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10.15.2019:

Harness Highlights: Zacon Gio Romps In International Trot

Zacon Gio never raced outside of Italy before last Saturday. He introduced himself to the rest of the world in the $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway. Zacon Gio demolished nine rivals in the 1-1/4-mile test, winning by 3-1/4 lengths in 2:24.1. But the large and boisterous Italian contingent had to hold its breath until an inquiry against Zacon Gio for possible interference came back clean. “He has been good over (half-mile) tracks, setting records,” said winning driver Roberto Vecchione. “He never gets tired, except at the end today.” Word traveled fast about the 4-year-old, who arrived with a 20-for-29 record and a perfect slate in eight starts this year. He was bet down from an 8-1 morning line to 6-5 favoritism. The trip around Yonkers’ tight turns worked out favorably, too. U.S. hopeful Atlanta (Yannick Gingras), the 2018 Hambletonian winner, took the early lead, followed by Denmark’s Slide So Easy (Ake Svanstedt) in the pocket and Switzerland’s Uza Josselyn (Erik Adielsson) pressing soft fractions of :59 for the opening half mile and 1:28 to the ¾ mark. Zacon Gio was content to follow Uza Josselyn in second-over position, ahead of America’s second entrant, Guardian Angel AS (Tim Tetrick). “I was happy when I saw Uza Josselyn didn’t make the lead, because I could race behind her,” Vecchione said through a translator. Zacon Gio tipped around Uza Josselyn on the final turn, forcing Guardian Angel AS to go wider and triggering the inquiry that took the judges several minutes to review. Atlanta wilted in the stretch and Zacon Gio surged past to win going away. He paid $4.30 to win. “I knew at the three-quarters, when I tapped her to go, I was in trouble,” Gingras said of Atlanta. Slide So Easy slid out of the pocket to finish second at 22-1 odds and complete a $68 exacta. Canada’s Marion Marauder (Scott Zeron), the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown winner, padded his $3.2 million bankroll with a third-place finish ahead of Guardian Angel AS. Last year’s upset winner, Cruzado Dela Noche (Brian Sears) ran fifth. Zacon Gio became Italy’s third winner in 41 runnings of the international, joining Delfo (1977 at Roosevelt Raceway) and Twister Bi, who set a stakes record in 2:22.1 two years ago at Yonkers. Holger Ehlert trains the multiple graded stakes winner for Franco Giuseppe.

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10.14.2019:

Monday, October 14: Woodbine Mohawk Park Late Pick 4 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has an 11-race card set to roll featuring 2-year-old fillies battling in Leg 1 of the Harvest Series. My focus will be on the Late Pick 4 sequence which begins in Race 7.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-On The Ropes-Takes a good step-up in class but won in fine fashion in 3rd start here and there isn't an absolute standout in this race. So, will string along for another trip to the winner's circle.6-Superlative-Raced well in the back half after suffering a break in previous start. Will use at 8-1 in the ML and if the pace is quick enough this mare should be rolling late.7-Shes Got Pizazz-There isn't much gate speed inside so could leave to get the 2-hole behind #1 and stay in the mix down the lane.8-Blonde Magic-Interesting play at 12-1 in the ML, could win with the right cover and a decent pace. If Jamieson works a good trip, she could add some juice to the gimmicks at the least.Race 82-Kit-Best to respect chances even though she may need to find some cover. Jamieson has options and 5/2 ML chalk should be in the hunt and could win right back.3-Lady Natasha-Comes off two nice tries from the 9-hole and off those efforts should be bet with McClure. Is a use in a race without a standout but will be looking for first picture in eight starts.7-Coco Beach De Vie-Tried to come off cover after breaking stride in provious start. Looking for a more aggressive steer and appears to have the speed to pop at a square price.8-Shiraz Seelster-Comes off two flat efforts, but McNair takes a seat tonight. Three starts back, McNair from the 8-hole got her going down the lane to miss by a whisker at 85-1 in a quick mile.Race 91-Run Director-Filion should get a good seat without much trouble and look to make an early move to take control and not look back.2-Dream Together-Picked up first win of the year at this class last week and beat #1 from post eight. This mare has banked over $870k, so knows how to win, and is a good spot to score an encore.Race 103-Memo-Battled off a tough trip in first local start and just missed. This colt was mixing it up at the Red Mile with the likes of Greenshoe and other high caliber foes. Looks good here but is only 2-25 lifetime and now faces older.5-Odd Ball-Came off the bench with an even effort and was first time Lasix. Will respect the Drury-Aucielo combo and look for an improved effort after coming up short as a race time favorite.My Ticket Race 7) 1,6,7,8 Race 8) 2,3,7,8 Race 9) 1,2 Race 10) 3,5Total Ticket Cost) $12.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.14.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Wagering Strategies for 10/14/19

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 12:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Morning Cynn; 4-BellazanoForecast: Morning Cynn was beaten way off in a very hot, productive race at Los Alamitos, but against this much softer group the lightly-raced daughter of Paynter should be very competitive. A repeat of her race-before-last, a solid runner-up in a maiden special weight sprint at Golden Gate Fields, will beat this field based speed figures, and a recent bullet drill at San Luis Rey Downs for the high-percentage D. O’Neill barn gives strong indication that she’s set to fire her best shot. Bellazano switches to A. Cedillo and has back numbers that put her in the hunt. A distant runner-up in a similar affair at Los Alamitos last month charts well here so we’ll include her on the ticket as a back-up or a saver.**RACE 2: Post 12:59 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Tappin Honor; 3-Champagne’s On IceForecast: The J. Wong shippers from Golden Gate Fields have underperformed since the beginning of summer, so while Champagne’s On Ice looks fairly strong on paper in this maiden claiming sprint for 2-year-olds he, along with runners from this normally high percentage barn, can’t be considered trustworthy. Though the son of Soldat finished a fairly promising third in his debut up north last month, his stable mate, who was second in that same race, came down here last week as the favorite and was soundly beaten. We’ll use the gelding in our rolling exotics but at 8/5 on the morning line with a three percent jockey taking the call, he’s no single. Tappin Honor hasn’t done anything particularly noteworthy in the morning, though a bullet three furlong gate drill late last month indicates he has at least some ability. A little will go a long way in this shallow affair, so we’ll toss in the fresh face and hope that he breaks with his field from the rail. Tread lightly here.**RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Restless Rambler; 5-Awesome HeightsForecast: This six runner $40,000 claiming turf sprint has two main players and both should be used in rolling exotic play. Restless Rambler has 17 career victories on his resume but always has been most effective on dirt. He’s clearly the quickest of the quick over a course that favors speed, so even though this isn’t his preferred surface the P. Miller-trained gelding should be hard to catch under bug boy J. Velez, who was aboard when this son of Ghostzapper daylighted a starter’s allowance field at Los Alamitos last month. Awesome Heights, a three-time grass winner at Santa Anita, should draft into a stalking position outside and have every chance to inherit the lead if ‘Rambler starts to fade. A bullet half mile recent workout over the training track since raced shows he’s holding his edge.**RACE 4: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: B+Single: 2-Mucho Macho WomanForecast: Mucho Macho Woman was given a bit of a run in her debut sprinting on grass at Del Mar last month and with that effort behind her the R. Ellis-trained filly should get serious today. Bred for dirt and likely to improve big time with the surface switch, the homebred filly was impressive in a recent workout to indicate she’s fit and ready to show her best stuff. J. Talamo stays aboard and, assuming ‘Woman leaves with her field this time, should have her within striking range throughout. At 4-1 on the morning line we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 5: Post 2:38 PT. Grade: B+Use: 3-Zipper Mischief; 5-Three Ay EmForecast: Zipper Mischief is unproven around two turns but there’s no reason he shouldn’t be able to handle the trip. The lightly-raced son of Into Mischief has rising speed figures and a healthy recent work tab for a barn that has excellent stats in a limit sample with stretch-out plays. A sharp sprint winner two runs back in his comeback and then an unlucky runner-up in a hot dash at this level in his next outing, the B. Heap-trained colt seems likely to produce another forward move and resume his winning ways. Three Ay Em is worth including on a ticket or two as a backup. In the money in his last three, the son of New Year’s Day might get brave if permitted an easy early lead and has consistent speed figures that are par for this level.**RACE 6: Post 3:08 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Baby Gronk; 6-Truck SalesmanForecast: Truck Salesman is strictly the one to beat in this first-level state-bred allowance sprint. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding continues to impress in the a.m. and has numbers that make him more than capable of handling this task, especially at the projected pace flow. He’s probably a tad quicker than his main pace adversary Baby Gronk and may never look back if he can shake loose early. Baby Gronk has never been worse that second in four career outings over the Santa Anita main track and the W. Spawr-trained gelding seems well-spotted for another tough, consistent effort. His recent speed figures are strong, he switches to one of the barn’s go-to riders (T. Pereira) and he should be within striking range throughout. Preference on top goes to Truck Salesman but both should be included in rolling exotic play.**RACE 7: Post 3:40 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Storming Lady; 2-StylishlyForecast: Stylishly has won her last pair in visually pleasing fashion, but if you believe her moderate speed figures she’ll be hard pressed to stretch her streak to three in this second-level allowance grass dash for fillies and mares. The daughter of Speighstown has an ideal stalking style for this course and if she’s better than her numbers indicate – and we believe she is – the S. Callaghan-trained can pull off a mild surprise at 6-1 on the morning line. Storming Lady is a versatile sort than can win on the lead or from well off the pace, so V. Espinoza can play it by ear depending upon how the A. Marquez-trained filly breaks from the rail. In the money in four of five career starts over the local lawn, the daughter of Flat Out earned a career top number when she was the fourth nose on the wire in a good Kentucky Downs grass affair last month. Due to price considerations, Stylishly gets the nod on top but both should be included in rolling exotic play.**RACE 8: Post 4:13 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Big Barrel; 4-Buck DuaneForecast: Big Barrel earned a career top speed figure when easily breaking his maiden over this main track during the summer meeting but failed to duplicate that effort in subsequent outings at Del Mar and Los Alamitos. The son of Surf Cat drops to his lowest level ever, retains good bug boy J. Velez, and may be capable of returning to his best form now that he’s back at Santa Anita. The extended sprint trip – which is likely to produce a soft, comfortable pace flow, should bring out his best, as well. Buck Duane, nosed out in his last pair, should fire a similar shot, though his record over the Santa Anita main track – zero for 11 – is a major cause for concern. On numbers he’s a fit but his lack of a winning punch is apparent. Preference on top goes to Big Barrel and he’ll get most of our play in the rolling exotics.

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10.14.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Workout Analysis - 10/14/19

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.FIRST RACE*1-Thought I’dmissyouOct. 11, 20193f, :35.4Grade: B-View WorkoutNot asked for speed in short training track blowout, splits of :11.4 and :36 flat on our watches. Form is dreadful but this short spin wasn’t too bad for a cheap type.FOURTH RACE*1-Road RagerOct. 7, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: BView WorkoutWorked inside Tromador (same time) and was slightly best, no real pressure through the lane, splits of :24.4, :36.3, and 1:01.2. Quality Road maiden has some improvement in her.*1-Road RagerSept. 29, 20195f, :59.4hGrade: B-View WorkoutOfficial times reversed, actually was second best in company with Grinningeartoear (5f, 1:00.1h), breaking off a couple of lengths in front and then finishing head-and-head at the wire, some coaxing while workmate was going easier through the lane. Okay work, still a maiden but may be improving and should be competitive on either dirt or turf next time out.*1-Road RagerSept. 22, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: B-View WorkoutMaiden filly worked was ridden out through the lane, final three furlongs in a solid :36.3. Plenty fit and should return soon.*2-Mucho Macho WomanOct. 5, 20196f, 1:13.4hGrade: BView WorkoutBroke off a couple of lengths in front of First Star (6f, 1:13.2h) and managed to hold that one at bay in rather nice fashion, final 5/8ths in 1:01.3, not really asked late, a neck in front at the wire. Had a race at Del Mar and was no factor but seems likely to improve with experience.*2-Mucho Macho WomanSept. 21, 20194f, :48.2hGrade: B-View VideoFinal three furlongs in :36.3 without being asked much, okay move. Made little impression in turf sprint debut but probably has some improvement in her for Ellis.*3-Gold ArrowSept. 19, 20194f, :49.2h TTGrade: BView VideoComing back well for Drysdale (previously a Hollendorfer), went solo on training track without being asked, showing quick action while coming home in :25 flat. Been away since the winter (second in both starts), should be live vs. maidens turf or dirt.*3-Gold ArrowSept. 13, 20193f, :39.4h TTGrade: C+View WorkoutGot a bit warm in this solo training track breeze, hard held throughout. Showed ability last winter before being stopped on, needs more work. Now in Drysdale barn. SIXTH RACE*6-Truck SalesmanOct. 5, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: BView WorkoutLooked fine while breezing through the lane, final half mile in :23.4 and :48.4, plenty left late. In good shape, first or second in five of eight career starts.*6-Truck SalesmanSept. 27, 20194f, :48.3hGrade: B-View WorkoutBreezing throughout for O’Neill, splits of :12.4, :24.3 and :48.4 on our watches. In good form, should return vs. starter’s allowance foes soon.SEVENTH RACE*2-StylishlyOct. 7, 20194f, :49.3hGrade:View WorkoutJust cruising, final quarter in :25 flat, sharp and eager. Won her last pair in good style and maintains her edge.*4-SmoovieOct. 7, 20194f, :48.2hGrade: B+View WorkoutNever asked while finishing with some power, splits of :24.2 and :48.2, plenty left late. Seems to have found her niche as a turf sprinter.*4-SmoovieSept. 18, 20194f, :48.4hGrade: BView WorkoutWorked inside Pivo (3f, :36.1h) and was under a tight hold throughout while working from 3/8ths pole to the 7/8ths pole looking sharp. Maintains her edge.

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10.14.2019:

Build Confidence for Betting the Breeders' Cup

Confidence can be fleeting for a horseplayer. You handicap a card, think you’re madly in love and, by the third race, you’re ready to change your dating profile on Match. We’ve all been there. Confidence at its truest remains one of your best and most trusted assets playing the races. But false confidence can unravel everything. The Breeders’ Cup will bring us 14 tests of handicapping wit and varying confidence levels on Nov. 1-2 at Santa Anita. Your job between now and then is to assess the runners as well as your confidence. Which races are a sit-out, a small-unit play or a big-unit play? I’ll share the handicapping elements that impact confidence for me the most. You can certainly have your own categories, but try and utilize the process to zero in on your best bets for the Breeders’ Cup and beyond. CircuitsThe circuits you follow are the ones you know best. It’s not rocket science, but too many players diminish that fact for the sake of feeling more in-tuned nationally than they really may be. This isn’t a test of national racing aptitude; it’s a series of horse races in which to gamble. Knowing your circuit best means you can identify those horses that are both top-quality and overrated, likely more effectively than those horseplayers who follow other circuits. Find the good ones, weed out the overmatched ones, and feel free to attack the vulnerable. It’s your backyard. Own it. PacePace makes the race from maiden claimers to Breeders’ Cup Classics. Map out the pace scenario for the 14 championship events to the best of your ability. Where things look obvious – either very fast or very slow – gain confidence in the cluster of horses who may be advantaged by their known running styles. Pace handicapping transfers anywhere; it’s like a good defense in football. ProgressionThese are the divisional championships in American racing. Horses coming off of poor, or less-than-improving, efforts by their standards should be quickly discounted. You don’t see rebounders win Breeders’ Cup titles very often. The apples to oranges exception here is the Arc de Triomphe, where many backward appearances have turned about-face in the Turf. Your level of confidence with an improving horse should swell, and diminish with a horse who is not moving forward (or is moving backward). If you're not sure a horse is doing great and improving, it's a good chance he or she is not. And remember, tossing horses is about a 70-80% good move nearly every time just by the mere percentages. Err on the side of tossing...you're bound to be right even if for another, unintended consequence. Lack of progression just expedites the decision and strengthens your confidence. ImportsIf your level of confidence with imports is low (like mine), then you need to be more focused on the divisions where the imports don’t play the major role. This doesn’t necessarily mean all grass races are off limits. The Americans have performed very well in many of the divisions on turf, particularly the Turf Sprint, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Filly & Mare Turf and Mile. If you feel that international racing is your bag, then it’s a clear advantage over many everyday US horseplayers and should be high on your confidence meter. Know your strengths and weaknesses here and you won't be sucked into hype or negative press, the two elements the vast majority of Breeders' Cup import handicappers almost blindly fall back on, whether they admit it or not. The TrendsI've made a career following and publishing the trends in major horse races, so maybe I'm biased here. I know our Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Wager Guide will include many of the most important handicapping storylines that history has presented. Trends are very important in races that have a fixed calendar like the Breeders' Cup. They're not able to be passed over for the next spot and they're not able to be cherry-picked to best fit a particular horse in the barn. The date and conditions are set, and you can't peek into the racing office to see who's going and wait for another spot next week. You'll see over 30-plus years in the Breeders' Cup what has worked and what hasn't in most every division. Rarely does this put you on the exact winner; it's not supposed to. But identifying important trends and angles can eliminate a 14-horse headache and make it a 3 or 4-choice affair. Then put your traditional elements in play to handicap those remaining runners and your confidence should grow. In conclusion: Once we know the horses, we can study the individuals and establish how confident we feel about each race. But until then, get a sense of what you know best … and least … and prepare to be honest with yourself when it comes time to disperse your bankroll over 14 races.

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10.13.2019:

Sunday, October 13: Rosecroft Raceway Pick 5 Analysis

Rosecroft Raceway has a 13-race card scheduled with the feature coming in Race 11, an Open Handicap Trot with a $10,000 purse. The 0.50 Pick 5 sequence starts in Race 7 and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 73-Toms Titan-Tried a different plan, got on the engine and almost lasted, that makes the 8-year-old a use here.4-Dancing On A Star-In a spot to get a stalking trip and if pace is quick could close fastest of all.7-By A Time-Drops and looking for better in 4th start off a long rest, but is trip dependent and may leave.Race 81-Spinout-Last 2 trips were not the best but has been trying hard and now draws back inside, best to respect.2-Tidewater Titan-Seems to do best work when on the engine or close to it, can get sucked around and trip out.6-Pansformative-Won on Wednesday in a determined effort, now comes right back and could take another picture.Race 91-Makin Money Fast-Last raced on 9/22, but barn has been going good, a player if all sytsems on go.7-Dance On The Beach-Captured 1st win at RcR on 9/29, and comes off a scratch but like #1, beware if ready.Race 101-Jack Quick-Just missed from the 9-hole, steps-up but fits again and post relief should help chances.7-Beammeupscottie-Raced near the lead with quick fractions and nipped #1, should be in the hunt again.Race 117-Home'n Dry-Hasn't raced since 9/22, but if ready will likely leave and get the top or 2-hole behind #8.8-Fashion Smile-5/2 chalk won last week at this class from 8-hole as odds-on choice on the engine. May follow same script.My Ticket Race 7) 3,4,7 Race 8) 1,2,6 Race 9) 1,7 Race 10) 1,7 Race 11)  7,8Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.13.2019:

Sunday, October 13: 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.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 12:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-High VelocityForecast: High Velocity has trained like a quick colt and looks ready to win at first asking for the B. Baffert barn, which clicks at an amazing 42% with first-time starters. This $350,000 yearling purchase by Quality Road is listed at even money for a reason – he appears to be a standout in this maiden special weight dash for juveniles that attracted only six entrants. There’s no value to be found here, so your choice is to make ‘Velocity a short-price rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 2: Post 1:00 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-ShandlingForecast: Shandling is listed at 8-1 on the morning line in this maiden special weight turf sprint for older horses. We doubt you’ll get it. The son of Distorted Humor finally makes it to the post after bringing $150,000 at the Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old in training sale back in 2018, and his workouts, both at San Luis Rey Downs and at Santa Anita, show this gelding is fit and ready. Though he most certainly is blessed with early speed, the P. D’Amato-trained 3-year-old has been trained to rally around horses, so whatever race flow develops he should be able to cope with it. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: B+Use: 3-Honor A. P; 5-Eel Point; 9-Eddy ForeverForecast: This is a fairly strong maiden main track mile affair for juveniles with several that own stakes potential. Eel Point closed a considerable amount of ground after breaking slowly in his sprint debut and since then has trained very well, much better in fact than he did prior to his first outing. The son of Into Mischief retains bug boy Diaz and should produce a significant forward move, one that makes him very dangerous at 12-1 morning line. We’ll use him in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play. Honor A. P. and Eddy Forever are both talented colts as well and probably should also be included on your ticket. The former closed with purpose to be a strong runner-up in his debut at Del Mar and has trained steadily since, while the latter switches to dirt for the first time and is bred to improve with the change in surface.RACE 4: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: XSingle: 7-Absolutely PerfectForecast: Absolutely Perfect turned in a solid third place performance in her sprint comeback at Del Mar in August, shows a healthy work tab since, and seems ready to regain her winning form while stretching out to a distance she’s proven she can handle. The daughter of Vronsky retains Prat for a barn that has strong stats with second-off-layoff runners, so we’re expecting the D. Blacker-trained 4-year-old to settle into a stalking position and then have every chance to exert her superiority from the quarter pole home. However, at 6/5 on the morning line, there’s not much we can do with her other than to single her in rolling exotic play.RACE 5: Post 2:37 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Love of Art; 5-Princess DorianForecast: We’ll try to get by using just two in this $10,000 claiming miler for fillies and mares. Love of Art is a three-time winner in good form for J. Metz and can score again if she can repeat her Los Alamitos performance from last month against this similar group. Bug boy Velez, who was aboard for her most recent win, should have her within range throughout. Princess Dorian, first off the claim for A. Lerner (26% with this angle), plummets from $20,000 to $10,000, not a healthy sign. But if the daughter of Idiot Proof has at least one good one left she can certainly win in this league, and in her first start over a distance of ground she could easily get loose on the lead and never look back.RACE 6: Post 3:12 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Grinningeartoear; 10-Apache PassForecast: Apache Pass missed as the favorite in her debut sprinting on turf in August but we’re willing to give the daughter of Paddy O’Prado a second chance. She continues to impress in the morning for M. Glatt, adds blinkers, and switches to hot-riding A. Cedillo. We’re expecting to see here display a lot more early speed and draft into an ideal pace-stalking or pressing position outside. Grinningeartoear may be the quickest of the quick, having cut out good fractions in her debut at Los Alamitos last July before fading late and then being vanned off after she noticeably bled. She trains like she’s over that problem, so with R. Bejarano staying aboard, she’s highly-likely to stick around a whole lot longer. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Apache Pass on top.RACE 7: Post 3:47 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Shedaresthedevil; 4-Leucothea; 6-EclairForecast: This year’s edition of the Anoakia Stakes for juvenile fillies came up quite contentious, so you probably should include as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Shedaresthedevil couldn’t stay a mile when tried in the Juvenile Fillies Turf Stakes at Del Mar last month but today she returns to the main track, shortens to her preferred trip, and adds blinkers. Assuming she leaves cleanly from the rail, F. Prat should have her within striking range throughout. Leucothea earned a speed figure at Del Mar when breaking her maiden for a high price tag that would win this. Whether or not she can reproduce that form after two subsequent disastrous outings is questionable, but we’ll have her somewhere on our ticket. Eclair is learning to rate and from her outside post should inherit a cozy stalking journey. On numbers she’s in very tough but based on recent workouts she’s certainly appears capable of improving. Toss her in as a saver, at least.RACE 8: Post 4:19 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-South West Bay; 3-Unbroken StarForecast: Unbroken Star tries turf for the first time after finishing a solid runner-up in a similar main track affair at Del Mar in mid-August. The lightly-raced son of Broken Vow sports a steady, healthy series of recent works, and seems likely to produce a good forward move with J. Talamo staying aboard for the M. Puype barn. South West Bay broke his maiden sprinting at Saratoga in late July and makes his first start since for new connections. He’s almost certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics and if he can shake loose early without undue pressure the English-bred gelding could take the field a very long way. We’ll prefer Unbroken Star on top but include both in our rolling exotics.

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10.13.2019:

Sunday, October 13: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.FIRST RACE3-Malibu StarOct. 9, 20193f, :36.3hGrade: B-Slightly second best outside High Velocity (same time), both going easily while working from quarter pole out to 7/8 pole. Giant’s Causeway colt has bit of run, should be fit enough by now.3-Malibu StarSept. 19, 20195f, 1:01.1hgGrade: B-Gate drill with Baffert barn mate Crazy Speighty (same time) and appeared a tad best, asked hard leaving the gate and then taken in hand, was asked a bit again on the turn and then finished steadily, splits of :24.3, :48.3 and 1:01.2 before coasting to the wire in 1:17 flat. $450,000 yearling probably a distance type, certainly bred to be (Giant’s Causeway). Grass an option as well.5-High VelocityOct. 9, 20193f, :36.4Grade: BEasily inside Malibu Star (same time) while working from quarter pole out to the 7/8 pole, splits of :24.2 and :37 flat on our watches, able to go much faster if permitted. Definitely has some run, good mover for top barn.5-High VelocityOct. 3, 20194f, :46.3hGrade:View WorkoutWas let roll from the gate and flashed good speed, :34.4 and :46.3 on our watches, mostly in hand in the final stages. Quality Road juvenile colt brought $350,000 as a yearling, looks the part.SECOND RACE3-DeuceSept. 29, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: BCaught the final quarter mile in :24 flat while ridden through the lane, decent sort of finish for Hofmans. Might be dangerous with a class drop.ShandlingOct. 6, 20195f, 1:03.2h TTGrade: B+Maiden gelding trailed Jodie Faster and Lucky Ms. Jones (both 5f, 1:04.4h TT) to the top of the lane, then angled wide and swept on by as much best while under a strong hold, never permitted to show his best abilities. Was impressive in the 2018 March Sale preview session and brought $150,000 but never made it to the post until today. Looks to have more than enough talent to act with straight maidens.7-InquisiteurSept. 13, 20196f, 1:14hGrade: BWorked inside United (7f, 1:26.4h, out to 7/8 pole) and held his own, no real pressure thru the lane, up at the wire, a tad second best. Unraced 3yo Tiznow gelding is a route-type and should make the entries soon for Mandella.11-TromadorOct. 7, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: B-A tad second best but went well enough outside Road Rager (same time), splits of :24.4, :36.3 and 1:01.2, mild coaxing through the lane. Coming around and should make the entries soon.11-TromadorSept. 30, 20194f, :48.3Grade: BBroke off about four lengths in front of Beautiful Thunder (4f, :48.3h), showed some greeness when switching to outside lead before straightening for home and held that one safely in the final furlong, finishing a length clear at the wire under very light coaxing only while looking strong in the final stages. Exchange Rate unraced 2-year-old should be more than fit enough by now.11-TromadorSept. 25, 20196f, 1:15.2hGrade: C+In company with Go Daddy Go (6f, 1:15.4h) and was best by a couple of lengths at the wire, splits of :24 flat, :49 flat and 1:15.3 on our watches, ridden through the lane, fair response. $80,000 2018 OBS April sale colt by Exchange Rate colt still has yet to start in the fall of his sophomore season, nothing special at this stage of his training.THIRD RACE2-Palace PrinceSept. 29, 20196f, 1:13.4hGrade: C+Ridden through the lane, final half mile in :24 flat and :50 flat, blinkers on. Was a $200,000 OBS March sale purchase so we doubt he’ll be dropped into the maiden claiming ranks (where he belongs) anytime soon.2-Palace PrinceSept. 13, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: B-Broke off behind outclassed workmate Endearing Suances (5f, 1:03h) and disposed of that one while being ridden out to 7/8 pole, going off slowly (:25 flat) but picking it up nicely when asked. Son of Palace Malice probably can improve a bit but really hasn’t shown all that much so far in the afternoon.3-Honor A. P.Oct. 4, 20196f, 1:14.3hGrade: B-Broke off several lengths behind Lambeau (6f, 1:15.2h), was asked to close the gap in the lane while being urged in the final furlong and was up to out finish workmate while coming the final half mile in :24.3 and :49.4. Certainly displayed good promise in his debut but strikes us as a grinding, one-paced type. Honor Code juvenile may be seen next two-turning.3-Honor A. P.Sept. 20, 20196f, 1:15.1hGrade: BBroke off a length behind Express Town (6f, 1:15.2h) and stalked that one well in hand to the top of the lane, was asked for some run in the final furlong and closed the gap but couldn’t get by talented workmate, final half in :49.1, solid, stamina move. Flashed big promise in debut and can only improve with experience. Curious to see if he’ll wind being most effective as a late-running sprinter.5-Eel PointOct. 9, 20194f, :48.2hGrade: BGood move inside Garth (same time, hard held), splits of :23.4 and :48.2, strong to the wire with plenty left. Improving with experience, should go better as distances increase.9-Eddy ForeverOct. 7. 20195f, 1:00.2hGrade: BWent nicely outside Eclair (same time), final three furlongs in :36 flat, light coaxing in the final furlong. Was given too much to do last time out, certainly can improve, would love to see him switched to the main track.FOURTH RACE5-Nothing But HeatSept. 29, 20194f, :50.4hGrade: C+Slightly second best with Lady Ember (4f, :50.3h), mild coaxing through the lane inside of breezing stable mate, final three furlongs in :37.3. Cal-bred filly broke her maiden in her ninth career start last time out; will need to produce a forward move to be a factor on the raise.7-Absolutely PerfectOct. 5, 20195f, 1:02.4hGrade: BWent off slowly in company outside Civil Suit (same time, ridden some through the lane), was under wraps throughout and was slightly best at the wire while able to go considerably faster if turned loose, 25.1, :37.2 and 1:02.4. Looks good, missed as the choice vs. first-level allowance state-bred foes last time out but is capable of making amends.SIXTH RACE6-GrinningeartoearOct 5, 20194f, :48hGrade: B-Worked outside Steph Being Steph (5f, 1:00.4h out to 7/8 pole) and was slightly best to the wire under some late coaxing, :23.4 and :47.4 on our watches, not bad. Smiling Tiger filly has room to improve with experience.6-GrinningeartoearSept. 29, 20195f, 1:00.1hGrade: BOfficial times reversed, broke off a couple of lengths behind and was under a nice hold through the lane while appearing a tad the best with Road Rager (5f, :59.4), final half mile in :23 flat and :47.4. California-bred daughter of Smiling Tiger has room to improve with experience.6-GrinningeartoearSept. 22, 20195f, 1:01.4hgGrade: C+Some coaxing working inside of Fun Coupons (same time), splits of :24.3 and :49 flat in team gate drill for Koriner. Had an outing at Los Alamitos, may improve but probably would fit best for a high price tag.10-Apache PassSept. 23, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: B+Blinkers on, broke off a length behind Enduring Suances (5f, 1:02.2h) and pulled her way to the lead after a few strides while under a tight hold, was going the easier of the two throughout and appeared much best in the final stages, splits of :24.2, :36.1 and 1:01.4 while able to go considerably faster if turned loose. Was a beaten choice in her debut but seems much better than the race shows. Deserves another look next time out.SEVENTH RACE1-ShedaresthedevilSept. 29, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: BLet run a bit through the lane and responded well, final three furlongs in :11.2 and :35.2. Dead fit and should make the entries soon, likely to return to sprinting.1-ShedaresthedevilSept. 13, 20194f, :50.3hGrade: B-Just galloping, final quarter in :25.4. Talented juvenile filly should stick to sprinting for now.6-EclairOct. 7, 20195f, 1:00.2hGrade: BWorked inside Eddy Forever (same time) and went strongly throughout under mild coaxing through the lane, final three furlongs in :36 flat. Graduated nicely at Los Alamitos last time out, pointing for the Anoakia Stakes.6-EclairSept. 30, 20194f, :47.4Grade: BStrong work for Baffert working inside Gingham (4f, :47.3h), breaking off a length in front and finishing stride-for-stride with that one while a tad best at the wire, splits of :23.3 and :47.3 before continuing out to 7/8 pole in 1:00.2 on our watches. Broke her maiden at Los Alamitos in good style and probably has further improvement in her.6-EclairSept. 23, 20194f, :48.4hGrade: BBreezing throughout, splits of :24.4 and :48.4 for Baffert, looking sharp as usual. Has all of her speed, needs to show improved stick to her zip.EIGHTH RACE3-Unbroken StarSept. 7, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: B+Breezing in company with M Town Gem (same time) final quarter in :25 flat. Eligible to starter’s allowance (nw-2) $50,000 and should be tough in that spot next time. Lightly-raced with plenty of improvement in him for Puype. Workmate had to be asked late to stay even, moderate move.Mongolian Hero4-Oct. 7, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: BCaught him from the half-mile pole to the wire in :12.1, :24.1 and :48.3, never really being asked, looking quite solid. Maiden claiming winner at Los Alamitos holds his form, seeking a moderate restricted (nw-2) seller over a distance of ground.4-Mongolian HeroSept. 7, 20195f, 1:01.4hgGrade: C+Fair gate drill while much best over 2yo Mongolian Kingdom (5f, 1:03.1hg), easy early in 37 flat and :49.1 before being asked out the final furlong. Needs modest maiden claimers. Workmate isn’t much.8-HootieSept. 28, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B-Went off quickly, slowed up late, but was never really asked, final half in :23.1 and :49 flat on our watches. Should surface in another starter’s allowance affair soon.10-ReedleySept. 29, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: C+Slightly best inside of Hot Sean (same time) while being ridden through the lane, final half in :48.4. Okay move, nothing special, seeking another starter’s allowance race.

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10.12.2019:

Saturday, October 12: 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.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 12:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-MarrazanoForecast: Marrazano makes a favorable trainer switch to D. O’Neill, removes blinkers for the first time, drops to a realistic level and switches to A. Cedillo. A distant runner-up in a much tougher starter’s allowance sprint at Los Alamitos last month, the daughter of Verrazano will handle this assignment if she acts over the much deeper Santa Anita main track, but not all Los Al shippers do. In a five-runner field with no viable alternative, we’ll put her on top but without a high degree of confidence, and at 2-1 on the morning line she probably won’t offer much value, anyway. Tread lightly here.RACE 2: Post 1:01 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Twirling Tiger; 3-Top of the Game; 7-Bitter Ring HomeForecast: Top of the Game, originally claimed in April of 2018 for $62,500, dropped all the way down to the $8,000 level for a nice win at Los Alamitos last month and moves up a notch today while seeking a repeat over a track he’s has plenty of past success (four wins). A voided claim two runs back but with solid recent numbers and a touch of back class, the son of Desert Party looks well-spotted to win right back. Good bug boy J. Velez stays aboard. Twirling Tiger is the one to fear most and can be included in rolling exotic play as well, though the pattern looks a bit suspicious. Fresh from a highly-rated sprint win at Del Mar, he’s now in the J. Wallace barn but isn’t being raised in class and will be making his first start in nearly two months. We’ll see if he can turn in two alike. You may also consider, at least as a saver, Bitter Ring Home, who drops to his lowest level and may have found his friends. The N. Drysdale-trained gelding won a restricted $16,000 affair at Del Mar three runs back while earning a number that charts well here. Both of his prior races over the Santa Anita main track were good, though not highly-rated.RACE 3: Post 1:32 PT. Grade: C+Use: 5-Go for a Ride; 9-MuskokaForecast: This maiden claiming turf miler has the look of a raffle. We’ll go two-deep but the best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. Go for a Ride removes blinkers (love that angle), shows up in a seller for the first time, returns to grass, and retains good bug boy J. Velez. He should be on or near the lead throughout and could get very brave if not pressured. Muskoga, away since January and training with much more enthusiasm this time around for K. Desormeaux, is re-equipped with blinkers and just might return better than he left. The lightly-raced son of Twirling Candy may be worth a gamble at 12-1 on the morning line in a race begging to be won by a price horse.RACE 4: Post 2:07 PT. Grade: XSingle: 3-ClaudelleForecast: Claudelle ran away and hid from outclassed maiden $40,000 claimers at Los Alamitos last month, a race that makes her eligible to this starter’s allowance event in which she figures to be a strong favorite (she’s 7/5 on the morning line). The J. Sadler-trained filly will beat this group if she repeats the big speed figure she earned in that race; however, this track has a much deeper surface and not every horse can transfer that Los Alamitos form to Santa Anita, though it should be noted that in three prior starts, she finished in the money in all three. In a race that probably is best left alone, you can use her as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply sit it out.RACE 5: Post 2:40 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Crazy Speighty; 10-Drama for MamaForecast: The known element doesn’t excite so let’s focus on a couple of promising first-time starters in this maiden special weight sprint for juvenile fillies. Drama for Mama has been very impressive in the morning for the R. Mandella barn and appears fit and ready. From the first crop of Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map (who’s off to a great start at stud), this $250,000 Saratoga yearling purchase can be expected to pop and go from her extreme outside go under bug boy J. Velez. She appears blessed with excellent speed, so if she leaves with her field, look out. Crazy Speighty has done some good work for B. Baffert (exceptional stats with debut runners) and looks plenty fit for a major effort as well. Though the workout times haven’t been especially fast, the daughter of Speightstown has done what has been asked, and promising bug boy J. Diaz, Jr. takes the mount for a stable that has used him on live runners in the past. At 6-1 on the morning line we have include her on our ticket as well.RACE 6: Post 3:15 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Gingham; 2-OverjoyedForecast: Overjoyed was asked a very difficult question in her debut in the Juveniles Fillies Turf at Del Mar last month and actually didn’t do badly at all when winding up fifth after a slow start and a wide trip. She tries maidens and the main track today and seems certain to improve for the Drysdale barn which boasts strong stat with second-time starters. With M. Smith staying aboard, the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro looks well-spotted for a maiden-breaking effort at 3-1 on the morning line. Gingham couldn’t deliver the goods at 50 cents on the dollar at Los Alamitos last month, having every chance but getting worn down late in a race that earned a low speed figure. She continues to train well and could bounce back and verify the promise she showed when a good second in her debut at Del Mar, but at 9/5 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found. Toss her in if you like, but our main push goes to Overjoyed.RACE 7: Post 3:45 PT. Grade: XUse: 1-S Y Sky; 5-Don’t Sell; 6-Just Grazed MeForecast: Stable mates S Y Sky and Just Grazed Me give the N. Alexander/P. D’Amato team two bullets to fire in this state-bred turf sprint for fillies and mares, with ‘Sky having the slightly better form of the two and therefore the likely favorite and one to beat. Amazingly, she’s been first or second in 14 of 15 career starts, quite an accomplishment for the daughter of Grazen. Just Grazed Me has been first or second in seven of eight starts of her own and is thoroughly genuine and consistent as well. Either one can win, and a case could be more for Don’t Sell as well. The D. O’Neill-trained daughter of Square Eddie looked good beating a lesser field over this course and distance just two weeks ago while earning a speed figure that makes her dangerous despite the class hike. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out and enjoy the show.RACE 8: Post 4:15 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Shear Class; 6-Unicorn; 7-Cover VersionForecast: This is an unusually tough race for older maiden fillies and mares. We’ll go three deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Unicorn “couldn’t lose” when 40 cents on the dollar in a similar main track maiden miler at Del Mar in August unless she did something like tossing her rider. Well, that’s exactly what she did after stumbling badly at the start. After a two month respite, she returns for the R. Baltas barn (solid with comebackers) and has been training extremely well in the interim while giving indication that she’s plenty fit and ready. However, at 6/5 on the morning line she’s certain to be a short price once again. Shear Class was a closing third in her debut sprinting in a highly-rated affair at Del Mar and the J. Shirreffs-trained daughter of Curlin seems certain to improve a bunch with experience and distance. On pure numbers she’s actually faster than Unicorn, and is another that has done everything right in the a.m. since raced. Cover Version, third in the same race Shear Class exits, finished strongly but too late while being given a run and is another that could easily produce a significant forward move in just her second start since arriving from France.RACE 9: Post 4:45 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Wound Tight; 4-Via EgnatiaForecast: Wound Tight simply wasn’t good enough when third under these conditions at Del Mar last month but the race was a stronger version of what he’s competing in today and we suspect the lightly-raced gelding can regain his winning form. A winner over this course when breaking his maiden back in May of 2018, the son of Coil has rising speed figures, a good inside draw, and regains R. Bejarano, so we’re expecting the R. Hess, Jr. trained Cal-bred to take full advantage of a comfortable pace-stalking trip. Via Egnatia has effective early speed, and if he can clear without pressure the R. Baltas-trained son of Distorted Humor might forget to stop. A gate-to-wire winner over this course and distance two runs back, he’s quite dangerous based on speed figures and a healthy recent work pattern. Slight preference goes to Wound Tight but both should be included in rolling exotic play.

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10.12.2019:

Saturday, October 12: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.SECOND RACE7-Bitter Ring HomeSept. 12, 20194f, :49.3hGrade: C+View WorkoutSplits of :24.3 and :25 flat, wrong lead through the lane, no real pressure but looking just so-so. Needs soft claimers.THIRD RACEMuskokaOct. 5, 20196f, 1:14hgGrade: B-View WorkoutWent pretty well while much best over Doctrinaire (6f, 1:14.4hg) in team gate drill, splits of :24.1, :48.2 and 1:14 flat, coasting in the final furlong while able to go faster if asked. Twirling Candy maiden could be okay with a class drop.FIFTH RACE4-Crazy SpeightyOct. 4, 20195f, 1:01.1hgGrade: BView WorkoutJuvenile filly broke well but was taken in hand early and forced wide to avoid the just-breaking-off Mitole down the backstretch, got back into rhythm and went smoothly without any pressure, splits of :25 flat, :36.4, :48.4, and 1:01.2 while stride-for-stride with Much More Halo (same time, never really asked, either). Both have ability for Baffert and should make the entries soon.7-Map MakerOct. 9, 20194f, :48.4hGrade: B-View WorkoutFinal three furlongs in :11.3 and :36.2, in blinkers, not really asked. Plenty fit, beautifully-bred but just an okay type based on her drills so far.7-Map MakerSept. 27, 20196f, 1:14.2hgGrade: C+View WorkoutFair to moderate six furlong gate drill for Baffert while much best over Technicolor (5f, 1:01.3hg), splits of :24.1, :48 flat and 1:15 flat on our watches, slower than given, some late coaxing. This was a bit of improvement, but unraced half-sister to McKinzie really hasn’t shown all that much just yet.7-Map MakerSept. 21, 20195f, 1:02hgGrade: C+View VideoIn company with Heros Reward (5f, 100.4hg) and went easily early with splits of :24.3, :36.2 and :48.4 and then was basically up there, some late coaxing. Not one of this barn’s better ones at this stage.7-Map MakerSept. 15, 20194f, :49.3hGrade: C+View WorkoutSecond best with Gingham (4f, :49.2h), breaking off a bit in front and finishing a bit behind while working inside, some late coaxing. Liam’s Map juvenile filly doesn’t strike us as anything special right now.9-Roadrunner’s HonorSept. 11, 20194f, :48.4hGrade: C+View WorkoutNot really asked much at any stage but was third best in team drill with Buyer’s Remorse (5f, 1:00.4h) and Dipping In (5f, 1:01.4h) while outside of the team throughout. Brought $100,000 at the OBS March sale. Down the road type at this stage.10-Drama for MamaSept. 21, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B+View VideoBroke off in front of Extra Hope (same time) and finished down the lane with that one without being asked, nice move, final half in :48.3 while able to go faster if turned loose. Gray daughter of Liam’s Map was a $250,000 yearling purchase at Saratoga last year and looks the part.SIXTH RACE1-GinghamOct. 6, 20194f, :49hGrade: BView WorkoutEven with Mo Hawk (same time), both coming home well under light coaxing only, final quarter mile in :24.3. Seeking a two-turn maiden affair.1-GinghamSept. 30, 20194f, :47.3hGrade: BView WorkoutBroke off a length behind �clair (4f, :47.4h) and was under mild coaxing through the lane while not quite able to catch workmate at wire, :23.3 and :47.3 on our watches, then continued out with workmate to 7/8 pole and may have been a tad the best at the end, up in 1:00.1. Failed at odds-on at Los Alamitos; certainly capable of improving for Baffert and should be a short price again next time.2-OverjoyedSept. 11, 20193f, :37hGrade: B-View WorkoutBreezing in solo training track move for Drysdale, well in hand and looking fine, final quarter mile in :24.2. Was overmatched in her debut vs. stakes foes at Del Mar but should move forward with that race behind her and a realistic drop into the maiden ranks. Nice prospect by Medaglia d’Oro should handle turf or dirt.3-Paige AnneSept. 21, 20195f, 1:02.1hGrade: B-View VideoOkay move, final half on our watches in :24.2 and :48.3. Juvenile filly showed some improvement when third at 17-1 two-turning vs. maidens in her second start and seems to be doing well enough.6-UnicornOct. 3, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: B+View WorkoutWorked inside Arch Anthem (5f, 1:02.3h) and was much the best, breezing throughout, final half mile on our watches in :23.4 and :49.3, coasting to the wire. Lost her rider at the start when 2/5 in a maiden router at Del Mar last time out, should be a short price again vs. similar soon.7-Rare FindSept. 14, 20196f, 1:15.4hGrade: CView WorkoutUnraced 2-year-old filly by Bernardini went in company with older Charlito (same time), leading that one by about four lengths midway but under some pressure through the lane to finish head-and-head with that one, final 5/8ths our watches in :38.1 and 1:03.3. Doesn’t look like anything special at this stage. Workmate was ridden through the lane to close the gap after being outrun early, not impressive, either.SEVENTH RACE1-S Y SkyOct. 6, 20195f, 1:02.3hGrade: C+View WorkoutA tad second best outside Violette Szabo (same time), not really asked but unable to get past breezing workmate. State-bred daughter of Grazen always fires and is effective on any surface, thought she’d go a little better here, though.3-Gypsy BluOct. 5, 20194f, :48.2hGrade: BView WorkoutWent well under very light coaxing only through the lane, splits of :23.3 and :48.1 on our watches. Veteran Cal-bred daughter of Papa Clem in good form for Glatt.6-Just Grazed MeOct. 5, 20195f, 1:01.4h TTGrade: BView WorkoutBroke off about three lengths behind Our Romance (5f, 1:02.2h TT) and closed the gap through the lane under mild coaxing to finish evenly at the wire, final three furlongs in :12 flat and :36.4 in training track drill. Won two of her last three and holds her edge.EIGHTH RACE2-Shear ClassSept. 25, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: C+View WorkoutSlightly second best working inside of Lambeau (same time), some coaxing through the lane, splits of :36.3 and 1:01.4 on our watches, fair move. Certainly not a speed type but did flash a bit of promise in debut at Del Mar (closed well) and may improve with distance and experience.6-UnicornOct. 3, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: B+View WorkoutWorked inside Arch Anthem (5f, 1:02.3h) and was much the best, breezing throughout, final half mile on our watches in :23.4 and :49.3, coasting to the wire. Lost her rider at the start when 2/5 in a maiden router at Del Mar last time out, should be a short price again vs. similar soon.NINTH RACE1-Nolo ContestoSept. 20, 20195f, 1:02.3h TTGrade: C+View WorkoutA couple of ticks slower than given on our watches, :25.2, :37.3 and 1:03 flat in solo training track drill while being ridden along through the lane. No real change for one-paced 3-year-old in Sadler’s barn.4-Via EgnatiaOct. 6, 20194f, :48.3h TTGrade: BView WorkoutBroke off in front of Pantsonfire (4f, :48.2h) and held that one off in very nice training track drill, something left late, no pressure, final three furlongs in :36.2. Trailed second-level allowance foes at Del Mar, certainly capable of improving in an easier spot.5-Dark HedgesOct. 5, 20195f, 1:00.1hGrade: C+View WorkoutWas asked through the lane and had just a moderate response, final three furlongs in :11.2 and :36.1 on our watches. Lone Star Park shipper will find this circuit a lot more competitive.5-Dark HedgesSept. 21, 20194f, :49.3h TTGrade: C+View VideoFinal quarter in :24.4 while being ridden through the lane. Lightly-raced son of Giant’s Causeway broke his maiden at Lone Star Park in June, hard to say how he’ll fit on this much tougher circuit.8-Moody JimSept. 21, 20195f, 1:03.4h TTGrade: CView VideoWrong lead through the lane while finishing under urging, final quarter in :26 flat. Probably needs grass, ran a bit below expectations in the Del Mar Derby; still has all of his conditions.10-M Town GemSept. 7, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: C+View WorkoutEven but second best with Unbroken Star (same time, easily), some urging late, final quarter in :25 and small change. Not particularly impressive in this drill but based on his form the Puype-trained Gemologist gelding might not be much of a worker.

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10.12.2019:

Saturday, October 12: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

The stage is set at Woodbine Mohawk Park for top two and three-year olds to compete in the Ontario Sires Stakes Super Gold Finals. Four of the Finals take place in the 0.20 Pick 5 sequence, which will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Haveoneforme-Was off 20 days, the journey was rough, now Dunn could work a nice trip at a square price.7-Bright Eyes M-Makes 6th start in a row from 7-hole and won last. Has gate speed to get top and not look back.9-Teddys Littleangel-Winner of >$208k in '19 has had some issues, but McNair can work a trip at 6-1 in the ML.Race 26-Alicorn-The 2/5 program chalk looks the part and seems to be a clean trip away from 7th picture in 11 starts.Race 31-Winter Olympics-Has only made 5 starts and JMac needs a smooth trip, may get sucked around and surprise.2-Wine Rack Hanover-Winner of 2 straight could get the top or 2-hole and chances for a hat trick go up.4-Jula Shes Magic-Has some breaking issues and not easy to figure, but a top effort puts her in the hunt.7-Warrawee Vicky-My thinking is McNair leaves and could get the top and look to grab one soft quarter.Race 43-Traceur Hanover-Form is good and could be ready to step-up and win versus Pfd company at a nice price.5-Brave World-Tripped out and beat 6 of these last week, could come right back from this post at 6-1 in the ML.8-Easy Lover Hanover-Has been razor sharp, does have the ability to win from the outside, best to respect.Race 52-YS Mathis-Back to Wbsb where colt has had top notch efforts versus Gold company, 2-1 ML chalk rates an edge.4-Beach Blanket Book-Comes off a sharp win at Lon and now McNair returns, a danger with the right trip.6-Denali Seelster-Winner of last 2 looks sharp enough to battle top Gold foes in search of 3rd straight picture.My Ticket Race 1) 1,7,9 Race 2) 6 Race 3) 1,2,4,7 Race 4) 3,5,8 Race 5) 2,4,6Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.12.2019:

Form Vs. Class Challenge In Key Race In Gulfstream West Pick 4

Gulfstream Park West’s eighth race on Saturday is good example of class vs. form with the top pair of contenders.The eighth is the third leg of the late Pick Four and is the most interesting of the sequence as Northern attempts to become a successful class riser Northern and Delta Bluesman attempts to run back to some of the races that made him a terrific campaigner for much of his career.Northern virtually doubles in claiming price after being haltered by the Aubrey Maragh stable last out, which marked his 3rd consecutive win. The Adios Charlie gelding dominated at the bottom level and put in some terrific times in winning four of his last five and five of his last seven. The step up in class clearly will be a challenge, but he’s been outstanding on the front end and will get a good chance at it again. The question he’ll have to answer is in regard to class. He has the credentials with 10 wins in 26 starts and will be facing a classy individual in who has seen better days but is back to his original barn and is expected to run well. Right next door to Northern is Delta Bluesman, who returned to the Jorge Navarro barn via the claim box when he was dropped to $6,250 last time. That was far below anything he’s seen. The 9-year-old Wagon Limit horse has won 14 of 65 for $765,178, and the best days he had were under Navarro’s tutelage. Navarro’s stable lost Delta Bluesman through the claim box last November at Gulfstream West and has not won since.Those two are used in the third slot on the Pick 4 ticket, which is a $60 suggested buy. The Northern-Delta Bluesman battle is actually the easiest as viewed on the ticket. It started the sixth race with five horses on the ticket, followed by three in the seventh and finishing with four horses in the ninth.Here’s the suggested play for the last Pick 4 Saturday at Gulfstream Park West: Race 6) #1 Silver Defense, #6 Dunk, #7 One Fine Ride, #9 Tell Me a Story, #10 Doc Kane. Race 7) #3 Nikki’s Cause, #5 Beautiful Ballad, #8 Amazing Audrey. Race 8) #8 Northern, #9 Delta Bluesman. Race 9) #3 Padilla, #5 Sturgeon, #7 Diamond Mint, #10 Sherpa. Total Ticket Cost) 1,6,7,9,10/3,5,8/8,9/3,5,7,10 = $60 for $0.50

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10.11.2019:

Friday, October 11: Hoosier Park Sires Stakes Analysis

There is a big card set to go tonight at Hoosier Park featuring eight Indiana Sires Stakes Super Finals, each with a $270,000 purse.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 56-This Peach Rocks-Taking a swing at this 8-1 shot, thinking Leonard could leave or come off cover. Recent form is sharp and has upset potential.3-Rockin Nola-Recent form hasn't been as good as earlier in the summer. But best to respect, has been in the money 10 of 12 times at HoP this year.8-Glorious Virgin-10-1 shot is looking for second win of the year, but comes off a very nice try. Page steers again and might add some juice to the gimmicks.Race 64-Haylie Ivy-Came off the bench with a nice win from the 8-hole. Team Macomber trainee likes the winner's circle and may finally get some revenge over #3.3-Grand Swan-8/5 program chalk has been first or second in 9 of 10 starts. Could be the odds-on choice in here and might be a clean trip away from another picture.2-Measuredperfection-Gingras takes over on this Burke trainee. This is another nice filly, but recent form isn't as good as top two picks.Race 85-Priceless-Broke stride in two of last three so there is some risk. But with this post draw, can outduel #8 and #9 and notch sixth win in nine starts if minds manners.9-Foxy Rigger-Winner of 7 of 8 with only loss coming to #5 when she drew the 8-hole. Could get the pocket behind #5, has the gate speed to be put in play early and is a major player.8-Grace Rocks-Six race win streak was snapped in last but should be in the hunt if Widger works a good trip.Race 94-Emma Town Bud-Comes off a sharp effort and I'll look for for an upset. Oosting could get a pocket trip behind #8 and finally get some revenge.8-TJ'S Top Pick-Has been almost perfect winning of 7 of 8 on the season. Talented 2-year-old can take another picture with a smooth journey, but will be bet down hard.1-Swan In Motion-Best to use underneath in gimmicks, likes to hang around and pick-up checks.Race 101-Sawyer's Desire-Could be sitting on a big try and Gingras is back in the bike. Probably will be put in play early, could get the top and make every call a winning one.3-Odds On Osiris-ML chalk looks the part and has been very good this season, but may go off at even money or less.10-Clever Character-This 2-year-old is tough and can win from off the pace. But the post draw could be too much to overcome with main players drawing inside.Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.11.2019:

Friday, October 11: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering StrategiesSanta AnitaFriday, October 11, 2019Specifically 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 PT. Grade: B+Single: 7-Mahi MahiForecast: Mahi Mahi missed in a photo in a much improved effort when facing maiden $25,000 foes at Golden Gate Fields last month and this maiden $50,000 field isn’t much tougher, if at all. The 2-year-old son of Minister’s Wild Cat should produce another forward for the high-percentage J. Wong barn, which employs “go-to rider A. Cedillo (29% with this trainer) and based on his form up north he projects to be on or near the lead throughout. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Smiling to Excess; 2-Freedom RideForecast: This five-runner starter optional claimer for 2-year-old fillies should boil down two main players. Smiling to Excess graduated by a pole when facing maiden $50,000 foes at Los Alamitos last month while earning a speed figure that, if repeated today, will make her tough to deny right back. The daughter of Smiling Tiger seems likely to be the controlling speed if she leaves cleanly from the rail, however, in her recent win she stalked and pounced, so that option is available if necessary. Freedom Ride isn’t as fast as ‘Excess on pure numbers but she’s finished in the frame in each of her last three starts, exits a pair of fast, highly-rated races, and certainly is eligible to improve. The daughter of Clubhouse Ride should be prominent from the start and have every chance.RACE 3: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Fravel; 2-Jetovator; 5-Cool Your JetsForecast: None of these older maidens are trustworthy but one of the three listed above is likely to win, so we’ll go three deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise the race. Fravel has been a disappointment so far but with just two career starts on his resume the son of Unusual Heat may have a bit more room to improve than the others. Hopefully, the addition of blinkers combined with the good inside draw will put the R. Mandella-trained colt in the proper frame of mind to fire his best shot. Cool Your Jets is a 10-race maiden but will go with blinkers for the first time, and on the chance that the equipment change will move him just a little bit the S. Ruis-trained gelding is a “must use” in this turf miler for Cal-bred older horses. In the money in his last four, the 4-year-old gelding can win with just slight improvement but at 2-1 on the morning line probably won’t be offering much value. Jetovator was third over this course and distance in April while earning a competitive speed figure. With F. Prat aboard, the son of Grazen shouldn’t have any excuses.RACE 4: Post 2:40 PT. Grade: BSingle: 3-RineshaftForecast: Rineshaft has yet to display any zip to his stick, but the lightly-raced son of Mineshaft exits a pair of much stronger races and this drop to the maiden $20,000 level combined with the addition of blinkers could easily make the winning difference. Based on a fractional projection the H. Palma-trained colt looks capable of establishing the pace and then getting brave at this abbreviated sprint trip of five and one-half furlongs. Let’s make him a straight play at or near his morning line of 5/2 and a rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 3:10 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Top Brass; 8-Rocko’s WheelForecast: Top Brass has much in his favor and is strictly the one to beat at 2-1 on the morning line. The M. Glatt-trained gelding loves this track (he’s won three of five lifetime starts here), is in razor sharp form, having won three of his last five outings including a highly-rated race at Del Mar at this extended sprint distance in his most recent start, and is a strong fit on speed figures despite moving up in class. J. Talamo stays aboard and should have this son of Arch in mid-pack early and then rolling late. Rocko’s Wheel also qualifies on the horse-for-course angle (he’s a three time winner here) and from his comfortable outside post should be able to settle early and cut loose late. He’s not as fast as ‘Brass on pure numbers but has winning connections and can’t be counted out. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Top Brass.RACE 6: Post 3:40 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Offshore; 5-Moonlight DriveForecast: Offshore returns to his winning level, is reunited with F. Prat, and is a strong fit on speed figurers in this $25,000 claiming turf miler for older horses. The R. Baltas-trained gelding likes to settle and produce a late kick, and there should be an ample amount of pace in here to compliment his style. Moonlight Drive has his issues but plenty of back class, and the Italian-bred stakes winner, second to Offshore when they squared off in early August at Del Mar, looms the one to fear most once again. A three-time winner over the Santa Anita turf course, the son of Red Rocks projects to enjoy an ideal second-flight trip and then have every chance when the pressure is turned on into the lane. We’ll have extra tickets keying Offshore on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 7: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Rick’s Dream; 5-Satanta; 6-Clem LabineForecast: This is a chaotic first-level allowance sprint for Cal-bred older horses and requires a spread. We’ll go three-deep and hope that’s enough. Satanta threw in an absolute clunker when favored at this level at Del Mar in August but he continues to look good in the a.m. for J. Mullins so we’ll give him a chance to make amends. His debut score the previous month at Del Mar was visually pleasing; hopefully he can regain that form today. Clem Labine has never finished off the board in five career starts, most recently winding up a solid runner-up vs. similar at Los Alamitos last month. He’s a fit on speed figures and should be doing his best work from the quarter pole home. Rick’s Dream was claimed for just $12,500 last time out by R. Santana, who raises the gelding into the allowance ranks. Based strictly on speed figures, the son of Coil should be highly-competitive and if he can avoid trouble from the rail he’ll be dangerous at 8-1 on the morning line.RACE 8: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B+Single: 9-Heathers GreyForecast: Heathers Grey is improving with racing – her speed figures have risen with each of her five career starts – and with another forward move today the lightly-raced daughter of The Factor should be along in time. A recent sharp half mile main track workout indicates she’s doing quite well, and from her outside draw the M. McCarthy-trained 3-year-old filly should be able to settle in the second flight and then exert her superiority when it matters in the final furlong. At 5/2 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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10.11.2019:

Friday, October 11: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily. SECOND RACE3-VeganSept. 30, 20194f, :49hGrade: B-Mild coaxing outside Strongconstitution (same time), slightly second best at the wire, final three furlongs in a solid :36 flat. Looks fine, was overmatched in Generous Portion Stakes at Del Mar, connections should lower their sights.THIRD RACE1-FravelSept. 30, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: C+Solo half mile move for son of Unusual Heat, let run early and under some coaxing through the lane, splits of :24.2 and :49.2 on our watches. Been a disappointment so far, seeking another maiden route affair, is what he is. 7-Summer FunOct. 2, 20196f, 1:14.3hGrade: B-Went from 5/8ths pole out to the 7/8ths pole with splits of :24.4, :36.3 and 101.2 to the wire mostly in hand, then was ridden pretty good while traveling out and was up in 1:14.2 on our watches, not bad for a maiden. Trailed in debut when well-backed, probably can do better.SIXTH RACE3-OffshoreSept. 22, 20195f, 1:02.4h TTGrade: C+Had to be shoved on pretty good through the lane to stay even with breezing workmate Neptune’s Storm (same time), final quarter mile in :25 flat. Probably should return to the mid-level claiming ranks.SEVENTH RACE4-It’s FittingSept. 29, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B-Some coaxing late but finished with interest, final half in :23.3 and :48.4 on our watches. Sprung an upset in his debut vs. maiden special Cal-breds at Del Mar; the next rung up the ladder should be considerably more challenging.5-SatantaOct. 6, 20193f, :36.4hGrade: BBreezing move, well in hand with smooth finish. Should return soon in a conditioned allowance sprint, looks good.5-SatantaSept. 9, 20195f, 1:02h TTGrade: BBreezing throughout, final quarter in :24.2 for Mullins-trained sprinter in solo training track move while staying on edge. Better than his last race indicates, seeking another first-level allowance state-bred sprint.EIGHTH RACE2-ColdwaterOct. 3, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B-Final three furlongs under light coaxing in :11.4 and :36.3, looking okay for Gallagher. Broke her maiden for a high-priced tag and Del Mar and may have further improvement in her.5-Red Bunting-IRESept. 13, 20194f, :49.2hGrade: C+Final 3/8ths in :37.4 for Ellis, very light coaxing only, fair to moderate move for a filly who needs turf. Probably can improve last try.9-Heathers GreySept. 15, 20194f, :47.3hGrade: B+Progressive filly by The Factor was extra sharp in this solo half mile spin, splits of :12 flat, :23.2 and :47.3, never asked, then galloped out strongly to 7/8 pole, up in 1:00.3 for M. McCarthy. In good form and should continue her improving pattern.10-Tiz WonderfullySept. 28, 20194f, :47.3hGrade: BNever asked, splits of :12.1, :24 flat and :47.4 on our watches. Doing well, might be dangerous with a class drop.10-Tiz WonderfullySept. 21, 20194f, :48.2hGrade: BBreezing workout, splits of :12 flat, :23.4 and :48.2. Away since last winter, should return in a moderate claimer, might be the type to fire fresh.10-Tiz WonderfullySept. 7, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: C+Mild pressure through the lane, fair drill for Cassidy. Didn’t show much in recent comeback race, needs soft claimers around these parts.11-Lil Bit DangerousSept. 21, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: BLooked pretty good, splits of :25.2 and :24 flat, easy early, strong late, a little late changing leads but finishing eagerly without pressure and then galloping out well to 7/8 pole, up in 1:02 and small change. Could be dangerous with a class drop.11-Lil Bit DangerousSept. 7, 20194f, :48hGrade: B-A little late changing leads but went well enough without pressure, splits of :23.3 and 48 flat. California-bred filly has all of her conditions, may appreciate a turn back in trip.

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10.10.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Santa Anita Workout Analysis - 10/10/19

Jeff Siegel’s Santa Anita Workout Report(For Racing on Thursday, October 10, 2019)The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.FIRST RACE9-AnconaOct. 2, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: CUnder urging outside Gotta Be Lucky (same time, not asked much) and was second best, splits of :24 flat, :35.4 and 1:02 flat. Uninspiring, needs a drop into a maiden claimer.FOURTH RACE1-HoneywhiskeynwineSept. 21, 20194f, :50.2hGrade: CLast of three in team gate drill with Doctinaire (4f, :49.2hg) and Opus Equus (4f, :49.4hg), some coaxing without showing a whole lot. Daughter of Noble Mission brought $75,000 at Keeneland as a yearling, if she’s going to be anything it’ll probably be over a distance of ground on grass per her pedigree.2-LighthouseSept. 8, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: BBroke off behind Old Trafford (5f, 1:02h) and was not asked through the lane while besting workmate with splits of :24.2 and :49.2 for the final half mile on our watches. This was her first five furlong drill. $375,000 OBS sale daughter of Mizzen Mast is getting fit and is a “must follow” in more serious drills.3-KadeshSept. 27, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: CNo lead change while finishing under some pressure in solo gate drill, splits of :24.2, :36.2 and :48.1. Juvenile colt by Karakontie was a $25,000 Fasig-Tipton October yearling purchase, probably a maiden claimer on this circuit.5-Too LateOct. 5, 20195f, 1:01hgGrade: C+A tad the best outside in team gate drill for O’Neill with Zero Down (same time), splits of :24.1, :48.2 and 1:01 flat, mild pressure, fair to moderate. Square Eddie colt may improve but needs a drop into a maiden claimer.9-DrasarioSept. 28, 20194f, :49.2h TTGrade: CBlinkers on, ridden through the lane to be even but second best inside Super Patriot (same time, not asked much). Needs a class drop.10-Much More HaloOct. 4, 20195f, 1:01.1hgGrade: BIn company with Crazy Speighty (same time) and went smoothly from the gate without being asked, splits of :25 flat, :36.4, :48.4 and 1:01.1. Definitely has some run, could have gone considerably quicker if permitted. Both maidens have ability and should be fit enough by now.10-Much More HaloSept. 27, 20194f, :48.3hGrade: B-Went easily in team gate drill with Ra’Ad (same time) and was a tad the best throughout, breezing early, never asked late, splits of :25.1 and :49 flat, a tad slower than given. Has a bit of run, More Than Ready juvenile colt should make the entries soon.10-Much More HaloSept. 9, 20195f, 1:00.1hgGrade: B-Decent gate work in company with Heros Reward (5f, 1:00.2hg) and Eel Point (5f, 1:01.2hg), a little sluggish in the opening sixteenth from the gate but then going well while being ridden along between horses, getting the first half on our watches in :47.2. More than Ready juvenile colt brought $390,000 at the OBS March Sale and seems fit enough to debut by now. ‘Reward flashed good gate zip, was taken in hand outside an appeared no worse than equal with ‘Halo, though earning a slightly slower final time. ‘Point was sent hard inside to be even for a half mile, then faded readily in the final furlong.SIXTH RACE3-Flor de la MarSept. 27, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: BCame the final half in :24.1 and :48.3 under cruise control for Baffert. Stakes winner at Los Alamitos is here most recent outing, will tackle the big girls next time out.4-Querida Dubai-ARSept. 19, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: C+Broke off behind Andyoushallreceive (5f, 1:01.3h) and collared that one late to earn faster time while appearing a bit green and finishing under some pressure. Was late changing leads as well, trailed in U.S. debut and needs to establish her proper level on this circuit. Workmate was breezing throughout and could have gone faster.SEVENTH RACE2-Our RomanceOct. 5, 20195f, 1:02.2h TTGrade: BBroke off a few lengths in front of Just Grazed Me (5f, 1:01.4h, TT) and finished evenly with that one to wire, breezing through the lane, nice move. Showed some life in last start and should return soon in a similar state-bred event.7-Angel’s AdvocateSept. 20, 20195f, 1:03hGrade: BBroke off a length behind Civil Suit (5f, 1:03.1h) and was breezing every step of the way, just galloping outside workmate with splits of :13 flat, :25.2, :37.4 and 1:03 flat, tight hold late. Daughter of Vronsky in the Blacker barn was late getting to the party at age four but is a filly of some substance and should improve with distance and experience.

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10.10.2019:

Omaha Beach: The Total Package

The distance from the last turn to the finish on the main track at Santa Anita measures 990 feet. It’s the standard length of the stretch run in terms of a typical one-mile oval.It turned out that Omaha Beach and Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith needed every bit of that 990 feet of Santa Anita real estate to win last Saturday’s Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship. The colt was making his first start in just a bit less than six months.Prior to competing at six furlongs last Saturday, Omaha Beach had not raced since winning Oaklawn Park’s Grade I Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 13. But after the Arkansas Derby, his 2019 campaign would hit snag after snag after snag, much to the frustration of trainer Richard Mandella and owner Rick Porter (Fox Hill Farms).Snag No. 1: Omaha Beach was withdrawn from the Grade I Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 4 because of an entrapped epiglottis. Mike Battaglia had pegged the Kentucky-bred son of War Front as the 4-1 morning-line favorite. The throat problem required surgery.I was crushed when Omaha Beach was not able to start in the Run for the Roses. Before it was announced that Omaha Beach would have to miss that race, this was what I wrote for my weekly Xpressbet.com column/article/blog:“I’m not going to beat around the bush. I like Omaha Beach to win this Saturday’s 145th running of the $3 million Kentucky Derby. In fact, I like him a lot. As I see it, he is the total package. He has the speed, class, tractability, gameness, breeding, Hall of Fame jockey (Mike Smith), Hall of Fame trainer (Richard Mandella) and wet-track prowess (if needed) to get the job done.”Would Omaha Beach have won the Kentucky Derby? We will never know. But it’s not as if Maximum Security set the bar high. Maximum Security finished first, then was disqualified and placed 17th for causing interference. Maximum Security posted a 101 Beyer Speed Figure in the Kentucky Derby. Omaha Beach likewise recorded a 101 Beyer when he won the Arkansas Derby. Those Beyers suggest that Omaha Beach might have won the roses if he’d had the chance.Snag No. 2: When the post-surgery swelling in his throat lingered longer than hoped for, Omaha Beach’s return to training was delayed. This effectively took Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes on Aug. 24 off the table.After Omaha Beach finally resumed training, he had his first recorded workout at Del Mar on July 23. He worked three furlongs that morning in a bullet :36.60. Mandella explored several options for a possible comeback race for Omaha Beach before circling Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes at one mile on Aug. 25.Snag No. 3: Omaha Beach was one of a number of horses at Mandella’s Del Mar barn in August that had their training and plans disrupted by a virus. It was not a major setback for Omaha Beach, but he was forced to miss the Shared Belief. Mandella then decided to target Churchill’s Grade III Ack Ack Stakes at one mile on Sept. 28 for Omaha Beach’s return.When Omaha Beach worked seven furlongs in a splendid 1:25.00 at Santa Anita on Sept. 13, it was all systems go for the Ack Ack. Indeed, arrangements were made for him to be flown to Kentucky from California on Sept. 24, four days before that race.Snag No. 4: On Sept. 20, Omaha Beach was scheduled to work seven furlongs again at Santa Anita. However, when this workout “got messed up,” as Mandella puts it, the colt’s trip to Kentucky was called off.On the radio program Thoroughbred Los Angeles, Mandella explained to Mike Willman and Kurt Hoover on Sept. 22 what had happened concerning that Sept. 20 workout.“Well, it just got messed up about as bad you could do,” Mandella said. “He had warmed up his normal warm up and broke off with his workmate at the six-furlong pole. And about an eighth of a mile into it, a rider fell off ahead of him on the racetrack.”Omaha Beach and his workmate had to be pulled up. They had to wait for the loose horse to get caught and for the rider to get up and walk away.According to Mandella, Omaha Beach and the workmate then had to gallop all the way back around the track to again commence the workout. But by then Omaha Beach “was pretty upset and just too strained,” Mandella said. “It was just something he had never done before. He worked a good six furlongs, but a no-good seven.”Omaha Beach’s time for seven furlongs was 1:27.20, considerably slower than his 1:25.00 drill a week earlier.“With that, I just didn’t think it was good enough for me to be taking him out of town to run a mile with a long layoff,” Mandella added during his Sept. 22 radio appearance. “So, I decided to just scrap that idea. The Sprint Championship is shorter than I would like to run him. But when I went back to a sprint last February and got his maiden broke, he went seven-eighths pretty well. I think he will run really well [in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship]. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him win. But it’s at least a place where I can get him started back.”On Sept. 27, Omaha Beach had an awesome four-furlong workout in :46.60. What he did that morning to step four furlongs in :46 and change and do it as easily as he did was a huge clue that he might run a big race in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship despite the long layoff. Of the hundreds of workout videos that I’ve watched on XBTV this year, I have not seen any works better than that one by Omaha Beach.But even though it looked like Omaha Beach was primed to run a biggie last Saturday, it still was going to be a tough task for him to beat fellow 3-year-old Shancelot, a quality sprinter from the East Coast trained by Jorge Navarro.Navarro has gone on the record as saying Shancelot is the best horse he has ever trained. Navarro made that known even before the Kentucky-bred son of Shanghai Bobby made his third lifetime start in Saratoga’s Grade II Amsterdam Stakes at 6 1/2 furlongs on Aug. 24.And what did Shancelot do in the Amsterdam? In a scintillating display of sheer speed, he won by 12 1/2 lengths as the 6-5 favorite in a field of 12.“As Shancelot streaked home, it was sort of like watching a high-speed racecar leaving a bunch of jalopies far, far behind,” I wrote.Shancelot set sizzling fractions of :21.79, :43.94 and 1:07.63. The six-furlong clocking of 1:07.63 was faster than 6-year-old Imperial Hint’s final time of 1:07.92 a day earlier when he won Saratoga’s Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at six furlongs.Imperial Hint broke Saratoga’s track record for six furlongs in the Vanderbilt. Shancelot’s final time of 1:14.01 in the Amsterdam was outstanding, but he did not break the 6 1/2-furlong track record. Saratoga’s track mark of 1:13.74 for 6 1/2 furlongs was established by Quality Road in the 2009 Amsterdam when he was credited with a 109 Beyer Speed Figure.Shancelot was credited with a gigantic 121 Beyer Speed Figure for his Amsterdam victory.Dick Jerardi, in a story he wrote for the Daily Racing Form, shed some additional light on the historical significance’s of Shancelot’s 121 Beyer Speed Figure.“The 121 was the best by any 3-year-old sprinter in the 27-year history of the Beyer Speed Figures being published in Daily Racing Form,” Jerardi wrote. “It was the third-fastest by any 3-year-old doing anything in that period. Only Holy Bull’s 122 in the 1994 Met Mile and Arrogate’s 122 in the 2016 Travers have been better.According to Jerardi, just three 3-year-olds “have hit the magic 120 mark” in a race shorter than one mile since 1993 -- Kelly Kip in 1997, Xtra Heat in 2001 and Cajun Beat in 2003.Shancelot’s “121 was the best Beyer sprinting by horses of any age since Midnight Lute got a 124 in 2007,” Jerardi wrote. “And, to think Shancelot got his 121 in just his third career start.”These are the Beyer Speed Figures of 120 or higher by a 3-year-old since 1993:Beyer Horse (Year Race, Distance, Track)122 Holy Bull (1994 Met Mile, 1 mile, Belmont Park)122 Arrogate (2016 Travers, 1 1/4 miles, Saratoga)121 Rock and Roll (1998 allowance, 1 1/16 miles, Belmont Park)121 Concerned Minister (2000 Tenacious. 1 1/16 miles, Fair Grounds)121 Shancelot (2019 Amsterdam, 6 1/2 furlongs, Saratoga)120 Kelly Kip (1997 allowance, 6 1/2 furlongs, Saratoga)120 Xtra Heat (2001 Sweet n Sassy, 6 furlongs, Delaware Park)120 Medaglia d’Oro (2002 Jim Dandy, 1 1/8 miles, Saratoga)120 Cajun Beat (2003 BC Sprint, 6 furlongs, Santa Anita)120 Bellamy Road (2005 Wood Memorial, 1 1/8 miles, Aqueduct)120 American Pharoah (2015 BC Classic, 1 1/4 miles, Keeneland)120 Arrogate (2016 BC Classic, 1 1/4 miles, Santa Anita)Following the Amsterdam, Shancelot was sent away as a 3-10 favorite in Saratoga’s H. Allen Jerkens Stakes at seven furlongs on Aug. 24. When he sported a 2 1/2-length lead with a furlong to go in that Grade I affair, it appeared he was on his way to another victory. But Mind Control came on and won by a nose. Hog Creek Hustle rallied from far back to nose out Shancelot for second.After Shancelot’s narrow defeat when third in the Jerkens, Navarro elected to send him to California for the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. A primary reason for doing that was for the sophomore speedster to get a race over the track before the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Sprint at six furlongs on Nov. 2 at Santa Anita.A MONEY-BURNING MAIDEN EARLY ONAfter Omaha Beach’s first four races, it looked like he was not particularly keen on winning. He lost all four times as the betting favorite. All four races were at either one mile or 1 1/16 miles, three on turf and one on dirt.Since losing his first four races, however, Omaha Beach now has won four in a row.When Omaha Beach made the first start of his career, he ran third as a 2-year-old in early September at the 2018 Del Mar summer meet. He finished second in his next three starts.As noted earlier, Mandella told Willman that Omaha Beach ran “pretty well” when the trainer shortened Omaha Beach to seven furlongs at Santa Anita last Feb. 2. But, in reality, to say that Omaha Beach ran “pretty well” is a huge understatement. Omaha Beach was nothing less than dazzling the day he left the maiden ranks.Competing on a sloppy track, Omaha Beach bounded away from his rivals on the far turn and had built up a commanding 10-length lead at the eighth pole. He went on to win by nine. I was so impressed that I immediately put him on my Kentucky Derby Top 10.At that time, a very good friend of mine thought that I was off my rocker to put Omaha Beach on my Kentucky Derby Top 10 off a just a maiden win in his fifth career start. But my friend did not say a word to me about this at the time. Later on, after Omaha Beach had become a graded stakes winner and was ranked high on just about everybody’s Kentucky Derby list, my friend confessed that he had thought I was cuckoo when I put Omaha Beach on my Top 10 immediately after his maiden win.Following Omaha Beach’s maiden triumph, I wrote this in my Xpressbet.com column/article/blog: “New on my Top 10 this week is Omaha Beach, who found a cure for second-itis in a big way at Santa Anita last Saturday. The War Front colt, trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, registered a resounding nine-length win in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race contested on a sloppy track. Omaha Beach’s final time was an excellent 1:21.02 after he carved out fractions of :21.75, :43.74 and 1:08.24. He posted a 90 Beyer to equal the figure earned by Mucho Gusto later in the card when he won the [Grade III Robert B.] Lewis.”After his maiden victory, Omaha Beach took a quantum jump in class to run in the second division of Oaklawn’s Grade II Rebel Stakes at 1 1/16 miles.In stark contrast to the Omaha Beach who lost his first four career starts, he could not have been any gamer to win his division of the Rebel at 4-1 when nosing out a champion. Finishing second was the 1-2 favorite, Game Winner, who had been voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male.Omaha Beach also did not back down from a fight in the subsequent Grade I Arkansas Derby at 1 1/8 miles on April 13. He won by one length as the 8-5 favorite when holding off 9-5 Improbable throughout the entire final three furlongs of that race.Thus, in back-to-back races at Oaklawn, Omaha Beach defeated a pair of talented 3-year-olds from the powerful Bob Baffert barn in Game Winner and Improbable.MUCH FOR OMAHA BEACH TO OVERCOME IN COMEBACKA lot certainly was being asked of Omaha Beach in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship. In addition to coming off a long layoff, it would be the shortest race of his career to date. And he not only was facing a formidable foe in fellow 3-year-old Shancelot, it would be Omaha Beach’s first start against older horses.As expected, Shancelot set the pace. The fractions of :21.87, :44.38 and :56.18 were especially fast on a Santa Anita strip that is playing much slower these days. After Omaha Beach bobbled slightly at the start, he stalked in third early, like a cat waiting to pounce on a mouse. It was to Omaha Beach’s credit that he has the necessary zip to lurk so close to such a rapid early tempo.Shancelot led by 1 1/2 lengths at the quarter pole. Turning into the stretch, it was clear that there still was much gas left in his tank. But it also was evident that Omaha Beach, at odds of 5-2, was poised to give 3-10 favorite Shancelot a serious run for his money.“Down at the rail, Omaha Beach is very close. Omaha Beach is firing a big shot in his comeback!” track announcer Frank Mirahmadi said during his call of the race as Omaha Beach set his sights on Shancelot at the top of the lane.At the head of the stretch, Smith had a decision to make. He could angle out a bit to go on the attack in the lane while racing to the outside of Shancelot, or Smith could choose the inside path during the stretch run. The inside path had been left open by Shancelot’s rider, Emisael Jaramillo. Smith opted for the inside path.With a furlong left to run, Shancelot still had a 1 1/2-length advantage and was running strongly. But after passing the eighth pole, Omaha Beach was resolutely bearing down on the favorite.“Shancelot fully extended, trying to fend off the classy Omaha Beach,” said Mirahmadi. “Shancelot digging in! Omaha Beat at the rail is coming to him!”For Omaha Beach, thank goodness the distance of the Santa Anita Sprint Championship was six furlongs and not anything shorter. He put his head in front right at the finish.“What a training job by Richard Mandella!” Mirahmadi exclaimed.Indeed.And what a superlative performance it was by Omaha Beach to prevail by a head despite having so much to overcome.By the way, Mandella pulled off something similar back in 1995. Afternoon Deelites, owned by Burt Bacharach, won his first five career starts before finishing a close second in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby. After Afternoon Delights ran eighth in the Kentucky Derby at 1 1/4 miles on May 6, he went on the shelf. He did not race again until he won Santa Anita’s Grade I Malibu Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 26.WINNER’S FINAL TIME DESERVES PRAISEOmaha Beach completed six furlongs last Saturday in 1:08.79. That was terrific on a surface that produced winning times ranging from 1:10.08 to 1:13.39 in the nine six-furlong races run during the first seven days of the Santa Anita autumn meet.Earlier on the card Saturday at Santa Anita, Lady Ninja won the Grade III L.A. Woman Stakes with a final time of 1:16.79 for 6 1/2 furlongs. The six-furlong fraction in that race was 1:09.84, roughly five lengths slower than Omaha Beach’s 1:08.79.“Anybody that doesn’t realize what 1:08 and change means here at Santa Anita these days isn’t watching the races here because they’re not very fast,” Mandella said Monday morning to Steve Byk on his SiriusXM radio program At the Races. “Saying that, the injuries are way down from the problems we had earlier in the year. So, it’s probably a good thing.”REMARKABLE BEYER SPEED FIGURE PATTERNPerhaps it has been done before, but I sure do not recall seeing this before. Ever since Omaha Beach’s first race, he has improved his Beyer Speed Figure in seven straight starts.Below are Omaha Beach’s figures:Beyer (Finish) Race and Date103 (1st) Grade I Santa Anita Sprint Championship on Oct. 5, 2019101 (1st) Grade I Arkansas Derby on April 13, 2019*96 (1st) Grade II Rebel Stakes on March 16, 201990 (1st) maiden special weight race at Santa Anita on Feb. 2, 2019*83 (2nd) maiden special weight race at Santa Anita on Jan. 4, 201980 (2nd) maiden special weight race at Del Mar on Nov. 18, 2018+78 (2nd) maiden special weight race at Santa Anita on Sept. 29, 2018+62 (3rd) maiden special weight race at Santa Anita on Sept. 2, 2018+*Run on a sloppy track+Run on turfWHAT’S NEXT FOR OMAHA BEACH?According to Mandella, three Breeders’ Cup races are under consideration for Omaha Beach: the Sprint, the Dirt Mile and the Classic.On Byk’s show Monday, Mandella said that if he “had to choose today, I’d say that the Sprint is very interesting to just go back and try that.”Mandella indicated he just is not sure if there is enough time for Omaha Beach to run in the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic from the six-furlong race he ran in last Saturday.“We’re just going to have to wait and see about that,” Mandella said. “Right now, I’d say nothing’s out of the question. But more than likely it would be the Sprint.”It probably won’t happen, but I would love to see Omaha Beach in the BC Classic. One reason I would love to see that is how the prospective field for this year’s BC Classic is shaping up. It appears to me that this year’s BC Classic is going to be far from one of the strongest we have ever seen.One thing Omaha Beach does seem to have going for him regarding the BC Classic is he already has a pretty good foundation at this point. Don’t forget, he had been deemed ready to run in a mile race on Sept. 28.If Omaha Beach were mine, I would not be inclined to run him in the BC Sprint because of his probable opponents in that race. This year’s BC Sprint is expected to attract the likes of Mitole, Imperial Hint and Shancelot. Personally, I’d much rather run in the BC Classic than against Mitole, Imperial Hint and Shancelot in the BC Sprint.I guess if the BC Classic turns out to be too far too soon, then the BC Dirt Mile would seem to make the most sense. Granted, the BC Dirt Mile is expected to have a strong cast headed by Catalina Cruiser. But I would rather run against Catalina Cruiser and company than Mitole and company.Perhaps the main reason I would love to see Omaha Beach in the BC Classic is his trainer. Because if there was ever a trainer capable of somehow having Omaha Beach sufficiently prepared to start in and possibly win the BC Classic, it is Richard Mandella.THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLLFollowing Omaha Beach’s win in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, he moved into the Top 10 this week in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. He is the lone newcomer in this week’s Top 10.Elate dropped out of the Top 10 this week after she finished second to Blue Prize in the Grade I Spinster Stakes at Keeneland last Sunday.Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for this week:Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes)1. 387 Bricks and Mortar (27)2. 342 Midnight Bisou (11)3. 294 Sistercharlie (1)4. 267 Mitole (1)5. 198 McKinzie6. 176 Code of Honor7. 148 Imperial Hint8. 95 Catalina Cruiser9. 82 Vino Rosso10. 77 Omaha Beach

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10.10.2019:

The Curious Case of Omaha Beach

Saturday at Santa Anita, 3-year-old Omaha Beach won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship in thrilling fashion, closing along the inside under Hall-of-Fame jockey Mike Smith to nail speedy and heavily-favored Shancelot on the money in 1:08 3/5. The victory was made even more exciting because Omaha Beach had been the Kentucky Derby morning line favorite before a throat issue forced him to be scratched May 1. Before Saturday, the colt had been away from afternoon action since April 13, when he won the Arkansas Derby by one length over Improbable and was nearly six lengths clear of Country House. That’s notable because Country House returned in his next start to win the Kentucky Derby, sort of, when Maximum Security was disqualified for interference. Omaha Beach’s throat condition required surgery and post-operative complications extended his absence from what was supposed to be ‘day-to-day’ into months on ‘injured reserve.’ Back in training, Hall-of-Fame conditioner Richard Mandella originally pointed the colt toward a route race as a prep for a start in the Breeders’ Cup Classic November 2. However, a work didn’t go as planned and Mandella shifted sights toward the Santa Anita Sprint Championship instead. As the scratched morning-line Kentucky Derby favorite, Omaha Beach’s long road to recovery attracted intense interest. Because this year’s sophomore crop still lacks a true superstar, fans anxiously anticipated Omaha Beach’s return and hoped that the colt would fill the void atop racing’s glamour-boy division. When he hit the finish first on Saturday in such a game performance, pent-up fan frustration that had been building since spring was released in the form of plaudits and superlatives. Not unaffected was Santa Anita race caller Frank Mirahmadi who, at the thrilling conclusion, called Omaha Beach the winner and then exclaimed, “What a training job by Richard Mandella as he wins the Santa Anita Sprint Championship!” Mirahmadi’s enthusiasm was understandable, but it’s rare for a track announcer to mention a trainer’s name in a race call, unless the event is a notable achievement like a milestone victory. But Mirahmadi’s enthusiasm, in a way, was representative of what racing fans everywhere felt. Gone six months and forced to overcome an assortment of setbacks, all credit to the colt and to Mandella that the horse could return and immediately defeat such a swift, formidable foe as Shancelot—winner of three of four starts—in very fast time over a deep and tiring racetrack. After the race, the requisite ‘What’s next?’ question didn’t have a simple answer. And not only because winning connections first wanted to sip champagne and ‘just enjoy this one.’ No, this time there’s a real dilemma about where to run Omaha Beach next. Clearly, that will be in a Breeders’ Cup race. The tricky part is in which race? Omaha Beach has just won a Grade 1 six-furlong sprint in 1:08 3/5—at the exact distance and over the identical surface as the $2 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint. Why not wheel him right back in that race? Duh! Makes sense, no? Does to Mandella. It’s the race he mentioned Monday on Sirius’ At the Races with Steve Byk broadcast as the most likely target. But Mandella also left the door open to other options. After all, Omaha Beach is a 3-year-old and, hopefully, will race next year. With better luck and health, he then can properly be pointed toward the Breeders’ Cup Classic. No need to immediately rush him into such a demanding race right now. Makes sense. But what about the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile? I kid you not. That’s this year’s sponsored handle for the race we’ve previously known as the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. Trust me, Big Ass Fans is an actual company that makes large fans and not a snide reference to the size of racegoer rear-ends. So, what about the Big Ass Fans Dirt Mile as a potential next start for Omaha Beach? Anticipated competition seems a bit less fierce in the Dirt Mile than it does in the Sprint. Mitole and Catalina Cruiser appear most dangerous foes. The former is a very fast sprinter trying two turns for the first time and the latter is a winner of 7 of 8 lifetime starts—his only loss came in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile. One negative to running in the Dirt Mile is that the purse is ‘only’ $1 million as compared to $2 million for the Sprint and $6 million for the Classic. I know money isn’t everything, but when you’re talking millions it’s at least something. The other thing that’s ‘something’ is which color Eclipse Award statue might await Omaha Beach in Hallandale Beach in January. Horse of the Year trophies are gold, the rest are not. Sophomore honors really hinge on what Code of Honor does in the Classic. That’s an Eclipse Award ‘Win and You’re In’ race for him, no matter what Omaha Beach does in either the Sprint or Mile. However, if Code of Honor misfires in the Classic and Omaha Beach wins a BC event, then the son of War Front could snatch the 3-year-old crown. Connections of Maximum Security, divisional leader in the clubhouse with a tenuous one-stroke lead, can merely watch as their colt’s two closest pursuers line up makeable eagle putts.      Or, how about this scenario? Distaff probable favorite Midnight Bisou and Mile/Turf star Bricks and Mortar, both unbeaten in 2019 and candidates for Horse of the Year honors, each lose respective BC races while Omaha Beach wins the BC Classic. Is there a chance then that the Fox Hill Farms’ colt could take home gold? One thing is certain: Mandella will make a studied and wise decision. He’s a conservative guy who does what’s best for his horse without exception and he’s an expert at pointing horses toward specific races; in the mold of fellow California training legend Charlie Whittingham. Mandella is the only conditioner ever to win four Breeders’ Cup races in a single day! For a moment, let that sink in—a BC four-bagger! Halfbridled in the Juvenile Fillies, Action This Day in the Juvenile, Johar in a Turf dead-heat and Pleasantly Perfect in the Classic. Oh, and by the way, races that day were at Santa Anita.    From a sharp horseplayer’s point of view, all of this Omaha Beach hubbub has to stir contrarian emotions. Because of the hype, Omaha Beach will be over-bet no matter where he appears on the BC card. That will tempt serious players to look elsewhere for value and to ask if there’s a legitimate gambling case to be made against racing’s newest, hottest celebrity? For example, if Omaha Beach is so great, why did it take him 5 races to break his maiden? Top horses usually win first or second time out. Was his huge Santa Anita Sprint Championship effort off a 6-month layoff too strong to be repeated? Was Shancelot still feeling the effects of his watch-busting, track-record shattering, July Saratoga performance? And how will Omaha Beach perform against several talented older runners instead of just one sharp fellow 3-year-old in Shancelot? Yes, this is the curious case of Omaha Beach. Can’t wait to see how it all turns out. There were other races with BC implications over the weekend. Here’s one man’s view of them. Keeneland Friday, Oct. 4 Grade 2 Stoll Ogden Phoenix -3-Year-Olds and Up - Six Furlongs Engage parlayed victory in the $100k Bensalem at Parx into a Grade 2 Keeneland score. It was the 4-year-old colt’s second win in as many starts this year since changing barns from Chad Brown to Steve Asmussen. Perhaps he’s back on track at 4, after showing promise at 2 when he won the Grade 3 Futurity at Belmont in his third start. Whitmore broke last in the field and closed well on the outside but too late.  Promises Fulfilled was a disappointment. Lexitonian, sophomore winner of Pimlico’s Chick Lang held third. It seemed like this race, overall, was a bit of a disappointment. There are better sprinters headed to Santa Anita. Grade 1 Darley Alcibiades – 2-Year-Old Fillies - One Mile and One-Sixteenth    British Idiom made it 2-for-2 in career wins when she stretched out from a six-furlong Saratoga maiden score to convincingly take the Alcibiades. The daughter of Flashback raced with Lasix for the first time and approaches Santa Anita in fine shape. She’s got a fabulous stride that goes from here to there. She was a bit rank early, but she’s inexperienced and, hopefully, will learn. Trainer Brad Cox has had a strong season, so it could be his time. Saturday, Oct. 5 Grade 2 Woodford Stakes – 3-Year-Olds and Up - Five and One-Half Furlongs Turf Stubbins, a 3-year-old Doug O’Neill-trained California invader who has now won 4 of 8 starts this year including 2 over the now shuttered Santa Anita hillside turf course, and jockey Joel Rosario had to shove their way clear in the stretch to win the Woodford. And they had a good trip! Extravagant Kid, a 6-year-old pro with 11 wins in 37 starts had nowhere to go for a long time in the stretch and his race can be thrown out. Imprimis, a 5-year-old winner of 7 of 12 starts, also had nowhere to run through the lane. Leinster, a 4-year-old 3 for 3 at the distance and 1-1 over Keeneland turf before the race, finished a solid second. Grade 2 Thoroughbred Club of America –Fillies & Mares - Six Furlongs Spiced Perfection, a 4-year-old California-bred filly, broke very awkwardly and last in the field of 9, rode the rail under patient handling by jockey Javier Castellano, gamely split horses in the stretch and won this race convincingly. Dawn the Destroyer finished late outside for second, but none of the others in the race fired best shots. Grade 1 First Lady – Fillies & Mares - One Mile Turf Uni is a 5-year-old mare is named either after a sushi dish (sea urchin) or what they call college in the UK (University). Trevor Denman labelled her ‘You-Knee’ at Del Mar, but she’s also been introduced as ‘Ooo-knee’ elsewhere. By either name, she’s in great form right now! She absolutely exploded in the stretch to win the First Lady and probably is headed toward meeting males in the BC Mile. She got a decent pace to chase, but she looked fabulous drawing away from runner-up Juliet Foxtrot. Chad Brown’s other entrant Rushing Fall didn’t fire. Males will be a bigger challenge for Uni, but she’s got some positives: females have done well in the Mile, she’s trained by Chad Brown, she’s sharp, has won 9 of 17 and will be a decent price. Stay tuned. Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity – 2-Year-Olds - One Mile and One-Sixteenth Maxfield, an unbeaten 2-year-old son of Street Sense who won a one-turn mile first out at Churchill Downs in September, now has a two-turn mile and one-sixteenth score to his credit. He made a huge move from last to reach contention and then drew away in the stretch. His run was almost too impressive, though. Comparisons to exhilarating BC Juvenile winner Azeri have been made but that’s a bit of a reach. There just may not have been a lot of talent behind Maxfield Saturday. Dennis’ Moment and Eight Rings loom as the ones to beat in the BC Juvenile and if this guy can repeat this effort, he’ll join them. Situation demands further review. Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile – 3-Year-Olds and Up - One Mile Turf Bowies Hero, another California turf invader, claimed top prize in the Shadwell at a decent price. One win out of four starts this year--in the Grade 2, Eddie Read at mile and one-eighth at Del Mar--left this guy cool on the board. The red-hot combination of trainer Phil D’Amato and jockey Flavien Prat warmed things up. In the past, Bowies Hero has had his moments—he won the Grade 1 Frank Kilroe at Santa Anita last season and was third in the Grade 1 Shoemaker there, too. Would be surprised, but not shocked if this guy fired well in the BC Mile. At least we know he likes the layout. Sunday, October 6 Indian Summer – 2-Year-Olds – Five and One-Half Furlongs Turf Wesley Ward-trained Kimari rallied from far back to win this $200k stakes race. Plenty of speed was signed on and they moved along up front to set up the winner’s closing charge. Grade 3 Dixiana Bourbon – 2-Year-Olds - One Mile and One Sixteenth Turf Peace Achieved continued to dominate turf foes in here, following a 6 ¾ maiden triumph at Ellis and a 2 ½-length $500k stakes scamper at Kentucky Downs. Both wins were accomplished following the addition of blinkers by trainer Mark Casse. Vitalogy finished second in a good try after a very wide trip the entire way from post 13.  Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster – Fillies & Mares – One Mile and One-Eighth Elate and Dunbar Road took all of the wagering money in here, but Blue Prize got the lion’s share of the purse money at a great 7-1 price. She was the defending Spinster champ but yielded popularity to Bill Mott’s 5-year-old Elate—two necks from being two-time winner of the Grade 1 Personal Ensign—and 3-year-old Dunbar Road—winner of four of five for trainer Chad Brown. Perhaps the low-profile combo of trainer Ignacio Correas and jockey Joe Bravo inflated the price. Blue Prize inexplicably ducked out a bit near the finish of the race, less severely than she did last year. Don’t know if ‘Prize can beat Midnight Bisou in the Distaff but she’s a sharp pro with a puncher’s chance. Belmont Saturday, Oct. 5 Grade 3 Matron – Fillies 2-Years-Old – Six Furlongs Turf Alms from off the pace was much the best of this group. She’s now unbeaten in two starts for trainer Michael Stidham. Time Limit, making her first start on turf, ran well and had a clear lead in the lane until Alms ran her down. Grade 1 Joe Hirsch Turf Classic – 3-Year-Olds & Upward – One Mile and One-Half Turf US-based distance turf horses on both coasts have taken turns beating each other this year. Saturday was Arklow’s chance at the plate and he didn’t disappoint. He’s actually been knocking on the door all season, with three seconds (two by a neck) from five starts, but he put it all together on the Belmont lawn to take the Hirsch. Channel Maker, who prefers a bit of give in the ground ran too well to lose. Expect a few of these to return in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, but that race often has gone to Europeans and this year should be more of the same. Grade 1 Champagne – 2-Year-Olds – One Mile While the Champagne is a one-turn mile and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile usually is a two-turn mile and one-sixteenth event, this race has been a reasonably good producer of Juvy winners with 9 overall. According to winning connections, this year’s Champagne winner won’t be heading west for Breeders’ Cup. Good thing, too. This is a strong year for 2-year-old colts and he’d likely get hot and dirty. Sunday, Oct. 6 Grade 3 Futurity – 2-year-olds – Six Furlongs Turf Favored Four Wheel Drive broke well, settled behind speedster Jack and Noah, took over when asked, drifted out through the stretch while clear. He was the best of this rather light bunch of just six runners. The 2-year-old son of American Pharoah won the $100k RosiesB Stakes in his initial start at Colonial Downs at five and one-half furlongs. Grade 1 Flower Bowl – Fillies & Mares – One Mile and One Quarter Peter Brant’s Sistercharlie continued her winning ways by notching her sixth consecutive Grade 1 Stakes victory and her seventh winning tally out of nine US starts. She’s an absolute pro with a closing style that was aided by the presence of stablemate and rabbit Thais, who set a solid early pace. Thais assumed her rabbit role in last year’s BC F&M Turf and Sistercharlie emerged victorious. It will be interesting to see who comes from Europe to face the defending champ who enters the ‘Cup 3-for-3 this year.  Grade 1 Frizette – 2-Year-Old Fillies – One Mile Whicked Whisper, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Joel Rosario, took the lead out of the gate in this one-turn mile, breezed along while carving out roughly 24-second quarters and came home clear. The 2-year-old filly brigade is not as strong as the males are this year, so Whisper might have a say come November 1. On the other hand, it’s doubtful she’ll be permitted to ‘walk the dog’ up front at Santa Anita. It should be noted that the Frizette has been the most productive Breeders’ Cup prep race with 12 graduates earning success on the big stage, including the past 2 winners. Santa Anita Saturday, Oct. 5 Grade 2 City of Hope Mile – 3-Year-Olds and Up – One Mile Turf True Valour rated kindly in fifth early beneath jockey Drayden Van Dyke, enjoyed a rail-skimming trip into the lane, angled out, found his feet and surged to get up in time as part of a blanket finish. The 5-year-old horse hadn’t started since Feb 9, for trainer Simon Callaghan. That was a winning effort also at a mile at Santa Anita. This was True Valour’s fifth US race and he was a Group 3 winner in his native Ireland as well as Group 2 placed there. There wasn’t much depth to this race, so it would be surprising to see a BC Mile winner emerge from this lot. Grade 1 Santa Anita Sprint Championship – 3-Year-Olds and Up – Six Furlongs See Omaha Beach Above Sunday, Oct. 6   Zuma Beach – 2-Year-Olds – One Mile Turf Hit the Road surprised most at $16.60 in his second turf start. He’s now unbeaten on the green. Don’t expect this event to have much of an effect on the BC Juvenile Turf because the Euros pretty much own that event. Encoder, previously unbeaten in two turf starts, finished fourth. Speakeasy – 2-Year-Olds – Five Furlongs Turf El Tigre Terrible had an absolute dream trip from behind, saved all the ground, got through inside and rallied between horses gamely late to just get up and win this race. This truly was a textbook ride by Rueben Fuentes. It was El Tigre Terrible’s first turf start and the son of Smiling Tiger couldn’t have been better for trainer Peter Miller. It’s difficult to imagine that this colt could get as perfect a trip in the BC Juvy Turf Sprint, but he likes the course. Surfer Girl – 2-Year-Olds Fillies – One Mile Turf Cal-Bred Warren’s Showtime pulled off a stunning $72 upset in the Surfer Girl and could be headed to the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf next. She’ll have her hooves full in that event, but she has a win over the course and that’s got to count for something. Race On!

