Blossom the same weekend Speech was at Oaklawn and came back with a sub-par effort last week. Food for thought.  May 16 Workout Video Regal Beauty This filly just broke her maiden May 17 with an 80 Beyer Speed Figure. Many will think she’s doubtful to run (Why run two when one will do?). However, she earned her way into an Oaks bid with a strong final work in company with Gingham on May 30. Regal Beauty set the pace (usual rabbit-style for Bob Baffert) and actually out-worked Grade 2-placed Gingham to the wire. This, too, is a Grade 2 race, and it’s super-important for these well-bred, pricey fillies to get black type for their broodmare future. Use underneath. May 30 Workout Video   Hollywood Gold Cup (Saturday Race 10) Parsimony Thrived in Dubai and perhaps he has turned the corner. Trainer Doug O’Neill has fully trounced the ‘Dubai Bounce’ with a couple of his Dubai string already winning at Santa Anita since reopening. O’Neill has won the Gold Cup 4 times, and Parsimony looked sharp in his local May 22 work, reeling off 12-and-change splits throughout a 6-furlong drill and galloping out sharply. My only question: He ran so well in Dubai sans Lasix, why put him back on? Sometimes it can dull horses. May 22 Workout Video  Midcourt Quirky son of champion sprinter Midnight Lute loses the blinkers for this one after wearing them for all 10 starts. Surprisingly, distance is not a problem for him and figures to be in the mix. His local May 31 work was typical, working solo with Amy Vasko up, as he cruised around there in his high-headed way. This colt has talent, winning 5 of 10, and the blinkers off will help Victor Espinoza put this colt in a good spot. I’m using with Higher Power. May 31 Workout Video  Higher Power Fair to say this son of Medaglia D’oro flopped in the Pegaus World Cup as favorite in January. John Sadler has always said, though, he loves to train on the track he’s going to run on. Gulfstream didn’t afford him that home luxury that Santa Anita does; so I’m going to give him a pass. Higher Power has been freshened since, and Sadler is a healthy 17% winner off the layoff. Higher Power’s May 29 work was as good as it gets. While the time (1:14 for 6 furlongs) won’t jump off the page, the way that he did it sure does. (As they say, It’s not how fast you’re going, it’s how you’re going fast.) Allowed to settle off maiden winner Rogallo, Higher Power looked in a lovely rhythm before engulfing him like Chris Farley with a pound cake – and left the crumbs at the eighth-pole. It was a super work for a colt who, at 5 years old, may be the best he’s ever been. Top Pick. May 29 Workout Video Brown Storm This longshot owns a win at the distance and certainly seems to like the dirt. He ran a better-than-looked fourth in the Santa Anita Handicap. Brown Storm’s May 31 work was full of energy. He found company and the three-eighths pole and appeared to lug out slightly (perhaps more him fighting the rider than anything else). Once he hit the straight, he straightened out nicely. Refusing to wane at all, in fact, he galloped out to the half-mile pole. A definite use for me at a price. Should Higher Power and Midcourt stub their toes, this guy could be waiting in the wings. May 31 Workout Video Improbable One day, I would love to see this son of City Zip on the grass. But, hey, I can dream! Improbable is solid at a mile, but I fear the 1-1/4 miles may be stretching his limits. Drawn towards the outside of the field, this will help this inherently bad gate horse. Works-wise, he gets a gold star; but, then he always does. Improbable had a super solo work (7 furlongs in 1:25 1/5) on May 30 and looked good throughout. He’s likely to be over-bet, and I prefer others at the classic distance. May 30 Workout Video 

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6.4.2020:

Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Workout Report

Authentic If there's a man who knows what it takes to win the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, it's the 9-time winning trainer Bob Baffert. His undefeated colt Authentic earned a fourth consecutive bullet work on May 31 while preparing for the race he has been pointed to since his victory in the Grade 2 San Felipe. His last quarter was clocked in :24. In all 4 of these works, he looks like he's putting minimal effort into achieving a fast time. I haven't seen an exercise rider or jockey knuckle down on him since his winning debut at Del Mar, so one can assume his talent runs deeper. However, he has never had to eye-ball a fierce competitor in a race, something I'm anxious to find out about him prior to the Kentucky Derby. Up to this point, Authentic's occasional inability to stay focused when in high gear appears his only weakness. He will be my top choice. June 1 Workout Video Honor A.P. It's been a pleasure watching Honor A. P. carve out his morning drills at Santa Anita like clockwork since his runner-up effort to Authentic in the San Felipe. Jockey Mike Smith has been working him frequently and is very encouraged by his progress (read my full Q&A with Smith here). This son of Honor Code has a nice, big, fluent stride that will prosper over a mile and one-quarter. His Wednesday morning gallop indicates to me that he’s in top form. He certainly can bridge the gap over 9 furlongs Saturday, but not likely enough to gain the advantage. These two colts, Authentic and Honor A.P., are standouts with the remainder of the field seeming wide open. June 3 Gallop Video  Azul Coast Azul Coast's works are much more flattering when he's in front and gets brave, as seen May 31, although he runs from off the pace in his races. The Santa Anita Derby became a diversion for him after the Sunland Derby cancelled. He is training equally as well. May 31 Workout Video Rushie Trainer Michael McCarthy chose to run Rushie, a recent first-level allowance winner, in the Santa Anita Derby because, he said, "There was nowhere else to run." It doesn't instill a huge amount of confidence! However, the timing is good with 5 weeks between races and the colt appears to be going the right way. This was evident in his 5-furlong work May 30 when Flavien Prat set him down at the quarter pole, teaching him to chase the company in front of him and he responded instantly. He finished in a swift final time of :59.80 while still very much in the bridle. May 30 Workout Video Shooters Shoot Shooters Shoot missed the Arkansas Derby due to spiking a temperature, but appeared to recover quick enough to post a 5-furlong work in :59.80 just 14 days later. Abel Cedillo worked him 5 furlongs on June 1 in 1:02.40 with a final quarter-mile in 24:40, galloping out in 1:15:60  He was very happy with the work from his first-ever Santa Anita Derby mount.  June 1 Workout Video  

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6.4.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: June 5 Stronach 5 Suggested Play

We’re back to battle this week in the Stronach 5, as Laurel Park opened last weekend to secure the final piece of the puzzle. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a wildly successful and well received Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), in the space of about 90 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. Hopefully I can build on the momentum of last week, where I went 4-for-4 on top in the Gulfstream Park late Pk4 for a modest $87.85 for each 50-cent play, albeit on just a $12 suggested main 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. *** Leg 1 Laurel Park R7 (3:51 ET): 3up MSW at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) Nothing is easy in the opener, as only two of the 10 entered have made a turf start—and just one apiece, in the same race—and overall the entire field has made 20 dirt starts to just those two on the grass. So, needless to say, spreading might be the way to go here, as this seems the definition of a guessing game. I’ll side with the pedigree, recency, and the upside of #2 ZIP LINE TO HEAVEN (6-1), who is by a solid turf sire in City Zip, is kin to a 6-for-16 runner that is 2-for-7 on turf, chased and tired on debut here on the dirt in mid-March, and goes for Trombetta, who is 22% with second-out maidens and 14% first-turf. I’ll go outside for another City Zip, #11 FRANCATELLI (7-2), who debuts for Lynch, a potent 28% angle, and has a slew of very positive drills on display as well. I’ll also use ML favorite #10 ABUELO PAPS (5-2), who has speed and was a very fast 2nd here, while 9 lengths ahead of ‘Zip Line, though I worry about regression off such a huge run. Stronach 5 A horses: 2,11,10 (listed in order of preference) I think you have to use the two who have run on turf—#4 SUPER E (12-1), who was a fast-closing 2nd on the grass and hasn’t run an inch in her five dirt starts, and #6 DESHACKLED (8-1), who was just a neck behind in 3rd and has added some speed to her game recently on dirt—though neither are overly inspiring or have much upside, even with the solid runs under them, so let’s limit them to backup roles. Stronach 5 B horses: 4,6 Potential B add ins: #5 Cobalt Barron (12-1), #9 Lock (8-1), , #3 The Cairo Kid (8-1), #1 Ribbon Winner (12-1) Leg 2 Gulfstream Park R9: 3up SOC (10k/8k) at 1 1/16 miles An average group for the level, without a ton of early speed too, says #7 LOVE NEST (4-1) might be able to handle the class rise after a romp against lesser in extremely fast time in his first start for Creque, and even if he regresses slightly, he could still win this, so he’s the somewhat aggressive single, though this ML might be 8-5 by post. It’s also worth noting the top-5 finishers of the 5/9 race here at the level (going a one-turn mile) are all back, and were only separated by 2 lengths that day, so separating them here won’t be easy, and seems like a crapshoot, which is another reason for taking the fresh new face. Stronach 5 A horses: 7 You could literally use the rest of them underneath (or on top), which doesn’t do us a lot of good, so I’m going it alone with the “now” horse who looks to have a major tactical advantage over a lot of his main rivals. I’m also spreading a bit deeper in the other four legs, so having a single will keep the cost to a reasonable level as well. Stronach 5 B horses: NONE Potential B add ins: NONE Leg 3 Laurel Park R8: 3up N1X at 1 1/16 miles (turf) Another toughie in Maryland, especially since the best horse, #4 JO’S BOLD CAT (9-2), is off a November layoff for a Rubley barn that is 0-for-10 off this long of a break, though this is a veteran who is 2-for-6 over the course, and 1-for-26 elsewhere, so you have to use him on the top line. However, as for the actual pick, I’ll try for an upset with #3 CAPTAIN THUNDER (10-1), who returns to the turf, has three solid local grass races, and starts for Abbott, who knows how to spot his stock. If you overlook the trip to NY, then #5 TEN EYCK (6-1) has done nothing wrong in three local turf starts for Dilodovico, and his tactical style says he’s getting a good trip from just off the pace, plus those two May works say he’s ready to roll as well. *** Take note that if #14 J Beresford Tipton (3-1) draws in, he’s a must-use A, terrible post and all. *** Stronach 5 A horses: 3,4,5 The stats this year (just 0-for-2) don’t show it, but Ricky Hendricks knows how to condition a new turf acquisition, and he gets to work with #6 IT’S FATE (10-1), who has some solid grass form and could move up for a crafty barn, so give this one more than a cursory glance. If you just look at #12 OUTOFTHEPARK’S (8-1) two turf routes he fits nicely here, and the price will be right too, not to mentioned there are six works without a gap showing, which helps alleviate the wide draw, and the fact Jenkins is 0-for-7 off a 180+-day layoff. Stronach 5 B horses: 6,12 Potential B add ins: #8 Speed Game (5-1), #9 Seville Barber (10-1), #10 Make a Stand (12-1) Leg 4 Golden Gate Fields R3: 3upfm 5k MCL at 5 furlongs I think you can expect a big move forward from #3 FLYING HOME (6-1), who chased and then tired on debut against tons better, now adds blinkers, and has a world of upside in a race where most of the others don’t. clearly #5 KAYLA’S COWGIRL (1-1) will be tough off the SA drop and return to the local strip, especially since she’s never been in this light on the class scale, but she’s also 0-for-6 and has never really come close to winning, and will be vastly overbet too, so the old “backwheel” comes to mind and therefore we’ll let the budget players single her. Stronach 5 A horses: 3,5 One of these days #2 CHARMING LASS (9-2) will get there, as dad likes to say, water will eventually find it’s level, but she also needs regression from the top pair to win, so let’s use her defensively, especially since she couldn’t even beat lifetime maiden #7 Bank of Many (4-1) last time. Stronach 5 B horses: 2 Potential B add ins: NONE Leg 5 Santa Anita R4: 3upfm 35k N3L at 1-mile (turf) You could do worse than singling #6 ARCTIC ROLL (2-1) at the end, especially since she actually won at the level three-back and now drops after facing much better in her last two, and goes second-off the layoff as well. However, I’m also using #5 KITTYHAWK LASS (7-2), another dropper who also cuts back, and should get a truer pace to aid her late run going what can often be a snappy two-turn mile. Stronach 5 A horses: 6,5 There seems to be some speed signed on here, but the speed of the speed is definitely #3 UNTOUCHED ELEGANCE (6-1) who stretches out and has run well at the distance before, so if she clears, settles, and slows it down, she could get brave and forget to stop. Stronach 5 B horses: 3 Potential B add ins: #1 Shanghai Truffles (4-1) The suggested tickets: Main Ticket: 2,11,10 with 7 with 3,4,5 with 3,5 with 6,5 = $36Leg 1 Backup: 4,6 with 7 with 3,4,5 with 3,5 with 6,5 = $24Leg 3 Backup: 2,11,10 with 7 with 6,12 with 3,5 with 6,5 = $24Leg 4 Backup: 2,11,10 with 7 with 3,4,5 with 2 with 6,5 = $18Leg 5 Backup: 2,11,10 with 7 with 3,4,5 with 3,5 with 3 = $18

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6.4.2020:

Podcast: Santa Anita Derby Day Handicapping with Siegel & Plonk

Listen as Jeff Siegel and Jeremy Plonk handicap the races from Santa Anita Park on RUNHAPPY Santa Anita Derby Day - Saturday, June 6, 2020 - and the return of the Stronach 5 on Friday, June 5.     LISTEN TO THE PODCAST

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6.3.2020:

Jon White's Santa Anita Derby Analysis and Selections

Is this Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Derby a two-horse race between Authentic and Honor A.P.? Many no doubt are going to see it that way. But viewing a race that way sometimes can backfire. CAUTION: There are times when neither horse wins what many perceive to be a two-horse race. One need only go back to what happened at Santa Anita last Sunday to find an example. The vast majority of horseplayers, as reflected by the betting, considered last Sunday’s Grade II Santa Maria Stakes to be a two-horse race between Ce Ce and Hard Not to Love. Ce Ce took a three-for-three record in 2020 into the Santa Maria, highlighted by Grade I victories in Santa Anita’s Beholder Mile and Oaklawn Park’s Apple Blossom Handicap. As expected, Ce Ce was bet down to odds-on favoritism in the Santa Maria, going off at 3-5. Hard Not to Love had reeled off three consecutive victories before she finished second in the Beholder Mile. During her three-race winning streak, she took Santa Anita’s Grade I La Brea Stakes on Dec. 28. As expected, Hard Not to Love was the second wagering choice in the Santa Maria, going off at 5-2. As far as the bettors were concerned, Horologist at 9-2 was the Santa Maria entrant deemed to have the best chance to beat Ce Ce and Hard Not to Love. The remaining two Santa Maria starters received the Rodney Dangerfield treatment from horseplayers. Fighting Mad was sent away at 10-1. Kaydetre was the longest shot in the race at 33-1. What happened? Lightly regarded Fighting Mad seized the lead at once, led past every pole, prevailed by 3 1/4 lengths and returned $22.20 for each $2 win ticket. Yes, the popular notion that the Santa Maria was a two-horse race between Ce Ce and Hard Not to Love proved to be false. Hard Not to Love, who exhibited obstinate behavior on the track before the Santa Maria, rallied from last to finish second. Ce Ce, close up to the top of the lane, failed to generate a kick in the final furlong and ended up third, 2 1/4 lengths behind Hard Not to Love. What occurred in the Santa Maria serves as a stern warning that bettors should not be too quick to think of the Santa Anita Derby as a two-horse race. Nevertheless, it seems a safe bet that many horseplayers are going to look at the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby as strictly a two-horse race between Authentic and Honor A.P. The Santa Anita Derby will be rematch between the Bob Baffert-trained Authentic and the John Sherriffs-conditioned Honor A.P. after they finished one-two in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 7. The Santa Anita Derby originally had been scheduled for April 4. But it was postponed after the Los Angeles Country Department of Public Health told Santa Anita officials that they had to cease racing for a time due to the coronavirus pandemic. That delayed the highly anticipated rematch between Authentic and Honor A.P. until this Saturday. When Authentic and Honor A.P. clashed in the San Felipe, the pace situation looked like it would be in Authentic’s favor. And it was. After Authentic bobbled slightly at the start, he was allowed to set an uncontested pace while carving out moderate fractions of :22.84, :46.71, 1:11.32 and 1:36.89. His final time was 1:43.56. Authentic was credited with a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure. Honor A.P. raced along in fourth during the early stages of the San Felipe while never far back. At the top of the stretch, he came on to loom menacingly. He got to within about 1 1/2 lengths of the leading Authentic. But that was as close as Honor A.P. could get to the lead. With Authentic still having plenty of gas left in his tank, he came home with good energy to win by 2 1/4 lengths. It should be noted that Authentic did not display any goofiness when coming down the lane in the San Felipe while racing with earplugs for the first time. That was important because he had run a zig-zag course when racing greenly during the final furlong of the Grade III Sham Stakes at Santa Anita on Jan. 4. Despite the antics seen from him in the last furlong of the Sham, the Kentucky-bred Into Mischief colt registered a 7 3/4-length victory. Honor A.P. did not win the San Felipe, but I thought his performance was terrific under the circumstances. As mentioned earlier (but it’s significant enough to mention again), Honor A.P. was at a pace disadvantage vis-a-vis Authentic in the San Felipe. Honor A.P. also had a right to be a bit rusty in the March 7 San Felipe due to not having started since Oct. 13. Authentic raced twice between Oct. 13 and the San Felipe. Something else to keep in mind is Honor A.P. did travel 24 feet farther than Authentic in the San Felipe, according to Trakus. That equates to Honor A.P. traveling about 2 1/2 lengths farther than Authentic. Honor A.P. lost by 2 1/4 lengths. Not picking Authentic to win the Santa Anita Derby is very difficult for me. It’s easy to envision him succeeding again to remain undefeated in four career starts. But I think there also is a distinct possibility that Authentic might not have it all his own way on the front end this time. Shooters Shoot appears to possess the kind of early zip to be a thorn in the side of Authentic in the early going. Shooters Shoot might duke it out with Authentic in the early stages of the San Felipe. Or Shooters Shoot might even go right to the front and establish an early lead of one length or more, which would force Authentic to try to do something he’s never done before. In all three of Authentic’s wins, the farthest he has been off the lead is a half-length. Can Authentic win a race if he is more than a half-length off the pace? It appears to me that Shooters Shoot is a big key to this race with respect to Authentic. Because if Shooters Shoot does not either go immediately to the front or vie with Authentic early, it probably will be a big help to Authentic in that he might be able to be in control of the Santa Anita Derby from the outset, much like the San Felipe. There also is a chance that Authentic is just so darn good that he will succeed this Saturday no matter what pace scenario materializes. But if it turns out that Authentic does not get it all his own way on the front end early this time, it does seem to increase the possibility that he won’t win, especially since he also is being asked to go 1 1/8 miles. This will be the farthest Authentic has ever raced. I think Honor A.P. might get a beautiful trip Saturday, sitting just behind Authentic and Shooters Shoot early. And my gut is telling me that when it gets down to crunch time in the final furlong, the long-striding Honor A.P. just might turn the tables on Authentic. When push comes to shove in terms of deciding who to pick to win a race, sometimes it’s a good idea to go with one’s gut. Consequently, I am going with Honor A.P. to win Saturday. Below are my selections for the Santa Anita Derby: 1. Honor A.P.2. Authentic3. Shooters Shoot4. Rushie Will Shooters Shoot be the Fighting Mad of the Santa Anita Derby and upset the Big Two? It’s not impossible. Shooters Shoot’s April 11 victory in a one-mile allowance/optional claiming contest at Oaklawn Park was quite impressive. He battled tooth-and-nail for the lead with a tough foe in Blackberry Wine for every single step of that race. Despite being involved in such a prolonged duel, Shooters Shoot won by a neck after stepping the first half-mile in a scorching :45 and change. Shooters Shoot also has run well at Santa Anita. He finished second in Charlaton’s splashy 5 3/4-length debut victory in a six-furlong maiden special weight race at Santa Anita on Feb. 16. Shooters Shoot then won a one-mile maiden special weight race with authority by 3 1/4 lengths at Santa Anita on March 15 prior to his trip to Arkansas. Rushie comes into the Santa Anita Derby having won two of his last three starts, all at Santa Anita. His only defeat in that sequence came when he ran second in Charlatan’s scintillating 10 1/4-length allowance/optional claiming win at one mile on March 14. Baffert also is running Azul Coast in the Santa Anita Derby. Azul Coast returns to the dirt after winning the El Camino Real Derby on synthetic footing Feb. 15 at Golden Gate Fields. He’s won two of three. His lone defeat came when he finished second, well behind Authentic, in the Sham. Keep in mind Azul Coast was not a huge price in the Sham. He was sent off at just 2-1 that day, while Authentic was favored at 6-5. Anneau d’Or narrowly lost both the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita last Nov. 1 and Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity on Dec. 7. He needs to get back into good form after being soundly beaten in both starts this year. In his 2020 debut, Anneau d’Or wound up ninth in a division of the Grade II Risen Star Stakes at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on Feb. 15. He then finished fifth, 9 1/2 lengths behind the victorious Charlatan, in the first division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park on May 2. Will the Anneau d’Or of the Breeders’ Cup and Los Al Futurity show up Saturday? If he does, he will be a tough customer. But if the Anneau d’Or we have seen so far this year shows up Saturday, a victory by him would seem almost impossible. MY BELMONT STAKES TOP 10: A NEW NO. 1 The shocking announcement last Thursday that Nadal had been retired from racing after suffering a condylar fracture in his left front leg following a four-furlong workout in :48.80 has necessitated a change at the top of my Belmont Stakes Top 10. Charlatan is the new No. 1. According to Baffert, the 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes and seven-furlong Woody Stephens Stakes, a pair of Grade I events at Belmont Park on June 20, are both under consideration for Charlatan’s next start. Charlatan worked five furlongs in 1:00.80 on Monday at Santa Anita, a move Baffert characterized as “more of a maintenance work, just cruising,” Jonathan Lintner reported for horseracingnation.com. “I think his next work will decide,” Baffert said in terms of choosing either the Belmont or the Woody Stephens. A decision regarding the Belmont also is pending for Maxfield. Winner of the Grade III Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs on May 23 in his 2020 debut, he has an unblemished record in three career starts for trainer Brendan Walsh. Indications are that Maxfield will make his next start in either the Belmont or Keeneland’s Grade I Blue Grass Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 11. Tiz the Law, who is definite for the Belmont, worked four furlongs in :48.20 at the Palm Meadows training center last Sunday. He then departed Florida on Monday for New York. Trained by Barclay Tagg, Tiz the Law has won four of five lifetime starts. He’s four for four when racing on a fast track. He is two for two in 2020. Tiz the Law won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes by three lengths on Feb. 1 in his first race this year. That was followed by a 4 1/4-length triumph in the Grade I Florida Derby at Gulfstream on March 28. Here is my Belmont Stakes Top 10: 1. Charlatan2. Tiz the Law3. Maxfield4. Sole Volante5. Dr. Post6. Basin7. Modernist8. Max Player9. Gouverneur Morris10. Farmington Road HIGHLY REGARDED CEZANNE DEBUTS SATURDAY Cezanne, the $3.8 million auction purchase by Coolmore and partners at a Florida sale last year, kicks off his racing career at Santa Anita this Saturday. Baffert has said the Kentucky-bred Curlin colt has the potential to possibly have a strong second half of the year a la Arrogate in 2016 and West Coast in 2017. From June 5 through Nov. 5 in 2016, Arrogate won five in a row. When making his stakes debut in the Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 27, he won by a sizable margin and broke Saratoga’s track record for 1 1/4 miles in what I called a Secretariat-like performance. After the Travers, Arrogate uncorked a furious late rally to win the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita by overtaking no less than the older California Chrome. Arrogate was voted a 2016 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. California Chrome, for his body of work, was voted 2016 Horse of the Year. California Chrome also was the 2014 Horse of the Year. Starting on May 20 in 2017, West Coast put together a five-race winning streak before finishing third behind Gun Runner and Collected in the Grade I BC Classic at Del Mar. Thanks largely to Grade I victories in the Travers and Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing, West Coast was voted a 2017 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. A glimpse of Cezanne’s huge potential came in his bullet five-furlong workout in :59.00 from the gate on May 14 at Santa Anita. This work can be seen on XBTV. Here is a link: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bob-baffert/cezanne-outside-and-tapitution-worked-5-furlongs-at-santa-anita-park-on-may-14th-2020/ Cezanne on May 14 worked in company with Tapitution, a 3-year-old unraced Tapit colt who fetched a final bid of $350,000 at public auction last year. “Super” was the word XBTV’s Millie Ball used to described Cezanne’s May 14 workout. “He’s definitely the goods,” Ball said May 17 on Mike William’s radio program Thoroughbred Los Angeles. Ball noted that concerning the May 14 work by Cezanne, it was the first time “Baffert said to go ahead and let him run. And Cezanne came back [after the work] and he couldn’t even have blown a candle out. I was very impressed.” Cezanne then recorded a five-furlong workout from the gate in :59.40 on May 23 at Santa Anita. That was followed by another bullet drill, four furlongs in :47.60 last Saturday at Santa Anita, a workout that also can be viewed on XBTV. Here is a link to last Saturday’s workout: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bob-baffert/cezanne-outside-and-dodger-worked-4-furlongs-at-santa-anita-park-on-may-30th-2020/Last Saturday, Cezanne’s workmate was Dodger. Cezanne began the work about one length behind, then finished about one length in front. Dodger, who was timed in :48.00 for four furlongs, finished fifth in a maiden special weight race at Los Alamitos last year on Sept. 6 in his only start to date. Dodger’s sire, Bayern, won the 2014 BC Classic at Santa Anita for Baffert. ARROGATE EUTHANIZED TUESDAY Sadly and stunningly, Arrogate was euthanized Tuesday in Kentucky after a battle to save him following an illness that began last week, Juddmonte Farms announced on its website. “Arrogate had a very successful breeding season this year until last week when his breeding was suspended due to an initially suspected sore neck,” the item on the website stated. “Later in the week he fell to the ground in his stall and efforts to get him back up proved unsuccessful. He was transported to the Hagyard Clinic under the care of Dr. Bob Hunt and Dr. Nathan Slovis with Dr. Steve Reed representing the insurance company. “They worked tirelessly with the staff from the Hagyard Clinic, eliminating all the obvious causes and performing all available tests, including spinal tap evaluation, X-ray, ultrasound, CT scan and many blood tests. “Unfortunately, Arrogate was still unable to stand after four exhausting days for him. His will to fight, so valuable to him on the racetrack, became a challenge in his care. When serious secondary health issues set in, the decision was made to put him to sleep.” Arrogate, the richest North American racehorse in history, earned $17,422,600 on the track. I noted earlier that I felt that Arrogate’s Travers was a Secretariat-like performance. When he streaked home to win the Travers by 13 1/2 lengths and broke a longstanding track record, I could not help but harken back to Secretariat’s victory in the 1973 Kentucky Derby.There were these similarities. Secretariat’s final time was 1:59 and change. So was Arrogate’s. Secretariat broke the track record. So did Arrogate. Secretariat ran his final quarter-mile in :23 and change. So did Arrogate. Secretariat defeated 12 foes. So did Arrogate. In the Kentucky Derby, Secretariat broke a track record that had stood for nine years. In the Travers, Arrogate broke a track record that had stood for 37 years. The early pace set by Arrogate in the Travers was quicker than that set by Shecky Greene in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. Yet Arrogate still was able to run his final quarter in the Travers in a sensational :23 4/5. Arrogate’s final time in fifths of 1:59 1/5 shaved four-fifths of a second off the track record set by General Assembly (a son of Secretariat) when he splashed his way to a 15-length victory in the 1979 Travers on a sloppy track. Unlike Arrogate, General Assembly’s record of 2:00 might have been aided somewhat by the condition of the track. “Saratoga, like the New York downstate tracks, gets extremely fast when first soaked, for it has a good bottom,” William H. Rudy wrote in his 1979 Travers recap for The Blood-Horse magazine. “Nevertheless, the winner’s time of 2:00 was remarkable.” One can get a sense of just how fantastic Arrogate’s Travers performance was by comparing his individual splits to those by Secretariat in the 1973 Kentucky Derby. First quarter: Secretariat :25 1/5, Arrogate :23 1/5. Arrogate ran the first quarter approximately 10 lengths faster. First half: Secretariat :49 1/5, Arrogate :46 4/5. Arrogate ran the first half approximately 12 lengths faster. Final time: Secretariat 1:59 2/5, Arrogate 1:59 1/5. Arrogate completed the 1 1/4 miles approximately one length faster. There is still another reason Arrogate’s Travers performance probably was better than Secretariat’s in the Kentucky Derby. Secretariat had much more experience. When Secretariat ran in the Kentucky Derby, he was making his 13th career start and 10th start in a stakes race. When Arrogate ran in the Travers, he was making only his fifth career start and -- remarkably -- his first start in a stakes race. Serving as further evidence of just how spectacular Arrogate’s Travers performance was, he was assigned a 122 Beyer, the second-highest figure of the entire year, topped only by Frosted’s 123 when he won the Grade I Met Mile by 14 1/4 lengths at Belmont Park on June 11. The Beyer Speed Figures listed in the American Racing Manual for the Travers go back to 1990. Arrogate’s 122 is the highest ever recorded by a Travers winner. Indeed, it is the highest by quite a bit. The best Beyer by a Travers winner prior to 2016 had been Point Given’s 117 in 2001. Point Given, also trained by Baffert, was the 2001 Horse of the Year. Taking into account Arrogate’s winning margin of 13 1/2 lengths, final time of 1:59 1/5, final quarter-mile clocking of :23 4/5 and the lack of any prior stakes experience, I ranked his victory in the Travers as the top 2016 performance by a Thoroughbred in the United States. In Arrogate’s next start after the BC Classic, he won the Grade I, $12 million Pegasus World Cup by nearly five lengths in 1:46.83 to break Gulfstream’s track record for 1 1/8 miles. After the Pegasus, Arrogate won the Group I Dubai World Cup on March 25 in a performance for the ages. “Dead last early after a tardy start that then was exacerbated by being bumped a number of times in the opening strides like a pi�ata while being squeezed back, Arrogate amazingly still won last Saturday’s Group I Dubai World Cup,” I wrote. “Not only did Arrogate win, but after he had put away Gun Runner to open a clear lead in the final furlong, the Unbridled’s Song colt actually just strolled home to a ridiculously easy 2 1/4-length victory for owner Juddmonte Farms and Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. In addition to Arrogate’s horrendous start, which would have spelled doom for most horses, he had a wide trip. If all that weren’t enough adversity for one race, it looked like Mubtaahij came out and bumped Arrogate at the top of the straight. “Arrogate’s sensational Dubai World Cup performance was one that will long be remembered.” After the Dubai World Cup, an ecstatic Baffert said: “When he missed the break, I gave him no chance at all. I thought that was it. I was so mad at myself. I thought I shouldn’t have brought him [to Dubai]. But that’s the greatest horse I’ve ever seen run. That’s unbelievable. I mean, I can’t believe he won! That is a great horse, right there…When he turned for home, I said, ‘If he wins, this is the greatest horse that we’ve seen since Secretariat.’ Unbelievable.” Arrogate never was voted Horse of the Year. But the truth is that mainly was because he was a victim of the calendar. For a 10-month period from early June 2016 to late March 2017, Arrogate was an unbeatable beast. It could be said that Arrogate was the Horse of the Second Half of the Year in 2016 and Horse of the First Half of the Year in 2017. In Arrogate’s BloodHorse obituary written by Eric Mitchell, Baffert said he “will never have another horse put together four magical races” like Arrogate’s victories in the Travers, BC Classic, Pegasus World Cup and Dubai World Cup. Garrett O’Rourke, general manager for Juddmonte’s American operation, said on the Juddmonte website: “Those four amazing races established him as one of the great racehorses of our time, breaking two track records, taking down champion California Chrome in a battle for the ages, and then running by Gun Runner in an otherworldly performance in Dubai.” On my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America, Arrogate ranks No. 35, just behind two-time Horse of the Year Curlin. Arrogate undoubtedly would have ranked higher if he had not lost the final three starts of his career after the Dubai World Cup. From my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries, below is the list of the Top 35: 1. Man o’ War2. Secretariat*3. Citation*4. Kelso5. Spectacular Bid6. Native Dancer7. Dr. Fager8. Seattle Slew*9. Count Fleet*10. Affirmed*11. Ruffian12. Swaps13. Phar Lap14. Forego15. American Pharoah*16. Buckpasser17. Damascus18. Round Table19. Seabiscuit20. War Admiral*21. Tom Fool22. Colin23. John Henry24. Zenyatta25. Justify*26. Regret 27. Exterminator28. Whirlaway*29. Cigar30. Sunday Silence31. Nashua32. Alydar33. Easy Goer 34. Curlin35. Arrogate *Triple Crown winner. TWO FORMER DRF BOSSES PASS AWAY Phil Fitterer and Wayne Monroe, two bosses that I had during my 20-plus years with the Daily Racing Form, both recently passed away. Fitterer died on May 27 following a short battle with cancer, according to his DRF obituary. When I began working for the DRF in 1974 at Playfair Race Course in Spokane, Wash., Clio Hogan was the general manager of the DRF office in Seattle. Fittterer was Hogan’s assistant. After Hogan retired, Fitterer took over the general manager duties, a position he held until he retired in 2004. I wrote furlongs of copy for the Seattle edition of the DRF from 1974 to 1980, much of which was edited by Fitterer. He loved racing and college basketball. Monroe died on May 18 following a lengthy illness. When I was a writer for the DRF at Southern California tracks from 1981 to 1986, Monroe was one of the editors I reported to at the DRF office in Los Angeles. Don Fleming was the chief turf editor. Jay Hovdey (yes, that Jay Hovdey) was the turf editor. Monroe was the associate turf editor. In those years, Monroe also frequently was the official scorer for home games played by the Los Angeles Dodgers. When I left the DRF after the 1993 Del Mar meet to embark on a television career at Santa Anita, Monroe was the only DRF person to call me to say he was sorry that I was leaving for Santa Anita. It was a classy gesture that I will never forget. TIZ THE LAW NOW TOPS POLL AFTER NADAL’S RETIREMENT While Midnight Bisou maintained the No. 1 position in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, Nadal dropped out of the top spot in the NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll following the announcement that he has been retired. Nadal dropped to No. 7. Taking over at No. 1 is Tiz the Law, who received 27 first-place votes. There were two first-place votes for Authentic. Charlatan and King Guillermo each received one first-place vote. That single first-place vote for Charlatan was mine. Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 354 Midnight Bisou (27)2. 283 Mucho Gusto3. 264 By My Standards (2)4. 161 Zulu Alpha5. 137 Tom’s d’Etat (1)6. 116 Maximum Security (5)7. 104 Monomoy Girl8. 83 Raging Bull9. 69 Ce Ce10. 56 Mr Freeze Note: Tiz the Law received two first-place votes in the Top Thoroughbred Poll. With 32 points, he ranked 14th in that poll. Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 349 Tiz the Law (27)2. 286 Charlatan (1)3. 275 Authentic (2)4. 270 Maxfield5. 166 King Guillermo (1)6. 145 Honor A.P.7. 140 Nadal (5)8. 103 Sole Volante9. 86 Ete Indien10. 60 Basin  

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6.3.2020:

Santa Anita Derby Day Rapid Reactions

Entries were drawn this afternoon for Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby Day card, an 11-race lineup that includes a whopping 7 stakes races. First post is slated for 12:30 pm PT with the Grade 1 co-features going as Race 5 (Santa Anita Oaks), Race 8 (Runhappy Santa Anita Derby) and Race 10 (Hollywood Gold Cup). Stick with Xpressbet and 1/ST throughout the week for more in-depth previews, workout analysis, selections and more. The Santa Anita Oaks offered some surprise omissions in the entry box with divisional leader Venetian Harbor and rising star Gamine taking passes. The field of 5 includes the well-traveled Swiss Skydiver for Kentucky-based trainer Kenny McPeek. She’s won the Gulfstream Park Oaks and Oaklawn’s Fantasy in her last 2 starts. A rare, coast-to-coast troika for her will have to come at the expense of Santa Ysabel runner-up Speech, Evening Jewel-winning Cal-bred Smiling Shirlee and Bob Baffert’s last-out maiden dominators Merneith and Regal Beauty. Posts don’t look overly critical in this spot, though Swiss Skydiver may get pressure from Merneith and/or Speech just to her outside. The Runhappy Santa Anita Derby lured the expected rematch of San Felipe Stakes 1-2 finishers Authentic and Honor A.P. The former looks to give Baffert a record-padding 10th victory in Santa Anita’s nationally respected 3-year-old showcase. Baffert also bids with Azul Coast, winner of the El Camino Real Derby in February when last seen at Golden Gate Fields. The lineup includes 2019 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up Anneau d’Or in search of his first stakes win as well as a trio of runners racing in stakes company for the first time. Two of those newcomers are inside-drawn speedsters Rushie and Shooters Shoot, either or both of whom could find themselves in front of Authentic in the early hunt. The favorite drew widest in post 7, giving jockey Drayden Van Dyke some decisions to make. Honor A.P. might benefit if the aforementioned fresh faces to the Santa Anita stakes set are able to extend Authentic. As for the recently re-renamed Hollywood Gold Cup (contested in recent years as the Gold Cup at Santa Anita), a 6-pack has accepted the challenge over 1-1/4 miles. Trainers with a remarkable 11 victories in this race match steeds, including 5-time winner Baffert (Improbable), 4-time victor Doug O’Neill (Parsimony) and 2-time champ John Sadler (Higher Power). The Gold Cup might also be the Redemption Cup; it features the beaten favorites in the Kentucky Derby/Preakness (Improbable), Pegasus World Cup (Higher Power) and Santa Anita Handicap (Midcourt). All appear drawn well in the 6-horse field, that includes Kentucky shipper Tenfold’s late-closing kick from a very manageable outside draw over this trip. Saturday’s undercard events also feature the career debut of $3.6 million sophomore Cezanne, who has trained like Bob Baffert’s next star 3-year-old for his Race 6 maiden unveiling.

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6.3.2020:

Saturday, June 6: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN SELECTIONSFirst Post: 12:45AM ET on Sunday, June 7 Race 1: #3 Great Son, #7 Kwai Chung Elite, #12 Tigerlad, #5 Supreme PlusRace 2: #1 Glenealy Generals, #4 Lady First, #2 Monkey Jewellery, #11 Farm Bumper Race 3: #8 Wood On Fire, #3 Lucky Quality, #2 Chikorita, #1 Winning Feeling Race 4: #14 Great Smart, #11 Bring It On, #12 Golden General, #5 Little General Race 5: #13 Ka Ying Brilliance, #2 Jade Fortune, #8 Telecom Rocket, #11 Circuit Number OneRace 6: #10 Eptiwins, #9 All For St Paul’s, #4 Heza Beauty, #1 Casa De Forca Race 7: #2 Refined Treasure, #5 War Of Courage, #3 Total Excess, #9 California ArcherRace 8: #5 Guy Dragon, #1 Lobo’s Legend, #14 Street Scream, #2 Simple ElegantRace 9: #11 Such A Happiness, #14 Decisive Action, #5 Beauty Day, #4 Mr Aldan Race 10: #2 Glorious Spectrum, #6 Star Shine, #5 Morethanlucky, #3 Invincible Missile Race 1: Wu King Handicap (12:45AM ET) #3 Great Son made all impressively for a short-head victory and following that, has remained in Class 5 where he finished a competitive fifth last start. He’s drawn to the gun run here for Matthew Poon who should ensure he does next to no work in the run, and from there, finishes off strongly. #7 Kwai Chung Elite is still searching for his first Hong Kong win. He’s been awfully consistent for a horse without a win yet, having placed five times from 15 runs including a close-up third last-start. He’s another favoured by the draw and with even luck, should be able to make his presence felt. #12 Tigerlad has found form since switching stables to the Tony Millard who does have, an excellent record with stable transfers. If he can overcome the wide gate he’s not without a winning chance. #5 Supreme Plus mixes his form but does rate strongly following his last-start runner-up effort.  Race 2: Po Tin Handicap (1st Section) (1:15AM ET) #1 Glenealy Generals steps back into Class 4 where he recorded his last win, almost 12 months ago. He has the ability and now, at a competitive mark, he gets his chance to return to winning ways. #4 Lady First is still winless across 30 outings. Still, he’s consistent having placed in nine of these runs and if things fall his way, he is capable of taking this contest out. #2 Monkey Jewellery mixes his form but clearly has ability. Joao Moreira hops up again which is a plus as he has won aboard the Exceed And Excel gelding twice before. #11 Farm Bumper is racing well and can continue his solid form.  Race 3: Po Tin Handicap (2nd Section) (1:45AM ET) #8 Wood On Fire tried to make all last start but faded to a close-up second. He’s drawn to get the gun run again here and with even luck early he should be able to roll forward and dictate the race to suit himself. #3 Lucky Quality has placed on a number of occasions and does appear well suited in this grade. The wide gate is a concern but with even luck he should be thereabouts. #2 Chikorita steps down to Class 4. He’s actually shown a reasonable amount of ability and in the weaker grade he just might find the necessary improvement to test this bunch. #1 Winning Feeling is another who drops in grade. He’s a Class 4 winner previously and with Joao Moreira up he warrants plenty of respect. Race 4: Yau Oi Handicap (2:15AM ET) #14 Great Smart appears down to his mark. He’s now racing off a mark of 23 and with 15 runs under his belt, including an improved performance last start, he gets an excellent chance to finally put his best foot forward. Zac Purton hops aboard #11 Bring It On for the first time all season. This galloper has ability and now, back in Class 5 he just might be ready to piece it all together. #12 Golden General finished runner-up last time out, which was an improved effort that he can build on here, especially stepping up to 1800m. He can figure. #5 Little General has been consistent all term. He’s still winless but has taken a liking to stepping up in trip. Race 5: Tai Hing Handicap (3:05AM ET) #13 Ka Ying Brilliance is unlucky not to have already won a race this term, but nevertheless, if he can put his best foot forward then he is going to have a chance yet again, especially from gate five with only 115lb to shoulder. #2 Jade Fortune has gone close on a number of occasions. Zac Purton sticks aboard once again and although he hasn’t delivered yet for the Australian this term, he has been racing well and once again, rates as a leading player. #8 Telecom Rocket is consistent and has put in a number of impressive runs over 1400m this term. He’ll relish the added furlong on offer here and should be a major player. #11 Circuit Number One mixes his form but should get a chance to showcase his best from the favourable draw.   Race 6: Sam Shing Handicap (3:40AM ET) #10 Eptiwins has tallied two runner-up efforts since the switch to the David Hall yard. He’s got ability and although he’s been somewhat of a conundrum across his 13-start career for supporters, he does get conditions to suit here, especially with three-time champion jockey Zac Purton retaining the mount. #9 All For St Paul’s has turned his form around of late and off his last two runs he brings himself into the equation here. He’s drawn a touch awkward but his form warrants respect and this isn’t an overly strong contest. #4 Heza Beauty has hit the ground running since his debut five starts ago in Hong Kong, since then, finishing no worse than fifth. He narrowly missed last time out and if he can reproduce the same run here then he’s going to be fighting out the finish. #1 Casa De Forca won well last time out and it wouldn’t surprise to see him run well again, even if he does sit atop of Class 4. Race 7: Fu Tai Handicap (4:10AM ET) #2 Refined Treasure has largely appeared to struggle this season compared to his previous heroics, however, his last two runs on the dirt have sparked a little bit of improvement and now, returning to his preferred course and distance combined with a drop to Class 3, he just might be able to put his best foot forward. #5 War Of Courage has hit the ground running since his arrival to Hong Kong with two wins from seven appearances. He’s the in-form galloper who once again, commands plenty of respect. #3 Total Excess steps out on debut for Michael Chang and Zac Purton. The Australian jockeys booking on debut commands respect and off his trials, a bold performance is expected, especially as Mr Croissant has come out of that latest trial and won. #9 California Archer is consistent and bears close watching for the in-form Tony Cruz stable. Race 8: Lung Yat Handicap (4:40AM ET) #5 Guy Dragon has gone close on a number of occasions this term and with the right run, he can take this contest out. The wide draw isn’t a concern as he is more than likely not going to settle worse than midfield but with a clean run home, he can rattle into contention. #1 Lobo’s Legend is a tricky galloper to catch but clearly, he does have the ability. He needs a lot to go his way but if it does, then he should be able to showcase his best. #14 Street Scream closed strongly for third behind a runaway Amazing Chocolate last time out. He finished alongside the bunched field behind that winner and from that performance, rates strongly, especially as an improving type. He bears close watching, not only for Sunday but the remainder of the season. #2 Simple Elegant will be in front for a long way, although, there is a question mark is around how much work he will do there. Race 9: On Ting Handicap (5:15AM ET) #11 Such A Happiness has done well for Tony Millard as a stable transfer across three starts and with even luck, he can register his first win for the veteran South African handler. A return to Sha Tin should spark sharp improvement in the galloper who from gate three, maps to get a dream run throughout under Antoine Hamelin. #14 Decisive Action slots in at the bottom of the weights with the feather 114lb on his back. Joao Moreira takes the reins here and his pull in the weights should see him go very close. #5 Beauty Day gets the services of Zac Purton. He’s a course and distance winner already this term who warrants respect, albeit from the wide gate. #4 Mr Aldan can rattle into the finish. Race 10: Butterfly Handicap (5:50AM ET) #2 Glorious Spectrum is looking to snap a run of two second-place efforts. He’s returned this term in excellent order after putting his soundness issue behind him and with even luck, he can reward his owners with a well-deserved win, albeit in a tough contest. #6 Star Shine rarely runs a bad race and his consistency holds him in good stead here. #5 Morethanlucky turned in a strong performance last start and now gets the services of Zac Purton. He can figure with the right run but he will need to wind back the clock, somewhat as his best appears behind him. #3 Invincible Missile has struggled in Class 2 but to his credit, he hasn’t been disgraced. Suspect he can sit closer in the run now and make his presence felt. He’s worth taking a chance on, especially if he is a big price.

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6.3.2020:

Pull Up a Chair, Tournament Players!

You can’t enjoy the feast unless you have a seat at the table. Saturday, Xpressbet is handing out chairs. Top finishers in Xpressbet’s online-only 2020 Santa Anita Derby Day Challenge contest will earn at least four seats to the coveted 2021 National Horseplayers Championship (NHC) in Las Vegas, plus hotel accommodations and $500 for airfare. Additionally, Saturday’s 2020 Santa Anita Derby Challenge will offer a minimum of two full online entries into the 2021 Pegasus World Cup Betting Championship—a $6,000 value each. Plus, there’s a total cash pool of $41,500 to be divvied up between the top 8 finishers. Sound scrumptious? Register now online at Xpressbet for $3,000 ($2,000 in live bankroll and a $1,000 entry fee). There’s a max of two entries per Xpressbet account holder and players must be NTRA Tour Members to win NHC seats and to win NHC Tour points. As is standard operating procedure at Xpressbet, there’s no rake, skim or pot takeout – 100% of entry fees are returned to players as prizes. The tournament’s wagering format is pretty simple and includes all races Saturday from Santa Anita, plus the Golden Hour Double involving the finale at Golden Gate Fields. Wagers include Win, Place, Show, Exacta, Trifecta, Daily Double and Golden Hour Double. Players must wager a minimum of five races at $200 each and make at least $2,000 in total wagers. The 2020 Santa Anita Derby Challenge is one of a planned series of Xpressbet online competitions that will offer a combination of tournament seats and cash prizes. Others are scheduled for June 13 and 20, with additional events planned throughout the summer. Visit Xpressbet.com for official rules and more information on the 2020 Santa Anita Derby Challenge and for details on future tournaments. Win cash and secure your NHC and PWCBC seats online Saturday in Xpressbet’s 2020 Santa Anita Derby Challenge! It’s almost dinner time. Pull up a chair! Register now!

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6.2.2020:

June 02: Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park has another competitive 15-race card set to roll at 6 PM EST. The Late Pick 4 begins in Race 11 and will be my focus. That sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with a 14% takeout. The Late Pick 4 pool on Monday night was a shade over $64,000.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 111-Trump's Wall (8/5)-Faded in 1st start off the bench as an even money chalk. Did beat four from this field in that start. Will look for better from the rail tonight.2-One Rock (3-1)-3-year-old won last week and should be forwardly placed again. May take another picture.5-Doin The Most (7-1)-Qualified nicely on Lasix and went the 2nd half in 56.1. Three-year-old could surprise at a square price.Race 121-Warrior Way (9/5)-Didn't show much in qualifier but trainer gives the lines to Wrenn and drops to a comfortable level.2-Queens Lonely Early (9/2)-Qualified from the 8-hole on a sloppy track and didn't show much. Will respect the Merriman-Rhodes connection and should offer a nice price. 12-year-old could get sucked around from this spot.8-Here's Jolene (10-1)-Worked hard from the 9-hole in 1st start off a layoff and stays at the same level. Should like the company and at 10-1 in the morning line is worth a swing in the Pick 4 and in gimmicks.Race 134-Adversary Seelster (7/2)-Had a tough trip from the 7-hole in last and will look for better tonight. Loses Merriman to #6 but Wrenn won 8 races last night and he can put this veteran in striking range.6-Tico Time (3-1)-Hung in last week in 1st start of the meet and now is 2nd time Lasix. Went off as an odds-on chalk and should be bet hard again.7-Red Dog Ryan (5-1)-Got on the engine and almost hung on last week. Fits with this crew and the Looney barn has been doing well. Could offer some value if Kash can provide a good steer.Race 141-Chocolate Crackers (8/5)-Merriman takes a spin and there won't be much strategy involved. Drops to a soft spot and will look to wire this field.$1 Pick 41,2,5/1,2,8/4,6,7/1Total Bet=$27Check me out on Twitter!

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6.2.2020:

Numbers to Know for Santa Anita Derby Day

Saturday’s Runhappy Santa Anita Derby anchors an 11-race program loaded with star horses and horsemen. Entries for the full card will be drawn Wednesday. Stick with Xpressbet and 1/ST throughout the week for updates, workout analysis, handicapping selections and more.So, who might be poised for the biggest day on Saturday? We drove the Betmix database, which powers the 1/ST Bet app, to see for ourselves.Baffert Dialed in for DerbyBob Baffert’s record 9 Santa Anita Derby winners make him the obvious place to start in Santa Anita Derby handicapping. Note that since 2013, Baffert is 7: 3-4-0 in the SA Derby with horses 3-1 or less in the morning line. If they’re supposed to fire, they have fired.Staking Their ClaimDuring the 2019-2020 Santa Anita winter-spring meeting, trainers Peter Miller (7-22, 32%) and Bob Baffert (7-36, 19%) have had the most success in stakes races. Richard Mandella (5-19, 26%) and John Sadler (5-20, 20%) are right on their heels, followed by John Shirreffs (4-12, 33%). It’s Shirreffs with the best ROI among that group, checking in at $1.88 back on every $1 bet.In the saddle, Flavien Prat (10-48, 21%) and Abel Cedillo (10-53, 19%) lead the jockey colony in stakes wins. Mike Smith (8-31, 26%), Joel Rosario (7-30, 23%) and Victor Espinoza (5-22, 23%) are the other riders to watch. But it’s only Cedillo showing a flat-bet profit, boasting a $1.61 ROI for each $1 investment.Classic-Distance DataWhile the historic Hollywood Gold Cup reverts to its former name this year (contested in recent years as the Gold Cup at Santa Anita), it will be held at its traditional 1-1/4 miles classic distance. Of the 24 races held at Santa Anita over this distance since 2013 on dirt, trainers John Sadler (6) and Bob Baffert (5) account for nearly half the wins. They own 10 of the 18 stakes tallies at the trip during that time, both with identical 5-17 marks. Mike Smith (4-15, 27%) not surprisingly has been the most successful jockey in these Santa Anita stakes, while Victor Espinoza (3-8, 38%) has been on point.Horses exiting 1-mile preps are 0-11 in classic-distance stakes at Santa Anita since 2013; 2-17 when last raced at 1-1/16 miles; 13-91 when last at 1-1/8 miles; and 2-31 when returning at the same 1-1/4 miles distance. The only horse to prep shorter than a mile, won, when Vino Rosso came out of the 2019 Carter Handicap before taking this very race.

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6.1.2020:

Wednesday, June 3: Happy Valley (Hong Kong) Picks

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONSWednesday, June 3, 2020First Post: 6:45AM ET Race 1: #4 Clement Legend, #1 Golden Spectrum, #3 Blastoise, #2 Vincy Race 2: #1 Ambitious Heart, #10 Super Winner, #6 All Best Friends, #8 Travel DatukRace 3: #10 Green Envy, #1 Classic Posh, #4 After Me, #8 Murray’s Partners Race 4: #9 This Is Charisma, #4 Sprint Forward, #8 Jolly Convergence, #1 Sky Show  Race 5: #1 Right Honourable, #11 Humble Steed, #3 Big Bang Bong, #10 Courageous DragonRace 6: #7 Everbrave, #1 Forza Angel, #3 Daily Delight, #10 Prawn Yeah Yeah Race 7: #5 Columbus County, #4 Super Oasis, #9 Helena Baby, #6 Reliable Team Race 8: #5 Best Alliance, #9 Rich And Lucky, #10 Charity Wings, #3 Flash FamousRace 9: #10 Big Fortune, #5 Island Shine, #6 Hardly Swears, #1 Fantasy Race 1: Old Bailey Handicap (6:45AM ET) #4 Clement Legend is a four-time course and distance winner and although he’s lost his form of late, he is a proven customer and with his best, he can win. He’s drawn to get a soft run throughout from gate four which should allow him to do next to work in the small field. #1 Golden Spectrum has shown steady improvement since his Hong Kong debut seven starts ago. Latest, grabbing third over 1800m at the Valley, coming from worse than midfield when doing so. He warrants respect against this bunch, especially as a G2 winner pre-import. #3 Blastoise steps up to 2200m for the first time. He’s consistent and though he faces the rise in trip for the first time, he rarely runs a bad race and still in this grade, he can his presence felt once again. #2 Vincy mixes his form but does have plenty of ability. Whether he can piece it all together is another question but if so, he’s going to be in the finish. Race 2: Staunton Handicap (1st Section) (7:15AM ET) #1 Ambitious Heart stepped back into Class 4 last start and showed significant improvement. With that run under his belt, and now a better draw, he gets conditions which should see him prove tough to beat, especially as a two-time course and distance winner. #10 Super Winner gets the services of Alfred Chan who is fresh off a Sunday double at Sha Tin. He takes seven pounds off his back here and if he can dictate terms to suit himself out in front, then he’s going to give himself a chance to pinch this. #6 All Best Friends is racing well and did score impressively three starts ago by four lengths. He’s back into Class 4 following that win but has been running well and warrants plenty of respect here. #8 Travel Datuk has drawn awkwardly but does get the services of Zac Purton. Must respect. Race 3: Wyndham Handicap (1st Section) (7:45AM ET) #10 Green Envy has taken to life in Hong Kong well and gets conditions to suit here. He’s drawn to get the gun run for Joao Moreira, who, from gate three should ensure he gets every possible chance up on the pace early. #1 Classic Posh remains in Class 4 following a grinding win at Sha Tin over 1400m. Zac Purton retains the ride here and with even luck, he’s going to get every chance to win his way into Class 3. #4 After Me rattled home from the tail of the field to score over this course and distance last start. He’s another who remains in the same grade following a last-start win and if he gets a race run to suit, he’s going to be thereabouts. #8 Murray’s Partners mixes his form but clearly has ability. The draw is favourable and he shouldn’t be too far away with Karis Teetan up. Race 4: Staunton Handicap (2nd Section) (8:15AM ET) #9 This Is Charisma has gone close on a number of occasions this season, namely three starts ago over this course and distance with Karis Teetan in the plate when the duo missed by half a length. He hops back up now and from the inside draw, rates as the one to beat. #4 Sprint Forward rarely runs a bad race and gets the services of Joao Moreira once again here. He wears the blinkers for the second time now which he should be comfortable with and from the gate he shouldn’t be too far away throughout. #8 Jolly Convergence has been nothing short of consistent all season. He once again, rates as a chance. #1 Sky Show was impressive last start, making all for a two length success over this course and distance. This is more difficult but he’ll once again, put himself in the race and give himself every chance. Race 5: Wyndham Handicap (2nd Section) (8:45AM ET) #1 Right Honourable’s last run in Class 4 yielded a win and since then he has been relatively competitive up in grade. He steps back in class now and with Chad Schofield hopping up again, he shapes as the leading player. #11 Humble Steed is searching for his third consecutive win. Slight concern about the draw and step up in grade but he is racing well, and with the right run, can take this contest out. #3 Big Bang Bong is a grand campaigner having won four times from 63 outings. He has race experience on his side and does also get Zac Purton aboard for the first time, which alone, warrants plenty of respect. #10 Courageous Dragon is a horse on the up. He’s drawn well and should be able to get a soft run on the speed which will give him every opportunity.  Race 6: Shelley Handicap (9:15AM ET) #7 Everbrave kept on strongly over this course and distance last start and now, breaking from a good gate, should ensure that he gets a better chance than last time. His sole win came over the 1000m at the Valley and with the right run, he can double that tally on Wednesday. #1 Forza Angel gets the services of Zac Purton for the first time this season. He’s been racing well and this looks a suitable contest for him. #3 Daily Delight scooted up the rail to score handsomely last time out. He rattled home from well back that day and though he will need favours from the wide gate, he does still appear to have a number of ratings points in hand. #10 Prawn Yeah Yeah is next best in a competitive contest. Race 7: Cochrane Handicap (9:45AM ET) #5 Columbus County tallied three consecutive runner-up efforts earlier this term before finishing down the track in the BMW Hong Kong Derby. He’s worth forgiving for that run as his form prior at Class 2 level was excellent and if he can recapture that here, then he is the one to beat. #4 Super Oasis narrowly missed at his first run for Ricky Yiu last start. He’s racing well and he is going to be a threat again with that performance under his belt. #9 Helena Baby turned his form around last start to grab third. If he can hold his form out of that run then he’s a leading player among a competitive field of 10. #6 Reliable Team is next best. Race 8: Lyndhurst Handicap (10:15AM ET) #5 Best Alliance is a solid galloper on his day though can be quite hard to catch at times. Still, he finished a close-up second last start and off that performance rates strongly to go one better here. The inside gate suits him and the strong riding capabilities of Antoine Hamelin will also favour him. #9 Rich And Lucky is a lightly raced talent on the up. He’s looking for his third win this season, each time with Zac Purton, who once again takes the reins here for his Class 3 debut. He appears up to this grade. #10 Charity Wings is nothing short of consistent all the time and the light weight on his back should favour him here. #3 Flash Famous is a four-time course and distance. He’s drawn a touch awkward but he can make his presence felt with the right run. Race 9: Graham Handicap (10:50AM ET) #10 Big Fortune closed impressively at a big price last start and if he can repeat that here, then he might be worth taking a chance on. Ben So sticks aboard again and from the good gate this galloper is going to get his chance. #5 Island Shine is in form for leading trainer Ricky Yiu. He’s still racing well and the inside gate here, combined with the booking of Antoine Hamelin, and should ensure that he gets his opportunity. #6 Hardly Swears mixes his form but his blistering best is very good. He gets his chance to recapture it here and if he can, he is a leading contender, especially as he returns to the city circuit where he is a three-time winner. #1 Fantasy has the tough draw but does have the wins on the board. He’ll be in the finish.

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6.1.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (May 25-31): Raging Bull

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.May 25-31, 2020MVP: Raging BullOwner: Peter BrantTrainer: Chad BrownJockey: Joel RosarioPerformance: A Memorial Day western foray saw Raging Bull knock out the Grade 1 $300,000 Shoemaker Mile field at Santa Anita on May 25. The 5-year-old French-bred closed 8 lengths over the final half-mile and drew clear by 2-1/4 emphatic lengths, besting a deep field that included Next Shares, favorite and barnmate Without Parole, River Boyne and Preakness winner War of Will. The victory pushed Raging Bull’s career earnings over the $1 million mark. It was his first win since the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby of 2018 after knocking on the door in top-class company throughout 2019.On Tap: The recently rescheduled July 10 Grade 1 Maker’s Mark Mile at Keeneland should be the next circled date. Belmont’s new-fangled summer meet has only the Grade 3 Poker on July 4 for turf milers on its slate, and for half the purse. Subsequent races like Saratoga’s Fourstardave and the Woodbine Mile were on the 2019 travel log for Raging Bull and would be logical spots again if all goes well.Honorable Mentions: No doubt, Bell’s the One turned in the most eye-catching victory of the week with a rallying score in the May 30 Grade 3 Winning Colors at Churchill Downs. She blew past favorites Break Even and Mia Mischief in 1:08.70 for 6 furlongs. Dynasty of Her Own advanced to 4-for-5 lifetime with a wire-to-wire score in the May 31 California Oaks at Golden Gate Fields. Her fellow Jonathan Wong stablemate Keeper Of the Stars proved her February upset of Jolie Olimpica in the Buena Vista was no fluke, doubling down May 25 to win Santa Anita’s Grade 1 Gamely. Also at Santa Anita, Fighting Mad and Laura’s Light earned high marks in stakes company. Fighting Mad wired the field May 31 in the Grade 2 Santa Maria on just 14 days’ rest, besting a bunch that included top west coast mare CeCe. Meanwhile, Laura’s Light improved her mark to 3-for-3 in local stakes with a Grade 3 Honeymoon score May 30. In West Virginia, Penguin Power upped his record to 11-for-14 at Charles Town on May 30 in the Confucius Say Stakes, including a 4-for-4 lifetime record in stakes.

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6.1.2020:

Monday, June 01: Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park should attract a great deal of attention tonight as they stand alone as the only harness track racing. My focus will be on the Late Pick 4 which has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence has a 14% takeout and the pool should end up well north of the guarantee.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 112-Manny L (7/2)-Came off the bench with an in control win in first start on Lasix. Steps-up, so this will be a stiffer test, but barn has been hot. Should be tighter and might be even better tonight.3-Chestnut Schofield (7-1)-Looking for a price and tossing 1st start off a layoff. Blenheim raced huge that night and this guy broke slowly. Gets post relief and has won Opens here. Looney barn has been hot and will look for a big try.5-Outburst (7/2)-Burke trainee was caught racing in the back with slow leavers in qualifier. Should like the company and could be sitting on a big try, but might be over bet.7-Blenheim (3-1)-Hitchcock barn is winning at a 45% clip and last week this 7-year-old got on the engine and drew off by 7 all on its own. Looks like a major threat with a clean trip but may not be able to get the top from this post.Race 122-Stride Of Pride (5-1)-Even effort in 1st start off the bench. Might be able to make the most of an inside post draw and get the jump on main foes.4-The Wayfaring Man (5-1)-Faded in qualifier but pace was quick. Looney trainee shows up versus this kind and loves the track. In 20 starts at Nfld, has hit the the board 15 times with 8-wins and should be a square price.5-Major Nemesis (5/2)-Has only raced a total of 12-times in '18 and '19 but has won 14 of 32 at Nfld. Moves up after a sharp effort last week and still fits with this crew. Best to respect but won't offer any value.Race 131-Beach Shootingstar (9-1)-Tossing last start from the 8-hole and has won 9 of 35 at Nfld. Gets significant post relief and can be in the mix at this level when forwardly placed. Should be a price and will look to use in gimmicks as well.2- Guns An Roses (3-1)-12-year-old had a big effort from the 9-hole in 1st start of the meet. Holzman barn has won 2 of 5 starts and 12-year-old should make the most of this starting spot.5-Dance Life Well (2-1)-Wasn't really challenged after getting an early lead and won with a well rated mile. Best to not overlook but could face a stiffer challenge this evening.Race 145-Driving Miss Sadie (2-1)-Nice effort against better and now drops to a more comfortable level. Loses Hall but Sugg knows well. Has won 25% of Nfld starts and appears to be a clean trip away from a picture.My Ticket Race 11: 2,3,5,7 Race 12: 2,4,5 Race 13: 1,2,5 Race 14: 5Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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6.1.2020:

Experts Rank Baffert's 9 Santa Anita Derby Winners

Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Santa Anita Derby a record 9 times in his Hall of Fame career. He takes aim at a potential 10th trophy in Saturday’s showcase race at the Great Race Place. We tasked our panel of experts in the 1/ST family to rank Baffert’s historic group of Santa Anita Derby champs. The assignment was simple: Rank them in the order you’d want to draft into your stable. The top pick earned 9 points in our balloting down to 1 for the final selection.The five-member selection panel included: Millie Ball and Jeff Siegel of XBTV; Jon White, morning line maker at Santa Anita and Xpressbet blogger; and John Desantis and Jeremy Plonk of Xpressbet.#9 Midnight Interlude (2011) | Video The most unlikely Santa Anita Derby winner of Baffert’s 9, Midnight Interlude upset the 2011 field at nearly 14-1 odds just 20 days after breaking his maiden in his third start. Victorious on Santa Anita’s former synthetic surface, Midnight Interlude finished well up the track in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, and won only once more in 9 starts after his signature score. He wound up standing stud in India. Rankings points: 5.#8 Roadster (2019) | Video The most recent member of this list, to date Roadster boasts only of the Santa Anita Derby among his stakes scores. He upended stablemate and 1-2 favorite Game Winner in last year’s Santa Anita Derby before failing to fire in 15th in the Kentucky Derby. He’s 0-7 since his big victory, but has been runner-up in the Grade 1 Malibu and Grade 2 San Carlos sprinting. Rankings points: 11.#7 Cavonnier (1996) | Video The first Triple Crown foray for Baffert came with this 1996 Santa Anita Derby 10-1 upsetter, who arrived in Louisville with 13 career starts already in tow. Cavonnier rallied to miss by only a nose to Grindstone in the run for the roses, one of the closest finishes in race history. He added a Preakness fourth before being injured in the running of the Belmont Stakes. The Cal-bred gelding returned to racing in 1998 and competed through 2000, but never again in the graded stakes ranks. Rankings points: 18.#6 Dortmund (2015) | Video In the rarest of years, a Santa Anita Derby winner isn’t even the best 3-year-old in his own barn. Dortmund led every step as the favorite in the 2015 SA Derby to remain undefeated in 6 starts, but it was stablemate American Pharoah who was rerouted on the prep trail to Oaklawn and who would eventually make history as a Triple Crown winner. Dortmund held his own in Louisville, finishing a game third to American Pharoah, but was no match at Pimlico. He would add the Grade 3 Native Diver as a 4-year-old, but lost his final 7 races. Rankings points: 19.#5 Pioneerof The Nile (2009) | Video Perhaps best known as the eventual sire of 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, papa Pioneerof The Nile was Baffert’s best 3-year-old in the brief synthetic-surface era at Santa Anita. He won 4 consecutive graded stakes, culminating in his Santa Anita Derby as the 4-5 favorite. The son of Empire Maker ran second to romping 50-1 Kentucky Derby upsetter Mine That Bird before finishing up the track in the Preakness, his final career start. Rankings points: 24.#4 General Challenge (1999) | Video After Kentucky Derby victories in 1997 with Silver Charm and 1998 with Real Quiet, Baffert’s chance at a three-peat looked formidable after General Challenge won the 1999 Santa Anita Derby by more than 3 lengths over stablemate Prime Timber. But a troubled start thwarted his chances in Louisville, where he wound up 11th as part of a favored entry with the filly Excellent Meeting. He made some amends that summer taking the Pacific Classic at Del Mar. At age 4, General Challenge would score the Strub and Santa Anita Handicap, earning more than $2.8 million lifetime. Rankings points: 31.#3 Indian Charlie (1998) | Video While he made only 5 career starts, the meteoric rise of Indian Charlie in 1998 was on full display when this Cal-bred put away a field that included stablemate Real Quiet and eventual sprint champion Artax in the Santa Anita Derby. That victory sent him to the Kentucky Derby as the 5-2 post-time favorite, but he couldn’t collar Real Quiet at Churchill and wound up third in his final start and only defeat. He would go on to sire Breeders’ Cup champions such as Uncle Mo and Indian Blessing. Perhaps the most debated of these rankings, he nosed out the deeper-resumed General Challenge by way of his brilliant talent. Rankings points: 32.#2 Point Given (2001)There’s only 1 Kentucky Derby day for any horse, and unfortunately for Point Given, that just wasn’t his day. But in the 2001 Santa Anita Derby, there was no doubt as the big horse cruised by more than 5 lengths as the 3-5 favorite. Whether he moved too soon into a hot pace in Louisville, or was done in by some minor physical issues, his fifth-place finish on the first Saturday in May was soon proven an aberration. Point Given never lost again, winning 4 straight Grade 1 stakes, including the Preakness, Belmont (by 12-1/4 lengths), Haskell and Travers. Millie Ball had a front-row seat as an exercise rider for his rise to fame, and recalled: “I was working horses for Baffert at Hollywood Park and on June 20, 2000 the barn had decided to shorten up Point Given’s drills to put some speed and focus into him. This was the day he revealed he could really run!” John Desantis called Point Given “the best Baffert-trained horse to never win the Kentucky Derby. He would have/should have/could have won the Triple Crown if not for an untimely physical issue.” Point Given was ranked No. 1 on 1 of 5 ballots, second on the other 4. Rankings points: 41.#1 Justify (2018) | Video In just his third lifetime start and only 7 weeks since he debuted on the racetrack, Justify wired the 2018 Santa Anita Derby while holding rival Bolt d’Oro at bay. He spring-boarded that success into a historic Triple Crown sweep that saw him become the first Kentucky Derby winner in more than a century to not have raced as a 2-year-old. Justify was retired after the Belmont Stakes with a 6-for-6 record. Justify was ranked No. 1 in 4 of 5 ballots, second in the other. Rankings points: 44.Our panelists’ offered their reactions.Jeff Siegel: “Justify vanquished the Apollo curse – thank you! He also won the Triple Crown and retired unbeaten in a career that spanned less than four months.”John Desantis: “Triple Crown winner … enough said.”Millie Ball: "The best! A Triple Crown winner with a perfect record and a stride resembling (Olympic world record-setting runner) Wayde van Niekerk.”Jon White: “When Point Given won the Santa Anita Derby, I was confident that he would go on to sweep the Triple Crown. But, alas, in what would be an inopportune time for Point Given to run the worst race of his career, he finished fifth in the Kentucky Derby won by Monarchos. Point Given would go on to win the Preakness (beating Monarchos by 7 1/2 lengths) and Belmont (beating Monarchos by 13 lengths). Point Given's Belmont was a tour de force as he won by 12 1/4 lengths. But as terrific as Point Given was, I rank Justify at No. 1 among Baffert's Santa Anita Derby winners for three primary reasons. First, Justify DID win the Triple Crown. Second, in a remarkable achievement, Justify became the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced as a 2-year-old since Apollo in 1882. And third, Justify is the only one of Baffert's nine Santa Anita Derby winners who never lost a race.”Jeremy Plonk: “I appreciate what Justify accomplished, but I’m on an island in my preference to Point Given as the best on this list. I was fortunate to be trackside for his Preakness, Belmont, Haskell and Travers romps to close his career. His Belmont was other-worldly.”

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5.31.2020:

Sunday, May 31: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: CUse: 2-Master Recovery; 3-Fay DanForecast: Fay Dan isn’t much but won’t have to be to graduate in this below par maiden $50,000 claiming miler that drew just five entrants. Away since last fall, the four-year-old Curlin gelding has trained well enough to be ready against this level of competition. We’ll give him a very slight edge on top over Master Recovery, a close third over this track and distance at this level two runs back and then beaten just over three lengths in a tougher maiden $75,000 seller on grass last time out. Both should be included in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.RACE 2: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Blackout: 4-Mystery MessengerForecast: Mystery Messenger, back sprinting on grass, has numbers that can win and recent workouts that indicate he’s right on edge. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding was victorious over this course and distance earlier in the year from tougher field and retains “win rider” U. Rispoli. Blackout, claimed back by P. Miller for $32,000 last time out, has a win at this level in early January that charts very well here and F. Prat stays aboard. The French-bred gelding didn’t’ get the best of trips when fourth vs. similar last time out but with a clean start and a ground-saving trip he’ll be formidable. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Mystery Messenger.RACE 3: Post 1:34 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Atina; 2-She CherieForecast: Atina, first off the $16,000 claim by J. Mullins, was a lethargic fifth in a similar spot when last seen in mid-February but following this 3 � month layoff the Argentine-bred mare should return to form. From the rail she projects to draft into a comfortable ground-saving, stalking position and then have her chance when it matters. We’ll also include She Cherie, the likely controlling speed in her first try around two-turns (always a good angle). She’s fresh, training well, and in good hands. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post 2:06 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Quick Finish; 9-Morgan S.Forecast: Quick Finish, in the frame in a pair of state-bred first-level allowance sprints on the main track, moves down to $35,000 restricted (nw-2) grass sprint. He’s won sprinting on turf in the past (at Del Mar), has numbers that are good enough to win, and offers excellent wagering value at or near his morning line of 6-1. We’ll also include Morgan S. in our rolling exotics. The J. Mullins-trained gelding just failed at 2/5 in a mixed breed dash at Los Alamitos, but under these more favorable conditions we’re expecting the veteran gelding to bounce back in a big way. His narrow second place finish over this course and distance two runs back puts him right there.RACE 5: Post 2:38 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-My Super Mario; 3-Kingofjesters; 6-Hot Socks; 8-Scary Fast SmileForecast: This wide open maiden state-bred $50,000 claimer requires a spread in rolling exotic play; we’ll go four deep and hope to get a decent price home. Kingofjesters is a first-timer with credentials to run well in a soft field. The 4-year-old son of Giacomo is late to the part but lands F. Prat and has shown enough ability in the a.m. to be a major player. Scary Fast Smile has trained reasonably well for his debut and is bred to win early (Smiling Tiger). He’s a fresh face in a field in which the known element doesn’t look particularly intimidating. My Super Mario was a beaten choice in his debut at this level but is wheeled back in the same spot as a first-time gelding in what we’ll take as a sign of confidence. Hot Socks, away since last summer, might be a better type this time around for a clever barn. He earned speed figures as a two-year-old that makes him a fit with these.RACE 6: Post 3:10 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Sandal; 6-Sweet and Cheeky; 9-RakassahForecast: Rakassah gets the worst of the draw and just failed at even money, so she may not be one to trust in this abbreviated grass sprint for older maiden fillies and mares. However, this does not appear to be a strong race for the level, so the Irish-bred filly probably deserves top billing in a race that we’ll include two others for protection. Sandal has trained well enough to warrant a least a little bit of a look in her debut, and we’ll also toss in Sweet and Cheeky, a first-timer by Candy Ride who hasn’t done anything special in the a.m. but may like the grass. If you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.RACE 7: Post 3:42 PT. Grade: XSingle: Ce CeForecast: Ce Ce is listed at 3/5 on the morning line and after winning a pair of Grade-1 events – the Beholder Mile over this track and the Apple Blossom H.-G1 at Oaklawn Park – the daughter of Elusive Quality appears ready for another winning effort. Recent local workouts indicate she remains on top of her game, so we’ll make her a no-value rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.RACE 8: Post 4:14 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Seaside Dancer; 5-Miss Flawless; 8-TonahutuForecast: Tonahutu stretches out to her preferred distance, drops into a claimer for the first time and has worked well enough of late to indicate she’s ready to regain her best form. She’s winless in five starts over the local lawn but against this group we’re expecting her to get her confidence back. Seaside Dancer may be the controlling speed trip from her rail draw and is a two-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course. Freshened since early February, she’s won off short layoffs in the past and retains regular rider A. Cedillo. Miss Flawless returns to grass, drops into class, picks up F. Prat and should be running on late. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics while preferring Tonahutu slightly on top.

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5.30.2020:

Saturday, May 30: Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park has a 15-race card set to roll this evening. The Late Pick 4 starts in Race 11 and has a 14% takeout. This sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. On Friday, the combined Early and Late Pick 4 pools averaged over $30,000.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 111-Foolish Terror (5-1)-Comes off a nice tune-up but loses Wrenn to #5 which should help the price. Tries hard at this level but usually falls short. Will take a swing the rail makes a difference, and qualifier was forecasting a big effort.4-Mcdazzle (5-1)-One of two Burke entries and this mare stole the show in her qualifier by 16 lengths. Consistent competitor has been in the money in 25 of 32 starts at Nfld and should be a major player again.5-Camera Lady (5/2)-Here's another 6-year-old mare from the Burke barn that loves Nfld. Has recorded 12 wins in 17 starts and has 3 second place finishes as well. May look to get the top and make every call a winning one.Race 121-Jeramayer (4-1)-Likes to be on the engine or up close and can get that trip from this post. Fits well with this group and should offer a square price.5-Endeavor Stars (5/2)-Rhodes barn has been hot and Merriman steers after a solid qualifier on a sloppy track. Figures to be a solid threat and should be bet hard but is 0-5 at Nfld.6-St Lads Maggie Mae (7/2)-Has won >26% of Nfld starts and 10-year-old comes off a sharp win in her qualifier. If Sugg leaves and gets a good seat chances for success go up, best to not overlook.Race 134-Vibrent Kally (3-1)-Burke pupil is the tepid program chalk after a no-doubt win in its qualifier. Meadows invader makes Nfld debut and is usually right there at the wire.5-Sea Rose (8-1)-Veteran mare has won 25% of her starts at Nfld. Looks like a price shot who should be in line for a nice trip.6-Strawb's Chippie N (7/2)-Likes the slop and raced big in qualifier on an off-track. Might be over bet because of that performance. Will respect chances and has won here at this level on 2/4, but that was also on a sloppy track.Race 144-Alisha's Big Star (9/5)-Makes first start for the Roegner barn since being claimed on 3/14. From January through 3/14 this mare was consistently in the money. Did win its qualifier, so maybe the barn change will lead to similar results.9-KJ's Foxy Lady (3-1)-Even though the post draw wasn't good, and Myers won't be in the bike this horse likes to compete. 10-year-old can grind its way around and take her 32nd picture in 177 starts at Nfld.$1 Pick 4 Race 11) 1,4,5 Race 12) 1,5,6 Race 13) 4,5,6 Race 14) 4,9Total Ticket Cost) $54 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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5.30.2020:

Saturday, May 30: Santa Anita 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. DAY MAKERS FOR SATURDAY, MAY 30, 2020Gulfstream Park 8th race – Post Time 4:21 ET12 – Givemetwenty (20-1)Let’s try to blow out up the tote board with this long shot play. The nicely-bred son of Declaration of War stretches out for the first time in this starter’s allowance middle distance turf affair after closing strongly and galloping out full of run in a recent grass sprint. With the switch to the barn’s “go-to” rider E. Jaramillo, this lightly-raced 3-year-old looks extremely well meant for a trainer who has superior stats with the sprint-to-route angle.Churchill Downs 8th race – Post Time 4:40 ET9 – Ashiham (8/5)Has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and looks ready to win while adding blinkers and switching to Johnny V. in this middle distance maiden affair. The T. Pletcher-trained colt was impressive in a recent bullet drill at the Palm Beach Downs training center (much the best over a workmate) and with continued improvement could develop into a nice colt. He looks pretty solid in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Churchill Downs 11th race – Post Time 6:16 ET1 – Juliet Foxtrot (5/2)Produced an outstanding series of races in 2019 after being imported from England and appears set to pick up where she left off in this Grade-3 middle distance turf affair for fillies and mares. Lands the favorable rail and should be forward placed in a race that projects to be slowly run early. A versatile type that can win on the lead or from mid-pack, the B. Cox-trained mare is plenty fast on speed figures and has trained like she’s fit and ready.Today’s Santa Anita Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Warrior’s Moon; 2-Oh Pretty Woman; 8-California KookForecast: Oh Pretty Woman has gradually rising numbers, and with another slight forward move today should be capable of winning this first-level allowance state-bred filly and mare turf miler. She’s reunited with “win rider” A Cedillo, and in a race that projects to have slow-to-moderate early fractions the daughter of Scat Daddy seems likely to draft into a comfortable second-flight, stalking spot and have every chance from the quarter pole home. California Kook was a respectable fourth at 43-1 in the Evening Jewel Stakes in January and could be set for significant forward move with the switch to F. Prat following a series of solid drills at San Luis Rey Downs. She’ll be doing her best work late. Warrior’s Moon lands the good rail and seems certain to enjoy an ideal ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. She needs some improvement in the speed figure department but has won over this course and distance in the past and makes a positive jockey switch to U. Rispoli. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Oh Pretty Woman on top.RACE 2: Post 1:02 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Shanghai Curly; 6-Seizetheday RexyForecast: It won’t take a whole lot to win this maiden $25,000 claiming abbreviated sprint. Seizetheday Rexy drops to his lowest level ever in his return from Oaklawn Park and has local races that make him the one to beat with this turn back to a sprint. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding, runner-up in each of his three previous races, doesn’t have a much early speed but should find plenty of room to produce his late kick in a small field that probably will be strung out. Shanghai Curly has the blinkers off angle that we like and also is dropping in class and returning to the main track. His numbers are going in the right direction and the work tab is healthy, so we’re expecting another forward move from this lightly-raced sophomore colt. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotic but neither will offer much in the way of wagering value in a race that lacks depth. Tread lightly.RACE 3: Post 1:33 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Paige Runner; 2-Destiny’s Journey; 3-Mongolian SunriseForecast: Here’s another race – a main track miler for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming fillies and mares - that looks challenging and requires a spread. Paige Runner shows up in a seller for the first time and should greatly appreciate this softer assignment. From the rail she’s guaranteed a good ground-saving trip and has numbers that are competitive for this league, so we’ll put her on top. Destiny’s Journey returns to dirt, takes a realistic class drop, and equaled her career top speed figure when third last time out. Not a whole lot more will be needed to win at this level. She does her best running on or near the lead throughout and the projected pace flow should put her when she wants to be. Mongolian Sunrise stretches out again and graduated over this track and distance three races back by almost nine lengths with a speed figures that puts her right there. Her last two outings were disappointing but under these conditions it’s conceivable that she can bounce back to her best.RACE 4: Post 2:04 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Beaumont Beaux; 4-Prince Ricky; 5-AntitheticalForecast: Here’s a split of the second race, another bottom-rung maiden $25,000 claimer. Antithetical broke slowly and was given a race at Los Alamitos in a maiden special weight mixed breed dash in his debut earlier this month and seems likely to produce a forward move for a barn that has superior stats with second-time starters. At 5-1 on the morning line he may be as good as any. Prince Ricky has some early speed and against this group could carry it for a ways. The number he earned two runs back when fifth in a slightly tougher race makes him a fit and this shortening up a furlong could help immensely. Beaumont Beaux is wheeled back in six days after earning a reasonable speed figure when finishing eight of nine in a better-than-par maiden $50,000 dash. He’s a major play by default against this group.RACE 5: Post 2:35 PT. Grade: B-Use: 6-Count Alexei; 8-Brix; 11-IrreproachableForecast: Count Alexei is bred for grass and speed (Vronsky) and has been burning up the track at Los Alamitos while preparing for his racing debut. A $110,00 purchase at last summer’s Santa Anita 2-year-old in training sale, he finally makes it to the post and the B. Koriner-trained colt should be more than fit for a major effort in a moderate state-bred maiden special weight turf sprint. Irreproachable basically has the same resume – a first-timer by Vronsky sprinting on turf for a good outfit with a nice series of workouts at Los Alamitos. We’re not crazy about the extreme outside draw but at 8-1 on the morning he’s worth including. Brix may be the best of the known element, even though he’s already had nine outings. His runner-up effort over this course and distance two runs back was decent enough and not much more may be needed to earn his diploma today. The switch to F. Prat is another positive factor.RACE 6: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-She’s a Dime; 5-Eternal EndeavorForecast: Only five runners showed up for this seven furlong first-level allowance extended sprint for fillies and mares, with Eternal Endeavor the logical top pick from her cozy outside draw in a race that projects to have very soft early fractions. First or second in seven of 10 career starts, the genuine and consistent English-bred mare should draft into an ideal pace-stalking/pressing position and then be able to exert her superiority when the pressure is turned on. She’s a Dime arrives from Oaklawn Park with a series of solid efforts and speed figures that put her right there. She shows a couple of good recent drills at San Luis Rey Downs and the presence of F. Prat in the saddle make her the one to fear most.RACE 7: Post 3:37 PT. Grade: BUse: 10-Guitty; 8-Parkour; 9-Stela StarForecast: Stela Star tipped her hand with an impressive effort in her U.S. debut when an excellent runner-up in the one-mile China Doll Stakes over this course earlier this month, rallying from far back while giving every indication that she’ll enjoy today’s nine furlong trip. The lightly-raced Irish-bred filly shows a bullet workout since that outing and therefore can be expected to produce a forward move with that effort behind her. F. Pratt takes over, and in a race that should have normal-to-fast early space he should have this J. Sadler-trained 3-year-old along in time. Guitty, sixth in the same race Stela Star exits but beaten only 2 lengths, is another that seems certain to benefit from the stretch out to a mile and one-eighth. She needs to be held up and allowed to produce one late run and with good racing luck will be heard from in the final stages. Parkour is very fast and the likely controlling speed. A wire-to-wire winner vs. lesser over a mile on grass last time out, she’s questionable at this distance but if the daughter of Carpe Diem can establish the running and then switch off just a little bit she may take this field a very long way.RACE 8: Post 4:08 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Traffic Stopper; 6-Tiz a Unicorn; 7-Rain DivaForecast: Here’s another maiden claimer, this one for $50,000 state-bred fillies and mares. Anything goes. Rain Diva makes the all-important drop from straight maiden company for a barn that has superior stats with this angle and switches to the main track after a pair of mid-pack finishes that produced speed figures compatible with this level. A sharp half mile workout earlier this month (:47 flat, second fastest of 69) gives hope that she’ll handle the main track, so at 5-1 on the morning line the daughter of Temple City deserves strong consideration both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. Tiz a Unicorn debuts in a proper spot for the always-potent R. Baltas/F. Prat combo and while she doesn’t show any fancy workout times the pattern is healthy and should have her plenty fit. Traffic Stopper, a distant second at this level when last seen in February, has a few numbers back in her chart that fit well with these, so she at least can get a piece of it.RACE 9: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Whirl Candy; 8-Rio OchoForecast: The finale is a fairly competitive nine furlong maiden special weight turf affair. Whirl Candy flashed speed sprinting in his recent comeback before gradually weakening to finish a close fourth and should be fitter and stronger with that tightener behind him. The son of Twirling Candy has trained quite well since and appears set to stretch out and do some damage as the likely controlling speed. The R. Baltas barn has solid stats with the sprint-to-route angle and with the switch to A. Cedilla this lightly-raced colt may never look back. Rio Ocho lands F. Prat for his U.S. debut after finishing a good second of 14 in his debut in a representative race at Dundalk over an all-weather surface in February. The Irish-bred gelding arrives fit, ready, and dangerous. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics with the primary gamble going to Whirl Candy.

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5.30.2020:

Ce Ce: A Single in My Santa Anita Late Pick 4 Ticket for Sunday

The Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes is the spotlight race on the Sunday card at Santa Anita, and it’s the magic key to the late Pick 4.While 2020 hasn’t been kick to a lot of the world, Ce Ce has never been better. The Michael McCarthy-trained daughter of Elusive Quality comes in after a trip to Oaklawn and a win in the Grade 1 Apple Blossom Stakes. She got her first Grade 1 win on March 14 at Santa Anita when she drew off to a convincing score in the Beholder Mile.Hall of Famer Victor Espinoza has been aboard in all six of her starts, and when you have a good horse, he’s been a pretty good choice as pilot.Hard Not to Love is the biggest threat, as she’s won five of seven starts. She had a chance to beat Ce Ce in the Beholder and did not. It was Hard Not to Love’s first try around two turns and could make it a little more interesting. She has a Hall of Famer in her own right, as Mike Smith gets the return engagement.The 1 1-16th-mile Santa Maria has just five entrants, and while Hard Not to Love ran a noble second the last time she faced Ce Ce, and that looks like her spot again.Ce Ce is a single on this $30 suggested Pick 4 ticket.The Santa Maria is set for a 6:30 p.m. ET post and is the third leg of the sequence.Race 5 (5:30 p.m. ET, maiden claiming)The opener of the Pick 4 is the spread race of the play, with My Super Mario, Kingofjesters, Hot Socks, Scary Fast Smile and Agamemmon on the ticket.Hot Socks and My Super Mario are probably the best of the horses that have started, while several are making their first career start. It’s likely a good spot for a first timer, and Kingofjesters, Scary Fast Smile and Agamemmom are on the docket for their debut.Race 6 (6 p.m. ET, maidens)Rakassah will be the favorite in this maiden race, but Fabiolla and Sandal are a pair to notice as well.Rakassah has made two starts in the U.S. after three in Great Britain, and her appearances here produced a pair of seconds, each this year. She’s likely get have a significant amount of the win pool aimed at her.Fabiolla also came from Great Britain but hasn’t fired in her two Santa Anita attempts. She showed signs of life in her second start as she closed mildly. She could be braced to make a strong late run in this spot, and continued improved would put her right in the mix.Sandal has trained well for her debut and would not be a surprise at first asking.Race 8 (7 p.m., ET, claiming)Four fillies and mares are the hopes for a payoff in the eighth, including Seaside Dancer, Miss Flawless, Sugary and Tonahutu.Seaside Dancer takes a slight step up in class after a narrow sprint loss last time and can be a serious player as she stretches out to the grassy mile.Miss Flawless faltered last time in a race that came off the two and was second at this level two races back. Sugary threw a dud last time after winning two straight and can get back to good form here. Tonahutu drops out of a stakes race and had been racing against a much higher level. She could wake up in this spot. Here’s the suggested late Pick 4 at Santa Anita Sunday: Race 5) #1 My Super Mario, #3 Kingofjesters, #6 Hot Socks, #8 Scary Fast Smile, #9 Agamemmon.Race 6) #3 Fabiolla, #5 Sandal, #9 Rakassah.Race 7) #2 Ce Ce.Race 8) #1 Seaside Dancer, #5 Miss Flawless, #7 Sugary, #8 Tonahutu.Total Ticket Cost) 1,3,6,8,9/3,5,9/2/1,5,7,8 = $30 for $0.50

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5.29.2020:

Friday, May 29: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B+Single: 7-Miss GloriousForecast: Miss Glorious has the benefit of a good tightener over the track and goes from the inside to the outside while adding blinkers. The daughter of Goldencents doesn’t appear to have much to fear among the newcomers so at 2-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Busy Paynter; 4-Sheza Factor; 5-Uno Trouble Maker; 6-Come On KatForecast: This is a race we’re going to pass, as four of the six entrants must be considered legitimate contenders. The M. Glatt barn has two major players and both have strong credentials to win. Busy Paynter remains above her claim level and is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat over a Santa Anita main track that she’s won three races from five career starts. Freshened since mid-March but with a healthy series of recent workouts, she’s 8/5 on the morning line and probably deserves to be, but from the rail she’d better not make any mistakes. Glatt’s other starter, Come On Kat, is waiver protected in her first start in more than a year. She’s fired fresh in the past and the work tab should have her fit enough and from her comfortable outside draw the daughter of Munnings can pop and go or stalk and pounce. Uno Trouble Maker has won six of 13 starts over the local main track and returns to the claiming ranks for the first time since she won at this price last summer. The W. Spawr-trained mare has only one way to go, on the lead every step of the way. Sheza Factor, second off the claim for V. Garcia but remaining above her $20,000 purchase price, is another that does her best while on or near the lead throughout. Her sharp win here two races back vs. $16,000 restricted foes charts very well here.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Let’s Get Wild; 7-Bella Chica; 8-FireproofForecast: Lets Get Wild draws the coveted rail – an excellent place to leave from when the rail is out 30 feet – and the daughter of Ministers Wild Cat should utilize her projected ground-saving trip to good advantage. Runner-up in her last two starts over this course and distance and making a favorable jockey switch to A. Cedillo, the E.Kruljac-trained sophomore filly shows a bullet training track drill (:49 2/5) last week to have her primed and ready. Bella Chica has hit the board in all three of her career starts while developing a late-running style and should be heard from again in the final furlong. Fireproof represents stranger-danger from San Luis Rey Downs and has winning connections (R. Baltas/F. Prat). She shows a couple of strong five-furlong drills and is bred to adore grass (Unusual Heat). She’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-K P Whirlwind; 6-Boonesboro BeautyForecast: J P Whirlwind is equipped with blinkers for the first time, retains U. Rispoli, shows rising speed figures, drops to her lowest level ever, and lands the favorable inside draw in this main track miler for bottom rung restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming fillies and mares. The daughter of Congrats is guaranteed a ground-saving trip from what should be a comfortable second-flight, stalking position, so it all adds up. Boonesboro Beauty, in the frame in both of her starts at this level since arriving from the Bay Area, seems likely to drop back off the pace and then try to produce a winning late kick. Away since February but from an outfit that has superior stats with layoff runners, the daughter of Animal Kingdom could be the beneficiary of a speed jam that should set things up nicely for her, assuming waiting tactics will be employed. We’ll give J P Whirlwind preference on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Cool Runnings; 4-Railsplitter; 6-FengariForecast: Fengari continues to impress in the a.m. and switches to R. Fuentes, a very live rider lately for the J. Sadler barn. The son of Artie Schiller returned off a nearly two year layoff to finish a better-than-looked fourth under these conditions last time out with a less-than-ideal trip (off slowly, wide) while earning a good speed figure for the level. With only a slight forward move, the 5-year-gelding should be capable of finally breaking his maiden at age five. Cool Runnings shows up in a claimer for the first time and the drop in class will be greatly appreciated. The son of American Pharoah shortens to a mile and should settle into a comfortable stalking position. Railsplitter, a beaten choice when second in a similar affair over this course and distance last time out, earned a career-top speed figure in the process and clearly is most comfortable on grass. A. Cedillo stays aboard and could find himself aboard the the controlling speed. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Fengari.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Curvaceous; 4-Big PassionForecast: This maiden $25,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares is borderline inscrutable. There’s nobody to trust and too many question marks to have a great feel for a race in which no result could be considered surprising. We’ll suggest going two-deep for small ticket players but the best advice is to use as many as your budge allows. Curvaceous displayed excellent early speed in her debut when facing maiden $50,000 foes two weeks ago and is wheeled back quickly and dropped to the bottom. If the A. Kitchingman-trained filly can produce any type of forward move, she could grab control early and never look back. Big Passion is a first-timer by Mr. Big with okay works for this level. The T. Yakteen barn has a solid record with debut runners and this filly looks fit and properly spotted, so at 5-1 on the morning line she’s certainly worth including.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Kustom for Karl; 2-Bella VitaForecast: Kustom for Karl was highly impressive graduating over this course and distance in mid-May, hasn’t missed a beat in the morning since and looks primed for another major effort while drawing the highly-favorable rail post position. The J. Mullins-trained filly may not be quick enough to make the lead but should be quite comfortable with a ground-saving second-flight trip if that’s what the race flow dictates. There’s good value here at 3-1 on the morning line if you can get it. Bella Vita is wheeled back quickly in 13 days after earning a career top speed figure when a solid runner-up in the Evening Jewel Stakes on the main track. She’s back with “win rider” F. Prat and returns to what we believe is her preferred surface. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics while preference on top to Kustom for Karl.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Itsthattime; 2-Zorich; 3-Big Hoof DynamiteForecast: The main contention is this starter’s allowance main track miler is drawn inside. First-time gelding Big Hoof Dynamite, runner-up over this track and distance in a similar affair last time out, retains F. Prat and should put his pace-stalking style to good use. Solid in the speed figure department and with a healthy recent series of drills, the E. Truman-trained gelding should be set for a forward move. Itsthattime, in the frame in each of his last five starts and third in the same race that ‘Dynamite just finished second in, could be the controlling speed from the rail, and given that type of trip the son of Strong Mandate projects to take this field a long way. The J. Bonde-trained gelding makes a major jockey switch to M. Smith and a recent half mile bullet workout (:46 4/5, fastest of 55) really catches the eye. Zorich may be the most dangerous of the closing types, has a good record over the local main track (in the money in four of five starts) and has solid, consistent speed figures for this level. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Big Hoof Dynamite.

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5.29.2020:

Friday, May 29: Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

My focus will be on the Late Pick 4 at Northfield Park which starts in Race 11. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool but it could be considerably higher. The pool on Wednesday night was a hefty $42,000.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 113-Kehmmywood (3/2)-Even effort in qualifier but veteran drops into a soft spot and knows how to win. Looking to start the ticket with a single and will hope 10-year-old brings a top effort.Race 122-One More Mission (5/2)-Far back early but kept pacing through the mile in qualifier. Tune-up was on sloppy track but paced the back half in 57.1 and should be in the mix this evening.3-Westfiftythird (7/2)-Wrenn takes a seat and that won't hurt. Should be forwardly placed in a race without much form, so best to respect.6-Roscoe Village (12-1)-Even effort in tune-up on a sloppy track. Camera shy but he is not alone. Seems to be worth a swing at 12-1 in the morning line.7-Trace Of Lindy (5-1)-Sold for $20,000 in November and now makes first start for the Smith barn. Has speed and also has had breaking issues. Maybe things are changing, has stayed on stride without hopples in last two qualifiers.9-Dontyousayit (4-1)-Qualified well at ScD and has a win and a 2nd place finish in three starts at Nfld. Post doesn't help and is only 2-17 lifetime, but could be a threat versus this crew if Sugg provides a good steer.Race 132-Blue Spanx (3-1)-Drops into a nice spot and comes off a strong qualifier. 2020 record is 0-15 but seems to have a big shot for a picture tonight.5-Given Up Terror (2-1)-Comes off a nice qualifier and should like the company. Over the last 2-years has only 3 wins in 51 starts. Will use but look to others also for some value.7-Mr I Am (20-1)-Fits with this bunch, raced well in qualifier and should be a big price. My guess is Stahl will leave and could find a close-up seat behind one of the chalks.8-Striking Reality (15-1)-If pace is lively this 5-year-old can roll late and had a nice tune-up. The question is whether Grismore can get him into striking range. Looks to be worth the risk at 15-1 in the morning line.Race 144-Otsego (7/5)-Steps down to a more comfortable spot after a needed start. Lightly raced 4-year-old could be sitting on a big try.7-Setit And Forgetit (8-1)-Has finished in the money in 5 of 7 starts at Nfld with 2-wins. Hall will not be driving but whoever steers needs an alert start. 4-year-old can make one big brush and does know how to win.My Ticket Race 11: 3 Race 12: 2,3,6,7,9 Race 13: 2,5,7,8 Race 14: 4,7Total Ticket Cost) $40 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter!