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10.9.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: October 11 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle with this week’s Stronach 5, which continues to be one of the best bets on the track. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R7 (4:33 ET) – 2yof MSW at 1-mile A fun race to kick off the sequence, and one you probably want to remember the names from, as there appears some talent here and it looks like a potential key-race in the making. Being a Godolphin 2yo these days is a very good thing, and it looks like #4 EMBOSSED (8-1) has been working well for her debut for Stidham, who is 16% with firsters, and this miss is kin to some nice ones, stakes winner Lucullan being tops. The Delacour stats (20% with second-out maidens) say #8 BARBARA GORDON (7-2) is going to improve off her debut, and if that’s the case the rest are in trouble, as she was a solid 2nd sprinting at Laurel, and, as a daughter of Commissioner, should relish the added ground she gets today. I’ll also use #10 WINDFALL PROFIT (9-2), as she was facing eons better on the grass in two NY starts, is bred for the main track, and Shug has used this move down 95-South with plenty of success in the past. Lastly, I’ll toss in #7 ETANA (6-1), who had no chance after breaking very slow and last from the rail on debut at Parx, but note she was 8-5 that day and Breen is a strong 22% with second-out maidens, so off the experience builder, from a much better post, she may wake up and surprise. Pk5 A horses: 4,8,10,7 (listed in order of preference) I’m going to use the top-4 and call it a day, with the caveat that #2 Omni Diva isn’t too live for Butch Reid, who is 19% with firsters and 26% when Correa rides. There are others, like #3 Wonder City (5-1), #1 Orbette (15-1), and #5 Looking Dynamic (6-1), but they all to appear to be looking up at the quartet above, who have more upside than they do as well. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 2: Gulfstream Park West R8 (4:43 ET) –2f 35k MCL at 6 furlongs (turf) The two best proven runners—#1 ITSENOUGH (5-2) and #4 NA NA DUDE (3-1)—seem like must-use types, as there’s not much here and their two dirt races lay over the field; however, I’ll also use #9 DANCE DUNE (8-1), who was a distant 9th on debut in a fast turf MSW and is bred for this, though she also figures in the 7-2 range. Pk5 A horses: 4,1,9 Even though #6 NOT ANOTHER (4-1) was a slow 4th on debut against Florida breds, she did pass a few late and can improve, so I’ll use her as a backup. Pk5 B horses: 6 Leg 3: Santa Anita R3 (5:05 ET) –3up Cal-bred MSW at 1-mile (turf) I’m not a big fan of singling lifetime maidens, though it looks like #5 COOL YOUR JETS (2-1) has finally found a field he can beat, as any of his last several are simply better than anything this field has done, and he’s supposed to improve second-off a January layoff. However, he’s also 0-for-10 for a reason, and the fact that #2 JETOVATOR (5-2) gets back to the turf and look like a Lone F means the streak could continue, as he looks like a better horse than the one that ran well on turf twice to start his career and may forget to stop. Pk5 A horses: 2, 5 If nothing else #1 FRAVEL (5-2) has some upside off just two modest runs to start his career, and he adds blinkers to and he drew perfectly, so I’ll include him underneath. Pk5 B horses: 1 Leg 4: Laurel Park R8 (5:15 ET) – 3upfm 40k 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) I’m going to be bold here and single #3 CRAZED (3-1), as this looks like the type of race where you can use five or six and still not win, and when that’s the case, I’m a fan of taking a shot on a horse I like best and hoping I’m right. And, with this one, there are some angles at play, most notably Gorham doesn’t claim many, but is 5-for-23 when he does, so you’re allowed to think this one moves up off that big win last time at Del Park, plus, he’s either the controlling speed or will be involved in what looks like a relatively soft pace, so I’ll play for the double up and hold my breath. Pk5 A horses: 3 As I hinted at above, there are plenty of others you can use here, and I’m not hard-headed enough to not have any backups, but the problem is, if I used them in the conventional sense, and with my other A’s, then I’d have a ticket that would be exponentially bigger than my main ones. So, with that being said, I’m going to use #5 UNEQUIVOCAL (6-1), #4 RIP RAP RILEY (7-2), #10 MAKING THE RULES (6-1), and #11 MEO DESPERADO (8-1), but will have to really condense around them—so I’ll be using 4,8—4,1,9—2,5—and 1. Pk5 B horses: 5,4,10,11 Leg 5: Santa Anita R4 (5:40 ET) – 3up 20k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs I’d like to think we can use #1 TRUST REWARD (7-2), #3 RINESHAFT (5-2), and #5 HARLISS (2-1) and get through, and that’s the order I prefer them as well, since the former makes his first start for O’Neill (25%) off a useful LRC debut, while ‘Rine has run well in both starts and may be ready to make a big move forward, and the latter has already had eight chances and is tough to trust, though he does run as a first-time gelding. Pk5 A horses: 1,3,5 I’ll go it alone on the top line, though #4 Fortnite Dance (6-1) could move forward with blinkers and has a few races showing that could threaten here, and #6 U S Hero (8-1) woke up a bit in his last and wouldn’t be impossible with another forward move. Pk5 B horses: NONE The tickets: Main Ticket: 4,8,10,7 with 4,1,9 with 2,5 with 3 with 1,3,5 = $76 Leg 2 B Backup: 4,8,10,7 with 6 with 2,5 with 3 with 1,3,5 = $24 Leg 3 B Backup: 4,8,10,7 with 4,1,9 with 1 with 3 with 1,3,5 = $36 Leg 4 B Backup: 4,8 with 4,1,9 with 2,5 with 5,4,10,11 with 1 = $48

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10.8.2019:

Harness Highlights: ‘Cruzado’ Tries To Recapture International Magic

Cruzado dela Noche, representing Sweden, sprung a 30-1 shocker in the $1 million International Trot at Yonkers Raceway last year and he’s back to defend the title this Saturday, Oct. 12, in a field that features two Hambletonian winners and multiple stakes winners from nine countries. Cruzado dela Noche sat a good second-over trip for Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears and got up in the closing yards to edge Lionel (Norway), who was parked first-over a long way in the 1-1/4-mile test and forged to the lead in mid-stretch. Lionel is back for revenge and his versatility could come in handy in the crowded, speed-laden lineup. Atlanta, the 2018 Hambletonian winner, and Guardian Angel AS, fresh off a victory in the $600,000 Maple Leaf Trot at Woodbine-Mohawk Park, carry the U.S. hopes. Atlanta prepped at half-mile oval earlier this month and “she did everything I wanted, especially around the turns,” according to driver Yannick Gingras. “I made sure to buzz her around the turns.” Guardian Angel AS benefits from a home-course advantage and Hall of Famer Tim Tetrick in the bike. Marion Marauder (Canada) won the 2016 Trotting Triple Crown for driver Scott Zeron, ran second to record-setter Twister Bi in the 2017 International and set the pace until early stretch last year before tiring. Slide So Easy (Denmark) is a 39-race winner at age 10 and was the first of the international contingent to arrive in the U.S. Usa Josselyn (Switzerland) and Bahia Quesnot (France) finished 1-2 in the recent European championship for mares at Solvalia racetrack. Bahia Quesnot also boasts a recent runner-up finish to superstar Propulsion. Zacon Gio (Italy) was visually impressive in his most recent stakes victory that improved his record to 20-28. He arrives with an 11-race winning streak. Norton Commander (Germany) is a lightly-raced 5-year-old but has won half of his 24 starts. The 41st running of the International will be the feature on the card this Saturday, Oct. 12. Post time is 1 p.m. and the International is scheduled to be in motion at 3 p.m. The special matinee program also features two, $250,000 Invitationals, the Dan Rooney Pace and Harry Harvey Trot.

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10.7.2019:

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Bursting With Talent

The headline event on Breeders’ Cup Friday has become the Juvenile, which gets to sit at the head of the kid’s table on the day of 2-year-old showcases. We won’t waste a second of the gallop-out before looking ahead to the Kentucky Derby prospects, of course, but this year’s field could be as interesting as it’s ever been heading into the race.That’s because we have highly impressive prep winners coming from literally all corners of the country. Most years, there will be one or maybe two Juvenile players ahead of the class coming into the Breeders’ Cup. As of today, there are four, possibly five, who really intrigue this eye. Let’s take a look at them by region.CaliforniaThe only horse capable of beating Eight Rings this year in California has been, well, Eight Rings. His 6-length blowout win in the Grade 1 American Pharoah at Santa Anita stamped him clearly back on the beam after ducking and losing his rider at the start of the Del Mar Futurity. The American Pharoah runner-up American Theorem appears a high-quality individual, so there was ‘something’ behind Eight Rings in the local prep. His trainer Bob Baffert has won the Juvenile 4 times, including a win (Game Winner) and runner-up (Solomini) in the past 2 editions.KentuckyDennis’ Moment, like Eight Rings, has been his only foe in Kentucky. He clipped heels and fell in his debut at Churchill Downs in his June 23 debut. Since then, he smoked an Ellis Park maiden field over 7 furlongs by 19-1/2 lengths and returned to Churchill to win the Grade 3 Iroquois around 2 turns while wrapped up late. The son of 2-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow purposely was kept clear of an October prep to be fresh for the Juvenile by trainer Dale Romans’ design. His veteran sire has proven he can have a 2-year-old ready for Breeders’ Cup glory, witnessed by 2005 Juvenile Fillies winner Folklore.With Dennis’ Moment in his stall on Saturday, Maxfield announced emphatically that Kentucky has more than one rising player in the Juvenile ranks. He dusted what appeared a solid field in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland with a sweeping move off the turn and drew off by 5-1/2 widening lengths. Trainer Brendan Walsh earned his first Grade 1 victory in the process, though owner Godolphin is no stranger to Breeders’ Cup success. Maxfield is a son of 2006 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Street Sense, who, of course, went on to win the ’07 Kentucky Derby. Maxfield is now 2-for-2 with a pair of wins at a mile or more. His closing kick provides a unique feature for a horse at his stage of development.New YorkAfter seeing his debut win at Saratoga, I Tweeted something to the effect that we just might have seen the second coming of Funny Cide. Tiz the Law not only validated that speculation in Saturday’s Grade 1 Champagne Stakes reappearance at Belmont Park, but he underscored it in bold print. Sackatoga Stables and veteran trainer Barclay Tagg have a dandy on their hands again. Tiz the Law left the confines of New York-bred company and cruised to a 4-length victory over the 1-turn mile while easily defeating the previously unbeaten Saratoga Special winner Green Light Go. He cleared the open company question far faster than his stable predecessor Funny Cide, winner of the 2003 Kentucky Derby and Preakness. Tiz the Law is by red-hot, first-crop sire Constitution and his damsire is two-time Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Tiznow. But the connections indicate the Juvenile is unlikely with the goal to return to Louisville on the first Saturday in May.FloridaChance It cruised by 7-1/2 lengths in winning Gulfstream Park’s finale to the Florida Stallion Series, the In Reality. He showed that first-over, tactical speed that wins big races. Better yet, he maintained a tempo that didn’t slow considerably late like most 2-year-old route races. Trainer Saffie Joseph, Jr. has been lighting up Gulfstream Park at a high percentage over the past year and 2019 has been his coming out party nationally with Math Wizard winning the Pennsylvania Derby. This son of Currency Swap is notably a product of damsire Pleasantly Perfect, who won the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita and twice the Goodwood over that track.

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10.7.2019:

Monday, October 7: Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has an Early Pick 4 with a $50,000 guaranteed pool set to begin as usual in Race 4. It's a competitive sequence and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 47-Family Sports (12-1)-Lasix hasn't worked yet, was claimed from Auciello and now Roy ends up between the pipes. All that said, this isn't a race full of all-stars and this guy had the speed to beat $20K claimers at the end of July. Last was better and this field isn't much different so will use at 12-1 in the ML.9-Outlaw Gunpowder (5/2)-The post is a concern but comes off a win and form has been too good to overlook.10-Flaherty (4-1)-Strong effort from the 8-hole after missing a start and now comes right back. Does have some gate speed so Filion can work a trip.Race 51-Odds On Amethyst (8-1)-The 1-hole isn't much of an advantage and needs to find a smooth journey. But last was better and could take an overdue picture with another big effort.2-On The Sly (8-1)-Makes first start back in the Moreau barn and he had success with this 7-year-old before. Comes off a nice win and could handle the step-up in class at a square price.4-Bautista (7/2)-This is a soft spot and Filion knows well, should be tough to beat with a top effort and can capture an overdue win.6-Meadowbranch Meadow (10-1)-Steps-up but fits with this crew. Jamieson in the bike and that is a ++ driver change. Makes third start off the bench and could be sitting on a big try.Race 64-Head Turning Jag (5/2)-Steps-up after and easy score. Henry and this barn have clicked at 23%, best to respect chances for an encore.6-She's Got Pizazz (6-1)-Has been facing a tough duo and fits better versus this crew. Might leave and get the top or the 2-hole, then chances go up at a square price.9-Undercover Strike (3-1)-11-year-old is on a nice roll, comes off a win and makes first start in the Shepherd barn. JMac should be coming late, and pace could be quick enough, so he rolls by.Race 77-Angers Bayama (3-1)-Has crushed foes in last two by at least 7 lengths and was pouring it on in the back half. Last win was in 50.4 and if repeats that performance it's probably picture time again.8-Machpaperscissors (10-1)-Since coming off the bench last 3 have been sharp efforts. Jamieson could look to leave and try to duck behind #7 and make one big brush down the stretch.My Ticket Race 4) 7,9,10 Race 5) 1,2,4,6 Race 6) 4,6,9 Race 7) 7,8Total Ticket Cost) $14.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.6.2019:

Sunday, October 06: Santa Anita Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.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 12:30 PT. Grade: C+Use: 3-Takeo; 4-MutineerForecast: Takeo tries dirt for the first time and if he handles the surface he may be capable of taking this field gate to wire. The son of First Samurai has shown good speed on occasion, and in a five-runner maiden claimer comprised of himself and four plodders, the J. Shirreffs-trained gelding would be wise to take the initiative under bug boy Diaz and wire the field. Mutineer returns to his claim level for D. O’Neill after finishing a distant third in a fairly strong straight maiden miler at Los Alamitos last time out. Off his best race the son of Into Mischief is a solid fit on speed figures and should have every chance to produce the last run form a stalking position. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.RACE 2: Post 1:05 PT. Grade: C+Use: 3-Orquidias Biz; 9-I’m the HeroForecast: This maiden turf sprint for juvenile fillies didn’t come up particularly strong. There’s always a chance that one or more of the first-timers outrun their workout times but in the absence of a hidden gem we’ll stick with two best experienced entrants. Orquidias Biz has an improving pattern for J. Mullins, and if she duplicate her dirt form on turf and produces another forward move the daughter of Fed Biz looks as good as any. I’m the Hero has a similar pattern, though slower on speed figures than ‘Biz, and is worth including as well. That :21 3/5 opening quarter at Del Mar in a much tougher straight maiden sprint that saw the winner (Quality Response) return to capture a Los Alamitos stakes race makes this daughter of Bayern a major contender, assuming she handles the surface switch. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two, but if you feel the need to spread in rolling exotic play, go right ahead.RACE 3: Post 1:40 PT. Grade: B+Use: 3-Carressa; 5-Der LuForecast: Carressa didn’t show anything in a pair if sprints last winter before being stopped on but the daughter of Uncle Mo appears to have come back much improved based on her facile victory at Del Mar and sharp recent workouts since that four length maiden score. Today’s one level class jump will require further improvement but we suspect the J. Shirreffs-trained filly has it in her. Der Lu has looked especially sharp of late in the a.m., and after failing to fire in her comeback on turf at Del Mar the B. Baffert-trained filly should be ready for a significant forward move. She’s reunited with “win rider” D. Van Dyke and projects to display more early speed and be in the fray every step of the way. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Carressa.RACE 4: Post 2:15 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Encoder; 4-Billy BettsForecast: The Zuma Beach Stakes is essentially a rematch between the first two finishers of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes, a similar mile grass affair in which Encoder wore down Billy Betts right on the money. This race shapes up the same, with Encoder rallying from off the pace and ‘Betts trying to hang on. Both have a right to improve, so rather than split hairs we’ll use both in our rolling exotics while otherwise passing the race.RACE 5: Post 2:50 PT. Grade: XUse: 2-Lily Con; 6-DarpaForecast: This bottom-rung maiden claiming sprint for fillies and mares offers little in the way of wagering value, with Darpa, beaten a head while eight lengths clear of the rest in a similar event at Del Mar last time out, listed as the 4/5 morning line favorite. Lily Con drops to a realistic level in her first outing since February and might be a better type off the layoff. She hails from a winning barn (R. Baltas) and did flash speed in a pair of route races before being stopped on. You can toss her in on a ticket or two while recognizing that Darpa is a likely short-price winner.RACE 6: Post 3:25 PT. Grade: B-Use: 7-Raging Whiskey; 8-Square DealForecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for juvenile sprinters, and a case can be made for many if not most of the 11 entrants. We’ll recommend two in rolling exotic but best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Raging Whiskey is unproven on turf – he failed in a two-turn grass race that we won’t hold against him – but on pure form he’s good enough to beat this field if handles the surface switch. Square Deal isn’t as fast on figures as ‘Whiskey but he’s a son of Square Eddie and therefore eligible to move up a ton on turf. Prat stays aboard and should have him within striking range outside every step of the way.RACE 7: Post 3:55 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Anuket; 5-Miss Ava’s Union; 6-Rather NosyForecast: Anuket has been away since stumbling and losing her rider at the start in a first-level allowance race at 50 cents on the dollar last winter, but the works indicate she’s fit and ready and her debut maiden win in her previous outing, if repeated, is good enough to beat this field. She gets a break in the weights with the presence of good bug boy J. Diaz in the saddle, so we’ll put her on top while also including Miss Ava’s Union and Rather Nosy in rolling exotic play. ‘Union graduated with a sharp speed figure at Del Mar while on the pace throughout and with another forward move could be tough to beat right back. You can also toss on a ticket or two as a back-up ‘Nosy, a two-time winner over the Santa Anita main track and back with “win rider” Prat. Her numbers are solid and consistent and should put her in the thick of things throughout.RACE 8: Post 4:25 PT. Grade: BUse: 4-Yesterdayoncemore; 5-Mind Out; 7-CroughavoukeForecast: Mind Out walked out of the gate, lagged, commenced her rally very wide into the lane and gobbled up the leaders late to graduate over five furlongs on turf in very impressive fashion in her racing debut. She galloped out strong to indicate more distance will be well within her capabilities, so despite the raise into stakes competition the daughter of Tapit could easily be this good. Recent works have been quite impressive as well, further evidence that’s she’s capable of stepping forward. Yesterdayoncemore and Croughavouke finished one-three in their U.S. debuts in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Stakes, both making highly favorable impressions, and if they don’t “Euro-bounce” they will be major players right back. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics and then press keying Mind Out on top.

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10.6.2019:

Sunday, October 06: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.FIRST RACE1-Peytons PathOct. 2, 20195f, 1:03.3hGrade: C-View WorkoutIn blinkers, high-headed and very late changing leads while finishing under some pressure, splits of :25.1, :37.2 and 1:03.4 flat on our watches. Didn’t show a whole lot in his debut but is hard to endorse at this stage.3-TakeoSept. 13, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: C+View WorkoutMaiden claimer was under a tight hold inside of Express Train (5f, 1:01.3h) into the lane, was late changing leads and then gradually weakened without undue pressure, final 3/8ths in :37.2. Nothing to get excited about, workmate is a very good young prospect.THIRD RACE3-CarressaOct. 2, 20194f, :48.2hGrade: B+View WorkoutUnder wraps while finishing full of run and proving best over Mobou (same time), final quarter mile in :24.1. Really like the way this filly is developing for Shirreffs.3-CarressaSept. 25, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: BView WorkoutBroke off slightly behind Duchamp (5f, 1:01.4h) and was considerably best late, breezing to the wire, splits of :37 flat and 1:01.2 on our watches. Looks good, returned off a layoff to beat maidens from last to first, may have further improvement in her.3-CarressaSept. 11, 20194f, :49.4hGrade: B-View WorkoutUncle Mo filly worked inside 2yo Thunder Code (same time) and looked fine breezing with splits of :24.4 and :49 flat before galloping out well. Left her previous form behind with a nice maiden win over a mile at Del Mar and should be able to build on that with added experience.5-Der LuSept. 29, 20194f, :46.4hGrade: A-View WorkoutBroke off a length in front of Thousand Words (same time) and was breezing through the lane (workmate asked), plenty left late, splits of :11.1 and :35.2 for the final three furlongs, a length in front at the wire. Best we’ve seen her since last year, probably was a bit rusty in her Del Mar comeback and certainly should have a significant forward move in her.10-Beautiful ThunderSept. 30, 20194f, :48hGrade: C+View WorkoutIn blinkers, Broke off about four lengths behind Tromador (4f, :48.3h). moved to engage at the head of the lane but could never get by under some coaxing, a length back at the wire and appearing second best despite faster final time. Flashed some speed in debut in tough race; $140,000 yearling purchase by Broken Vow needs to improve.FOURTH RACE2-EncoderSept. 13, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: BView WorkoutUnbeaten stakes-winning juvenile by English Channel worked on dirt and went nicely without urging, splits of :24.3 and :49.1. Moves well enough on the main track but almost certainly will be reserved for grass.7-Cool RunningsSept. 28, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: BView WorkoutWell in hand early breaking off a few lengths in front of Opus Equus (same time) while several paths off the rail, was joined by workmate at the top of the lane but then drew off rapidly under some late coaxing, final half in :24.1 and :49.2 on our watches. Has room for further development; seeking a maiden 2-year-old two-turn affair, should handle either surface.7-Cool RunningsSept. 21, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: B-View VideoMuch best over Zimba Warrior (5f, 1:02.3h), working inside of that one and opening up under urging through the lane, final three furlongs :37 flat. Okay work, maiden juvenile by American Pharoah seeking another maiden affair, may have a bit of improvement in him.SEVENTH RACE3-AnuketOct. 2, 20194f, :49hGrade: B+View WorkoutBreezing with splits of :12.1, :24.2 and :49.1 on our watches, plenty left late. Should return to action soon, can fire fresh.3-AnuketSept. 25, 20195f, 1:00.3hGrade: B+View WorkoutBroke off a bit more than a length in front of Roadster (5f, 1:00.2h) and finished evenly with that one through the lane, both breezing and able to go faster if asked. Should resume her promising career soon, seems fit and has retained all of here speed. 3-AnuketSept. 1, 20195f, 1:00.2hgGrade: B+View WorkoutNice gate drill for the $575,000 come-backing daughter of Pioneerof the Nile in the Baffert barn, breezing inside Appolina (5f, 1:00.3h, urged doing her best) and went well throughout, final three furlongs in a solid :36.4 while mostly on her own. Won her debut like a top prospect but then stumbled at the start and lost her rider as the heavy favorite in her next outing in early February. Appears to be coming back very well, has all of her conditions.5-Miss Ava’s UnionSept. 29, 20194f, :49.4hGrade: B-View WorkoutA bit rank and erratic leaving the pole while hard held, showed a tendency to get out on the turn, then finished under a tight hold, splits of :24.3 and :49.3 on our watches. Needs to settle down. Broke her maiden at Del Mar last time out and will have further improvement in her if she can get her act together.

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10.6.2019:

Sunday, October 6: The Red Mile Pick 4 Analysis

Three-year-old pacers and trotters will be the headliners in four stake races this afternoon which are included in the Pick 4. That sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 52-Can't Beach That (6-1)-Got on the engine and faded last week, but speed wasn't holding all that well. Will excuse that effort, has the speed to dance with this crew and will look for a big response.3-Southwind Ozzi (3/5)-Jug winner and odds-on favorite is looking for 5th straight. He is good enough to score again but hasn't won on a larger oval all year. Will use this big chalk, but will shoot against and will be doing similar in the rest of the sequence.5-Dancin Lou (9/2)-Broke two back and came 3rd last week. Thinking this is going to be an aggressive try and has the speed to be a major threat if minds manners.Race 63-Millies Possesion (2-1)-This race seems like a 2-horse affair between the chalks. Best to consider chances to turn the table on #4, keep in mind was off 22 days before last race.4-When Dovescry (9/5)-Got the top and never looked back last week. May try same script and it wouldn't be a surprise if this ended with the same result.Race 72-American Mercury (9/2)-Cruised home in last with a 1.49.3 mile. This is a much tougher test but if fires best shot should be in the hunt at a square price.5-Captain Crunch (2-1)-2-1 in the ML and at that price seems like a value. Second time Lasix today, could be sitting on a big try and has done well at Lex.6-Bettor's Wish (6/5)-Winner of last two and many will single this awesome colt. May not matter and hasn't tailed off yet, but has raced four more times this season than #5. Could keep going but will shoot against two others.Race 84-Greenshoe (4/5)-Has won last four races by an average of 4 1/2 lengths. Many will single here, and it is logical, but, at some point the streak ends.6-Gimpanzee (6-1)-If #4 stumbles my chips will be on one of his stablemates. Has been stuck further outside than this on larger ovals all year except once, and he won that time.$1.00 Pick 4 Race 5) 2,3,5 Race 6) 3,4 Race 7) 2,5,6 Race 8) 4,6Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.5.2019:

My Sunday $725K Empire 6 Mandatory Payout Ticket

When you’re a horseplayer, few words jump off the page more than ‘mandatory payout.’  A big lump sum of money sitting in the pool that can’t beat you, but is up for grabs?  Sign me up almost every time.That’s the case this Sunday at Belmont, as ‘everything must go’ in their Empire 6 and the carryover, which has reached $725,823 is the pot of gold waiting for you at the end of the rainbow.  I took a look at the sequence and I think it’s challenging but not impossible, assuming Sistercharlie holds true to form in the Flower Bowl.The sequence gets underway with Belmont’s Race 5, at 2:59PM ET.  Here’s my ticket:  Race 5 – Maiden Claiming – 6 1/2 Furlongs – 2YO FilliesThe kickoff leg of the Pick 6 is loaded with mediocre NY-bred maiden claimers and, as they say, you can’t win the Empire 6 here but you sure can lose it.  There is good news, though.  Since this is the opening leg, you’ll be able to see the odds and adjust your bet accordingly.  If a horse on your ticket isn’t taking much money, you may be able to drop her.  If a filly that you didn’t have looks live, it’s probably worth adjusting your ticket to add her in.  Most of the fillies in this group that have run have done very little on the track, so I’m going to use a trio of first time starters - #4 BROADWAY ANGEL (7/2; Pletcher/Lezcano), #5 BIG RED GIRL (8/1; Baker/Alvarado) and #12 MICRO MARGARITA (6/1; Rodriguez/Franco).  I’ll also use just two that have started, #6 WELSH GOLD (6/1; Sacco/Cancel) and #9 BE MAGIC (4/1; Rodriguez/Ortiz Jr.).  They at least showed promise.Race 6 – Maiden Special Weight – 6 Furlongs – 2YO FilliesThis race is pretty similar to the opener, except these gals aren’t in for a tag.  That means they’re a little better and potentially more trustworthy.  Again, like the opener, you can get a sneak peek at the odds in here in the form of Daily Double Probables prior to Race 5.  So if someone is taking money, it probably makes sense to include that horse on your ticket.  I’m looking to go four deep to (hopefully) pass this leg.  I’ll use first time starters #9 MONEY NEVER SLEEPS (4/1; Pletcher/Velazquez), #11 YELLOW BRICK ROAD (5/1; Kimmel/Rosario) and #6 AMAZING RIDE (6/1; Dutrow/Carmouche).  #4 GOOD SHABBOS (10/1; Englehart/Luzzi) has run second in three career starts and you have to think she’ll win someday, right?  #7 LAKE AVENUE (8/1; Mott/Alvarado) and #8 STRIKE MAGIC (10/1; Hennig/Maragh) are two of the horses I’m very eagle to watch in the Daily Double Probables.  Race 7 – Futurity Stakes (G3) – 6 Furlongs Turf – 2YOThe stakes get even bigger in the third leg as a Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint berth is on the line in the G3 Futurity Stakes.  And with that reward waiting, this field came up strong.  I’m hoping to get through this leg using just three horses.  My top pick is #5 ANOTHER MIRACLE (5/2; Contessa/Franco).  This horse has been well-backed throughout his career – a little uncommon for a Gary Contessa horse – and he looked great in his turf debut in the Skidmore Stakes at Saratoga.  The rail-drawn #1 FREEWHEELER (5/1; Pletcher/Velazquez) looks live off a 5 1/4-length maiden win at Saratoga and he’s going to be running well late if he can relax early.  #4 FOUR WHEEL DRIVE (9/5; Ward/Ortiz Jr.) broke his maiden in a stakes race at Colonial Downs and even though this race is tougher, Wesley Ward excels with turf sprinters and juveniles.  Race 8 – Flower Bowl Invitational (G1) – 1 1/4 Miles Turf – 3YO+ Fillies & MaresThe first legs are tough and the last two aren’t easy but this one looks as simple as singling #2 SISTERCHARLIE (1/5; Brown/Velazquez).  She’s 9-for-13 and has won five straight G1 races.  I guess if there’s one knock on her, she is 0-for-2 at Belmont, but both of those defeats were by a neck or less.  Race 9 – Frizette Stakes (G1) – 1 Mile Dirt – 2YO FilliesA Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies berth is on the line here and the importance of this race is evidenced by the presence of Bob Baffert, Steve Asmussen and Bill Mott in the entries.  You know they mean business.  Interesting to see #1 QUALITY RESPONSE (7/2; Baffert/Talamo) ship in from California a perfect 2-for-2 and I like her running style for this.  She’s the type that can sit in the second flight, stalk and pounce.  She’s 2-for-2 in her career and this is a good spot for her, despite a big step up in class.  #7 FRANK’S ROCKETTE (5/2; Mott/Velazquez) has run second in a pair of stakes races – the G1 Spinaway and the G2 Adirondack – but I can’t trust her enough to not go deep.  #3 WICKED WHSIPER (2/1; Asmussen/Rosario) ran a gigantic race in her debut, winning by 6 1/4-lengths at Del Mar, but she simply overpowered the field that day and she’s going to need to be a little patient as this race is a quarter-mile longer than that one.  Finally, #2 DAPHNE MOON (9/2; Englehart; Ortiz Jr.) closed well in her debut race and would benefit from a fast early pace.Race 10 – Maiden Claiming – 7 Furlongs Turf – 3YO+This nightcap is going to be a test because, like the first two races, the horses in here just aren’t very good.  And there’s nothing worse than needing an inconsistent horse to be consistent for the sake of a big payout.  The likely favorite is #11 ZECHARIAH (7/2; Thomas/Velazquez).  He puts blinkers on in his first start for Jonathan Thomas and this is his first claiming race after going 0-for-5 in maiden special weight events.  John Velazquez taking the mount is a nice feather in his cap.  #4 SNOW LION (12/1; Danner/Franco) is bred for turf racing and this is his first career start.  Sometimes it’s nice to include a horse that you don’t know much about.  #13 DARING DISGUISE (5/2; Rice/Ortiz Jr.) will be on my ticket, but he needs a scratch in order to draw into the field.  My TicketRace 5: 4, 5, 6, 9, 12Race 6: 4, 6, 9, 11Race 7: 1, 4, 5Race 8: 2Race 9: 1, 2, 3, 7Race 10: 4, 11, 13Ticket Cost: $144 for 20-cents

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10.5.2019:

Saturday, October 05: 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.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 12:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Stretford End; 5-SilencedForecast: Stretford End was beaten a neck by Improbable in his debut in a maiden race nearly a year ago. He’s still a maiden, though the son of Will Take Charge hasn’t been out since February and has finished second in three of his four career starts. It’s not too late for the S. Callaghan-trained sophomore to develop into a good colt, but first thing’s first and that’s earning his diploma in this six furlong sprint. The work tab isn’t flashy but should have him fit enough. Silenced also has upside and looms the one to fear most. Second in a similar affair at Los Alamitos last month while earning a better than par speed figure for this level, the son of Arch has a right to produce a forward move for a barn that has solid stats with second-off-layoff runners. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Stretford End.RACE 2: Post 1:05 PT. Grade: B+Use: 3-K P Indy; 7-Smooth Like Strait; 10-Moon MischiefForecast: Here’s a chance for a tote-busting payoff. Smooth Like Strait finished ninth, beaten 20 lengths, in his debut at Del Mar in mid-August but the son of Midnight Lute seems much better than that race shows and deserves a chance to produce a significant form reversal in this maiden turf sprint for juveniles. The M. McCarthy-trained colt was victimized by an anti-inside track bias at Del Mar after flashing good speed for a half, and since then has trained quite well for a trainer that excels with second-time starters. The blinkers off angle always catches our eye, so at a massive 20-1 on the morning line he’s definitely worth strong consideration both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play. K P Indy ran quite well sprinting on turf in his debut at Del Mar in August but then was disappointing as the favorite when sent over a distance of ground in his next appearance. Shortening up while retaining M. Smith, the J. Mullins-trained colt may be most comfortable as a late-running sprinter. You should also include at least on a ticket or two Moon Mischief. The son of Into Mischief was a solid runner-up at Los Alamitos in his debut, adds blinkers, switches to grass, and is another eligible to step forward with that bit of experience behind him.RACE 3: Post 1:40 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Portal Creek; 6-Nomizar; 7-Shes All WomanForecast: Portal Creek, a $32,000 claim in mid-August, returns at that same level today in her first start for J. Sadler and should fire her best shot over a main track she absolutely loves (four wins in seven starts). Her recent workouts indicate fitness and E. Jaramillo, in town to ride Shancelot later in the day, picks up a live mount. Nomizar and Shes All Woman have credentials to run well in this league and also should be included in rolling exotic play. The former was overmatched in the Beverly Lewis S. at Los Alamitos last month but isn’t today and has won over this track in the past. The latter, a two-time winner over the local main track, moves up a notch following a $25,000 Hess, Jr. claim, lands the cozy outside post, and switches to hot-riding A. Cedillo.RACE 4: Post 2:15 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Lil Milo; 11-Wildman JackForecast: Lil Milo didn’t get the best of runs when an unlucky runner-up in a similar turf sprint for first-level allowance types at Del Mar in his comeback but with clear sailing today should be hard to deny. A versatile sort who can be dangerous on the front end or from off the pace, the son of Rocky Bar loves the Santa Anita turf course and sports a strong, healthy work tab that indicates a major effort is forthcoming. Wildman Jack, a close third in the same race Lil Milo exits, has plenty of room to improve with just two career starts under his belt. The Goldencents gelding has been training sharply in the interim at San Luis Rey Downs for the D. O’Neill barn and returns R. Bejarano. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll give a slight edge on top to Lil Milo.RACE 5: Post 2:50 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Anonymity; 6-SelcourtForecast: Selcourt has a history of firing fresh, loves the Santa Anita main track (four wins, three seconds, in nine career starts) and is especially effective when she draws outside. The stars are aligned for a return to top form by the multiple graded stakes winning mare in the J. Sadler barn, and her recent workouts should have her fit enough. Anonymity is never one to count on – she’s failed as an odds-on favorite no less than four times in a nine race career – but when she wants to be the R. Mandella-trained daughter of Tapit can be very good. Never worse than second in three prior outings at Santa Anita, she will be tough if the 8/5 morning line favorite fails for whatever reason to bring her best stuff. Both should be included in rolling exotic play, with preference on top to Selcourt.RACE 6: Post 3:25 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Acker; 3-The Hunted; 4-ForayForecast: This evenly matched group of second-level allowance optional claimers requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Foray is intriguing on the raise for J. Sadler and seems likely to be the controlling speed. He’s unproven at this level and at this nine furlong distance, but the lightly-raced and progressing son of Eskendereya should have every chance to lead this field gate-to-wire if not respected early on. Acker is a four time winner over the Santa Anita turf course and should draft into a lovely pace-stalking trip and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. The Hunted is another with a solid chance off his best effort over a course he’s been known to like (two career wins). The Unusual Heat gelding looks the most dangerous of the closers.RACE 7: Post 3:55 PT. Grade: B+Use: 5-If Id Told You; 10-Lightning FastForecast: Here’s another chance for a major surprise by a two-year-old that could easily be much better than his debut shows. If Id Told You had a rough go in his only outing, breaking a tad slowly and then gradually moving into contention while being forced to race along the deep inside throughout. Under the circumstances, his fifth place finish in a similar state-bred juvenile sprint at Del Mar wasn’t bad at all, and since then the G. Mandella-trained colt has trained quite well while giving every indication that he’s set for a much improved effort. At a whopping 15-1 on the morning line he’s a “must use” in the straight pool as well as the rolling exotics. We’ll also toss in Lightning Fast, third in the same race If Id Told You exits and also with a high probability for stepping forward off his debut run. The son of Violence adds blinkers and switches to Talamo, and if he leaves with his field today there’s a strong likelihood that he’ll be a pace presence from start to finish.RACE 8: Post 4:25 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Synchrony; 6-Catapult; 9-Prince EarlForecast: Synchrony is a deep-closing type that always is susceptible to traffic trouble and slow paced races but if things break his way the the veteran son of Tapit should be capable of producing the last run. Blocked and losing his best chance when a close fifth in the Woodbine Mile-G1 in his most recent outing, the M. Stidham-trained 6-year-old encounters what should be a less difficult assignment today, but again will need a decent pace and good racing luck to get up in time. Catapult has been winless since capturing the Del Mar Mile H.-G2 more than a year ago, but he continues to train sharply and has enough tactical speed to secure a very favorable second-flight trip. On his best day, he can act with these and he could wake up big time with the switch to R. Bejarano. Prince Earl got a dream run when winning this year’s edition of the Del Mar Mile H.-G2 in his first start since last December. A similar effort today could be good enough; however, this time he’ll have to break from the number nine post position and may be forced to lose ground somewhere along the way. Preference on top goes to Synchrony but all three should be used in rolling exotics play.RACE 9: Post 4:55 PT. Grade: XSingle: 3-ShancelotForecast: Shancelot is 4/5 on the morning line and based on form should be. Not only is he by far the fastest sprinter in the race strictly on numbers, he’s catching a field with nothing in it that can remotely challenge him early. In what will serve as an ideal prep for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint over this track and distance next month, the son of Shanghai Bobby seems like no-value short-price rolling exotic single.RACE 10: Post 5:25 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-La Sardane; 3-Tooreen Dancer; 4-ToinetteForecast: This highly contentious edition of the Swingtime Stakes has several contenders, though Toinette, at 9/5 on the morning line, is a deserving favorite after equally her career top speed figure when a strong third in the John C. Mabee Stakes over nine furlongs on turf at Del Mar last month. This drop into an overnight stakes combined with the shortening to a distance she’s perfect at (two-for-two) makes her the logical top pick. However, her stable mate, La Sardane, and the lightly-raced and improving Tooreen Dancer both should be included somewhere on your ticket as well. La Sardane, away since late March but training like she’s fit and ready, can be a threat if she regains her outstanding form from last year, while Tooreen Dancer, freshened since a clever allowance win at Keeneland in the spring, will need a career top best performance to act at this level but could easily have it in her for the red-hot P. D’Amato barn.

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10.5.2019:

Saturday, October 05: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.SECOND RACE2-ConvexSept. 28, 20195f, 1:02.1hGrade: C+Even but second best under some late coaxing inside Smooth Like Strait (same time), final half mile in :24.2 and :49.2. Fair to moderate move, was fifth of six in a tough maiden special weight 2-year-old sprint at Del Mar in his debut and probably needs a bit softer assignment.7-Smooth like StraitSept. 28, 20195f, 1:02.1hGrade: B-In company outside Convex (same time) and was best, pulling a bit early and then finishing without pressure, splits of :24.2 and :49 flat, not too bad. Was far back in a maiden special weight juvenile sprint in his debut at Del Mar, certainly can improve if realistically spotted.9-EkklesiaSept. 15, 20195f, 1:00.1hGrade: B-$180,000 OBS June 2-year-old sale purchase worked with Silenced (same time) in team gate drill and was slightly second best, ridden along most of the way with splits of :23.4, :35.1, :47 flat and 1:00.2. Seems fairly fit, okay sort at best right now, should be seen soon. Eurton barn.10-Moon MischiefSept. 18, ,20194f, :48.1hGrade: B-Went off slowly (:25.1) to the top of the lane, then was asked out and responded willingly, up in :48.2 on our watches. Was a game second in his debut at Los Alamitos earlier this month and has a right to improve with experience.13-I Will NotSept. 27, 20195f, 1:02.3hgGrade: C+Wasn’t really asked much in solo gate work but didn’t show a whole lot of spark, splits of :24.3, :37.1, :49.2 and 1:02.3. Square Eddie juvenile colt is getting fit, probably needs soft foes.THIRD RACE2-Portal CreekSept. 22, 20195f, 1:02.3hGrade: C+Now in Sadler barn via claim, hard held early, asked for run late, final half in :50.1 while maybe a tad the best over Cali Dude (same time). Looks okay, seeking a mid-grade claimer.FOURTH RACE1-Oil Can KnightSept. 14, 20194f, 49hGrade: B-Worked with Dichotomy (same time) and went okay without pressure, hitting the wire stride-for-stride with workmate in :49 flat before continuing out to 7/8 pole in 1:01.3. Won last pair at Del Mar but probably will need another forward move to be effective if raised in class.FIFTH RACE1-Flor de la MarSept. 27, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: BCame the final half in :24.1 and :48.3 under cruise control for Baffert. Stakes winner at Los Alamitos in here most recent outing, will tackle the big girls next time out. 4-Anonymity4f, :49hGrade: B-Not the prettiest of movers in the a.m.; caught her from the 3/8ths pole to the wire in :36.4, just galloping while carrying her head a bit high. Pointing for the L. A. Woman Stakes and maintains her form.6-SelcourtSept. 28, 20195f, 1:01hGrade: BWent off slowly, was never asked and looked fine for Sadler, splits of :12.3, :24.4, :36.2 and 1:01.1 on our watches. Pointing for the L. A. Woman Stakes.6-SelcourtSept. 14, 20195f, 1:00.2hGrade: BNever asked in breezing five furlong solo move for Sadler, splits of :12.2, :24.2, :36.1 and 1:00.3 on our watches, not flashy but good enough. Seems to be coming back well, probably not quite cranked up yet.SelcourtSept. 7, 20195f, :59.3hGrade: B+Splits of 23.2, 35 flat and 59.3, breezing early, very light coaxing late, quite sharp and looking like her old self. Been away since late March (fading fourth in the Beholder Mile-G1) but vacation appears to have done her some good. Should return soon, sprints only.SIXTH RACE 4-ForaySept. 27, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: BMostly galloping in easy move, final half on our watches in :24 flat and :49.1. In good form and should be competitive on the raise.4-ForaySept. 20, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: BA bit keen early but was never asked and went well throughout, final half on our watches in :12 flat, :24 flat and :49.1. Holds his edge for Sadler.6-OverdueSept. 8, 20195f, 1:03.4h TTGrade: BSmooth and easy in solo training track breeze for D’Amato, finishing with plenty left without being asked. Comes off nice win at Del Mar and maintains that form.SEVENTH RACE3-Whispering FlameSept. 28, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: C+Mild coaxing thru the lane, splits of :12 flat, :24 flat and :49.1. Needs to show more vs. state-bred juveniles but has a bit of room to improve. Bred for (and probably prefers) turf.5-If Id Told YouSept. 28, 20195f, 1:00.3hGrade: BBroke off with Klondike Creek (5f, 1:02.2h) and left that one far behind in solid move under some very late coaxing, final half in :48.4. Fair fifth in his debut at Del Mar, probably can improve with experience.5-If Id Told YouSept. 20, 20196f, 1:14.3hGrade: C+Broke off about five lengths in front of United (7f, 1:25.3h, out to 7/8 pole) and was no match for that one through the lane while under some coaxing, fair move while being used as a target for classier barn mate. Ca-lbred maiden 2-year-old was simply out of his element here, probably shouldn’t be too critical.6-Cali DudeSept. 28, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: C+Second best with Murad Khan (same time) while under some pressure through the lane (workmate breezing), final three furlongs on our watches in :11.4 and :36.4. Clubhouse Ride gelding brought $95,000 at the Santa Anita June 2-year-old-in-training sale but looks fair-to-moderate at this stage.6-Cali DudeSept. 22, 20195f, 1:02.3hGrade: C+Not the worst while in company with Sadler barn mate Portal Creek (same time), some hand urging though the lane, final half in :50.1. Juvenile by Clubhouse Ride probably a maiden claiming type right now.9-Cleveland CatSept. 11, 20195f, 1:02.4hGrade: B-Worked inside Pacific Crossing (5f, 1:03.1h) and was best throughout, finishing about two lengths clear at the wire, final three furlongs in :37.1. Could have gone a bit faster if asked, in good enough shape, seeking another maiden special weight state-bred affair for 2-year-olds for Chew.EIGHTH RACE4-RestrainedvengeanceSept. 21, 20195f, 1:00.1hGrade: B-Ridden hard through the lane to the wire and then out to the 7/8 pole in 1:13.1 on our watches for a full six furlongs, easy early, responding well enough late. Won the Rolling Green Stakes up north in his most recent start, holds his form.5-Big ScoreSept. 15, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: B-Steady without being asked, splits of :24.1, :35.3 and 1:01.4 on our watches for Yakteen. In good shape and should make the entries early in the fall meeting.6-CatapultSept. 29, 20196f, 1:13.2hGrade: B+Strong six furlong solo move, mostly on his own throughout, splits of :24.4, :36.4, :48.3 and 1:13.2. Been more than a year since his last win, but after a 10-week vacation the veteran son of Kitchen’s appears to be perking up.6-CatapultSept. 15, 20195f, 1:00.2hGrade: B+Breezing through the lane, ears up, splits of :24.1, :35.4 and 1:00.2, happy move while appearing fit and ready. Freshened and coming back with eagerness.6-CatapultSept. 8, 20194f, :48.1hGrade: B+Breezing with ears up, even splits of :24.1. Below his best in last pair but seems perked up for Sadler and should fire his best shot after a couple of months of freshening.7-River Boyne-IRSept. 8, 20195f, 1:03.1h TTGrade: B-Went off slowly and then was asked a bit through the lane and responded well enough, final quarter in :24.3 in solo training track drill. Freshened since May (was second in the below standard Shoemaker Mile-G1) and seems to be coming back well enough.8-KinglySept. 12, 20194f, :49.3h TTGrade: BBreezing throughout in solo training track half mile drill, final three furlongs in 37 flat. Set the pace, then weakened in 9 furlong Del Mar Derby; multiple middle-distance stakes winner might prefer a shorter trip.9-Prince EarlSept. 9, 20194f, :49.3h TTGrade: BUnder a nice hold throughout working outside of Bowies Hero (same time) in easy training track spin, both finishing with plenty left while maintaining their top form. Got the best of ‘Hero when scoring a 9-1 surprise in the Del Mar Mile H.-G2 last time out and will get a chance to verify the strength of that performance during the fall Santa Anita season.10-Andesh-IRSept. 9, 20194f, :49.1h TTGrade: BNice pull in easy training track move for D’Amato, finishing with plenty left, final quarter in :25 flat. Holds his form, capable of further improvement, fresh from nice win vs. first-level allowance turf foes.11-BoloSept. 11, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: CLast of three to the wire after being joined by Baffert pair of Eddy Forever (4f, :48.3h) and Hydrogen (4f, :48.3h), leading early inside to the top of the lane but then weakening under some pressure to the wire (workmates up there) before continuing out under urging to 7/8 pole. Needs turf for sure but not terribly inspiring here.NINTH RACE*2-Omaha BeachSept. 27, 20194f, :46.3hGrade: A-Left outclassed workmate Magic Rate (4f, :48.3h) far behind in sharp half mile work, best he’s looked since last spring, splits of :22.3 and :46.3 while full of run without being asked. Sprinted only once in his career and won for fun. Food for thought.Omaha BeachSept. 20, 20197f, 1:27.1hGrade: BBroke off a length behind Charlito (6f, 1:14.1h) at the six furlong pole and went :35.3, :47.4 and 1:13.2 to the wire to be almost three lengths clear, then continued out to 7/8 under mild coaxing and was up in 1:27.2 before pulling up a mile in 1:44.2. Seems fit, but always was brilliant in the morning and now has become workmanlike. Hard to gauge where he’s at following his operation to correct an entrapped epiglottis last spring. Used take our breath away. Workmate is a modest maiden.Omaha BeachSept. 13, 20197f, 1:25hGrade: B+Broke off with Flying Arrow (6f, 1:14h) but quickly fell back to trail workmate by several lengths down the backstretch, closed the gap on the turn, took command in the upper stretch and was under some coaxing through the lane and then out to 7/8ths pole, splits of :11.4, :23.3, :35.2, :47.2, 1:12.1 and 1:25 flat, pulling up a mile in 1:42.2. Better than last week and probably will work even better next time. Getting his conditioning back, will return at Churchill Downs later this month. ‘Arrow went off very fast while being used as a rabbit and had little left in the final furlong. 3-ShancelotSept. 29, 20194f, :47.1hGrade: B+Splits of :23.2 and :47.1 to the wire without being asked, then galloped out strongly to 7/8 pole, up in 1:00.1 on our watches. Arrives in California with all of his speed, certainly the one to catch in the Santa Anita Sprint Championship.TENTH RACE1-YuvetsiSept. 22, 20195f, 1:00.3hGrade: BFinal half on our watches in :49.2, breezing through the lane while much best over younger Perfect Rush (5f, 1:01.1h). Been faced with some stiff tasks this year; looks good but probably should try easier foes.2-La Sardane-FRSept. 12, 20194f, :49.2h TTGrade: BLooked sharp for Drysdale, well in hand early and finishing with plenty left, final quarter in :24.3. Freshened since March (was pulled up when involved in spill last start) and is coming back healthy and sound. Decent sort of mare when right.4-ToinetteSept. 18, 20194f, :50.2h TTGrade: B-Okay solo training track work for Drysdale, a tad late changing leads while finishing under mild encouragement, final quarter in :25.2. Was solid third in John C. Mabee S.-G2 at Del Mar last time out, just a cut below the real good ones around here.8-Super PatriotSept. 28, 20194f, :49.2h TTGrade: B-Never asked in company outside Drasario (same time, ridden thru the lane), final quarter in :25 flat on training track for Baltas. Prefers turf, vastly improved of late and will get tested for class next time out.

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10.5.2019:

Saturday, October 5: Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Two and three year-olds are the headliners competing in Sires Stakes-Grass Roots Finals at Woodbine Mohawk Park. James MacDonald led the pilots on Friday night with four wins and no trainer had more than one trip to the winner's circle. My focus will be on the 0.20 Early Pick 4 with a $50,000 guaranteed pool.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 44-American Virgin-This looks like a race with not much gate speed, so that sometimes works the opposite way and everyone leaves. If the pace is hot chances for success go up, has a favorable starting spot and should be a square price.8-Midway Island-Drops and is one with some gate speed, was stung in last to a 26.1 quarter. Could be out and winging and should have a better chance at getting the top versus this crew. ML chalk is a threat in an interesting race.9-Classic Pro-Steps-up after a nice try in first start off the bench and will use at 8-1 in the ML. Could show improvement in 2nd start on Lasix if Henry finds some cover and pace is hot.Race 52-Day Delight-Has been facing tough competition, stays in the hunt, got an overdue win in last and fits here. Likes to race near the lead and is in a great spot to do so, could be taking another picture.5-Delightful Terror-With this post draw JMac has some choices, has been used hard early in last two and it hasn't worked out. Could be looking at a different playbook tonight and can roll late with a good cover flow.8-My Land-Honest horse is six for seven in the money at Wbsb and is versatile. Post will makes the price and best to respect connections.Race 64-Royale Elite-Using instead of #6 the ML chalk, looking for more competition early for the lead. This colt could be sitting near the top in position to strike late at a square price.7-Southwind Frost-Looking for more in the Final from this beaten odds-on favorite. Consistent player who has been first or second in six of last eight. A big threat with a snappy pace and live cover.Race 74-Pedro Hanover-The McClure-Giles combo often comes ready to play and this looks like a value play. There is gate speed to the outside and if avoids being a long way back early could surprise at a big price.6-Yacht Seelster-Like #4 it's best to respect the connections and if trying to find a good price play this is where to look. Finished 4th last time at this class but had missed a start, looking for better tonight.8-Nirvana Seelster-Makes third start on Lasix for a barn that has a good batting average the last 30 days. Should be out and winging again, rolled to the 3/4 in 1.21.4 and faded. Could be tough if Henry finds one soft quarter.My Ticket Race 4) 4,8,9 Race 5) 2,5,8 Race 6) 4,7 Race 7) 4,6,8Total Ticket Cost) $10.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.5.2019:

A Closer Look at this Week's NTRA Poll

The NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll each week gives everyone an indication as to where the race for Horse of the Years stands if Eclipse Award votes were cast that particular week instead of at the end of the year. The Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2 no doubt will, as usual, go a long way toward determining who and who is not voted Horse of the Year. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 387 Bricks and Mortar (27) 2. 363 Midnight Bisou (12) 3. 280 Mitole (1) 4. 251 Sistercharlie 5. 202 McKinzie 6. 174 Code of Honor 7. 145 Imperial Hint 8. 94 Catalina Cruiser 9. 81 Elate 10. 75 Vino Rosso Let's take a horse-by-horse look at those 10 horses. No. 1 BRICKS AND MORTAR. I think a strong case can be made that he really ought to be the 2019 Horse of the Year regardless of whether he wins or loses at the Breeders' Cup. That's because he now has held the top spot in the NTRA poll for 27 consecutive weeks, whereas no one else in the Top 10 in this week's poll has been No. 1 for even a single week. In the first poll this year on Jan. 28, City of Light ranked No. 1. He received all 32 of the first-place votes. Two days earlier, City of Light had registered a 5 3/4-length victory in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park. He then was retired from racing. Even though City of Light's racing career came to an end after the Pegasus World Cup, he continued to hold the No. 1 spot in the poll for the next six weeks. Then on March 18, Monomoy Girl moved up to No. 1. Prior to March 18, she had recorded four 2019 workouts. She held the top spot for three straight weeks. But it turns out that, for various reasons, Monomoy Girl is not going to race at all in 2019 after being voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old filly. On April 8, Bricks and Mortar took over the No. 1 position in the poll after winning his first two races of 2019. He was victorious in the Grade I Pegasus World Cup Turf at Gulfstream on Jan. 26 and Grade II Muniz Memorial Handicap at Fair Grounds Race Course & Slots on March 23. Bricks and Mortar will go into the Breeders' Cup five for five this year. Since his victory in New Orleans in March, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Giant's Causeway has reeled off Grade I wins in the Turf Classic at Churchill Downs on May 4, Manhattan Stakes at Belmont Park on June 8 and Arlington Million at Arlington Park on Aug. 10 for trainer Chad Brown. No. 2 MIDNIGHT BISOU, trained by Hall of Famer Steve Asmussen, is seven for seven this year. She cruised to a 3 1/4-length victory in last Saturday's Grade II Beldame Stakes at Belmont (a historic race that I believe still should be a Grade I). The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Midnight Lute filly is a three-time Grade I winner this year (Apple Blossom Handicap at Oaklawn Park in April, Ogden Phipps Stakes at Belmont in June and Personal Ensign Stakes at Belmont in August). No. 3 MITOLE, also conditioned by Asmussen, has recorded five wins and a third from six starts this year. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Eskendereya colt won one of the deepest Grade I events so far in 2019, the Grade I Met Mile at Belmont on May 4. That's one of his three Grade I triumphs this year. He also won the Grade I Churchill Downs Stakes on May 4 and Grade I Forego Stakes at Saratoga when last seen under silks on Aug. 24. No. 4 SISTERCHARLIE, who like Bricks and Mortar hails from the powerful Brown operation, is two for two this year, both at the Grade I level. The Irish-bred 5-year-old Myboycharlie mare returned from a long layoff to take Saratoga's Grade I Diana Stakes on July 13, then won Arlington's Grade I Beverly D. by three lengths in a stellar performance on Aug. 10. No. 5 MCKINZIE, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, finished second as a 3-10 favorite in last Saturday's Grade I Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita. Mongolian Groom, virtually ignored in the wagering at 25-1, won the Awesome Again by 2 1/4 lengths. Voters in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll are tasked with ranking 10 horses. Despite Mongolian Groom's Awesome Again victory, not a single person put him on their ballot anywhere from No. 1 down to No. 10 in this week's poll. As for McKinzie, his only Grade I win this year came in Saratoga's Whitney Stakes on Aug. 30. He has posted two wins and four seconds from six starts this year. McKinzie has been favored in all six starts. That does mean he has been a beaten favorite four times in 2019. The 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Street Sense colt will try to step up and win the Grade I BC Classic at Santa Anita on Nov. 2. McKinzie has been ridden in all 13 of his career starts by Hall of Famer Mike Smith. However, Daily Racing Form's Jay Privman reports that Baffert has decided to make a change. Consequently, someone other than Smith will ride McKinzie in the BC Classic. No. 6 CODE OF HONOR, a 3-year-old colt trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, has four wins, a second and a third from seven starts this year. Older foe Vino Rosso beat Code of Honor by a nose in last Saturday's Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont, but the stewards disqualified Vino Rosso and placed him second, which made Code of Honor the official winner of this venerable affair. The way I saw it, from the top of the stretch to just inside the sixteenth pole, Vino Rosso drifted out three times. He came out and bumped Code of Honor in the vicinity of the eighth pole. It appeared to me that Vino Rosso subsequently came out and brushed Code of Honor twice more. With the margin between those two only a nose at the finish, I concur with the stewards' decision to disqualify Vino Rosso and place him second. The stewards explained the reasoning for disqualifying Vino Rosso by stating: "The #3 Vino Rosso drifts out several times under a left-handed crop making contact and pushing him out. The #2 Code of Honor comes back to lose by a nose. After reviewing the video and speaking to the riders involved, the #3 Vino Rosso is disqualified from first and placed second behind the #2 Code of Honor." It's always rather distasteful whenever the stewards disqualify a horse, especially when they DQ a horse from first in an important race like the Gold Cup. I think it's just too bad that Irad Ortiz Jr., Vino Rosso's pilot, did not maintain a straight course in the lane. I sure would have liked to have seen what would have happened if that had been the case. By virtue of Code of Honor's win in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, I think he now is the favorite to be voted the 2019 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. The Gold Cup was his second Grade I victory this year. The Kentucky-bred son of Noble Mission also took Saratoga's Grade I Travers Stakes in August. Like Code of Honor, Maximum Security is a two-time Grade I winner this year. Maximum Security was victorious in the Grade I Xpressbet.com Florida Derby at Gulfstream in March and Grade I Haskell Invitational at Monmouth in July. Maximum Security also finished first in the Grade I Kentucky Derby, but he was disqualified and placed 17th for causing interference near the five-sixteenth pole. Maximum Security was withdrawn from the Sept. 21 renewal of the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing because of a colon issue. I believe his candidacy for the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award has been weakened to some extent as a result of missing the Pennsylvania Derby and because his status with regard to racing again in 2019 is up in the air. It seems a sign that Maximum Security's stock has fallen somewhat in that he has dropped out of the Top 10 in this week's NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, while Code of Honor has moved up from No. 6 after being No. 10 last week. No. 7 IMPERIAL HINT was as game a winner as you will ever see in last Saturday's Grade I Vosburgh Stakes at Belmont. When he was headed by 2-1 Firenze Fire during the stretch run, it appeared that Imperial Hint was going to get beat as the overwhelming 1-5 favorite. But after Imperial Hint relinquished the lead, he did not throw in the towel. He kept on fighting. Displaying John Henry-like determination, Imperial Hint came back on to get himself into a head-bobbing battle for the lead with Firenze Fire approaching the finish. And for Imperial Hint, the finish line came at just the right time for him to win by a scant nose. Trained by Luis Carvajal Jr., Imperial Hint has two wins and two thirds from four starts this year. The 6-year-old Florida-bred son of Imperialism also won the Grade I Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga on July 27. No. 8 CATALINA CRUISER, conditioned by John Sadler, is three for three this year. All three of his 2019 victories have come at the Grade II level. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Union Rags won the True North Stakes at Belmont in June, San Diego Handicap at Del Mar in July and Pat O'Brien Stakes at Del Mar in August. No. 9 ELATE has two wins, two seconds and a third from five starts this year. Trained by Hall of Famer Bill Mott, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Medaglia d'Oro mare won Churchill's Grade II Fleur de Lis Handicap on June 15 and Grade II Delaware Handicap at Delaware Park on July 13. Most recently, she lost the Grade I Personal Ensign by a nose on Aug. 24 at Saratoga when she finished second to Midnight Bisou. Elate is scheduled to run in Sunday's Grade I Spinster Stakes at Keeneland. No. 10 VINO ROSSO, a 4-year-old Kentucky-bred Noble Mission colt trained by Todd Pletcher, has two wins, a second and a third from five starts this year. I thought Vino Rosso ran a good race in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Before the Gold Cup, I had said on Steve Byk's SiriusXM radio program At The Races earlier in the week that it seems to me that Vino Rosso is improving with age, like a fine wine, as many of Curlin's offspring do. It also appears to me that 1 1/4 miles suits Vino Rosso. Don't forget that he won a 1 1/4-mile race, the Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita, in late May. That could bode well for him vis-a-vis the 1 1/4-mile BC Classic at that same Southern California track in early November. BEYERS FOR GOLD CUP & AWESOME AGAIN WINNERS Code of Honor received a career-best 106 Beyer Speed Figure in the Jockey Club Gold Cup, as did the DQ'd Vino Rosso. Meanwhile, Mongolian Groom was credited with a career-best 110 in the Awesome Again, while runner-up McKinzie recorded a 108, down a bit from his career-best 111 when he won the Whitney. These are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winners of the Jockey Club Gold Cup going back to 2009: 2019 Code of Honor (106)* 2018 Discreet Lover (103 2017 Diversify (107) 2016 Hoppertunity (104) 2015 Tonalist (109) 2014 Tonalist (106) 2013 Ron the Greek (114) 2012 Flat Out (109) 2011 Flat Out (107) 2010 Haynesfield (107) 2009 Summer Bird (111) *Vino Rosso finished first but was disqualified and placed second These are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winners of the Awesome Again going back to 2009: 2019 Mongolian Groom (110) 2018 Accelerate (100) 2017 Mubtaahi (102) 2016 California Chrome (112) 2015 Smooth Roller (111) 2014 Shared Belief (101) 2013 Mucho Macho Man (110) 2012 Game On Dude (109) 2011 Game On Dude (102) 2010 Richard's Kid (106) 2009 Gitano Hernando (106) In case you were wondering, these are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winners of the BC Classic going back to 2009: 2018 Accelerate (105) 2017 Gun Runner (117) 2016 Arrogate (120) 2015 American Pharoah (120) 2014 Bayern (113) 2013 Mucho Macho Man 2012 Fort Larned 2011 Drosselmeyer 2010 Blame (111) 2009 Zenyatta (112) Going back to 2009, the Breeders' Cup has been held at: 2018 Churchill Downs 2017 Del Mar 2016 Santa Anita 2015 Keeneland 2014 Santa Anita 2013 Santa Anita 2012 Santa Anita 2011 Churchill Downs 2010 Churchill Downs 2009 Santa Anita* *The BC Classic was run on a synthetic surface

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10.4.2019:

Friday, October 04: 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.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 PT. Grade: B-Use: 1-Papa Turf; 6-Royal SeekerForecast: On pure form Royal Seeker is strictly the one to beat in this $10,000 claiming sprint but the Heatseeker gelding is winless in 24 career starts over the Santa Anita main track, and that’s a statistic that is too poor to ignore. You can include him somewhere in your rolling exotics if you’d like but our main push goes to Papa Turf, a six-time winner at Santa Anita and remaining above his claim level for J. Mullins. With the switch to hot-riding A. Cedillo the veteran son of Yes It’s True should be able to use his rail post to good advantage and have every chance to take this field gate to wire.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 5-Winning Element; 8-Buckstopper KitForecast: Buckstopper Kit, first off the claim for P. D’Amato (superior stats with this angle), seems likely to produce a forward move with the switch to A. Cedillo, and if he can negotiate a decent trip from his outside draw the son of Kitten’s Joy should be able to break through with a winning performance in a race restricted to horses that have not won a race this year. Winning Element, away since May 2018, is more than good enough to win if ready, but the D. O’Neill barn has just so-so stats with layoff runners and the work tab looks a bit spotty. But based strictly on intrinsic ability he’s a major contender in a soft affair.RACE 3: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Perfect Rush; 4-Going to VegasForecast: We’ll double this race in our rolling exotics but each of the five entrants has credentials to win so nothing would surprise us. Those who can afford to might consider buying the race. Perfect Rush chased a much tougher field on turf in her debut and seems likely to improve considerably when facing this level of competition. The J. Sadler-trained filly switches to F. Prat and based on numbers looks like the one to beat. Going to Vegas, a reasonable runner-up in her debut in a similar maiden $50,000 sprint at Los Alamitos, has a right to produce a forward move for P. Miller (terrific stats with second-time starters) and retains good bug boy J. Velez. She should be on or near the lead throughout.RACE 4: Post 2:450 PT. Grade: B+Single: 2-SwirlingForecast: We’re going to take a stand and single Swirling in this $40,000 claiming turf sprint for fillies and mares while recognizing that on pure form G Q Covergirl is the likely choice and strictly the one to beat. Swirling always runs well over this turf course (both down the hill and on the flat) and today gets an extra half-furlong to work with. Best as a late-running sprinter and likely to benefit from the patient ride she needs from V. Espinoza, the daughter of Twirling Candy continues to train well, and having won off short layoffs in the past she should fire her best shot in her first outing since the third week in August. With good racing luck, she should be along in time as a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 5: Post 3:10 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-The Easy WayForecast: The Easy Way is lightly raced (just two starts) with plenty of room to improve, and in this bottom-rung maiden claiming router for older horses the L. Powell-trained gelding really has little to beat. A repeat of his last race – a somewhat troubled third place finish vs. similar at Del Mar – should be more than good enough, but at 8/5 on the morning line he’s probably not going to offer much in the way of wagering value. We’ll use him as a short priced rolling exotic single but otherwise sit it out.RACE 6: Post 3:40 PT. Grade: B+Single: 8-Raymundos SecretForecast: Raymundos Secret was pitched a little too high when setting the pace and then weakening to finish fourth in the Del Mar Oaks-G1 in mid-August but in this first-level allowance turf miler restricted to 3-year-old fillies the daughter of Treasure Beach should get back on the winning track. The outside post is no bargain but she has more than enough speed to get over and secure the same type of stalking trip that she enjoyed when easily handling a starter’s allowance field two runs back. “Win rider” F. Prat returns, and the R. Baltas-trained filly has been burning up the track at San Luis Rey Downs in recent weeks to indicate she’s fit and ready. There’s plenty of value to be found at her morning line of 5/2; however, you’re not likely to get it. At any reasonable price (8/5?) she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B-Use: 5-Dukes Up; 6-Platinum Equity; 7-Kenzou’s RhythmForecast: The seventh race is a competitive starter’s allowance main track miler than has a few contenders requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Dukes Up has won six races in his career, five of which have come over the Santa Anita main track. His recent form is solid, and with the switch to A. Cedillo the M. Glatt-trained gelding should draft into a second flight early position and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home. Platinum Equity is another Santa Anita specialist – he’s won five of nine starts over the local main track – and is reunited with “win rider” T. Pereira. His recent form is good and he’s another with enough tactical speed to insure a trouble-free trip. Kenzou’s Rhythm, away since February and making his first start for J. Mullins, returns protected in a sign of confidence by a barn that boasts excellent stats with layoff runners. The veteran gelding is another horse-for-course, having won half of his eight career starts on dirt at Santa Anita. The son of Algorithms is a versatile type capable of winning on the front end or from off the pace.RACE 8: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Combat Zone; 5-Canadian GameForecast: Combat Zone looks pretty strong on paper, maybe too strong. Beaten a head in a starter allowance $50,000 affair at Del Mar in August, the J. Sadler-trained horse shows up for $25,000 today, a class drop that gives every indication that he’s for sale. At this level for these connections the son of War Front should win, but at 2-1 on the morning with a somewhat suspicious pattern he’s a hard horse to thoroughly trust. Canadian Game looks like an intriguing long shot even though the J. Carava barn hardly ever wins with a layoff runner and hardly ever wins with M. Pedroza in the saddle, at least lately. However, despite being away for several months the son of Curlin actually is training quite well and could be a better type this time around. Additionally, he has several back numbers that make him a fit, so at 6-1 on the morning he’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play.

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10.4.2019:

Friday, October 04: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from Jeff Siegel’s West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in his blog at xbtv.com and is updated daily.SECOND RACE8-Buckstopper KitSept. 2, 20195f, 1:02.4hGrade: B-Now in the D’Amato barn following a $32,000 claim, broke off a length in front and went easily while appearing the tad the best inside of Jodie Faster (5f, 1:02.3h). Doing well enough for new barn, should make the entries soon. 25.3. 50 flat, 1:02.4.THIRD RACE3-Perfect RushSept. 22, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: C+Second best outside with good veteran mare Yvetsi (5f, 1:00.3h, failing to change leads in the lane despite repeated efforts by rider to get her to do so. No factor in debut in tough juvenile turf dash; probably needs easier foes.FOURTH RACE 2-SwirlingSept. 29, 20194f, :49.2hGrade: B-View WorkoutNot asked in easy half mile spin, final three furlongs in :12.1 and :37 flat. Seeking another claiming turf sprint and appears in good shape. 5-Mongolian Window Sept. 27, 20194f, :48hGrade: BMostly in hand, splits of :11.3 and :36 flat for the final three furlongs while appearing in good shape. Seeking another mid-grade claimer. 6-CyrielleSept. 28, 20195f, 1:02.3hGrade: CBlinkers on, second best with Establish Justice (same time), some late coaxing through the lane (workmate not asked much), final three furlongs in :12 flat and :37.3. Seeking her level, needs a class drop.6-CyrielleSept. 14, 20195f, 1:02Grade: C+Broke off in front of Handsome John (same time), was engaged by that one at the top of the lane but held sway in the final furlong under some coaxing, final half on our watches in :23.4 and :48.4. Just a moderate move, needs a class drop in the claiming ranks.SIXTH RACE3-All Star CastSept. 21, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: B-Came the final quarter in :24.4, hand ridden through the lane. Looks okay, would benefit from a class drop.4-CourteousSept. 23, 20194f, :47.3hGrade: B-Went off quickly in :11.2 and :22.3, then finished down the lane under mild late coaxing, up in :47.4 on our watches. Has her speed but probably needs a class drop for Mandella.EIGHTH RACE4-Combat ZoneSept. 16, 20195f, 1:02.3hGrade: CSlightly best over younger workmate Secret Square (same time), going a bit slower than given on our watches, :25.1, :37.2 and 1:03 flat, both under strong urging through the lane, neither one impressive. ‘Zone comes off strong effort in starter’s allowance turf sprint at Del Mar and probably wants grass for his best shot. ‘Square, a daughter of Square Eddie, may need 2yo high-priced claimers or very soft state-bred company.5-Canadian GameSept. 2, 20194f, :49.4hGrade: C+Curlin gelding went with splits of 25.1 and 49.4h, asked periodically through the lane. Second in nw-2 $25,000 claimer when haltered by Carava in January; likely will be waiver protected at the same level when he returns.Sept. 27, 2019War Chest4f, :49.1hGrade: C+Finished okay (final quarter in :24.3 but was under some late pressure and never changed leads. Seeking another mid-level restricted claimer, the softer the better.

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10.4.2019:

Set to Chase the Early Pick 4 Saturday at Gulfstream West

Gulfstream Park West nears the end of its first week, and the early Pick 4 on Saturday is highly playable.The suggested ticket is only $24 this week, as Races 2-5 look competitive, and more importantly, achievable on the Pick 4 ticket.While these are lower level races, they have some runners that either shown some consistency or appear be to sitting on a form cycle.It’s a 3x2x4x2 approach, the fourth race (third leg) looks like the biggest spread race.Catquick will get the play, but Golden Gem Apple, Sierra Love and Jenna Dawn look worthy of a big effort and since it’s a bottom maiden-claiming race, the possibilities are there for a good price. Catquick was second for maiden $20,000 and takes a step down. Bob Hess Jr. has taken over the training for this start and while her effort was good, the drop in price is a concern. Golden Gem Apple is an interesting entrant and likely will be dangerous from the rail. She’s been well in front in her last three races, is ‘blinkers off’ and she get apprentice Gaddiel Martinez, who will likely get her to her customary position.The Pick 4 starts out in Race 2 with the trio of K C Twostep, Soupery Dupery and Rupp looking best. K C Twostep will be the favorite off two straight seconds. He should have a good trip inside and Soupery Dupery comes out of a fast race and has been in the hunt in most of his races. Rupp tired running longer, turns back in distance and could finish full of run.On With God and Moonlit Sea share the Race 3 spot (2nd leg) on the ticket. On With God was a turf closer against a higher level and fits well for the $10,000 price, and Moonlit Sea lost photos in his last two and will bring the late heat.The last leg should come down to Labhay and Quick Point. Labhay comes in off a winner against non-winners-of-two company and likely will be tough in his neck set of conditions, and Quick Point was third last time after being far back early. My Ticket Race 2) #2 K C Twostep, #3 Soupery Dupery, #7 Rupp. Race 3) #8 On With God, #9 Moonlit Sea. Race 4) #1 Golden Gem Apple, #2 Sierra Love , #3 Jenna Dawn, #6 Catquick. Race 5) #7 Quick Point, #9 Labhay. Total Ticket Cost) 2,3,7/8,9/1,2,3,6/7,9 = $24 for $0.50

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10.4.2019:

Friday, October 4: The Red Mile Pick 4 Analysis

Two-year-old fillies are the headliners at the Red Mile on a 9-race card which begins at 1:00 PM EST. The $1.00 Pick 4 with a $10,000 guaranteed pool begins in Race 6 and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Gai Waterhouse-Beaten favorite has been sharp and top two finishers from last race aren't in with this crew. Speedy filly draws well to get the top and looks like a major player.5-Rocknificent-Did move forward down the lane in last and expecting a crisper effort with Tetrick back in the bike. Looking for a quick start and could get the top or a 2-hole trip.Race 73-Madame Sherry-Stayed inside in last, raced close to a quick pace and finished with a good final quarter. Starts inside of main foes and could win at a square price.7-Queen Of The Hill-Has tailed off but this is a field that can be beat. Needs the right trip and Gingras may look to leave and make another move down the lane to sweep by.8-Common Sense S-Post makes it more of a challenge, but this gal likes to win and the Svanstedt barn has been doing well. Might leave and if gets the top speed held well on Thursday, it could be sixth picture in 10 starts.Race 83-Sherry Lyns Lady-Program chalk has been very consistent but hasn't raced in Lexington. Shows strong efforts on bigger ovals and will respect the Campbell-Tetrick connection in what appears to be a two horse race.6-Senorita Rita-Second ML favorite has looked good in all three parimutuel starts, can't find a reason to expect a drop-off today.Race 91-Gold Class N-2-1 program chalk made a big move after the first 1/4 in a 54.2 half and then broke stride. Should be bet hard and is in a spot to get the top and not look back, if minds manners.2-Sweet Diamond-This is second time Lasix and likes the track. Gingras could put in play early and get sucked around. Worth a swing at 12-1 in the morning line, in what could be an open affair.3-Bounty Lady N-Took the long way around in last and faded under quick fractions. But that was the first start in almost a month. Big track horse does need a trip but looking for better and should be a square price.My Ticket Race 6) 2,5 Race 7) 3,7,8 Race 8) 3,6 Race 9) 1,2,3Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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10.3.2019:

October 4 & 5: Breeders' Cup Prep Race Picks & Analysis

Last weekend, Breeders’ Cup tickets were punched everywhere from New York City to Louisville to Los Angeles and everywhere in between.This weekend, it’s more of the same.The venues change slightly (Churchill Downs in Louisville is replaced by Keeneland in Lexington) but outside of that change, this weekend is loaded with more great races as the sport’s top tracks.  Last week I previewed each of the races and noted the horses whose Breeders’ Cup chances hinged on a big effort.  My top picks won five races and I’m clearly most proud of picking 9/1 outsider Cleopatra’s Strike in the John Henry Turf Championship at Santa Anita.We’ll try to do more of the same this week, with top picks and ‘Horses to Watch’ identified for each key Breeders’ Cup prep race.  But before we get started, as you know, it’s time to hit a brief commercial break to talk about some of the big promos we have going on Saturday and Sunday at Xpressbet: Keeneland FallStars Saturday All-Stakes Pick 5 Split: Hit Keeneland’s Saturday All-Stakes Pick 5 (Races 6 – 10) to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Belmont Park 1 Million Point Split: Hit Belmont’s Late Pick 4 on Saturday to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Santa Anita 1 Million Point Exacta Bonanza: Hit Exactas ($2 base minimum) on four different races at Santa Anita to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Arc de Triomphe Win Bet Split:  Hit a Win Bet ($20 minimum) on Sunday’s Arc de Triomphe to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Keeneland FallStars Sunday Late Pick 4 Split: Hit Keeneland’s Sunday Late Pick 4 to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  Now, let’s get to the picks:  Friday, October 4 Phoenix Stakes (G2) – Keeneland – Race 8 (4:57PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint   A free Breeders’ Cup berth is on the line in the G2 Phoenix at Keeneland and with an 11-horse field entered, you have to expect this will be a highly competitive event.  None of the entrants here look like a Sprint favorite, necessarily, but with Imperial Hint looking beatable in his prep last weekend and two-time defending champ Roy H. officially out of the race, you may find more horses taking a chance.  For this race, I think you’re looking at WHITMORE (4/1), RECRUITING READY (4/1), DIAMOND OOPS (8/1), HOG CREEK HUSTLE (5/1), PROMISES FULFILLED (3/1) and ENGAGE (8/1) as being legitimate Breeders’ Cup threats.  My top pick will be ENGAGE, as he draws well to the outside and was sharp in his last start.Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Engage (Top Pick), Whitmore, Recruiting Ready, Diamond Oops, Hog Creek Hustle, Promises Fulfilled Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium to High, with multiple horses likely to move on to the World Championships Alcibiades Stakes (G1) – Keeneland – Race 9 (5:30PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies    On paper, these horses have yet to run fast enough to compete with the likes of Bast or Comical (the 1-2 finishers of last Friday’s Chandelier at Santa Anita), but a Top 3 here would catapult just about any of these fillies into the Breeders’ Cup conversation.  On top end talent alone, about 3 or 4 of these look more than capable but my top pick will be Shug McGaughey’s ALANDRA.  She did a lot of things I really like in her debut, namely being a first-out winner for McGaughey (that doesn’t happen often) and also winning at 7 furlongs, which is a tricky first race.  Being a daughter of Blame and out of an A.P. Indy mare should suggest she gets two-turns with ease.  You also have to keep an eye on the ‘big barns’ of Brad Cox (BRITISH IDIOM), Mark Casse (PERFECT ALIBI and WESTERN TAFFY) and Wesley Ward (SEQUIN), who might actually be a better fit for the Juvenile Turf Sprint.  Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Alandra (Top Pick), Perfect Alibi, Western Taffy, British Idiom, Micheline, Sequin Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very High; I see as many as 5 or 6 of these ultimately running in the Breeders’ Cup, whether it’s in the Juvenile Fillies, Juvenile Fillies Turf or Juvenile Turf Sprint Saturday, October 5Woodford Stakes (G2) – Keeneland – Race 6 (3:54PM ET) Even though this isn’t a ‘Win and You’re In’ prep for the Turf Sprint, it’s well worth outlining here.  On talent alone, IMPRIMIS is the best horse in this field, bar none.  When he won the G2 Shakertown over Bound for Nowhere at Keeneland in the Spring (despite a stumbled start), I thought he was the best turf sprinter in the nation.  From there they went to Royal Ascot (he finished 6th in a G1) and Kentucky Downs (he finished 4th in a G3), but this is his first effort at 5 furlongs in months and I think that’s just what the doctor ordered.  EXTRAVAGANT KID is a horse I’ve always really liked and FAREEQ ran a very fast race at Arlington two back.  LEINSTER won the G3 Troy over Disco Partner and Pure Sensation at Saratoga and has been in awesome form as well.  Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Imprimis (Top Pick), Leinster, Extravagent Kid, Fareeq Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with 1 – 3 horses likely to move on to the Breeders’ CupThoroughbred Club of America Stakes (G2) – Keeneland – Race 7 (4:29PM ET)A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Sprint      The field for this year’s TCA Stakes is somewhat light on star power, but you can also make the case that horses like TALK VEUVE TO ME, DANUSKA’S MY GIRL, CHALON, SPICED PERFECTION and MIA MISCHIEF are Breeders’ Cup caliber.  Adding to that, ‘DANUSKA’ and SPICED PERFECTION are already stabled in California, so the ‘Cup’ would be a run in their backyard.  I’ve always been a fan of CHALON and trainer Arnaud Delacour and the five-year-old mare is my top pick here.  She was second, beaten just a head, in this race in 2018 before running second in the Filly & Mare Sprint at Churchill Downs.  Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Chalon (Top Pick), Spiced Perfection, Danuska’s My Girl, Mia Mischief, Talk Veuve to Me Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium to High, with 2-4 horses expected for the Breeders’ Cup.  First Lady Stakes (G1) – Keeneland – Race 8 (5:04PM ET)A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare TurfNot positive the one-mile distance for this race is the ideal prep for the one and a quarter-mile Filly & Mare Turf but you can’t argue with the depth of this 14-horse field.  Between three Europeans, multiple California invaders and a few horses from Chad Brown (and one from Brad Cox), there are plenty of potential winners.  I’m interested to see how VASILIKA does in her first trip outside of California since moving over to Jerry Hollendorfer and this race should set up for her and UNI.  I see a bunch of speed horses and a number of ‘cutbacks’ which are always dangerous in races like this.  Oh…and don’t forget RUSHING FALL and her overwhelming 4-for-4 Keeneland record.  Her only loss this year was to Sistercharlie, the likely F&M Turf favorite. Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Vasilika (Top Pick), Awesometank, Juliet Foxtrot, Uni, Indian Blessing, Rushing Fall, Ms Bad Behavior, Just Wonderful Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very High, with half of the field seemingly poised to move on to the Breeders’ Cup with a strong effort Breeders’ Futurity (G1) – Keeneland – Race 9 (5:39PM ET)A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile   This race seems to separate the Juvenile contenders from the pretenders in a big way, with TAP IT TO WIN, GOUVERNEUR MORRIS and AJAAWEED appearing a step above the rest of this crew.  I was incredibly impressed with Pletcher’s GOUVERNEUR MORRIS in his Saratoga debut on September 2 (a 9-length win) but I’m not wild about his draw.  TAP IT TO WIN, who starts on the rail, might have get the best trip of the favorites.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Tap It To Win (Top Pick), Gouverneur Morris, Ajaaweed Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: High, with up to 3 horses moving on to the Breeders’ Cup and at least one should be second or third choice.  Shadwell Turf Mile (G1) – Keeneland – Race 10 (6:15PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Mile     Like the First Lady, this field is loaded on size and talent, with 14 horses (and two also eligible horses, entered).  I love to see Charles Appleby bringing VINTAGER over for this (and moreso, I love seeing James Doyle in town to ride), but with Aidan O’Brien, Chad Brown, Phil D’Amato, Mark Casse, Harry Dunlop and David O’Meara in the entries, there’s no getting comfortable with an easy race.  As many as half of these could/should go on to the Breeders’ Cup and that makes this as key a Breeders’ Cup prep race as it gets.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Vintager (Top Pick), Next Shares, Van Beethoven, Valid Point, Admission Office, Robin of Navan, March to the Arch, Suedois, Divisidero, Real StoryBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very High, with most of these horses showing Breeders’ Cup potential  Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational – Belmont Park – Race 5 (2:32PM ET)  Despite this being an ungraded race due to it being new(ish) to the racing calendar, this has Breeders’ Cup implications as SHEKKY SHEBAZ has run back-to-back huge races on the turf at Saratoga and DISCO PARTNER is a divisional veteran, even if he doesn’t quite handle the shorter Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint distances as well as he does slightly longer races like this.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Disco Partner (Top Pick), Shekky Shebaz Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Low to Medium; with Disco Partner getting my nod here by Shekky Shebaz would in the Breeders’ Cup Matron Stakes (G3) – Belmont Park – Race 6 (3:05PM ET) Not a Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint ‘Win and You’re In’ but the Wesley Ward team is high on KARAK and she is a perfect Breeders’ Cup contender based on her 2-for-2 record in the US (her lone loss came at Royal Ascot on soft ground).  ALMS, who breaks from the rail for Mike Stidham, would also merit Breeders’ Cup consideration with a solid effort.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Karak (Top Pick), Alms Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Low to Medium, with 1-2 potential Breeders’ Cup starters Joe Hirsch Turf Classic (G1) – Belmont Park – Race 9 (4:50PM ET)Amazingly not a ‘Win and You’re In’ for the Breeders’ Cup Turf, this race still packs a strong punch with a big field.  SADLER’S JOY is a Breeders’ Cup veteran and he ran 3rd in the Turf last year, while CHANNEL MAKER was 14th in the same event.  Both merit solid consideration here.  ARKLOW looks like a fringe Breeders’ Cup horse, but of the 30/1 ML in the ‘Cup variety.  Ultimately, as long as Enable, Magical or any other top level Europeans show up, this year’s Americans don’t have much of a chance.Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Sadler’s Joy (Top Pick), Channel Maker, Channel Cat, Arklow, Ya Primo, Zulu Alpha Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Low; plenty of these ‘could’ go on to the Breeders’ Cup but none would make much of an impact on the result Champagne Stakes (G1) – Belmont Park – Race 10 (5:22PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Belmont’s final graded stakes race of the day is the G1 Champagne and, like most of the other juvenile races, it’s hard to separate the contenders from the pretenders based on such few works.  TIZ THE LAW ran huge in his Saratoga debut and selfishly you’d love to see the maroon and silver silks of Sackatoga Stable (they of Funny Cide fame) back at the Breeders’ Cup.  You’ve also got to appreciate GREEN LIGHT GO, who is 2-for-2 for Jimmy Jerkens.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Green Light Go (Top Pick), Tiz the Law, Alpha Sixty Six, Three Technique, Gozilla Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with 2-3 horses showing real Breeders’ Cup potentialCity of Hope Mile (G2) – Santa Anita Park – Race 8 (7:00PM ET) This one gets a Breeders’ Cup prep value nod due to it being run on the same course as the Breeders’ Cup, but most of these will need to step up if they’re to be in the winning conversation on November 2.  CATAPULT was beaten just 1/2-length in last year’s ‘Mile, but he’s 0-for-4 since then and the efforts aren’t getting better.  His regular jockey, Drayden Van Dyke, is also on another horse here.  BOLO has already earned his Breeders’ Cup spot by virtue of his G1 Shoemaker Mile win, but his ‘need the lead’ style is a dangerous game that rarely works.  PRINCE EARL ran huge in his 4YO debut at Del Mar while SYNCHRONY is 9-for-24 but always seems to hiccup against this caliber of horse.Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: True Valour (Top Pick), Catapult, Synchrony, River Boyne, Prince Earl Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Somewhat Low, with none of these appearing like a big Breeders’ Cup threat at this time Santa Anita Sprint Championship (G1) – Santa Anita Park – Race 9 (7:30PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint     Our last race is also one of the biggest as 3YO stars OMAHA BEACH and SHANCELOT square off in this ‘Win and You’re In’ for the Sprint.  Before his shocking defeat in the G1 Allen Jerkens, SHANCELOT was considered by some to be the premier sprinter in the nation.  And before his injury the week of the KY Derby, OMAHA BEACH was considered the race’s likeliest winner.  So they’ll need to restore some reputation.  If SHANCELOT is as good as we think he is, I don’t expect him to lose.  He’s drawn outside of OMAHA BEACH and he just appears best suited for 6 furlong races.  OMAHA BEACH may end up in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile off this freshener.    Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Shancelot (Top Pick), Omaha Beach Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with Shancelot and Omaha Beach both having the potential of exiting this race as Breeders’ Cup favorites    Sunday, October 6Bourbon Stakes (G3) - Keeneland - Race 8 (5:10PM ET)A 'Win and You're In' race for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile TurfYou've got to love the huge field, but you feel for horses like VITALOGY and ETE INDIEN, who are stuck in the outside posts.  And in most cases, you'd love a horse like VITALOGY here - especially off a third-place-finish in a G1 race at Woodbine, but it's tough to back him from that post.  This field is relatively light on credentialed horses, but that could set things up for a horse like THE THIRD SECRET, who blew them away in a maiden race at Kentucky Downs, or FIGHTING SEABEE who was the 5/1 winner of the G3 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga.Breeders' Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: The Third Secret (Top Pick), Fighting Seabee, Vitalogy, Field Pass, Nettleton, Deviant, Prince of Thieves, Peace AchievedBreeders' Cup Prep Value: Medium; Many of these have Breeders' Cup aspirations but none looks like a threat to go on and win the Juvenile Turf Spinster Stakes (G1) - Keeneland - Race 9 (5:45PM ET) A 'Win and You're In' race for the Breeders' Cup DistaffThis one should be fun! On one end of the spectrum you've got the impressive three-year-old filly, DUNBAR ROAD.  On the other end, you've got the venerable veteran mare, ELATE.  And in between you've got defending champion BLUE PRIZE, who went on to run 4th in last year's Breeders' Cup Distaff.  Jose Ortiz, who had the choice to ride either DUNBAR ROAD or ELATE stuck with the five-year-old, and probably for good reason.  ELATE is a two-time winner this year and has seven wins in her career with earnings of $2.2 million.  And assuming all goes well on Sunday, Bill Mott will sit down and decide whether he wants to run her in the Breeders' Cup Distaff against Midnight Bisou (she's 0-for-3 against her this year) or in the Classic against the boys.  A big performance makes the Classic seems that much more likely.Breeders' Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Elate (Top Pick), Dunbar Road, Blue PrizeBreeders' Cup Prep Value: High, with Elate a Breeders' Cup lock (either Distaff or Classic) and Dunbar Road and Blue Prize likely to move on as well

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10.3.2019:

Prepping for the ‘Cup

A mere 30 days separate this writing and one of racing’s most popular afternoons-- Breeders’ Cup Championship Saturday at Santa Anita. It’s a bit frightening to realize that this will be the BC’s 36th renewal. Present at Hollywood Park on a sunny Saturday afternoon when 7 races worth a total of $10 million played out before a hearty crowd of 68,000, we boldly predicted that the event likely would be ‘one and done.’  Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last time a prediction of mine finished off the board.   This year, Breeders’ Cup is a two-day, 14-race extravaganza worth $30 million in purses and prizes. It will be contested at Santa Anita for a record 10th time and yours truly couldn’t be happier. Santa Anita is my home away from home. It was my ‘office’ for 30 years—6 a.m. to 6 p.m. I love it, miss it and return whenever possible. The mountains, sunshine, history, paddock, grandstand, Clocker’s Corner, etc. make it a special place. My heart ached as my Great Race Place family struggled through a painful 2019 season. Extensive determined efforts have been made to rectify the situation and it’s impossible to imagine that those measures won’t prove effective. Still, when dealing with any athletic event, injuries always are part and parcel and forever disheartening.  With merely a month until the newest BC edition, it’s time for horses and horseplayers to accelerate preparations. Several major events were decided last weekend on both coasts and things will heat up even more in the coming days at Keeneland, Belmont and Santa Anita. Here’s a look at last week’s stakes races and their possible influence on Breeders’ Cup events: Santa Anita - Friday 9/27  Chandelier Stakes Bast, a 2-year-old daughter of Uncle Mo trained by Bob Baffert, was a prohibitively short price in here to defeat five foes going a mile and one-sixteenth…and she did. She had to work for it, though. The winning margin was a mere neck over 11-1 shot Comical and the pair were three lengths clear of the rest. It was just Bast’s third lifetime start and first around two turns. More experienced Comical was making her fifth lifetime start and fourth in a graded stakes race. Bast will head to the Juvenile Fillies and can be expected to attract decent support. Tough call at this point to determine just how talented she is. Stay tuned.   With the victory aboard Base Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velazquez surpassed Jerry Bailey to become the all-time leader in graded-stakes race wins at 660. After the race, the quote of the moment belonged to Bob Baffert who said, “(trainer) Todd Pletcher is the one who got him (Velazquez) all those graded wins. I only threw him a couple of bones.”  Eddie D. Pee Wee Reese drove through an opening along the rail and proved best in the Eddie D. It was another outstanding riding performance by Flavian Prat and sets the 6-year-old horse up perfectly for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, contested over the identical layout. Can ‘Pee Wee extend his awesome Santa Anita turf record to seven wins in eight tries on the first Saturday in November? Obviously, competition will be much deeper in the Breeders’ Cup.  Eddie Haskell closed well on the outside behind Pee Wee Reese but was too late. Defending BC Turf Sprint champ Stormy Liberal appears to have lost a step since last year and the 7-year-old finished third. All things considered, it’s too bad the BC Turf can’t take advantage of Santa Anita’s downhill turf course that’s temporarily closed. That layout is one of the most interesting in the entire nation. Hope it comes back into service for the big Santa Anita meeting.   American Pharoah Eight Rings, the 2-year-old son of Empire Maker who ducked in early during the Del Mar futurity and dumped jockey Drayden Van Dyke, kept a straight course Friday around two turns in the American Pharoah for a convincing win. He’s unbeaten in two starts when he finishes with a jockey and seems very talented. Trainer Bob Baffert added blinkers for the race, and they helped the colt. Jockey Velazquez suggested that ‘Rings is still learning and that could be true. He’s the best on the left coast but will be challenged by some talented eastern invaders.   Saturday, Sept. 28 - Santa Anita Maiden Special Weight Donna Veloce lived up to sparkling morning works when she disposed of five rivals with prejudice in 1:16 for six furlongs. The daughter of Uncle Mo, trained by Simon Callaghan and owned by Kaleem Shaw, looked sensational. Don’t know if she’s headed to the BC Juvenile Fillies or not, but she can run. John Henry Turf Championship (Grade 2) In the John Henry Turf Championship Cleopatra’s Strike made it four wins in 25 starts—including two seconds (head and nose) and this win since moving from Malcolm Pierce’s stable at Woodbine. This 6-year-old may just be getting good. No real Breeders’ Cup threats out of this race. Rodeo Drive Mirth was the only speed in the mile and one-quarter race and she took advantage of that edge to lead wire-to-wire under Mike Smith for red-hot trainer Phil D’Amato.  Beau Recall was second and Elysea’s World finished third. It’s best not to consider any California-based fillies or mares for success in the F&M BC Turf. California-prepped runners are 0-for-44 all-time in the F&M Turf with only 5 in-the-money finishes. Awesome Again Mongolian Groom, third in the Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap and runner-up in the Grade 2 San Diego Handicap, posed for a win photo for the first time since an allowance race score Feb. 1 and for just the third time in 13 career starts. To say he was a surprise winner of the Awesome Again would be an understatement.  In this, his eighth start in a graded-stakes race this year, he broke at odds of 25.40-1, third highest during that time—he was 53-1 in the Santa Anita Handicap and 28-1 last out in the Woodward at Saratoga. Most of Saturday’s money went toward heavily backed McKinzie at 30 cents to the dollar and to second choice Higher Power at 3.20-to-1. A stumbled start immediately negated Higher Power and McKinzie appeared disinterested—especially when he responded to a left-handed Mike Smith strike by wringing his tail. After the race, Smith said all the right things…’horse was blowing hard…race will do him a lot of good, etc’ but that didn’t help. The Hall-of-Fame jockey will be replaced on McKinzie for Breeders’ Cup. After the way the son of Street Sense ran in the Awesome Again that might be a blessing in disguise for Smith. A mile and one-quarter probably isn’t McKinzie’s most effective distance and the colt didn’t have much fighting spirit. Smith was criticized for surrendering an early pace advantage, but I’ll always take a 1-5 shot breezing along outside a pair of 25-1 and 60-1 pacesetters. Guess it’s easier to fire the jock than it is to fire the horse?  Meanwhile, take nothing away from Mongolian Groom. It was his day and he ran fast. Could he be a danger in the BC Classic? If he runs like that he could. First, his connections will need to cough up $200,000 to get him into the race. Can you say, ‘Go Fund Me?’ Even though Breeders’ Cup billed the event as a ‘Win and You’re In’ event, for non-nominated horses like ‘Groom its more of a ‘Win and You’re In if You Pay a Bunch of Money.’ The latter tagline isn’t quite as catchy, so BC suits use the former. Don’t fall asleep on Higher Power. Jockey Prat was willing to forgive the colt’s effort because of the slow start. Maybe he just got good at the right time in winning the Pacific Classis, but maybe not. Watch him train up to a lackluster BC Classic and home game at Santa Anita. He could be a real sleeper. Sunday, Sept. 29 - Santa Anita Zenyatta Paradise Woods returned to her best form to take the Zenyatta from five foes. It was nice to see the 5-year-old strut her stuff. It’s clear she appreciates the Santa Anita main track—now five for 12 there. Jockey Abel Cedillo added this Grade 1 triumph to an already memorable weekend. The rider, who first established himself as a talented rider in Northern California, had a solid Del Mar and appears to be headed toward the top in SoCal, too. ‘Woods probably will try the BC Distaff and she’ll be hard-pressed to outrun Midnight Bisou. Saturday, Sept. 28 - Belmont Park Vosburgh Imperial Hint and Firenze Fire battled tooth and hoof to the wire in the six-furlong Vosburgh. At first, in the stretch, it appeared as if swift early fractions had cooked favored Imperial Hint and that Firenze Fire had him dressed, cooked and served under glass. However, like a true Thoroughbred racehorse, Imperial Hint bravely battled back from the inside and the pair went to the wire together. The finish was so close to the naked eye that it couldn’t be comfortably called. A slow-motion replay of the finish suggested that on the money Imperial Hint’s head was ‘down’ while Firenze Fire’s nose was ‘up.’ A photo finish confirmed that interpretation. Imperial Hint is a world class 6-year-old sprinter who’s had two previous shots at the Breeders’ Cup Sprint—second and third, respectively, to Roy H. Trainer Luis Carvajal, Jr. used a winning Vosburgh effort as a springboard to the BC Sprint last year and has done the same this year. Will the third time be the charm for Imperial Hint? Or, has the 6-year-old lost a step? Firenze Fire is an interesting 4-year-old sprinter in the care of high-percentage trainer Jason Servis. He’s best as a mid-pack closer who appreciates some pace to run at. He’ll have that in the Breeders’ Cup, for sure. The winner of seven of 20 starts could be a real sleeper in California. Beldame The Marvelous Midnight Bisou added another victory to her already stellar resume by winning the Beldame—her seventh tally in seven 2019 starts. Even though she’s faced five and six horse fields all year, she’s likely to be a short price to win the BC Distaff. In fact, she’s been so dominating that she’s been mentioned in the Horse of the Year conversation. Elate, who lost to Midnight Bisou by a desperate nose in a thrilling Personal Ensign at Saratoga, may be headed to the BC Classic instead of the Distaff because she appreciates a mile and one-quarter. If that’s the case, ‘Bisou ought to be a free Distaff bingo square come Saturday, Nov. 2. Jockey Club Gold Cup In the stretch of the Jockey Club Gold Cup, Code of Honor and Vino Rosso raced to the wire as one. Originally, it appeared as if the former couldn’t get by the latter, despite having dead aim through the length of the stretch. Upon further review of the stretch run, the stewards ruled that original winner Vino Rosso had interfered with Code of Honor and demoted him from first to second. The disqualification wasn’t entirely popular. Not surprising. They seldom are.  From this seat, NYRA stews made the right call. Vino Rosso clearly bumped Code of Honor several times and drifted out through the lane. The offense wasn’t equivalent to first degree murder, but aggravated assault was a no-brainer. It would be best if stews nationwide would interpret and enforce rules on a more consistent basis. Unfortunately, few of us will live long enough to see that day. Meanwhile, lost among bickering about the disqualification, Code of Honor and Vino Rosso both ran huge races. The compact 3-year-old Travers hero has developed into a tiger and has legitimate claim toward sophomore of the year honors. Vino Rosso has become a solid 4-year-old with two wins in five starts, including the Grade 1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita. That latter success will not be lost on horseplayers handicapping the BC Classic in Arcadia, CA. Third, last out in the Whitney when wide, Vino Rosso ran the best race of his career in the Jockey Club Gold Cup.  Tacitus finished third and has lost some supporters…finally. He hasn’t won a race since the Wood Memorial in April but has been second three times and third once in Grade 1 or Grade 2 races. He’ll be hard to have on top in the BC Classic, but he’s one to use in exotics. Sunday, Sept. 29 – Belmont Miss Grillo  Selflessly closed strongly to just miss in her maiden race in August at Saratoga. That proved a perfect prep for her second start Sunday at Belmont Park when she won the Miss Grillo.  It was the fourth time trainer Chad Brown has won this race. And that’s particularly notable because his runners have won the BC Juvenile Fillies Turf 5 times in 11 years, including 3 straight--Newspaperofrecord (’18), Rushing Fall (’17) and New Money Honey (’16). Only two of five winners were favored. Also, Belmont Park’s Miss Grillo Stakes has produced five winners of the Juvenile Fillies Turf, including two of the last three.  Race On!

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10.2.2019:

Shartin N Remains The ‘1’ In Poll

They’re at the three-quarter pole in the 2019 harness racing season and Shartin N remains the target in the Hambletonian Society/Breeders Crown Top 10 poll. Last year’s champion older female pacer is 14-for-15 and close to adding another $1 million to her bankroll this year. She received all 35 first-place votes in the poll that covers all of North America. But the $6 million Breeders Crown awaits October 25-26 at Woodbine-Mohawk Park and if Shartin N doesn’t maintain her incredible pace, several others appear poised to make a run at year-end honors. Multiple stakes winner Greenshoe trotted to a 1:49.4 victory in a division of the Bluegrass Stakes last Sunday at the Red Mile to surpass world record-setter Lather Up in the No.2 spot in the poll. Bettor’s Wish, the only millionaire this year, sits at No. 4, while Little Brown Jug winner Southwind Ozzi moved up five places to No. 5. A pair of undefeated 2-year-olds – trotter Real Cool Sam and pacer Tall Dark Stranger – check in at No. 7 and No. 10, respectively. Tim Tetrick, who will be inducted into the Harness Racing Hall of Fame next July, is the regular driver for Shartin N. Tetrick leads all drivers with $12.4 million in earnings this year and his 583 wins ranks second to perennial leader Aaron Merriman (687) heading into October. Ron Burke is headed to toward his umpteenth training title in wins and earnings. His 755 wins are more than double that of runner-up Nick Surick, and his $16.4 million in stable earnings tower over second place Rene Allard ($4.6 million). Rusty’s Flying, an 11-year-old pacer entered to run this week at Kawartha Downs in Canada, deserves special recognition for having won 20 races in 32 starts this year.

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9.30.2019:

Plan Your Breeders' Cup Prep Studies

As the horses prepare for the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup championships across 14 divisions, horseplayers also should be putting in their paces. A second massive weekend of prep races looms, starting with Friday’s opening day card at Keeneland.But with such a flurry of activity past, present and very near future, which races should attract your attention most? The answer to that can be varied, though a look at history can often help guide your eyeballs and study hours in the right direction.Three prep races all-time have produced double-digit winners in the Breeders’ Cup divisions. The Frizette tops all with 12 winners in the Juvenile Fillies; the Arc de Triomphe has led to 11 winners (10 Turf, 1 Filly & Mare Turf); and the Spinster also has 11 winners (10 Distaff, 1 Filly & Mare Sprint). All three of these races have proven to be time-tested and recent as well. The Frizette spring-boarded the past 2 winners of the Juvenile Fillies (Caladonia Road and Jaywalk). The Arc has produced Turf winners in 2016 (Highland Reel) and 2018 (Enable). The Spinster hasn’t had a Distaff winner since 2005 (Pleasant Home), but did turn-back a F&M Sprint winner in 2017 (Bar of Gold).The leading three projectors of Breeders’ Cup winners all will be contested this Sunday, October 6. Enable bids for a historic third Arc title, while fields for the Frizette and Spinster will come together officially on Thursday. With Spinaway winner Perfect Alibi headed to Keeneland for Friday’s Alcibiades, Belmont Park’s Frizette will be seeking a new leader in the New York regional. As for the Spinster, expect Blue Prize, Dunbar Road and Elate among the heavyweight probable contenders. This promises to be one of the strongest Spinster editions in years.Five preps have accounted for 9 Breeders’ Cup titles: the Awesome Again (7 Classic, 2 Dirt Mile), Beldame (Distaff), Zenyatta (Distaff), Champagne (Juvenile) and Santa Anita Sprint Championship (7 Sprint, 2 Dirt Mile). Of those races, we’re already in the books for 2019 in the Awesome Again (where 25-1 Mongolian Groom upset heavily favored McKinzie), Beldame (favorite Midnight Bisou punched her ticket easily) and the Zenyatta (Paradise Woods re-emerged on the west coast). Mark your calendars for Saturday’s renewals of the Champagne and Santa Anita Sprint Championship. The latter is expected to include the long-awaited return of Omaha Beach, who scratched as the morning line favorite for this year’s Kentucky Derby.The third tier of leading Breeders’ Cup preps all-time includes a trio of 8-win preliminaries. The American Pharoah (Juvenile) and Jockey Club Gold Cup (7 Classic, 1 Turf) were contested last weekend, while the Alcibiades (Juvenile Fillies) will be Friday at Keeneland. The American Pharoah, which produced last year’s Juvenile winner Game Winner, launched another potential star freshman named Eight Rings. The Jockey Club Gold Cup’s controversial finish saw Vino Rosso disqualified for interference and Code of Honor placed first. Expect a Classic rematch among that pair. Official entries for the Alcibiades will close Tuesday morning.There have been 106 Breeders’ Cup championship races contested at Santa Anita all-time. Horses prepped at Santa Anita own 31 of those wins, easily surpassing the 17 via Belmont Park and 13 from Keeneland. The only other track to propel double-digit win totals at Santa Anita is France’s Longchamp with 10.

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9.30.2019:

Monday, September 30: Northfield Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

Northfield Park has 15-races scheduled for a Monday night card. The Early Pick 4 begins in Race 7, the sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Arthur Pendragon-ML chalk is in a good spot and gets needed post relief. Can get overdue win with a good steer.4-Anarchy Hanover-Merriman takes over from trainer on a drop and this is could be a spot to shine.6-Scarlet Cat-Has had trouble at this level but field isn't deep and now Wrenn steers instead of the trainer.Race 81-Movie Star-Makes 3rd start for new barn after being bought for $16k, has speed, could be ready in 1st Nfld start.4-Flying Shekel-1st local start was good now gets a new trainer and Wrenn sticks, maybe Lasix finally helps.5-My Hearts Rockin-Took long way around, pace was quick and faded, drops now, is speedy but needs a trip.Race 92-Brian J-Comes off sharp win and drops in a for tag, 7/5 chalk figures to be in the hunt but Merriman takes #3.3-Dance Life Well-Merriman sticks with beaten chalk, 9/5 second favorite makes second start for new barn.Race 101-Alan-3-year-old has faced tough foes but now takes on older, post draw should help the cause.4-Norman Skidd Marks-Qualified well with hopples, will take a swing in an open affair.5-PC's Alleyway-Drops to same level as last win and now Wrenn steers. Should be bet and will need a top effort.6-Martz Creek Liby--Using at 25-1 in ML. Drops and fits here, start is key and can leave to get a an up-front seat.My Ticket Race 7) 1,4,6/ Race 8) 1,4,5 Race 9) 2,3 Race 10) 1,4,5,6Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.29.2019:

Sunday, September 29: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

FIRST RACE3-Thunder CodeSept. 11, 20194f, :49.4hGrade: B-View WorkoutBreezing outside Carressa (same time), splits of :24.4 and :49 flat, both going easily throughout for Shirreffs. Good-looking 2-year-old showed considerable promise in his debut and should get better with experience and more distance. Workmate, a 3-year-old filly by Uncle Mo, galloped out the better of the two and looks headed in the right direction after graduating nicely over a mile at Del Mar in her third career start.4-Eel PointSept. 9, 20195f, 1:01.2hgGrade: C+View WorkoutThird best in team gate drill with Much More Halo (5f, 1:00.1hg) and Heros Reward (5f, 1:00.2hg), sent hard inside after lacking gate quickness to be even with workmates to the quarter pole (:47.3) before fading readily in the final furlong. Had expected better, question mark.4-Eel PointSept. 2, 20195f, 1:00.3hGrade: B-View WorkoutBlazed-faced $600,000 colt by Into Mischief was in company with River Finn (4f, :48h, not asked) and was best to the wire in 23 flat, 47.4h before being asked pretty good to 7/8 pole and then out to the six furlong pole for Baffert. Stout colt doesn’t strike us as a win-early type.5-Great PowerSept. 8, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B+View WorkoutBroke off behind Premiere League (5f, 1:01.4h) and was best through the lane, late changing leads but never asked while coming the final three furlongs in :35.4 with plenty left in what was his first five furlong drill. $290,000 juvenile son of Blame getting fit for Callaghan, very nice prospect but probably not a sprint type. Worth following closely.6-Heroes RewardSept. 21, 20195f, 1:00.2hgGrade: B+View VideoCruising early in company with Map Maker (5f, 1:02hg) with splits of :24.2, :36.3 and :48.2, remained well in hand entering the lane and responded well, up in 1:00.2 before easing up six furlongs in 1:14.2. Acts like he can run short or long, very nice prospect, $450,000 Flatter colt looks pretty fit and should make the entries soon.6-Heroes RewardSept. 9, 20195f, 1:00.2hgGrade: B-View WorkoutDecent gate work outside in company with Much More Halo (5f, 1:00.1hg) and Eel Point (5f, 1:01.2hg), showing good gate zip to lead early before being taken in hand, hitting the half in :47.2, and then finishing out reasonably well while appearing every bit the equal to ‘Halo despite receiving the slightly slower final clocking. $450,000 yearling by Flatter looks the part and seems to have some zip. Should make the entries soon.FIFTH RACE1-Secret SpiceSept. 14, 20196f, 1:12.3hGrade: B+View WorkoutEasy early in :24.4 and :48.2, was asked to pick it up in the final furlong and responded well, up in 1:12.2 on our watches. Lost a toughie at Del Mar, maintains her edge, fits with the best older middle distance main track distaffers in the West.3-Paradise WoodsSept. 16, 20197f, 1:26.1hGrade: B-View WorkoutCame the final 5/8ths on our watches in :24.1, :36.2 and 1:03 flat, some coaxing through the lane and not finishing with all that much energy in long drill over deepish track. Was a terrific worker in her younger, better days.4-Ollie’s CandySept. 7. 20195f, 1:00.3hGrade: B+View WorkoutSplits of :37 flat and 1:00.3, easy early (appeared to shy from something approaching the far turn) before turning it on late under mild coaxing and then galloping out strongly to 7/8 pole. Grade-1 winning daughter of Candy Ride holds her edge for Sadler.SIXTH RACE4-DichtomySept. 14, 20194f, 49hGrade: B-View WorkoutNot a bad work, in company with Oil Can Knight (same time) with the pair coming from the half mile pole in :49 flat before continuing out to 7/9 pole in 1:01.3 on our watches. Square Eddie filly seemed a tad the best, somewhat surprisingly so. In good shape, might be dangerous with a class drop.6-AnonymouslySept. 8, 20194f, :48.4h TTGrade: C+View WorkoutModerate solo work on training track, under a light pull early, niggled at in the final sixteenth, final quarter in :25 flat. Cerin-trained grass specialist seeking a high-priced claiming sprint for 3-year-old fillies.SEVENTH RACE4-Into a Hot SpotSept. 11, 20194f, :49hGrade: B-View WorkoutBreezing throughout for Mullins, splits of :12.3, :24.4 and :49.1 on our watches. Ex-midwestern campaigner looks okay, probably needs a return to the claiming ranks.EIGHTH RACE2-Commanding ChiefSept. 21, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: C+View WorkoutAsked through the lane and was second best working inside of Murad Khan (5f, 1:01.3), final half in :49 flat. Moderate form so far, should return soon in another older maiden special weight affair.3-Premier LeagueSept. 8, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: CView WorkoutSecond best with Great Power (5f, 1:00.4h), breaking off a few lengths in front but proving no match late (workmate breezing) through the lane. Not too much right now.3-Premier LeagueSept. 2, 20195f, 1:02hGrade: CView WorkoutAnimal Kingdom 3yo colt came the final half in 49.2h under pressure thru the lane, not impressive. Brought $630,000+ at the 2018 Tattersalls Craven Breeze Up Sale but has yet to make it to the races. Hopefully, he’s a grass horse. Needs to pick it up for Callaghan.6-CharlitoSept. 14, 20196f, 1:15.4hGrade: C+View WorkoutBroke off with younger Rare Find (same time) but dropped back to trail that one by a few lengths early, was asked for run entering the lane to close the gap and finished head-and-head under some late coaxing, final 5/8ths on our watches in :38.1 and 1:03.3. Split field in moderate debut on grass at Del Mar, cost $725,000 as a 2-year-old, and that’s going to be a pretty tough nut for this 3-year-old son of Fed Biz to crack.8-Fivestar LynchSept. 7, 20195f, 1:03.1h TTGrade: CView WorkoutAsk hard through the lane in solo training track drill, modest response. Irish-bred maiden could use a class drop.

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9.29.2019:

Sunday, September 29: 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.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 @jsiegelracinRACE 1: Post 12:30 PT. Grade: B+Single: 6-Heros RewardForecast: Heros Reward has done everything like a very good colt in the a.m. for B. Baffert and looks plenty fit and ready for a winning effort first crack out of the box. The son of Flatter – a $450,000 yearling buy – is an outstanding individual with enough speed to win sprinting though his future probably lies in distance event. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 2: Post 12:58 PT. Grade: C+Use: 1-Seahawk Wave; 5-PassingForecast: The second half of the early daily double – a restricted (nw-2) $12,500 claiming sprint - drew just five starters. Passing is comfortably drawn outside and should be part of the pace throughout. His numbers are rising with each outing for high percentage trainer J. Wong and with another forward move, even slight, the son of Cross Traffic can get the money. Seahawk Wave is a perfect one-for-one over the local main track but was a voided claim when third as the favorite in a slightly tougher spot at Del Mar in mid-August. He’s solid on numbers and should be tough to beat if he fires his best shot and avoids trouble from the rail. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with a very slight edge on top to Passing.RACE 3: Post 1:28 PT. Grade: XSingle: 5-AlvaaroForecast: Alvaaro was a tad disappointing when a fading third in his comeback two weeks ago at Los Alamitos, so he’s dropped from $40,000 to $20,000 for the money in this bottom-rung maiden claimer. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding actually earned a speed figure that is better than par for this level, so if he produces a forward move, or simply doesn’t go backwards, the 3-year-old gelding should be able to outrun this field from gate to wire. However, at 8/5 on the morning line, he’s an unattractive play. We make him a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 4: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Carpe Noctem; 8-NietzscheForecast: Carpe Noctem was five lengths clear of the rest when second in a similar maiden claimer at Los Alamitos earlier this month and not much more will be needed to secure his diploma in this sprint for maiden $30,000 juveniles. While he’s hardly likely to duplicate the 27 point Beyer speed figure improvement he achieved between his first and second start, the son of Carpe Diem has every right to continue his improving pattern in a rather modest affair. Nietzsche was a fair third in his debut at a big price (29-1) at Del Mar and has a right to improve with that bit of experience behind him. He could be heard from late and is worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up.RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BSingle: 1-Secret SpiceForecast: Single Spice was beaten a head by Ollie’s Candy in the Clement L. Hirsch S.-G1 at Del Mar but she much prefers the Santa Anita main track and will be a short price to turn the tables on her main rival in this year’s edition of the Zenyatta S.-G1. The R. Baltas-trained filly projects to be on or near a moderate pace from her inside draw and then go on with it when called upon. At 8/5 on the morning line, she’s the logical top pick and a rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-Dearborn; 6-AnonymouslyForecast: The two main players in this first-level allowance turf sprint for fillies and mares are drawn towards the outside in this six-runner affair. Anonymously has been tried sprinting and routing throughout her career and it’s become fairly obvious that she’s most effective going short. Second to a next-out winner when well clear of the others in a fast, highly-rated affair last month at Del Mar, the daughter of Gio Ponti can be effective on the lead or from a stalking position so K. Desormeaux can assess the pace flow from his outside draw and then choose a strategy. She’s the second choice on the morning line behind favored Dearborn a $40,000 claiming winner at Del Mar last time out with a career top number that is good enough to win at this level if repeated. Both should be included in rolling exotics play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Anonymously on top.RACE 7: Post 3:32 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Into a Hot Spot; 6-Jen Go UnchainedForecast: Into a Hot Spot, listed at 4-1 on the morning line, earned a giant speed figure when breaking his maiden three races but was well below that form in two subsequent outings, one over a track listed as “good” and then other in a two-turn turf affair in his West Coast debut at Del Mar. The son of Into Mischief gets ideal conditions today to regain his edge and a recent sharp half mile breeze over the local main track should have this J. Mullins-trained colt spot on. The logical favorite at 8/5 on the morning line is Jen Go Unchained, dropping out of a tougher starter’s allowance sprint for M. Puype and switching to A. Cedillo. His numbers are solid but still short of what ‘Spot is capable of doing, so we’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring the higher-priced Into a Hot Spot in the straight pool.RACE 8: Post 4:04 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Tyrannical Rex; 9-Mo ForzaMo Forza was nosed out in a much stronger first-level allowance race at Del Mar last time out and today returns to the maiden ranks with numbers that are far superior to par for this level. Anything close to his last race beats this group. Tyrannical Rex closed with courage in a promising debut sprinting on grass at Del Mar while giving indication that he’ll be better suited over a distance of ground. He’s probably worth using as a back-up in rolling exotic play, but the main push goes to Mo Forza, who may very well go lower than his morning line of 9/5.

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9.29.2019:

Sunday, September 29: The Red Mile Pick 4 Analysis

Top 3-year-old fillies, colts and geldings will be the headliners at The Red Mile on a Sunday matinee program. First post is 1:00 PM EST for the 10-race card. My focus will be on the $1.00 Pick 4 which begins in Race 7 and has a $10,000 guaranteed pool.David Miller and Yannick Gingras led the drivers with two trips to the winner's circle on Saturday afternoon. The top conditioners were Ron Burke and Tony Alagna, each with two pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 73-American Mercury (6/5)-Winner of >$549K has been in the hunt for months but doesn't have a win in four tries at Lex. Can race well on a bigger oval but should be bet hard and not sure the Oakes trainee will be able to wire this field.4-Can't Beach That (3-1)-This is my pick to pull-off a mild upset. Dave Miller can fire out and get the top or sit right behind #3. My guess is Miller takes the pocket and comes on down the lane to claim the biggest check.Race 86-Green Manalishi S (8/5)-Muscle Hill colt has won 4 of last 6 and should be a major player again. Gets the edge in post position over main foes and should get the top. Could be difficult to catch if Tetrick finds a soft quarter.7-Marseille (4-1)-Will need very best to top this crew but has the gate speed to follow #6 and trip out.8-Pilot Discretion (3-1)-Needs to shake a case of seconditis, has finished right behind the winner in three straight. Last was a top effort and if pace is quick McCarthy can sweep by late, best to respect.Race 96-Bettor's Wish (4/5)-Odds-on favorite looks the part, can leave in a hurry and never look back. Scorched the field in last start which was at Lex on 9-15 from the 10-hole. It's difficult to look beyond this colt, could lock up tenth win of the year with a clean trip.Race 103-Evident Beauty (2-1)-Having a big 2019 and the ML chalk is a serious threat once again. This filly has been very consistent and is in a spot where David Miller could get a 2-hole trip.5-Asiago (3-1)-Comes off a big win and if minds manners has a big shot to take another picture. Does lose Gingras but Dunn can blast out and get on the engine or an upfront seat.$1.00 Pick 4 Race 7) 3,4 Race 8) 6,7,8 Race 9) 6 Race 10) 3,5Total Ticket Cost) $12 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.28.2019:

Saturday, September 28: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

The following workouts have been extracted from the Jeff Siegel's West Coast Daily Workout Analysis, which appears in this blog and is updated daily.FIRST RACE3-JustinianSept. 15, 20194f, :47.1hGrade: B+A little late changing leads but was breezing throughout and looking sharp as usual, splits of :23.3 and :47.1, plenty left late. Ran below expectations in debut (failed to break) but seems certain to improve a bunch next time, especially if he leaves with his field.THIRD RACE7-Liar Liar-IRSept. 2, 20194f, :49.2hGrade: B-In company with Four O’Five (blinkers) and was best, breaking off slightly behind and finishing slightly ahead without being asked at any stage, final quarter in :24.3. Had a run in Ireland at Naas in April, finishing fifth vs. maidens, beaten two lengths, while appearing green. Worth following for Baltas.FOURTH RACE3-Le TubSept. 13, 20194f, :49.4hGrade: C+Broke off a length behind Comical (4f, :50h), was asked a bit through the lane but couldn’t get by and then fell back in the gallop out. Not impressive but ran very well at 35-1 in her debut at Del Mar so maybe she’s not much of a worker.4-Scarlet LipsSept. 23, 20194f, :48hGrade: BView WorkoutCaught her in :24.1 and :48 flat, striding out nicely through the lane without any need of urging. Showed promise when a closing runner-up behind a next out stakes winner in her debut and seems certain to improve with experience and distance for Baffert.5-Dona VeloceSept. 2, 20194f, :48.4hGrade: B$800,000 Fasig-Tipton March 2-year-old in training purchase, Uncle Mo filly was in company with The Lighthouse (4f, :49.3h) and was best in sharp half mile breeze, finishing with plenty left, final three furlongs in 12.3 and 36 flat, easily to the wire for Callaghan. Should be up to five furlongs by next breeze.FIFTH RACE1-BedrockSept. 19, 20195f, 1:02.3hGrade: C+Second best in company with Cellar Door (same time), under urging inside most of the way in modest five furlong spin. Didn’t show much sprinting in debut but is bred to run long and probably won’t show his best until given his preferred trip.11-Eddy ForeverSept. 11, 20194f, :48.3hGrade: B+In hand between Bolo (5f, 1:02h, out to 7/8 pole) and Hydrogen (4f, :48.3h) and was impressive to the wire going easily while displaying good athleticism and plenty of energy for Baffert, then galloped out quite well. Medaglia d’Oro colt was off slowly and then given a run in his debut on turf at Del Mar (finished fourth) and will get serious next time. Hydrogen was outside throughout, went okay, light pressure late but not much gallop out. Turf stakes winner Bolo was inside leading to the head of the lane before weakening under pressure, disappointing.SIXTH RACE3-HomehomeSept. 23, 20193f, :36.3hgGrade: C+Solo gate drill for O’Neill, was asked pretty hard leaving the gate and then finished without undue pressure, splits of :24.3 and :36.3 on our watches. Daughter of Square Eddie looks okay, nothing more, should be fit enough to make the entries soon.SEVENTH RACE4-Ritzy A. P.Sept. 1, 20194f, :49.2hGrade: B-Veteran son of English Channel maintains his form for Blacker, going well while hooking in with Mopotism (3f, :37.4h, easily), final quarter in 24.3. Willing third in the Del Mar Handicap in his most recent start and is a cut below the real good ones on this circuit.5-UnitedSept. 20, 20197f, 1:25.3hGrade: B+Broke off about four lengths behind If Id Told You (6f, 1:14.3h) and easily outfinished that one to the wire before galloping out to 7/8 pole, final six furlongs on our watches in :24 flat, :35.4, 1:00.3 and 1:13.3. Dead fit, looks good, should fire his best shot next time out for Mandella.5-UnitedSept. 13, 20197f, 1:26.4hGrade: BView WorkoutWorked outside maiden Inquisiteur (6f, 1:14h) and got the best of that one late under mild hand urging before traveling out to 7/8 pole. Looks solid following a confidence building win at Del Mar, plenty fit, will stick to grass.8-AcclimateSept. 16, 20195f, 1:02.1hGrade: BDel Mar Handicap winner broke off about five lengths in front of Isotherm (5f, 1:01.1h), was engaged into the lane and finished evenly with workmate while well in hand to the wire, then continued out to 7/8 pole under light coaxing while appearing a tad the best, up in 1:15.4 on our watches. Maintains his edge for Sadler.EIGHTH RACE1-Value PlaySept. 14, 20195f, 1:00.2hGrade: BPromising 3-year-old for Callaghan went off slowly and easily in :13.1, :24.4 and :36.1 to the top, then finished without pressure, up in 1:00.4 on our watches. Broke his maiden cleverly at Los Alamitos in debut but was stopped on, will get tested in his comeback.7-Comical GhostSept. 14, 20195f, 1:00hGrade: B-Worked outside of Magic on Tap (same time) and was noticeably second best, unable to bridge the gap after breaking off a bit behind and then coming home under mild coaxing, final half on our watches in :23.3 and :47.3, a half-length back at the wire. Not a bad work but we anticipated a bit better. Has all of his conditions, should return soon.7-Comical GhostSept. 8, 20184f, :47.1hGrade: B+Ghostzapper colt went smoothly inside of Magic on Tap (same time, asked a bit final stages), breezing throughout with splits of 23 flat and 47 flat on our watches, looking sharp as he always does in the a.m. Baffert-trained colt won his debut in June with a strong speed figure and then trained at Del Mar but didn’t make an appearance in the afternoon. Should return soon in an entry-level allowance event.8-Candy CornellSept. 18, 20195f, 1:02.1hGrade: C+Asked some through the lane, fair response, final three furlongs in :37 flat. Ran huge when second vs. first-level allowance foes two races back but was no factor in a similar spot in his most recent outing. Seeking another first-level allowance event.TENTH RACE1-Higher PowerSept. 22, 20196f, 1:13hGrade: A-Broke off a couple of lengths behind Foxtail (6f, 1:14h), fell back midway to trail by about five following opening three furlongs in :37.2, hit the top in :48.4, then quickly gobbled up workmate while breezing through the lane, never asked, up in 1:13.1 on our watches. Looked quite a bit sharper here than the last time we saw him. On edge for his best race.1-Higher PowerSept. 16, 20195f, 1:01hGrade: B-Pacific Classic upset winner earned splits of :12.2, :24.3, :36.2 and 1:01 flat, not asked, steady work, nothing flashy. Can’t knock but based on workouts chief challenger McKinzie is in a different world.2-Draft PickSept. 1, 20194f, :48.1hGrade: B+Final quarter in 23.3 looking smooth and sharp for Eurton. Ran the race of his career when second in the Pacific Classic-G1 and maintains that edge.4-McKinzieSept. 16, 20195f, :59.4hGrade: ACouldn’t have looked better, breezing throughout and finishing with a ton left, splits of :24.2, :36 flat and :59.4 to the wire, then galloped out six furlongs in 1:13 and small change, plenty left. Hard to see him getting beat in his present form.6-IsothermSept. 16, 20195f, 1:01.1hGrade: BBroke off five lengths behind Acclimate (5f, 1:02.1h) and was under stout restraint, moved to engage into the lane while remaining under a pull and finished evenly with workmate at the wire, splits of :25.2, :37.3 and 1:01.2 before continuing out to 7/8 pole under light coaxing, up in 1:14.4 on our watches while perhaps a tad second best on the gallop out. Always a very willing worker; was fourth in the Brubaker S. at Del Mar in his comeback in an okay effort (though we expected better). Possibly most effective on grass.ELEVENTH RACE3-Don’t SellSept. 16, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: BBreezing outside An Eddie Surprise (same time) to the wire, then appeared a tad the best continuing out to 7/8ths pole under light pressure, splits of :24 flat, :48.3 and 1:01 flat on our watches while continuing to impress in the a.m. Should fire her best shot next time out.3-Don’t SellSept. 9, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: B+Hard held early in :24.3 and :49 flat to the wire, then continued out strongly to 7/8 pole while in company and proving best over An Eddie Surprise (same time), sharp throughout and having plenty left when eased out to three-quarter pole. O’Neill-trained filly just missed in state-bred stakes routing on turf at Del Mar last time out and continues to do well. Workmate was not asked and finished up okay but didn’t display much of a gallop out.12-Queen of the TrackSept. 16, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: BRecent turf starter’s allowance winner maintains her edge for Bonde, breezing in solo main track drill with splits of :12.4, :25 flat, and 1:02 flat on our watches, strictly on her own. Doing well, probably will return in another five furlong turf dash.

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9.28.2019:

Saturday, September 28: 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.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 PT. Grade: XSingle: 3-JustinianForecast: Justinian ran far below expectations in his debut at Del Mar when the B. Baffert-trained colt broke slowly, rushed up wide to contend for a half and then packed it in. Blinkers come off for a barn that hits at 28% with this angle and whose second-timer starters (24%) often improve. A bullet recent five furlong workout (:59.3h) indicates the son of Justin Phillip retains his speed, so we’ll give him one more chance to perform up to expectations, though at 8/5 on the morning line he’s not likely to offer much in the way of wagering value.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 2-Thin Line; 6-PalladiumForecast: This $20,000 claiming main track miler restricted to 3-year-olds drew just six runners, giving us little to work with. Palladium exits a highly-rated race for the level and has two prior wins over the Santa Anita main track, so we’re expecting the son of Graydar to fit very nicely in this below par race for the level. This will be his first start since joining the R. Hess barn and blinkers go on for the first time, so there’s every reason to believe he’ll fire his best shot. Thin Line stretches out again and could be the controlling speed, although sprinter-stretching-out Dr. Bagley may have something to say about that. The D. O’Neill-trained son of Morning Line has numbers that fit, and though he’s suspect around two turns both of his prior route attempts came vs. tougher on grass. He’s probably worth tossing in as a back-up or a saver,.RACE 3: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 7-Liar Liar; 8-Phast PharoahForecast: Phast Pharoah has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and a pedigree that suggests this mile trip should easily be within his range. After being sent hard from the gate and flashing good speed before stopping in his debut, the son of American Pharoah was taken back and allowed to finish in his most recent outing sprinting on grass and responded in a positive fashion, winding up a willing fourth after a bit of traffic trouble in the lane. This doesn’t look like a particularly strong maiden race, so if he’s going to develop into a decent colt he’ll show it today. Liar Liar earned a modest 59 Timeform Rating when finishing fifth of 14 in his debut in Ireland in April, perhaps finding five furlongs too sharp, and makes his U.S. debut for R. Baltas with Lasix and a useful series of training track workouts on his resume. He’s probably at least an okay type, so we’ll toss him in while preferring Phast Pharoah on top.RACE 4: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Scarlet Lips; 5-Donna VeloceForecast: Donna Veloce acts like a very fast filly and appears fit and ready for a huge effort in her debut in this extended sprint for maiden juvenile fillies. An $800,000 purchase at the Fasig-Tipton March Sale where she blazed a furlong in 9 4/5 seconds over the Gulfstream Park main track, the daughter of Uncle Mo has done everything locally for S. Callaghan to indicate she’s a quality prospect. Scarlet Lips has the benefit of a prior run, having finished willingly to be a distant second behind stable mate Quality Response last month at Del Mar in a race that was flattered when ‘Response came back to easily win a stakes at Los Alamitos. The daughter of Malibu Moon, a $400,000 Saratoga yearling purchase last year, adds blinkers today and gets an extra furlong to work with, so we’re expecting a significant forward move for B. Baffert, whose maidens often step forward with a run under their belts. We’ll give Donna Veloce the edge on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: B+Single: 11-Eddy ForeverForecast: Eddy Forever flashed excellent ability in his debut at Del Mar, finishing a strong third after a poor start and a wide trip when a close fourth over a mile on grass in a similar maiden event for juveniles. The son of Medaglia d’Oro has been impressive in the morning since that race for B. Baffert and can be expected to produce a significant forward move – as many second-time starters do from this barn – and assuming he breaks with his field and can negotiate a decent trip from his extreme outside draw he should be able to handle this task. At 3-1 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B-Use: 3-Homehome; 7-Sofi’s GoldForecast: Sofi’s Gold ran well in her debut when a game second to the more experienced Mandy in a similar maiden special weight sprint for juvenile state-bred fillies, and while that certainly wasn’t a particular fast race the daughter of Goldencents should be better for the experience and looks ready to step forward and graduate from her comfortable outside draw. The barn’s go-to rider, R. Bejarano, stays aboard. Homehome is an intriguing first-timer from the D. O’Neill barn (average stats with first-timers) and showed a bit of ability in a recent local gate drill (3f, :36.3hg) after shipping in from San Luis Rey Downs. She’s a daughter of Square Eddie, and while she’s probably no world beater she might be a factor in a rather modest event. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics while giving Sofi’s Gold the edge on top.RACE 7: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: BUse: 5-United; 8-AcclimateForecast: Acclimate is a devout front-runner catching a field without pace (again) and may be capable of taking full advantage of the situation over a course he loves (4-for-9 lifetime). The P. D’Amato-trained gelding is most effective in marathon trips but at this shorter mile and one-quarter journey – given the projected pace flow – the veteran Acclamation gelding may never look back if handed the lead as expected. United is a developing gelding with further improvement in him, having only eight career races, and earned a strong speed figure when winning a competitive allowance race at Del Mar in mid-July. Away since then but training in sharp style for R. Mandella, the son of Giant’s Causeway has a prior win over the local lawn and retains F. Prat. Clearly he’s the most dangerous of the closing types.RACE 8: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Value Play; 7-Comical GhostForecast: Comical Ghost won at first asking over this track and distance in early June but missed the entire Del Mar meeting for whatever reason and today catches what looks to be a considerably tougher group than the maiden field he defeated in clever style. The recent works look good for B. Baffert, so the son of Ghostzapper should be a short price (he’s 7/5 on the morning line) to extend his winning streak to two. Similarly, Value Play won his debut in visually pleasing style (at Los Alamitos in December) but then disappeared. The son of Algorithms is making his first start since then while showing a relatively light series of recent drills for a barn whose layoff runners often need an outing. He remains well regarded but must leave from the rail, so we’ll include him on a ticket or two in our rolling exotics while preferring Comical Ghost on top.RACE 9: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B+Use: 2-Beau Recall; 6-PavedForecast: This year’s edition of the Rodeo Drive S.-G1 came up unusually light both in quality and in quantity. Beau Recall has never any had success at this 10-furlong trip but the deep closing Irish-bred mare beats this field with anything close her game victory in the Yellow Ribbon H.-G2 at Del Mar in her most recent outing. Since being taken over by high percentage trainer Brad Cox, she has won four of six starts in high class company and was a close second in the races she didn’t win. Paved can be used as a back-up. The daughter of Quality Road will be making her third start off a layoff and should produce another forward move. In a field lacking in pace, the M. McCarthy-trained four-year-old projects to inherit a good stalking position and have every chance from the quarter pole home.RACE 10: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-McKinzieForecast: At the Breeders’ Cup distance of a mile and one-quarter Higher Power might be able to beat McKinzie, but today’s Awesome Again S.-G1 is carded at nine furlongs and at this trip the B. Baffert-trained colt holds the edge. A winner of the Whitney S.-G1 at Saratoga in his most recent outing with a career top speed figure and training in superlative fashion since, the son of Street Sense seems primed for another major effort, but at a price too short to play. Higher Power, winner of the Pacific Classic-G1 at Del Mar, also has looked sensational in the a.m., but in a field with just two main contenders, we have to pick one.RACE 11: Post 6:30 PT. Grade: B+Single: 3-Don’t SellForecast: Don’t Sell shortens to her optimum trip, and the D. O’Neill-trained filly is unbeaten in two starts sprinting over the Santa Anita turf course. Impressive in recent workouts to indicate she’s spot on for a top performance, the daughter of Square Eddie has the perfect stalking style for this abbreviated sprint distance and with good racing luck should be along in time. At 4-1 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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9.28.2019:

Saturday, September 28: Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

There's a big 13-race card set to roll at Woodbine Mohawk Park this evening. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 starts in Race 4, it has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.Jody Jamieson and James MacDonald led the pilots on Friday night with two wins each. No trainer had more than one win on the 11-race card.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 42-Yacht Seelster-Best to consider with this starting spot in a tough race, drops to a better level and fits with these.5-East End-Comes off a win, in sharp form and if Drury works a smooth trip it could be another picture.6-Casimir Richie P-Drops and is back to a level of past success, a best effort would be difficult to beat.Race 53-Sportsline-Back to the big track and has been a major player versus Grass Roots company.4-Carsons Shadow-Form has been so-so but will respect and hope for a big try for McClure from a nice post.5-Dreamfair Moxy-5/2 ML favorite has usually been in the mix and deserves respect tonight.Race 62-Petro Hall-Likes to get on the engine and will use from the inside, if Roy can steal a 1/4 it could be picture time.6-Halo Its Me-Raced well in last but was taken down and placed 2nd, pace could be quick and this gal can roll late.8-Splurge On Me-2nd chalk would likely be listed as favorite with a better post, start will be key to get a good seat.Race 74-Twin B Tipster-Has been off since 9/10 but starts inside of main foe, should be a threat to #8 if dialed on high.8-Swift Ally-Also off for over 2 weeks but has been razor sharp and can win after missing a start with a decent trip.My Ticket Race 4) 2,5,6 Race 5) 3,4,5 Race 6) 2,6,8 Race 7) 4,8Total Ticket Cost) $10.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.27.2019:

Friday, September 27: Santa Anita Workout Analysis

JEFF SIEGEL’S SANTA ANITA WORKOUT REPORT AND ANALYSIS(Friday, September 27. 2019)SECOND RACE1-Enchanted NileSept. 18, 20194f, :49.2h TTGrade: B-Final three furlongs in solo training track drill in :12.2 and :37.2, mild urging through the lane, not too bad. Was far back in her debut at Del Mar but is bred to run long and may show improvement with experience and added distance.1-Enchanted NileSept. 11, 20194f, :48.4h TTGrade: B-$375,000 yearling filly was under mild pressure through the lane for Drysdale, final quarter mile in :24.4. Split the field sprinting at Del Mar in debut, fair-to-moderate type at this stage, bred for and probably needs a distance of ground.5-Almost a FactorSept. 18, 20195f, 1:01hGrade: BCame the final half in :23.4 and :49 flat to the wire without being asked in good-looking drill while much best over Rocks and Salt (5f, 1:02h). Cal-bred juvenile filly hopped in the air at the start in her debut at Del Mar, fell back, then had a mild late bid. Very likely to improve.7-A G IndySept. 20, 20195f, 1:03.1hGrade: BBreezing throughout outside older Zucchera (same time, asked hard) and looked quite good for Baltas, finishing fluidly and with plenty left. Daughter of Tale Charge Indy was well-beaten in a tough race in her debut and is likely to improve with experience and distance.FOURTH RACE1-Salsa BellaSept. 20, 20194f, :47.4hGrade: BCaught her from the three-furlong pole to the wire in 11.1 and :35.3, quick early and cruising late without pressure for Lerner. Winless in this country but French-bred filly looks good and may respond to a turn back in trip.3-QuerelleSept. 21, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: C+Final three furlongs in :37.1 under light late coaxing. Still seeking her level on this circuit, deserves a class drop.7-An Eddie SurpriseSept. 16, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B-Worked inside Don’t Sell from the half-mile pole out to the 7/8ths pole and was tad second best but still went well throughout, splits of :24 flat, :48.2 and 1:01 flat on our watches, under a nice hold to the wire before being asked out a bit into the clubhouse turn. In good shape and should surface soon.7-An Eddie SurpriseSept. 9, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: B-Broke off slightly behind Don’t Sell, moved up outside to be even with workmate through the lane and then continued out to 7/8ths pole while second best and lacking a strong gallop out thereafter. Okay work, probably prefers turf, has conditions and has been first or second in five of seven career starts.FOURTH RACE2-K P DreaminSept. 7, 20194f, :50.1h TTGrade: BBreezing throughout in easy solo half-mile training track move for Mullins. Very attractive juvenile daughter of Union Rags broke her maiden routing at Del Mar and certainly should continue to improve with experience. Doing well.3-ComicalSept. 13, 20194f, :50hGrade: BBroke off a length in front of Le Tub (4f, :49.4h) and went well in easy half mile drill, holding off work mate by a half-length without pressure and then galloping out nicely. Seems capable of snapping back to good form for O’Neill. Workmate was asked a bit through the lane but could never get by.4-BastSept. 22, 20195f, 1:01hGrade: BIn company with Mo Hawk (same time) and was slightly best, final three furlongs in :25 flat and :37.3 from the quarter pole out to the 7/8 pole on our watches, breezing to the wire and then under mild coaxing in the late stages. Should be in the one to beat in the Chandelier S.-G1.4-BastSept. 16, 20195f, 1:01.2hGrade: B+In company with Hydrogen (5f, 1:01.3h) and was best, breezing until deep stretch and then responding to light coaxing to draw clear at the wire before galloping out strongly to 7/8 pole, splits of :24.4, :36.4 and 1:01.4 to the wire, out in 1:14.3. There’s every reason to believe she’ll improve with distance and maturity. Workmate had to be asked late, is a useful type but perhaps with a limited ceiling.4-BastSept. 9, 20194f, :49.1hGrade: B+Easy breeze while full of run in company with talented maiden Gingham (same time), :24.3 and :49.1 while eager and sharp to the wire. Del Mar Debutante winner came out of the race in great shape and should get nothing but better with added distance. Workmate looks ready to graduate.5-Buyer’s RemorseSept. 18, 20196f, 1:13.2hGrade: BSolid solo six-furlong drill, splits of :24 flat, :35.3 and :59.4 to the wire without pressure, then was asked out and was up in 1:13.2, certainly decent enough for a maiden 2-year-old. O’Neill-trained filly should be able to build on the promise she displayed at Del Mar.5-Buyer’s RemorseSept. 11, :20195f. 1:00.4hGrade: B-Much best inside of Dipping In (5f, 1:01.4h) and Roadrunner’s Honor (4f, :48.4h) while hitting the wire in :48 flat before continuing under mild coaxing to the 7/8 pole. Good runner-up in racing debut at Del Mar and should be able to build on that performance.SIXTH RACE*1-Eddie HaskellSept. 13, 20194f, :48.4hGrade: B-High class veteran turf sprinter went solo in this half-mile dirt breeze, 24 flat and :48.4. Needs grass for his best shot, seems healthy.SEVENTH RACE1-JuliusSept. 20, 20195f, 1:01.4hGrade: CCaught him the final three furlongs in :11.4 and :37.3, erratic and unfocused through the lane as usual despite wearing blinkers. Plenty of talent but is his own worst enemy. Needs to learn to put his head down and focus. Same story in the afternoon.1-JuliusSept. 13, 20194f, :47.4hGrade: C+Not allowed to show his speed while continuing his erratic ways, hard held with head-cocked while wanting to lug out. Plenty of talent but needs to get his act together to fulfill his potential.2-Magic on TapSept. 14, 20195f, 1:00hGrade: B+Looked quite good for Baffert, leading Comical Ghost (same time) down the backstretch while working along the rail, then responded to light urging through the lane and held that one safe, :23.3 and :47.3 for the final half mile on our watches, quite strong throughout. May be most effective on the front end, should be tough next time.2-Magic on TapSept. 8, 20194f, :47.2hGrade: B-Second best under some late coaxing while almost a length behind Comical Ghost (4f, :47.1), splits of :23 flat and :47.1 on our watches, mild coaxing through the lane. Decent work, expected a tad better, though. Tapit colt missed at even money in his comeback at Del Mar but certainly ran well. Probably will be a short price again in a similar first-level allowance middle distance event next time out.EIGHTH RACE3-Eight RingsSept. 22, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: A-View WorkoutBroke off about a length behind American Anthem (same time) and was well in hand outside of that one, splits of :35.2 and 1:00.4 on our watches (faster than given), breezing throughout and pulling clear from ‘Anthem in the final stages. Went straight and true and should show his best stuff in the American Pharoah S.-G1.3-Eight RingsSept. 12, 20194f, :48.4Grade: B-Tad washy, okay work, nothing flashy, breaking off a length behind Villanelle (same time) and finishing stride-for-stride with that one to the wire, not asked, splits of :24 flat and :48.3 on our watches. Didn’t gallop out with much gusto, possibly by design. Hard to gauge after Del Futurity fiasco, no goose bumps today. Workmate, an unraced daughter of Curlin, was under mild pressure to stay even inside to the wire but galloped out well (and slightly in front) out to the 7/8ths pole.4-Express TownSept. 20, 20196f, 1:15.2hGrade: BBroke off a length in front of Honor A. P. (6f, 1:15.1h) and held that one off while under mild coaxing through the lane, solid drill, final half on our watches in :49.2. Maintains his edge and should continue to develop with experience and maturity.4-Express TrainSept. 13, 20195f, 1:01.3hGrade: BWorked outside Takeo (5f, 1:01.4h) and got the best of that one in the lane, finishing under no real pressure, final three-eighths in 37.1. Kind of a grinding type colt, will run all day, ready to tackle the big boys.5-Storm the CourtSept. 20, 20196f, 1:12.4hGrade: B+Strong throughout for Eurton, no pressure to the top before being coaxed a bit in the final furlong, finishing with something left, splits of :24 flat, :36 flat, :47.4 and 1:12.4. Appears to have come out of the Del Mar Futurity none the worse for wear and will get a chance to show his best stuff next time. Should be able handle two-turns.6-Defense WinsSept. 20, 20196f, 1:15hGrade: C+Under strong urging in the final furlong in solo six furlong drill for O’Neill, splits of :24.4, :37 flat and :49.2 for juvenile son of Flatter. Still a maiden yet finished third in the Del Mar Futurity-G1. Hard to say if he’s as good as that form indicates.NINTH RACE*3-SucceedandsurpassSept. 22, 20194f, :49.1h TTGrade: BLooked quite good in solo training track breeze, final quarter in :24.2 without pressure with long, impressive strides. Developing nicely for Baltas, should continue to improve.4-Extra HopeSept. 21, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: BBroke off behind Drama for Mama (same time) and engaged workmate outside into the lane, was under mild coaxing and finished evenly, final half in :48.2. Was fourth in the Rebel Stakes in his last start in April; coming back well enough for Mandella.5-Ocean FurySept. 20, 20196f, 1:14.2hGrade: B-Smooth solo work for O’Neill, splits of :25.1, :37 flat and 1:01.4 to the wire before continuing out to 7/8 pole without undue pressure, up in 1:14.2. In good shape, plenty fit, seeking another first-level allowance event.9-Call You TomorrowSept. 21, 20195f, 1:00.4hGrade: B-Was asked some through the lane, finished okay, final half in :48.4. Won a moderate starter’s allowance sprint at Del Mar last time out, probably should return to the claiming ranks.10-City RageSept. 21, 20195f, 1:01hGrade: B-Broke off in front of Collusion Illusion (5f, 1:00.4h) and finished down the lane with that one without need of pressure, solid work, final three furlongs in :36.4. City Zip gelding has all of his conditions and holds his form.

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9.27.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: September 27 Stronach 5 Play

More big doings in this week's Stronach 5, as not only is it Opening Day at Santa Anita, but there is also a $107,353 carryover, which means the total pool should easily surpass $500,000. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I'll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (5:09 ET) – 3upfm 16k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) On the face of it the opener looks a bit overwhelming, but there are more than a few that can't win, so once you eliminate the dead weight it becomes a bit less daunting. There's also not a ton of speed signed on, which will flatter the chances of both #3 SUZETTE STAR and #1 TEMPTED BY TITO'S, who have both shown solid turf form, while not yet proving they don't want to win a horse race. This is also the type of race where being unproven is a positive, and that's what you get with #2 CAN THE QUEEN, a firster who debuts for Sanchez-Salomon, who is 26% on the year, and 31% with Cruz riding. Pk5 A horses: 3,1,2 The wide draw really hurts #12 DIXIE'S FASCINATOR but if you look at the last time she turf sprinted she was 4th against better in a very fast race for the level, so she's worth a look against this crew. I'm going to use both #7 ODDSEVERINURFAVOR and #8 PRINCESS ROSIE, and though neither inspire and will need to improve, they should sit good trips just off the speed and aren't that far behind the best on paper. Pk5 B horses: 12,7,8 Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:26 ET) –2yo 25k MCL at 1-mile (turf) With plenty of coverage in other legs, I'm using three here and calling it a day, as #1 COSMIC ASSAULT drew best of all and should like the MSW drop after a dirt tightener on debut; #3 FRIO didn't like the blinkers or a terrible draw last time but shows two sharp turf runs two and three-back; and #9 VERDICT IS IN got to the grass last time and really improved when 2nd. Pk5 A horses: 1,3,9 (Please note I'll use only #1 here and #6 and #12 in Leg 5 with the Leg 3 backups, to keep the ticket affordable) There are plenty of others who could be factors, most notably #7 The Doer, #5 Bacano, #10 Hugoigo, and #11 El Duque, but the top trio inspire more and have as much, if not more upside, and we have to draw a line somewhere, so we'll use only the top line here. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Santa Anita R4 (5:30 ET) – 3upfm AOC (40k/N1X) at 1-mile (turf) We welcome the Great Race Place back and I'm hoping to use some California speed to pop this field, as #5 SUNRISE ROYALE should be able to clear on the stretchout from a quartet of turf sprints, and Kruljac is a stiff 20% going sprint-to-route, so I'm going to be bold and hope she forgets to stop. Pk5 A horses: 5 If the single doesn't wire then it's more of a guessing game, but both #7 AN EDDIE SURPRISE and #8 GALLOVIE have several solid races showing and won't be too far out of it early, so I'll use them in supporting roles. Pk5 B horses: 7,8 Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields (5:45 ET) –3upfm AOC (25k/N1X) at 1-mile Post position is at a premium here, so looking inside might be the right idea, as there's a very quick run to the first turn. With that being said, this looks like a total crap shoot, so I'll try a bit of a spread and go with #1 HURLEY, #2 SWING THOUGHTS, #7 MESO, and #4 PLEASE DO, as all of them have some solid form and some tactical speed as well. Pk5 A horses: 1,2,7,4 Contention runs deep, however, so let's add in #5 IT'S ALEXUS, #6 THE SPIRAL JETTER, and #9 RUBY BRADLEY, since they aren't far behind the top-4 and would be no surprise, if they deliver their best. Pk5 B horses: 5,6,9 Leg 5: Laurel Park R10 (6:16 ET) – 3upfm 16k N2L at 1-mile (turf) The finale is a toughie, since the best three horses—#12 MAMA DEE, #11 SMOKIN CARAQUENA, and #10 MISS ALIPHANT—are all drawn outside, but they look a bit better than the rest, so they have to be used on the top line. However, the top pick lands on #6 GRAVEYARD SHIFT, who broke his maiden at Ellis last time and now goes off the claim for Pino (18%) and lands Sanchez, which is a 32% trainer-jockey combo. Pk5 A horses: 6,12,11,10 (Please note I'll use only #6 and #12 with the Leg 1, Leg 4, and Leg 5 backups, to keep them affordable) The two class droppers—#8 HOLIDAY HOPES and #9 HEAVENLY HATTIE—are both fringe players who could wake up at the level, though they're also the types you want to use defensively, if at all. Pk5 B horses: 8,9 The tickets: Main Ticket: 3,1,2 with 1,3,9 with 5 with 1,2,7,4 with 6,12,11,10 = $144 Leg 1 B Backup: 12,7,8 with 1,3,9 with 5 with 1,2,7,4 with 6,12 = $72 Leg 3 B Backup: 3,1,2 with 1 with 7,5 with 1,2,7,4 with 6,12 = $48 Leg 4 B Backup: 3,1,2 with 1,3,9 with 5 with 5,6,9 with 6,12 = $54 Leg 5 B Backup: 3,1,2 with 1,3,9 with 5 with 1,2,7,4 with 8,9 = $72

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9.27.2019:

Friday, September 27: 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.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 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Norski; 3-Gate Speed; 5-Red ValorForecast: The opener is a treacherous maiden-claiming $40,000 sprint that drew six runners and probably is best left alone, a there are many question marks and nothing to trust. We’ll use three in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Norski has a race two runs back that charts well here and if repeated probably makes him the one to beat. The H. Palma-trained gelding should be able to settle in the second flight and then have every chance to produce a winning late kick at this extended sprint distance that figures to test the pace-types. Gate Speed shows up in a seller for the first time and should greatly appreciate the class drop. He’ll get plenty of play with the presence of J. Rosario in the saddle and with the route-to-sprint angle appearing in his chart the son of Brilliant Speed should have every chance from pace-forcing position. Red Valor is a 10-race maiden but actually finished first (by more than five lengths) in his most recent start at Del Mar, only to get disqualified for failure to maintain a straight course leaving the gate. The class hike from maiden $20,000 to maiden $40,000 doesn’t really concern as much as his slow speed figures and low percentage connections. You can toss him on a ticket or two as a back-up.RACE 2: Post 1:30 PT. Grade: B+Use: 1-Enchanted Nile; 12-AntigoneForecast: Enchanted Nile seems quite intriguing in this maiden turf miler for juvenile fillies. The daughter of Pioneerof the Nile lands the good rail, continues to impress in the morning, and seems certain to improve with the stretch out in trip. There’s no reason she won’t handle turf, she exits a live race, the barn has strong stats (27%) with second-time starters, and there’s nothing wrong with the switch to J. Talamo. Also, she adds Lasix. What’s not to like? Main contender Antigone gets the absolute worst of the draw but if she can manage to negotiate a decent trip from her extreme outside post position the daughter of Carpe Diem should be able to make a run for it. Second in both of her starts, she adds blinkers today for a barn that has good stats (22%) with this angle while retaining D. Van Dyke. The main concern is her speed figures are well below par for this level. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then come back and press with Enchanted Nile on top.RACE 3: Post 2:05 PT. Grade: CUse: 1-Kuda Huraa; 2-Lovely Lilia; 5-Wakes Up HappyForecast: Here’s a messy maiden claimer for juvenile fillies. Tread lightly. Wakes Up Happy was a $140,000 May sale purchase at Timonium, but after finishing eighth in her debut in a tough grass sprint at Del Mar the daughter of Quality Road is being thrown away for $30,000, hardly a sign of confidence. Yet, the daughter of Quality Road is a contender by default and shows a bullet training track workout (:49.2h) last week to indicate fitness. Lovely Lilia also is dropping from straight maiden to a maiden claimer and should improve enough to be a factor. The P. D’Amato-trained daughter of Animal Kingdom adds blinkers and gets a break in the weights with the switch to good bug boy J. Velez. If she can run at all, this would be a good place to show it. Kuda Huraa has some early speed and will have no choice to bust out and go from her rail draw. She exits a productive race, and with another forward move projects to be a pace factor for at least part of the way. We’ll try to get by using just these three but not with any real degree of confidence.RACE 4: Post 2:40 PT. Grade: B+Use: 4-Pride’s Gold; 5-Sunrise Royale; 7-An Eddie SurpriseForecast: Pride’s Gold was victimized by a slow pace when fourth in a mini-marathon two runs back and then couldn’t handle the deep main track at Del Mar and was no factor last time out. If she runs back to her U.S. debut – a solid third place effort despite a very wide trip – she can pull off a major surprise at 10-1 on the morning line. Sunrise Royale is stretching out for the first time, and if she’s ever going to be effective over a mile it will be in her first try. Clearly the controlling speed, the daughter of Informed certainly is bred to stay the trip, and in her present form the state-bred filly could get loose early and very brave late. Fresh from a career top win at Del Mar, she retains A. Cedillo and goes for a barn that has excellent stats with the sprint-to-route angle. An Eddie Surprise, first or second in nine of 12 career outings over the Santa Anita turf course, should draft into a good second flight stalking position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. She’s a fit on numbers but doesn’t always seal the deal when presented with the opportunity. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press with Pride’s Gold in the straight pool.RACE 5: Post 3:10 PT. Grade: XSingle: 4-BastForecast: Bast is the obvious top choice and logical rolling exotic single but she’ll be a very short price and thus will offer little or no wagering value in this year’s edition of the Chandelier S.-G1 for juvenile fillies. The daughter of Uncle Mon looked sensational winning the Del Mar Debutante S.-G1 with a legitimate high class speed figure and today stretches out to a distance that should be well within her capabilities. The main question is, will she be impressive enough to gain the role as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies-G1 favorite?RACE 6: Post 3:40 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Eddie Haskell; 2-Pee Wee ReeseForecast: Pee Wee Reese has trained like he’s fit and ready to resume his career and the P. D’Amato-trained veteran is almost – but not quite – unbeatable of the Santa Anita turf course, having won five of six starts both going downhill and on the flat. The son of Tribal Rule has had his issues – as a six-year-old he’s had only 14 lifetime starts, winning seven – but his sharp series of drill at San Luis Rey Downs indicates he hasn’t lost a step. Eddie Haskell is reunited with J. Rosario and is a perfect two-for-two under this rider. The Square Eddie gelding is thoroughly genuine and consistent and is especially tough when he draws his favorite post, the rail. We’ll give the namesake of the ex-Brooklyn Dodger infielder a very slight nod on top but include both in our rolling exotics in a race in which we’ll try to beat the two other main contenders, Stormy Liberal (lost a step?) and Mr Vargas (picks up 8 lbs.).RACE 7: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: BUse: 1-Julius; 2-Magic on TapForecast: Julius is a strong fit on numbers and likely the controlling speed form his inside draw. Is he one to trust? The D. O’Neill-trained gelding tends to pull hard and lug out, stunts he’s pulled both in his races and in his workouts. He could be very tough if and when he learns to simply drop his head and run straight, and perhaps as the projected controlling speed he’ll do just that. Magic on Tap didn’t really have much of an excuse when second as the favorite in a similar first-level allowance main track affair at Del Mar last time out, but today adds blinkers and continues to look good in the morning for Baffert so we’re expecting the son of Tapit to fire his best shot. He switches to Johnny V. and should have every chance from a pace-forcing or stalking position. Julius is intrinsically the better of the two so we’ll put him slightly on top and hope that he concentrates on the task at hand while including both in our rolling exotics.RACE 8: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Eight Rings; 4-Express TrainForecast: The two good colts listed above help make this year’s renewal of the American Pharoah S.-G1 quite significant with regards to Breeders’ Cup ramifications. Eight Rings couldn’t have been more impressive breaking his maiden in his debut but then – at 50 cents on the dollar – ducked in twice and lost his rider soon after the start in the Del Mar Futurity-G1. Training quite well since while going straight and true with the addition of blinkers, the son of Empire Maker certainly is bred to improve over a distance of ground and should regain his top form with the switch to Johnny V. Express Train, a rapidly developing son of Union Rags, was a distant second behind Eight Rings in his debut when given a run and then graduated by more than 14 lengths two-turning in his most recent outing. He’s kind of a grinder but obviously has plenty of quality, and it will interesting to see if he can produce enough of a forward move to close the gap between himself and B. Baffert’s colt. American Theorem, an impressive debut sprint winner by American Pharoah from the G. Papapadromou barn, can't be dismissed under the assumption that he'll improve two-turning and may be the controlling speed.RACE 9: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B+Use: 3-Succeedandsurpass; 4-Extra Hope; 7-OriginaireForecast: This restricted allowance race for 3-year-olds looks every bit the part of a stakes race, and in fact will serve as a prep for the $200,000 Twilight Derby-G2, which will be run as part of the Breeders’ Cup Saturday program Nov. 2. Succeedandsurpass was a visually quite impressive breaking his maiden at Del Mar in just his third career start and the Irish-bred colt has very done very well in the morning since then for R. Baltas to indicate that another significant forward move is probable. Johnny V., who was aboard in that race, regains the mount and should have this up-and-coming 3-year-old within striking range throughout. Originaire is the likely choice and one to beat following a superb runner-up effort in the Del Mar Derby-G1. The progressive Irish-bred son of Zoffany should get the patient ride he needs from M. Smith and be heard from in the final furlong. Extra Hope launches a comeback for R. Mandella and will be trying turf for the first time. but he’s trained like he’s fit and ready and is reunited with F. Prat, who was aboard for his impressive maiden score last winter. He’s fast on figures, and if he can duplicate his main track form on grass, the son of Shanghai Bobby will be a major player in a deep and contentious event.

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9.27.2019:

Friday, September 27: The Red Mile Pick 4 Analysis

Some of the finest two-year-old fillies will be competing at the Red Mile this afternoon in a 9-race card. The $1.00 Pick 4 begins in Race 6, it has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.The driver with the hottest hands in Lexington on Thursday was Dexter Dunn with two wins. Ake Svanstedt and Jonas Czernyson led conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 61-Gai Waterhouse (5/2)-Caught a pocket ride and passed #6 to win at a square price. Speedy filly will be out and winging from the word go and could control things. My top choice from the rail.6-Baby Your The Best (2-1)-Winner of >$200k this year has been either first or second in all seven starts. Dave Miller will likely leave, might get the 2-hole and try to reverse the order of finish from the last race.Race 71-Ms Savannah Belle (6/5)-Appears to be a cut above the rest and will likely be the odd-on favorite. Major player will probably be singled on many Pick 4 tickets.3-Guinevere Hall (6-1)-Could be better on smaller ovals but is in sharp form and might be overlooked at the windows. Will use and with a good journey should add some juice to the gimmicks. Could surprsie at a nice price if #1 is having an off night.Race 81-Madame Sherry (6-1)-Father Patrick filly makes first start on a larger oval. Does like to come off cover and this race could set up for a closer.2-Ramona Hill (1-1)-Lightly raced filly looks like a good one as she tries to make it a perfect 4 for 4. Might get on the engine and not look back.4-Panem (5/2)-Has been facing stakes fillies all year and has done well. Should be in the hunt and could get a pocket trip behind #2.Race 91-Firebby A (12-1)-7-year-old makes 2nd start off the bench, likes to win and shows a 151.1 mark at Wbsb. McCarthy should have in play early and looks like a live price shot.5-Gold Class N (7/2)-This will be a test in first start at Lex. But has been on fire at HoP winning 6 straight and now gets Tetrick to try for 7 in a row.My Ticket Race 6) 1,6 Race 7) 1,3 Race 8) 1,2,4 Race 9) 1,5Total Ticket Cost) $24 for $1.00Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.26.2019:

Breeders' Cup 'Super' Prep Weekend: Preview & Picks

It’s one of the top weekends of racing on the horse racing calendar as horses look to punch their Breeders’ Cup ticket at tracks like Belmont, Santa Anita and Churchill Downs.  Dozens of horses entered to run this weekend will likely show up in the World Championships on November 1 and 2, so I highly recommend keeping a watchful eye on these races.  You’re going to see these horses down the line.  I did my best to line up the horses to watch for the Breeders’ Cup – and the horses to bet this weekend – so please enjoy the below analysis.In the meantime, I did want to mention a handful of huge promos we have going on this weekend at Xpressbet: Santa Anita 4 Million Point Split: Hit the Early Pick 5 on Saturday or Sunday and/or the Late Pick 4 each day to Split 1 Million Points for each pool.  A total of 4 Million Points will be given away. Belmont Park 1 Million Point Split: Hit Belmont’s Late Pick 4 on Saturday to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Laurel Park 1 Million Point Split: Hit Laurel’s Late Pick 4 on Saturday to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Santa Anita ‘Win and You’re In’ Handicapping Tournament: Win a BCBC Seat, NHC Seat, Cash Prizes and more! Here are my previews: Friday, September 27Chandelier Stakes (G1) – Santa Anita Park – Race 5 (6:10PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies  Santa Anita’s Chandelier is a key prep race on the path to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies and Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert has won this race a record 10 times.  Conversation here starts with his BAST, who won the G1 Del Mar Debutante last time out by 8 3/4-lengths.  She’s 3/5 on the ML and I would expect her to run that way.  Peter Miller’s LEUCOTHEA had a tough trip in the aforementioned Debutante when she finished 8th and should perform better this time around. Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Bast (Top Pick), Been Studying Her, LeucotheaBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: High, with 2-4 horses expected to move on to the Breeders’ Cup Eddie D Stakes (G2) – Santa Anita Park – Race 6 (6:40PM ET) Normally this race wouldn’t rank particularly high on the Path to the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint but a California World Championship changes things up a bit.  Horses that wouldn’t ship cross country for the Breeders’ Cup may try to enter if they’re running out of their barn.  Two-time Breeders’ Cup champion STORMY LIBERAL is back here, but his form isn’t as sharp as it was a year or two ago.  MR VARGAS is the new ‘it’ horse off two turf sprinting victories at Del Mar and his early speed makes him tough to beat.  If the pace falls apart, EDDIE HASKELL is a bulldog and has won 10-of-23 races.  He gets a new jockey, Joel Rosario, which should be a positive.  Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Eddie Haskell (Top Pick), Pee Wee Reese, Mr Vargas, Tribalist, Stormy Liberal  Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very High, as many as 4-5 of these horses could ultimately compete in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint American Pharoah Stakes (G1) – Santa Anita Park – Race 8 (7:40PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Like the above two races, the American Pharoah jumps up in importance due to this being a Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup.  It’s hard to say that any of these nine entrants is not a Breeders’ Cup contender simply based on owner/trainer aspirations.  Bob Baffert’s EIGHT RINGS tossed his rider at the start of the G1 Del Mar Futurity (he was the 0.50/1 favorite) and they’ll obviously looking for him to get back to his top form.  I was really impressed by AMERICAN THEOREM in his debut on August 31 and I think the future his bright for him.  Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: American Theorem (Top Pick), Eight Rings, Express Train, Nucky, Storm the Court, Shoplifted, Collusion Illusion Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very High, with as all contenders holding legitimate Breeders’ Cup aspirations and the top 3 finishers likely to move on to the World Championships Saturday, September 28 Vosburgh Stakes (G1) – Belmont Park – Race 4 (2:35PM ET)A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Sprint As we head to Saturday and New York, we’ll find trainers that are a bit more discerning of the cross-country trip to the Breeders’ Cup.  They still want to go, but a lackluster final prep may make them less likely to shell out the time and money.  In the Vosburgh, three of these look like legitimate Breeders’ Cup horses – IMPERIAL HINT (the heavy favorite), PROMISES FULFILLED and FIRENZE FIRE.  All contested in last year’s World Championships with IMPERIAL HINT (3rd) AND PROMISES FULFILLED (4th) filling out the Superfecta in the Sprint and FIRENZE FIRE running 4th in the Dirt Mile.  My pick in here is IMPERIAL HINT – he set a track record at Saratoga last out – and I’m not sure the Breeders’ Cup suits the latter two horses as much due to the Dirt Mile being a two-turn race this year.Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Imperial Hint (Top Pick), Firenze Fire, Promises FulfilledBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with 1-3 horses likely to move on to the World Championships.  Imperial Hint should be Sprint favorite off a victory here. Beldame Invitational (G2) – Belmont Park – Race 8 (4:43PM ET) This is a one-horse race and it’s hard to envision anyone other than MIDNIGHT BISOU or WOW CAT using this as a springboard to legitimate Breeders’ Cup consideration.  MIDNIGHT BISOU is 11-for-17 in her career, ran 3rd in the Distaff last year and hasn’t been beaten since.  WOW CAT was actually 2nd in the Distaff last year (and won this race) but she has yet to regain top form in 2019.  VEXATIOUS has an outside shot at the Breeders’ Cup, but wouldn’t be a serious contender.Key Breeders’ Cup Horse(s) to Watch: Midnight Bisou (Top Pick), Wow CatBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with 2 horses likely to run in the Breeders’ Cup.  Midnight Bisou would vie for favoritism in the Distaff.  Pilgrim Stakes (G3) – Belmont Park – Race 9 (5:16PM ET) I’m not overly impressed with this year’s Pilgrim field but you have to tip your cap to the big barns as Chad Brown sends out favored STRUCTOR and Todd Pletcher has entered NO WORD.  Since no horse in this field owns more than a maiden win it’s hard to envision anyone is ‘off’ the Breeders’ Cup Trail at this point, except perhaps NY-bred NO LIME, as he is not nominated.  Keep in mind, though, that a 3rd or 4th place finish here will likely force an owner to think twice about a cross-country trek.Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Our Country (Top Pick), Structor, No Word, Maxwell EsquireBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with top barns represented here.  Only 2-3 horses are expected to move on to the Breeders’ Cup.  Jockey Club Gold Cup (G1) – Belmont Park – Race 9 (ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic  Only five horses entered the Jockey Club but four seem to be very serious Breeders’ Cup Classic threats and I’d expect all four to move on to the ‘Cup if they’re healthy.  Three year olds CODE OF HONOR and TACITUS ran 1-2 in the Travers and appear ready to take on their elders.  PRESERVATIONIST won the Woodward and Suburban and is 2-for-3 at Belmont, while VINO ROSSO won the G1 Gold Cup at Santa Anita, solidifying his place in the division.  Any of the four would not come as a surprise here but I continue to be impressed by CODE OF HONOR’s progression and would place him atop the list.Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Code of Honor (Top Pick), Tacitus, Preservationist, Vino RossoBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very High, with 4 horses expected to move on to the Breeders’ Cup Classic as moderate/low-priced horses.  John Henry Turf Classic (G2) – Santa Anita Park – Race 7 (6:30PM ET) Despite a home at Santa Anita, this is traditionally not an impactful Breeders’ Cup prep race and this year appears to be no exception.  Not many of these horses come to the table with world-class credentials and it’s hard to envision any of these starting in the Breeders’ Cup at odds of 30/1 or less, especially if Europe sends a strong contingent.  CLEOPATRA’S STRIKE is an interesting contender.  He has run really well in two starts for Phil D’Amato and this is his second try off the bench.Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Cleopatra’s Strike (Top Pick), United, AcclimateBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Low, with no legitimate Breeders’ Cup race contenders entered.Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1) – Santa Anita Park – Race # (7:30PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf  There are a number of top mares running in California in this division (a slight contrast to prior years) but this race didn’t come up quite as strong as I’d have hoped, with Vasilika and Toinette sitting this one out and Juliet Foxtrot, who was beaten a nose in the G2 Mabee, not shipping west again.  This race has a slight lack of pace and that would set up for horses racing in the initial vanguard.  Perhaps we give EXCELLENT SUNSET or BEAU RECALL a look based on that?  Other potential Breeders’ Cup horses are PAVED (12th in last year’s Filly & Mare Turf) and ELYSEA’S WORLD, but I don’t like their deep-closing style for this race.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Beau Recall (Top Pick), Excellent Sunset, Paved, Elysea’s World Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Low, with 1-2 potential longshot Breeders’ Cup starters. Awesome Again Stakes (G1) – Santa Anita Park – Race 10 (8:00PM ET) A ‘Win and You’re In’ Prep Race for the Breeders’ Cup Classic  The big name in here is MCKINZIE.  A win makes him, with near certainty, the Breeders’ Cup Classic favorite.  And let’s be fair, he checks all of the boxes.  He’s 3-for-6 at Santa Anita, won the G1 Whitney, the G2 Alysheba and the G1 Malibu since last year’s Breeders’ Cup (where he ran 12th in the Classic off an abbreviated campaign) and I fully expect a victory here.  HIGHER POWER is a Classic contender off his G1 Pacific Classic win and DRAFT PICK and SEEKING THE SOUL assuredly have Breeders’ Cup aspirations – whether they go in the Classic or Dirt Mile is to be determined.Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: McKinzie (Top Pick), Higher Power, Seeking the Soul, Draft PickBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with all eyes on McKinzie.  I’m interested to see how Higher Power performs and Draft Pick and Seeking the Soul are fringe Breeders’ Cup contenders.  Ack Ack Stakes (G3) – Churchill Downs – Race 7 (9:05PM ET) The Ack Ack is more of a regional race than a key Breeders’ Cup prep race and it appears unlikely to send anyone to the World Championships.  That said, MR. JAGERMEISTER has developed into a strong sprinter, with wins this year at Oaklawn, Colonial and Canterbury.  A big effort here would probably have lead the connections to consider the Breeders’ Cup with this Minnesota-bred, but he’s not BC nominated.  MR. FREEZE flashed a ton of talent when he won the West Virginia Derby last summer by 8-lengths but he’s winless since.  His last race was by far his best since then and if he takes another step forward here, I could see Dale Romans rolling the dice and going in the Dirt Mile.  TIMELINE, formerly in Chad Brown’s care, makes his first start of the season for new trainer Steve Asmussen.  He’s never shown Breeders’ Cup-level talent but a huge effort here would make the connections at least think about it.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Mr Freeze, Timeline; Top Pick Mr Jagermeister is not Breeders’ Cup nominated.Breeders’ Cup Prep Value: Very Low, with one Breeders’ Cup fringe contender, at most, likely to emerge from this field. Lukas Classic (G3) – Churchill Downs – Race 9 (10:11PM ET) Like the Ack Ack, it’s hard to envision this race having a Breeders’ Cup impact.  Sure, horses like TENFOLD, QUIP and SILVER DUST are going to look at the World Championships off a win, but it’s hard to see anyone from here making a huge impact.  QUIP is probably the class of this field, especially since he was beaten a neck in the G2 Stephen Foster here in June, but his no-show effort in the G1 Pacific Classic wasn’t pretty at all and it’s hard to envision him being a 1 1/4-mile horse.  SILVER DUST is extremely consistent and is 2-for-6 at Churchill and won the G3 West Virginia Governor’s Stakes last out.    Mexico’s KUKULKAN, who has improved with every start, is not Breeders’ Cup nominated.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Quip (Top Pick), Silver Dust, TenfoldBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Low, with 1-2 horses with Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile aspirations.Sunday, September 29Oklahoma Derby (G3) – Remington Park – Race 12 (9:24PM ET) This year’s Oklahoma Derby came up extremely strong, with MUCHO GUSTO, TAX and OWENDALE among the horses that could conceivably parlay a top finish into a Breeders’ Cup trip.  MUCHO GUSTO is probably the likeliest winner, as Bob Baffert ships well and this is a nice class drop for the Haskell and Travers where he finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively.  There’s nobody like CODE OF HONOR or MAXIMUM SECURITY in Oklahoma.  Key Breeders’ Cup Prep Horse(s) to Watch: Mucho Gusto (Top Pick), Tax, OwendaleBreeders’ Cup Prep Value: Medium, with those three horses possible for the Classic or Dirt Mile (probably the latter) with a good performance here. 

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9.26.2019:

Math Wizard Pulls Off Pennsylvania Derby Shocker

Math Wizard plus jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. equaled a stunning $64.20 upset victory in last Saturday’s Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx Racing for trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. The $1 million race did lose some of its luster when it was announced earlier in the week on Tuesday that Maximum Security would be withdrawn due to a colon issue. He is best known for what happened in the Kentucky Derby when he finished first but was disqualified and placed 17th for causing interference. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner has been disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. While Maximum Security did lose the Grade I Kentucky Derby via disqualification, he has managed to win a pair of Grade I races this year. He won the Grade I Xpressbet.com Florida Derby in March and Grade I Haskell Invitational on an extremely hot day in July. Maximum Security no doubt would have gone off as the favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Pennsylvania Derby. But now his status in terms of racing again sometime during the remainder of 2019 is up in the air. As for Math Wizard, Edgar Zayas originally was named to ride him in the $1 million Pennsylvania Derby, but the jockey elected to stay in Florida. Even though Math Wizard was going to be a longshot last Saturday, the Kentucky-bred Algorithms colt ended up being piloted by Ortiz, one of the top jockeys in the nation. Ortiz was voted a 2018 Eclipse Award as outstanding jockey. Patiently handled early by Ortiz, Math Wizard was last in the field of six for a time on the backstretch. Rallying six wide into the lane, Math Wizard resolutely kept to his task and got up in the final yards to prevail by a neck. Mr. Money, 8-5 in the wagering and ridden by Gabriel Saez, assumed the early advantage and set a slow pace. He carved out fractions of :24.50, :49.60 and 1:13.98. When Mr. Money sported a one-length lead with a furlong to go, it looked like he might well be headed to his fifth consecutive victory. But Mr. Money ultimately had to settle for second when not quite able to hold off Math Wizard. War of Will, with regular rider Tyler Gaffalione in the saddle, finished third at 3-1. Improbable, ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith and backed down to 6-5 favoritism, came in fourth, a scant nose behind War of Will. Though War of Will lost, this effort was a step back in the right direction. After he won the Grade I Preakness Stakes in May, War of Will finished ninth in the Grade I Belmont Stakes in June and fifth in the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes in July. He skipped the Travers in August to be fresh for the Pennsylvania Derby. But despite War of Will’s Pennsylvania Derby being better than his efforts in the Belmont and Jim Dandy, the bottom line is he has lost three in a row since the Preakness. Improbable now has been defeated this year as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Pennsylvania Derby. He had problems at the starting gate when he finished second in the Grade I Arkansas Derby and Preakness, but he was fine in the gate when he won the one-mile Shared Belief Stakes by nearly three lengths at Del Mar on Aug. 25. That victory was flattered when King Jack, who was no match for Improbable in the Shared Belief, won the six-furlong Gallant Bob Stakes in a scorching 1:08.89 on the Pennsylvania Derby undercard. In light of King Jack’s impressive Gallant Bob triumph and Improbable’s good comportment in the starting gate in the Shared Belief, it came as no surprise that Improbable was sent away as the Pennsylvania Derby favorite following the defection of Maximum Security. But Improbable’s bad starting gate behavior returned last Saturday. He missed the break, which cost him dearly. Prior to the start of the Pennsylvania Derby, Spun to Run became fractious in the gate in post 5. When that happened, Improbable seemed to react by rearing up in post 2. BloodHorse’s Bob Ehalt is an excellent writer, but he got it wrong when he wrote Improbable “reared at the start.” The colt did not rear “at” the start. He reared “prior” to the start. Daily Racing Form’s David Grening described it much more accurately when he wrote that Improbable “reared up once and then [after all four feet were back on the ground] had his head turned when the doors actually opened.” I don’t think this race will be making the starter’s highlight reel, not after he hit the button when Improbable’s head was not straight. But that being said, there is no doubt that the blame for Improbable’s poor start principally rests with Improbable, who once again was not able to keep from going bonkers in the gate. Not surprisingly, Improbable’s bad gate behavior in some of his races has his Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, pulling his white hair out in frustration. “I don’t know why he does it,” Baffert said of Improbable’s bad gate deportment in Parx Racing’s post-race quotes. “He doesn’t do it in California. Mike said he was really good and then he heard a noise and it set him off. It’s just bad luck. It’s very frustrating when you go that far [from California] and he pulls that stuff. He had been doing really well. He still ran pretty well.” Indeed, to Smith’s credit, Improbable loomed boldly from the inside rail at the top of the stretch. For a moment, as improbable as it seemed after his poor start, it looked like Improbable might win anyway. But unlike Math Wizard, Improbable did not have the necessary kick in the stretch. Improbable was one length off the lead at the eighth pole, then just slightly more than one length off the lead at the finish. Grening wrote: “Smith said he let Improbable settle down after the poor start. He said that he could have tried to wheel him to the outside but felt he would have run off.” According to Grening, Smith said Improbable still wasn’t giving him everything in the lane. “If he had just run, he would have won,” Grening quoted Smith as saying. But while Smith and those who bet on Improbable no doubt were disappointed that the colt did not have the needed punch in the stretch, it should be kept in mind that the inside lane at Parx long has had a reputation for not being the best part of the track. Through the years, horses racing next to the inside rail on that track often have seemed to be running in quicksand. There is a possibility that racing on the inside part of the track down the lane contributed to Improbable not coming home better than he did. What did Math Wizard have in common with Street Band, the winner of the other Grade I, $1 million race last Saturday at Parx, the Cotillion Stakes? They both raced wide while rallying into the stretch and were nowhere near the inside rail in the stretch. I think Math Wizard actually deserves extra credit for his performance for a couple of reasons. First, he raced quite wide into the stretch. Second, it is not all that easy for a horse to rally and win when the pace is slow. When Mr. Money won the Grade III Indiana Derby, Math Wizard finished third, beaten by four lengths. When Mr. Money won the Grade III West Virginia Derby, Math Wizard finished sixth, beaten by 11 3/4 lengths. But this time it was Math Wizard defeating Mr. Money, albeit narrowly. Math Wizard’s final time was 1:50.94. He was credited with a career-best 99 Beyer Speed Figure. These are the Beyer Speed Figures for winners of the Pennsylvania Derby going back to 1992: 2019 Math Wizard (99)2018 McKinzie (107)2017 West Coast (107)2016 Connect (103)2015 Frosted (106)2014 Bayern (110)2013 Will Take Charge (105)2012 Handsome Mike (93)2011 To Honor and Serve (105)2010 Morning Line (103)2009 Gone Astray (104)2008 Anak Nakal (100)2007 Timber Reserve (105)2006 not run2005 Sun King (103)2004 Love of Money (112)2003 Grand Hombre (108)2002 Harlan’s Holiday (96)2001 Macho Uno (104)2000 Pine Dance (105)1999 Smart Guy (109)1998 Rock and Roll (110)1997 Frisk Me Now (114)1996 Devil’s Honor (114)1995 Pineing Patty (108)1994 Meadow Flight (106)1993 Wallenda (100)1992 Thelastcrusade (107) A MAIDEN CLAIMING RACE FOR THE AGES In what is believed to be the first time in the history of the sport, a maiden $16,000 claiming race has produced two Grade I winners. It was the 10th and final race at Gulfstream Park last Dec. 20. Maximum Security, making his career debut, won the six-furlong race by almost 10 lengths. Nobody claimed him for $16,000 that day. After that, Maximum Security would never again be risked in a claiming race. Math Wizard finished third, 10 3/4 lengths behind Maximum Security, in that Dec. 20 maiden claiming race. Math Wizard was claimed for $16,000 that day. In his next start at Gulfstream on Jan. 6, he won by nearly seven lengths and again was claimed for $16,000. After Math Wizard graduated from the maiden ranks on Jan. 6, he won a race by 18 1/2 lengths on Jan. 30 at Gulfstream. Following that Jan. 30 race, his new home was the Saffie Joseph Jr. barn when owner John Fanelli claimed him for $25,000. Fanelli said it was a seven-way shake. That Jan. 30 race was the last time you could have claimed Math Wizard, whose current ownership partnership includes the trainer, Fanelli, Collarmele Vitelli Stables, Bassett Stables, Ioannis Zoumas and Wynwood Thoroughbreds. While Maximum Security and Math Wizard have brought considerable attention to that maiden claiming race they ran in at Gulfstream last Dec. 20, the other nine participants subsequently have done very little. Not counting Maximum Security and Math Wizard, the others from that Dec. 20 race have just two wins from 52 starts combined since that race. And the two wins were in maiden claiming races at Gulfstream for prices of $16,000 and $12,500. Below is a look at what all 11 starters, in order of finish in that Dec. 20 race, have done since: Finish Horse (Last Race) Record Since Dec. 20 Maximum Security (1st in Grade I Haskell) 4 for 6 Guerreron (3rd in $10,000 claimer GP Aug. 31) 1 for 5 Math Wizard (1st in Grade I Pennsylvania Derby) 3 for 8 Gem Juan (7th in maiden $10,000 claimer GP July 20) 0 for 13 Titere (5th in maiden $10,000 claimer GP Sept. 22) 0 for 2 Makinalegacy (5th in maiden $25,000 claimer GP Aug. 22) 0 for 8 Rising Storm (7th in $6,250 claimer GP Sept. 6) 0 for 12 Red One (8th in maiden $12,500 claimer GP Feb. 6) 0 for 2 Colosal (2nd in $10,000 claimer GP Sept. 7) 1 for 3 Malibu Illusion (9th in maiden $12,500 claimer GP Feb. 9) 0 for 1 Commander Fish (9th in maiden $12,500 claimer GP May 19) 0 for 6 THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL There are no newcomers in the Top 10 this week in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll. Here is the poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 365 Bricks and Mortar (32)2. 303 Midnight Bisou (3)3. 281 McKinzie (2)4. 251 Mitole5. 232 Sistercharlie6. 90 Catalina Cruiser7. 83 Imperial Hint9. 77 Elate9. 77 World of Trouble10. 74 Code of Honor

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9.24.2019:

Southwind Ozzi ‘Convincing’ In Little Brown Jug

SOUTHWIND OZZI 'CONVINCING' IN LITTLE BROWN JUG Southwind Ozzi sustained a first-over rally and won going away in the $384,000 final of the Little Brown Jug last Thursday at the Delaware County Fairgrounds in Ohio. If the move looked familiar to the 48,000 in attendance, it was. Southwind Ozzi followed a near identical path to win in his elimination heat and move to the head of a strong 3-year-old pacing class. Southwind Ozzi, the 2-to-5 Jug favorite, got his cue from Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears before the half-mile marker, launching a bid from fourth. He collared 7-to-2 pace setter Stag Party at the ¾-mile pole and edged clear to win by 1-3/4 lengths on a fast track in 1:50.1. Stag Party (David Miller) tired in the stretch and dropped back abruptly when he locked wheels with Air Force Hanover (Simon Allard). That enabled pocket sitter Fast N First (Brett Miller), the other elimination winner, to get up for second and American Mercury (Tyler Buter) to run third. "He's a great horse," said Sears. "I know I got a lot of options during the race. He roughed it out first-over in both heats and got it done convincingly." Bill MacKenzie trains Southwind Ozzi, who improved to 9-for-11 this year and has bankrolled $736,935 for owners Alma Iafelice and Vincent Ali Jr. despite missing two months because of hernia surgery. METRO PACE RECORD-SETTER NO 'STRANGER' TO WINNING Tall Dark Stranger remained unbeaten as a 2-year-old and set a stakes record in winning the C$750,000 Metro Pace last Saturday at Woodbine-Mohawk Park. He vacated the pocket on the final turn, blew past 3-to-5 favorite Capt Midnight (Andrew McCarthy) in mid-stretch and held off a furious, wide rally by Papi Rob Hanover (David Miller) through a 27-second final quarter-mile to win in 1:49.1, besting A Rocknroll Dance's 2011 stakes record by one-fifth of a second. He paid $5.40 to win. Yannick Gingras, who drove Tall Dark Stranger for trainer Nancy Johansson and owners Crawford Farms Racing, Marvin Katz, Caviart Farms and Howard Taylor, said they have more to look forward to than his six wins to date. "He's got some learning to do, but he's got all the tools to be a great one," Gingras told Harnesslink.