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5.28.2020:

Saturday, May 30: Eddie Olczyk’s Santa Anita Spot Plays

Greetings racing fans! I've taken a look at Saturday’s Santa Anita slate and identified four ‘spot plays’ that I think are worth playing and can be included in your horizontal and vertical exotic tickets. Let’s hope for good racing luck this weekend, and more importantly, I hope you continue to be safe and healthy as we navigate COVID-19.  I’m excited to see you back at the track, whenever that may be. Here are the four horses that caught my eye for this Saturday. Good luck if you’re playing! Santa Anita – Race 1 (3:30PM ET) #2 OH PRETTY WOMAN (2/1)  It is always nice to find a horse you like in the opener as it’s the kickoff leg of the low-takeout Early Pick 5 and - hopefully - an Abel Cedillo Early Double.  In this race, #2 OH PRETTY WOMAN caught my eye. She is a five-year-old mare with just seven career starts, so we can assume she has had some issues. But she's working lights out for her return, has been in great form and should get a perfect trip from an inside post. Plus, you have to love that the hot riding Abel Cedillo, who won a combined seven races here on Sunday and Monday, has the mount. Santa Anita – Race 2 (4:02PM ET) #1 ROSSMAN (3/1)  Let's hope for an Abel Cedillo Early Daily Double! #1 ROSSMAN gets a big jockey upgrade to Cedillo and I'd like to see him ridden like he was three starts ago when he came from off the pace to miss by a little more than a length. I'm hoping that #3 Sensuous and #2 Shanghai Curly set the pace and ROSSMAN is able to follow them out of the gate and sit behind the speed. I don't think he's going to get hammered at the windows, so I'm hoping for him to go off at his morning line price of 3/1.    Santa Anita – Race 5 (5:35PM ET) #6 COUNT ALEXEI (7/2)  This is a state-bred turf sprint maiden race and, honestly, I’m not overly impressed with any of the horses that have started. That leads me to look to a first time starter and #6 COUNT ALEXEI checks a bunch of boxes.  He was an expensive auction purchase ($110,000) for a son of Vronsky (who stands for $4,500) and he seems to be working lights out in the mornings for Brian Koriner, who knows how to get horses ready to race on debut. And finally Umberto Rispoli is riding and he has been lights out at Santa Anita.  Santa Anita – Race 7 (6:37PM ET) – Honeymoon Stakes #8 PARKOUR (7/2)   I’m hoping PARKOUR goes straight to the front and refuses to stop. There isn’t a lot of speed in this race and if Mike Smith is able to assert her on the front end early, they may never look back. I don’t think LAURA’S LIGHT has the speed to go with her early and that one might be challenged to get the 1 1/8-mile distance, which could put PARKOUR alone in front at the head of the lane. 

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5.28.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: Friday, May 29 Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 Play

We’re likely a week away from the return of the extremely popular Stronach 5, so let’s attack Friday’s late Pk4 at Gulfstream Park one more time, which has a few legs that could be ripe for big upsets. Here’s hoping the rains steer clear and we have a fair go of it. *** 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 7 (3:49 ET): 3up 30k claimer at 5 furlongs (turf) Tossing the speed going this short over this turf course is always a worry, but there’s so much of it here that (barring a mass of scratches) I have to think this falls apart in the lane, and that’s how I’ll play it. And considering three of my four A’s are big prices, I like my strategy even more. The list starts with #5 OAK BLUFFS (10-1), who was last seen running a good 5th to better behind the raging Tiger Blood, so the drop, and a closing style that will be flattered by the race flow, just might get him there today. I’m very interested in #6 FUEL THE BERN (8-1), another dropper, and this one should be stalking the pace, and while he’s been on the dirt 11 straight, the turf run at the bottom of his PPs was solid, and he hinted he’s showing signs of life off that 5th last time. An outside attack post says you have to use #8 R BOY EVENS (5-2), but it’s worrisome Maker didn’t get any improvement from him off the claim, and one start later he’s willing to lose him for the same 30k, not to mention pressing/dueling early and holding on late—at an underlaid price—isn’t ideal for this spot. Lastly, I’ll toss in a real bomber in #10 HONOLULU EXPRESS (15-1), another closer who will run on late, likes the course (3-for-8), and really isn’t that far off these on paper anyway. Pk4 A horses: 5,6,8,10 (listed in order of preference) The two speeds inside are good—and very fast—which is why you read above how I’m playing this race, but I have a lot of respect for the form of #1 GOOD BYE GREG (9-2), and #2 APACHE BRAVE (3-1), and the former is off an October layoff for Rivelli, who is an insane 62% from a 39-horse sample off this elongated break, while the latter, with Lopez up and blinkers-on, could speed pop this group, so I’ll use them both, though ultimately I still think this falls apart. Pk4 B horses: 2,1 Potential B add ins: NONE Race 8: 3upfm Florida-bred AOC (16k/N1X) at 6 furlongs It’s going to be extremely tough to beat #7 FLORA FANTASY (7-5), who just won at the level last time, gets an even better pace setup today, keeps Irad, and goes off the claim for Delgado (34%) and Drawing Away, which means she could improve that much more off the win last time. And all of that is why I won’t try to beat her, and take the free square that she looks like. Pk4 A horses: 7 (listed in order of preference) I know #3 Sayonara Baby (9-2) was only a half-length behind ‘Fantasy last time, but she got loose that day and still couldn’t hold on, and there seems to be more speed here, so she looks like a very likely candidate to regress today, and so there will be no backups, since the rest just don’t stack up. Pk4 B horses: NONE Potential B add ins: #3 Sayonara Baby (9-2), #4 Assume Control (12-1) Race 9: 3f 25k SAL at 5 furlongs (turf) There’s plenty of speed in this turf dash too, but it’s looks best, so I’m definitely using #11 SWIRLING CANDY (5-2), who will be attacking under Irad off the Delgado claim (34%), and #6 TWEET AWAY ROBIN (7-2), who is off the Maker claim (15%) after an MCL dirt win by the length of the stretch. With that being said, the class-dropping #9 HAPPY LOUDON (15-1), who will be a big price, will also be closing late, has a lot of upside, and isn’t far off the top pair on paper either, so if it collapses, just maybe she blows this up from out of the clouds. Pk4 A horses: 11,9,6 (listed in order of preference) Working out a trip from down inside, and not getting fried by the pace, won’t be easy for #2 POSEIDON’S PASSION (3-1), but she did rate and win two-back, so maybe she can pull that trip again here, which would give her a chance, though easier said than done, hence her supporting role. Pk4 B horses: 2 Potential B add ins: NONE Race 10: 3up 12.5k N2L at 1-mile (turf) It’s tough to get too cute in the finally, as the two MSW droppers—#6 WIND RIDGE (7-2) AND #7 SUPERHIGHWAY (9-2)—simply look better than a very weak bunch. I’ll side with the former, who has the best dirt race showing, will get more speed the rally into on the cutback to one-turn, and has a big recency edge on his main rival, not to mention will be a better price too. ‘Highway is going to be bet off the board for Brown, Klarman, and Irad, and he may well win, but he also hasn’t run since June, was always part of the B-team anyway, and frankly, was pretty bad in both starts, so sure, he still can win, but at short odds he’s not the type to stand alone with. Pk4 A horses: 6,7 (listed in order of preference) I could easily have put #5 NIMBLE BEAST (5-2) on the top line, as he may be a Lone F and almost wired at the level last time, but he stretches out a furlong here, and meets two stiff class droppers from potent connections, so I’m just not sure he can reproduce that run, even if he does clear. Pk4 B horses: 5 Potential B add ins: NONE   The suggested tickets (all can be played for more than $0.50): Main Ticket: 5,6,8,10 with 7 with 11,9,6 with 6,7 = $12Race 7 B Backup: 2,1 with 7 with 11,9,6 with 6,7 = $6Race 9 B Backup: 5,6,8,10 with 7 with 2 with 6,7 = $4Race 10 B Backup: 5,6,8,10 with 7 with 11,9,6 with 5 = $6

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5.28.2020:

Saturday, May 30: Santa Anita Late Pick 4 Ticket + Maxfield Recap

Last week, in this space we suggested horseplayers take a stand against heavily favored Maxfield in the Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs. We were wrong. Get used to it. If you’re playing the horses, you’re going to be wrong way more often than you’re going to be right. Sports bettors need to back the correct side roughly 53% of the time to make money long term. With horses, a winning strike rate is nowhere near that number. That’s why you’ve got to consider the odds. They’re the great equalizers that deliver the opportunity to hit the ‘long ball’ or at least the ‘longer ball.’ This is not to suggest players automatically toss favorites. Chalk wins at around 33% of the time and a solid favorites can serve as great anchors in multi-leg wager segments. If they’re the right ones. Avoid heavy favorites with past-performance blemishes or ones facing multiple unanswered questions. We weren’t totally against Maxfield. We recognized his talent and appreciated that he could win the race. But we also pointed out that he had a few things going against him and those factors, coupled with an extended vacation, didn’t add up to taking a short price on the son of Street Sense. As the race unfolded, it appeared a minority opinion on the public choice seemed wise. Maxfield broke alertly from the 10-post, showed good speed while fresh and raced four/five wide abreast with the leaders into the first turn. Jockey Jose Ortiz did an admirable job wrangling Maxfield back off the pace and into a stalking position. That was not easily accomplished. At first, the colt was somewhat headstrong and fought his rider. Then he was jostled between horses a bit before settling into a comfortable spot in eighth place down the backside. From there things didn’t get much easier. Around the turn for home, still in eighth but more relaxed, Maxfield needed to make up ground with merely one path home. That route took him about seven lanes wide into the stretch. Meanwhile, up front, major threats Pneumatic and Ny Traffic had spurted clear of the pack and had commenced earnest stretch drives. With just over one-eighth of a mile to the finish, in that long Churchill Downs stretch, Ny Traffic gained the measure of Pneumatic and seemed a winner. Alas, all is not as it seems. As Ny Traffic assumed prominence, Maxfield loomed on the outside but appeared more an underneath exotics threat than winner. After all, the colt already had made a wide, sweeping move to enter contention, surely that effort would sap his finish. If a layoff of seven and one-half months was going to affect Maxfield, it would have been at that moment. If the colt hadn’t matured physically from age 2 to 3, it would have affected him right then. If he had become worn out from being too fresh earlier in the race, that, also, would have caused him to hang.   None of that mattered. Maxfield leveled out in the lane, continued his determined run and dusted off two reasonably talented foes for a decisive victory. Questions answered. Maxfield’s for real; a splendid 3-year-old with a major voice in what’s to happen during a unique COVID 19 disrupted Belmont-Derby-Preakness Triple Crown journey. As for cashing our suggested ticket? We didn’t. The winning $.50 trifecta came back a mere $20.90 and we didn’t have it. So what. If that payoff were a fish, we’d throw it back for being too small. We’ll get ‘em next time…or maybe the time after that with a tuna-sized payoff or maybe one as big as a whale. The important message is that it’s prudent to take stands against heavy favorites when they have solid handicapping questions that need to be answered. Sometimes you’ll miss out, but playing the races is a marathon and not a sprint. In this case, Maxfield aced the test and we didn’t cash a minor payoff. Big deal. In the long run, it’s best to duck heavy favorites with unanswered questions and to opportunistically zig when others sheepishly zag.   Here’s one man’s opinion on Saturday’s Late Pick Four at Santa Anita:   Race 6 (6:00PM ET)  A short but confusing field kicks things off and there are a few ways to go. Getting a look at early toteboard action should help ticket construction. Any horse that takes money in here ought to be strongly considered. #1 Road Rager has speed and returns to an appropriate level following a Gr. 2 Santa Monica stakes try. #2 Rather Nosy should race close to #1 Road Rager early and have first crack at the leader. Trouble is this filly is just 2-for-16 and has had multiple tries at this level. #4 She’s a Dime is a late-running filly fresh from four starts at Oaklawn Park. She’s been first or second 6 out of 11 times, usually against easier. Pratt rides for O’Neill—a 23% combination. #5 Eternal Endeavour is a trying sort—7 of 10 starts either first or second—and seven furlongs seems like a positive distance.    Race 7 (6:30PM ET)  The GR. 3 Honeymoon is a loaded race with at least three legitimate win contenders. #1 Guitty exits three unsuccessful stakes tries and has previously been decisioned by three foes she meets in here. She’s an exotics possibility at a nice price. #5 Laura’s Light has two stakes wins, including the Gr. 3 Sweet Life at five and one-half furlongs. She should be in front and will take them as far as she can. Top trainer and jockey combo adds to the intrigue. #8 Parkour is sharp and training forwardly for Hall-of-Fame conditioner Richard Mandella. She’s got enough speed to stalk #5 Laura’s Light and to get first run at her. Mandella likes to use seven-furlong works to get runners fit and he’s put two into this filly since her last race. Worth a win wager at 3-1 or so. #9 Stela Star was a fast-closing second in her US debut and she deserves respect. Trainer John Sadler and top jock Flavien Prat add to the attraction. She will need a fast pace to set up her closing charge and she’ll need some racing luck. Prat is great riding this turf course and she’s a filly he should fit to a T.   Race 8 (7:00PM ET)  This Cal-Bred maiden $50k claimer at five and one-half furlongs is a muddled mess. #1 Apache Pass moves from turf to dirt for red-hot trainer Mark Glatt and sizzling jock Abel Cedillo. Blinkers added last out come off today and the filly drops from State-Bred Maiden into a $50k spot. She’s taken money in both outings and has been a disappointment. #5 Traffic Stopper has had 8 starts—4 in SoCal and 4 at Golden Gate. He’s been favored 3 times—all at Golden Gate—including when dropped in for a $25k claiming price. He’s managed 3 runner-up efforts and finished a well-beaten second last out. #6 Tiz a Unicorn is a first-time starter for slumping trainer Richard Baltas. Top jock Flavien Pratt rides. Sire Tiz a Minister is 1-for-1 with first-time starters. A couple of five-furlong breezes in around a minute are interesting. There don’t appear to be any real ‘runners’ in this race, so a first-time starter is an option. #7 Rain Diva is a second Glatt entry switching from turf to dirt and dropping from state-bred maiden allowance to $50k. This one’s actually performed a bit better than the trainer’s other entry in here #1 Apache Pass. Jockey Evan Roman is not usually a Glatt ‘go-to’ rider but this one starts second-time blinkers and can’t be dismissed in a weak heat.   Race 9 (7:30PM ET) Saturday festivities conclude with a Maiden Special Weight at a mile and one-eighth on turf. Again, many ways to go in here with a few runners trying new surfaces and distances. #1 Frasard has a bit of speed and an inside post—positives. He’s faded late both times he’s gone this distance. #2 Capital Call is one of 3 Neil Drysdale runners entered here. He needs pace help to improve off a 3rd place finish last time out. He is fit and comes back in two weeks; an unusual move for this trainer. He’s got to improve his game to win. #3 Whirl Candy goes from a 5 ½-furlong turf sprint to this 1 1/8 distance. She should be in front. Can she lead them on a merry chase? Certainly possible. Red-hot jock Cedillo is aboard a colt that took money, moved to turf and improved in his second start. Need to catch this one to win. #4 Reprobate is another Drysdale trainee and this one moves from dirt to turf. He’s been ridden by top jocks (Rosario twice and Pratt) and taken some money twice (3.90 first out and 5.00 last out), so someone thinks something good about him. He’s been disappointing. Perhaps this turf try is a desperate move to make certain he’s not a turf horse before giving up on the $230k yearling purchase. Sire Blame is 15% with turf runners and 11% first time turfers, according to Thoro-Graph stats. #7 Cosmo is another Neil Drysdale runner signed on and he appears to be the most promising of the lot. He was second at this class and distance last out in the third start of his career. His first out was at a 1 1/8, too, so distance isn’t a concern. This will be his second start in blinkers. He doesn’t have much speed, so he’ll need pace help up front. #8 Rio Ocho makes his first US start for triner Jeff Mullins and top jock Flavien Pratt. He’s first-time Lasix Saturday and comes off a close second at 25-1 in February first time out in Ireland. His stateside work pattern is steady. Mullins is 0-7 with first-time North American runners, according to Daily Racing Form stats. #10 Unusually Handsome is a 4-year-old Cal-bred that changed hands from trainer Tim Yakteen to Peter Miller two races back. This is the gelding’s second start for Miller following a layoff since July. He could improve enough to win this race under jockey Umberto Rispoli.   Suggested $.50 Pick 4 Play ($54) Race 6: 1, 2, 5  Race 7: 5, 8, 9  Race 8: 1, 5, 6, 7  Race 9: 3, 7, 8   Take Care of Each Other. Race On!

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5.27.2020:

My Early Odds for the June 20 Belmont Stakes

The field is taking shape for the 1 1/8-mile Belmont Stakes at Belmont Park on June 20, which for the first time will kick off this country’s Triple Crown series. The 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby then will be held at Churchill Downs on Sept. 5. It will be followed by the 1 3/16-mile Preakness Stakes at Pimlico Race Course on Oct. 3. The way I see it, among the 12 horses listed by Belmont Park as probable or possible for the Belmont Stakes, there are four main contenders: Nadal, Charlatan, Tiz the Law and Maxfield. In terms of my early odds for the Belmont, I currently give a slight nod to favoritism to Nadal. But I also would not be at all surprised if Tiz the Law or Charlatan were sent off as the favorite if they do start. In alphabetical order, listed as probable for the Belmont are Basin (trained by Steve Asmussen), Charlatan (Bob Baffert), Farmington Road (Todd Pletcher), Gouverneur Morris (Pletcher), Max Player (Linda Rice), Modernist (Bill Mott), Nadal (Baffert), Sole Volante (Patrick Biancone) and Tiz the Law (Barclay Tagg). Those listed as possible are Maxfield (Brendan Walsh), Ny Traffic (Saffie Joseph Jr.) and Shivaree (Ralph Nicks). Joseph said in a Daily Racing Form story Monday written by Marty McGee that while the Belmont “has not been ruled out” for Ny Traffic, the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland on July 11 or the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 18 are probably better, timing-wise. That statement makes it seem to me that Ny Traffic is more doubtful than possible for the Belmont. Below are my early Belmont Stakes odds for the nine horses listed by Belmont Park as probable: 2-1 Nadal5-2 Charlatan5-2 Tiz the Law10-1 Sole Volante12-1 Modernist12-1 Max Player15-1 Basin15-1 Gouverneur Morris20-1 Farmington Road Maxfield no doubt would be a strong Belmont contender if he runs. Below are my early odds for a Belmont when adding Maxfield to the nine horses listed as probable: 5-2 Nadal3-1 Charlatan3-1 Tiz the Law4-1 Maxfield12-1 Sole Volante15-1 Max Player15-1 Modernist20-1 Basin20-1 Gouverneur Morris30-1 Farmington Road Meanwhile, here is my Top 10 for the Belmont Stakes: 1. Nadal2. Charlatan3. Tiz the Law4. Maxfield5. Sole Volante6. Modernist7. Max Player8. Basin9. Gouverneur Morris10. Farmington Road Will Maxfield, who races for the powerful Godolphin operation, run in the Belmont? It’s a big question right now. From a timing standpoint, the four weeks between the May 23 Matt Winn and the June 20 Belmont would seem to give Maxfield sufficient time between races. I think that Maxfield, if at all possible, should run in the Belmont. Why? If he wre to win the Belmont, then he would be the only horse with a chance for a Triple Crown sweep. And winning the 2020 Triple Crown would be a tremendous achievement, even if there are those who would -- mistakenly, I believe -- insist an asterisk should accompany such a sweep. As I noted last week in terms of whether or not a Triple Crown asterisk is merited this year, the format for the eight Triple Crown winners from Sir Barton in 1919 to Citation in 1948 was not the same as it was for the five such winners from Secretariat in 1973 to Justify in 2018. Is there an asterisk attached for any of the eight Triple Crown winners from Sir Barton to Citation? No. And that’s largely why I believe there also should be no asterisk for a 2020 Triple Crown winner if a horse sweeps the three races. As I see it at this time, any one of the Big Four -- Nadal, Charlatan, Tiz the Law or Maxfield -- appear talented enough to take a serious run at a Triple Crown sweep, particularly with a Belmont run at 1 1/8 miles (as it has been twice in its history) instead of 1 1/2 miles. I especially feel that way about Nadal, who is undefeated in four lifetime starts. I think he has all the tools to be a superstar. Nadal is a large, strong individual, but he’s also athletic. He is anything but a big, lumbering sort. He is quick enough on his feet to display blazing early zip, but he’s not headstrong. He seems perfectly amenable to doing whatever the rider desires. He also has demonstrated that he has heart when he’s been involved in serious equine combat. All in all, it appears to me that Nadal is the total package. On the one hand, Nadal has demonstrated that even when he gets into a heated early battle, he still can get the job done. He did so when victorious in both Santa Anita’s Grade II San Vicente Stakes at seven furlongs on Feb. 9 and Oaklawn Park’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles on March 14. The winning margin each time was three-quarters of a length. On the other hand, Nadal also has shown that he can dominate his opponents and win by daylight. He first did that when he won a 6 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race by 3 3/4 lengths at Santa Anita in his career debut on Feb. 16. He did it again when he asserted his superiority to prevail by three lengths in his division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles on May 2. It took nothing less than an outstanding racehorse to do what Nadal did to win the Grade II Rebel in spite of what was asked of him early on. He never, ever got a breather that day. The Kentucky-bred son of Blame had to run hard for every single step of the entire 1 1/16-mile contest. Nadal vied for the early advantage with No Parole heading to the first turn. And then, 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 were :22.89 and :46.00. After being involved in such a hot early pace, both American Theorem and No Parole retreated badly in the final quarter of a mile. American Theorem lost by 27 1/4 lengths. No Parole got beat by 49 lengths. But Nadal resolutely kept to his task and managed to prevail, though not before also having to withstand bids from Three Technique and Silver Prospector near the top of the lane, then from Excession in deep stretch. After the finish, Nadal stayed in front while galloping out, which also was impressive considering how hard he had run during the entire race. Nadal’s Rebel victory was all the more praiseworthy considering it was his first race around two turns, his first race on a wet track and his first race away from Santa Anita. After the Rebel, when Nadal won his division of the Arkansas Derby, it was important that he proved that he is able to rate off the pace and win. He posted a final time of 1:48.34. Charlatan took the other division in 1:48.49. Just how good is Charlatan? We still don’t know. He has won all three of his races by a combined 22 lengths. The Kentucky-bred Speightstown colt took his division of the Grade I Arkansas Derby by six lengths. Charlatan’s victory in the Arkansas Derby was all the more commendable because he was running in a stakes race for the first time, it was his first race going that far, plus it was his first start outside California. As for Tiz the Law, nobody has been able to beat him yet on a track that isn’t wet. His only defeat came on a sloppy track in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes at Churchill Downs last Nov. 30. He also had a troubled trip in that 1 1/16-mile ffair. Tiz the Law is two for two this year. He won Gulfstream Park’s Grade III Holy Bull Stakes by three lengths on Feb. 1. The New York-bred Constitution colt then won Gulfstream’s Grade I Florida Derby with authority by 4 1/4 lengths at 1 1/8 miles on March 28. By the way, with respect to Charlatan, there is news concerning his win in the Arkansas Derby. In a story posted online Tuesday, Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman wrote: “Charlatan, winner of the first division of the Arkansas Derby in his stakes debut May 2, had an initial test sample come back positive for an undisclosed medication, multiple sources told Daily Racing Form. If confirmed by a second test, it could result in his disqualification.” A disqualification would result in Charlatan having to forfeit the 100 Kentucky Derby points he earned for his Arkansas Derby win. That would put him back at zero points. Baffert issued the following statement Tuesday: “The rules of the Arkansas Racing Commission mandate confidentially concerning any investigation into an alleged rule violation until there is a written decision by the stewards. I am extremely disappointed that, in this instance, the Commission has not followed its own rules for confidentiality. I am hoping for an expedited investigation and look forward to being able to speak soon about any written decision of the stewards, if and when it becomes necessary and I am allowed to under the Commission’s confidentiality rules.” Privman reported that “co-owner George Bolton said Tuesday that Nadal’s Arkansas Derby test came back clean.” MUCH TO LIKE ABOUT MAXFIELD’S MATT WINN Despite not having started in a long time, Maxfield did win the Winn. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite, Maxfield prevailed in last Saturday’s Grade III Matt Winn Stakes by one length at Churchill Downs to remain undefeated in three career starts. “The most impressive thing about this horse is how he handles everything so well mentally,” Walsh was quoted as saying in a Churchill Downs news release issued the day after the Matt Winn. “He’s such a cool horse and nothing really bothers him. Along with his athletic ability, his mental state is a really strong one-two punch.” These are a number of reasons Maxfield’s performance last Saturday was much more impressive than his one-length margin of victory would suggest, such as: --He had not raced in 33 weeks. In that regard, he was at a disadvantage vs. all nine of his Matt Winn rivals. --He did not have a tardy start this time, unlike both of his two races last year. His start in the Matt Winn was encouraging in that it indicates he is not the sort who is always going to leave the gate slowly. --His trip certainly was not ideal. As Walsh noted in a BloodHorse story written by Bob Ehalt, Maxfield “got a great education today.” In heavy traffic entering and rounding the first turn, Maxfield was shuffled back to eighth before reaching the backstretch. --He sustained his rally from about the five-sixteenths pole all the way to the finish. Similarly, in the Breeders’ Futurity last fall, he commenced his rally with about three furlongs to run and likewise sustained it all the way to the finish. His ability to make an effective rally of such long duration is a component as to why he is a special colt. --He came home strongly to get the victory despite the early pace being far from sizzling. The rather soft early fractions (:23.98, :48.21, 1:12.44) most likely helped two of the participants who were prominent early -- Ny Traffic and Pneumatic -- to still be in the mix late. Ny Traffic finished second. Pneumatic ended up third, three-quarters of a length behind Ny Traffic. --This certainly was not a soft race. He defeated a couple of tough foes in Ny Traffic and Pneumatic. Walsh put it well after the race when he said “this was not an easy spot” for Maxfield. Ny Traffic had finished second earlier this year in the Grade II Louisiana Derby on March 21. Pneumatic, a highly regarded Uncle Mo colt trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, was two for two going into the Matt Winn and acquitted himself well last Saturday in his stakes debut. --He still has upside in that he has only three races under his belt. Even though he’s undefeated and already a Grade I winner, it looks like there is still plenty of room for improvement. --His rider, Jose Ortiz, seemed to ride with confidence late in the race. What Ortiz did in the final few yards was particularly interesting. Once Maxfield had surged into the lead in the last sixteenth, Ortiz took his foot off the gas pedal while first looking over to his left, then to his right. Ortiz was “measuring the competition” in the closing yards. Back in the day, Eddie Delahoussaye excelled at doing this. It’s likely that Maxfield did not gallop out quite as strongly after the finish as he otherwise might have because he was coming off such a long layoff and because Ortiz literally was not pushing him near the end of the race. In Ehalt’s story, Joseph acknowledged that Ny Traffic lost the Matt Winn to “an exceptional horse” in Maxfield. Of Ny Traffic, Joseph said that he was “super proud” of his effort. This [finishing second] was crucial,” Saphie added, “because I think we secured a Derby spot,” meaning the Kentucky Derby on the first Saturday in September. The first four finishers in the Matt Winn were rewarded with 50-20-10-5 points toward getting into the Kentucky Derby starting gate. These are the 20 who currently have the most Kentucky Derby points: Points Horse 150 Nadal122 Tiz the Law104 Wells Bayou100 Charlatan 90 King Guillermo74 Ete Indien70 Modernist70 Ny Traffic60 Maxfield60 Authentic50 Basin50 Mischevious Alex40 Shivaree34 Gouverneur Morris33 Enforceable32 Storm the Court30 Sole Volante30 Major Fed25 Thousand Words25 Finnick the Fierce The above list ranks the horses in order of their Kentucky Derby eligibility. If two or more horses have the same number of points, the first tiebreaker is earnings in non-restricted stakes races. PROGRESS IN THE BEYER DEPARTMENT Maxfield was credited with a career-best 95 Beyer Speed Figure last Saturday. He recorded a 67 Beyer in his maiden win, then an 87 in the Breeders’ Futurity, then a 95 in the Matt Winn. If he continues this improving pattern in his next race, be it in the Belmont or some other race, he is going to be one extremely tough customer. Below are the Beyers for the Matt Winn winners going back to the first running of the race in 1998 (the figures prior to 2020 are listed in the American Racing Manual, which is now digital only): 2020 Maxfield (95)2019 Mr. Money (99)2018 King Zachary (98)2017 McCraken (93)2016 Gun Runner (99)2015 Island Town (88)2014 Tapiture (92)2013 Code West (92)2012 Neck ’n Neck (102)2011 Scotus (92)2010 Colizeo (96)2009 Successful Dan (99)2008 Pyro (101)2007 Chelokee (100)2006 High Cotton (93)2005 Don’t Get Mad (96)2004 Suave (103)2003 Champali (104)2002 Danthebluegrassman (104)2001 Compendium (104)2000 Exchange Rate (103)1999 Forestry (97)1998 Shot of Gold (106) ROBERTS, KASMERSKI PASS AWAY Clint Roberts and Len Kasmerski, two highly successful trainers in the Pacific Northwest, recent passed away. I knew them both and always enjoy it whenever I had the opportunity to talk with them. Roberts died on May 6. He was 90. During his long career, Roberts won three training titles at Longacres near Seattle (1980, 1983 and 1988), two titles at the Emerald meet at Yakima Meadows (1993 and 1994) and another title at the 1995 Yakima Meadows meet. Roberts also trained horses at numerous other tracks, such as Bay Meadows, Golden Gate Fields, Emerald Downs and Playfair. I can attest that Roberts was absolutely terrific at playing “equine poker,” aka the claiming game. Roberts’ son, Tom Roberts, became a very successful trainer in his own right. According to the Clint Roberts’ obituary in news disseminated via email by the Washington Thoroughbred Breeders & Owners Association, Tom Roberts has training titles at Bay Meadows, Longacres, Playfair and Yakima Meadows to his credit. Kasmerski died on May 12. He was 79. Loto Canada, inducted in the Washington Racing Hall of Fame four years ago, was Kasmerski’s pride and joy. Loto Canada, who raced for Patti and Lee Brauer, is one of the great stories in Washington racing lore. The Brauers acquired Loto Canada by using a small portion of the $1 million they won in the Canadian lottery in the spring of 1978. The Brauers, who lived on a small apple farm in Central Washington, did not spend any of their lottery winnings right away. According to Emily Shields in a story on Loto Canada that appeared in the spring 2017 issue of the Washington Thoroughbred magazine, “the Brauers sat on the money for six months before ‘splurging’ on a new truck and fixing the farm tractor. They also bought a yearling by Saltville out of the T.V. Lark mare T.V. Actress off a friend that had managed Jerre Paxton’s Kwick Lok Corporation.” That yearling was Loto Canada. Loto Canada won four stakes races as a 2-year-old, highlighted by a nine-length tour de force in the Gottstein Futurity at Longacres, the most important 2-year-old race in Washington. He earned the title of Washington-bred 2-year-old champion colt or gelding of 1979. Early in 1980, Loto Canada finished third behind Jaklin Klugman and The Carpenter in an allowance race at Santa Anita in February. Jaklin Klugman finished third in the Kentucky Derby that year and was 1980 California-bred Horse of the Year and champion 3-year-old. The Carpenter was the California-bred 2-year-old champion of 1979. Later that spring in 1980, Loto Canada won an allowance race in convincing fashion at Oaklawn Park by 4 3/4 lengths. He defeated Temperence Hill, who would go on to be voted a 1980 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male after winning such events as the Grade I Arkansas Derby, Grade I Belmont Stakes, Grade I Travers Stakes, Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup (defeating the great John Henry) and inaugural $500,000 Super Derby. After Loto Canada finished seventh in the Arkansas Derby, he returned to the Pacific Northwest. He was sent off as an odds-on favorite in Longacres’ William E. Boeing Stakes on May 17. I called the chart of that race for the Daily Racing Form. That race also was the focus of my column that appeared in the May 17 Northwest edition of the DRF. (By the way, on the front page of that 1980 DRF is a photo of Clint Roberts. Underneath the photo, it says: “CLINT ROBERTS -- Longacres’ leading conditioner will put the saddle of Pilot Dutch for Saturday’s featured event at the Renton oval.”) “Lee and Patti Brauer’s odds-on Loto Canada was so much the best in last Sunday’s William E. Boeing Stakes that he might have been able to win even with Orson Wells in the saddle,” I wrote in my column. “Waltzing to a 10-length victory, Loto Canada transported 126 pounds and was timed in 1:02 2/5 to equal the track record for 5 1/2 furlongs. This was something to make veteran clocker Joe Wittman shake his watch. “Even trainer Len Kasmerski didn’t really expect his charge to post such a remarkable clocking as a 3-year-old. “ ‘I didn’t have any idea he could run that fast,’ Kasmerski said when we encountered him in the backstretch cafe the morning after the race. ‘I knew he had a lot of speed, but 1:02 2/5 is ridiculous.’ “Loto Canada came out of the race in excellent shape, we are pleased to report. “ ‘I was just at the barn,’ said Kasmerski, ‘and the horse is feeling real good. He’s eaten everything up and seems to be just fine. All the race did was to make him hungry.’ “Later in the morning, while a chilly wind was blowing, we stood by shivering as Kasmerski hand walked Loto Canada. Showing absolutely no signs of fatigue, the bay son of Saltville was seen bucking and playing. The race was probably harder on the trainer than the horse. “ ‘I was a nervous wreck,’ Kasmerski said. ‘It’s a relief that it’s over. There was a lot of pressure, especially when so much had been written about the horse. But he didn’t let us down.’ “According to Kasmerski, the only strategy was to get away from the inside post position in good order. “ ‘My main concern was just getting away from the gate,’ the trainer said. ‘It looked to me like he was the speed of the race. I didn’t have any doubts about him sprinting after running a mile and an eighth, either. He’s a natural speed horse.’ “Kasmerski had nothing but praise for jockey Robert Howg’s handling of Loto Canada in the Boeing. “ ‘He deserves credit for his ride,’ Kasmerski said. ‘He’s a very underestimated rider.’ “The 13,520 present in pleasant weather Sunday cheered Loto Canada in appreciation of his overwhelming triumph. The gelding strolled into the charming and crowded winner’s circle proud and erect, like a stately gentleman entering a ballroom with a debutante on his arm. Loto Canada made quite a picture while posing for the photographers. It was a great moment for the horse and everyone connected with him. “Those who wagered on Loto Canada to win went happily around to the cashiers and collected $3.60 for each $2 ticket. But 4-5 was actually a philanthropic price. He won more like 1-100.” Loto Canada narrowly lost the Longacres Derby to Pappy later in 1980. Nevertheless, Loto Canada was the Washington-bred champion 3-year-old colt or gelding of 1980. In addition to winning the Boeing, he hit the board in a pair of graded stakes races at Hollywood Park that year. He finished third in both the Grade II Silver Screen Handicap and Grade III El Dorado Handicap. As a 4-year-old in 1981, Loto Canada won the Seattle Handicap and Washington Championship at Longacres. He also finished third behind Trooper Seven and Reb’s Golden Ale in that region’s most prestigious race, the Longacres Mile. Loto Canada won 11 of 33 starts during his racing career. At various times, he also was trained by Gary Vickery and Robert Meeking. After Loto Canada was retired from racing, he lived out the rest of his life at two different farms in Washington. “Initially retired to live on a farm where former trainer Len and wife Kay Kasmerski, as well as Lee and Patti Brauer, could visit him often, Loto Canada later found another home with Tanja and John Parker,” wrote Shields. “ ‘We had Loto for the last 11 years of his life,’ John Parker said. ‘The day he arrived at our place, it was an exciting thrill to see him in our pasture.’ ” Loto Canada died on Jan. 1, 2012. Four years later, he deservedly became a member of the Washington Racing Hall of Fame. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 322 Midnight Bisou (23)2. 257 Mucho Gusto3. 235 By My Standards (1)4. 157 Zulu Alpha (1)5. 141 Ce Ce6. 127 Maximum Security (7)7. 115 Tom’s d’Etat (1)8. 100 Monomoy Girl9. 50 Whitmore10. 46 Raging Bull Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 321 Nadal (19)2. 302 Tiz the Law (12)3. 269 Charlatan (2)4. 228 Maxfield5. 226 Authentic (1)6. 140 King Guillermo7. 114 Honor A.P.8. 68 Sole Volante9. 67 Ete Indien10. 34 Basin  

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5.26.2020:

May 26: Northfield Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park will be back in action tonight with a 15-race card starting at 6:00 PM EST. My focus will be on the Late Pick 4 which has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and that sequence begins in Race 11.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 111-Magic Shark (4-1)-Should like the company and would be best on a dry surface. Qualifier and 3 of 4 previous starts were on a wet track versus better. Doesn't have a win in 11 tries on an-off track.8-Seattle Hanover (7/2)-Burke trainee comes off a measured win in last week's qualifier and should be in the mix with this group.9-He Can Fly N (4-1)-Wasn't used hard in qualifier and post makes for a better price. Likes the track, winning 9 of 35 Nfld starts and has fared well against better.Race 121-Final Breath (2-1)-10-year-old Ohio bred has won 33% of lifetime starts and should make the most of leaving from the rail.2-Wind Of The North (5/2)-Here's another 10-year-old who knows his way to the winner's circle. Bercury barn is winning at a 39% clip in 2020 and this veteran has won 10 of 20 at Nfld. Drew off by 14 in qualifier, best to respect.8-Perlucky (7/2)-5 year-old is in his prime winning 11 of 31 starts in 2019. Burke pupil can leave to get a good early seat and should be rolling late looking for the fifth picture of this year.Race 132-Major Nemesis (9/5)-Bercury-Merriman combo is back again, made short work of the qualifier and looks ready to roll here. Fits well with this group and should be well backed.3-Stride Of Pride (4-1)-Another Burke trainee who has come out ready off the bench. It will be an interesting start and if Page can get the pocket behind #2 it could lead to an upset.Race 142-Just Bookem (9/5)-Didn't work up much of a sweat in qualifier but there wasn't a need to be aggressive in the slop. This is a good spot to pick-up first victory of 2020. Winner of 10 in 51 tries at Nfld should be a major player.$1 Pick 41,8,9/1,2,8/2,3/2Total Bet=$18Check me out on Twitter!

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5.25.2020:

Monday, May 25: Scioto Downs Pick 5 Analysis

Tonight, Scioto Downs has increased the 0.50 Pick 5 guarantee to $20,000 which should lead to a larger pool. The Pick 5 starts in Race 5, it has a 14% takeout and appears to be a challenging sequence.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 54-Bettor's Dream (4-1)-Six-year-old makes first start at ScD off a sharp qualifier. Miller picked #7 instead but Page has been doing well. This is a tough race but could score with a top effort.5-Picard A (4-1)- Qualifier was better than the line looks and should enjoy the company. Raced evenly last week, but went the back half in .57, last 1/4 in 28.2 and could be sitting on a big try coming off the bench.7-Don't Ask Logan (5-1)-Likes to get on the engine and was used hard to get the lead. Faded down the lane in qualifier but the 27.1 opening quarter from the 7-hole was quick. Should be tighter and could make every call a winning one.Race 61-Elm Grove Maddy (7/2)-Even qualifier but in a spot to get sucked around and roll by late. 0-10 this year but that may not tell the entire story. Off-track record is only 2-28 and 7 of 10 starts in 2020 have been on a wet surface.2-I M Mccited (9/2)-Tuned up in Delaware and shows a win in 6 starts at ScD. Looking for Miller to provide a good journey and have in striking range. Using at a square price in another contentious race.5-Stay Gold (5/2)-Fits with this crew, has two wins in 13 starts at ScD. If Brewer finds some live cover it could be picture time.Race 75-Ucrywheniflyby (5-1)-Went the back half in 57.2 in qualifier and Sutton can find some live cover from this post. Looks like a player at a fair price if keeps trotting.10-Toasted By Twelve (9/1)-Makes 2nd start on Lasix and was staked in Ohio last year. Morgan trainee did win his barn debut. Looking for another big try here if Miller works a trip and keeps his mind on business.Race 81-Elmo Blatch (5/2)-Comes off two nice qualifiers and it seems like breaking issues may have been solved. Will use and then look to the outside instead of #4 the program chalk, who is 0-6 at ScD.7-Cowboy Country (6-1)-Tuned-up nicely at Nfld and now makes first start at ScD. Should like the company and if is in striking range at the 3/4's chances for success go up.8-Stonebridge Symba (6-1)-Makes first start on Lasix and kept coming in last week's qualifier. Does need the right trip but has faced better. Looks to be worth a swing at 6-1 in the ML and thinking Miller will provide a good steer.Race 92-Star Guitar (3-1)-Agreeing with the program odds in this event and looking for a big effort. Will use the 2nd ML chalk and hope he is racing close to the lead turning for home.3-Always A Fiji (2-1)-Makes first lifetime start at ScD and lands in a good spot. Team Brewer trainee has some versatility and should be able to capture third win of 2020 at a short price with a decent trip.My Ticket Race 5: 4,5,7 Race 6: 1,2,5 Race 7: 5,10 Race 8: 1,7,8 Race 9: 2,3Total Ticket Cost) $54 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter!

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5.25.2020:

Monday, May 25: Santa Anita 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. Today’s Day Makers: Churchill Downs – 7th race. Post Time: 4:08 ET2-Union Maiden (7/2) Blew the break and lost all chance when a well-backed favorite at 4/5 in her debut at Gulfstream Park in February but closed a big gap to be a close fifth and galloped out full of run in a much better-than-looked performance. Away for three months, the daughter of Union Rags returns for C. Brown with a healthy, steady series of workouts, retains J. Castellano, and gets an extra half furlong to work with. Hopefully, she leaves with her field this time and if so she can make amends at 7/2 on the morning line. Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF File RACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Mystic Flight-GB; 7-Big Runnuer; 8-Torosay Forecast: Big Runnuer can fire fresh (won his debut) and has been victorious over this course and distance (again, in his debut). Away since December but with a healthy work tab that should have him fit and ready, the son of Stormy Atlantic is lightly-raced with further improvement likely and will be wearing blinkers for the first time, so he should be in the fray throughout. Reunited with “win rider” R. Fuentes, the lightly-raced 5-year-old is fast on figures and has the ideal stalking style to keep him free of trouble. At 7/2 on the morning line, he deserves top billing, but there are others in here that are quite capable as well, so he’s not quite a single in our book. Torosay, back from Dubai where he hit the board in two starts in good company, has looked sharp in the a.m. and should return to his best form in this considerably softer first-level allowance dash. The Goldencents gelding broke his maiden easily over the local lawn at this trip last fall and on paper appears to be the most dangerous of the need-the-lead types. For a price, we’ll toss in the English invader Mystic Flight-GB, listed at 12-1 on the morning line. Away since September of 2018, the gelding hasn’t impressed in his recent workouts but all of his local preparation has been done on dirt, and he’s clearly a grass specialist. Based on his Timeform numbers from a couple of years back, the R. Ellis-trained 5-year-old is more than good enough to act at this level and as a first-time Lasix user he could be dangerous over firm ground he apparently prefers. RACE 2: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Hendavid; 6-Dyn O Mite; 7-Lozlovian Forecast: We’re largely guessing in this maiden 2-year-old sprint, so we’re not going to get too involved other than to include the three logical main contenders in our rolling exotic play. Hendavid hails from a barn that specifically points its young stock for win-early performances at this meeting and the son of Overanalyze appears to have done some good work at the training center in Utah prior to his arrival. We’ll put him on top while also including Dyn O Mite, certainly bred to be quick (Goldencents) and attracting F. Prat, who usually only rides first-time starting 2-year-olds if he gets a “story,” and Lozlovian, a San Luis Rey Downs shipper with a couple of bullet workouts on his resume and with a pedigree (Rattlesnake Bridge) to be a quick type. RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Colonial Creed; 4-Message Forecast: Colonial Creed, in her second start off a long layoff, should be fitter today while returning to the main track and switching to F. Prat, so we’ll give the Jimmy Creed filly a slight edge on top in a race that she projects to be the controlling speed (her preferred trip). Good recent workouts indicate the R. Baltas-trained filly is right on edge. Message disappointed in the La Canada S.-G2 after which she was given plenty of time off, and she, too, has been working like she’s ready to bounce back in a big way for Baffert. She’ll likely enjoy an ideal pace-stalking trip and have every chance from the quarter pole home. Both should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 4: Post 2:03 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Trouville; 5-Enriched by Deb; 11-Kelani Kim Forecast: There appears to be three main players in this maiden $40,000 claiming extended sprint for fillies and mares. Trouville, in the frame in her four last starts and overdue for a win, may have found a field she can finally beat. She’s reunited with F. Prat, has a good stalking style to allow for a trouble-free journey, and on pure numbers is good enough to win. Enriched By Deb flashed speed before gradually weakening in a maiden $50,000 affair here in February but has looked much improved in the a.m. since, so we’re expecting a forward move from the R. Baltas-trained daughter of Munnings. She goes from A. Espinoza to J. Rosario, so there’s that, too. Kelani Kim, drawn comfortably outside, has the route-to-sprint angle we like along with being a first-time-in-a-claimer play, so this Union Rags filly is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Additionally, she’s shown improvement in the a.m. and switches to A. Cedillo, so the M. Glatt-trained filly, already a contender based strictly on numbers, absolutely is a “must use.” RACE 5: Post 2:34 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Stealthediamonds; 7-Jolie Olimpico-BRZ Forecast: We’re going to try to get past the Monrovia S.-G2 using just two in our rolling exotics, but if you feel the need to spread a bit deeper, go right ahead. Jolie Olimpico-BRZ was defeated for the first time in five career starts when she was worn down close home in the Buena Vista S.-G2 over a mile. She’s back sprinting where she’s clearly most comfortable, continues to look sharp in the a.m., and should bounce back with a huge effort in a race in which she projects to draft into an ideal second flight, stalking spot. Her triple-digit Beyer victory in the Las Cienegas S.-G3 over this course and distance in January makes her strictly the one to beat. Stealthediamonds in the most dangerous of the pace types and from the rail she has only one way to go, on the lead, every step of the way. Winner of the Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint under these conditions earlier this year, the daughter of Unusual Heat always is tough to get by when she can control the proceedings from the start. If Surrender Now – the other speed in the field – doesn’t keep her honest, the M. Puype-trained filly may take this group a very long way. RACE 6: Post 3:05 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Ragtime Blues; 4-Scarto Forecast: The recent private purchase Scarto arrives fit and ready following a sharp score in a listed stakes at Gulfstream Park and with two easy breezes over the Santa Anita main track for new trainer M. Puype the son of Paynter should be capable of picking up where he left off. He’s very fast on speed figures but may settle into a stalker’s role due to the presence of recent Oaklawn Park maiden winner Ragtime Blues, a hit-and-run winner for B. Baffert after doing all of his preparatory work at Santa Anita. The son of Union Rags continues to impress in the a.m., picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. and probably is a bit quicker than his chief rival, so we’re expecting gate-to-wire tactics to be employed. On numbers Scarto is the better of the two, but ‘Blues has plenty of upside and could step forward in a big way in just his third career start, just as Scarto did in his third outing. We’re expecting the winner to be one or the other, so we’ll include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 7: Post 3:36 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Sea of Liberty; 8-Lemon King; 9-Three Ay Em Forecast: Lemon King showed some moxie in graduating at first asking two-turning on grass at Del Mar last August but then was stopped on. The son of Lemon Drop Kid returns with a series of good works (looking better now than he did then) and we’re expecting the T. Yakteen-trained sophomore to settle off the pace and then produce a strong late kick. F. Prat, who was aboard ‘King last summer, stays aboard. Sea of Liberty seeks his third straight score after winning a state-bred maiden affair before repeating vs. starter’s allowance foes, both wins accomplished over this course and distance. A versatile type who can win on the lead or rallying from mid-pack, the Boisterous gelding has been kept on edge by doing good work in the a.m. for J. Sadler, and with rising speed figures with each start he appears strictly the one to beat. Three Ay Em, genuine and consistent and in the frame in six of his last seven starts but away since December, is a 4-year-old eligible to his state-bred affair due to the fact that he’s been entered for the $20,000 tag. Based on speed figures he’s worth more than that, so we wonder if his connections are trying to lose him, or simply going after the big $51,000 pot (or perhaps both). In any event, we’ll toss him in as a back-up or a saver. RACE 8: Post 4:07 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Buyer’s Remorse; 9-Fierce for Sul Forecast: Fierce for Sul, a $650,00 2-year-old in training purchase last year, was entered earlier this month in a turf sprint but was scratched. She’s trained very well since, so she’s obviously healthy, and the B. Baffert-trained daughter of Speightstown looks to have plenty of talent, certainly enough to win at first asking in this maiden special weight abbreviated sprint for fillies and mares. However, at 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, she probably won’t offer too much in the way of wagering value. She’ll be the main push in our rolling exotics, but we will have a ticket or two as a saver using Buyer’s Remorse, who showed promise last year as a 2-year-old but was overmatched in a pair of stakes races after a good runner-up debut as a maiden at Del Mar. Freshened and working like her old self, the daughter of Liam’s Map will be right there should Fierce for Sul make any mistakes. RACE 9: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Without Parole; 5-War of Will; 6-Blitzkrieg Forecast: This year’s edition of the Shoemaker Mile-G1 is an absolute scramble. Use as many as your budget allows. We’ll go three deep and try to blow out the tote board using Blitzkrieg on top at 20-1 on the morning line. Back from Dubai where he performed admirably in top class sprint company, the son of War Front can be equally effective at this one mile trip, and in a field with a projected pace that could be moderate at best, the D. O’Neill-trained gelding should be comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout. A former $25,000 claimer, he’s improved a ton for his new connections and is especially lethal on the type of firm ground that he will see today. Based on pure numbers he’s right there with the rest of them off his best effort. Without Parole lands the good rail and should inherit an ideal second flight, ground-saving trip. A closing third in the Breeders’ Cup Mile over this course and distance last fall, the C. Brown-trained son of Frankel is reunited with I. Ortiz. Jr. (who rode him in that race), and after a disappointing run in the Pegasus World Cup Turf-G1 in January the English-bred horse has trained like he’s ready to snap back to top form. War of Will, last year’s Preakness winner, makes his four year old debut and could return to form in his first start since finishing unplaced in the BC Classic in November. He’s trained like he’s fit and ready and picks up F. Prat, and while he must prove himself against older horses (and grass) we’re willing to toss him in on the chance that he can somehow regain his past glory. RACE 10: Post 5:09 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Studly Perfection; 2-Camino de Estrella; 4-Fire When Ready Forecast: Studly Perfection clearly is the controlling speed from his rail post in this main track miler for modest claiming older horses. First or second in four of six career starts over the local main track, the J. Wong-trained gelding picks up J. Rosario and hopefully will be allowed to utilize his best weapon, his early speed. He’s been guzzled and throttled down in recent races in the Bay Area but if turned loose today he could be capable of running his rivals into the ground. Fire When Ready returns to his claim level, and as a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track and with sharp drills in recent weeks, the J. Mullins-trained son of Empire Way seems well-placed to regain his best form. We’re expecting the veteran gelding to be close up throughout and have every chance. Camino de Estrella is a sharp Turf Paradise invader with numbers that fit and a good recent series of workouts to have him on edge. First or second in 11 of 25 career starts, the Mineshaft gelding will be doing his best work from off the pace. RACE 11: Post 5:39 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Etoile; 2-Ollie’s Candy; 3-Lady Prancealot Forecast: Etoile arrives fit and ready from the Payson Park training center in South Florida for this year’s Gamely S.-G1 and if she duplicates her outstanding French form she will be hard to beat. The C. Brown-trained filly, away since last fall, was a Group-3 winner at Saint-Cloud last year and was fourth, beaten less than a length, in the French Oaks-G1, before tailing off against Europe’s best in two subsequent outings. She gets the rail, Lasix, and J. Rosario for a barn that has a spectacular record with these European imports. Ollie’s Candy lost a heartbreaker in the Apple Blossom H.-G1 at Oaklawn Park last month and today tries to duplicate that performance on grass and minus Rosario, who opts for Etoile. The daughter of Candy Road is winless in four starts on turf but she was an excellent second on turf in the nine furlong Del Mar Oaks-G1 as a 3-year-old. It’ll be interesting to see if new jockey D. Van Dyke employs the same front-running tactics that nearly stole the Apple Blossom. Lady Prancealot may be the most dangerous of the deep closers. She switches to Johnny V. and will be heard from late if the pace is fast or at least normal.  