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9.23.2019:

Monday, September 23: Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park rolls in Race 8, a condition trot with a $25,000 purse. The Early 0.20 Pick 4 begins in Race 4. It is a very competitive sequence with a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 44-R First Class-Caught a great trip to win last, previous start was sharp, in form so will string along here.5-Derf Hanover-Only 1-22 at Wbsb, but will look past in an open race as last was a better effort and draws well.6-Free Willy Hanover-ML chalk is a check getter and now drops to good level to snag an overdue win.Race 52-Julerica-Steps up but so do others, drew off in a fast mile for 2nd straight, loses Roy but Filion can put in play.3-Cheapskate Hanover-Not crazy about the stale date but last was very sharp and if dialed on high can win again.5-Devils Peak-Will swing for a price in 2nd start for new barn, in the hunt with a top effort.9-Rockin Wizard-Can leave quickly, won last mostly because of a great start, could follow the same script tonight.Race 63-Undercover Strike-Has been trying hard and comes off a nice win, could be an encore if Henley finds live cover.5-Twofourroadie-Makes 7th start of '19, needs a trip but draws well and fits in a competitive race at a square price.7-Vesuvio Bi-Racing well and Henry can fire out to get a good seat, or the top and not look back.Race 71-Shezarealdeal-This is a spot to shine, should be bet and looks like a major player.4-Thrillonthebeach-Couldn't hang on so just missed at this class in the slop, will respect that effort and use here.8-Sudden Passing-McNair takes a spin, can roll late and fits with this bunch, figures to be in mix unless pace is dull.My Ticket Race 4) 4,5,6 Race 5) 2,3,5,9 Race 6) 3,5,7 Race 7) 1,4,8Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.23.2019:

Breeders' Cup Prep Schedule, Outlooks

Breeders’ Cup prep season is in full bloom on this first day of Fall. To get you prepared for all the preps, here’s a look at the schedule and status of each of the 14 divisions toward the Nov. 1-2 world championships to be held at Santa Anita. Stay with Xpressbet and XBTV for extensive coverage of key races and workouts in the coming weeks.ClassicSept 28: Awesome Again at Santa AnitaSept 28: Jockey Club Gold Cup at BelmontSept 28: Lukas Classic at ChurchillIn the books: Travers at Saratoga, Whitney at Saratoga, Woodward at Saratoga, Pacific Classic at Del Mar, Juddmonte International at York, Pennsylvania Derby at ParxWhere We Stand: McKinzie won the Whitney on the road and gets a home game for the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita. In a division devastated by attrition, this could simply be a year of a ‘now’ horse training well into the Classic and peaking at the right time.DistaffSept 28: Beldame at BelmontSept 29: Zenyatta at Santa AnitaSept 29: Remington Park Oaks at RemingtonOct 6: Spinster at KeenelandIn the books: Personal Ensign at Saratoga, Clement Hirsch at Del Mar, Cotillion at ParxWhere We Stand: Midnight Bisou and Elate have separated from the pack, while the sophomores have not delivered a standout to challenge them.TurfSept 28: John Henry Turf Championship at Santa AnitaOct 5: Joe Hirsch Turf Classic at BelmontOct 6: Arc de Triomphe at LongchampOct 12: Canadian International at WoodbineOct 17: Sycamore at KeenelandIn the books: Sword Dancer at Saratoga, Arlington Million at Arlington, Del Mar Handicap at Del Mar, Northern Dancer at Woodbine, Jockey Club Derby at Belmont, Irish Champions at Leopardstown, Kentucky Turf Cup at Kentucky DownsWhere We Stand: It’s Bricks and Mortar vs. the world. America’s best turfer in several years has been flawless in 2019. The Europeans have won 4 straight (and 5 of the last 6) in this division, however.MileOct: City of Hope Mile at Santa AnitaOct 5: Shadwell Mile at KeenelandOct 5: Hill Prince at BelmontIn the books: Fourstardave at Saratoga, Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, Woodbine Mile at Woodbine, Tourist Mile at Kentucky DownsWhere We Stand: A 44-1 upset in the Woodbine Mile sort of typifies the division with no North American clarity. The Shadwell Mile could be where America’s best ascends, but the Europeans have to feel good about these prospects.Filly & Mare TurfSept 28: Rodeo Drive at Santa AnitaOct 5: First Lady at KeenelandOct 6: Flower Bowl at BelmontOct 6: Prix de L’Opera at LongchampOct 12: Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at KeenelandOct 12: EP Taylor at WoodbineOct 12: Sands Point at BelmontOct 20: Dowager at KeenelandIn the books: Beverly D at Arlington, Yellow Ribbon at Del Mar, Matron at Leopardstown, Kentucky Downs Ladies Turf at Kentucky DownsWhere We Stand: Defending F&M Turf heroine Sistercharlie looks as dominant domestically in this division as stablemate Bricks and Mortar does in the Turf.SprintSept 28: Vosburgh at BelmontOct 4: Phoenix at KeenelandOct 5: Santa Anita Sprint Championship at Santa AnitaIn the books: Forego at Saratoga, Vanderbilt at Saratoga, Bing Crosby at Del Mar, Gallant Bob at ParxWhere We Stand: Mitole has been nearly flawless in 2019 and heads one of the deepest and most talented divisions for this year’s championships. Two-time defending Sprint champ Roy H, away since January, is back on the work tab at San Luis Rey Downs, but is running out of time.Filly & Mare SprintOct 5: LA Woman at Santa AnitaOct 5: Thoroughbred Club of America at KeenelandOct 19: Raven Run at KeenelandIn the books: Ballerina at Saratoga, Test at Saratoga, Rancho Bernardo at Del Mar, Gallant Bloom at BelmontWhere We Stand: Come Dancing clearly has become New York’s best in the division since cutting back in distance. Covfefe stands out among the sophomores. But it’s historically wise to wait until the two big races at Keeneland shake out before you get too cozy in your F&M Sprint convictions.Dirt MileSept 28: Ack Ack at ChurchillSept 29: Oklahoma Derby at RemingtonIn the books: Kelso at Belmont, Pat O’Brien at Del MarWhere We Stand: This hybrid division often gels when we see who’s going where, and who’s avoiding whom. Catalina Cruiser will try to make amends for last year’s disappointing run at Churchill while having the home-field advantage this time and is 3-for-3 on the year.Turf SprintSept 27: Eddie D. at Santa AnitaSept 28: Unzip Me at Santa AnitaOct 5: Belmont Turf Sprint Invitational at BelmontOct 5: Woodford Stakes at KeenelandOct 6: Prix de L’Abbaye at LongchampOct 11: Franklin County at KeenelandOct 12: Nearctic at WoodbineIn the books: Green Flash at Del Mar, Nunthorpe at York, Kentucky Downs Turf Sprint at Kentucky Downs, Turf Monster at Parx, Turf Amazon at ParxWhere We Stand: With the abolition of the 6-1/2 furlong downhill turf sprints at Santa Anita, the Turf Sprint shortens to 5 furlongs this time. This might open things up from the previous course specialists you looked for in SA-hosted events. Two-time defending Turf Sprint champ Stormy Liberal is 0-for-5 on the year and may have lost a step at age 7.JuvenileSept 27: American Pharoah at Santa AnitaSept 28: In Reality at GulfstreamOct 5: Champagne at BelmontOct 5: Breeders’ Futurity at KeenelandIn the books: Hopeful at Saratoga, Del Mar Futurity at Del Mar, Iroquois at ChurchillWhere We Stand: Dennis’ Moment has captivated Kentucky in his first 2 dominant victories, while Steve Asmussen trainees ran 1-2-3 in the Hopeful. The west coast picture got awfully fuzzy in the Del Mar Futurity with 35-1 shot Nucky.Juvenile FilliesSept 27: Chandelier at Santa AnitaSept 28: My Dear Girl at GulfstreamOct 4: Alcibiades at KeenelandOct 5: Mazarine at WoodbineOct 6: Frizette at BelmontIn the books: Spinaway at Saratoga, Del Mar Debutante at Del Mar, Pocahontas at ChurchillWhere We Stand: Bast crushed the Del Mar Debutante for Bob Baffert in breaking her maiden, and Lazy Daisy shipped east to win the Pocahontas for Doug O’Neill. The 2-turn preps will determine this division, but the Californians look capable of defending home ground at this stage.Juvenile TurfSept 28: Pilgrim at BelmontSept 28: Royal Lodge at NewmarketOct 6: Bourbon at KeenelandOct 6: Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at LongchampIn the books: Juvenile Turf at Del Mar, With Anticipation at Saratoga, Summer at Woodbine, Kentucky Downs Juvenile at Kentucky DownsWhere We Stand: Decorated Invader has looked good at Saratoga and Woodbine for Christophe Clement, still in search of an elusive Breeders’ Cup trophy after 36 tries. Fighting Seabee won the Spa key prep, but his trainer Kenny McPeek is 0-31 in the Breeders’ Cup. Encoder topped Del Mar’s freshman turfers for John Sadler, who is now 1-45 in the BC after Accelerate’s Classic breakthrough. The Europeans historically are very strong in this division and perhaps the place to shop.Juvenile Fillies TurfSept 27: Rockfel at NewmarketSept 29: Miss Grillo at BelmontOct 6: Zuma Beach at Santa AnitaOct 6: Prix Marcel Boussac at LongchampOct 9: Jessamine at KeenelandIn the books: Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar, PG Johnson at Saratoga, Natalma at Woodbine, Moyglare Stud at The Curragh, Kentucky Downs Juvenile Fillies at Kentucky DownsWhere We Stand: Chad Brown has won this division 3 straight years and 4 of the last 5. The Miss Grillo has been the historic benchmark for preps, so see what Chad unleashes there this weekend. Irish import Yesterdayoncemore raided to win the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf, sounding the first international shot, but this has been America’s division over the years.Juvenile Turf SprintSept 28: Armed Forces and Hollywood Beach at GulfstreamOct 5: Matron at BelmontOct 6: Speakeasy at Santa AnitaOct 6: Indian Summer at KeenelandOct 6: Futurity at BelmontIn the books: Prix Morny at Deauville, Champions Juvenile at LeopardstownWhere We Stand: Bulletin won this race in its 2018 inaugural via a Hollywood Beach Stakes prep at Gulfstream. That race gets renewed Saturday. This likely will be the race with the least clarity among contenders as the Breeders’ Cup approaches.

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9.22.2019:

Sunday, September 22: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse wraps up harness action in 2019 with a 10-race card. There are three consolation events scheduled and the 0.50 Late Pick 4 starts in Race 7. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.On the Night of Champions Kyle Husted and Casey Leonard led the drivers with three trips to the winner's circle. The top conditioners on Saturday were Terry Leonard and Nelson Willis who each took two pictures.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 72-Scramble Camp-Starts inside main foes, back from Aces to go on the final night of meet and fits at 7-1 in the ML.5-Muscular Babe-Comes off a HoP victory and likes this track, an 8-time winner in '19 is a threat.6-Bo I See Time-Another from Wilfong barn and is 2nd time Lasix, will respect off a win but this won't be as easy.7-Walter White-5/2 ML chalk is in good form, best to respect winner of >$470,000 but is lightly race these days.Race 86-Letsgoforitall-Comes off a beak and doesn't like to win but still looks to be the best back-up if #7 falters.7-Michonne-6/5 ML chalk looks like a winner if minds manners, a major player with a top effort.Race 91-Holden Steady-2nd start on Lasix, this is the spot to get sucked around and rally the last 1/8 at 25-1 in ML.3-The Blaker-Camera shy and looking for 1st win on Lasix. Drops to a good level and will use versus this crew.5-Ricky The Flash-Just missed off a 56.1 back half, steps-up but still fits and could be sitting on a big try.6-Freddy B Quick-Steps-up after a win, but shouldn't be afraid of this crew, will string along at a square price.Race 101-Sand And Rocks-Winless at meet and so is this barn, can get sucked around and be a factor versus a soft bunch.4-Finleys Filly-It's hard to be confident in this 5/2 ML chalk who lacks a fight at times, using but considering others.5-Roberts New Life-Will need a trip but has been in the hunt and rolling late when getting one.My Ticket Race 7) 2,5,6,7 Race 8) 6,7 Race 9) 1,3,5,6 Race 10) 1,4,5 Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.21.2019:

Saturday, September 21: Belmont 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: BUse: 4-Shareholder Values; 6-Data DrivenForecast: Shareholder Values, listed at even money on the morning line, has been claimed in seven of his last 10 starts and was just re-claimed by L. Rice for $25,000. The veteran gelding returns on the one-level drop while retaining regular pilot J. Lezcano for a barn that always operates aggressively, so we’ll assume the son of Uncle Mo, with an ideal late-running style for this extended sprint distance, will be tough to contain in the final furlong. His only prior outing over the Belmont Park main track resulted in a five length win with a career top speed figure in late June. Data Driven earned a triple digit Beyer speed figure two runs back in a nearly 14-lengthh romp at Saratoga but bounced to the moon when pitched too high by Rudy (who claimed for $12,500) to the $40,000 level in his next start, winding up a well-beaten fourth. This drop to $20,000 is realistic, and from his outside draw the son of Northern Afleet should have every chance with a second flight, stalking spot. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Shareholder Values.RACE 2: Post 1:33 ET. Grade: XSingle: 2-FusiForecast: This is a default single. Fusi will be a short price (she’s 4/5 on the morning line) in a very weak maiden $40,000 claimer for older fillies and mares after finishing a second in a similar affair at Saratoga last month. She had every chance in that race, making the running with easy splits, but simply couldn’t seal the deal. Nothing better will be needed today but as short prices go, we don’t view her as completely trustworthy. Tread lightly, or simply pass the race.RACE 3: Post 2:04 ET. Grade: XSingle: 4-En Wye CeeForecast: Here’s another logical short price winner. En Wye Cee, listed at 3/5 on the morning line, won at first asking with a visually pleasing performance at Saratoga, overcoming a rough start and wide trip to be up in time while earning a powerful speed figure for a maiden. A healthy series of workouts since that early August outing should have him ready for a forward move in his first start over a distance of ground that on pedigree should make him even more effective. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.RACE 4: Post 2:35 ET. Grade: B+Use: 4-Eagerly; 8-TiestoForecast: Though he finished third vs. maidens in his debut, Eagerly (listed at 7/5 on the morning line) ran well enough to entice his connections to enter him back in the With Anticipation S.-G3 at Saratoga in late August, but the son of American Pharoah was withdrawn the morning of the race and didn’t work back until Sept. 13, so a physical issue obviously surfaced. Anything close to his debut performance – he lost far more ground than the three-quarters of a length that he was beaten by – should handle this assignment, though Tiesto, a $600,000 OBS April sale purchase, warrants some consideration at 6-1 on the morning line in his debut for W. Mott. A highly-attractive son of Tiznow, he’s a half-brother to Fountain of Youth S.-G2 winner Promises Fulfilled and multi-stakes winning Marquee Miss and turned heads with an impressive 21 seconds flat breeze during the preview session. His recent work tab shows a couple of recent bullet drills, so we’ll assume he’s fit and ready, but the main question is grass for a colt bred strictly for dirt.RACE 5: Post 3:06 ET. Grade: B-Use: 7-Talent Scout; 9-Major FlirtForecast: We’ll double the fifth race, a $16,000 claiming sprint for non-winners of two races. Talent Scout returns to his claim level after finishing a willing runner-up in a $25,000 affair earlier this month and looks well-placed to win for the first time since his highly-rated debut score at Santa Anita in October of 2017. The concern is that the son of New Year’s Day is winless in four starts at six furlongs – he broke his maiden at six and one-half – but at this level he should be able to produce the last run with anything close to his best race. Major Flirt is slower on numbers but should have clear sailing and every chance outside and will be heard from late if he receives the patient ride he requires.RACE 6: Post 3:38 ET. Grade: B+Single: 4-Candy TycoonForecast: Candy Tycoon suffered from a brutal trip that was triggered by a slow start and did well to finish as close as he did when third in his debut at Saratoga in mid-August. He returns for T. Pletcher (27% with second-timers) while removing blinkers and switching to Johnny V., and we suspect the son of Twirling Candy will show his true form today in a race in which the first-timers don’t really excite. At 4/5 on the morning line he’ll be too short to play in the straight pool but we can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 7: Post 4:10 ET. Grade: BUse: 6-Balon Rose; 8-Shelter IslandForecast: Balon Rose was supposed to be C. Brown’s next super filly – she was sent off at 35 cents on the dollar in her debut – but the daughter of War Front seems destined to fall far short of expectations as she seeks her diploma today in her fourth career starts. Second, beaten a neck, in her most recent outing, she seems certain to get plenty of play again, has every right to continue to improve, and is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. However, it’s her stablemate, the first-time starting Shelter Island, that appears more intriguing. The French-bred filly has trained like she’s fit and ready, though it’s somewhat surprising that most of her recent drills actually have been accomplished on dirt. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Shelter Island – she’s 9/2 on the morning line - on top.RACE 8: Post 4:42 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Capla Temptress; 5-Significant Form; 6-ValedictorianForecast: We’ll go three deep in this evenly-matched edition of the Noble Damsel S.-G3. Valedictorian shortens to a mile – arguably her best trip – after failing to see out nine furlongs when a respectable fourth in the Yellow Ribbon H.-G2 at Del Mar last month. A winner of 12 of 29 career starts, the daughter of Temple City catches a very favorable pace-scenario and can pop and go or stalk and pounce from her outside draw depending upon the flow of the race. On pure form Capla Temptress appears logically the one to beat – there’s nothing wrong with her runner-up effort, beaten four lengths – in the De La Rose S. at Saratoga last month behind Got Stormy – but she’s unplaced in three prior starts over the Belmont Park turf course, which gives slight pause (to be fair, two of those three races were in Grade 1’s). Significant Form is a tad shy in the speed figure department but she’s a multiple graded stakes winner over the local lawn and earned a career top number when winning the Ballston Spa S.-G2 at Saratoga in her most recent start. A repeat of that race could be good enough.RACE 9: Post 5:20 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Big Muddy; 4-Mental ModelForecast: Mental Model earned a giant speed figure when graduating over this track and distance in mid-May and at the time seemed like a terrific claim by L. Rice. However, the son of Into Mischief was subsequently scratched twice, and makes his first start in more than four months while sporting an uneven, suspicious work tab. If he repeats his last race, he’ll probably win, and the fact that’s he’s being protected in starter’s allowance company is comforting. We’ll put him on top but also include Rice’s other starter, Big Muddy. The lightly-raced son of Medaglia d’Oro has won five of 12 career starts, has prior winning form at Belmont Park, and employs the ideal style for a one-turn mile.RACE 10: Post 5:53 ET. Grade: BUse: 5-Prince Lucky; 6-PlainsmanForecast: Plainsman has the proper style for this one-turn mile trip and his only prior outing at Belmont Park resulted in a nearly seven length romp with a strong figure a little more than a year ago. Off a long layoff the four-year-old colt finished an excellent second to Uncontested in a hot overnight sprint last month at Saratoga, and if he moves forward for Shug as we expect the son of Flatter could step up and beat this field. Prince Lucky earned a triple-digit Beyer speed figure when winning the listed State Dinner Stakes when last seen in July and recent sharp workouts indicates the son of Corinthian is spot on for another big run. A two-time winner over Big Sandy, the T. Pletcher-trained gelding certainly can win with anything close to his best effort. Pat On the Back is a tough-as-hails New York-bred runner and has never finished off the board in 10 career starts over the local main track, including five wins. He’s genuine and consistent to eliminate, so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two as a back-up.RACE 11: Post 6:24 ET. Grade: C+Use: 1-Barrel of Destiny; 7-Hit a Provisional; 8-Kerry’s Ring; 10-Star of the EastForecast: The nightcap is an open state-bred first-level allowance turf miler for entry-level allowance fillies and mares. We’ll go four-deep in our rolling exotics and hope to survive. Star of the East has rising numbers and a prior win over this Belmont Park course and distance, so she’s a logical main contender. The B. Lynch-trained daughter of Medaglia d’Oro is a one-paced grinding type and should have dead aim under J. Castellano from the top of the lane to the wire. Kerry’s Ring broke her maiden last time out at Saratoga, and with just four career starts the 3-year-old daughter of Kitten’s Joy certainly has further upside. She’s a fit on numbers and ran well in both of her prior outings over the local lawn. Hit a Provisional, runner-up at this level though probably best in her most recent outing at Saratoga, can be dangerous from a stalking position or from off the pace, so J. Lezcano, who rode her well in her debut, can pick an option. Barrel of Destiny, a close third in the same race ‘Provisional exits, should enjoy a ground-saving trip and will be running on late.

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9.21.2019:

Saturday, September 21: Hawthorne Night Of Champs & Mohawk Analysis

It's a big a night of harness racing on both sides of the border. There are three major stake races which will roll at WoodbineMohawk Park with combined purses of greater than $1.5 million.Hawthorne Racecourse will be the setting for the Night Of Champions with the best Illinois bred two and three-year-olds competing. The championships have a total purse value of over $800,000.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Woodbine Mohawk ParkRace 5-Shes A Great Lady Pace-Purse $540,0004-Lyons Sentinel (9/5)-Slight lean to Tetrick who can come off cover to score the big prize.5-Alicorn (2-1)-Winner of 3 straight will likely seek the top, others may too, can win another with a smooth trip.2-Reflect With Me (5/2)-Always in the hunt and should be again, could let others battle, can rally with a good steer.Race 7-Milton Pace-Purse $250,0008-Caviart Alley (5/2)-Will look here despite the outside post, back on a larger oval, where does best work.1-Youaremycandygirl (2-1)-Comes off 2 wins and is sharp, post draw doesn't hurt chances, a major threat.6-Seaswift Joy N (3-1)-Tetrick has options, could leave or come off cover, likes the track and best to respect.Race 9-Metro Pace-Purse $750,0003-Capt Midnight (7/5)-A perfect 5 for 5 at Wbsb and has won 5 straight, looks like a clean trip away from #6.4-Tall Dark Stranger (9/5)-Came out of the box on 7/26 and is a perfect 5 for 5, now meets the Capt.1-YS Mathis (8-1)-A very nice colt who is 7 of 9 in the money here, could add some juice to a gimmick.Hawthorne RacecourseRace 4-Incredible Tillie Championship-Purse $115,0001-Fox Valley Exploit (8/5)-Form has been sharp and now gets post relief, could be sitting on a top effort.2-Sign Her Up (9/5)-Beat #1 last week, thinking this won't be as easy but deserves respect.6-Ashless Fine Girl (25-1)-Only 1 win this year but has been in the hunt and could add some pop to gimmicks.Race 8-Kadabra Championship-Purse $108,0003-Fox Valley Quest (4/5)-Has been a standout all year, looks like it will be clear sailing barring a miscue.8-On Higher Ground (3-1)-Beat Quest once at Spr, but the draw hurts and it appears will be racing for 2nd place.7-Desert Sheik (5-1)-Tries Lasix and like #8 is one of four Brink trainees who looks to be best of the rest.Race 9-Incredible Finale Championship-Purse $102,0009-Fox Valley Ren (7/5)-Winner of 7 of 9 will need a big try and is my choice for a trip to the winner's circle.10-He'zzz A Wise Sky (2-1)-Winner of 4 in a row, did beat #9 but thinking roles will be reversed from this post.6-Western Perch (12-1)-Camera shy but usually in the hunt, expecting a good effort and to hit the bottom of ticket.Race 10-Carey Memorial Championship-Purse $109,0006-Maximus (2-1)-Will lean to this Rucker trainee making 2nd start off a sick scratch, slight edge in a tough race.7-Fox Valley Triton (9/5)-Major player from the Leonard barn, program favorite looks the part.1-Meyer On Fire (5/2)-Best to respect, colt knows how to win and should be heard from near the wire.Race 11-Plum Peachy Championship-Purse $100,0004-Fox Valley Torrid (2-1)-Winner of 3 of last 4 has had a nice year, will give the nod here but needs a top effort.5-Fox Valley Halsey (3-1)-Looking for a good trip and might follow #4, in form and could challenge down the lane.2-Perch (5-1)-Looks to be well placed to stay in contention in a good race, best to respect a trip-out opportunity.Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.20.2019:

Stakes Single In Finale Make For Exciting Pick 4 At Gulfstream

Having a single in the last race of a Pick 4 can wear on a player’s nerves, but if you can make it to that point with some prices in hand, it can also make for some exciting moments.Hopefully that will be the way it is Saturday in Gulfstream Park’s late Pick 4, as this suggested ticket have a lone checkmark in the finale.Rapid Transit will carry the load in the 12th and final race as the Aubrey Maragh-trained daughter of Bullet Train filly brings some sharp credentials into the $10,000 claiming race on the turf. In four starts, she has three wins and a second and was claimed two back by the Maragh barn.Everything else in the sequence is an extreme challenge, with a 5x7x3x1 approach for $52.50, which is a little more than normal.The biggest spread race is the featured $75,000 Bear’s Den Stakes, which is even enough that seven of the entrants are on this ticket – Stirling Drive, Timmy M., Art G Is Back, Evil Eye, Scraps, Forever Mo and Jackson. The 7.5-furlong turf race has a capable lineup and it will be as balanced as the track has had all year.Art G Is Back is the 5-2 morning line favorite off two straight wins, including a score in the Benny The Bull Stakes for state-breds. The Ron Spatz-trained Exchange Rate colt is effective in sprints, two-turn races and on both surfaces. But many others have similar credentials.Stirling Drive comes in off a win over Art G Is Back in the Not Surprising Stakes. It was a reversal in form and only the second time the Milton Wolfson-trained charge was on the board in eight tries this year.But those two are not a shoo-in for an exacta as there are plenty of others with a chance, including: Timmy M. was a closing second in a fast open allowance race last time and rounding back into form; Evil Eye is two of four and ships in from Ellis Park, where he was an allowance winner last time; Scraps lost by just a half-length in the Not Surprising and followed with an optional-claiming win vs. state-breds; Forever Mo lost the Not Surprising by a neck while third and most recently was third in the James H. Kyle Stakes; and Jackson has been an effective sprinter, was second in the Texas Glitter on turf this year and can set the pace.Here’s the suggested ticket for the late Pick 4 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: Race 9) #2 Super Witch, #3 Nothins Free, #4 Rosepath, #7 Queen Roller, #8 Tuesday’s Rose. Race 10) #1 Stirling Drive, #2 Timmy M, #3 Art G Is Back, #4 Evil Eye, #6 Scraps, #7 Forever Mo, #8 Jackson Race 11) #2 So Nifty, #4 Rayo My King, #8 Vinnie Van Go. Race 12) #1 Rapid Transit. Total Ticket Cost) 2,3,4,7,8/1,2,3,4,6,7,8/2,4,8/1 = $52.50 for $0.50

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9.20.2019:

Friday, September 20: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse starts its final weekend of harness action in 2019 with a 9-race card. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 6. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.Kyle Husted led the pilots on Thursday with two winners. Trainer Nick Prather won the first race and the finale to lead conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 62-Rockin Eddie-Comes off a nice try at HoP, Leonard returns off a long absence and should put in play early.5-Shadyman-Knocked out of last and qualified well, makes 4th start on Lasix and could be set for 3rd picture of '19.6-Rocknroll High-Took the short way around and rolled down the lane to take 1st picture in 2 years, will string along.8-Major Attribute-Rough gaited but has the heart to rally in the late going, gained ground against the wind in last.Race 71-Twomacsonemach-Won last off a nice steer, steps-up but can get sucked around for an encore at a square price.2-Ponda's Prospect-I didn't like in last from 8-hole, but will use tonight, fits and Leonard can work a trip from here.5-Hot Rod Dylan-Drops into a spot to shine, Franco could get on the engine without much sweat and not look back.Race 82-Skyway Boomer-Hasn't won since 7/5, but can score versus a field without any All-Stars with an inside post draw.3-Account Rollover-Leonard's choice qualified well, hasn't raced since 7/12, has issues but drops from Open company.4-Ricky Bobbie-Drops to the lowest level of the meet, gets a positive driver change and best to respect.6-Limited Edition-Another dropping and searching for a picture, in this but will need a good steer.Race 91-Misspanderosajones-Gets post relief, was good in last off a sick scratch, won against better and looks like a player.2-C Far-Makes 4th start on Lasix and from this post she is in the mix for a photo on the drop.My Ticket Race 6) 2,5,6,8 Race 7) 1,2,5 Race 8) 2,3,4,6 Race 9) 1,2Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.19.2019:

Zenyatta's Epic Breeders' Cup Classic Win Revisited

With the Breeders’ Cup returning to Santa Anita Park this year on Nov. 1-2, it’s perfectly understandable if some folks might think back to a Breeders’ Cup performance at that Southern California track in 2009. It’s hard to believe that 10 years have passed since Zenyatta’s thriller of a victory in the BC Classic at Santa Anita. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss and trained John Shirreffs, Zenyatta took a 13-0 career record into the 2009 BC Classic, a race in which she was trying to make Breeders’ Cup history. Would she become the first female to win the BC Classic? Would she become the first horse to win two different Breeders’ Cup races? The answers to those two questions would be “yes” and “yes.” In 2008, also at Santa Anita, Zenyatta took the BC Distaff (known at that time as the BC Ladies’ Classic). In the 2009 BC Classic, Zenyatta was sent away as the 5-2 favorite against 11 male opponents. Rip Van Winkle was the second choice at 3-1, followed by Summer Bird at 6-1 and Twice Over at 9-1. All others were 11-1 or higher. Zenyatta’s fan club had grown to a humongous size by the time of the 2009 BC Classic. I said on HRTV that if Zenyatta did become the first filly or mare to win the BC Classic, no doubt the crowd would go wild. Just a few minutes before the field for the 2009 BC Classic was sent on its way, my shift on HRTV ended. The HRTV set was located in the walking ring area. I scurried to the other side of the grandstand in order to watch the race. Despite it being practically wall-to-wall people in front of the grandstand, I managed to find a spot to stand near the sixteenth pole. Mike Smith rode Zenyatta, as usual. And Zenyatta lacked early speed, also as usual. She was at the back of the pack in the run down the stretch the first time. “Zenyatta is dead last. Zenyatta is dead last early,” track announcer Trevor Denman said during his call of the race. Midway down the backstretch, Zenyatta had moved out of last place but still was far back. She was racing in front of only 2009 Kentucky Derby winner Mine That Bird. “Zenyatta is still a good 10, 11 off the leaders, and then it’s four back to Mine That Bird,” Denman said at that stage of the race. Zenyatta began to rally as the field swung into the stretch, but it looked like she had left herself with way too much to do. “And let’s see. Zenyatta has a lot, a lot of ground to make up. Zenyatta, if she wins this, she’s a super horse. She’s starting to pick them off, though. Zenyatta going to hook to the outside. Meanwhile, it’s Colonel John, Summer Bird in the red cap, but Zenyatta’s come to the outside. Zenyatta coming flying on the grandstand side! Gio Ponti on the inside, Summer Bird is right there. This is un…be…lievable!!! Zenyatta!!! What a performance!!! One we’ll never forget!!! Looked impossible, but it is Zenyatta, still unbeaten under Mike Smith. Gio Ponti second, Summer Bird and then Richard’s Kid. What a dramatic performance, one of the most sensational ever, Zenyatta wins the Breeders’ Cup Classic.” Denman’s call of the 2009 BC Classic served as an excellent example of an announcer rising to the occasion for a big race. One of the finest examples of that, of course, was Chic Anderson’s 1973 Belmont Stakes call. Anderson came up with the exact right phrase at the exact right time. As Secretariat was in the process of opening a huge lead on the far turn, Anderson said Secretariat “is moving like a tremendous machine.” Continuing to run up the score in the stretch, Secretariat won by 31 lengths in what many regard as the greatest performance by a Thoroughbred ever seen at a track in this country. My father, who passed away in 2018, saw thousands of horse races during his lifetime. He was among those who watched Secretariat’s Belmont on CBS and Zenyatta’s BC Classic on ABC. My father ranked Zenyatta’s BC Classic as the second-greatest thing he had ever seen in horse racing, topped only by Secretariat’s Belmont. In the 2009 BC Classic, not only did Zenyatta conquer male rivals, she left eight Grade I or Group I winners in her wake. As a reflection of the quality of the vanquished, runner-up Gio Ponti was voted three Eclipse Awards during his career. Summer Bird, who finished third, was voted a 2009 Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. During Zenyatta’s compelling stretch rally in the 2009 BC Classic, the 58,845 in attendance at Santa Anita that day went absolutely bonkers, as I had predicted. While Zenyatta was charging home, the cheers for her were so loud that the sound seemed to reverberate off the nearby San Gabriel Mountains. Standing in the mass of humanity near the sixteenth pole, I will tell you that I was not one of the screamers. I just stood there and watched. I watched as Zenyatta did her thing. But I will admit that I was so overcome with emotion that there were tears in my eyes. Zenyatta’s 2009 BC Classic is generally regarded as one of the three greatest moments at Santa Anita since it first open its doors in 1934, along with Seabiscuit’s victory in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap and jockey John Longden’s win aboard George Royal in the 1966 San Juan Capistrano Handicap. Seabiscuit lost the 1937 Santa Anita Handicap, which at that time was the richest race in the world, by a scant nose. He lost the 1938 renewal by the same narrow margin. And then, in the last start of his storied career, the extremely popular Seabiscuit finally did win the Santa Anita Handicap when he prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths. As for the 1966 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, Longden announced beforehand that it would be his final race as a jockey. And at the age of 59, Longden certainly ended his illustrious riding career in dramatic fashion. He won the San Juan Capistrano by a nose aboard 6-1 George Royal. With a world record 6,032 victories to his credit from 32,413 mounts, Longden retired as a race-rider and became a successful trainer, saddling Majestic Prince to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 1969. After Zenyatta’s 2009 BC Classic victory, she did not retire. She continued racing in 2010. After compiling a 19-0 record, she lost for the first and only time in her career when she finished second, a head behind Blame, in the 2010 BC Classic at Churchill Downs. Even though Zenyatta’s perfect record was spoiled in the 2010 BC Classic, it’s widely regarded to be one of the finest performances in defeat in the history of American racing. Many considered it similar to Seattle Slew’s nose loss to Exceller in the 1 1/2-mile Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park in 1978. Zenyatta was voted the Eclipse Award as champion older female in 2008, 2009 and 2010. Moreover, after losing out to Rachel Alexandra for the 2009 Horse of the Year title, Zenyatta was voted 2010 Horse of the Year. One of the greatest female Thoroughbreds of all time, Zenyatta was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2016. BC JUVENILE NEXT TARGET FOR DENNIS’ MOMENT Trainer Dale Romans had been singing the praises of Dennis’ Moment even before the 2-year-old colt raced for the first time. When Dennis’ Moment kicked off his racing career in a five-furlong maiden special weight contest at Churchill Downs on June 23, he clipped heels and unseated jockey Robby Albarado. In Dennis’ Moment’s next start, with Miguel Mena in the saddle, the Kentucky-bred son of Tiznow annihilated his rivals. Dennis’ Moment registered a jaw-dropping 19 1/4-length victory in a seven-furlong maiden special weight race at Ellis Park on July 27. He recorded a 97 Beyer Speed Figure. It’s the highest Beyer by a 2-year-old thus far in 2019. And then last Saturday, Dennis’ Moment made his stakes debut while also racing around two turns for the first time. Backed down to 2-5 favoritism in Churchill’s Grade III Iroquois Stakes at 1 1/16 miles, he lurked in fourth early while rating kindly for jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. Equibase’s official Iroquois chart states that Dennis’ Moment “stalked the early pace from the outside of foes, ranged up three wide nearing the lane, took over command once in the stretch, drew clear near the eighth pole while ridden out and was in hand during the final sixteenth.” From near the eighth pole to the sixteenth pole, the chart says that Dennis’ Moment was “ridden out” by Ortiz. I think that’s accurate. After the colt’s lead had grown to five lengths at the sixteenth pole, he “was in hand during the final sixteenth.” I also think that’s accurate. But a problem I have with the Iroquois chart provided to drf.com by Equibase is it says “won ridden out.” “Ridden out” is when a horse is not under a full-out drive, but the jockey is still urging the horse on to some extent. The purpose of the chart saying Dennis’ Moment “won ridden out” is to provide a description of how he “won” the race.If Ortiz had continued to ride Dennis’ Moment pretty much the same way in the final sixteenth as he had from the eighth pole to the sixteenth pole, then I would concur with saying the colt “won ridden out.” But that isn’t what happened. I was a Daily Racing Form chart-caller from 1974-93. I called official Breeders’ Cup charts in 1986 at Santa Anita and in 1987 at Hollywood Park. During the many years that I was a chart-caller, I always felt that it was important to, as much as possible, inform people who did not see the race as to what had occurred in the race. I don’t think saying Dennis’ Moment “won ridden out” is an accurate representation of how the race was won. If I had called the Iroquois chart last Saturday, I would have made it “won handily.” “Handily” is when a horse has been taken “in hand,” or is being “geared down,” or is being “eased up,” or is winning “under wraps,” or is winning “with speed to spare.” Another indication that Dennis’ Moment “won handily” rather than “won ridden out” is what the Equibase chart says in part regarding runner-up Scabbard. The chart says Scabbard “rallied down the lane and gained on a wrapped up winner.” I totally agree with saying Dennis’ Moment was a “wrapped up winner.” And if Dennis’ Moment was indeed a “wrapped up winner,” then the chart, in my opinion, should say “won handily.” I think it’s especially important to accurately describe how Dennis’ Moment won the race because his margin of victory, 1 3/4 lengths, is misleading. The margin does not truly reflect Dennis’ Moment’s superiority. At least the comment that will accompany Dennis’ Moment’s running line for the Iroquois will, in my view, more accurately reflect how he won the race. That comment says “cruised final 1/16th.” In any case, Daily Racing Form’s Marty McGee reported that Dennis’ Moment will not race again until the Grade I BC Juvenile at Santa Anita in early November, according to Romans. BEYER FOR IROQUOIS WINNER DESERVES A PLUS Dennis’ Moment was credited with a 90 Beyer Speed Figure for his Iroquois victory. The manner in which he won has an impact on his Beyer in that the figure would have been higher if he had been permitted by Ortiz to run faster in the final sixteenth. As I’ve previously written, the Beyers do not take into account how a horse wins a race. The figure is the figure regardless of whether a horse, during the last part of a race, is all out, under a stranglehold, or something in between. The 90 Beyer for Dennis’ Moment’s Iroquois is yet another example in which I believe it would be much more of a true reflection of the colt’s performance if a + was added to his figure. I long have been an advocate of adding a + to a Beyer in the rare instances when a horse wins while being far from all out. It also would be helpful to horseplayers if a + was added to a Beyer whenever there is a suspicion that a figure is possibly lower than it should be for any number of reasons, like when circumstances are such that determining the track variant -- a key element in calculating a Beyer -- is problematic. I felt that American Pharoah should have been assigned a 105+ Beyer Speed Figure when he won the 2015 Arkansas Derby, a 102+ when he won the 2015 Preakness Stakes and a 109+ when he won the 2015 Haskell Invitational. He was far from all out in both the Arkansas Derby and Haskell, while there was difficulty in trying to ascertain the track variant for the Preakness. If American Pharoah had been asked for his best in the Arkansas Derby and Haskell, he undoubtedly would have run faster. How much faster is impossible to quantify. But if American Pharoah had been allowed by the rider to run faster, the colt’s Beyer Speed Figure then would have been higher for both races. Dick Jerardi, who for years has been on the team that calculates the Beyer Speed Figures, recognized that American Pharoah’s figures for the Preakness and Haskell did not give him the credit he deserved for those performances. Jerardi also disclosed that there had been a lack of certainty associated with the 102 Beyer Speed Figure assigned to American Pharoah for the Preakness, which was run on a sloppy track. “We at Beyer Central explained at the time how much confidence we had in the Preakness Beyer -- not much,” Jerardi wrote. “The one-race monsoon made comparisons with the other races impossible, so it was a one-race variant, never how you want to make numbers. Randy Moss [another person who calculates Beyer Speed Figures] and I thought it could have been a 112. We had our reasons. Frankly, we will never know for sure.” While American Pharoah was assigned a 109 Beyer for the Haskell, Jerardi speculated how high the figure would have been if the colt trained by Bob Baffert had been asked to run at all in the final furlong. “I told Baffert right after that that I was certain if the colt had been asked at all in the stretch, he would have gotten a 118,” Jerardi wrote. Considering that, I think it would have been very appropriate to assign American Pharoah a 109+ instead of a 109 Beyer Speed Figure for the Haskell. Similarly, I think a 90+ Beyer would give horseplayers a much better idea of how good Dennis’ Moment’s Iroquois performance was instead of a 90. THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL No change at the top of the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. The outstanding grass runner Bricks and Mortar once again holds the top spot. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 363 Bricks and Mortar (29)2. 316 Midnight Bisou (4)3. 293 McKinzie (4)4. 253 Mitole5. 232 Sistercharlie6. 86 Catalina Cruiser7. 83 World of Trouble8. 76 Code of Honor9. 73 Elate10. 70 Imperial Hint  

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9.19.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: September 20 Stronach 5 Play

Let’s try to squelch the 4-out-of-5 blues in this week’s Stronach 5. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors.*** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. ***Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (5:12 ET) – 2yo 40k MCL* at 6 furlongsWhile this may look like a typical weak MCL’er, take note that Maryland breds don’t need to be entered for the tag, and with that we get a slew of firsters that look very promising, and are probably best of what looks like an overwise average group. Make sure to check the tote prices before putting in your tickets, as all of them should be live and taking money, and if anyone isn’t, it’s a very bad sign. The foursome of #2 NEXTSTOP POKIPC (4-1), #9 DISTILLED SPIRIT (6-1), #8 PREVAIL UPON (7-2), and #6 MCELMORE AVENUE (6-1) all look talented, have worked well, and go for potent connections, so I’m going to play this like one of them (likely many more than that) can run and is here to win, and therefore will win.Pk5 A horses: 2,9,8,6You could use the remaining five, most notably #3 Whiskey and You (9-2), but I’m siding with the connections and apparent talent of the quartet above.Pk5 B horses: NONELeg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:25 ET) –3up (Fl-bred) AOC (12k/N1X) at 6 furlongsA full field of 12 with plenty of speed means this one could fall apart late, so I’ll try to blow it up with #8 PASSIONATE HACHI (12-1), who has been running against open claimers and will (hopefully) be rolling late when all the heat begins to takes its toll. The other logicals—#7 R MERCEDES BOY (9-2), #1 AWESOME ACTION (7-2), #4 ALLURSTRA (4-1), #6 SPECTRE BOND (6-1), #11 GNARLY (8-1)—all figure and will take plenty of tote support, and have shown hints of rating gears, which seems imperative to success here.Pk5 A horses: 8,7,1,4,6,11 (Please note that to keep the backup tickets down, I’ll use only 8,7,1,4)Wiring seems too tough here, so I’m going to use #10 PARTICULARITY (10-1) underneath, even though a repeat of that big win for 10k last time would be good enough here, and he could improve off the Dibona claim (16%)Pk5 B horses: 10Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R4 (5:45 ET) – 3up 20k N2L at 6 furlongsGolden Gate tripped me up last week, so hopefully I’ll be able to navigate through this one, which, admittedly, looks like a real puzzle. Baker sure got #6 HONEYMOONZ OVER (4-1) to fire off the claim last time, and while he rises in class, that was a big-figure win and he will trip out here. getting back over the local Tapeta should help #4 ROYAL CHARM (10-1), who didn’t fire on dirt last time but looked good winning in good time over starter foes here two-back. What do you do with Del Mar invader #11 PASSIONATE REWARD (3-1), who has never run on synthetic and runs for a tag for the first time? I have to use him, but I wouldn’t want to stand alone with him either. The consistent form of #7 COUNTRY ROAD (5-1) makes him worth a play, especially since he wasn’t far behind ‘Over last time and would be right there if that one regresses.Pk5 A horses: 6,4,11,7I don’t fully trust #8 EASY GAME (8-1), who just beat lesser in fast time, but a repeat puts him on the line with these, and the price will be right to at least use him as a secondary play.Pk5 B horses: 8Leg 4: Laurel Park R9 (5:52 ET) –3upfm 5k N4L* at 1-mileTough sledding here, as the entire field of nine looks about the same on paper (very slow) and tough to separate. The tactical speed of #9 MAJESTIC PIC (9-2) makes her very playable, as there’s not a lot of pace here, while #3 DEAR CHARLOTTE (5-1), who beat her by a nose last time, also has some early foot. I guess #6 BOOM BOOM GONE (7-2) makes sense, and she does enter off a 7 1/2-length win at Timonium, though her Laurel races are more miss than hit.Pk5 A horses: 9,3,6The improving pattern of #1 LETMESLIDEBYYOU (8-1) makes her a price player, and she’s got some hidden form too, as she tossed her rider three-back then probably needed her return, so if you focus on the Timonium 5th last time, or the Pimlico 4th in May, then she’s a player. I know #4 Postino’s Secret (6-1) beat my top-2 picks last time, but she has no speed at all, so I’ll make her back it up.Pk5 B horses: 1Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:29 ET) – 2yo (Fl-bred) 50k MCL at 6 furlongsI’ve been spreading deep in the earlier four legs because I have a single here in #1 HENRY’S WORLD (3-1), who was favored on debut, caught slop, tangled with the winner, then relented late, but meets what looks like a below average group here, and O’Connell is 21% with second-out maidens, so he figures to move forward in a big way.Pk5 A horses: 1There are others you can use here, as #5 Silver Connection (9-2) and #2 Frank First (15-1) take the MSW drop, while #6 Realtor Danny D (6-1) has a slew of works for his debut, and #7 He’s Lucky (15-1) and #8 Smash (7-2) ran OK against open MCL’ers on debut, but I’ll stand alone with ‘World.Pk5 B horses: NONEThe tickets:Main Ticket: 2,9,8,6 with 8,7,1,4,6,11 with 6,4,11,7 with 9,3,6 with 1 = $288Leg 2 B Backup: 2,9,8,6 with 10 with 6,4,11,7 with 9,3,6 with 1 = $48Leg 3 B Backup: 2,9,8,6 with 8,7,1,4 with 8 with 9,3,6 with 1 = $48Leg 4 B Backup: 2,9,8,6 with 8,7,1,4 with 6,4,11,7 with 1 with 1 = $64

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9.19.2019:

Five Races I Can’t Wait to Bet on Saturday, September 21

It’s another great weekend in racing, but aren’t they all?There are major stakes races from coast-to-coast and the focus of many handicappers will be on Laurel’s ‘September to Remember’ Xpressbet De Francis Dash card and/or Parx’s massive Pennsylvania Derby celebration.  I have picks for both races, but I’ve also identified a few other stakes races that look too good to pass up.  The action gets underway early with Parx and Laurel at 12:25PM ET each (a little inconvenient but they sort themselves out throughout the day and the big Laurel races are over before the meat of the Parx card starts) and continues late into the night, as my last feature race goes to post after 10PM ET in West Virginia.  So keep those bankrolls flush throughout the day and don’t go belly up too early!Plus, before we talk picks, let’s talk Xpressbet promos: Pennsylvania Derby 1 Million Point All-Stakes Pick 4 Split:  Hit the All-Stakes Pick 4 (Races 8 – 11) to split 1 Million XB Rewards Points. Laurel Money-Back Guarantee:  Get your cash back, up to $10, if your horse finishes 2nd or 3rd in any/all of these races – Laurel Futurity (Race 5), Bald Eagle Derby (Race 6), G3 Baltimore/Washington International Turf Cup (Race 7) and G3 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash (Race 8).  And, without further ado, here are the previews and picks!G1 Pennsylvania DerbyParx Racing (Race 11, 5:48PM ET)With ML favorite Maximum Security out with an illness, this has become – in most people’s eyes – a two horse showdown between Mr. Money and Improbable.  The luster seems to be off the third horse in the discussion, War of Will, and that would make this a great time to give him a little extra consideration.  Mr. Money has won four straight races – all G3s – and it’s extremely fair to note that he’s beaten horses like Plus Que Parfait, Signalman, Gray Magician, Hog Creek Hustle, Chess Chief and Math Wizard during his streak.  On the other hand, Improbable was remarkably disappointing as the favorite in both the KY Derby and Preakness, finishing 5th and 6th, respectively.  He hasn’t won a graded stakes race since December and his comeback in the Shared Belief Stakes at Del Mar was fine, but he didn’t beat much.  War of Will got some time away from racing following his 5th place finish in the G2 Jim Dandy and he seems to be working great for this comeback – bullets galore at Saratoga and Belmont.  If Mark Casse has him right, he’s a horse to beat.  And please don’t sleep on the local horse, Spun to Run.  He’ll be overlooked (he’s 8/1 ML), but I don’t think there’s a huge difference between him and Mr. Money.  He ran great to win the G3 Smarty Jones Stakes on September 2 here at Parx.  1. #4 War of Will (5/1)2. #6 Mr. Money (4/1)3. #5 Spun to Run (8/1) G1 Cotillion StakesParx Racing (Race 10, 5:14PM ET) This year’s three-year-old filly division has been in flux from the outset as reigning sophomore champion Jaywalk has struggled to replicate her best races, compiling just a 1-for-5 mark in ’19.  California’s ‘best’ was thought to be Bellafina, but tardy starts in the G1 Kentucky Oaks and G1 Test have tarnished her shine.  And Kentucky Oaks winner, Serengeti Empress, is the truest ‘need the lead’ type in racing and continues to draw the rail, which even moreso forces the hand of whomever sits on her back.  All of that uncertainty makes it very easy to love a filly like Guarana here.  The daughter of Ghostzapper is 3-for-3 in her career with a pair of G1 scores.  The only issue – on paper at least – is her only two turn try returned her lowest Beyer Speed Figure (92).  What if two-turn racing isn’t her forte?  That’s the risk that bettors have to take if they’re going to bet the chalk here.  For my money, the race shape benefits her so much that it’s hard to look elsewhere.  That said, if something happens and Jaywalk and/or Bellafina don’t run, that could make Serengeti Empress the right play.1. #8 Guarana (9/5)2. #6 Horologist (15/1) 3. #1 Serengeti Empress (7/2) G3 Xpressbet Frank J. De Francis Memorial DashLaurel Park (Race 8, 4:00PM ET)The Xpressbet office is buzzing over the Frank J. De Francis Memorial Dash and it’s not just because we’re the title sponsor of the race.  It’s a very solid edition of a race that has, at least historically, had pre or post-Breeders’ Cup implications.  New York Central won a G3 at Pimlico in May.  Bon Raison, Killybegs Captain, Altissimo and He Hate Me are all stakes winners.  My pick here is going to be He Hate Me.  He’s in the top form of his life and I think they may have been just a bit too aggressive last out when he was put on the lead in a stakes race up at Saratoga.  He seems better suited to sit just off the lead, take charge and hold them off late.  1. #6 He Hate Me (3/1) 2. #7 New York Central (5/2) 3. #4 Bon Raison (5/1) My colleague, Jeremy Plonk, has a different take on the ‘Dash.  Here’s his analysis.  G3 Kelso HandicapBelmont Park (Race 10, 5:57PM ET)The hole left by Catholic Boy’s defection cuts pretty hard through this field but him looking elsewhere might just create a better betting race for those putting money on it.  I’ve never quite known what to do with Prince Lucky, but I’ve come to appreciate that this horse is more consistent than I have given him credit for.  If you put a line through his wet track races, he’s 7-for-11 in his career and it’s hard to hold a Met Mile loss or a wide trip in the Lecomte against him.  He’s back in top form and has a great running style to succeed here so I’m going to bet him with Plainsman.  Shug brought that one back off the layoff in a sprint race and the horse simply doesn’t perform as well going short.  He’ll be much sharper now.  1. #5 Prince Lucky (2/1) 2. #6 Plainsman (4/1) 3. #3 Pat On the Back (3/1) G3 Charles Town Oaks Charles Town (Race 11, 10:15PM ET) Last year, a local filly – Late Night Pow Wow – scored the upset in this race.  And that makes sense.  Charles Town’s bullring oval is tough to navigate for shippers and the loscal horses know their way around the oval.  There’s only one such filly in this time around, Parisian Diva, but you’d better believe she’ll be on my ticket at 12/1 ML.  She’s 7-for-10 at Charles Town, 3-for-4 at the distance and is ridden by Jose Montano, one of the premier riders at the track.  You’ve got to be impressed by Linda Rice’s Newly Minted.  She’s 4-for-4 on dirt and no filly has ever finished within 2 1/2-lengths of her.  This will be her first start outside of restricted/state-bred company, though.  That won’t deter me.  Brad Cox’s Irish Mischief feels like a good horse with a questionable ML.  She has popped back-to-back 89 Beyers – the best of this field – and is 8/1 ML.  Only one horse has run a faster race on the Beyer scale and that was Fashion Faux Pas when she ran away with a minor stakes race at Delaware.1. #2 Irish Mischief (8/1)2. #5 Newly Minted (4/1)3. #3 Parisian Diva (12/1) Those are my picks – good luck with your plays and let’s cash some tickets!

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9.19.2019:

A Stroll in the Parx

Yours truly will visit Parx Saturday for a fun-filled afternoon at the races. It’s a short drive—about 45 minutes east on the PA Turnpike—but a special one because it will be Pennsylvania Derby Day, a golden opportunity to meet with out of town friends, acquaintances and to enjoy some outstanding racing in my own backyard. In the early 70’s, as a high school student, I remember a double date with a pal and his girl for the races at Liberty Bell, then Philly’s only harness and thoroughbred track. Dropped off home at around midnight, I noticed that my car wasn’t where I had parked it. Turns out it was stolen. To this day, that remains my biggest losing day at the track. A few years later, Keystone Race Track (now named Parx Casino and Racing) was built. I remember visiting one afternoon with my uncle. He told me to stay where I was, and I watched as he went near the paddock and whispered with another man. I don’t recall any particulars like names or numbers or loud rooting, but I clearly remember my uncle returning from the cashier’s window with a palm-full of cash. After that, I returned to Keystone often. How could I not? They were giving out wads of money! About a decade later, they changed the name of the track from Keystone to Philadelphia Park, but that didn’t help a young, budding horseplayer to collect one of those wads. Never happened. A few years later, as I worked the Southern California racing circuit in a variety of positions, back home Greenwood Racing, Inc. purchased Philly Park. They welcomed full-card simulcasting and erected six off-track locations called Turf Clubs. About 10 years ago, they changed the name of the track to Parx to reflect a more glamorous and exciting vibe connected to the melodic sounds of slot machines. After a 30-year hiatus, in 2004, I moved back to the Philly area just in time to experience locally-based Smarty Jones’ amazing assault on the Triple Crown. I was there along with around 10,000 others one Saturday morning between the Preakness and Belmont when trainer John Servis, on horseback clad in a red and white Philadelphia Flyers jersey, ponied Smarty out for a celebratory gallop around the track. Unfortunately, the Flyers quickly were ousted from the playoffs and Smarty faded in the Belmont stretch, but the colt’s immense popularity proved critical to the passing of legislation that legalized slot machines at state race tracks. Amazingly, according to Wikipedia, “Horse Racing was the first type of gambling to be legalized in Pennsylvania, having been legal since the passing of the Race Horse Industry Reform Act in 1959. The first race track to open after the passage of that act was Meadows Racetrack (home of Xpressbet in Washington, PA) in 1963.” Liberty Bell, in Philly, also opened in ’63. Apparently, however, they were racing horses in The City of Brotherly Love way before then. Race Street, a major east-west Philly artery was one of William Penn’s original gridded streets from the 1680s and named Sassafras Street. Again, from Wikipedia, “The name ‘Race Street’ was originally a nickname given to the street as the street was used for horse racing in the late 1800s. The name became official some time in the mid 1850s.”  Now, the Pennsylvania Derby isn’t nearly as glamorous as the 3-year-old shindig they host in Kentucky each year, and it certainly doesn’t attract as many high-profile runners as the Santa Anita or Gulfstream versions, but it usually draws a star or two, mostly lured by a $1 million purse. This year, the race originally promised an appearance by original Kentucky Derby winner Maximum Security. However, Monday he suffered a severe tummy ache, visited the emergency room and probably won’t be seen in the afternoon for the rest of this year. Forget Mylanta. Pass on Pepto. Skip Tums. Reject Rolaids. Instead, call a vet. Immediately. To a horse, an upset stomach can prove deadly. Thankfully, Maximum Security will be OK…even avoided the surgeon’s knife. He just can’t race for a while. And for a racehorse that’s got to be depressing--like a bird that’s been grounded or a fish forced out of water. Not suffering more than he did can be counted as a break for a horse that hasn’t had many in a short career. First time out in a Gulfstream Park maiden race, Maximum Security was underestimated, ignored and offered for sale at the discount-bin, bottom-of-the-barrel price of $16k. Worse than that, no one claimed him! He won that race and the next two before romping in the Florida Derby. Of course, he still got the Rodney Dangerfield treatment from some—no respect. Critics said he had made an easy lead in the race on a conveyer-belt track. It would be different in Kentucky, they predicted. It wasn’t. He went to the front and kept going. Unfortunately, he also went sideways for a few strides. That’s when his troubles began. After the race, opponents pointed fingers and waved hands. ‘Teacher, teacher,’ they cried, ‘Maximum hit me!’ Stewards agreed, confiscated his blanket of roses, and banished jockey Luis Saez to ‘timeout’ in a corner. In his next start at Monmouth Park, he failed as the prohibitive favorite and detractors unleashed a flurry of ‘I told you sos’ and it seemed as if they were right. Then Maximum Security won the Haskell Stakes over a game Mucho Gusto and he was back atop of the sophomore heap where he belonged. Saratoga’s Travers was next on the schedule, offering a golden opportunity to silence detractors once and for all. Unfortunately, the colt never made it to upstate New York. Trainer Jason Servis didn’t like how he was training, so he cancelled all Spa reservations and instead announced the PA Derby as the new target. Maximum Security’s PA Derby defection leaves Improbable as the probable (see what we did there?) favorite. He’s trained by Bob Baffert, ridden by Mike Smith and winner of four of eight starts, including an impressive score in the Shared Belief last out at Del Mar. He’s best from just off the pace and was unbeaten in three starts before missing by a neck to Long Range Toddy in the Rebel Stakes. Blinkers were added next out in the Arkansas Derby and he finished a length behind highly-regarded Omaha Beach. What many forget is that Improbable was the lukewarm Kentucky Derby favorite at 4-1 and that he finished a mere three and one-quarter lengths behind original winner Maximum Security. Preakness winner War of Will demands support, but he was disappointing in the Belmont and in the Jim Dandy last out. He needs to bounce back to top form in here. He has bullets in three out of four works for this—two at Saratoga and two at Belmont. Since August 25th, he’s outworked all 140 horses that breezed identical distances at the same tracks on the same days! That’s got to count for something. What’s most important for War of Will is that he relax. Like the rest of us, that’s when he’s at his best. Unfortunately, it’s rare when he doesn’t argue with jockey Tyler Gaffalione early in the race. That behavior, if repeated Saturday, will spell doom. Mr. Money is most interesting. Fresh off a Churchill maiden route score he was a well-beaten fourth in the 2018 BC Juvenile. At three, two Grade 2 Fair Grounds stakes starts—Risen Star and Louisiana Derby, respectively—went poorly. He cut back to a one-turn mile in the Grade 3 Pat Day Mile and won for fun. He returned in the Grade 3 Matt Winn and romped again. He then added two Grade 3 derbies to his resume—Indiana and West Virginia, respectively—both with clear winning margins. No question, he’s the ‘now’ horse. Since August 3, trainer Brett Calhoun has given him three works at Churchill and they’re all bullets—better than a total of 83 others working there on identical days at the same distances. Need more convincing? Hunch players will lean on the fact that Edward Joseph Mahoney, rock singer and songwriter better known as Eddie Money, recently passed on Sept. 13. Local talent Spun to Run battled to a hard-fought game victory over Grey Magician in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones at Parx earlier this month. That was his third win in five Parx tries with one second and produced an all-time high Beyer Speed Figure. It would be a surprise if he could repeat that effort Saturday, but he loves the track and trainer Juan Carlos Guerrero wins at a 22% clip. Math Wizard has the rail and will be hoping for a pace meltdown. He’s tried Grade 3 company in his last three races—Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia Derbies, respectively--with a close second to Owendale and a distant third to Mr. Money among those finishes. Last out, ‘Wizard delivered a dull effort behind Mr. Money in the West Virginia Derby. Astutely claimed for $25k at Gulfstream in January by trainer Joseph Saffie, ‘Wizard finished nearly 11 lengths behind Maximum Security in a Gulfstream $16k maiden race in December 2018. He’s won just two of 12 lifetime starts. The Pennsylvania Derby day card includes the $1 million, Grade 1 Cotillion, one of the filly and mare division’s top events; the Grade 2, $300k Gallant Bob at six furlongs; the $150k Park Dirt Mile, and the $150k Turf Amazon sprint for fillies and mares. A pair of rich state-bred races lead up to the graded stakes bonanza. In short, this stroll in the Parx offers something for everyone—including for a guy whose been around too long to admit. Race On!

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9.16.2019:

What 25 Years in Racing has Taught Me

Twenty-five years ago this month I was an intern at Churchill Downs with my first job in the horse racing industry. I had the chance to take in a few other firsts as part of that gig. Our staff helped open Hoosier Park on September 1, 1994 and then aided Turfway Park in the presentation of the inaugural Kentucky Cup on September 24 that same month.A quarter-century later, racing at Hoosier Park never took hold and neither did the Kentucky Cup. Hoosier reverted to only harness racing during the 2013 season, has been sold multiple times and relies heavily on a since-added casino (like many tracks). The Kentucky Cup bit the dust after 2011 and portions of it, sort of, have been revived on the local undercard in March in the past two years. In fact, Turfway Park no longer runs its September meeting, banished to winter racing in Kentucky and now facing a perilous future at that.What was brand-spanking new in September 1994 mostly missed the mark. Add to that list a since-abandoned National Best Seven Wager, which would have been taken down by yours truly and fellow intern Darren Rogers on our $24 halfsies ticket had Fastness not lost by a length to Blues Traveller in the October 1, 1994 Bay Meadows Handicap. Grudges, yeah we horseplayers have a few. Old wounds don’t heal.Darren and I both made it though. That’s the silver lining. He went on to become communications chief at Lone Star and eventually back at Churchill Downs. I’ve managed to bluff my way through a career part-corporate, part-entrepreneur. We both built families and some comfort while chasing our passions. You can’t ask for any more than that from a livelihood.The moral to this story is that racing’s next 25 years, just like its last 25, isn’t about the ideas; it’s about its people. Racetracks will pop up and struggle to succeed. New-fangled series will come along and catch some interest for a while, but likely fade – hey, that inaugural Kentucky Cup featured Tabasco Cat vs. Best Pal, and the series would be buoyed in follow-up years by the likes of Thunder Gulch, Silver Charm, Point Given and a Hard Spun vs. Street Sense Kentucky Derby rematch. Someone will cobble together another new wager that has fair-enough industry support like the National Best Seven, but just won’t really catch on enough to change the landscape.New tracks, new stakes and new wagers all have been tried with mostly flat to negative results.None of America’s top racing venues today were built since the 1930s. Think about that. Gulfstream Park, which opened in 1939, is the youngster of the group (though certainly underwent a modernization in the past decade). All of the top-handling tracks are woven in the fabric of racing history – Saratoga, Belmont, Aqueduct, Keeneland, Churchill, Santa Anita, Del Mar, Oaklawn, Fair Grounds and even Tampa Bay Downs date that far back or longer. The tracks built from the 1980s on haven’t taken hold as major racing venues despite mostly hot starts and industry pushes – think Lone Star Park, host of the 2004 Breeders’ Cup. Almost this entire generation of racetracks has morphed into racinos from Remington Park to Canterbury Park to Prairie Meadows and more.New stakes also have been tried to pique interest, most recently 3-year-old turf triples in New York for both the colts and fillies. Good luck noticing any additional handle, attendance or public interest there. That’s not a knock for trying something new; it’s just an example of been there, done that. The Sunshine Millions was supposed to pit Florida and California’s breeding programs in a high-dollar showdown with national ad buy time on NBC Sports. It was an expensive advertisement that never caught on. State-bred championship days have popped up all over the racing map trying to recapture what the Breeders’ Cup accomplished. They’ve been mostly successful for state breeders and local horseman, and in some cases like the Maryland Million good for local event attendance, but widely invisible to the national wagering public. The Breeders’ Cup came about in 1984 and absolutely was historic in terms of a race/series changing Thoroughbred racing. But we’ve learned in the 35 years since that there’s not much space between the Triple Crown and Breeders’ Cup for a new race or series to be demonstrably important to the health of the industry. The Pegasus World Cup came along in 2017 and stands the best chance to be the exception. It’s kept Breeders’ Cup Classic winners around an extra 3 months before retirement and generated some massive handle days. Longevity will be the challenge.New wagers also have come and gone, introduced both at the minor and most major of leagues. The dime superfecta took life at fresh-faced Sam Houston and was adopted by the big boys. The jackpot, single-ticket pick sixes were the marketing braintrust of since-defunct Beulah Park and now commonplace. The pick four was unveiled at the 2000 Breeders’ Cup, the top of the heap. They’re now part of the multiple-times-daily regular menu at everytrack USA. But they haven’t presided over budding national handle. They’ve been a part of the slide and not the answer. In fact, racing economists, old folks and common-sensers alike argue that they’ve contributed to the downfall with less churn, higher takeout and a bankroll-emptying impact on a higher percentage of players.Maybe it was a longshot to last 25 years in this industry as I look back on it. Consider that since then we’ve lost Hollywood Park, Hialeah, Garden State, Atlantic City, Rockingham and Suffolk among others. For any individual to outlast that history is pretty sobering.Creativity looks good in a Power Point presentation. But racing organizations must invest in the right people who care enough about this game, and are smart enough to do something about it, to move it forward.

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9.16.2019:

Monday, September 16: Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park begins the week with a competitive 10-race card. The popular 0.20 Pick 5 starts the action and will be my focus. There is a $50,000 guaranteed pool for the sequence but the total wagered tonight could be twice as much.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Horse Trader-Consistent 2-year-old should like the company and be a major player.2-Threefiftytwo-ML chalk looks the part when he stays on stride, risky but has beaten Gold 2-year-olds.8-Lovedbythemasses-Will need a top effort but last win was sharp from the 10-hole in Grassroots action.Race 23-Mia Culpa-Was driven more aggressively in last and will look for more of same tonight, could take 1st picture.5-P L Nelly-Makes 2nd start for new barn, may make amends for an odds-on loss, can get a smoother trip here.6-Regil Electron-Will toss last after a bad start, has speed and may have met the right field to break maiden.Race 31-Wilsons Vinner-Has been facing tougher and draws a good slot to pick-up 2nd win of the year.2-National Sport-Another in a better spot, may get on the engine and not look back.3-Night Watchman-Beaten favorite held own versus Gold foes, looks like a player in a tough a race.Race 43-Better Take It-Will toss last at Clinton, looks to be getting better and should relish return to the big track.6-Mission Bay-Steps-up after a sharp effort and could win right back at a square price.10-Quick Tour-Might be pedal down from the start, speedy gelding could have enough speed to not look back.Race 55-The Regulator-Fits better here and gets a good post draw to find some cover and roll by down the lane.6-Battle Strong-Gets some post relief and Filion steers for the first time, could be dialed on high tonight.7-Balder Son-McNair gets back between the pipes after a sharp effort, needs a trip but best to consider.My Ticket Race 1) 1,2,8 Race 2) 3,5,6 Race 3) 1,2,3/ Race 4) 3,6,10 Race 5) 5,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $48.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.15.2019:

Sunday, September 15: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has an 11-race card set to roll tonight. The headliner from a betting standpoint is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which begins in Race 8. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday at Hawthorne was Casey Leonard with three pictures. Trainer Nelson Willis led the conditioners with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 81-Not Me Gram-1-43 is tough to use but tries hard and from the rail will use at 30-1 and hope Plano puts in play.2-Always Party Time-Likes to race close to the lead and should be forwardly placed for Team Wilfong.7-American Boy-Loses Wilfong so Stewart needs to work a trip, this guy has speed and could win right back.Race 91-Threeupthreedown-Camera shy but from the rail and at this level could trip out and capture top honors.7-Kristy'sgingergal-This is a soft spot but has been troubled by breaking issues, can take a picture if minds manners.10-Pepin Coolie-6-year-old has been a nice story and continues winning even from bad posts, best to respect again.Race 104-Royale Big Guy-Camera shy but drops to a level of recent success, was passing foes down the lane in last.6-Best Man Hanover-Drops to a good spot but still will need a trip, Wilfong's choice over 3 others is a player.Race 113-Rocky Road Aldo-Stayed flat in qualifier and should be a threat if breaking issues are cured.5-Cinder Norma-Has trouble finishing but may catch a trip and finally meet a field that can be beat on the big track.6-Michonne-The best on paper but will be bet hard and wasn't as good in last as in recent winning streak.7-Reining Cassis-Will take a swing with 1st time Leonard plus 2nd time Lasix in a race without much form.My Ticket Race 8) 1,2,7 Race 9) 1,7,10 Race 10) 4,6 Race 11) 3,5,6,7Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.14.2019:

Saturday, September 14: Belmont Park Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.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:RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Getoffmyback; 5-OrpheusForecast: Orpheus has won 13 races during his career, but the 8-year-old gelding hasn’t been very productive in the past two years (he’s 1-for-22 and winless in 11 starts in 2019). However, even in his present form, the C. Martin-trained gelding looks best of this modest group. Six furlongs has never been his trip, but the son of Forestry should be able to find a way to tag the leaders late. Getoffmyback, first off the claim for R. Atras (20% with this angle), is another old pro with nine career wins, one of which came over the Belmont Park main track last year. Recent numbers have been well below his norm, but for new connections he could easily snap back. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these and we’ll include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 2: Post 1:33 ET. Grade: B-Single: 5-The Happy GiantForecast: We’ll single this very difficult state-bred maiden claiming turf router, not so much because we have a great conviction but simply because we don’t feel like investing a lot of money trying to be right. The Happy Giant was a close fourth (beaten a length) in a similar event at Saratoga last month and with any kind of forward move today may be capable of producing the last run. He’s a fit on numbers and his one prior try over the local lawn wasn’t bad against maiden special weight foes. If it’s not him, it could be anybody. The other options are to use as many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play or simply pass the race.RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B+Single: 1-Identity Politics/1a-Build to SuitForecast: Build to Suit was nosed out in his first start in more than five months in a state-bred stakes at Saratoga last month and a repeat of that race today in this second-level open allowance race should be good enough. The sparingly-raced son of Dominus shows a healthy recent work pattern since that race so we’re expecting to see a top effort. Entry mate Identify Politics has credentials of his own and gives C. Brown a powerful hand. Let’s make the coupling a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 4: Post 2:39 ET. Grade: C+Use: 2-Adorable Maya; 4-Maru; 6-Saratoga BeautyForecast: This New York-bred juvenile sprint for fillies appears to have come up fairly weak. We’ll spread using three and hope to get by. Saratoga Beauty is the quickest of the quick though she has yet to show a willinglyness to finish under pressure. Against this group as the controlling speed, the daughter of Mucho Uno may get brave and never look back. Adorable Maya, a fair fourth in her debut over a sloppy track, didn’t get much play in that race (19-1) so she’s a hard one to judge. If she moves forward, she has a chance to be a strong late threat. Maru is a first-timer with a moderate series of drills. The daughter of Competitive Edge won’t have to be a world beater to be a fit in this spot.RACE 5: Post 3:12 ET. Grade: BSingle: 1-Rhode IslandForecast: Rhode Island drops to $10,000 below his $40,000 claim level, but this barn can be aggressive with this type of horse so we suspect the son of Giant’s Causeway is ready for a major effort. A winner over this course in the past and with solid recent speed figures, the L. Rice-trained colt lands the good rail and should have every chance from a ground-saving position. Let’s take a stand and use him as a straight play and rolling exotic single.RACE 6: Post 3:45 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Secondary Market; 3-Mrs S; 4-New Day DawningForecast: Mrs. S is an intriguing first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn and looks cranked up for a major effort following a series of good-looking drills. The expensive ($230,000) daughter of Creative Cause doesn’t have a whole lot to beat, so if she breaks cleanly she should be a major player from start to finish. Secondary Market closed with some interest to be third in her debut and has a right to move forward with that experience behind her. She doesn’t appear to have a lot of quickness leaving the gate and as such her rail post may be problematic, but you have to use her. Thissmytime brought $140,000 at the OBS April sale where she previewed in 10 1/5 seconds and looked decent doing it. She’s bred to win early (Carpe Die,) and in an open fray is worth tossing in somewhere.RACE 7: Post 4:18 ET. Grade: B+Use: 3-Indochine; 5-Scrape; 11-Coalition BuildingForecast: Coalition Building has been impressive in the morning and appears to have plenty of speed, even though her pedigree (Lemon Drop Kid) suggests she should be at her best going long on grass. It’s under these conditions that she makes her racing debut for C. Brown, and if she breaks with her field she should be in the fray – or perhaps even in front – in a field that doesn’t have a whole lot of early speed in it. Let’s put her on top both in rolling exotic play and in the straight pool but use a couple of others as back-ups or savers. The logical favorite and strictly the one to beat is the other C. Brown entrant, Indochine, a strong-finishing third in a fast sprint in her debut and likely to improve significantly with experience and added distance. Scrape has looked decent in the morning as well and the debuting daughter of War Front could be dangerous for W. Mott. A bullet gate drill (47 2/5 seconds, fastest of 37) catches the eye.RACE 8: Post 4:51 ET. Grade: B-Use: 5-Connectivity; 6-Morelikelythannot; 9-KeotaForecast: Keota remains protected by J. Servis – always a positive sign – and with the return to grass the daughter of Lonhro should regain her best form. A proven course specialist with three wins in five starts, the versatile filly can be tough on the front end or from off the pace, so J. Lezcano can assess the race flow and adjust accordingly. Connectivity, claimed in her last pair and now in the barn of S. Asmussen (20% with this angle), is lightly-raced with competitive numbers and room for further improvement. A repeat of her race before last – a sharp win for $50,000 when in the C. Brown stable – probably would be good enough to beat this field. Morelikelythannot finally broke her maiden in her eighth career start and could come right back with another forward move. On numbers she’s a fit. Let’s give Keota top billing but include all three in our rolling exotics.RACE 9: Post 5:24 ET. Grade: B-Use: 3-Bassman Dave; 5-LutskyForecast: Lutsky makes his first start as a gelding and will race without blinkers, two reasons we suspect the son of Yes It’s True will regain his best form. He broke his maiden at Belmont Park last year, and while disappointing ever since he exits the Jersey Shore Stakes and should appreciate this softer assignment. Bassman Dave won a recent maiden race with an improved speed figure but today will have to handle a tougher field and extra half furlong. He should draft into a good stalking spot and then have every chance from there. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Lutsky.RACE 10: Post 5:57 ET. Grade: BUse: 4-Seek and Destroy; 8-EastForecast: East was a closing but distant second in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf and earlier this year in France finished an excellent third in the French 1000 guineas. Unplaced in a pair of Group-1 races since, she returns to the States and will get Lasix so it’s entirely possible that in her first start for C. Clement the daughter of Frankel will regain her top form. Seek and Destroy looked outstanding winning a Grade-3 race at Woodbine with a strong late kick and if she can repeat that effort under these conditions she’ll have a big chance to score right back. She’s a versatile filly that can be tough on the lead but is just as effective when held up early. Let’s put East slightly on top but double the race in rolling exotic play.RACE 11: Post 6:30 ET. Grade: B-Use: 4-Mike’s Girl; 7-AndrettaForecast: Andretta shows up in a $30,000 claimer, a realistic spot, and the J. Bond-trained daughter of Freud has recent numbers that will beat this field. She’s hit the board in four of five career starts over the Belmont Park turf course and should be forwardly placed and trouble-free throughout. Mike’s Girl won a maiden $40,000 claimer at Saratoga in gate-to-wire fashion recently, finally earning her diploma in her 10th race career start. It was a career-top performance by the daughter of Scat Daddy, once that puts her in the hunt at this level. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have an extra ticket or two keying Andretta on top.

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9.14.2019:

Saturday, September 14: Woodbine Mohawk Park Stakes Analysis

Tonight, Woodbine Mohawk Park features some of the best 2 and 3-year-old trotters competing in four stakes totally over $1.7 million in purses. The 10-race card also includes the Metro eliminations for 2-year-old colt pacers and the She's A Great Lady elims for 2-year-old filly pacers.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 4-Peaceful Way Final-Purse $405,0003-Dip Me Hanover (5/2)-Miller should make the best of an inside post draw, ML chalk can make it 2-straight, slight edge.6-Jula Shes Magic (10-1)-Racing well since switch to Jamieson, should get a good trip, a player at a price.9-Hello Tomorrow (4-1)-Post draw is biggest concern, needs a top steer from Gingras but best to not overlook.Race 6-William Wellwood Memorial-Final-Purse $370,0005-HP Royal Theo (8-1)-Tough race, price play could be on the lead in or in the pocket, will lean toward local player.4-Capricornus (5/2)-Very sharp and Tetrick could have the ML favorite rolling down the lane for 3rd straight photo.3-Back Of the Neck (3-1)-Consistent and from this post should be on top or in 2-hole, best to respect.Race 8-Canadian Trotting Classic-Final-Purse $605,0004-Green Manalishi S (5/2)-Worst race this year was Hambo Final, can make amends tonight, 3-3 at Wbsb, major player.5-Pilot Discretion (9/2)-Goodtimes winner is 2-2 here, very good post and McCarthy has options at a square price.2-Forbidden Trade (3-1)-Hambo champ and local hero should be tough and probably bet hard, will use but not on top.Race 10-Elegantimage-Final-$376,0003-When Dovescry (5/2)-Winner of 4 straight, this is a bigger challenge than last week but that win came off a sick scratch.1-Only Takes Cash (3-1)-Hasn't faced this type of field but is 14-17 LT, 6-8 in '19 and 3-3 here and may get a pocket trip.9-The Ice Dutchess (9/2)-It would take a big effort to win from this spot with good speed inside, but best to not overlook.Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.13.2019:

Solid trio takes aim at Miss Gracie Stakes in Gulfstream Pick 4

Vow to Recover returns to her home base for the $75,000 Miss Gracie Stakes Saturday at Gulfstream Park. It's the feature race of the day, and as the 11th race also represents the third leg of the late Pick 4. Vow the Recover won the Honey Ryder Stakes at Gulfstream and was 4th in the Martha Washington before taking the journey north to Saratoga, where she was 5th in the Grade 2 Lake Placid Stakes. Trainer Elizabeth Dobles has the 3-year-old Broken Vow filly back to Hallandale Beach, where she the tepid 3-1 morning-line choice in the 7.5-furlong turf race. This is far from an easy spot. She drew the outside No. 11 post and it will be up to jockey Edgard Zayas to get her into a good position heading into the first turn. Vow to Recover is a must-use in the Pick 4 – but not alone in leg 3. It's a good field, and Zarina and Itsmyluckycharm are worthy of inclusion. Zarina won the Martha Washington, finishing three lengths ahead of Vow to Recover. Zarina is a good closer and Leonel Reyes likely will have the Chad Stewart-trained daughter of Temple City rolling late. A third legit option in the feature is Edward Plesa, Jr. trainee Itsmyluckycharm, who has won seven of her last eight races and most recently won the Azalea Stakes. Her last two wins were on the main track, but she also was able to win a stakes race as she took the Mrs Presidents Stakes in February. She will be a strong player on the turf and she'll be a standout if it moves over to the main track due to wet grounds. Albin Jimenez has the return riding engagement. The approach this week takes a 4x2x3x3 path for $36. The second leg features Eights and Aces and Chiseled in a solid matchup – the latter coming in off a win against similar. Here's the suggested ticket for the late Pick 4 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: 9) #3 Our Closure, #4 Bello Porte, #6 Passion Plus, #10 Kelsey's Cross. 10) #2 Eights and Aces, #8 Chiseled. 11) #2 Zarina, #8 Itsmyluckycharm, #11 Vow to Recover. 12) #3 Sundown Kid, #5 Nanahcub, #9 Plato. 50-cent Pick 4: 3-4-6-10 with 2-8 with 2-8-11 with 3-5-9 ($36).

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9.13.2019:

Friday, September 13: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

The headliners at Hawthorne Racecourse are two and three-year-old trotters and pacers competing in preparation for the Night of Champions on September 21st. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 7. The sequence has a $10,000 guaranteed pool and it will be my focus.On Thursday the driver with the hottest hands at the Stickney oval was Casey Leonard with three wins. There wasn't a conditioner with more than one win on the 8-race card.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Maximus-Very consistent and should be heard from again, has been off since 8-15, using and hope ready.2-Fox Valley Triton-Another chalk that needs to be used, appears to be the one to beat.9-Meyer On Fire-Post draw puts chances slightly below others but has been too good all summer to dismiss.Race 81-Sleazy Gal-Races well close to the top of the stack and Wilfong should put in play early from the rail.7-Fox Valley Exploit-8/5 ML choice has been very good versus these, may have to blast out and try to control race.10-Double Parked-Leading money winner in the field needs a good steer, at 7-1 in the ML could offer good value.Race 93-Late Night Joke-Price shot, last was better, fits here and change to Husted could be beneficial.6-Rising To The Top-Drops to a spot to shine, there should be no excuses, looks like a player.7-Parklane Eagle-Drops to a better spot and Plano should improve chances, using instead of the 2-1 ML chalk #8.Race 104-Skyway Boomer-Had been facing better but comes off a sick scratch, should be a player if ready to do battle.5-Lincolnjames-If 8-year-old is dialed on high he will be tough to beat, can't be sure so will respect but use others.8-Adventure Bound-11-year-old is similar to above, does have a big positive driver change but is only 1-14 in 2019.My Ticket Race 7) 1,2,9 Race 8) 1,7,10 Race 9) 3,6,7 Race 10) 4,5,8Total Ticket Cost) $40.50 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.13.2019:

Xpressbet Race of the Week: Woodbine Mile

$1,000,000 G1 WOODBINE MILE Saturday, September 14, 2019   The Lead: The Queen's Plate has more pomp and circumstance, and the Canadian International more history, but Canada's most important Thoroughbred race from an American perspective easily has become the Woodbine Mile. This race has produced a Breeders' Cup Mile top-3 finisher in 10 of the last 12 years, including 4 winners during that span. Last year, Divisidero exited the Woodbine Mile with a fourth-place run in the BC Mile to best its alumni ... and that was a 'down' year. The Saturday card at Woodbine also includes the G1 Northern Dancer and G2 Canadian.Field Depth:GOT STORMY and RAGING BULL are the only G1 winners in this field, while RANGING BULL consistently has faced clearly the best competition among this lineup. G2 winners include EL TORMENTA, SILENT POET and SYNCHRONY. The filly AWESOMETANK is G1-placed. The class edge absolutely goes to RAGING BULL.Pace:Woodbine is a 1-turn mile with an extremely long stretch run of 1,440 feet. EL TORMENTA, SILENT POET and AMERICAN GURU all offer local early speed that will be tested for class. ADMIRALTY PIER fits that mold as well and should be pressing the pace. MADE YOU LOOK has run much faster early pace figures than his running lines suggest and could be just off the speed, insuring more pace for stablemate RAGING BULL. The classy closers should have every chance to make their mark with a local table-setting.​Our Eyes:The 1-2 rematch from Saratoga's G1 Fourstardave takes enter stage when filly GOT STORMY meets RAGING BULL for the second time. Carrying 6 fewer pounds at the Spa, GOT STORMY was razor-sharp from far back to win going away by 2-1/2 lengths. Now under equal weights at 123 pounds, RAGING BULL will try to turn the tables. Interestingly, both will get jockey changes back to former pilots (Tyler Gaffalione replaces Ricardo Santana aboard GOT STORMY, while Joel Rosario replaces Jose Ortiz aboard RAGING BULL). Santana and Ortiz instead will ride Churchill Downs on Saturday.Prior to the Fourstardave, RAGING BULL had been playing second-fiddle to stablemate Bricks and Mortar, America's clear-cut top turf horse of 2019. This isn't a strong rendition of the Woodbine Mile, and suffice to say no one of Bricks and Mortar's ilk are in the lineup this time. GOT STORMY is the horse to beat for RAGING BULL, and the filly does have a local turf mile win in the 2018 G3 Ontario Colleen in tow. GOT STORMY paired stakes wins 7 days apart at Saratoga in the De La Rose and Fourstardave. You wonder if there's a price to pay for that maxxed summer effort at some point soon? With the weight shift, RAGING BULL may get what he needs in terms of form cycle advantage to flip the result. He's got the field's best BRIS late pace figures and that 1,440-foot stretch may be his best friend Saturday.Beyond the Fourstardave rematch, SYNCHRONY may be the most accomplished of the North American participants. He's struggled at the G1 level in races like the Shadwell Mile and Turf Classic at Churchill, but his local prep win in the G2 King Edward at least answers the course question. Javier Castellano opts not to return for the Woodbine Mile ride, and stays at Belmont to ride a very nondescript Saturday card. Shed no tears as California turf ace Flavien Prat takes the call. The late BRIS pace figures for SYNCHRONY indicate he should be picking up runners in the lane.LUCULLAN has won back-to-back races in New York for a Kiaran McLaughlin barn that wasn't on point at Saratoga. This is a very solid finisher who should save ground on the lone turn, and he's 2-for-2 with Luis Saez in the saddle. Unlike many in there, the vote of confidence from Saez to ride the Woodbine Mile is a refreshing plus.Most Certain Exotics Contender: RAGING BULL is 10-for-11 in the superfecta lifetime and has the class edge with a good pace set-up in front of him.​Best Longshot Exotics Contender: Sent away at 15-1 in the G1 Beverly D when second to superstar Sistercharlie, don't expect the public to heavily back AWESOMETANK in her second US appearance either. Trainer William Haggas and jockey John Egan don't attract attention. AWESOMETANK gets in at just 116 pounds, a 7-pound allowance from the favorites.Sending it in ($100 bankroll): ​$50 exacta part-wheel RAGING BULL with AWESOMETANK and LUCULLAN ($100).

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9.12.2019:

Going the Extra Mile - Woodbine Analysis and Selections

This is an interesting renewal of the Ricoh Woodbine Mile that’s attracted talented locals, a pair of fillies and a duo of contenders from ‘down south.’ Strange to think of Saratoga as being ‘down south,’ but when you’re talking Toronto, Canada, that’s the case. Woodbine’s racing product is solid and a fantastic diversion for US-based horseplayers on a regular basis. Yours truly wishes he could play the track more often but just never seems to get around to it—not with Saratoga and Del Mar hogging the summer spotlight. The Spa and the place where turf meets surf are closed, so now is the perfect time to shift wagering attention north. The Woodbine Mile and surrounding stakes races offer horseplayers a fantastic way to spend Saturday afternoon. Below is one man’s analysis of the 2020 Woodbine Mile.  1-      El Tormenta                Cox/Da Silva                            20-1 This local entrant has a Grade 2 win on his resume over this course at seven furlongs. That’s the good news. The bad news is that he’s unproven at this level. He’s finished behind Silent Poet--a foe he meets in here--twice in his last two races. Expect him to add some early spice from this inside post position and while exiting shorter races. 2-      Lucullan                       McLaughlin/Saez                    8-1 This 5-year-old horse has raced just 3 times in 2018 but is 2-for-2 in 2019. He enters this Grade 1 race off an optional claiming/allowance win and a restricted stakes victory, respectively, at Saratoga. He’s been close in a pair of Grade 3 races and a victory in this race would be a significant step up in class. He’s got the right style--sit just behind whatever early pace materializes--and post position to have a rail-skimming journey. He figures to be around at the end. 3-      Silent Poet                   N. Gonzalez/Boulanger           15-1 This locally based Grade 2 winner Silent Poet is at the top of his game. In 11 lifetime starts this 4-year-old gelding has been first or second 9 times and third once—including a perfect 2-for-2 this year at six and one-half and seven furlongs on turf. That’s authentic consistency. Now, can he deliver a similar knockout blow to a group that includes a few potent invaders? He’s 1-for-1 at the distance, has speed and usually finishes well. All that’s difficult to ignore. 4-      Synchrony                    Stidham/Prat                           6-1 This 6-year-old horse has travelled throughout his career and last out shipped to Woodbine to win the Grade 2 King Edward in June. In the last two years, he’s raced at seven different tracks and compiled six wins out of those 13 starts. He’s trained smartly for this at Fair Hills with several solid five-eighths breezes. That he handles the course is a positive. He’s also performed close to the level needed to win this—facing Bricks and Mortar twice at Fair Grounds and Churchill. Despite his win at the distance last out he’s usually entered at longer trips and won the Grade 2 Mervyn Muniz at a mile and one-eighth. That suggests a mile may not be his most-preferred trip and he’s tried Grade 1 company before and been found a bit lacking at the level. However, he’s sharp, in good hands and will have the talented Flavian Pratt aboard. He’s a contender from off the pace. 5-      Got Stormy                  M. Casse/Gaffalione               8/5 One of two 4-year-old fillies in the cast, Got Stormy humbled males in the Grade 1 Fourstardave at Saratoga last out. That was the best performance of her 15-race career and she’s riding a two-race win streak that includes a win in the restricted De La Rose against females. Those races were a mere seven days apart. She won the latter mile turf test by four lengths and the former by two and one-half. Those are notable winning margins on grass, a surface which usually produce much closer finishes. The thought here, though, is that those two outstanding back-to-back efforts might be a bit too much for her. Despite the fact that she’s on her game and 1-for-1 at the mile distance over the Woodbine course we expect a negative reaction off her last two big efforts. 6-      Awesometank             Haggas/Egan                           8-1 She’s the other 4-year-old filly signed on and comes off a runner-up effort to Sistercharlie in the Grade 1 Beverly D. at Arlington. That race was at a mile and three-sixteenths on turf, so Awesometank ought to be plenty fit. Plus, she was closest to a quick pace in the Bev D, so that effort really should have her sharp. She boasts a couple of Group 3 runner-up efforts in the UK between a mile and a mile and one-eighth. All things considered, off the strength of her recent effort she cannot be dismissed and should be included in exotics. 7-      Raging Bull                  C. Brown/Rosario                    3-1 This 4-year-old colt races for Chad Brown, the top US turf trainer. Destined for a huge future—he capped an outstanding 3-year-old season with a win in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby-- Raging Bull remains winless this year. His latest challenge fell short in the Fourstardave against Woodbine Mile foe Got Stormy. This time there are reasons to think the outcome may be different. Blinkers were added for Raging Bull’s last two starts and they produced solid show and place finishes. He met the unbeatable Bricks and Mortar in two of his last three outings, so you know he’s been facing the best. He has a closing style that ought to work well in here and jockey Joel Rosario fits. He seems to be coming around to his best right now and ought to have enough pace to help his late charge. 8-      American Guru            M. Doyle/R. Hernandez          30-1 This 5-year-old would be a surprise based on his light racing record. He’s sharp—won an allowance/optional claiming race last out—but this is a huge step upward. 9-      Made You Look           C. Brown/Contreras                12-1 He’s won only 4-of-14 races and was fifth, beaten four lengths last out against Got Stormy and Raging Bull. Like Chad Brown stablemate Raging Bull, Made You Look doesn’t have early speed. Since transferring from Todd Pletcher’s barn for a 2018 campaign, this 5-year-old horse has raced exclusively at one mile on turf with one win at Belmont in an allowance/optional claiming race. 10-  Emmaus                      C. Murphy/C. Hill                    20-1 He’s finished closely behind Synchrony and El Tormenta in his last two starts going one mile and seven furlongs, respectively, on turf at Woodbine. He tried Group 2 and 3 races in the UK without success. He’s a 5-year-old horse that would need some improvement to triumph here. It should be noted that he added Lasix for the first time in his last. Trainer Conor Murphy has had a challenging 2019 with just 2 wins in 49 starts. 11-  Admiralty Pier             Minshall/Husbands                 30-1     Drawn on the far outside, this 4-year-old gelding appears to have his work cut out for him. He’s got enough speed to be close up but figures wide early. That ground loss won’t help his cause. His lone stakes win came on the Woodbine artificial surface in 2017. Victory here would be a gigantic achievement. Bottom Line: We suggest taking a bit of a stand against favorite #5 Got Stormy. She’s sharp, but more likely to react off two huge Spa races than to repeat either performance. Second choice #7 Raging Bull seems the most likely to fire a big race in here and turn the Spa tables on his female foe. Expect #2 Lucullan to get charmed trip from the inside. He’s got enough ability to be in the final mix. #4 Synchrony clearly has been pointed for this and he’s got the ability to have a say in this. Favored #5 Got Stormy also should be around at the end. Suggested $2 Trifecta Play ($24) 7 2, 4, 5 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Suggested $.50 Trifecta Play ($6) 2, 4, 5 7 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Race On!

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9.12.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: September 13 Stronach 5 Play

As if a Stronach 5 on Friday the 13th wasn't enough, there's a $96,000 carryover going in, which means this week's pool could easily surpass $500,000, and possibly even reach $1 million. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I'll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (5:12 ET) – 3up 12.5k claimer at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) The opener is a mixed bad of dirt and turf runners and a few will get played due to their prowess on the former, but I'll stick with the proven grass runners—#5 DELTA OUTLAW (5-1) and #4 WAR STROLL (6-1)—as they seem the most trustworthy off their recent sharp grass form. I think you also need to use #6 CONQUEST SEE YA (9-2), since he drops in class, cuts back, and gets back to the turf, while #3 TRICKY LION (5-1) has been in good form on dirt and ran well against better earlier this year on turf. Pk5 A horses: 5,4,6,3 There are definitely others you can use here, but more of them are dirt horses (#10 Miners Quest, #7 Lion Lord), or enter off a bad turf run (#9 Greeley Is Back), so I'll go it alone with who I think are the best four turf horses in the race. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:25 ET) –3upfm (Fl-bred) N1X at 5 furlongs (turf) In a race where I don't have a strong opinion and where I can afford to go deep, I'll toss a blanket over the main contenders—#8 AVOCADO TOAST (8-1), #6 SUGAR BOLT (8-5), #3 CAT'S ASTRAY (10-1), #4 TRACY ANN'S LEGACY (3-1), #1 ALL ABOUT STELLA (8-1), and #5 SHESUCHAKNOCKOUT (4-1)—and use them all. The short ML on 'Bolt may sway a lot of people into thinking she's a single, but she's no win machine and others will offer more value, especially 'Toast, who goes off the claim for a white-hot Dibona barn and drops out of an open claimer too. Pk5 A horses: 8,6,3,4,1,5 The six-pack above should be enough, as the other two entered—#2 Play That Tone (15-1) and #7 Cory Gal (20-1)—will be huge longshots. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R4 (5:45 ET) – 3upfm 50k starter-allowance at 5 furlongs (turf) You can argue that #7 WAVERLY WAY (4-1) may be left with to much to do on the cutback, but you can't argue she's clearly the horse to beat off her turf form, which is simply better than a very weak group that is filled with Tapeta and dirt runners who are, for the most part, unproven on the green stuff, which is why she's the stand alone single. Pk5 A horses: 7 The race flow—there's plenty of speed here—will suit #3 Sarza's (5-1) running style, so she's worth a look, and while I'm not really sure why #1 QUICK SONG (7-2) is lower on the ML than Waverly Way, especially since she's 2-for-25 with 13 underneath finishes, she has run well on her two local Tapeta runs, so you can include her two, but neither have the grass form of 'Way, so they can beat me. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 4: Laurel Park R9 (5:52 ET) –3upfm SOC (25k/S25k) at 1 1/16 miles (turf) Nothing like a race where basically every single horse entered looks the same on paper. Usually in circumstances like this I'll look to the pace to see if I can gain an edge, and there's doesn't appear to be a ton here, so I'm going to lean towards those with tactical speed, and that's what #1 GENNIE HIGWAY (6-1) has, and she also has upside, and was a good 3rd at the level when last seen too. I don't have any knocks on the favorite #4 SHE'S DIVINE (5-2), and the drop in class back to a level where she lost by a neck two-back bodes well, but it's not like she has any margin for error either. Turf has really woken up #7 SHAKE D MOON (9-2), and while facing winners is never easy, her fast win last time at Del Park says she's in the ix on the rise. Pk5 A horses: 1,4,7 With a better post I'd have #10 TILAKA (6-1) as an A, but she's really going to need to earn it from out here, though a repeat of her Del Park maiden win gives her a chance. I'm fine sweating #2 Sweeping In (8-1) and #3 Heavenly Hattie (8-1), as the former faces winners and goes off the claim from Motion, while the latter tripped out perfectly two-back (albeit in a VERY key race) and still couldn't crack the top-3. Pk5 B horses: 10 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:29 ET) – 2yo MSW at 5 furlongs (turf) One of the reasons I was tight with my B-level backups was this is an impossible race, where we have little to no info on most, and the best proven runner—#2 PARLAY PETE (7-2)—has never run on turf. I'm bringing out the blanker again and using (along with 'Pete) #10 DEO FORTE (4-1), #8 SURPRISE FACTOR (10-1), #6 ETE INDIAN (8-1), and #3 SUDDEN CAPTURE (8-1). Pk5 A horses: 10,8,2,6,3 The rail is tough, but #1 DISTURBINGTHEPEACE (5-1) goes for a sharp Arriagada barn, so I'll toss him in, while #4 BROTHER REID (6-1) is an Empire Maker that cost $180,000, so that's good enough for me. Pk5 B horses: 1,4 The tickets: Please note these suggested tickets are a bit over my normal budget, but with such a massive pool looming, this is the right time to peel a few more bills off the bankroll (and we could also see a reduction in price, if there are any scratches). Main Ticket: 5,4,6,3 with 8,6,3,4,1,5 with 7 with 1,4,7 with 10,8,2,6,3 = $360 Leg 4 B Backup: 5,4,6,3 with 8,6,3,4,1,5 with 7 with 10 with 10,8,2,6,3 = $120 Leg 5 B Backup: 5,4,6,3 with 8,6,3,4,1,5 with 7 with 1,4,7 with 1,4 = $144

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9.11.2019:

Jon White's Early Breeders' Cup Classic Odds

Now that the 2019 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita Park on Nov. 1-2 is on the horizon, I have formulated my own early odds for what currently is shaping up to be a pretty wide-open Breeders’ Cup Classic. The Grade I event, which has a purse of $6 million, will be contested at 1 1/4 miles on Nov. 2. Of course, the actual field for the BC Classic is far from set in stone. Still to be run are a number of races with BC Classic implications, such as the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept. 21. Also of importance, all to be contested on Sept. 28, are the Grade I Awesome Again Stakes at Santa Anita, Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park and Grade III Lukas Classic and Grade III Ack Ack Stakes at Churchill Downs. Keeping in mind that the actual field for the BC Classic is a guessing game at this point, I have come up with these early odds for 13 candidates, plus an “All Others” option akin to the one offered in Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Derby Future Wager: 7-2 McKinzie 6-1 Preservationist 8-1 Code of Honor 8-1 Thunder Snow 10-1 Maximum Security 12-1 Higher Power 12-1 Yoshida 15-1 Catholic Boy 15-1 Elate 15-1 Omaha Beach 15-1 Seeking the Soul 15-1 Tacitus 15-1 Vino Rosso 8-1 “All Others” Right now, there is some question whether or not Code of Honor, Thunder Snow and Game Winner are going to run. I decided to go ahead and include Code of Honor and Thunder Snow among the 13 individual horses, but elected to leave Game Winner out of that group for now. Code of Honor, trained by Hall of Famer Shug McGaughey, rallied from ninth to win Saratoga’s Grade I Travers Stakes by three lengths on Aug. 24. However, his connections have indicated the BC Classic is far from a slam-dunk for Code of Honor. Thunder Snow was withdrawn from Saratoga’s Grade I Whitney Stakes on Aug. 3 due to a temperature and cough. Thunder Snow then had Saratoga’s Grade I Woodward Stakes on Aug. 31 as a goal, but he also missed that race and has been sent back to Europe. Nevertheless, in terms of the BC Classic, it does not seem the door has been completely closed yet. Game Winner missed the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga on Aug. 24 due to a virus. He does not have a recorded workout since Aug. 13. Maybe Game Winner somehow can return to the work tab soon and get into BC Classic consideration, but right now that seems doubtful. As for BC Classic favoritism, I see that role going to Grade I Whitney Stakes winner McKinzie. He has been the favorite in 11 consecutive starts. McKinzie was sent off as a 4-5 favorite when he won the 1 1/8-mile Whitney by 1 3/4 lengths in his most recent start. McKinzie worked five furlongs Wednesday (Sept. 11) in a bullet 1:00.40 at Santa Anita for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert. It was the fastest of 39 works at the distance. Will McKinzie be a strong BC Classic favorite? I don’t think so. One reason I don’t expect him to be a strong favorite is the anticipated size of the BC Classic field. It’s probably going to have 14 starters. Yes, when McKinzie won Santa Anita’s Grade I Malibu Stakes last Dec. 26, he was a heavy 6-5 favorite in a 14-horse field. But McKinzie’s foes in the BC Classic will be much tougher and draw much more betting support than those he defeated in the Malibu. Also, there are those who wonder whether McKinzie might be better going shorter than 1 1/4 miles. He is winless in two starts at 1 1/4 miles, though one of those losses was by only a nose to Gift Box in the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap last April 6. Baffert has three BC Classic victories to his credit. He won it in 2014 with Bayern, 2015 with American Pharoah and 2016 with Arrogate. Preservationist, conditioned by Jimmy Jerkens, probably will get quite a bit of respect from bettors in the BC Classic -- and deservedly so. He was an emphatic 4 1/2-length winner of Belmont’s Grade II Suburban Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on July 6 before finishing fourth behind McKinzie, Yoshida and Vino Rosso in the Whitney. Preservationist then rebounded to win the 1 1/8-mile Woodward by a half-length at 1 1/8 miles. IMPRESSIVE ACHIEVEMENT BY NOBLE MISSION Noble Mission was a multiple Group I winner who earned $2,202,807 during his racing career. Yet, despite those exploits, the son of Galileo has had to live in the shadow of his younger full brother Frankel, a superstar who never lost in 14 lifetime starts while earning $4,789,144. But much credit goes to Noble Mission this summer for having sired the winner of two races, one on the dirt and one on the grass, both worth $1 million or more. Noble Mission, who never raced on the dirt, is the sire of Code of Honor, who won Saratoga’s $1.25 million Travers on Aug. 24. And then last Saturday at Saratoga, Spanish Mission rallied from ninth and won the $1 million Jockey Club Derby by a scant nose at 1 1/2 miles on the turf. David Simcock trains Spanish Mission, who previously had raced exclusively in Great Britain. Limonair, a daughter of Street Cry, is the dam of Spanish Mission. Street Cry is the sire of two amazing retired female Thoroughbreds in America’s Zenyatta and Australia’s Winx. ANNIVERSARY OF TURBULATOR’S FIRST STAKES WIN Turbulator’s meteoric rise to stardom half a century ago is the stuff of which legends are made. When Turbulator severely injured a knee while on a farm in Montana as a 2-year-old in 1967, it appeared he might well never run in a race. His breeder, owner and trainer, Tom Crawford, even went so far as to try and trade the young horse to a Montana neighbor for two cows. One look at the knee was all it took for the neighbor to politely -- and understandably -- decline the offer. Turbulator did finally make it to the races at the age of 4. By now he had a co-owner, Marvin Farnsworth, a successful businessman in Spokane, Wash. After Turbulator lost his first three starts at 4 in 1969, it appeared that if he ever did manage to graduate from the maiden ranks, he probably would find himself languishing in bottom-level claiming races. After all, in two of his first three starts, he failed to win maiden claiming races for lowly $1,500 and $2,000 prices. Turbulator showed up at Spokane’s Playfair Race Course in the summer of 1969 as a 4-year-old maiden. He reeled off seven straight wins in just nine weeks at distances ranging from six furlongs to two miles. This Saturday marks the 50th anniversary of Turbulator’s first stakes victory. In 1969, following a maiden win on Aug. 22 and allowance triumphs on both Aug. 29 and Sept. 6, Turbulator faced Washington-breds in Playfair’s 25th running of the one-mile Washington State Breeders Handicap on Sept. 14. “Slated to face the newly found sensation was G.G. Knock, Knute K., Little Jodi and company,” Jim Price wrote of Turbulator’s stakes debut in the Washington Horse magazine. “Favoritism went to Little Jodi, though not by much, but the race went to Turbulator. “Riding Turbulator for the first time, Dan Castle had a snug hold on the gelding [in the early going]. When Turbulator was asked for speed, he was not denied. The margin at the wire was 4 1/2 widening lengths.” Turbulator carried 114 pounds that day in what turned out to be the first of his 11 career stakes wins. He would go on to be acclaimed 1970 Washington-bred Horse of the Year. Turbulator won seven stakes races during his 1970 campaign in which he set a world record and broke two track records. In 1970, Turbulator again won the Washington State Breeders Handicap. In a remarkable performance, after being 20 lengths behind early, he won going away by two lengths despite being burdened with 134 pounds, 20 more than he had carried when he had taken the 1969 renewal. Due mainly to his come-from-behind style and unmistakable charisma, Turbulator became a huge fan favorite. The public often expressed its love for him by cheering for him whether he won or lost. “When accorded a full-throated roar from the crowd, he usually had the manners to bow,” Price once wrote in the Daily Racing Form. “That was almost too much to believe.” Similarly, the story of a horse becoming a world-record holder and four-footed celebrity after being turned down in a trade for a pair of cows was almost too much to believe. But it actually did happen. THIS WEEK’S NTRA TOP THOROUGHBRED POLL The outstanding grass runner Bricks and Mortar once again holds the No. 1 spot in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll this week. Trained by Chad Brown, the 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Giant’s Causeway is five for five in 2009, with four of those wins coming at the Grade I level. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 402 Bricks and Mortar (33) 2. 342 Midnight Bisou (3) 3. 322 McKinzie (3) 4. 270 Mitole 5. 255 Sistercharlie 6. 93 World of Trouble 7. 82 Imperial Hint 8. 81 Code of Honor 8. 81 Elate 10. 78 Catalina Cruiser

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9.10.2019:

Harness Highlights: Great Northeast Series Winners Follow Different Paths

None Bettor A has speed -- and the 6-year-old gelding traveled the distance for a $100,000 stakes victory Monday night. He won in the 1-1/4-mile Great Northeast Series finals for Open Pacers at the The Downs at Mohegan Sun Pocono in his only start beyond one mile during an 11-for-15 season. George Napolitano Jr., the leading driver at the 5/8-mile track, coaxed a determined effort out of None Bettor A, who won by a half-length in 2:20.1 and out-sprinted favored pocket sitter Backstreet Shadow (Tim Tetrick) through torrid fractions and a :27.3 final quarter to prevail. None Bettor A paid $7.20 to win as the second favorite in a an eight-horse field that was a combined 208-for-667 going into the race. Andrew Harris trains the 27-race winner for Joe P Racing and Oldford Racing. Great Northeast Series winners Rich and Miserable and Bettor’s Up took different paths in the $100,000 finals for older mares earlier on the card. Rich and Miserable (Tyler Buter) was content to sit a pocket trip behind pace controlling Hannelore Hanover (Yannick Gingras), the odds-on favorite in the Mares Open Trot. Hannelore Hanover, the 2017 Horse of the Year, appeared in control through 3/4s in 1:28.2, but Tight Lines applied first-over pressure before fading and Rich and Miserable made her move up the famed “Pocono Pike” passing lane to prevail by a head in 2:24.3. She paid $11 to win. Rich and Miserable topped $300,000 in earnings for co-owners Buter Farm Inc., Lynette Buter and William and Carol Fuhs and she capped an unforgettable night for Tyler Buter, who guided favorites Annie Hill, Jezzys Legacy and the Party’s Rockin to $40,000 stakes victories in the Stallion Series earlier in the night. Bettor’s Up (Tetrick) sprung the biggest stakes surprise, rallying for a 14-1 upset in the Mares Open Pace in 2:21. The race shaped up favorably as Apple Bottom Jeans (Corey Callahan) and Eclipse Me N (Simon Allard) alternated for the early lead, odds-on favorite Caviart Ally (Andrew McCarthy) made a powerful brush to command before a :56 opening half and Write Me A Song (Gingras) applied first-over pressure into the final turn. Tetrick guided Bettor’s Up to the 3-path and he closed furiously to win in a blanket finish over Caviart Ally and Apple Bottom Jeans, with the top three heads apart at the wire. Nick Surick owns and trains Bettor’s Up, who won for the 20th time and eclipsed $900,000 in earnings.

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9.9.2019:

Monday, September 9: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park kicks-off the week with a 10-race card. The feature comes in Race 9, a Preferred Handicap Trot with a $30,000 purse. My attention will be on the 0.20 Pick 5 sequence which begins in Race 1 and has a $50,000 guaranteed pool.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 11-Trina-Looks like a player, will needs to mind manners, does have gate speed to get the top but appears versatile.4-Modern Mass-Seems a logical choice getting some needed class relief and comes back to race in only 10-days.Race 21-Loud Splash-Comes off a sharp effort and should like the company. Loses Henry so Mayotte needs to put in play.2-Balder Son-Has been facing better, likes to roll late so a quick pace and good cover, helps chances.6-Moonshine Kisses-Roy takes a seat and he could blast out and take control, has been facing tough foes.8-Quickstar Bluechip-Last was better than the line shows, was off more than 2-weeks and raced a quick last half.Race 32-Swan Before All-Has improved since joining the Moreau barn, can make an early move and not look back.6-Hey Jock-Lost to #2 on 8/23 and had the rail, if McClure finds some live cover, he could get revenge.7-Finally Found Away-2-1 ML favorite has won 5 of 11 in '19, might be a shade better than rest.Race 48-Brandon Hanover-Form has been so-so, but this is a soft spot and Roy should get a good seat despite the post.9-Family Sports-Another who benefits from the company, has beaten #8 in the past, a threat with a clean trip.Race 52-Dover Seelster-Was used early in last, thinking MacDonell works a trip and has something left to finish the mile.4-Sixfingerfreddie-Makes 3rd start off the bench and last was better, could take a picture if upswing continues.7-Cote Dazur-Comes off a nice qualifier at GrVr, will take a swing in a race without a standout.8-The Wild Card-Makes 3rd start for Moore barn, has speed, using and will hope isn't bet down off the 8-1 ML.My Ticket Race 1) 1,4 Race 2) 1,2,6,8 Race 3) 2,6,7 Race 4) 8,9 Race 5) 2,4,7,8Total Ticket Cost) $38.40 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.9.2019:

Straight Talk on Saratoga & Kentucky Downs Biases

More often than not, claims of track bias are the ‘dog ate my homework’ of handicapping. Unless your Fido has a fixation for physics, such claims merely blur the root cause of your shortcomings – you. It’s not different for horseplayers, who all too often are looking for a reason why they can’t get out of the 20-percentile in picking winners. Sometimes dogs do eat paper, including your term paper due tomorrow morning. And sometimes track biases do exist. So while we can’t say either is an impossibility, it’s equally fair to say that both are used as an excuse far more often than reality. Track bias, for the newbies, is when a track surface favors a particular part of the track or running style. They chiefly stem from weather or track maintenance. Think about your own yard. Two things control how it looks and performs – maintenance and Mother Nature. Same goes for racetracks, dirt or turf, just in an inflated square footage. The principal element to a track bias is the depth of the surface (how far a horse gets down into the materials, and, thus, how does that impact the workload and stamina of the horses). But less talked-about creators of track bias include wind and kick-back. Most horses struggle into headwinds, and therefore the pack tends to run in place when faced with one in the stretch. As for kick-back, how much is being thrown in the face of horses racing behind the early speed, and how abrasive are those materials that deter the come-from-behinders? So much chatter has emerged in recent weeks about the outside bias at Saratoga on the dirt this summer, and more recently the early speed bias at Kentucky Downs on its (only) grass course. You could not find a more common cry against two more uncommon surfaces. Saratoga’s main track was used longer this year than in any recent decade. It’s high-quality horses, many familiar with the footing, and jockeys who know every inch of the surface. At Kentucky Downs, it’s a surface rarely maintained all year long, used for only a literal handful of days annually, and is an undulating grass course void of the conventional crown and banking you’d see on a dirt course. Horses aren’t familiar with it for the most part, and jockeys don’t get many runs over it either. How pronounced or real were the perceived biases at Saratoga and Kentucky Downs? The sample sizes are limited in giving telling evidence. Like most things in handicapping, we’re left with intuition and repetition as determinants. That is, did it seem like a bias to you? And, if you hear the same thing enough times – true or false – how apt are you to now believe it? (Think of today’s cable news for the latter example.) The echo chamber that is social media certainly has declared biased surfaces at Saratoga and Kentucky Downs. But determining the validity of those biases isn’t just about “I told you so,” even if that is the driving force behind 99.4 percent of all social media posts. Identifying a real or wrongly accused bias has major next-out implications when betting horses back. Kentucky Downs could be especially important in that regard. Consider they only card a few dozen races per year. You either won, lost or sat on the sidelines. But there will be a few hundred horses come out of those races and appear next at Churchill Downs, Keeneland, Belmont and parts in-between. How many of those horses actually saw their performance aided by a bias, hindered by a bias or were totally given the wrong excuse card from a betting public that misread a bias? The same goes for Saratoga alumni. Horses who tried to rally on the Kentucky Downs turf this season are going to be given mulligans and forgiveness by many handicappers when they reappear next. The same goes for Saratoga runners who raced on the inside in dirt bids over the so-called 'dead rail.' But just tabbing the results of these next-out runners won’t prove conclusively the perceived biases. The next-out appearances will come over different surfaces, against different fields, and in different spots on the individual form cycle. There are enough new variables to construct an argument as to why a horse runs well or poorly in the reappearance than to simply connect the dots between a fair track today and a biased one a month or so ago. But the echo chamber will be sure to remind you when an example or two backs up their argument from Saratoga and Kentucky Downs. The first few “stuck inside” at Saratoga or “rallied against the speed bias” at Kentucky Downs horses who return to win will be widely lauded as evidence. Truth is, we’re not going to know, because the Saratoga or Kentucky Downs meets are not long enough to see these horses run back in similar conditions over potentially different footings. If the apples to apples comparisons were available, say in a longer meet, then a handicapper can get a much more confident feel for post-bias evaluation. Longer meets are where you want to ply your trade if you're a big advocate of judging track biases. And when you get good enough to identify real ones, it can be a serious aide to your skill set. But what you’re likely still left with in this case of Saratoga and Kentucky Downs will be bias evaluation that falls into the aforementioned tools of intuition and repetition. If you think there were real biases, handicap accordingly. If you choose to trust the “everyone seems to be saying it, so it must be true” camp, then be prepared to sink or swim together. But in pari-mutuel wagering, trusting the masses as correct often comes with an under-laid price.

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9.8.2019:

Sunday, September 8: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse has 10-races scheduled with a 0.50 Late Pick 4 beginning in Race 7. The sequence has a $30,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus.The drivers with the hottest hands at Hawthorne last night were Casey Leonard and Kyle Wilfong with three wins. The leading trainers on the card were Dale Knox and Terry Leonard with two trips to the winner's circle.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 71-Skippymalou-Hopples off and Leonard's choice, should be in the hunt from start to finish.2-Joe Joes Violet-Will use 5/2 ML chalk but isn't a standout, only 1-12 at Haw but can win if minds manners.3-Seneca Valley-Off since 8/14 but tries Lasix for 2nd time and Grummel barn usually sends them out ready.8-For Trots Sakes-Should like the company and post helps the price, can get up in time with the right trip.Race 87-Michonne-Sharp win in last, came home from way back in 57.3, will respect an encore off that effort.9-9-Letsgoforitall-Makes 3rd start in new barn and last 2 were improved efforts, a player with a trip.10-Pepin Coolie-Post is a challenge but has been very competitive, this is 1st time Leonard and post helps price.Race 93-Miss Tennessee-Will swing for a price, gets a positive driver change and post relief, could trip out behind #6.6-Dune Dame-ML 9/5 chalk is usually bet hard and does disappoint, will use and look towards others as well.7-Flying Shekel-Warren needs to find a good cover flow, this is a spot to shine and should be a square price.Race 101-Fox Valley Lil Kim-0-14 but 2-1 ML favorite finally gets an inside post draw and finds a field that can be beat.10-Caroline GR-Post is a challenge but has some gate speed and is very sharp, won last by 7 versus some of these.My Ticket Race 7) 1,2,3,8 Race 8) 7,9,10 Race 9) 3,6,7 Race 10) 1,10Total Ticket Cost) $36 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.7.2019:

Saturday, September 07: Belmont Park Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-day-makers-on-september-7th-2019/RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: XSingle: 2-Cash OfferForecast: The first few races on the Saturday Belmont Park program have the potential to be quite chalky. Cash Offer is listed at 3/5 on the morning line in the opener, a state-bred first-level allowance sprint. The M. Hennig-trained filly broke her maiden by more than 12 lengths when last seen over the Belmont Park main track while earning a career top speed figure, and a repeat of that effort three races back will be more than good enough to get her back on the winning track. Duplicating her good second in her most recent outing in late July at Saratoga would be quite sufficient as well. Let’s make her a no-value rolling exotic single but otherwise pass the race.RACE 2: Post 1:33 ET. Grade: XSingle: 5-Cape Cod DivaForecast: Here’s another logical short-price favorite, Cape Code Diva, who shows up in a maiden claimer for the first time while landing F. Prat. The M. Hennig-trained daughter of Data Link towers over this field on speed figures, but those were accomplished on grass and today she’s trying the main track for the first time. However, if it’s not her, then who? Most of these have been thoroughly exposed at this level and are dreadfully slow on figures. In a race that probably should be left alone, we’ll make ‘Diva a no-value rolling exotic single.RACE 3: Post 2:05 ET. Grade: BUse: 1-Data Driven; 2-Happy FarmForecast: The main contention is drawn inside in this $40,000 claiming sprint at six and one-half furlongs on the main track. Data Driven just won a $12,500 affair by almost 14 lengths with a stakes-quality speed figure at Saratoga and is being raised considerably on the claiming ladder in a sign of confidence in his first start for Rudy. All three of his prior races over the Belmont Park were excellent (two wins and a second), so despite the ambitious class hike the veteran son of Northern Afleet will be a short price (6/5 on the morning line) to win right back. Happy Farm was sharp in victory over a starter’s allowance ($25,000) field here in early July, but in typical J. Servis fashion shows only a couple of very slow workouts since. Let’s proceed under the assumption that the Ghostzapper gelding will fire his best shot and be a major player. We’ll prefer Data Driven on top but include both in our rolling exotics.RACE 4: Post 2:37 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Crypto Gold; 7-On a SpreeForecast: Crypto Gold drops below his claiming price despite steadily rising speed figures and should be ready to graduate in this maiden claiming $40,000 grass router for older horses. The son of Medaglia d’Oro actually finished first in a similar event over this course and distance in May but was disqualified, so he’s still trying to earn his diploma. On a Spree will get plenty of play, deservedly so. The lightly-raced son of Speightstown is competitive on numbers and just finished fourth in the same race Crypto Gold exits. The K. McLaughlin-trained gelding switches to F. Alvarado, and with another forward move could get the money. We’ll give Crypto Gold top billing but both should be used in your rolling exotics.RACE 5: Post 3:09 ET. Grade: BUse: 4-Democratic Values; 7-Alpha Sixty SixForecast: The known element is okay (Hemlock, Unprecedented) but there are a couple of high potential first-time starters in this maiden juvenile extended sprint that deserve close scrutiny. Democratic Values has done everything right in the morning for C. Brown and looks cranked up and ready to fire in his debut for a barn that does very well (21%) with first-time starters. The son of Honor Code, a $475,000 yearling purchase, has been given an excellent foundation and looks fit and ready right now. Alpha Sixty Six also has done some very good work in the a.m., and from his cozy outside post the son of Liam’s Map should have every chance to make his presence felt from right out of the box. Of the two we’ll slightly prefer Democratic Values on top but both should be used in rolling exotic play.RACE 6: Post 3:40 ET. Grade: BUse: 3-Odramark; 7-TipleForecast: Tiple, improving with each outing, is fresh from a clever win for $32,000 at Saratoga, and is protected today in starter’s allowance company in her first off the claim for P. Serpe (good stats in a limited sample with this angle). She also won her previous race over this course and distance vs maiden claimers with her deep closing style, and with another forward move should be dangerous again in the final furlong. Odramark is a Monmouth Park shipper in excellent form with rising speed figures and is the likely choice and one to beat. This six furlong trip will be the farthest she’s travelled but the extra distance shouldn’t be an issue for the Tapizar filly who can be tough on the front end or from a stalking position. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; based on her 5-1 morning line we’ll give Tiple a very slight edge on top..RACE 7: Post 4:12 ET. Grade: BUse: 2-Mango M; 4-HalladayForecast: Halladay is fast on numbers and lightly-raced with plenty of upside. The War Front colt turns back from a mile to seven furlongs and comes from a barn that hits at a strong 22% with the route-to-sprint angle. He’s reunited with “win rider” Johnny V., so we suspect the T. Pletcher-trained colt is prepared for a major effort in this first-level allowance turf dash. However, at 7/5 on the morning line, he won’t be offering much wagering value. Mango M., at 6-1 on the morning line, probably is worth including on a ticket or two as a back-up. The Tale of the Cat gelding will wear blinkers for the first time (Shug is excellent with this angle, 23%) and with three prior wins over the local lawn he’s a contender despite being a tad shy in the speed figure department.RACE 8: Post 4:43 ET. Grade: C+Use: 4-Realm; 7-MarconiForecast: The 12-furlong main track Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational brings together familiar rivals. Marconi won the Brooklyn Invitational-G2 over this track and distance in July but failed to stay a mile and three-quarters in the subsequent Birdstone Stakes and wound up a distant second. He’s certainly capable of rebounding today. Realm, third when beaten just a half-length in the Brooklyn and then a distant fourth when overmatched in the Suburban S.-G2 behind Preservationist, has a big look off his best race. So, whose turn is it today? We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while otherwise passing the race.RACE 9: Post 5:15 ET. Grade: B+Use: 1-Edisa; 6-Wonderment; 5-Love So DeepForecast: European invaders fresh off the plane usually have an edge over their North American-based counterparts. Love So Deep ran the best race of her career when tagged right on the line in the Prix de Pomme-G3 at Deauville three weeks ago and if she brings that form with her in her U.S. debut the Japanese-trained filly will be good enough to win this event. She can handle any surface or distance, switches to top rider J. Spencer, and has the type if tactical speed that can adjust to any pace scenario. Wonderment has yet to recapture her juvenile form that saw the Irish-bred filly take the Criterium de Saint-Cloud-G1 in her third and final start of her 2-year-old campaign, but the daughter of Camelot was beaten less than three lengths when seventh of 16 in the French Oaks-G1 two races back and then was given too much to do when sixth, beaten two lengths, in the Prix Minerve-G3 at Deauville last time out. She’s a first-time Lasix user and regular rider S. Pasquier makes the trip, so we’re expecting the best she has to offer from the N. Clement-trained filly. Edisa, group-placed in her last pair and a listed stakes winner before that, ran better than the line will show when forced to take the overland route in the Prix de Psyche-G3 at Deauville in late July. The daughter of Kitten’s Joy picks up F. Prat for her U.S. debut but will not race with Lasix. Trainer A. Royer-Dupre doesn’t ship to the States too often but when he does he comes loaded. Of the three, Love So Deep is preferred so we’ll have extra tickets keying her on top both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play.RACE 10: Post 5:47 ET. Grade: B+Use: 9-Spanish Mission; 5-San Huberto; 8-Digital AgeForecast: Here’s another race in which the European invaders look appealing. Price players should take a very close look at San Huberto, an Irish-bred colt who may be considerably better than his morning line of 10-1. The son of Speightstown gains F. Prat for his U.S. debut, will get Lasix, and is progressing rapidly based on his French form, having won two of his last three in strong fashion with rising Timeform ratings. Spanish Mission arrives in peak form from England and arguably is the one to beat. The 12-furlong trip fits him perfectly, and the son of Noble Mission, a Group-3 winner at Newmarket two races back and a narrow third in a similar affair at Goodwood last month, gets regular pilot J. Spencer and Lasix. The best of the North American contingent would appear to be Digital Age, who rallied against the grain to finish a strong second in the Saratoga Derby Invitational while appearing to want more distance. This will be his first start at a mini-marathon trip and we suspect he’ll move up at the trip. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then go with the best price – San Huberto – with extra tickets on top and in the straight pool.RACE 11: Post 6:20 ET. Grade: CUse: 1-Champagne Chills; 8-Legion StormForecast: Champagne Chills just finished first in a maiden $40,000 claimer at Saratoga over a muddy track but was disqualified and placed second. Today he drops in for $25,000, not exactly a sign of confidence for a lightly-raced New York bred, so at 8/5 on the morning line there’s not much value to be found, especially with the rail draw. You have to use him in rolling exotic play but not really trust him. Legion Star is a 13-race maiden coming off a pair of runner-up efforts at Saratoga at this level. He’s hit the board in three of four prior starts over the Belmont Park main track, so he’ll probably run his race today but the evidence is mounting that he lacks a winning punch. You can use these two, spread deeper, or simply pass.

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9.7.2019:

Saturday, September 7: Scioto Downs Pick 4 and Stakes Analysis

The headliners at Scioto Downs tonight roll in Race 13 and Race 14. The first feature is the Charlie Hill Memorial Trot with a $220,000 purse. Next up is the Jim Ewart Memorial Pace which has a $440,000 purse. The Late Pick 4 starts in Race 11 and will be my focus.Comments and selections below are based on a fast track.Race 112-Rosemary Rose-Will use this Burke trainee at 5-1 in the ML, might trip out from the inside and likes ScD.3-Feelin Red Hot-Yonker's invader loves to win and deserves respect, although is 0-12 at ScD but Gingras helps.9-Big Bad Jane-Will need some luck from 2nd tier, thinking Noble is a pilot that can work a trip and keep in the hunt.Race 121-Dancin Yankee-2nd ML chalk likes the engine and should get it. Page will look to get one soft quarter and hang on.4-Sectionline Bigry-Has won 9 of 19 here and is in sharp form, 9/5 chalk looks the part and should be tough.Race 135-Mission Accepted-Will excuse break at the fair, is no slouch, will need best but can handle ScD, using at 8-1 in ML.7-Atlanta-Parked mile in Maple Leaf and was great. Question is how she will handle the track in 1st start at ScD.8-Guardian Angel As-8/5 in the ML, and having a big year, will use and shoot against from this post in 1st ScD start.Race 141-Jimmy Freight-Should be some start and Jimmy could be leading or 2nd on 1st turn, a player at 6-1 in the ML.2-McWicked-Versatile champ, usually makes most of a good post draw, best to respect and should be a square price.5-This Is The Plan-The wild card, had pace in last but Gingras had steering issues, may blast out and will use instead of Lather Up.My Ticket Race 11) 2,3,9 Race 12) 1,4 Race 13) 5,7,8 Race 14) 1,2,5 Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.6.2019:

It's single time with Stormy Embrace in Gulfstream Pick 4

Stormy Embrace makes it back to the races Saturday in the $100,000 Sheer Drama Stakes and makes the late Pick 4 really a Pick 3 when you get right down to it. If you were ever queasy about use a single in a multi-race play, this could be your chance to get over it. Stormy Embrace will probably be around a dime-to-a-dollar straight win proposition. When you have such a prohibitive favorite in a Pick 4, you need to shop around for potential upsetters in the other races. Or you can unload on all favorites, and the only way you can make that worth your while to have to have it many, many times. Or you can try to beat the 1-9 or 1-5 standout. Not being one to play a $100 Pick 4, or a straight pick four of any denomination, I prefer the usual approach using 50-cent increments. And there are possibilities. The first and last legs of the Pick 4 are for maidens, and there are many with a chance in each of those. The strategy this week is 4x3x1x4 for $24. Stormy Embrace is front and center, as usual, and today she faces Florida-breds at seven furlongs. She’s won nine of 25 attempts and was third in this race a year ago. Trainer Kathleen O’Connell used that race as a prep for the Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint, a race in which she finished 11th. Owner-breeder Matalona Thoroughbreds has seen the 5-year-old Circular Quay mare come off that loss in mighty fine order. She’s won two of three this year, including a 10-length win over state-breds in the Musical Romance Stakes and most recently ran to a two-length score in the Grade 2 Princess Rooney Stakes. This year’s Sheer Drama is likely to have a better outcome for Stormy Embrace. In the 2018 edition, she broke a step slower than usual and had to fight her way through traffic to finish third. She gets the rail, should get a good break and can show her best from the beginning. The Pick 4 opens in the 9th with maiden-claimers, and while Michigan Sunset is short on the morning line, this doesn’t look like a gimme and it might be the best opportunity to throw a wrench into Pick 4 activities. Moon Pistol, Guess First and Channeledbythewind either have promise or have shown some run thus far. The 10th is the In the Breeze Stakes and it looks like it’s a battle between Bienville Street, Midnight Soiree and Una Luna. Bienville Street has moved up the claiming ladder and has won two straight optional claiming races. Midnight Soiree is usually a big player vs. Florida-breds and Una Luna is always in the hunt and has taken three of her last six. Like the 9th race, the 12th is full of the inexperienced and four horses that look worthy of a spot on the Pick 4 ticket are Domineer, Elusive Molly, Song River and Norma’s Love. Here’s the suggested ticket for the late Pick 4 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: 9) #2 Michigan Sunset, #6 Moon Pistol, #7 Guess First, #8 Channeledbythewind. 10) #2 Bienville Street, #6 Midnight Soiree, #8 Una Luna. 11) #1 Stormy Embrace. 12) #2 Domineer, #5 Elusive Molly, #7 Song River. 50-cent Pick 4: 2-6-7-8 with 2-6-8 with 1 with 2-5-7. ($18)

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9.6.2019:

Friday, September 6: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

There is a 9-race card set to roll at Hawthorne Racecourse tonight. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. It's an interesting sequence as I will be shooting against the morning line chalk in some legs. On Thursday there was a 7-race card at the Stickney oval, in each race, a different driver and trainer took a picture. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6 1-Little Bita Sass-5/2 ML chalk is trip dependent and doesn't leave well but will use versus a field without a standout. 3-Tappin Outamessage-Winner of 2 straight likes to race near the top and should be forwardly placed. 4-Shadyman-Also likes the engine but has trouble finishing, now is 2nd time Lasix and that might be the difference. 9-Lying In Cash-Tossing last while in tall cotton at HoP, fits well and can grind it out from this starting spot. Race 7 1-Mr Varsity-Price shot needs best but has raced a bit better in last 2 and Plano should keep in play from the wood. 3-Sir Mammo-Steps-up after a sharp win from the 9-hole, can compete here at a square price if fires best shot. 4-Best Man Hanover-Will toss last on an off-track, likes the top and there isn't much gate speed, fits well here. 8-Justified-1st start in Eckley barn, does best work when racing near front, Leonard can work a trip to put in play. Race 8 3-Shady's Dream Boy-Looks to get the 2-hole right behind the 2-1 chalk #5, could get sucked around and roll by. 5-Impressive Cowboy-1st or 2nd in all 4 starts for the Leonard barn, can win right back if throws best shot. Race 9 1-Gabe Henry-Drops and finally draws inside, should be a player if minds manners, using to beat #2 the ML chalk. 6-Mister Hat-Back to Haw and races at lowest level of the meet, this is a spot to shine and should be a nice price. My Ticket Race 6) 1,3,4,9 Race 7) 1,3,4,8 Race 8) 3,5 Race 9) 1,6Total Ticket Cost) $32 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.5.2019:

Sun Sets on Fun (in the Sun)

Last weekend, as the sun set on two horseplayer summer favorites--Saratoga and Del Mar--Xpressbet served up a farewell of its own toward Fun in the Sun -- the fascinating and challenging 8 week handicapping tournament that boasted $8,500 in weekly prizes as well as four seats to the Pegasus World Cup Handicapping Championship to seasonal leaders! After eight weeks, including 80 competition races—40 from Del Mar and 40 from Saratoga--based on a single, live $10 win wager on one horse in each event, Wayne Tam proved best with a total of $1,351 in seasonal earnings. Paul Weizer finished second with $1,345.50, followed by Teresa Newcomb at $1,329 and Lucas Peltz $1,262.50. Eugene Spruck $1,257.50 finished fifth. The extensive Fun in the Sun competition featured the usual display of handicapping prowess and illustrated once more that there are many ways to skin a handicapping tournament feline. Steady, consistent play was effective, but so, too, was a streaky, longshot-reliant approach. Fun in the Sun champ Wayne Tam posted a final Saturday score of $262 to leap from 5th to 1st in a single bound. Runner-up Paul Weizer led the pack into the final competition but could only add $60.50 to his bankroll. Eugene Spruck, 3rd into the final stanza, added just $45.50 to his total and slipped to 5th, a final position worth $2,000 in prize money but lacking a coveted Pegasus World Cup Handicapping Championship seat. Even though he did well overall, Spruck must be considered the ‘hard-luck’ story of the competition. Since opening week, Spruck had been ranked among the tournament’s top seven players and, at the conclusion of week 2, actually had topped the standings. Additionally, during the season, Spruck had been ranked second twice (weeks 3 & 6) and third once (week 7). He’s also the only player among the top six finishers to have missed winning at least a share of $68,000 in weekly prizes. In hindsight, it appears he played too well to come away with a mere $2,000 prize. John Gaspar, who clawed his way up the seasonal standings ladder from 16th to 8th to 6th to 4th in the next-to-final week, added just $60.50 to his total Saturday and faded to finish 8th. Jeanne Curry, William Schwartz and Sean O’Malley, 6th, 7th, & 8th into the finale, wore Saturday collars and faded to 11th, 12th and 16th, respectively. The most impressive closing charge came from Teresa Newcomb. Based on $395.50 in powerful Saturday earnings she rallied from 18th to 3rd and won a $12,000 Pegasus World Cup Handicapping Championship seat. The big day also earned Newcomb a $2,000 prize for finishing with the second-highest earnings total of the week. Only Steven Hilbert, 47th overall, did better at $416.50 to earn the $5,000 weekly top prize. Throughout the season, there were 33 unique weekly prize winners. Only champ Wayne Tam bagged more than one weekly award. August 17 his total of $523 proved best and was worth a $5,000 prize. He added that to $2,000 he had earned July 27 when his total of $356 had been second best. The runner-up performance in week 3 moved Tam’s name into the top 50 players in 11th-place for the first time. He posted zero earnings in week 4 and dropped to 34th. Week 5 action saw Tam’s name disappear from the top 50. However, the following week, on the strength of his record $523 performance, Tam rebounded into 4th-place. He earned zero in week 7 and slipped one spot to 5th. A solid final week of $262 proved enough for him to garner the top spot. Tam averaged a gross return of $17-per race during the 80 wager-competition. Remarkably, at the end of the long Fun in the Sun road, which included Saratoga and Del Mar Saturdays July 13 through August 31, a mere $136 in earnings separated the champ from Jose A. Suarez in 6th. At $10 per-wager that’s not much of a difference. You know how it goes…one more winner here…one more winner there… A total of 47 players earned enough in live mutuel payoffs to boast a profit based while making all 80 competition wagers. That’s some fine handicapping and, ultimately, what amounts to a free swipe at a $120,000 brass ring. On August 10 Allison Halbig earned the distinction of grabbing a weekly prize with the lowest winning total at $228. As Halbig might remind you, her $5,000 prize spends the same as anyone else’s. Thanks to everyone who participated in Fun in the Sun. And a hearty gracias to the folks behind the scenes at Xpressbet who expertly administered the competition. Finally, (insert shameless company plug here) thanks to Xpressbet for hosting such an outstanding handicapping tournament that gives players a chance to compete for juicy weekly and seasonal prizes over an extended timeframe. That Fun in the Sun requires no registration or entry fees with zero added takeout is remarkable. Seriously, folks, Fun in the Sun was fun and, except for a few afternoons at Saratoga, mostly in the sun, too. See you next year!Race On! 

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9.5.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: September 6 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle with the Stronach 5 after a two-week hiatus, and it will once again have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors. *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. *** Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (5:12 ET) – 3up Md-bred/sired 35k allowance at 6 furlongs While I’m not bold enough to single #2 TAPPIN CAT, there’s little doubt he’s the most likely winner, so I don’t want to go too deep here, as his run in the restricted ranks have been better than this group, plus he should sit a dream trip just off the speed. The other A I’ll use is #1a STREET PRAYER, since the race flow should suit his stalking/closing style, and he’s never been in with restricted foes, so this is a class drop off his first two. Pk5 A horses: 2,1a It’s tough to get a feel on #3 NICO BREE N TEEJ, as his best can win this, but he doesn’t always deliver it, though his last says he’s in good form and must be used in some regard. A wide draw doesn’t help #9 THATWOULDBEGRAND, but he wasn’t too far behind ‘Cat last time and is another who will appreciate a contested pace. Pk5 B horses: 3,9 (Please note that to keep the backup ticket here to a minimum, I’ll be singling #4 on this ticket in the last leg.) Leg 2: Gulfstream Park R7 (5:25 ET) –3up SOC (25k/S16k) at 1-mile (turf) Getting back to the dirt and going off the claim for Hess Jr. (23%) makes #4 WINGMAN a huge player here, especially since he has the tactical speed to get the jump on the favorite and drew a lot better than him too. Obviously #8 CASH CALL KITTEN is the horse to beat, but this draw did him no favors and this group looks a little tougher than the one he just beat, so I’m not completely sold on his chances. Pk5 A horses: 4,8 I’m going to be a little bold here and call it a day, as the top pair look better than the rest, but clearly a more expansive bankroll can use others, as #5 Just the Facts should trip out nicely, and #3 Grand Nenuco and #1 Dexter Road weren’t far behind ‘Kitten when 2-3, respectively, last time, though their decided lack of early speed won’t help. Pk5 B horses: NONE Leg 3: Golden Gate Fields R4 (5:45 ET) – 2yof MSW at 5 furlongs (turf) Tough sledding here, as none of these gals have run on turf and only two have met the starter, though the good news is that you can look into the double will pays to get an idea who is live and taking money. I’ll stab with #2 ANNA LEE ENCORE, who has some sharp works showing and Wright reaches for main man Hernandez, so there’s probably some intent here. The experience, speed, and post of #6 UNTIED can’t be a bad thing, nor can cutting back a half-furlong after a pop-and-stop in his local debut on the Tapeta last time. I’ll also use #4 EDDIE’S PRINCESS, since there are several promising AM drills showing and I love when a smaller barn (Tekos) lands a top rider (Orozco). Pk5 A horses: 2,6,4 I don’t love the rail for #1 PULPIT SINGER, but she’s the only other one with a run, so that alone means she needs to be used. The only other one I’d give a look to is #7 Big Maria, but with McCanna, who is a very sharp trainer, being 0-for-28 with first time turfers, I’ve got to make this one prove it before backing. Pk5 B horses: 1 Leg 4: Laurel Park R9 (5:52 ET) –2yof MSW at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf) This one just looks impossible, so I want to try to use anyone who looks live or has shown some promise, though the list is a long one, so it’s going to be tough to incorporate everyone I’d like to. I’ll go with #7 AMARIN, #9 PALACE CHECK, #3 GIGGLE FACTORY, #1 MIDSHIP LADY, and #5 NEXT SUMMER on top, as they all have their merits, some angles, and go for sharp connections. Pk5 A horses: 7,9,3,1,5 The rail hurts #2 FACTORINTHEHEAT, but Eppler is sharp and she lures McCarthy, so you have to be at least a bit interested here, while #8 PEPPER got a useful tightener on debut at Colonial Downs and did well to draw outside the other speed. Pk5 B horses: 2,8 Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R9 (6:29 ET) – 2yo 25k MCL at about 7 1/2 furlongs (turf) If post position is at a premium going a mile, then going a half-furlong shorter makes it detrimental, so we need to really elevate the inside runners, and being a first-time starter against a group like this isn’t a bad thing, so #4 KEEPSAKEKITTEN has to be a huge player here on debut for Maker, who is a solid enough 15% on debut and gets Gutierrez, who 37% with at the meet. Blinkers and turf moved up #1 HUGOIGO last time and there’s no reason he can’t improve again off that tightener, while #8 THE DOER has the speed to negate this draw a bit and he was a very close, albeit slow, 3rd in his turf debut last time. Pk5 A horses: 4,1,8 The post basically kills the chances of #11 VENEZUELAN HEART and #12 FRIO, but they have some solid form, and that’s tough to discount against this weak crew, so let’s use them underneath. If he runs his best then #7 El Duque is a big player, but he was awful with no apparent excuse last time and is now 0-for-8, and that big run three-back is getting more and more like the exception than the rule too. Pk5 B horses: 11,12 My Stronach 5 Tickets: Main Ticket: 2,1a with 4,8 with 2,6,4 with 7,9,3,1,5 with 4,1,8 = $180 Leg 1 B Backup: 3,9 with 4,8 with 1 with 7,9,3,1,5 with 4,1,8 = $60 Leg 3 B Backup: 2,1a with 4,8 with 2,6,4 with 7,9,3,1,5 with 4 = $60 Leg 4 B Backup: 2,1a with 4,8 with 2,6,4 with 2,8 with 4,1,8 = $72 Leg 5 B Backup: 2,1a with 4,8 with 2,6,4 with 7,9,3,1,5 with 11,12 = $120

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9.5.2019:

Miller, Not Baffert, Wins Del Mar Futurity

No trainer has dominated any of this country’s current Grade I races as much as Bob Baffert’s 14 victories in the Del Mar Futurity. According to my research, the next most wins by a trainer in any of this country’s current Grade I races is nine. D. Wayne Lukas has won the Del Mar Debutante and Chandelier Stakes (formerly the Oak Leaf Stakes) nine times. The late, great Charlie Whittingham likewise won the Santa Anita Handicap nine times. Last Monday it looked like Baffert probably would get his 15th Del Mar Futurity victory, as reflected by the final odds. The Baffert-trained Eight Rings was pounded down to 1-2 favoritism. Garth, who also resides in the Baffert barn, was the only other horse lower than 9-1. Garth was 4-1. Wrecking Crew, trained by Peter Miller, was 9-1. Everyone else in the field of eight was 12-1 or higher. Not only did it appear likely that Baffert would get yet another win in the seven-furlong Del Mar Futurity, many felt that he had a good chance to finish one-two. But a bizarre incident early in the race eliminated any possibility of a Baffert exacta. Just before going a furlong, Eight Rings suddenly ducked in sharply, unseating jockey Drayden Van Dyke. When Eight Rings ducked in, it appeared that he collided with 14-1 Storm the Court, who dislodged jockey Flavian Prat. According to the official Equibase race chart, Storm the Court “was bumped hard before the three-quarter pole and lost the rider.” Thus, Eight Rings and Storm the Court were out of the race soon after it had begun. A very unlucky Storm the Court paid the price for simply being in the wrong place at the wrong time when Eight Rings took a left-hand turn. After the two riders were unseated, while Garth was showing zip to vie for the advantage in the run down the backstretch, it looked like maybe he would be the one this year to get Baffert another Del Mar Futurity victory. But midway on the far turn, Garth threw in the towel. He faltered badly and eventually finished sixth, almost 30 lengths behind the winner. The highly regarded Garth posted a Beyer Speed Figure of just 12. When is the last time you saw a Baffert trainee get a Beyer like that? The way he retreated, it’s reasonable to think something just wasn’t right with Garth on this day. And so, as the field was turning into the stretch, the Baffert duo now was gone. With the Baffert duo either out of the race or out of contention, who would be able to capitalize on that and win the race? Coming into the stretch, 18-1 Ginobili (on the inside) and Nucky (on the outside) were battling head-and-head for the lead, about 1 1/2 lengths clear of Wrecking Crew. Ginobili and Nucky appeared to bump a couple of times coming into the lane before Nucky put away Ginobili leaving the eighth pole. Even though Nucky came home in slow-motion while running the final furlong in :14.43, he drew away in the final sixteenth to prevail by 2 3/4 lengths. Wrecking Crew came in second. Defense Wins, the longest shot in the race at 37-1, ended up third, a half-length behind Wrecking Crew. Ginobili weakened in the final furlong to lose by five lengths while finishing fourth. The Equibase race chart states that “the stewards conducted an inquiry into the incident in the chute before ruling no other runner was responsible for the bumping and lost riders.” Richard Baltas, the trainer of Ginobili, lodged an objection against Nucky for alleged interference in upper stretch. The race chart states that the stewards disallowed the claim of foul when ruling that the contact between Nucky and Ginobili “did not alter the original order of finish.” After they unseated their jockeys, Eight Rings and Storm the Court both ran on. Storm the Court was corralled by an outrider at the head of the stretch. Eight Rings, though admittedly he was not carrying any weight, closed with a rush down the lane and, past the finish line, galloped out far in front. Prat walked away from the accident on his own power, then rode in -- and won -- the next race, which was the final race of the Del Mar summer meeting. Prat’s 42 victories topped the final jockey standings for the meet, 10 wins more than runner-up Van Dyke. Van Dyke was taken to nearby Scripps La Jolla hospital after Monday’s accident. He was released Tuesday. Daily Racing Form’s Jay Privman reported that Brad Pegram, Van Dyke’s agent, said that while X-rays were negative, the rider did need stitches to close cuts around an eye and on an arm, but otherwise was fine. This was Nucky’s fourth race. He had the most experience of all starters in this year’s Del Mar Futurity. The Kentucky-bred son of 2004 Horse of the Year Ghostzapper paid $72 for each $2 win ticket. In 72 editions of the Del Mar Futurity, the highest win payout occurred when Go West Young Man returned $144.80 in 1977. While Baffert did not finish one-two in this year’s Del Mar Futurity, it did turn out to be a Peter Miller exacta, paying $202.40 for a buck. It was Miller’s first win in this race. Norberto Arroyo Jr. piloted Nucky to his Del Mar Futurity triumph. That’s the same rider who early in the Del Mar meet made news for his unusual attire when he showed up at the stewards’ office on the morning of July 19. According to the report of the stewards to the California Horse Racing Board, Arroyo appeared in the stewards’ office “wearing only two towels.” He “was sent back to the jockeys’ room in order to change into something just a bit more proper.” When Arroyo was posing for pictures on Nucky in the winner’s circle after the Del Mar Futurity, he was wearing the turquoise silks of owner Gary Hartunian (Rockingham Ranch). Hartunian not only races Nucky, he owns Wrecking Crew in partnership with David Bernsen. Thank goodness Arroyo did not decide to show up in the winner’s circle on Nucky wearing just two towels. AN EXTREMELY SLOW RACE Nucky’s final time of 1:25.52 was the slowest in the Del Mar Futurity since it was shortened to seven furlongs from one mile in 1993. That 1:25.52 clocking was considerably slower than Bast’s final time of 1:23.73 when she won the Grade I Del Mar Debutante for 2-year-old fillies at the same seven-furlong distance last Sunday by 8 3/4 lengths. Below are the final times for the Del Mar Futurity going back to 1993: Year Time Winner 2019 1:25.52 Nucky2018 1:23.18 Game Winner2017 1:22.91 Bolt d’Oro2016 1:21.80 Klimt2015 1:23.28 Nyquist2014 1:21.48 American Pharoah*2013 1:23.07 Tamarando*2012 1:22.96 Rolling Fog*2011 1:22.16 Drill*2010 1:22.95 J P’s Gusto*2009 1:22.85 Lookin At Lucky*2008 1:23.35 Midshipman*2007 1:25.34 Georgie Boy*2006 1:22.93 Horse Greeley2005 1:22.43 Stevie Wonderboy2004 1:21.29 Declan’s Moon (stakes record)2003 1:23.10 Siphonizer2002 1:22.94 Icecoldbeeratreds2001 1:22.33 Officer2000 1:22.00 Flame Thrower 1999 1:21.60 Forest Camp1998 1:23.00 Worldly Manner1997 1:23.00 Souvenir Copy1996 1:22.80 Silver Charm1995 1:22.80 Future Quest1994 1:22.20 On Target1993 1:22.00 Winning Pact *Run on a synthetic surface Not surprisingly, in light of the slow final time, Nucky recorded a weak 68 Beyer Speed Figure, down 10 from the 78 he was credited with when he won a six-furlong maiden $100,000 claiming race by 10 1/2 lengths at Del Mar on Aug. 21 in his California debut. Nucky lost three times in Kentucky (twice at Churchill Downs, once at Ellis Park) prior to being shipped to the Golden State. Eight Rings had recorded a 94 Beyer Speed Figure when he won a 5 1/2-furlong maiden special weight race at first asking by 6 1/4 lengths on Aug. 4 at Del Mar. That performance subsequently was flattered when the runner-up in that Aug. 4 race, Express Train, won a maiden special race weight by 14 1/4 lengths at one mile on Aug. 28 at Del Mar. Considering Nucky’s low 68 Beyer, plus the way Eight Rings closed with such gusto in the stretch, it’s hard not to conclude that Eight Rings not only likely would have won the Del Mar Futurity if he had not unseated his rider, he probably would have won by a big margin. Below are the Beyer Speed Figures for winners of the Del Mar Futurity going back to 1991: 2019 Nucky (68)2018 Game Winner (93)2017 Bolt d’Oro (85)2016 Klimt (94)2015 Nyquist (82)2014 American Pharoah (101)*2013 Tamarando (78)*2012 Rolling Fog (78)*2011 Drill (90)*2010 J P’s Gusto (86)*2009 Lookin At Lucky (82)*2008 Midshipman (85)*2007 Georgie Boy (88)*2006 Horse Greeley (92)2005 Stevie Wonderboy (86)2004 Declan’s Moon (107)2003 Siphonizer (82)2002 Icecoldbeeratreds (96)2001 Officer (99)2000 Flame Thrower (103)1999 Forest Camp (106)1998 Worldly Manner (95)1997 Souvenir Copy (91)1996 Silver Charm (97)1995 Future Quest (94)1994 On Target (90)1993 Winning Pact (93)1992 River Special (88)1991 Bertrando (84) *Run on a synthetic surface WIN-MACHINE VASILIKA TAKES JOHN C. MABEE STAKES There have been very few claims in the history of the sport that have turned out as well as Vasilika, the 5-year-old mare who surged late to eke out a nose victory in last Saturday’s Grade II John C. Mabee Stakes on Del Mar’s grass course. Vasilika was sent off as the even-money favorite in the 1 1/8-mile Mabee. She was coming off a half-length loss when third behind Beau Recall and Storm the Hill in Del Mar’s Grade II Yellow Ribbon Handicap on the turf Aug. 3. Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer owns Vasilika in partnership with All Schlaich Stables, Gatto Racing and George Todaro. They claimed the Kentucky-bred daughter of Skipshot at Santa Anita on Feb. 11, 2018. Since moving to the Hollendorfer barn after being claimed for $40,000, Vasilika has earned $1,342,328 while winning 13 of 16 starts. The Mabee was Vasilika’s 18th career victory. That matches the number of career wins by her paternal grandsire, Skip Away, who was voted the 1998 Horse of the Year. CATALINA CRUISER CRACKS TOP 10 IN NTRA POLL While grass standout Bricks and Mortar maintains the top spot in the NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll, Catalina Cruiser entered the Top 10 this week. Trained by John Sadler, Catalina Cruiser is three for three this year, all in Grade II events. The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred son of Union Rags won the True North Stakes at Belmont Park on June 7, San Diego Handicap at Del Mar on July 20 and Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 24. Catalina Cruiser has won seven of eight lifetime starts. His lone defeat came when he finished sixth as the 4-5 favorite in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile at Churchill Downs last year. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 384 Bricks and Mortar (33)2. 322 Midnight Bisou (3)3. 303 McKinzie (3)4. 260 Mitole5. 241 Sistercharlie6. 97 World of Trouble7. 77 Elate8. 75 Imperial Hint9. 73 Code of Honor10. 72 Catalina Cruiser

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9.4.2019:

How I’m Playing the Inaugural Jockey Club Derby Late Pick 4 at Belmont

This Saturday, September 7 marks the inaugural edition of three brand new stakes races at Belmont Park – the $1 Million Jockey Club Derby, $750K Jockey Club Oaks and the $300K Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational.The ‘Derby’ is the final leg of the Turf Trinity (preceded by the Belmont Derby and Saratoga Derby) and the ‘Oaks’ is the final leg of the Turf Tiara, two brand new series created this year for the nation’s top three-year-old turf horses.  On the Derby side, the winners of both the Belmont Derby (Henley’s Joy) and Saratoga Derby (A Thread of Blue) are back, while the Oaks is missing expected favorite, Concrete Rose, due to injury.  No harm, no foul.  They run the race anyway and her absence makes for a better betting race.  Both races, along with the Grand Prix, are included in an enticing Late Pick 4, which begins with Race 8 at 4:43PM ET.  Xpressbet customers that hit the Late Pick 4 will Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points – register for free to play in that promotion.  For the sake of full disclosure, my ticket for last Saturday’s Saratoga Late Pick 4 performed less than stellar.  I went six-deep to get a favorite in the opening leg and I whiffed in both the Glens Falls (Mrs. Sippy) and Woodward (Preservationist).  Sometimes the game breaks that way, but hoping to get back on the ‘right’ side of things this weekend.  Race 8 (4:43PM ET) – Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational ($300K) – 1 1/2 Miles (Dirt)The inaugural edition of the Grand Prix American Jockey Club Invitational attracted a field of eight unreliable older horses.  I say unreliable because this group is a combined 6-for-38 on the year and half of the field is looking for its first victory of the year.  Furthermore, MARCONI’s 3-for-6 record in 2019 accounts for half of the entire field’s wins this year.  Such parity makes it tough to hold a strong opinion here, especially with four of these (MARCONI, ROCKETRY, YOU’RE TO BLAME, REALM) having competed in the G2 Brooklyn in June…and those four horses finished within a length of one another that day.HIGHLAND SKY is a ‘new shooter’ in that he’s new to dirt racing, but not to the New York circuit.  He cut his teeth on the lawn and even placed in a few graded stakes races, but he turned heads when he won the off-turf John’s Call Stakes at Saratoga by 8-lengths.  The Beyer came back decent (88) and pretty much on par with the rest of this bunch.  MARCONI and ROCKETRY were dusted by King Zachary at Saratoga in the Birdstone Stakes (beaten 8 and 10 lengths, respectively) but they’re still the class of this group.  Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 YOU’RE TO BLAME, #5 HIGHLAND SKY, #7 MARCONI, #8 ROCKETRYRace 9 (5:15PM ET) – Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Stakes ($750K) – 1 3/8 Miles (Turf)First and foremost, we have to acknowledge how much the injury to Concrete Rose hurts this race and wish her all the best in her recovery.  Looking forward to seeing her race in 2020.  She would have been 2/5 against this field and, in all likelihood, would’ve won for fun.  My initial instinct with this race was to just punch the ALL button and move on with it.  The ‘class’ of the group, if you want to call her that, is California shipper LADY PRANCEALOT.  She’s a nice filly but far from unbeatable and consider she was 15/1 when she finished third behind Chad Brown’s Cambier Parc in the G1 Del Mar Oaks.  But if not LADY PRANCELOT, then who?  The next logical considerations are a pair of French invaders, EDISA and WONDERMENT, and a UK shipper, LOVE SO DEEP.  All are logical on their best days.  WONDERMENT was a rare filly winner of the G1 Criterium de Saint Cloud last fall but she’s had trouble regaining her top form this year.  EDISA has finished first or second in her last four races and LOVE SO DEEP has run much better in her last two starts.I loved ART OF ALMOST’s race two back in the G2 Dance Smartly at Woodbine where she stayed on well to finish just 1 1/2-lengths behind Holy Helena and Starship Jubilee – two very talented older runners.  She was too far back in the G3 Pucker Up last out at Arlington and should have a better trip this time.The other American runners – ROMANTIC PURSUIT, DESERT RIDE and DYNA PASSER – don’t strike me as horses I need to have on my ticket.  Famous last words.Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 EDISA, #3 LADY PRANCELOT, #5 LOVE SO DEEP, #6 WONDERMENT, #8 ART OF ALMOSTRace 10 (5:47PM ET) – Jockey Club Derby Invitational ($1 Million) – 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)The adage would indicate that last time was ‘the time’ to have A THREAD OF BLUE, who took the Saratoga Derby field gate-to-wire at odds of 13/1 on August 4.    He was ‘lone speed’ that day and I guess the question I have is a simple one…is he lone speed again here?European horses notwithstanding, it sure looks like it.  That said, I do expect HENLEY’S JOY to sit closer to the pace this time around – he was too far behind in the Saratoga Derby – and TONE BROKE, who won 2/3 of the Canadian Triple Crown, employs a stalking style.  The only horse I want to use, besides A THREAD OF BLUE, is DIGITAL AGE.  The Chad Brown-trained horse nearly ran down A THREAD OF BLUE in the Belmont Derby despite rather pedestrian fractions.  As a deep closer he’ll always be pace dependent and I’m not sure this distance is his forte as his winning efforts all came at 1 1/16-miles or shorter.  Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 A THREAD OF BLUE, #8 DIGITAL AGERace 11 (6:20PM ET) – Maiden Claiming – 7 Furlongs (Dirt)The nightcap is an OK race for NY-bred maidens and, depending on how you look at it, you have the opportunity to bet a horse that has already won a race as CHAMPAGNE CHILLS was DQd from first in a maiden race at Saratoga on July 26.  The DQ was, in my opinion, justified.  That said, you have to like the fact that the horse had a nose for the wire that day and, on class alone, he’s taking a drop.  Granted he’s not racing in an off-the-turf race like he was that day, but his A game wouldn’t be needed to beat these.  LEGION STORM looks like a horse that could finally be sitting on a win, but he’ll need someone to pressure CHAMPAGNE CHILLS up front.  He just doesn’t finish strong, as his 0-for-13 record indicates.  I have no idea what to make of FREUDIAN SIP, who drops in class, changes barns and adds blinkers for Jorge Abreu.  I’m hesitant to back a horse that’s changing so much, but he gets an excellent Belmont jockey in Junior Alvarado and he could beat a number of these based on the matriculation of the class drop alone.Other than that, it’s just hard to back some of these horses.  CLONEDSIMMARD is 0-for-26, AWESOME ADVERSARY is 0-for-17, BLESSED HONOUR is 0-for-21 and RIDOLFO is 0-for-17.  It’s just unlikely that this Saturday would be ‘their’ day.  Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 CHAMPAGNE CHILLS, #8 LEGION STORMMy TicketRace 8: 1, 5, 7, 8Race 9: 1, 3, 5, 6, 8Race 10: 1, 8Race 11: 1, 8Ticket Cost: $40 for 50-cents

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9.3.2019:

Gimpanzee, American Mercury Earn Triple Crown Jewels

Marcus Melander summoned a fleet-footed Gimpanzee to foil the plans of a Triple Crown hopeful Saturday night at Yonkers Raceway. Melander trains New York-bred Gimpanzee, who zipped to a track record performance in the $500,000 Yonkers Trot, the second jewel of the Trotting Triple Crown. Hambletonian winner Forbidden Trade gave futile chase but finished second, 4-1/4 lengths behind the winner in 1:53.3. In becoming the sport’s newest millionaire, Gimpanzee also provided a measure of revenge for Melander, who sent out three strong contenders in the Hambletonian but didn’t win. Gimpanzee improved to 14-26 lifetime for owners Courant Inc. and S R F Stable and remained unbeaten in five starts at the half-mile oval where he was crowned New York Sire Stakes champion. “This is an amazing race to win and I don’t think there is a better 3-year-old on a half-mile track,” said Melander. “I think he showed it tonight.” The betting public believed, making Gimpanzee the 1-to-5 favorite. Hall of Fame driver Brian Sears handled the rest, sending Gimpanzee to a clear lead through fractions of :28 for the opening quarter, :56.4 for the half and 1:25 for three quarters. He won geared down and paid $2.60 to win. Forbidden Trade (Bob McClure) was compromised when three rivals in the eight-horse field went off stride in front of him. He tried to make a run approaching the far turn but couldn’t get close to Gimpanzee, who accelerated on the final turn. Soul Strong (Dexter Dunn), who was in front of Forbidden Trade before he broke stride early, recovered strongly to finish third, just in front of 199-1 shot No Drama Please (Jason Bartlett). “All the credit to Marcus and his outfit,” said Sears. “He’s been a total pro from the first time I sat behind him, just so mature and he was ready tonight.” Gimpanzee wasn’t the only state-bred to shine on the Triple Crown stage. In the next race, American Mercury (Tyler Buter, $16.20) shocked 1-to-9 favorite Bettor’s Wish in the $500,000 Messenger Stakes for sophomore pacers. Bettor’s Wish (Dexter Dunn) controlled the pace through a 1:23.3 third-quarter split and led by one length turning for home. American Mercury, who established pocket position early, sat poised to make a run after first-over U S Captain (Bartlett) pressed Bettor’s Wish on the final turn but faded to finish third. Buter’s decision to pull from the pocket or hope for a rail opening was made easy when Bettor’s Wish drifted on the lead. American Mercury, the 7-to-1 second favorite, slipped through on the inside and won the stretch duel by a head in 1:51.3. The exacta paid $22. Chris Oakes trains American Mercury for co-owners Crawford Racing, Northfork Racing, Chuck Pompey and Scott Bice. “He was super sharp coming into the race,” said Buter. “He definitely came through tonight and showed everybody what he can do.”

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9.2.2019:

Monday, September 2: Woodbine Mohawk Park Pick 5 Analysis

To cap off the holiday weekend Woodbine Mohawk Park is offering a variety of betting options on a 10-race card. At the top of my list is the 0.20 Pick 5. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and it wouldn't be a shock if the betting pool totals twice as much. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 1 2-Cliffhanger-Comes off an easy win but is off 2-weeks, otherwise it should be all systems go for the 9/5 ML chalk. 5-Better Moonon Over-Same race date as #2 and appears to be a player, tries hard and won't face recent winners. Race 2 3-Hidden View-McClure takes a spin and has been facing tough foes, fits better with this crew. 5-Mia Culpa-Gets post relief and from this spot Roy can put in play earlier, could come out on top at a square price. 6-Kit-Was so far back in last couldn't hear the tuba player and did make up a lot of ground, best to respect tonight. Race 3 5-Always A Rose-Steps-up after rolling the $8k claimers from the 7-hole and this is basically the same field. 6-Zealous Seelster-Makes 2nd start for Johnson after not doing so well at GrVr in Pfd's, Roy is back and fits better. Race 4 2-Dreamfair Moxy-Cullen returns, and ML chalk looks the part, has 2-wins and a 2nd versus Grass Roots company. 5-Priceless Beach-Likes to win and does battle, now gets a prime post draw, looks like a big threat for a picture. 6-Sportsline-Winner of >$90k in '19 and fits well in a very competitive race and the Watt barn has been doing well. Race 5 4-She The North-Qualifier was good, barn is cold but has speed and stays flat, using in a field without standouts. 5-Imthebigsis-Back to Wbsb, looking for better, from post #5 can get a good seat to stay in the hunt at 10-1 in ML. 6-Coco Beach De Vie-Looking for another price, Roy can get filly near the lead, seems to have the speed to win. 8-Zephr Seelster-Last start here was better and now McClure steers, could find some decent cover and roll late. My Ticket Race 1) 2,5 Race 2) 3,5,6 Race 3) 5,6 Race 4) 2,5,6 Race 5) 4,5,6,8  Total Ticket Cost) $28.80 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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9.2.2019:

Closing Day: Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies for Saratoga

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Monday, September 2, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on September 2nd, 2019 RACE 1: Post 12:30 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Doswell; 11-Malthael Forecast: Malthael has encountered two recent brutal trips in races he could have won with better racing luck. Perhaps today will be his day. The C. Clement-trained gelding retains J. Rosario and will leave from the far outside post, not always the place to be in these turf routers but at least guaranteeing an in-the-clear trip. After being blocked or shut off at critical stages in his last pair, the son of Noble Mission has a chance to commence his rally wide and show what he can do with a clear journey. Doswell was nosed out in the same race that Malthael just finished third in. The Giant’s Causeway gelding is a major contender again, and we’ll certainly use him in our rolling exotics, but his morning line of 7/5 seems a bit short compared to the 4-1 listed for our top pick. RACE 2: Post 1:04 ET. Grade: X Single: 4-Mo Diddley Forecast: Mo Didley, a $40,000 J. Sharp claim in late July, returns well below that price, never a good sign, but the with the addition of blinkers the son of Uncle Mo is strictly the one to beat, especially over a sloppy track that he’s proven he can handle. If he has at least one good one left he’s home free but at a very short price that offers no wagering value. You can make him a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race. RACE 3: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Baffin Bay; 7-Thousand Percent; 8-Seanow Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and has been shortened to seven furlongs. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Baffin Bay, freshened for nearly two months, is a Gulfstream Park invader that likes to win races (four-for-11), picks up. J, Rosario, and has enough tactical speed to always be within striking distance. On pure speed figures he’s fast enough to act at this level on this circuit. Seanow finished second in a similar off-the-grass sprint at this level and must be considered a threat once again. As a son of Tiznow, he should have no difficulty handling a wet track. We’ll also toss in Thousand Percent, a class dropper but still above his claim level for a good outfit. RACE 4: Post 2:08 ET. Grade: X Single: 4-Ekhtibaar Forecast: Ekhtibaar, a certified off-track freak, didn’t fire when 6/5 in a starter’s allowance race on grass at Laurel Park last month but returns to the main track today and a sloppy one at that. Perfect in one prior start at Saratoga and with speed figures that are good enough to win, the R. Handal-trained son of Bernardini looks like the logical top pick and a rolling exotic single.. RACE 5: Post 2:40 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Snap Hook; 5-Labeq; 11-Mo Gee Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be run at nine furlongs. Labez is solid on numbers, exits a live race, and shouldn’t be bothered by the surface switch. The Tapit gelding has good tactical speed and rising speed figures. Snap Hook seems to be moving in the right direction numbers-wise and might find himself on the lead from his inside post. Mo Gee has never raced on anything other than turf or synthetic, but as a son of Uncle Mo should handle any surface and comes off a win in his first-off-the-claim for Robertino. A similar effort today puts him in the hunt. We’ll use these three in our rolling exotics but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead. RACE 6: Post 3:15 ET. Grade: A- Single: 8-Gouvenrneur Morris Forecast: Gouverneur Morris has trained like a terrific prospect both at the Fasig-Tipton March sale (where he was very impressive in the preview session before bringing $600,00) and then locally at Saratoga with a series of drills leading up to this, his racing debut. From the first crop of the terrific freshman stallion Constitution, the T. Pletcher-trained colt is listed at 8/5 on the morning line but we suspect he’ll go lower. In a race containing nothing but first time starters, this colts sticks out, so we’ll make him a strong rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 3:52 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Danny California; 3-Pipes; 6-Quality Choice Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be run at nine furlongs. There are at least three logical possibilities and perhaps more, so best advice is to use as many as you can afford to. We’ll triple the race and hope that’s enough. Quality Choice has numbers that fit and won an off-the-turf sloppy rack race at Belmont Park three runs back. Pipes likes an off track but after just missing in an allowance race shows up in a $30,000 claimer, not a good sign. If healthy, he should be right there. Danny California has one career win, and it came over a sloppy track. RACE 8: Post 4:29 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Miss Lily B; 7-Hay Field Forecast: We’ve got this second-level allowance optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares down to two main contenders, both of which should be used in rolling exotic play. Miss Lily B is a razor sharp Finger Lakes invader seeking her sixth straight win and while not blazingly fast on speed figures still looks good enough to extend her winning streak. Primarily a six furlong sprinter but giving every indication that today’s seven furlong trip will be within her range, the daughter of Yes It’s True attracts J. Ortiz and projects to be the controlling speed. Hay Field, a $40,000 claim by J. Servis and therefore eligible to improve several lengths overnight, has been first or second in 14 of 23 career starts and seems set for another major effort after just missing at this level in an off-the-turfer last month. She’s the likely choice and strictly the one to beat. RACE 9: Post 5:04 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-March to the Arch; 7-Olympico Forecast: March to the Arch wasn’t quite up to beating Grade-1 company in the Fourstardave Handicap last month but didn’t run badly, finishing fourth, beaten three lengths, and earning a career top speed figure. This is a considerably easier group, so we’re expecting the M. Casse-trained gelding to resume his winning ways. He’s a closer in a race without much speed, but we suspect T. Gaffalione will have him relatively close when the pressure is turned out entering the lane. Olympico shortens to a middle distance after racing wide and finishing a close seventh (beaten less than two lengths) in the mini-marathon Bowling Green S.-G2 earlier this meeting. The C. Brown-trained import is another that does his best running late and with clear sailing should make an impact in the final furlong. Preference on top goes to March to the Arch but both should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 10: Post 5:39 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Green Light Go; 4-Gozilla; 7-Basin Forecast: This is a legitimate Grade-1 event for juveniles, a better, stronger race than unusual for this traditional season-ending stakes. Green Light Go has won both of starts like a top colt and gives every indication that he’ll continue to thrive even as the distances increase. The son of Hard Spun continues to shine in the a.m. for J. Jerkens and should be able to settle just behind the leaders before being asked to quicken from the top of the lane to the wire. Basin is a highly-promising colt and had the good fortunate of landing the comfortable outside post. After being nosed out in his debut, the son of Liam’s Map graduated with authority while improving his Beyer speed figure by 16 points and had the win franked when runner-up Three Technique came back to win yesterday like a top prospect. He’s one of three S. Asmussen-trained entrants, with R. Santana, Jr, who would probably know best since he rode all three, opting for Gozilla, a runaway winner in his debut last month while doing it in hand. The son of Flatter is a beautiful mover and is another that should handle today’s extra furlong without issue. RACE 11: Post 6:13 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Mine the Coin Forecast: Mine the Coin, first off the claim for R. Falcone, Jr. (superior 25% with a flat-bet profit), figures to step forward for his new connections and returns at the level he was claimed in this $20,000 maiden claiming sprint to wrap up the season. Though beaten as the favorite over this track and distance vs. similar when last seen in mid-July, the son of Speightstown switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider L. Saez and has previous speed figures that are more than good enough to win in this league. He’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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9.2.2019:

Monday, September 02: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Monday, September 2, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Day Makers at Del Mar on September 2nd, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: X Single: 1-Magic At Midnight Forecast: Magic At Midnight is listed at 9/5 on the morning line in this starter’s allowance sprint for fillies and mares and based on speed figures she should be odds-on (and probably will be). A 13-length winner in her debut at Los Alamitos in mid-July, the daughter of Midnight Lute was claimed by M. Glatt out of that race and for whatever reason didn’t start her throughout the Del Mar until closing day, even though her work tab indicates that she’s been training right along. Rail and all, she figures to easily dispose of her outclassed rivals but clearly will offer no wagering value. You can make her a rolling exotic single or simply pass the race. RACE 2: Post 2:34 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Be a Shero; 3-Cellar Door Forecast: Cellar Door ran quite well in her debut to finish second over this course and distance and seems certain to improve with M. Smith riding her back for J. Mullins. The daughter of Awesome Again had her effort franked when the filly who beat her, Stylishly, came back to win convincingly on the raise. Three easy workouts since that late July outing should have her right on edge. Be a Shero, also a runner-up under these conditions in her most recent outing, makes her second start off a long layoff and is another that seems likely to move forward. She switches to F. Prat, lands the rail, and like Cellar Door figures to do best work from off the pace. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Cellar Door. RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Durga; 6-Miss Megan; 10-Sothalis Forecast: Miss Megan gets off the dreaded rail and may be capable of controlling this race on the front end after opening up and then paying the price in the final furlong when third in a similar maiden special weight sprint last month. She shortens up a half-furlong, retains D. Van Dyke, and shouldn’t have any excuses in what looks to be a below par race for the level. Sothalis exits the same race as Miss Megan and finished a respectable fourth while having a right to need the outing. She retains F. Prat, lands the cozy outside post, and has worked well since that race, so a forward move by the P. D’Amato-trained daughter of Vronsky is probable. Durga showed a bit of ability in a maiden claiming dash in her debut last month and earned a comparable speed figure to what Miss Megan was assigned in her race. The issue for her is today’s post – the rail – and that’s not where you want to be sprinting on this racetrack. However, the L. Powell-trained filly should be fitter today, so we’ll include her in our rolling exotics on a ticket or two while reserving the main punch for Miss Megan. RACE 4: Post 3:38 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Cleopatra’s Strike Forecast: When last seen in January Cleopatra’s Strike was earning a career top number when beaten a nose in the San Gabriel S.-G2 at Santa Anita in his first start since arriving West and joining the P. D’Amato barn. The veteran gelding was stopped on after that race but appears to be returning as well as he left based on his impressive recent work tab over the Del Mar grass course. The son of Smart Strike has run very well fresh in the past and appears cranked up and ready to roll in this nine-furlong, second-level allowance event. There’s plenty of wagering value if you can get close to his morning line of 7/2, so let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 4:08 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Conquest Smartee; 3-Ooh La La Whalah; 8-Big Barrel Forecast: We’ll spread the fifth race, a restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint while giving the edge on top to Ooh La La Whalah. Raised a notch in his first-off-the-claim for P. Miller (a powerful 27% with this angle), the lightly-raced gelding has the route-to-sprint pattern that we like, adds blinkers for the first time, and switches to hustling rider M. Garcia. He’ll need a bit of improvement in the speed figure department to beat this field but we suspect he’ll step forward enough to just that, and at 6-1 on the morning line he’s quite enticing. Conquest Smartee has never been big on winning (he’s 1-for-15 with 10 seconds and thirds) but is in good form right now and really won’t have to improve much for new trainer M. Pearson to be a strong threat throughout. He should at least land in the frame. Big Barrel plummets in class for L. Powell, almost suspiciously so, but if he has one good one left the Surf Cat gelding should be highly-competitive in this league based on his state-bred maiden win two runs back. We expect to see him running on late under R. Bejarano. RACE 6: Post 4:38 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 10-Shedaresthedevil Forecast: Shedaresthedevil was no match for Amalfi Sunrise when third in the Sorrento S.-G3 sprinting on dirt last month but has nothing even remotely that good to worry about as she stretches out and tries grass for the first time in the Del Mar Juvenile Fillies Turf. She doesn’t really have what you’d call a grass pedigree, but a recent solo workout around dogs on grass was quite impressive and provided strong evidence that she will handle the surface switch just fine. With gets F. Prat as well, so at 9/5 on the morning line we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 5:08 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Mandy; 2-Traffic Stopper Forecast: Mandy will have to overcome her poor rail draw but in what appears to be a below standard race for state-bred juvenile fillies the P. Miller-trained daughter of Commissioner seems to have found a field she can handle. Fourth in a prior run at Indiana Downs last month, she adds Lasix and blinkers today and has two easy workouts over the Del Mar main track to have her ready, but probably will have to extract herself from the deeper inside lanes to have her best chance at earning her diploma. Breaking right along is the one she probably has to worry about the most, Traffic Stopper. The Cross Traffic filly showed ability in her debut when second at Los Alamitos in July but then had a rough trip and was no factor over this main track later that month. Freshened and working steadily, the B. Koriner-trained filly seems likely to bounce back with her best effort and is worth including in rolling exotic play. RACE 8: Post 5:38 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Guitty Forecast: European invader Guitty showed some ability in her only start, finishing second in a representative maiden race in the French provinces in June and was subsequently purchased privately and shipped to California. The L. Powell-trained filly shows a couple of local satisfactory workouts and lands F. Prat, so in a maiden two-turn turf race for juvenile fillies that is begging to be won by a fresh face, she fits the bill. Let’s make the French-bred filly a straight play at or near her morning linen of 2-1 and a rolling exotic single as well. RACE 9: Post 6:08 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Eight Rings Forecast: Eight Rings was the most impressive maiden juvenile winner of the meeting last month and deserves top billing in a strong edition of the Del Mar Futurity-G1, the traditional closing day feature of the season. The son of Empire Maker earned a sensational speed figure in his six length romp and should be even more comfortable at this elongated sprint distance. A bullet six furlong work since his win shows that the B. Baffert-trained colt remains spot on, though he’d be wise to duplicate or even improve on his debut win as there are a numbers of other highly promising and talented colts in the field. At 5/2 on the morning line – and we’re pretty sure he’ll go lower – he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post 6:38 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Zee Drop; 3-Sedamar; 5-Seranitsa Forecast: The season finale is a grass grab bag for first-level allowance 3-year-old fillies. Seranitsa seems as good as any and better than most after finishing a respectable fifth, beaten just three lengths, in the San Clemente S.-G2 earlier this season. Her only win came in gate-to-wire fashion but she strikes us as capable of stalking and winning if the race flow dictates. One of the barn’s main “go-to” jockeys, R. Bejarano, takes the call. Zee Drop, in her second start since arriving from the east, should produce a forward move for the F. Prat/P. D’Amato barn and projects to enjoy a comfortable ground-saving, pace-stalking trip. A close fourth vs. similar last month, the daughter of Lemon Drop King seems capable of producing a significant forward move. Sedamar just won a state-bred allowance race over this course and with continued improvement could be good enough to act in open company. She’s competitive on speed figures and employs a stalking style that should keep her free of trouble.

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9.2.2019:

Overreactions are Always in Handicapping Season

For those of you who follow college football, it has begun. For those focused on the NFL, it will begin in a week’s time. For those who follow horse racing, it happens 8 or 10 times each race.  Overreaction to a single performance can be dangerous no matter what Sport of Kings or Cleats you follow. While team sports overreaction can be corrected as a season progresses, for those of us analyzing a horse’s past performances, we have to do so much more frequently and judiciously.  So what elements of a single performance are prone to overreaction among handicappers? Here are three of the most common: Margins  The distance a horse wins, or loses, by easily can be misinterpreted. Sure, 10 lengths is a long way to win or lose, but it’s more often a product of circumstance than talent evaluation. Horses who win by wide margins often are: front-runners who gut an overmatched field of chasers that lacks a closer; horses who relish the slop/mud when others loathe it; and maidens who catch a field with a massive disparity in talent all running for the same class because no one knows where they fit just yet. Horses who lose by wide margins, but aren’t necessarily just slow, most often are: front-runners who were pressured and ran out of gas, where losing by 4 lengths or 14 really makes no difference; closers who were kept too close to a fast pace and did not have their usual sustaining gear; and horses who did not handle a particular surface, either due to track condition, shipping out of town, etc.  Trouble Lines  The universal trouble horse that everyone saw with a rough go last time will almost assuredly be overreacted to in his or her return. High-profile examples aren’t a blanket explanation, but shed some light on the type of runner we’re talking about. Think Tacitus from this year’s 3-year-old crop. Everyone saw him wide in the Belmont and stumble to his face in the Jim Dandy. That set him up for a shorter price in the Travers, where he again failed to deliver the paycheck. But even more so than an obvious, high-profile example, trouble lines in black and white in the past performances from the Equibase chart caller are sure to cause overreaction. The short-form comments number only a few words or abbreviations, fail to tell the story in any context, and too often are accepted as reasons/excuses without further video study. As a former Equibase chart caller myself, I’m keen to what’s published and try to confirm or deny any such red flags printed. I’ve also observed that horses who were well-bet get a more discerning set of excuses and comments in the past performances than those who were not well-backed. A 15-1 shot making a move on the turn who was blocked is less likely to draw a trouble comment than an 8-5 favorite. The summation here is that chart callers understand that their comments are widely causes for overreaction; they don’t want a blocked 3/8-pole comment for a 15-1 shot to be interpreted as grounds for why that horse lost. I disagree with that unwritten philosophy, but I’m certain that it happens in my observations. The end result is that the vast majority of trouble comments are saved for well-backed horses, which gives them excuses to be bet back again in a cycle of overreaction.  Returnees from First Starts  The debut effort, nearly always in maiden company, can be misconstrued easily because it lacks context. We don’t have anything to put it up next to. A horse’s form is a study of his or her past performances. A first start doesn’t allow for any comparison of said horse against him or herself. We wind up comparing a race for the #1 horse only against the #4 horse, for instance, and the two aren’t physically connected. Will the horse exiting a debut race move forward or backward? The cliche is that horses improve the most from their first to second start. But the Betmix database tells us that second-time starters win almost 2 full percentage points less in maiden races than first-time starters, and third-time starters win almost a full percentage point higher than those second-timers. Yes, we overreact to debut efforts, and the result is skewed perception of second-time starters. 

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9.2.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: September 2 Saratoga Empire 6 Mandatory Payout Ticket

We may not have the Stronach 5 for one more week, but what we do have is Saratoga’s Empire 6 and a mandatory Monday, with a potential pool well in excess of $5 million, so let’s take a look at the sequence. *** 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: Saratoga R6 (3:15 ET) – 2yo MSW at 7 furlongs We get a little lucky here, in that this tough 2yo MSW, with a slew of potential live firsters from top barns, is the opening leg of the sequence, so make sure you tab the tote. On the face of it, you have to use #1 MAXIMILIANO and #8 GOUVERNEUR MORRIS, as they were pricey purchases and go for Ward and Pletcher, respectively, and it looks like #9 SECRET RULES is very fast, and this outside attack post is a good one, so I’ll use him too. After that it gets a little tricky, so I’ll wait to see the tote and if anyone is live and then adjust accordingly, if I need to add anyone else to the A-line. Lastly I’m going to add in #2 CLIFTON PARK, since I find it interesting he’s even here, as Romans didn’t run many at the meet and, with a ton of works showing, there’s no reason this one couldn’t have run at Ellis, and with a name like this (the town is 15 mins south), I’m surmising this colt can run. Pk6 A horses: 9,8,1,2 You could use several here, so again, tote action is paramount, but to be comfortable I’d want #6 MALIBU EDGE, as well as #5 RUNWAY STAR, since he looks to be here for a reason and Irad rides. You could also add in #7 Tadeo too, but McLaughlin just doesn’t win with firsters any more, so he looks more like a C. Pk6 B horses: 6,5 Leg 2: Saratoga R7 (3:52 ET) –3up 30k N2L at 1 1/16 miles (Mellon turf) Tough heat here, as several look the same on paper, with #5 RHODE ISLAND maybe a tad better than all of them, though impossible to trust too, class drop and all. There’s no doubt #1 I’M ELMER J FUDD needs to step up off his local MCL win, but it did come over the course and he may be loose, so I’m calling for the upset. If he doesn’t wire, or finds the rise too steep, the #3 PIPES will be there to take over and get first run, and the route try for Motion last time was a big improvement. The post and an ascending figure pattern make #2 DANNY CALIFORNIA a player, and the drop does so for #4 JEROME AVENUE, so they round out the five-pack. Pk6 A horses: 1,5,3,2,4 I should probably be confident enough in my handicapping to call it a day with the A’s, but with turf aces Irad and Jose Ortiz riding #6 QUALITY CHOICE and #12 SARATOGA COLONEL, respectively, I’ll back up with this pair, even though they have some major knocks. Pk6 B horses: 6,12 Leg 3: Saratoga R8 (4:29 ET) – 3upfm NYB AOC (40k/N2X) at 7 furlongs In a sequence without a true single it looks like #7 HAY FIELD is possibly the closest one, as she goes off the claim for Servis and Dubb, and her last two races at the level were already better than these, not to mention the race flow and distance really figure to suit her. The beauty of a 20-cent base play is that you don’t need to feel like you have to single, especially if you have expanded your bankroll a bit, so I’ll also use #2 BANGLE GAL, who is too slow on figures to win this, but has also won for fun the last two times she ran on dirt and is another who fits the race profile of a stalker who will love the distance. Pk6 A horses: 7,2 From here it’s a bit of a personal preference, as I’m not the type to spread deep on backups when I think there’s a fringe single, though many others want to ty and blanket the race if their heavy favorite should stumble. Let’s split the difference a bit, as there’s no doubt #9 NEWPORT BREEZE can win if she backs up her last on the class rise, while #5 MISS LILY B looks like the speed of the speed and has won five straight out west at FL. Countless others are in with an upset chance—#3 Shelley Ann, #4 New Girl in Town, #10 Timely Tradition—but they all have some warts too, so I need to make them prove it. Pk6 B horses: 9,5 *** Please note that I’ll be singling in the final leg on the Leg 3 backup ticket. *** Leg 4: Saratoga R9 (5:04 ET) – 3up GII Bernard Baruch at 1 1/16 miles (Mellon turf) No opinion here at all, other than thinking #4 Dream Friend and #5 Noble Indy can’t win but will ensure an honest pace, so I’ll use the five others and call it a day. The Brown trio of #2 EMARAATY, #6 SACRED LIFE, and #7 OLYMPICO will all take a lot of money, but the latter two are at the mercy of the pace and will need some luck, while the former needs to improve off his US debut, so you don’t have to love any of them. However, #1 MARCH TO THE ARCH has no speed at all, and #3 QURBAAN has lost seven in a row since his win in this race last year, so, hence my lack of any real feeling here. Pk6 A horses: 6,2,7,1,3 If one of Dream Friend or Noble Indy scratches then the other becomes a Lone F and interesting, but if both run it’s tough to see either holding off the charge of their classier rivals late. Pk6 B horses: NONE Leg 5: Saratoga R10 (5:39 ET) – 2yos GI Hopeful at 7 furlongs To Asmussen or not, that is the question. The Hall of Fame trainer runs three—#1 SHOPLIFTED, #4 GOZILLA, and #7 Basin—and all can win and all look like huge talents, but I’m going elsewhere, as I’ve been enamored with #3 GREEN LIGHT GO since his debut win and he did nothing to get me off his bandwagon when winning the local GII Saratoga Special last time, and if Jimmy Jerkens, one of the most patient trainers on the backstretch, decides to wheel back on short rest, then I’m coming along. Shoplifted was nothing short of awesome winning his debut with a rush late (as a side note, tab how runner-up Kowalski runs Saturday), so he has to be a major player here, while the fastest horse in the world, Gozilla, lived up to the hype when wiring on debut, but stretching out and meeting other pace pressure today means he’ll have to earn it. Pk6 A horses: 3,1,4 Being able to sit off the pace will help #5 BY YOUR SIDE, and he enters fresh since his win in mid-July in the local GIII Sanford, but he’s a little slow on figures, while #7 BASIN was a flashy second-out winner and drew perfectly, but pressing and lasting won’t be easy either. Pk6 B horses: 5,7 Leg 6: Saratoga R11 (6:13) 3up 20k MCL at 7 furlongs We close the meet, and a potentially very lucrative sequence, with a bit of a conundrum, as #8 MINE THE COIN, who goes off the Falcone claim (23%), is clearly the horse to beat and should improve for his new barn while going second-off the long layoff. One of the reasons I was pretty expansive in the first five legs is because I think you can lean on ‘Coin, as Falcone is very sharp and this gelding was best to begin with, and he was 2nd to a repeat winner last time too. However, the Ward firster, #5 FU PEGCHU goes for a 31% debut barn and looks fast, in a race without a ton of speed too, so just maybe he breaks running and forgets to stop. Pk6 A horses: 8,5 There are four I could see as underneath threats, but I’m only going to use #11 SKYWRITING, since he’ll be running for the first time on the dirt since the Rice claim and could wake up on that angle, and on the drop. The others—#7 Exchequer, #3 Impunity, and #4 Centsmybabyleftme—all have a few angles, but don’t match up with the top trio, and with the ‘Coin looking very tough as it is, I’m not interested in going five-deep. Pk6 B horses: 11 The tickets: This is an expensive play, but the pool size and mandatory payout warrant peeling off a few more bills from the bankroll and taking a swing. Main Ticket: 9,8,1,2 with 1,5,3,2,4 with 7,2 with 6,2,7,1,3 with 3,1,4 with 8,5 = $240 Leg 1 B Backup: 6,5 with 1,5,3,2,4 with 7,2 with 6,2,7,1,3 with 3,1,4 with 8,5 = 120 Leg 2 B Backup: 9,8,1,2 with 6,12 with 7,2 with 6,2,7,1,3 with 3,1,4 with 8,5 = $96 Leg 3 B Backup: 9,8,1,2 with 1,5,3,2,4 with 9,5 with 6,2,7,1,3 with 3,1,4 with 8 = $120 Leg 5 B Backup: 9,8,1,2 with 1,5,3,2,4 with 7,2 with 6,2,7,1,3 with 5,7 with 8,5 = $160 Leg 6 B Backup: 9,8,1,2 with 1,5,3,2,4 with 7,2 with 6,2,7,1,3 with 3,1,4 with 11 = $120

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9.1.2019:

Sunday, September 01: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. * 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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-day-makers-at-del-mar-on-september-1st-2019/   RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Riding With Dino; 3-I Want One Forecast: Riding With Dino crushed a maiden $50,000 claiming field last month with a much improved speed figure and has all the makings of an excellent R. Hess, Jr. claim. Protected in this starter’s allowance sprint in his first start for his new connections, the son of Vronsky retains M. Pedroza and wins this with a repeat of last start. He’s 5/2 on the morning line and we suspect he’ll go lower. I Want One, a filly facing the boys, won a maiden special weight state-bred sprint last time out but is eligible to this race for having finished second for $50,000 in her debut. She’s not quite as fast on numbers as ‘Dino but could produce a sufficient forward move to give the favorite a run for his money. Both should be included in rolling exotic play.   RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Mad At Money; 5-Blue Skye Jade; 8-My Way Out; 10-Refractometer Forecast: Bottom-rung maiden claimers get together in a middle distance main track affair. Refractometer has improved his speed figures with each outing and seems ready to graduate despite his extreme outside post. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding should have enough tactical speed to get over and settle somewhere in mid-pack and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. Mad At Money, runner-up under similar conditions in late July, shows a steady, healthy work pattern and has numbers that put him in the mix. He is a nine race maiden but a major contender in a soft spot. Blue Skye Jade, in the frame in two of his last three outings, stretches out again and should be part of the pace throughout. The C. Lewis-trained gelding earned a career top speed figure last time out and with continued improvement might be able to break through. My Way Out has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and a pedigree that should allow him to improve going long. With just two career starts, the son of Paynter is unexposed, so we’ll toss him in on a ticket or two.   RACE 3: Post 3:02 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Encoder Forecast: Encoder was highly impressive breaking his maiden at first asking last month sprinting over this turf course, and today he gets to show what he can do over a distance of ground. The son of English Channel seems certain to improve two-turning for J. Sadler, and from the rail F. Prat can pretty much dictate his trip. At 9/5 on the morning and possibly going lower than that, he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single in this year’s edition of the Del Mar Juvenile Turf.    RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Kylemore; 10-Vintage Hollywood Forecast: We’ll try to get by using just two in this restricted (nw-3) $20,000 main track claiming miler for older horses. Vintage Hollywood, first off the claim for A. Lerner (a powerful 25% with this angle) just dismantled a lesser field over this track and distance by five widening lengths while earning a career top speed figure, and if the son of Country Day and turn a similar effort for his new connections he’ll be hard to beat. Both of his career wins have come over the Del Mar main track. Kylemore has been disappointing of late but is realistically spotted (finally) and seems likely to be highly competitive at this level. Dangerous if he can establish a front-running trip, the son of Tiz Wonderful has an excellent opportunity against this group to be the controlling speed and given that kind of trip he could be hard to run down.   RACE 5: Post 4:06 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-War Beast; 8-Cool Runnings; 10-K P Indy Forecast: We loved the debut of K P Indy and expect big things from this juvenile son of Competitive Edge. Finding five furlongs too sharp but finishing full of run while mostly on his own courage, the J. Mullins-trained colt wound up a strong runner-up behind Encoder (see today’s third race) and today stretches out to a distance he certainly should be comfortable with. The draw isn’t ideal but won’t get him beat if he’s as good as we think he is. There are two other contenders to consider in your rolling exotics, at least as backups. Cool Runnings, a solid runner-up over this course and distance in his debut in late July for the Desormeaux brothers, will benefit greatly from that experience and can be expected to produce a forward move. He’s a son of American Pharoah, so there’s reason for his connections to be excited. War Beast already has had a couple of races over the local lawn and shows improving speed figures for the D. O’Neill barn. Blinkers are added for the first time, so the son of Declaration of War certainly has a right to continue in the right direction.   RACE 6: Post 4:37 PT. Grade: B- Use: 8-Shes All Woman; 9-Time for Suzzie; 10-Staythirstymyamigo Forecast: Here’s a difficult $25,000 claiming sprint restricted to 3-year-old fillies that has a number of possibilities. We’ll hope to survive and advance going three-deep. Shes All Woman drops into a seller for the first time and may have found her proper level. On numbers she’s certainly a strong fit and she gets a break in the weights with the switch to bug boy Diaz, Jr. Two nice five furlong workouts since raced are encouraging. Time for Suzzie moves up a notch after winning a $20,000 claimer here last month with a career-top number. If she can turn in two alike, she can be tough right back and R. Bejarano will give her the patient ride she needs. Staythirstymyamigo also is fresh from a nice score, hers coming vs. $12,500 foes with the rally-wide trip that has been so effective over this main track all season long. She’s favorably drawn outside and is worth using on a ticket or two despite the class hike.   RACE 7: Post 5:08 PT. Grade: Use: 1-Foray; 2-Wound Tight; 5-Offshore Forecast: Wound Tight was visually very impressive winning at this level vs. state-bred foes over this course and distance in late July and has been kept on edge since with a steady, healthy series of workouts for R. Hess, Jr. Today he faces open foes, but his numbers are rapidly rising, he’s drawn favorably inside, and has the kind of tactical speed to ensure a perfect, pace-stalking journey. At 5-1 on the morning line the son of Coil offers value both in the straight pool and in rolling exotic play. Foray had severe traffic trouble and lost his chance a furlong out against similar last time out in a race with a blazing early pace. There should be far less heat today; in fact, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the J. Sadler-trained gelding on the lead from the rail. Dangerous on figures and lightly-raced with only eight prior outings, the son of Eskendereya is a “must use” in rolling exotic play. Offshore is a two-time winner over the Del Mar turf course, most recently rallying from off the pace with the help of the race-shape to win a $25,000 claimer in his first start since last December. Protected this time by high percentage connections, the R. Baltas-trained gelding should fire a similar shot today but probably will be forced to overcome softer early splits. You should at least use him as a backup or a saver.   RACE 8: Post 5:39 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Matera; 7-Quality Response; 10-Scarlet Lips Forecast: Matera disappointed in her debut when showing speed before weakening to wind up third at 70 cents on the dollar last month but she drew the dreaded rail in that race and paid the price in the final furlong. She’s trained very well since, gets a better draw, and should be given another chance to show here best stuff in this abbreviated sprint for maiden juvenile fillies. M. Smith got to know her and stays aboard. Scarlet Lips had the good fortune of landing the cozy outside post and has trained well enough to be a strong factor first crack out of the box. The daughter of Malibu Moon was a $400,000 yearling purchase and earlier this meeting was working in company and holding her own with yesterday’s Del Mar Debutante winner Bast. She’s one of two B. Baffert-trained entrants, the other being Quality Response, a daughter of Quality Road with a healthy work tab that should have her fit enough. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Matera on top.  RACE 9: Post 6:09 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Nolde; 5-Neptune’s Storm; 8-Moody Jim Forecast: Nolde lost a heartbreaker in the opening day Oceanside Stakes when hitting the front close home, only to be nailed by Jasikan in the final jump. The Pioneerof the Nile colt skipped the La Jolla Handicap to wait for this race, and we suspect the J. Shirreffs-trained sophomore will continue his improving pattern over this nine furlong trip that he’s certainly bred to like. V. Espinoza fits him well and stays aboard. Neptune’s Storm, a two-time stakes winner but most recently second, beaten a neck, in the La Jolla H. last month, picks up F. Geroux and should have every chance from a pace-prompting or stalking spot. The R. Baltas-trained gelding won the Cinema Stakes at this distance during the Santa Anita main track and has numbers that continue to rise with each recent outing. Moody Jim just broke his maiden and now is being asked to compete in Grade 2 company, a rather ambitious assignment, but the Irish-bred colt was quite impressive in victory and earned a speed figures that tells us he belongs at this level. The J. Mullins-trained colt may be the most dangerous of the deep closing types. Preference on top goes to Nolde but we’ll use all three in our rolling exotics.   RACE 10: Post 6:38 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Eustace; 6-Mainframe Judy; 8-Itsthattime Forecast: Mainframe Judy was favored in straight maiden state-bred company in his debut last month but faded to fourth after pressing the pace, so his connections drop him into a maiden $50,000 claimer that should be well within his capabilities. The P. Miller-trained gelding earned a pretty good speed figure in defeat, one that should be sufficient to beat this modest bunch. Itsthattime also was a beaten choice in his debut, finishing fifth in a maiden $80,000 affair in late July. The class drop is warranted and as a first-time gelding the J. Bonde-trained son of Strong Mandate looks like a live item. Eustace earned a respectable speed figure when second in a similar maiden claimer last month, beaten more than five lengths by a colt who came back hit the board in the stakes race earlier this week. The Ministers Wild Cat colt can further improve as he gains experience and should at least get a part of it again today. 