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5.25.2020:

Monday, May 25: Ruidoso Downs Full-Card Picks

Race 1 (3:00PM ET) - Optional Claiming ($10K) - $10,185 - 7 1/2 Furlongs  WILMAS’S IRISH ROVER (#1) is a significant class dropper here; competed for $30k last time the gelding was on the local track; let’s go.HOWDY (#8) is still plenty feisty for an eight-year-old; 45 lifetime starts and $280k in earnings.REBACK HOME (#7) is a grizzled veteran race  horse with 25 local starts and 10 wins. Race 2 (3:25PM ET) - Maiden Claiming ($6.5K) - $6,720 - 300 Yards  STREAKIN RECKLESS (#2) was dq’d out of maiden win here last summer; still lookin’ for that elusive first win—maybe today.JR LITTLE REGARD (#7) has a recent nice work to consider; 11.91 seconds at 220.VOICE OF ACTION (#5) is at lowest claiming level of the gelding’s career; capable of an upset. Race 3 (3:50PM ET) - Claiming ($10K) - $9,765 - 5 Furlongs  ANOTHER BROTHER (#7) is a local favorite with bettors; 8 of 10 lifetime in the money at Ruidoso Downs.AMOR N PASION (#8) just won a claiming race by 16 lengths? Muddy track and the forecast calls for rain Monday afternoon.WHEREDOESTHECASHGO (#2) is the early speedster; let’s see if she gets caught. Race 4 (4:15PM ET) - Maiden Special Weigh - $11,555 - 350 Yards  KNOCKOUT CHICK (#6) was always the bridesmaid last year with three second-place finishes; let’s bet across just in case. JESS A DASHER (#1) was thrown into he wolves last fall over at Zia Park; this bunch looks easier so expect improvement.DADDYS FASTER (#8) seems to hang around other runners without winning; expect the same. Race 5 (4:40PM ET) - Maiden Special Weight - $8,190 - 300 Yards  DF FABULOUS FIRE (#6) was an impressive schooling race winner; gaining experience here for later in the summer.JLC STEAL YOUR CASH (#7) races alongside the top pick; gotta help his chances.JALAPENO BABY (#1) is 12-1; worth strong consideration is wide-open event. Race 6 (5:05PM ET) - Claiming ($5K) - $7,350 - 5 1/2 Furlongs  MY BOY ZAYN (#4) shortens up the distance and drops in class; let’s go.SICULO (#3) is the wildcard we’re dealing with here—previous Delmar lines create a big question mark.FIELD GENERAL (#1) drips in class today; inconsistent sort—prefer top pick. Race 7 (5:30PM ET) - Claiming ($5K) - $7,350 - 400 Yards  PR VOLCOM (#7) won in January; that’s more than the others can report.ABOUTI TOO SHOES (#9) lights the board half the time; betting across.Y YOU SO MEAN (#8) is the class dropper; should race much improved. Race 8 (5:55PM ET) - Claiming ($7.5K) - $10,150 - 5 Furlongs  A ZENON NITE (#8) goes from mid-level allowance to claiming ranks; let’s get our picture taken here. DRIVE THRU GARY (#4) has been racing much improved; 6-1 is a fair price.ICED (#2) is a longshot with a chance; big class dropper at 10-1. Race 9 (6:20PM ET) - Allowance - $15,205 - 300 Yards  VEERY’S VERSION (#9) keeps cashing paychecks time after time and trainer Barton finds a nice spot to drop the mare into without fear of claiming.HOLLYWOOD N CROWN (#10) should race alongside top pick to make one another run faster.GO BIGG DADDY (#2) has one start and one win; can’t do much better than that. RACE 10 (6:45PM ET) - Allowance - $14,955 - 5 1/2 Furlongs  EVACUEE (#4) is our best bet of the day for Fincher barn; here’s a youngster that competed for $100k at Sunland and runs for minor allowance purse.INDEFINATELY (#9) impressed many in the spring with a five length score; tougher field today.SEVEN SILVER COINS (#6) will likely outbreak the top two selections and set the pace; here they come. Race 11 (7:10PM ET) - John Andreini Memorial - $40,000 - 350 Yards  CONSIGLIERE (#4) had a three-race win streak until last time at Remington; clearly a top-notch race horse.BOTTICELLI (#7) is an eight-year-old that has won four in a row; obviously appears to be in top form.FLASH FOR CORONA (#6) is 15-1 and on a two-race win streak? Worth a buck or two. Race 12 (7:35PM ET) - Maiden Claiming ($6.5K) - $8,470 - 5 1/2 Furlongs  MAIL MAN M G (#7) is a class dropper with a talented rider; like his chances.FORTY FIVES STORM (#10) already won but suffered a dq; knows how to win.JEWEL OF NAVARONE (#4) will keep running till the wire; gotta use in exotics.

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5.24.2020:

Sunday, May 24: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:7th Race – Churchill Downs – Post Time: 4:08 ET2-Oak Room (5-1)Into Mischief colt was a very promising third in his debut at Oaklawn Park last month in what was a fast, highly-rated race won by the promising Skol Factor, and the B. Cox-trained sophomore seems sure to improve significantly with that race under his belt combined with this stretch out to a one-turn mile. Was pinched back at the start and was far back to the top of the lane, then took hold while angling to the outside and finished strongest to the wire before galloping out full of run to be in front of the pack into the clubhouse turn. The Cox barn hits with a terrific 26% with second-time starters, so at 5-1 on the morning line this Juddmonte Farm homebred offers value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play.9th race – Churchill Downs – Post Time: 5:12 ET3-Chaleur (7/2)Makes her U.S. debut in a second-level allowance race as a first-time Lasix user and though unproven at nine furlongs should be fit and ready following a series of solid drills at over the deepish Payson Park training track in South Florida. Her English form in valuable handicap races was quite strong and her triple-digit Timeform ratings make her a major player at this level. Worth noting is the large fields she’s been used to competing in and the amount of weight she was carrying. At 6-1 on the morning she offers good value in an open affair.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Raul Rosas; 2-Bench Judge; 3-Unbridled Ethos; 5-JetovatorForecast: The Sunday opener is a challenging first-level allowance turf sprint that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll go four-deep and try to get a nice price home. Bench Judge won at first asking over this course and distance despite breaking slowly and racing greenly. When it mattered in the final furlong the J. Sadler-trained did what he had to do. On pure numbers he falls a little short of some of the major players in this race, but we’re thinking he’ll be a bit more professional with that first start out of the way and be able to improve enough to register a mild surprise right back. Raul Rosas earned a big figure breaking his maiden here off a year layoff and then was vanned to Los Alamitos to win mixed-breed race last month in order to remain on edge during the enforced layoff. The Thorn Song gelding lands the good rail and appears to be the most dangerous of the committed speed types. Unbridled Ethos has been stopped and started on a few times throughout his career and today shows up for the first time since last June. He’s one-for-one sprinting on turf and has trained like he’s fit to fire a good shot off the bench for J. Mullins (strong stats with come-backers). Jetovator has one win and seven seconds/thirds so he may not be one to entirely trust, but F. Prat stays aboard and the Grazen gelding should draft in behind the first flight and then have every chance from the quarter pole home.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Madame Barbarian; 5-Easy Grader; 6-Mongolian WindowForecast: Easy Grader, away since January of 2019, launches a comeback at age seven for E. Truman and shows up in a low-level claimer for the first time, not a healthy pattern, to be sure. But if she has one good one left – and this will only be here 12th career outing – it most likely will be in her first race back. On the opposite end of the spectrum is Madame Barbarian, an Oaklawn Park invader making her 70th career start and her first for new trainer J. Mullins. A deep-closing sprinter with speed figures that make her a fit at this level, she has 10 wins on her resume including a clever score two races back that makes her an “in form” entrant, and with the presence of F. Prat in the saddle the daughter of Stroll is a “must use.” Mongolian Window has been running long on the lawn most of her career but a she continues to train in the morning on dirt like she’ll handle the surface if given the chance, and today she gets that chance. The daughter of Drosselmeyer drops to her lowest level ever and has several back figures that make her extremely dangerous. All three should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Brickyard Ride; 5-Foreign ProtocolForecast: Brickyard Ride hit a wall in mid-stretch when 4/5 in a similar starter option claiming sprint for 3-year-olds last time out while paying the price for going too fast (:21 3/5) too early. If he can slow down during the opening quarter today, he’ll stick much better and perhaps roll all the way to the wire. Foreign Patrol, a first-time gelding, arrives from the Bay Area with speed figures over the all-weather surface that are more than good enough to win if he can repeat them over conventional dirt. If the pace-types go too fast, he’ll likely be able to exploit his role as the race’s most dangerous late-running sprinter. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Brickyard Ride on top.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Nurse Goodbody; 8-Zest; 10-Enchanted NileForecast: Nurse Goodbody received no action debuting in a turf sprint in March and it was easy to see why after she was last, 11 lengths off the leader, heading for home. Suddenly, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy took hold and flew home to finish fourth, beaten two lengths, and then galloped far out in front while tipping her hand for a much improved effort next time over a route of ground. Next time is today. The E. Kruljac-trained filly switches to top grass rider U. Rispoli and should improve enough to produce the last run in this mile grass affair for older maiden fillies and mares that on paper looks a little stronger than normal. Zest, a Tapit filly from Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic-G1 winner Life Is Sweet, has been away for almost a year but has trained rather nicely for her comeback and could easily be a better filly this time around. When last seen she ran very well over this course and distance when third after hitting the front in mid-stretch and a repeat of that effort today puts her right there. Enchanted Nile, unplaced in her first two career starts but clearly heading in the right direction, continues to improve in the a.m., and the feeling is that this daughter of Pioneerof the Nile is ready to produce a significant forward move following a good, healthy recent series of workouts. The N. Drysdale-trained filly gets the worst of the draw, but if she can drop back and save some ground to the of the lane, should make some serious noise in the final furlong.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Camby; 7-Sky JumperForecast: Sky Jumper earned a powerful 91 Beyer speed figure when missing by a half length in a starter’s allowance sprint here in March, a number that is 12 points higher than par for this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 sprint. Obviously, this class drip raises a red flag, and we assume that the connections are hoping (and perhaps expecting) to lose him, but with a couple of nice recent five furlong drills the son of Jump Start should have at least one good one left, and if he does, he’ll beat this field. But at 6/5 on the morning line, he’ll offer no wagering value. Camby, nowhere near as fast as Sky Jumper on numbers but relatively sound and reliable, is a viable back-up in rolling exotic play just in case the favorite fails to fire. The veteran Candy Ride gelding should be part of the pace throughout and have his chance.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Fivestar Lynch; 2-Red King; 3-Turn the SwitchForecast: The main contention in this first-level allowance turf miler will leave from the inside three post positions, so there should be no excuses. Red King has been racing in much longer races for more than a year but shortens to a trip that he’s won twice at, so perhaps at this distance he can regain his winning form. The son of English Channel continues to train well for P. D’Amato, switches to A. Cedillo, and may be capable of producing the last run in a race that should have a normal amount of pace. Fivestar Lynch earned a career top speed figure when graduating over this course and distance for a high-priced tag in early February and has been kept in steady training since. F. Prat can have him on the lead if it’s handed to him or settle for a second flight, ground-saving trip. On pure numbers he’s right there. Turn the Switch wore down Fivestar Lynch when they squared off in late December and the lightly-raced gelding could do it again if taken back, provided some cover, and then produced from the quarter pole home. Given that type of ride from regular pilot E. Maldonado, the son of Giant’s Causeway could easily outrun his morning line odds of 5-1. We’ll give Red King a slight edge on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Full Draw; 5-Show Business; 8-Most SandisfactoryForecast: Maiden $40,000 older horses meet in this six and one-half furlong sprint that is sprinkled with dangerous first-time starters and others dropping from straight maiden company. It’s challenging, to say the least. Full Draw finally makes it to the post at age four and is realistically spotted by trainer J. Sadler, who has strong stats with debut runners. The barn’s “go-to” rider V. Espinoza takes the call and the work tab indicates ability, so let’s put him on top, since the known element isn’t especially inspiring or trustworthy. Most Sandisfactory, away since last summer and making his first start on dirt after three in-the-frame grass tries vs. moderate maiden special weight foes in Kentucky, returns with blinkers off and lands F. Prat, so we’ll assume he’s a live item for the P. Miller barn. His San Luis Rey Downs work tab should have him fit enough if he’s good enough. Show Businesshas been unplaced in his first five career starts but he looks okay in the morning and this much softer assignment, his first for a tag, could be a confidence booster. At 8-1 on the morning line, the R. Mandella-trained gelding is worth tossing in.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Madman; 5-Irish Heatwave; 6-Border TownForecast: Border Town is improving with racing and the lightly-raced son of War Front looks capable of winning right back in this first-level allowance turf miler after a facile maiden score with a career top speed figure in his most recent appearance in February. He’s looked good in the a.m. since, including a sharp bullet six furlong dirt workout (1:12.1h) while stride-for-stride with high class stable mate United earlier this month. Madman, nosed out under these conditions in late January, appears fit and ready for a similar effort following a string of good workouts at San Luis Rey Downs and is guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip from his rail post. Irish Heatwave is back from Fair Grounds, where he failed to win four starts, but he’s now in the D. O’Neill stable, removes blinkers and always has preferred the firm Santa Anita turf course. The Cal-bred stakes winner is a prototype turf miler and should be forwardly placed throughout under A. Cedillo. We’ll press with Border Town on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: BSingle: 11-Lil Richards BelloForecast: The finale is a maiden special weight California-bred sprint that at first glance looks wide open. Those that have raced haven’t earned speed figures that are par for the level so let’s take a gamble on a fresh face. Lil Richards Bello, a debut runner from the P. Eurton barn (excellent stats with first-timers), lands the cozy outside post following a series of sneaky good workouts, including a recent five furlong drill (1:00 1/5) that was 5th fastest of 59 for the distance and was accomplished without any urging with pretty quick early splits. Although not really bred to be a sprinter (Richard’s Kid), the home-bred gelding has trained like a win-early type and appears very live at 6-1 on the morning line. At that price or anywhere near it, we’ll make him a win play for us and a rolling exotic single.

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5.23.2020:

Harness Highlights: Scioto Downs First To Re-open

Ohio tracks are taking the lead role in harness racing’s return to action, while several others are approaching the starting gate. Scioto Downs drew 350 entries for 16 qualifying races preceding its live card last Friday. The track’s 62nd season of racing began with 12 races and eight winning favorites. Chris Page drove six winners, four for trainer Ron Burke and two for J.D. Perrin. Northfield Park held a double draw for its qualifiers leading to the return of live racing tonight (Tuesday, May 26). The half-mile track will race Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday each week with a 6 p.m. post time. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave the green light to Yonkers Raceway, Tioga Downs, Vernon Downs, Monticello and Saratoga Raceway to re-open without fans Monday, June 1, though no re-start dates have been announced. Meadowlands owner Jeff Gural submitted a proposal to the State of New Jersey, requesting a June 5 opening. Woodbine-Mohawk Park, the premiere Standardbred track in Canada, will be in motion Saturday, June 6, without fans. The $1 million Pepsi North America Cup, the track’s signature event, has been rescheduled from June 20 to Saturday, Aug. 29 Pending approval from the Indiana Horse Racing Commission, Hoosier Park will return Tuesday, June 16. Hoosier Park will host the year-end Breeders Crown championships in 2020. Harrington Raceway, a staple at the Delaware State Fair, is awaiting approval by the state commission to begin June 15. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf said the Meadows, Pocono Downs and Harrah’s Philadelphia won’t be able to open until the third and final “green phase” of the Covid-19 crisis recovery process, similar to other entertainment venues like casinos.

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5.23.2020:

Saturday, May 23: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:CHURCHILL DOWNS – RACE 10: Post 5:44 ET2-Pneumatic (4-1)Unbeaten in two starts with a pair of highly impressive performances, this sophomore son of Uncle Mo gets tested for class in the Matt Winn Stakes, a Grade-3 event that could serve as a steppingstone to the Belmont Stakes four weeks later. The Steve Asmussen-trained colt lands a favorable inside draw, has the tactical speed to secure a perfect ground-saving trip, and a closing kick that should keep his record spotless on the way to bigger and better things. There’s plenty of value to be found at or near his morning line of 4-1.CHURCHILL DOWNS – RACE: 11: Post 6:16 ET5 – Field Pass (4-1)Rapidly developing and versatile 3-year-old returns to grass after a clever all-weather score at Turfway Park in this one mile listed stakes and seems well-spotted to extend his winning streak to three. His victory on turf two runs back in the Dania Beach Stakes at Gulfstream was superb, as the son of Lemon Drop Kid overcame severe traffic to get up in the final strides while displaying a turn of foot that only the good ones have. At 4-1 on the morning – assuming the race remains on grass – the Mike Maker-trained colt is a strong win play and rolling exotic single. Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Much More Halo; 3-Big Cheddar; 7-SilardiForecast: Today’s opener is a challenging maiden turf sprint offering several first-time starters with credentials to run well. As it is, we’ll stick with those with experience. Silardi was well-meant in his debut at Oaklawn Park earlier this month, but after flashing early speed and then fading in a hot race the P. Miller-trained 3-year-old seems certain to improve for a barn that hits a spectacular 25% with a massive flat-bet profit with second-time starters. Additionally, as a son of City Zip, this gelding should improve a ton with the switch to grass and if that weren’t enough red-hot F. Prat takes the call. There should be some good value at 7/2 on the morning if you can get it. Much More Halo missed by head over this course and distance in a similar affair in late February and has trained steadily since. He’s guaranteed a ground-saving trip from the rail and should run his race, but after four starts the feeling is that he can’t really beat a good colt if in fact there’s one in here. Big Cheddar is 15-1 on the morning line and probably is a bit better than that. His only prior turf sprint resulted in a good second place finish with a career top speed figure and not much more will be needed to at least hit the board. We’ll have tickets using all three in our rolling exotics and then press with Silardi in the win pool.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Divine Armor; 4-Believe NowForecast: Divine Armor has plenty in his favor in this maiden special weight main track miler for older horses. Beaten a neck with a huge, career-top speed figure last time out over this track and distance while almost five lengths clear of the rest, the son of Include won’t have to improve much to handle this assignment. The one he may have to worry about the most is the second-time starter Believe Now, who ran better than the line shows in his sprint debut. The Uncle Mo colt was in traffic much of the way before responding when clear to finish a willing fourth and then galloping out strongly, indicating he’s likely to improve with experience and distance. The barn’s go-to rider V. Espinoza takes the call, and we suspect the son of Uncle Mo, following a fast recent five furlong drill (:59.3) will step forward for the M. McCarthy barn, which has excellent stats with second-time starters. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with the 8/5 morning line favorite, Divine Armor, the logical top pick and one to beat.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Distant Vista; 4-Margot’s BoyForecast: Triple Crown nominated Distant Vista makes his U. S. debut after winning a moderate handicap over the all-weather surface at Dundalk in Ireland in December toting 138 lbs. while giving 21 lbs. to the runner-up (who did they think he was, Forego?). Three prior runs (including two on soft turf) didn’t amount to much, but this impressive performance was his first start in blinkers and led to the acquisition and importation to the U.S.. Once arrived, the son of Footstepsinthesand has looked very sharp in a series of training track drills that should have him fit and ready, so from a good inside draw and with F. Prat taking the call the Irish-bred 3-year-old appears extremely live and well-meant. As a saver, we’ll include on a ticket or two the improving Cal-bred Margot’s Bay, already a two-time winner over this course and distance with steadily rising speed figures and a clear pace advantage that will allow him to be the controlling speed. If not policed up front, the son of Clubhouse Ride could give ‘Vista a tough target to run down.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Tiz Wonderfully; 5-Perfect Ice Storm; 7-Tiz MasterForecast: We’ll use three in this allowance optional claiming miler for fillies and mares but big ticket players may find the need to spread even deeper, it’s that kind of race. Perfect Ice Storm crushed a much softer restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming field over a track listed as “good” in her most recent appearance while earning a career top speed figure, one that puts her right in the hunt in this tougher affair. This will be her third start off a layoff for a filly that appears much improved from last year, so at 4-1 on the morning line the P. Eurton-trained Cal-bred gets a slight edge on top. Tiz a Master, in her second start off a layoff, stretches out for the R. Baltas barn. After finishing a solid runner-up in an open $20,000 claiming sprint that produced a career-top speed figure coupled with a good recent workout, she’s another that appears to be on the upgrade. We’re expecting the daughter of Ministers Wild Cat to fold into a comfortable pace-stalking position and then have her chance from the quarter pole home. The improving Tiz Wonderfully, a winner of three of her last four starts and potentially the controlling speed, earned a career top speed figure in her most recent score vs. modest $12,500 foes and today is protected in what we’ll assume is a sign of confidence. However, her work tab is sketchy and regular jockey V. Espinoza jumps ship to ride 12-1 Shanghai Barbie (huh?) so there are enough mixed signals to make this J. Cassidy-trained mare difficult to rely on. We’ll toss her in on ticket or two but that’s it. A case can also be made for the morning line (5/2) favorite Scarlet Heat, but this will be her first try on dirt and at her price that’s a bit too problematic for us.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Stubbins; 6-Wildman JackForecast: Stubbins appears to have found his niche as a high-class late-running turf sprinter. His much-troubled fourth place finish in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint-G1 over this course last fall was his best performance ever, and today he gets an extra half-furlong to work with in his first start off the bench while switching to superior grass rider U. Rispoli. He’s won following a long layoff in the past, and a bullet three furlong blowout (:34 flat) four days ago at San Luis Rey Downs catches the eye, so if he can leave cleanly and can launch his bid unobstructed, the son of Morning Line could tag the leaders. The 2-1 morning line favorite Wildman Jack looks like the controlling speed, conditions that produced a record-setting win in the Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint-G3 over the straightaway course in Meydan in early March. ‘Jack may be less effective over today’s round course but if he can shake loose without pressure he’ll be tough to run down. There is no question that both Cistron and Texas Wedge have the credentials to win a race like this as well; however, the former is just 2-for-14 over the Santa Anita lawn and the latter hasn’t quite yet beaten this level of competition. We’ll try to squeak by without them but if you feel the need to include one or both as a back-up, go right ahead. RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Midnight Garden; 2-Sybil’s Kitty; 3-Real Good Deal; 7-Drop the MicForecast: Honestly, nothing would surprise us in this bottom-level (nw-2) $12,500 sprint for fillies and mares. We’ll pass the race while going four-deep in our rolling exotics. Real Good Deal, in the photo when third in a similar event here in mid-March, makes a monumental jockey switch to F. Prat and on that basis alone should be the favorite and one to beat. The L. Powell-trained filly projects to settle into a second-flight stalking position and then have dead aim with it counts. Sybil’s Kitty, a close fourth in the same race Real Good Deal exits, switches to A. Cedillo and has the kind of speed to set or make the pace. On her best day, she’s right there. Midnight Garden won at first asking in a maiden $20,000 affair in March with a speed figure that makes her competitive at this level. She showed a bit of moxie in that rally-wide victory and if she can secure a good trip from the rail the daughter of Majestic Warrior should be right there. Drop the Mic has trained fairly well for a cheap sort for her first start since November. Her New Mexico isn’t half bad, and from her outside draw the G. Headley-trained mare should enjoy a soft, pace-stalking trip. Toss her in at 6-1 on the morning line.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Rstars and Stripes; 5-Lovely Lilia; 9-Samurai CharmForecast: Here’s another difficult affair, this one a starter optional claimer for 3-year-old fillies. Samurai Charm returns protected in her first start since September and lands F. Prat, so we’ll assume the she’s fit and ready following a solid series of drills at San Luis Rey Downs. She’s pretty quick in a field that doesn’t have any break-away speed types, so either on the lead or from slightly off the pace the P. Miller-trained filly may get the kind of trip that can bring out her best. At 6-1 on the morning line in an open fray, the daughter of First Samurai seems as good as any. Lovely Lilia returns from Oaklawn Park where she was unplaced in a tougher spot over a wet-fast track she may not have cared for. The daughter of Animal Kingdom shows a 15 length maiden-claiming win over the local main track that charts very well here, so off her best race the P. D’Amato-trained filly is a “must use.” Rstars and Stripes, a nearly 10-length maiden winner over the Santa Anita main track in February, has numbers that fit and offers long shot value at 12-1 on the morning line. She shortens to five and one-half furlongs and will likely be in the first flight from the get-go. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these three in our rolling exotics but not really with a great deal of confidence.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-UnitedForecast: United is 6/5 on the morning line and looks it on paper. The Giant’s Causeway gelding, second in both the Breeders’ Cup Turf-G1 and the Hollywood Turf Cup-G1 before winning the San Marcos S.-G1 in February over this course and distance, has trained like he’s ready to pick up where he left off when facing a field that he really should outclass. The R. Mandella-trained 5-year-old has enough tactical speed to be placed wherever F. Prat wants to be in a race flow that should be very soft during the early stages. He’s an obvious no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Vodka Twist; 9-Dr. Hoffman; 12-SalahForecast: Bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claiming routers meet in the finale; best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. Vodka Twist is a big class dropper likely to gain confidence at this bottom level. Blinkers are re-equipped, and in his first try on dirt and exiting a sprint the son of Distorted Humor should be find himself close up with every chance. If he can run at all, this would be a very good spot to show it. Dr. Hoffman was wiped out at the start in his debut vs. high-priced maiden claimers over a mile on grass and never really showed much thereafter, but this is an entirely different context, and with the switch to F. Prat the son of Alternation should be much more competitive. Based on his recent workouts the son of Alternation seems likely display a lot more early speed today, assuming he leaves with his field. Salah is a 12-race maiden and obviously not one to trust, especially from the extreme outside draw, but he’s dropping to the bottom while switching to U. Rispolo and has several back speed figures that are good enough to win.

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5.23.2020:

Saturday, May 23: Scioto Downs Pick 5 Analysis

The 0.50 Pick 5 at Scioto Downs rolls in Race 5 and it has a $10,000 guaranteed pool with a 14% takeout. It was a chalkysequence last night with the 5/3/8/1,7/5 combination paying $74.15 on a 0.50 ticket.On Friday, Chris Page led the drivers with six wins and conditioner Ron Burke was the top trainer with four pictures. All in all, it was a night of short prices but the races were competitive.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 51-Sectionline Bigry (7/2)-Rolled the back half in 55.2 in last week's qualifier. Winner in 10 of 20 starts at ScD looks set for a big effort in season debut.5-My Hero Ron (5/2)-Just missed from the 9-hole in a tune-up and program chalk should be well backed.Race 61-Hawk's Red Chief (3-1)-Got on the engine from the 7-hole and faded down the lane in qualifier. Could be facing an easier crew tonight and the Burke-Page combo has come out on fire.4-Ponderingjacksfame (4-1)-Snagged a win from the 9-hole in a sharp tune-up and should like the company. Does have one win in four tries at ScD and it's best to respect tonight.Race 75-Champion Rock (5-1)-Looking for a square price with a good post draw. This Pet Rock 5-year-old is the one and is no stranger to ScD. Has hit the board 13 times in 24 starts and should be forwardly placed.9-Escapetothebeach (5/2)-This horse would be an odds-on choice with a decent post and still will be well backed. Could be a single for quite a few but from this post off a lay-off I won't be one of them.10-Rockn Motion (7/2)-Here's another Burke pupil who comes off a quick mile win in a qualifier and is stuck with a second tier starting spot. The post draw doesn't help but deserves respect regardless.Race 82-Mackeral A (6-1)-Makes U.S. debut and is first time Lasix as well. Hard to find fault with the 153.3 qualifier. Looks to be dialed on go for a big try.3-Royale Rose (6-1)-Broke slowly from the rail in qualifier but sizzled the last half in 55.3. Will take a swing with a Smith's choice over the #1 and #2.4-Blazin Baron (9/2)-Qualifier looked to be more of a training mile and Morgan trainee could be used more aggressively tonight. Has the gate speed to leave and could take a picture in a race without a standout.5-Bambino Joe (7/2)-Raced a strong qualifier over a sloppy track at Nfld and might be over bet off that effort. Rhoades barn knows how to take pictures as does Merriman, so will include but look to others as well.Race 98-Black Hole (5/2)-4-year-old comes off a dull qualifier but has won 9 out of 11 starts and holds a 150.4 mark here. This post will help the price and if dialed on high it may not matter.10-Captain Sunshine (9/2)-First time Burke and smoked the qualifier in 151.2 all on his own. Page will need a good steer and maybe some luck from this post but best to not overlook.My Ticket Race 5: 1,5 Race 6: 1,4 Race 7: 5,9,10 Race 8: 2,3,4,5 Race 9: 8,10Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50   Check me out on Twitter! 

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5.22.2020:

Six for the Money, Winn, Santa Anita Pick 4

Jockey Flavien Prat won six races Sunday at Santa Anita Park. That trick hasn’t been performed at The Great Race Place since Rafael Bejarano piloted a sextet there in 2006.Racing aficionados concur that Prat’s currently the best in the west. At Santa Anita, he leads all riders with 55 wins and eight stakes tallies. Last season, during the 2018-19 Santa Anita winter meet, he finished second in wins to the presently-employed-elsewhere Joel Rosario (56-52 with 23 less mounts) but topped all riders in SA stakes victories with 12 and purse earnings at nearly $3.5 million.Still, knocking down a six-bagger on a single card is extremely difficult. An abundance of perfect synergy is required. So many factors must coalesce, from-entry-to draw-to-break-to-trip-to-finish…six times. Stars must align. Moon in the proper ‘house.’That’s probably why, since 1934 at Santa Anita, a rider has won at least six races in a single day just 14 times. Below is a list of jockeys who have won six races during a single card at Santa Anita:Bill Shoemaker (’62)Laffit Pincay (’73 & ’81)Steve Valdez (’73 Eclipse Award-Winning Apprentice)Sandy Hawley (’76 twice)Darrel McHargue (’78 & ’79)Patrick Valenzuela (’88)Martin Pedroza (’92)Corey Nakatani (‘00)Rafael Bejarano (’06)Flavien Prat (’20)No bums on that list. However, you may have noticed three Hall-of-Fame members (Shoemaker, Pincay & Hawley), one about-to-be-inducted (McHargue) and one that eventually-will-be-inducted (Nakatani has credentials and merely requires votes).Winning six races in a single day is like pitching a no-hitter. Bagging seven’s akin to hurling a perfect game. Only the great Laffit Pincay has ever done that at Santa Anita. He scored with seven of eight mounts in 1987!When told names of previous ‘Anita six-packers, Prat, 27, respectfully remarked, “That’s quite an amazing group of riders. It was one of those days when everything you do is right. It’s so good to be back racing here and I rode good horses all weekend.”Prat’s accomplishment came, to say the least, at a unique point in the storied history of the famed Arcadia oval. Since March 27, until this past Friday, May 15, the track had been closed due to the pandemic. During that time jockeys, obviously, weren’t riding any races and they were not permitted to work horses in the morning, either. Therefore, during the quarantine, like other pro athletes, jocks were required to maintain fitness on their own. Prat, apparently, embraced the challenge.“Even though we had the break, I thought I was fit and ready to come back. I’ve never worked out so hard at home. I’ve got a stationary bike and I lifted weights, not heavy, but enough to maintain flexibility.”Prat is one of a trio of French-born and trained jockeys that have enjoyed successful careers in the US. Julien Leparoux, 36, and Florent Geroux, 33, are the others. Conventional wisdom suggests that, since the majority of European races are on turf, French-trained jockeys would have advantages over US-based competitors when riding on the green. However, Prat and Geroux, recently, have displayed notable aggressive early tactics in dirt races—opposite of the patient, one-run style usually employed on turf.And, of course, just about everyone needs reminding that Flavien Prat has won a Kentucky Derby! He was aboard Country House, winner of the 2019 Derby following Maximum Security’s disqualification.Last week in this space we delivered a winning suggested Saturday Santa Anita Late Pick 4 ticket. It was a $67.40 play that returned $153.70. Granted, that score’s not going to headline the evening news but, as the saying suggests, ‘you can’t go broke taking a profit.’We’ll try again this weekend with one man’s opinion of Saturday’s Santa Anita Late Pick 4:Santa Anita – Saturday, May 236th Race#1 Midnight Garden –She broke maiden first out last time for $20k and moves directly to this $12k non-winners of two lifetime. That’s the right move and if she improves a bit off her debut, she’ll be right there. The rail’s no bargain going six furlongs and she’s a 5-year-old, but she figures to save ground and attempt to come from off the pace.#2 Sybil’s Kitty – Not a bad try last out when just behind common foe Real Good Deal. She’s got some speed and could be closer than last out. Jockey Abel Cedillo is second in number of wins at the meeting and trainer Richard Baltas returns from a short suspension.#3 Real Good Deal – Top jock Prat tries his hand here aboard a 4-year-old filly that was a neck short last out at this level. That was her first local start after making seven previous outs in Northern California.#4 Way too Sweet – She broke maiden first out in a Cal-bred $50k claimer in August at Del Mar; was off four months and returned in January with a stinker against much better than she’ll face today. She did show speed in that race. She’s a bit of a guess, but trainer Mike Puype is strong in claiming races.7th Race#2 Rstars and Stripes – Two out of her three races are good: a first-out maiden win by nearly 10 lengths at $50k and a close third last out against foes just below this level. Between those races she tried turf at this level, bobbled at the start, raced close up and faded. A return to the main should help.#8 Galwalksintoabar – Big win first out for this 3-year-old filly at the state-bred 50K maiden level. She’s got some speed and is drawn one from the outside.Drayden Van Dyke returns in the irons for breeder/owner Nick Alexander and trainer Steve Miyadi.#9 Samurai Charm – Trainer Peter Miller hits at 24%, so players need to examine everything he starts. Jockey Prat wins at 25% and together they’re a sterling 23% with 43 starters. Those are some powerful stats. This filly’s no slouch either. First out, she faced $150k maidens and showed speed. Next, dropped to $50k, she romped wire-to-wire. Speed and the far outside box are dangerous. Some might even consider singling this filly. 8th Race#5 United –At the end of last season, he followed up a close lose at huge odds in the Breeders’ Cup Turf with another narrow defeat in the Hollywood Turf Cup at Del Mar. United began 2020 with a victory at Santa Anita in the Grade 2 San Marcos going the same distance as today’s race. He was a close second in this race last year and since has been first, second or third in every race. He should stalk the early pace under leading rider Flavien Prat for trainer Richard Mandella.#6 Originaire – This 4-year-old colt has steadily improved over time and fired his best shot last out when he romped in a Santa Anita allowance/claimer at a mile and one-eighth. This is a step up from that performance, but he was Grade 2 placed behind a red-hot Mo Forza, so it’s not like he can’t make the climb. His greatest challenge could be the fact that he comes from well off the pace and there is little speed in here.#7 Rockemporer – When Chad Brown and Irad Ortiz combine, horseplayers must pay attention. Unfortunately, this 4-year-old will have a similar issue as #6 Originaire—there’s no speed in this race to set up his closing kick. That late charge was sufficient to earn him Grade 1 placing when third in the Belmont Derby behind Henley’s Joy and Social Paranoia. Last out he was third, beaten nearly four, when rallying wide at Fair Grounds in the Grade 2 Mervin Muniz.9th Race#2 Vodka Twist – This gelding takes a huge class drop from maiden allowance to the bottom at $20k and is being switched from turf to dirt. Blinkers go on. While runners dropping from straight maiden to the bottom must be examined, this one will need to do much, much better.#8 Posty –This 4-year-old gelding didn’t run too badly when dropped to this level from Cal-bred $50k last out. He’s stretching out from sprints to this mile and one-sixteenth route. He’s got some speed in a race that doesn’t have much. Perhaps he can make the lead and keep going? It’s his best chance.#9 Dr. Hoffman – Trainer Mark Glatt has been on fire and jockey Flavien Frat has been even hotter. Can’t ignore any runner starting for these guys. This 3-year-old drops from maiden $75k to $20k, moves from turf to dirt, adds Prat and has two bullet works for this. Should be noted that he had trouble in his last race when squeezed and steadied at the start.#11 Beaumont Beaux – 4-year-old first time starter has some decent works for this. It’s difficult winning with a first timer going two turns, especially at this lower level and trainer Keith Desormeaux isn’t known for cranking them up first out. The plus factor is that Beaumont Beaux hasn’t shown he can’t run. At least not yet.#12 Salah –Tough outside assignment for an 0-12 maiden. Only reason gelding gets a second look is that he’s got some strong Beyer Speed Figures for this field. So, he runs fast but a few always run faster. He drops to his lowest class level ever and that should help. In fact, all he needs to do is to run as fast as he has many times before and he will be right there against these foes.Suggested $.50 Pick 4 Ticket ($54):2, 3, 42, 8, 95, 6, 78, 9, 11, 12Take care of each other. Race On!Bonus CoverageJohnny D’s Matt Winn Analysis & SelectionsSaturday, May 23 – Churchill Downs 10th Race—Grade 3 Matt Winn1. Mystic Guide Stidham/Hernandez 15-1Ran a big one to break maiden last out by five at Fair Grounds. Would need another forward step in here to contend. Not impossible, but not likely to win.2. Pneumatic Asmussen/Santana 4-1Has done nothing wrong in two starts at Oaklawn—both wins. He’s got enough early speed to be close to whatever pace develops and he has a bullet, best of 133 others at the distance. Nice post position should find him saving ground and stalking the leaders around the first turn. He’s got a big look in here.3. Informative St. Lewis/Bisono 20-1Has one win in nine starts and that came in a maiden race over a ‘good’ track at Aquedect. Needs to do better. Positive is that he’s consistent, but a bit too slow.4. Celtic Striker Handal/Franco 20-1Has a touch of speed but hasn’t run fast enough to contend at this level. Pass.5. Flap Jack Sisterson/Bejarano 20-1He’s got one race that might be good enough to contend in here. That came when he raced wide in the Grade 3 Gotham. His only win came over a synthetic track at Arlington in the Arlington Washington Futurity in September. Pass.6. Ny Traffic Joseph/Lopez 10-1He’s got speed and that should help his cause. He was third in the Risen Star and second, last out, in the Louisiana Derby. Those races were at a mile and one-eighth and a mile and three-sixteenths, respectively. This shorter mile and one-sixteenth trip should be in his favor. He’s run the fastest races of anyone in here and has had plenty of time to recover since his Fair Grounds effort. Count him as a serious win candidate.7. Necker Island Hough/Gafflione 15-1After winning a pair of races at two he didn’t step forward at three when tried in the Grade 3 Swale and Gotham and the ungraded Unbridled. He’ll have to do more this season to act with this group. Pass.8. Crypto Cash McPeek/Lanerie 20-1He’s got no speed in a race that lacks early pace and that’s always a negative. He is determined, closing ground in the lane in the majority of his races. He moved forward last out in the Grade 1 Arkansas Derby, but he’ll need to take another step to win this. Because of his determined closing charge, he’s worth including in exotics.9. Shake Some Action Cox/Castellano 12-1He has no early speed and figures to be wide. He has two Fair Grounds wins—one on turf—and has not taken a back step, according to Beyer Speed Figures & Thoro-Graph. Those are positives that give this guy some chance to make noise in here. Best considered in exotics.10. Maxfield Walsh/J. Ortiz 5/2He’s the morning-line favorite and a nationally well-regarded 3-year-old. He probably will take plenty of money in here. There’s no doubt that his Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity win at Keeneland in October was outstanding—visually and according to speed figures. However, Maxfield was injured, forced to miss the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and hasn’t raced since. Will he improve as a 3-year-old? Who knows? And that’s one reason it’s worth taking a shot against him in this race. He’s got to return from a layoff in top form and either duplicate or improve on his 3-year-old best to win in here. Plus, he’s got to do that from an unattractive post position with no early pace to set up his closing charge. Those are steep hills to climb. Can he win? Certainly. Are there concrete reasons to take a stand against at short odds? Definitely.11. Attachment Rate Romans/Velazquez 4-1Here’s another starter with limited early speed. However, he doesn’t drop as far back as some others in here. Expect to find him mid-pack and that will aid his quest. He’s got two races that fit well in here on figures, so he deserves attention. He’s also got some fight and hasn’t been worse than third since his first start in June of last year. Contender and exotic must use.12. Major Fed Foley/Rosario 5-1No early speed and the far outside 12-hole spell difficulties for this son of Ghostzapper but he might be good enough to overcome them. He’s moved forward nicely, according to BSF and TG figures--great signs for a developing 3-year-old colt. It’s reasonable to expect another forward-moving performance from this guy. He finished a neck in front of Ny Traffic in the Risen Star, and about three lengths behind that foe in the Risen Star when Major Fed broke slow and had to rally from 14th and last early. Despite the negatives, he’s a win contender and a certain exotics inclusion.Bottom Line:Expect #6 Ny Traffic to use his speed to establish a favorable forward position, either leading or stalking the pace. He’s good enough to take the field the whole way. Expect #2 Pneumatic to be close to the early pace and if he improves a bit, he should have a say in the finish. #12 Major Fed needs to work out a trip under Rosario and he cannot be ignored. Favorite #10 Maxfield has enough question marks to wager against at a short price.$.50 Trifecta ($30)#2, #6, #12#2, #6, #10, #11, #12#2, #6, #8, #9, #10, #11, #12Race On!

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5.22.2020:

Friday, May 22: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Day Makers:Churchill Downs – 9th race. Post 5:12 ET.1 – Summering (9/2)Returned to winning form with a confidence-building score at Tampa Bay Downs in early April and has trained superbly since, so we’re expecting this daughter of War Front to produce a significant forward move while tackling a tougher group of older fillies and mares. She’s guaranteed an ideal ground-saving trip from her favorable rail post, so at 9/2 on the morning line this stakes-winning filly is a strong win play and rolling exotic single.Golden Gate Fields – 9th race. Post 4:45 PT3 – Hey Wilmaaa (9/2)Has been burning up the track in the a.m. for a couple of months and with racing having resumed finally gets a chance to display her abilities in the afternoon, when it matters. From a high percentage barn and bred for speed on both sides of her pedigree plus enough turf breeding to handle the surface, the daughter of Cyclotron won’t have to be a world beater to win at first asking against this moderate group of older maiden special weight fillies and mares. At 9/2 on the morning line we’ll put her on top as a strong play both in the win pool and in the rolling exotics.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Teton Valley; 4-IngestForecast: Teton Valley has done some good work in the a.m. leading up to his debut and is plenty fit for a top effort first crack out of the box. It’s hard to gauge how quick out of the gate he will be – he was a bit slow to find his best stride in the one gate drill we were able to view earlier this month – but once in motion the son of Tapizar looked like a nice sort. The R. Hanson barn has been red hot this year and appears to have another live runner. Ingest has trained like a professional for D. O’Neill and as a son of “win early” stallion Square Eddie should make his presence felt right from the bell. In the two gate works we viewed on video the Reddam homebred broke well and proved best in team drills without being asked for his best. The barn’s main guy M. Gutierrez takes the call. These are the two we’ll be focusing on in our rolling exotics, but big ticket players may also want to toss in the two L. Mendez-trained entrants, Positivity and Tripp a Matic, both of whom were prepared at the same Utah training center as Love Wins, the debut winner of the first baby race here over the weekend.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 4-Your Royal Coil; 7-Hot On the Trail; 8-Miss BennetForecast: Restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs with at least three legitimate possibilities. Your Royal Coil has rising speed figures with every outing and seems fairly solid after finishing a close second in a similar affair here in March. Blinkers go on for the first time, so we’re expecting the P. Aguirre-trained filly to be on on or near the lead throughout in a race that projects to have moderate at best early splits. Hot On the Trail, from the scorching M. Glatt barn, drops to her lowest level ever, removes blinkers, and returns to dirt while retaining A. Cedillo. The concern is that this abbreviated sprint distance might be a tad sharp for a filly who lacks tactical sprint speed, which means she’ll need some help up front to have her best chance. Miss Bennet away since last summer, returns in a logical spot and is guaranteed a comfortable stalking trip from her outside draw. The M. Chew barn is perfectly capable of winning with come-backers, and this daughter of Jimmy Creed has numbers that fit in addition to a prior win over the Santa Anita main track.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: Cheap Cheap Cheap; 2-Smiling Annie; 6-Rosey SkyForecast: Cheap Cheap Cheap, in her second start off a layoff, draws the favorable inside post (especially so with the rails out 30 feet) and should be fitter and sharper after finishing third over this course and distance vs. similar in March with a career top speed figure. She’s trained well since, so we’re expecting another forward move from the M. Glatt-trained daughter of Square Eddie. Smiling Annie, fourth in the same race ‘Cheap just finished third in, has a prior win over the local lawn, should enjoy a second-flight, ground-saving trip, and is another live runner from the red-hot M. Glatt stable. Rosey Sky graduated over this course and distance two runs back while earning a speed figure that puts her in the hunt. Overmatched when trying the colts in her last start, she returns to face the girls today and may be quick enough from her outside draw to cross over and establish the running. Her maiden win was accomplished with a stalk-and-pounce trip so regular rider T. Pereira also has that option as well should the race flow dictate it.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Manresa; 8-Diva in ChargeForecast: Manresa is progressing nicely with experience and appears well-spotted to earn her diploma from a favorable inside draw in this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 miler for fillies and mares. Beaten a neck with an improved, career-top speed figure over this track and distance last time out, the R. Bell-trained daughter of Coil has trained solidly for her first start since March, so we’re expecting a similar, if not better, effort today. B. Blanc stays aboard and knows her well. Diva in Charge has been facing much tougher foes but even with this class drop she’ll have to leap forward considerably according to her speed figures to worry our top pick. A distant third in a $40,000 maiden seller in late January, the P. Eurton-trained filly makes a monumental jockey change to F. Prat, and on that basis alone can be expected to leave her previous form behind. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with Manresa clearly preferred on top.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Odysseus; 5-Proud PedroForecast: Odysseus is unbeaten in two starts, winning a maiden turf sprint and then stretching out and capturing a first-level allowance affair over this course and distance with a vastly improved speed figure, one that makes him a major threat once again. Though we wouldn’t consider the son of Candy Ride a speed type, it’s not entirely out of the question that he falls into the lead from his favorable rail draw in a race that projects to have very slow early fractions. Because regular rider J. Velez is no longer a bug, the R. Mandella-trained colt must pick up seven pounds, not a deal breaker, but not ideal, either. Proud Pedro can really turn it on late but has no tactical speed and seems likely to take the worst of it from a race-flow standpoint. Nonetheless, he’s strong on numbers, retains F. Prat, and continues to look sharp in the a.m. so we’re expecting the French-bred colt to fire a big shot. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Odysseus.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 9-Short of Ez; 10-Papa TurfForecast: The two main contenders in this $12,500 sprint for older horses both raced at Los Alamitos in a mixed-breed race last time out. Papa Turf has won three of his last five starts but all eight of his victories when facing strictly thoroughbreds have been accomplished over the Santa Anita main track. Comfortably drawn outside, the J. Mullins-trained gelding should be primed for another major effort and given his projected trip may be the most reliable. Short of Ez easily handled Papa Turf two runs back over the local main track and then was third with trouble at Los Al in an allowance race last month. The K. Mulhall-trained gelding is reunited with “win rider” F. Prat and should be within range throughout and have his chance to beat ‘Turf again. Both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-King Parker; 8-Music to My Ears; 10-Mayan WarriorForecast: The main contention is this restricted (nw-2) sprint for $12,500 older horses should boil down to just three, with Mayan Warrior, favorably drawn outside, getting the edge on top. Definitely fit for having competed twice in the last month at Los Alamitos in mixed-breed competition, the S. Knapp-trained gelding finished third in both of those starts with some amount of trouble, but from where he’s drawn should have clear sailing and every chance with a stalking trip to win his first race since November of 2018. King Parker graduated from a modest maiden $20,000 group over this track and distance in March and is reasonably spotted in his first try vs. winners. He’s shown he can win from mid-pack and that’s probably where he projects to be during the early going. He’ll need a forward move based on speed figures but may have it in him. Music to My Ears plummets from the starter allowance $50,000 level after a couple of non-threatening efforts at Golden Gate Fields but in this league the son of Goldencents may improve enough to be a factor. He has enough early speed to be within range of the leaders, which is where the B. Koriner-trained gelding needs to be because with his grinding style he’ll never be capable of making up a lot of ground from the quarter pole home.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Take the One O One; 7-Tizamagician; 8-Nolo ContestoForecast: Tizamagician tackles older foes for the first time but if he continues to improve this promising 3-year-old should be up to the task. After beating maidens over this track and distance two runs back, the R. Mandella-trained colt was a close fourth in the Robert B. Lewis S.-G3, and while it wasn’t the strongest graded stakes for 3-year-olds during the winter the effort still produced a significant forward move. The pace projects to be modest-to-average, so we’re expecting this son of Tiznow to be close up throughout. On pure numbers he is fast enough to win and recent workouts are promising. Take the One O One shows two dull comeback races after missing 2019 entirely, so it’s possible that the son of Acclamation isn’t what he once was. Still, recent workouts have been sharp, so with this return to the main track in a race that doesn’t project to have quick fractions the B. Koriner-trained stakes winner should be given one more chance to gain his top form. Nolo Contesto once beat Omaha Beach as a 3-year-old on this track at this trip but never followed through on that promise. Away since last fall and training well for his comeback, the J. Sadler-trained colt returns to dirt and switches to I. Rispoli, so if he’s ever going to return to his old self it’ll probably be in his first race back.RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Goodtingscominpink; 6-On Mars; 7-Rose’s CrystalForecast: The nightcap is a maiden grass miler for state-bred fillies and mares. On Mars found her best stride too late when closing to be a distant second behind the stakes-quality Bella Vita and today stretches out for the first time while owning the pedigree to handle the distance. Her recent work tab is healthy and she’ll get the patient ride she needs with M. Smith staying aboard. Rose’s Crystal, a closing fourth over nine furlongs vs. similar in March, shortens up a furlong, removes blinkers, and switches to D. Van Dyke. She’s not particularly fast on numbers but at least they’re heading in the right direction. She should be heard from in the final furlong. Goodtingscominpink, away since last July, had a couple of races last year that could win this moderate affair and the work tab seems okay, so we’ll include her on a ticket or two as well.

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5.22.2020:

My All Stakes Pick 5 Ticket Saturday at Churchill Downs

The $500,000 All Stakes Pick 5 is part of a tremendous card at Churchill Downs, and while it’s not Breeders’ Cup Day or Kentucky Derby Day, this program possesses quality far better than your average Saturday.The 50-cent Pick 5 begins in the seventh and wraps up with the 11th. Top distaffers, turf horses and middle sprinters and Triple Crown race hopefuls. It’s a knockout of a card, and the suggested Pick 5 play here totals a higher-than-our-average $90 play with a 2x2x3x5x3 strategy.Here’s a look at what’s cooking the sequence:Race 7 (Shawnee S., 4:08 p.m. ET)#4 DUNBAR ROAD (4/5) and #8 SHE'S A JULIE (2/1) are the most accomplished distaffers in this field, and those two should be enough for this slot. Dunbar Road was fifth in the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and had won three straight in New York last summer. She’s a Julie hasn’t raced since finishing fourth in the Spinster in October and has had her share of success at Churchill, winning half of her six starts.Race 8 (Tepin S., 4:40 p.m. ET)#9 SHARING (3/1) and #14 ALMS (3/1) aren’t having a match race in the Tepin. Or ARE they? Sharing won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf last year and is 3 of 4. Graham Motion sends her out for the first time this season and she’s trained well for her first since that Cup triumph. Alms brings her 4 of 4 record into this one, and while she hasn’t won races the caliber of a Breeders’ Cup, she’s never been seriously threatened in the final sixteenth of any race and could be up to the task here.Race 9 (Blame S., 5:12 p.m. ET)Strong older middle-distance campaigners gather for the Blame, and this one is a bit more challenging on your Pick 5 ticket. #8 OWENDALE (3/1) makes his return off a seven-month vacation and last appeared over this strip, when he was second to Tom’s d’Etat in the Clark. He was third in the Preakness and won the Lexington, Ohio Derby and Oklahoma Derby in an impressive sophomore campaign. Owendale is a deep closer and will have to tune it up early to be in contention in this mile race. #3 GLOBAL CAMPAIGN (9/2) and #7 SILVER DUST (8/1) will offer plenty and are worthy of inclusion. Global Campaign has won four of six, took the Peter Pan and was third in the Jim Dandy last year. He came back with a sharp seven-furlong win at Gulfstream. Silver Dust won the Louisiana and Mineshaft Stakes, then tired to fifth in the New Orleans Classic. He’s a front-end threat and definitely has the credentials.Race 10 (G3 Matt Winn S, 5:44 p.m. ET)#10 MAXFIELD (5/2) makes his first start of the year and brings perfection after two starts. He broke his maiden from far off the pace at Churchill and then was dominant in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland. He hasn’t start since October, but plenty of folks will have their money down on him. The Winn is far from a gimme. #2 PNEUMATIC (4/1) also is perfect in two starts, his coming at Oaklawn. He narrowly broke his maiden and then was more dominant against winners. #6 NY TRAFFIC (10/1) was second in the Louisiana Derby after he was third in the Risen Star. He drops back from 1 3-16th miles to 1 1-16th mile. #11 ATTACHMENT RATE (4/1) was third in the Gotham and followed with a second in the Unbridled. After a dismal debut, he’s been improving much of the way. #14 MAJOR FED (5/1) is 1 of 4 but was second in the Risen Star and then was a closing fourth in the Louisiana Derby. He has the form be a formidable player here.Race 11 (War Chant S., 6:10 p.m. ET)The Pick 5 ends with a mile turf race for 3-year-olds and it comes down to three on this ticket – Field Pass, Hieronymus and Billy Batts. Field Pass is working on a third straight victory. He won the Dania Beach on Gulfstream turf and then took the Jeff Ruby Stakes on the Turfway all-weather strip. Hieronymus is 4 of 5 and his only blemish came at Churchill last fall. He won three straight on the Fair Grounds turf, which is not easy to do. Billy Batts was unplaced in the Saudi Derby Cup in Saudi Arabia in February, but his form other than that has been sharp lately. He was a closing second in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf and won the Baffle Stakes at Santa Anita.Here’s the suggested All-Stakes Pick 5 at Churchill Saturday:Race 7: #4 Dunbar Road, #8 She’s a Julie.Race 8: #9 Sharing, #14 Alms.Race 9: #3 Global Campaign, #7 Silver Dust, #8 Owendale.Race 10: #2 Pneumatic, #6 Ny Traffic, #10 Maxfield, #11 Attachment Rate, #12 Major Fed.Race 11: #5 Field Pass, #6 Hieronymus, #13 Billy Batts.Late Pick 5 Ticket: 8-9 with 9-14 with 3-7-8 with 2-6-10-11-12 with 5-6-13 ($90).

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5.22.2020:

Friday, May 22: Scioto Downs Pick 5 Analysis

It is good to back and safe to say we can all use a bit of entertainment and a diversion during this difficult time. Good wishes go out to anyone who has been affected by Covid-19. Not to be overlooked are all the hardworking horsemen. They have been working to ensure the good health and fitness for horses in their barn without a chance to race for purse money.My focus will be on the $10,000 guaranteed Pick 5 with a 14% takeout which begins in Race 5. Because horses are coming off extended layoffs and until there is some form taking shape, proceeding with caution is the best choice.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 52-Westsluckycam (9/2)-Blankenship barn has a 21% win rate over the past 365 days and this mare has enough gate speed to get a good seat. Miller's choice over #7 will need a strong try but likes to compete.5-Letme Fly Low (4-1)-Raced the last half in 56.1 in her qualifier and went past a few down the lane. Should fit with this crew and can make some noise.6-Tiffany Rocks As (6-1)- Burke trainee just went around without a move from the 8-hole in qualifier. Has raced well here in the past winning 5 of 20 starts. May blast out and look to make every call a winning one.Race 63-Rosemary Rose (2-1)-Went the back half in 55.3 and rallied for a win off cover. Page picks this mare over #5 and Rosemary likes the track. Has hit the board in 15 of 25 races at ScD with 7-pictures and looks like a major threat.6-Golden Paradise (5/2)-6-year-old is no slouch drawing off by six to win her qualifier and has won 3 of 8 at Scioto. Raced the 2nd half in 56.2 all on her own and regular pilot Tetrick takes a seat. He may look to get the jump on #3.Race 73-Satisfashion (8-1)-Just fell short in qualifier but fractions were quick. Looking for a square price and could get sucked around and surprise at nice odds.4-Princess Rougarou (5-1)-Faded down the lane in tune-up but did stop the clock in 153.3 and should fit well versus this bunch. Hensley barn wins their share, best to respect chances.8-Libby's Idea (4-1)-Burke pupil toyed with the field in her qualifier winning by almost 10-lengths. Should be bet hard but did not face anyone from this field last week.Race 84-Workinitonbroadway (2-1)-Another from the Burke barn that smoked everyone in last week's qualifier. Will likely be a single on many tickets and could go off as an odds-on chalk.8-Milford's Z Tam (20-1)-Swan For All seven-year old should offer a big price and has hit the board in 19 of 44 starts here. Could rally off cover and pick-up seventh win at ScD if pace is hot. But if not, could spice up the gimmicks.Race 95-Signal Hill (8/5)-Not in love with the short price and this barn does not post many winners but still figures to be a major player. Has the gate speed to get on the engine and Merriman could steal a quarter.9-Just A Passenger (7-1)-Burke trainee was a winner in 4 of 9 this year which is a vast improvement over 2019. Page will probably need to leave but has the speed to get a close-up trip and look to roll by down the lane.My TicketRace 1: 2,5,6 Race 2: 3,6 Race 3: 3,4,8 Race 4: 4,8 Race 5: 5,9 Total Ticket Cost) = $36 for $0.50   Check me out on Twitter @AlCimaglia

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5.21.2020:

Thursday, May 21: Golden Gate Fields 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 PT. Grade: XSingle: 6-On The KeyForecast: On The Key is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite in the Thursday opener, a restricted $5,000 claimer over a mile, but we suspect the 10-year-old warrior will go off at lower odds than that. A lifetime winner of 18 races, most recently with an 81 Beyer speed figure that is just two points below his career top figure on a resume that spans 72 races, the M. Badilla-trained old-timer shows two solid recent works to have him on edge for his first outing since early March, and in a race that projects to be run at crawl in the opening quarter and half, he should be comfortably placed outside, ready to pounce when asked by top rider J. J. Hernandez. In a field of just six, you don’t really have the luxury of spreading in rolling exotic play so let’s take a stand and use the son of Ready’s Image as a single while otherwise passing the race due to his closing price that we suspect will be around even money.RACE 2: Post 1:16 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Sweet Sarah Bear; 7-Sassy VerdeForecast: Sassy Verde makes her fourth consecutive class drop – not usually a healthy sign – but in this case trainer P. Aguirre isn’t trying to unload her as much as he’s simply trying to find her winning level, and against this bottom-rung field the daughter of U. S. Ranger looks well-spotted to break on through. Numbers-wise she’s a strong fit and from her outside draw she should be able to fold over and settle into a comfortably second-flight position and then have dead aim on the suspect pace-types. Sweet Sarah Bear, plummeting from the $20,000 level in her third career start, appears to have found her friends and is the one to fear most. Clearly exiting a much stronger race and with speed figures that put here right there, the S. Sherman-trained filly projects to be the most dangerous of the closing types. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with a slight edge on top to Sassy VerdeRACE 3: Post 1:48 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Sierra Sunrise; 4-No Spin ZoneForecast: Sierra Sunrise is listed at 8/5 on the morning line and on pure form looks it, though it’s difficult to project a good trip from the rail for a favorite that lacks any sort of tactical speed. She’s clearly fast enough on speed figures to win and has in fact won two of her last five, so if the J. Bonde-trained filly can negotiate a decent trip she should be along in time. No Spin Zone is extremely dangerous. She’s a first-off-the-claim play from a barn that hits at a remarkable 31% with a significant flat-bet profit with this angle, and though she’s never been what you’d call a win machine (3-for-34 lifetime) this massive upgrade in trainer could make a world of difference. In a race that projects to have very soft early fractions, the daughter of The Factor could find herself on or near the lead throughout.RACE 4: Post 2:19 ET. Grade: C+Use: 3-Canada; 5-Malibu AlexForecast: Malibu Alexgot a confidence-building win when dropped to the $6,250 level in his last start (his first start under top rider J. J. Hernandez), so the 7-year-old gelding, once a much classier horse than this, may be able to take a modest one-level class hike in stride and win right back. The son of Afleet Alex projects to enjoy a good trip just behind the leaders and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on. Canada has the route-to-sprint angle that we always like so we know he’s fit, and his form suggests he can be effective at any distance. We’re expecting the Giant’s Causeway gelding to be the most dangerous of the closers. In a race in which each of the six entrants have a legitimate claim to be a contender, rolling exotic players may be wise to spread or even buy the race and then press with extra tickets keying the two we have listed above.RACE 5: Post 2:52 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Darkhawk; 8-Ice Or Fire; 10-Silver Fury; 11-MuskogaForecast: Usually these maiden $8,000 claiming sprints don’t have a lot of substance to them but this 11-runner field offers all kinds of angles to work with. It’s a spread race in rolling exotic play, that’s for sure. Muskoka, a first-time gelding for the Desormeaux brothers, nosedives all the way down from the $62,500 level and has turf/route speed figures from down south that are infinitely better than what will be needed to win this race. But son of Twirling Candy has no established form over an all-weather surface or sprinting, so who knows what we’re going to get? A healthy recent work pattern at Santa Anita is encouraging for a 4-year-old that originally was purchased for $120,000 in the OBS March sale a couple of years ago but clearly is being culled from the stable. Darkhawk is another class dropper trying to find his proper level. The lightly-raced son of Smiling Tiger, third in a maiden $20,000 affair at Los Alamitos two runs back, adds blinkers for the first time and has numbers that certainly make him a threat against this group. If he leaves well from the rail, the B. Pitnick-trained gelding should find himself in a good ground-saving position with every chance from the quarter pole home. Silver Fury is a 14-race maiden and may not be one to trust but is yet another dropping to his lowest level ever after finishing a good second while finding his best stride late last time out. The son of Old Fashioned, based at Santa Anita and showing a healthy, steady work tab for his first outing since mid-February, has several speed figures earned in Southern California that are more than good enough to win at this level. Ice or Fire has the kind of early speed to put him the fray throughout and although his speed figures have stagnated of late he really won’t need to improve much to be right in thick of things throughout. He’s another class dropper from the $12,500 level in a race that is appears much stronger than par on paper.RACE 6: Post 3:22 ET. Grade: B-Use: 2-Everybody Does It; 5-SplashingForecast: Splashing looks pretty solid in this $12,500 turf miler for fillies and mares, though at 7/5 on the morning line she’s not going to offering any real wagering value. Arguably more comfortable on synthetic but certainly capable on this surface as well, the daughter of Tapizar has been in the frame in eight of her last nine outings, including three wins, for the powerful Tamayo/Hernandez team, and given a projected race flow that calls for a legitimate early pace she should be able to produce the last run with her best effort. If there’s a concern, it’s a relatively light work tab for a mare coming off a three-month vacation but the barn’s stats with layoff runners is an off-the-charts 33% so we’ll trust the trainer. Everybody Does It is a versatile sort that can be dangerous on the lead or from off the pace, so C. Martinez can assess the pace flow and adjust his strategy before the field hits the clubhouse turn. A four-time winner over the local lawn, the veteran mare has trained steadily right along and has a history of firing huge off brief layoffs. She’s 8-1 on the morning line and at that price is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.RACE 7: Post 3:52 ET. Grade: C+Use: 2-Elevate; 6-Dynamite Ride; 9-My Friend GeorgeForecast: The finale is a highly-contentious $32,000 restricted claiming miler. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough but if you find the need to include a few more, go right ahead. Old pro My Friend George must leave from the outside 9-post position and it’s difficult to project a good trip from that draw but there’s no doubt the 8-year-old gelding is good enough to win if he’s feeling up to his and his recent form is actually quite solid. The son of Gotham City can be successful on the lead, from a stalking position, or even as a deep closer, so the winner of 12 career starts (eight over the Golden Gate Fields all-weather surface) deserves top billing, though at 2-1 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found. Dynamite Ride may have been a tad rusty in his first start in more than a year when weakening late to wind up fourth in a similar event in late March. Two solid five furlong workouts since that outing should help tighten him up a bit, and if not policed on the front end the son of Candy Ride might get loose and keep on going. Elevate should draft into a very comfortable second-flight, ground-saving position and have dead aim when it counts. Unplaced in a pair of outings since being a voided claim for $5,000 in December, the S. Sherman-trained son of Artie Schiller shows a solid series of recent drills so we’re expecting him to produce a forward move at 5-1 on the morning line.

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5.21.2020:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: Friday, May 22 Gulfstream Park Late Pick 4 Ticket

We’re back to battle at Gulfstream Park for their late Pk4 after a few weeks on hiatus to attack a few mandatory Pk6 bets that generated ridiculously high pools. The Pk4 won’t be quite as juicy, but should still get a very healthy pool size, so let’s try to work our way towards summer with a bankroll builder. *** 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 7 (3:49 ET): 3f 20k at 7 furlongs A significant class drop, getting back to the dirt, a cutback to one-turn, and an outside attack post in a race loaded with speed make #6 LIFE ON THE EDGE (4-1) my top pick, since she has a lot of positives in a race where you’re allowed to look for a price (not that you’ll see this ML). It’s a total guess as to what you get from #4 PICK UP THE FONE (2-1), who is one of, if not the, first former Navarro charges to run, and obviously new trainer Pletcher is as good as they come, but we know the circumstances, so while her last with blinkers-on was likely best here, getting back to that effort off just hay and water is a big question mark. I want to play against #2 DON’T GET KHOZY (5-2), who freaked with a fast-figure win (for these) last time and has the look of a bounce candidate, but the prospect of a hot and contested pace says she might get set up again, and even if she bounces she could still win, so I think you have to use her. Pk4 A horses: 6,4,2 (listed in order of preference) Drawing outside most of the other speed and dropping in class should help #7 KIMURA (12-1), though she was so bad last time you’re allowed to wonder if she’s completely off-form, but the fast win two-back would make her a big threat with these, so I’ll give her a look. Working out a trip from the rail is a worry, and it’s not like #1 WORDS OF DEVINE (3-1) is better on paper than any of these, so she’s a backup at best, even with Irad getting aboard. Pk4 B horses: 7,1 Potential B add ins: NONE Race 8: 3upfm 16k N2L at 5 furlongs (turf) I’m looking for an upset here with #2 MY MASTERPIECE (10-1), who cuts back to one-turn, has plenty of foundation and tactical speed off all her route tries to sit a good trip off an abundance of pace, shows good turf form, and now starts for Creque, who knows how to move their form up. I’m not arguing that #5 SUGAR BOLT (2-1) is the one to beat off the stiff class drop, and her best might lap this group, but she didn’t make the front and quit last time, and is now dangled for 16k, so there is some cause for concern here. I’ll include #1 QUEEN FIELD (6-1) for many of the same reasons I have ‘Masterpiece as my top pick, as she’s another with route form and tactical speed, though her turf figures aren’t quite as salty, so she’s a bit down the list. Pk4 A horses: 2,5,1 (listed in order of preference) Being outside the other speed is a coup for #7 PALACE TWO STEP (3-1), but she’s a big underlay at this ML, and dueling, pressing, or chasing early, kicking clear, and then holding on late doesn’t seem like a recipe for success, so I’ll limit her use to a backup role. Pk4 B horses: 7 Potential B add ins: NONE Race 9: 3up Florida-bred AOC (16k/N1X) at 1 1/16 miles I’ll be the first to admit I don’t have a strong feel for this group, but I do think that #2 NO GETTING OVER ME (9-2) could freak, as he not only runs against state breds for the first time, but he also makes his first start for Joseph, who is aces at moving them up (31% with newcomers), and this one showed some one-turn promise against open 3yo stakes runners at Tampa for Bennett, so he could blow up here for his new barn. Stretching back out and going second-off a long layoff should help #1 WILD MEDAGLIA’DORO (2-1) fire his best shot, especially since he got run off his feet a bit in his sprint return, but still ran on nicely to be 2nd in what was the perfect tightener. Pk4 A horses: 2,1 (listed in order of preference) The rest of these are a mixed bag, especially since three of them exit Untitled’s easy 4/23 win, and it’s #3 ROMAN EMPIRE (7-2) who is fancied for Pletcher and Irad, even though he was 4th behind both #5 Gray Beau (12-1), and #8 First and Three (8-1). I guess I’ll drink the Koll-Aid, especially since he tries two turns on the dirt for the first time, but he’s no A on my list, while the latter are a bit tougher to trust, with no upside either (15 and 55 starts, respectively). Pk4 B horses: 3 Potential B add ins: #8 First and Three Race 10: 3up 12.5k N2L at 1-mile (turf) The finale is all about #2 DILLON ROCKS (5-2), who finally broke his maiden two-back off the Cibelli claim and then was a solid 3rd against better, in a race where the 2nd-place finisher came back to win. I don’t really see any point in trying to beat him, as this is an extremely modest group, even for this reduced level, and either of his last two efforts win this with ease, not to mention he draws perfectly, and gets Irad too, so I’ll take what looks like a free square in the finale, while noting that 5-2 ML will lily be in the 6-5 range by post time. Pk4 A horses: 2  Should ‘Rocks stub his toe, there are a few who have upset appeal, with #7 MAGICAL MIKE (8-1) at the top of the list off an easy MCL win last time, and plenty of upside off just two starts; as an aside, it’s not necessarily a bad thing to be a newly minted maiden winner in these weak N2L’s. The wildcard is #10 STAR OF STARS (7-2), who ran off the screen on debut in a sloppy off-the-turf MCL and now tries the grass, and he clearly could be a player here, but this terrible draw won’t help, and he’ll be overbet facing winners and trying to a surface switch. I’m often a sucker for the re-claim, and that’s what you get with #4 BACANO (3-1), and Sano is 22% off the claim, and reaches for main man Saez, but it’s not like there’s a lot here to work with, as his grass form isn’t much, and therefore he probably falls short even with improvement, so tread very lightly here. Pk4 B horses: 7,10,4 Potential B add ins: #1 Youshouldbesolucky (5-1) My Suggested Tickets:  Main Ticket (play for $2): 6,4,2 with 2,5,1 with 2,1 with 2 = $9 (for each $0.50)Race 7 B Backup (play for $1): 7,1 with 2,5,1 with 2,1 with 2 = $6 (for each $0.50)Race 8 B Backup (play for $1): 6,4,2 with 7 with 2,1 with 2 = $3 (for each $0.50)Race 9 B Backup (play for $1): 6,4,2 with 2,5,1 with 3 with 2 = $4.50 (for each $0.50)Race 10 B Backup: 6,4,2 with 2,5,1 with 2,1 with 7,10,4 = $27 (for each $0.50)

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5.21.2020:

Saturday, May 23: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN SELECTIONSSaturday, May 23, 2020 Race 1: #1 Sunny Star, #6 Smiling Face, #8 Super Ten, #7 Like ThatRace 2: #6 So We Joy, #2 Leap of Faith, #3 Armor Star, #1 Lucky Puzzle Race 3: #10 Enjoy Life, #2 Monster Kaka, #13 City Legend, #8 BulletproofRace 4: #2 Thanks Forever, #1 Hot King Prawn, #6 Jolly Banner, #4 Big Party Race 5: #10 Good Luck Friend, #6 Biz Power, #1 Cruising, #4 Wind N Grass Race 6: #9 Gallant Legacy, #10 Regency Poet, #3 Kinda Cool, #1 Sky Darci Race 7: #5 Yee Cheong Pegasus, #7 Fast Pace, #10 Sparkling Star, #1 XponentialRace 8: #1 Exultant, #2 Furore, #7 Savvy Nine, #3 Time Warp Race 9: #1 World Famous, #8 Enzemble, #4 Charity Go, #2 Champion SupremeRace 10: #2 Regency Bo Bo, #3 Beauty Smile, #9 Flying Victory, #1 Beauty Spirit Race 11: #2 Glorious Spectrum, #3 Happy Fun, #14 Will Power, #12 Circuit Three Race 1: Pakistan Star Plate #1 Sunny Star scored on debut in impressive fashion and off that performance he rates as the one to beat here. He missed the kick and was badly squeezed at the start that day but to his credit let down nicely for a comfortable score. #6 Smiling Face comes out of the same race where he finished runner-up. He’s since done the same again and appears to be on an upward trajectory. #8 Super Ten finished a creditable fourth on debut. This is suitable and he gets in light with only 117lb on his back. #7 Like That won well last time out. He warrants respect with further improvement and the retention of Zac Purton’s services. Race 2: Liberator Handicap #6 So We Joy has shown steady improvement across his four-start career and he now appears ready to take that next step. This contest is suitable and with even luck he is the one to beat for the in-form Antoine Hamelin. #2 Leap Of Faith has twice finished runner-up this campaign. He has the ability and bears close watching in this contest. #3 Armor Star ran a blinder on debut to grab fourth. Zac Purton takes over now and this booking alone warrants respect. #1 Lucky Puzzle steps back into Class 4. He’ll relish racing in the weaker grade but the concern is the awkward draw. Race 3: Mighty High Handicap #10 Enjoy Life is looking to snap a streak of two runner-up efforts. He’s drawn to get the gun run for Joao Moreira and this race appears to be his for the taking. #2 Monster Kaka gets a handy ten pound claim thanks to apprentice jockey Jerry Chau. The wide gate is tricky but he should be competitive in this grade. #13 City Legend gets in light with only 118lb on his back. Karis Teetan takes the reins fresh off a winner on Wednesday and this horse does have the ability to take this out. #8 Bulletproof has drawn poorly once again. He’s lightly raced and has the ability to pick up some prize money here. Race 4: G3 Sha Tin Vase (Handicap) #2 Thanks Forever has been racing well this season and does have two G1 placings to his name, including last start’s Chairman Sprint Prize. He’s deserving of a win and with the good draw, he can take this out. #1 Hot King Prawn is in a similar boat with numerous G1 placings to his name also. He’s a model of consistency whose positive racing pattern will afford him every opportunity. #6 Jolly Banner gets in light and should be able to box on for some prize money. #4 Big Party will relish the sting out of the ground if it continues to rain. He can figure. Race 5: Werther Handicap #10 Good Luck Friend has hit the ground running in Hong Kong having won at only his second start two runs ago. He faces Class 3 for the first time now and with the soft gate he can put his best foot forward. #6 Biz Power is on the up. He closed strongly for a narrow fourth last time out and with further improvement, he can test these. #1 Cruising won’t be too far away. He gets a handy ten pound claim from Jerry Chau and this contest does appear suitable. #4 Wind N Grass rattled home for third last time out. He’s in-form and this is well within his grasp. Race 6: Mr Medici Handicap #9 Gallant Legacy turned his form around last start to score impressively. He remains in Class 4 following that performance and although this task appears more difficult, he does appear to now have finally figured out what it’s all about and with even luck could be able to go on with it again. #10 Regency Poet has been consistent across his short, yet competitive seven-start career. He’s racing well and looks well placed to go one better here for trainer Manfred Man who is having a brilliant season. #3 Kinda Cool has drawn poorly for his second start but off his debut second, he rates as a leading chance in this. Zac Purton hops up now and he has the ability, it’s just that life’s made hard exiting the stalls from that wide out. #1 Sky Darci is next best returning from a lengthy break for his first run of 2020. Race 7: Helene Super Star Handicap #5 Yee Cheong Pegasus doesn’t know how to run a bad race and his consistency deserves to be rewarded here. He’s finished inside the top two across five runs this term including a win, second-up from a break. He’s drawn to get the right run for Antoine Hamelin who is more than capable of getting the best out of him. #7 Fast Pace flashed home for fourth on debut. Zac Purton takes over now and the rail-draw should afford him every opportunity. #10 Sparkling Star has shown glimpses of ability. He can figure with the right run for Chad Schofield. #1 Xponential gets a key 10 pound claim from Jerry Chau, who also, breaks from gate four aboard the gelding. This is suitable and it wouldn’t surprise to see him take up the running. Race 8: G1 Standard Chartered Champions & Chater Cup #1 Exultant is Hong Kong’s champion stayer for a reason and if he can repeat his QEII Cup victory here, over 2400m, then he is easily the one to beat. The added distance should suit him as he can grind this field into submission and as well, with even weights, he rates as the one to beat. #2 Furore rattled home for second last start behind Exultant. He’s a classy animal and that run showed that he was not only ready but visually capable of seeing out the 2400m on offer here. #7 Savvy Nine closed for second over this course and distance to Chefano last start. He can handle the trip and with even luck he should be thereabouts. #3 Time warp is the likely leader of this. He’ll need a soft lead if he is to pinch this but even still, he can stick on gamely for prize money. Race 9: Blazing Speed Handicap #1 World Famous kept on well first-up from a two month break last start to finish fifth, beaten by only a length. That was a game run and if he’s come on from that, he’s capable of running this bunch into the ground, as long as he is fit. #8 Enzemble got off the mark two starts ago and since then finished third at his latest. He has the wide gate to contend with but gets 10 pounds off thanks to Jerry Chau’s claim which should assist him in the finish. #4 Charity Go is more than capable and his last two performances have been excellent. He’s consistent and it won’t surprise to see it rewarded here. #2 Champion Supreme pieced it all together last start and he was racing well enough prior to warrant respect. He’ll be thereabouts in the same grade. Race 10: California Memory Handicap #2 Regency Bo Bo did well to finish where he did last time out from gate 14 and this time breaks favourably from gate three. Zac Purton sticks aboard which is a plus and as a five-time winner from 42 starts, his experience and consistency holds him in very good stead for a contest like this. #3 Beauty Smile has done well in both of his Hong Kong starts. He narrowly missed on debut before closing strongly from and awkward gate for fourth at his latest. He’s right in this. #9 Flying Victory is looking for back-to-back wins. He remains in Class 3 off that win which suits and with only 121lb on his back he is very well-weighted. #1 Beauty Spirit is next best. Race 11: Viva Pataca Handicap #2 Glorious Spectrum has returned in excellent order since his lengthy layoff and he looks capable of grabbing a first, Hong Kong win here. Antoine Hamelin sticks aboard after driving him to a close-up second last start and from the good gate, the pair rate to get a good run throughout. #3 Happy Fun can roll forward and make all for Zac Purton. He’s drawn to do no work and if he can dictate terms from the get-go, then he’s a chance of pinching this contest. #14 switches to the turf for the first time after winning three races from five runs on the dirt. He gets in light and expected to handle the grass. #12 Circuit Three is next best if he can recapture his best which saw him win three in a row.

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5.21.2020:

Some Thoughts Regarding a Revamped Triple Crown

If a horse sweeps the Belmont Stakes, Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes this year, will the horse be a Triple Crown winner who deserves an asterisk? That question is being pondered now that we know the Triple Crown is going to be radically different this year. The three-race series has been forced to undergo a major revamping because of the coronavirus pandemic. Martin Panza is the senior vice president of racing operations for the New York Racing Association. On Steve Byk’s SiriusXM radio program At The Races, Panza said Wednesday that he “gets the tradition” of the Belmont Stakes and Triple Crown. “But this year, tradition is out the window,” Panza said. Tradition vis-a-vis the Belmont and Triple Crown is out the window this year, of course, as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic that has wreaked so much havoc. To begin with, the order of this year’s Triple Crown races has been changed. The Belmont will be run first, followed by the Kentucky Derby, then the Preakness. This will be the first year since 1931 that the order of the Triple Crown races will deviate from the Kentucky Derby being held first, followed by the Preakness, then the Belmont. If it is deemed that a 2020 Triple Crown winner deserves to get an asterisk because of the change in the order of the races, then it’s only fair that Gallant Fox also should get an asterisk. Gallant Fox in 1930 won the Preakness, followed by the Kentucky Derby, then the Belmont. Each of the other 12 horses to sweep the Triple Crown won the Kentucky Derby, followed by the Preakness, then the Belmont. The distance of the 2020 Belmont also has been shortened considerably from 1 1/2 miles to 1 1/8 miles. The Belmont has been run at 1 1/2 miles since 1926, but a 1 1/8-mile Belmont is not unprecedented. Its distance was 1 1/8 miles in 1893 and 1894. There also have been various Belmonts run at 1 1/4 miles, 1 3/8 miles and 1 5/8 miles. If it is deemed that a 2020 Triple Crown winner should get an asterisk because of the change in the distance of the Belmont to 1 1/8 miles, then Sir Barton also requires an asterisk. Sir Barton in 1919 won the Kentucky Derby at 1 1/4 miles, the Preakness at 1 1/8 miles instead of 1 3 1/16 miles, then the Belmont at 1 1/2 miles. There also is a drastic change in the spacing between this year’s Triple Crown races. The Grade I Kentucky Derby is slated to be run this year on Sept. 5 instead of its customary date on the first Saturday in May. This year’s Grade I Preakness, originally scheduled for May 16, now will be held on Oct. 3. This year’s Grade I Belmont, originally scheduled for June 6, now will be held on June 20. If it is deemed that a 2020 Triple Crown winner deserves to get an asterisk because of the change in the spacing between the races this year, then it’s only fair that all eight of the Triple Crown winners before Secretariat also get an asterisk. That’s because only Secretariat in 1973 and the subsequent four Triple Crown winners participated in a series in which the format afforded two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and Preakness, then three weeks between the Preakness and Belmont. Is the 2020 format very different than it was for the Triple Crown winners from Secretariat in 1973 to Justify in 2018? Yes, absolutely. No doubt there will be those who feel there should be an asterisk if a horse sweeps the three races this year. Such a sentiment by self-proclaimed traditionalists is understandable under the circumstances. Trainer Graham Motion won the 2011 Kentucky Derby with Animal Kingdom. After news that the Belmont would be run at 1 1/8 miles on June 20, note the asterisk when Graham tweeted: Triple Crown* Sackatoga Stable owns Tiz the Law, whose trainer is Barclay Tagg. Sackatoga and Tagg won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness with Funny Cide in 2003. Funny Cide was thwarted in his bid for a Triple Crown sweep when he finished third behind Empire Maker and Ten Most Wanted in the Belmont. “Obviously, it’s one of those things that would get an asterisk. I get that,” Sackatoga’s Jack Knowlton said when discussing this year’s revamped Triple Crown in a story written by Ryan Dickey for horseracingnation.com. “There may be people who would feel that it wasn’t a legitimate Triple Crown win.” Knowlton said he does not have a problem with people who believe it would not be a “legitimate” Triple Crown win this year because of all of the people who have had horses win the first two legs, then not be able to win the Belmont at its demanding distance of 1 1/2 miles. “If you want to say [a 2020 Triple Crown winner] is not on a par with the other Triple Crown winners, I could understand that and not necessary disagree with it -- having not been able to get that third leg with Funny Cide.” But the way I see it, the overall history of the Triple Crown should determine whether an asterisk is warranted if a horse does sweep all three races this year. And there has not been an asterisk for any of the eight Triple Crown winners from Sir Barton to Citation even though their Triple Crown was different than that from Secretariat to Justify. In light of that, should there be an asterisk if a horse sweeps the Triple Crown in 2020? I do not think so, unless asterisks also are retroactively doled out to the eight Triple Crown winners from Sir Barton to Citation. MATT WINN STAKES PAYS TRIBUTE TO A LEGEND Churchill Downs this Saturday presents the Matt Winn Stakes, a 1 1/16-mile race that pays tribute to the man most responsible for putting the Kentucky Derby on the map. Points toward starting eligibility for this year’s $3 million Kentucky Derby are up for grabs to the first four finishers in the Winn on a 50-20-10-5 scale. As for Matt Winn the man, in the outstanding book “The History of Thoroughbred Racing in America,” William H.P. Robertson wrote: “Matt Winn’s monument is a horse race, and his trademarks were a cigar and a twinkle (usually a smile, but sparks when the occasion demanded). However, the deepest imprint made on the American turf by Winn was that of a Moses who led the sport through trying times. On second thought, bulldozer would be a better characterization. “A native of Louisville, Martin Joseph Winn (1861-1949) watched the inaugural Kentucky Derby on May 17, 1875, standing on the seat of his father’s grocery wagon. At about that same time he discarded his first name in favor of Matt, and ended his formal education; as a 14-year-old he took a job as a bookkeeper, later became a traveling grocery salesman, and then went into the tailoring business. It was his business ability and personality rather than any status in the racing world which led to an invitation in 1902 to join a group being organized by Charles Price to buy financially tottering Churchill Downs for $40,000. On the other hand, Winn, whose only previous connection to the sport had been as a bettor, was reputed to have wagered on two winning 100-1 shots the same day several years earlier, so Price figure here was a man who couldn’t miss. Price was correct.” Joe Hirsch and Jim Bolus co-wrote the book “Kentucky Derby: Chance of a Lifetime.” It notes that prior to 1902, “the future of the Derby was in jeopardy. Churchill Downs continued to lose money, and the outlook became so bleak following the 1902 Derby that it seemed likely the track would be closed permanently.” “Enter Colonel Matt Winn. A chubby, pink-faced cigar smoker best described as looking ‘something like Alfred Hitchcock, with a bit of W.C. Fields thrown in.’ Winn was a Louisville tailor and had no previous experience in racetrack management. Nevertheless, he had the imagination and determination to resuscitate the ailing track.” Thanks in large measure to Winn, it did not take long for Churchill Downs to become profitable. In the book “The Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes: A Comprehensive History,” Richard Sowers wrote: “Winn, the track’s vice president, quickly established a legacy as perhaps the greatest promoter the sport has ever known. Winn not only coined the phrase ‘Greatest Two Minutes in Sports,’ but he was responsible for forever linking Stephen Foster’s ‘My Old Kentucky Home’ with the Derby, making the commemorative mint julep glasses the Derby’s signature souvenir since their introduction in 1938, and converting the race…into a national treasure by convincing the best stables in the East to point their 3-year-olds for the Kentucky classic.” Winn witnessed every Kentucky Derby from Aristides’ win in the inaugural 1875 running to Ponder’s victory in the 75th edition in 1949. Later in 1949, Winn died at the age of 88. REGRET: A FILLY FOR THE AGES Winn credited Regret for making the Kentucky Derby a horse race of national importance. In my opinion, Regret gets nowhere close to the credit she deserves in a discussion of this country’s greatest female Thoroughbreds. I cite as a prime example of Regret’s lack of the respect that she ranked 71st on BloodHorse’s list of the Top 100 Racehores of the 20th Century. I think the distinguished panelists responsible for that list really blew it by not ranking Regret much higher. The panel consisted of racing secretary Howard Battle, racing secretary Lenny Hale, writer Jay Hovdey, writer William Nack, steward Pete Pedersen, writer Jennie Rees and racing secretary Tommy Trotter. Regret is No. 26 on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th AND 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. I also believe the panel dropped the ball when it came to Ruffian. They ranked her No. 35. I have her at No. 11. Do you know how many fillies ever beat Ruffian? None. Not only that, Ruffian tied or broke a track or stakes record in all but one of her 10 starts against members of her sex. How many Thoroughbreds, male or female, have a resume like that? Do you know how many fillies ever beat Regret? Again, none. Regret in 1915 made history by becoming the first filly to win the Kentucky Derby. The 40 previous winners had all been males. “Already there was a tradition well established that no 3-year-old filly could beat colts at 1 1/4 miles in May, but Regret proceeded to shatter tradition,” Robertson wrote. Regret had the distinction of being the only filly Kentucky Derby winner for 65 years. Another filly would not win the roses until Genuine Risk in 1980. The only other filly to capture the Kentucky Derby was Winning Colors in 1988. Can you imagine what people would be saying if a contemporary filly ever attempted to do what Regret did in the 1915 Kentucky Derby? Regret won the May 8 Kentucky Derby even though she was making her first start of the year. As a matter of fact, she had not raced since Aug. 22. This was, without question, a tremendous achievement by Regret and a fantastic training job by James Rowe, who also sent out Hindoo to win the 1881 Kentucky Derby. Hindoo was one of the top racehorses of the 1800s. As a further reflection of Regret’s prowess, she won the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby off a long layoff despite not having previously raced farther than six furlongs. Think of that. Furthermore, when Regret and jockey Joe Notter led past every pole and won the Kentucky Derby by two lengths, the filly defeated 15 opponents in what at the time was the biggest Kentucky Derby field in history. “In an utterly brilliant performance, she snatched the bit and led throughout under Notter’s stout hold, flitting lightly over the gummy-dry track Rowe had so worried about,” Mary Simon wrote of Regret for the Daily Racing Form in 2015. “When challenged by champion Pebbles, Notter simply juggled the reins and Regret responded, jetting off by two lengths to a thunderous ovation from 50,000 fans to win under an aggressive hand ride. Afterward, she jogged saucily past the judges’ stand. She couldn’t have blown out a candle.” Robertson wrote that “when Winn came into racing, the big events for 3-year-olds were the American Derby, Realization and Belmont Stakes, with the [Kentucky] Derby and Preakness also-rans in the purse department.” Winn, Robertson wrote, was able to make the Kentucky Derby “the most valuable event of its kind in the land.” Years after Regret’s Kentucky Derby triumph, Winn said the race “needed only a victory by Regret to create for us some coast-to-coast publicity. And she did not fail us. The Derby thus was made an American institution.” Rowe, whose eight Belmont Stakes victories is the record by a trainer, held Regret in high esteem. “To his dying day in 1929, Rowe considered Regret the second-best racehorse he’d ever trained, better than the great Commando and brilliant Sysonby, superior to champions Peter Pan, Miss Woodford, Whisk Broom II and Maskette -- Hall of Famers one and all -- and behind only unconquerable Colin,” wrote Simon. Colin, who won the 1908 Belmont, was never beaten in 15 career starts. He is ranked higher than Regret on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. I have Colin at No. 22. Regret won nine of 11 lifetime starts. She even ran a terrific race in one of her two defeats. Borrow defeated Regret by only a nose in the 1 1/8-mile Brooklyn Handicap at Aqueduct in 1917. Regret, as a filly, was asked to spot five pounds to Borrow that day. Even though Regret had to settle for second, she defeated two other Kentucky Derby winners in Old Rosebud and Omar Khayyam in what was considered to be one of the greatest races of that era. Three starters in the 1917 Brooklyn -- Regret, Old Rosebud and Roamer -- would go on to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame. Only two distaffers are ranked higher than No. 26 Regret on my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. They are No. 11 Ruffian and No. 24 Zenyatta. Speaking of Zenyatta, who won 19 of 20 and was voted 2010 Horse of the Year during her glorious career, she foaled a Candy Ride filly last Sunday at Lane’s End Farm in Kentucky. MONOMOY GIRL: SHE’S BACK! She might not rank way up there with Regret, but Monomoy Girl is a special mare in her own right, as she demonstrated once again last weekend. As noted earlier, Regret in 1915 won the 1 1/4-mile Kentucky Derby on May 8 in her first start since Aug. 22, 1914. Monomoy Girl in 2020 won a one-mile allowance/optional claiming race on May 16 in her first start since her victory in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3, 2018. Trained by Brad Cox and ridden by Florent Geroux, Monomoy Girl splashed her way to a 2 3/4-length victory last Saturday while competing on a sloppy track. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Tapizar mare completed her comeback trip in 1:36.51 as the 1-2 favorite and was credited with an 85 Beyer Speed Figure. While the Beyer was a modest figure, keep in mind she certainly was not all out and had not raced in a long time. This should be a good building block for her. Undeniably a marvelous equine athlete, Monomoy Girl now has won 10 of 12 lifetime starts. She was voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. “Monomoy Girl overcame a serious bout with colic [in the spring of 2019], then pulled a gluteal muscle last fall,” Marty McGee wrote Monday for Daily Racing Form. “I can’t tell you how proud I am of what she’s done,” McGee quoted Cox as saying. “She’s just an unbelievable horse. It was great to get this out of the way and see her run as well as she did. She’s a superstar, no doubt.” With Monomoy Girl sitting out all of last year, Midnight Bisou put together a campaign that brought her a 2019 Eclipse Award as champion older dirt female. Midnight Bisou, like Monomoy Girl, has raced once this year. Midnight Bisou, trained by Steve Asmussen, finished second to Maximum Security in the richest horse race on the planet, the $20 million Saudi Cup on Feb. 29. Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou have met four times so far. Monomoy Girl has finished first all four times, but she was disqualified and placed second for causing interference in the Grade I Cotillion at Parx Racing in 2018. In three of Monomoy Girl’s 2018 victories, she defeated Midnight Bisou in the Grade I Kentucky Oaks, Grade I Coaching Club American Oaks and BC Distaff. Racing enthusiasts eagerly look forward to when Monomoy Girl and Midnight Bisou clash again down the line this year. And don’t forget about two other quality older distaffers, Ce Ce and Ollie’s Candy. They put on quite a show in the Grade I Apple Blossom Handicap on April 18 at Oaklawn Park when Ollie’s Candy lost by a head to Ce Ce. They are scheduled to have a rematch in Santa Anita’s Grade II Santa Maria Stakes on May 31. MY BELMONT STAKES TOP 10 Now that the Belmont Stakes will be the first of the Triple Crown events run this year, I am switching from a Kentucky Derby Top 10 to a Belmont Stakes Top 10. Nadal and Charlatan, who rank first and second, respectively, on my Belmont Top 10, won their divisions of the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. According to Baffert, they both are candidates for the Belmont. Daily Racing Form reported Tuesday that Baffert, via text, indicated he would run “both or one, depending on how they are training.” The seemingly indefatigable Nadal worked four furlongs Wednesday morning at Santa Anita. His workout can be viewed on XBTV. Here is the link: https://www.xbtv.com/video/nadal-(outside)-and-bronn-worked-4-furlongs-in/nadal-outside-and-bronn-worked-4-furlongs-in-48-00-at-santa-anita-park-on-may-20th-2020/Nadal worked in company with the Baffert-trained Bronn, a 3-year-old Conveyance colt. Bronn has not raced since winning a maiden special weight race at Los Alamitos last Sept. 8 in his third career start. In Wednesday’s team drill, Nadal began about a half-length behind Bronn. The pair continued together throughout the workout. Bronn was about a head in front at the finish line. Nadal and Bronn each recorded a 48.00 clocking, fastest of 34 works at the distance. The zest Nadal displayed in this workout indicates he is in fine fettle following his May 2 victory at Oaklawn. Tiz the Law, who is No. 3 on my Top 10 and two for two this year, is definite for the Belmont. He won the Grade II Holy Bull Stakes on Feb. 1 and Grade I Florida Derby on March 28. Here is my Top 10 for the June 20 Belmont Stakes: 1. Nadal2. Charlatan3. Tiz the Law4. Maxfield5. Sole Volante6. Modernist7. Basin8. Dr Post9. Gouverneur Morris10. Farmington Road Maxfield makes his long-awaited 2020 debut this Saturday in the Matt Winn. Trained by Brendan Walsh, the Kentucky-bred colt was two for two in 2019. Perhaps Maxfield can use the Winn as a springboard to the Belmont. In Maxfield’s unveiling, he rallied from 10th to win a Churchill Downs maiden special weight race at one mile around one turn on Sept. 14. He prevailed by three-quarters of a length and recorded a 67 Beyer Speed Figure. Maxfield subsequently won Keeneland’s Grade I Breeders’ Futurity in a scintillating performance at 1 1/16 miles on Oct. 5. He was last early in the field of 10 after a tardy start. Entering the far turn, he was still eighth. But when racing quite wide on the far turn, Maxfield blew by seven rivals while moving at warp speed to take the lead entering the stretch. He then really poured it on when drawing off in the lane to win by 5 1/2 lengths. Making a quantum leap in the speed figure department from his debut, Maxfield posted an 87 Beyer in the Breeders’ Futurity. Following his back-to-back come-from-way-back wins in Kentucky, Maxfield was regarded as a contender in the Grade I BC Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 1. But he was withdrawn from that race when all was not well. He then underwent surgery last Nov. 18 in Kentucky for the removal of an ankle chip. Maxfield recorded sharp workouts at Keeneland on May 10 and May 16. He stepped five furlongs in a bullet :59.20 on May 10, fastest of 34 works at the distance that morning. That was followed by a sparkling four-furlong drill in :47.20 on May 16, third-fastest of 22. “From what he’s shown me in his works, I can’t wait to see what he’ll do on the track,” Walsh said to Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman. “We’ve done all we can with him.” Walsh went on to say that Maxfield “is a much stronger horse” than he was at 2. “He’s a shade off of 17 hands,” Walsh said. “He has high withers. He’s filled out. Last year, he was a frame of a horse. He’s put on plenty of weight and muscle.” Maxfield’s connections hope that he eventually can follow in the footsteps of his sire, Street Sense, who won the Kentucky Derby in 2007. Meanwhile, Authentic worked six furlongs by himself in 1:11.00 last Sunday morning at Santa Anita for Baffert. The excellent drill can be viewed on XBTV. Here is a link: https://www.xbtv.com/video/authentic-worked-6-furlongs-in-1/authentic-worked-6-furlongs-in-111-00-at-santa-anita-park-on-may-17th-2020/Ranked No. 4 on my Top 10, Authentic is projected to be the favorite in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on June 6. He is three for three. Authentic won Santa Anita’s Grade III Sham Stakes by nearly eight lengths on Jan. 4 despite not running a straight course when racing greenly. Equipped with earplugs in Santa Anita’s Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 7, he exhibited no goofy behavior and registered a front-running 2 1/4-length victory. Honor A.P. finished second in the San Felipe for trainer John Shirreffs. The Kentucky-bred Honor Code ridgling will try to turn the tables on Authentic in the Santa Anita Derby rather than run in the Belmont, according to Shirreffs. “Because we’re here at Santa Anita, I think you have to support the track you stable at,” Shirreffs said in a story Ron Flatter wrote for horseracinginsider.com. I added Cezanne to my Kentucky Derby Top 10 a couple of weeks ago even though the Baffert-trained Curlin colt has not raced yet. But a June 20 Belmont certainly is not in the cards for him. Nevertheless, I am even more excited about Cezanne’s potential in light of his five-furlong workout from the gate on May 14. This work also can be seen on XBTV. Here is a link: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bob-baffert/cezanne-outside-and-tapitution-worked-5-furlongs-at-santa-anita-park-on-may-14th-2020/ Cezanne worked in company with Tapitution, a 3-year-old unraced Tapit colt who sold for $350,000 at public auction last year. Cezanne also sold at public auction last year, fetching a final bid of $3.8 million. “Super” was the word XBTV’s Millie Ball used to described Cezanne’s May 14 workout. “He’s definitely the goods,” Ball said Sunday on Mike William’s radio program Thoroughbred Los Angeles. Ball noted that regarding the May 14 work by Cezanne, it was the first time “Baffert said to go ahead and let him run. And Cezanne came back [after the work] and he couldn’t even have blown a candle out. I was very impressed.” Collusion Illusion, a 3-year-old colt from the Mark Glatt barn, returned from a layoff in marvelous fashion last Sunday at Santa Anita when he trounced his elders in a sprint. Fifth early in the early stages when just 2 1/2 lengths off the pace, he charged to the front approaching the sixteenth pole and kicked away to win by three lengths. The Florida-bred Twirling Candy colt now is three for four. He also won Del Mar’s Grade II Best Pal Stakes last year. According to Glatt, the plan is for Collusion Illusion to make his next start in Santa Anita’s Grade III Lazaro Barrera Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on June 20. PRAT HAS SIX-WIN DAY AT SANTA ANITA Flavien Prat took a serious run at Santa Anita’s all-time record of seven wins in one day by a jockey set by Laffit Pincay Jr. on March 14, 1987. Prat rode six winners last Saturday before finishing sixth on 9-5 favorite Winning Element in the 10th and final race on the card. Credit also goes to Prat’s agent, Derek Lawson, for putting his client on so many live mounts. Prat’s winners Sunday were Querelle ($10), Noor Khan ($7.60), Bud Knight ($4.80), Collusion Illusion ($7.40), Bellafina ($3.60) in the Grade III Desert Stormer Stakes and Harper’s Gallop ($8). I remember Pincay’s seven-win day in 1987. I called those official charts for the Daily Racing Form. Pincay’s seven winners were Polly’s Ruler ($4), Texas Wild ($8.40), Cracksman ($5.20), Fairways Girl ($9), Lookinforthebigone ($18.40), Integra ($6.80) and Bedouin ($11.20). Prat became just the 10th rider to win six races in one day at Santa Anita. The others to accomplish the feat were Bill Shoemaker in 1962, Pincay in 1973 and 1981, Steve Valdez in 1973, Sandy Hawley twice in 1976, Darrel McHargue in 1978 and 1979, Pat Valenzuela in 1988, Martin Pedroza in 1992, Corey Nakatani in 2000, plus Rafael Bejarano in 2006. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 382 Midnight Bisou (29)2. 311 Mucho Gusto3. 292 By My Standards (1)4. 198 Zulu Alpha (1)5. 182 Ce Ce6. 134 Maximum Security (7)7. 132 Tom’s d’Etat (1)8. 88 Monomoy Girl9. 86 Whitmore10. 72 Mr Freeze Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 376 Nadal (20)2. 362 Tiz the Law (17)3. 326 Charlatan (2)4. 286 Authentic (1)5. 189 King Guillermo6. 149 Honor A.P.7. 106 Sole Volante8. 105 Ete Indien9. 77 Maxfield10. 54 Basin End

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5.21.2020:

Saturday, May 23: Santa Anita Late Pick 4 Ticket

It’s great to have Santa Anita back on our Track List and we’re excited for a phenomenal weekend of racing there, including five graded stakes races between Saturday and Monday. Saturday’s slate features the G2 Charles Whittingham Stakes, starring Breeders’ Cup Turf runner-up United, and the G3 Daytona Stakes for turf sprinters, showcasing five horses that have already won this year sprinting on the lawn. And Monday’s card is arguably even better, headlined by the G1 Shoemaker Mile. The field for that race is expected to include multiple horses for Mark Casse – War of Will and March to the Arch – and multiple horses for Chad Brown – Without Parole and Raging Bull – as well as top local horses River Boyne and True Valour.  Plus, Monday’s card also features the G1 Gamely Stakes and G2 Monrovia Stakes, both on the turf. We’re getting in on the action by offering a 1 Million Point Exacta Split every day that Santa Anita races this weekend – Friday through Monday. Hit Exacta bets ($2 base minimum) on four different races in a given day to win your share of that day’s split. For more picks throughout the weekend, check out Jeff Siegel's Analysis, Wagering Strategies and Workout Report, available each day for Santa Anita races. Reports are available around 1PM ET daily.   Since Saturday’s entries are already out, here’s my take on their Late Pick 4. Good luck to everyone playing and have a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day Weekend! Race 6 – Claiming – 6F on Dirt The kickoff leg of the Late Pick 4 is a $12,500 claiming race and none of these horses really jump off the page. #1 MIDNIGHT GARDEN (7/2) won at first asking against low-level maiden claimers, but ends up stuck with an inside draw here, as opposed to the outside post she had last time. We’ll find out how she feels about racing inside and behind horses. #2 SYBIL’S KITTY (7/2) was really disappointing as the favorite in a similar race here on March 15. Her races in October and December would probably win this for fun, but she’s headed in a negative direction. And #3 REAL GOOD DEAL (5/2) is probably the likeliest winner, attracting Flavien Prat for the Leonard Powell barn. Race 7 – Starter Optional Claiming – 5 1/2 F on Dirt Many factors line up here for #7 LOVELY LILIA (5/2) as she returns to California off an OK effort at Oaklawn. Those Oaklawn races were loaded with talent and I love that she raced in April, as that might mean she is fitter than a number of her opponents. You have to think they’ll send and hope to never look back.  #1 SUGAR PICKEL (6/1) gets back to the dirt off two decent turf tries at this level on the lawn. Her lone dirt race was a win at Los Al and, if anything, it’s notable that Abel Cedillo, who has ridden both LOVELY LILIA and SUGAR PICKEL in the past, opts to ride here. Race 8 – Charles Whittingham S. (G2) – 1 1/4 Miles on Turf It’s not easy to knock #5 UNITED (6/5) as he goes out for a Hall of Fame trainer (Richard Mandella) with the track’s top rider (Flavien Prat) in the irons. This horse took some time to come around, but he has won or placed in five of his last six races with Prat in the saddle, including a win in the G2 San Marcos last out on this course and at this distance. He is just versatile enough to sit closer to the pace in what appears to be a paceless event. The only one that I could see threatening him on his best day is Chad Brown’s #7 ROCKEMPEROR (5/2). I was encouraged by his third-place finish in the G2 Mervin Muniz last out at the Fair Grounds as he closed from far back to finish third on a course that favored speed. My colleague, Jeremy Plonk, analyzed this race as our Xpressbet Race of the Week. Check out his analysis, which features a heavy dose of United. Race 9 – Maiden Claiming – 1 1/16 Miles on Dirt The good news is, if we start this Late Pick 4 going 3x2x2 we have some room in the holster for the last. First and foremost, in races like this starring a host of horses that haven’t won, I’m almost always going to include the first time starters, so #7 MONGOLIAN WIND (12/1) and #11 BEAUMONT BEAUX (since scratched) make the cut, despite going out for relatively low-percentage local barns. Let’s also add #2 VODKA TWIST (5/1), who adds blinkers and drops in class from tougher turf races, as well as #9 DR. HOFFMAN (7/2) (Flavien Prat) and #12 SLAAH (3/1) (Risopoli), who get upgrades to top jocks. Finally, I’ll use #4 MY JOURNEY (4/1), who might kick away from this field if nobody runs with him early. My Ticket Race 6: 1, 2, 3Race 7: 1, 7Race 8: 5, 7Race 9: 2, 4, 7, 9, 12 Ticket Cost: $30 for 50-cents If we hit, it won’t be a home run but it should be enough to keep you playing. And if you don’t believe in Rockemperor, you can always single United and play the ticket for a dollar at the same $36 cost.

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5.18.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (May 11-17): Monomoy Girl

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.May 11-17, 2020MVP: Monomoy GirlOwner: Michael Dubb, Monomoy Stables, The Elkstone Group, Bethlehem StablesTrainer: Brad CoxJockey: Florent GerouxPerformance: The Eclipse Award-winning mare showed little to no rust in her May 16 return to action, brushing off a 560-day layoff almost as easily as her allowance competition at Churchill Downs. The 5-year-old winner of the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Distaff posted a convincing 1-turn mile victory by 2-3/4 lengths in her comeback bid over a wet track. She stalked the pace, pounced in upper stretch and was never in doubt over the final furlong-plus. The score upped her record to 12: 10-2-0 lifetime and pushed her over the $3 million earnings plateau.On Tap: Trainer Brad Cox indicated a 2-turn race would be next for Monomoy Girl, but did not offer specifics with much still to be determined on the national stakes landscape. You would expect a Kentucky-New York campaign toward the Breeders’ Cup Distaff in the autumn. Given the 2-turn criteria, that would eliminate Belmont Park’s soon-to-be-released stakes schedule. The June 27 Fleur de Lis at Churchill Downs makes sense on timing, location and natural re-rise in class to the Grade 2 level. A trip to Saratoga for a potential Personal Ensign date and/or the Spinster at Keeneland are natural longer-range fits.Honorable Mentions: Gulfstream Park’s leading 3-year-old filly Tonalist’s Shape had a bounce-back effort in the May 15 Hollywood Wildcat Stakes. The Grade 2/Grade 3 winner dropped into listed stakes company to right the ship after a seventh-place run in the Gulfstream Park Oaks, which remains her only defeat in 7 starts. The ladies continued to absorb the spotlight last week when Grade 1 winner Bellafina returned to her winning ways in the Grade 3 Desert Stormer at Santa Anita on May 17. She provided 1 of 6 wins on the card for jockey Flavien Prat, and in doing so snapped her own personal 6-race losing streak. And finally, the boys got into the headlines when Just Whistle captured the May 17 Sunday Silence Stakes at Gulfstream. The Michael Matz trainee notched his first stakes tally in defeating heavily favored Spinoff while 1-upping his second-place performance in the Grade 3 Hal’s Hope in March.

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5.18.2020:

Wednesday, May 20: Happy Valley (Hong Kong) Picks

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONSWednesday, May 20, 2020First Post: 6:45AM ET Race 1: #8 Farm Bumper, #6 Gintoki, #4 Management Supreme, #2 Happy Good Guys Race 2: #5 Dragon Commander, #9 Dionysus Collin, #7 Salto Olimpico, #3 Shadow Breaker Race 3: #2 Amazing Luck, #6 Lightning Steed, #3 Focus, #5 Blooming Spirit Race 4: #5 Flying Genius, #2 Explosive Witness, #3 Be Ready, #6 Very Sweet Orange Race 5: #6 Golden Glory, #1 Ares, #3 Harmony N Home, #8 Lucky QualityRace 6: #2 Simply Fluke, #6 Destine Jewellery, #4 Jade Phoenix, #8 Interstellar Race 7: #1 Magnificent, #11 Chairman Lo, #12 Nordic Warrior, #3 Green Reign Race 8: #2 Golden Dash, #7 California Rad, #6 Ping Hai Galaxy, #5 Beauty Spark Race 9: #2 Shining Ace, #1 Amazing Star, #7 Shining Gem, #11 Winning Method   Race 1: Shan Pui River Handicap (3rd Section) (6:45AM ET)     #8 Farm Bumper won well three starts ago before finishing runner-up in both of his most recent two outings. He’s racing well and if he’s continued to hold his condition then it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him rewarded with another win. #6 Gintoki gets the services of Zac Purton now after flashing home for a close-up fourth at his latest. He might be ready to piece it all together now having had 13 runs to acclimatise after arriving from Australia where he was a four-time winner. #2 Happy Good Guys has done well this campaign as a two-time winner. He can figure with the right run from the good draw. Race 2: Tan Shan River Handicap (7:15AM ET) #5 Dragon Commander hasn’t been too far away on occasions this term and stepping back in trip here might be just what he needs to finally go on with it. He’s done enough racing this term to suggest that the penny was going to drop soon and with conditions to suit here, it might just be his time. #9 Dionysus Collin is unlucky not to have already won this campaign having placed on six different occasions. Still, he’s honest and the booking of Zac Purton warrants respect. #7 Salto Olimpico gets the services of Joao Moreira here after turning his form around last start to finish third. This is suitable. #3 Shadow Breaker made all at 28/1 last time out. The awkward draw here makes life hard but no doubt he’ll be trying to attempt the same again. Race 3: Tai Shing Stream Handicap (7:45AM ET) The last time Zac Purton rode #2 Amazing Luck the horse won narrowly over this course and distance and now, back in Class 4 with the Australian ace hopping up, he is shaping up as the one they all have to beat. #6 Lightning Steed turned in an impressive performance last start to grab fourth. This is suitable from the soft gate with Joao Moreira up. #3 Focus is racing well and his last two starts have shown this, and also, he is a two-time winner already this term. He can figure with the right run from gate three. #5 Blooming Spirit is a two-time winner this season and although this is a tough contest, he is in-form and the soft gate should afford him every chance. Race 4: Kam Tin River Handicap (8:15AM ET) #5 Flying Genius is looking to snap a run of outs having finished second in three out of his last four outings. Still, he’s racing in supreme form and has taken a clear liking to this course and distance. #2 Explosive Witness is nearing his first Hong Kong win. He’s shown steady improvement with each run and this is suitable, though, they will run along at a reasonable pace here. #3 Be Ready has gone close on a number of occasions. He’s a talent on the rise and although this is difficult, he does still rate strongly. #6 Very Sweet Orange is the likely leader of this and does get a handy claim off Jack Wong.  Race 5: Shan Pui River Handicap (1st Section) (8:45AM ET) #6 Golden Glory mixes his form but does have the ability and race experience to win a contest such as this. Key to his chances is gate three, which should see him get a soft run throughout and from there, get every opportunity to win. #1 Ares won impressively at only his second start two back and since then, finished runner-up over this course and distance. Zac Purton sticks aboard and this contest is well within his grasp. #3 Harmony N Home gets seven pounds off thanks to Alfred Chan’s claim and if he can overcome the wide gate, then, he won’t be too far away. #8 Lucky Quality is lightly raced and he has shown a reasonable amount of ability.  He can figure from gate two under the in-form Karis Teetan. Race 6: Shan Pui River Handicap (2nd Section) (9:15AM ET) #2 Simply Fluke is searching for a hat-trick of wins since switching stables to the Douglas Whyte yard where he is unbeaten. Again, he’s been cruelled by the wide gate but he has overcome them before and this contest appears no different, especially as he remains in Class 4. #6 Destine Jewellery won well two starts ago and since then has held his condition well. The draw isn’t half bad and with the right run he can figure. #4 Jade Phoenix has gone close on a number of occasions across his short five-start career. He’s drawn well and it’s only a matter of time before he does break through. #8 Interstellar turned his form around last start to grab second. He can figure with that run under his belt.  Race 7: Nam Chung River Handicap (9:45AM ET) #1 Magnificent has placed in his last two and with those two performances under his belt, does look ready to bounce back to the winner’s stall. #11 Chairman Lo got his deserved win two starts ago before finishing a close-up fifth at his latest. He has the wide gate to contend with but this is a more than suitable contest for him. #12 Nordic Warrior gets in light as the bottom weight. He’s drawn well and is capable of testing these. #3 Green Reign has gone close on a number of occasions. He’s drawn awkwardly which makes life difficult but does have the ability to offset this, though, it may not be enough to win. Race 8: Lam Tsuen River Handicap (10:15AM ET) #2 Golden Dash returned from a lengthy spell first-up to finish a close second, and since then followed that run with a competitive fourth. He’s returned in excellent order and now with Zac Purton going aboard, rates as the one to beat. #7 California Rad is looking for his third consecutive win. He has the wide gate to contend with but as a Class 3 winner already, he is proven in this grade. #6 Ping Hai Galaxy rarely runs a bad race and did win over this course and distance earlier this season at 159/1. He can figure. #5 Beauty Spark’s consistency was rewarded with a win two starts ago. The wide gate makes life hard but he bears close watching. Race 9: Ho Chung River Handicap (10:50AM ET) #2 Shining Ace has taken his racing to a new level this term with three wins and seven minor placings to his name. He’s proven himself to be a versatile customer at both Sha Tin and the city circuit and from the inside gate, with Joao Moreira up, he could take a power of beating again. #1 Amazing Star is a winner of four from five this season. He’s now rated 100 which is impressive and he does appear to have another win under his belt, though, may soon be destined for Group racing as his rating continues to rise. #7 Shining Gem is looking for back-to-back wins. He’s a three-time winner this term and another success here, would not surprise. #11 Winning Method is next in line with next to no weight on his back.

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5.17.2020:

Sunday, May 17: Santa Anita 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.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Shines Her Light; 8-Lofty; 10-QuerelleForecast: Lofty is a true course specialist, being perfect in three starts sprinting over the Santa Anita turf course, and she’ll be a short price to extend her streak while tackling open first-level allowance company today. The M. McCarthy-trained filly is clearly the quickest in the field and if she clears early without much effort she’ll be very difficult to catch, but at a short price. For back-ups you may want to consider Querelle, stuck way outside but a prototype late-running turf sprinter who will be rolling late but will need somebody else to soften up the favorite, and Shines Her Light, a reasonable maiden winner over this course and distance in her U.S. debut in early February and with every right to produce a forward move for the hot J. Sadler barn.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B-Single: 1 – Miss GloriousForecast: There are too many unknowns in the first 2-year-old race of the year to have any real conviction in this four-and-one-half furlong dash but Miss Glorious did display good speed in the one workout that we were able to view (click on our workout report above) and as a daughter of Goldencents she has every right to win right now. Let’s hope that she breaks running from the rail and shows the kind of speed we believe she has. There are others in here that have credentials as well, so the best advice is to tread lightly.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Afternoon Heat; 4-Whooping JayForecast: Although he hasn’t been out since February of 2019, Whooping Jay has proven he can fire fresh – he won his debut by more than five lengths – and the son of Square Eddie has given every impression in recent drills that he retains all of his speed. This state-bred first-level allowance sprint doesn’t have a whole lot of early zip signed on, so if ‘Jay breaks running he should be in the first flight throughout with every chance at 4-1 on the morning line for the always potent O’Neill/Gutierrez team. Afternoon Heat looked good easily handling a starter’s allowance field over this track in early March while earning his typical solid figure. A repeat of that race makes him tough on the raise, but we’re a bit concerned that his lack of gate speed from his rail post could spell trouble. We’ll use him as a back-up in our rolling exotic play but the main push goes to Whooping Jay.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Lovely Finish; 10-LiberalismForecast: Liberalism has been away since last August but the work tab at Los Alamitos should have her fit enough to fire a winning shot off the bench for a barn that has solid stats with layoff runners. The daughter of Broke Vow, runner-up in both of her starts at Del Mar, lands hot riding U. Rispoli, is comfortably drawn outside, and projects to be on or near the lead throughout. Lovely Finish is clearly the fastest mare in the field based strictly on speed figures and her sharp runner-up to Big Sweep (while almost eight lengths clear of the rest) in a similar spot in March was franked with ‘Sweep returned to beat the colts in a stakes sprint yesterday. The main concern is the barn, which has yet to win a race this year, and the 10-pound bug rider, who has yet to win race, anywhere. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a very slight edge on top to Liberalism.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 7-I Am Innocent; 9-Bud KnightForecast: State-bred maidens meet over a mile on grass in a challenging affair. I Am Innocent closed with interest to be a good runner-up in his debut and if he can transfer that dirt sprint form to two-turns on grass the son of Square Eddie will have an excellent chance to earn his diploma at a decent price. It’s been awhile since the B. Cecil stable has recorded a victory but in a moderate affair this Reddam homebred 3-year-old likely has upside that most of the others don’t and the recent work tab indicates improvement is probable. We’ll be happy if he leaves at or near his morning line of 6-1. Bud Knight is an eight-race maiden but finished second over this course and distance vs. similar in his last start in early February and not much more will be needed today. The speed figure earned in that race is better than par for this level and the third place finisher in that race already has come back to frank the form and win.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Tiger Dad; 7-Collusion IllusionForecast: Tiger Dad turns back to a sprint and a repeat of his ultra-impressive first-level allowance victory over this track and distance two runs back makes him the one to beat in a race lacking in the type of early speed that you’d normally see in a race like this. The son of Smiling Tiger should be comfortably placed either on the lead or just off it and then have every chance to duplicate his best effort. First or second in seven of 13 career starts, the C. Gaines-trained gelding retains regular pilot V. Espinoza and has run very well off brief vacations in the past Collusion Illusion, away since last September and tackling older rivals for the first time, lands the cozy outside post and could be a factor if he returns as well as he left. Winner of the Best Pal S.-G2 as a 2-year-old with a good speed figure, the M. Glatt-trained son of Twirling Candy has been working like he’s fit and could easily be better and faster after being given plenty of time to grow up and mature. St. Joe Bay was a beaten choice at Oaklawn Park while lacking his old speed and it’s possible the veteran gelding has lost a step or two along the way. But he’s a classy old pro and can’t be counted out while returning to the optional $62,500 ranks for the first time since being claimed for this price almost two years ago.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Sweet Devil; 3-Crystal BallForecast: Crystal Ball has displayed plenty of promise in the a.m. and debuts over a mile – never an easy task – after being trained like a route-type in several of her recent drills (easy early, strong through the lane). This is a better than average field of maiden fillies and mares but this $750,000 2-year-old in training purchase gives every indication that she’s better than “better than average.” Sweet Devil displayed promise in a pair of starts during the winter and has been kept on edge with a series of steady, easy drills in the interim. This will be her first start on dirt but if she can transfer her grass form to the main track the daughter of Daredevil will be hard to beat, especially from her favorable draw. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; at 5-1 on the morning line Crystal Ball looks intriguing so we’ll put her slightly on top.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-Fighting Mad; 5-BellafinaForecast: Bellafina is top class when she wants to be but is almost impossible to trust, having failed as the favorite no less than five times in her 14 race career, most recently at 7/5 in a stakes at Oaklawn Park last month when she broke slowly, lost position, and then ran off down the backstretch before understandably packing it in after a half mile. If she leaves cleanly today, the daughter of Quality Road should return to winning form, but at 6/5 on the morning line you know she’s going to be a heavy favorite once again. Fighting Mad is an extremely talented filly and could give Bellafina some serious competition, but this will be her first start since August and this race could be nothing more than a springboard to more serious two-turn races down the road. The daughter of New Year’s Day trains in the morning like future star but sprinting from the rail in her first start in nine months is problematic, to say the least. We’ll include her on a ticket or two as a back-up, but the main push must go to Bellafina.RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Establish Justice; 10-Sutro; 11-PasitoForecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming fillies and mares over a mile. Anything goes. Sutro drops into a seller for the first time and her only career win was accomplished over this course back in the winter of 2019. She missed most of the last year and the connections thought enough of her to protect her in two comeback races, so in this league the five-year-old mare may be able to get some of her confidence back. She’s a deep closer that will need racing luck and a decent pace to have her best chance. Let’s also include a couple of 12-1 shots on our ticket. Establish Justice had a bit of self-caused trouble when fifth of six in a tougher starter’s allowance turf miler in late February but if she can settle early, get some cover and then fight daylight at the head of the lane the daughter of Constitution has a chance to at least outrun her price. She’s looked pretty good in the a.m. of late and with just six career starts she’s not quite as exposed as some of the others. Pasito is hung way outside and just beat a weak band of maiden $20,000 distaffers on the main track, but the number wasn’t bad, and this will be her first start on turf. As a daughter of More Than Ready, why can’t she move up on it? Also, hot rider U. Rispoli stays aboard, so there’s that.RACE 10: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Winning Element; 3-Unbroken Star; 5-Kiss Today Goodbye; 9-Striking a PoseForecast: The finale is a main track raffle for entry-level allowance older horses. Winning Element is facing more heat today than he he’s been used to seeing but his current form for hot trainer R. Hansen cannot be ignored. The City Zip gelding has a good stalking style that should keep him free of trouble and has speed figures that are a solid fit at this level. Striking a Pose won at first asking like a useful sort for M. Glatt, has done quite nicely in his morning preps since, and should be a live item despite today’s tougher task. The son of Majesticperfection projects to be part of the pace and then have his chance to show what he’s made of when the pressure is turned on. U. Rispoli, who rode ‘Pose in that debut win, jumps off to stay aboard Kiss Today Goodbye, a big figure maiden special weight winner at this one mile trip in late February. The son of Cairo Prince likely will settle somewhere in mid-pack and have dead aim from the quarter pole home. Unbroken Star will need to improve significantly in the numbers department but he’s a progressive son of Broken Vow fresh from a nice starter’s allowance win over this track and distance and continues to show well in his morning workouts. If there’s a hot pace – and there may very well be – he’ll be running on late at 12-1 on the morning line.

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5.16.2020:

Saturday, May 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:Churchill Downs – 7th race (4:08 ET)5 – Say Moi (5/2)Union Rags filly didn’t get much play (12-1) in her debut but turned in an extremely impressive performance when overcoming a slow start to finish an excellent second to a hot favorite while winding up more than six lengths clear of the rest in a fast, highly-rated race at Gulfstream Park in late March. The W. Mott-trained filly shows three easy breezes at Payson Park since that race, retains Johnny V., and with a clean break today should have no difficulty handling this maiden special weight field. She’s 5/2 on the morning line but seems likely to go lower, so you may receive better value by using her as a key in rolling daily doubles, pick-3’s and pick-4’s.Churchill Downs – 10th race (5:44 ET)11 – Aurelia Garland (8-1)Was a very impressive maiden debut winner early in her juvenile campaign, winning by five-widening lengths when trained by Wesley Ward, but hasn’t start in more than a year and today returns in this first-level allowance race for new conditioner Rodolphe Brisset. She was actually entered but scratched in a similar race at Gulfstream Park a few weeks back, so she’s more than ready following a series of sharp workouts, including a bullet half-mile drill in :48 flat (fastest of 17) drill at Palm Meadows just 12 days ago. With I. Ortiz, Jr. in the saddle and at 8-1 on the morning line, she’s worth strong consideration both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.Golden Gate – 6th race (3:15 PT)4 – Praise and Honor (5/2)Promising daughter of Honor Code makes her debut following a string of impressive workouts that should have her ready to win at first asking in a competitive maiden dash restricted to 3-year-olds. Produced by the New York stakes-winning sprinter Going to Kukaro, this $330,000 yearling purchase would have started several weeks ago and finally gets an opportunity to launch her career for the potent jockey/trainer combo of Jonathan Wong and Ricky Gonzalez. She’ll offer good wagering value at her morning line of 5/2 if you can get it.Today’s Workout Analysis: View PDF FileRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 7-Street Image; 12-Ultimate Mystery; 14-Little SydneyForecast: Lil Sydney didn’t get the best of runs in a similar bottom-rung maiden claimer for older horses in late March, lacking room at a critical stage entering the lane and then finishing as best he could to be second while nearly three lengths clear of the rest. He’s drawn on the far outside today – hardly ideal but at least he’ll have a clear run – and is being re-equipped with blinkers while projecting to fold into a good second flight, stalking position. Ultimate Mystery exits the same race, closing a huge gap to be third after breaking slowly and being steadied to lose all chance. He’ll have a furlong less to work with today so he’d better break well and lay a lot closer if he’s going to have a legitimate look, but at 8-1 on the morning line he’s worth including. Possibly the one to catch is the come-backing Street Image, now in the W. Spawr barn after being away since last July at Los Alamitos. The son of Street Sense has a couple of back speed figures that are better than par for this level, so if he displays his old early speed off the bench for his new connections he could shake loose early and never look back. One of this barn’s “go-to” riders, T. Pereira, will try to keep him together in the final furlong.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Songofthedesert; 7-WishfulForecast: First level allowance fillies and mares sprint five and one-half furlongs in a race that doesn’t really have any breakaway speed types. Songofthedesert certainly is quick enough to be on or near the lead, and after fading to fourth in her most recent start in mid-March the J. Wong-trained mare shortens up a furlong to what may to be her preferred trip. First or second in seven of 15 career starts, she’s looked good in the morning in the interim and A. Cedillo stays aboard. Wishful is 2-for-4 over the Santa Anita main track but 0-for12 everywhere else, so the L. Powell-trained daughter of Storm Wolf seems like the one to beat. She prefers to settle behind the leaders and then kick home and projects to enjoy that type of trip while being reunited with “win rider” F. Prat. These are the two we’ll include in our rolling exotics, with Songofthedesert, certain to be the better price of two, getting a slight edge on top.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Navetta; 5-Himiko; 12-Fierce for SolForecast: On paper this has the makings of a strong race for the level, a maiden sprint for fillies and mares on grass, that features a couple of hot-shot first-timers and several others that have run well enough to warrant consideration. Navetta had a poor draw in her debut and was virtually eliminated at the start to fall far back, but then produced a steady rally to enter contention into the lane and kept to her task to finish second, beaten just over a length, while arguably much best. She gets a chance to verify that favorable impression under similar conditions today and hopefully will leave with her field this time. Since that early March outing the J. Sadler-trained 4-year-old has done some very good work in the morning, so a forward move is likely. The B. Baffert barn is represented by two fast-working first-timers. Fierce for Sul had the misfortune of drawing the far outside post, but the daughter of Speightsown has displayed some excellent gate speed in the a.m. and should come out flying. A $650,000 OBS March sale purchase last year, she finally makes it the post with a healthy series drills that should have her plenty fit, and this abbreviated sprint distance should be right up her alley. Himikoalso has displayed intense speed in her morning trials. A $1 million weanling purchase by American Pharoah, she debuts on grass, a surface that most of her sire’s offspring seem to prefer. As well as she’s trained on dirt, you have to think that she’ll do even better on the sod. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; due to experience over the course we’ll give Navetta the edge on top.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Law Abidin Citizen; 3-Justinian; 6-MultiplierForecast: Justinian is a lightly-raced progressive colt facing a field of proven graded stakes performers in this allowance race with conditions that make just about anybody who wants to be eligible. The good-looking colt seeks his third straight score, and while his speed figures aren’t quite where they need to be, another significant forward move is possible for the B. Baffer-trained 4-year-old. We’re expecting him to be the controlling speed, and if not respected the son of Justin Phillip may prove troublesome from gate to wire. Multiplier missed by a neck in the Santa Anita Handicap-G1 in hist most recent outing while earning a triple-digit Beyer speed figure for the first time in his 25-race career. A one-paced grinder who may find this mile journey a bit sharp, he still must be respected based on the company lines he’s been keeping. Law Abidin Citizen won the Longacres Mile-G3 at this distance last summer and may have been a tad short when weakening to finish fourth in the San Carlos S.-G2 in his comeback in March. The concern is that he’s never really been at his best over the Santa Anita main track – he’s just 1-for-9 – so the most we’ll do is use him as a back-up or a saver.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Worthy Turk; 2-Kris’ Wild KatForecast: The main contention is this restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming turf miler is drawn inside. Worthy Turk returns from the Bay Area, stretches out, drops in class, and switches to grass, so the P. Miller-trained gelding has plenty of reasons to return to winning form. Always most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the son of Lemon Drop Kid is assured a good ground-saving trip and when produced by A. Cedillo at the head of the lane should be able manufacture a winning late kick. Kris’ Wild Kat, away for a year and unproven around two turns, is realistically spotted upon his return and has trained well enough to expect a good effort off the bench. While there are others in here who can show speed, the son of Wildcat Heir strikes as a need-the-lead type, so we suspect F. Prat will let him roll early and hope that he can see out the journey. Preference on top goes to Worthy Turk but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 7-Bettor Trip Nick; 8-Big Sweep; 9-Phantom BossForecast: Bettor Trip Nick is back sprinting where he belongs and will be adding blinkers for the first time, so we’re expecting a return to top form by this Bay Area-based gelding in this state-bred sprint stakes for 3-year-olds. Plenty quick but not a need-the-lead type, the son of Boat Trip should be in the first flight throughout while having to deal with the fast debut winning filly Big Sweep right alongside. Both have earned speed figures that are good enough to win, but because ‘Nick is the more seasoned of the two we’ll give him the edge on top. ‘Sweep didn’t have a whole lot behind her in her win over this track and distance in March but did it the right way and despite having to face the boys must be given a strong chance right back. Also, because she’s drawn outside the other main speed, she might settle into a stalker’s role under F. Prat and it will be interesting to see how she performs if such tactics are employed. Phantom Boss launches a comebacker and if he can reproduce last year’s form he’ll not be without a chance. A maiden winner over the local main track last June and then victorious in the Bashford Manner S.-G3 at Churchill Downs later that same month, the J. Periban-trained colt is comfortably drawn outside and will have every opportunity to stalk and pounce. Based on his recent workouts, the son of Shackleford should be fit enough.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-She’s Our Charm 3-Strike At DawnForecast: She’s Our Charm was visually very impressive winning a first-level allowance event over this course and distance in early March, cutting out wicked fractions and then finding more when challenged the length of the lane. The victory produced a career-top speed figure, and the daughter of Candy Ride has trained extremely well since, so we’re expecting the R. McAnally-trained filly to handle this class hike in stride. She’s most effective on the front and new jockey B. Blanc would be advised to forego any type of rating tactics and simply put her on the lead. Strike At Dawn probably found the mini-marathon distance of the Red Carpet H.-G3 a tad too far when last seen last fall – she wound up a close fourth after hitting the front at the furlong pole – but in her first start in more than five months and dropping back to a mile the daughter of Declaration of War is the clearly the most dangerous of the closing types. Both should be used in your rolling exotics; we’ll have extra tickets keying She’s Our Charm on top.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Bella Vita; 5-Bulletproof OneForecast: Bulletproof One is clearly the quickest filly in the field and seems the logical favorite, though there are a few in here that have beaten her in the past and her only prior outing over the deep Santa Anita main track was disappointing, albeit over a seven-furlong trip that probably was too far for her. A back-to-back winner over the Golden Gate Fields all-weather surface in March and training steadily since then at San Luis Rey Downs, the P. Miller-trained filly will once again try to take them as far as she can. Bella Vita gets tested on dirt for the first time and there’s no reason – at least based on pedigree – why she won’t handle the main track just as well if not better than grass. The S. Callaghan-trained filly failed to stay a mile when worn down late in the China Doll Stakes in March but is another that is fresh and dangerous and training extremely well over the local main track. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; at 6-1 on the morning line Bella Vita will be the better price of the two so we’ll press with her in the win pool if she closes anywhere near those odds.RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Heywoods Beach; 10-Instanbul; 11-Fire PolishForecast: Older maidens meet over a mile in a typical grass grab bag that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Istanbul, away since November of 2018, returns for J. Cassidy after a series of excellent drills over the main track and could easily be a better type now than when he was showing promise as a 2-year-old. The long-fused son of He’s Had Enough will be doing his best work from the quarter pole home, and with a decent pace to set things up he may be able to tag the speed. Worth noting is that he finished second to subsequent Santa Anita Derby winner Roadster in his debut and was a decent fourth behind stakes winning Bob and Jack and Grade-1 winner Omaha Beach in his only try two-turning on grass. Heywood Beach is progressing with racing for J. Sadler, lands the good rail, and projects to inherit an ideal ground-saving, second flight trip. The son of Speightstown continues to work well, so another forward move is likely, especially under outstanding grass rider U. Rispoli. Fire Polish is a big price (12-1) on the morning line and probably is worth using as a back-up or a saver. A first-time starter by Hard Spun and therefore bred to love turf, he’s done some sneaky good work in the morning for a barn that hardly ever wins with a debut runner but at the very least he’s worth checking out for future reference.RACE 10: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Sorriso; 8-Hapi Hapi; 9-U. S. Danger; 11-Desert SwarmForecast: The finale is a maiden $50,000 claimer for state-bred older horses and on paper looks like a raffle, so let’s take a few shots. Hapi Hapi returns off a long layoff for C. Lewis following a pair of non-productive but troubled outings last summer. In both cases the son of Clubhouse Ride got off poorly and never got untracked but he’s actually trained reasonably well for a maiden claiming type in recent weeks and could be a better sort after maturing over the winter and spring. Obviously, he’ll need to break with his field this time, but if he does the 3-year-old gelding could improve considerably, and at 20-1 on the morning line he provides a chance for tote-busting payoff in a race in which the favorites may be vulnerable. U. S. Danger is another huge price chance in a wide open affair. Unplaced in a much-troubled straight maiden state-bred sprint in December at Del Mar, the son of U. S. Ranger has more early speed than that race allowed him to show, so against this softer group he has a very good chance of outrunning his 15-1 price, especially if he gets out of the gate in good order. Desert Swarm drops into a seller for the first time in his second start off layoff for B. Koriner. The son of Desert Code returns to the main track and should be forwardly placed in a field without much early speed. The number he earned when fourth on turf last time out makes him a solid threat, but whether or not he can repeat that type of race on dirt remains to be seen. The second-time starter Sorriso was an okay third in his debut on grass, drops into a claimer and removes blinkers. The M. Glatt-trained gelding certainly has a right to move forward under the conditions.

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5.15.2020:

Friday, May 15: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies and Workout Report

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 12:30 PT. Grade: CUse: 3-Rager; 5-Drop the Chalupa; 6-She’s So Special; 10-Thanks Mr. EidsonForecast: The Friday opener is a wide-open, messy first-level allowance grass sprint with several possibilities. We’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics but even that might not be enough. Use as many as your budget allows. Drop the Chalupa graduated at first asking while earning a strong speed figure when beating a very good colt in American Code (see today’s ninth race). The class hike doesn’t concern us, but the switch to turf and the shortening to five and one-half furlongs are huge question marks for a gelding that apparently lacks positional speed. While closers can win over this course and distance, traffic trouble in a full-field could make his task problematic. We’ll put him ever so slightly on top, but not with any real confidence. Rager may be in the same boat. A first-time gelding with a maiden win and a runner-up effort in the Baffle Stakes over this course and distance, the son of Into Mischief can turn it on late but is another that could be susceptible to traffic trouble and/or a wide trip. If he’s fortunate, he’ll be right there. She’s So Special is a filly tackling the boys, but the P. Miller barn often does this. She broke her maiden sprinting on grass earlier this year, attracts F. Prat, and should be forwardly placed and free of trouble. Thanks Mr. Eidson is stuck way outside but earned speed figures as a 2-year-old that fit nicely with this group and is bred to move up on the lawn (More Than Ready). The J. Bonde-trained colt is pretty quick and projects to be in the first flight throughout, so at 12-1 on the morning line he’s worth including somewhere on your ticket.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Curvaceous; 5-Talia; 8-Queensbeccaandjane; 12-SpreckelsForecast: On paper this looks like another difficult challenge, a maiden $50,000 state-bred sprint for fillies and mares. Small ticket players wanting to cut down on this race should zero in on Talia, a 4-year-old finally making it to the races after a series of slow but visually pleasing recent drills that should have her plenty fit and ready. The daughter of Algorithms has done everything asked of her in the morning while consistently looking competitive in team drills, and while her workout times haven’t been fast she may be the type that will turn it on when turned loose. The barn’s go-to rider A. Cedillo takes the call and at 6-1 on the morning line the P. D’Amato-trained filly demands play both in the win pool and in the rolling exotics. If you can afford back-ups, consider the other three that are listed above. Curvaceous has recorded some decent clockings at San Luis Rey Downs and could have some run, while Queensbeccaandjane displayed good speed in a solo gate work (:46.4hg) over this local main track last month. Spreckels chased tougher in her debut and has a right to improve with experience. She’s worked decently and is a somewhat enticing 10-1 on the morning line.RACE 3: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 9-Tale of the UnionForecast: Tale of the Union was B. Baffert’s best two-year-old in 2018, but after winning his debut by eight widening lengths with a Grade-1 quality speed figure the $925,000 Timonium 2-year-old in training purchase was beset with a number of issues that kept him away for nearly 21 months. Finally, the now 4-year-old colt appears to have his problems behind him and recent workouts indicate the son of Union Rags is ready to pick up where he left off. Drawn comfortably outside, he can pop and go our stalk and pounce but at 8/5 on the morning line with the likelihood of going shorter there probably won’t be much wagering value to be found, other than as a short priced rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Stick Up; 3-Christmas PicklesForecast: A little will go a very long way in this bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. Stick Up returns cheap for the P. D’Amato barn and has back numbers that make her a strong contender at this level. The work tab should have her fit enough, so if the daughter of Suances leaves cleanly form the rail she should be within range and have every chance to earn her diploma. Christmas Pickles displayed brief early speed before faltering in her only outing vs. straight maidens last summer at Del Mar and could perform considerably better this time around, especially against this group. G. Franco is a live rider for the M. McCarthy barn and the works look okay, so at 10-1 on the morning line she’s a “must use.” None of the others inspire, so let’s try to survive and advance using just these two in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Heathers Grey; 5-Hollywood Girl; 11-Gypsy SpiritForecast: First-level allowance fillies and mares meet over a mile on grass in another contentious affair that contains several legitimate contenders. Heathers Grey has looked especially sharp in the a.m. for her first start in more than two months and we suspect the M. McCarthy-trained filly will fire a big shot fresh. Comfortably drawn inside and with excellent previous form over this course and distance, she retains regular pilot A. Gryder, and with the benefit of her rail draw she projects to enjoy an ideal ground saving, pace-stalking trip while offering good value at or near her morning line of 8-1. Hollywood Girl, away since last summer, has looked fit and ready in the a.m., and because she won her debut the layoff shouldn’t be any issue. A daughter of Giant’s Causeway from the Grade-1 winning mare Hollywood Story, she’s a half-sister to the Santa Anita Derby-bound 3-year-old Honor A. P., and with just three career outings has plenty of room for improvement with added experience and maturity. The barn’s “go-to” rider M. Smith takes over and will have her rolling in the final furlong. Gypsy Spirit, stakes-placed on several occasions in Europe, makes her U.S. debut as a first-time Lasix user with a series of good main track drills that should have her plenty fit. The extreme outside draw does her no favors but she attracts F. Prat, and with a good trip could make her presence felt from the quarter pole home.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Treasure Hunter; 9-Adens DreamForecast: Adens Dream has much in his favor and at 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower he’s the obvious horse to beat in this six furlong $25,000 claiming sprint. With the proven ability to win following off a layoff, the J. Sadler-trained gelding takes a realistic drop to his lowest level ever, lands the cozy outside post, and shows a steady, healthy work pattern for his first outing in three months. A two-time winner over the local main track with a low profile jockey who won him two races back, the son of Wildcat Heir should be on or near the lead throughout. For backup, you may want to consider Treasure Hunter on a ticket or two. First or second in eight of 13 career starts over the Santa Anita main track, the M. Glatt-trained gelding drops below his claim level, switches to A. Cedillo, and projects to have his chance from a second flight, stalking position. A bullet three-furlong blowout (:34 3/5, fastest of 15) six days ago should have him on his toes.RACE 7: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Csaba Momma; 4-Kayla’s Cowgirl; 5-Civil SuitForecast: The seventh race is a split of today’s fourth, a maiden $20,000 claiming sprint for older fillies and mares. Csaba Momma had a couple of non-productive outings more than a year ago during the winter at Gulfstream Park but returns for new trainer Peter Miller with a series of what looks to be a pretty decent work tab at San Luis Rey Downs and could easily be better than shown, especially against this group. She gets Lasix and A. Cedillo for a stable that does well with layoff runners, so at 5-1 on the morning she looks intriguing in a race that contains nothing but question marks. Kayla’s Cowgirl shows up in a seller for the first time and should improv enough to be a major contender. She’s pretty quick, and while the J. Wong-trained daughter of Will Take Charge has yet to show any desire to finish under pressure, she might find her confidence in this much softer spot. Civil Suit is another dropping to the bottom after chasing much stronger straight maiden foes in a pair of grass sprints earlier this year. She removes blinkers, retains V. Espinoza, and has figures that fit, so while her morning line of 3-1 is no bargain we still have to include her in our rolling exotic play.RACE 8: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+Single: 1-QuickForecast: Here’s where we’ll take a stand. Quick has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern, a lovely inside draw, and a healthy series of recent drills for the powerful J. Sadler/U. Rispoli team, so it all adds up to a pretty solid top selection. We know the added distance won’t be an issue – she won at a mile and one-quarter last summer in England – and both of her local outings at a sprint trip that was likely too sharp for her were actually quite good. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s worth using strongly both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play.RACE 9: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Big Mel; 6-American CodeForecast: The B. Baffert barn holds the aces in this maiden special weight abbreviated sprint, with American Code well-spotted to make amends after being worn down late at 3/5 in his debut in early March. The son of American Pharoah should be fitter and tougher with that effort behind him, especially at this shorter trip, and after continuing to impress in the morning with a series of powerful drills he’s likely to show his best stuff for a stable that hits with an impressive 26% with second-time starters. We anticipate that he’ll go lower than his morning line of 5/2. Big Mel, an $800,000 yearling purchase by Quality Road, absolutely can run as well. These two stable mates actually worked together on May 10 when they were both timed in 1:12 4/5, fastest for the distance, though ‘Code was going the better of the two and “won” the drill (but not by much). We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then have extra tickets keying American Code on top.

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5.15.2020:

Saturday, May 16: Santa Anita Late Pick 5 Ticket

As Slowhand put it, “Hello, old friend, it’s really good to see you once again.” Clapton probably didn’t have Santa Anita in mind, but WE do. It’s a reunion with a familiar companion, and it’s back to business in Arcadia. It’s the first Saturday back, and the late Pick 5 includes a couple of solid stakes races for California-breds. The exotic play begins in the sixth race and ends in the 10th. The $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for 3-year-old Cal-breds opens the sequence, and the $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies is the 8th. Here’s a capsule look at each of the races: Race 6 (Echo Eddie S., 6:06PM ET) Hopefully good fortune comes to those that drew toward the outside in this sprint. Big Sweep (5/2) and Phantom Boss (4/1) have enough speed to get into the pace-setting mix right off the bat. Big Sweep is taking on male rivals, but her only appearance was accomplished with flair, as she cleared after a half-mile and coasted. It’s interesting that her connections opted for this spot instead of the Evening Jewel for fillies. Phantom Boss won the G3 Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs from just off the pace, and a repeat of that would make him a solid player. He ended last year with a disappointing 7th at the favorite in the I’m Smokin at Del Mar. Race 7 (Optional Claiming, 6:30PM ET) Easy choice in Race 7: ALL. Such an evenly matched group of turf distaffers, and every last one of them requires some positive handicapping attention. Race 8 (Evening Jewel S., 7:08PM ET) This is a good example of having to decide when to get take a couple or go all in with many. Since the all button already has been utilized, that eliminates that choice in my way of doing things. Warrior’s Moon (12/1) is the price play as she’s been very close to similar company, turns back in distance and can benefit from the pace coming back to her. Warren’s Showtime (3/1) is in fine form with stakes wins in three of last four. Those were on turf but she’s hit the board on dirt as well and looks to have a class edge. Race 9 (Maiden, 7:38PM ET) The last two races are whistled down to two in each. In this one, it’s Leprino (5/1) and Dominant Soul (8/1). Leprino has been out just twice and showed major improvement from his 1st to 2nd start. In his latest, he faltered after setting a fast pace and still finished 4th. He’s clearly moving in the right direction in his career. A maiden win should not be far away – and there’s a good chance of it happening today. Dominant Soul an even 3rd through fast fractions, comes off his best effort and turns back to a mile from nine furlongs. Race 10 (Maiden Claiming, 8:08PM ET) Handsome Cat (6/1) and Desert Swarm (4/1) round out the ticket in this state-bred maiden-claiming event. Handsome Cat was 4th against maiden specials in a fast turf races, moves back to the dirt and should bein a good stalking position. He had a recent bullet work of 1:14 4-5 for six furlongs and looms a strong threat. Desert Swarm ran an even 4th last out but improved enough to warrant attention. He’s back to the dirt and drops out of maiden specials. The drop could be enough to send him home a winner. Here’s a suggested $56 Late Pick 5 ticket Saturday at Santa Anita: Race 6: #8 Big Sweep, #9 Phantom BossRace 7: ALL (7 horses)Race 8: #7 Warrior’s Moon, #9 Warren’s ShowtimeRace 9: #4 Leprino, #9 Dominant SoulRace 10: #4 Handsome Cat, #11 Desert Swarm 50-cent Pick 5 suggestion: 8-9 with ALL (7 horses) with 7-9 with 4-9 with 4-11 ($56)

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5.14.2020:

The Great Race Place, Again

When the word ‘Great’ is used as an adjective to describe you, you’ve got to be better than the rest. Way better. ‘The Great One’ Wayne Gretzky didn’t just score goals. He created them, like works of art. Lots of ‘em, too. Nearly 900. More than anyone else, ever. Instead of blank canvases Gretzky used sheets of ice. Sticks instead of brushes. Pucks not paints. ‘The Great Escape’ isn’t just a 94% Rotten Tomatoes-rated movie. The 1963 film is based on Paul Brickhill’s 1950 nonfiction book of the same name. No doubt, it would have been wonderful if merely one or two Allied POWs had escaped Stulag Luft III. But what elevates the caper to ‘great’ status is that an amazing 76 prisoners tunneled into the night. Astonishing escapes also were the domain of ‘The Great Houdini.’ To earn that lofty moniker, Harry had to do more than just pull rabbits out of hats. Pretend to magically ‘remove’ his thumb. Pull quarters from behind ears. No, he had to defy the odds. Accomplish the impossible. Escape from straightjackets and coffins. They call Santa Anita ‘The Great Race Place’ and there’s no more beautiful racetrack vista than the one presented beneath the majestic San Gabriel Mountains. None! But Santa Anita’s not just a pretty face. The roll call of horses that have performed on its stage is legendary. What’s also legendary is what occurred worldwide in 2020: COVID 19 arrived and drastically altered lives. Millions have suffered. And the anguish isn’t over. Not by the classic distance. To any of us that, gratefully, have remain relatively unscathed by the pandemic, resumption of racing at Santa Anita offers a valued distraction. Since late March, when afternoons at the Great Race Place were silenced, there have been no costumed Jay Cohen bugling calls to the post. No crowd roars through the stretch. No cashed and discarded mutuel tickets. No clubhouse corned beef sandwiches (without butter or pickles). Those that have experienced Santa Anita in person once yearn to visit again…and again. And we will. Eventually. Meantime, to those of us ‘safe’--cooped up in homes while sharing this novel experience ‘apart and together’--the resumption of spectator-less afternoon activities at The Great Race Place will be a welcome diversion. We gleefully will lose ourselves in evaluations of past performance running lines, construction of optimistic wagers, and watching as matters unfold a furlong at a time. Toward that end, here’s one man’s opinion of the late pick four Saturday at Santa Anita: Santa Anita Pick 4 –Saturday, May 16, 2020 As racing returns to Santa Anita, this initial late pick-four sequence appears to be difficult. Not that they’re ever simple, but because of the recent racing shutdown handicappers must navigate previously uncharted waters. Trainers, jockeys and horses are in the same boat. They haven’t been in action for a while either and it will be challenging for us all to get to full speed. Thanks to Thoro-Graph and Daily Racing Form for access to statistics quoted below. 7th RaceJust seven runners line up for this filly and mare turf allowance/optional claiming race and we’ll attempt to get through this first leg with three runners. #2 She’s Our Charm—Has inside speed to make the lead and the last two times she’s done that she’s won. She’s made only 4 starts (least of anyone in the field) and won 2 of them. A :59 3/5 bullet best-of-40 catches the eye. #5 Desert Oasis—Has won 2 in a row (out of 3 US starts) and both were with blinkers. She’s got great connections: trainer Drysdale and jockey Flavian Pratt. She’s also got enough speed to be in a solid striking position and has won off a similar short layoff. #7 Dogtag –Has to be respected off a 2019 Preakness Day stakes victory and a solid second last out. That race was her first start for trainer Richard Mandella from Chad Brown. She’s got speed to stalk and Rispoli is a plus in the saddle. 8th RaceThis is a real handicapping puzzle because so many of these are switching surfaces…either from turf or synthetic to dirt. There’s plenty of speed topped by #5 Bulletproof One and #6 Speedy Gigi. And they are not alone. If things heat up too much up front, look for #9 Warren’s Showtime to be closing late. #1 Smiling Shirlee—Ran the best race of her short career last out. She’s had time to recover, can be expected to improve and adds Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith. The rail sprinting never is a bargain, but the filly has a solid closing charge. She should run well. #5 Bulletproof One—Has plenty of speed and has won 2 of 4 fast dirt races. She’s also a two-time state-bred stakes winner—both at 2. If she repeats her last couple over synthetic at Golden Gate, she’ll be tough. #9 Warren’s Showtime—She wins races—4 of 7—but is 0-2 on fast dirt. She’s also untried at six furlongs. Her game is a mile on turf. Can she transfer turf form or is this a prep for longer, later? 9th RaceMany ways to go in this mile turf test for maidens. Here are a few options. #1 Heywoods Beach—Closed well for second last out at a mile and one-eighth. The cut back shouldn’t be an issue with Rispoli in the irons for trainer Sadler. The rail ought to be a ground-saving advantage. #4 Leprino--Did better last out at 42-1 and now adds Lasix for trainer Mandella. #6 Lemonade Stand—First-time starter for trainer Tim Yakteen lures top jockey Pratt (22% together). A steady series of works, including 2 notable moves add intrigue. Trainer batting just 3% with last 61 maiden 3-year-old first time starters and sire is 11% with first out starters. #11 Fire Polish—Has a nice series of training track workouts and draws dangerous Van Dyke to ride for trainer Neil Drysdale. Drysdale is 11% last 124 with first out maiden 3yos but 4 for 11 with debut turf runners the last five years. Sire Hard Spun is 9% first out and first-time turf. Outside post not a bargain but worth a look. 10th RaceA state-bred maiden claiming sprint for $50k winds things up Saturday. This, also, is a difficult heat to narrow down to a handful of contenders. #1 Hoop Dream—First time for a tag for 4-yearold off two lifetime races. The first was ok and fits in here. Blinkers go on. #2 Bodega—Sire’s offspring win at 20% with 80 starters. Trainer Brinkerhoff just 6% with first time 3-y-o maiden claimers. #5 Sorriso—Showed speed against state-bred maidens going 5 � furlongs on turf. #6 War Maker—Cuts back from six to five furlongs, he adds blinkers for his second start at this level. #11 Desert Swarm—Has been at contender odds in both starts and improved last out when moved to turf. Was that improvement the surface or is he getting better? Trainer Koriner is good with this kind and a cozy outside draw should put this one in a prime stalking position. #12 Jungle Roar—First timer from Jeff Mullins barn deserves respect in this weak field based on some solid works. Sire Animal Kingdom’s stats are better going long. Mullins is 10% out of 137 with first out 3-y-o maiden claimers. $.50 Pick Four Ticket ($67.50):7th Race –2, 5, 78th Race—1, 5, 99th Race—1, 4, 610th Race—1, 2, 5, 11, 12 Race On!            

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5.14.2020:

Thursday, May 14: Golden Gate 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 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Shanghai Truffles; 4-Buyback Forecast: Racing resumes in the Bay Area with a middle distance starter’s allowance event on grass for fillies and mares. Buyback invades from Southern California and is a first-off-the-claim play following a game win with a career-top speed figure in a restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming sprint. She’s moving up in class, stretching out, and switching to grass, and while we’re confident the M. Chew-trained filly will cope with the class hike and handle the added distance, her ability on grass is unknown. The good news is that she was produced by a daughter of English Derby-G1 winner North Light, so there’s reason to believe she’ll enjoy the lawn, and as the projected controlling speed, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man could be hard to catch. Shanghai Truffles also vans north from Santa Anita after being kept on edge with a steady recent series of easy workouts. She lacks a true turn of foot, but if the P. Gallagher-trained daughter of Shanghai Bobby can lay relatively close to the early pace she may be able to grind down the leaders late. The barn’s “go-to” Northern California jockey J. Couton (39% with a powerful flat-bet profit with this stable) takes the call. We’ll prefer Buyback slightly on top while including both in our rolling exotics. RACE 2: Post 1:15 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Bank of Many; 4-Charming Lass; 8-Rebel At Heart Forecast: Rebel At Heart seems well-spotted to graduate in the second race, a maiden $5,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares over five furlongs. Not a quick type but likely to settle just behind the leaders and then have every chance to seal the deal, the daughter of Kafwain removes blinkers and drops to the bottom for the first time. A good recent work pattern should have her on edge. Charming Lass plummets from the maiden $12,500 level and projects to be in a good pace-pressing position. She also shows a healthy recent series of drills and on speed figures is a fit in this league. Bank of Many brings the always-dangerous route-to-sprint angle and has a speed figure deep in her past performance chart over this track and distance that probably could win this race. We’d include her on our ticket as a back-up. RACE 3: Post 1:45 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Takes a Village; 4-Sassy and Hot; 8-Streusel Forecast: Sassy and Hot should be the solid choice to earn her diploma in this six furlong maiden $12,500 claimer for fillies and mares. With just two prior outings, the daughter of Stormin Fever has room to improve, and after missing by a neck while more than three lengths clear of the rest in a similar affair over this track in March, she projects as the controlling speed under J. Couton, who stays aboard for Southern California-based trainer L. Powell. The one to fear most is Takes a Village, who drops to her lowest level ever while owning several back speed figures that are better than par for this level. However, she is an 11-race maiden and has a history of backing up under pressure from the furlong pole to the wire, so while we’ll definitely include the daughter of Lakerville on our ticket she is by no means one to trust. Also worth using on at least a ticket or two is Streusel, a second-time starter from the J. Josephson barn. A willing third in the same race Sassy and Hot exits, the daughter of Smiling Tiger has a right to improve with that bit of experience behind her combined with an extra half-furlong to work with. RACE 4: Post 2:15 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Sarah’s Smirk; 2-Lydia O Lydia; 3-Real Keeper; 5-Westerly Way Forecast: The first leg of the Pick-6 is borderline inscrutable, requiring a substantial spread. Use as many as you can afford to. Waverly Way has been routing most of her career but in this new role as a late-running sprinter the Kitten’s Joy filly could tag the suspect leaders in the final furlong. In the frame in each of her last three starts and with speed figures that are better than par for the level, the T. McCanna-trained filly retains W. Antongeorgi III, who knows her well. Sarah’s Smirk returned off an eight month layoff to graduate gamely over this track and distance in a respectable maiden $8,000 affair that produced a career top speed figure, one that makes her a solid fit right back in this restricted (nw-2) $4,000 affair for fillies and mares. She needs to leave cleanly from the rail, and in a field that doesn’t contain many quick types she could be tough to run down. Real Keeper, away since last June, returns in a realistic spot for competent connections but shows an inspiring workout pattern that has a recent 26-day gap. Additionally, the barn has below average stats with layoff runners, so we’ll use her but not with a lot of confidence. Lydia O Lydia has a maiden claiming win here in late February that charts well with these. After being overmatched vs. nw-2 $12,500 foes in her most recent start the E. Moger, Jr.-trained filly drops to where she fits while retaining top rider J. J. Hernandez. RACE 5: Post 2:45 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Cape Point; 7-Constitutionaffair; 8-Strugar Forecast: Three Southern California shippers should get much of the play in this maiden-claiming $20,000 middle distance turf event, topped by Constitutionaffair for the high-percentage (44%) S. Callaghan-J.J. Hernandez team. A strong runner-up while more than seven lengths clear of the rest at this level down south in early March, the lightly-raced 3-year-old tries grass for the first time, and though his dam (by Street Cry) was unraced his second dam, a daughter of Giant’s Causeway, was a good grass allowance winner at Keeneland in a brief career so there’s hope that his colt will handle the sod just fine. In what projects to be a slowly run race, he should be able to draft into a lovely pace-stalking/pressing position and then have every chance to kick when asked to. Strugar is worth strong consideration as well. Originally a $900,000 yearling, the son of Hard Spun has had only two career starts midway through his 4-year-old season and is clearly being culled by the stable but based on the speed figure he earned in his debut in February over a mile on the main track the P. Eurton-trained gelding could be dangerous in his first start over a surface he’s bred to like. Cape Point, from the J. Sadler barn, drops to his lowest level ever, and though he has yet to hit the board in five starts his speed figures suggest he’ll be very competitive in this league. So far, the son of Temple City has displayed a one-pace style with no real acceleration but against this group he should be something of a factor. RACE 6: Post 3:15 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-Diamondsnchampagne Forecast: Diamondsnchampagne is a tough-as-nails sprinter who has been superbly managed by trainer W. Delia. Today she drops into an $8,000 restricted claiming sprint for fillies and mares that have never won two races for $6,250 or higher. This state-bred 5-year-old has won a total seven races in her career, all but one for a price below the cut-off level, so these conditions fit her perfectly. Regular pilot C. Martinez will have her on the lead in a field that she should be able to clear without undue pressure, and at this five and one-furlong trip with a record of six wins from 10 starts and with numbers that are consistently strong, the five-year-old daughter of Vronsky should simply pick-up where she left off. We’ll make her a logical single in rolling exotic play, including, of course, the Pick-6. RACE 7: Post 3:45 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Odessa; 4-Moonshine Annie Forecast: Odessa returns to grass after finishing a solid runner-up at this restricted (nw-2) $12,500 level on the all-weather surface in her most recent outing in early March. From the high-percentage J. Wong barn, the daughter of Acclamation shouldn’t have an issue with turf, and if given the patient ride she prefers she projects to inherit a comfortable mid-pack position and and have every chance to produce a winning late kick in a field that has ample speed signed on. Moonshine Annie, freshened since early January and dropping significantly to her lowest level ever, is a rather uninspiring 1-for-21 in her career on turf, but may get her confidence back in this league. She’s another that’s most effective with patient handling and given the proper ride could be heard from in the final furlong. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics, but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. RACE 8: Post 4:15 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Stand in Your Love; 7-Breakfast Ball; 9-Perfect Mood Forecast: Perfect Mood broke poorly, raced wide, had a bit of traffic trouble in the upper stretch and then finished evenly in her only prior outing while facing tougher straight maidens last fall. She was stopped on after that start but returns in a soft maiden $12,500 sprint with three six furlongs drills and then recent bullet three furlong gate drill (36 2/5, fastest of 27). The daughter of Idiot Proof – assuming she breaks well – should be on or near the pace throughout and against this group could very well keep on going. Stand in Your Love, in the frame in all three career starts and the likely choice and one to beat, turns back from a mile in her second start since being claimed by solid trainer D. Markle. She’s quick enough to be in the first flight throughout. Breakfast Ball didn’t run badly in her debut when a willing third in a fairly competitive race for the level. The daughter of Bayern has a right to move forward due to a healthy series of workouts since that race, so we’ll toss her in as well. RACE 9: Post 4:45 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Conquest Sabre Cat; 2-Studly Perfection; 3-Soberano Forecast: Conquest Sabre Cat is a Golden Gate Fields course specialist, having won three of five career starts over the local lawn, and though moving up from the $8,000 level this veteran Kitten’s Joy gelding seems well-spotted to regain his winning form. Guaranteed an ideal ground-saving, second-flight trip under regular rider J. J. Hernandez, the I. Tamayo-trained 7-year-old seems capable of wearing down the leaders close home. Soberano is a strong fit on speed figures but is winless in seven starts since being imported from France. Based in Southern California but a decent third when facing $20,000 foes here over the all-weather surface in early March, the T. R. Bell II-trained son of Elusive City likes to lag and kick home late and therefore would be happy to see a faster-than-par early pace. Studly Perfection is a first-off-the-claim for J. Wong (36% with this angle) and can be expected to improve significantly. The son of Majesticperfection, a winner on the all-weather in early February when defeating Conquest Sabre Cat, is re-equipped with blinkers, lands a good inside draw, and almost certainly will employ gate-to-wire tactics in this $12,500 turf miler for older horses. The surface switch is an issue, though, as he was last of nine at even money (speed/fade) in his only prior outing on grass vs. maiden claimers at Santa Anita a couple of years ago.

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5.14.2020:

Betting Santa Anita, Golden Gate, Churchill & Charles Town

The Betmix database allows horseplayers to pick and choose their points of interest through its Angler feature. That’s particularly potent when we look ahead to a weekly lineup that includes the potential return of four racing circuits that have been dormant since late March. How will the layoff runners perform at Santa Anita, Golden Gate Fields, Churchill Downs and Charles Town? With the click of a few buttons, years of past results can help clarify the most pressing question on the minds of horseplayers. Golden Gate Fields (re-opens Thursday, May 14) Golden Gate has been idle since March 29, a span of 6 weeks. We looked at horsemen coming off 6-11 week layoffs, considering horses in their form cycle when the meet ended could have been 4-5 weeks from their most recent race at the time of shutdown. Over the last 5 years, note the following trainers with GG runners off layoffs in that range: Richard Mandella 14: 7-3-2 (50% wins, $1.23 ROI for every $1 bet) Ari Herbertson 25: 10-4-3 (40%, $1.57) John Martin 174: 45-32-31 (26%, $0.72) Quinn Howey 49: 12-6-8 (24%, $0.87) Ryan Kenney 21: 5-2-0 (24%, $2.63) Patrick Gallagher 38: 9-4-10 (24%, $0.88) Holly Evans 28: 6-6-5 (21%, $1.26) Steve Sherman 120: 25-14-24 (21%, $1.23) Overall, favorites off of the aforementioned layoff time at Golden Gate Fields during the past 5 years have won at 36%. John Martin has hit with 52% of his favorites in these spots, while Manuel Badilla is a razor-sharp 13: 8-3-0 (62% wins, 85% in exacta). Santa Anita (re-opens Friday, May 15) Santa Anita closed after the March 22 card and has been away for 7 weeks. Our range researched here is 7-12 week layoffs to account for the shutdown and those who were within 5 weeks of a race at that time. Over the last 5 years, note the following trainers with SA runners off layoffs in that range: Bob Baffert 119: 37-18-25 (31%, $0.82 ROI for every $1 bet) Richard Mandella 118: 31-11-14 (26%, $1.25) Bill Spawr 98: 25-17-12 (26%, $1.35) John Shirreffs 70: 17-8-9 (24%, $1.57) Eddie Truman 34: 10-5-7 (29%, $1.23) Keith Desormeaux 57: 14-8-11 (25%, $1.14) Ben Cecil 27: 7-2-9 (26%, $1.62) Javier Jose Sierra: 27: 6-6-2 (22%, $2.20) Craig Lewis: 29: 6-3-3 (21%, $2.49) Peter Eurton 131: 27-14-18 (21%, $0.99) Overall, favorites off of the aforementioned layoff time at Santa Anita during the past 5 years have won at 36%. Bill Spawr (58%), Richard Mandella (55%) and Bob Baffert (51%) have been exceptional with the chalk off such breaks. Churchill Downs (re-opens Saturday, May 16) Racing at Churchill Downs was supposed to begin April 30, but has been delayed 2 weeks due. Consider the suspension of the 4-week Keeneland meet prior, and racing has been dormant in Kentucky since March 21 at Turfway Park. This meet will get an influx of horses from Oaklawn, which had raced through the start of May, as well as Fair Grounds, which cut its meet a week short on March 21. New York racing remains closed, so NYRA raiders to this meet haven’t had a venue since Aqueduct stopped on its meeting March 15. Our range researched here is 7-12 week layoffs to account for the shutdown since Turfway/Fair Grounds and those who were within 5 weeks of a race at that time. Over the last 5 years, note the following trainers with CD runners off layoffs in that range: Eddie Kenneally 32: 10-5-4 (31%, $1.19 ROI for every $1 bet) Jimmy DiVito 17: 5-2-2 (29%, $3.23) Al Stall Jr. 35: 8-6-4 (23%, $0.85) Tom Amoss 62: 13-9-10 (21%, $0.81) Kenny McPeek 39: 8-4-6 (21%, $.90) Rusty Arnold 51: 10-10-7 (20%, $1.12) Bernie Flint 25: 7-3-1 (28%, $1.50) Chris Richard 22: 5-3-7 (23%, $0.81) Overall, favorites off of the aforementioned layoff time at Churchill Downs during the past 5 years have won at just 29%. Trainers Bill Mott (57%), Al Stall (45%) and Eddie Kenneally (45%) have been the most reliable with layoff favorites. Charles Town (re-opens Thursday, May 14) Charles Town was forced to shutter after the March 21 card and also has been away for 7 weeks. Our range researched here is 7-12 week layoffs to account for the shutdown and those who were within 5 weeks of a race at that time. Over the last 5 years, note the following trainers with CT runners off layoffs in that range: Kevin Patterson 46: 21-8-5 (46%, $0.96 ROI for every $1 bet) James W. Casey 96: 22-14-19 (23%, $0.91) Jeff Runco 363: 80-67-55 (22%, $0.69) Tim Grams 87: 19-13-13 (22%, $0.93) David Walters: 83: 17-19-13 (21%, $1.22) Billy Davis 20: 7-1-0 (35%, $2.64) Gary Williams Jr. 24: 7-5-0 (29%, $1.47) Suzanne Dempsey 9: 4-1-1 (44%, $3.47) Michael Sterling 10: 4-1-0 (40%, $1.25) Narciso Cruz 14: 4-2-1 (29%, $5.01) Overall, favorites off of the aforementioned layoff time at Charles Town during the past 5 years have won at 42%. Kevin Patterson (57%) and Tim Grams (53%) have been most trustworthy with chalk on such a break. James Casey (46%) and David Walters (46%) also have been very effective with layoff favorites.

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5.14.2020:

Saturday, May 16: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

SHA TIN SELECTIONSSaturday, May 16, 2020First Post: 1:00AM ET on Sunday, May 17, 2020  Race 1: #9 Aeroflash, #4 Enjoyable Success, #2 King Print, #10 Sky Gem Race 2: #2 Colonel, #4 Comfort Life, #9 Dublin Star, #13 Jazz Steed Race 3: #4 Dream Warriors, #3 Have Fun Together, #9 Speedy Dragon, #6 Judy’s Star Race 4: #10 All For St Paul’s, #4 Heza Beauty, #2 Classic Posh, #9 Stunning Impact Race 5: #6 Chevalier Prince, #3 Casa De Forca, #9 Best For You, #2 Triumphant HorseRace 6: #9 Diamond Brilliant, #2 Cue The Music, #6 War Of Courage, #11 Good View ClaricoRace 7: #10 Tung Wah Glory, #7 Ever Laugh, #8 Cheerful Leader, #4 Alpha Hedge Race 8: #4 Enrichment, #1 Butterfield, #8 Uncle Steve, #2 Super OasisRace 9: #6 High Rise Soldier, #10 Team Power, #9 Ka Ying Excellent, #2 Taking AimRace 10: #11 President’s Choice, #3 Inner Flame, #2 Superich, #5 Mig Energy Race 1: Yung Shue O Handicap #9 Aeroflash is down to his mark and appears to be racing well for John Moore. He’s drawn to get the gun run for Vagner Borges who of late, has been in excellent form with three wins from the last two race meetings. #4 Enjoyable Success is racing well and is another, who gets the services of an in-form jockey, this time in the form of Antoine Hamelin. He’s been competitive this term and it’s only a matter of time before he secures another win. #2 King Print gets Zac Purton on for the first time. This booking alone warrants respect as the pair have been on fire all season together. #10 Sky Gem is proven and this race is suitable for him. Race 2: Tai Mong Tsai Handicap #2 Colonel struggled last start but he has shown glimpses of ability across his career. He’s drawn well and although Zac Purton hops off, he’s still shown enough already to suggest that a win wasn’t too far away, especially if he can reverse his last-start performance. #4 Comfort Life if anything is reasonably consistent. This isn’t an overly strong contest and he might just be ready now to piece it all together for his second win. #9 Dublin Star has been somewhat of a conundrum across hi short, five-start career. Still, there is something there and he does bear close watching. #13 Jazz Steed grabbed fifth last time out. He’s shown steady improvement and once again, should be able to advance further with that performance under his belt. Race 3: Wong Chuk Wan Handicap #4 Dream Warriors is honest and is a two-time winner already this season. He’s more than capable of adding another win to his tally here and the booking of Zac Purton signals intent from the yard. #3 Have Fun Together gets the soft draw and 10 pounds off thanks to apprentice Jerry Chau’s claim. He’s already striking at 50% with two wins from four Hong Kong rides and as a last-start winner, this gelding is a chance to give the youngster another win. #9 Speedy Dragon is more than capable of turning his form around the booking of Joao Moreira suggests there is a chance of this happening on Sunday. He’s a two-time winner who has won off near this mark before. #6 Judy’s Star mixes his form but has finished runner-up on three occasions. The penny is close to dropping but when that happens, is the question. Race 4: Wong Ma Tei Handicap (2nd Section) #10 All For St Paul’s turned his form around to grab second and he appears capable of going one better here. The booking of Antoine Hamelin warrants respect and it wouldn’t surprise to see him go one better here. #4 Heza Beauty has gone close a few times and he appears to have hit the ground running for a horse with only four starts next to his name. He’s drawn to get the right run. #2 Classic Posh is down to his mark and gets a suitable draw for Hong Kong’s champion jockey Zac Purton. It wouldn’t surprise to see him improve vastly. #9 Stunning Impact flashed home for third last start. He arguably could have won that day but nevertheless, does get a chance to atone for that performance here. Race 5: Wong Ma Tei Handicap (1st Section) #6 Chevalier Prince grabbed a close-up third on debut over 1200m at Sha Tin. He’s ready for the step up to 1400m off that performance and with even luck rates as the one to beat. #3 Casa De Forca is winless across 18 starts, but still, has been racing well and just might be down to a mark which can see him finally go on with it. If he can overcome the wide draw he’s in with a shout. #9 Best For You has gone to a new level as a two-time winner already this term. Again, he’s suited by the conditions of this race and is expected to be fighting out the finish. #2 Triumphant Horse is next best.   Race 6: Lai Chi Chong Handicap #9 Diamond Brilliant is unlucky not to have won another race this term having placed in each of his last four outings. He gets his chance here down the straight and the booking of Joao Moreira should afford him every opportunity. #2 Cue The Music has largely struggled since his initial win but still, he has ability and if he manages to showcase his bets down the straight he’s a chance. #6 War Of Courage is as honest as they come having never finished outside of the top three, including two wins. He’s racing well and his consistency holds him in good stead for this. #11 Good View Clarico is searching for his third consecutive win. Slight concern with Zac Purton electing to ride the top-weight while this galloper steps up to Class 3 but still, he’s in-form and is not without a hope. Race 7: Shui Long Wo Handicap #10 Tung Wah Glory gets in light with only 118 pounds on his back and off his last two runs, he’s shown immense ability. Karis Teetan takes the reins which is more than suitable and with even luck, he can add another win to his tally. #7 Ever Laugh is the classy veteran of the field with five wins from 33 starts to his name. Zac Purton takes the reins here and as a winner already this season he rates as a leading player. #8 Cheerful Leader has gone to a new level of late with a win and two placings from his last three runs. He’s racing well up in class and does appear to be up to this level. #4 Alpha Hedge won well three starts ago. He’s consistent. Race 8: Hoi Ha Handicap #4 Enrichment is looking to snap a streak of four runner-up efforts. He’s racing well albeit as a costly commodity and if he can continue his good form, he is a chance of finally scoring a well-deserved win. #1 Butterfield has come out of his Four-Year-Old Classic Series campaign well and appears to have another win in him before season’s close. #8 Uncle Steve turned his form around last start to grab third. He’s a talent and although he’s had his issues, if he manages to stay sound he is capable of going on with it here. #2 Super Oasis makes his first start for Ricky Yiu. He’ll relish every metre of the 1800m and although he probably is better over further, he can still make his presence felt. Race 9: Sham Chung Handicap #6 High Rise Soldier was nearing a win until his wide, luckless run last start. He can atone for that performance here as his form prior to that run, was nothing short of solid. #10 Team Power has hit the ground since arriving to Hong Kong. He won well last start and the inside gate should afford him every chance to score again. #9 Ka Ying Excellent is nothing short of consistent and he’s found another suitable contest here. #2 Taking Aim bears close watching with Zc Purton hopping up for Douglas Whyte. Race 10: Pak Sha O Handicap #11 President’s Choice is searching for his third consecutive win in the finale at Sha Tin on Sunday and he appears more than capable of getting it. He steps up to Class 3 which makes things tricky now but still, he does appear to have a number of ratings points still in hand based on the manner in which he has been winning. #3 Inner Flame is looking to put his last start woes behind him after winning three on the trot. He can atone for that performance here as long as he can overcome the awkward gate. #2 Superich struggled on the dirt last start but performed well prior on the turf. He can figure here with the right run and the retention of Zac Purton once again, warrants respect. #5 Mig Energy is next best. 

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5.13.2020:

Revisiting My Top 100 of the 20th and 21st Centuries

In light of the recent announcement that Wise Dan has been elected to the Hall of Fame, this seems a good time to revisit my list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America. Wise Dan is on the list. My Top 100, which is updated from time to time, was inspired by BloodHorse magazine’s ranking of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century that was announced in 1999. A distinguished group participated in the formulation of the BloodHorse’s list. The panel consisted of racing secretary Howard Battle, racing secretary Lenny Hale, writer Jay Hovdey, writer William Nack, steward Pete Pedersen, writer Jennie Rees and racing secretary Tommy Trotter. My Top 100 goes beyond the BloodHorse’s list in that I include horses to have raced in this century. Updating my Top 100 has become increasing difficult because of having to make room for horses to have raced in this century, such as Triple Crown winners American Pharoah (No. 15) and Justify (No. 25). I have Wise Dan ranked No. 83. The Kentucky-bred Wiseman’s Ferry gelding, trained by Charles LoPresti, won 23 of 31 lifetime starts and earned $7,552,920. Wise Dan was voted Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013. Morton Fink, who died last November, bred and raced Wise Dan. From time to time, I contemplate tweaking my Top 100. For example, I often think to myself that I have Seattle Slew too low at No. 8. But each time I then take another look at the seven horses ranked higher than him, I realize why my Top 10 is exactly the way that I have it. I have Dr. Fager ranked at No. 7. One of the reasons I don’t have Seattle Slew higher than No. 8 is, as great as he was, he never ran a race as good as Dr. Fager’s victory in the 1968 Arlington Handicap. You can watch that sensational performance by Dr. Fager on YouTube. Here is the link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wVBNbmcaAE Dr. Fager packed 134 pounds that day. Going into the far turn, he was only about a neck in front. Even though jockey Braulio Baeza had Dr. Fager under wraps during the last portion of the race, they won by 10 lengths. Dr. Fager completed one mile in 1:32 1/5 to chop two-fifths of a second off Buckpasser’s world record. Popular Arlington track announcer Phil Georgeff called that win by Dr. Fager. If you do watch the YouTube video, after Dr. Fager is galloping out after the finish line, you can hear Georgeff say, in almost a whisper, “Wow…This is a racehorse.” In 2006, when Baeza was visiting Santa Anita, I asked him what he remembered about Dr. Fager. “He was a great horse, a very competitive horse,” Baeza said. “He didn’t want to see any horses in front of him. He was a very energetic horse. He was a little bit hard to control. But he could punch a hole in the wind. I don’t know if any horse could ever have beaten him up to a mile. His speed was very deceiving because he had such a smooth stride.” The highly respected John Nerud trained Dr. Fager, whose 1968 campaign was truly one for the ages. As Charles Hatton wrote in the American Racing Manual, Dr. Fager in 1968 “was appropriately awarded Horse of the Year honors, which is the ultimate accolade, and excelled in more departments” while earning “more titles than any horse since the Daily Racing Form and The Morning Telegraph poll was instituted in 1936. Dr. Fager set and tied records from seven furlongs to 1 1/4 miles, slashing the world mile mark to 1:32 1/5 en route.” Dr. Fager never carried less than 130 pounds in his eight 1968 starts. I think it’s safe to say that is something we shall never see again. In his final start of the year and his career, Dr. Fager transported a whopping 139 pounds and won Aqueduct’s Vosburgh Handicap by six lengths. Left in his wake was no less a quality sprinter than Kissin’ George. In 1968, in addition to Dr. Fager’s Horse of the Year title, he was voted champion older male, champion sprinter and champion grass horse. No, I just can’t put Seattle Slew higher than Dr. Fager on my Top 100. I had a thought the other day. What about moving both Dr. Fager and Seattle Slew up a notch and dropping Native Dancer to No. 8? But when I then refreshed my memory as to Native Dancer’s career, I was immediately reminded as to why I have Native Dancer at No. 6 and ranked higher than Dr. Fager and Seattle Slew. If not for a narrow defeat when he had a troubled trip in the 1953 Kentucky Derby, Native Dancer would have been a Triple Crown winner and 22 for 22 in his racing career. No, I am not going to move Native Dancer down from No. 6. Man o’ War topped BloodHorse’s Top 100. He also is No. 1 on my Top 100. And it was 100 years ago this week that Man o’ War kicked off his 3-year-old campaign by winning the Preakness Stakes. He had been held out of the Kentucky Derby by Samuel Riddle because the owner felt the 1 1/4-mile race was too long and too early in the year for a 3-year-old. Riddle later changed his mind and won the Triple Crown in 1937 with War Admiral. I have no doubt whatsoever that Man o’ War would have been a Triple Crown winner if Riddle had allowed him to start in the Kentucky Derby. In addition to his Preakness triumph, Man o’ War won the Belmont Stakes by 20 lengths. Man o’ War won all 11 of his races as a 3-year-old. These were his record-breaking performances at 3: --On May 29 in the Withers Stakes, he broke the American record for one mile by two-fifths of a second. --On June 12 in the Belmont Stakes, he broke the world record for a mile and three-eighths by 2 3/5 seconds. This stood as the fastest 1 3/8 miles run on dirt in America for 71 years. --On July 10 in the Dwyer Stakes, he broke the world record for 1 1/8 miles by a fifth of a second. --On Aug. 21 in the Travers Stakes, he tied the track record for 1 1/4 miles. --On Sept. 4 in the Lawrence Realization Stakes, which he won by 100 lengths, he broke the world record for 1 5/8 miles by 1 3/5 seconds. This stood as the world record for 36 years until Swaps finally broke it. --On Sept. 11 in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, he broke the American record for 1 1/2 miles by four-fifths of a second. --On Sept. 18 in the Potomac Handicap, he won despite carrying 138 pounds and broke the track record for 1 1/16 miles by a fifth of a second. --On Oct. 12, in the final start of his career, he defeated Triple Crown winner Sir Barton in a match race by seven lengths at Kenilworth Park in Canada. Man o’ War broke the track record for 1 1/4 miles by 6 2/5 seconds. No, that’s not a typo. He actually broke a track record by over six seconds or by more than 30 lengths! Below is my up-to-date list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th and 21st Centuries to have raced in North America (in parentheses, when applicable, is where the horse ranked on The Blood-Horse’s list of the Top 100 Racehorses of the 20th Century): 1. Man o’ War (1)2. Secretariat* (2)3. Citation* (3)4. Kelso (4)5. Spectacular Bid (10)6. Native Dancer (7)7. Dr. Fager (6)8. Seattle Slew* (9)9. Count Fleet* (5)10. Affirmed* (12)11. Ruffian (35)12. Swaps (20)13. Phar Lap (22)14. Forego (8)15. American Pharoah*16. Buckpasser (14)17. Damascus (16)18. Round Table (17)19. Seabiscuit (25)20. War Admiral* (13)21. Tom Fool (11)22. Colin (15)23. John Henry (23)24. Zenyatta25. Justify*26. Regret (71)27. Exterminator (29)28. Whirlaway* (26)29. Cigar (18)30. Sunday Silence (31)31. Nashua (24)32. Alydar (27)33. Easy Goer (34)34. Curlin35. Arrogate36. Shared Belief37. California Chrome38. Gun Runner39. Bold Ruler (19)40. Equipoise (21)41. Gallant Fox* (28)42. Sysonby (30)43. Gallant Man (36)44. Assault* (33)45. Armed (39)46. Sir Barton* (49)47. Omaha* (61)48. Discovery (37)49. Northern Dancer (43)50. Ack Ack (44)51. Majestic Prince (46)52. Arts and Letters (67)53. Alysheba (42)54. Personal Ensign (48)55. Pan Zareta56. Sham57. Rachel Alexandra58. Stymie (41)59. Challedon (38)60. Busher (40)61. Gallorette (45)62. All Along (68)63. Coaltown (47)64. Sword Dancer (53)65. Noor (69)66. Grey Lag (54)67. Devil Diver (55)68. Dahlia (50)69. Zev (56)70. Native Diver (60)71. Twilight Tear (59)72. Riva Ridge (57)73. Ta Wee (80)74. Shuvee (70)75. Holy Bull (64)76. Precisionist77. Ghostzapper78. Twenty Grand (52)79. Tiznow80. Skip Away (32)81. Alsab (65)82. Point Given83. Wise Dan84. Azeri85. Lady’s Secret (76)86. Beholder87. Smarty Jones88. Susan’s Girl (51)89. Genuine Risk (91)90. Rags to Riches91. Landaluce92. Go for Wand (72)93. Cicada (62)94. Silver Charm (63)95. Bald Eagle (74)96. Slew o’ Gold (58)97. Hill Prince (75)98. Goldikova99. Johnstown (73)100. Exceller (96) *Triple Crown winner WORTHY HALL OF FAMERS SNUBBED Wise Dan was the only racehorse and Mark Casse the lone trainer elected to the Hall of Fame this year in the contemporary category. I voted for both. I also voted for three others who I believe should have been welcomed into the Hall of Fame this year. In my view, it’s just plain wrong that not enough of the other 166 Hall of Fame voters marked their ballots “yes” for Corey Nakatani, Kona Gold and, as I wrote last week, Rags to Riches. Corey Nakatani, who last Nov. 23 announced he had retired as a jockey, won 10 Breeders’ Cup races during a career spanning almost 30 years. With 134 stakes wins at Santa Anita, Nakatani ranks eighth on the track’s all-time list. All seven jockeys above Nakatani on the list are in the Hall of Fame (Bill Shoemaker, Laffit Pincay Jr., Chris McCarron, Gary Stevens, Eddie Delahoussaye, Alex Solis and Kent Desormeaux). Nakatani won more stakes races at Santa Anita than such other Santa Anita regulars and Hall of Fame members as Victor Espinoza, Garrett Gomez, Don Pierce, Mike Smith, John Longden, Sandy Hawley and Darrel McHargue. McHargue was selected this year for Hall of Fame induction this year by the historic review committee. Nakatani deserves to be in the Hall of Fame, as does Kona Gold, one of the best sprinters of our era. Masterfully trained by Bruce Headley, Kona Gold had the sustained excellence to start in five Breeders’ Cup Sprints, winning the 2000 renewal. The Java Gold gelding was voted a 2000 Eclipse Award as champion sprinter. Kona Gold earned $2,293,384, an especially large sum considering purses in stakes races for sprinters generally are considerably smaller than for longer stakes. Rags to Riches in 2007 became the first filly to win the Belmont Stakes in 102 years when she defeated future Hall of Famer Curlin in an epic renewal of the 1 1/2-mile classic. Rags to Riches is one of only four fillies to have won a Triple Crown race in the last 95 years, along with Hall of Famers Genuine Risk (1980 Kentucky Derby), Winning Colors (1988 Kentucky Derby) and Rachel Alexandra (2009 Preakness). To Rags to Riches’ credit, even though she raced just seven times, she won more Grade I races (four) than Winning Colors (three) and Genuine Risk (two). REMEMBERING TRAINER BOB MCMEANS It was with sadness that I recently read that trainer Bob McMeans, a very successful trainer in the Pacific Northwest, died on April 6. He was 82. In the 59-year history of Longacres, McMeans ranked third in number of stakes wins with 43. Only Glen Williams (57) and Bud Klokstad (54) had more stakes victories at the beautiful track near Seattle. McMeans managed to pile up all those stakes victories at Longacres despite never being close to having the largest stable. McMeans trained Firesweeper, one of the finest fillies in Northwest racing history. Inducted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame in 2011, Firesweeper won 12 stakes races at Longacres, the all-time record there by a distaffer. Captain Condo, a gelding who became a huge local fan favorite, was the only other 12-time stakes winner in the history of Longacres. At the inaugural running of the Breeders’ Cup at Hollywood Park in 1984, McMeans sent out multiple stakes winner Got You Runnin in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies. A young Gary Stevens rode the filly, who became the first Washington-bred to run in a Breeders’ Cup race. Got You Runnin’s Breeders’ Cup was over almost as quickly as it began. Shortly after the start of the one-mile race around one turn, Titalating and Angel Cordero Jr. came over in front of Got You Runnin. Got You Runnin stumbled when she appeared to clip the heels of Titalating. Got You Runnin did recover to race in contention for the first half-mile, but then faltered and ended up last in the field of 11 at odds of 31-1. Fran’s Valentine, off at odds of 74-1 and ridden by Pat Valenzuela, finished first in that inaugural BC Juvenile Fillies. But she was disqualified and placed 10th by stewards Pete Pedersen, Hubert Jones and Albert Shelhamer. The stewards ruled that Fran’s Valentine had interfered with Pirate’s Glow in upper stretch. Outstandingly, who was sent off at 22-1, was elevated to first. I got to know McMeans well during the 1970s when I was a writer and chart-caller at Northwest tracks for the Daily Racing Form. He trained another multiple stakes winner in Flamme, who became one of my favorites. A 20-time winner during her career, Flamme was inducted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame in 2016. Flamme kicked off her 3-year-old campaign in a division of the Seafair Queen Stakes on May 3, 1978. That was the traditional opening-day feature at Longacres in those days. “Flamme likes Longacres, which proves she is normal,” I wrote in the May 3 Seattle edition of the Daily Racing Form. “The exciting daughter of Drum Fire won three races here last summer, including the Broderick Memorial by eight lengths and the Mercer Girls Handicap by two lengths. Parenthetically, later on in the year at cozy Playfair, she punctuated her 2-year-old campaign by henpecking the boys in the Spokane Futurity, a race her dam, Jolly Pandora, won in 1970.” One of the reasons I became smitten with Flamme is I was in the crowd at Playfair in 1970 the day Jolly Pandora won the Spokane Futurity. “Wednesday’s Seafair Queen will mark Flamme’s first appearance under silks in 1978,” I wrote. “She can win this 5 1/2-furlong dash readily enough, if she runs her race. If she loses, we suppose it will be ascribed to her long absence from competition. But her pardonably proud trainer, Bob McMeans, advises that she has trained well for her sophomore debut. “Railbirds, a flock of them, tell us the same thing. They have been watching the filly’s morning exercises with absorbed interest all spring long. They say she is certain to be ready. They also say she is certain to win. But the only thing certain in horseracing is its uncertainty. “Flamme did show us some of her zip a couple of weeks ago at Yakima Meadows. Working between races in the afternoon with 143-pound exercise rider Donny Smith in the irons, the Wanapum Stable star stepped five furlongs in a sprightly :59 4/5, then galloped out six furlongs in 1:14 flat. Less than 30 minutes later, the stakes-placed sophomore Lew stopped the watch at :59 3/5 to win the sixth race over allowance company.” How did Flamme do in her 1978 debut? This was what I wrote in the DRF: “Flamme gave us another of her very moving exhibitions of poetry in motion last Wednesday when she utterly demolished her rivals in the second half of the Seafair Queen Stakes The 13,336 opening-day fans on hand saw an inspired performance by a wonderful filly. Flamme won at her leisure by nine increasing lengths. It was not a fluke, either. She paid $3.10. Actually, she won more like 1-20. “The following morning in the backstretch cafe, trainer Bob McMeans reported to us that Flamme ‘came out of the race just fine. She couldn’t wait to get to her feed tub.’ “For the Seafair Queen, the track was fast. So was Flamme. She was timed in 1:03 3/5 for 5 1/2 furlongs to tie the stakes record set by Gold Afloat in 1965. “Gary Baze rode Flamme. Baze said Thursday morning, ‘She can flat run. There’s not much more you can say. She’s probably the best filly I’ve been on so far. She does everything so easily.” Donny Smith was Flamme’s regular exercise rider. Smith typically was aboard the filly in her workouts. Smith told me one morning in 1978 that Flamme had “the best acceleration” of any Thoroughbred he had seen in the Northwest since 1970 Washington-bred Horse of the Year Turbulator. AN OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE 50 YEARS AGO Speaking of Turbulator, this Sunday marks the 50th anniversary of his record-breaking victory in the 1970 Yakima Mile. After Turbulator won seven straight from six furlongs to two miles at Playfair during the late summer and autumn of 1969, I was convinced that he was unbeatable. But when he lost his first two starts of 1970 during the Yakima spring meet, my confidence in him was shaken. My confidence in Turbulator was restored after he won the 1970 Yakima Mile with ridiculous ease by 3 3/4 lengths in record time. Larry Pierce flew up from Golden Gate Fields to ride Turbulator that day. Despite being far from all out in the Yakima Mile, Turbulator posted a final time of 1:35 1/5 and shaved four-fifths of a second off the track record. How terrific was his performance? That track record stood for 23 years until it was finally broken by Slew of Damascus. Slew of Damascus would go on to win multiple graded stakes races in California, including the Grade I Hollywood Gold Cup at Hollywood Park in 1994. Turbulator’s win in the 1970 Yakima Mile served as a harbinger of stakes victories to come. A descendant of the aforementioned Man o’ War and War Admiral, Turbulator won seven stakes races in 1970 while becoming without question the most popular horse to ever race in that part of the country. “Zoom” is a word often heard these days. Many people have been communicating via a video conferencing service called Zoom. And zoom is exactly what Turbulator did down the stretch on a warm August afternoon in 1970 at Longacres when he came from 12 lengths off the pace to win the Governor’s Handicap by a half-length. He zoomed his way to a world record that day. MY KENTUCKY DERBY TOP 10 Here is my current Top 10 for the Sept. 5 Kentucky Derby: 1. Nadal2. Charlatan3. Tiz the Law4. Authentic5. Honor A.P.6. Maxfield7. King Guillermo8. Sole Volente9. Ete Indien10. Cezanne THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLLS Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 385 Midnight Bisou (29)2. 313 Mucho Gusto3. 290 By My Standards (2)4. 200 Zulu Alpha (1)5. 187 Ce Ce6. 144 Tom’s d’Etat (1)7. 119 Maximum Security (7)8. 91 Whitmore9. 85 Mr Freeze10. 49 Code of Honor10. 49 Whitmore Below is the Top 10 for this week’s NTRA Top Three-Year-Old Poll: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 375 Nadal (19)2. 362 Tiz the Law (18)3. 327 Charlatan (2)4. 286 Authentic (1)5. 187 King Guillermo6. 152 Honor A.P.7. 112 Sole Volante8. 105 Ete Indien9. 71 Maxfield10. 58 Basin  

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5.13.2020:

Wednesday, May 13: Tampa Bay Downs 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: C+Use: 1-Happy Wanderer; 5-Completely Bonkers; 6-Tiz SamuraiForecast: The Wednesday Tampa Bay Downs opener is a challenging two-turn restricted $5,000 claimer for older horses. Completely Bonkers is unproven over fast conventional dirt, having just started just five times in a 41-race career on the main track, three of which came on a wet surface. He drops to his lowest level ever for a high-percentage outfit and has several recent numbers that are stronger than par for this class, so if he has at least one good one left the veteran son of Giacomo should be hard to deny at 3-1 on the morning line. Of course, in a cheap claimer like this, current conditions is everything, so what happened last time out or a few races back may not mean much. Happy Wanderer is facing his easiest foes ever but has never raced on a dirt surface. The son of War Chant lands the rail, has good tactical speed for a solid barn and should be forwardly placed and free of trouble every step of the way. Tiz Samurai is more than good enough off his best race but his recent form has been a bit below standard. From the strong D. Bennett barn, the veteran gelding is yet another racing cheaper than he ever has and seems likely to try gate to wire tactics. First or second in six of 12 career outings over the local main track and switching to top jockey D. Centeno, the son of First Samurai may be slowly rounding back to shape in what is his fourth start off a layoff. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Completely Bonkers.**RACE 2: Post 1:30 ET. Grade: BUse: 8-Faster Chi Chi; 10-R Kiss Em GoodbyeForecast: R Kiss Em Goodbye is listed as the 9/5 morning line favorite and seems likely to go lower in this restricted (nw-3) $12,500 claiming dash for older fillies and mares. The Gulfstream Park shipper just won a $16,000 (nw-2) off-the-turf sprint with a speed figure that far exceeds par for this level and from the high percentage G. Baxter barn the daughter of Adios Charlie can dictate the race flow from her favorable outsider under leading rider A. Gallardo. As a saver or a back-up, you may want to consider Feisty Chi Chi is a class-dropper with the always-dangerous route-to-sprint angle and a deep-closing threat if a faster-than-expected early pace materializes.**RACE 3: Post 2:00 ET. Grade: B-Use: 6-Imaginary Friend; 10-NaginiForecast: We’ll try to get by using just two in this maiden $16,000 claimer over a mile on grass for fillies and mares. Imaginary Frien returns to her claim level and looks capable of producing the last run if given the patient ride she appears to prefer. Her third place performance two runs back in a maiden $32,000 affair over this course and distance charts best against this softer crew. Nagini is drawn a bit farther out than is ideal but the daughter of Candy Ride, a closing fourth as the favorite in a similar affair last month, probably has a bit of improvement in her. With some help up front she could be the most effective of the closing types. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with the edge on top going to Imaginary Friend.**RACE 4: Post 2:30 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Branco Maria; 2-Onward; 3-FalkirkForecast: The main contention in this maiden special weight sprint for 3-year-olds is drawn inside, with top billing going to the Gulfstream Park shipperOnward. The son of Street Sense, exiting a series of much stronger races but a beaten favorite last time out, should greatly enjoy this softer assignment while adding blinkers for the first time. The C. Clement-trained invaders have been powerful of late and this colt’s natural early speed should make him tough to beat. Branco Maria is a first-timer from the M. Stidham barn with a healthy series of works to his credit, so despite his disadvantageous rail draw we’ll consider him a “must use” in the rolling exotics. A $385,000 Saratoga yearling, the son of Candy Ride may need more ground before showing his best, but could be live at this trip, nonetheless. Falkirkdidn’t get any play in his debut in a hot race at Churchill Downs in his only outing last summer but ran okay, lagging early but then finding his best stride late to finish a respectable fifth. He returns for I. Wilkes (strong stats with come-backers) with some nice drills at Lambholm South training center and with top rider A. Gallardo taking the call the son of Cairo Prince could be a much improved type this time around.**RACE 5: Post 3:00 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Beachtreasuregirl; 6-Premier Justice; 10-Langue LieeForecast: We’ll spread the fifth race, a mile grass affair for restricted (nw-2) $10,000 claiming fillies and mares. Use as many as you can afford to. Beachtreasuregirl seems as good as any, though her low percentage connections hardly inspire confidence. The daughter of Treasure Beach is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from her favorable rail post and though winless in five tries over the local lawn shows some decent local races that chart very well at this level. Premier Justice hails from a good barn and probably is a bit more dangerous than her morning line of 10-1 suggests. This will be her first career start on grass, and while her pedigree doesn’t suggest massive improvement is likely with the switch in surface she figures to be a late factor with her best effort. The rider doesn’t win many, though. Langue Liee is stuck way outside but is a contender after gamely beating maidens sprinting on dirt 13 days ago. She’ll probably be part of the pace throughout and could stick around for at least a share if the race-flow turns up in her favor. Use her somewhere as a back-up.**RACE 6: Post 3:30 ET. Grade: BUse: 4-Exclusive Donald; 5-EsorForecast: This maiden-claiming $10,000 abbreviated sprint offers is light in contention with Esor the obvious top pick. With steadily improving form, the son of Rattlesnake Bridge has dangerous early speed and rising speed figures, and at this shortened trip he may be able to shake loose early and keep on going. Exclusive Donald is a first-timer with good connections and has trained well enough to warrant a look in a very soft field. Trainer T. Hamm is solid with debut runners, so this Exclusive Quality gelding should be competitive, at the very least .**RACE 7: Post 4:00 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Sundrenched; 5-Classy of CourseForecast: Classy of Course, first or second in four of seven career starts over the Tampa Bay Downs turf course, has recent speed figures that fit nicely in this restricted (nw-3) $16,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares. She is most effective from a stalking position but can win on the front end as well, so D. Centeno can assess the early pace flow and adjust his strategy if necessary. Sundrenched may be the most dangerous of the deep closers and will appreciate any help she can get up front. Both of her career victories have been accomplished over the local lawn and after being reunited with “win rider” A. Suarez the daughter of Get Stormy looks very much like a major player.**RACE 8: Post 4:30 ET. Grade: C+Use: 8-Credit Cycle; 9-Bueno Bueno BuenoForecast: We’ll double the eighth race, a seven furlong restricted (nw-3) $8,000 seller for older horses. Bueno Bueno Bueno is most effective as a late-running sprinter and should enjoy this extended sprint trip. The I. Wilkes-trained gelding just beat a lesser field over a sloppy track after shipping up from Gulfstream Park and in fact both of his victories were accomplished on a wet surface, but he does have good form on fast going as well plus numbers that can win in this league. We’ll also include, at least as a saver, Credit Cycle, in the frame in his last four starts and with a right to fire another big shot despite making a negative jockey switch for a low percentage barn.**RACE 9: Post 5:00 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Uncork the Bottle; 4-Matty’s Express; 10-Valiant VirtueForecast: The finale is an intriguing starter optional claimer over a mile on grass that has several possibilities. Uncork the Bottle was stakes-placed on grass at Gulfstream Park two races back, and a repeat of that race today should be good enough. A distant fifth over the all-weather at Turfway Park in the Rushaway Stakes in mid-March, the son of Colonel John returns following a nice recent three-furlong blowout and picks up D. E. Centeno, so there should be no excuses as the morning line 2-1 favorite. Matty’s Express seeks his third straight score while moving into tougher company but has rising speed figures and three prior scores over the local awn. Like our top pick, this improved gelding does his best work with patient handling. Valiant Virtue will have to overcome the extreme outside draw, but after finishing a close second to Matty’s Express while battling on the pace throughout the First Dude gelding catches a field with a bit less heat and could be tough on the front end if he can clear on his own.**

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5.13.2020:

Thursday, May 14: Golden Gate Fields Mandatory Payout Ticket

As if Thursday’s return to racing at Golden Gate Fields wasn’t news enough, the fact they are having a mandatory Pk6 payoff with a 399k carryover waiting to greet handicappers puts a nice bow on the proceedings. So, let’s have a look at the sequence and some suggested tickets. Last week we had five a’s and one B at Gulfstream but couldn’t line things up for the 30k payoff, so here’s hoping we’re a bit more fortunate this week, with a pool that could easily reach $5 million or more. I’ll continue the trend of spending a bit more on the tickets, since such a big pool is looming, while also suggesting a budget ticket as well.*** 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 4 (5:12 ET): 3upfm 4k N2L at 5 � furlongsThe opener of a sequence that could have a huge pool seems to have enough speed to potentially set this up for a stalker/closer, so I’m looking at #5 WAVERLY WAY (7-2) on the cutback, especially since she’s been rallying stoutly into slow-paced routes. The stiff drop in class makes #2 LYDIA O LYDIA )5-2) the obvious gal to beat, especially since she drops stiffly in class after being thrown to the wolves for 12.5k while facing winners last time. I’m also going to use #6 TOOLEY TUNES (20-1), who also cuts back, makes her third start off a long break, and has improving form, plus she’ll be a big price, and should like the race flow as well.Pk6 A horses: 5,2,6 (listed in order of preference)If #1 SARAH’S SMIRK (4-1) clears, like she did in her easy MCL score last time, she may forget to stop, but it’s tough to envision that happening here, which relegates her to a supporting actress. The hot pace won’t help #3 REAL KEEPE (3-1), nor will a June layoff, but she is outside some of the speed, and her local runs, albeit with Hess, are sharp, though current Delia is 0-for-11 with his newcomers, so tread lightly here.Pk6 B horses: 1,3Potential B add ins: NONERace 5: 3up 20k MCL at 1/16 miles (turf)I’m not going to try and get too cute here, so I’ll just use the three California invaders—#8 STRUGAR (2-1), #4 CAPE POINT (9-5), and #7 CONSTITUTIONALAFFAIR (3-1)—who have the class, and call it a day, as one of the three should get it done, over a field that is weak, and have had their chances. As for the order, the MSW drop from a pair of SA dirt races is a big one, so Strugar gets top billing, while ‘Point has the turf form and might be loose on the stretchout, and ‘Affair won’t be too far off things early.Pk6 A horses: 8,4,7The top trio seem a cut above, and I don’t think using anyone else warrants the extra money, so I’ll leave it on the top line and be OK should someone else surprise, especially since the next best, #5 El Borracho (6-1), is 0-for-12 with no upside.Pk6 B horses: NONEPotential B add ins: #5 El Borracho (4-1), #6 Gold N Grand (10-1)Race 6: 3upfm 8k N2L at 5 � furlongsThere’s no doubt the one to catch and beat is #4 DIAMONDSNCHAMPAGNE (5-2), a seven-time winner who might be loose, but her penchant for losing ground late is a worry, so I have her second-best here. My top pick is #2 JENPIRESTRIKESBACK (7-2), who has the tactical speed to keep the chalk close enough early, drops in class, and has a ton of upside off just four lifetime starts.Pk6 A horses: 4,2I admittedly don’t know what to make of the comebacking turf runner #3 RIDE OUT THE STORM (9-2), but Wright is aces in these parts, the drop in class shouldn’t hurt, and she should have some pace to rally into, so I’m definitely intrigued, though if she runs 7th I wouldn’t be shocked either.Pk6 B horses: 3Potential B add ins: #7 Miss Lucky Lager (6-1), #1 Felony One (4-1)Race 7: 3upfm 12.5k N2L at 1 1/16 miles(turf)In a race with seemingly plenty of speed, I’ll try to blow it up a bit with #5 AMERICAN ROYALTY (12-1), who has bee running on the Tapeta but has some solid back turf form, and, as important as anything, has a stalking style that should appreciate the expected race flow. The much more likely winner is #2 ODESSA (5-2), who goes for a potent Wong barn, should be able to sit just off the speed, and probably wins this if she can run back to the close 5th at the level here two-back in January. Returning to the turf and stretching back out might help #4 MOONSHINE ANNIE (3-1) wake back up, and her three most recent turf races would put a scare in these, though you’re also allowed to wonder what went wrong in her last two.Pk6 A horses: 5,2,4I like the class drop that #7 SAY IT WITH ROSES (9-2) takes, and drawing outside some of the other speed helps too, but she’s been just awful in her three starts against winners, so I think she may be off-form, which is why she’s tough to trust, and thus down below.Pk6 B horses: 7Potential B add ins: NONERace 8: 3f 12.5k MCL at 6 furlongsNo real opinion here, other than I like the price and upside of #7 BREAKFAST BAIL (6-1) off an encouraging debut, so I’ll side with her the must-use group of #5 WHY THE LONG FACE (4-1), #3 BEAUTIFUL BABE (6-1), and #2 STAND IN YOUR LOVE (3-1).Pk6 A horses: 7,5,3,2If #6 SPIRIT LAKE (12-1) runs back to her debut, when she was 2nd by a neck, she has a chance here, and maybe stretching back out half a furlong will help, so she’s worth inclusion underneath at a nice number. The drop from the Cal-bred MSW ranks should agree with #9 PERFECT MOOD (6-1), who was a close 10th from a bad draw on debut and didn’t run as poorly as it looks.Pk6 B horses: 6,9Potential B add ins: #4 Endless Story (12-1), #8 Jazzy Einstein (5-1)Race 9: 3up 12.5k claimer at 1-mile (turf)The finale will be a big separator, as you could seemingly make a case for the entire field, and I’m going five-deep in the hopes of catching a price, but in reality, I’m more just simply hoping to get through should I be fortunate enough to be alive around 7:45pm. After reading the intro it’s pretty obvious I’m not taking chalk on top, and the value on #6 SOUTHERN THUNDER (12-1) is too good to pass up, especially since his turf races aren’t all that bad, and came against better, so here’s hoping the surface switch works. Don’t sleep on #10 CAROLINA ISLAND (10-1) either, who gets Desormeaux, is another with decent enough back turf form against better, and seems tactical enough to negate this bad draw a bit. The three favorites—#3 SOBERANO (7-2), #2 STUDLY PERFECTION (4-1), and #4 ELDRITCH (3-1)—all have their obvious merits and have to be used, but are also underlays with little margin for error, and the latter two have lost 13 straight, so none of the trio are overly enticing.Pk4 A horses: 6,10,3,2,4Pk4 B horses: If you’ve followed me in this space in the past this is usually where I tell you “If I can’t get through with five of them then I don’t deserve to win, so there will be no backups,” but I’m not that confident here. And that’s why I’ll also include #1 CONQUEST SABRE CAT (8-1), who drew perfectly and can trip out, and has back turf form to be a threat here, though he does rise in class.Pk6 B horses: 1Potential B add ins: #9 Gain Ground (12-1), #7 Robs Lucky Spirit (12-1), #8 King Eddie (6-1)The suggested tickets:Main Ticket: 5,2,6 with 8,4,7 with 4,2 with 5,2,4 with 7,5,3,2 with 6,10,3,2,4 = $216Race 4 B Backup: 1,3 with 8,4,7 with 4,2 with 5,2,4 with 7,5,3,2 with 6,10,3,2,4 = $144Race 6 B Backup: 5,2,6 with 8,4,7 with 3 with 5,2,4 with 7,5,3,2 with 6,10,3,2,4 = $108Race 7 B Backup: 5,2,6 with 8,4,7 with 4,2 with 7 with 7,5,3,2 with 6,10,3,2,4 = $72Race 8 B Backup: 5,2,6 with 8,4,7 with 4,2 with 5,2,4 with 6,9 with 6,10,3,2,4 = $108Race 9 B Backup: 5,2,6 with 8,4,7 with 4,2 with 5,2,4 with 7,5,6,2 with 1 = $60Budget ticket: 5,2 with 8,4,7 with 4,2 with 5,2,4 with 7,5,3,2 with 6,10,3 = $86.40

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5.11.2020:

Moni Maker Is The 'Greatest' Of Them All

Presumably, many voters in harness racing’s Greatest Of All Time Challenge weren’t born or weren’t old enough to remember a trotting mare named Moni Maker rise to prominence at the turn of the century. But the great ones – or in this case the greatest – find a way to transcend time. Be it by word of mouth, the written word, or the statistics that cover both, Moni Maker appeared time and world-record time again. Word traveled fast in the month-long, 32-horse tournament sponsored by the U.S. Trotting Association and Omega Alpha horse supplements. Moni Maker trotted past champion Muscle Hill, who earned a record $155,874 per start during a near-perfect career, to win in the finals by a 127-118 vote. “It’s so amazing that after all these years that Moni Maker’s name is still mentioned about how great she was. And, believe me, she was great,” said Hall of Fame driver Wally Hennessey. Hennessey was in the bike for most of Moni Maker’s 105 starts, first for trainer William Andrews as a 2- and 3-year old, then for Hall of Famer Jimmy Takter when Moni Maker became an international star. Moni Maker took care of the rest. She won the 1996 Hambletonian Oaks during an 18-race winning streak as a 3-year old, became the first American trotter to win the Prix d’Amerique and Prix de France, and she set world records in the 1998 Breeders Crown (1:52.3) at the Meadowlands, Sweden’s Elitloppet (1:53.3) and Denmark’s Copenhagen Cup (1-1/4 miles, 1:56.4). She beat the boys in the $312,000 Nat Ray Stakes to join the $5 Million Club. “She’s one of a kind,” said Takter. “She made several trips across the ocean and she beat everything at different tracks and distances. I’m proud to be a part of her career.” Moni Maker navigated distances up to 1-3/4 miles and eclipsed $1 million in earnings for four consecutive years until she retired at age 7 in 2001. She was named U.S. Horse of the Year in 1998 and 1999 and was inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame in 2006. She was owned by Moni Maker Stable (Frank Antonacci, Gerald Antonacci, David Reid and K R Breeding LLC) and bred in the U.S. by David and Fredericka Caldwell. Hennessey and Takter were most impressed by Moni Maker’s win before 40,000 fans in the Elitlopett at Solvalla Racetrack in 1998. She was parked first-over until forging to command on the final turn. She drew clear in early stretch, then held off the deep closers to prevail. “There was lots of room to get in the 2-hole, but I figured it was best to be over aggressive than to get trapped and backed down by the pace-setter,” said Hennessey. “I couldn’t have drove her any worse that day, but I had a lot of faith in her. When she got in full stride, she could go by anyone.” Harness fans got the message loud and clear, enabling Moni Maker to carry the popular vote through five rounds of the Greatest Of All Time bracket. Her final three challenges were against Muscle Hill, Niatross and Somebeachsomewhere, who – get this – were a combined 77-81 with nearly $9 million in earnings in their illustrious careers. Takter, now retired, knows how to measure greatness. He is widely recognized as the best trainer ever of champion trotters. He didn’t hesitate to rank Moni Maker’s place among his stable of stars. “Moni Maker is the real champion,” he said. “She can compete in any era. Her greatness never expires.”

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5.11.2020:

Most Valuable Pony (May 4-10): Halladay

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.May 4-10, 2020MVP: HalladayOwner: Harrell Ventures LLCTrainer: Todd PletcherJockey: Luis SaezPerformance: Sent off the 6-5 favorite in the May 9 $75,000 Sunshine Forever Stakes at Gulfstream Park, Halladay was in complete command from start to finish. The 4-year-old War Front colt notched his second stakes win, adding to his Tropical Park Derby score in December, and won for the third time in his last 4 starts. Halladay set a controlled pace under Luis Saez, quickened to an impressive third quarter in 22.57, and was never threatened in the stretch by Aquaphobia and stablemate Social Paranoia.On Tap: Now a 2-time listed stakes winner, Halladay likely will be tested for class as he finds his place among the middle-distance national turf scene. Turf miles in the East and Midwest likely are his seasonal targets. The June 20 Wise Dan at Churchill would be the first possibility to see Halladay reappear. With Belmont’s more immediate stakes schedule in flux, a forward look for goals could include something like the Fourstardave or Bernard Baruch during a potential Saratoga meeting. If Halladay is to ascend to a Breeders’ Cup Mile-type of contender by the fall, then races like the Woodbine Mile, typically in September, and the Shadwell Turf Mile at Keeneland in October, might be longer-range goals.Honorable Mentions: Trainer Todd Pletcher had another strong performance last week when Hyperfocus debuted a winner at Gulfstream Park on May 9. The 2-year-old son of Constitution overcame a slow start to finish strong in a 4-1/2 furlong dash. Also on the May 9 Gulfstream card, the Mark Casse-trained Tap It To Win returned to action for his 3-year-old debut with a sharp allowance sprint victory over older horses. The impressive Saratoga maiden breaker has been inconsistent, but eye-catching at his best. And finally, we dip into the American Quarter Horse ranks for the first time in this space during a light week of national action. Ain’t She Tempting crushed the competition May 9 at Remington Park in her trial victory for the $1 million Heritage Place Futurity. The 4-1/4 length victory over 350 yards was a superb follow-up to the Monty Arrossa-trainee’s win in the Grade 2 Oklahoma Futurity prior.

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5.11.2020:

Wednesday, May 13: Happy Valley (Hong Kong) Picks

HAPPY VALLEY SELECTIONSWednesday, May 13, 2020First Post: 6:45AM ET Race 1: #8 Junzi, #3 Galaxy Racer, #1 The Abraxas, #10 Jimson The Dragon Race 2: #1 Charity Wings, #2 Home Made, #5 Star Majestic, #6 SumstreetsumwhereRace 3: #2 Aurora Steed, #8 Fox Cheunger, #10 Exponents, #1 Victorious Leader Race 4: #9 Happy Tango, #3 Compassion Spirit, #2 Master Albert, #8 Thou Shall SingRace 5: #10 Dr Proactive, #2 We The South, #3 Winning Ways, #9 Daily Delight Race 6: #11 Star Luck, #3 Smart Leader, #1 Beauty Amigo, #9 Namjong SingsRace 7: #12 Split Of A Second, #1 Victoriam, #3 Telecom Puma, #7 Grade OneRace 8: #2 Cinquante Cinq, #3 Golden Spectrum, #7 Above, #8 BlastoiseRace 9: #3 Top Score, #6 Tangmere, #9 Happy Warrior, #2 Delightful LaosRace 1: Siu Ma Shan Handicap (1st Section) (6:45AM ET) #8 Junzi has proven to be a more than capable galloper on his day and now, in Class 5, he does appear to have found a suitable race. Neil Callan has won on him before and it wouldn’t surprise to see the duo combine again. #3 Galaxy Racer is consistent and has gone close on a number of occasions. He’s racing well down in Class 5 and from the draw he maps to get every chance. #1 The Abraxas steps down to Class 5 following two close-up runs in Class 4. His last run in this grade saw him miss by a short-head and if he can overcome the sticky draw then he’s capable of testing this bunch. #10 Jimson The Dragon draws favourably and has shown that he is ready to win. Race 2: Pottinger Peak Handicap (7:15AM ET) #1 Charity Wings won well two starts ago and remains in Class 4 following that success. He’s drawn to get the right run and is capable of winning his way back into Class 3 here. #2 Home Made is winless across 10 starts in Hong Kong after arriving from Australia where he was a two-time winner. Still, although he is yet to breakthrough for his new trainer, he has been racing competitively and he bears close watching in this contest. #5 Star Majestic is a grand old horse with 73 starts to his name and eight wins under his belt. He’s racing well for a nine-year-old and another win would not surprise. #6 Sumstreetsomewhere gets the services of Zac Purton. Chances are the Australian ace is hopping on at the right time but still, this isn’t an easy contest. Race 3: Siu Ma Shan Handicap (2nd Section) (7:45AM ET) #2 Aurora Steed has done enough across his short 10-start career in Hong Kong to suggest that a win was nearing. Joao Moreira takes over now for his main ally John Size and the favourable draw should ensure he gets every possible chance. #8 Fox Cheunger is capable and is a course and distance winner previously with Matthew Chadwick who retains riding duties on Wednesday. He draws a much better gate this time and he deserves respect in this grade. #10 Exponents has only won twice from 35 attempts but he rarely runs a bad race. He gets in with a light weight and he might be ready to jump out of the ground again. #1 Victorious Leader should relish the step back to Class 5 where he is a winner already this campaign. Race 4: Mount Kellett Handicap (8:15AM ET) #9 Happy Tango ran a blinder last start to finish a close-up second behind Hero Time. The draw makes life difficult here but if he can overcome it once again as he did last time, then he’s in with an excellent shout of grabbing a first Hong Kong win. #3 Compassion Spirit grinded to a tough first victory last start. He too, will have to overcome the tricky draw but does appear to still have a number of ratings points in hand. #2 Master Albert is a two-time course and distance winner this season. He rarely runs a bad race and this contest is within his grade. #8 Thou Shall Sing steps over to the turf after winning two starts ago on the dirt. He can make his presence felt with the right run.Race 5: Mount Collinson Handicap (8:45AM ET)  #10 Dr Proactive is much better than his record suggests and now finally with a good gate he gets his chance to score an overdue, second win. Chad Schofield takes the reins for Jimmy Ting and with a go-forward, positive ride, this son of Denman can go on with things. #2 We The South is looking for back-to-back wins. He turned his form around to surprise at 28/1 and although he won’t be that price on Wednesday, he does still rate as a leading chance. #3 Winning Ways is consistent albeit with only win to his name. He can finish around the mark again. #9 Daily Delight has plenty of upside as a lightly raced galloper.Race 6: Cheung Lin Shan Handicap (2nd Section) (9:15AM ET) #11 Star Luck gets in light with Alfred Chan’s seven pound claim and from gate one, maps to find the front with relative ease. He could run them along here and it wouldn’t surprise to see him pinch this. #3 Smart Leader has found his mark. He won well at his first run this season and since then has only been fair, until two starts ago when he missed by under a length. He’s drawn well and the booking of Joao Moreira warrants respect. #1 Beauty Amigo struggled from the wide gate last time out as he was caught wide early on. He can atone for that performance here, though, will have to do so from out wide once again. #9 Namjong Sings is winless. He does get in light and the inside draw is favourable.Race 7: Cheung Lin Shan Handicap (1st Section) (9:45AM ET) #12 Split Of A Second gets in light at the bottom of the weights. He’s racing well and the soft gate should give Matthew Poon every chance to position up close to the speed and shoot for his third course and distance success. #1 Victoriam has mixed his form this season but his best is more than up to this level, especially with a stack of weight to carry. Zac Purton takes over now and this contest is well within his reach. #3 Telecom Puma is much better than his record suggests but at times finds himself becoming his own worst enemy. If he can turn his form around he’s in with a shot because he does have plenty of ability. #7 Grade One is next best as a winner already this term.   Race 8: Ma Kong Shan Handicap (10:15AM ET) #2 Cinquante Cinq is unlucky not to have won more races than two, having finished runner-up five times across his 11-start career. He narrowly missed last start but in the finish gave the impression that the step up to 1800m on offer here would suit. The penny might be about to drop with #3 Golden Spectrum who finished a close-up fifth last start to drastically turn his form around. He bears close watching here, especially as his form prior to racing in Hong Kong saw him win a G2 at Doha in Qatar. #7 Above trounced his rivals two starts before coming unstuck at the Valley at his latest. He’s still on-the-up and this race is suitable. #8 Blastoise rarely runs a bad race and this should be no exception. Race 9: D’Aguilar Peak Handicap (10:50AM ET) #3 Top Score is racing well and is a two-time winner already this season. He’s proven himself in Class 3 and with even luck, he is capable of taking this out as his last run over this course and distance was solid. #6 Tangmere is shooting for a hat-trick of wins. He’s finally pieced it all together and he does appear to still have a number of ratings points in hand. #9 Happy Warrior is looking to go back-to-back. He steps back into Class 3 following that win and although this will be more difficult, he does appear to be holding his condition well. #2 Delightful Laos surprised at 59/1 on debut last start. That was a tough win and he rates as a chance off that performance.

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5.10.2020:

Sunday, May 10: 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: C+Use: 9-Bella Gianna; 12-Generic MarkForecast: As this is written, consistent rain is predicted throughout the afternoon in South Florida. We’re going to handicap the Mother's Day card under the assumption that there will be no turf racing and that the main-track-only runners will draw in. It’s possible that the rain will arrive late enough to allow the Sunday first race (at least) to remain on grass and we suggest you disregard our selections and analysis for this race if this turns out to be the case. In the opener, originally scheduled for a mile on grass, Bella Gianna seems likely to be the controlling speed; it’s just a matter of how far she can stay in front speed stretching out after a series of sprints. If she’s going to get the trip, it’ll be in her first time trying in. Generic Mark, purchased as a yearling for $150,000, had a couple of runs in maiden special weight races last year while earning speed figures that are much stronger than par for a bottom-rung maiden claimer such as this. The pattern is more than worrisome, as she is being tossed away on the cheap while returning off a 10-month layoff with a light, uninspiring work tab. Also, she displayed no early speed in her two outings, but at least she’s bred to like an off track. Assuming this race switches to a main track one-turn miler, these are the two we’ll be using in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Apache; 3-Three DeepForecast: Apache nosedives in class to the maiden $25,000 level after finishing fourth for $50,000 last time out in what was just her second start. This easier spot coupled with the stretch-out to a mile should produce a significant forward move, and her pedigree suggests she’ll like a wet track as well. Also, she makes a significant jockey switch to L. Saez, so with a clean break from the rail, the K. O’Connell-trained daughter of Khozan should have every chance to handle this modest task while on or near the lead throughout. On pure form Three Deep is strictly the one to beat but makes a significant negative jockey change (at this stage of his career, bug boy M. Fuentes appears lacking in strength and skill). We’ll use the son of Fort Larned on a back-up ticket or two but upgrade his chances should a late jockey change (not really expected) be announced.RACE 3: Post 2:07 ET. Grade: B-Single: 5-Sugar BoltForecast: This race originally was carded on grass. We’re handicapping this five furlong sprint under the assumption that it will be transferred to the main track. Sugar Bolt shows up in a seller for the first time and has the kind of early zip to be long gone at this level and at this shortened sprint trip, assuming she’s healthy. The spotty race pattern (off from September to December and now returning off a five-month layoff) doesn’t inspire confidence but she’s reunited with “win rider” E. Jaramillo and the work tab looks good enough. We’ll make her a somewhat shaky rolling exotic single in a race that should be treated with caution.RACE 4: Post 2:39 ET. Grade: BSingle: 11-More Than UnusualForecast: This race was originally scheduled for a mile on grass. We’re handicapping the race under the assumption that it will be transferred to the main track. More Than Usual drops to the bottom, stretches out to a distance he should like, has a terrific off track pedigree and has high percentage connections. He also has numbers that are better than par for this level. That said, we have no idea if he will remain in the race should it come off the turf.RACE 5: Post 3:11 ET. Grade: BUse: 8-I’m That Bird; 9-Flamma MammaForecast: Flamma Mamma drops to the bottom level, lands a cozy outside post, gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy J. Trejos and should have no difficulty coping with the anticipated wet track. She needs to get loose on the lead to have her best chance and the projected race flow suggests he’ll have a chance to do just that. I’m That Bird drops in class, turns back in trip, switches to the main track and has the pedigree to move up on a wet track. She’s never raced on conventional dirt (or an off-track) but her maiden win over the synthetic at Arlington Park charts very strongly here.RACE 6: Post 3:43 ET. Grade: BUse: 2-Carolyn’s Smile; 3-SwedenForecast: Carolyn’s Smile moves up from a maiden claimer but on pure numbers she’s the fastest filly in this maiden-special-weight race restricted to Florida-bred fillies and mares. Beaten a neck while almost seven lengths clear of the rest last time out, the daughter of Khozan shouldn’t have a problem with wet surface. Sweden ran very well over this course and distance two runs back when finishing third in a fast, highly-rated race. She faltered going two turns in her next outing but shortens up and makes a significant jockey switch to E. Zayas. Having been produced by a daughter of Unbridled’s Song gives hope that can move up considerably on a wet track.RACE 7: Post 4:15 ET. Grade: BUse: 10-Trev; 13-Take Charge DudeForecast: As of this writing we’re operating under the assumption that this race will be taken off the turf. If it remains on grass, disregarded the analysis. Main-track only Trev is a mud-freak and a winner of his last four, two of which were off-the-turf races over this main track and distance. Lucky for him the rains are predicted to come at the right time. However, he’ll have to deal with the equally fast Take Charge Dude, himself a three-time wet track winner and expected to draw into the race as a main-track only entrant. Trev is the quicker of the two so we’ll put him on top while including both in our rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B-Use: 3-Yodel E. A. Who; 6-Fortune Cookie; 7-Champagneonme;Forecast: Yodel E. A. Who returns to his claim level and can regain his best form over an anticipated wet track he should have no difficulty handling. The Creative Cause gelding has a good stalking style and projects to be in the fray throughout. Fortune Cookie failed to threaten as the favorite vs. similar last time out but is more effective at this seven furlong distance and seems capable of bouncing back. He switches to I. Ortiz, Jr., and will be running on late. Champagneoneme just won a similar affair in late March and if he can turn in two alike he’ll be a threat from behind.RACE 9: Post 5:17 ET. Grade: XSingle: 2-Frosted GraceForecast:. Frosted Grace is strong on numbers and the logical top pick. How we’ll do on an anticipated sloppy track is anybody’s guess and at 7/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower he won’t be offer a whole lot of wagering value, so you can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or just pass the race.RACE 10: Post 5:47 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-South Sea; 11-Front LoadedForecast: Front Loaded makes a favorable rider switch and moves to the outside in this $35,000 (nw-3) restricted claimer. A six-time winner over the local main track and twice successful on a wet surface, the Kantharos gelding should settle in mid-pack and kick home when it counts. South Sea, first off the claim for a barn that hits at a sensational 39% with this angle, has failed in five previous starts over an off track but has plenty of back numbers good enough to win and should produce a forward move in his first outing for S. Joseph, Jr.

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5.9.2020:

Saturday, May 09: 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: CUse: 2-Mayito; 5-Jack Beanstalk; 9-Traffic Trouble; 10-Sweet GiantForecast: Mayito has been a beaten favorite vs. slightly tougher maiden-claiming foes in his last pair, but he has numbers that are par for this level and with this drop to the bottom-rung the S. Joseph Jr.,-trained gelding is certain to leave as the public choice once again. However, in each of his five career starts, the son of Declaration of War has found himself within range in the final furlong but just doesn’t seem capable of punching it in under pressure, thus making him difficult to trust. Maybe against this group he’ll find his confidence but while we’ll include him in our rolling exotics he hardly qualifies as a solid pick. Jack Beanstalk is another money-burner, having failed as the chalk in each of his last three starts. The N. Casse-trained gelding will be forwardly placed throughout, and with L. Saez staying aboard he has to be considered a contender at 6-1 on the morning. Sweet Giant and Traffic Trouble, two-three finishers vs. similar over this course and distance last month, are solid fits on speed figures and both have a right to be factors. ‘Giant was 68-1 when producing a form reversal despite a poor draw and while stuck outside again the son of Giant’s Causeway won’t have to improve much to win. The latter picks up I. Ortiz, Jr. and will be running on late. In a race that looks quite chaotic, we’ll go four deep in our rolling exotics while otherwise sitting it out.RACE 2: Post 1:15 ET. Grade: BUse: 4-Breakthrough; 7-Full Send; 8-HyperfocusForecast: Maiden 2-year-olds meet over four and one-half furlongs with top stables (Pletcher, Ward, etc.) represented by runners with credentials to win right now. Full Send is quite intriguing as a debut runner bred to be very quick (Cajun Breeze) and from an excellent barn whose juveniles have run very well so far this season. With a bullet three-furlong work last month (:35 3/5, fastest of 38), this homebred speedster looks cranked up and ready to fire while being ridden by the barn’s “go-to” jockey M. Vasquez. There are a few others in here who look just as dangerous but at 6-1 on the morning line we’ll put the M. Yates-trained colt on top. Breakthrough is the first starter from the first crop of Nyquist and has done some good work in the a.m. that should have him plenty fit. The W. Ward babies haven’t lived up to expectations so far this season but at 9/5 on the morning line this $330,000 yearling purchase is certain to get plenty of play. Hyperfocus has a bullet half-mile drill at Palm Beach Downs last month (:48 2/5, fastest of 20) that catches the eye and is comfortably drawn outside while landing I. Ortiz, Jr. The son of Constitution is bred to more of a distance type than a pure sprinter but the barn hits at a strong 21% with first-time time starters and this colt is likely to show plenty of run.RACE 3: Post 1:45 ET. Grade: B-Use: 10-Midnight Marvel; 11-Dur a Cuire; 12-Cat LadyForecast: Cat Lady is listed as the 8/5 morning line favorite and has much in her favor except an extreme outside post position that she’ll have to deal with. Originally a $300,000 yearling, the daughter of Kitten’s Joy is being culled from the stable while dropping for the first time into a maiden $40,000 affair despite having decent numbers and finishing a good second vs. maiden-special-weight company two runs back. She really has little to beat here, and with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. the T. Pletcher-trained filly is the deserved top pick, her poor draw notwithstanding. Dur a Cuire, drawing just inside the favorite in the 11-post and showing a similar maiden-to-maiden claiming class drop, may be worth including as a back-up or a saver. She’s fairly competitive on numbers after finishing third vs. tougher last time out and, and because she brought only $30,000 at auction as a yearling her class drop is less troubling. She’s run well both on the lead or from far off the pace, so C. Landeros has the option to assess and then adjust to the race flow. Midnight Marvel shows up in a seller for the first time – always a good long shot angle - and had a decent sort of breeze around dogs on grass since being pulled up at the start last month. Hard to say if she can run, but at 15-1 she’s worth using on a few tickets as blow out possibility.RACE 4: Post 2:15 ET. Grade: CUse: 1-Algodonal; 2-Dana Grace; 6-Sand Drift; 10-Get RewardedForecast: Here’s a difficult $16,000 grass grab bag for older fillies and mares requiring a substantial spread in rolling exotic play. Sand Drift, in the frame in all of her recent outings and a two-time winner over the local lawn, has winning connections and should fire her best shot in her first outing in three months for a barn that has superior stats with layoff runners. She should have every chance to wear down the speed from her usual second flight, stalking position. Algodonal is guaranteed a good ground-saving trip from her rail draw and can be effective as the controlling speed or from a stalking position. Solid at this level and switching to the barn’s main jockey E. Jaramillo, the daughter of Afleet Alex has recent numbers that are better than par for this level and after a month off should be set for a top effort. Get Rewarded looked pretty good winning over this course and distance from a lesser group last month and with another forward move today the daughter of Get Stormy could be competitive. At 8-1 on the morning line, she’s worth including somewhere. Dana Grace was 41-1 when turning in a form reversal to be second while more than three clear of the rest and earning a career top speed figure in the process last month. Up a notch in class but certainly not out of element, the daughter of Mucho Macho Man may have found a home on grass.RACE 5: Post 2:46 ET. Grade: C+Use: 5-Caepline; 6-NenitaForecast: This bottom rung maiden $10,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares has very little in it. Ninita is a big price on the morning line (12-1) and is worth a close look if she leaves at close to that number. She has the route-to-sprint angle that we like plus a sprint speed figure over this track and distance earlier this year that would probably be good enough to win. She gets in with a feather thanks to the presence of seven-pound bug boy G. A. Martinez and is wheeled back on short rest by a barn that does this fairly frequently. Capeline drops significantly in class and is another sporting the route-to-sprint angle while trying dirt for the first time. She did flash some early speed last time out and could stick much better under these conditions. These are the two we’ll prefer but in a race like this nothing would surprise us.RACE 6: Post 3:17 ET. Grade: B-Use:3-Call Curt; 4-Riggins; 11-ReconveneForecast: This appears to be a stronger than par maiden $65,000 claimer for 3-year-olds over a mile on turf with several lightly-raced contenders appearing capable of stepping forward. Riggins was given a run in his debut vs. much tougher maiden special weight company and this class drop combined with the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. gives reason to believe that today he’ll be much more serious. The son of Liam’s Map should settle somewhere in mid-pack and then have his chance from the quarter pole home. Even when finishing a non-threatening eighth, the T. Pletcher-trained gelding earned a speed figure that puts him right in the hunt at this level. Reconvene performed admirably when stalking a hot pace, opening up on the turn, and then feeling the effects of the quick early fractions while weakening late to be third in a solid debut last month. The B. Perkins, Jr.-trained son of Summer Front retains E. Jaramillo and with a softer early pace today he should remain a strong factor every step of the way. Call Curt has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern after landing in the frame in a pair of turf sprints to begin his career. Bred to get the mile (Sky Mesa from a Maria’s Mon mare), the J. Avila-trained gelding retains E. Zayas, has rising speed figures, and is comfortably drawn toward the inside. He projects to be comfortably placed on or near the lead throughout.RACE 7: Post 3:49 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Fast Scene; 9-Envied; 10-CompensateForecast: Fast Scene makes her first start since last October but because she won her debut we know she can fire fresh, and after a series of strong workouts at Tampa Bay Downs she vans down for this open allowance grass sprint for 3-year-old fillies. A two-time stakes winner during a highly productive juvenile campaign, the T. Hamm-trained daughter of Fast Anna gets a favorable pace scenario that projects her as the controlling speed. There’s value at her morning line of 3-1 if you can get it. Envied has the opposite style – she’s a prototype late-running sprinter – and will need a faster-than-par early pace to aid her closing kick. If ‘Scene fails to see out the trip she’s the most likely to pick her up.Compensate is stuck outside but has improving numbers and finished a solid second in an overnight stakes over this course and distance in her most recent start. She switches to L. Saez and appears to have found her niche as a grass sprinter.RACE 8: Post 4:27 ET. Grade: C+Use: 3-Cat Gone Quick; 5-Louie’s KingdomForecast: Mixed signals here. Louie’s Kingdom was claimed back – always a good sign – by trainer L. Rivelli for $30,000 in early February but has been off for more than three months – not a good sign – while returning in a $16,000 restricted (nw-3) sprint for older horses. A repeat of his nice win over this track and distance in late December is good enough to beat this field, but with this type of shaky pattern we’re not really sure what we’re going to get. On the positive side, the son of Animal Kingdom attracts I. Ortiz, Jr. for a stable that has sensational stats with the first-off-the-claim angle. Cat Gone Quick earned a career top speed figure when graduating vs. soft maiden $12,500 foes last time out while on the pace throughout. He’ll need another forward move to be competitive on the raise, but the son of Gone Astray acts like a progressive type and could be dangerous right back.RACE 9: Post 4:59 ET. Grade: BUse: 6-Halladay; 7-Hawkish; 9-Social Paranoia; 11-Admissions OfficeForecast: Halladay returns to the stakes ranks after a confidence-building win in an overnight allowance race that produced a career top speed figure. The T. Pletcher-trained colt does his best as the controlling but can stalk and pounce as well, and in a race that projects to a have moderate early fractions the son of War Front should draft into an ideal spot and be well-positioned for another major effort. He’s unbeaten in two starts over the local lawn and has the makings of a highly-productive four-year-old. Pletcher’s “other horse” is Social Paranoia, who seeks his third straight score and likewise is fresh from earning a career top speed figure in his late-charging score in the Appleton S.-G3 in late March. Similar to Halladay, he’s perfect over the local lawn (two-for-two) and with good racing luck this thoroughly genuine and consistent son of Street Boss will be heard from in the final furlong. Admissions Office is a deep closer that might find this distance a tad sharp, though there’s nothing wrong with his record at a mile and one-sixteenth (first, second, third, in three starts). He’s reunited with J. Rosario, who was aboard this son of Point of Entry in his last win more than a year ago. Hawkish (10-1) should be included somewhere on your ticket based on price considerations. Capable of firing a big shot fresh, training very well for his comeback, and with numbers that put him in the hunt, the son of Artie Schiller likes the local lawn and may at least get a piece of it.RACE 10: Post 5:30 ET. Grade: BUse: 6-Battle of Blenheim; 9-Honey Won’t; 11-Shootin the BreezeForecast: Battle of Blenheim returns to his claim level after a series of good races vs. tougher, and if he comes close to repeating any one of several of his recent outings the tough-as-nails gelding should be hard to beat at 2-1 on the morning line. Most effective on the front end but having the ability to settle behind the leaders and make a run if need be, the son of War Front is reunited with I. Ortiz, Jr., who has won twice on him in the past, and with a bullet half mile breeze (:47 1/5, fastest of 37) just six days ago, this M. Maker-trained 6-year-old is the logical top pick. The late-running Honey Won’t, sixth in the same race Battle of Blenheim just finished second in, may improve if the pace turns up faster than normal. A two-time winner over the Gulfstream Park turf course, the W. Mott-trained son of Soldat switches to L. Saez and is fairly priced at 4-1 on the morning line. Shootin the Breeze, second off a layoff for G. Motion (strong stats with this angle), switches to J. Rosario, has a steady, healthy recent series of workouts, and seems set to produce another forward move. Based strictly on speed figures, the son of Hard Spun should be right there at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 11: Post 6:01 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Tap It to Win; 4-I’ll Fight Dempsey; 5-R Mercedes BoyForecast: Tap It to Win launches a comeback for M. Casse and has trained like he’s fit and ready with successive bullet workouts, including a solo gate spin in 1:00 flat at Palm Meadows late last month. The son of Tapit was very impressive breaking his maiden at Saratoga with huge speed figure last August but then performed poorly in two subsequent stakes races and was stopped on. T. Gaffalione, who knows him well, returns and should have this well-regarded colt in a good stalking position, ready to pounce to just behind the speed types. At 5-1 on the morning line he’s worth a gamble. I’ll Fight Dempsey graduated at first asking in pleasing fashion over this track and distance in late February but then at 50 cents on the dollar when stretching out to seven furlongs weakened in the final stages and wound up fourth without any apparent excuse. Back at six furlongs today, the son of Into Mischief tuned up with a bullet half mile breeze (:49.1, fastest of six) nine days ago and certainly is eligible to bounce back for the high-percentage T. Pletcher/L. Saez team. R Mercedes Boy, second off a layoff for a high percentage barn, has speed figures that are all over the map, but if shows up with his “A” game he could have some say in the matter.RACE 12: Post 6:32 ET. Grade: C+Use: 2-Trappezoid; 3-Peppi the Hunter; 6-The Queens JulesForecast: The nightcap is a tough one-turn mile for starter optional claimers. Old-timer Peppi the Hunter is fresh from a sharp score with a big figure vs. $8,000 foes and is protected by his low profile connections. He’s 9/5 on the morning line, and while he’s certainly a major player right back we’re inclined to spread the race due to the negative barn and jockey switch. Trappezoid, a closing third in a similar spot last month, earned a number when winning a $12,500 claimer two runs back that charts very well here and in a race that should have enough early speed to compliment his closing kick the son of Trappe Shot appears the most dangerous of the late-runners. The Queens Jules returns to dirt, shortens to a mile, switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. and has back figures that put him right there. He should be part of the first flight throughout and seems capable of sticking around for a long while.

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5.8.2020:

Friday, May 08: Jeff Siegel's 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