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9.1.2019:

Sunday, September 01: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-day-makers-at-saratoga-on-september-1st-2019/   RACE 1: Post 12:30 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Bahamian Prince; 5-More Thunder; 8-Summer Sangria Forecast: This grass grab bag for restricted maiden 2-year-olds looks a bit treacherous, so we suggest you include as many in your rolling exotics as your budget allows. Bahamian Prince was well-meant in his debut, but after looming a threat in mid-stretch lost his punch in the final furlong and wound up third. Claimed for $50,000 out of the race by G. Weaver, the son of Bohamian Squall is protected today in a sign of confidence and switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. Can’t say he has any turf breeding to fall back on, but that doesn’t mean he won’t handle it. Summer Sangria, a filly tackling the boys, flashed good zip to make the pace in her debut and led the way into the lane before blowing a clear lead inside the furlong pole to wind up second. She may be the quickest of the quick and could stick better with a race under her belt. More Thunder, a one-paced third on dirt in his debut, retains J. Rosario, switches to turf, and has as much right to improve with experience as any of the others.   RACE 2: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: C Use: 2-Elegant Rose; 7-Summer Fantasy Forecast: Elegant Rose is a seven-race maiden and perhaps not one to trust, but she returns to the maiden claiming ranks in this modest $30,000 seller for fillies and mares and could get brave if she can establish a clear early lead, which on paper she seems capable of doing. The Monmouth Park shipper looks like the best of a poor lot, but at 7/5 on the morning line won’t be offering any wagering value. Summer Fantasy has rising speed figures - though she’s still pretty slow – and might be close enough to pick up ‘Rose if she goes into her fading act in the final furlong. In a race that we won’t be participating in, both should be included in rolling exotic play but with a low degree of confidence.   RACE 3: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Northern Haze; 6-Laughing Manners Forecast: Northern Haze won as best from a maiden $20,000 field here last month and may prove to be a profitable acquisition by S. Asmussen, who hits at a strong 20% with first-off-the-claim plays. The son of Orb moves up a level in this restricted (nw-2) sprint, switches to the barn’s “go-to” rider R. Santana, Jr., and looks capable of producing the last run right back. Laughing Manners just broke his maiden for $40,000 against theoretically a tougher field than the one Northern Haze defeated but earned a considerably lower speed figure, so this drop into the $25,000 ranks is warranted. Drawn comfortably outside, the C. Baker-trained colt retains J. Rosario and should draft into a comfortable stalking position and have his chance. Preference on top goes to Northern Haze, but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 4: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B- Use: 7-My Galina; 9-Honey I’m Good Forecast: This is a toughie, a turf sprint for entry-level allowance fillies and mares that offers several possibilities and scenarios. We’ll double the race in our rolling exotics and hope to get by, but you may find the need to spread deeper. Honey I’m Good, away since last December, returns for S. Asmussen and shows a Belmont Park work tab that should have her fit enough for a good effort off the bench. Unproven on grass and not necessarily bred to improve on the lawn, the daughter of Shackleford nevertheless is comfortably drawn outside and can pop and go or stalk and pounce. Numbers-wise she’s a fit and she did win her debut by more than 13 lengths, so we know she can fire fresh. You’d have to think that she’s better than her morning line of 8-1. My Galina was a disappointing fifth in a listed stakes over this course and distance last month but her previous two races chart quite nicely in this spot so we’ll expect the daughter of Medaglia d’Oro to bounce back today. She appears to be most comfortable on the front end.   RACE 5: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: C Use: 4-O’Bushido; 8-Bayern’s Mirage Forecast: Here’s a messy maiden claimer for juveniles. They two we’ve listed above have a right to run well, but that’s about all we can say. O’Bushido is a first-timer from the T. Pletcher barn that brought $100,000 as a yearling but a year later shows up for a $50,000 tag, not exactly a ringing endorsement. The son of First Samurai ships in from Monmouth Park for a trainer that hits at a strong 23% with debut runners, so there are mixed signals. Maybe he can run a bit, maybe not. Bayern’s Mirage flashed good speed before fading in the lane in a similar maiden claimer last month but adds Lasix today and could stick around a lot longer.   RACE 6: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Bears Mafia; 6-Always Forgiven Forecast: Bears Mafia broke his maiden in fairly convincing fashion last month while carrying a $25,000 tag and today goes first-off-the-claim for T. Amoss (powerful stats with this angle) in this $32,000 seller restricted to 3-year-olds. His style fits this extended sprint distance so we’ll expect a similar effort from the son of Verrazano, one that may be good enough to win right back. Always Forgiven is comfortably drawn outside and should be able to pick his spot in this elongated dash. The California shipper, now in the R. Atras barn, takes a nosedive in class so there’s always a question of condition but on pure numbers he’s strictly the one to beat.   RACE 7: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Laughable; 3-Bridal Path; Sparkling Sky Forecast: Bridal Path finished eighth in her debut under these conditions but was victimized by a brutal trip and really never had a chance to show her best form. Let’s hope for clear sailing today, and if the daughter of Hard Spun settles nicely and has room to kick home in the final quarter of a mile she could pull off the upset at 6-1 on the morning line. J. Rosario stays aboard for Shug. Sparkling Sky, third in the same race Bridal Path exits, had a good trip and every chance but hails from stable that has excellent stats with second-timers (27%). The T. Pletcher-trained daughter of More Than Ready retains J. Ortiz and should be within striking range throughout. Laughable, another Pletcher entrant, makes her debut with a decent series of workouts and from the rail might try gate-to-wire tactics. The daughter of Distorted Humor is bred more for main track speed than she is for long-distance turf, so we assume she’s shown some talent in a.m. drills on grass.   RACE 8: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Day Dayenu; 10-Slam Dunk Forecast: Day Dayenu has plenty of speed – much more than her moderate workouts might lead you to believe – and if she leaves cleanly from the rail the daughter of Into Mischief could produce a serious effort in this seven furlong maiden special weight sprint for juvenile fillies. This barn does very well with debut runners and they usually perform better in the afternoon than in the morning. At 7/2 on the morning line we’ll put her on top but also include the second-timer Slam Dunk, a troubled fifth in her debut but likely to improve today from her outside draw that should insure a comfortable trip. She’s another daughter of Into Mischief that appears to have a fair share of promise.   RACE 9: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Here Comes Jackie; 5-Enjay’s Brass; 7-Dance Till Dawn Forecast: Today’s ninth race is a raffle for high-priced claiming 3-year-old fillies going long on the lawn. Dance Till Dawn returns to the claiming ranks and looks to be properly spotted to regain her winning form. She made the running in both of her last two starts and paid the price late; today, with patient handle combined with the class drop the P. Serpe-trained daughter of Verrazano should have more late punch. Enjay’s Brass shows up in a $75,000 seller for the first time following a career top speed figure when third in a first-level allowance event over this course and distance. In a race restricted to her own age group she can lay fairly close to the pace but also make a run from off of it, so J. Ortiz has the option after they sort themselves out. Here Comes Jackie, in the money in her last pair with speed figures that fit very nicely at this level on this circuit, should get a good ground-saving trip from her inside draw and picks up J. Castellano. You have to include her somewhere.   RACE 10: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B- Use: 6-Carrizo; 7-Smoken Deb Forecast: Smoken Deb, freshened since March, hit the board in a pair of listed stakes when last seen at Gulfstream Park during the winter and returns in a proper spot for J. Thomas, who boasts amazing stats with layoff runners (37% with a flat-bet profit). The daughter of Cairo Prince is eligible to this starter’s allowance condition because she broke her maiden for a $40,000 tag in January at Tampa Bay Downs. Though she’s facing older foes for the first time, this group should be well within her range. Carrizo obviously bounced after a career effort (a 12-length win for $25,00) followed by an eight day turnaround when raised to $75,000. She did run second, but her number dropped considerably, and now she’s been asked to return quickly again, this time in 14 days. The daughter of Paynter is 2-1 on the morning line and certainly must be considered a contender, but we wonder which direction she’s currently headed. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Smoken Deb.   RACE 11: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Mundaye Call; 3-Perfect Alibi; 7-Shippy Forecast: Mundaye Call was a beaten choice in her debut when nailed right on the money and enters the Spinaway S.-G1 as a maiden. She gets the worst of the draw, the barn hasn’t won a race during the season, and J. Ortiz, who was aboard in her first start, jumps ship to ride Risky Mischief. That said, this daughter of Into Mischief has a world of talent, and if she leaves cleanly from the rail she has a chance to lead every step of the way and pull off a major upset. Her recent workouts have been exceptional and indicate she’s ready to produce significant forward move. Shippy goes from the rail to the outside and the switch to the much more favorable post could make a world of difference to the daughter of Midshipman, who was so impressive in a nearly 11-length maiden win at Laurel Park but then missed at even money when a close third in the Schuylerville Stakes-G3 last month. This will be her third start with her third different trainer, but if she repeats the quality of her debut win she can be a strong threat. Perfect Alibi came from off the pace to win the Adirondack S.-G2 last month while giving every indication that she’ll enjoy this seven furlong trip. With enough help up front, the daughter of Sky Mesa will be heard from in the final furlong.   RACE 12: Post 6:22 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Graded On a Curve Forecast: Graded On a Curve broke his maiden two runs back in nice fashion and then could have won his next start as well, but a roadblock inside the eighth pole cost him all chance, and the son of Noble Mission had to settle for fifth, beaten just over two lengths. Today, when facing essentially the same level of competition, the sophomore gelding can produce the last run under I. Ortiz, Jr., who stays aboard and hopefully will keep him in the clear. To finish out the day, we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. 

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9.1.2019:

Sunday, September 01: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

Hawthorne Racecourse concludes the weekend's harness action with a 13-race card. The feature goes in Race 5, an Open Trot with a $12,000 purse. The Late Pick 4 has a $30,000 guaranteed pool. The competitive sequence begins in Race 10 and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands on Saturday at Hawthorne was Casey Leonard who took seven pictures on the 15-race card. Terry Leonard was the leading conditioner with four trips to the winner's circle. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 10 2-Whiskersonkittens-Returns from racing out East, should like the company, a threat if doesn't need a start. 3-Shedaisy Ten-Rolled home in 55.3 to just miss now De Long takes a spin and that should help, looks like a player. 5-Seeyouatthefinish-Moves-up after a nice win in 3rd Haw start, 9-year-old can stay good and handle this bunch. Race 11 3-Dali Treasure-Raced a dud when moved up to this class, gets Leonard back, he's hot and so is barn. 5-Stonebridge Pearl-Even effort from 10-hole now gets post relief, worth a swing in a race without much form. 6-Look Kimbo-Moves in a couple of slots, can battle and this is a soft field but needs a good steer. 7-San Antonio Rose-Used hard early in last and faded, Husted can work a better journey in 2nd straight at Haw. Race 12 1-Morgangetsherway-Does find ways to lose but Leonard should keep in contention versus this crew. 7-My Uptowne Girl-Can close but often is too far back, if Franco provides a good trip it could be picture time. 9-Shakeifformegear-Husted's choice and Roach barn has been hot, HoP invader can win here if doesn't need a start. Race 13 3-Philly Wellness-Showed improvement with a 56.2 last half, Anderson should put in play sooner tonight. 9-Ashlees Fine Girl-Comes off 2 nice efforts at Spr and has been competitive at Haw, post helps the price. 10-Fox Valley Lil Kim-Is trip dependent but has enough gate speed to gain a good seat and stay in the hunt. My Ticket Race 10) 2,3,5 Race 11) 3,5,6,7 Race 12) 1,7,9 Race 13) 3,9,10 Total Ticket Cost) $54 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.31.2019:

Saturday, August 31: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/Jeff-Siegel/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-31st-2019/  RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 3-Distinctive B; 5-Spokane Eagle Forecast: Distinctive B had a right to be a bit short when second as the favorite in his first start since March earlier this month but should be fitter and tighter today in this $40,000 claiming sprint for older horses. F. Prat stays aboard and should have this veteran gelding on or near the lead in a field that doesn’t have a whole lot of early zip in it. Spokane Eagle, very popular at the claiming box throughout his career and now in the J. Mullins barn, looked sharp winning a productive $32,000 affair last month while earning a speed figure that makes him a strong fit on the one-level raise. A. Delgadillo, who knows him well, stays aboard the Speightstown gelding who should be in a good stalking spot outside, just as he was in most recent win. These two are tough to separate but since he’s exiting a tougher race we’ll put Distinctive B on top while using both in our rolling exotics.   RACE 2: Post 2:34 PT. Grade: A- Single: 8-Justinian Forecast: Justinian was a $275,000 Timonium 2-year-old in training purchase in the spring of 2018 and finally makes it to the post 15 months later. The B. Baffert-trained colt has done some excellent work in the a.m. to be fit and ready for this maiden special weight sprint for a barn that hits an almost unheard of 45% with debut runners. The son of Justin Phillips recently stayed even in a workout with Mucho Gusto, who since went on to finish third in the Travers S.-G1, so compared with that multi-stakes winner these maidens should be easy pickings. As the lukewarm morning line favorite of 7/2 – and we suspect he’ll go lower – he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 3: Post 3:08 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Fantasy Heat; 7-Miss Hot Legs; 3-First Screening Forecast: Fantasy Heat is improving with racing and recently earned a career-top speed figure when winning a first-level state-bred allowance affair over this course and distance. She’s tackling open foes today, but we suspect the daughter of Unusual Heat has further improvement in her and from the rail she projects to enjoy an ideal ground-saving trip from a stalking position. Miss Hot Legs, a beaten favorite in her last pair but landing in the frame in both while running well, should be in the fray again and have every chance from a pace-pressing position. First Screening, third in the same race ‘Legs exits, projects to be part of the pace again and at 10-1 on the morning line seems worth including at least on a ticket or two as a saver.   RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-I Belong to Becky; 8-Outlaw Forecast: Outlaw lands the cozy outside post (again) and should appreciate this shortened trip to five and one-half furlongs. The V. Belvoir-trained gelding earned a career top speed figure when a distant second in a fast, highly rated race for this level last time out and not much more will be needed to outrun this modest restricted (nw-2) $25,000 claiming field. I Belong to Becky will be part of the pace throughout, and in a field lacking in closers should stick around for a while. Winless this year and always susceptible in the final furlong, he probably has to clear this field to have his best chance. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics with preference on top to Outlaw   RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B Use: 7-Crystal Tribe; 8-Eagle Song; 10-Ocean Fury Forecast: This competitive first-level middle distance turf affair has several legitimate contenders, requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough. Top billing goes to Eagle Song, winless around two turns but with rising speed figures and a sharp sprint tightener under his belt. The son of No Nay Never switches to M. Smith and might have his best chance if held up early and allowed to run late. At 6-1 on the morning line the M. Glatt-trained colt may be worth a gamble. Crystal Tribe won a pair of minor handicaps in England earlier this year and arrives in good form right off the plane for J. Mullins. His form is hard to classify but there’s no doubt he was facing considerably inferior company to what he’s seeing today. Still, we give him a chance as a first-time Lasix user carrying considerably less weight than he’s used to, and with good turf rider D. Van Dyke aboard he’s certain to get the patient ride he appears to want. Ocean Fury won a starter’s allowance race in good style last month with a career-top speed figure and did so with a nice pace-stalking trip. With a similar journey today, the son of Stormy Atlantic can at least outrun his morning line of 6-1 and maybe do even better than that.  RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B- Use: 6-Fait Accompli; 11-Castle Gate Forecast: Castle Gate, drawn comfortably outside while plummeting in class from straight maiden to maiden $20,000 claiming, makes his first start over conventional dirt and appears to have the kind of tactical speed to be wherever R. Fuentes wants him. A strong fit on numbers, the son of Point of Entry should be able to win at this level with anything close to his best turf or all-weather form. Fait Accompli, in the money in his last pair but a beaten choice when third vs. similar in his first start for G. Stute, looks very much like a major player again. The son of Flat Out should be on or near the lead throughout and in a shallow field might be able to stick it out.  RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Vasilika; 4-Toinette Forecast: Vasilika is re-united with regular pilot F. Prat and seems well-spotted from the rail to regain her winning form in the John C. Mabee S.-G2, a race she captured last year. The veteran daughter of Skipshot rarely loses around these parts and actually ran a winning race when settling for a close third (beaten a half-length by Beau Recall) in the Yellow Ribbon H.-G2 earlier this month. She can bounce back today and is the logical top pick. In her first start since last October, Toinette returned in winning form with a clever overnight and seems likely to produce a forward move with that effort behind. She’s the one Vasilika will have to worry about.   RACE 8: Post 5:40 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Backshot; 5-American Theorem; 6-Hydrogen; 8-Whirl Candy Forecast: Backshot is a very fast first-timer from the B. Baffert barn making his debut in a hot maiden sprint that showcases several well-regarded juveniles in the five and one-half furlong sprint. The son of Tapiture sizzled in the preview session of the June Santa Anita 2-year-old in training sale, breezing a quarter in 21 1/5 seconds, by far the fastest clocking at the distance, and has done everything right since, including a five furlong bullet drill in 1:00 1/5 seconds 10 days ago. If he breaks with his field, the others may not know which way he went. Baffert’s other entrant, Hydrogen, has the benefit of an excellent prior run over the track, having finished second with a strong number two weeks ago. This is a relatively quick turnaround for a barn that doesn’t do this very often, so we assume the the son of Violence came out of the race in good order and is doing well. American Theorem, a first-timer by American Pharoah, has looked good in several workouts and should be plenty fit, though this barn doesn’t often win with debut runners. Whirl Candy is another that appears to have plenty of talent to go along with winning connections (Prat/Baltas) and is comfortably drawn outside. We’ll include all four in our rolling exotics and then come back and press strongly with extra tickets keying Backshot on top.   RACE 9: Post 6:14 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Bast; 7-Inspiressa Forecast: This is a deep and contentious edition of the Del Mar Debutante-G1 for juvenile fillies. Inspiressa was arguably the most impressive debut winner of the Del Mar season and should be tough right back following a pair of sharp drills since that win Aug. 11, including a bullet three furlong drill nine days later followed by an equally sharp five furlong move in 1:01 seconds six days after that. The J. Sadler-trained daughter of The Big Beast should be as quick leaving the gate as anything in here, and also should have no difficulty carrying her speed seven furlongs. Bast, who was second to Inspiressa in that race and enters the Debutante as a maiden, was late changing leads in the race but stayed on nicely and today will be equipped with blinkers. The B. Baffert-trained daughter of Uncle Mo will be especially dangerous if she breaks well, something she did not do in her first outing. There are others in here that have credentials to win, but we’ll try to get by in our rolling exotics using just these two.  RACE 10: Post 6:43 PT. Grade: B Single: 10-Fravel Forecast: Fravel was well-meant in his debut in a similar state-bred maiden special weight turf affair three weeks ago, but after looming a threat into the lane, lost some of his punch late and wound up fourth, beaten three lengths. The son of Unusual Heat should be a lot fitter and tighter today, so with F. Prat staying aboard for a barn that has strong stats with second-timers the R. Mandella-trained colt should be set to show us his best stuff. At 3-1 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. 

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8.31.2019:

Saturday, August 31: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-top-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-31st-2019/  RACE 1: Post 12:30 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Structor; 6-Sul Moon Forecast: This maiden two-turn turf event for juveniles came up unusually light. Structor (2-1) is the morning line favorite and he’s trained okay, not great, but great probably won’t be required to beat this field. The son of Palace Malice will get plenty of play due to his connections and pedigree, and he did bring $850,000 in the OBS March sale, so we’ll put him on top mostly by default. Sul Moon ran well to be second in his debut over the Saratoga grass but caught a weak field in a slowly run affair, so it’s hard to get too enthusiastic about the Malibu Moon colt even though he seems certain improve off the effort. The W. Mott-trained colt appears to be the best of the known element. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics but not with a great deal of confidence in a race that we’ll probably otherwise pass.   RACE 2: Post 1:03 ET. Grade: X Use: 2-No Regrets; 6-Honey Won’t Forecast: Honey Won’t returns to the claiming ranks, retains J. Rosario, and has speed figures over this course and distance that should be good enough to beat this field. However, he’s even money on the morning line and certainly offers no value at that price. No Regrets, popular at the claim box of late and now in the D. Magner barn, moves up from the $30,000 ranks to this $40,000 level following a nearly two-month vacation and may come back a better version of himself for his new connections. The Lemon Drop Kid gelding finished second in his only prior start over the local lawn and looks quick enough in this spot to be on or near the lead throughout. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out.   RACE 3: Post 1:36 ET. Grade: X Single: 3-Break Even Forecast: Break Even is undefeated in six starts and is listed on the morning line at 50 cents on the dollar to extend her streak to seven in this year’s edition of the Prioress S.-G2 at six furlongs for 3-year-old fillies. On numbers she’s a standout, and while she’s quick enough to control the race from start to finish she can stalk and pounce as well if the race flow dictates. She’s a rolling exotic single in a race that offers no wagering value.   RACE 4: Post 2:09 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Pagliacci; 8-Mustaaqeem Forecast: Mustaaqeem was entered and scratched from yesterday’s Lucky Coin Stakes to run in this far easier second-level allowance turf sprint and the Grade-1 winning South African import should be cranked up and ready to show his best stuff in his S. debut. The K. McLaughlin-trained horse, away since April of 2018, is a first-time Lasix user with a series of good works over the Godolphin all-weather track that has him fit and ready. Pagliacci is a hard-hitting gelding with strong speed figures but doesn’t have tactical speed and will need some help up front for his late kick to be effective. The L. Rice-trained gelding has a prior win over the course and solid recent form, so we’ll include him a ticket or two as a backup with the main push going to Mustaaqeem.   RACE 5: Post 2:42 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Famished Forecast: Famished broke slowly and steadied at the start, fell far back, then commenced his rally extremely wide into the lane and continue gamely to the wire to wind up third beaten three lengths in a legitimate race for straight maidens three weeks ago.. J. Rosario stays aboard the son of Uncle Mo, who seems sure to improve with that effort behind and with today’s extra furlong to work with. If he breaks well from the rail, the J. Kimmel-trained colt should be within range throughout and then have every chance seal the deal. In a race in which the first time starters don’t excite, we’ll make Famished a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 6: Post 3:15 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Good Governance; 3-Rinaldi Forecast: Top to bottom a chance in this year’s edition of the Saranac S.-G3, which has been reduced to five runners with the scratching of Tracksmith. Rinaldi moves up from state-bred competition into open company and clearly is tackling a tougher group, but the Posse gelding has produced rising speed figures with each outing and could be up to the task. His win over this course and distance in the New York Stallions Stakes earlier this meeting was visually pleasing, and in a race with questionable pace the J. Bond-trained sophomore will be handy enough to handle any type of race flow. Good Governance won at first asking like a high potential type and could easily take this class hike from maiden to graded stakes in stride. In a small field, the C. Brown-trained son of Kingman projects to be closer to the pace than he was in his debut in a race that might be determined by the runner with the best turn of foot from the top of the stretch to the wire. That might be him.  RACE 7: Post 3:48 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Three Technique; 7-Soviet Forecast: Runner-up in both starts as the favorite but with rising speed figures, Three Technique has the proper style for this seven furlong distance and should be ready to earn his diploma. The J. Englehart-trained juvenile was more than six lengths clear of the rest in his most recent start and nothing more should be needed to handle this field, which on paper doesn’t appear to be overly strong. Soviet was off a bit slowly and then had a mild late bid to wind up a non-threatening fourth in his debut while earning a fair speed figure. The son of Super Saver certainly is eligible to improve with that race behind him coupled with the blinkers that are being added today. Preference on top goes to Three Technique but we’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics.  RACE 8: Post 4:21 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Policy Option; 3-Mr Jaggers Forecast: Mr Jaggers and Policy Option have the benefit of prior experience over the Saratoga turf course and while neither can be considered a world beater they are the ones to beat in a moderate maiden special weight grass affair for 2-year-olds. Mr Jaggers displayed a one-paced grinding style when third in his debut here last month and has every right to produce a forward move, while Policy Option, a distant second with a so-so speed figure in his only outing, is an Empire Maker colt trained by C. Brown that also is likely to move forward, at least a bit. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, and both should be included in rolling exotic play in a rather that doesn’t offer much wagering value.  RACE 9: Post 4:54 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Arrifana Forecast: Arrifana could not have been more impressive than she was winning her debut at Laurel earlier this month and today we’ll find out if she belongs on the Big Circuit. The daughter of Curlin settled in mid-pack to the turn, then gobbled up her rivals on the far outside into the lane and drew off to register a 10-length victory without being asked for anything close to her best. Two bullet workouts at Fair Hill since that win shows that she’s ready to produce a forward move, one that should be good enough to take the class hike in stride. At 7/2 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.  RACE 10: Post 5:27 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Santa Monica; 5-Mrs. Sippy Forecast: Santa Monica received an ill-advised ride from J. Ortiz in the Waya Stakes-G3 earlier this month as the favorite and finished third, beaten a length, when certainly best after encountering severe traffic trouble at a critical stage of the race. With better luck today the English-bred mare can make amends at this 11 furlong mini-marathon trip that she excels at. That said, the gamble belongs to Mrs. Sippy, an interesting European invader from the G. Motion barn. A listed stakes winner and group placed in England last year, she was far below from in a couple of 2019 outings but will race with Lasix today and has been working strongly at Fair Hill to indicate she’s fit and ready for a major effort in her U.S. debut. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and the due to price considerations press using extra tickets keying Mrs. Sippy on top.   RACE 11: Post 6:00 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Preservationist; 7-Yoshida; 9-Tom’s d’Etat Forecast: Yoshida has two exceptional races on his resume at Saratoga, his win in the Woodward S.-G1 last year and his excellent runner-up performance behind McKinzie in the Whitney S.-G1 here earlier this month. Either effort, if repeated today, will make the Japanese-bred horse very difficult to deny, but it should be noted that the W. Mott-trained 5-year-old has been beaten in each of his last three starts in which he went favored. Preservationist was brilliant winning the Suburban S.-G2 at Belmont Park in July but flat as a pancake in the subsequent Whitney S.-G1 over this track and distance in his next outing, fading readily in the final furlong to finish fourth, beaten almost eight lengths, while failing to change leads. If the “good” version of this J. Jerkens-trained son of Arch shows up today, he can win, and at 7/2 on the morning line he’s worth including in rolling exotic play. Tom’s d’Etat has recorded three straight triple-digit Beyer speed figures, most recently when winning the restricted Alydar Stakes over the Saratoga main track in early August. These are tougher, of course, but the son of Smart Strike is unbeaten in three starts at the Spa and for that reason alone is worth including, as least as a backup, in rolling exotic play.   RACE 12: Post 6:33 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Airtouch; 7-Fantastry; 8-Free Enterprise Forecast: Free Enterprise is the 7/5 morning line favorite and deserves to be based on two good races in similar company plus strong, rising speed figures. Beaten at even money last time out while more than three lengths clear of the rest, the Curlin gelding seems likely to continue his improving pattern as he gains additional experience for C. Brown. Fantastry has looked rather nice in the morning leading up to his debut for K. McPeek and is worth consideration at his morning line of 12-1. There’s no doubt he has ability, but it’s possible he’ll do better with more distance for a barn that isn’t known for winning with first time starters. Airtouch was nosed out in his only prior outing two years ago here in a promising debut performance, but hasn’t been seen since, and his recent comeback workout haven’t been terribly exciting. We wonder if the Tapit colt will be effective off the long layoff and perhaps need a race, so we’ll include him as a backup on a ticket or two but that’s all. 

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8.31.2019:

August 31-Woodbine Mohawk Park Analysis

The Maple Leaf Trot and the Canadian Pacing Derby are the two headliners on a big night of racing at Woodbine Mohawk Park. The features go in Race 5 and Race 8 respectively while the Simcoe Stakes rolls in Race 9. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 5- Maple Leaf Trot-Purse $600,000 2-Crystal Fashion (3-1)-Deserves a slight edge over others, probably more versatile than main foes and thinking Dave Miller will make the most of the post draw. 3-Guardian Angel As (5/2)-A major player no doubt but not sure if can win this any other way but on the engine. That's a difficult ask with #2 sure to be following close behind but chances have gone up without Six Pack in the mix. 8-Marion Marauder (8-1)-Except for the break in the Cashman has been racing better but with all the speed inside his fate could be sealed. Even if the half goes in .54 or a little faster, can't see him coming from well off the pace for 1st win of year. But with the scratch of Six Pack, is a use as a gimmick possibiity. 10-Atlanta (9/2)-May blast out and hope for the best, would have rated higher but this post is a dream crusher. A lot would have to go right for a win but can can hit the board with the right trip. Race 8-Canadian Pacing Derby-Purse $525,000 5-Lather Up (4/5)-Sooner or later the win streak will come to an end, but thinking tonight isn't the night. Is a perfect 6-6 at Mohawk and unless hung from the opening quarter on it should be picture time again. 9-McWicked (9/2)-Issue is obviously the post but thinking D. Miller ducks, finds some cover and rolls late off a very fast pace. 8-year-old has won 5-7 here and has never missed hitting the board at Mohawk. 4-Jimmy Freight (5-1)-Hard-knocking horse could surprise with the right trip. Always tries hard and is another who has never missed the board in 13 tries here. 1-This Is The Plan (4-1)-Will be on the lead or close to it early, especially from this post. But will likely be fighting to hit the bottom of the ticket. Race 9-Simcoe-Purse $171,503 2-Captain Crunch (6/5)-Hate to use the term a "lock" but if all systems are go it would be a surprise if Crunch is denied top honors. 3-Century Farroh (4-1)-Draws well, is very consistent and back on its home track, that all points to a clear second choice to me. 5-Stag Party (8-1)-Tossing last when used up in a very fast half. Miller should have this Coleman trainee rolling late, does like Mohawk and may add a little juice to the trifecta. Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.30.2019:

Friday, August 30: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-30th-2019/   RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 6-He’s Like Violence; 7-Aussie Fox; 9-Chosen Vessel Forecast: In his second start off a long layoff, He’s Like Violence makes a pivotal jockey switch to F. Prat after earning a career top speed figure when crossing the wire second but then being disqualified back to fifth in a slightly softer spot earlier this month. The lightly-raced gelding is eligible to produce a forward move after pressing the pace and hanging on gamely in that race, and in a field without much pace might be able to establish the running without undue pressure. Aussie Fox finished a willing fourth in the same race He’s Like Violence exits and though winless in six career starts over the local lawn has hit the board on five occasions. He should be heard from late. Chosen Vessel gets the worst of the draw but exits a series of tougher starter’s allowance races and has numbers that are competitive. The English Channel gelding has a chance to get over and secure a good pace-prompting position and given that type of trip should have every chance from the quarter pole home. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying He’s Like Violence on top.  RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Alicia’s Pride; 4-Rolinga Forecast: Alicia’s Pride was tried in straight maiden company in her debut last month going long on the lawn, and while she was never a factor at a big price it was encouraging that she was a least given a chance. She drops to the bottom today, switches to dirt, shortens to a sprint, and gets weight off with the presence of good bug boy J. Velez in the saddle. If she can run, this would be a good place to show it. Rolinga is winless in her first 12 starts but at least she’s been In the money in three of her last four. She’s a contender by default   RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Absolutely Perfect; 3-Sunrise Royale Forecast: Absolute Perfect returns following a nine month layoff and her works indicate the daughter of Vronsky is fit and ready. The main concern is that the D. Blacker-trained filly might be using this race as a prep for a stretch out, similar to the pattern she produced last year, and the barn’s record with comebackers isn’t strong. However, even though this five furlong trip might be a tad sharp for her liking, she appears fast enough on pure speed figures to outclass this first-level allowance field, and with a good ground-saving trip seems capable of tagging the speed. Sunrise Royale has been a miler most of her career and is turning back to an abbreviated sprint, but she does like this turf course (both of her victories came here) and with some help up front could make some noise in the final furlong. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with Absolutely Perfect on top.   RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Summer Fire; 7-Lightning Fast; 10-Rebel Fire Forecast: Summer Fire has a very good race over this track that should make him hard to beat in this maiden special weight juvenile state-bred sprint unless one of the newcomers is better than expected. The son of Creative Cause missed by less than a length over this track and distance earlier this month while nearly three lengths clear of the rest and earned a decent speed figure, one that should be improved upon with that bit of experience behind him. The Hess, Jr. barn is solid with second-time starters and hot riding A. Cedillo stays aboard, so we’ll put him on top while also including in our rolling exotics a couple of intriguing first-time starters. Rebel Fire shows a healthy work tab for P. Eurton and should be more than fit enough to produce a good effort, especially from the cozy outside post position, while Lightning Fast, from the clever B. Spawr barn, is a nicely-bred son of Violence with a couple of recent solid gate drills that catch the eye.   RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Great Return; 6-Excellent Sunset Forecast: Excellent Sunset was a strong runner-up in the Frankel S.-G3 when last seen in late December and if she returns as well as she left – and with the scratching of our original top pick Ficanas - the Irish-bred mare will be the one to beat in this second-level allowance turf mile assignment. Her recent works are impressive and give every indication that she’s fit and ready. R. Bejarano knows her well and stays aboard. Great Return is progressing nicely as she gains experience, and the lightly-raced daughter of Exchange Rate may be capable of building on her recent entry-level allowance victory over this course and distance while moving up a notch on the class ladder. She has good tactical speed and lands a favorable inside draw, so D. Van Dyke can draft into an ideal ground-saving, pace-stalking trip and have every chance when the pressure is turned on. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics while preferring Excellent Sunset on top.  RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B Use: 3-Phantom Boss; 10-Tap Back Forecast: Tap Back won his debut in clever fashion two weeks ago and is wheeled back quickly in this state-bred sprint stakes for juveniles. He’s a fit on speed figures and is bred to improve with distance and experience, so we’re going to assume he will move forward, not backward, despite the relatively quick turnaround. Drawn comfortably outside, the son of Einstein retains V. Espinoza and should be part of the pace throughout. Phantom Boss shipped to Churchill Downs to win the Bashford Manor S.-G3 at Churchill Downs in late June after a pair of promising runs at Santa Anita in the spring. He returns for J. Periban with an uninspiring series of recent works but on pure numbers he’s a major contender and will be the likely, though possibly vulnerable, race favorite.   RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 8-Georgian Road; 10-Test the Water Forecast: Georgian Road was a $100,000 OBS April sale purchase but isn’t been culled by the stable after just one start. The son of Quality Road had speed but not much stick, though at this level he could get brave. Test the Water finished fourth in a maiden $80,000 claimer in his debut last month after a slow start and is also dropping drastically to the maiden $32,000 ranks. The son of Mark Valeski brought only $5,000 at auction and failed to change leads in his first start in what was a slow race for the level, so his connections are simply being realistic. Improvement certainly is possible, though, as indicated by two recent bullet workouts, including a 46 3/5 seconds gate drill just five days ago. We have little confidence in either but suspect the winner will be one or the other. Tread lightly here. 

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8.30.2019:

Friday, August 30: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-30th-2019/   RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Luna’s in Charge; 8-Freaky Styley Forecast: Freaky Styley closed a world of ground after a slow start in his debut last month and seems certain to step forward today from a cozy outside post and with J. Rosario staying aboard for a barn that does very well with second-time starters. The son of Scat Daddy has trained steadily that race and, assuming he leaves cleanly this time, shouldn’t have any excuses. Luna’s in Charge has rising speed figures and dangerous early speed in a race that doesn’t project to have a quick opening quarter or half. With another forward move and a soft pace-pressing trip, the Take Charge Indy gelding should be prominent every step of the way. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Freaky Styley.  RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Peter’s Project; 4-Cowboy Rhythm Forecast: Old pro Peter’s Project is a Finger Lakes shipper in good form with speed figures that fit nicely on the Big Track at this level. The 9-year-old gelding has 18 career wins on his resume and should be forwardly placed throughout in a race that won’t likely produce a fast early pace. The one to fear most is the 8/5 morning line favorite, Cowboy Rhythm, a huge class-dropper from the high-percentage R. Diodoro stable. The Tapit gelding has never raced this cheaply but this stable always is very aggressive with its claiming stock so this is not necessary a suspicious pattern. However, the 7-year-old hasn’t won a race in a couple of years and may not be one to trust. We’ll try to survive and advance using just these two in our rolling exotics but this is not a race we’re planning on getting too involved in.  RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Wicked Grin; 3-Clear the Ramp; 4-Wild William Forecast: This turf sprint for state-bred older horses has a number of maiden-to-maiden claiming droppers to consider, so we’ll spread the race without any great conviction. Wicked Grin, freshened since early June, shows up in a seller for the first time and should greatly appreciate the class drop. He ran well over this course and distance as a 2-year-old and his recent speed figures, earned when facing tougher foes, makes him a strong fit at this level. Clear the Ramp, in his third start off a layoff and his first in a seller, earned a buried number two races back that despite finishing a well-beaten seventh makes him a fit with these. This will be his first try on grass, and as a son of Big Brown he has a right to like it. Wild William has a race two back that charts well with these, though he’s always been trouble prone and never one to count on. We’ll throw him in on a ticket or two, but that’s it.   RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Wonderful Light; 5-Vici Forecast: Wonderful Light ships in from Laurel following a sharp score in an optional claimer that earned a solid speed figure, one that makes him the one to beat right back even on this tougher circuit. First or second in seven of 10 career starts, the lightly-raced 5-year-old picks up Johnny V. and, assuming he breaks cleanly from the rail, should be prominent throughout and have every chance from the top of the lane to the wire. Vici shows good recent grass form but has run well in the few off-the-turf races on fast ground that he’s competed in, so we’ll make him a major player as well. Fast on speed figure but never known to have a winning spirit (he’s 4-for-36 lifetime with 18 seconds and thirds), the son of War Point figures in the fray but isn’t necessarily one to trust. We’ll use him as saver in our rolling exotics while preferring Wonderful Light on top.   RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Dream Passage; 4-Arch of Troy Forecast: Dream Passage is sharp and consistent and although beaten as the favorite when runner-up over this course and distance earlier this month looks capable of making amends from her good inside draw. The B. Cox-trained mare does her best running on the lead and seems likely to employ gate-to-wire strategy under J. Rosario. She’s been first or second in three of four career starts over the Saratoga lawn but at 7/5 on the morning line probably won’t offer much wagering value. Arch of Troy, a $35,000 claim last winter in Florida, was overmatched when facing Grade 3 company at Parx in early June but has been freshened since then and fits much better at this level. The J. Servis-trained mare has run well over the Saratoga grass course in the past, gets I. Ortiz, Jr., and can be tough on or near the lead or from farther back if the pace flow dictates. Preference on top goes to Dream Passage, but both should be included in rolling exotic play.   RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Freewheeler; 7-True Grace; 8-First Deputy Forecast: There are several legitimate possibilities in this intriguing turf sprint for state-bred juveniles. True Grace, 6-1 on the morning line, is wheeled back quickly by C. Clement after drawing the rail and encountering a rough trip in a main track sprint just seven days ago. The son of Competitive Edge was shuffled back along the rail in the early stages and lost valuable position but then took hold in the final furlong and finished better than the line will show when sixth, beaten just under seven lengths, before galloping out strongly. Rosario stays aboard the homebred colt, who almost certainly will produce a significant forward move with the switch to grass. First Deputy displayed promise when a nosed out under these conditions a couple of weeks ago and the L. Rice barn has terrific stats with second-time starters. The son of Awesome Again is the likely choice and one to beat. Freewheeler brought $430,000 at the Fasig-Tipton March sale, where he previewed in 10 1/5 and did it easily and without any need of encouragement. Locally, he’s hasn’t been quite as impressive in the morning, most recently showing a tendency to lug out in a gate drill while appearing a bit green. However, as a son of City Zip, he should love the turf, so you probably should toss him in somewhere.   RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 6-Hallajoori; 10-Remain Anonymous Forecast: This maiden juvenile filly main track sprint is a complete raffle. You could make reasonable case for half the field or more. We’ll use two, but feel free to spread as deeply as your budget allows. We know next to nothing about the Maryland shipper Remain Anonymous other that she lands J. Rosario and probably wouldn’t be here if her connections didn’t think she could fit on this circuit. She should have speed (Tapiture) and she’s comfortably drawn outside for a capable trainer with maidens, so at 15-1 on the morning line why not take a flyer? Hallajoori is a second time starter from the S. Asmussen barn (a strong 21% with this angle) and adds Lasix after flashing good speed and then weakening to finish third, beaten more than six lengths in her debut. She has a right to be fitter and stronger today and maybe the best of the known element.  RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-A Little Faith; 7-Niko’s Dream; 9-Chiclet’s Dream Forecast: Niko’s Dream finished second in two recent New York Stallion stakes races but remains eligible to the first condition so that’s where she shows up today while seeking a confidence building win for the B. Tagg barn. The daughter of Central Banker probably is most effective when held up and allowed to produce a late kick and given that type of ride today she may be capable of wearing down the leaders late. Chiclet’s Dream is drawn farther out than we’d prefer but she’s a fit on speed figures and is overdue for another win following three in-the-frame finishes, the last two as a short priced favorite. A Little Faith, with just two starts under her belt, has room to improve, and as a daughter of Candy Ride has every right to do just that. Truthfully, any one of the three could win and they’re very difficult to separate. Tread lightly here.  RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Tour de Force; 2-Supreme Aura Forecast: Tour de Force stopped badly in the Alydar Stakes earlier this month after making the running while setting quick fractions. Today he removes blinkers, shows up where he belongs in a $50,000 claimer, and should snap back to good form if he can draft into a second flight, pace-stalking position. Supreme Aura is a first-time gelding and also is dropping into a seller for the first time. Additionally, he picks up J. Rosario, so the stakes-winning son of Candy Ride looks well-meant from the M. Stidham barn. We don’t see a lot of wagering value here, so other than doubling the race in rolling exotic play this might be a race that is best left alone.   RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: X Single: 3-Disco Partner Forecast: The projected contested pace in this five and one-half furlong turf stakes should set up nicely for Disco Partner. However, the high-class veteran, who always preferred the Belmont Park turf course to the one at Saratoga, couldn’t take advantage of a dream run in the recent Troy S.-G3 and finished second in a race that he didn’t appear he could lose at the furlong pole. Perhaps at age seven and with 31 hard races behind him, the son of Disco Rico has lost a step or two. He still has to be respective and seems a most likely winner in this below average added money event, but at what probably will be a very short price he really won’t be offering any wagering value. We can use him as a rolling exotic single, but better yet simply pass the race.  RACE 11: Post 6:22 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Tempers Way; 4-Awesome Alana; 6-Flush Forecast: Awesome Alana vans in from Monmouth Park where she has been training steadily for her first start since last December, and the C. Brown-trained filly could easily be better type now that she was last year. This will be her first try on grass; who knows, maybe she’ll like it. She’s intriguing at 8-1 on the morning line and is worth a gamble at that price. Tempers Way had every chance when worn down in the final strides in a $40,000 claimer over this course and distance last month but in doing so earned a career top speed figure and returns protected today in a state-bred first-level allowance affair for fillies and mares. From her inside draw, the daughter of Giant’s Causeway has only one way to go,, on the front end for as long as she can. Flush was a tad disappointing when third in a similar event over nine furlongs in mid-July but she’s probably capable of better while shortening up a furlong to a flat mile. Three nice recent workouts indicates she’s doing well. We’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press keying Awesome Alana on extra tickets and in the straight pool as well. 

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8.30.2019:

Chiseled Plays the Part of Single in Gulfstream Pick 5 Saturday

While all eyes are on The Weather Channel and similar outlets in Florida for weekend forecasts, Gulfstream Park has a good card mapped out on Saturday. In the event the area in unaffected by Hurricane Dorian, there will be an attractive opening Pick 5 for those who have the touch for playing the Hallandale Beach track. The most predictable part of the Pick 5 could be the end, as the capable veteran campaigner Chiseled goes in the mile race for a $6,250 claiming price. Chiseled is a 19-time winner (13 at Gulfstream) and this looks like a perfect spot, enough so that he’s a single on the suggested Pick 5 ticket here. It’s considerably tougher early and the Pick 5 ticket approach takes a 4x4x3x2x1 approach for $48. The first is a two-turn turf race for maidens, and there are loads of possibilities. Census, Brother Reid, Tactician and Mo’s Had Enough are on the suggested ticket, and it doesn’t get easier in the second, where Extreme Measures, Harts N Flowers, Fury Song and Trinni Sunshine are worthy of inclusion. There’s not quite as much of traffic jam in the third and fourth, as the third includes Bullgrats, Followshipfootsteps and Lawyer Drill, while the fourth has Peace Speaker and Bluesky Kitten. In the event Gulfstream escapes the brunt of Dorian, surface chances and wet conditions could cause a multitude of changes. Here’s the suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park:  Race 1) #3 Census, #4 Brother Reid, #6 Tactician, #7 Mo’s Had Enough.  Race 2) #3 Extreme Measures, #4 Harts N Flowers, #7 Fury Song, #10 Trinni Sunshine.  Race 3) #1 Bullgrats, #3 Followhisfootsteps, #8 Lawyer Drill.  Race 4) #3 Peace Speaker, #10 Bluesky Kitten.  Race 5) #4 Chiseled. Total Ticket Cost) 3,4,6,7/3,4,7,10/1,3,8/3,10/4 = $48 for $0.50

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8.30.2019:

Friday, August 30: Hawthorne Late Pick 4 Analysis

If you love big cards get ready to enjoy the 16-races scheduled at Hawthorne Racecourse. The added entertainment is due to the cancellation of races last weekend at the DuQuoin State Fair. Tomorrow's card will have a similar line-up, with 15 races set to roll. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 begins in Race 13 and will have a $10,000 guaranteed pool. It's an interesting sequence and could yield a nice price if recent winners in Springfield don't have repeat performances. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 13 2-Sign Her Up-Was simply used too hard to the half (.54) at Spr, will need a trip but worth a swing at 25-1. 4-Double Parked-Gets strong post relief and is 4 of 5 with one 2nd place finisher at Haw, looks like a major player. 7-Sleazy Gal-Miller trainee is consistent and raced well in 2-Spr starts, best to respect, should offer a square price. 9-Fox Valley Exploit-Was bet hard in Spr, post helps price and can take another picture even from the 9-hole. Race 14 2-Fox Valley Ren-4/5 ML favorite has only 1 loss in 7 starts and has to be considered on top once again. 3-RG'S Tracer-Racing well but has been chasing Ren, if the chalk isn't dialed on high, this looks like the winner. Race 15 2-The Bucket-Making assumption the #3 and #4 might be vulnerable, if so, this colt is in the mix at 8-1 in the ML. 3-Meyer On Fire-Comes off 2 quick mile wins at Spr, now off 2-weeks and could be the best again. 4-Maximus-Likes the engine and it could be #4-#2 around the first turn, may get a breather and take a picture. 7-Fox Valley Triton-Another racing well, will need the right set-up but Leonard may find live cover and roll by late. Race 16 1-Trixies Turbo- Winner of >$92K in '18 has been disappointing this summer, maybe wakes-up with 2-weeks off. 3-Lourhianon-Broke in 2 Spr starts but that hasn't been the case in Stickney, in the hunt with a flat mile. 5-Lousraptor-Comes off 2 big scores in Spr, will respect 7/5 choice but hasn't been unbeatable at Hawthorne. My Ticket Race 13) 2,4,7,9 Race 14) 2,3 Race 15) 2,3,4,7 Race 16) 1,3,5 Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.29.2019:

Woodward Headlines Final Saratoga Saturday Card; Here's My Late Pick 4 Ticket

It’s hard to believe that Saratoga and Del Mar are already wrapping up and it seems this summer’s most popular meets have come and gone in mere days instead of over a relatively grueling eight-week span.  It’s crazy to think that Sistercharlie’s win in the Diana, Guarana’s CCA Oaks score and Catalina Cruiser’s San Diego Handicap victory (not to be confused with his Pat O’Brien win) were all well over a month ago. But that’s life with these summer meets.  There’s so much phenomenal racing – and betting – flying at you from all over the country that it is very easy to get lost in the weeds of “what’s next” and what graded stakes race I can play tomorrow.  Saratoga’s Saturday card is headlined by the G1 Woodward this week and it’s a field loaded with horses that are fun to follow and easy to cheer for.  Yoshida is a G1 winner on both surfaces.  Vino Rosso (translation: red wine) wins over fans with both the way he races and his name.  Preservationist earned our respect with a massive win in the G2 Suburban and Mongolian Groom, the Pacific Classic third-place-finisher, cost just $12K at auction but has earned $369K in his career.  Xpressbet customers who hit Saratoga's Late Pick 4 will win a Split of 1 Million XB Rewards Points and my ticket for that bet is below.  Del Mar’s Saturday card features an exciting showdown between Vasilika and Toinette in the G2 John C. Mabee Stakes, while the G1 Del Mar Debutante always seems to send a handful of horses to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies as favorites.  Plus, not for nothing, racing returns to Kentucky Downs on Saturday and their Opening Day card is loaded with great races and big fields.  The $750,000 Tourist Mile attracted 14 entrants and both stakes races for juveniles are well overdrawn.  The card features a 14% Takeout All-Stakes Pick 4 that I’m not capable of passing up.  I guess it’s one of those things – even with Saratoga and Del Mar on their last legs, the next big tracks are just around the corner.  And, for horseplayers, there’s always a race somewhere to play. Here’s my Woodward Day Late Pick 4 ticket:  Race 9 (4:54PM ET) – Allowance (7F on Dirt) The kickoff leg of the Late Pick 4 is a decent first-level allowance race for fillies and mares going 7 furlongs on the main track.  This looks like a ‘go deep’ leg to me.  The ML favorite is #2 PROXIMITY BIAS, but she’s going to be an underlay because it’s Klaravich/Chad Brown/Irad Ortiz Jr.  She’s light on figures and wasn’t bet – and didn’t show a ton – in a similar race on July 24.  I’ll use her defensively but that’s about it.  My ticket here is going to include #1 HALLAWALLAH (4/1), #3 ARRIFANA (7/2), #7 MY ROXY GIRL (8/1), #8 OUR CIRCLE OF LOVE (10/1) and #11 TAKE CHARGE AUBREY (8/1).  That gives me a solid mix of experienced vs raw and speed vs closers. Race 10 (5:27PM ET) – G2 Glens Falls Stakes (1 3/8 Miles on Turf) Sound the alarms! A graded stakes race…in New York…on turf…that Chad Brown has never won.  There can’t be many of these left and Brown is looking to cross this one off his list as he sends out the two favorites, #4 SANTA MONICA (2/1) and #2 FOOLS GOLD (5/2).  FOOLS GOLD beat SANTA MONICA by a length in the G3 Waya here on August 4, but she was aided by a slow early pace that day.  SANTA MONICA may be the ‘better’ of the two horses, with more speed entered here.  I talked myself out of using #7 LADY MONTDORE (12/1) but she is the defending champion and was unbeatable at Saratoga last summer.  If Tom Albertrani has her right, she is going to be very tough.  Race 11 (6:00PM ET) – G1 Woodward Stakes (1 1/8 Miles on Dirt) I loved PRESERVATIONIST’s (7/2) huge run in the Suburban but maybe wheeling back quickly in the G1 Whitney wasn’t the best idea in hindsight, especially as he butted heads with McKinzie early.  That rival stayed home, but #1 MR. BUFF (8/1) and #9 TOM’S D’ETAT (4/1) both have speed and it isn’t the cheap variety.  #7 YOSHIDA (5/2) is simply a different horse at Saratoga and he won this race last year.  This year’s field is a little better than the ’18 version of this race, but he’s going to be flying late.  #3 VINO ROSSO is a G1 winner but his poor record at Saratoga can’t be overlooked.  He’s 0-for-3 locally.  Race 12 (6:33PM ET) – Maiden Special Weight (6 Furlongs on Dirt) Chad Brown and Todd Pletcher flex their muscles in the nightcap, as they send out #5 AIRTOUCH (3/1) and #8 FREE ENTERPRISE (7/5), respectively, and it’ll be hard to beat them.  Each has run a Beyer Speed Figure in the mid-80s and nobody else in the field can come close to that.  The only other horse I’m going to use is #7 FANTASTRY (12/1), a first-time starter for Ken McPeek.  McPeek is having a sneaky solid meet (5-for-22) and I’m really intrigued with Jose Ortiz riding this colt.  McPeek and Ortiz have teamed up to win with 5-of-7 combined starters at Saratoga over the last two years, a 71% clip. My TicketRace 9: 1,2,3,7,8,11Race 10: 2,4Race 11: 7,9Race 12: 5,7,8Ticket Cost: $36 for 50-cents 

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8.29.2019:

Spa-tacular!

Yours truly is fresh off four days in Saratoga and the trip was…Spa-tacular! It was the 17th time side-kick Will and I have made the trek northward to Saratoga for Travers week. At the conclusion of this year’s sojourn, we both agreed that this was the best ever. It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly what made this trip so wonderful. I suppose it could have been the weather--clear, cool, bright and beautiful with little humidity. A second layer in the morning gave way to shorts and a polo shirt in the afternoon. Clouds floated high against a clear, blue sky—white and fluffy--in stark contrast to the ominous darkness that had invaded the Spa several times earlier this meeting. Then again, it might have been the company that made this trip so memorable. In the beginning, Will’s pre-teen son Drew would join us. I remember him in the car passing hours in the back seat playing Madden football. An air mattress on the floor of the room sufficed. Afternoons at the track he’d handicap before, understandably, becoming a bit bored. In 2003, the late trainer Wally Dollase, crouched to Drew’s eye-level and touted him, “Make sure to bet my horse tomorrow. He’ll win. But don’t tell your dad.” Ten Most Wanted complied over Peace Rules at $7.50. As they say, times change. Drew’s now a couple of years out of college and working in D.C. He reunited with us for this season’s Spa trip--minus the air mattress, so his father reserved an extra room. Since Will and I golf very early in the morning, Drew used the time to sleep and to handicap the afternoon’s races. Travers Day the extra work almost paid off big-time. Unfortunately, in the Sword Dancer, leg 4 of a pick 5 wager, he neglected to include favored Annals of Time ($7.10) trained by Chad Brown. It paid over $6,300! Ouch! I felt so badly for him—like I would for any fellow horseplayer in a similar situation. Good news for Drew is that he’s got plenty of time to recover. The bad news, as every horseplayer knows, is that Drew’s disappointment is merely the first in a very long and wonderful string of agonizing losses interrupted by occasional celebrations. If neither weather nor company mainly was responsible for the Spa-mazing trip, perhaps it was the racing? I can’t remember a Travers card with more competitive finishes than those that occurred last Saturday. Despite the absence of a sophomore superstar, the Travers field promised a competitive race. In the end, it was all Code of Honor. Winner of the Dwyer, Fountain of Youth and Kentucky Derby show horse (moved to second via disqualification), Code of Honor stamped himself as a force to be reckoned with going forward. Pre-race there were questions about his ability to effectively cover a mile and one-quarter. They’ve been suitably answered. In the stretch, he ran down California invader Mucho Gusto, who probably prefers shorter, and favored Tacitus, who added blinkers and then raced on and near the early lead. Some horseplayers, finally, may be tired of backing Tacitus, waiting and hoping for him to ‘put it all together.’ The Travers was his big chance to do it and once more he ran well but came up short. He’s now been runner-up in the Belmont, Jim Dandy and Travers, consecutively. Not bad, really. In the first of six graded stakes races Saturday, Mitole exited stage right in stakes-record time while well clear of runner-up Firenze Fire and others. The former now has established himself as one of the seasons most exciting runners, rectifying a smudge on his resume last out when third in the Vanderbilt. Before that he had won all four 2019 starts. His sophomore season was almost as spectacular when he won four of six starts. The mouth waters a bit to consider a possible BC Sprint collision involving Mitole, Imperial Hint and others. Come Dancing, a 5-year-old mare that’s now won seven of 12 starts and nearly a million in purses, won the Grade 1 Ballerina as heavy favorite to continue a solid 2019 season that has seen her win three of four, with a second to the talented Midnight Bisou at a mile and one-sixteenth. She’s unbeaten at less than seven furlongs and currently seems at the very top of her game. The Grade 1 Allen H. Jerkens featured the return of Shancelot, winner of the Spa’s Amsterdam in a jaw-dropping, track record-setting performance. While few figured the soph son of Shanghai Bobby would exceed or even repeat that performance, he clearly figured as the one to beat. And he was…right up until the shadow of the wire when Mind Control and Hog Creek Hustle bested him with Rowayton fourth. Speedy Shancelot surrendered a seemingly insurmountable two and one-half length stretch lead and just missed in an exciting and close finish—a nose, a nose and a neck separated the top four. It’s clear Shancelot is speedy and talented but perhaps seven furlongs is not his ideal trip. Had the race been six furlongs he’d have won easily. Chad Brown trained the winner of the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at a mile one one-sixteenth for fillies and mares. And in other news…the New England Patriots won the Super Bowl…again. Lately, the question isn’t ‘if’ Brown will win a NYRA graded turf stakes race but rather ‘with which horse?’ The meet’s leading trainer saddled three in the Ballston and got Significant Form, the longest price, home on top at 7-1. A graded stakes winner at two, the daughter of Creative Cause won just a single race at three. She’s now won two graded stakes this year—the Grade 3 Intercontinental at seven panels and the Grade 2 Ballston Spa at a mile and one-sixteenth. It’s not unreasonable to expect to see her win again this year. Indian Blessing was second, Starship Jubilee third, Fifty Five fourth and Conquest Hardcandy fifth—all separated by a neck, a neck, a nose and a neck in another blanket finish. Fans who thought they had seen close conclusions in the Jerkens and Ballston Spa were further impressed by the finish of the Grade I Personal Ensign at a mile and one-eighth. Elate, under jockey Jose Ortiz, turned into the stretch looking a near certain winner. In racing, unfortunately, nothing is certain until the ‘official.’ Midnight Bisou, moving on the outside, unleashed a determined charge through the lane that steadily gained on the leader. They hit the finish as one. Moments later, only a polaroid could definitively separate them. Midnight Bisou had won her sixth consecutive graded stakes race and Elate had finished behind that foe for the third consecutive time. A stage set for conflict between two perfectly matched foes often disappoints. One or the other lays an egg and the whole thing fizzles out. Not Saturday. ‘Bisou and ‘Elate both gave it all they had. Can’t wait for them to meet again. Chad Brown saddled Annals of Time to win the Grade 1 Sword Dancer at a mile and one-half on turf--one of three entrants in the race from the multiple Eclipse Award-winning conditioner’s stable. In character with most of the afternoon, Annals of Time won by a mere neck over Sadler’s Joy, a 6-year-old horse and a $2 million earner. Everyone knows that Chad Brown ‘wins because he gets all the good horses.’ Well, this 6-year-old’s resume serves as evidence as to why ‘he gets all the good horses.’ Annals of Time broke maiden first-out in November of 2015. He made just three starts the next year, finishing first, second and third—annexing the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He didn’t start in 2018. This year he’s made three starts—a close second in a mile turf optional/allowance and a nearly five-length at a similar level and the Sword Dancer victory. Point is that it takes a very talented trainer (and patient owner) to produce the way Brown has with Annals of Time. Clearly, there’s no one particular reason my 2019 Travers trip was Spa-tacular. It was all great. And I can’t wait to return. Race On!

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8.29.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 8/29/19

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Thursday, August 29, 2019 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.  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-29th-2019/  RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Sigur Ros; 5-Denman’s Call; 7-Cats Blame Forecast: Cats Blame lands the favorable outside post position in this extended sprint for $25,000 claimers and looks well-spotted to regain his best form after chasing much tougher rivals in all of his recent outings. Realistically spotted (finally) and with speed figures that make him a strong fit at this level, the S. Knapp-trained gelding should settle in mid-pack and then produce his best run from the quarter pole home. Denman’s Call got a confidence-building win vs. $16,000 foes earlier this month and earned a number that makes him a threat right back despite the class hike. He once had some quality and may be ready to ascend the class ladder. Signur Ros, away since last October and therefore ineligible to be claimed, had the misfortune of drawing the dreaded rail but his work tab look good, the barn is solid with layoff runners, and the Gemologist gelding has shown a liking for the Del Mar main track in the past. We’ll try to get by using just these three in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Cats Blame.  RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Gingham; 5-K P Dreamin; 6-Bristol Bayou Forecast: Maiden juvenile fillies meet over a mile with K P Dreamin trying to build on the favorable impression she made in her debut when finishing fourth in a monster race won by Inspiressa. There’s nobody even remotely that tough in this race, and the daughter of Union Rags seems assured of producing a significant forward move while stretching out to a much more suitable distance. Bristol Bayou displayed some ability when third in what has proven to be a productive sprint in her debut about a month ago, has trained well since, retains V. Espinoza, and with Point Given on the bottom side of her pedigree is another that seems likely to improve with distance and experience. Gingham, a first-timer from the B. Baffert barn, is a daughter of Quality Road with a useful series of works on her resume. Winning first time out routing over this deep and taxing main track is tough, especially, for a 2-year-old filly, but she has shown enough in the a.m. to include her on a ticket or two in rolling exotic play. Strong preference on top goes to K P Dreamin. RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Excavation; 7-Puriano Forecast: Puriano goes from the dreaded rail to the favorable outside post and with this drop in class from $20,000 to $12,500 and the switch to the barn’s “go-to” rider J. Talamo the M. Glatt-trained gelding seems likely to improve dramatically. The lightly-raced six-year-old has had only 10 career starts but has four wins and could easily add to that total under today’s very favorable conditions. There are several positive factors in the chart of Excavation that point to an improved performance as well. The veteran son of Mineshaft is a first-off-the-claim for the J. Wong barn, which has superior stats with this angle (26%). Additionally, he’s being re-equipped with blinkers, is reunited with “win rider” J. Velez, shows an easy half mile breeze since raced for his new connections, and is going from a route to a sprint, an especially effective maneuver at Del Mar. His record at Del Mar (two wins, a second, and a third in six starts) is outstanding and his best speed figure over this main track is better than par for this level. RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B Use: 7-Zip the Monkey; 8-Zeke Forecast: The main contention is drawn toward the outside in this $25,000 claiming turf router that appears to boil down to two main players. Zeke shows the blinkers off angle that we like so much after finishing a solid third with a career top speed figure in a tough starter’s allowance race over this course and distance three weeks ago. F. Prat stays aboard the improving gelding, who should be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance when it counts. Zip the Monkey, a strong runner-up in the same race Zeke exits, loves this turf course (two wins in four starts) and with some help up front might should be heard from in the final furlong. RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 8-K P Cats Wild; 10-Biddy Duke Forecast: This $32,000 maiden claiming sprint for juvenile fillies has little in it; we’ll use two but with a low degree of confidence. Biddy Duke just got trounced by more than 14 lengths when a distant second as the odds-on favorite to the freaky Leucothea and certainly won’t have anybody of that ilk to worry about here. The B. Hess, Jr.-trained daughter of Bayern is fastest on speed figures compared to the others in the field that have started but will have to worry about any sneaky first timer that might emerge. K P Cats Wild might fit that bill; the daughter of Tale of the Cast has worked okay – well enough at least to be considered a contender in a soft race like this - and shows a steady series of drills for J. Mullins that should have her fit. We’ll try to survive using just these two with Biddy Duke the likely short price favorite. RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Red Bunting; 5-Posh Holly; 6-Senoradiablo Forecast: Here’s a contentious race on a challenging card, this one for $50,000 claiming fillies and mares at a mile and one-sixteenth on turf. Posh Holly looks well-spotted in her first start in a seller and has numbers that make her a strong fit at this level. The P. D’Amato-trained import likes to settle and produce a run, and in her third start off a layoff the Irish import should be ready to show her best stuff. Another Irish-bred filly, Red Bunting, is a contender as well. The lightly-raced daughter of Rip Van Winkle finished a willing third in a similar affair earlier this month and with just four career starts likely has room for further improvement. Senoradiablo isn’t fast on numbers but you have to respect the filly who has been first or second in nine of 14 career starts while racing primarily at Turf Paradise and Emerald Downs. She comes from a high percentage outfit, can handle any surface, and should be dangerous rallying from somewhere in mid-pack. RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-D’s Lovely Sophia; 4-Wishful Forecast: D’s Lovely Sophia is unbeaten in two starts with rising numbers and should be tough once again in this first-level allowance sprint for California-bred fillies and mares. She has the proper stalking style for this extended sprint trip and with another forward move should be more than capable of winning again on the raise. Wishful is re-equipped with blinkers and is back with F. Prat, who won on her earlier this year at Santa Anita. The daughter of Storm Wolf is genuine and consistent, and though not particular impressive in the speed figure department should at least hit the board. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with extra tickets keying D’s Lovely Sophia on top. RACE 8: Post 5:40 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Volubile Forecast: The finale is a maiden-claiming nine furlong affair for older horses that seems like an ideal spot for Volubile. The More Than Ready gelding is dropping into the maiden $50,000 ranks for the first time after chasing straight maiden foes in his first four starts and based on speed figures and running style he will be highly competitive at this level. Today’s nine furlong distance should be right up his alley, and his most recent start was a bit better than the line will show. At 5-1 on the morning line he offers strong value both in the win pool and in rolling exotic play. 

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8.29.2019:

Saturday, August 31: Sha Tin (Hong Kong) Picks

The Hong Kong Jockey Club's 2019/2020 season kicks off Saturday night, August 31, with a ten-race card.  Here are free picks from HKJC handicapper, Declan Schuster.  Race 1: #3 Good Runners Way, #1 Gold Velvet, #4 Regency Gem, #2 Le Panache Race 2: #12 Richcity Fortune, #1 Blade Racer, #7 Never Better, #8 Golden Cannon Race 3: #1 Wishful Thinker, #5 Regency Legend, #7 Styling City, #6 Jolly Banner Race 4: #2 Falcon Turbo, #8 Blastoise, #13 Nice Fandango, #10 Lucky Guy Race 5: #2 Pearl Champion, #4 Royal Racer, #8 Dashing Dart, #11 Casimiro Race 6: #1 Dancing Fighter, #2 Allied Agility, #4 Ka Ying Master, #5 Sunshine Universe Race 7: #6 Mr Croissant, #3 Golden Sixty, #9 Shimmer And Shine, #7 New Asia Sunrise Race 8: #5 Easy Go Easy Win, #2 Fast Most Furious, #4 King Opie, #11 Playa Del Puente Race 9: #7 Winning Method, #1 Multimillion, #9 Glenealy Generals, #3 Jing Jing Win Race 10: #6 Unicron Jewellery, #5 Cordyceps, #9 Mongolian Legend, #7 World Famous Race 1: Mount Butler Handicap (1:00AM ET) #3 Good Runners Way gets the nod in the opener. He was nearing a breakthrough win at the tail end of last season and if he’s held his condition since that run then he’s the one to beat with Zac Purton aboard. #1 Gold Velvet improved sharply once he returned to Class 5 last season. He’s a winner in this grade previously and he bears close watching. #4 Regency Gem impressed in a recent trial under Joao Moreira, quickening when asked to score by half a length. He deserves respect. #2 Le Panache has shown glimpses of ability and if he finds any of that here, he can figure. Race 2: Mount Parker Handicap (1:30AM ET) #12 Richcity Fortune will roll forward to lead. He’s drawn to find the front with ease and with only 118lb on his back, he’s capable of pinching this. #1 Blade Racer put in a career-best fourth at his final appearance last season. Expect him to try the same again and if he can shoulder the 133lb, he’s a major player. #7 Never Better hit a purple patch of form late last season. He’s drawn a touch awkward here but if he gets a race run to suit, he’s capable of making his presence felt. #8 Golden Cannon is an honest racer and he should be around the mark again. Race 3: The HKSAR Chief Executive’s Cup (Handicap) (2:00AM ET) #1 Wishful Thinker returns following an international campaign which saw him finish midfield in the G1 Al Quoz Sprint. Suspect he’s yet to reach his full potential and this race is a suitable starting point for his 2019/20 campaign. #5 Regency Legend is hard to fault as the unbeaten runner in the field but this is another class rise that may prove difficult, especially first-up. #7 Styling City has mixed his form of late and it’s hard to get a gauge on what level he is racing at, but he has in his favour an excellent effort in his latest trial. He remains a big watch. #6 Jolly Banner is no stranger to surprising at big odds. His trackwork records suggest he’s primed for a big first-up run. Race 4: Ma On Shan Handicap (2:30AM ET) #2 Falcon Turbo is a handy galloper who shouldered top-weight duties to a narrow defeat at his final run of last season. He’s returned to a competitive mark and the good gate will ensure he gets every chance under Vincent Ho. #8 Blastoise made ground from the rear of the field last start to finish an eye-catching fifth. He’s an improving type who from the gate should be afforded every opportunity. #13 Nice Fandango is the likely leader. He’ll roll forward to offset the wide gate and as a winner in this grade he commands respect. #10 Lucky Guy has been consistent albeit without winning since early 2017. He closed nicely under a strong hold in his latest trial and he’s a place chance. Race 5: Kowloon Peak Handicap (3:00AM ET) #2 Pearl Champion got off the mark in the middle of last season and since then he’s run poorly only when he’s drawn wide. He’ll jump from the inside this time which should see him in the right spot to win this. #4 Royal Racer found form late last season. If he’s held his condition he’s going to be hard to run down. #8 Dashing Dart has been a model of consistency across his career. He has drawn awkwardly here but he should have his chance. #11 Casimiro has done very little on the track across his 11-start career. A recent trial however suggested improvement and the booking of Joao Moreira infers he might be ready to piece it all together. Race 6: Yi Tung Shan Handicap (3:35AM ET) Difficult to split the top three, however the suspicion is that #1 Dancing Fighter is the one with the most upside. He showed plenty of talent last season, scoring impressively on debut before finishing a narrow second last start. He’s trialled well leading into this and he’s going to prove tough to beat with Zac Purton aboard. #2 Allied Agility raced away on debut before pulling up lame at his latest start. He’s done everything right in the off-season and his latest trial suggests he’s returned to form. #4 Ka Ying Master got off the mark on debut last season and he’s looking to remain unbeaten with a win here. He’ll roll forward and make his own luck. #5 Sunshine Universe has race experience on his side. He’s always worth including in these races. Race 7: Sunset Peak Handicap (4:05AM ET) #6 Mr Croissant is a serious talent on the rise and his latest trial highlighted his readiness to win first-up. He’s yet to finish outside of the top three across his career and this doesn’t look like changing anytime soon. #3 Golden Sixty notched up three unbeaten efforts before fading to finish a distant 10th at his final run last season. He’s trialled well leading into this and he has the credentials to win. #9 Shimmer And Shine is a handy galloper on his day. He’s a two-time Class 4 winner who has place claims. #7 New Asia Sunrise hasn’t won since mid-2017. That is unlikely to change here but if he’s ridden on the speed, he could find himself in the money. Race 8: Tai Mo Shan Handicap (4:35AM ET) #5 Easy Go Easy Win comes out of a winless campaign last season. He put together a few nice performances late-season and his latest trial effort suggests he’s ready to make a winning return. #2 Fast Most Furious was an eye-catching winner in the final race of last season, surging from the rear to get up. This race is well within his reach as long as he can shoulder the extra 13lb. #4 King Opie is a consistent customer who is a two-time course and distance winner. Suspect we still haven’t seen his best and from the soft gate he should have no excuses. #11 Playa Del Puente is an intriguing import from Ireland. He may want further but his only trial in Hong Kong warrants respect. Race 9: Lantau Peak Handicap (5:10AM ET) #7 Winning Method returns following an impressive first campaign which returned two consecutive wins as well as a debut second behind Aethero. He’s returned in excellent order and if his condition improved over the summer then this is his for the taking. #1 Multimillion is a model of consistency who is a three-time Class 3 winner. He’ll be up on the speed early attempting to make all. #9 Glenealy Generals performed well first-up last season and a repeat of that effort has him in contention. #3 Jing Jing Win has drawn poorly but he’s nearing his mark and with Zac Purton aboard, he bears close watching. Race 10: Lin Fa Shan Handicap (5:45AM ET) #6 Unicron Jewellery returns for his fourth season. Admittedly he’s done his best racing over the mile but this isn’t an overly strong affair and the soft draw should see him get a charmed run throughout. #5 Cordyceps did everything right last season and was unlucky not to have won more than once. He’ll make his own luck out in front and from there give them something to run down. #9 Mongolian Legend performed well at his final run of last season. A repeat of that effort will see him in the finish. #7 World Famous performed impressively when fresh last season. His first two outings were far and away his best and a recent trial indicates that he is ready to do the same again.  

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8.29.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 8/29/19

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Thursday, August 29, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on August 29th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 5-Irish Danzing Forecast: Irish Danzing has been training steadily without manufacturing any fancy times for C. Clement but the daughter of Danza doesn’t have to advertise her early speed. She did that last April at the OBS sale where she breezed a quarter in 21 seconds flat, fastest time for the distance during the entire preview session. Though doing most of her preparatory work at Belmont Park, she vanned up a couple of weeks ago to get a feel of the Saratoga main track and debuts in a state-bred maiden special weight juvenile filly dash that is begging to be won a by a fresh face. At 4-1 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B Use: 6-Cross Border; 9-Gambler’s Fallacy Forecast: Cross Border is a thoroughly genuine and consistent turf performer seeking his third straight score in this second-level allowance/optional claimer for New York-bred older horses. The veteran son of English Channel is solid in the speed figure department, perfect (2-for-2) over the Saratoga turf course and has the kind of tactical speed that always puts him the proper spot and keeps him from harm’s way. At 8/5 on the morning line he’s a logical top pick, though we’ll also include in our rolling exotics Gambler’s Fallacy, a closing second when last seen in late June in his first start of the year for C. Brown and likely to produce a forward move today while being reunited with “win rider” J. Castellano. The son of Violence is a fit on numbers, has further improvement in him, and should be doing his best work from off the pace. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Camorra; 7-Golden Vale Forecast: Camorra nosedives in class and clearly is being culled by the stable, what with the September yearling sales just around the corner. The daughter of Street Boss never lived up to expectations and likely never will, but in this $20,000 claimer the T. Pletcher-trained filly should win at a short price, assuming she has one good one left in her. Golden Vale, first off the claim for low profile connections, is raised in class despite being away since mid-June in a sign of confidence and shows the always-dangerous blinkers off angle. Drawn comfortably outside, she’s short of where she needs to be in the speed figure department but with a forward move off her brief vacation she might be able to make a race of it. RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Seven Gems; 5-Tenure Forecast: Seven Gems always has been suspect under pressure in the final furlong and will be again today in his first outing since shipping up from Gulfstream Park. The S. Klesaris-trained gelding may stick better with this turn back to an abbreviated sprint, and it was at this distance on grass that he was last won a race more than a year ago at Laurel Park. He’s got only one way to go, on the lead for as long as he can carry his speed. Tenure also is a fast sort but he’s drawn outside ‘Gem and probably will employ pace-pressing tactics. The lightly-raced gelding has rising numbers plus winning form sprinting on grass, and with J. Rosario staying aboard for C. Clement the son of Uncle Mo should have every chance to stalk, pounce, and draw clear late. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with a few extra tickets keying Tenure on top. RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: X Use: 1-Business Cycle; 2-Bronxville Forecast: Business Cycle, freshened since early June, drops into a claimer for the first time and is even money on the morning line in this soft restricted (nw-2) $16,000 event. Now 6-years-old and clearly no longer in the stable’s plans, the son of Curlin is reunited with “win rider” J. Castellano and should outclass this modest field, with his rail post the only real concern. If ‘Cycle no longer has it in him, Bronxville will probably be the one to benefit the most. A maiden $30,000 winner two races back with a speed figure that wasn’t strong but looks good against the rest of this group, the R. Handal-trained gelding probably will employ gate-to-wire tactics in a race without too much early speed. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: X Single: 7-Lead Guitar Forecast: Lead Guitar produced a significant forward move when missing by head while more than three lengths clear of the rest over this course and distance earlier this month and off that race she’s listed at even money on the morning line in this maiden special weight turf sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. She has upside the others don’t and yet probably doesn’t even need to improve to win. We’ll pass the race other than to make the daughter of Maclean’s Music a no-value rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 8-Saratoga Beauty; 11-Critical Value Forecast: Saratoga Beauty was well-meant in her debut but broke slowly, lost position, then made a mid-race move to be within range before understandably flattening out. The daughter of Macho Uno has since recorded a sharp bullet gate drill (three furlongs in 35 3/5 seconds, fastest of six) at her home base at Monmouth Park and ships back to the Spa (along with the barn’s go-to rider P. Lopez) for another crack at a similar maiden state-bred juvenile filly field. If she leaves with her field today for the P. McBurney barn (strong stats with second-time starters) she can certainly make amends. Critical Value had the good fortune of drawing in from the also-eligible list and is the likely choice and one to beat. Nosed out in her debut after a slow start and a wide trip, the daughter of Bodemeister has the benefit of the comfortable outside post position and should have clear sailing and every chance. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Ray’swarrior; 5-Mr. Dougie Fresh Forecast: We’ve got this starter optional claiming sprint down to two main contenders, both from the J. Servis barn and both shipping in from Monmouth Park. Ray’swarrior just won a listed stakes impressively with a powerful speed figure, and if he runs back to that performance today he’ll be hard to catch once again. He’s dyed-in-the-wool front runner and should be quick enough to secure his preferred trip again today. Stable mate Mr. Dougie Fresh is fast on speed figures as well, but not as quick leaving the gate, and will be doing his best work from slightly off the pace. He’s also – at least based on form – more effective on dirt than he is on grass. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics while pressing with Ray’swarrior on top. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B- Use: 6-Crystalle; 7-English Breeze; 8-Sweet Melania Forecast: The bottom three fillies in this year’s edition of the P. G. Johnson Stakes should get the bulk of the action in this middle distance turf event for juvenile fillies. English Breeze won at first asking like a very nice grass prospect and looks tough right back, though this field is considerably more challenging that the state-bred group she just handled. Crystalle also crossed the wire first in her debut but lost the purse for causing interference in deep stretch, eventually being put back to third. Even though she’s still a maiden, the daughter of Palace Malice is faster on numbers than English Breeze and picks up J. Rosario, so she’s certain to attract plenty of play. Sweet Melania gets the worst of the draw but has a bit more experience than the other two and won a nice maiden race over the Saratoga lawn that already has been franked by the runner-up, who came back to win. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to English Breeze. RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 5-Eighty Seven North; 7-Fusi; 13-Ideational Forecast: Eighty Seven North just finished second at this level despite a rugged start and with better racing luck today the daughter of Quality Road should be able to produce the last run in this maiden $40,000 maiden claiming middle distance turf event for fillies and mares. She switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. and shows speed figures that aren’t fast but at least are gradually rising. Fusi, claimed in her last pair and now in the R. Atras stable, stretches out for the first time and has a closing style that should be effective at this one mile turf. She’s only had three starts and therefore has room for improvement that most of the others don’t. Ideational gets in from the also-eligible list and is worth including in her first start since finishing a close fifth in her debut last November. This appears to be a realistic spot for the Noble Mission filly, who clearly isn’t highly regarded by the C. Brown barn but won’t have to be a world beater to be competitive at this level.

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8.29.2019:

McGaughey's Confidence Proved Justified

In the days leading up to the Travers, Shug McGaughey expressed his confidence that Code of Honor was going to run a biggie in this important 1 1/4-mile event. And the chestnut colt did not let his Hall of Fame trainer down. Ninth early in the field of 12, Code of Honor charged to the front leaving the eighth pole, then kicked away with gusto to win by three lengths at 4-1. Tacitus, always prominent while racing with blinkers for the first time, finished second as the 2-1 favorite. Mucho Gusto, who was 7-2 in the wagering and raced near or on the lead from the outset, came in third, a half-length behind Tacitus. This was McGaughey’s fourth Travers victory. His previous winners were Easy Goer (1989), Rhythm (1990) and Coronado’s Quest (1998). The record for most Travers wins by a trainer is five by Bert Mulholland (Eight Thirty in 1939, Lights Up in 1950, Battlefield in 1951, Jaipur in 1962 and Crewman in 1963). Elliott Burch is the only other trainer to have won the Travers four times (Sword Dancer in 1959, Quadrangle in 1964, Arts and Letters in 1969 and Key to the Mint in 1972). I was right to pick someone other than Tacitus to win this year’s Travers. He once again was a beaten favorite. This marked the third straight time in which Tacitus has had to settle for second as the betting choice. Tacitus also was the runner-up in the Grade I Belmont Stakes at 9-5 on June 6 and second in the Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes at 8-5 on July 27. As for Looking At Bikinis, my Travers pick, his race essentially was over when he stumbled at the start. Instead of being in a forward position early, like Tacitus and Mucho Gusto, Looking At Bikinis was sixth in the early going before finishing next-to-last at 11-1. Code of Honor’s Travers triumph thrusts him squarely into the discussion as to which 3-year-old male is going to get the Eclipse Award this year. Including the Travers, the Kentucky-bred son of Noble Mission (a full brother to the great Frankel) has three graded stakes victories to his credit this year. He won the Grade II Fountain of Youth at Gulfstream Park in March and Grade III Dwyer at Belmont Park in July. Code of Honor also finished second in the Grade I Kentucky Derby in May through the disqualification of Maximum Security. Speaking of Maximum Security, he also is a leading contender for the Eclipse Award in the 3-year-old male division, thanks to his Grade I victories in the Florida Derby and Haskell Invitational for trainer Jason Servis. And though Maximum Security officially did not win the Kentucky Derby, the Kentucky-bred New Year’s Day colt did cross the finish line first prior to having his number taken down. He was disqualified and placed 17th for committing a foul when he veered out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. It was the first time in the 145-year history of the Kentucky Derby that a winner was disqualified for an incident during the running of the race. At this point, I see Code of Honor and Maximum Security as co-favorites to get the 3-year-old male Eclipse Award. Interestingly, they are as close to being tied in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll as it can get, with just a single point separating them. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL In the wake of Code of Honor’s win in the Travers, he moved into the Top 10 this week. He finds himself ranked just barely behind No. 9 Maximum Security. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 431 Bricks and Mortar (37) 2. 360 Midnight Bisou (5) 3. 336 McKinzie (2) 4. 298 Mitole 5. 277 Sistercharlie 6. 141 World of Trouble 7. 98 Elate 8. 87 Imperial Hint 9. 81 Maximum Security 10. 80 Code of Honor MY CURRENT ODDS FOR 3-YEAR-OLD MALE TITLE In terms of 2019 Eclipse Award voting for 3-year-old male, I have Code of Honor and Maximum Security each at 5-2. Maximum Security is scheduled to make his next start in the Grade I Pennsylvania Derby at Parx on Sept. 21. McGaughey said Code of Honor will likely race next in the Grade I Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont Park on Sept. 28. Here are my current odds regarding who will be voted the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old male of 2019: 5-2 Code of Honor 5-2 Maximum Security 6-1 Game Winner 6-1 Improbable 6-1 Omaha Beach 6-1 Tacitus 10-1 Mr. Money 12-1 all others In my estimation, beyond Maximum Security and Code of Honor, the next four who have the best chance of getting that award are, in alphabetical order, Game Winner, Improbable, Omaha Beach and Tacitus. Game Winner, trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, was voted the 2018 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old male. He had to miss the Travers due to a virus. In his most recent start, the Kentucky-bred Candy Ride colt won the Grade III Los Alamitos Derby by five lengths on July 13. Improbable was sent off as the favorite in the Kentucky Derby and Grade I Preakness Stakes, but he finished off the board on both occasions. The Kentucky-bred City Zip colt, who also resides in the powerful Baffert barn, registered a 2 3/4-length win in Del Mar’s Shared Belief Stakes last Sunday. The Pennsylvania Derby is next for him. Omaha Beach, conditioned by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, has not started since he won the Grade I Arkansas Derby at Oaklawn Park last April 13. He was the morning-line favorite in the Kentucky Derby, but the Kentucky-bred War Front colt was withdrawn due to an entrapped epiglottis that required surgery. The hope had been for Omaha Beach to return in the aforementioned Shared Belief, but he missed that race due to an illness. The word now is he will go to Churchill Downs for the Grade III Ack Ack Handicap on Sept. 28. Despite losing three in a row as the chalk, Tacitus is by no means out of the running for the 3-year-old male title. He does deserve some credit for running second in the Belmont, Jim Dandy and Travers. Earlier this year, the Kentucky-bred Tapit colt won the Grade II Tampa Bay Derby and Grade II Wood Memorial. Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott has indicated the Jockey Club Gold Cup probably is next for Tacitus. If Tacitus took the Gold Cup and then won or ran well in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, it quite possibly would be enough for him to nab the Eclipse Award as champion 3-year-old male. Mr. Money, trained by Brett Calhoun, has been smartly managed to make a lot of money while beating up on opponents in Grade III races. The Kentucky-bred Goldencents colt has won the Grade III Pat Day Mile by 5 1/4 lengths, Grade III Matt Winn Stakes by 6 1/2 lengths, Grade III Indiana Derby by 2 1/2 lengths and Grade III West Virginia Derby by six lengths. If Mr. Money can get a Grade I victory before the end of the year, it would make him a contender for the Eclipse Award in this division. One wild card in the chase for the Eclipse Award for champion 3-year-old male could be Valid Point. The Kentucky-bred Scat Daddy colt, trained by Chad Brown, is undefeated in three career starts, all on the grass. He stepped way up in class to win the Grade I Secretariat at Arlington Park on Aug. 10 in his stakes debut. If Valid Point manages to stay undefeated for the rest of the year and add more graded stakes wins to his resume, he might appeal to some Eclipse Award voters in a year in which none of the leading 3-year-old males on the dirt has won been perfect in 2019. FIRST TRIPLE-DIGIT BEYER FOR CODE OF HONOR With his win in the Travers, Code of Honor took his game to a higher Beyer level. He was credited with a career-best 105 Beyer Speed Figure for his Travers performance. His previous top had been a 97 when he won the Dwyer and when he was placed second through disqualification in the Kentucky Derby. Code of Honor’s 104 Beyer is better than any of Maximum Security’s figures to date. Maximum Security recorded a 102 Beyer when victorious in the Haskell and also when he won a seven-furlong allowance/optional claiming race at Gulfstream Park in February by 18 1/4-lengths. These are the Beyer Speed Figures for winners of the Travers going back to 1990: 2019 Code of Honor (105) 2018 Catholic Boy (104) 2017 West Coast (108) 2016 Arrogate (122) 2015 Keen Ice (106) 2014 V.E. Day (102) 2013 Will Take Charge (107) 2012 Alpha (100)* 2012 Golden Ticket (100)* 2011 Stay Thirsty (101) 2010 Afleet Express (105) 2009 Summer Bird (110) 2008 Colonel John (106) 2007 Street Sense (108) 2006 Bernardini (116) 2005 Flower Alley (110) 2004 Birdstone (108) 2003 Ten Most Wanted (112) 2002 Medaglia d’Oro (113) 2001 Point Given (117) 2000 Unshaded (109) 1999 Lemon Drop Kid (110) 1998 Coronado’s Quest (107) 1997 Deputy Commander (110) 1996 Will’s Way (114) 1995 Thunder Gulch (110) 1994 Holy Bull (115) 1993 Sea Hero (109) 1992 Thunder Rumble (109) 1991 Corporate Report (109) 1990 Rhythm (104) *Dead heat

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8.28.2019:

Wednesday, August 28: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Wednesday, August 28, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Del Mar on August 28th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Juggles; 3-Of Good Report; 4-Red Clem Forecast: On pure form Of Good Report looks just okay, but today he shows up in a claimer for the first time, gets blinkers, and switches to F. Prat, so there are several reasons to believe improvement is likely. The D. O’Neill-trained gelding exits a pair of considerably tougher races and may have found his friends in this $32,000 claimer restricted to 3-year-olds. O’Neill has another major player in the race with Juggles. The son of Square Eddie flunked his only prior route test, so we’re not sure if he really wants to run this far, but that effort came in a much tougher spot and today he lands the good rail in a race without much early speed. His sharp runner-up effort in a turf sprint earlier this month was flattered when Boa Nova came back to win. Red Clem likes to lay back and make a run and has numbers that put him in the hunt. The concern is the projected pace, or lack thereof, that doesn’t figure to compliment his late-running style. We’ll use him as a saver on a ticket or two. RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Road Test; 6-Tiz Toffee Forecast: Tiz Toffee returns from Northern California to a track she’s had excellent success over and the J. Wong-trained filly remains protected in this starter’s allowance race in a sign of confidence. This will be her first route test, but on pedigree a mile should be well within her range and she could become the controlling speed if front-running strategy is employed. A nice five furlong workout in 1:01 seconds (fifth fastest of 34) indicates she’s doing well, so let’s put her on top while also including Road Test in our rolling exotics. First off the claim for good trainer D. Pederson, she is another who prefers the Del Mar dirt surface and was most recently second with a good number while almost 12 lengths clear of the rest in a $12,500 seller last month. RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Big Buzz; 6-Unapologetic Forecast: Big Buzz and Unapologetic meet again after squaring off in a similar mini-marathon first-level optional claimer over this course and distance earlier this month. Unapologetic was sharp in victory while taking full advantage of a perfect trip/ride and should fire a similar shot today. Big Buzz, on the other hand, had traffic trouble at a critical stage entering the lane and lost his momentum, eventually winding up third, beaten less than two lengths. Today he picks up F. Prat, and the switch in jockey could make the winning difference. However, the gelding is winless in six starts over the Del Mar lawn and has found trouble on more than one occasion. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then have a few extra tickets keying Unapologetic on top. RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B Single: 4-Smiling to Excess Forecast: Smiling to Excess makes the all-important drop from maiden special weight to maiden $50,000 claiming and should find this group well within her capabilities. She’s had a problem leaving the gate cleanly in both of her starts but if she she leaves with her field today the daughter of Smiling Tiger should have ample early speed to gain a favorable pace-pressing position. The first timers doesn’t inspire so let’s put the P. Aguirre-trained juvenile on top and use her as a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Jaccat; 4-Point Hope Forecast: This starter’s allowance turf sprint for fillies and mares appears to have two main players. Point Hope finished well but too late when second in a $40,000 claimer over this course and distance earlier this month while earning a career-top speed figure and today is protected by R. Ellis, an indication that she’s holding her form. The Irish-bred filly will need some help up front to have her best chance, but with good racing luck she might be able to tag the speed. Jaccat graduated in a high-priced maiden claimer sprinting on grass at Santa Anita in June and then was tried twice on the dirt with fair results. This return to turf course could get her back on the winning track and her rail draw should insure a ground-saving trip for the good combo of F. Prat and L. Powell. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with slight preference on top to Point Hope. RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Express Train Forecast: Express Train was given an educational run when second to the highly-regarded Eight Rings in his debut earlier this month and although he was beaten six lengths in that fast, highly-rated sprint the son of Union Rags wound up more than nine lengths clear of the rest while being allowed to finish on his own courage. Bred to run long and getting his chance in his second career start, the J. Shirreffs-trained colt – a $500,000 yearling purchase at Keeneland last year – seems sure to move forward with that bit of experience and today’s longer trip. M. Smith got to know him in that race and stays aboard. We’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single at what should be fairly low odds. RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Bulletproof One; 8-Been Studying Her Forecast: Bulletproof One is unbeaten in three starts and remains in state-bred company once again after demolishing her outclassed foes in the CTBA Stakes here last month. The daughter of Idiot Proof has won her three starts by a total of 23 1/2 lengths and today - not that she needed it – she gets an added bonus with the switch to F. Prat. The P. Miller-trained filly will be an enormous favorite, and deservedly so. That said, there’s a chance for upset if she doesn’t bring her “A” game. Despite a less than ideal trip, Been Studying Her was visually very impressive winning at first asking in a stronger-than-par maiden special weight sprint at Sacramento in July and strikes us as being considerably better than her moderate Beyer speed figure gives her credit for. The daughter of Fast Anna didn’t break well but then flashed good zip to move within range inside, waited for room, then angled out and collared the heavy favorite in deep stretch while showing a touch of class. She’s likely to go higher than her morning line of 5-1, so let’s take a shot and play her in the straight pool while doubling the race in our rolling exotics. RACE 8: Post 5:40 PT. Grade: B- Use: 9-Darga; 12-Tandalicious Forecast: Darga isn’t much but won’t have to be to graduate in this woefully weak maiden $20,000 claiming sprint for fillies and mares. A bullet workout in 47 2/5 seconds at Los Alamitos just five days ago indicates the daughter of Super Saver is doing well for J. Sadler, and if she can duplicate her decent third place finish in her debut three races back she’ll be home free. A rough start in her most recent outing at Los Al when beaten at 6/5 might certainly cost her. Tandalicious drops to the bottom and should greatly appreciate this softer assignment. Drawn comfortably outside, the P. D’Amato-trained daughter of Lemon Drop Kid projects to be prominent throughout and stick around a whole lot longer than she has been against this bunch. Preference on top goes to Darga but we’ll have tickets including both in our rolling exotics.

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8.28.2019:

Wednesday, August 28: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Wednesday, August 28, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Two Plays at Saratoga on August 28th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 12:50 ET. Grade: X Use: Pass/No Play Forecast: The first race is a steeplechase. We will pass this race. RACE 2: Post 1:22 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Jump for Joy; 5-Le Weekend Forecast: Jump for Joy exits a series of much tougher races and finds a logical spot to regain her winning form in this starter optional claiming sprint for fillies and mares. First or second in 12 of 18 career starts, the veteran mare has been freshened for nearly two months and, assuming she leaves cleanly from the rail, should be on or near the lead throughout. Le Weekend returns to the level at which she was claimed earlier this year and though her recent form looks muddled she has earned recent speed figures that make her a major player. She should have enough early speed to be within striking range throughout and have every chance when it matters in the final furlong. We’ll prefer Jump for Joy slightly on top but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 3: Post 1:54 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Dynamite Kitten; 6-Classic Lady Forecast: Dynamite Kitten ran better than the line will show when rallying wide against slow fractions to wind up third in a similar second-level state-bred allowance race on grass, and today from the rail the daughter of Animal Kingdom projects to secure an ideal ground-saving, second-flight trip. She’s reunited with “win rider: J. Alvarado, and with a repeat of her last race should be capable of producing a winning late bid. Classic Lady is dangerous based on speed figures and consistent recent form, having finished no worse that second in her last three outings. Considerably improved since being claimed for $50,000 in January, the daughter of Jimmy Creed likes to settle well off the pace and then kick home from top of the lane to wire. With good racing luck and a decent pace to chase, she’ll be heard from when it counts. We’ll give the slight edge on top to Dynamite Kitten but include both in our rolling exotics. RACE 4: Post 2:26 ET. Grade: A- Single: 4-Indian Pride Forecast: Indian Pride has been impressing the clockers for more than year and finally makes it to the post in this maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares. The daughter of Proud Citizen has never failed to impress both in team drills and when working alone; in fact she has trained like a top prospect while displaying an immense amount of speed and is finally healthy enough to get her career officially started. She’s 2-1 on the morning and likely will go lower as a short price rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 2:58 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Trixie’s Time; 10-O’Malley; 12-Decorated Ace Forecast: Here’s a grass grab bag for $40,000 claiming fillies and mares that requires a deep spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll pass the race while going three-deep in our rolling exotics. Decorated Ace looks the best on paper but is stuck on the far outside and may have difficulty navigating a decent trip. She drops a notch to her winning level, switches to J. Castellano, and has numbers that are good enough to win, so you have to use her even though she probably won’t offer much value at 5/2 on the morning line. Trixie’s Time has the always-dangerous blinkers off angle going for her and a favorable inside post, so it won’t be surprising if the M. Miceli-trained filly outruns her morning line of 15-1. She’s not fast on speed figures, which justifies her long shot status, but if granted an easy early lead she could take this field a very long way. O’Malley is a Presque Isle Downs invader with form that makes her a fit. The lightly-raced daughter of More Than Ready has an improving pattern and a prior win on grass. Also, she makes her first start since joining the M. Maker barn and lands J. Ortiz, so there are reasons to expect another forward move. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: A- Single: 3-Moonachie Forecast: Moonachie brought $85,000 in the Timonium May sale after previewing impressively and has since trained like a win-early type leading up to his Saratoga debut for J. Engelhart, who hits at a strong 22% with debut runners. Bred to be quick and giving every indication in the morning like he’s loaded with speed, the son of Central Banker seems more than capable of handling this state-bred field of 2-year-olds and will offer excellent wagering value if he leaves at or near his morning line of 4-1. Let’s make him a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Logic N Reason; 3-Morality Clause; 5-Jazzique; 6-Selflessly Forecast: Here’s a wide-open maiden special weight turf sprint for juvenile fillies that has many x-factors and question marks and is borderline inscrutable. Use has many as you can afford to in rolling exotic play. Logic N Reason debuts for the always-dangerous C. Clement/J Rosario team and as a daughter of Declaration of War seems certain to enjoy turf. The works are good enough to win a race like this, so in what amounts to nothing more than an educated guess we’ll put her on top. Selflessly has looked okay in the morning and is another bred to handle grass (More Than Ready. She’s 8-1 on the morning line and may be a bit better than that. Her C. Brown-trained stable mate Jazzique also has shown some ability in the a.m., and while we doubt she’s one of the barn’s better 2-year-olds she could be good enough to be a threat in this moderate affair The Irish-bred daughter of Kingman has a nice gate work (47 1/5 seconds) that was third fastest of 108, so on the basis of that she’ll probably get plenty of play. Morality Clause has the benefit of three prior runs, and while she’s not fast on speed figures she has managed to hit the board in three outings. A good filly will beat her, but there may or may not be one in here. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Dark Money Forecast: This starter’s allowance sprint doesn’t have a whole lot of early speed signed on, and that’s good news for the connections of Dark Money. He’s now in the R. Rodriguez barn after trouncing a restricted (nw-2) $40,000 field by five lengths with a career top speed figure in late June and returns protected for a stable that hits at 28% with a flat-bet profit with the first-off-the-claim angle. Though not blazingly quick himself, the son of Central Banker looks like the best of the speed types, and if runs back to his last race he’ll be tough catch. At 8/5 on the morning line we’ll make him a rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Our Country Forecast: Our Country was given a race in his debut and then exploded to beat maidens by almost six lengths in a visually impressive performance earlier this month. The son of Constitution will be hard to deny in today’s With Anticipation Stakes if runs back to that race today, and there’s no reason to believe he won’t. The colt that we thought might give him a serious run – Eagerly – has been scratched, leaving us with the G. Weaver-trained son of Constitution as a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: B- Use: 5-Winifred J; 6-Mike’s Girl Forecast: The finale is a messy maiden-claiming turf sprint for state-bred fillies and mares. We’ll try to get by using just two, but you may find the need to spread considerably deeper. Mike’s Girl and Winifred J finished two-three in a similar event last month and both should fire similar shots today. Winifred J, first-off-the-claim for J. Engelhart, switches to J. Ortiz and is likely to produce a forward move after earning a career top speed figure in her most recent outing while Mike’s Girl, a nine-race maiden but in the frame in her last three starts, should flash considerably more early speed today. If she can shake loose early she may never look back. Of the two, we’ll slightly prefer Winifred J on top.

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8.26.2019:

Monday, August 26: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park rolls in Race 9, a condition pace with a $25,000 purse. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 4. That sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4 3-Tommy Terror-Has been sharp, from this post Jamieson can put in play early, ML chalk can make it 3 straight. 7-Dovuto Hanover-Seems to make a habit of a falling short but should have a good chance at a picture here. Race 5 1-Big Rich-Makes 3rd straight start after a rest and this time comes back in 7-days for Roy and Moreau. 3-Jangone-McClure takes a seat, gets a good post draw and thinking this could be a wake-up call. 6-What A Rush-Has been dialed in since coming off the bench earlier this month, should offer a square price. 8-Mr Contestant-Drops to spot to shine and has the gate speed to get a close-up seat. Race 6 2-Dreamfair Moxy-Winner of last 2 in Grassroots action by open lengths, best to respect as tries for 3rd straight. 4-Sugartown-Very consistent in last 6 starts, Roy returns and beaten chalk can make amends. 5-Velocity Poprocks-4-year-old has come to life this year and is looking at 4 in a row since solving breaking issues. 8-Carlismo-Nice colt and barn has been going well, can leave to find a good seat and stay in the hunt. Race 7 4-Quadrangle-Needs a trip but can get sucked around, if things go well will roll late at a square price. 5-Alarm Detector-Was a monster at 2, moves up after an easy even-money win, thinking an encore is in the cards. My Ticket Race 4) 3,7 Race 5) 1,3,6,8 Race 6) 2,4,5,8 Race 7) 4,5 Total Ticket Cost) $12.80 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.26.2019:

Five Betting Tips for This Week at Del Mar and Saratoga

One more time with feeling, as they say, as Saratoga & Del Mar present closing weeks before the boutiques close for the season. Here's our final submission of summer:  Del Mar Betting Tips Flavien Prat is 12-for-22 (55%) riding 2-year-olds at the Del Mar meet. The victories have come with 9 different trainers and 8 of the 12 were first-time starters. His agent is doing his work in the a.m.  Peter Miller's tank has been dry during closing week of the Del Mar summer meet in recent years. He went 3-for-23 last year and 3-for-21 in 2017. Miller was hitting almost 31% at last year's summer meet heading into the closing week nosedive. Speaking of dry spells, current meet leading trainer Doug O'Neill has gone just 2-for-31 over the past 2 weeks as he tries to hold onto the title.  Jeff Bonde's barn has gone 5-for-9 over closing week at Del Mar's summer meet in 2017 and 2018, headlined by a 3-for-4 streak last year. The barn has gone 7: 3-1-0 over the past 2 weeks of the current meet, indicating another strong finish.  Sire Speightstown has had an incredible meet with limited strikes. His offspring are 9: 6-1-0 at the stand with a 4-for-5 record on turf. Twirling Candy offspring in dirt sprints are 6-for-14 (43%) with a $1.96 ROI for each $1 bet.  Del Mar offers 6 stakes for 2-year-old during closing week. Favorites have hit 44% in Del Mar 2-year-old stakes since 2014. Over the last 6 years, the 12 winners of the G1 Del Mar Debutante and G1 Del Mar Futurity have seen 9 last-out winners – only American Pharoah finished out of the exacta in his previous start.  Saratoga Betting Tips If you think Chad Brown has dominated Saratoga 2019 so far, you're not going to get a closing-week reprieve if history repeats. Last year he won 12 races (33%) over the final week at the Spa. No other trainer won more than 4 (Kiaran McLaughlin, who was 4-for-7 during that span). You have to go back to 2015 to find the last time Brown wasn't the winningest trainer during Saratoga's closing week.  Don't be afraid of a horse who looks crammed back in for a final start at the meet off a disappointing run. Horses who were beaten favorites last time out have come back during closing week to show a flat-bet profit at Saratoga in 2015 ($1.23), 2016 ($1.38) and 2018 ($1.21).  Favorites went 10-for-17 in stakes last week (59%) though Bill Mott was 0-3 with 3 seconds. Mott's stakes favorites are now a hard-luck 7: 1-5-0 at the meet. Channel Maker's 4th in the Bowling Green was the only to miss the exacta. Note: there will be 10 more stakes closing week at Saratoga.  The Danny Gargan barn has been absolutely on point with claiming horses at the meet, going 10: 5-1-3 at that level of competition. Those runners have posted a $1.53 ROI for each $1 bet.  Note that 7 of the last 8 winners of the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes have exited maiden special weight victories (the other, Ralis, came east from a Del Mar stakes bid). Horses who last raced in the Saratoga stakes ranks are 13: 0-3-2 during the past 6 renewals. The closing-day Hopeful will be run Monday. 

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8.25.2019:

Sunday August 25: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-25th-2019/   RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: A- Single: 6-Call Your Tomorrow Forecast: Call You Tomorrow, scratched yesterday in favor of this more logical spot, was a brave second despite racing along the deeper inside every step of the way in a similar starter’s allowance sprint last month and today had the good fortune of drawing the very favorable outside post. The B. Koriner-trained colt earned a strong, career-top speed figure in that race and nothing more will be needed to get him home in this six-runner event. At 2-1 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 2: Post 2:34 PT. Grade: B Single: 7-Sweet Connie Girl Forecast: Sweet Connie Girl, second off the claim for P. Aguirre, has been a beaten choice in her last pair but we’ll give her one more chance to make amends in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming main track miler. She’s been primarily on turf specialist throughout her career but did run quite well in both of her main track appearances and it would appear that she’s actually more comfortable on dirt than she is on grass. In this moderate event she should be able to settle in mid-pack outside in the favorable lanes and then have every chance to exert her superiority from the quarter pole home. Let’s make her a straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to her morning line of 5/2.  RACE 3: Post 3:08 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 5-S Y Sky Forecast: S Y Sky just missed when second to Painting Corners in the Daisycutter S. over this course and distance last month but seems capable of turning the tables today. The veteran mare by Grazen may have lost more ground that she was beaten by in that affair and with a slight (3 lbs.) shift in the weights compared to ‘Corners she should be capable of regaining her winning form. At 2-1 on the morning line we’ll make her our third consecutive straight play on the program and a rolling exotic single.  RACE 4: Post 3:43 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Seesawsam; 7-Govenor Cinch Forecast: We’re largely guessing in this maiden claiming sprint for juveniles but the two main contender listed above seem fairly logical for various reasons. If you find the need to go deeper in rolling exotic play, by all means do so. Seesawsam is a first-timer from the P. Miller barn with some okay works at San Luis Rey Downs and seems well-placed for a big effort first crack out of the box. He’ll get plenty of play due to the presence of F. Prat in the saddle. Govenor Cinch hails from a barn that does well with debut runners and this colt is bred to win early. The works are good enough to indicate some ability and it won’t require a world beater to win at this level.   RACE 5: Post 4:15 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Deuce; 3-Torosay; 8-Mountain Spirit Forecast: Mountain Spirit launches a comeback for J. Mullins and if he returns as well as he left the first-time gelding should be capable of earning his diploma in this five furlong maiden special weight turf sprint. M. Smith, who rode him in both of his prior starts, stays aboard, and with a sharp recent work tab the son of Point of Entry seems fit and ready. Deuce ran well sprinting on grass at Santa Anita but was well-beaten when tried on dirt here last month. Back on the lawn today, the son of Into Mischief should be able to fire his best shot, which on pure numbers puts him right in the picture with ‘Spirit. Torosay is a first-time starter by Goldencents with a brief but intriguing work tab at San Luis Rey Downs. Two of the four drills earned best-of-morning status so this 3-year-old gelding is a “must use” in rolling exotic play.  RACE 6: Post 4:44 PT. Grade: B- Use:4-Rather Nosy; 6-Stirred; 7-Mongolian Humor; 8-Spend Spend Spend Forecast: This is a spread racing in rolling exotic play – we’re using four of the eight starters – but a pass race for win wagering. Rather Nosy missed by a neck in a similar spot here earlier this month while more than four lengths clear of the rest. A repeat of that race probably will be good enough. Spend Spend Spend lands the cozy outside post and drops out of a pair of tougher races. She’s won this condition in the past but she’s eligible for having been entered for the $40,000 tag. On numbers she’s right there with these. Mongolian Humor has the route-to-sprint angle in her chart and, in a sign of confidence, is protected by new trainer V. Cerin, who claimed this daughter of Drosselmeyer for $20,000 out of a winning effort two weeks ago. There’s no reason she can’t be effective from off the pace and A. Cedillo, who was aboard for her victory, rides her back. Stirred, freshened since March, seems to be training well for her return and since she won her debut we know she can fire fresh. She’s a late running sprinter hoping for a rally-wide trip and hot pace to compliment her style.   RACE 7: Post 5:13 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-General Interest Forecast: General Interest was highly impressive last month winning a state-bred sprint over this course and distance in his first start in almost two years and just his third career outing. The son of Calimonco raced in traffic early, had plenty to do from the quarter pole home but accelerated when room developed inside the furlong pole to win going away with being asked for his best. He can do the same thing today against open rivals. There should be enough pace to compliment his late running style, so with good racing luck we’re expecting the B. Hess, Jr.-trained gelding to be along in time as a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 8: Post 5:42 PT. Grade: X Single: 3-King Jack Forecast: King Jack is unbeaten in two starts and extremely fast on speed figures. The son of Jimmy Creed will be stretching out to a mile for the first time but the added distance shouldn’t bother him in the least. We’re expecting this extremely talented 3-year-old colt to remain perfect while continuing his ascendency in the 3-year-old ranks. However, in a race that has been reduced to four runners and essentially boils down to a match race between ‘Jack and Improbable, there’s really not much we do here.  RACE 9: Post 6:11 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Grey Lady; 5-Objective; 11-Prance; 12-Coldwater Forecast: The Sunday nightcap is a grass grab bag for maiden claiming older fillies and mares. Objective shows up in a seller for the first time and should appreciate the class relief. The D. O’Neill-trained filly stretched out for the first time over this course and distance last month vs. straight maidens and led the way into the lane before weakening. Against this group, and with patient handling, the daughter of Super Saver should be tough to deny. Coldwater gets in from the also-eligible list and is a contender despite her outside draw, having finished in the frame in her last two with numbers that put her in the hunt. Prance is a sneaky first timer from the N. Drysdale barn. Her works aren’t bad, and this barn is more dangerous with debut runners then given credit for. The stable’s “go-to” rider, R. Bejarano, takes the call. Grey Lady, first off the claim for A. Marquez, has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern and will be adding blinkers while switching to R. Fuentes. Drawn comfortably inside and with a nice recent work for her new connections, the daughter of Candy Ride has the pedigree to run long and handle grass and could be a nice price in an open fray. Toss her in. 

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8.25.2019:

Sunday, August 25: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. 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.p> Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-25th-2019/  RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Wicked Whisper; 5-Highland Glory Forecast: Wicked Whisper shows an impressive series of workouts at Churchill Downs and before that Keeneland and arrives at the Spa with a reputation of being a runner. From the first crop of BC Mile winner Liam’s Map, the S. Asmussen-trained filly must leave cleanly from the rail but if she does we suspect she’ll be hard to outrun. Highland Glory impressed in a recent 3-horse gate drill (48 seconds, 25th fastest of 108) while in blinkers for trainer B. Tagg and is worth including in rolling exotic play as well. The known element doesn’t inspire, so let’s try to survive and advance using just these two.  RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Real Money; 7-Ahead of Plan Forecast: Ahead of Plan has so far failed to live up to the hype that he gained when bringing $475,000 at the 2018 OBS April sale after being so impressive in the preview session. Runner-up in two career outings as the favorite, most recently in early June at Belmont Park, the son of Big Drama tries his luck sprinting on grass today after a series of slow and easy recent workouts for C. Brown. Maybe today he’ll show us his best stuff. Real Money has displayed good zip but not much stick in five previous outings. However, he did earn good speed figures in his last pair and has hit the board in his last three, so perhaps at this abbreviated sprint trip the son of Real Solution will prove troublesome. Both should be used in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Ahead of Plan.   RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: X Single - 4-Tide of the Sea Forecast: Tide of the Sea, a lightly-raced English Channel colt with plenty of upside, graduated over this course and distance in gate-to-wire fashion last month while being allowed to stroll on the front end. He’ll only have three rivals on the one-level raise with J. Rosario staying aboard for W. Mott and will be a short price to score right back. You can use him as a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race.   RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B- Single: 1-Excess Capacity Forecast: Excess Capacity drops to her lowest level ever in her first start since May and catches a below par field for the level. The S. Asmussen barn hits with a respectable 19% with comebackers and this daughter of Malibu Moon shows a healthy series of recent workouts that should have her fit enough. Her rail post is the main concern; the inside lanes weren’t the place to be yesterday. She’s a single by default in a race that we won’t get too involved in.   RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Enthusiastic Gal; 6-Violent Times; 8-Originator Forecast: Here’s a difficult turf sprint for second-level allowance fillies and mares. We’ll go three-deep in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass the race. Violent Times, beaten a neck at this level over this course and distance last month with a career top speed figure, should fire a similar shot today from a good pace-stalking/pressing position that projects to have a comfortable opening quarter mile split. Originator moves up a notch after earning a competitive number in victory over an entry-level field earlier this meeting and will be doing her best work late, as will Enthusiastic Gal, a fast-finishing fourth, beaten a length, in the same race Violent Times exits. Trip and pace (there isn’t much of it) should decide this race that on paper has several evenly matched runners.   RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Soul P Say; 8-Scarf It Down Forecast: Modest ($12,500) claimers sprint six furlongs in the sixth race, another challenging affair that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. Scarf It Down drops below his claim level for the money run and seems well-placed to regain his winning form for the high percentage barn of C. Engelhart. The Twirling Candy gelding is just 4-for-31 lifetime with 14 seconds and thirds, but two of those wins have come at Saratoga. Soul P Say was overmatched for $25,000 in his last start but returns to his claim level and should be in the fray throughout despite the rail.   RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Roman City; 9-Yellen Forecast: While we doubt she’s any world beater, Roman City has looked fairly decent in the morning, both at the OBS June sale (where she previewed in 10 2/5 seconds) and at Saratoga, where she appeared light on her feet with good action in an easy half mile breeze in 49 1/5 seconds on the training track last week. Certainly bred to move up on grass (City Zip), the R. Diodoro-trained juvenile looks like a live item in the maiden $75,000 claiming turf. Yellen has the benefit of a previous run, having displayed good early speed before weakening in a straight maiden dash at Churchill Downs in June. This is an easier spot, so the W. Ward-trained daughter of Fed Biz should improve considerably. These are the two we’ll be including in our rolling exotics with a slight preference on top to Roman City.  RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Front Run the Fed Forecast: We’re not entirely convinced that Bulletin wants to run this far, and we’re not sure that Bourbon War will move up on grass, so let’s go for Front Run the Fed, the earner of a monster 98 Beyer speed figure when winning a first-level allowance event at Belmont Park in his most recent appearance in mid-May. The C. Brown-trained son of Fed Biz won that race over a softened turf course listed as “good,” so today we’ll find if he can be just as effective on firm going. Recent drills indicate fitness – he went evenly with Robert Bruce in a team drill on grass more than a month ago – and from his rail post he’s all but guaranteed a ground-saving, stalking trip. At 2-1 on the morning line we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 2-Meet Me in L A Forecast: Meet Me in L A has yet to actually finish first in a race – he broke his maiden via disqualification in June at Belmont Park – but we’re thinking he still has the most upside in this first-level allowance race and is set to produce another forward move in just his fourth career start. The Awesome Again gelding projects to settle just behind the leaders and then kick home when he’s called upon. Recent works over the Saratoga main track have been sharp for J. Jerkens, so at 5/2 on the morning line we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Countenance; 4-Augusta Moon Forecast: Monmouth Park shipper Augusta Moon shows up in a claimer for the first time, so this former $250,000 yearling purchase is clearly being culled from the stable with the September sales right around the corner. The T. Pletcher trained filly has numbers that are good enough to win at this level, sports the popular blinkers off angle, and should be able to draft into a comfortable second flight position and then go on when ready. Countenance, first off a $20,000 claim by S. Asmussen (solid 20% with this angle), stretches out while making her second start off a layoff and from the rail should be close up throughout. Her turf routes at Tampa Bay Downs weren’t bad and she could be a better type now with the switch in barns. Both should be included in rolling exotic play. 

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8.25.2019:

Sunday, August 25: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

After getting rained out at the DuQuoin State Fair on Friday and Saturday, harness racing returns to Hawthorne Racecourse. The 12-race card has a 7:20 CST first post. The wagering headliner is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 with a $30,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence begins in Race 9 and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 9 1-Skyhigh Ambition-Has issues but if can stay flat should be in the mix versus a suspect field. 3-Rue Hanover-Sharp win after joining the Lackey barn, steps-up but still fits. 5-Belladonna Hanover-Went her fastest race time in last and trip was not smooth, ML chalk should be a player. Race 10 2-Wanna B Bigtime-Tries the big track after working the fair circuit, will go deep and include in an open affair. 3-One R Two-Similar to #2 but has raced at Haw and has shown good speed, Husted should put in play early. 6-The Blaker-Makes 2nd start since Oct. plus 2nd on Lasix, is 1-15 but still the 9/5 choice and it's that kind of race. 7-True Colors-0-15 last 2 yrs., dropped in last and was used more aggressively, back in for a tag, using at 12-1 in ML. 10-Net Ten Money-HoP invader has raced here, off 18-days and will need a trip but has enough speed to compete. Race 11 5-Dune Dame-In 2 starts for the Leonard barn has a win and a 2nd. Now drops in for a tag and should be a clean trip away from a picture. Race 12 3-Mystical Peter-Even money chalk has faced stakes caliber competition in Ohio, 3-year-old should be tough. 4-Letsgoforitall-Will respect Swan For All colt joining Agosti barn, faced Indy Sires Stakes foes, is 2nd time Lasix. My Ticket Race 9) 1,3,5 Race 10) 2,3,6,7,10 Race 11) 5 Race 12) 3,4 Total Ticket Cost) $15 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.24.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies for 8/24/19

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Saturday, August 24, 2019 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.  Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-24th-2019/ RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: X Single: 3-For Him Forecast: For Him has little to beat in this bottom-rung $8,000 claiming main track miler and probably will go lower than his morning line of 2-1. He’s in sharp form for P. D’Amato, retains good bug boy J. Velez, and apparently likes this deep Del Mar main track. He’s a short-price rolling exotic single. RACE 2: Post 2:34 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Temple Knights; 4-Legally Gray; 7-Bound to Go Forecast: Bound to Go had a bit of rough journey in his debut and can only improve. The A. Sherman-trained gelding needs to leave cleanly and if he does he should have enough speed to be within range and then have his chance from the quarter pole home. Temple Knights is stuck on the rail but has speed figures that make him dangerous. If he can secure a good trip, the Temple City gelding could break through with a maiden win in career start number 12. Legally Gray is slow on numbers but this is a realistic class drop to the maiden $20,000 level and this Bay Area invader should be competitive at this level on this circuit. RACE 3: Post 3:08 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Push Through; 2-Golden Birthday; 5-Three Ay Em Forecast: Three Ay Em is stretching out for the first time and has the pedigree and running style to be effective around two turns. The son of New Year’s Day might try gate-to-wire tactics and given that trip he could get very brave on the front end. He offers value at or near his morning line of 4-1 in the win pool as well as in rolling exotic play. Push Through, a strong second under these conditions last time out, lands the good rail and should have every chance with a ground-saving, second-flight trip. Golden Birthday was overmatched in the La Jolla Handicap last time out but is realistically spotted today and can be a late threat with a little bit of help up front. RACE 4: Post 3:43 PT. Grade: B Single: 4-Zorich Forecast: With scratching of Mica Bay, this race should be left to Zorich. A good second under similar conditions last month while earning a career top number, the Hard Spun gelding has produced rising speed figures in each of his last three starts and with another forward move should be home free in this maiden claiming $50,000 main track miler. He was originally listed at 5/2 on the morning line but now will go considerably lower as a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 5: Post 4:15 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Tammy’s Window; 2-Moonless Sky; 11-Sugary Forecast: Tammy’s Window, first off the claim for P. Miller, gets the rail, adds blinkers, and switches to F. Prat. It all adds up to a significant forward move for the veteran mare who has won over this course in the past and is due to return to good form. At or near her morning line at 9/2, she’s worth a gamble. Moonless Sky takes a significant class drop, has speed figures that put her in the hunt, and is another with a prior win over the local lawn. She’ll be running on strongly late with the switch to D. Van Dyke. Sugary was originally drawn farther out than we’d prefer but with three scratches she moves in to post eight, not too bad. We’re expecting that she’ll fire a good shot after a couple of months of R and R and is yet another in the field that has shown a liking for the Del Mar turf course. Also, she will get the patient ride she needs from K. Desormeaux. RACE 6: Post 4:45 PT. Grade: B- Use: 6-Fait Accompli; 3-Mikes Operator Forecast: The sixth race is another bottom-rung maiden $20,000 claiming sprint and is a split of the second race. We’ll try to get by using just two. Fait Accompli moves to the G. Stute barn, adds Lasix, and with only two career starts has upside the others don’t. Second in a similar spot last time out while more than four lengths clear of the rest, the son of Flat Out seems the solid choice. Mikes Operator has a runner-up effort at Los Alamitos two races back that charts well here and drops to the bottom for the first time. He was stuck on the deep rail last time out when facing $40,000 foes and never landed a blow but should go much better against this group. RACE 7: Post 5:15 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Eclair Forecast: �clair failed at 3/5 in her debut, flashing speed along the deeper inside before fading out of the picture in the final furlong. We’re expecting the daughter of Bernardini to improve a ton today with the switch to turf, the shortening to five furlongs, the removal of blinkers, and following a very smart recent half mile workout in 48 4/5 seconds that saw her best of the team while breezing throughout. At 3-1 on the morning line, we’ll make the B. Baffert trained filly – a $420,000 2-year-old-in-training purchase at Santa Anita in June – a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post 5:45 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 5-Fashionably Fast; 7-Cruel Intention; 9-Oakland Mills Forecast: Fashionably Fast toyed with first-level allowance state-bred foes last time out, winning for fun without being asked for his best. The son of Lucky Pulpit equaled his career top speed figure in the process, has trained sharply since, and looks capable of repeating vs. open company today. Cruel Intention has failed at odds-on in both of his starts off a long layoff; perhaps he’s not quite the same promising colt he once was or maybe he’s simply needed a couple of runs before rounding back into shape. Third in the Real Good Deal Stakes last time out in a race that was flattered when runner-up Oliver came back to win easily last week, the B. Baffert-trained son of Smiling Tiger is reunited with “win rider” D. Van Dyke and is worth using one more time in rolling exotic play. At a big price (he’s 20-1 on the morning line), the lightly-raced and improving Oakland Mills is worth tossing in on a ticket two. The J. Mullins-trained son of With Distinction graduated in his second career start here last month and should continue to improve with experience. He can at least get a piece of it. RACE 9: Post 6:13 PT. Grade: X Single: 7-Catalina Cruiser Forecast: Catalina Cruiser struggled to win the San Diego H.-G2 last month while appearing to labor after racing along the deeper rail throughout, but today he gets the highly-favorable outside draw and should make short work of his outclassed foes. He’s 4/5 on the morning line, probably will go lower, and really shouldn’t miss this easy chance. The J. Sadler-trained son of Union Rags also picks up F. Prat for the first time, yet another positive factor. He’s an obvious short price rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post 6:41 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Combat Zone; 9-Boru; 10-Reedley Forecast: Combat Zone is just 1-for-13 lifetime and probably not one to trust but he makes a monumental jockey switch to F. Prat. After missing by a neck in a restricted $32,000 claimer over this course and distance earlier this month, today, in a sign of confidence, he is protected in starter’s allowance company. Comfortably drawn, the son of War Front should draft into an ideal pace-stalking position and then have his chance when the pressure is turned on. Boru finally broke his maiden in his 10th career start and did so with a career top speed figure. He can be dangerous right back if he can duplicate that effort today. Reedley, first off the claim for A. Marquez, stretches out and switches to grass for the first time. The lightly-raced son of Paynter has every right to improve with distance and experience and will be tough if he can replicate his sprint speed figures under these conditions. At 8-1 on the morning line, he’s a “must use.” 

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8.24.2019:

Saturday, August 24: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-24th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-the-travers-day-card-at-saratoga-on-august-24th-2019-based-on-works/  RACE 1: Post 11:35 ET. Grade: X Single: 1-Frontier Market/1a-Unleveraged Forecast: The entry – and we prefer Frontier Market of the two – is listed at 4/5 on the morning line in the Travers Day opener, a second level middle distance turf event, and on paper, looks it. First or second in eight of nine career starts with speed figures that are better than par for the level, Frontier Market just missed in his first start in nine months vs. similar earlier this meeting and has looked extra sharp since in morning drills. He’s likely to produce a forward move, but even if he doesn’t the son of Lemon Drop Kid should handle this assignment in the absence of poor racing luck. Entry-mate Unleveraged is a lightly-raced son of Scat Daddy with plenty of potential and rising numbers. Together they form a team that can be used as a no-value rolling exotic single in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.   RACE 2: Post 12:08 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Tap It to Win; 3-Complexifier; 6-O’Trouble Forecast: O’Trouble has recorded some fancy workouts leading up to his racing debut and in what appears to be a below par race for straight maiden juveniles let’s go with the newcomer even from a barn not necessarily known for winning with first-time starters. A gate work two weeks ago in 47 2/5 seconds (second fastest of 40) catches the eye, as does an earlier gate breeze of 1:00 1/5 seconds, fastest of seven bullet drill Aug. 1. At 5-1 on the morning line, the A. Dutrow-trained colt seems as good as any. Complexifier was a fair to moderate third in his debut, beaten six lengths, in a strong race won by Shoplifted last month. The son of Overanalyze had no visible mishap but stayed on willingly and has every right to improve, especially with the addition of Lasix. Tap It to Win was 6/5 in his debut in a grass sprint at Woodbine in early July but couldn’t take advantage of an easy front-running trip and put up no resistance when challenged in mid-stretch, settling for second, beaten three lengths. A bullet five furlong gate drill here August 15 in 59 2/5 seconds gives reason to believe he can improve on dirt for the M. Casse barn, which has solid stats with second-timers. We’ll try to get by using these three in rolling exotic play but if you feel the need to spread deeper, go right ahead.  RACE 3: Post 12:41 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Charreada; 3-First Wave; 7-Balon Rose; 9-Dabinett Forecast: Here’s another competitive maiden race, this one for older fillies and mares at a mile and one-sixteenth on grass. First Wave has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern for a barn that has solid stats with this angle and we’re expecting the daughter of War Front to produce a significant forward move under these conditions. Runner-up in both career outings, most recently when missing by a neck in a five and one-half furlong sprint here last month, the G. Arnold-trained 3-year-old has rising speed figures and should be on or near the lead throughout. Balon Rose has been a well-bet failure so far in her brief career but continues to impress in the morning for C. Brown, so we’ll give her one more chance, but that’s it. Maybe J. Ortiz, who stays aboard, will try something different today. Dabinett, another C. Brown entrant, has been away since the spring of 2018 but has looked pretty good in the morning for her comeback and might be a better type this time around for a barn that has superb stats (28%) with layoff runners. The daughter of Blame will be heard from late if a decent early pace materializes. Charreada is a one-paced grinder with a history of getting close but not sealing the deal. She earned a career top number when second in a maiden miler at Belmont Park in early July and has been looking good in the morning in the interim. She’s another that has a winning chance if the early fractions are fast enough.   RACE 4: Post 1:14 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Tight Ten; 5-Off the Record; 7-Payne; 11-Performer Forecast: Tight Ten, away since January, has shown the ability to win fresh (he won his debut) and has trained smartly for his comeback. Second in the Saratoga Special over this main track last year, the son of Tapit could easily return a lot better than he left. He’s listed at 15-1 on the morning line but seems certain to go lower. Payne had a troubled trip and ran below his true form in his most recent outing. After being pinched back and forced to steady soon after the start, he was fanned wide into the lane and then closed with some interest to be a non-threatening third at 4/5. However, even when factoring in the tough trip, it was a disappointing performance for the son of Paynter, whose Beyer speed figure dropped 17 points from his sharp runner-up effort at Belmont Park the previous month. Perhaps he’s simply more effective at Belmont Park or maybe the early trouble took him out of his game. At any rate, we’ll include him our rolling exotics. Off the Record won his debut with a good rail-scraping trip over a wet track while earning a moderate speed figure. He probably can improve but will have to. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with Tight Ten the most intriguing based on price.   RACE 5: Post 1:48 ET. Grade: X Single: 3-Mitole Forecast: Mitole was 50 cents on the dollar in the A.G. Vanderbilt S. last month but had the misfortune of drawing the rail, was forced into an early speed duel, and then paid the price late when weakening to be a distant third behind Imperial Hint. The son of Eskendereya is much better than the race will show and gets a chance to prove it at this seven furlong distance that he’s proven he likes. Working as well as ever and drawing outside the other main speed horse, Promises Fulfilled, the S. Asmussen-trained colt won’t offer any value at 4/5 on the morning line but can be used as a logical rolling exotic single.   RACE 6: Post 2:23 ET. Grade: X Use: 2-Come Dancing; 4-Separationofpowers Forecast: Come Dancing couldn’t cope with Midnight Bisou and wound up second, beaten 3 � lengths, in the 8.5 furlong Phipps S.-G1 at Belmont Park in early June but drops back to seven eighths today, and at 6/5 on the morning line is guaranteed to be a short price. Victorious in six of 11 starts, she’s extremely fast on speed figures but drew towards the inside (post two), so her options are limited. If the daughter of Malibu Moon gets caught in a speed duel, the race could set up nicely for Separationofpowers, a gate-to-wire winner of the Bed O Roses S.-G3 at Belmont Park in early June but more than capable of winning from off the pace if the situation dictates. We’ll pass the race but include both in rolling exotic play with Come Dancing afforded a very slight edge on top.   RACE 7: Post 2:59 ET. Grade: X Single: 1-Shancelot Forecast: Shancelot earned a 121 Beyer speed figure in extending his perfect streak to three in the Amsterdam S.-G3 here last month and if he can repeat that type of performance today he’ll win by just as many. Even if he regresses, the son of Shanghai Bobby is so far superior to this group that he’ll practically have to bounce to the moon to get himself beat. Except for using him as a free bingo space in rolling exotic play, It’s a nice race to watch   RACE 8: Post 3:55 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Secret Message; 8-Starship Jubilee; 9-Mascha Forecast: The Ballston Spa Stakes for older fillies and mares over a middle distance on grass has several contenders and requires a bit of a spread in rolling exotic play. Secret Message may deserve a slight edge since she’s dropping out of Grade-1 company to this Grade-2 affair and doesn’t have to worry about Sistercharlie and Rushing Fall today. A winner of five of 12 during her highly-productive career but never quite able to act with the best in her division, the daughter of Hat Trick is more than capable of producing a winning late kick. Starship Jubilee has more tactical speed than ‘Message and therefore could have a tactical advantage over the likely favorite. ‘Jubilee recently placed in a couple of Woodbine Grade-2 events including a strong runner-up effort to Secret Message when they met in the Nassau S.-G2 in late May. Truthfully, they’re hard to separate and a win today by either one would not be a surprise. Mascha is moving way up in class following a clever win in a first-level allowance affair at this distance here last month. With only five career starts, the French-bred filly has plenty of room for further development and continues to impress in the morning, indicating that a forward move is likely.   RACE 9: Post 4:12 ET. Grade: X Single: 1-Midnight Bisou Forecast: Midnight Bisou and Elate renew their rivalry in the Personal Ensign S.-G1 and we suspect the result will be the same as when they meet twice during the spring at Oaklawn Park. ‘Bisou had Elate’s number at that time and probably still does, though Elate has something of a home court advantage having won the Alabama S.-G1 at Saratoga two years ago whereas Midnight Bisou is winless in two starts at the Spa. But Midnight Bisou has the edge in tactical speed and in a race that might be slowly run early, also has a better turn of foot. You have to choose one or the other, so we’ll stick with Midnight Bisou.   RACE 10: Post 4:49 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Annals of Time Forecast: Annals of Time is into the second half of his 6-year-old season and has started only seven times, but the good news is that the son of Temple City appears back in the form that saw him win the Hollywood Derby-G1 as a 3-year-old before various ailments forced him to the sidelines. He was a visually very impressive allowance winner here last month and sports a series of sharp workouts since, so we’re confident the C. Brown-trained horse is set for another major effort, one that should be good enough to beat a group of older marathoners that have taken turns beating each other all year long. Can Annals of Time handle 12 furlongs? The gamble is that he will based on running style, pedigree, trainer, and any other element you might want to include in the mix. At 5/2 on the morning line we’ll make him a straight play and rolling exotic single.   RACE 11: Post 5:44 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Code of Honor: 6-Tacitus; 7-Mucho Gusto Forecast: Mucho Gusto has rapidly rising Beyer speed figures – he’s gone from 85 to 90 to 95 to 100 in his most recent four starts - and ran the race of his career when fully extending Maximum Security in the Haskell S.-G1 last month, finishing a little more than a length behind the best 3-year-old in North American while eight lengths clear of the rest. He’s trained in superb fashion since that race for B. Baffert and as a son of Mucho Macho Man from a mare by Giant’s Causeway certainly has the pedigree to handle the mile and one-quarter trip. Additionally, he’s extremely handy and versatile and can adjust to any pace scenario, so at 6-1 on the morning line we’ll make him the main punch. Tacitus was best in the Jim Dandy S.-G2 but settled for second after stumbling badly at the start and then making a premature mid-race move that robbed him of a strong late kick that was needed to wear down Tax. Blinkers are being added for the first time, and if he doesn’t make any mistakes today, the son of Tapit will be the one that Mucho Gusto will have to worry about the most. We’ll also include on a ticket or two Code of Honor, impressive in victory in the Dwyer S.-G3 at Belmont Park last month and training since then like he’s ready for another huge effort today.   RACE 12: Post 6:20 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Five Star Bunt; 10-Royal Asset; 11-Discretionary Marq; 13-Dowse’s Beach Forecast: Here’s a turf raffle that offers a number of possibilities. We’ll use three, but if you can afford to spread deeper, go for it. Dowse’s Beach gets in from the also-eligible list and seems as good as any, having just won a similar optional claimer on yielding ground last month. An absolute Saratoga specialist, he’s won five of eight starts over this course and distance but the J. Servis-trained gelding must overcome the extreme outside draw. Discretionary Marq drops to his lowest level ever and has several races in his chart that are good enough to win. The concern is that he’s always been most effective when on or near the lead throughout and from post 11 he’ll have to hustle to get a favorable early spot. We’ll also include a couple of price chances, Royal Asset and Five Star Bunt. ‘Asset, listed at 10-1 on the morning line, has hit the board in all four of his prior starts over this course and distance and while he’s moving up in class following a $25,000 claim the veteran gelding exits a fast, highly-rated race. ‘Bunt, freshened since early May, has excellent dirt track speed figures and did finish second in one of two lifetime outings on grass awhile back. The L. Rice barn has strong stats with layoff runners and with J. Ortiz taking the call this Posse gelding has a right to outrun his 12-1 morning line.   RACE 13: Post 6:54 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 5-Magic Star Forecast: Magic Star, a Scat Daddy filly from Grade-1 winner Meadow Breeze, finally makes it to the post in late August of her 3-year-old season and we’re hoping it was worth the wait. The C. Brown-trained filly has done some superior work in the morning while keeping up nicely on a couple of occasions with Dunbar Road, arguably the best 3-year-old filly in North American at the present time. However, she also shows a very sharp work around dogs on turf eight days ago, providing evidence that she can act on either surface. Making her debut in a moderate spot, the $500,000 yearling buy should outclass this field, and if you can gete close to her morning line of 3-1 you’ll probably be getting excellent value. Let’s make her a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. 

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8.24.2019:

Saturday, August 24: Woodbine Mohawk Park Analysis

Woodbine Mohawk Park has 11-races scheduled including the Maple Leaf Trot Eliminations. The headliners on the card are two divisions of the Eternal Camnation Pace for two-year-old fillies and the Nassagaweya Pace for two-year-old colts and geldings. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 1-Eternal Camnation-Purse $112,239 4-Alicorn-Could be a clean trip away from 3rd win in 6 tries, 9/5 chalk might be bet down to an odds-on choice. 5-Off The Press-If #4 slips-up McClure should have this gal in play, has the speed to take a picture at 6-1 in the ML. 2-Lady Lou-Should make the most of an inside draw and hang around for a share. Race 2-Maple Leaf Trot Elimination-Purse $40,000 6-Guardian Angel As-Hasn't raced in 3 weeks, could blast out, take control and not look back. 4-Atlanta-Wasn't at her best in last 2, looking for better with the focus on getting back on track for the Final. 2-Dancer Hall-Looking for a good trip and stays in the hunt to hit the bottom of the ticket on home track. Race 3-Maple Leaf Trot Elimination-Purse $40,000 4-Crystal Fashion-Her race to lose, only rub is not sure how wide open the throttle will be for this elimination. 2-Hannelore Hanover-Gingras has some options from this post and classy champ should be in the mix at the wire. 7-Six Pack-Racing well and deserves respect but draws outside of main foes in first Mohawk start. Race 5-Nassagaweya-Purse $228,100 1-Captain Nemo-Capt Midnight starts in the 2nd tier so can get the top and could hang on for a picture. 3-Allywag Hanover-1st time for D. Miller, thinking will want to fire out and get the 2-hole trip, looks like a player. 11-Capt Midnight-Razor sharp but starting in 2nd tier could mean trouble getting the right trip to snag top honors. Race 9-Eternal Camnation-Purse $112,239 2-Reflect With Me-3/5 in the ML and looks the part, seems to be only a clean trip away from 3rd straight picture. 5-Kat-Trying to find a little juice for the gimmick, has gate speed to follow #2 around and hit the bottom of exacta. 3-Karma Seelster-Winner of 3 straight at GrVr will need a top effort here but is a nice filly and best to not dismiss. Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.23.2019:

Friday, August 23: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Friday, August 23, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Saratoga on August 23rd, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Deeply Analytical; 9-Single Verse Forecast: Single Verse showed some ability when a solid runner-up in an off-the-turf sprint in the mud last month and today gets her chance to show what she can do in a similar state-bred maiden special weight affair on grass. Almost six lengths clear of the rest when earning a good number, the daughter of Mineshaft probably won’t need much more to beat this field, unless there’s a good thing waiting in the wings. Deeply Analytical could be that good thing. The daughter of Majestic City was all the rage at the OBS March Sale where she smoked a furlong in 9 4/5 seconds, the fastest preview in the sale, and while she hasn’t been scintillating in her a.m. preps at Saratoga for C. Brown she did look pretty good working around dogs on grass last week to indicate that she’ll handle the lawn just fine. With a clean break from the rail, she could be hard to catch. Let’s use both in our rolling exotics while giving a very slight edge on top to Single Verse. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Klickitat Forecast: Klikitat made his first start since last December in a similar state-bred middle distance maiden turf event and was beaten just a head despite taking the overland route from the top of the stretch to the wire. It was a good effort, all things considered, and in his second off the layoff for J. Jerkens (superior stats with this angle) the son of First Samurai should be along in time. He’s been very good in both of his grass outings, pretty poor in his two dirt starts, but today’s conditions should bring out the best of him. Let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Newly Minted; 6-Kid Is Frosty Forecast: Newly Minted failed at 70 cents on the dollar when beaten by Kid Is Frosty in the New York Stallions Stakes on grass in June at Belmont Park but she’s unbeaten in three prior starts on the main track and today she gets her preferred surface in the Fleet Indian Stakes over nine furlongs for New York-bred 3-year-old fillies. The L. Rice-trained daughter of Central Banker has a good stalking style and should be able to get the trip in her first try around two turns. If she can’t, Kid Is Frosty, a state-bred stakes winner two-turning on grass last month, is the logical alternative. Certainly bred to run this far but possibly preferring grass, the daughter of Frost Giant does her best running on the front end and gate-to-wire tactics likely will be employed. We’ll have tickets using both in our rolling exotics. RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Treu Grace; 4-Lord Camden; 8-Scilly Cay; 10-Hold My Call Forecast: Scilly Cay has done some sneaky good work in the morning for the L. Rice barn (fair-to-okay with first-timers) and seems ready to win right off the bat in this five-and-one-half furlong dash. The son of Fed Biz polished off a good work tab with a five furlong spin in 1:00 1/5 seconds six days ago to have him fit and ready, and with J. Ortiz taking the call this homebred colt has the look of a live item. True Grace is a first-timer bred for speed (Competitive Edge) for the always-dangerous Clement-Rosario team but had the misfortune of drawing the rail. If he leaves with his field and can secure a good early position, he should be a strong fit based on a gate work last month (48 2/5 seconds) that looks pretty good on paper. Hold My Call isn’t really bred to sprint but has displayed flashes of speed in the morning and might get a bit overlooked on the tote. The barn doesn’t often win with first-timers but this colt moves like he has some ability and should have clearly sailing from the outside. Lord Camden has the benefit of a prior run, having closed with interest to finish sixth, beaten three lengths, in a turf sprint earlier this month. If he can handle the kick back that he’s certain to encounter on dirt, he might make some noise in the final furlong. RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: X Single: 6-Munchkin Money Forecast: With the scratching of Fifty Five, this year’s edition of the Yaddo Stakes should fall in the lap of Munchkin Money. In her first start since being transferred to the C. Clement barn the veteran mare registered a strong overnight win at Belmont Park in late June and has been kept on edge with a healthy work pattern since. She’s likely to settle into a comfortable second flight position before launch what we expect will be a winning bid from the quarter pole home. In what is now a six-runner race, we’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Preferred Outcome; 10-Bourbon Mission; 12-Call Me Harry Forecast: Call Me Harry shipped in from Monmouth Park and graduated at first asking over this course and distance last month while earning a number that makes him tough right back in this first-level state-bred allowance sprint on turf. The Street Sense gelding flashed excellent speed to secure a good stalking spot to the head of the lane and then responded when called upon to graduate with authority. A healthy, steady series of drills since that race indicates that a forward move is likely. Bourbon Mission, second off the claim for J. Sharp and a solid third in a similar affair earlier this month, is a fit on speed figures, retains I. Ortiz, Jr., and has a right to continue his improving pattern. He’ll be doing his best work from off the pace. Preferred Outcome is a genuine and consistent Finger Lakes shipper with numbers that match up well with the others. He’s hit the board in both of his prior turf races and should be on or near the lead throughout. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Call Me Harry. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: X Use: 5-Fierce Lady; 6-My Italian Rabbi Forecast: Fierce Lady and My Italian Rabbi finished noses apart in the Stillwater Stakes here last month and they meet again, with ‘Lady trying to make amends for losing the head-bob at 35 cents on the dollar. Her Beyer speed figure dropped 12 points off her scintillating maiden debut win, so it’ll be interesting to see if she can bounce back today. ‘Rabbi, on the other hand, improved her Beyer number by 25 points off her maiden score, and while we’re not expecting a similar leap today her workouts since that race indicate she’s continuing to thrive. Either one could win, so rather than split hairs we’ll pass the race and use both in our rolling exotics. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-City Man Forecast: We loved the way City Man won at first asking and expect that he’ll run even better with today an extra furlong to work with. The son of Mucho Macho Man showed moxie rallying through and around horses to win going away in his debut for the Clement-Rosario team and has done very well since, as indicated by his bullet five furlong workout over the training track last week in 1:02 2/54 seconds, fastest of eight for the distance. There are other nice prospects in here as well – Cleon Jones is another that should appreciate the extra ground and both Sky of Hook and Listentoyourheart finished noses apart over a sloppy surface in the Rick Violette S. – but City Man may have the highest ceiling, so we’ll make him our top pick, straight play, and rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Offering Plan Forecast: Offering Plan may have tried to bite off more than he could chew in the Forbidden Apple Stakes-G3 last month and wound up seventh, beaten just three lengths, with a less than ideal trip but today returns to the state-bred ranks and should get back on the beam. Winless in three starts this year but with Beyer speed figures that remain very strong, the C. Brown-trained 7-year-old has been second in each of the last two renewals of the West Point Stakes so we’re thinking it’s about time he won one. He’s a deep closer that can be vulnerable to a slow pace and traffic trouble but with all things considered he should be find a way to get up in time as a rolling exotic single. RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Bankit; 7-Not That Brady Forecast: This looks like a rematch of the New York Derby at Finger Lakes last month won by Bankit, with Not That Brady, the 7/5 favorite in that race, finishing second after cutting out the fractions and leading until deep stretch. This group seems to take turns, and maybe Bankit just had his, but the son of Central Banker has two excellent races over the Saratoga main track on his resume so we’re expecting another major effort from the S. Asmussen-trained 3-year-old. We anticipate seeing him somewhere in mid-pack, saving ground, ready to launch his bid when called upon. Not That Brady does his best running on the front end and if can establish the running without being sent hard he could take this field a long way. However, he’s winless in five starts this year and his prior outing at the Spa last year wasn’t much. We’ll use him as a back-up, nothing more. RACE 11: Post 6:22 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Wacky Pal; 4-Sobersick N Sorry; 11-Curlin’s Legacy Forecast: The nightcap is a messy maiden claiming turf router. Use as many as you can afford to; we’ll try to survive going three deep. Wacky Pal drops into a seller for the first time, removes blinkers, switches to J. Ortiz, is drawn comfortably inside, and will be tough if he can inherit the role as the controlling speed. Sobersick N Sorry, first off a $25,000 claim for M. Miceli and adding blinkers, stretches out for the first time and seems likely to insure a decent pace. With El Prado on the bottom, he might move up in his first start on grass. Curlin’s Legacy is a nine-race maiden that could be dangerous from off the pace if he can get some decent early fractions to run at. His fourth place finish two runs back charts pretty well with these.

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8.23.2019:

Friday, August 23: Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 23rd, 2019  RACE 1: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B-  Use: 3-Mutineer; 6-Strike That  Forecast: Mutineer has rising speed figures and should be set to graduate in this six-runner maiden claiming sprint. The P. D’Amato-trained gelding was more than five lengths clear of the others when second last time out and a repeat of that race last month gets him home. Strike That is a fresh face from a sharp outfit and should have every chance from his cozy outside post. He won’t have to be a world beater to be competitive, so we’ll include him on a ticket or two while preferring Mutineer on top.  RACE 2: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: C+  Use: 6-Etching; 8-Archana  Forecast: A little will go a long way in this modest maiden $20,000 claiming main track miler for fillies and mares. Archana has hit the board in her last five and seems well-spotted to finally break through with a win. The J. Wong-trained filly should be forwardly placed throughout, free of trouble, and then have every chance to grind it out late. Etching drops to her lowest level ever and appears to have found her friends. Away since February but with numbers that are good enough to win, she sports a work tab that should have her fit enough. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise pass.  RACE 3: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: C+  Use: 1-Eric the Trojan; 6-Dom the Bomb; 9-Portando  Forecast: This wide-open turf sprint has several possibilities so you probably should include as many as you can afford to. We’ll go three-deep and hope to survive and advance. Dom the Bomb had every chance in his local debut earlier this month but simply couldn’t seal the deal when worn down late after establishing a clear lead in a similar $40,000 turf claiming sprint. The J. Wong-trained gelding has 16 career wins from 40 career outings so he certainly knows where the wire is, and if he clears early without pressure he could be long gone. Eric the Trojan, always a threat from off the pace, was too little, too late in the same race Dom the Bomb exits and wound up fourth, beaten just over two lengths. From the rail and with the switch to R. Bejarano, the J. Carava-trained gelding should be heard from in the final furlong. Portando, first off a $20,000 claim by M. Rowan, didn’t get the best of runs when a close fourth in an optional state-bred $20,000 sprint last month but with clear sailing today might be dangerous from a stalking position. He’s worth including on your ticket at a price that may be higher than his morning line of 9/2.  RACE 4: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: B+  Use: 2-Pride’s Gold; 10-First Star  Forecast: Pride’s Gold returns to her best trip (a mile) and switches to dirt, a surface she’s certainly bred to like (Animal Kingdom from a Medaglia d’Oro mare). She likes to lag and produce a late run, and in a field that should have ample speed signed on the E. Harty-trained import seems capable of producing the last run at 6-1 on the morning line. First Star, a highly-rated debut sprint winner last month, stretches out to a distance she’s bred to handle and is strictly the one to beat, though her extreme outside draw does her no favors. The R. Ellis-trained daughter of First Dude won’t be 27-1 today, that’s for sure. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll press with extra tickets using Pride’s Gold in the straight pool.  RACE 5: Post 6:00 PT. Grade: B+  Single: 5-Too Hot for Curlin  Forecast: State-bred older fillies and mares compete at a mile and one-sixteenth on grass. Too Hot for Curlin probably has the most upside, having started just once when third at odds-on here earlier this month. She ran like she needed the outing but will have no such excuse today. F. Prat, who alone seems to be worth a length or two when riding over this course, stays aboard, so we’ll assume she’ll produce enough of a forward move to graduate from this modest group. The P. D’Amato-trained filly is listed at 5/2 on the morning line but likely will go lower.  RACE 6: Post 6:30 PT. Grade: B  Use: 1-Kaydetre; 6-Vibrance  Forecast: We’ll double the sixth race, the restricted Tranquility Lakes Stakes for fillies and mares over a mile on the main track. Vibrance probably was a bit rusty in her first start since December when finishing fourth, beaten just under five lengths, in a tough allowance affair on grass last month but the M. McCarthy-trained filly should be fitter and tougher today and will greatly appreciate the return to dirt. A maiden winner over this track and distance last year and Group-1 placed as a juvenile, the daughter of Violence should step forward today with the switch to F. Prat. Kaydetre was a visually pleasing winner of a first-level allowance dirt miler here last month while earning a career-top number, one that makes her dangerous right back despite the class hike. She has good tactical speed and B. Blanc stays aboard and fits her well. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Vibrance.  RACE 7: Post 7:00 PT. Grade: B+  Use: 1-Phast Pharoah; 4-Soccer Dad; 6-Strongconstitution  Forecast: Phast Pharoah flashed good speed for a half before packing it in when facing top prospect Eight Rings in the strongest maiden juvenile sprint in the West so far this year and should find this group much more palatable, especially with the switch to grass and the shortening in trip to five furlongs. From the rail, the son of American Pharoah has only one way to go, on the lead, from start to finish. Soccer Dad and Strongconstitution are two first-time starters with work tabs that makes them dangerous. The former shows a 46 seconds flat gate work at Los Alamitos in June so we’re expecting the son Bayern to come out firing, while ‘Constitution, from the hot D. O’Neill barn, was a $220,000 OBS April sale purchase and previewed impressively in 10 seconds flat. We’ll prefer Phast Pharoah on top but use all three in our rolling exotics.

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8.23.2019:

Party Dancer, Janet 'B' Top Hopes in Gulfstream Pick 5 Finale

The early Pick 5 would be a nice catch right out of the gate on Saturday, and there are definitely some decent chances for pari-mutuel prosperity. This week’s suggested ticket is kept to $36, mainly because it was a chore eliminating horses and it was moving into the hundreds of dollars. Decisions aren’t easy when it comes to evenly matched races in the exotic plays, and in the end it was whittled down to a 2x3x3x2x2 approach. Extravagant Rosie and Madame Bourbon are the chosen pair in the opener. A player could go six or seven deep in this group of inexperienced fillies. Extravagant Rosie was second in her only two-turn turf starts and can improve, and Madame Bourbon was third going this distance of 7.5 furlongs on turf in her only start and likely will move up as well. Rethinkme, Miss Lamborghini and Super Witch are on the ticket in the second race. Rethinkme can press from the start and should appreciate the 5.5 furlongs, while Miss Lamborghini also has speed and takes a class drop. Super Witch, who will be the best price of the three, can benefit from a fast pace. Another trio is on the ticket in the third, as Elite Appeal, She Fled the Scene and Stormy Boss are top contenders. Elite Appeal is the favorite and drops out of maiden special weights ranks, while she had two seconds a third in her last three. She Fled the Scene is expected to get also as much play after four straight seconds at this $40,000 level. Stormy Boss is worth using at a price as she was second in her only start. That was on the main track and now she moves over to the turf and tries two turns. Si Es Goya and Cape Marco Drive will be the ones to beat in the fourth, and there’s not much difference in the two. Si Es Goya drops in price off the claim and can be a handful for these, but Cape Marco Drive also takes a class drop and comes in off a third-place finish against better. Party Dancer and Janet B Doesit All will have moderate prices and we’ll pin our hopes on them in the finale. Party Dancer came in from Santa Anita and didn’t fire in her first one at Gulfstream. She’s likely to get back to good form with a local start to her credit, and Janet B Doesit All will pick up a lot of pieces with a late run. My Ticket Race 1) #3 Extravagant Rosie, #8 Madame Bourbon.  Race 2) #3 Rethinkme, #5 Miss Lamborghini, #7 Super Witch.  Race 3) #5 Elite Appeal, #6 She Fled the Scene, #7 Stormy Boss.  Race 4) #3 Si Es Goya, #6 Cape Marco Drive.  Race 5) #8 Party Dancer, #9 Janet B Doesit All. Total Ticket Cost) 3,5,7/5,6,7/3,6/8,9 = $36 for $0.50

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8.23.2019:

Friday, August 23: Hoosier Park Pick 4 Analysis

The Friday 14-race card at Hoosier Park will feature Indiana Sires Stakes action. Two-year-old colts and gelding pacers will compete in Race 9, Race 11 and Race 12. The 0.50 Pick 4 sequence begins in Race 3 and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 3 2-Alwysbreakinhearts-Claimed for $10k by Rucker barn and back in same class after a win, 8-year-old can stay good. 3-Danza-Steps-up after a sharp win from the 2nd tier, will consider for an encore this evening. 7-Endeavors King-Popular at claiming box, taken right back by Payne stable, looks like a value at 20-1 in the ML. Race 4 1-IRA Chief-10-year-old is camera shy now, respecting chances with the drop and rail, Uppal barn has been hot. 4-Always A Fighter-Claimed and showed a big improvement to snag 1st HoP win, Binkley may have found the key. 8-Fritas Shooter-Razor sharp in last 2 after stepping-up after a claim, usually competitive, shouldn't be overlooked. Race 5 1-Southwind Scorpion-Beaten odds-on chalk likes a close-up trip, has gate speed and draws the wood, major player. 5-So So Delightful-5/2 favorite has been very sharp in 3 starts since coming off the bench, best to respect again. Race 6 2-Shark Play-Faced tough foes so this condition fits, Widger should work a trip and has a big shot at 5-1 in the ML. 4-White Hair Rocks-Beat #2 off a nice trip on 8/7, leads field in '19 earnings, DeLong should keep in the hunt. 9-Ima Real Ladys Man-Best to not overlook 3-1 chalk, barn is hot but Oosting needs to work a trip from 9-hole. My Ticket Race 3) 2,3,7 Race 4) 1,4,8 Race 5) 1,5 Race 6) 2,4,9 Total Ticket Cost) $27 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.22.2019:

Thursday, August 22: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Thursday, August 22, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 22nd, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Swirling; 3-G Q Cowgirl Forecast: G Q Cowgirl is the best of the speed and Swirling is the best of the closers and the winner of today’s opener, a five furlong grass sprint $40,000 claiming fillies and mares, likely will be one or the other. ‘Cowgirl always is suspect under pressure in the final furlong but catches a pace scenario that should be to her liking while Swirling, fourth in the same race that her main rival just finished third in, will be dangerous in the final furlong if she can avoid traffic trouble from behind. In a race that offers little in the way of wagering value, we’ll include both in our rolling exotics but otherwise pass. RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: X Single: 4-Unicorn Forecast: Unicorn ran a winning race when second in a similar affair on grass last month in her first outing since February and if she replicates that performance today in her first try on dirt she should be along in plenty of time. Based in pedigree, she should have no trouble with the main track, but when you’re taking 6/5 (or less) you probably don’t’ want to have to ask that question. You can make her a no-value rolling exotic single or simply pass the race. RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Ber Lifted Up; 4-Staythirstymyamigo Forecast: Be Lifted Up is stuck on the rail but against this group she might be able to overcome the poor draw. Dropping from $32,000 to $12,500 while seeking her proper level, the J. Bonde-trained daughter of Ministers Wild Cat has a prior win over the Del Mar main track and consistent numbers that are better than par for this level. Staythirstymyamigo, first or second in three of five prior starts over this main track, also is dropping and dangerous following an okay third place effort when facing $20,000 foes last time out. She’ll be doing her best work late. We’re expecting the winner to be one of these two, but they’re the first two favorites on the morning line, so this is a race we’ll probably not get involved in. RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B- Use: 5-Toothless Wonder; 8-Verynsky Forecast: Toothless Wonder, a class dropper from the R. Hess barn, shows two recent turf sprints vs. much tougher foes that didn’t produce anything but his dirt track races chart rather nicely in this league. Most effective when held up early and allowed to run late, the son of Street Boss should get the patient ride he needs from R. Bejarano and looks capable of producing the last run. Verynsky was out of his element two-turning on grass vs. $40,000 claimers last time out but returns to reality today. His win over this main track two races back may be good enough to beat this $20,000 restricted (nw-3) field, so let’s include him in our rolling exotics while slightly preferring Toothless Wonder on top. RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B- Use: 6-Blues Rapper; 8-Lemon King; 9-Fantasy Game Forecast: Fantasy Game gets the worst of the draw but his runner-up effort at 39-1 over this course and distance in a similar spot earlier this month makes him the one to beat in this maiden two-turner on turf for juveniles. He certainly won’t be that price today. Bred for grass (Boisterous) and with good bug boy Velez staying aboard, the S. Miyadi-trained juvenile can win if he can negotiate a decent trip. Lemon King makes his debut for T. Yakteen following an okay work tab, and as a son of Kitten’s Joy he should be able to show his best stuff first time out going long on the lawn. With F. Prat taking the call, he’s certainly to attract plenty of play. Blues Rappers hasn’t done anything of note in the morning but with Dynaformer on the bottom side of the pedigree it’s conceivable that he’ll outperform his work tab on turf. At 10-1 on the morning line he’s worth tossing in somewhere. RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Qahira Forecast: Qahira earned a confidence-building allowance win at Los Alamitos last month with an improved speed figure and appears to be rounding back to the form that saw her win her debut so impressively over the Del Mar main track last November. The B. Baffert-trained daughter of Cairo Prince should be comfortably placed on or near the lead through easy early fractions and then have every chance to exert her superiority from there. At 2-1 on the morning line, she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Concise Advice Forecast: Concise Advice is bred to be very quick (Slew’s Tiznow) and has trained better than her modest workout times would lead you to believe. An $85,000 yearling and a full sister to El Camino Real Derby winner Zakaroff, she debuts for a barn whose first-timers often outrun their modest workout times, and this filly could easily do just that. So at 8-1 on the morning line, she offers a chance at a nice price to close out the day so let’s take a shot and use her as a straight play in rolling exotic single.

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8.22.2019:

Eddie Olczyk's 2019 Travers Stakes Picks & Betting Strategy

With twelve horses entered in Saturday’s Travers Stakes (Saratoga, Race 11, 5:44PM ET), handicappers who successfully separate the contenders from the pretenders have the opportunity to hit big if what happens on the track matches what they bet with their Xpressbet account. CODE OF HONOR (4/1) was my pick on the First Saturday in May in the Kentucky Derby and while we won’t get another crack at betting him at 14/1 odds, he’s still the horse I’m going to center my bets around. I thought he ran a phenomenal race in the Derby, especially considering the way that race unfolded didn’t reflect what I think is his preferred running style. I think he’s a ‘one-run’ type of horse and his early move into contention in the slop at Churchill Downs may have caused him to tire a bit late. Furthermore, I liked CODE OF HONOR’s comeback race in the G3 Dwyer at Belmont on July 6. He looked great down the lane and that should set him up perfectly for a big Travers run. Plus, I LOVE the fact that he has two of the best of all time in his corner – trainer Shug McGaughey and jockey John Velazquez. They’ve visited the Travers winner’s circle a combined four times, with Velazquez winning aboard Flower Alley in 2005 and McGaughey scoring with Easy Goer (1989), Rhythm (1990) and Coronado’s Quest (1998). I do question (1) whether CODE OF HONOR will have enough pace close into and (2) whether or not he’s truly a 1 1/4-mile, two-turn horse. On the bright side, assuming he gets a fair pace to run at, he may only need to run the last 3/8-mile of the race. Underneath CODE OF HONOR I’m going to focus on three horses. TACITUS (5/2) is a logical Travers favorite but he’s the type of horse that always comes with an excuse in hand. Too far back in the Derby. Too wide a trip in the Belmont. Bad start in the Jim Dandy. At some point, you just have to stop betting horses like that to win and use them underneath…at least until they prove otherwise. OWENDALE (6/1) has yet to prove himself at this level but his resume does feature a pair of G3 wins in the Lexington at Keeneland and the Ohio Derby at Thistledown. He was a close-up third in the G1 Preakness and his inside post should ensure he doesn’t lose much ground around the oval. LOOKING AT BIKINIS (10/1) was the beaten favorite on a muddy track in the Curlin Stakes here at Saratoga on July 26 but any number of factors could’ve beaten him that day. Perhaps it was the muddy sealed track or maybe it was the fact that it was his first try around two turns. One thing is for certain – Javier Castellano is the most prolific jockey in Travers history, with six wins in 11 starts and a lifetime ROI of $10.61. The fact that he’s aboard this horse isn’t lost on me. $100 Betting Strategy: $13 Win, Place: CODE OF HONOR ($26) $5 Exacta Key Box: CODE OF HONOR with OWENDALE, TACITUS and LOOKING AT BIKINIS ($30) $1 Trifecta Box: CODE OF HONOR, OWENDALE, TACITUS and LOOKING AT BIKINIS ($24) $2 Trifecta: CODE OF HONOR with TACITUS with ALL ($20) Eddie's Travers Picks CODE OF HONOR TACITUS LOOKING AT BIKINIS OWENDALE   Sign Up for an Xpressbet online account to Bet the Travers and get a $500, $100 or $20 New Customer Welcome Bonus!

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8.22.2019:

Johnny D's Travers Stakes Analysis & Selections

This year’s Travers Stakes field lacks a superstar. So far. A victory here parlayed to a Breeders’ Cup Classic score would be enough to garner a statue in January at Gulfstream Park as top 3-year-old male. Do any of this year’s Travers starters have the juice to pull off that maneuver? Probably not. However, favored Tacitus and second-choice Code of Honor appear to have the best chances. In 2016, in this space, we analyzed the Travers and failed to identify as winner a streaking comet named Arrogate. He demolished the field by 13 ½ lengths in track-record time at a mouth-watering 11.70-1 odds. He went on to win the BC Classic, the Pegasus World Cup and, in a performance for the ages, the Dubai World Cup. He proves that you just never know. Granted, that was a once-in-a-blue-moon occurrence. Arrogates don’t come along very often. But 3-year-olds improve and regress at the pace of expired calendar pages and what was true yesterday doesn’t always hold sway today. Suppose that’s why we watch and wager. Below is one man’s opinion of the 2019 Travers Stakes, including a suggested wagering strategy. 1. Owendale (Cox/Geroux) - 6/1 This guy is solid. He tries nearly every time and has enough ability to win this race on his best day. He doesn’t have speed, so he’ll be in the back of the pack early. There’s not much early pace in this race, so he’ll have company in the rear. His trainer is having an enviable Spa meeting and the rider is accomplished. Owendale has won two of his last three and four of the last six. His claim to fame was finishing third in the Preakness behind War of Will and Travers foe Everlast. One slight negative is that his sire Into Mischief is not known for producing classic-distance runners. 2. Code of Honor (McGaughey/Velazquez) - 4/1 This son of Noble Mission has the kind of resume that suggests he can win the Travers. He’s won a maiden at Saratoga, the Grade 2 Fountain of Youth and the Grade 3 Dwyer. He’s finished in the money in his three Grade 1 starts—the Champagne, Florida and Kentucky Derbies. Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey has won a pair of Travers and has prepared this guy with this race in mind, and the Kentucky native is one of the best at hitting the bullseye. Code of Honor has no real early speed, so he should be rallying of the final turn under Hall-of-Fame jockey John Velazquez. You may recall the pair made a sweeping move to the lead in the Kentucky Derby before wilting a bit late. This colt seems poised for a big effort. 3. Highest Honors (Brown/Saez) - 10/1 This lightly-raced son of Tapit has two wins in three starts for the meet’s leading trainer Chad Brown. How good might he be? That’s the question. He won the restricted Curlin in the mud last out and takes one giant step up for this. He’s not a dead-closer, so look for him in the middle of the pack early. Jockey Luis Saez has been strong this year at the Spa and is guaranteed to give you a top effort. Still, this one would need to leap forward to win. 4. Laughing Fox (Asmussen/Santana) - 30/1 Void of speed, this son of Union Rags probably will be far back in the early going. And since there’s little pace in the race, his chances of success are limited. He was closer to the early going in the Jim Dandy last out, but then had no punch. He seems in a tough spot again. 5. Everfast (Romans/Chuan) - 30/1 Here’s another with no speed. He did manage a surprising second at nearly 30-1 in the Preakness to detonate many exotic Preakness wagers. He’s faced the best on many occasions and come up short—one win in 13 tries—so there’s little reason to expect a big performance here, especially with no pace in the race. 6. Tacitus (Mott/Ortiz) - 5/2 Here’s a colt that’s been unlucky during a seven-race career. Last out, he stumbled badly at the start and appeared to lose all chance. Amazingly, jockey Jose Ortiz remained in the saddle and the pair managed to rally on the inside and finish second, just short of Tax, another Travers foe. Tacitus also had trouble out of the gate and on the first turn in the Wood Memorial but was able to recover and win the race. He also was unsettled at the start of the Kentucky Derby, broke 15th of 19 and still managed to finish fourth--moved to third via dq. Hall-of-Fame trainer Bill Mott adds blinkers for this race hoping they will focus Tacitus on the task at hand. Like second-choice Code of Honor, he seeks his first Grade 1 victory. 7. Mucho Gusto Baffert/Talamo) - 6/1 Hall-of-Fame trainer Bob Baffert had planned to run the 2018 2-year-old champ Game Winner in this race, but that colt got sick. Enter the fast-working Mucho Gusto, four-time Grade 3 stakes winner and runner-up to Haskell winner Maximum Security last out. This son of Mucho Macho Man has early speed and is likely to lead the field for part of the way. How far might he take this group? That depends a bit on how aggressive jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. is with Tax from the far outside. The pair figure to have things to themselves early. A mile and one-quarter seems a bit more than Mucho Gusto would prefer and there’s a real question about how much that gut-wrenching effort in the oppressive Monmouth heat took out of him. Still, he’s a Bob Baffert Travers starter. Can’t totally dismiss him. 8. Chess Chief (Stewart/Smith) - 30/1 Second by six lengths last out in the West Virginia Derby, Chess Chief would be a real surprise winner. 9. Looking At Bikinis (Brown/Castellano) - 10/1 This son of Lookin At Lucky has some pace and could add excitement to the early going. He’s won two of three starts—an impressive maiden score in the Belmont slop last September and a first-level allowance win there in June. He was third, beaten six and one-half lengths in the Curlin last out. Despite being trained by the meet’s perennial leading trainer Chad Brown, this one would need to leap forward to contend in here. 10. Scars Are Cool (Hough/Gaffalione) - 30/1 Seemingly overmatched in here, this recent impressive maiden winner takes a gigantic leap up the class ladder. He would be a shock. On the positive side, his maiden score was here at Saratoga at a mile and one-eighth which suggests he’s fit, sharp and likes the track. He’s got that going for him, which is nice. 11. Endorsed (McLaughlin/Rosario) - 15/1 When Game Winner was forced to cancel his Travers reservation jockey Joel Rosario moved to Endorsed for trainer Kiaran McLaughlin. A first-out maiden winner at Saratoga over a good track, Endorsed was injured in the Champagne and off until a June allowance victory. Second behind Highest Honors last out, this son of Medaglia d’Oro would need to improve to threaten here. 12. Tax (Gargan/Ortiz Jr.) - 6/1 At the Travers draw, trainer Danny Gargan announced that drawing the far outside post for this race would force him to send jockey Irad Ortiz, Jr. and Tax immediately to the front. We’ll see. With a quarter of a mile to establish position before the first turn and no real speed inside him except Mucho Gusto, Tax ought to be able to outrun everyone else and find a suitable early position. The question then becomes is Tax good enough to win? Claimed for $50k in his second start, he’s been knocking heads with the big boys and holding his own. He was third in the Grade 2 Remsen, second in the Grade 2 Wood Memorial and a close fourth in the Belmont Stakes. Wins include the Grade 3 Withers and the Grade 2 Jim Dandy at the Spa last out. Of course, many who saw the Jim Dandy would suggest that runner-up Tacitus was best. Tax sure is working well for the Travers with a bullet, best-of-64 half-mile blowout on his resume. Bottom Line Should Run Well: #2 Code of Honor, #6 Tacitus Respect: #1 Owendale Exotic Add-Ons: #3 Highest Honors, #7 Mucho Gusto, #10 Scars Are Cool, #11 Endorsed, #12 Tax Johnny D's Suggested Wagering Strategy: The top two choices: #6 Tacitus and #2 Code of Honor seem strong and #1 Owendale is solid at 6-1. Pacesetters #7 Mucho Gusto and #12 Tax could hang around for a minor awards. Exotic players also could look to juice mutuels with a longshot or two eligible to outrun thick odds.  $1 Trifecta ($36) 1, 2, 6 1, 2, 6 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 $.50 Trifecta ($18) 1, 2, 6 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 10, 11, 12 1, 2, 6 Race On!   Sign Up for an Xpressbet online account to Bet the Travers and get a $500, $100 or $20 New Customer Welcome Bonus!

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8.22.2019:

Thursday, August 22: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Thursday, August 22, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers:Jeff Siegel's Best Bets at Saratoga on August 22nd, 2019 RACE 1: Post 12:50 ET. Grade: X Use: Pass/No Play Forecast: The first race is a steeplechase event. We will pass the race. RACE 2: Post 1:22 ET. Grade: X Single: 2-Internet of Things Forecast: Internet of Things is even money on the morning line and thus offers no wagering value, especially when considering the suspicious class drop that clearly indicates he is being culled by the stable. A maiden state-bred winner over a sloppy track last April via disqualification, the C. Brown-trained colt owns a decided edge in speed figures and should have no difficulty handling this nine furlong trip, at least at this level. You can use him as a rolling exotic single, try to beat him, or better yet simply pass the race. RACE 3: Post 1:54 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Quiet Dignity; 4-Cap de Creus Forecast: Cap de Creus earned a career top speed figure when missing by a nose in a mini-marathon over this course last month, and this cut back to a mile and three-sixteenths shouldn’t be an issue. On numbers she’s a fit, and the T. Pletcher-trained daughter of Tapit likely has plenty of improvement in her. Quiet Dignity finished steadily against slow fractions to be third in a similar event in her U.S. debut last month and seems likely to produce a forward move for the C. Brown barn, which has powerful stats (26%) with second-off-layoff runners. The lightly-raced daughter of Kitten’s Joy retains I. Ortiz, Jr. and gets an extra furlong to work with today. In a race that projects to have an extremely slow pace, we’ll use both in rolling exotic play with a slight preference on top to Cap de Creus RACE 4: Post 2:26 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Sargeant Drive; 4-Derby Memories; 5-Grit and Glory Forecast: This six-runner starter’s allowance main track router is another race that we’ll pass other than to include the logical contenders in rolling exotic play. Derby Memories just won a maiden $20,000 claimer by almost 15 lengths and earned giant speed figure in what was just his third career start. From the high percentage D. Gargan barn, the son of Curlin is protected today and though facing tougher foes seems quite capable of taking this class hike in stride. However, at 6/5 on the morning line there’s no value to be found. Grit and Glory is an intriguing Churchill Downs shipper from the S. Hough barn. He’s steady if unspectacular in the speed figure department and projects to enjoy a soft pace-stalking trip and have every chance to produce a forward move. Sergeant Drive, first off the claim for R. Atras (very strong 25% with this angle) is just 1-for-15 during this career but has numbers that fit and with improvement for his new connections figures in the fray from off the pace. RACE 5: Post 2:58 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 8-Raggedy Annie; 9-Project Whiskey; 10-Central Capital Forecast: This maiden-special-weight race for 2-year-olds has been transferred to the main track, shortened to seven furlongs, and is restricted to horses that sold or RNA’d for $45,000 or less in their most recent sale. MTO entrant Project Whiskey is the beneficiary of the change in surface and distance and seems like a logical contender after finishing a decent third with a less-than-ideal trip over sloppy track in her debut last month. She’s a first-time Lasix user and seems likely to improve. Raggedy Annie, a second-timer for the D.W. Lukas barn which sent out a winner yesterday with a similar pattern, has every right to improve as well and also will be adding Lasix. Central Capital closed a bit of ground when well-beaten in her debut and likely will benefit from the experience. She is comfortably drawn outside and is an MTO entrant worth using on a ticket or two. RACE 6: Post 3:30 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Lucky Curlin Forecast: Lucky Curlin has the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch-out pattern, exits a pair of hot races, shows rising speed figures, and has a pedigree that suggests he’ll improve dramatically over a distance of ground. Drawn comfortably inside, the M. Casse-trained colt has a chance to become a very nice prospect and that development should be in evidence today. However, at 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower, he’ll probably not offer a whole lot of wagering value other than as a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 4:02 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 8-Deep Space; 10-Tatterazzi; 13-Nasty Affair Forecast: This maiden special weight affair for state-bred fillies and mares has been transferred to the main track and shortened to seven furlongs. Tatterazzi didn’t get the best of runs when well-backed (9/2) in her sprint debut and should have a better chance to show her true form today. The J. Terranova barn has good stats with second-time starting maidens so this daughter of The Factor looks like a live item. MTO entrant Nasty Affair broke slowly, raced greenly, then closed some ground in her debut and is another likely to step forward with a race under her belt. The L. Rice barn excels with second-timers and this daughter of Liaison retains I. Ortiz, Jr. Deep Space, a $750,000 daughter of Curlin, was in California with the B. Baffert stable last winter but never started, and to be frank showed next to nothing in the morning before being stopped on. Maybe she’s a better type now, maybe not. In a race that probably requires a significant spread in rolling exotic play, we’ll try to survive and advance going three-deep, but not with a great degree of confidence. RACE 8: Post 4:34 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Fiery Opal; 5-Storm Prophet Forecast: Fiery Opal is racing in good form and was sharp when third despite a slow start in a hot recent sprint at Parx. A winner over the Saratoga main track at this nine furlong trip in his previous start, the son of Gemologist switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. and appears primed for another top effort. First off a $40,000 claim for R. Atras, Storm Prophet returns to that level in his first outing since mid-June and is properly spotted, but always has been more comfortable finishing second or third than winning (3 victories, 17 seconds and thirds from 28 career starts). It’s possible he’ll improve for his new barn, which is very strong (25%) with the first-off-the-claim angle, but he’s been winless since December of 2017 and simply isn’t one to trust. We’ll use him on a ticket or two in our rolling exotics, but the main punch goes to Fiery Opal. RACE 9: Post 5:06 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 6-Catch a Bid; 8-New and Improved; 10-Hotsy Totsy Forecast: Hotsy Totsy makes her U.S. debut for C. Clement in her first outing since finishing an outstanding third (of 27) in the Sandringham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June. Yes, as a 3-year-old she was getting a lot of weight in that race, but her career-top Timeform rating of 94, indicates she’s developing smoothly. She’s also a first-time Lasix user with a healthy series of recent works over the Saratoga turf course and gets J. Rosario. The C. Brown barn has two strong contenders, as usual. Catch a Bid won her debut smartly and then was worn down late when edged by subsequent stakes winner Varenka here last month, so this lightly-raced and obviously very talented daughter of Real Solution deservers her favorite’s role at 7/5 on the morning line. Interestingly, she loses J. Castellano (who stays with New and Improved) but won’t be inconvenienced by the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr. Brown’s other starter, New and Improved, won at first asking like a quality filly, rallying strongly against the grain to beat maidens with authority. The number was good and there’s no doubt she’s capable of better. These are the three we’ll be including in our rolling exotics; we’ll have extra tickets keying Hotsy Totsy on top. RACE 10: Post 5:38 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Deft; 9-Foti, 13-Final Say Forecast: The finale has been taken off the turf but remains at nine furlongs. We’ll triple the race but you can spread deeper if you find the need. Deft represents inside speed and will take them as far as he can. His numbers are gradually rising, and with J. Rosario staying aboard the Hard Spun gelding should produce another forward move. Foti, first off the $45,000 claim for P. Serpe, has grass numbers that make him competitive but will be trying the main track for the first time. He’s been trouble-prone so far but if he learns to settle he might be okay. MTO entrant Final Say, a recent $40,000 claim by D. Cannizzo, is a first-time gelding removing blinkers, so there’s a few reasons to expect improvement.

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8.21.2019:

Jon White's Travers Stakes Picks

This Saturday’s 150th running of the Grade I Travers Stakes at Saratoga has attracted a dozen 3-year-olds. Here are my selections for the 1 1/4-mile event: 1. Looking At Bikinis (10-1 morning line)2. Mucho Gusto (6-1)3. Code of Honor (4-1)4. Tacitus (5-2) Perhaps morning-line favorite Tacitus will step up and win this race. If he is the horse many think he is, he should get it done Saturday without Maximum Security or Game Winner in the field. But I will go for a better price than Tacitus in Looking At Bikinis. Looking At Bikinis has been the favorite in each of his three lifetime starts. Off his defeat in Saratoga’s 1 1/8-mile Curlin Stakes on a muddy track last time out, now he is a juicy 10-1 on the morning line. With only three races under his belt, I’m willing to forgive his defeat as the chalk in the Curlin. I’m thinking the Lookin At Lucky colt just might rebound in the Travers. With Javier Castellano riding for trainer Chad Brown, 10-1 is too tempting to resist. I came very close to going with Mucho Gusto. He’s the only one of the 12 entrants to ever post a Beyer Speed Figure of 100 or higher. Mucho Gusto was credited with a 100 Beyer last time out when he finished second, 1 1/4 lengths behind Maximum Security, in Monmouth Park’s Grade I Haskell Invitational at 1 1/8 miles on a sweltering July 20. Mucho Gusto ended up eight lengths in front of Spun to Run, who finished third. My main concern about Mucho Gusto is that it was an 11th-hour decision by trainer Bob Baffert to send him to the Travers. I would have preferred for this race to have been the target for the Mucho Macho Man colt all along. Baffert called an audible to run Mucho Gusto after announcing that Game Winner would be skipping the Travers after he came down with a virus. Still, a 6-1 morning-line has appeal for the lone Travers entrant to have a triple-digit Beyer to his credit. Trainer Shug McGaughey seems confident that Code of Honor is going to run a big race Saturday. The Noble Mission colt is coming off a sparkling 3 1/4-length win in Belmont Park’s Grade III Dwyer Stakes at one mile on July 6. Code of Honor was moved up to second in the Kentucky Derby through the aforementioned disqualification of Maximum Security. Tacitus, trained by Bill Mott, is racing with blinkers for the first time Saturday. The hope, according to Mott, is for the blinkers to help Tacitus to focus a little better. The Tapit colt is due for some good luck after finishing second as the favorite in both the Grade I Belmont Stakes on June 8 and Grade II Jim Dandy Stakes on July 27. He raced wide in the Belmont and stumbled badly at the start in the Jim Dandy. Tacitus was elevated to third in the Kentucky Derby via the DQ of Maximum Security. Owendale is another who might have a big say in what shapes up as a wide-open Travers. His third in the Grade I Preakness Stakes in May was sandwiched between victories in the Grade III Lexington Stakes in April and Grade III Ohio Derby in June for trainer Brad Cox. MAXIMUM SECURITY’S ABSENCE HAD BEEN PREDICTED I wrote this on July 24: “I will not be surprised if it turns out that [trainer Jason] Servis ultimately will want to give Maximum Security more time before his next race rather than run him in the Travers. If Maximum Security does skip the Travers, a logical next race would be Parx Racing’s Grade I, $1 million Pennsylvania Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Sept. 21.” Servis announced last week that Maximum Security will not be entered in the Travers and would be pointed for the Pennsylvania Derby.

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8.21.2019:

Higher Power Crushes Pacific Classic Foes

Revenge is sweet, even when it takes 16 years to get it. Back in 2003, Medaglia d’Oro was sent away as the 3-5 favorite in Del Mar’s Grade I Pacific Classic on Aug. 24 following a win in the Grade I Whitney Handicap at Saratoga on Aug. 2. Medaglia d’Oro, with Jerry Bailey riding for trainer Bobby Frankel, ran quite well in the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic that year. In fact, he ran well enough to be credited with a 118 Beyer Speed Figure. A 118 Beyer would be good enough to win the vast majority of Pacific Classics. But it was not good enough to get the victory in the 2003 edition. Actually, Medaglia d’Oro did not get close to winning. Candy Ride trounced Medaglia d’Oro that day. Off at 2-1 in the field of four, Candy Ride won the 2003 Pacific Classic by 3 1/4 lengths for trainer Ron McAnally. Ridden by Julie Krone, Candy Ride posted a final time of 1:59.11 to break the track record, a mark that still stands. Candy Ride recorded a 123 Beyer Speed Figure. It was the highest Beyer of 2003. Candy Ride began his racing career with three wins from three starts in his native Argentina before coming to the United States. When he took the Pacific Classic, he remained undefeated in six career starts. But the Pacific Classic would be the final start of his racing career. Medaglia d’Oro had to settle for second in the 2003 Pacific Classic. But he gained a measure of revenge when his son Higher Power won the 2019 Pacific Classic last Saturday with authority by 5 1/4 lengths in 2:02.43. Settling for second this time was Draft Pick, a son of Candy Ride. Higher Power was not the only Medaglia d’Oro offspring to win a Grade I race at Del Mar last Saturday. In the race just prior to the Pacific Classic, the Medaglia d’Oro filly Cambier Parc unleashed a furious late kick to win the Grade I Del Mar Oaks going away by 1 1/4 lengths at 1 1/8 miles on the grass. John Velazquez rode Cambier Parc, an East Coast invader conditioned by Chad Brown. Flavien Prat was aboard Higher Power in the 2019 Pacific Classic for trainer John Sadler. Earlier this year, Prat won the Kentucky Derby in a huge upset aboard 65-1 Country House, who was elevated to first when the stewards disqualified Maximum Security and placed him 17th for veering out sharply nearing the five-sixteenths marker to cause interference to War of Will, Bodexpress and Long Range Toddy. Higher Power made it back-to-back Pacific Classic wins for his owner-trainer team of Hronis Racing and Sadler. The same owner-trainer team took the 2018 renewal with Accelerate, who romped to a 12 1/2-length win in 2:01.83. That’s the biggest margin of victory since the Pacific Classic was inaugurated in 1991. The Pacific Classic was one of six wins by Accelerate last year. His 2018 campaign was highlighted by a one-length triumph in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs. Accelerate’s other wins last year came in the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes, Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, Grade I Gold Cup at Santa Anita and Grade I Awesome Again Stakes. His splendid campaign netted him a 2018 Eclipse Award as champion older male. In Higher Power’s most recent start prior to the Pacific Classic, he finished second in Del Mar’s Wickerr Stakes at one mile on the grass July 21. The 4-year-old colt then trained smartly on the dirt at Del Mar leading up to last Saturday’s race on the main track. Higher Power was assigned a career-best 107 Beyer Speed Figure for his Pacific Classic performance. His previous top had been a 96 when he finished fourth in the Gold Cup at Santa Anita this year on May 27 in his first start for Sadler. These are the Beyer Speed Figures for the winners of the Pacific Classic going back to the first running in 1991: 2019 Higher Power (107)2018 Accelerate (115)2017 Collected (115)2016 California Chrome (113)2015 Beholder (114)2014 Shared Belief (115) synthetic footing2013 Game On Dude (113) synthetic footing2012 Dullahan (111) synthetic footing2011 Acclamation (105) synthetic footing2010 Richard’s Kid (96) synthetic footing2009 Richard’s Kid (107) synthetic footing2008 Go Between (104) synthetic footing2007 Student Council (99) synthetic footing2006 Lava Man (109)2005 Borrego (113)2004 Pleasantly Perfect (112)2003 Candy Ride (123)2002 Came Home (116)2001 Skimming (119)2000 Skimming (118)1999 General Challenge (119)1998 Free House (117)1997 Gentlemen (121)1996 Dare and Go (116)1995 Tinners Way (112)1994 Tinners Way (111)1993 Bertrando (117)1992 Missionary Ridge (110)1991 Best Pal (118) ESTEEMED BROADCASTER JACK WHITAKER DIES For those of us who watched it all unfold on television in 1973, Jack Whitaker was an integral part of Secretariat’s Triple Crown sweep. Whitaker masterfully anchored the CBS broadcast, joined by Heywood Hale Broun, Frank Wright and Chic Anderson. Anderson is most famous for coming up with the phrase “he is moving like a tremendous machine” when calling Secretariat’s astonishing 31-length Belmont Stakes victory. Whitaker died from natural causes in his sleep last Sunday at his home in Devon, Pa., according to CBS Sports. He was 95. “There will never be another Jack Whitaker in sports broadcasting,” CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said in a statement. “His amazing writing ability, on-air presence and humanity are unmatched. His unique perspective on sports ranging from horse racing to golf to NFL football was extraordinary." A native of Philadelphia, Whitaker began his broadcasting career in radio. He became a network television sportscaster at CBS in 1961. He joined ABC in 1982, covering both news and sports for that network. Whitaker was part of ABC’s Olympics coverage in 1984 and 1988. Inducted into the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame in 2001, Whitaker won an Eclipse Award for national television achievement in 1977. He was honored with the Jim McKay Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters in 2013. E.S. “Bud: Lamoreaux III was a longtime broadcasting colleague of Whitaker’s at CBS. “It ranks as one of the greatest sporting events in history -- Secretariat’s Belmont that broke a long Triple Crown drought and gave Americans something to root for in a time of Watergate and Vietnam,” Lemoreaux wrote in a tribute to Whitaker posted by The Paulick Report. “What is lost in all those feel good moments is the performance of the CBS broadcast team headed by Jack Whitaker. He was the silver-tongued orator from Philadelphia who could turn a phrase as quickly as Secretariat could get to the wire.” Indeed. ANNIVERARY OF TURBULATOR’S FIRST VICTORY I recently wrote about Maxwell G., a Washington-bred gelding who became a claiming legend by winning 47 of 234 career starts. Those 47 wins by Maxwell G. are even more impressive when taking into account that he did not race at 2 or 3. The final victory of his remarkable career occurred early in 1977 at Turf Paradise. At the advanced age of 16, Maxwell G. won a $2,000 claiming contest at one mile. Pacific Northwest racing legend Turbulator, like Maxwell G., was a Washington-bred gelding who did not race at 2 or 3. It’s hard to believe that it was 50 years ago this week that Turbulator visited the winner’s circle for the first time. It happened on Aug. 22, 1969, at Playfair Race Course in Spokane, Wash. I still have my program from that day. The program cost 35 cents. Turbulator was the No. 7 horse in the second race. He was the 2-1 morning-line favorite. Ten competed in the six-furlong maiden special weight contest. The purse was $800. My program for Turbulator’s Aug. 22 race shows that he was owned by Farnsworth and Crawford. T.O. Crawford was listed as the trainer, Frank Inda as the jockey. Crawford was Tom Crawford, who also bred Turbulator. Turbulator won that Aug 22 race by 1 1/2 lengths while posting a final time of 1:12 3/5. He paid $6.30 to win as the betting favorite, $3.20 to place and $2.60 to show. Vudda finished second. Song’s Fashion came in third. From Aug. 22 to Oct. 26, Turbulator reeled off seven straight wins at Playfair. Turbulator was named the 1969 Horse of the Meeting at Playfair. He also was honored as the Horse of the Meeting in 1970 at Yakima Meadows in the spring, Longacres in the summer and again at Playfair in the fall. No other Thoroughbred was ever acclaimed Horse of the Meeting at all three of those Washington tracks. On Aug. 16, 1970, Turbulator broke a world record. He ran 6 1/2 furlongs in 1:14 flat to win the Governor’s Handicap at Longacres by a half-length. He clipped two-fifths of a second off the world mark. All told, Turbulator won 11 stakes races at distances ranging from 6 1/2 furlongs to two miles. A head bust of Turbulator can be seen these days at the Washington Racing Hall of Fame exhibit located in the Emerald Downs grandstand. It’s the same head bust that for many years greeted horses, trainers and visitors to the Playfair paddock. Turbulator was inducted into the Washington Racing Hall of Fame in 2004. A CONNECTION TO MARYLOU WHITNEY Turbulator was a son of Cold Command and the By Zeus mare Fur Piece. Racing for C.V. “Sonny” Whitney, Cold Command finished ninth in the 1952 Kentucky Derby won by Hill Gail. The owner’s wife at that time was Marylou Whitney, who just recently passed away on July 19 at the age of 93. At 3, Cold Command finished second in the Blue Grass Stakes at Keeneland. At 4, he won the Westchester Handicap in New York. At 5, he won the Saratoga Handicap. Cold Command was a son of War Admiral and the Mahmoud mare Monsoon. War Admiral, the 1937 Triple Crown winner, was by Man o’ War. Many, including yours truly, consider Man o’ War to be the greatest Thoroughbred of all time. Cold Command’s dam, Monsoon, won three stakes races, including the 1947 Santa Margarita Handicap at Santa Anita. As a multiple stakes winner with an attractive pedigree, Cold Command had much appeal as a prospective sire. Penny Farms purchased him from Whitney to race him and then stand him at stud in Washington. At 8 in 1957, Cold Command won the British Columbia Handicap at Longacres. It was the first stakes victory of Jim Penny’s highly successful training career. Penny, who died in 2017 at the age of 82, won the Longacres Mile -- the biggest race in the Pacific Northwest -- a record five times. Cold Command’s first crop consisted of just six foals. Yet from that small crop came Sparrow Castle, who won six stakes races at the 1961 Longacres Mile meeting, highlighted by a victory in the Longacres Mile. But of Cold Command’s 123 foals, none accomplished more than Turbulator, who 50 years ago this month registered the first of his 21 victories. THIS WEEK’S NTRA POLL Higher Power cracked the Top 10 in this week’s NTRA Top Thoroughbred Poll following his impressive win in the Pacific Classic. Here is the Top 10 in the NTRA poll for this week: Rank Points Horse (First-Place Votes) 1. 387 Bricks and Mortar (36)2. 337 McKinzie (3)3. 276 Sistercharlie4. 272 Midnight Bisou5. 166 Mitole6. 156 World of Trouble7. 116 Imperial Hint8. 75 Maximum Security9. 73 Elate10. 42 Higher Power

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8.21.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies for 8/21/19

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. **Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-21st-2019/** RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B+Single: 4-Warren’s ShowtimeForecast: Warren’s Showtime is bred to run long and gave every indication the two-turning will be her third in her recent sprint debut vs. maiden juvenile state-bred fillies. The daughter of Clubhouse Ride was within range throughout while racing along the deeper rail, kept to her task in the drive while still traveling along the slower inside lanes and finished with interest to be third before galloping out very well into the clubhouse house. With that effort behind her, the C. Lewis-trained filly should be set to stretch out on grass and graduate today with good bug boy Velez riding her back. At 3-1 on the morning line she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: C+Use: 2-Beyond Pleasure; 3-Fracas Forecast: Beyond Pleasure seeks her third straight score and while she’s not particularly fast on speed figures she does have the powerful team of F. Prat and R. Baltas in her corner, and that may be good enough to carry her through. Fracas stretches out for the first time and seems certain to employ gate-to-wire tactics. On pedigree she should stay a mile and speed figures are moving in the proper direction, so if not policed up front the daughter of Violence could take this field a very long way.**RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: BUse: 6-Wakes Up Happy; 7-Nu Pi Lambda; 8-Mind Out Forecast: Maiden juvenile fillies sprint five furlongs on grass in a competitive affair requiring a spread in rolling exotic play. Wakes Up Happy has been fairly impressive in the a.m. for the D. O’Neill barn and looks cranked up and ready for a huge run in her debut. The daughter of Quality Road probably isn’t the quickest filly in the field but she can turn it on late. Nu Pi Lambda, as a daughter of City Zip, has the pedigree to be a very good turf sprinter and has shown flashes of good quickness in the morning for C. Gaines. This stable rarely wins with first timer starters but this recent $80,000 2-year-old in training purchase might be quick enough to bust out and go. Mind Out brought $850,000 as a yearling last year at Saratoga and trained well for S. Callaghan, although showing signs of greenness in some of his drills. The ability seems there but she may not be ready to show her best right off the best. We’ll use her on a ticket or two, nonetheless. **RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B-Use: 4-Gate Speed; 6-Go for a Ride; 7-Commanding Chief Forecast: Commanding Chief seems to be improving with racing and may be ready to graduate in this maiden special weight main track miler. The J. Sadler-trained colt likes to settle and make a run and there should be enough pace in here to compliment his style. If the son of Will Take Charge is going to develop into a useful sort, he’ll show it today. Gate Speed, third in the same race that Commanding Speed just finished second in, also has room to improve with experience and should be on or near the lead throughout, just as he was last time. His speed figures have improved with each start, and with another forward move today the M. Glatt-trained gelding will be dangerous. Go for a Ride is a Canadian invader and first-time gelding now in the P. Miller barn and picks up Prat. His turf and all-weather form are okay but this will be his first start on dirt. His local works have been okay, nothing great, so we’ll include him on a ticket or two in our rolling exotics while pressing with Commanding Chief on top. **RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: BUse: 2-Very Very Stella; 4-Murad Khan; 5-Unusually Green Forecast: Very Very Stella stretches out again and switches to grass, his preferred surface, so we’re expecting a huge run from the veteran gelding in the D. O’Neill barn. The son of High Cotton should be forwardly placed throughout and have every chance while remaining above his claim level in a sign of confidence. M. Garcia knows him well and stays aboard. Unusually Green hits hard at this level and has been first or second in six of nine career starts over the Del Mar lawn. Runner-up in his last pair, the 8-year-old gelding seems set for another honest effort for the always-effective A. Cedillo/J. Wong team. Murad Khan, a Churchill Downs invader seeking some of that valuable ship-and-win money, lands F. Prat for his local debut and certainly fits very strongly at this level with anything close to his best race. The L. Powell-trained son of Raven’s Pass has good tactical speed and should have no excuses while dropping to his lowest level ever.**RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B+Single: 3-Isotherm Forecast: Isotherm is winless in seven career starts on dirt, though he did finish second in this same race last year and was also a strong third in the Awesome Again S.-G1 last year behind Accelerate and West Coast. Freshened and training better than ever, the P. D’Amato-trained horse is reunited with “win rider” Prat and catches a field that should produce enough early pace to compliment his closing style. At 3-1 on the morning line he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: BUse: 3-Prodigal Son; 4-Hartel; 10-No Bang No Boom Forecast: No Bang No Boom is fresh off the plane from New York and is here seeking somew of that valuable ship-and-win bonus money. He can outrun this field with a repeat of his most recent win in early June at Belmont Park. Prodigal Son can be dangerous from off the pace if the leaders go too fast early, while Hartel has excellent gate speed but has shown the ability to settle just off the leaders and produce a winning bid. His Midwest numbers make him competitive on this circuit and the P. Miller/F. Prat combo always has to be respected. **RACE 8: Post 5:40 PT. Grade: B+Single: 5-Impossible Task Forecast: Impossible Task ran below expectations when finishing fourth as the favorite in his debut sprinting on grass vs. maiden special weight competition but he had trained well on dirt prior to that start and today shows up on the main track in a high priced claimer while adding blinkers and retaining A. Cedillo. The son of Liam’s Map should be very tough to beat at this level if he can translate his morning abilities to the afternoon. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.

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8.21.2019:

Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies for 8/21/19

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. **Today’s Day Makers: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-two-best-bets-at-saratoga-on-august-21st-2019/** RACE 1: Post 12:50 ET. Grade: XUse: Pass/No PlayForecast: Today’s opener, a steeplechase event, has been cancelled due to weather.**RACE 2: Post 1:22 ET. Grade: XUse: 1-South of the Shore; 5-Smooth With a Kick Forecast: C. Brown holds the aces in this five-runner, nine-furlong, main track first-level allowance race for fillies and mares. Smooth With a Kick, listed as the 7/5 morning line favorite, just crushed a maiden field by more than five lengths while earning a career top speed figure and this lightly-raced daughter of Candy Ride seems sure to continue her improving pattern with age, distance, and experience. A recent workout in company with subsequent Alabama S.-G1 winner Dunbar Road indicates she’s spot on for another major effort. Stablemate South of the Shore, a distant second to Dunbar Road in her most recent appearance in late May, also has been training well and has plenty of room to improve even as a 4-year-old. The daughter of Union Rags should fold into an ideal pace-stalking, ground-saving trip and have every chance to upset her barn mate, though at 8/5 on the morning line we’d hardly call it a major surprise. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Smooth With a Kick on top.**RACE 3: Post 1:54 ET. Grade: BSingle: 7-Shackleford’s Joy Forecast: 7-Shackleford’s Joy exits an infinity tougher race and this drop into the maiden $75,000 ranks should make a world of difference for the W. Lukas-trained juvenile. Drawn comfortably outside and adding Lasix, he sports a bullet workout since raced over the Saratoga training track in 48 1/5 seconds, fastest of 14 for the distance. Based on is first race, the son of Shackleford should be the controlling speed and against this group may never look back. At 3-1 on the morning line he’s a straight play and rolling exotic single.**RACE 4: Post 2:26 ET. Grade: XUse: 1-Highland Sky; 5-Red Knight Forecast: The John’s Call Stakes will be run at a mile and one-quarter and has been taken off the turf due to weather. Highland Sky has no history on a wet track so how he’ll perform under these conditions is anybody’s guess, but his pedigree suggests he’ll handle the surface and on pure form he’s good enough to win. Ditto for Red Knight. In a race that has been reduced to four runners, we’ll include these two in our rolling exotics but otherwise sit it out. **RACE 5: Post 2:58 ET. Grade: XSingle: 7-Jewel of Arabia Forecast: Jewel of Arabia is the only filly in this field of maiden juveniles with a prior run, and hers came when a sharp third in the Stillwater Stakes here last month. She drops into the maiden ranks for a confidence builder and at even money on the money line is expected to simply outclass the field. Unless there is something especially good among the newcomers, this C. Clement-trained daughter of Daredevil should earn her diploma as a short-priced, no-value rolling exotic single. **RACE 6: Post 3:30 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1-Smite; 8-Saint Marco Forecast: The sixth race has been taken off the turf and shortened to seven furlongs due to wet weather. Smite, originally a Day Maker for us when this race was carded around two-turns on turf, has the benefit of a nice sprint prep under his belt – a reasonable fourth vs. state-bred competition, beaten less than three lengths - and goes for the J. Sharp barn that has good stats with second-time starters. Hard to say if the rail or the off track will have an impact on his chances. Best advice is to monitor the early races to see if any anti-inside bias exists. Saint Marco closed a gap in his debut when a non-threatening fifth in the same race Smite exits and should step forward today with the added distance. The son of Tonalist sports a bullet five furlong workout at Fair Hill since that outing and will be running on strongly for good connections. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics and then press in the straight pool with Smite. **RACE 7: Post 4:02 ET. Grade: XUse: 2-Autostrade; 7-So Conflated Forecast: This race has been reduced to four starters. We’ll pass, but those who are playing rolling exotics should consider So Conflated and Autostrade. The former drops significantly in class, is comfortably drawn outside, and has a pedigree to handle a wet surface, while the latter, in his first off the claim for B. Brown, turns back from a route and has won at this seven furlong distance in the past. **RACE 8: Post 4:34 ET. Grade: C+Use: 2-Annie Rocks; 7-China Rider Forecast: The eighth race has been taken off the turf. Annie Rocks remains above her claim level in a sign of confidence, loves any kind of wet track, and may be able to tag the speed even though this abbreviated sprint distance would seem to be a bit shorter than she prefers. The class-dropping China Rider still remains well above her claim level and has had prior success over a wet surface. Tread lightly.**RACE 9: Post 5:06 ET. Grade: B-Use: 1a-Runningwscissors; 3-Our Last Buck; 9-Samay Forecast: Runningwscissors is better than his last race indicates and should be given a chance to bounce back. In his second start since joining the T. Amoss barn and arriving from Emerald Downs, the New York-bred son of Congaree switches to R. Santana, Jr. and has several back speed figures that are good enough to beat this first-level allowance state-bred group. Our Last Buck earned a giant speed figure last February when finishing second by a head at the Big A before going to the sidelines. His comeback performance was less than inspiring – he wound up seventh, beaten nearly 11 lengths – but he returns to the main track and seems likely to perk up if he can act on the wet surface. Samay drew outside most of the other speed types in quest of his fourth straight victory. On numbers he’s competitive and he’s a perfect two-for-two over an off track, but the Finger Lakes form sometimes is tough to trust. Given his winning spirit (6 for 9 lifetime) he has to be considered a major player. **RACE 10: Post 5:38 ET. Grade: XSingle: Saloon Girl Forecast: The nightcap has been taken off the turf and that’s good news for Saloon Girl, a main-track only entrant that should have this field at her mercy, but at a very short price. The lightly-raced daughter of Alpha removes blinkers, has rising numbers, a comfortable outside post, and speed figures that should allow her to handle this assignment without having to exert too much energy. She’s an obvious no value rolling exotic single.

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8.19.2019:

Top Five Betting Tips for This Week at Del Mar & Saratoga

Travers Week blasts through Saratoga with summer’s biggest day of racing this Saturday. And at Del Mar, we’ve passed the Pacific Classic, but the tides roll back in with the Pat O’Brien for sprinters on Saturday. Let’s get down to business with a look at the boutique trends worth noting:  Del Mar Betting Tips Jockey Victor Espinoza was an ATM delivering the cash last week. He went 19: 6-2-1 for $3.07 ROI for each $1 bet (5-10 on dirt). He rode winners at 14-1, 15-1 and 17-1 to go along with a trio of under 2-1 shots. With favorites he was 4: 3-1-0. Espinoza had wins for 5 different trainers, doubling up with John Sadler on shorter prices.  Peter Miller & Doug O’Neill combined for only 3-of-24 victories on the week. They were 27-110 coming into last week and 1-2 in the standings. Wake-up calls were answered by Richard Baltas, 6-20 after 8-53 prior at the meet; Phil D’Amato, 4-11 after 6-49 start; and Jeff Bonde, 2-2 after 2-20 to open.  Trainer Bob Hess Jr. won with his only turf starter last week, upping his grass mark to 5-for-12 at the meet. Three of the grass wins have come with Kent Desormeaux up. Hess was only an 8% Del Mar turf trainer from 2013-’18.  Sire Twirling Candy’s offspring are 15: 6-1-3 on the dirt at Del Mar this summer, including G2 Best Pal winner Collusion Illusion. All 6 wins have come sprinting (only 2 attempts routing on dirt). He’s a 20% sire on the Del Mar dirt since 2015 with nearly 100 starters.  If you had Abel Cedillo (14) and Ruben Fuentes (13) as your Del Mar leading jockeys on dirt heading into the last week of August, go collect. They’re both riding at 21% on the main track and lead the standings in wins. Saratoga Betting Tips Overall 23 of 51 races last week (45%) were won by horses who had already started at the current Saratoga meet. Those wins were evenly distributed among all classes. That total jumped to 54% on Travers Week last year.  There have been exactly the same number of debut winners pay $20 or more this meet (7) as there have been under 2-1 odds (7). Don’t fall into the trap that the money talks on first-time starters. The 4 debut winners last week averaged $13.30 returns.  Jockey Javier Castellano had his best week of the meet with 30% wins and 52% in the exacta from 23 mounts. Three of the victories came with Chad Brown trainees and all were 5-1 or less. Coming into last week, Castellano was 21% for the meet in wins (38% exacta) and 22% on the win end with Brown.  Graham Motion was nearly perfect with a 4: 3-1-0 record last week at the Spa. The wins came with all different riders and were in the maiden special weight, allowance and Grade 2 stakes ranks (Varenka). Since starting the meet 2-21, Motion has won with 6 of his last 12 at Saratoga. Incidentally, Motion went 0-7 last week at Laurel and Monmouth.  Don’t be surprised if George Weaver finally turns the corner at the end of the meet. He’s a woeful 1-for-24 on the season, but flashed 3 runner-ups from 5 starters last week. This was a barn 18% at Saratoga since 2013 with a $1.24 ROI for each $1 bet.  If you like these type of stats and trends angles, be sure to check out our free Xpressbet Travers Wager Guide, available later this week for download at Xpressbet.com. We’ll dissect the data for all the day’s stakes races, including the Midsummer Derby and provides selections and wagering strategies as well. 

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8.19.2019:

Monday, August 19: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The headliners on the Monday night card at Woodbine Mohawk Park are 3-year-old colt and gelding trotters squaring off in OSS Grass Roots action. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 begins as usual in Race 4. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4 2-Highland Salsa-Fits better with this crew than last start here, Roy could be aggressive and put in play earlier. 3-Anthem Seelster-Came home in 55.3 last time, now needs a more alert start, should get a nice close-up seat. 4-Kit-Drops out of Gold series, could get the top to control things at a more reasonable pace and not look back. Race 5 2-Miami-Drops to a spot to shine, Roy returns, should race near the top of the stack and can pop at a square price. 6-Bautista-Was an even money winner at this class back on 4/29, form has been dull but will respect connections. 7-Quadrangle-Similar to the two above, this is the level for success, best to respect lukewarm chalk. 10-O Narutac Perfetto-McClure's choice over #1, trip dependent but if they battle for the top this guy can roll late. Race 6 3-Stelios-Comes off 2 wins, makes 2nd start for Auciello, steps-up and should race on or near lead. 6-Racemeup-Fits well and is sharp, will likely leave and is one soft quarter from 2nd straight picture. 8-Lone Wolf Terror-Drops in for a tag and is the ML chalk, can grind it out from this post if all systems go. Race 7 5-Lifetime Royalty-1-17 isn't a feel good but has been trying hard and should be a player versus this bunch. 6-Scarlet Raider-Gets McClure, goes back on Lasix and returns to Wbsb where 3-year-old has done well. 7-Esa-$145k purchase does tease and is inconsistent, but this looks like a spot for ML chalk to take a picture. My Ticket Race 4) 2,3,4 Race 5) 2,6,7,10 Race 6) 3,6,8 Race 7) 5,6,7 Total Ticket Cost) $21.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.18.2019:

Sunday, August 18: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-18th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-1-4-7-and-8-at-del-mar-on-august-18th-2019-based-on-works/   RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Matera; 7-Stellar Sound Forecast: Two highly-regarded daughters of Tapit debut in today’s opener, a six furlong sprint for 2-year-olds. Stellar Sound has trained like one of B. Baffert’s better prospects and had the good fortune of landing the cozy outside post, whereas her chief rival, Matera, from the J. Hollendorfer barn, must leave from the rail. Given the advantage at the draw, ‘Sound may have an edge over Materia, a $1.4 million yearling purchase and a half-sister to BC Dirt Mile winner Liam’s Map and to the Grade-1 winning two-year-old Not This Time. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with extra tickets keying Stellar Sound.   RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Baby Ice; 4-Todos Santos; 6-C C the Bartender Forecast: C C the Bartender lands the good outside post in her first start since being claimed by S. Sherman and also sports the always-dangerous route-to-sprint angle. She projects to enjoy a good second-flight, in-the-clear trip and then have every chance to seal the deal from the quarter pole home at a nice price. Todos Santos comes off a game win for $8,000 earlier this meeting and moves up a couple of notches following a J. Metz claim (solid stats with this angle). On numbers she’s good enough to handle the class hike, and as a prototype late-running sprinter she’ll well-suited for this six and one-half furlong trip. Baby Ice drops to a realistic spot and is good enough to win off her best effort, but her record over the Del Mar main track (5-0-0-0) is hard to ignore. We’ll throw here in on a ticket or two as a back-up, nothing more.  RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Vintage Hollywood; 8-Cosa Nostra Forecast: Vintage Hollywood had a recent sprint prep over the track and today drops from $25,000 to $16,000 while stretching out to a distance he should be able to handle (his only prior two-turn try came last year against tougher company on grass). The V. Garcia-trained gelding earned a career-top speed figure in his most recent race and nothing more will be needed to beat this restricted (nw-2) field. Cosa Nostra is comfortably drawn outside but has never been big on winning (he’s 1-for-23 with 12 seconds and thirds). We’ll make him a contender by default in a below par race for the race.   RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Flagstaff Forecast: Flagstaff squandered a perfect trip when worn down late and finishing second to American Anthem in a strong race for this level here last month but a similar effort today should be more than good enough to handle this assignment. The J. Sadler-trained gelding is winless in three starts over the Del Mar main track – a minor concern – but shouldn’t have much trouble today with anything close to his best race. He’s 9/5 on the morning line and likely to go lower and is a logical rolling exotic single.   RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Ted W.; 7-Matriculate; 8-Twirling Tiger Forecast: Matriculate takes a significant class drop after failing at even money in a $25,000 claimer in mid-May at Santa Anita. Seven furlongs is absolutely his favorite distance and the Spawr barn has strong stats with layoff runners; on the other hand, the son of Lucky Pulpit is winless in five starts at Del Mar. We like him on top but not as a single. Twirling Tiger gets the best of the draw in his first start since being claimed by J. Carava for $8,000 earlier this meeting. He’s always preferred to run second rather than win, but he does have a prior victory over the Del Mar main track and gets ideal conditions today for an improved effort. Ted W is buried on the rail but is fast enough on speed figures to pose a threat and may be quick enough to make the lead with a clean break. RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Jetovator; 4-Summer Fun Forecast: Jetovator has hit the board in all four career starts and may be ready to break through with a win today in this state-bred maiden special weight abbreviated sprint on the main track. His speed figures are average at best but he makes a monumental jockey switch to F. Prat and on that basis alone should be hard to deny. Summer Fan his bred for much speed (Smiling Tiger) and shows a work tab that indicates he has some ability. However, the C. Gaines barn rarely wins with a first-timer so the best we can do is use him on a ticket or two as a back-up.  RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Prince Earl; 5-Bowies Hero Forecast: Bowies Hero has returned to top form, having won the Eddie Read S.-G2 over this course last month impressively and then working in sharp style since to remain on edge. This shortening to a mile won’t be an issue; in fact, it’s probably his best trip. F. Prat, who rode him for the first time in the Eddie Read, returns, so we’re expecting a similar if not better performance today. Prince Earl has been away since finishing fourth in the Hollywood Derby-G1 here last December and remains eligible to the second allowance condition, so this aggressive placement by P. D’Amato tells us that the Paddy O’Prado gelding must be returning at least as well if not better than he left. Recent local workouts have been outstanding, so at 12-1 on the morning line he’s worth including on your ticket somewhere. RACE 8: Post 5:40 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Magic on Tap; 3-Julius Forecast: Julius has really gotten good for O’Neill with Beyer speed figures that keep advancing from race to race. Most recently the Tapit gelding trounced a starter’s allowance field by more than 11 lengths with number that should make her hard to beat in this first-level allowance race either on the front end or from a stalking position, whichever R. Bejarano prefers. A small concern is that recent workouts haven’t been scintillating, but that may be just him. The main contention comes from the B. Baffert-trained comebacker Magic On Tap, a smart winner at Del Mar in his debut as a two-year-old but unraced since. The recent workouts indicate he’s fit and ready and his potential may be unlimited. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics while preferring Julius on top because he’s had the benefit of recent racing.   RACE 9: Post 6:10 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 7-Me Me Mo My; 9-Ameerah B; 11-Miss Bigley Forecast: The finale is a grass grab bag for older maiden fillies and mares over a mile. Use as many as your budget allows. Ameerah B missed by a head when last seen in a turf miler at Santa Anita in late May and returns for J. Sadler with blinkers on and R. Bejarano in the saddle. She has a good stalking style and should have every chance when the pressure is turned on into the lane. Miss Bigley had fractions to run at and closed willingly to be second in a maiden turf affair in late June. Due to the race-shape, that effort might have flattered the daughter of Gemologist but she did earn a career top speed figure and with another forward move today should be in the picture. Mo Me Mo My earned a career top speed figure when third in a similar affair last month and if she can duplicate that performance today she’ll be a threat again. Her previous form was ordinary, but it was her first try around two turns and maybe she’s wanted to be a router all along. 

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8.18.2019:

Sunday, August 18: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-18th-2019/  Today’s Bullet Drills: https://www.xbtv.com/video/bullet-drill/preview-of-races-3-6-and-9-at-saratoga-on-august-18th-2019-based-on-works/  RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Blessed Halo; 5-Shiraz Forecast: The first race has been taken off the turf. Blessed Halo is a first-off-the-claim play for B. Cox (a strong 24% with this angle) but hasn’t been out since December and shows an abbreviated work tab. However, J. Rosario signs on, so we’re going to assume the Kantharos gelding is fit and ready. From the rail, he’s likely to bust out and go. Shiraz shows up in a seller for the first time and may have found his friends. Just 2-for-19 during his career with 11 seconds and thirds, the M. Maker-trained gelding probably is best on the front end but there’s other speed types in here, so he may have to employ stalking tactics, not his strong suit. We’ll use him on a ticket or as a back-up, but that’s all.   RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-Ivy’s College Fund; 6-Clairvoyant Lady; 7-Riot Worthy Forecast: Clairvoyant Lady is an intriguing class dropper for Rudy and seems capable of waking up at this level. She was eased and walked off in her most recent start but I. Ortiz, Jr. stays aboard and so whatever was bothering her probably isn’t anymore. This is her cheapest level ever, and when she’s good she can employ pace-stalking tactics and then kick it in when called upon. Riot Worthy, drawn comfortably outside in this seven furlong main track $16,000 claimer for fillies and mares, makes her third start off a long layoff and it should be her best. She’s always liked the Saratoga main track (never worse than second in three lifetime starts), retains J. Alvarado, and may be capable of wearing down the speed types close him. On the other hand, the fact that she has four wins from 27 career starts and with 17 seconds or thirds indicates that she doesn’t always get there. Ivy’s College Fund has won her last three races from lesser foes and is a first-off-the-claim for R. Diodoro, whose record with this angle is rather impressive (26% with a flat-bet profit). Her chances will increase due to today’s wet surface, and with J. Ortiz staying aboard she’ll probably run just as well today as she has been of late, possibly better. These are the three we’ll be using in our rolling exotics; we’ll give a very slight edge on top to Clairvoyant Lady.   RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B Use: 5-Good Shabbos; 7-Sharing Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be contested at seven furlongs. Sharing tipped her hand with an excellent debut performance sprinting on grass, finishing fastest of all but simply running out of room before galloping out far in front past the wire and into the clubhouse turn. How will she do on a wet track? Hard to say. Her dam was the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf champion Shared Account, but as a daughter of Speightstown she should handle it. Also, the G. Motion barn has excellent stats with second-time starters. Good Shabbos has two solid races under her belt, a pair of runner-up efforts with okay but not great speed figures. If Sharing doesn’t handle the surface switch, ‘Shabbos will be the one to benefit the most.  RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-Pugilist; 4-Madita Forecast: European invader Madita has placed in a number of listed and group stakes races in Germany – most recently in early July when she finished well to be a strong third - and has Timeform ratings that indicates that she’s superior to what she’s facing in this first-level allowance turf affair for fillies and mares. She’s been in this country for a few weeks and shows a light work tab, but really doesn’t need much as she was plenty fit upon arrival. With addition of Lasix and with J. Leparoux in the saddle, the the A. Delacour-trained daughter of Soldier Hollow looks well-spotted for a win. Pugilist has won three of her last four races from lesser company and probably will try gate-to-wire-tactics, although she has stalked and won as well. A former modest claimer, the daughter of Get Stormy is vastly improved has has speed figures that make her dangerous. We’ll include both in our rolling exotics and then press with additional tickets keying Madita on top.   RACE 5: Post 3:13 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Wedontbelieveher; 4-Quantum Computing Forecast: We’ve got the fifth race – a maiden $75,000 claimer for juvenile fillies – down to two main contenders. Wedontbelieveher, haltered for $50,000 out of her debut by A. Quartarolo, pressed the pace and hung on gamely to be second, beaten a half-length, while earning a pretty good number, one that makes her the one to beat despite the class hike. The daughter of Bayern retains M. Franco, shows a nice half-mile breeze since the race and seems best of the known element in a race with five first-time starters. Quantum Computing comes from the C. Brown barn, which wins with 21% of its maiden claiming first-time starters. The stable’s main guy J. Castellano (28%) takes the call and with a work tab from Monmouth Park that indicates she has some talent the daughter of Competitive Edge may be the most dangerous of the fresh faces. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while preferring Wedontbelieveher on top.   RACE 6: Post 3:53 ET. Grade: X Single: 6-Mrs. Danvers Forecast: Mrs. Danvers ran a winning race in defeat but had to settle for third money after a slow start that cost her valuable early position. She seems sure to improve with that bit of experience behind her, and with J. Rosario staying aboard for Shug, the daughter of Tapit seems sure to improve, especially with an extra-half furlong to work with. The first-timers don’t scare, but at 8/5 on the morning line with the potential to go lower, she’ll probably be too short to play, other than as a no-value rolling exotic single.  RACE 7: Post 4:28 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Still Krz; 10-Maniacal Forecast: The seventh race has been taken off the turf and is a real scramble with the switch in surface and the wet condition of the racetrack. Maniacal is questionable on an off track but does show a highly-rated off-the-turf win in his resume and from his cozy outside post should enjoy a good pace-stalking trip. Still Krz has only one way to go, on the lead, and will take them as far as he can. Freshened since early June, dropping below his claim level, and reunited with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr., the veteran gelding is a “must use.”   RACE 8: Post 5:08 ET. Grade: B- Use: 10-Hit a Provisional; 13-Righteous Ruby Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be contested at seven furlongs. Righteous Ruby is comfortably drawn outside and is more than fast enough on figures to beat this field over a wet track that she’s proven she likes (two off-track wins in four starts). Though she was somewhat disappointing under these conditions in the mud last time out, she remains protected by a high-percentage outfit and switches to I. Ortiz, Jr. We’re expecting her best effort today. Hit a Provisional is lightly-raced with improvement in her, though to be honest her off-the-turf maiden win last year was low-rated. Still, she’s reunited with “win rider” M. Franco and figures to be close up throughout with every chance, so we’ll use her.   RACE 9: Post 5:42 ET. Grade: X Use: 1-Pacific Wind; 7-Blue Prize Forecast: Blue Prize and Pacific Wind have been facing the best in the division of late and both are dropping into listed stakes competition searching for a confidence-building win. ‘Prize is 4/5 on the morning line while seeking her first win this year; in her most recent start she was third in the Delaware H.-G2 behind Elate last month. First of second in 15 of 20 career outings, the Argentine-bred mare always lays her body down. Pacific Wind looked sharp in a recent workout to indicate she’s ready to produce a forward move in her third 2019 outing. She’s always been a cut the below the real good ones and probably won’t beat Blue Prize if that one runs her race, but we can use on a ticket or two in rolling exotic play as a saver or a back-up.  RACE 10: Post 6:16 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Sooner Schooner; 5-Take Charge Tina; 9-Moyne Spun Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf and will be contested at a mile and one-eighth. Take Charge Tina earned a career top speed figure when second in a similar affair last month but that was on turf. Her only career win came in gate-to-wire fashion, so we’re going to assume that front-running strategy will employed. Based on the projected race flow, the daughter of Take Charge Indy can be the controlling speed. Sooner Schooner hails from a high percentage outfit, takes a realistic class drop, and was a nice winner over a wet track at Oaklawn Park three races back to makes her dangerous under these conditions. Moyne Spun has to prove she can handle dirt but she has winning connections and pace-stalking style that should allow for a good trip. We’ll toss her in on a ticket or two.

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8.18.2019:

Sunday, August 18: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

The Sunday feature at Hawthorne Racecourse rolls in Race 9, a condition pace with a $9,200 purse. The headliner from a betting perspective is the 0.50 Late Pick 4 which has a $30,000 guaranteed pool. The competitive sequence starts in Race 6 and will be my focus. The pilots with the hottest hands on Saturday were Kyle Husted, Kyle Wilfong and Travis Seekman who each took two pictures. On the 11-race card no trainer had more than one win. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6 2-Always Party Time-Form has been dull but can close and could be put into play sooner, using versus this crew. 3-Western Vinny-Will look to skim the cones and shake loose late, Franco just missed last time, so beware. 5-Parkes Boy-Beaten chalk was used hard early in last, makes 4th start for new barn and should be in the mix. 7-Evco Lane-Fits better here but because of earnings draws outside and that could be the fly in the ointment. Race 7 2-Michonne-Looking for 3rd straight, draws inside so should be forwardly placed, could win again if minds manners. 7-Letsgoforitall-HoP invader tries Lasix and has been facing better, looks to be a square price and fits well. 8-Oh So Pine-Looking for 1st win of '19 after banking >$95k in '18, will be tighter and looks like a player. Race 8 4-Americanboy-Gets post relief and drops, that should help provisional driver stay in the hunt. 6-Lots Of Pride-Needs a trip and hasn't gotten a good one in last 2, Leonard may find some cover and snag 3rd win. 7-Mystical Charger-Decent effort versus better and now drops to a spot to shine but is only 1-17. Race 9 1-Sheriff Coffey-Rolled a 54.4 2nd half but had the 2nd tier and pace was slow, should be in play to fly by late. 2-Shadyman-Has had excuses but needs to find a way to seal the deal, draws well and Anderson should work a trip. 7-PH Hippie-Moves up after a big improvement in last 2, will respect chances for an encore but this could be tougher.  My Ticket Race 6) 2,3,5,7 Race 7) 2,7,8 Race 8) 4,6,7 Race 9) 1,2,7  Total Ticket Cost) $54 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia

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8.17.2019:

Saturday, August 17: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. 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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-17th-2019/ RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 4-Paladar; 5-Fawree Forecast: The Pacific Classic day opener drew just six runners but this is a stronger-than-par second-level allowance main track miler with contention top to bottom. Fawree is progressing nicely for J. Sadler and earned a career top speed figure when blowing out a starter’s allowance field by six lengths at Los Alamitos in his most recent start last month. The lightly-raced Candy Ride gelding has a good stalking style and should draft into an ideal second flight position and then have every chance from the quarter pole home. A sharp, healthy work tab in recent weeks indicates he’s right on edge and ready to produce another forward move. Paladar returns from the Midwest and is another that has looked fit and ready in the morning. The R. Baltas-trained son of Street Cry probably is a need-the-lead type and if he can work out that type of trip he could be hard to run down. These are the two we’ll be using in our rolling exotics with the edge on top to Fawree. RACE 2: Post 2:33 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Seahawk Lisa; 4-Paid Informant; 6-Paid Informant Forecast: The second race is an expensive maiden-claimer for juveniles loaded with unknowns and question marks. Best advice is to spread as deeply as you can afford to. Seahawk Lisa has looked pretty good in the morning for J. Hollendorfer, and a noteworthy recent team gate drill certainly makes her dangerous with this group. The daughter of Hard Spun appears to have plenty of speed and was able to match strides with Songbird’s half-sister America’s Surprise in that aforementioned Aug 4. workout, so let’s put her on top for a barn that always does well with debut runners. Paid Informant breezed a quarter mile in 21 seconds at the OBS April sale but then brought only $45,000 at auction, an unusually low price for a daughter of Into Mischief. Maybe she has issues that we’re not aware of, but with F. Prat taking the call for R. Baltas and with a work tab at San Luis Rey Downs that lists several promising drills, she’s certain to get plenty of play. Samurai Charm, a first-timer from the P. Miller barn, appears to have enough talent to be competitive at this level. A recent sharp gate blowout (35 1/5 seconds) should have her right on edge. RACE 3: Post 3:06 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Stormy Liberal; 5-Eddie Haskell Forecast: Stormy Liberal, away since finishing a strong third in the Al Quoz Sprint-G1 in Dubai in late March, won this race last year and hails from a barn that does very well with comebackers. However, the work tab is light, so we’re wondering if the two-time winner of the BC Turf Sprint-G1 is completely wound up. Probably not. Still, you have to use him, and we will along with Del Mar specialist Eddie Haskell, a winner of six of seven over this course and distance and successful in an overnight race here last month with a career-top speed figure. He’s beaten Stormy Liberal in the past and based on current form may very well do it again. In a race that we have no plans to play, we can double the race in rolling exotic play while slightly preferring Eddie Haskell on top. RACE 4: Post 3:41 PT. Grade: B Use: 2-Oliver; 7-Santanta Forecast: Oliver has shown a liking for the Del Mar main track both last year and this, placing in three stakes, most recently with a career top speed figure when runner-up in the Real Good Deal S. A sharp half mile workout (47 3/5 seconds, third fastest of 90) indicates his improvement is continuing and M. Garcia, who rides him best, stays aboard. Santanta won his debut last month like a good sprinter with potential, and the son of Elusive Warning should be tough right back in this first-level state-bred allowance sprint. The barn has excellent stats with repeat winners, so we’re expecting this 4-year-old gelding to have a strong pace presence and battle hard to the wire. Both should be used in rolling exotic play; we’ll have a few extra tickets keying Oliver on top. RACE 5: Post 4:10 PT. Grade: B- Use: 4-Fivestar Lynch; 11-Lambeau; 12-Mo Forza Forecast: Mo Forza is progressing with experience and may be ready to earn his diploma despite his extreme outside draw in this maiden turf affair over a mile. The son of Uncle Mo, in the money in all three starts to date, earned a career top speed figure when a sharp runner-up vs. similar last month, and if he negotiates a decent trip the P. Miller-trained should be the one to beat. Lambeau has done some good work in the a.m. for J. Shirreffs, and while he may be a down-the-road type the son of First Samurai could easily outrun his odds under M. Smith. An impressive looking 3-year-old, he’s was a $475,000 yearling purchase and hasn’t missed a beat in the a.m. dating back a few months. Fivestar Lynch, in the frame in two of his three career outings in Ireland, shows rapidly rising Timeform ratings and should be a fit on this circuit. He’ll get Lasix and top grass rider F. Geroux, so at 8-1 on the morning line he’s a “must use” in rolling exotic play. RACE 6: Post 4:40 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Smooth Like Strait; 4-Royal Thunder; 5-Hydrogen; 7-Bronn Forecast: There are so many first-timer starters that are highly-regarded that this maiden special weight race is almost impossible to decipher. Bronn was beaten at 6/5 in his debut after pressing the pace and then weakening late, but the B. Baffert barn has powerful stats with second-time starters and with the blinkers off angle as well, so we’re fully expecting this son of Conveyance to step forward significantly. Baffert has another starter worth watching, Hydrogen, a $575,000 yearling by Violence from the dam of the once-promising Gettysburg. Johnny V., who rarely rides for this stable, picks up the mount on the colt that has shown enough talent in the a.m. to be given some consideration. The T. Yakteen-trained Royal Thunder shows two recent bullet gate workouts over the Del Mar main track, including a 46 4/5 seconds move on August 2 that was the fastest of 53 for the distance. The son of Mineshaft must have some ability to do that. Smooth Like Strait, from the M. McCarthy barn, has looked quite good in some of his drills, but ordinary in others. The son of Midnight Lute probably will be held up early and allowed to run late under F. Prat and offers a price chance in a wide open affair that certainly requires a spread in rolling exotic play. RACE 7: Post 5:10 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Markie’s Water; 6-The Great Day Forecast: Marckie’s Water finished fastest of all but ran out of room when second to Bowie’s Hero in the 9F Eddie Read S.-G2 last month and today gets an extra quarter of a mile to work with in this mini-marathon turf event that appears made to order for the son of Tribal Rule. A winner over this course and distance last year, the R. Baltas-trained veteran should be able to settle in mid-pack and then produce a winning rally when the proper time comes. The Great Day, a multiple Group-1 winner in Argentina, appears to be rounding to top form following a strong runner-up effort in the Arlington H.-G3 in Chicago last month in what was just his second North American outing. On pure numbers he’s a strong fit on this circuit and if he can step forward again the son of Harlan’s Holiday could easily prove best. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics while giving a slight edge on top to Marckie’s Water. RACE 8: Post 5:40 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 6-Sneaking Out Forecast: Sneaking Out was scratched out of a grass stakes last week to wait for this main track graded event and we’re expecting the daughter of Indian Evening to make amends for her recent defeat at 10 cents on the dollar in the Fleet Treat Stakes. In that race the K. Desormeaux-trained 3-year-old filly was forced to race along the deep, treacherous rail and paid the price late, but in the absence of such a blatant bias today she should have no difficulties. A strong runner-up effort, beaten a half-length, in the Summertime Oaks in May shows she can handle two-turns, and with her tactical speed she should be able to secure a good pace-stalking position and then have every chance. She’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 6:10 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Cambier Parc; 4-Hard Legacy; 11-Lady Prancealot; 14-Hidden Message Forecast: The 14-runner Del Mar Oaks probably will be decided by whichever of the half dozen or so legitimate contenders enjoys the best trip. Cambier Parc, a New York shipper from the C. Brown stable, is a double graded stakes winner routing on turf and has won half of her six career starts. She’ll almost certainly benefit from a ground-saving trip from her rail draw and have her chance when it counts from the quarter pole home. Hidden Message is fresh off the plane following a listed stakes win over a mile at Sandown Park, a race that was assigned a Timeform rating of 102, which makes her highly-competitive with the local contingent. The extreme outside 14 post position is hardly ideal, but she has the type of acceleration that can handle traffic and tight turns, and with F. Prat calling the shots the daughter of Scat Daddy will be right there with any kind of decent racing luck. Lady Prancealot can really turn it on as well, as she showed when winning the Honeymoon S.-G3 at Santa Anita in early June. She’s been working steadily since at San Luis Rey Downs for R. Baltas and showed a liking for the local lawn when a strong second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf last year in her U.S. debut. Hard Legacy is a lightly-raced and improving Midwest shipper fresh from a smart victory in the Regret S.-G3 at this nine furlong trip while earning a speed figure that puts her right smack in the hunt with this group. RACE 10: Post 6:43 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Campaign Forecast: There are a number of possibilities in one of the most wide open Pacific Classics in memory but rather than spread the race let’s just simply try to be right with just one. Campaign has won half of his 10 career starts (including the recent Cougar II H.-G3) and midway through his 4-year-old season he has developed into a genuinely consistent and high-quality dirt stayer. While he might be most comfortable at a mile and one-half, the J. Sadler-trained colt should be able to shorten to 10 furlongs and be equally effective, and over a deep track that we know he can handle the son of Curlin can take the next step and become a Grade-1 winner. R. Bejarano fits him perfectly, so at 6-1 on the morning line let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 11: Post 7:12 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 7-Betty F Forecast: Betty F was competitive in several valuable handicaps in England both this year and last and makes her U.S. debut in a first-level allowance middle distance following a bullet workout of 47 seconds around dogs on turf, the fastest of 22 for the distance. She gets Lasix and good grass rider D. Van Dyke, so we’re expecting the P. Gallagher-trained English-bred filly to out class this field. At 5-1 on the morning line, the daughter of Frankel is a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. 

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8.17.2019:

Saturday, August 17: Saratoga Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6. It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level. 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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-saratoga-on-august-17th-2019/ RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Market Impact; 9-Acre Forecast: The first race has been taken off the turf and shortened to seven furlongs. Market Impact, entered as an MTO, will now run and makes his debut after doing some very good work in the morning for C. Brown, though his actual workout times don’t jump off the page. He’s really never been asked to show his best, but the son of Carpe Diem appears to have enough talent to handle this assignment. Acre has the benefit of a prior run, finishing seventh in a fast, highly-rated race won by the promising Shoplifted. Drawn comfortably outside, the son of Blame figures to improve with experience and distance and can be included in rolling exotic play as at least a saver. RACE 2: Post 1:35 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Miss Imperial; 6-Carizzo Forecast: Carizzo demolished a $25,000 claiming field last month and was haltered by D. Cannizzo, who, in a sign of confidence, raises her all the way up to the $75,000 level. Based on the speed figure she just earned, the daughter of Paynter should be more than capable of taking the class hike in stride from her cozy outside draw. Miss Imperial is worth including as well. The J. Servis-trained filly is moving in the opposite direction – down in class – after exiting a series of stakes races in which she has managed to hit the board in her four most recent outings. Numbers-wise, she’s right there with Carizzo, but must leave from the rail. We’ll use both in our rolling exotics; Carizzo likely will be a tad better price so we’ll give her a slight edge on top. RACE 3: Post 2:08 ET. Grade: C Single: 7-All About It Forecast: This race has been taken off the turf. All About It has a suspicious pattern, and what you see might not be what you get. Second in his debut behind the very talented Fog of War and then a very respectable fourth (beaten just over a length) in the Indian Summer Stakes last fall at Keeneland, the $425,000 2-year-old in training purchase makes his comeback in $40,000 seller as if to indicate that his current connections don’t believe he has a long term future. If the G. Weaver-trained sophomore has one good one left, he’ll beat this field (assuming he stays in the race) but that may be a big if. We’ll put him on top, but if there’s a race to simply sit out and pass today, this is it. RACE 4: Post 2:41 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Giant Boo Boo Forecast: Giant Boo Boo drops significantly in class for the money run and if the Frost Giant gelding has at least one good one left he’ll likely beat this $14,000 claiming field. He’s a fast horse on his best day and against this group he should be able to control proceedings from start to finish, with only There He Goes owning the kind of speed that might keep him company early on. Reunited with “win rider” J. Ortiz, the J. Englehart-trained 4-year-old would appear to offer some value at his morning line of 5/2 if you can get it. RACE 5: Post 3:14 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Devamani; 3-Stella d’Oro; 7-Bird’s Eye View Forecast: This mini-marathon allowance optional claimer on grass appears fairly contentious. We’ll go three deep while preferring Devamani slightly on top. The French-bred gelding takes a slight drop in class, projects to enjoy a good ground-saving trip throughout in this three-turn affair and has earned consistently good speed figures that are better than par for this level. He’s back with “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr. and should be able to produce the last run. Stella d’Oro is intriguing; he’s had only three career starts so his upside is unknown. The son of See the Stars won his U.S. debut in an off-the-turfer at Arlington Park last month in game style, and while this is a tougher group he picks up J. Rosario and stretches out to a distance he’s bred to handle. At 8-1 on the morning line he’s worth using. Bird’s Eye View should be on or near the lead throughout and has shown the ability to win at this trip. If not pressured early, he may never look back. RACE 6: Post 3:47 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 8-Sayyaaf Forecast: Sayyaf was quite impressive beating maidens over this course and distance last month with a big figure, one that should allow him to successfully handle this class hike in a race that he should be able to control from start to finish. The C. Brown-trained colt has looked good in the morning since that win, retains J. Castellano, and appears to be a 3-year-old on the way up. At 5/2 on the morning line he’s a strong straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 7: Post 4:20 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 4-Candy Tycoon Forecast: Candy Tycoon has done everything asked of him in the morning, acts like a superior prospect for T. Pletcher, and seems certain to be a short price favorite when the latch is sprung in this six and one-half furlong sprint for 2-year-olds. The son of Twirling Candy, a $170,000 OBS April sale purchase, shows two eye-catching recent gate works to have him fit and ready for a barn that has strong stats with debut runners. At 2-1 on the morning line – he could easily go lower – he’s a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 8: Post 4:53 ET. Grade: X Single: 5-Morticia Forecast: Here’s another likely short-priced winning favorite and logical rolling exotic single. Morticia suffered through a brutal trip when third as the favorite in the Caress Stakes under these conditions last month – she was blocked badly most of the stretch drive and had no chance to mount a rally – but today she can make amends with any kind of decent trip. The thoroughly genuine and consistent daughter of Twirling Candy regains the services of “win rider” I. Ortiz, Jr. and should be within striking range to the head of the lane before uncorking her late kick. She’s even money on the morning line for a reason. RACE 9: Post 5:26 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 1-Varenka; 4-Blowout; 5-Regal Glory Forecast: The Lake Placid Stakes brings together a group of evenly matched 3-year-old fillies. Varenka was very impressive beating a lesser field over this course and distance last month, and while this is a raise up the class ladder she’s a strong fit on speed figures and could easily be up to the task. Regal Glory and Blowout were the one-two finishers in the Lake George S.-G3 – they were separated by a half-length at the wire – and today there’s a two pound shift in weights in favor of Blowout, for whatever that’s worth. These three are very tough to separate, so in a race we’ll otherwise pass, we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics. RACE 10: Post 5:59 ET. Grade: B+ Single: 1-Dunbar Road Forecast: Dunbar Road was a much-the-best winner of the Mother Goose S.-G2 at Belmont Park in late June and has looked sensational in the morning since for C. Brown. The daughter of Quality Road should absolutely love today’s 10 furlong trip and may be on the verge of super stardom in what will be just her fifth career outing. From her inside draw J. Ortiz can let her run out of the gate and then settle wherever he wants to be. At 8/5 on the morning line – and we hope we can get it – she’s a straight play and rolling exotic single. RACE 11: Post 6:32 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Sweet Meadow Mist; 5-More Mischief Forecast: Sweet Meadow Mist has no early speed but she can turn it on late, and at this extended sprint distance the New York-bred 3-year-old filly could produce the last run with a bit of help up front. J. Rosario knows her well and stays aboard, and at 3-1 on the money line she might offer a bit of value in the win pool as well as in rolling exotic play. More Mischief should be included as well. The C. Brown-trained filly has enough tactical speed to be within striking range throughout, and although she’s a grinder without a true turn of foot the daughter of Into Mischief should have every chance at a trip that compliments her style well. 

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8.17.2019:

Saturday, August 17: Woodbine Mohawk Park Early Pick 4 Analysis

The feature at Woodbine Mohawk Park goes in Race 9, a Preferred Pace with a $34,000 purse. The 0.20 Early Pick 4 begins in Race 4. The sequence has a $50,000 guaranteed pool and will be my focus. The driver with the hottest hands at Mohawk Park on Friday was Yannick Gingras with three wins. Nancy Johansson led the conditioners with two pictures. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 4 2-Drachan Hanover-It's all about the trip but can stay close enough to sweep by late. 6-Ideal Jet-Steps-up after a sharp score from 10-hole, will respect chances for third straight picture. Race 5 4-Cliffhanger-Has had excuses but with a clean trip is versatile and looks to be in the hunt from start to finish. 6-Priceless Beach-Makes 2nd start for new barn, has been bet, should be put in play and is 3-6 at Wbsb. 7-Machdavid-McClure may leave and has the gate speed to get on the engine, fits with this bunch. Race 6 2-American Hustle-10-1 in the ML steps-up but from the inside will be forwardly placed, has speed, worth a swing. 4-Physicallyinclined-Drop out of Pfd's, can get the top and may not look back. 6-Nirvana Seelster-Classy mare should relish the company and best to not overlook. 8-Royal Renegade-There's enough speed inside to set up Hensley to roll late down the lane at a square price. Race 7 2-Sugartown-Sharp 3-year-old finds ways to win, loses Roy but Filion has a big shot to capture 3rd win a row. 5-Carsons Shadow-2nd ML chalk gets McClure and a very good post draw, barn is cold but best to respect. My Ticket Race 4) 2,6 Race 5) 4,6,7 Race 6) 2,4,6,8 Race 7) 2,5 Total Ticket Cost) $9.60 for $0.20Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.16.2019:

Friday, August 16: Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Specifically designed for the rolling exotic player, Jeff Siegel’s “Daily Analysis and Wagering Strategies” isolates those horses that should be included in daily doubles, pick-3s, pick-4s, pick-5s, and the pick-6.  It is recommended that Jeff’s selections be used to augment the reader’s own personal handicapping, though excellent results can be achieved by applying the rolling exotic strategy specified by Jeff’s analysis. Jeff’s recommended plays are intended for players with a moderate budget; however, readers are encouraged to adjust Jeff’s wagering strategy to fit their preferred investment level.  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: https://www.xbtv.com/video/day-makers/jeff-siegels-top-two-plays-at-del-mar-on-august-16th-2019  RACE 1: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: C+ Single: 1-Conquest Smartee Forecast: Conquest Smartee has a decided edge on speed figures in this restricted (nw-2) $16,000 claiming sprint but had the misfortune of drawing the dreaded rail. He’s in good form for new trainer R. Hanson, exits a hot race, and was well clear of the rest in his most recent outing so if he can duplicate that effort today he should be tough to beat, poor draw notwithstanding. However, with all that said, he’s not trustworthy (he’s 1-for-14 with nine seconds and thirds) so if you want the action you can use him as a rolling exotic single, or better yet, simply pass the race.    RACE 2: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 2-Zipper Mischief; 3-Tiger Dad; 4-Tristram Speaker Forecast: Tristram Speaker broke his maiden for fun up north in his debut and then verified the performance when finishing a good third in a much tougher first-level allowance affair here last month. The A. Mathis-trained gelding switches to F. Prat in his first try on turf, and if he can duplicate his dirt form on the sod he should be capable of winning this state-bred abbreviated sprint. Tiger Dad is fast on figures, having earned a career top when a sharp runner-up over this course and distance last month in a similar event. It was his first start since January, so if the son of Smiling Tiger can produce a forward move he’ll be the one to beat. Zipper Mischief got away with a very soft opening quarter and then crushed a modest maiden field under these conditions just eight days ago. He’s wheeled back quickly by B. Heap, but with just two career starts under his belt the son of Into Mischief has plenty of room for further improvement. These are the three we’ll be using in rolling exotic play; let’s give Tristram Speaker a very slight edge on top.   RACE 3: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 5-Cleveland Cat; 8-Tap Back; 10-Mainstream Judy Forecast: The third race is a maiden special weight sprint for juveniles and appears to be a better-than-par race for the level. Tap Back is an intriguing Bay Area invader in the J. Bonde barn and could spring an upset based on his sneaky good work tab at Golden Gate Fields. Two bullet drills jump off the page, so while he’s hardly bred to be a precocious, quick-type, the son of Einstein appears to have quite a bit of run. Mainframe Judy is a first-timer from the P. Miller barn with F. Prat aboard, so you know this colt will take plenty of play, and deservedly so. A 59 4/5 seconds drill over the deepish Del Mar main track (fastest of 31) provides strong evidence that this son of Atilla’s Storm is fit and ready. Cleveland Cat was fractious loading in his debut, then showed no early speed to the head of the lane before suddenly taking hold and finishing a distant second while never a worry to easy winner Big Returns, who came out of the race to win the Graduation Stakes earlier this month. If ‘Cat can display some early speed today, he’ll be a strong threat, but if he spots the field 10 lengths again he’ll probably give himself too much to do.   RACE 4: Post 5:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 2-Silky Slew; 3-Stylishly; 4-Andyoushallreceive Forecast: Silky Slew won over this course last year and launches a comeback for a barn that has terrific stats with layoff runners. In a race without much speed, the lightly-raced five-year-old mare could be quick enough to be on or near the front end, and off the career top speed figure that earned here last year could be good enough to spring a mild surprise in a wide open turf sprint for fillies and mares. Stylishly took advantage of a perfect trip to win well over this course and distance when breaking her maiden in her first start since arriving from New York. She has a right to produce a forward move for S. Callaghan and looks to be the most dangerous of the closing types. Andyoushallreceive won her debut as a 2-year-old, so we know she can fire fresh, and she was listed stakes-placed in her other outing last year, so the daughter of Fed Biz has displayed some quality in her brief career. She makes her first start since last October with a series of slow and easy drills, but the Koriner-barn is excellent with comebackers and could have this 3-year-old ready for a top effort in the seasonal bow. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics and then press keying Silky Slew on top.  RACE 5: Post 6:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Rizzie’s Honors; 4-Party Hostess; 6-Red Livy Forecast: Here’s a messy bottom-rung claiming sprint for fillies and mares that is difficult to grasp. We’ll use three but without any real conviction. Rizzie’s Honours is a perfect one-for-one over the Del Mar main track and has back numbers that would be more than good enough to win at this level. Red Livy makes her first start since being claimed for this price by B. McLean and could improve enough to take this field gate to wire. She knows how to win races (5-for-20) and a repeat of her race before last at Los Alamitos puts her right in the hunt. Party Hostess does her best work as a late-running sprinter and if the pace melts down she should be heard from in the final furlong. With the switch to R. Bejarano, she’ll get the patient ride she needs.   RACE 6: Post 6:30 PT. Grade: B- Use: 1-Distorted Win; 7-Shear Class; 8-Blue Moonrise Forecast: Blue Moonrise burned money when beaten at 50 cents on the dollar in a similar maiden special weight sprint for fillies and mares last month but this appears to be an easier bunch and with the always significant blinkers-off angle jumping off the page the B. Baffert-trained daughter of Malibu Moon may deserve one more chance. Shear Class has shown some ability in the a.m. for J. Sherriffs, whose record with first-time starters is a bit better than you’d expect for a trainer not known to crank up his maidens. The daughter of Curlin probably will do better with experience and distance but may be worth a look under M. Smith, nonetheless. Distorted Win is buried on the rail but has a right to step forward after showing a bit of ability in her debut when a close fifth in a turf sprint. She gets Lasix today for R. Mandella, whose second-timers usually improve. Also, the switch to dirt shouldn’t be an issue for a filly whose pedigree suggests she’ll do better on the main track.   RACE 7: Post 7:00 PT. Grade: B Use: 1-Pantsonfire; 5-Lostintranzlation Forecast: Pantsonfire is winless in seven career starts over the Del Mar turf course, but that’s the only negative we can find for the Irish-bred mare, who should outclass this listed stakes field over a mini-marathon distance that she’s proven she can handle. Third in the Possibly Perfect Stakes in mid-June in her last outing, the R. Baltas-trained daughter of Sir Percy retains F. Prat and beats this field with a repeat of either one of her last two starts. Baltas also sends out another main player, Lostintranzlation, a gate-to-wire winner over this course and distance vs. first-level allowance competition last month. She’s a need-the-lead type and likely will get her coveted trip today so we’ll include her in our rolling exotics.  RACE 8: Post 7:30 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 5-Dawood; 6-Refractometer Forecast: Dawood and Refractometer finished two-three in a similar maiden $20,000 claimer at Los Alamitos last month and in a below standard race for the level they’re the two main players once again. Neither one can be considered trustworthy but both come from a top stable and can be expected to run their race. Dawood gets a very slight edge on top due to his superior speed figures, and his dirt form clearly is better than his efforts on grass. Both should be used in rolling exotic play in a race that we’ll otherwise pass. 

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8.16.2019:

Friday, August 16: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Friday, August 16, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Best Bets at Saratoga on August 16th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:00 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Mo Ready; 5-Turbo Drive; 7-Inside Info Forecast: Analysis made for turf only. Mo Ready sports the classic two-sprints-and-a-stretch out pattern for T. Pletcher while retaining I. Ortiz, Jr. and has the pedigree to handle both the added distance and the switch to grass. The son of Uncle Mo likely will continue his improving pattern in this state-bred affair that doesn’t appear to be overly strong. Inside Info breezed well (10 1/5 seconds) at the OBS April sale before bringing $165,000 at auction and the son of Mission Impazible has a steady series of local drills to be fit enough for a good effort. Turbo Drive has improving speed figures, though they’re not particular fast quite yet, and stretches out for the first time while trying grass. Blinkers also will be added as well, so this M. Maker-trained colt could find himself on or near the lead throughout. In an open fray, we’ll include all three in our rolling exotics and then press a bit keying Mo Ready on top. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Olympic Village; 5-Walkoff Forecast: Walkoff returns to dirt, shortens to a sprint, drops into a high-priced claimer and retains J. Ortiz. It all adds up to a major effort by the T. Pletcher-trained colt, who is unbeaten in two prior one-turn races and has speed figures that are good enough to beat this field. We’re expecting the Street Sense gelding to be along in time. Olympic Village, away since last November, earned numbers as a 2-year-old that were actually quite good, so we’re a tad surprised that he’s returning unprotected. The M. Trombetta barn has weak stats with layoff runners but the Fair Hill work tab looks pretty good, so we’ll include the Congrats gelding in our rolling exotics as a back-up or a saver. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Value Engineering; 6-Shennan Forecast: Analysis made for turf only. Value Engineering has failed as the favorite in both of his starts to date, but the son of Lemon Drop Kid remains well-regarded and probably deserves one more chance. Though he finished third in his most recent start, he earned a strong speed figure (10 points better than his debut number) so with another forward move today the C. Brown-trained colt should be able to break through with a winning performance. From the rail, J. Castellano can pretty much put him wherever he wants. Shennan was a respectable third in his U.S. in a mini-marathon turf affair last month and today shortens to a mile and three-sixteenths. If he’s going to develop into a nice sort, today’s the day he’ll show it. Both should be included in rolling exotic play; we’ll have extra tickets keying Value Engineering on top. RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B- Single: 6-Taralluci Forecast: Taralluci was claimed for $40,000 by R. Handel in June and today shows up for $25,000, certainly not a healthy pattern, but this stable has very good stats with the first-off-the-claim angle (21% with a strong flat-bet profit) so we’ll accept this suspicious class drop as the aggressive move that it appears to be. The daughter of Lemon Drop King will be making her first start on dirt, so there’s that to consider, but with the trainer’s go-to rider J. Rosario taking the call we’ll trust the connections and make her a straight play and rolling exotic single at or near her morning line of 9/2. RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 2-Life in Shambles; 7-Do Share Forecast: Life in Shambles is realistically spotted in this high-priced claimer and should enjoy the return to dirt. Winless in five starts this year but with numbers that are good enough to regain his best form at this level, the J. Servis-trained gelding has won 10 races in his career, one of which came over the Saratoga main track, and this seems like a proper spot to get things turned around. Do Share was out of his element in the A. G. Vanderbilt S.-G1 last month but he could get his confidence back against this much softer band. Winner of the Tom Fool H.-G3 earlier this year but no threat in three subsequent outings, the son of Candy Ride is another who can bounce back big time facing this group. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: X Use: Zabava; 8-Psalmody Forecast: Analysis made for turf only. Psalmody joins the J. Sharp barn and shows up in a $35,000 claimer, so we’re expecting the daughter of Harlan’s Holiday to regain her best form in this restricted middle distance turf affair. She switches to L. Saez, who has ridden her well in the past, and at this level she’s more than fast enough on speed figures to win, but at 7/5 on the morning line she won’t be offering much in the way of wagering value. We’ll also toss in Zabava, in good form but considerably slower on numbers that the favorite. We’ll use her as a back-up while recognizing that Psalmody will be hard to beat with anything close to her best. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: B- Use: 3-Aquaphobia; 7-Zapperini Forecast: Analysis made for turf only. Zapperini adds blinkers for the first time while seeking his first 2019 victory. Perhaps the equipment change with put some spark into the Ghostzapper gelding, who continues to earn good speed figures but just hasn’t been punching it in. This will be his third start off a layoff for J. Servis, so the veteran gelding should be primed for his best effort, and at 6-1 on the morning line he might be worth a gamble with I. Ortiz, Jr. staying aboard. Aquaphobia, fourth in the same race Zapperini exits, was away for five months prior to that start so he, too, has a right to step forward with an improved effort. The son of Giant’s Causeway should be able to draft into a comfortable second flight, ground-saving position and then have his chance to kick it in late. We’ll try to get by using just these two in our rolling exotics, but if you can afford to spread deeper, go right ahead. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: X Single: 5-Ratajkowski Forecast: Ratajkowski missed at even money over this track and distance when just failing to stay the trip in her first try around two-turns last month but she earned a career top speed figure in defeat and sports a bullet five furlong workout since that race. She’s almost certain to be the controlling speed, but with the scratching of the other main contender, Behind the Couch, she seems likely to leave at less than even money and offer no real wagering value other than as a logical rolling exotic single. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: B Use: 3-Another Miracle; 6-Montauk Daddy Forecast: Analysis made for turf only. Another Miracle earned a powerful speed figure when breaking his maiden in an off-the-turf affair last month and has trained in superb fashion since for his first attempt on grass. A bullet blowout in 35 seconds around dogs over the Saratoga turf training track five days ago was impressive and gives reason to believe that the son of American Pharoah could be just as good, if not better, on the lawn. Montauk Daddy broke his maiden in visually pleasing fashion on grass at Belmont Park last month and may be capable of winning right back. He’ll race with Lasix today and should be quick enough to be on or near the lead throughout. These are the two main players in this five and one-half furlong grass stakes for juveniles; we’ll use both while preferring Another Miracle on top. RACE 10: Post 5:50 ET. Grade: C Use: 4-Mr. Vincent; 9-Prince Halo Forecast: Analysis made for turf only. Our original top selection, Blue Parrot, has been scratched. Mr. Vincent has improved his speed figures in each of his three starts since returning off a 17-month layoff and if he can step forward again today he can graduate in a modest maiden-claiming turf miler. He should be forwardly placed throughout and seems capable of grinding out a win in a field that has two main contenders – Awesome Adversary and Causeforcelebration – with a combined lifetime record of zero-for-32. Prince Halo is relatively lightly-raced with room for improvement. The Orb gelding has some speed and should draft into a good stalking position with every chance when the pressure is turned on. We’ll consider these two in our rolling exotics in a race that we’ll otherwise not get involved in.

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8.16.2019:

Gulfstream Park's Saturday Pick 5 a Free for All

As you well know, the Pick 5 is one tough nut to crack. And it could be tougher than usual at Gulfstream Park Pick 5 on Saturday. You must be game to walk into a Pick 5 attempt, and you’ll need everything you’ve got. You will ponder going super deep on some of these, but unless you’re bankroll is unlimited, you’ll use some control. The easiest races in the Pick 5 aren’t even what you’d call easy. They just may not be as challenging as the others. This suggested ticket has two runners each in the third and fifth races and three runners in the other three races. You could go five or six deep, but the arithmetic will get to you. Lawyer Drill and Solar Warming look like the ones in the third race, while Mysterio and Accountant Q appear ready to give it their best in the fifth. A trio starts of the day and the Pick 5 in the first. Knokke by the Sea is in good form but his post position is the main reason others are included. Jeeker Joe should have a good run down inside and Will Remember fits nicely for this one. The second includes tough veteran claimers led by Polar Jet, Particularity and Phish Fan. Polar Jet was claimed for $12,500 five races back by Jorge Navarro and was third for $10,000 last time. He drops to $6,250 and will be odds-on. However, because of that suspicious drop, Particularity, who has most good dirt form, and old pro Phish Fan, a solid sprinter, are worth of inclusion. Neither Lawyer Drill nor Solar Warming hit the board last time but they’ve been taking on some tough company. Lawyer Drill ran off to a five-length lead and had nothing left, and he picks up apprentice Cristian Torres, who’s been good on the front end. Solar Warming comes out of much better races and should be a factor from the beginning. Cades Love Loop and Bravely Bold will get the most play and should be included in the fourth, but Leaving Home likely will show improvement from his debut and can be a big player on the class drop. Cades Love Loop was third in four of her last five and makes her first start since March. She landed in a good spot for that return. Meanwhile, Bravely Bold has shown late interest in two of his three lifetime starts and can make a solid run vs. these. Mysterio and Accountant Q. have plenty of chances to gain their second win and it looks like each has a legit chance. Mysterio comes off a good second and Accountant Q. was third in his latest. Here’s the suggested ticket for the Pick 5 Saturday at Gulfstream Park: Race 1) #2 Jeeker Joe, #5 Will Remember, #10 Knokke by the Sea.  Race 2) #2 Polar Jet, #4 Particularity, #7 Phish Fan.  Race 3) #3 Lawyer Drill, #7 Solar Warming.  Race 4) #3 Leaving Home, #5 Cades Cove Loop, #11 Bravely Bold.  Race 5) #2 Mysterio, #6 Accountant Q. Total Ticket Cost) 2,5,10/2,4,7/3,7/3,5,11/2,6 = $54 for $0.50

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8.16.2019:

Friday, August 16: Hawthorne Racecourse Late Pick 4 Analysis

Tonight's feature at Hawthorne Racecourse rolls in Race 6, an Open Pace with a $12,000 purse. The 0.50 Late Pick 4 has a $10,000 guaranteed pool. The sequence starts with the headliner in Race 6 and will be my focus. Comments and selections below are based on a fast track. Race 6 7-Rising To The Top-Did the heavy lifting on the engine, almost lasted on a night when the front wasn't the best. 8-Stuckey Dote-Other Leonard entry might be set for a more aggressive try in 3rd start after arriving in Stickney. 10-Fox Valley Gemini-Just missed after being off 2 weeks and the opening half was slow, looking for more tonight. Race 7 2-Canthelpbutwin-Gets Leonard back and needs a trip but can stick around with this post draw, looks like a player. 5-Lil Orphan Elmer-Rallied off a quick half for a picture and will respect here but thinking this won't be as easy. 8-Shark Control-Got the top when speed wasn't holding, Lackey may work a trip and stay in the hunt at a price. 10-Scary Harry-Loses Leonard but Seekman knows, pace could be quick, 3-time beaten chalk may make amends. Race 8 4-Starlite Kid-Beaten odds-on chalk in last 2 makes 3rd start in Leonard barn, 7/5 chalk is running out of excuses. 10-Sir Mammo-Drops, can win with a trip and a hot pace, liking change to Ridge Warren and will be a square price. Race 9 2-Mocking Robin-Off over 2 weeks but drops to bottom level and gets post relief, could be a needed wake-up call. 4-Dumas Gram-2nd time Seekman and his choice over 1 and 6, in a race without much form will respect his pick. 6-Heartland Desire-7/2 ML might be flattering but came close at this level on 7-12 and now Leonard steers. 8-Ghosts And Legends-Drops, last 2 have been better, makes 3rd local start and worth a swing versus this crew. My Ticket Race 6) 7,8,9 Race 7) 2,5,8 Race 8) 4,10 Race 9) 2,4,6,8  Total Ticket Cost) $48 for $0.50Check me out on Twitter, @AlCimaglia 

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8.15.2019:

Thursday, August 15: Jeff Siegel's Del Mar Analysis/Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Del Mar Thursday, August 15, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Del Mar on August 15th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 2:00 PT. Grade: C Single: 1-Empress of Love Forecast: Empress of Lov draws the rail, which normally would be just fine going a mile on the main track, but the inside lanes have been deep all season (as usual) so if the C. Dollase-trained filly gets stuck down there from start to finish she could be in trouble. On pure form the daughter of Empire Way towers over this field but at 9/5 on the morning and potentially going lower you’d have to think there are better opportunities later in the program. You can use her as a rolling exotic single, try to beat her, or better yet just pass the race. RACE 2: Post 2:30 PT. Grade: C Use: 1-Snazzy Dresser; 3-Calle Kingpin; 6-Erotic Forecast: Here’s another uninspiring affair, this one for $32,000 claimers over nine furlongs on grass. Calle Kingdom just won for $40,000 and today drops a level, never a healthy sign, and to make matters worse he’s facing a committed front-runner in Snazzy Dresser, so the easy front-running trip that he enjoyed in his local win last month probably won’t be available this time. On paper, it sure looks like he’s for sale, especially with Golden Gate Fields re-opening and this gelding’s ability to act both grass and the all-weather surface up north. Snazzy Dresser has numbers that make him a major player, especially if he can secure his coveted front-running trip from Calle Kingpin (and from his rail post that’s entirely possible). The Soldat gelding exits a tougher race, has a prior win over the local lawn, and can handle the nine furlong journey. Erotic is reunited with “win rider” Prat and seems the most dangerous of the deep closers. If a pace duel develops, he should be the beneficiary. In a race that we’ll otherwise sit out, all three can be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 3: Post 3:00 PT. Grade: C+ Use: 4-Unbroken Star; 5-Secret Courier; Tidal Effect Forecast: Three of the six runners in this starter’s allowance main track miler have credentials to win, so this is yet another pass race. We’ll use all three in our rolling exotics. Tidal Effect can win if ready for new trainer T. Yakteen, but the Malibu Moon gelding hasn’t been out since last November and the work tab, while fairly solid, doesn’t guarantee that he’s completely cranked up. On pure numbers he’s good enough to win and having finished first or second in three of his four previous outings over the track he’s proven he likes this deep surface. Secret Courier was blown away by Julius in a fast, highly-rated event on opening day but was a clear second while earning a respectable speed figure despite being beaten 11 lengths. This group presents no such challengers, and as the controlling speed the B. Koriner-trained gelding should take this field a very long way. Unbroken Star graduated at first asking with a nice number and appears to have been a timely claim by M. Puype. There’s no reason the son of Broken Vow won’t move forward, and with J. Talamo staying aboard he’ll get the patient ride he apparently prefers. RACE 4: Post 3:30 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 6-Miss Tokyo; 8-Tinnie Forecast: We’ll double the fourth race, a five furlong turf sprint for older maiden fillies and mares. Miss Tokyo hasn’t been asked to show her best stuff in the morning but this R. Baltas-trained filly should be plenty fit and ready for a top effort first crack out of the box. Tinnie, a debuting daughter of Congrats from the R. Mandella barn, has a quick gate work here last month (34 4/5 seconds) that catches the eye and with hot-riding F. Prat aboard she has the look of a live item. In a race in which the known element doesn’t impress, let’s stick with two newcomers while preferring Miss Tokyo on top. RACE 5: Post 4:00 PT. Grade: B+ Use: 4-Biddy Duke; 5-Leucothea Forecast: Here’s an oddity: both main contenders in this maiden $62,500 claiming sprint for juvenile fillies exit the same race – at Ellis Park. Leucothea gets blinkers and Lasix after finishing a troubled seventh in that July 4 race and today shows up for a high-priced tag while seeking some of that lucrative ship-and-win bonus purse money for P. Miller. She was well-backed (4-1) in that race so let’s see what she can do today with clear sailing through the lane. Biddy Duke, purchased privately out of the same race and now in the R. Hess, Jr., barn, has plenty of zip but has had some difficulty finding more when it matters in the final furlong. We’ll see how far he can take them today. Both should be included in rolling exotic play with preference on top to Leucothea. RACE 6: Post 4:30 PT. Grade: B+ Single: 3-Sheastheritestuff Forecast: Sheastheritestuff always has liked the Del Mar main track and appears finally to have returned to her best form following a sharp third place finish in a similar state-bred optional claimer over this course and distance last month. She’s capable of better, and with another forward move today the D. O’Neill-trained mare should be along in plenty of time. We’ll make her a straight play and rolling exotic single and hope to get close to her morning line of 5/2. RACE 7: Post 5:00 PT. Grade: B- Use: 3-Navy Queen; 7-Liberalism; 10-I Want One Forecast: The finale is a maiden special weight five and one-half furlong sprint for juvenile state-bred fillies. There are no world beaters among the known element, though Liberalism ran decently in her debut over this track last month when pressing the pace and then hanging on pretty well for second while earning an okay number. If she can produce a forward move for a barn that has superior stats with this angle, the daughter of Broken Vow should be home free. Navy Queen, a fair third in her debut last month in a similar event, may improve, though this barn doesn’t have a history of success with second-time starters. I Want One was beaten a half-length in her debut while competing for a $50,000 tag on the same afternoon that Liberalism ran and could improve enough for A. Lerner to be a threat despite the raise to straight maiden company. She’s drawn comfortably outside and on pure speed figures has to be given a bit of a look.

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8.15.2019:

Eddie Olczyk's 2019 Pacific Classic Picks & Betting Strategy

Bet the Pacific Classic this Saturday, August 17 at Del Mar with Eddie Olczyk The Pacific Classic is scheduled as Del Mar's Race 10 at 9:30PM ET.  Eddie Olcyk's Pacific Classic Picks: Analysis: Over the past few years, Pacific Classic results have been extremely logical.  From 2013 to 2018, favorites won 5-of-6 editions and the average Win payout was a little more than $5.  This year, on the other hand, is the exact opposite.  This is a race with plenty of unknowns and a field of 10 entrants looking to elevate themselves into the upper echelon of the Classic Division.  There’s so much parity in here that I think they could run this race 10 times and get 12 winners!  So with that in mind, I’m going to focus my bets around a ‘type’ of horse rather than a specific standout.  I’m looking for a horse that (1) has strong tactical speed, (2) likes Del Mar and (3) offers value. Main Contenders:  WAR STORY is a horse that checks all three of the boxes I’m looking for.  He’s 8/1 on the ML and he doesn’t figure to attract a ton of money.  He has plenty of tactical speed and his rail draw should ensure a perfect trip.  I think he needs to sit 3rd or 4th in here to have a shot, so that’s what I’m hoping to see.  If he’s on the lead, turn the page.  Let someone else carry the burden of setting the pace.   Plus, don’t let WAR STORY’s 0-for-2 record at Del Mar fool you.  He ran the best race of his live over this track in November 2017 when he finished 4th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, beaten a short margin by horses like Gun Runner, Collected and West Coast.  SEEKING THE SOUL is the horse they’ll all have to hold off late.  He always fires and you’ve got to respect a horse that has finished in the Trifecta in 20-of-27 career starts.  PAVEL is another that always seems to make a late run and I expect he’ll do that again today.  CAMPAIGN is a perfect 1-for-1 at Del Mar but he'll probably be closing from too far behind the pace to win.  He's a threat to finish in the Trifecta, though. $100 Betting Strategy $17 Win, Place: #1 WAR STORY ($34) $5 Exacta Key Box: #1 WAR STORY with #3 SEEKING THE SOUL, #5 PAVEL, #8 CAMPAIGN ($30) $1.50 Trifecta: #1 WAR STORY with #3 SEEKING THE SOUL, #5 PAVEL, #8 CAMPAIGN with ALL ($36) My Top 4 Picks #1 WAR STORY #3 SEEKING THE SOUL #5 PAVEL #8 CAMPAIGN

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8.15.2019:

Thursday, August 15: Jeff Siegel's Saratoga Analysis & Wagering Strategies

Jeff Siegel’s Daily Analysis & Wagering Strategies Saratoga Thursday, August 15, 2019 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. Today’s Day Makers: Jeff Siegel's Top Plays at Saratoga on August 15th, 2019 RACE 1: Post 1:02 ET. Grade: B Use: 2-Amazing Audrey; 4-Bareeqa Forecast: In a race that on paper boils down to two main contenders, we’ll give the slight edge on top due to price considerations to Bareeqa, a class dropper from the hot D. Gargan barn. She remains above her claim level, but after failing in a pair of second-level allowance races, the veteran mare should thoroughly enjoy this class relief while retaining I. Ortiz, Jr. She’s won three of six races over the Saratoga turf course and with her best effort looks capable of producing the last run. Amazing Audrey can be effective on the front end but with other speed signed on is more than capable of stalking and pouncing if the situation dictates. The Midwest invader is a perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga lawn and is more than fast enough on speed figures to win, hence her strong morning line favoritism of 6/5. Both should be included in rolling exotic play. RACE 2: Post 1:34 ET. Grade: B+ Use: 3-British Idiom; 7-Miraculousblessing; Talk You Out of It Forecast: Miraculousblessing, a $28,000 OBS June sale purchase where despite appearing a bit green breezed quickly in 10 second flat while displaying a long, athletic stride, is a sneaky Monmouth Park shipper that we suspect is considerably better than her 12-1 morning line. Bred to have speed and from a capable outfit, the daughter of Rattlesnake Bridge may be capable of springing a surprise in a wide open maiden juvenile dash. British Idiom is another intriguing first timer showing a series of eye-catching workouts at Churchill Downs and before that Ellis Park. It’s encouraging that top trainer B. Cox – with an excellent 23% win-rate with first-timers – ships the daughter of Flashback to Saratoga, where she’s eligible to this restricted maiden special weight affair due to having been sold at auction for less than $45,000 (she actually brought $40,000 at the Fasig-Tipton October sale). She, too, looks attractive at 9/2 on the morning line. Talk You Out of It has plenty of experience, having already started four times, hitting the board in each outing. She lacks early speed and probably can’t beat a decent sort, but there may or may not be one in here. Toss her in as saver, if nothing else. RACE 3: Post 2:06 ET. Grade: B Single: 3-No Dozing Forecast: No Dozing lays over this field with anything close to his best race but having been beaten as the favorite in both of his 2019 outings the veteran gelding has to prove that he can still walk the walk. The runaway winner of the Bold Ruler H.-G3 last year with a sensational 107 Beyer speed figure, the son of Union Rags hasn’t come close to repeating that but he did flash improvement between his most recent race and his race before last, and with another forward move today should be able to seal the deal. Two recent bullet workouts at Fair Hill certainly are encouraging, so let’s make him a straight play and rolling exotic single while hoping to get close to his morning line of 9/5. RACE 4: Post 2:38 ET. Grade: B- Use: 2-Relentless Dancer; 4-Mystic Lancelot Forecast: Mystic Lancelot cost $450,000 at the Timonium 2-year-old in training sale and debuts in this five and one-half furlong turf sprint as the logical top choice in a race that doesn’t appear overly strong. The son of Into Mischief breezed a furlong in 10 1/5 seconds on the bullring and did it fairly well (was late changing leads and drifted out on the turn) but went better in a team grass work over the Saratoga turf training track six days ago while getting over the surface just fine. He’s certainly fit enough for a good effort for the Pletcher barn, which has done well with debut runners this meeting and hits with an impressive 23% overall with first-time starters. Relentless Dancer ships in from Kentucky boasting a series of impressive workouts at the Churchill Downs training center and we don’t suspect this Louisiana-bred juvenile would be here unless trainer M. Maker thought he could act on the Big Circuit. An $85,000 Ocala April sale purchase, the son of Midshipman went well enough at the preview session in 10 1/5 seconds and is worth some consideration at 8-1 on the morning line. RACE 5: Post 3:10 ET. Grade: B Use: 1-Teachable Moment; 5-Sneakiness Forecast: We’ll double the fifth race, a maiden $50,000 seven furlong claimer with not much in it. Sneakiness, a first-time gelding with both the maiden-to-maiden claiming class drop and blinkers off angles working for him, has a right to improve in this league and has back numbers that are more than good enough to win. J. Rosario stays aboard and should have this son of Into Mischief in a good stalking position with every chance to exert his superiority from the head of the lane to the wire. Teachable Moment, a recent $40,000 claim by a barn that has terrific stats (28%) with this angle, seems likely to improve for new connections and shouldn’t be bothered by the switch from grass to dirt, as his only prior main track effort (second, beaten a head last year in a maiden special weight sprint) was obviously pretty good. He’s not quick early and therefore the rail draw might invite traffic problems down the backstretch, but if the son of More Than Ready can work out a decent trip then he should be in the thick of things late. RACE 6: Post 3:42 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 3-False Info; 6-Mo Zone; 11-Dull Knife Forecast: Dull Knife clearly was well-regarded early in his career, winning his debut at Deauville before being privately purchased, but since arriving in the States, the son of Scat Daddy, who was gelded earlier this year, hasn’t progressed while failing as the favorite in three of his five local starts. Perhaps this drop to this restricted (nw-2) $30,000 level will wake him up. On numbers, the T. Pletcher-trained 3-year-old should be quite competitive, so we’ll use him but certainly not as a single. Mo Zone also shows up in a seller for the first time following two lethargic efforts but he, too, has speed figures that make him a major player in a soft affair. The E. Kenneally-trained gelding tries grass for the first time but offspring of Uncle Mo run on anything, so maybe he’ll like it. False Info, another first-time gelding, makes his first start in two months while returning to his claim level for B. Brown and could improve enough to be a threat, though on speed figures he’ll need to really step it up. At 12-1 on the morning line he’s worth including on a ticket or two. RACE 7: Post 4:14 ET. Grade: C+ Use: 1-Andretta; 10-Silencia; 11-Beaux Arts Forecast: Here’s a turf raffle for state-bred first-level allowance fillies and mares sprinting five and one-half furlongs that requires a spread in rolling exotic play. We’ll use three and hope that’s enough, but best advice is to include as many as your budget allows. Andretta finally broke her maiden in her 9th career start for Bond, James Bond, and did so with a career top speed figure, one that gives her a realistic chance right back despite the class hike. She has a good stalking style and two easy breezes since her win last month, so we’re expecting the daughter of Freud to run her race. Silencia is a useful Laurel Park invader with plenty of early speed and likely will try gate-to-wire tactics for her Maryland-based connections. If she can shake loose early without undue pressure, she could take this field a long way. Beaux Arts has hit the board in her last four starts, has speed figures that are competitive, and she’s also a perfect one-for-one over the Saratoga turf course, having won here as a 2-year-old (but winless since. With low percentage connections and a habit of running second (nine times), she’s probably worth no more than a saver ticket or two, at best. RACE 8: Post 4:46 ET. Grade: B- Use: 1-Holiday Disguise; 2-Bonita Bianca; 3-Baby Boss Forecast: Bonita Bianca is the defending race champion and for that reason alone she has to be considered a major contender. Away since May but hailing from the J. Servis barn, whose stats with layoff runners (28%) are superb, the daughter of Curlin is re-equipped with blinkers (she’s won with them in the past) and has the proper second-flight style for this extended sprint distance. With the switch to I. Ortiz, Jr., we’re expecting to see her best stuff in the final furlong. Holiday Disguise seems pretty solid in this state-bred sprint stakes for fillies and mares, rail and all. A winner of half of her 16 career starts and fresh from a sharp score in the Dancing Renee Stakes at Belmont Park in mid-June, the L. Rice-trained mare should settle in the second flight and then, if room develops, have every chance when it matters the most. Baby Boss just earned a career top Beyer speed figure (93) in winning a Laurel Park allowance race over a track rated “good” in late June and if she can repeat that type of performance today she will pose a danger. The daughter of Frost Giant has been successful at this six and one-half furlong distance in the past but is a need-the-lead type in a field with other committed speed, so her task won’t be easy. RACE 9: Post 5:18 ET. Grade: C Use: 3-Sterling Beauty; 8-Kerry’s Ring; 12-Crescent Lady Forecast: The nightcap is an inscrutable state-bred maiden special weight inner turf miler for fillies and mares; we’ll go three-deep but without any degree of confidence. Kerry’s Ring may be as good as any; she’s strong in the speed figure department, retains J. Rosario, has good tactical speed and room for improvement. However, she just failed at 3/5 without any visible excuse. Crescent Lady gets the worst of the draw and also was beaten as the choice in her last start, but with just two starts under her belt the daughter of Scat Daddy has plenty of room to improve. J. Ortiz stays aboard for Mott and a nice recent half mile dirt workout in 47 4/5 seconds (third fastest of 70) is encouraging. Sterling Beauty, got a piece of it in an New York Stallion Stakes when earning a career top (but a nothing special) speed figure, has finished third in four of her second career starts (including one in a maiden-claimer) and has a reasonable chance to at least hit the board again. Tread lightly here.

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8.15.2019:

Johnny D's Pacific Classic Picks, Analysis & Wagering Strategy

Del Mar, or ‘Where the Turf Meets the Surf,’ if you prefer, presents its main event, the Pacific Classic, Saturday and the race has attracted a wide-open field of 10 runners. Horseplayers will be challenged to solve this puzzle like never before in recent memory. If you’re looking for a superstar, don’t bother. There isn’t one. Seeking the Soul, a 6-year-old horse who’s won 7 of 27 and $3.3 million, is as close as you’ll get. For the most part he’s faced stiff competition over the last few years, but his last two wins came in the Grade 2 Stephen Foster and in the 2018 Grade 3 Ack Ack--both at Churchill Downs, a track where he also won the 2017 Grade 1 Clark. There also seems to be a noticeable lack of speed in this race. It will be interesting to see how connections attack the early pace. Below is one man’s opinion of the runners in the 2019 Pacific Classic: 1. War Story (Navarro/Pereira) - 8/1 This 7-year-old gelding fired a big shot last out to win the Grade 3 Monmouth Cup in late July. Seemingly defeated in the lane, he re-rallied gamely under Luis Saez to win by a head. It was his first win since March 2018, when he won a $100k stakes race. This will be his 36th career start and he’s got 7 wins and earned $2.8 million. In the last year, he’s mostly faced Grade 2 competition, so this is a step up on paper from that. If he runs like he did last time, he fits. Of note: he ran one of the best races of his life at Del Mar. However, it’s a big ask for an older horse to ship and to duplicate such a huge performance. 2. Quip (Brisset/Geroux) - 9/2 This lightly raced 4-year-old colt ran lights-out in the Stephen Foster last out, but it was a neck short to Seeking the Soul. Quip won the Grade 2 Oaklawn Handicap in the slop. That was his second start this year and he appears to finally be delivering on early promise. He could have a pace advantage in here and should use an inside post to enhance that advantage. The distance is a bit of a question. Still, Quip is consistent, capable and should be a decent price. 3. Pavel (O'Neill/Gutierrez) - 7/2 Winner of just 3 of 17 starts, Pavel has participated in some of the world’s top events in the last two years. He hasn’t won since the 2018 Grade 1 Foster, but he’s faced Grade 1 company worldwide in all but two races since then—4th in the Grade 2 San Pasqual slop and 3rd in the Grade 2 Suburban last out. His Suburban effort was solid and a repeat of that makes him live in here but he’s winless in 8 tries at the distance. 4. For the Top (Baffert/Garcia) - 12/1 It’s rare for a Bob Baffert stakes runner to be double-digit odds, but this guy deserves the honor. Would be surprised to see him affect the outcome. 5. Seeking the Soul (Stewart/Velazquez) - 3/1 He’ll probably start as the lukewarm favorite in here of his neck win last out in Churchill’s Foster. He’s the most consistent runner in the field but, like Pavel, the 6-year-old doesn’t win that often. He’s just 2 of his last 10 and must overcome a lack of early pace in here. He may win, but he’s certainly no bargain at this price. 6. Higher Power (Sadler/Prat) - 8/1 This Grade 1 race really is a step up in competition for the 4-year-old son of Medgalia d’Oro. He was 2nd in the Wickerr on Del Mar grass last out and is 2 for 8 on fast dirt. The meet’s leading owners enlist the meet’s leading rider for a top five trainer who’s won nearly every stakes race he’s recently entered! He’s a developing sort, so tread softly in this spot. 7. Tenfold (Asmussen/Smith) - 8/1 Winner of the Grade 3 Pimlico Special, this 4-year-old son of Curlin also claims the Grade 2 Jim Dandy as his own. He’s 4-for-9 on fast tracks but hasn’t really taken a big step forward. He’d have to do something quite a bit more powerful than he’s done in the past. 8. Campaign (Sadler/Bejarano) - 6/1 Trainer Sadler’s other entry in the race has a few things going for him. He’s 5-for10 lifetime, 2-for-5 on fast dirt, including victory in the Grade 3 Cougar II going a mile and one-half at Del Mar. His drawback is that he’s at the mercy of the early pace. 9. Mongolian Groom (Ganbat/Cedillo) - 20/1 Here’s a 20-1 shot that finished 2nd in a Grade 2 Del Mar stakes race last time out. Not too bad. This 4-year-old has only won 2-of-13 starts but has faced only graded-stakes competition since winning a first-level allowance race in February. Worth noting is that Mongolian Groom finished third, less than 4 lengths behind Gift Box and McKinzie, in the Santa Anita Handicap at a mile and one-quarter. Don’t think this one can win the race but he’s a real consideration for exotics at a big price. 10. Draft Pick (Eurton/Talamo) - 20/1 He finished just behind Mongolian Groom last out in the San Diego Handicap and has a sterling record of 8 in-the-money finishes out of 11 starts. While it took him a while to break his maiden, he’s been no worse than 3rd since in mostly graded-stakes company. A bullet five-furlong work in :59 3/5 caught the eye. He’s another one at a big price that could get a piece of this. Betting the Pacific Classic: The Bottom Line Makes Sense at the Price: #2 Quip Because of a promising early career, a perceived pace advantage and a strong last race #2 Quip seems likely to run well. Figures in the Money: #5 Seeking the Soul Most consistent in the field, he should come running at the end. A lack of pace in the race could hurt his chances of winning. Exotic Suggestions: #6 Higher Power, #9 Mongolian Groom, #10 Draft Pick Three 4-year-olds offer decent odds and show signs of improvement. Too many positive connections with #6 Higher Power to ignore.   $2 Trifecta ($40.00 Total) #2 #3, #5, #6, #8 #3, #5, #6, #8 #9, #10 $1 Trifecta ($20.00 Total) #3, #5, #6, #8 #2 #3, #5, #6, #8, #9, #10 Race On!

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8.15.2019:

Chad Brown Makes 'Outstanding' Seem 'Routine'

Trainer Chad Brown won a bunch of graded-stakes turf races last weekend. Again. So what? Move along. Go to your homes. Nothing to see here. Chad Brown-trained horses have won so many turf races at such a high level for so long that it’s probably not even worth mention that Saturday he swept all four graded-stakes races at Arlington Park, including the day’s centerpiece Grade 1, $1 million Arlington Million with Bricks and Mortar. The Arlington Million is North America’s first million-dollar race and Brown just won it for a record fourth time. Hall-of-Fame residents Ron McAnally and Charlie Whittingham have won the race three times--some heady company to surpass. The amazing Bricks and Mortar earned equine honors with his sixth consecutive victory and extended his 2019 string to 4-for-4, including three Grade 1 victories - Gulfstream Park’s Pegasus World Cup Turf Invitational, Churchill Downs’ Turf Classic and Belmont’s Manhattan. He’s making a strong case for Horse of the Year honors; unusual because turf specialists aren’t normally considered as contenders for that prize. Brown also took the Grade 1, $600,000 Beverly D. Stakes with Sistercharlie, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare who successfully defended her crown in a course-record time of 1:52 2/5 for the mile and three sixteenths distance. It was her fifth consecutive Grade 1 victory and sixth win out of eight tries since arriving from France. The victory was Brown’s fifth-consecutive in the event and Sistercharlie became the first filly or mare ever to win the race twice. Sandwiched between ‘Sister and ‘Mortar, Brown-trained sophomore Valid Point won the Grade 1, $500,000 Secretariat. The son of Scat Daddy now is unbeaten in three starts and his future’s so bright he’s got to wear shades. Café Americano, a 3-year-old filly, concluded the Chad Brown Chicago road trip by winning the Grade 3, $100,000 Pucker Up. It was her third career victory in four starts and her first stakes tally after being unplaced in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational, last out. Before our eyes, Brown’s re-writing the record book. He’s doing things with horses that haven’t been done before and won’t be done again…at least for a long time. And he’s a young man, too. Age 40 may signal the beginning of the end for a professional athlete but it’s ‘prime time’ for a horse trainer. By the time he’s finished, the Mechanicville, NY native might establish untouchable marks. And we’re fortunate to be able to watch it happen in real time. If we remember to notice. The trouble with brilliance is that outstanding can become routine. Sensational the norm. Exceptional ho-hum. And that’s Brown’s fault. He’s been dominating the green for several years, including this one--his horses have swept the top three finish positions in graded New York Stakes grass races twice this year! Why in the world should we raise an eyebrow when his runners sweep four graded stakes on a single card? Critics will point to Brown’s roster of well-bred, high-priced runners augmented by accomplished European and South American imports and argue that he SHOULD be winning often and at the highest level. True. He’s got the stock. But that didn’t occur in a vacuum. There’s a reason owners ‘Tex Sutton’ their very best to Brown. And it’s not because he once was an assistant to the great Bobby Frankel. That resume line may have provided a foot-in-the-door but subsequent results have blown the aperture wide-open. Chad Brown won a bunch of graded-stakes turf races last weekend. Again. And it didn’t go unnoticed here.

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8.15.2019:

Here’s My Del Mar Pacific Classic Late Pick 4 Ticket

With a pair of Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series ‘Win and You’re In’ races and five total graded stakes races on the card, Saturday’s Del Mar slate is one that savvy horseplayers have had marked on their calendar for months. The card’s headliner, and Del Mar’s keystone race, is the $1 Million Pacific Classic, which provides an expenses-paid trip and automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Classic.  This year’s field includes the 1-2 finishers from the G2 Stephen Foster at Churchill Downs, Seeking the Soul and Quip, as well as G3 Pimlico Special winner Tenfold, $2 million earner Pavel and San Diego Handicap runner-up Mongolian Groom.  Supporting stakes on the card are the G3 Green Flash Handicap (starring two-time Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint winner Stormy Liberal), G2 Del Mar Handicap (a ‘Win and You’re In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup Turf), G3 Torrey Pines Stakes and the G1 Del Mar Oaks (featuring Chad Brown’s Cambier Parc and Dogtag).  The 11-race card gets underway at 5:00PM ET.  My attention will be on the Late Pick 4, which covers Races 8 – 11 and starts at 8:30PM ET.  Hit the Late Pick 4 with your Xpressbet account to Split 1 Million XB Rewards Points.  Plus, don’t forget to play in our $120,000 Fun in the Sun Handicapping Tournament.  We’re giving away $8,500 in cash prizes every Saturday during Saratoga and Del Mar and, best of all, it’s FREE to register.  In this spot last week, we successfully hit the Arlington Park Late Pick 4.  However, it’s meager payout ($55 for $1) barely made it worth the effort. Here’s my Pacific Classic Late Pick 4 play: Race 8 (8:30PM ET) – Torrey Pines Stakes (Grade 3, $100K) The kickoff leg is the $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for three-year-old fillies and the pace here could be fast, as the outside drawn trio of #6 SNEAKING OUT, #7 FIGHTING MAD and #8 KIM K all have a nose for the lead.  Likewise, none has won around two turns (that said, SNEAKING OUT was beaten 1/2-length in a two-turn G2 and KIM K won a one-turn, one-mile race).  #3 CLASSIC FIT battled Dunbar Road in the G2 Mother Goose at Belmont and, with Dunbar Road headlining the Alabama and Guarana targeting the Cotillion, she ships out here for a more winnable race.  She’s a very logical play, as is the rail-drawn #1 INTO CHOCOLATE.  She keeps Mike Smith and should get a great trip from just inside of horses. Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 INTO CHOCOLATE, #3 CLASSIC FIT, #6 SNEAKING OUT, #7 FIGHTING MAD Race 9 (9:00PM ET) – Del Mar Oaks (Grade 1, $300K) If we go deep in the first leg, we’ll need to pare our ticket down here.  So we all know that Chad Brown is arguably the premier turf trainer in the US and we saw what he did last weekend shipping his horses to Chicago for the Arlington Million card.  So why would a trip to San Diego be any different?  He sends out two horses in here - #1 CAMBIER PARC and #7 DOGTAG – and I think that duo will be awfully tough to deny.  CAMBIER PARC is probably the ‘better’ of the two Brown horses and you’ve got to love her inside draw in a 14-horse field.  They have to go through her to win this. Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 CAMBIER PARC Race 10 (9:30PM ET) – Pacific Classic (Grade 1, $1 Million) This is a fascinating edition of the Pacific Classic for different reasons than usual.  While memories of this race evoke names like Free House, Best Pal, Bertrando, Came Home and Lava Man – and more recently, California Chrome, Accelerate, Beholder, Shared Belief and Game On Dude – this year’s field is relatively lacking in the ‘big name’ department.  But that also could make it a better race for the bettor.  ML favorite #5 SEEKING THE SOUL is a horse to have on your ticket, but is he a horse you can trust?  Considering he’s 1-for-13 outside of Kentucky, skepticism is a must.  How about #3 PAVEL?  He’s lost seven straight and has just one win in his last 14 starts.  All of a sudden, that brings horses like #2 QUIP, #8 CAMPAIGN and even #10 DRAFT PICK into the discussion.  I’m not entirely picky – let’s use a bunch and try to get through this race. Pick 4 Horse(s): #2 QUIP (9/2), #3 PAVEL (7/2), #5 SEEKING THE SOUL (3/1), #7 TENFOLD (8/1), #8 CAMPAIGN (6/1), #9 MONGOLIAN GROOM (20/1), #10 DRAFT PICK (20/1) Race 11 (10:00PM ET) – Allowance ($65K) The nightcap is a first-level allowance race and, honestly, this is another race where it’s tough for me to have a very strong opinion.  An overdrawn field (12 plus 2 AE’s) will do that to you.  To keep my ticket a manageable size, I’m going to limit myself to using only the most logical few horses.  #11 AN EDDIE SURPRISE has been a relatively consistent performer, even if she more often comes up second.  #8 SALSA BELLA has an interesting statline – trainer Andrew Lerner is hitting at 80% (ok, he’s 4-for-5, but still) with horses making their second start in his barn.  British invader #7 BETTY F has been running against better horses than this and has performed decently and I’ll use #5 RUBY TRUST as a pace player in a race lacking it.  Pick 4 Horse(s): #1 TRUE TO HERSELF, #5 RUBY TRUST, #7 BETTY F, #8 SALSA BELLA, #11 AN EDDIE SURPRISE Ticket Cost:  We’re looking at a $70 ticket for 50-cents, which is a little steeper than I would usually give out.  We could pare down the ticket by going shorter in the Pacific Classic and dropping some of the more ‘hopeful’ horses. 

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8.15.2019:

Weekly Bankroll Builder: August 16 Stronach 5 Play

Back to battle with the Stronach 5, which welcomes back Golden Gate Fields this week and will once again have a 100k guarantee, though the pool has been easily surpassing that number every week. To refresh, the Stronach 5 is a Pk5 wager spread across as many as four tracks and up to three surfaces (dirt, Tapeta and turf), inside of 45 minutes, with a $1 minimum and ridiculously low 12% takeout. I’ll be putting together some prospective tickets in this space each week for a wager that is undoubtedly as good as it gets for the bettors.  *** Please take note that this analysis is done upwards of 48 hours in advance, so obviously weather, track conditions and especially late scratches can and will have an effect. Please check back around 4pm Friday for an update, as well as on Twitter. ***  Leg 1: Laurel Park R8 (4:53 ET) – 3upfm 35k MCL at 5 1/2 furlongs (turf)  We’ve got a tricky opener, since #6 JUDI BLUES EYES (7-2) was a close and fast 2nd at 15/1 on debut on turf then didn’t run an inch in an off the turfer last time; I’m obviously using her, but I also don’t trust her, so I’m spreading. A neck separated #1 ECHO OF VICTORY (5/1) and #2 MEGALOMANIA (8/1) on June 28, but I like the latter a bit more, as she has a ton of upside, since that was her turf debut, and only her second lifetime start as well. The former has to be used too, as she drops out of an MSW run last time and clearly has the form to be a major player here. Lastly, I’ll use #3 MIA GIFT (9/2), who pressed and tired last time but was only a half-length behind ‘Judi two-back and now goes off the Gonzalez claim (24%), which is a huge upgrade over Samaniego (0-for-10 on the year).  Pk5 A horses: 6,1,2,3  Going seven-deep in the opener isn’t ideal, but it’s that type of race, so I want coverage, especially since I think the remaining races have a bit more of a condensed group of contenders. A cutback could help #4 HEIGHT OF THESTORM (5/1), who has solid route form, while getting back to the turf will move up #11 OLD LINE MAGIC (6/1), who was 4th, only two necks behind ‘Echo the last time she ran on the grass. The wildcard is the firster, #9 WHISPURRING KITTEN (10/1), who has modest works but goes for a sharp Merryman barn that knows how to spot its stock.  Pk5 B horses: 4,11,9  Leg 2: Laurel Park R9 (5:22 ET) –3upfm AOC (35k/N2X) at 1 1/16 miles (turf)  Another reason I can go seven-deep in the opener is that I have a single in the second leg, as #11 VORTEX ROAD (9/2) looks better than this mixed bag, especially since she appears to own a strong tactical edge in a race with very little early speed, and because she gets a big jock upgrade from a 5-pound apprentice to Vargas. I’ll also single because, as you’ll see below, I could use the entire field if I didn’t.  Pk5 A horses: 11  The problem with the B-level horses is that you could use several, as the group below ‘Road all pretty much look the same on paper. I’m going to put together a small backup ticket that narrows on some of my A picks in the other four legs (see the R2 backup ticket below), in the hopes of me being spot on, in case ‘Road should lose. The list includes #3 MONKEYS UNCLE (12/1), #4 KAILEE (6/1), #5 SUMMERING (6/1), #6 BELIEVE INDEED (8/1), #1 MORE FUN AGAIN (4/1), #2 NOT IN JEOPARDY (6/1), #7 SHES A TRUE BEAUTY (6/1), and #9 SO INNOCENT (15/1).  Pk5 B horses: 3,4,5,6,1,2,7,9  Leg 3: Gulfstream Park R8 (5:29 ET) – 3upfm AOC (62.5k/N2X) at 7 1/2 furlongs (turf)  Dropping out of GII and GIII stakes has to help #6 RAVEN’S LADY (9/5), who also makes her first start for Biancone and has been training very sharply in the morning, so maybe this is the right spot to finally get her first stateside win. The post is beyond dreadful for #10 PICARA (7/2), but she has plenty of speed to help negate it, and is a stakes winner too, and while improving off Pletcher is never easy, new trainer Delgado is a gaudy 35% with newcomers to his barn.  Pk5 A horses: 6,10  The secondary runners are much more of a stab, but you get a great post and a lot of upside with #2 BEAUTIFUL BALLAD (6/1), who would be a major player off her February turf win at FG and will offer value as well. If #4 Zarina (6/1) runs back to her stakes win here last time she’ll be a huge threat, but that was against only 3yofs and it came from nowhere, so I’m going to expect regression today, while #11 Midnight Soiree (12/1) has a few races showing that would win this, but she was awful last time and has a terrible post, so she’s not worth the risk-reward.  Pk5 B horses: 2  Leg 4: Golden Gate Fields R4 (6:15 ET) –3upfm 20k MCL at 1-mile (turf)  It’s good to see Golden Gate return, though this tough eight-pack won’t make it easy on us, especially since there’s so much unproven turf form. The list of top contenders starts with #5 LA GUAPA VELOS (2/1), who has by far the best turf form here, and plenty of speed too, though she does keep find ways to lose, which makes her tough to trust. You could do worse than singling the favorite, though the upside with #2 SURE ANGLE (5/1) makes her appealing too, as she’s run just three times and was a much-improved 3rd in her first start for Trujillo, so while she’s not bred for turf, I’m going to use her.  Pk5 A horses: 5,2  Getting to the turf woke up #3 HEATSKY (8/1) last time at Santa Rosa, and while it was just eight days ago and he stretches out 3 furlongs, a repeat puts her in the mix here. There are others you could include, like #7 Oligarchy (4/1) and #1 Rouge Bouquet (3/1), but they are just too hit-or-miss with their form to be added in.  Pk5 B horses: 3  Leg 5: Gulfstream Park R10 (6:29 ET) – 2yo 50k MCL at 5 furlongs (turf)  They did us no favors in the finale, as not only is it impossible, but it’s filled with firsters and one-time starters, so it’s a real guessing game as to who is going to fire. At least we know #3 YEI YEI (7/2) can handle turf, as he was a sharp 2nd trying it last time, which gives him a big leg up on the rest. The Baxter barn is 30% on the year but just 1-for-8 with firsters, but with Jaramillo named, #10 R LOVELY JULZ (9/2), a daughter of City Zip, has to be a huge contender, especially with a slew of works showing. The are four MSW droppers entered, and all have to be respected, but the one I want is #4 DEO FORTE (8/1), since he faced open maidens last time, was bet a bit (11/1), has a bullet showing since, and keeps Zayas too.  Pk5 A horses: 3,10,4  I’ll use #7 MISTER NOISI (4/1) since he was a speedy 2nd on debut on the dirt and now adds Lasix, though Amaya is 0-for-10 with first-time turfers, as well as #2 DANZO (10/1), who showed speed in an off-the-turf MSW on debut and has some turf on the bottom of his pedigree. The other two maidens—#5 Purecrazidude (15/1), #6 Maserati Man (8/1)—both can threaten, but neither overly inspire for low-percentage connections, so I’ll pass.  Pk5 B horses: 7  The tickets:  Main Ticket: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 6,10 with 5,2 with 3,10,4 = $48 Leg 1 B Backup: 4,11,9 with 11 with 6,10 with 5,2 with 3,10,4 = $36 Leg 2 B Backup: 6 with 3,4,5,6,1,2,7,9 with 6,10 with 5 with 3 = $16 Leg 3 B Backup: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 2 with 5,2 with 3,10,4 = $24 Leg 4 B Backup: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 6,10 with 3 with 3,10,4 = $24 Leg 5 B Backup: 6,1,2,3 with 11 with 6,10 with 5,2 with 7,2 = $32

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8.14.2019: